#bookporn

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This is going to be a tie-breaker for me. The ‘Across the Universe’ Trilogy was so-so and this novel will determine if I want to bother reading any more titles by Beth Revis. Fingers crossed its good. The premise of dream-walking sounds fun!

Wrap up – Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

From ‘meh’ to marvellous.

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Honestly – it took me two years to finish this series. While I liked the premise of an arc of humanity journeying through the stars, off to colonise another planet, and issues raised on how different factions evolved over the journey, and their ultimate clash against each other, the first two books were lacking that special spark to keep my interest. (Which is why there is so much time in between reading each instalment – I needed to let my disappointment fade and get excited for the next book.)

But that gives a big disservice to this trilogy, for the last book is by far the best – better story line, better characters, better plot and execution. It is streaks above the previous two.

With alternating P.O.V’s between ship-born and leader Elder, and a newly awakened from her cryogenic stasis, Amy; I felt like the narrative kept getting interrupted, and it prevented me in truly losing myself in the book.

I had difficulty relating to Elder in the first novel, and some intensity was missing from the coupling of Amy and Elder to enable me to really care about them being together. The second book raised the stakes and had some great plot twists. We see some great character development and pacing, but I still had the same issues with Elder as I had in the debut, and it was hard for me to care about their story at all. Additionally, the way religion was brought into the narrative didn’t sit well with me either, I think It could have been executed in a much better fashion.

In the final novel though, without the influence of the familiar surrounds, Elder finally gets to step up and flex some muscle. The cast face some physical and political dangers all set on an alien planet. The elements that had previously urked me were gone.

Still uncertain if I would recommend this series to my friends – suffering through the first two books was uncomfortable – but luckily Beth Revis’ writing style lend itself to a quick read. Then you can enjoy the goodness of the last instalment. It’s so unusual for the difference in ratings across the series, but it is what it is. Targeted towards a younger market, but dealing with some heavy issues like racism, free will, rape, abuse, drugs, faith, and murder.

I’m interested to see how Beth’s latest release (‘A World Without You’) is in comparison to these, it will probably be the deciding factor as to whether I’ll pick up any more of her titles.

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For individual reviews click on the links below:

Across the Universe’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/book-review-across-the-universe/

A Million Suns’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/book-review-a-million-suns-by-beth-revis/

Shades of Earth’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/book-review-shades-of-earth-by-beth-revis/

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Shades of Earth’ by Beth Revis

Warring factions from a spaceship settling a colony on an alien planet – two teens thrown in the mix – mayhem ensues.

Shades of Earth Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, science fiction, Mystery, Romance

No. of pages: 369

From Goodreads:

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed‘s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.

FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.

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Shades of Earth’ was so much better than the previous novels in the trilogy. I wasn’t really overcome by any need to move forward with this series after low ratings on ‘Across the Universe’ and ‘A Million Suns,’ but after a lengthy hiatus I decided to wrap up this collection… and I’m really glad I did.

Our protagonist, Amy, stopped being so flighty and immature, and has grown into a young woman I really respect and loved to read about. Her strength really shines in this conclusion, as does her ingenuity, and no longer needs to rely on Elder for her safety.

Elder (Amy’s love interest) did not seem so young either, and has really started growing into a leader. I think the added dynamic of planet fall and the addition of the cryogenic passengers now awake have given both of these two a chance to challenge themselves in so much adversity.

There are moments where the couple are fighting against parents or “rulers” that annoyed me. Yes, their actions are justified, but to have so many unreasonable adults around, in the situation of colonising an alien planet, it did not seem so realistic. The type of people to make a new home in somewhere completely new and alien takes ingenuity and adaptability – and I did not see a lot of that (even if they were under orders from their bosses). This was the biggest issue I had with the plot – it represented more of a power play than any realism of surviving in a hostile alien environment.

Amy’s parents fell into this category as well; even though it was juxtaposed with moments of empathy and parental care, I was frustrated at their behaviour. Respectively, ‘Shades of Earth’ really captured that love-hate thing we go through as teens.

I had guessed all about our new cast member introduced in this novel, Chris, within the first scene. He was a great character and added a fresh dynamic to Amy and Elders relationship. But still a clever story arc, and one that I thinks adds a lot of interest to the novel.

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Loved the descriptions of the new planet, though, I would have liked to find out more about the ecology there. I was expecting more flora and fauna – it is an evolved planet that can support life, just a few scary lifeforms seems deficient… I love a good fight for survival, and as much as ‘Shades of Earth’ is that, the aboriginal life on Centauri-Earth could have been amped up more.

The development of technology over time is brilliant in this story, and I loved how it was intertwined within the plot – how elements of Earth, Godspeed, and the planet are all included in Amy and Elders plight.

