Artemis by Andy Weir

Book Review

 


ArtemisBook Genre: Science Fiction, 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 11/14/17 by Crown Publishing

Pages: 384 Price: $27.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Artemis: A Novel

Source: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

My Review:

Let me start this review off by stating that I love The Martian,  I mean really love that book.  If you follow my blog then you already know this because it seems like I am constantly pimping the book.  I have reviewed it three times after all…(all linked in this review) I was super excited to get my hands on Mr. Weir’s second title because I have also enjoyed many of his short stories that he has published on his website.  Let me also get this out-of-the-way, Artemis is not as strong a story as The Martian.  It simply isn’t.  That’s okay, though, there was a lot to live up to in The Martian and that doesn’t mean that Artemis isn’t a thoroughly enjoyable book because it is.  I’m still giving it five stars, not that I think they are equal, just that The Martian probably deserved like ten stars from me.

Before I started my review I decided to check out some of the other blogger’s thoughts on Artemis and found a mixed bag, some glowing some more critical.  I tend to agree with many of the points of either type of review but they didn’t sway my opinion and decision to give this book five stars.  Let me tell you why.

Lets start with Jazz who seems to receive most of the harsh criticism from reviewers.  Yep she is a little rough around the edges and it can be difficult for a male author to capture the essence of female-hood.  Not that it can’t be done, but it can be a challenge, just as the opposite can be true of a female writing a male.  The tendencies to get carried away with stereotypes can be strong, also sometimes the character can come off feeling a bit off.  Personally I liked Jazz.  I thought she was well written, sure a bit awkward at times and juvenile, but that isn’t necessarily mean she isn’t authentic.  When you take into account the history of the character I think Jazz is pretty true to form.  She was a young girl raised by a single father on the moon.  She is a tomboy and probably didn’t have a strong female role model in her life.  I think she works and have known people in real life like her.  She was smart and funny and I appreciated the strong moral code she lived her life as a smuggler under.  She was flawed but redeeming which makes for a pretty strong character in my book. Just because you might not like someone and think they are awkward doesn’t mean they are lacking.

Now for what I love most about Andy Weir’s books.  The science!  I love that his science fiction is based in real science.  He doesn’t cheat, at least to my non-scientific liberal-arts fine art-degree mind that is.  I might not understand everything he explains in his stories but I love the fact that he takes the time to anyway and doesn’t make me feel stupid in the meantime.  I also enjoy how the lead character talks to the reader, breaking the fourth wall can be tricky.  Easily overdone but not in this instance.  Weir uses it to keep the reader engaged and invested in the story not to mention for comedic reasons.  I loved it!

On last point in this book’s favor that I feel has been overlooked in all the reviews I’ve read thus far.  The diversity in this book is amazing!  I can’t think of a more diverse cast of characters in any book that I’ve ever read, and there have been quite a few.  I don’t know if this speaks more to my reading taste or the industry in general but one of us needs to expand our horizon’s more.  This book was amazing in this regard.  Jazz is a Muslim Saudi female who is the hero of this story!!!  I don’t want to spoil anything else (that was leaked already by Mr. Weir on Facebook) but this book does an excellent job of portraying a diverse blended society.  One other thing I noticed in this book was the lack of Americans.  I’m sure they were there but most of the main functions of this society were not run by companies or people from The United States.   Hmm.  I wonder if this was a bit of social commentary by the author of what might happen to a powerful society that rejects science.  I think it does.

Is the book perfect.  No it can feel a little awkward at times but it was still fun and the ending was amazing.  I can’t wait to add this title to my home library permanently.   I also can’t wait to share this review and book with you my followers and my library patrons.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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The Rings of Haven by Ryk Brown

Book Review

 


The Rings of Haven (The Frontiers Saga #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Audiobook

Book Series: The Frontiers Saga part 1 #2

Released:  2/3/2012 by Ryk Brown

Pages: 241  Price: $2.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon  Ep.2 – “The Rings of Haven” (The Frontiers Saga)

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A ship stranded halfway across the galaxy. A difficult and lengthy journey home. A homeworld in urgent need of their return. And now they are running out of food.

The crew of the Aurora must now trust their new allies in order to survive. But their situation may be far more serious than they imagined. And their actions could have repercussions across the galaxy.

Their journey home may just have gotten slightly more complicated.

My Review:

I was surprised that my library actually purchased the second instalment of this series, there must be someone else that suggested the addition to their online catalog too.  I still don’t have high hopes that I will ever finish the series, as there is something like 19 parts and the only easy way to get a hold of them is an e-book through Amazon limiting their availability.

