Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

All I’ve ever heard about this book is how cool the format is, with all the mixed media and unusual-ness. Theory: Due to the format, no one sees how DULL the plot is. Seriously, this was a slog of a read. It used every science fiction cliche in the book. I was just waiting for the ‘We’re running out of oxygen!’ trope, but no dice. (There are still two books to go, so can someone else tell me if this happens? I’m sure as heck not continuing on with the series.)

Kady and Ezra were so 2-D. I’ve seen both of their characters before, in similar scenarios but executed so much better (see ‘Soldier Girls’ by Michael Grant). Oh, and Kady has pink hair, by the way. Just in case you didn’t get that she was a badass and could star in her own anime. *rolls eyes*

The romance was a limp slice of cheese. I couldn’t buy into it at all, as most of the romance happened before the novel began and what did they really connect to each other over? Just saying ‘I love you’ over and over again isn’t enough to convince me. And then we get the most contrived ‘sike, we got you’ ending that destroyed any speck of emotional resonance all for the sake of a sequel.

Let me run through some MORE of the worst moments:
1. Over 500 years into the future and people still use ‘:P’ instead of emojis? C’mon.
2. why why why would anything EVER be justified to the centre?? It’s hard to read and should be preserved for middle grade poetry ONLY.
3. The boys use the phrase ‘chum’ to refer to each other in the beginning and then this is quickly dropped and everyone acts like they didn’t just try and make chum a thing. It’s not a thing.
4. People are still amazed by keyboard art. Well, just wait until they realise if you type in 01134 into a calculator and turn it upside down it spells ‘hello’
5. The AI has a poetic voice? I think this just made the centre justification even worse and I know this is supposed to be quirky and different – wow, a none robotic AI – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t odd.
6. Kady’s humour was one note.
7. Ezra’s humour was one note.
8. I know they’d been in a relationship before but why is no one screaming ‘insta-love’?
9. Is it just me that finds white writing on a black background kind of difficult to read?
10. Unipedia pages? REALLY? This is the most obvious info dump I’ve ever seen! And it’s not even disguised!

This has just solidified that sci-fi is not for me. At least not like this.

Review: Contagion by Teri Terry

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Teri Terry is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read everything she’s written bar the sequel to Dangerous Minds. Contagion is the start of a new series, and since Slated is one of my all time favourite dystopian stories, there was a lot to live up to. And what’s the number one thing we always end up saying about high expectations? It’s pretty much our motto… Continue reading “Review: Contagion by Teri Terry”

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This is probably THE MOST topical book to read about right now. After the release of the TV show, and all the problems that came with it (seriously, research the well-deserved uproar about the representation of depression and suicide) this book has been getting a lot more attention. And yes, I was desperate to read it to see how it all matched up, and nervous, too, that the portrayal would be potentially triggering or harmful. You can’t avoid it. While I’m sure the message of the book isn’t to condone revenge suicide, or suggest that bullying others is the best response to being bullied yourself, I was so aware that those are things you could take away from it. Keeping all that in mind, here are my thoughts.  Continue reading “Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher”

(Spoiler) Review: Aurabel by Laura Dockrill

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I first heard that there was going to be a sequel to one of my favourite books, Lorali, at an event that Laura Dockrill did in the spring. Since then, Aurabel has been one of my most anticipated releases, as the first book left me on quite the cliffhanger. In order to discuss everything, I’ll have to spoil some of the events, but don’t worry, asterisks will warn you!  Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: Aurabel by Laura Dockrill”

(Spoiler) Review: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Lisa Heathfield has quickly become one of my auto-read authors. I’m sure that no matter what she writes, I’ll read it. She’s really nailed this odd balance between intriguing and creepy – a vibe I don’t get from any other author. From her previous books, Seed and Paper Butterflies, I should have been expecting something with a darker edge. But, Flight of a Starling called out to me as a new take on The Little Mermaid. It’s not a retelling, but there are definitely strong and unavoidable links between the two. When we did get to the plot twist, I wasn’t shocked so far as confused. So, let’s discuss.  Continue reading “(Spoiler) Review: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield”

Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Within the last six months, I’ve read two Cat Clarke books. Entangled and A Kiss in the Dark. Both were chilling in some way, with plot twists that had me throwing the book to the other side of the room and hugging a pillow to my chest. She knows how to write a thriller, and with a tagline like ‘Sugar and spice and scars for life’, you know when you’re getting in, you’re getting in deep. Unfortunately, Cat’s reputation for writing YA thrillers ultimately led to both of us being like ‘Wait….was that it?’ With that said, Girlhood is my favourite of her books so far because of the different, less mysterious tone. And it takes place in a boarding school, so that’s a guaranteed win.

Continue reading “Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke”

Review: The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Whenever we hear about a book with twin protagonists, we’re desperate to get our hands on it. Everyone loves to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and it’s just fascinating to see how authors think of the relationship between twins and if it measures up to our experiences. The Opposite of You was a really great read if you’re looking for a book that understands the strong connection between sisters…but only fuels the fire that twins have been trying to extinguish for all eternity that we can’t literally read each other’s minds. Still, if magical realism is the best way to communicate extreme closeness, we’ll accept it this once! 😉  Continue reading “Review: The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan”