Book Review – ‘Golden Son’ by Pierce Brown

A solar system at war led by an impostor.

Golden Son Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction

No. of pages: 442

From the dustjacket:

As a Red, Darrow grew up working in the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labour while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds – and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within.

A lamb among the wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love – but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution – and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people.

He must live for more.

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While it starts off with an engaging encounter turning everything achieved in ‘Red Rising’ on its head, immediately after, the narrative fell into that long-winded flat tone I found at the beginning of ‘Red Rising.’ The story is interesting but the writing style is not so compelling for me. Pierce can have such a meaningful and succinct turn of phrase that really resonates… and then waffle for pages on mundane happenings. It’s really frustrating to sing his praises when I find times I’m so bored I’d rather wait for my dog to fart for entertainment.

So, after 131 pages, I had to put the book down and walk away. Reading three other novels before returning for a second wind. And then it is all so interesting and so political… but that went hand in hand with wavering engagement. With many long difficult character names (and there are lots of them) and such macabre machinations I only got another 100 pages before I needed another rest. Slow pacing and a dry narrative are killing me!

Golden Son Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe story is great. Complex characters. Political chess playing manoeuvres. Power plays. It has all the ingredients I usually love in a novel but it just didn’t sell me. I found my interest waning a number of times, bogged down with too much detail, too much padding to the main story line in a barren narrative tone. And then, like a switch had been flipped, I was back into it again. It was as if only half of the book really grabbed me and the other half put me to sleep. Talk about polarizing.

I took just under a month to read ‘Golden Son’ and managed to read another eleven novels in between. I’m hoping it was just a second-book-syndrome thing. Because I liked ‘Red Rising’ and can imagine the finale to be explosive. Especially after the hype this series has received. I don’t think I’m all that emotionally invested in the characters, they are all about war and revenge and playing a long game to end oppression. That leaves little room for softness and building trust and love outside the harsh landscape – I guess that’s why I kept putting the book down because it was so hard to digest knowing that they all turn on each other.

My favourite scene was that of Darrow with his mother. It was the first emotional connection I’d gotten to the series – even in comparison to the death of Eo.

Here’s hoping it gets better… I really want to love this series.

Overall feeling: Some really amazing writing – and some that lapsed me into a coma

Golden Son Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Golden Son Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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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.

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Wrap up – Slide Duology by Jill Hathaway

A paranormal teen murder mystery with promise.

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I must say there was a lot of potential in this series, but it didn’t quite explore the themes enough for me to sing its praises. These books felt like a watered-down version of the Wake trilogy by Lisa McMann. ‘Slide’ and ‘Impostor’ failed to explore the mythology behind dream-walking/psychic abilities, instead resorting to a detective murder-mystery with little substance. The stories are a cursory glance at both the genres it purports to be: a mystery and a paranormal tale. If you’ve read any detective novels, or some good paranormal titles you’d see that the Slide duology is indeed the poorer cousin of either.

There is a marked improvement in Jill Hathaway’s writing from the debut to its follow up; however, I had many issues with the construction and delivery of the plot that I risked falling into an unflattering rant during my reviews. It’s not a poorly written series, or a terribly bad collection – it falls into the ‘average’ area. Quick and easy to read.

These books have a great premise, and all the elements to make for an interesting read, but don’t quite get there. I recommend them for younger audiences who enjoy a book with great pacing and a little bit of danger (and a paranormal twist.) But in all honesty, I’d probably recommend the Wake trilogy before this duology. This series felt a bit… vanilla.

The author works as a psychic for the authorities and it easy to see how she has used these books to (maybe) justify her field of work and draw from her experiences, or fantasize of the possibilities of using her gifts… and I’m not trying to put her down personally, it’s just as the books stand on their own, much of the set-up, character development, and mythology was not delivered in a clear concise manner for the reader to get engrossed in the protagonist, Sylvia, and how she uses her gift to hunt down killers.

I still think it’s a brilliant idea for a series of books, it just needs an overhaul for the writing side of things to create more conflict, interest, and depth.

I’ve looked at some of the other novels Hathaway has in her catalogue, and to be frank, none of them are piquing my interest at this point, so I most likely will not be reviewing any of her material again.

Can you recommend any great YA paranormal murder mysteries? I love to hear all about them.

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For individual reviews click on the links below:

Slide’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/book-review-slide-by-jill-hathaway/

Impsotor’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/01/14/book-review-impostor-by-jill-hathaway/

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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.

Book Review – ‘Impostor’ by Jill Hathaway

An okay read.

impostor-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery

No. of pages: 278

From Goodreads:

What if a killer took control of you?

Vee Bell’s gift (or curse) of “sliding”—slipping into the mind of another person and experiencing life, briefly, through his or her eyes—has been somewhat under control since she unwillingly witnessed the horrific deaths of her classmates six months ago.

But just as things are getting back to normal, Vee has a very bizarre experience: she loses consciousness and finds herself in a deserted area, at the edge of a cliff, with the broken body of the boy who took advantage of her on the rocks below.

As Vee finds herself in stranger and stranger situations with no memory of getting there, she begins to suspect that someone she knows has the ability to slide—and that this “slider” is using Vee to exact revenge on his or her enemies..

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I was hoping that ‘Impostor’ would build on the premise set up in ‘Slide,’ however, it turned out to be another episodic mystery and failed to address a lot of the world building and aftermath from the first novel. Sylvia and her sister Mattie have survived a sociopathic murderer, and I felt this fact had been conveniently dismissed in the structure of the plot. Even though the nightmares showed that both her and Mattie hadn’t gotten through their ordeal scot free, I feel there would be more emotional issues to deal with. It was glossed over too much.

The girl’s father and the school don’t seem to have taken any action for the kids safety or mental wellbeing since the death of the two students in the first novel. Where’s the talks on depression and suicide? Professional counselling? Safety talks or metal detectors? Added security guards, Or even Sylvia’s father keeping an eye on his daughter? The school was conveniently absent from the equation again.

Hasn’t Sylvia learnt her lesson about keeping secrets from the first novel? People died? She nearly died, her sister was nearly murdered – I can’t express my frustration at the idiocy of Sylvia… it’s really making me dislike this book. So annoyed that Sylvia does not seem to have more self-preservation, she saw people killed and still chose to keep secrets in ‘Impostor,’ even when it looked like the same thing was happening all over again.

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Sylvia and her love interest, Rollins, looked all set for a heavy romance having found a connection together in ‘Slide,’ and now it’s been rolled back to how it was at the start of the series – seriously I’m beginning to wonder if Hathaway is smoking crack. In the first few chapters she repeated herself a number of times on the backstory and it felt like this book hadn’t even been edited properly.

I was even alarmed when all of a sudden we get a tidbit that Sylvia’s mother could have been a slider? Where the hell did that come from? Why wasn’t it mentioned in ‘Slide?’ But this meant that we got some mythology explained. So I was happy.

Another aspect to the plot which had me raising an eyebrow was the introduction of Sylvia’s Aunt, which felt like she was only there as a character to muddy the water of suspects. A little too convenient.

I actually liked this more than the first novel. The pacing was better, the mystery was planned out and revealed in a logical fashion. And I certainly did not predict what happened. I love surprises. So while there was so much wrong with this contextually, it was still entertaining and kept me guessing. Though I don’t think I would recommend this duology to my friends. There are far more gripping paranormal mysteries out there than this one.

Overall feeling: grrrr

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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.