Book Review: The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers by John Marrs is a good Science Fiction book, that feels all too real and ask some pretty big questions. I love a good Science Fiction novel that look at the future and asks should we as a society be questioning this; and that is what John Marrs delivers with The Passengers, as he looks to the future and the dangers of self automated cars driven by A.I., it also looks at the growing power of social media and it’s influence in the future. This book reminded me of the Roger Corman film Death Race 2000 meets Stephen King’s The Long Walk all wrapped in an episode of Black Mirror. This could totally be an episode of Black Mirror for it’s take on society and social media alone. If you have read John Marrs book The One ( The One is being adapted into a 10 episode Netflix mini-series) it matches DNA so find your soul mate, you’ll get an added bonus, with that technology being is a small plot point in The Passengers which works really well on where technology is in the fictional near future. I really liked this book, but I was letdown by the ending, which veered off in a direction that didn’t seem to go with the beginning of the novel, it changed my sure to be 5 star review into a 4 star. I would like to thank Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for giving me the advanced copy for the American release in exchange for honest opinion. The Passengers by John Marrs has already released in the UK and is getting released on August 27 2019 in America.

The Plot: In the near future in Britain all cars have been fully automated making regular cars illegal. The cars now come with a seat that can swivel and media can be played on the windows, the car is operated by voice commands. The car death toll has gone down but they still happen, and have a jury decide who’s at fault for the deaths, Libby is a guest on that panel. Libby is a mental health doctor, that doesn’t trust the cars fully after watching a terrible accident a few years ago wipe out a family. Libby is the only civilian juror, the other jurors are medical professionals, government agent and clergy. So far since starting the panel no death has been the cars fault, the car are anti-hack proof, or so they thought. Today 8 people from different walks of life have had their vehicles taken over by a person on a automated voice calling himself the Hacker. The 8 passengers are all told they will die in 2 and a half hours as they reach their destination. The jury will decide who lives or who dies, Libby’s world is turned upside down when she knows one of the passengers, and the hacker knows about her as well. It’s a taut thriller ride that will put you in the passengers seat for the ride.

What I Liked: This novel does an excellent job with backstory picking and choosing when to reveal more about the characters at the right time. The twist and turns are through out this novel, keeping you the reader on your toes and not knowing who to trust. The humor comes in burst like the hashtag on Libby’s bad shoes as she’s deciding on someone’s fate, and others. Me being a Communication Major I loved the take of social media in the near future. I enjoyed the characters and their ups and downs. The technology of the cars was well thought out, and great twist involving that technology later. The hacker was a great puppet master type villain, until the ending , but until that point great character work. I do like that Brexit is now a thing marked in history as a milestone, that still affects Britain in the future.

What I Disliked: The ending is the only problem I had with this book, it’s not horrible, but it just didn’t fit at all, this novel is a smart tight thriller until the ending that is out of character and has a calculated character make a dumb mistakes and it took too long to get to the ending, once the rising action stops.

Recommendations: Despite me not enjoying the ending this is a worthwhile, often thought provoking novel, that looks at issues that could arise in our near future. I do recommend you check this one out. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Black Mirror then you must check it out. If you like Science Fiction that challenges future technology, your sure to enjoy this one. I rated The Passengers by John Marrs 4 out of 5 stars.

Advertisements

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a story about life and all it’s ups and downs told from the perspective of Enzo the family dog. It is at times heartbreaking, romantic, humorous, and thought provoking. This is a super easy read that I was able to read in a day or so, the chapters are short for the majority. This book will give you all the feels, and will remind you of every time you talked to a pet and swore they knew what you were saying. The theme of racing and how it relates to life really work in the story. I have had The Art of Racing in the Rain on my TBR for quiet some time, and really glad the film came out to inspire me to read it. The film opened this week 8-9-2019 it Stars Kevin Costner, Milo Ventimiglia, and Amanda Seyfried. A part of me wants to see it, but after reading this book and watching the trailer, it seems like to different things. The movie looks like a romantic comedy with a dog and the book is so much more than that. I did read a review and they do get to the heart of life and it’s many ups and downs in the film, so I might see it after my girlfriend reads it.

