Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

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Author:  Sylvain Neuvel
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Series: Themis Files
Genre: Science-Fiction Fantasy > Robots | Speculative Fiction | Thriller
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 320
Publisher: Del Ray
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb: 

World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

Review:

 

This book is a MASTERPIECE. I mean I don’t even know where to start and what to say about this book…

*Sigh* Let’s begin here… At first I had only a faint idea of what this book would be like, but trust me, it wasn’t even 1% of what it turned out to be (in a good way.) It totally BLEW my mind OFF!!!

First off the format is super intriguing and very, very clever. The transcripts, interviews, personal entries, a few random conversations, newspaper articles etc, were not only intelligently constructed but also mixed deftly in what can only be called a really, really impressive combination. The sequencing was brilliant and made this book an epic read. Hats off to the author for pulling this off with such perfection.

I can’t even begin to express how impressed I am with this book’s format and writing. I mean, as an author myself, I can understand how difficult it would have been and for that alone, kudos to the author.

Coming to the story, I was expecting it to be something different. But saying that I was surprised by the direction the plot took in the second half would be an understatement. I mean it was a whole lot different from what I could have expected. The story itself is an outstanding piece of work in itself.

If it’s not obvious already, then let me state it clearly. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I mean really love it. It’s a really, really intelligent book with a very strong plotline and astounding characterization.

The end of this book completely caught me off guard. So yeah, it was good through and through.

And the nameless interrogator cum adviser cum whatever the hell you wanna call him, was simply wow! I love him… I mean he is indeed a real softy (an inside joke for anyone who reads this book.)

In the end, I’d just like to say one thing: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.

And I just found out (while writing this review) that this book is the 1st book in series, Themis Files. So, now I’m eagerly waiting for the second part… Hope it comes out soon!

Other Stuff

Opening Line: It was my eleventh birthday.

Memorable Quotes: 

If you fall in love with someone, there’s a good chance the person won’t love you back. Hatred, though, is usually mutual. If you despise someone, it’s pretty much a given they’re also not your biggest fan.

There I was, this tiny little thing at the bottom of the hole, lying on my back in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Highlights: Format and characterization.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: If you want to read only 1 book this year, make sure Sleeping Giants is the ONE.


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

ARC Review: Eighth Day by Joseph John

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Author: Joseph John
Release Date: March 31, 2016
Series: 
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Speculative Fiction
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 250
Publisher: Obsidian Dawn
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

A warning from a stranger.
“Nothing you know is real. Your name isn’t Shawn Jaffe, you’re not an investment broker, and you’re not from Ohio.”
But the stranger is murdered before he can explain.
Now Shawn isn’t sure who he can trust.
Even his own memories are suspect.
Someone is watching him, controlling him, using him.
To survive, he’ll need to find out who and why.
But the stakes are much higher than one man.
Our humanity is on the line, and on the eighth day, it could be the beginning of the end.

Review

The Eighth Day is an outstanding book and I truly enjoyed reading it. The book is written in multiple POVs and captures each and everyone’s viewpoint beautifully. The author has skillfully woven a tale that feels nothing short of magical, but in a speculative way. One thing that I’d like to mention here is that the timing of the POVs (the order in which the information or story line was revealed) was perfect and it was due to this that the book hit the bull’s eye for me.

The concept itself is out-of-the-world-brilliant and the blurb made it all the more exciting by conspicuously revealing only a few details at a time, only enough to make the reader go “hmm… that sounds interesting.”

The writing is sharp and the sentence formation is really clean and crisp. I enjoyed reading the way the author has this unique style of describing stuff using parallels without, but being blatant. And that’s one thing I’m looking forward to learning from this book. I admire the author’s ability to keep me engaged and speculating throughout the book.

 

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Right from the imaginative plot to the characterization, the author came out as a winner on all fronts. I felt a strong connection with the lead as well as the supporting characters, and even the bad guys. They were so well crafter and thought out that I even sympathized when one of the bad guys lands in trouble. This book had the give-enough-details-and-you-start-understanding-the-bad-guy’s-purpose sort of thing.

The fast pace of the book keeps things interesting right until the end where the book ends with an explosive climax. The ending is perfect and I really hope that the author writes a sequel to this book(?) and that too soon!

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a good speculative or even a sic-fi read. Mystery lovers will also enjoy this book equally.

My Bookstagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: “They’re watching you.”

Highlights: Writing.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

He was darkness in a world of darkness, and soon he’d dance again.

He was a shadow. He was the night. And nothing would stop him now.

Memorable Paragraphs:

Each morning, he woke and took a shower. He suited up and ate breakfast. He drove to work, and each day he faced countless acts of immorality and ungodliness that deepened his contempt for humanity. Evil came in the form of colorful pills, white powder, and a syringe. It dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt, a business suite, and sometimes it wore a uniform and carried a badge. It wielded a pistol, a rifle, a knife, a baseball bat, and anything else it could get its hands on to shoot, stab, and bludgeon. It stole cars, money and lives. It raped, and it murdered, and it was everywhere.

