Ready Player One Review

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Hey Everyone! So, another review, I know, so many this week, it makes for a boring read. I’m sorry! But I’ll have a different sort of post tomorrow! I just really wanted to finish this so I could focus on my eARCs. [Especially Descendant of the Crane] Not to mention I really wanted to see what was going to happen next. I would say if I was giving it a harder look I’d give it a half instead of full rating on my last planet. And that’s because of a few issues that really just kind of kept jumping out at me. So, know, I enjoyed this 4/5 but I’m giving it 3.5/5 on this review so I can point out the flaws I think are important to note.

So here we go again, me being a cynic, but Parzival and Art3mis just didn’t gel well for me. I just feel like Art3mis felt more animosity than affection which is within her right all the way, but, it doesn’t make for a great romance when it’s like that through like 89% of the book.

Aech was definitely my favorite, I mean, hands down as their avatar and in real life, Helen was amazing. I also felt it was heartbreaking that in order to do well in even a virtual reality world, Helen became Aech and hid the color of her skin. But, the reasoning is sadly logical from the point of where her Mother was coming from in advising her to do that.

I freakin loved the 80s references, I’m an 80s baby which means my early life is plagued by 80s, and even now my hair naturally looks like I’m from an 80s hairspray commercial, which is…sad, but you know, what you can do. My nickname at Uni was Flashdance (no, I didn’t strip, I just like to wear legwarmers, probably could have paid off debt if I had decided to strip.)

But, let me break this down in my usual style.

Pros:
– 80s, 80s everywhere
– The connection of living a slightly isolated life made me feel for the protagonist and his buds more.
– There is a sharp hint of today’s society in that our world is crumbling around us and we are seeking refuge in the only places we can. So good job Cline, and this has only gotten even more realistic since published in 2011.
– The OASIS is awesome, and I love the idea of having haptic chairs that can move and the treadmills as well, it makes for a much better visual of what it was like when you were reading
– Halliday at the beginning was amazing in his video to announce the contest, it made me want to go watch a Hughes movie
– Art3mis really kicked butt and was super smart (as long as we kept her away from Parzival where she then became either catty or mushy and it was, see this listed in the cons)
– Aech is a better friend than Parzival deserves
– It really captured how helpless the poor would have felt and once more it made sense why people would run to the Oasis.
– I loved that the red button at the end.
– Ogden was amazing, he has a dance club, let’s think about that, he loves to go jamming and DJing still.
– Did I mention 80s references galore?

Cons:
-Parzival should have known how much the IOI were capable of, so I get angry that he put himself in such a dumb situation. This isn’t so much a con as me venting lol.
– Halliday being in love with Kira was such an eye roller, BUT I have to give credit, he didn’t tell Ogden or try to steal her, he just brooded in silence so that was nice.
– This didn’t need romance from the High Five peeps at all, this probably would have been a solid 4/5 without Parzival and Art3mis.
– ^ The romance also takes away from Art3mis being badass, and Parzival is useless in love, so, I’m glad Art3mis was stronger than him.
– We could have had more of Aech
– There were some distasteful jokes I didn’t care for.
– Uh…what was with very stereotyped and hyperfocus look at our two Japanese characters who we barely got to know but my god, Cline wanted you to be sure they were ‘really’ Japanese when they were in the book. Probably my biggest issue. It’s a vast culture, why pinpoint it to some small parts? Not to mention with all the Japanese pop culture references, there should have been more of them in general.
– I could have used more of Wade realizing just how lonely his life was outside the OASIS and what that exactly meant.

Toodles!

Off Planet eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

Maité Martinez is half human, half Aunare, a Latina Aunare who has grown up hiding her background and constantly having to cover her tracks. Even with life in Albuquerque being stable enough, a job as a waitress, volunteer teacher at a gym and a Crew that consist of some of the only people she trusts. Unfortunately, Maité isn’t just a half Earther/half Aunare, her father is someone that SpaceTech would love to goad into a catastrophic game of war.

Not only that but SpaceTech has a different plan for Maité, instead of giving her the same punishment as other half Earthers, she’s sent to the planet Abbadon. The question is, can Maité survive long enough to try and thwart SpaceTech’s plans, and will she be able to help her friends and family?