The Plot: Enzo the dog has plenty of views on human life, like when you die as a dog you come back as a human is what Mongolian’s believed and so does Enzo. We meet EnZo when he is old and reflecting on his life with Denny. He tells how he’s was purchased on a farm by Denny. Denny is an amateur Race Car Driver trying to make it to the professional level. Enzo becomes his best friend a tells him exactly how to race and in one of the best scene puts Enzo in the race car with him. They get along great until Denny falls for Eve. Enzo see’s as there alone time is turning into a group, They eventually warm up to each other as She and Denny have a baby Zoe. Denny’s racing career gets in the way of family as Denny has to make tough choices. Enzo is the rock of the family supporting each member in what they need, as life brings hurdle after hurdle.

What I Liked: The character of Enzo is amazing, I love his insights and his misunderstandings of human culture are really funny. The racing aspect in the book is used really well as a theme throughout. The At of Racing in the Rain is a philosophy about trust and reacting to every sensation by trusting your instincts. The Enzo in the race car was such a great moment, made me feel as if I was there. Enzo getting revenge on the twins was priceless. The Mongolian dog afterlife theory was interesting and used well in the story. The humor was throughout the novel and really helped with the flow of this book. The fever dream of the stuffed Zebra reminded me of the Pick dancing element in Dumbo, and I love every minute of it.

What I Disliked: Enzo is a spoiler he keeps bringing up future things and ruining the surprise of the outcome, of two major events. The dialogue of the character Luca sounded so fake. Mike rarely pops up it was hard remembering where he fit in the story, when he does pop up mainly at the end.

Recommendations: This is a really special story that tugs on your heart strings in just the right way, I loved this story and recommend it. This story gave me the same feeling I had as I read Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove combined with Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time. The tenderness and ups and downs of A Man Called Ove and the interesting narrator and the reveals in The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time. The book did have a good amount of curse words so I would recommend it for adult or mature teenagers.  I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars it was one of the closest to a for but the charm and the feelings of it brought put it to that 5 level for me.

The Trailer to the Film, The Art Of Racing in the Rain

Book Review: Goosebumps: Say Cheese And Die by R.L. Stine

Say Cheese and Die by R.L. Stine is the 4th book in the original goosebumps series. It’s a story about the worst invention ever, a camera that seems to predict or make bad things happen, you be the judge. This one oozes 90’s more than Welcome to the Dead House, Stay out of the Basement, and Monster Blood, the first 3 Goosebumps books in the series. Oh the boredom before cell phones, it talks about how bored the four best friends are with nothing to do. It talks VHS videos, home phones, and cool new station wagon (I think station wagons are still pretty cool). This book doesn’t bring as much real life scenario as others it does kind of deal with homelessness, and everybody has a story, but it’s pretty vague. The story flows pretty well the ending is a little out there not too big of a twist. This like Monster Blood is the second book where Stine opens it up too a sequel at the finally.

The Plot: Greg, Shari, Bird, and Michael are four best friends that are super bored, they keep trying to come up with ideas, but nothing takes they decide to go explore an abandoned mansion. The mansion is not as abandoned as first thought, as a man they nicknamed Spidey has been living there. Greg ends up finding a secret compartment with an old camera there that is a self processing camera that allows the photo to develop in minutes after you take the photo. Greg being a photo junkie takes the camera out and takes a photo of Michael against the staircase banister. Moments after taking the photo the banister breaks and Michael falls with it. when greg looks at the photo it shows Michael falling, but he knows he took it before hand, Spidey comes back and they quickly leave Greg in his fear takes the camera with him as his friends flee. Greg takes more photos of his dad’s new car, but the photo shows it wrecked. Grep is sure the camera is haunted and always shows bad things, but when Shari insist he takes a photo of her, the photo looks regular except Shari is not in it, what can that mean. Greg and his friend must find the secrets of the camera before it is too late.

