Persephone Station by Stina Leicht is a confusing female lead space opera. This novel is very confusing especially at the beginning, this is one I fought with myself over do not finishing but I pushed through. The story is like a one off episode of Star Wars The Clone Wars, merged with some characters from the Alien franchise, there’s an Ellen Ripley in Angel, there’s a Call in Kennedy, and a whole lot of Private Vasquezs. The character are different but most of them all talk the same. The plot is pretty crazy and doesn’t really start going until half way, we get the villains motives at the 90 percent mark. There is bits of exciting action but once again most it is often hard to follow. The bear action scenes were awesome. The best part of this novel is when the Merc crew talks crap to each other, there’s some good lines that I would include in this review but I read an ARC copy, thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books, and can not post words since they are subject to change. The book does have a non-binary character and lesbian characters to represent the LBGTQ. When I read the description I had high hopes for this novel as it is being publicized as a female lead Mandolorian like space opera, but I just did not enjoy it.
The Plot: Women with political influence start getting murdered, they are linked to indigenous alien race that have advance technology. The villain wants the tech for her own devices. The Merc crew perform a suicide mission protecting the race against and army of mech suited soldiers.
What I Liked: The scenes of the women talking crap about past missions and relationships was the best I wish it had more scenes like that. The bear verse mech suit was the highlight of action, there’s another scene where one of the aliens communicates with a bear that was pretty cool. There is some great lines of dialogue, most take place in the two talking crap scenes. I do love te female empowerment and LGBTQ representation. I like the characters of Angel, Kennedy, Beak, and Sukyi. The relationship with Angel and the ship the Kurosawa was a special one.
What I Disliked: The whole first half of this book is so rough, you will have twenty names in the first thirty pages and 17 of them all talk the same, making it impossible to form a connection. It jumps a round to weird spots, who set up the log bobby traps? why is one team now separated when they were just together? The villain’s motive is way too late the woman seems to be evil and then she starts getting bossed around, it was bad. The world building is half realized, or we as the reader only see half of it. Catholic religion is brought in briefly then never talked about again.
Recommendation: I recommend you skip this book if you need LGTBQ charters in a science fiction setting please check out the excellent Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. Star Wars the ultimate for your space opera fix. The Star Wars series has been bad about not having too many strong female protagonists, but has been slowly changing and making effort for more, so check out the newer novels. I rated Persephone Station by Stina Leicht 2 out of 5 stars.
January 2021 TBR list: last month was so successful I read all 8 books plus 1more, I’m going to stick with 8. I have my reading goal for the year set at 80 books. I had a good book haul at Christmas, and will me going through those; I also bought a lot of Marvel Masterworks since the kindle price is 1.99.
The House in the Curulean Sea by TJ Klune – This book got a lot of hype last year, and I have had this book highly recommended. It is about a case worker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, tasked with determining if six children are likely to bring about the end of the world.
Persephone Station by Stina Leicht Which is a science fiction western about female assassins. I don’t know a lot about it I got an advanced copy from netgalley it is published on the 1-5-21
Icebound by Andrea Pitzer is a true story about Dutch polar explorer William Barents, who was stranded in the Arctic with his crew for a year. This true story was inspiration for Dan Simmons horror novel The Terror.
Batman: Three Jokers by Geoff James is the book that Batman finds out that he has not been terrorized by one Joker but three. It takes the tales of the three different origin stories and has them all me true.
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero is a spoof n the Scooby gang where in 1978 they apprehend and old man in a mask who they believe to be the monster, but in 1990 when one of the gang is dead and the old man is paroled, that there worst fears come true that the wrong man was arrested and that the monster lives. I read This Body’s not Big Enough for the Both of Us by Edgar Cantero a wise cracking detective novel where a detective has split personalities one the detective and one the wise cracker, I found it very crazy and funny.
The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher is a good new horror story that is getting raved about. It was nominated in Goodreads choice awards for best horror of 2020. A man finds his step fathers writing while cleaning up his mother’s house after her death. What he thought to be crazy ramblings he starts to see signs that the writing is true.
The Hollow Ones by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan reteam to create a new series called the Blackwood tapes. I was a fan of the Strain trilogy. The plot sounds a lot like Fallen an old Denzel Washington movie, about an enity who can leap from bodies causing violent acts.
