Book Review – ‘Undaunted’ (#2 Fetch) by Kat Falls

Genetic virus wreaks havoc on humanity.

Undaunted (#2 Fetch)Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Adventure

No. of pages: 352

From Goodreads:

Lane Everson barely survived her first journey to the Feral Zone. The forbidden, overgrown landscape east of the Mississippi River was abandoned years ago when a virus spread through the population, bringing civilization to its knees.

But Lane has crossed the quarantine line, and she knows the truth. There are survivors on the other side of the wall – people who were not killed by the virus, but changed by it, their bodies warped to display a variety of animal traits. In the most severe cases, their minds are warped as well, leaving them barely human.

Lane volunteers to return to the Zone as part of a humanitarian aid mission. But she has a darker, secret purpose. Someone she loves has been infected, and she once made him a promise: If he ever goes feral, Lane will be the one to put him down. Now, Lane fears that the time has come. 

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Considering this was a sequel and a finale, I was expecting great things from ‘Undaunted.’ It certainly did not disappoint. The stakes were raised, the characters tested and showed growth, and there was plenty of dystopian sci-fi goodness al-laThe Island of Doctor Moreau.’

This was a difficult novel to get through however, which had me puzzled because it has all the earmarks of things I enjoy in a story. Just after I reached the halfway point I realised it was the writing style. Again another surprise to me given how much I have enjoyed Kat Falls other titles. In the afterward, the author did admit to struggling to complete penning ‘Undaunted,’ and I wonder if some of that awkwardness translated into the writing. There were moments of Lane’s narration that felt immature to me. Though it meets the intended demographic, I don’t remember feeling that way from the debut ‘Inhuman.’

Out protagonist Lane has much more direction and certainty about her in ‘Undaunted.’ It felt like she was on solid ground and no longer simply surviving from one instance to the next. You get a clear picture that she is aware of the larger mechanisms and politics of the situation at large. She has clear goals and determination to see them through – all mixed in with a hefty dose of compassion. It is a nice juxtaposition to how she was in the previous novel.

There was a hint of a love triangle with both Everson and Rafe vying for Lane’s attentions, but from her perspective, it was never a love triangle, just simply friends that she cared about; and one of those friendships blossoming into something more. Everson has a small amount of character development in the form of a shift in his morals at uncovering some truths, but Rafe has stronger growth from being, known as a thief and trouble maker, to a solid stand up guy, responsible, a leader. For some reason I was continually reminded of the main character in ‘Aladdin,’ a street hustler turned prince.

Undaunted (#2 Inhuman) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I notably fell in love with the manimal orphans, and the lionesses as well both victims of the transformative genetic virus. Falls did a great job in marrying animal character traits with human ones to show strength, pride, and loyalty.

There was always something interesting going on to propel the story forward, but I felt the writing style let it down. Maybe some more sophisticated sentence structure and word choice to bring down the word count and increase the pacing of the story would have greatly improved my reading experience. Also help to eliminate a small amount of repetition. But that is me just being picky in trying to figure out why it took me so long to get through this novel.

I can’t say that there were any twists or turns that I didn’t see coming revolving around the central plot. It is very predictable in that sense, but there were a couple of minor reveals that had me raising my eyebrows. It is definitely a satisfying read, but not one that really socked it to me, or gave me the feels. The plot points are all addressed neatly – if a little cliché a times. I can see this being a great book to recommend to the younger end of the YA market. The whole manimal epidemic can be synonymous to racism and immigration themes in a sense. Because they have developed their own culture, and effectively, a different race. It also brings up themes of genetic modification, infection, and epidemics; great topics to open discussion on science, or the morality and ethics around these topics on a larger scale.

I’m happy I read it and got a conclusion to the story, even though slightly lacklustre for me. But would happily recommend it for younger readers.

Overall feeling: Get it girl, that was good.

Undaunted (#2 Inhuman) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Undaunted (#2 Inhuman) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2019. 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 – ‘Inhuman’ (#1 Fetch) by Kat Falls

A great addition to the dystopian genre.

Inhuman Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopian, Adventure

No. of pages: 378

From Goodreads:

In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy. 

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Another amazing adventure from Kat Falls! I enjoyed this book immensely, although dealing with Dr. Moreau type mutations, there were colours of zombies and vampires – a spreading virus, changed by a bite, causes rage and violence… I loved it!

Inhuman Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpgKat’s descriptions of the bleak dystopian world, and the mutated creatures within was marvellous. I was entertained throughout and gripped from start to finish. It didn’t have as much wonder and intricate plot as her previously released Darklife duology, this was more of a quest story with less twists and turns. So I felt the book overall was slightly less surprising.

The pace is fairly constant as the characters face one problem after another. And despite Falls’ great description, the narrative felt a touch flat in places. I guess because I’m comparing it to the Darklife books, and my enthusiastic joy over all things marine, ‘Inhuman’ did not quite meet the complexity and unpredictability of that series. Sure there were a few plot twists I didn’t see coming, but not to the scale of ‘Darklife’ – but having said that, I may have to eat my words in the follow-up ‘Undaunted’ (which I’m praying will finally get released this year.)

Lane (Delaney) started off as naive and full of potential, but it was only under stress and danger that she truly began to shine. I like how she never escaped consequences from her decisions either. Though, when it came to romantic entanglements she was a bit wishy washy. But given that her focus was on her Father and staying alive, I can forgive that minor frustration – she gave it the attention it deserved.

