Obsidio by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff (Book Review)

Publisher: Knopf Books
Page Count
: 615

I may not always be up to date with all the latest book releases, but I really was looking forward to the finale to the Illuminae Files. I previously reviewed Illuminae (review here) and Gemina (review here) on the blog and even though I really struggle with talking about sequels, I could not pass up the chance to rave a little about this one. While there won’t be any spoilers for Obsidio, I do think it’s better if you have read the previous books in the series before continuing on.

I should probably start by saying that I was not one of the many people who hyped Illuminae. I enjoyed reading it, but it was really only during Gemina that I came fully on board with this series. Obviously the format is a lot of fun and the characters definitely grow on you over time, which makes Obsidio such an enjoyable conclusion to it all. Whereas the previous books mostly focused on one couple during the story and only lent cameo roles to the others, Obsidio truly brings it all together. In my opinion, it took away the spotlight from Asha and Rhys a little bit, but not enough to really make me mind since I was already invested in what the other characters were up to.

What I enjoyed most about reading Obsidio was the fact that you really get answers for all your questions. It adds another layer of depth to the characters (AIDAN is still my fave and I won’t back down on that – I have a soft spot for AIs), provides a lot of action, gives you the necessary conclusion, but still doesn’t close the door on this universe forever. It really was a wild roller coaster to read this book and I devoured it in one day, but sometimes I almost wished the stakes were higher or that the consequences were more devastating and lasting. That’s not to say that you won’t have a wide array of emotions coming your way while reading, but that tiny evil voice in the back of my mind just maybe expected even more cruelty (at least targeted towards the main characters). But if I ignore that tiny detail, and that’s really all it is, then it ended absolutely beautifully. I love when my series end as if they were tied up with a neat little bow, making sure I won’t have to worry about the people in it, even if I will always love reading more about their lives.

I realise this is a super short review, but books like this are always best experienced first hand. Just get ready for some hard hitting moral questions and a final adventure that really does the Illuminae Files justice.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A very satisfying conclusion to the Illuminae Files!

Have you read Obsidio or other books in the series? Do you plan to? What are your thoughts?

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (Book Review)

Publisher: MCD Fsg Original
Page Count
: 200

Once again, I have turned to Twitter to help me make a decision and once again the result was a tie (Why do you keep doing this to me?). So, I have made the decision to review the first book, Annihilation, of the Southern Reach trilogy and that I will do another post for the movie and the remaining books. I still haven’t watched it yet, just because I have heard that there are some parts of the other books in it, even if it is supposed to only be about the first one and I don’t want to be spoiled. But for those of you who wanted a big post about everything concerning this series, you will still get it when I am done reading and watching.

I went into this book with fairly low expectations, which probably helped me incredibly in getting completely sucked into the world. I can see how the writing might not be for everyone, as it is very factual and without many embellishments. I would even go so far as to call it cold and distant, but considering the setting we were in, I kind of appreciated that scientific detachment. In a way, it added a layer of realism to it more than a flowery language ever could.

You never find out the names of any of the people involved, our MC is simply called the biologist. She wants you to think that she is objective when she details what happened in Area X, but it is very clear that she had an agenda of her own when she got there. Some part of me never quite liked the biologist, but at the same time I could relate to her on so many levels. I understood her need for solitude and I share the same ability of completely getting lost in my work. And I might not be identical to her when it comes to friends and family, but I still sort of got her behaviour.

Despite everything this book is, I didn’t expect to also find a heartbreaking love story in it, but all the bits about the biologist and her husband gave me exactly that. I am not saying those parts were my favourite … but they kind of were. It was so much about letting people in, knowing them in ways no one else does and about how everyone needs something different from a relationship.

“I loved him, but I didn’t need him, and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.”

Should you ever pick up this book, I hope you don’t expect to find answers in it. It is an enigma until the very end. It probably leaves you with more questions than you started out, but there is beauty in its mystery. I am very much looking forward to what the next books have in store for me, but I also have a feeling that we, as the readers, will never get that full picture of everything. Still, it is so very imaginative and chilling! I know I probably should have been scared (seen as this is a sort of Horror SciFi book? And I hate horror?) but I was weirdly fascinated instead. I am also very curious to see how that all translated to the screen, even though I already know that they changed quite a bit (and made it look scarier from what I could tell from the trailer).