Marvel Masterworks The Amazing Spiderman Volume 1 by Stan Lee is the birth of Spiderman and his many villains. This graphic novels has the beings for Doctor Octopus, The Sandman, The Vulture, and Electro
Dear Readers, December was a great month I had 5 books I requested at the library all show up at once. I read 9 books this month. I read 2 science fiction, 3 books nominated for Goodreads choice, and 1 graphic novel. I started 0 new series and read 2 from a book series. I made a TBR and read every book on it and added 1. I read two 5 star books, five 4 star books, one 3 stars book, and one 2 star book.
Five Star Reviews:
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a family drama about race, focusing on the light and darkness of skin color. The book will really make you self reflect your own prejudice and bias based on skin color. Bennett doesn’t just analyze the white standard of skin bias but the black on as well. The book starts in the 1950’s and goes up to the early 1980’s. The story follows 3 generations of the Vinges family women.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a powerful story of systemic gun violence in America written in verse. The verse is written in small poems barley ever going over two pages really well painting a picture that lets you the reader control the narrative adding the details that the verse misses. The story is like a cross between Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol and Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Ghosts of the past board the elevator on every floor starting with the 7th and talk to young Will about what he’s going to do when he gets when he gets to the bottom floor; kill the guy he thinks killed his older brother. The ending is one of the powerful endings I’ve read.
Four Star Reviews:
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab is part memoir through time and history, and part present day love story. I say love story lightly because from this reader’s perspective I don’t know if one character can love. The story is great a deal with the devil gone wrong, but with a unique twist. This story will make you the reader question, what would you do in the same scenario? The story is unique, yet familar if you know Schwab’s other works like Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic. I feel Schwab took some of the best parts out those novels and combined them.
Exit Strategy by Martha Wells is book four in The Murderbot Diaries, book series. This is the last of the 4 novellas the next books in the series is a full length novels. The fourth book comes full circle all the way back to the first book and the first humans that he saved and started to generally care about. This novel has a bit more heart because of the reunion and the character of Murderbot has grown emotionally throughout the series. The ending was perfect for this chapter in Murderbot’s life.
The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackplole is a novel that balances three different genres, court room drama, prison escape, and medical stopping viral spread, with X-wing action as well. The Krytos Trap is the third book in the X-wing series that follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron. The novel starts right where the last one ended. This has been my favorite novel so far in the series, it is the book with the least X-wing action, but I was really into the political intrigue. The reviews for this one have been mixed, either people really enjoy it or they complain about lack of action.
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers is a beautifully written debut that takes a witch cursed to die young and love a man that will constantly disappoint her, time and time again. A Witch in Time tells a great love story about missteps and sacrifice. It hits the right beats in time and history as we observe four life times starting in 1890’s and ended up in present day. I loved aspects of the curse and how both the cursed and the watchers of the curse can manipulate certain aspects of it.
Snow, Glass, Apple by Colleen Doran adapted from a Neil Gaiman short story is a haunting adaptation of Snow White told in a graphic novel form. The story is told from the Stepmother’s perspective, notice I didn’t say evil stepmother. In this story it is flipped where the stepmother is good and loving, her stepdaughter is evil incarnate. The images are hauntingly beautiful and very graphic. The images leave a lasting impression with the mix of bold color with dark colors.
Three Star Reviews:
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is a hard book to describe. The book deals with class, race, comfort, and guidance. The story is one part dystopian and the other part is about togetherness and finding comfort in the new dystopia, sort of; that’s the best way I can describe it. Conversations rule this book over actions, what I found interesting are characters acting civil while civilization is falling apart. The book plays with the reader asking who do you trust or why don’t you trust characters? The book is tense and claustrophobic, with the ongoing pandemic adding to the tension
Two Star Reviews:
You Can’t Scare Me! by R.L. Stine is about pranking someone to admit their scared, only the prank accidentally involves real monsters. You Can’t Scare Me! is the 15th book in the original Goosebumps series. This story is 80% lead up to any actual monsters. This story was hard to identify with the group of scaredy cat’s are determined to make one girl scared. The girl isn’t horrible of mean, she does one thing with a bumblebee, but the rest of the time she doesn’t deserve them messing with her. The group is mad at themselves for being scared and lashes out on this girl to make them feel better
Dear Readers, 2020 is over! It was a horrible time for everything but reading. I broke new records for myself reading 103 books this year. Out of the 103 I have read 40 that were published this year. My big goal this year was to finish up a good deal of book series. I have a bad habit of not finishing, and I finished 6 this year. I will rate the top 10 books I have read that were published this year., the top 5 books I read not published this year, and the top three series I finished this year.