Took me a moment to piece together what happened in part one but once I remembered I did enjoy the story.  Not quite as much as the first but it is difficult to keep the action going in episodic fiction.  Sometimes you have a slower book than others, wherein a longer piece the slow parts are used to break up the action.  Sometimes when a story is released this way, in parts, you end up with a part that is simply all slow.

The story still feels a lot like an episode of Star Trek where the crew interacts with a potentially hostile new world after being marooned on the other side of the galaxy, Voyager anyone.  Don’t get me wrong I love that aspect of the story.  I would like to know more about what happened to humanity on Earth, we still get teased with the setback to the human race but I don’t feel like we were ever really explained what happened.  A couple more pieces were shared but the events still a great mystery to me.

Bottom line I still like the series.  The author is talented and tells a great science fiction space opera story.  If I get a chance to continue through my library I will but if not then I will probably let this one go.  The price is fair, but for so many parts $3 will add up quickly and prices this story right out of my affordability range.  If you have access to Kindle Unlimited, however, this story is one that you can read for free and would be a great option.

My Rating: 3 Stars

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Book Review

 


A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction 

Book Series: Wayfarers #2

Released: 3/14/17 by Harper Voyager

Pages: 364 Price$16.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers)

Source: I borrowed a copy of this book from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Embark on an exciting, adventurous, and dangerous journey through the galaxy with the motley crew of the spaceship Wayfarer in this fun and heart-warming space opera—the sequel to the acclaimed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.
Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

My Review:

This book was way different from the first in its series.  If you happen to pick this book up not knowing it was second in a series you will be fine reading this as a stand-alone or even out of order.  Not much is going to be spoiled from the first book, only one plot point.  I highly recommend going back and reading the first book as it is also an excellent story.

I almost enjoyed this story as much as the first, just a tad less and am unsure if it is even enough to deduct a star or not.  Maybe I’ll know by the end of the review.  Like I said this story was structured differently from the first.  The story revolves around two points of view instead of multiple and shifted back and forth in time.  We follow Lovey as she adjusts to a life that didn’t go as planned and her struggle to find purpose.  We also learn how Pepper’s back story and some startling revelations as to what has become of humanity among the stars.  Have to say it was a bit disappointing…  Not going to go into more to avoid spoilers.  Pepper struggled with much of the same issues as Lovey only from an organic existence instead of an artificial one.

The book also delves into the question of what makes us human and what defines self-awareness and artificial intelligence which probably isn’t too far off from being an issue in our world.   Soon we will be needing to answer questions as to what rights AI will have and if a machine can be alive and have a sense of self.  Interesting ideas to ponder.

While the first two books in this series had a different feeling to them they both share a lot of heart.  I felt for these characters like I did the first crew.   Both stories tackle interesting issues and gave my brain something to chew over for a while.  I see that there will be a third book in this series and I look forward to reading it as well because this is a talented author that delivers a thought-provoking and entertaining story.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Among the Stars

Top Ten Tuesday

Welcome to another contribution to the wildly popular Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week they ask us to share lists on the following:

September 26:  Ten Books That Feature Characters That live or work in Space

I’ve been on a science fiction kick lately so I decided for this open-ended topic I would pick ten characters that either live or work in space.  They might be human or alien or living on another planet but all of them will spend most of their story not on Earth. After all with all the crap going on right now space sounds like an ideal place to be despite its inherent danger….

