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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Audiobook {4.5 Stars}

Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Narrated by Carla Corvo, full cast, P.J. Ochlan, Steve West
(The Illuminae Files #2)
Published by Random House, Random House Audio on Oct. 18th, 2016
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 608 pages
Audio Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

4.5 Stars

Note: I received an advanced copy of Gemina from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

This is another bares-bones, just-my-notes book chat since I read Gemina back in November and can’t remember much beyond the notes I wrote then!

Also, it’s my birthday :D! I’m 27, whaaaaaaaat???

Strengths:
[Read more…]

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff ARC {4 Stars}

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff introduces readers to a sweeping new fantasy world filled with dark deeds and darker shadows, where three suns make true night a rarity and people have built a city in the bones of a dead god. If you like your fantasy equal parts dark and steamy, this isn’t one to miss!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Nevernight from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

This book has adult content.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff ARC {4 Stars}

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on Aug. 9th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy
Page Length: 448 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ARC {3 Stars}

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the first in a new YA sci-fi trilogy that takes a highly unconventional approach to storytelling. Illuminae is a dossier on troubling events and therefore is filled with interviews, artistic renditions of ships and battles, and some interesting files taken from the main computer. While the storytelling approach was certainly original, it made it difficult for me to connect with the characters, and I found that the plot was actually a pretty typical sci-fi premise that I’ve read many times before.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Illuminae from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff ARC {3 Stars}

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (The Illuminae Files #1)
Published by Knopf on Oct. 20th, 2015
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 608 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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4.5 Stars: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff ARC

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Lotus War trilogy (I assume it’s a trilogy >.>). These books take genre-bending to the extreme with a mix of steampunk, japanese futuristic culture, mythical beasts, and environmental apocalyptic events. I have to admit that I was not as thrilled with Stormdancer (Lotus War #1) as many of you, but I am so converted with Kinslayer! If you were like me and didn’t quite get what all the fuss was about, you should definitely check out this second book, which is more action-packed, more character-packed, and so many feels!

Note: I received an ARC of Kinslayer from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

4.5 Stars: Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff ARC

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotus War #2)
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on Sept. 17th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Page Length: 432 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Kinslayer’s writing is delicious. I like it much more than Stormdancer’s ;-). I found myself drawn in by the poetic descriptions, clutching the cover during the action, and sniffling at the adorable animal voices >.>. I am convinced that Mr. Kristoff must have actually got inside a dog’s head based on how well he captured the thoughts of a certain canine companion who I adore and want to see again (hint hint!).
  • I know that there were some complaints about the use of japanese-styled language in Stormdancer and am happy to report that some of the specifics have been fixed in Kinslayer. I also have very much enjoyed exploring farther parts of the world beyond the wasteland of the chi fields.
  • There are a lot of characters and a lot of POV in Kinslayer and it works wonderfully. We get about four distinct storylines that all carefully wind together for the epic conclusion; this is how fantasy storytelling should be!
  • Omg the feels. There were a lot of all varieties D:
  • I looooove grey characters and the multiple POV helps develop those in between characters so much. I loved the internal conflict that I’m sure many rebels really do feel when deciding how much sacrifice is too much. Also omg I must know what happens in the next book!

Weaknesses:

  •  Do not eat while reading Kinslayer. There are a fair number of gross scenes involving flaying flesh, losing eyeballs, and torture. You have been warned.
  • There are a couple of scenes that seem kind of random in hindsight. I’m hoping a certain visit to some monks makes more sense in the next book, since right now it seemed like a convenient way to move the plot along and that makes me sad.

Summary:

Kinslayer goes far beyond not falling to second book syndrome by improving greatly from the first book. I feel so much more connected to these characters and this world and I want them to win dammit! Kristoff does a marvelous job of bringing many characters to life, including some furry friends, and I’m quite excited to see where he brings us next!

4.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Four Stars: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Kristoff has blasted onto the fantasy scene with Stormdancer, a steampunk, japanese fantasy. Stormdancer tells the story of young Yukiko whose life has been filled with tragedy and a deadly secret. This secret, however, is just what she needs to befriend the legendary griffin she and her father are sent to hunt down by a corrupt emperor.

I started seeing reviews for Stormdancer a while ago, and quickly found Jay Kristoff’s blog because he is just a hilarious blogger. I’ve never been caught by the steampunk bug, and so I figured this could be a good book to ease into those waters. I had some pretty high expectations for Stormdancer due to all the hype and Kristoff’s obvious awesomeness, and it didn’t quite meet those expectations. I’m really looking forward to watching how Kristoff’s grows as a writer, however.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Stormdancer
Author: Jay Kristoff
Pages: 322  (hardcover) pages
Genre-ish: Japanese Steampunk Fantasy
Rating★★★★☆ – interesting premise and characters, flat delivery
Setting: Stormdancer occurs in a steampunk/fantasy world inspired by Japan, with balloon carried skyships and mechanized armor for the rich. The land has been horribly polluted by the overfarming of the only fuel source: chi. The sky is red, the rain black, the land dying, and yet the emperor and Guild do nothing to fix it. Legendary creatures such as naga, sea serpents and griffins are in living memory, but suspected to be completely extinct due to overhunting.
Premise: When the young emperor wakes up from a “vision” of him flying on a griffin against the armies his empire is waging war against, his greed compels him to have this impossible desire. He orders Yukiko and her father to go find this legend for him to ride. They set out on the suicide mission with a number of loyal companions, but soon crash into the last wilderness in the empire. However, before crashing, they see the legend in the flesh, and Yukiko is able to communicate with it….

Strengths:

  • First and foremost, I have never heard of a setting like in Stormdancer. The fresh ideas of the book fueled a lot of my interest in it, and Kristoff definitely delivers on awesome new ideas.
  • I love tattoos, so the idea of an entire culture being symbolized by the tattoos that people adorned themselves with was pretty darn awesome.
  • Anytime a strong female overcomes tragedy and can communicate with legendary animals, there will be awesomeness. The action scenes that Kristoff is able to write when Yukiko and Buruu fight alongside each other are stunning.

Weaknesses:

  • Let’s start with the subject of some very negative Goodreads reviews. Apparently Stormdancer fails on the Japanese culture thing, though I’m not enough of an expert to really know. If you are informed about Japanese culture, apparently this book might piss you off a lot.
  • On a similar note, all of the japanese terms sprinkled in lead to a headache for people not used to them. I had a very poor visualization of the characters throughout the book because I had trouble remembering what different outfits and weapons looked like. When writing for an English speaking audience, it’s usually best to avoid needing to constantly info dump just to keep your reader knowledgable about what you’re talking about.
  • The setting was super depressing. Due to all the pollution, everyone is dying of cancer, and I mean everyone. This is fine to start with if things get less depressing, but I was just never happy when reading Stormdancer because I was being constantly reminded how much everything sucks. This is certainly useful to drive tension and plot sometimes, but there needs to be resolution as the main characters make things better. Maybe there will be in the later books, but Stormdancer was less exciting to read than I had hoped.

Summary:
While there are a number of things that make it clear that Kristoff is a new author, Stormdancer is still a very interesting book. The setting and ideas in it are captivating, and I hope that the rest of the trilogy improves on the flaws of the first book. I think people who like steampunk more than me will probably be more captivated by the various technologies, but apparently people with an interest in japanese culture cringed a lot while reading Stormdancer. Whether or not you like Stormdancer, though, I really think you should check out Kristoff’s blog because it is hilarious.

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Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – A

 

 Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff