Waiting on Wednesday: Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- Children of Ruin

AND THERE IS OFFICIALLY A SEQUEL TO THE FREAKY SENTIENT SPIDER STORY! Children of Ruin will explore the coexistence of humans and Portiids and I’m so curious to see how things go. I didn’t expect a sequel to Children of Time and thought it worked well as a stand alone, but man, now I’m so curious to see what’s happened in the thousands of years between novels. And the synopsis promises space exploration and apocalyptic catastrophe! This will be released May 2019 which isn’t far away at all!

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Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky – Review

Cover- Children of Time

Published: June 4, 2015

Publisher: PanMacmillan

Series: Standalone

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 600 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

A race for survival among the stars… Humanity’s last survivors escaped earth’s ruins to find a new home. But when they find it, can their desperation overcome its dangers?

WHO WILL INHERIT THIS NEW EARTH?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age – a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.

Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth?


SPIDERS.

SPIDER PLANET.

THERE IS A PLANET FULL OF SENTIENT SPIDERS.

THEY HAVE A LEGIT SOCIETY, WITH RELIGION, TECHNOLOGY, WAR, CULTURE, EVERYTHING.

I LOVED THEM AND I DON’T LIKE SPIDERS.

Oh yeah, there are also humans who occasionally wake up from deep cryo-sleep and they blast around the universe searching for habitable planets, because Earth was destroyed and they’re the last humans.

But really, who cares about their petty dramas when we can have a multi-generational spider-verse that’s way cooler than many other ”unique” societies in sci-fi and fantasy books?

In all reality, the human POVs in this book are for the most part very interesting as well, but for vastly different reasons. These humans are on a giant colony ship that is headed towards the spider planet (Kernsworld) in hopes of finding a habitable planet for the scraggly remnants of the human species. What they don’t expect to find is a highly territorial and definitely insane AI/human nightmare that wants nothing more than to blast them to smithereens to prevent any corruption of this experimental world. They reach an impasse and the humans carry on towards another planet only to come full circle in the end. This portion follows a fairly standard plot with some exciting additions like mutiny, religious cults, and wannabe immortals.

The spiders are way cooler. This book follows them from the introduction of a virus that causes them to evolve at an unnaturally rapid pace through to a highly advanced state. The fact that you can go along with their species and society evolving is what makes this portion so darn fascinating. I loved it! There’s warfare against the ants, plague, religious factions… basically it’s a world history, but it zeroes in on a few select spideys in each generation, all of which are descendants of the first spiders to have acquired the virus.

Children of Time is only my second Adrian Tchaikovsky book and it’s so vastly different from the other that I can’t begin to compare them. Needless to say, he has a way to make you feel for characters and high quality writing to boot. I’ve got a third book by him queued up for the near future and can’t wait to see how that compares!

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan – Review

Cover- Altered Carbon

Published: February 28, 2002

Publisher: Gollancz

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Takeshi Kovacs #1

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 2.0/5.0

 

Synopsis:

It’s the twenty-fifth century, and advances in technology have redefined life itself. A person’s consciousness can now be stored in the brain and downloaded into a new body (or “sleeve”), making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Onetime U.N. Envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Resleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats existence as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning.


I picked up Altered Carbon out of my sometimes unwise desire to read/listen to the book prior to watching movie or tv adaptation. I still haven’t checked out the show for a few reasons, one being lack of time, and the other being that I was practically BORED TO TEARS listening to this. While I didn’t entirely hate this book, I definitely won’t be reading the others especially since this is supposed to be the best of them. I could end my review here and it would be sufficient, but I won’t. I’m going to attempt to break it down for you.

First and foremost, I would like to point out that this book has SO many things that I would typically enjoy in a book. Altered Carbon is set in a future where humanity is basically backed up on a hard drive inside your head – the “stack” as it’s called is an upload of you. If someone dies/get old/gets injured (provided they have the money) they can be put in a new body in a process called resleeving and carry on. Our MC, Takeshi Kovacs (pronounced Kovatch) is a former UN Envoy, which seems to me like a combo of super soldier and spy with a smidge of actual diplomatic function thrown in for good measure. He’s pulled off stack and resleeved on Earth to investigate the death of a prominent member of society named Laurens Bancroft who is several hundred years old. By all accounts, it looks like a standard suicide, but Bancroft (who was just resleeved) claims that it was not the case at all. He would never do such a thing. So here we’ve got an awesome sci-fi future, a gun toting MC with tons of skill, and a mystery – all things I love in a book… so where did it fall flat?