Final Thoughts: An exceptionally brilliant book!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: Nirvana (Nirvana #1)

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Author: J.R. Stewart
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Series: Nirvana
Genre: Young Adult|Sci-Fi|Dystopian|Fantasy|Mystery|Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 186
Publisher: Blue Moon Publishing
Source: NetGalley
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized – even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking oan entire government to do so.

Rating

TRb 3 half star

 

Review

Plot/Story:

Nirvana is an amazing YA read with a really fresh plot line and a great new dystopian world setting. I loved the characterisations and the fast pace of the story.

I was really impressed with the storyline and the world-building concept of Nirvana, though, it lacked a little behind when it came to the execution of these two concepts. I enjoyed the book (no doubt about it) but somewhere I felt that if the second half of the book can be tweaked a little bit then it can be at par with the best-selling YA reads of today.

Characters:

I loved the lead character, Kenders, and was able to feel a connection with her. Though, in the second half of the book I felt that connection slipping (as soon as Serge comes into picture.) I loved Andrew, the male lead, as well but sadly the same thing  happened with him.

Romance/Kills:

This book falls in the romance genre as the plot depends on the romantic relationship between Kenders and Andrew. And like any other dystopian book there is a love triangle (Kenders, Andrew and Serge) but thankfully it’s not a farfetched one. It starts and ends within an acceptable time frame and now I’m really looking forward to the next instalment of this series.

Writing:

I enjoyed the easy flow of author’s style of writing. It’s simple yet relatable and makes reading this book a pleasant experience. Having said that, I’d like to point out that I felt that the first half of the book was excellent whereas the second half lagged a little behind not only in terms of the plot line but also in terms of the characterisation and flow of the story.

Beginning:

I started enjoying Nirvana right from the first sentence and continued to do so halfway through the book. Everything was just amazing and I had no issues with anything (but only till the first half.)

Ending:

The second half of the book along with the ending felt quite weak to me. The plot went on to some other uninteresting tangent and ruined an otherwise excellent story. I really hope that the sequel will be better than this one.

Blurb:

The blurb is good, but I felt that it actually revealed a major spoiler about Andrew’s fake death. I would have liked it better to have come across  it while reading the book instead of the blurb.

Cover Art:

The cover art is marvellous. I really like the eerie feeling it radiates. It’s just perfect.

You can also read this review at:
Goodreads, Amazon and NetGalley.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Eight-year-old Larissa Kenders pulls a doll tighter toward her and opens one eye.

Highlights: Plot line.

Lowlights: Second half of the book.

Final Thoughts: A decent dystopian read with a rather weak ending.

Book Review: Googolplex

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Author: K.G. Johansson
Release Date: September 16, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Science-Fiction | Speculative Fiction   
Edition: Paperback 
Pages: 206
Publisher: Affront Publishing
Source: Editor, Peter Oberg 
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

If you could have anything but the one thing you really wanted, what would you do?

Jack is part of a group of colonists traveling to the distant planet Shylock to build themselves a new home. But Jack has trouble letting go of his past and the world he left behind. He becomes obsessed with what could have been, and with the help of multis – mysterious beings from parallel universes – he begins his search for truth. However, in a world where even love seems impossible to define, what can he find?

Rating

4-stars

Review

Plot/Story:

Googolplex has a really, really unique plot based on very famous concept of multiverses. The uniqueness of the plot really stood out and over all this book makes for a great sci-fi read. There are various elements in the book that I absolutely loved and

Characters:

I felt a really strong connection with the main character, Jack. I felt for him whenever his heart broke and felt happy to see him make progress. Rest of the characters were not stressed upon enough to establish a connection but that wasn’t a problem as the story was completely around Jack and his adventures (so to say.)

Having said that, I really liked the concept of multis and was constantly intrigued by their presence and interest in Jack’s life.

Romance:

There was just a hint of romance but a lot of passion. Jack was completely hooked on his childhood crush and went to extreme lengths in order to find her. The entire process was really enjoyable. I also liked the concept of sic-fi mingling with a person’s love interest on a whole another level!

Writing:

One of the best things about the book is author’s simple yet effective writing. It flowed beautifully and flawlessly and made the experience of reading this book a really pleasant one!

Beginning:

The book started with a bang! I really, really enjoyed it and was sucked into it right from the first line. After reading a few pages I started to feel connected to the main character, Jack and I knew that I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Ending:

The book’s ending was not completely surprising, though I felt that it was a little far-fetched. I was expecting it to be a little more convincing than that but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

Cover Art:

The cover could have been a little better but, considering the theme of the book, it’s actually quite appropriate.

Blurb:

The blurb describes the book perfectly.

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line:

Highlights: Uniqueness of the plot.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

It’s hard to hate anybody that you’ve seen from inside.