Ten Characters That Live or Work in Space

  1. Yesterday's Son (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #1)  Going to start with probably my favorite space character that I have.  Spock.  He was my first crush, and was the first alien I was introduced to growing up.  He remains one of my favorites and I often find myself longing for his cool, calm, detached logical facade.  Because we should all know by now that Vulcans do have emotions they have simply learned to control them.
  2. Old Man's War (Old Man's War, #1) John Perry from Old Man’s War.  Here is what I said about him in the review: “The characters made this story, getting to know them and grow with them and grieve them. Took my breath away at the end. John is, of course, the main character in this story but also my favorite.”
  3. The Space Between the Stars Jamie Allenby in this fairly recent release is an interesting character.  She is far from perfect and faces a great internal battle for much of the book to overcome her past.  This is a science fiction story for those that want more of a character driven story than a hard-core science fiction.
  4. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) This is tough story to pick just one character from as it is the ensemble cast that makes this story great.  If I had to pick just one I would have to say Rosemary Harper was in my top three.
  5. Artemis Jazz Bashara is the main character in the upcoming release of Andy Weir’s next book.  I’m not going to say much more as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone but I enjoyed her character quite a bit.
  6. Born of Legend (The League, #9) Not the latest release in this Kenyon series but the last one I’ve read and the only book in The League series that I’ve given five stars to. Danger is the type of character I love from Ms. Kenyon.  She spend countless books making us hate him only to have him redeemed in his book.  This was a great read!
  7. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1) Another instance of a great ensemble cast to pick from.  I’m going to pick Marvin from this story and mainly for the movie version of the character.  Who doesn’t love a depressed paranoid AI.
  8. Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) I read this before I was writing reviews and it is a toss-up between the two lead characters as to which I enjoyed more.  For the sake of the list I’m going to pick Amy because why the hell not, its a good name ;).  (actually I’ve never been particularly fond of my name…)
  9. Tor (Women of Earth, #2) It has been a while since I read this one but I’m going to step out of my norm for the list and pick the character Mohawk as a favorite from this story.  Partially because he was mentioned in the review as one of my favorites and I do remember being rather fond of him.
  10. The Martian  I tried really hard to not put this book on the list.  I didn’t want more than one book by an author or from a series/franchise but I just couldn’t do it.  I’ve simply not read enough science fiction yet.  Then there is the fact that Mark Watney is an amazing character.  I loved so much about him!  His sarcasm, inventiveness, intelligence, wit, persistence! He will remain one of my favorite characters and stories for years to come.

Well there you have my list this week.  What characters that live or work in space do you love that I haven’t met yet?  Feel free to leave book suggestions in the comments!  Wrote your own TTT list?  Leave that there too for everyone to go check out!  Happy Reading~

The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Book Review

 


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Space Opera

Book Series: Wayfarers #1

Released: 8/18/15 by Harper Voyager

Pages: 467  Price: $15.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book:  The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers)

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A rollicking space adventure with a lot of heart
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The patched-up ship has seen better days, but it offers her everything she could possibly want: a spot to call home, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and some distance from her past.
And nothing could be further from what she’s known than the crew of the Wayfarer.
From Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the chatty engineers who keep the ship running, to the noble captain Ashby, life aboard is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. That is until the crew is offered the job of a lifetime tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. Sure, they’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years, but risking her life wasn’t part of the job description.
The journey through the galaxy is full of excitement, adventure, and mishaps for the Wayfarer team. And along the way, Rosemary comes to realize that a crew is a family, and that family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe… as long as you actually like them.

My Review:

Let me start off by saying this book is awesome.  It is also so what I needed in my life right now reading-wise.  This was the exact sort of book I was looking for.  A science fiction character-driven novel with subtle social commentary.  Ahhh, like putting on a warm fuzzy sweater on a chilly morning.

There is was so much that was great about this book that I’m not quite sure where to begin.  I want to share it all with you, spoiler free, of course.  Let’s start with what I enjoyed most about this story.  The characters.  Hands down the diversity and personality of characters in this book were out of this world (ha, ha, space pun). We have a bit of everything in this book same-sex relationships, aliens that are not carbon copies of humans, the excentric off-the-wall-wondering-if-she-is-crazy-but-want-them-as-your-BFF character, the sour-puss, and so much more.  The diversity of character and species is reason enough to read this book.  I loved them all and enjoyed getting to know them and their backgrounds.

The next aspect of this story that worked for me is that it was a space opera.  If you are looking for a dry technical heavily political serious piece look elsewhere, however.  While this is a space opera science fiction is much more a character-driven story.  We get some science but nothing too technical.  It felt a bit like an extended Star Trek mission but better.  The species and space had more diversity and didn’t feel like they were all based on humanity and Earth only tweaked.  The author did an excellent job of putting thought into creating these new worlds and cultures.  You can also tell she worked hard to make them feel authentic too.

Then there is the subtle social commentary.  Oh, how I love a book that makes us take a good hard look at our society and question just what the hell are we doing.  Why do we have the problems, political and social, that we have?  Most of all I love a story that shows us another way.

This was a fantastic story, not about a crew on the ship Wayfarer but about a family.  A group of vastly different ‘people’ that came together and built a family.  Where everyone has their role and are needed to be complete.  I absolutely loved this story!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Probability Moon by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


Probability Moon (Probability, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Book Series: Probability Trilogy #1

Released: 9/16/2002 by Tor

Pages:334  Price: $6.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Probability Moon (The Probability Trilogy Book 1)

Source: I own a copy of this book

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Earth is an environmental disaster area when humanity gains new hope: a star gate is discovered in the solar system, built by a long-gone alien race. Earth establishes extrasolar colonies and discovers alien races–including the warlike Fallers, the only spacefaring race besides humans. Mysterious, uncommunicative, and relentlessly bent on humanity’s extinction, the Fallers have mastered the star gates, and are closing in on earth.
Dr. Bazargan commands the scientific team sent to a newly discovered world to study its humanoid natives: beings who literally perceive only one reality. To lie is to be unreal–and condemned to death. The humans must flee for their lives across the unknown planet when they and the aliens learn the scientific mission is a lie. It’s the cover for a secret military exploration of the moon Tas, which is another artifact of the gate-makers: a superweapon capable of annihilating all life in a star system, and already known to the Fallers.