Honestly, I found Maité so relatable, she’s a young woman thrown into a world where she’s struggling to survive and that’s it, that’s her goal, sure, in the end, she wants to do more but at the very start, we have someone who is trying to just survive. Her Father is a very important Aunare but she has no memory of him after Liberation week (when all the Aunare were shunned by Earthers, but I won’t go too much into that and give it away). All Maité knows is that he’s alive out there and that her Mother and her hope to someday be free of Earth with possibly reuniting with him.

People can show incredible strength when faced with adversity and Maité shows just that, I was so impressed by her throughout the book, and I loved the people who helped her along the way, not to mention there’s Declan the human who she trusts and enters her life as everything goes crazy and then there’s Lorne an Aunare who she’s not sure how she’s connected to other than he knows her and is close to her father.

This has been my best sci-fi read in a while and I loved that it was not only YA but that Maité was half Latina, it made me so happy ❤

Erin does a great job of world building with Abaddon and I cannot wait to see who she expands her universe in book 2. Though I definitely would never want to go to Abaddon lolol. She also does a spectacular job of making Maité more than just a slightly ‘alien’ looking human, her body is different and therefore reacts differently to human things and that is a breath of fresh air as sometimes people forget their aliens are NOT humans. The attention to detail is there and I loved it. And you can’t help but feel for Maité for all she goes through and all she’s willing to go through to prevent a war between the humans and Aunare. Not to mention she’s lost and dealing with finding herself and being comfortable with who and what she is and the changes she’s faced with.

Trigger warning: Sexual assault, violence, extreme pain.

Pros:
-Kick ass Latina-Aunare protagonist
– Humanoid alien race that is still different enough from humans to be interesting especially in their internal workings
– Strength in more ways than one, not just physically but emotionally and not just from our Maité but from those around her
– Not all humans are evil, and there’s such a great level of trust between Maité and those that become her friends in New Mexico and Abaddon.
– Amazing platonic male best friend (Roan) who does not turn into part of a love triangle!
– There’s still the hint of a love triangle trope between Maité and two others if you love that trope!
– YA Sci-Fi (something we always need more of!)
– Some very cool fight scenes
– The antagonists aren’t there much as individual characters but man do you hate them!

Cons:
-Not enough Roan
– You may hate that there’ll probably be a love triangle
– It may be hard to read all Maité goes through (most of it is just pushing past physical and emotional endurance, which is traumatic for her and you feel for her)
– The Aliens could have been more alien but I thought Erin did well by making them human enough looking that you’d believe mating between species was possible
– Uh, there could have been more cool space flying but I’m not gonna complain -too much-
– You will have to wait until 2020 to read more lol

** I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review, and I truly did love this book and if you love YA/Sci-fi, I recommend you give it a try and hope you enjoy it! **

 

My Top 5 YA Dystopia Picks!

Here we go, guys! My top 5 YA Dystopia picks!

My Classic 5 Dystopia picks can be found here.

5. Across the Universe

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Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy has such a neat plot, I mean yes a lot of Dystopian novels have the same elements [that’s why I love them] but I loved that this one’s setting was on a freakin ship! Best of both worlds; more sci-fi and all Dystopia! My only issues were with the style of writing, sometimes it was just a bit too awkward how she wrote the dialogue and the feelings were a little too well controlled at times for our lovely protagonist. I would say this has the lowest rating on my top 5 only because of this, otherwise, I really do enjoy it!

4. Matched

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Condie’s Matched trilogy is not only on my top 5 but it’s one of the few series that I love to reread. This is the one that Eden Chip reminded me of a bit [no spoilers though] where science/statistics is used to give you the most compatible partner, but what if there was a glitch and you knew? What if there was someone else who could have been it? I really loved how she set it up and it was so chillingly good, had a bit of an echo of The Giver in it as well to me. The turmoil the characters go through is always one that tugs on my heartstrings a lot and is one of the reasons I reread it. It’s got your typical love triangle trope but I think it does a great job of the nuances of feelings people go through in said love triangle. I could go on forever about this, but I’ll refrain and move on.

3.  The Uglies

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I have loved The Uglies trilogy since it came out, and yes there is a fourth book in the series but it’s not connected to the characters…at all…and even the issues in it don’t really connect…so…I don’t connect it to the first three. Think about it! A world where beauty is valued over everything [sound a little familiar? Lol] and once you finally hit 16 you’re no longer an ‘ugly’ someone who has kept their natural appearances, you get to become a ‘pretty’ you’re made into a beautiful person…..so what happens if you don’t go through with it? Is there anyone else left aside from the pretties and uglies?