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A promising start to the trilogy.

Did you read the book? Did you watch the movie? Let’s talk!

Splintered by A.G. Howard (Book Review)

splintsplinz

Publisher: Amulet Books
Page Count
: 370

I’ve read Splintered together with Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books and man, am I glad I had her to talk with. Give her a little bit of time and then definitely check out her review, as it will be full of her wonderful thoughts about the book.

I don’t know if you knew it, but I am a massive Alice in Wonderland fan. I am not sure I would say that it has always been that way though. When I was little I used to watch the Disney version of the movie all the time, but some things just freaked me out – like the flowers or the walrus eating the adorable little clams. Thinking about it, Alice is quite the disturbing tale and therefore I shouldn’t have been surprised with the amount of creepiness in this re-imagining, yet somehow I still was. I know that everyone told me so beforehand, but I still really wasn’t ready.

Alyssa’s hobby of making art out of dead bugs and generally the amount of zombie-ish/decayed-looking things and beings scared me off a little. It just really wasn’t my kind of style and I doubt it ever will be. I prefer happy things and alive ones, however, that was the only major thing that really bothered me, so it was nothing I could not handle on the long-run (even though it still freaked me out a lot. I swear, this book did not help with my fears! But I am going to pretend I was fine with all that anyway).

But on to the story! I thought Splintered was a really unique re-telling and that seems to be fairly rare these days. Alyssa was a (head-)strong protagonist that didn’t need any saving. I think a lot of the time she would have preferred it if either one of her very different and just as intriguing suitors simply hadn’t shown up. But both of the guys have odd names and a lot of affection for Alyssa, so they needed to be part of the story. Jeb and Morpheus are definitely necessary, but I think there is more to their story still. I liked them both in their own rights, but right now Morpheus has more mystery to him and therefore more of my attention at hand.

That last paragraph made it sound like it was basically just a love story, which it definitely wasn’t. It had a lot of twists and turns, some more and others less predictable – just as it should be.

The book ended on a fairly closed note (even though I am still not okay with something happening because I think it doesn’t make sense) with a possibility for sequel (which exist as we know), but I quite liked the ending of Splintered as it was. The whole thing could have stopped just like that as well and it would have been okay, so I just hope the other books hold up. Now, I will continue with the rest of the series, not just because I already have the books at home, but also because it has a weirdly addicting quality to it. I can sort of see why Al would have to return to Wonderland, but my mind doesn’t really picture more than that at all.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! A very unique spin on the Alice in Wonderland theme!

4stars

Have you read the series? What did you think of it?

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini (Book Review)

firewalkerLily Proctor has made it back to her own universe, and it’s finally time for her and Rowan to be happy and relax. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape, and they must hide her new magic for the safety of the world, but compared to fighting the monstrous Woven and leading armies in the alternate Salem, life is looking good.

‘You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified.’

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. Lily is the closest version of herself she’s ever seen in all her worldwalking, and Lillian’s running out of time. If she can’t persuade Lily and Rowan to return to her world, she’ll have to find a way to make them come back.

Publisher: Macmillan
Page Count:
 339

Firewalker is the second book in the Worldwalker trilogy by Josephine Angelini. If you haven’t read Trial by Fire (check out my review here) yet, I recommend you do NOT read on, since this review will have Spoilers for the first book!

It seems to be the year of me reading sequels! Where Glass Sword failed miserably at changing it up, Firewalker was very different from its predecessor as well, but did much better in executing the next act of the story. It continues with Lily having jumped back into her own world with Rowan in tie and it’s delightful to see the role reversal of him being the fish out of water now.

It’s a little difficult for me to write this review, because it took a long while until the story actually continued in a way that moved the plot forward as a whole. Also, my thoughts are all over the place! But then again, in some ways this book was so much darker than the first one and I love intense stories. The pace is much slower than it was during the first book. There’s a lot of recovery time needed for Lily and more told in flashbacks and memories than in the previous one. The clash of Lily’s old life and her new one is hilarious and also very surprising in some ways. A lot has happened while she was gone, which also leads to her having to return to Lillian’s world with more people than she ever intended to take there. I don’t even want to say anything more about he plot in order to not give anything away, but even if it was a lot slower, it was very intriguing to see these worlds collide.