Thing fell flat when I realized I couldn’t wait for the book to be over. I didn’t care AT ALL for any of the characters, whether it was a minor character or Takeshi himself. I mean, I think I liked the AI hotel better than Kovacs – it popped out heavy weaponry and obliterated some murderous thugs a few chapters into the book. Honestly, there was just so much dithering around and so much talking and I just wanted Kovacs to shut his mouth and shoot people. And then he did, and I still didn’t care. I actually skipped through the last two chapters of this book because I was about to go full thousand-yard stare and drool on my keyboard.

I don’t know if it was just not the right book for my mood or what, but Altered Carbon was magnificently underwhelming. It’s been quite a while since an audiobook has been that disappointing and I think it’s just me because this book had a solid rating on Goodreads and obviously it was cool enough to get picked up by Netflix for a tv show. Which I still want to watch by the way, despite not liking the book. The show may very well be an epicly wild ride that I want to binge watch. Who knows. All I’m saying is that I didn’t like it, but if you think it sounds cool then give it a go.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!


Cover- The Consuming Fire

After loving The Collapsing Empire last year, I’m REALLY looking forward to The Consuming Fire when it comes out in October. Will they be able to save the Interdependency from collapse? Can they stop the Flow from it’s trend of degradation? I really liked the characters and book 1 made me laugh out loud (Scalzi can be relied upon for humor) so this will definitely be at the top of my TBR!

Currently Reading: 1/15/18

cover-iron-gold

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

GAHHHH I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS!!!! I pre-ordered the audiobook so as soon as it shows up in my library I’m going to start it! I’ve been looking forward to continuing Darrow’s journey and meeting new characters since before it was even announced to be honest. Hope it’s even more awesome that the first 3 books.

 

I’ll also be finishing up Senlin Ascends this week! So far it’s proving to be an interesting book with what feels like a disturbing analysis of humanity tied in.

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci – Review

Cover - Black Star Renegades

Published: January 2, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Unknown

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

My Rating: DNF

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:

He has to fight.

Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends—rebels and scoundrels alike—Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself. He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.


Black Star Renegades was a book that I was very much hoping to like. Having been likened to Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy I was sure that I would be in for a treat, but that didn’t end up being the case. Black Star Renegades has earned the dubious honor of being my first DNF of 2018.

After the attention grabbing intro chapter, things quickly went southwards for me. I did see the tributes to Star Wars and Guardians which was kind of cool… BUT it felt like I was reading something written in my writing voice. That’s literally the only way I can explain it. I hate going back and reading pieces of my writing and that’s kind of what this was like. The dialogue was pretty cheesy, the plot was okayyyyy I guess. Black Star Renegades ended up being disappointing in the 100 pages I gave it.

I try to give books plenty of time and chances to grab my attention or improve, but I decided that this year I’m not going to force it and if something doesn’t appeal to me in 100 pages, I’m going to put it down. I’ve seen plenty of positive reviews for this book, so definitely check out Goodreads for those if you’re curious. Sadly, this just didn’t work for me!

Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy and Mac Rogers – Review

Cover- Steal the Stars

Published: November 7, 2017

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Standalone

Pages: 416 (Paperback)

My Rating: DNF

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Steal the Stars, a debut novel by Nat Cassidy, is based on the debut science fiction podcast from Tor Labs.

Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. It still sits at the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed eleven years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight—which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run, they’ll be hunted for what they know. Dak and Matt have only way to be together: do the impossible. Steal Moss and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.


It’s rare that I end up DNF’ing a book, but here we have one – only the second this year. Steal the Stars actually started out pretty strongly for me, but somewhere around the middle of the book I just lost interest. I didn’t care what happened to the characters, I didn’t care if the alien was dead or alive or suspended in between like Schrodinger’s cat when the box was closed.

I was pretty into this book at the beginning and thought all the super-secret military procedure was cool, especially when the reason for the secrets was revealed. An alien! Covered in weird alien moss, housed in a sleek alien ship with an engine that could drain your life force. I even like the MC well enough from the beginning, though I didn’t care for the perspective in which the story was told – like a letter written to someone. It just didn’t work for me. Also, as soon as the Dak (the MC) decided she was madly in love with the new guy upon first site I was hesitant to continue. I did forge onward for a couple hundred pages, but then they started making horrible, illogical decisions together and then I put it down to take a break. And never picked it back up. That is all.