2. The Giver

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I loved this book and not to mention it was my first dystopian novel and I didn’t realize it! I read this in elementary when it was still new! Now, I’ve not said The Giver series as I’ve said with the others because frankly, I haven’t read the others yet, this was shown as a standalone novel for so long I didn’t even realize it was a series! So! I have to get to that but, I still think it works great as a standalone. A world with suppressed emotions and colors, where people are picked to give birth, others picked to raise those children, everything neat and tidy, and then the role of the Giver is given to a young boy who seeks answers and finds out more than he bargained for. LOVE IT.

1. The Hunger Games

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And finally, The Hunger Games trilogy. Another one I love to reread. I think Suzanne Collins does such a freakin precise representation of how corrupt power can be the most deadly tool of all. Yes we all know that, but look at it, it happens today, people pull strings, they show you news to distract you from other news, they use stories to cover up the darkness they don’t always want us to see. Not to mention I love Katniss, the love triangle in this is fun for me. Katniss doesn’t care about love triangles, she cares about food. Tell me I’m wrong. Not to mention she doesn’t do her actions with the intent to start a rebellion, it happens and she takes on the mantle, and not always because she wants to. Ugh. Another one I could gush over all day.

Okay, there you have it, my top 5 YA dystopian novels/series! I’m currently over halfway through Dead Man’s Blues so hopefully, I’ll be reviewing that soon! But I do have a lot going on this week, two more rehearsals, a concert, and then another concert next Sunday too, so, I’ll try to keep up every day!

Toodles, guys!

My Top 5 CLASSIC Dystopia Picks!

I’ve decided to divide this by Classics and YA, I couldn’t lump them all together and pick from them all as it’s one of my favorite genres after all! So here we go! [Next week I’ll do my favorite YA dystopia picks!]

5. 1984

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Big Brother is watching, guys, and I love this book. Now, I wouldn’t say it was the best Dystopia novel of that era but it was still impactful and well, still is today. This isn’t the sort of novel where you come out with a happy ending and I think that’s one of the reasons I love dystopia, you never know what sort of ending you’ll get. Our protagonist finds love in a world where he’s one of the few not to be brainwashed into loving Big Brother, and where independent thinking isn’t allowed, more than that it really just doesn’t happen.

4. The Handmaid’s Tale

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I cannot sing Atwood’s praises enough on this. She took something most other authors just didn’t even conceive of, writing this tale with a female perspective (and not just because Atwood’s female, but because her protagonist is) this one actually made me uncomfortable to read because in truth I felt that it hit too close to home, this was all too probable when you see how much power others have over women’s bodies. Not to mention we now have an amazing show because of it and Atwood is involved with it. Rumor is she’s going to maybe write a sequel.

3. Anthem

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Admittedly I haven’t read this or a couple of others since 10th grade which was a very long time ago but I remember this being the only Ayn Rand book I actually liked. Now don’t get me wrong she writes with a power that is undeniable but I utterly hated Atlas Shrugged, I still have nightmares about it though I hear good things about The Fountainhead which is now on my list. Anyway, I have a funny feeling George Orwell may have gotten a few ideas from Ayn, where in her book Equality 7-2521 dares to dream of individualism and to love the woman that he chooses. It’s great and fast-paced, and just imagine, she published in 1938!

2. Fahrenheit 451

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My man! Ray Bradbury!! I freakin’ LOVE The Halloween Tree (admittedly love the movie more but he had a hand in that as well so I don’t feel guilty about that). But before I loved The Halloween Tree, I loved Fahrenheit 451. This actually reminds of things that have happened before and seem just so plausible to happen again, we have our Firefighter Montag who burns books that are forbidden. But he finds himself wondering, thanks to the question of another, what’s in the books he burns? Montag never questioned it before it was his job and he just did it, but what if he peeked into those forbidden tomes? Honestly how easy is it to imagine a world where instead of seeking out knowledge we easily if not eagerly destroy it? (No matter the form it comes in)

1. Brave New World

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I’ve read this at least twice, there may have been a third time during pregnancy but we’ll contribute memory loss to foggy prego-brain. This book rattled me to my core. This world seemed so foreign and scary to me the first time I read it when I was in middle school. Now though, it is ten times scarier and not nearly as foreign. We watch politics going crazy all over the world, people so scared that they are angry and ready for something easy to take away all the pain. And the ending, the reaction I had the first time I read it has never left me, I still feel that same reaction every time.

