Book Review – ‘Vitro’ (#2 Corpus) by Jessica Khoury

A great adventure that questions the morality of scientific exploration.

Vitro (Corpus #2) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance

No. of pages: 384

From Goodreads:

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. She enlists hunky charter pilot Jim Julien to take her there. But once on the island, Sophie and Jim encounter more than they bargained for, including a charming, brilliant Vitro named Nicholas and an innocent, newly awoken one named Lux.

In a race for their lives, Sophie and Jim are about to discover what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

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I initially read the first novel of this collection over two years ago, and while I enjoyed ‘Origin,’ it felt like there was something missing. ‘Vitro’ and the third book in this trilogy ‘Kalahari’ are not sequels, but rather companion novels, it is easy to see a marked improvement in Khoury’s storytelling skills with each installment. None of these novels need to be read in order either, they are all strong standalones set in the same universe.

Vitro’ marks a great adventure from Jessica Khoury. One thing with her books is that they are thoroughly researched. The landscape is so picturesque and oozes from the page, so too does the science – though fictitious, there are enough of the basics honed in science fact to give a sense of believability. You really feel like you’re there along with the protagonist. Just brilliant.

Vitro (Corpus #2) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgSophie was a great main character. I liked her do or die attitude. She doubted herself very little even though she struggled with emotional demons and desired a place to belong. I wrestled more with the story towards the end – so much happened that I couldn’t as easily connect with Sophie or her choices. But still a great journey to read along with.

Sophie’s love interest, Jim was my hero. Literally my new fictional boyfriend crush. He was like a zombie – Khoury threw everything at this guy and he just kept getting back up! Loved it. I almost wished there was a spin off adventure series for Jim. I’ve read that this trilogy is the end for the corpus series – but really there are infinite possibilities to revisit and write more. I’m a big believer in never say never…

The pacing was better than ‘Origin,’ there were just a few moments where the narrative felt waffly, either in exposition or dialogue. But it was easy to skim past and get to the good stuff.

Something about the concept of this book that was morbidly fascinating. It didn’t sit well with me… I guess because of its implications. I squirmed a bit. It also felt a little unfinished, or not fully realised as the concepts in ‘Origin.’ There also seemed to be a lot of layers of story with ‘Vitro’ too. I loved the complexity, but it came close to feeling messy. I think the subtext of the book is what left me most uncomfortable‎. The different shades of humanity we see coming out in the different characters and how it ask us some big questions.

Again Khoury’s writing style and explicit description of landscape was thoroughly engaging. If she wrote travel books I’d never have to leave home.

Definitely an engaging read that I’d recommend to lovers of adventure with a science fiction twist. I had no hesitation in purchasing the final book in this collection ‘Kalahari,’ the review for that one is to come later this month.

Overall feeling: FMTFO! (freak me the firetruck out!)

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. 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.

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 – The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer

The Queens Army Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 18

From Goodreads:

It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack.

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Continuing on with finishing up all the novellas in the Lunar Chronicles, ‘The Queen’s Army’ wasn’t really as satisfying as I expected.

While I enjoyed this story, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into a soldier’s perspective of the Lunar Queen’s armed forces, it did not shed a whole lot of new information about the story or characters. It bridged a little of the gap, but didn’t enhance my experience of the Lunar Chronicles so much.

And it was barely longer than a chapter in its entirety, so there is little to add… it wouldn’t hurt anyone to give this one a miss, but if you are obsessed with the Wolf Pack and its origins, then this is one for you.

Overall feeling: sniff… snuff… sneeze…

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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.