This is the right way to end a series.

I don’t think I would have bothered to pick up anything written by Beth Revis based on my experience of the first two novels, but ‘Shades of Earth’ has totally redeemed her writing in my eyes and turned me into a fan. Even though it took me two years to finally finish the trilogy.

Overall reaction: That came out of nowhere!

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘A Million Suns’ by Beth Revis

Action and religion – like mixing vegemite and chocolate… it’s an acquired taste.

A Million Suns Book Review by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, science fiction, Mystery, Romance

No. of pages: 248

From Goodreads:

Godspeed was once fuelled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos. 

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed.

But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision—no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success—or failure—will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.

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The stakes are raised higher in this second installment of the Across the Universe series. Definitely a better read than its predecessor.

There wasn’t really anything surprisingly new with the plot of A Million Suns, and found that I’d either read or seen something with the same storyline. Although there were some shocking moments to add a bit of spice to the reading experience.

Revis’ writing style is pleasant and not bogged down with too much sci-fi language, even though she was able to build the world of Godspeed masterfully, so you are able to flit across the pages effortlessly. I managed to complete the book in one sitting – it has some great pacing and suspense woven into the story line, which, especially towards the end, had me glued to my seat.

Our protagonist, Amy, felt a little more mature in this installment – and rightly so. I appreciated the fact that she made up her own mind and dealt with her circumstances from her own experiences. Given her age and the environment, it would have been an enormous pressure to assimilate into the group, peer-pressure style. If not for a form of ‘racism,’ I think she may have well done that if her features weren’t that unusual. I was uncertain if the slow rate at which she cottoned on to Godspeed’s dilemma was frustrating or appropriate, given it was not really her place to get entwined with the political machinations. There was less emphasis on her family unit that I felt would have been more of a driving force for someone so young. Nonetheless, Amy (being a red head), is another strong female character that has made it onto my favorites list.

Amy’s love interest, and burgeoning leader, Elder, annoyed me the most. I really felt that Amy had more backbone than he did. However I loved their symbiotic relationship, not afraid to lean on each other in times of difficulty. Without the structure of school and society we have IRL, Elder had the opportunity to grow up faster and get a wider view of his world on Godspeed, so I felt he should have had more clout and a better grip on things than he did… but the story of his struggles made for compelling reading.

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I guess the difference from this being an okay read to one that knocks it out of the park would be the pacing with the mystery within the novel… while it was built nicely, it lacked a bit of punch. Also, the chemistry between Amy and Elder felt a little contrived. There also existed the faith/religious aspect which was a little jarring against the science fiction setting of the novel.

Happy to have read the second book, but not something I’ll re-read.

Overall reaction: meh!

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A Million Suns Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

  

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Across the Universe

Across-the-UniverseFrom Goodreads:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

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I enjoyed this book, but didn’t fall in love with it. Starting with great premise; the consternation of Amy, with the description of emotions bubbling through her head, to getting cryogenically frozen (akin to drowning) is definitely a page turner. That was my favourite part of the novel. Shortly following, I wasn’t as riveted – maybe because the story became more about politics than space travel and technology (am I revealing my geekiness?)

Beth Revis has a great style, effortlessly tumbling from the page to create an aging spaceship, hurtling through the empty spaces between stars, desperately clinging to some semblance of life inside a metal shell. There are some similarities to ‘Glow’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan, which I reviewed days ago, although ‘Across the Universe’ is much more palatable.

I was distracted by the alternating narration between Amy and Elder, just as I was getting settled in the voice of one character, it would switch with the next chapter. The strained relationship between these two did not shy away from realism, but I wasn’t totally invested in the coupling. It lacked some passion. For some reason Elder held no appeal for me at all.

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I appreciated the mechanics of the community on Godspeed – equally foreign as delicately balanced… and Amy’s presence upset the applecart!. Her addition to the closed society was dealt with brilliantly, and I definitely got a sense of her isolation and anxiety with Revis’ narration.

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There was an element missing from this story for me. Be it the intensity between Amy and Elder; too many secondary characters and not enough rounding out; or a majority of the text spent dealing with the sovereignty of Godspeed, I was left wanting more.

Although not overly surprised with the reveals for the plot, I can’t say I predicted what eventuated. Revis weaves clues through her storyline expertly.

Across the Universe’ is not a book I’d recommend to any die hard sci-fi fans, but if you’re into YA and are looking for something different, an easy read, then you may enjoy this. Overall, not too bad. I will give the second installment in the series ‘A Million Suns’ a go, and maybe it will help fill my need for more intensity and tekkie gadgets.

Across the Universe Book Review Pic 3 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle  © Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.