What I Liked: The story is really fun and is for the most part driven, the story really makes the reader cringe with every photo not knowing the exact details of the consequences, except knowing there will be some. The friendship of the group feels really real if it wasn’t for the 90’s troupes you would think it was modern day. The camera is just a great device, and used well through out the story. The original cover is amazing and one of my favorites of all the goosebumps series. I like how it leads you to a possible sequel at the end.

What I Disliked: The twist was lackluster a little bit when we find out more about the origin of the camera, there’s a lot lacking in that story if it was always intended for evil, or if it was cursed after the fact.

Recommendations: I totally recommend this one, it’s interesting and the story is great, if the twist was nailed this one would have taken number one spot away from Stay out of the Basement. If you are a fan of the TV series on Fox this was the episode that featured a young Ryan Gosling as Greg. If you want a good one for your kids that’s not as scary as the other’s with a good story then this is the one to get. the price is just 3.99 on Amazon kindle and you can’t beat that. I rated Say Cheese and Die 4 out of 5 stars. My rating so far from best to worst of the Goosebumps series is Stay out of the Basement, Say Cheese and Die, Welcome to Dead House, and Monster Blood.

A Promo for Say Cheese and Die featuring Ryan Gosling, all episodes are on Netflix for those who don’t know.

Book Review: Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Black Leopard and Red Wolf by Marlon James is an African fantasy novel, that explores a lot in it’s text like the topics of homosexuality, skin colorization, hegemony, disabled, incest, and feminism. Marlon James won the prestigious Man Booker Prize Award for his last novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, and this book is heavy on the metaphors and has gems of great dialogue through out. This novel took me two weeks because of the words used and the way that it is told. The story and fantasy elements are really strong. I loved the story for this book so much. The way it is written especially at first is very hard to get into I felt the same way when I tried reading William Faulkner’s Sound and Fury where you have to piece the story from the metaphor. It took be too about page 100 until I was comfortable to read without going back and rereading. I see this book being one read and discussed in college. I usually save trigger warnings for the end but this does have strong uses that could turn readers off so I will mention them here: graphic sex scenes, graphic language, graphic Violence, rape, incest, and sex with animals ( a couple character’s are shape shifters). This is my second African fantasy novel, my first being Children of Blood and Bone by Toni Adeyemi, which was very different but both were steeped in culture you can feel.

The Plot: e meet the tracker when he is a man imprisoned and telling stories of his past. His first story is how he went to the land of the dead and brought back a king that would rather be dead than married to the queen, and an enemy he brings back still haunts him to this day. The story then goes to when he was a child and finds out about his past and becomes the Tracker. He was always able to find things by sense of smell, and he find out he can see things towns a way. The first place his nose leads him to is his birth place, where he finds about all kinds of legend and meet Leopard a shapeshifter that can change form leopard to man. He protects children that were born deformed called mingi, with a witch Sangoma. The village is raided for fear of plaque and a dry season the witch place a protection on him that and steal weapon will not pierce his skin. The children for the most part survive, and the Tracker and Leopard become their protectors and eventually find them a home. Another tale that takes up most the book is years later where the Tracker is really known for finding people and children is tasked in a fellowship to find a boy. There’s a huge mystery about who this boy is he’s supposed to protect, this fellowship is not like the Fellowship of the ring these are mercenaries that some have a horrible past the tracker wants to kill one member and might not wait until he finds the boy to do it. Leopard is also apart of it but their trust is broken by something. The Tracker will have to find his own demons to find the boy.

What I Liked: The overall story has so many twist, turns, and betrayals. I have read my share of fantasy novels and the story is one of the better ones, you think you can predict where it’s going but you can not. the last 100 pages changes everything. The story arc of Tracker is interesting at the end of the novel he gets some redemption but character went into place I didn’t always like. Sadogo is my favorite character, a gentle half giant now, but once a brutal killer that sometimes still comes out, such a sad backstory, but a great character. The action is written really well. The settings are vidid and show all the different shade of Africa.

