Sunday, 26 July 2015

Review: The Body Electric - Beth Revis

Written by: Beth Revis
Published by: Scripturient books
Pages: 468
Edition: Kindle
Purchase from:  Amazon  |  Book Depository

The future world is at peace.
Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift - the ability to enter people's dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother - to help others relive their happy memories.
But not all is at it seems.
Ella starts seeing impossible things - images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience - and influence - the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love - even though Ella's never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing...
Someone's altered her memory.
Ella's gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn't even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella's head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.
So who can she trust?

The Body Electric just screams thrilling Sci-Fi from the blurb and the premise but for me it fell a little short of expectations. Ella Shephard is coming to the end of her internship, at her mum's Reverie Health Spa, when things start to take a dramatic turn and Ella ends up not knowing what is real and what is not. It's the sort of Sci-Fi novel that has all these new gadgets and futuristic technology but doesn't really explain them in detail. Instead they are just thrown in and intricately woven into the story. And while the Sci-Fi details were simple I would of still liked more detail on them, if only because I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. 
' "Science can make a heart beat," Jack says softly, each word falling on me like a caress. "But it can't make it race." '
While I enjoyed the science fiction elements of this book a lot, the thing that let it down for me the most was the pacing of the story. I felt as though the story dragged a lot in places so it made it hard to me to attach myself with it and the characters as it was a little sluggish when it came to connecting the dots. Not to mention al lot of the time I felt as though the story was drawn out when it didn't need to be, just to add the dramatic element when it came to the big revel, but for me because it was so drawn out I saw the ending coming from a mile away.
'I am more than a name. I feel, I think, therefore I am.' 
Having said this, if there was one thing I loved about this book it was the ending. Even though I did sort of guess some of the outcomes, it didn't stop me from getting floored by little surprises here and there. Revis did a really good job of not putting all of her cards on table and keeping little things hidden so that even if you think you've got it all sussed out, out pops these little surprises that starts you double guessing everything. It's because of this that the ending was action-packed and full of adrenaline that it pulls you in completely.
' "Truth lies in the heart of fortune," ' 
All in all, The Body Electric is an action-packed sci-fi read that is immediately enjoyable. It has everything you need from a science fiction novel and even has a little romance thrown in that doesn't overpower the story. Making it a entertaining young adult Sci-Fi that manages to surprise you till the very end. Additionally, it shows off Revis's writing in an epic way. So if you haven't read any off her work before this would be a good place to get a feel for her writing style in a fun and easy read. 

The Body Electric
Read more »

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Review: The Martian - Andy Weir

Written by: Andy Weir
Published by: Random House UK, Ebury Digital
Pages: 369
Edition: Kindle
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository
I'm stranded on Mars.
I have no way to communicate with Earth.
I'm in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I'll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I'll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I'll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I'll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I'm screwed.

To put it simply, in my eyes, this book is practically perfect. It literally ties everything up in the most ingenious way that I am left with nothing but awe in the way it was written. The Martian starts in the bleakest of ways, with astronaut Mark Watney being left stranded on a mission abort in the vast desert-like planet Mars. I don't know how but even though the idea of this book is really quiet dark, I mean who would ever want to be left alone on Mars, it is somehow strangely whimsical.
'All around me there was nothing but dust, rocks and endless empty desert in all directions.'
The way the story was developed and written was just genius. Going from Mark's perspective to the Hermes crew to the other characters on Earth leaves nothing out of the loop, meaning that there are multiple point's of view on the same thing so we get much more insight as too what is happening in the most impeccable way. The way these points of view are woven into the story makes it very clear to see the contrasts and differences with each characters situation. You get a much more rounded and fulfilled story because you are not left wondering what is happening or how other less significant characters are being affected. 
'Hell yeah I'm a botanist! Fear my botany powers'
As a character there is not one thing that I dislike about Mark, I was constantly chuckling with him even when the situation is really quite dire. Which brings us back to how much the humour in the story just sets the bar so high with this novel. You forget how bleak the main character's situation is, yet you are constantly rooting for him to succeed and survive until the very end. I just loved it. 
'Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10." '
As a result, The Martian is a brilliant novel that can speak to you on so many levels. It touches upon the idea of how depressing loneliness can be when it comes to surviving, Yet does not dwell on or drag upon it, making the story much more significant. Not only this but it uses humour and multiple point of views to contrast the differences within the characters and how they act within this scary situation in such a way that it does stop the flow or pace of the story but instead uplifts it. It is just simply a brilliant novel, with a well crafted story and fantastically developed characters that really suck you into the story and never let you go until that completely nerve raking ending.

The Martian
Read more »

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Review: From a Distant Star - Karen McQuestion

Written by: Karen McQuestion
Published by: Skyscape
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 256
Purchase from:  Amazon  |  Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—was convinced that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.

As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.

If there is any story that I would automatically buy without a moments hesitation it would be an alien story, which is why when I saw this on NetGalley, with it's stunning cover, I immediately requested it. From A Distant Star follows Emma and her cancer cured boyfriend Lucas as they set off on a road trip to try to hide the huge secret that government agents are chasing for. I hate to admit it but if it weren't for the fact that I am a sucker for an alien read the rating of this book would unfortunately be a lot lower. 
"Tell Emma that I’m sending her less than three."
Firstly, let me just say that I so wanted to love this book, because it has everything that makes a brilliant story. Mystery, adventure, love and not to mention aliens are all woven in to the storyline. Yet because I had given it very high expectations, for me it just couldn't live up to them. It just didn't sit well with me, I couldn't connect with the characters, I wasn't thrilled with the adventure and I could see the ending coming from a mile away. So in other words, I missed the surprise and suspense that flows from an alien novel. As well as the chemistry and connection that pieces together the alien and human relationship.
'"It means..." I said, trying to think of how to break the news to him, "...that he loves us."'
The one thing that ultimately put me off this story, was coincidently one of the things that made it unique. This being the fact that there was not love or romance between the alien Scout and Emma. It conflicted me so much because I really liked that it was a unique take on the an alien falls to earth which leads to an adventure story, but I just couldn't get over the fact that there was no chemistry, for friendship or otherwise, between Scout and Emma, and that was due to the unique take on the story. And as there was no connection between the main characters I myself couldn't get pulled in an carried away with the story.
"The reaction felt perfect, but was so unlike him. Yes, this planet had definitely affected him."
All in all, I did like the idea that From a Distant Star has a unique quality of a friendship over a love story aspect. But for me, I missed the emotion and chemistry that the two main characters normally possess with this type of novel. Having said this, it is a cute and quick alien read with a stunning cover and different storyline. 

From a Distant Star
Read more »