We finally get an explanation as to why Lillian is executing scientists and why she hanged Rowan’s father. It’s a twisted logic with gruesome images, but one that I can understand and it really puts you in a bad spot. Lily can be stubborn and she is not doing the right thing by keeping secrets from her best friends and loved ones – it made her so much more annoying sometimes – but I still would not want to be in her position. There are no real good guys and I so much more get why Lillian felt like she had to become the villain of her own story.

Another thing we learn more about are the Woven and I am so intrigued now. I am pretty sure that they are going to be the focus in the last book, seen as they are a major part of the cliffhanger ending. Which was cruel – AGAIN! I hate that I have to wait until September for the finale, which has a title (Witch’s Pyre) and sort of also a cover, but not yet the Macmillan one. Since I find them to be the most gorgeous out there, I NEED to know how the last one looks like in that particular edition. I want it in my hands like ASAP! I am so hooked, I can only recommend this series! 

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A gripping sequel to a really great story. I cannot wait for the final book!

4stars

Have you read Firewalker? Did you have the same thoughts as I did? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (Book Review)

gold‘I’m still playing games. This is just the deadliest yet.’
Darrow is a rebel forged by tragedy. For years he and his fellow Reds worked the mines, toiling to make the surface of Mars inhabitable. They were, they believed, mankind’s last hope. Until Darrow discovered that it was all a lie, and that the Red were nothing more than unwitting slaves to an elitist ruling class, the Golds, who had been living on Mars in luxury for generations.
In
Red Rising, Darrow infiltrated Gold society, to fight in secret for a better future for his people. Now fully embedded amongst the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his dangerous work to bring them down from within. It’s a journey that will take him further than he’s ever been before – but is Darrow truly willing to pay the price that rebellion demands?

Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
Page Count: 442

I would recommend that you don’t read this review if you haven’t read the first part in the trilogy, Red Rising, yet (You can read my review of it here!). I will try my best not to spoil anything in terms of content for Golden Son, but I am going to mention characters from the previous book and that might give something away.

I guess the short version of this review is that I feel like I just got stabbed in the back and in the heart at the same time, but that’s not much of a review, is it? But where do I even begin?

I wasn’t exactly sure where the story would continue after Red Rising, but we pick up years later with Darrow almost finishing his time at the Academy and it makes sense. It doesn’t feel like the years in between are missing at all, yet you do notice that the world of the Golds has changed Darrow. After the first book, you know what kind of life he has to lead: constantly scared of betrayal, keeping everyone at arms-length while needing their support and talent … it’s a lonely life. And this change I mentioned, the decisions he has to make, are more complicated now with even more severe consequences. But this book isn’t as much about Darrow’s rise as a hero as it was in Red Rising, instead it is about politics and media, about loyalties and betrayals and finally also truth. There are so many twists and turns, basically nothing ever goes as planned and friendships are tested to their breaking point. The final betrayal stung the most to me, even though for once I saw it coming. Still not over the cliffhanger though …

In my opinion, Golden Son was sometimes a little bit more difficult to follow, because of the complex nature of the universe it is set in. There are family names and bloods feuds to be remembered and maneuvers to be planned – it gets tricky, but it pays off in every possible way! I especially enjoyed the use of media and how it can manipulate the public into believing certain things. We saw a few glimpses of that in Red Rising, but it slowly gets amplified in this sequel. I hope to see even more of it in Morning Star, a book I seriously can’t wait to get my hands on even though I am seriously scared what it has in store. (Publishing Date for Morning Star is February 9th, 2016!!!)

In the end, I just love how these books make me feel! My whole body tenses up, my heart gets broken, adrenaline rushes through my veins, I am on the verge of tears and even though I should know better I still put my silly faith in the characters I like. Darrow’s world is a complex one, a world that may seem far away from ours, yet it mirrors so many aspects of our society. The change of the hierarchy of Colors he wants to achieve demands answers to questions I don’t know how to respond to, but it gets me thinking. It makes me want to find a solution and that is what makes this book so good!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! If this series gets any better, I will suffer from a heart attack!!!

