I am not the biggest reader of dystopian novels, or at least, pure dystopian. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read anything in the genre mainly because I haven’t seen a lot of exciting things done in it. But, behold! Allow me to introduce you to “Reactive” and Tatum City! The world our MC, Lune, occupies has been destroyed—nuclear fallout is kind of what is alluded to but I'm not sure. Strange beasts roam the wilds, and safety can only be found in the walled cities. But some cities are far from safe. Lune is kidnapped from her loving mother, and given to the leader of Tatum City where she is constantly beaten, as everyone around her tries to break her spirit. But that never stops Lune from going for the one thing she wants more than anything else: to be reunited with her mother who she hasn’t seen for 11 years. The only way to do that is to win the three deadly Trials. Winning just one Trial means you get the right to have a better job, and additional benefits for your family, but winning all three means you are given a boon of your choosing, and Lune would do anything to win and choose her freedom. Well, almost anything.
“Demon’s on the Dalton” is the second in the Hell Hole’s serial trilogy, and picks up pretty immediately from where the first in the series left off. Although, this book spends a decent chunk early on recapping and re-familiarizing the reader with what happened in the first novella, so if you don’t read the first one, I don’t think you’ll be totally lost, though I do think the excitement of the first book is higher than in the second. We get Angela’s perspective this time as our trio of survivors race across the Dalton. The majority of the story is spent with our characters in their vehicle, barely able to stop to pee on the side of the road before all manner of hell spawn is on top of them. Their mission is still primarily to survive, to get to Fairbanks, and safety. But as the U.S. military mobilizes and starts their counter attack, their mission shifts, becoming more than just survival, but helping the powers that be to end the unending wave of demonic creatures that are pouring into our world.
“The Legend of Nariko” feels a lot like a classic Greek myth but with the back drop of a feudal Japan. You have gods and demi-gods battling, picking champions to go forth and do their bidding and to fight their enemies, and you have the remnants of a war where families have been torn apart, but are still trying to establish a new normal. In the tyrannical kingdom left mostly untouched from the initial revolution, more conflict is brewing as the wounds left from the Artemis war still fester, and the evil ruler of the land preys on his female population. One war may have already been settled, but another is looming that will—hopefully—put the world back to rights. There is A LOT going on in this story between the different conflicts, the characters and their hidden histories and personas, and a ton of action packed sword battles. While I enjoyed the uniqueness of the story, it was sometimes hard to follow with all the characters and their multiple guises.
I honestly wasn’t too sure what I’d be getting with “The Trace” and it’s Metahumans—a group of people with some X-men like vibes with their superpowers—and the Grifters—disgusting looking creatures who are morally opposed to the good guys. I wasn’t sure where a story like this would take place that would make it suspenseful or exciting. But Thorne delivers so many wonderful surprises that I was enthralled and excited and entertained and any other positive E word you want to add in there. We follow young Ella Kepler, normal high school girl one day, the next? She discovers she’s a metahuman and has super speed and strength, and the Grifters want her for reasons she doesn’t understand. Whisked away when the Grifters attack her home, Ella is told the truth about who she is, what she can do, and introduced to a secret society of sorts right under her nose that’s raging a war against the Grifters to keep humans safe. How cool is that? This book has so many enthralling (ha, there’s another E word for you) moments alongside its secrets, that I was hard pressed to put this book down and pick up others for book reviewing purposes!
Unpopular review time! Or maybe not, I don’t know. The thing is, I didn’t love “Throne of Glass” the way most people do. Hell, I barely LIKED it at times, and that’s primarily because of the books main character, Celaena. Sure, she’s a strong young woman, who is deadly and can hold her own against any man there is, but she’s just not all that likeable. You see, Celaena is an assassin, and at seventeen years old, she’s not just any assassin, but the best in the world. Then she’s betrayed and spends a year as a slave working the salt mines where most people barely survive a month. She’s beaten, and on the cusp of being broken, when the crown prince of the kingdom that is methodically conquering the rest of the world, comes and whisks her away. His plan is to have her become the King’s Champion—basically just another name for government sanctioned assassin—deposing of all the king’s enemies. If she can do that faithfully for four years, she will win her freedom from the same man who made her a slave to begin with. With a backstory like that, I should root for this girl. She should be instantly likeable and you want her to kick butt and win against all odds, and she does, except she’s painfully arrogant and kind of forgets she was a SLAVE when two pretty boys walk into her life.
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