Top 10 of books published this year:
1. Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is a groundbreaking new fantasy that is inspired by the history from Pre- Columbian Americas. I did not know a lot about this story going in and was amazed with the world building and unique characters. Black Sun is the first book in The Between Earth and Sky trilogy. The story is rapid paced, with so much conflict, it is hard telling who exactly is on what side of the good or bad coin, but the story was a fun read. The look at politics and religion is the best thing, do you believe in the prophecy? Do you believe so much in the prophecy you will do anything to stop it?
2. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs is one crazy book that you can’t predict or put down. I read this book back in May and it has stuck with me, the book is totally bonkers as characters flip from being good to bad, as the reader learns more secrets. This book has some of the most cringe worthy scenes, not because of gore or anything horrid, but because you are reading about a character that keeps digging themselves into holes. This is family dysfunction at its finest. What would it take for you to chain your mother in her room? The answers come quickly but the reasons behind them stay buried in lies.
3. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James is a nonstop thriller that mixes elements of a ghost story with a mystery. This story earned it’s spot at number 3 for pure fun, the book was a blast to read. The pace was nonstop from the beginning, and did not let up as it reached the climax. The story is really fun, I enjoyed finding out more about the ghost and why they haunted the Sun Down Motel.
4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is a family drama about race, focusing on the light and darkness of skin color. I love a good book that will make me think long after I have read it , and this book does that.The book will really make you self reflect your own prejudice and bias based on skin color. Bennett doesn’t just analyze the white standard of skin bias but the black on as well. The book starts in the 1950’s and goes up to the early 1980’s. The story follows 3 generations of the Vinges family women.
5. Harleen by Stjepan Sejic was a fantastic Harley Quinn origin story. The approach was a romance novel gone wrong, and it works really well, so well the book earned a spot at number 5 of my favorite novels of the year. Harleen was runner-up in the Goodreads choice for graphic novels. Harleen managed to balance all four, drama, action, romance, and comedy very evenly. The character of Harley generally wants to do good and help people, the Joker manipulates her feelings, but did she really change the Joker and make him care for her?
6. His & Hers by Alice Feeney is a deeply psychological mystery thriller. This is a great mystery with layers upon layers. This who done it, will have you constantly changing who you think is the killer. His & Hers reminded me of the best parts of The Girl in the Train, the unreliable narrators. Both main characters lie with in the first passage already showing you the reader mistrust.
7. The Living Dead by George A Romero and Daniel Krause is a great zombie epic! It’s scary as hell, in its graphic descriptions that make you see, smell, hear, and even taste the gore. The first 200 pages don’t read while eating please take my advice. This novel is so much more than just a gorefest, it there is heartbreak, love and betrayal. The Living Dead is a morale tale, which ask what is living really?
8. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager is a top notch thriller wrapped in a ghost story. Home Before Dark reminded me of why I love Riley Sager so much, good writing that for the most part keeps me guessing while adding that level of believability, that it could happen that way.
9. Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir is a fantastic, clever, new take on a witch locking a princess in the tower story. The one thing that is clear is Tamsyn Muir is a clever writer and thinks out side of the box. Her writing so far is all about female empowerment with this novel taking it to another level, Princess Floralinda does not need a man to save her, she’ll do it herself.
10. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton is a historical nautical mystery that takes an Agatha Christie plot and adds the devil. The plot has so many twist and turns that all make sense. The novel is a fun who done it, with so many suspects all with murder that will make you head spin. The standouts for me is the plot, however crazy it gets there’s always a plausible reason and character work is so good giving all 20 supporting characters their unique voices who all have their own motives and actions.