5stars

Are you a fan of the Red Rising series? Have you read Golden Son? Are your feels as crushed as mine?

Did I Mention I Love You? by Estelle Maskame (Book Review)

Did I Mention I Love You? (The DIMILY Trilogy, #1)When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.

(Goodreads)

Publishing Date: December 1, 2015

I was provided with an eArc from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Did I Mention I Love You? was the perfect start to the trilogy with a nice flow in writing and therefore instantly got me hooked. The book is written from Eden’s point of view and there is just so much I like about her, I don’t even know where to start. Eden hates shopping, except if it’s in a bookstore, she’s from Oregon (the state where I spent my exchange semester at) and wants to go to the University of Chicago (the city that I am obsessed with) to study Psychology. Combine all that and you have a character I simply cannot dislike.

When it comes to Eden and Tyler though, they were not the most obvious ship for me. In fact, it was really difficult for me to see beyond Tyler’s act and I was surprised when their relationship suddenly progressed in a different direction, even though I knew it would happen. I was secretly always rooting for Dean, but not for the reason you might think. I do understand that stepsiblings dating each other is sort of a taboo topic, but I didn’t actually think it was that odd. They just met and they are both attractive teenagers – it does make sense! And they are not related by blood! If they had just come out with it in the beginning, I don’t think it would have been that big a deal eventually … then again, Tyler was not in the right frame of mind back then.

I am a bit worried about Eden’s circle of friends as they all seem really reckless and some even lunatic. I sometimes have difficulties connecting to those characters, simply because I am the total opposite. This could have been the reason why I didn’t click with Tyler at first too. However, as time progressed he grew a little on me. I liked that the book was about more serious topics and that it constantly brushed upon several taboos. All in all, I cannot wait to learn how the series continues! 

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! I can only recommend this book to anyone who likes wild and forbidden love stories with a twist.

The Magician’s Land Book Review

The Magician’s Land is the conclusion to the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman (soon to be seen on Syfy as a TV show). If you missed it, you should check out my reviews of book 1: The Magicians and book 2: The Magician King. Beware of Spoilers ahead!

23398891Cast out of Fillory, Quentin Coldwater returns to the place his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. All too soon, however, his past comes looking for him, and Quentin sets out to face his fears and put things right—or die trying. Filled with riveting battle scenes as well as intriguing new characters and the return of beloved favorites, The Magician’s Land brings Grossman’s epic tale to its magnificent conclusion.
(source: Goodreads)

Grossman broke a little with tradition on this one and didn’t split it into four parts. I kind of missed it, but the flow was still pretty nice. It still switched between POVs though, namely the one of Quentin, the people in Fillory and new addition Plum. Also, there were a couple of chapters that were a story within the story and I quite enjoyed how everything just seemed to come together in the end. It was one of those everything and everyone is connected in some way.

So, Quentin really grew into himself and by now I actually cared about him and even liked him, which was just extremely difficult in the beginning. I am so glad he finally did get his Discipline, even though Minor Mendings seems pretty underwhelming at first. I love that they brought back Alice and that she and Q didn’t just go back to how everything was before – they actually have to start over which seems realistic after what they went through. A lot of the characters are still pretty crazy (especially Janet), but not everything is doom and gloom like it was in the Magicians. In hindsight, I have the feeling that the first book is not the best representation of the series and with its weird pacing and mood it probably put off a lot of readers from continuing with the trilogy.

It wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t show you the map of this book as well (unfortunately I didn’t find it coloured anywhere like the others were):

magician land

Fazit: 3.7/5 stars. It was funny and a great conclusion to the series. However, I am still not sure I would want to revisit it because it’s not one of my favourites.

In the end, my personal ranking of the books would be as followed:

  1. The Magician King
  2. The Magician’s Land
  3. The Magicians

Another book to scratch off my September TBR. What are your thoughts? Have you read the series as well?