My Review:

I’m going to do something I rarely do.  Review a book that I did not finish.  I made it all the way to page 172 in this one and just couldn’t go on even though I already own all the books in the trilogy.  It simply wasn’t working for me and I’ll tell you why in a minute.  I’m a bit disappointed, however, as I’ve really been enjoying the books I’ve read by this author.  This one simply isn’t for me and I’m going to walk away before it turns me against the author and prevents me from picking up another book by her.

So what happened?  Not a whole hell of a lot actually.  That was my biggest problem.  I spent much of the book waiting for something to happen.  Or to learn more about this conflict with the Fallers, by the time I left there had been only one brief scene with the ‘bad guys’ in the whole book and it fell flat.  We kept learning how awful they were but by all indication, there seemed to be little interaction between the two species.  Instead much of what I read was read was about a scientific exploration team on this new planet as they learn about the lives of Worlders who perceive reality differently from humans.  It is a less developed race technologically and I had to suppress my desire to quote Star Trek’s prime directive in regards to interfering with a less developed race.  Anyway. The book was just picking up but the death of two characters soured me for reading on.  They didn’t seem to have much to add to the plot beyond being sacrificial lambs that spur the remaining characters into action.

After finishing more than half of the book there simply wasn’t anything or anyone keeping me connected to the story.  The characters felt stiff and I never learned their names properly.  The book did start promising but simply fell apart for me. I do look forward to reading more books by this author but will not be continuing with this trilogy.

My Rating: DNF

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book Review

 


Dark MatterBook Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/26/16 by Crown

Pages:342  Price: $26.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon  Dark Matter: A Novel

Source: I borrowed this as an audiobook from my library.  

 

 

Book Synopsis:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

 

My Review:

Unpopular opinion time.  Just thought I would warn you up front that I did not love this book like so many others have.  I didn’t hate it, however, it was just alright in my opinion.  It felt like someone watched Interstellar and thought the part near the end would make a great book.  I know it isn’t exactly what happen in the movie but I couldn’t help being reminded of that scene so the parallels are there.

After reading some of the other reviews I have to agree this book read like it was written to be turned into a movie.  The lead character felt flat and I struggled to connect with him.  The action was top-notch but I feel like that was at the sacrifice of world building.  I also felt some parts of the plot were added in for pure shock value and that turned me off a bit.

So what did I find interesting, what kept me listening to this audiobook. The idea behind the plot was interesting and some of the dumbed down science as well.  If you are looking to read a pure hard science fiction novel you might want to look elsewhere as there are better ones out there.

Again it was a good book but not a great book.  Still, the book felt gimmicky to me at times and would fit better in the thriller category than the science fiction one in my opinion.  I guess I was looking for more science, less drama.  More character depth, less violence.  More exploring of the multi-verse, less personal obsession.  I also didn’t care for the ending.  I wish he had come up with something else that what he delivered because it started to get a little creepy and cliché. I’ll stop here because the more I think about the story the less I like it…

My Rating: 3 (being kind) Stars

Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


Tomorrow's Kin (Yesterday's Kin Trilogy, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Book Series: Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy #1

Released: 7/11/17 by Tor Books

Pages: 288 Price: $25.99 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Tomorrow’s Kin: Book 1 of the Yesterday’s Kin Trilogy

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Tomorrow’s Kin is the first volume in and all new hard SF trilogy by Nancy Kress based on the Nebula Award-winning Yesterday’s Kin.

The aliens have arrived… they’ve landed their Embassy ship on a platform in New York Harbor, and will only speak with the United Nations. They say that their world is so different from Earth, in terms of gravity and atmosphere, that they cannot leave their ship. The population of Earth has erupted in fear and speculation.

One day Dr. Marianne Jenner, an obscure scientist working with the human genome, receives an invitation that she cannot refuse. The Secret Service arrives at her college to escort her to New York, for she has been invited, along with the Secretary General of the UN and a few other ambassadors, to visit the alien Embassy.

The truth is about to be revealed. Earth s most elite scientists have ten months to prevent a disaster and not everyone is willing to wait.