Top 5 books read this year not published in 2020:
1. The Shining by Stephen King is a truly horrific book. I was shocked how much story was not covered in the movie. Alcohol and ghosts do not mix! King gets into true fear, having someone you love, a father and husband, say, “I’m going to bash your brains”, then attempt to do it. The Shining is a ghost story but the scariest monster in the book is addictions and how it changes your rational choices, to choices that jeopardize your family.
2. The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow is Scarface and the Godfather rolled into one. You live as the good guys the bad guys and the people in between that are casualties of the drug war. This looks at both sides like I have never read before, it shows the good guys having to cross lines they never thought they could cross and the bad guys crossing those lines to keep what they have.
3. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is the second book in the Arc of the Scythe series. Rarely do sequels ever make my best of list, butThunderhead ramps up the action, expands on the already great world building, it has one hell of a climax, and Dmaintains the high quality writing, that will make you think long after the book is finished. I love this series so much, it is going places I could not imagine.
4. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is a clever mystery that blends the characters of the Breakfast Club with the secrets of Pretty Little Liars. The storytelling was really simple with an easy to follow mystery with so many twist and turns. I’m happy to say that I did not guess the killer, kudos to those who did. The story gets going right from the beginning 5 people go to detention, but only 4 make it out alive.
5. Full Throttle by Joe Hill is comprised of 13 short stories, two are written with his dad Stephen King. Some stories are bone-chilling tales of fright, while others give whimsical insight of the unknown. All tales draw you in in some way, some let you go easily, while other try to hold you in a death grip and not let go.
Top 3 best series finished this year:
The Power of the Dog trilogy by Don Winslow which follows the birth of the DEA and the Mexican cartel. The story starts in 1970’s and ends in our present. The story is Scarface meets The Godfather. The first two books were 5 stars and the last was 4 stars. The Power of the Dog trilogy is The Power of the Dog, The Cartel, and The Border.
Arc of the Scythe trilogy by Neal Shusterman an incredible young adult trilogy that looks at Earth’s future in a smart way. Arc of the Scythe takes the Grim Reaper character and humanizes it, by well making it human and showing the need of death. In a futuristic Earth human’s have beat aging. Thanks to Nano technology there is no disease and death can be reversed in most cases. Scythes bring a permanent death to curb over population. The Scythes are human’s who have been appointed, they have a kill quota must be unbiased in choosing it’s victims. The first two books are really strong earning 5 stars, with the last book falling to 3 stars. The Arc of the Scythe trilogy is Scythe, Thunderhead, and The Toll.
Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco Is a four novels and short stories Young Adult series that starts in 1888 England and ends in America in the early 1900’s. It follows Audrey Rose Wadworth and Thomas Cresswell who are learning to be forensic scientist while not courting each other. The series is romance meets serial killers. The setting is old but feels fresh using feminist ideas from today’s society questioning what is lady-like? This series doesn’t hold back on blood and descriptions of the horrid acts. I rated the majority of books in the series 4 stars. The Stalking Jack the Ripper series is Stalking Jack the Ripper, Hunting Prince Dracula, Escaping from Houdini, Becoming The Dark Prince, and Capturing the Devil.
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers is a beautifully written debut that takes a witch cursed to die young and love a man that will constantly disappoint her, time and time again. A Witch in Time tells a great love story about missteps and sacrifice. It hits the right beats in time and history as we observe four life times starting in 1890’s and ended up in present day. I loved aspects of the curse and how both the cursed and the watchers of the curse can manipulate certain aspects of it. The story bounces back in time in the form of dreams, which I thought worked really well as I was never confused about what time I was in and who’s life I was reading about. The story is good but is slightly similar to Victoria Schwab’s most recent The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, which deals with a curse and time, while this book I liked more and focused on past lives more than a singular life there are comparisons. The writing style which was simple but really connected me to the story and character’s, it reminded me a lot of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing style’s in Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I was selected for an advanced readers copy for Constance Sayer’s new novel The Ladies of the Secret Circus, which I’m really excited about after reading A Witch in Time.
The Plot: Helen is on her first date since her divorce almost a year ago, she’s meeting Luke on a blind date. When she meets Luke she swears he looks familiar to her. Luke says we’ve met before just not in this lifetime. This sends Helen in a spiral remembering through her dreams of France in the 1890’s and how she was cursed. She remembers Luke who looks just the way he does now protecting her after the curse had been placed. Luke is light on the details only saying she doesn’t have long, that it took him to long to find him and she must remember everything. Helen lives three lifetimes as she keeps getting connected to the same two people every time. Another thing Helen has noticed is she is getting powers and they get stronger with each lifetime. Helen is strong enough to finally break the curse but is she strong enough to do what it takes?