What I Disliked: The story was a little long, occasionally it would retell the story adding little extra in it’s retelling, that happened at least five times. I wanted better descriptions of characters, some James did a really good job but others I just couldn’t visualize. The finger in the butt joke was to frequent. I would have been ok with half the sex, I think it was really important when Tracker was finding himself when he was young, but after that I didn’t need all the graphic details.

Recommendations: I know people that will hate this the sex and swearing will turn them off, but the story really is good so if you can get past all the trigger warnings which are again: graphic sex scenes, graphic violence, graphic language, rape, incest, and sex with animals ( a couple character’s are shape shifters) then the book is really well told. This book is very LGTBQ friendly with its characters. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars. This book is mark as book one of the Dark Star Trilogy I will read the second one for story alone, I might have to block out a time when I can easily consume it.

TBR: August/September 2019

Hello readers, I’m back with another TBR for August/September, My last one was in October of 2018, which was a little bit of a disaster, darn work got in the way.  But this month I’m pretty safe and wanted to give fellow readers and followers insight to what I’m looking to read.

Flight or Fright edited by Stephen King and Ben Vincent – is a excellent horror collection featuring new and old short stories all about flight and the horror that comes with it.

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James – is an African fantasy novel, that delves into African folk lore.  It is about a group of beings that are sent on a mission to track a missing boy that might or might not have powers of his own.  This is the first of a trilogy.  I’m half way through it, it is written really well and deals with a lot of issues mainly LGTBQ issues, but dips in to feminism, and family struggles.  The word are great and spoken like poetry with lots of hidden meaning so it is taking me a little time to get through it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – I want to read this before the movie comes out next week, starring Kevin Costner, Milo Ventimiglia, and Amanda Seyfried.  This is a book told from a perspective of a dog as his owner is a race car driver and life happens.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – This book is about three separate women’s journeys through the events of World War II.  It’s fiction but based on real character’s, my girlfriend recommended it, and our taste are similar.

The Girl with All the Gifts and The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey – I’ve heard only good things about this series that take place in the same world and involves kids with special powers.  Joss Whedon creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer says they are can’t miss.

Goosebumps The Curse of the Mummy by R.L. Stine my quest to read the goose bumps books in order continues, I will also read Say Cheese and Die but that is on my kindle.

IT by Stephen King – This has been on the list to read for quite some time, and I really want to read it before IT Chapter 2 comes out on September 6th. I loved the first one so much I find no better time than to read it.

Not Pictured

Dark Age by Pierce Brown – Which is book 5 in the Red Rising series I was a huge fan of the first three, the forth was good but, not as good as the others, I still look forward to this series and am 2 people behind checking it out at the library.

The Passengers by John Marrs – a netgalley read about a plot where driverless cars kidnap separate people all to play a sinister game, this book has already came out in England and has Garnered some incredible reviews, very much look forward to this one that releases on August 27th in America.

Say Cheese and Die By R. L. Stine the forth Goosebumps book in the original series, it is the adapted TV episode that featured a young Ryan Gosling in it.

 

 

Wrap Up: July 2019 Book Reviews

July is over, another great month of book reviews I read 7 book this month, it was a month of highs and lows that I found a a new favorite series in The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells and one of by most anticipated reads of the month Cari Mora by Thomas Harris was kind of a dud.  I had read A Divided Mind Arc for free thanks to netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I hit personal highs in having setting a new record of 58 views in one day and and also having my highest month of views.  I think all the new followers that pushed me over 400 this month, and my followers that have grown with me. Thank you, I love this wordpress community of book reviewers so much.

Four Star Reviews:

All Systems Red by Martha Wells – This is the intro to the character Murderbot an A.I. that is self aware that job is to protect humans but is easily distracted my media and would rather do anything else, but darn it all he starts to care about the humans he is supposed to protect.  It add humor and a great insight to the questions of humanity and freedom.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells – Rarely will I read a series this fast but I was still so interested in the story of Murderbot in his journey for humanity.  This time he journeys back to the place where he started calling himself Murderbot.  He wants to find out why he went on a murderous rampage was it a malfunction or did he willingly kill, and wipe his memory.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – This novel has been on by TBR for at least 4 years, I found out I really liked gothic mysteries with reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and this did not disappoint. A biographer sets out to find out about a bestselling author that is haunted by demons and ghost of the past.

