Mini-Book Review: The Corridor by A. N. Willis

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Publisher: Alloy Entertainment

Release Date: June 23rd 2015

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

Rating: 3 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Infinite worlds. Endless possibilities . . .

Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.

Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.

But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance. . . .

My Review

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Alloy Entertainment via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The premise is great and the plot is okay…But you guys..It’s confusing. And that is my #1 issue with the book because while it’s fast-paced and interesting, it’s really hard to keep track of everything. There is even some info-dumping (and I know it’s not easy to avoid but come on). I’m not even sure I remembered the “important stuff.”Although things move along pretty quickly during the first half of the book, I found myself skimming the second half. There just wasn’t enough to hold my interest.

In terms of characters, I expected a lot more than I got. I wanted the main character, Stel, to be better developed but we barely get to know her. In fact, I would have preferred Ana to be the lead because I think her story is way more interesting and her perspective would probably make the book a lot richer. (Ana is the modified human from second Earth.)

The romance is okay and the love triangle dissipates fairly early in the book (yes!). But it doesn’t add much to the story. I think this book had tons of potential but it turned out to be a mediocre read. It’s not good but it’s not bad either. I wouldn’t recommend this book but if you’re curious, you should try it (or at-least read an excerpt).

Book Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

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Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 10th 2014

Genre: Sci-Fi > Dystopia, Thriller, YA

Rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

My Review

The Murder Complex is a fairly original dystopian read with a great premise. But while the premise seemed air-tight the book still turned out to have many flaws (some of which really frustrated me). Zephyr’s relationship with Meadow, for example. He is in love with her before they even meet (apparently he dreams about her?!). So he spends a majority of the book acting like a lovesick idiot who then gets his ass kicked multiple times before he finally figures out how to fight…and then he’s all like “Yay! I can protect her now!”

I felt like there is a lack of character development. We don’t get to see the characters’ imperfections and both characters even think the other character is beautiful. Beauty seems pretty irrelevant – especially considering how there are dead bodies everywhere and murderers on the loose..but beauty is emphasized – especially when we see Meadow through Zephyr’s perspective. The characters themselves are interesting but it didn’t seem like they would be that way without the other because their interactions are often the focus of the story.

BUT I think the POV switch is pulled off pretty well. I liked getting into the heads of both of the main characters, especially because it helped increase the tension. It was one of the reasons I would keep reading two more chapters. The cliffhangers made me want to know what was going to happen next.

That doesn’t mean I empathized with Meadow or Zephyr..and when the giant plot twist finally rolled around, I didn’t even sympathize with Meadow. I was more like okay, what happens next? The author failed to make me care about the characters but she did hook me and I’ll probably try the next book.

ARC Review: Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ)

Release Date: July 2 2015

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.

My Review

Disclaimer: This ARC was provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

It was refreshing to read something featuring characters with voices that made them feel so real to me. Each chapter of the book was a letter from either Ollie or Moritz. They would describe their past and present and often banter with each other. I loved it. I absolutely loved it.

oh brilliant idea 10

Both of the characters are struggling with a kind-of disability that prevents them from “fitting in” with “normal” people. Ollie is allergic to electricity and Moritz has a pacemaker. They’re the opposite of each other in almost every way. Ollie is loud and cheerful and extroverted in his letters while Moritz is a bit more hesitant and eloquent. But the fact that by society’s standards they aren’t normal, is what brings them together.

I don’t think I could have picked a favorite! I loved Ollie because he chose to live in the best ways he knew. Despite having seizures when he came in contact with electricity, he still did the craziest things like running at a powerline. Moritz was equally fascinating because he didn’t have eyes but could see the world around him using echolocation. I felt for him more than Ollie because while Moritz had the opportunity to go to school and experience things Ollie might never get to, Moritz also had to deal with bullies and classmates who avoided him because of how he looked.

So while this book initially seemed to be a contemporary, it did contain some sci-fi elements (like the narrators’ strange conditions). I was okay with that. In fact it intrigued me and I felt like it made the premise even more unique and different. But what I do feel the need to point out is that this book isn’t a 100% realistic contemporary. 

The best part about this book would probably be the characters. They took this book to the next level and if you like me, are all about the characters then read this. Fyi, I think the plot is great but not amazing so if you’re looking for something with more action in it, then this isn’t the book for you.

ARC Review: Inherit The Stars by Tessa Elwood

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Publisher: Running Press Kids

Release Date: December 8th 2015

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Blurb:

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren’s life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood’s debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

My Review

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Running Press Kids via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The book starts off with Asa and Wren on a jet and Asa is desperate to get her sister to safety. They’re on a quarantined planet and Asa is worried her sister will die because she removed a chip which is supposed to keep her alive. From there the book only gets better!

The book is fast-paced and brimming with politics and conflict. The world-building is great considering how complex the world is. The plot could have been simplified a bit because it wasn’t always easy to keep track of what was happening but in the end, I was never bored.

In terms of characters, this book didn’t disappoint me too much. At first I found Asa frustrating because she behaved like a child. She made bad decisions but didn’t know how to handle the consequences. I just wanted to give her a shake and remind her that even though she wasn’t starving, other people WERE! However, her character grew a lot in the course of the book and I was honestly impressed. I also liked how she didn’t recoil from Eagler (her husband) because he’s scarred.

Asa’s sister, Emmeline, on the other hand, was pretty awful. At first she kept acting condescending and only seemed to care about herself. (I was shocked by how cold-heartedly she reacts when their father suggests unplugging Wren (her sister who is in a coma).) It was unrealistic and unnatural how put together she behaved. But then she made a truly idiotic decision that almost ruins everything! 

But the rest of the characters weren’t that well developed. There are so many minor characters but we don’t get to know most of them that well. I wanted to know them but I barely understood them.

This book did keep me on my toes, though, always anticipating what would happen next. Most of the time the book wouldn’t disappoint and there were some good plot twists thrown in too…which is why I recommend it if you’re looking for a new dystopian/sci-fi to read.