If you finished this book, let me know what you ended up thinking of it. Should I eventually try to read the whole thing?

Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Review

Cover- Invictus

Published: September 26, 2017

Publisher: Little,Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Series: Standalone

Pages: 458 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.


I’m a bit ashamed to admit how long it actually took me to read this book. From the first time I picked it up and began reading to the finish, I think it was about a month. Now, during this month I was getting married, going on a weeklong trip, and trying to finish last minute moving so I kind of have a good reason for taking so long to finish it up. This is also in no way indicative of the book being bad, slow, or wholly unsatisfactory in any way. It was actually a very fun book and I enjoyed both the story and characters.

Invictus is possibly the only YA time-travel novel I’ve ever read. How is that possible? It was reminiscent of Wesley Chu’s Time Salvager, which I loved and at first I was concerned that the two books may be too similar for me to really enjoy Invictus. This, however, wasn’t the case because while there are striking similarities, this particular book is much lighter and obviously geared towards a younger audience less concerned with the science fictionand more concerned with character dynamic. This is a world where time travel is a career choice – heck, there’s even a school for it! Those that travel do so to record moments in history without disrupting the natural course of events and each traveler has a crew along to help out with medical, historical, or technical crises.

Farway Gaius McCarthy has time travelling in his blood and he’s on track to graduate top of his class and have a crew and ship of his own… until he flunks his final exam. Now he’s working black market jobs with a crew of his closest people… until a strange girl shows up, steals his mark, and nearly gets them killed. This sets off a series of events that leads to some startling revelations, a rushed quest to save the world in 100 pages or less, and several rather touching personal moments between the characters. The whole crew was likable enough, but I felt they were rather immature to have a ship and time travel, with the constant risk of destroying history. Not something you should let a teenager do, am I right?

Overall, this was a fun book and I’m glad I finally finished it. If there is a sequel, I think I’ll read it just to see how things play out. I’ve heard that Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf books are even better than this which makes me want to check them out more than I already did!

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant – Audiobook Review

Cover- Into the Drowning Deep

Published: November 14, 2017

Publisher: Hachette Audio

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Series: Rolling in the Deep #1

Length: 17 hr 14 min

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.

But the secrets of the deep come with a price.


This book was just so much awesome! I don’t often read anything that can be construed as horror (or even sort of scary) but when I read the synopsis of Into the Drowning Deep, I didn’t hesitate to send in my request! I received the audio version from Orbit/Hachette Book Group and I’d highly recommend that format for audiobook fans. The narration was solid and emotional with a good range of character voices. Really helped me feel immersed (or submersed) in the book.

I love my sci-fi with a heavier dose of science than is usually found – space is cool, but give me a near future and scientific anomalies any day. This is sort of what I got from Into the Drowning Deep, but with more scientist than science. It starts off with the mysterious and somewhat terrifying disappearance of the Atargatis – a ship sent out by the Imagine media giant to hunt for mermaids. This was supposed to be one of those deals where they make up drama, throw in some factoids about the environment, and go home. They got much more than they bargained for and footage of a horrible, monstrous attack was leaked to the public. Years later, we follow the sister of one of the Atargatis victims, the scientist who led to that fateful voyage in the first place, and a number of other characters who were more or less interesting. I almost hate to admit that Tori and Dr. Jillian Toth were two of my least favorite characters and they were also two of the main characters. Both were obsessed with the mermaids and their various wailings about the Atargatis voyage really started to get on my nerves. All the secondary characters were much more likable, especially Olivia and the twins.

I found the story to be fast paced, though not always with action. There were lots of little discoveries and tiny dramas unfolding in the midst of the larger story, which I like. It gives a story depth and nuance. The larger story punctuated the day to day life aboard the Melusine with terror, lament, and bloodshed leaving those aboard the Melusine shaken and leaving me hungering for the next page. This story was addictively good so I can overlook things like the abrupt and convenient ending. Things were going terribly aboard the stupid, semi-functional, luxury laboratory ship and then someone TURNS ON THE LIGHTS allowing a speedy escape and sudden salvation for our characters. How convenient.

Overall, this was a thrilling book with a beastie that has not yet been overdone in today’s market. This makes two of Mira Grant’s books that I’ve read now and I’ve been really impressed/ satisfied with both. I do hope to read more Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire books in the future and have my eye on her novella series published through Tor. If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!