A Divided Mind by M. Billiter – This was a netgalley read for an honest review. A story about a teenager dealing with the struggles of being a high schooler, on a racing team, and dealing with schizophrenia.  This story is being marketed as a thriller which it is not, more of a how the family deals with this and how a teenager can come of age with this diagnosis.

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco – is a short story that adds to the series Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by telling tales from a Thomas Cresswell’s  perspective other than Audrey Rose.  This book is ranked as 3.5 and wets your appetite for Capturing the Devil coming in September.

Batman: The Widening Gyre by Kevin Smith – A real interesting take on Batman and what would happen if he fell in love, it still has action and humor, that only the creator of Jay and Silent Bob can bring. The graphic novel has a really interesting take on Batman’s trust issues.

Two Star Reviews:

Cari Mora by Thomas Harris the first time in thirty years that Harris has written a story without Hannibal Lector and it is meh.  I felt it was Thomas Harris trying to copy Elmore Leonard’s style with out the character development.  Cari Mora is about a heist of Pablo Escobar’s buried treasure of gold, under his old house in Miami.

 

 

 

Book Review: Cari Mora By Thomas Harris

Cari Mora By Thomas Harris is a heist novel where a band of thieves plot together to steal gold that Pablo Escobar buried under his mansion in Miami. This book felt false from the get go like Harris was trying to mimic Elmore Leonard style novel. He still can deliver brutal shocking violence, and worthwhile the flashbacks, that are the best thing in this book. The style and the approach were really lacking. The novel is named after a character in the novel, she’s the lead barely as she comes in and out but people want to keep involving her, her background was really compelling but after we get her full background I grew a little invested and interested in her character, but she doesn’t come back into the story for another 50 pages or so; Harris does it again with a Detective Robles later. I wanted to like the plethora of characters but I was grasping at straws to find any attachment. It has been 13 years since Thomas Harris has published a book and over thirty years that the book has not featured the character Hannibal Lector. I have only read Red Dragon (which I loved) and watched all the movies and TV shows based on his work he’s proven he can create iconic characters in Hannibal Lector and Clarice Starling, but this book appears a miss, for me and my taste. I do not take pleasure in reviewing a bad novel, and I will always finish a book before giving any opinion it, but this is not a good novel and I know Thomas Harris can do better.

Plot: Caridad Mora is a house sitter bird sitter, and Animal rescuer, she was a former Columbian freedom fighter that fled to the US when her captian was shot and killed on her watch. She stays and takes care the Pablo Escobar’s old place in Miami. The place is lavish and mainly used for movie making and very rich tourist. An old Columbian man Jesus is dying and he is spiling secrets so his family will be taken care of, and he’s in connections with a sadistic Russian murder, Hans-Peter, that sells organs on the black market and loves killing women he has capital and rents the place while digging for the gold. Don Ernesto a Don in Columbia finds out about this and puts his guys in as grounds keepers and pool cleaners. They all fall in love with Cari but want to steal the 25 million in gold. It’s a race to se who can steal the gold and open the safe that Pablo had personally designed so know one can break in.

What I Liked: The heist is is fun and I liked the booby trap on the safe. I loved, the background of both Cari Mora and Detective Robles really interesting really well told, I wish there was more of this writing in the whole of the novel. The action scenes there’s only a few, but I had fun with them.

What I Disliked: How much the story jumped around, it was a pain, and hard to keep up with at times. The style, every time you give a chapter to an animal and their point of view you might want to set that up from the beginning not just be zany. Th bad guy Hans-Peter is so one layered that I didn’t find him interesting. The dialogue was hard to differentiate what character was talking because they all sounded so a like. Having whole conversation in Spanish but not always telling what they were saying was super annoying, I took two years and was able to get the gist but still really annoying. The ending made the heist kind of unimportant, to one character that sacrificed a lot to get there, I felt the character wouldn’t give up that easily.