That’s the thing with all these dystopia novels, no matter if they’re classic or YA, they’re all so plausible in a world that’s so full of turmoil. Whether it’s a world where we only live for pleasure, one that takes away the core of our individualism, or one that takes away the complications of emotions that plague us.

There we go my 5 favorite Dystopia classics, I do plan on doing some more dystopia reading this year of both old and new so who knows what this list will look like by 2020!

 

 

Eden Chip

I know yesterday was three mini-reviews, but last night I started another reader copy and now that I’ve finished, I’m going to write this while it’s still fresh.


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I thought this was a very good sci-fi/dystopia read. I loved the use of chips and how there was always a blurred line to using them, is it okay is it not? I mean you think it’s not okay but once humanity had destroyed itself what choice did they have in this world? But it went too far and it’s on Raissa, Caleb, and Christian to save the world. I really enjoyed the feel of it. and I never thought I’d say this but the reason it didn’t get 4 stars is that it was actually a little too fast-paced; in that I mean it was hard to accept some things that happened as it all happens in the span of a few days. Perfect syncing data or not, love needs to be more slow-burning for this old cynic!

Scott Cramer did a great job with the plot and Christian was by far my favorite character (and also the one I most wanted to kick in the first 30%). He had a lot of complexities and I really admired Raissa’s strength -I mean literal strength, the girl is a tank-, Cramer didn’t make flowery descriptions of her, and he gave her so many cool fight scenes. Also, kudos to having violists, having 2 in one book was the most unbelievable aspect to this whole dystopia novel lol [amiright?].

The first chapter did have me a little iffy because I wondered if this would lose my interest but by chapter 2 I figured this was going to be a book I would want to finish. But be forewarned this sort of novel is the stuff I enjoy reading, it’s like crack to me lol for all I know it’s got Dickensian sentence structure and enough tropes to fill a YA supernatural academy book [I shall not name names].

Raissa has been trained as a rebel, I mean she has spent most of her life, after losing her parents and brother at 6, training to perform one mission. When the time finally comes, it’s nice to see the emotion she displays at having to leave her Grandfather, it reminds you that she’s human. She’s half-French, half-Egyptian I think he states in the novel and from Jerusalem (that’s her on the cover, I’m super concerned by the lack of tan or freckles she’s gotten from living in that sort of geographical setting lol). But still, it’s nice to have a character in this sort of novel that’s not from the U.S.A. Her mission is deadly and has only one possible outcome, she dies so humanity lives in freedom but the reality of what is being planned by the man known as Petrov is something she nor her partner could anticipate.

Caleb is her target, you’ll see for what if you read it, I’ll not spoil anything, but he’s on the side of Petrov, he likes the chips, they keep you from dealing with horrible unproductive emotions and he believes Petrov knows what’s best for humanity. But something happens to plant a seed of doubt.

Lastly, we have my favorite, Christian. He is an older man, he remembers what it was like before chips, but more importantly how does he know so much about the M-Code which is responsible for all the chips do?

Overall this is a solid read and I’m glad I picked it up, I really wasn’t able to put it down once I started it. Anyone looking for an awesome YA steeped in sci-fi with a different sort of dystopia feel might find this worth a quick read.

***I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.*** [I really enjoy how Booksiren makes you say that you left it voluntarily as if maybe Scott Cramer’s got a stun gun to me, ‘Come on Haley! Write that review, and make it look good!’]

Also, because I’m extra, here’s an article about MIT researchers about an AI chip that could be implanted in us for mobile devices.

My Top 5 Sci-Fi Picks!

It’s Monday! I hate life, I get to travel for 2.5 hours for a just under 2-hour choir rehearsal on Mondays in the very very cold night. Monday is not my friend it is an evil monster.

Anyway, I’m not quite done with my two current reads but you all will probably get two reviews from me this week, so, there’s that. I’ll also be doing a couple of other things that will hopefully pan out nicely! The Alienist has been so far the book I needed to lift my spirits after a roller coaster of anger from The Memory of Lost Dreams and I’m so thankful for that!

So, my top 5 favorite Sci-fi novels? Well, I’m going to do a countdown of them!

So starting from the bottom up…..