What I Liked: The lifetimes were described really well I wanted to stay longer in the Silver Age of 1930’s cinema. I liked the curse and the thought that went in to it, it was a fun mystery to unravel. I liked the love triangle, you could see every time why she picked the wrong love. Clint was scary I almost wish he was more connected to the story. I liked that we got to see her witch powers grow through out time. I’m a huge fan of the movie The Prestige and I liked that this story and that story used the real magician Angiers and twisted him. The narrative of flipping back and forth in time works really well, the story was complex but easy to follow.
What I Disliked: The novel repeats it’s self an awful lot, this is something I have found in a lot of debut novelist, who often don’t trust the reader to keep up, which I was able to do really easily, and didn’t need the reminder. The flow could have been better toward the end, the chapters got longer and slowed the momentum.
Recommendations: A Witch in Time is a fabulous debut of a talented writer in Constance Sayers. If you like witches and time travel then this is a perfect mix of the two. The novel is easy to read and hard to put down. I see great things from this author in the future. I rated A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers 4 out of 5 stars, this was almost a 5 star rating. I will read her new novel The Ladies of the Secret Circus pretty soon thanks to netgalley and Redhook books.
Snow, Glass, Apple’s by Colleen Doran adapted from a Neil Gaiman short story is a haunting adaptation of Snow White told in a graphic novel form. The story is told from the Stepmother’s perspective, notice I didn’t say evil stepmother. In this story it is flipped where the stepmother is good and loving, her stepdaughter is evil incarnate. The images are hauntingly beautiful and very graphic. The images leave a lasting impression with the mix of bold color with dark colors. The story had very little dialogue with most of the story delivered through narration. This story is a 17+ story that has violence and graphic sex depicted.
The Plot: It begins with love and lust towards the new queen and king, they have separate bedrooms and often make love. The queen starts to notice a change in the king and starts seeing him less and less. His daughter from a previous marriage is strange and quiet, the stepmother tries and thinks they have a moment as the girl loves apples. She bites the apple then bites her stepmother tasting her blood. The storm’s wound heals creating and interesting scar. She she’s the king again and tries to make love but the king is frail, when she undressed him she sees the same scar across his body. He dies and she sends a hunter to remove her heart, he does, and the stepmother puts the heart over her bed, but a strange thing happens as the heart doesn’t die but stay alive, as does her stepdaughter. It is up to the stepmother to kill her stepdaughter once and for all.
What I Liked: The imagery is stunning, even the horrific stuff you can not take your eyes off of. The creative way the story is told still having the same beats as the original, just twisted. That the Prince is attracted to still things. The dwarves and forest folk are cut throat bandits and thieves. I
What I Disliked: The graphic drawings went a little too far showing graphic pubic hair. I would have liked more dialogue between characters.
Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Neil Gaiman then you will get a very faithful adaptation of a 23 page short story turned into a 75 page graphic novel. If you are a fan of beautiful haunting artwork then you will be rewarded here. I rated Snow, Glass, Apples by Colleen Doran 4 out of 5 stars.
You Can’t Scare Me! by R.L. Stine is about pranking someone to admit their scared, only the prank accidentally involves real monsters. You Can’t Scare Me! is the 15th book in the original Goosebumps series. This story is 80% lead up to any actual monsters. This story was hard to identify with the group of scaredy cat’s are determined to make one girl scared. The girl isn’t horrible of mean, she does one thing with a bumble bee, but the rest of the time she doesn’t deserve them messing with her. The group is mad at themselves for being scared and lashes out on this girl to make them feel better. The twist is pretty tame for a goosebumps story. It did remind me of going on nature walks while I was young and probably took it as serious as Eddie, the main character, did.
The Plot: Courtney is the girl that can’t be scared. She lets snakes, and bees crawl up her arms, while Eddie and his group are scared of all those. They plan to get Courtney good, after she makes them look bad, by not being afraid, when they are. The plan involves mud monsters and scaring Courtney to death by any means necessary. Will Eddie and the group go too far to prove Courtney is scared of something; monsters.