Recommendation: I would say skip this one, I would not recommend this one. That being said there’s small burst of genius, very small if you’re a super fan you might get more out of it, than I did. I f you did like this please check out Elmore Leonard and see how the master of heist and multiple character’s does it. I rated this book a disappointed 2 out of 5 stars. Reading this did make be want to read a good Thomas Harris Novel so I might check out his earlier work again.

Book Review: A Divided Mind by M. Billiter

A Divided Mind by M. Billiter is a good emotional piece about the struggles of a family dealing with one of it’s children being a schizophrenic. A Divided Mind comes out on July 27 2019, it’s being marked as a thriller and I don’t feel it fits that category, general fiction fits it better. The book does have one or two thrilling moments, but it is more of a think piece that show how an individual and his mother deal with the illness. The novel is mainly told through Branson who has schizophrenia and his mother as she deals with the diagnosis. I was not prepared for the humor in this piece, that really helps with the flow. It sometimes reminded me of a much serious version of C. D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt. I enjoyed this novel and found it very engaging. I would like to think Netgalley and Hot Tree Publishing for giving me a free advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

The Plot: Tara receives a call from her 17 year-old son Branson that he’s hearing voices as he blacked out and was found with bloody knuckles at school. Tara who is now a single mom thinks it is PTSD of her family surviving her first ex husband who was abusive towards her and her children. Branson is coy with telling people all the details about what he calls “shadow people” that will assassinate people he disagrees with in his mind. The voices have been getting louder and transforming. Tara sends him to a specialist that says it’s not PTSD but schizophrenia. The disbelief is strong and she doesn’t know how to deal, she finds a notebook of her son’s journal and reads all about a girl who has tormented her son, and decides to get revenge as she’s a college admissions officer for the university and creatively makes her not a candidate. Branson life gets more complex as he starts seeing a new person in his life, but are they real or not is what the reader will be asking.

What I Liked: The humor both Branson and his mom Tara have some wit to them in the form of internal thoughts. The struggle of Branson and his other personality be sometimes the only one he can confide in, but also wanting that person gone for his own health. Carson, Branson’s sister, solves so much of his mother’s problems, I loved her character. Dr. Cordova seems like the perfect doctor never rising to any bate of the characters but slipping out a smile when he can’t contain the funny situation or answer in front of him. I loved the story about how the kids were named, and I loved their names. I loved Tara’s revenge plot, and all that things that happened because of it. The cat creature was very scary and written really well and easy to visualize. I really liked the ending.

What I Disliked: The people in Branson’s life our way too accepting. There’s an instance where Branson steals something and a person that don’t know him helps him out, I found really hard to believe. I found it to easy to tell who was real and not in Branson’s mind, but the book acts like this is a mystery.

Recommendations: I will recommend this book as a good emotional sometimes humorous general fiction book. If you’re looking for a thriller you will be a little disappointed, the book is not with some thrilling moments and one okay twist but in my humble opinion not a thriller. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco

Becoming the Dark Prince by Kerri Maniscalco is a novella and book 3.5 in the Stalking Jack The Ripper series. Thomas Cresswell is front and center taking the narrating duties away from Audrey Wadsworth. Thomas is easily my favorite character in the series so I throughly enjoyed getting in his head. This novella throws the reader back on to the RMS Etruria in the midst of the events of book three Escaping from Houdini. Escaping from Houdini was my least favorite of the series so far, that said I really enjoyed this little taste of a story. It does a good job of reminding the reader of the new villain that will be stalking the streets of New York in the new novel Capturing the Devil that releases on September 12th in 2019, it also reminds us of the love that was tested and what has endured on the last adventure to where Thomas and Audrey are in their relationship now. I liked that this story is half retelling from a different perspective and half telling the story of what went on while Audrey was not present.