5. Speaker for the Dead

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Some sequels fall flat on their face and who knows you may think I’m crazy for loving this one. I have to say I believe Ender’s Game does best as a standalone novel in my opinion but I can’t help but love this book. Because on some level, I needed it. I needed to know about Ender later on, and I needed to know that he would be okay (or to at least find out if he wasn’t going to be). There are other books I do enjoy in the Ender-verse but none of them come close to this one or Ender’s Game. I did put it at number 5 because I do recognize its flaws and again though personally needed it for some more closure, it really wasn’t necessary (and the others even less so despite my enjoyment of them).
4. Dune

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Okay, okay, I know, this is one of the best sci-fi novels in existence, it is one of the most famous ones, and it is amazing, I do not argue that there’s a reason it is on my list. Why is it number 4? I didn’t always appreciate Paul, I actually think his Mom is so kickass and his sister too, one of the reasons I want to read other Dune novels, but, I am hesitant to do so. I’m sure I’ll get around to them eventually. Why do I love it? Well hello, sandworms! Cool desert people, prophecized heroes, awesome fight scenes, and mysterious powers and happenings! Again it’s on my top 5 for a reason, and though most call Frank Herbert the Father of Sci-Fi…I think it would be appropriate to remember he is indeed not, [COUGH COUGH, MARY SHELLEY=MOM, COUGH COUGH] but he does give us our modern Sci-Fi and we should remember that!

3. The Time Machine

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Come on. How could I not add it? TIME TRAVEL, GUYS. [I’m a huge Dr. Who fan as well, so…again, TIME TRAVEL] I really feel that this was the prime of its time and continues to be the prime of ours. I urge anyone who likes Sci-Fi to read this. It also gives us a future that gives us a taste of Utopia on the surface (totally dystopian though, I love it, so much). Wells was ahead of his time, he thought of things that of course didn’t really happen literally but hit close to home in a way that I don’t think most saw coming. I had to rate this higher than Dune for one simple and important fact, I enjoyed it more. He accomplished more things in fewer pages than Frank did as far as making the read better for me.

Alright, onward!
2. Ender’s Game

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Predictable? Probably. I know without the other works before it that Ender’s Game wouldn’t be possible but it still ranks above them and is one of my favorite novels ever, I’ve lent it out more than any other book and recommend it more than any other. Reading this in middle school [Sixth Grade to be specific, holy shit I’m old], it changed my world. Someone had lent it to me, one of my closest friends who I still love and adore so maybe part of the reason I love it so much is because I associate with her but it’s also the book I’ve reread the most. This has such an impact on kids at that preteen-young adult age (on adults too I’m sure) it gives you this sort of hope, if you feel like a ‘Third’ your whole life until that point, that being different can be amazing, it can be hard but it could lead you to do great things [and to not be afraid for thinking differently]. Admittedly I am no longer a big fan of Orson Scott Card himself but I still adore this book. It gives you everything you want in a sci-fi novel and that ending, ugh that ending.  We watch kids do things that adults forget they truly are capable of doing, and we see strategy and aliens and space military school…<3 I will never NOT love this book….so what could top it?….
1. The Alien Chronicles

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That’s right, I’m cheating. Whatcha gonna do about it? Huh?? My first pick? The Alien Chronicles, only one of the most beautiful and well-written trilogies that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I read these just soon after Ender’s Game, lent to me by the same friend. These again just completely rocked my reading world. I mean these and Ender’s Game were pre-Harry Potter, so imagine just how crazy I was for them as we all -most of us- went crazy for Harry Potter! These, though not at all Christian, do have a very Moses/biblical like plot. We have the love between two beings, not quite sibling but more like soulmates in friendship, and then having to face them being ripped apart when one realizes their true past and the true history of what has happened to their enslaved people. The life that Ampris, our ‘Moses’ and Heroine, faces afterwards is everything that is beautiful and tragic and happy, I mean this trilogy brought me to tears and continues do so. The trilogy follows closely Ampris, her once beloved friend Israi, and Elrabin. The characters have so many emotions,  would say more so Ampris and Elrabin, they are full well rounded and just I can’t say enough about them, I’m gushing like the fangirl I am. This is called by some as a ‘Space Opera’ if you’re wondering more on the subgenre. I couldn’t just pick one out of the three, so I didn’t.

There you have it! My top 5!

Do you have any Sci-Fi favorites or recs for me? I’d love to hear them!

[I didn’t include Frankenstein because I still consider it more of a horror and overall I did not include Dystopia novels (The Time Machine was the closest one).]