Maybe-love-interest, Rafe is such a smartarse – for some reason he reminded me of Pacy off ‘Dawson’s Creek:’ smart-mouthed but resourceful, always hanging in there. I got a little confused, one moment he’s a brother figure, then a love interest… not sure how I felt about it all. Though despite his abrasive bravado, he remains loyal to his ‘family’ right to the end. A very attractive quality.

Potential love interest, Everson surprised me a little, plot reveals, parts of his nature. We really find out who he is and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the greater good. I was attracted to his back story, his manners, and sense of adventure. I was really shipping him and Lane.

It is definitely an easy read, gripping, but I think I wanted a few bigger curve balls thrown at Lane. The surprises we do get are great, but something had me wishing for something grander. I’d still recommend it though. A fun dystopian adventure.

The cover art clearly depicts the world that Lane has grown up in – the dystopian feel with the rotting 21st Century buildings, and a massive wall to keep out the infected. The sepia hues really attracted my eye. The font is modestly large, lending to a feeling that you are speeding through the pages. A great package for an engaging read.

Overall feeling: Run of the mill, but entertaining.

Inhuman Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Inhuman 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.

Book Review – Rip Tide by Kat Falls

Oceans of adventure and action.

Rip Tide Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 320

From Goodreads:

With time running out for his parents, Ty’s desperation leads the two teenagers to the underwater underworld…and into an alliance with the outlaws of the Seablite Gang. But one mystery soon leads to another. How has an entire township disappered? Why is the local sealife suddenly so aggressive? And can the Seablite Gang be trusted…or are Ty and Gemma in deeper water than they realize? 

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A fantastic follow-up from the debut ‘Dark Life’ that left me praying that Kat Falls writes more for this franchise.

Action, mystery and the stakes for Ty and Gemma – as well as the benthic community – are all increased with ‘Rip Tide’ told in that same narrative style woven with oceanic slang and deep-sea organisms traits. We get a bigger taste of the creatures that lurk in the depths as Ty and Gemma face their own separate challenges in addition to fighting a new threat.

Completely obsessed with all things marine biological, this sci-fi fantasy added a level of excitement for me, personally, that had me eager page after page. Kat Falls’ writing style speaks to my soul – a level of innocence interspersed with sub-aquatic essence.

Rip Tide Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleTy is pushed to his limits, as are the rest of his family, and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. There is something about Falls’ story lines that always has me guessing. Which is probably why I love this series so much.

Gemma’s story arc was an interesting one, although I felt a little melodramatic and had a bit of difficulty swallowing it, but I still loved her strength and tenacity. Additionally, Zoe (Ty’s little sister) still has her spunk that injects a different tone into the scene and is still one of my favourite of the cast.

Where ‘Dark Life’ was more about Ty keeping his gift a secret and connecting with Gemma in amongst the challenges they faced, ‘Rip Tide’ is about the pair facing bureaucracy amongst several gigantic threats.

The pacing steadily grows as circumstances become more and more complex, which had me completing the book in one sitting. It does have a young adult tone, so there is a small lack of sophistication to meet its target audience. I was totally sucked into the world, swimming the depths along with Ty and Gemma… a book I’d readily recommend to any with the spirit for adventure and a love of the ocean.

Overall feeling: O_O

Rip Tide Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Rip Tide 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 – Dark Life by Kat Falls

A future Underwater world I want to be a part of!

Dark Life Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 304

From Goodreads:

A thrilling futuristic adventure set deep undersea, Dark Life follows the settlers of the world’s first subsea settlement as they defend their homesteads against a brazen band of outlaws.

Set in an apocalyptic future where rising oceans have swallowed up entire regions and people live packed like sardines on the dry land left, DARK LIFE is the harrowing tale of underwater pioneers who have carved out a life for themselves in the harsh deep-sea environment, farming the seafloor in exchange for the land deed.

The story follows Ty, who has lived his whole life on his family’s homestead and has dreams of claiming his own stake when he turns eighteen. But when outlaws’ attacks on government supply ships and settlements… 

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I went into this novel with no idea what it was about other that it being science fiction and set in the ocean, and what I got was so much more.

A futuristic adventure that weaves elements of ocean life into every facet of the story line tickled my girlish heart. I love, love, love marine biology and was delighted with language, slang and snippets of underwater organism characteristics throughout this original tale.

Told through Ty’s POV we experience how the human race has adapted to live in the oceans depths – living quarters and sea floor farms… with all the dangers that come from the undersurface habitat. Things that bite, shock and sting, not to mention drowning or being crushed by pressure. And if that wasn’t fascinating enough, politics, a missing person investigation and family life are thrown into the mix. Ty is a confident character with an adventurous spirit which kept me enthralled.

Dark Life Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Additionally, his younger sister Zoe and newcomer Gemma (from the mainland topside) add strong female characters to help him along his journey. I particularly enjoyed the portrayals of females in this sense, each adding valuable support to our protagonist, but to be reckoned with in their own right.

Kat Falls has a writing style that draws you along – the tension keeps building to culmination. She also weaves in scientific terms and observations effortlessly in a way of easy understanding so you don’t feel like a dope. And the story line…. I seriously did not know what to expect from one moment to the next, Kat kept me guessing right to the end.

I immediately jumped online and ordered the second book in this series, Rip Tide, upon finishing this book (and maybe some of her other titles too). Highly recommend if you love adventure, action and anything to do with the denizens under the oceans surface… Escapist fantasy at it’s finest.

Overall feeling: Hot Damn that was great – give me the sequel RIGHT NOW!

Dark Life Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Dark Life Book Review Pic 04 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.