What I Liked: The final plan, they failed at all the others then, they use the truth to get Courtney to the spot. The description of Hat’s hair, Hat is called Hat because no one has ever seen him without one, so when he is does take it off the description was hilarious. The back fire of the call and the tarantula pranks. I do like the way the scaredy cat gang sticks together.
What I Disliked: I really don’t believe Courtney deserved all the lengths, and the boys end up getting the girls in the group accidentally then end up kind of sort of blaming it on Courtney who didn’t laugh but helped the two times they were freaking out. The monster scenes were kind of weak.
Recommendation: This was one of the weakest in the Goosebump series so far. I do remember the TV episode for You can’t Scare me which was adapted heavily changing a lot and focusing on the actual monsters. I rated You Can’t Scare Me! by R. L. Stine 2 out of 5 stars. Here’s my full ranking of the 15 Goosebumps books that I have read in order to my favorite to least favorite:Stay Out of the Basement, Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, The Haunted Mask, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, Say Cheese and Die, Let’s Get Invisible, Welcome to Dead House, The Girl who Cried Monster, The Ghost Next Door, Be Careful What You Wish For… , The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, Monster Blood And You Can’t Scare Me!.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam is a hard book to describe. The book deals with class, race, comfort, and guidance. The story is one part dystopian and the other part is about togetherness and finding comfort in the new dystopia, sort of; that’s the best way I can describe it. Conversations rule this book over actions, what I found interesting is characters acting civil while civilization is falling apart. The book plays with the reader asking who do you trust or why don’t you trust characters? The book is tense and claustrophobic, with the ongoing pandemic adding to the tension. The dialogue was written really well, and kept the flow since it’s a book of conversation. The author likes lists often with item, her is every thing in the fridge, or everything I’m picking up from the store, which I felt was unnecessary. Leave the World Behind is a book that was written to be discussed in colleges I feel, it does interesting things with narrative and focus that can lead to lots of discussion. The ending is really open ended with little or no character closure, but ends more on a statement on comfort. Leave the World Behind was a National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.
The Plot: Amanda and Clay are going on a vacation to a cabin in remote woods with their two teenage kids. The vacation home is nice with a pool and a Jacuzzi. So far everything is perfect, when late at night a knock comes at the door. An elderly black couple Ruth and G.H. tell the family that they’re the owners and something has happened in New York, a blackout, and they didn’t want to go their apartment, they wanted to go home. The television is just showing a blue screen, do they trust the couple or not?
What I Liked: The tension in the words and action with the added claustrophobic atmosphere. I like the questions the story brought up about trusting in another, what will it take? The dynamic of G.H. and Danny the repair man, of he fixed things we should go to him to fix this, a good rich versus poor dynamic. I liked the overall story idea being on vacation when something like this happens. The dialogue was good, for a book mainly about conversations the dialogue was fresh and drive the narrative. My favorite line was “Home was just where you were, in the end. It was just the place where you found yourself.”
What I Disliked: The list of things was annoying, for a short book, I thought I’d the author adding to the page count. I don’t mind a book being open ended, but I want some characters to have closure, and there was none. It felt very unfinished.
Recommendation: I will recommend this book to people that like to thoroughly analyze text in books. This can be a good book club just for the conversation it starts. The book has moments of deep tension that I couldn’t put down, I Liked the end passage in the book but at the same time feel let down about the ending. I rated Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam 3 out of 5 stars.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds is a powerful story of systemic gun violence in America written in verse. The verse is written in small poems barley ever going over two pages really well painting a picture that lets you the reader control the narrative adding the details that the verse misses. The story is like a cross between Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol and Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Ghost of the past board the elevator on every floor starting with the 7th and talk young Will about what he’s going to do when he gets when he gets to the bottom floor; kill the guy he thinks killed his older brother. The ending is one of the powerful endings I’ve read, I felt this is a story that need to get turned into a stage play. This is my second book by Jason Reynolds, and the second time I have been blown away by his writing. He uses such simple words to describe such an emotional stories. Jason Reynolds writes middle grade fiction with such heart and truth. Reynolds Ghost was one of my top picked books a couple years ago and this better than that. Long Way Down was a Newberry Medal Nominee, and Won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult 2018
The Plot: 15 year-old Will has just dropped to the ground because he heard gun fire, he and his friend get up and look around, one body is still; his older brother Sean. Will angry goes home dead set to get the gun he knows Sean has hidden in his sock drawer. He grabs the gun pretty sure he knows who killed his brother, when he gets to the bottom floor that it the guy, Riggs, is dead. Will is visited by a ghost that has been a victim of gun violence on every floor. They talk about what he’s going to do and why, can they change Will or is it too late?