The only people you like are people who also want to be alone. But at the same time , this also means that you’ll mostly leave one another be – which makes you stand each other.

Final Thoughts: A decent Sci-Fi read with a unique plot.


Review by:

pics-2 copyHeena Rathore P. aka The Reading Bud

My name is Heena and I’m a freelance writer, blogger and a book-reviewer (and soon-to-be author.) I’m an introvert, thinker, neat freak (cleanliness OCD), hardcore idealist, fitness junkie, music fanatic, compulsive reader, self-assertive, opinionated, dog lover and an atheist.

The Reading Bud is my brain-child and is a huge part of my life. I love reading and reviewing. What started as a hobby has become my passion.

Read more about me here.


Book Review: Waiting For The Machines To Fall Asleep`

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Authors: Hans OlssonBoel Bermann, Erik OdeldahlIngrid RemvallLove KölleLupina OjalaChristina Nordlander , Pia LindestrandJonas LarssonTora GreveAndrew CoulthardAlexandra NeroJohannes PinterAndrea Grave-MüllerAR YngveMy BergströmAnders BlixtMaria HaskinsPatrik CenterwallBjörn EngströmKG JohanssonOskar KällnerSara KopljarEva HolmquistMarkus SköldAnna Jakobsson Lund
Release Date:  6th May, 2015 
Series: None 
Genre: Science-Fiction Anthology | Speculative-Fiction | Short-Stories | Fantasy
Edition: Paperback 
Pages: 324
Publisher: Affront Publishing
Source: Editor (Thanks Peter!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

26 short stories from the new wave of Swedish speculative fiction writers. Forget about cheap furniture, meatballs and crime fiction. Sweden has so much more to offer. Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep includes twenty-six stories from the new generation of Swedish writers of science fiction and the fantastic. Stories ranging from space horror and post-apocalyptic nightmares to tender dramas. Stories with steampunk horses, android uprisings and cheeky goblins. Stories that are action-packed, wise, silly, beautiful, surreal and horrifying.

Rating

5-stars

Review:

I absolutely enjoyed all the stories in this book (for individual ratings see below.) This book is so much more than just an anthology. It was an experience. So many different stories, so many unique concepts and such amazing writing styles – this book has everything to be a brilliant read. There were some stories that literally made me feel dreadful thinking about what might have happened (Lost And Found) and there were stories that made me smile (To Preserve Humankind.) There were stories that really worked me out in anticipation (Outpost Eleven) and stories that I thought were funny (Jump To The Left, Jump To The Right.) Never have I ever enjoyed a single book so much. I’m going to be looking out for more works from the authors I enjoyed the most. I’m really happy that I am lucky enough to have read this book. I’ll recommend this book not only to Sci-Fi fans but to anyone and everyone who wants to read some beautifully crafted stories. I really hope that they decide to release this book internationally, so that everyone in the world can read this book. Following are the individual ratings for all the stories:

  1. Melody Of The Yellow Bard: 5/5
  2. The Rats: 5/5
  3. Getting To The End:  5/5
  4. Vegatropolis – City Of The Beautiful: 4/5
  5. Jump To The Left, Jump To The Right: 5/5
  6. The Order Of Things: 5/5
  7. To Preserve Humankind: 5/5
  8. The Thirteenth Tower: 4/5
  9. Punchcard Horses: 3/5
  10. The Philosopher’s Stone: 5/5
  11. A Sense Of Foul Play: 5/5
  12. Waste Of Time: 5/5
  13. The Damien Factor: 5/5
  14. Wishmaster: 5/5
  15. Quadrillennium: 3/5
  16. Mission Accomplished: 5/5
  17. The Road: 4/5
  18. Lost And Found: 5/5
  19. The Publisher’s Reader: 3/5
  20. Stories From The Box: 4/5
  21. The Membranes In The Centering Horn: 5/5
  22. One Last Kiss Goodbye: 5/5
  23. The Mirror Talks: 5/5
  24. Keep Fighting Until The Machines Fall Asleep: 5/5
  25. Outpost Eleven: 5/5
  26. Messiah: 3/5
You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: The man approached me when I was on my way home from the university.

Highlights: Brilliant selection of stories.

Lowlights: None.

Memorable Quotes:

It’s a place of maybes, I guess. Where bad things can happen, and often will, but also might not.

Everybody who lives here has seen something they can’t explain. And everybody who lives here has seen things they don’t want to explain

Strange, how quickly you adapt to things if someone tells you it’s normal

Memorable Paragraph:

And then I thought maybe you actually could. Maybe money was some kind of delicious dish. But sister told me people long ago thought the small round things were beautiful. And they just wanted to have as many of them as possible. Way back when the crowd was beautiful I said to myself dreamily. When people just looked at things because they liked to look at things, beautiful things. Not because they were wondering if this thing or that was edible, like I do. But then, I’m always hungry and there is so little to eat in the Newest New World.

Final Thoughts: A must-read for everyone!