The Plot: Thomas is first in the middle of book three on the RMS Etruria where Audrey and Liza have just gotten back from the first day of training in the act of the Moonlight Carnaval. Audrey has already made the deal with Mephistopheles so Thomas is dealing with not knowing where he stands with Audrey. Then the story jumps right to the finally and we the reader get to see how exactly Thomas reacted to those events, it was still exciting even knowing the out come. We then get to see how Thomas handled things after Audrey was not present. we get insight in to the conversation that Audrey only overheard bit and pieces with Thomas and Mephistopheles. We also get more insight to the mysterious body in the crate and how it relates or not to the killer of the Moonlight Carnaval.

What I Liked: Thomas’s voice for the story really worked for me all the insecurities and how he starts to count when overwhelmed. The love of Audrey and Thomas is the heart of the story and is written so beautifully. I loved finding out about Audrey’s new cane and all the thought that Thomas put in to it and the dialogue with the shop keeper about Audrey’s knife fights The cane looks so awesome featured on the cover of Capturing the Devil, just like how I pictured it in my head. I really enjoyed the back and forth with Thomas and Mephistopheles. The cover for this fits with the other’s but finally helped me have a glimpse of Thomas Cresswell’s frame.

What I Disliked I would have liked to relive more of the acts leading up to the finally and what went through Thomas’s head when she volunteered after the warnings. I was hoping for a little bit more knowledge of the new killer, and Thomas’s testimony about the Moonlight Carnival Killer.

Recommendations: The story is 99 cents and I feel so worth it as a fan, you will get more insight into the lives of character’s and events. Do not read this if you have not read Escaping from Houdini, because you will know who killer is. I rated this story slightly higher than Escaping Houdini and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. my best to worst order is Hunting Prince Dracula, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Becoming the Dark Prince, and Escaping from Houdini. I’m more excited now than I was for Capturing the Devil.

Book Review: Artificial Condition By Martha Wells

Artificial Condition By Martha Wells furthers The Murderbot Diaries with the second installment. Man is this series good, I described All Systems Red  the first novella in the series as a character piece with burst of action, and this one continues in that same style. The story picks up exactly where the last one left off, where Murderbot, the A. I., is on a mission to find himself by unlocking his past. I love how Martha Wells wrote Murderbot’s personality as a nonconforming teenager who would rather spend copious amount of time consuming media than interacting with a person or another machine for that matter. The conversations about life and past really made me me think, and the humor of being more human and all the problems that come with it.

The Plot: Muderbot is a self aware A.I. (who calls himself Muderbot, but not out loud) is on a search to find out his past, a while ago he went on a murderous rampage killing and had his memory scrubbed, and the event covered up by the corporation that owned him. No that he is rogue droid a free from the companies grasp, he has decided to investigate the grounds to see if he can find out if was an accident of if he chose to murder willingly. The planet is heavily guarded and the only way he can get on the planet is by pretending to be an augmented human, which means changing everything about himself and trying to become more human.

What I Liked: My favorite new character is ART the operating unit of the transport vessel. ART is so powerful has grown bored of his day to day task and sees an opportunity in Murderbot to go rogue and have some fun. I loved the dynamic between ART and a begrudging Murderbot that just wants to be left alone. I loved that Murderbot is basically a teenager and in this novel he kind of has puberty as he has to turn on his hair growth. I loved the conversation about adding sex and Murderbot’s strong reaction to it. The action is less than the first novella but I enjoyed the writing of the action more in this one. The humor makes this novella flow really quickly.

What I Disliked: in the series so far the villains have all been very one-sided and all about corporate greed, it would be really nice to see a more dimensional villain in future installments. I felt the stakes weren’t high enough in the end, I never felt a true danger for Murderbot.

Recommendations: I am loving this series, and totally recommend it. I was just announced by Martha Well that the fifth Murderbot Diaries book will be a full novel not a novella called Network Effect and will out in 2020. I did recommend the last one for teens, this one does amp the use of curse words up, but if you’re okay with your kid reading them then I would recommend this book in the series. I would recommend reading All Systems Red first this novella starts off exactly where it left off and even gave me some closure for the last story. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and will be continuing this series soon.