What I Liked: The poetic storytelling really works, I read it sort of like I would Hamilton the musical, I think that’s why I would really like to see it as a stage play. The character of Will is a good kid that is getting dragged into something he feels he has too. I like the rules of the streets and how everyone feels beholden to these rules that’s killing these young kids. I like that the subject matter is serious but it injects humor. I liked how the ghost of Buck and the guy that shot him are friends, like if the streets didn’t exist they would have been best friends. The ending is one of the best I have read it is open ended allowing the reader to choose what happened, and I loved it so much, so powerful. My Favorite line was “Pretended like yellow tape was some kind of neighborhood flag that don’t nobody wave but always be flapping in the wind.” followed up by “And the next day, kids would play mummy with it.”
What I Disliked: I wanted a little more clarity on what Will’s father was thinking, he made him scared, but more dialogue was needed to know his full intent.
Recommendation: I recommend this story to young and old, this is a middle grade story but an older audience will get everything the story is trying to say. I think this is a great story especially for the people already living this life. I would be weary of exposing kids that this world is not on their radar to soon, but it is a good story to give empathy to those that live a different life than most. I rated Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds 5 out of 5 stars.
The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackplole is a novel that balances three different genres, court room drama, prison escape, and medical stopping viral spread, with X-wing action as well. The Krytos Trap is the third book in the X-wing series that follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 7 years after A New Hope. The novel starts right where the last one ended. This has been my favorite novel so far in the series, it is the book with the least X-wing action, but I was really into the political intrigue. The reviews for this one have been mixed, either people really enjoy it or they complain about lack of action, where I really did enjoy it I feel the flow could have been better, with action sparsed out through it a little better. This book has a really exciting climax that balances a lot of things the book a cleverly set up all coming to a head. This book has cameos from Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Mon Montha, and Admiral Ackbar. I’m excited that Disney has just announced the next movie to be Rogue Squadron directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), reading these novels theres a lot of stories a characters to borrow from.
The Plot: The New Republic has taken Coruscant from the imperials, but not before the imperials released the Krytos virus, a deadly virus, to most nonhumans on the planet. The virus is able to be fought off by using a great deal of Bacta, which the new republic is in short supply. The rebels must take great risk in getting more Bacta. The Rogue Squadron is down two members with Tycho Celchu on trial for treason after the imperials set him up to be a spy, and the reason Corran Horn is dead. Although Corran Horn is not dead the imperials wanted it to look like it to set up Tycho, and give them more time to reprogram Corran through torture and manipulation. While the real spy is leaking information.
What I Liked: The political intrigue was so good, and you really got to see all sides. The trial was really interesting how truly set up Tycho was. The prison escape plot was great, my favorite part of the novel. I like how the character escaped and what he learned about his self along the way. The downfall of one villain was spectacular. I liked the double crosses and the one mistaken identity kill. I think they did a good job of highlighting the species resentment in the humans not getting the virus, and being the face of the New Republic. The dialogue was the best yet, there’s a lot of speeches that deliver.
What I Disliked: The spy with in Rogue Squadron, didn’t really contribute to a lot and was not even in the book very much. Ooryl Qrygg, Corran Horn’s roommate, is my favorite character and he was in only two scenes, really missed him in this. The pacing could have been better filtering action in here and there.
Recommendations: I really enjoyed this one, if you like political intrigue in your Star Wars then this is for you. The book exchanged adventure for action like the escape from prison instead of a X-wing dog fight. This book is not the most action packed, but when there is action it is big action with lots of consequences. I rated The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackpole 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue this series with The Bacta War, I might read them a bit faster because of the 2021 Rogue Squadron movie.