My Review:

I’ve read a couple of books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed both of them, in fact, the first book that I read was Yesterday’s Kin.  The book that this series is based upon or is a continuation of.  I thought the cover looked familiar when requesting it so I dug a little deeper and discovered the connection and became concerned for a moment that I was about to read the same book twice.  The page count was different so I decided to continue and see what was different.

I have to confess I did skip the first third of the book which felt like it was either the same as Yesterday’s Kin or close enough that I would probably be fine if I jumped to the new material.  The book was divided into three parts and starting in part two the story picks up where the first novella left off.  If you want to read what I thought of that first third of the story you can do so here, Yesterday’s Kin Review.

So what did I think of this revamped or continued story?  I think it was bloody brilliant!  In my review of the previous story, I held back one star, mentioning closure for two of the characters but perhaps it was more of I needed closure.  I wanted to know more, what happened next.  In this book, the author delivers, big time.  The second part of the book picks up a few years after the first part ends and we get to see the aftermath of what happened on Earth when the aliens left and the disaster struck. It wasn’t pretty, but I think it was pretty accurate in what the author envisioned.  Like The Martian, Ms. Kress uses real science to weave a captivating and thoughtful story about human nature and human’s place in the world.  There was so much I hadn’t thought of if a disaster like this struck.  What the ramifications would be not only to our environment but our way of life and even our evolution.  It was truly fascinating.

The book does feel fairly science accurate but it was never stuffy or boring.  The author never lectures but simply illuminates and uses science to give her story teeth.  Ms. Kress is truly a gifted story-teller and I loved this book.  I am excited that there are two more tales to come as I can not wait to see where she takes these characters next.

If you want a smart yet thrilling science fiction story that echoes current environmental, political, and cultural struggles we face today while throwing an interesting twist then this is a book you are going to want to pick up for yourself.  This story has it all!

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Book Review

 


Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction 

Book Series: Themis Files #2

Released: 4/4/17 by Del Rey

Pages: 325 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

My Review:

I can’t believe it but I liked this book more than the first.  Now that I am used to how the story is written, through these government documents, and that I am listening to it rather than reading I am so into this story.  The different narrators truly help the story come to life.

Unlike many second books in series a ton of plot movement happens in this story.  The story jumps just shy of a decade into the future and all the main characters from the first story now have a new giant robot to contend with.  I don’t want to give anything away and I’m afraid saying too much more will spoil too much for you.  I was shocked and saddened by some of the twists the story took.  Loss of vital characters, theories I didn’t see coming, and the finale that we got to see unfold from multiple perspectives.  All of it wrapped up fairly nicely at the end and I could have walked away being completely satisfied if I had stopped the book before the last five minutes.  But no I stayed to the end and now I’m totally frustrated by the freaken cliffhanger at the end…

I will be back for the next book and might even keep an eye out for a review copy so I can read it before release day.  Or I might wait and listen to the next book too.  I’ve really been enjoying this series that way and why change a good thing, right.  Fingers crossed it isn’t a long wait for the next book because I so want to know what happens next!

My Rating: 5 Stars

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Book Review

 


Ready Player OneBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/16/11 by Crown Publishers

Pages: 374 Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon Ready Player One: A Novel

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Review:

Wow, I really enjoyed this book!  Totally surprised me because I ended up DNFing this author’s second book Armada.  That one I found just annoying and a bit boring with all the insider info geared towards gamers.  This book, on the other hand, was a delight and a fun nostalgic trip to all things pop culture from the 80’s, the decade I spent most of my pre-teen and teens in.

I totally agree with another reviewer in that Wil Wheaton made this book for me!  Listening to him narrate this story was such a trip, especially when the story referenced him and anything Trek.  Being that this story is about a group of players searching for the ultimate Easter Egg inside a game to have so much of the story is essentially one giant Easter Egg was amazing. At almost every turn there was some pop reference that made me smile.

But that isn’t all that Ready Player One is about, oh no, there is much more to be had in this tale.  There is also a great social commentary on where our society might be headed if we don’t change our ways.  We get a glimpse at what might await us if we don’t start taking climate change seriously or stop rampant corporate greed.  I also enjoyed the ideas about where technology might be headed that the author proposed.

The last leg of this story focused on a small band of misfits struggling to fit in, in this world.  Outcasts that live their lives mainly online and struggle with social interactions.  Not to mention a budding romance that was beyond sweet.  The characters, like in any epic tale, are true heroes out to fight for the greater good.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.  I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I had read it myself though.  Wil Wheaton’s inflection and talent as an actor added that something extra that bumped this story up an entire star for me.  So if you have the option I would definitely listen to this one.

My Rating: 5 Stars