Tag «Apocalyptic»

Series Review: Riders by Veronica Rossi

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Riders (from Goodreads):

Nothing but death can keep eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

While recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen—Conquest, Famine, and Death—are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now—bound, bloodied, and drugged—Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for—not to mention all of humankind—he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Series: Riders Duology
Author: Veronica Rossi
# of Books: 2 (Riders, Seeker)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Romance, Adventure
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single (Riders), Alternating (Seeker)
Publication Dates: February 2016 – May 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

After finishing the Under the Never Sky Trilogy nearly three years ago, I’ve been missing a little Veronica Rossi in my life. She’s a fantastic storyteller and I was STOKED to see what she would do next with this series.

I knew Riders had some mixed reviews but I was optimistic. It took me awhile to get into Under the Never Sky but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the world Rossi weaved.

The Concept / The World:

I have a few Horsemen of the Apocalypse novels on my TBR but this is the first one I’ve read off of it–and it didn’t disappoint! It’s such a cool concept and Rossi does a great job developing it. The plot is straightforward but it does have those added layers that become more intricate as the story evolves. It captured my full attention from the start.

The Plot:

For me, Riders had an odd pacing. First, I loved the format of the novel. Having Gideon essentially describe past events in an interrogation room gives the novel a fantastic level of suspense. How does he get to that point? What happened to the others? I loved the anticipation of the big reveal! Learning how the horsemen were brought together captured my attention from the start.

But once the horsemen are assembled, the plot reaches a plateau. And it feels a little stale. I didn’t like waiting around for something to happen, especially when the first half of the novel had such a great pace to it. The good news is that it does pick up and the last few chapters were fabulous.

Yet Seeker–despite Riders ending on such a high point–takes its time to reach the same momentum. The romance gets a little more lot of airtime and it seems to be awhile before the action happens. Which is a little unfortunate because I think the romance is the weakest feature of this novel. There is no need to dedicate HALF THE BOOK to it when there are so many other plot points to wrap up. And when the focus does shift again to the actual plot, I wasn’t as into as I wanted to. If this had been the first book, I would have DNF’d it well before the 40% mark because it was so boring.

The Characters:

Gideon is the lead for Riders and he is the perfect choice. I loved his witty and sarcastic narration. He was a very entertaining narrator. But he is also a great leader for this essentially rag-tag team of horsemen.

I really enjoyed the dynamic between the 4 guys. Sure, it starts a little rocky but it was cool seeing them evolve as a team and come together.

And I liked that the villains are villains. I always enjoy having someone to root against.

The Romance:

Honestly, this is why my rating for this series is lower than I wanted it to be. I was not feeling this romance in the slightest. It’s such a shame because I know Rossi can write such great romantic pairings as evident in Under the Never the Sky. Here, it just seemed rushed and perhaps a little forced? I think if you removed it from the story, it wouldn’t negatively affect the plot but would enhance it–especially in Seeker where it becomes too much of the focus.

My Audiobook Experience:

I really loved the audiobook and I’m glad I decided to read this series as an audio one. Like I said above, Gideon has a sarcastic tone to a lot of his narration and I’m not sure if I would have grasped all of it in the book copy. And with Riders being written like Gideon is describing the events to his interrogator, it just seemed natural to listen to it as an audiobook.

Having the narration shift to an alternating one in Seeker worked. I’m not sure how else you could tell this story without it and both voice actors do a great job delivering the content.

Series Rating: 3/5

Riders 3.5/5 | Seeker 2/5

overall

It breaks my heart a bit that I’m giving this series this review. Riders was a great base for a strong sequel but Seeker just couldn’t keep the momentum going. I won’t be recommending this one anytime soon.

Read if You Like: adventure, mythology, action
Avoid if You: dislike romance focused sequels
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Series Review: Americosis by Haydn Wilks

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Americosis

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Americosis (from Goodreads):
A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

breakdown

Series: Americosis
Author: Haydn Wilks
# of Books: 4 (Americosis VOL 1, TBD)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalypse
Heat Rating: Had sexual content
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: July 9, 2015
Source & Format: Provided by Publisher–eBook  Thank you Dead Bird Press!

disclaimer

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading this series after Americosis. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was contacted by the publisher to see if I was interested in reading this short novella that serves as an introduction to Haydn Wilks new “darkly comic sci-fi series”. While I don’t normally read science-fiction focused work, especially in the Adult category of reading, the cover and synopsis intrigued me. I also like the idea that it was a dark comedy…I enjoy cynical humour and it isn’t something that is really prevalent in literature–or at least in the genres I normally read.

What I Liked:

–The Satire–

I had to double check the difference between a satire and a parody to make sure I was labelling this book correctly. It’s hard to say since it is just a novella but I would lean more towards the satire side of things.

I could definitely see the connections between our world and the fictional world in the novella. The attitudes of society and the characters, although cynical, are just expansions upon what is happening right now with popular culture. I liked that bite of realism and it did make me chuckle at times.

–The Length–

I thought this book was the right amount of length for what it is trying to do, which is setting up for the rest of the series. It gives you enough detail without being overwhelming and leaves enough unresolved that your interest is peaked for the next instalment.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Flow–

I had a hard time keeping things straight as I was reading this. Like a review on Goodreads suggested,  read this in a single shot to make sure you don’t get lost. I read this in two sittings, only a couple of hours apart and I had to go back a few pages to make sure I was on the right track during that second session.

This story jumps around a lot between characters and places; and at one point so did the narration POV. It could have just been the format I was reading it in (sometimes page breaks etc are lost in eBook formatting) but that really confused me. I did some backtracking when that happened but that didn’t always work for me.

Will I Continue with this series?:

Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. It left me more confused than anything. Even though I do appreciate the concept and enjoyed the cynical view of society, the story just didn’t keep my attention.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

Definitely not my cup of tea. But I do think science fiction fans who enjoy satires will eat this book right up! It’s a cool premise (really cool cover), it just fails to capture my attention in a way that makes me want to continue reading personally.

Read if You Like: Adult science fiction, satires, sci-fi horror
Avoid if You: don’t like Adult science fiction, abstract books

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Movie Mondays: The Maze Runner

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Movie: The Maze Runner (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I didn’t totally love The Maze Runner when I read it. I think I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer before I read the novel and let the trailer create my expectations for the novel.

I was expecting a fast-paced adventure novel with lots of twists and turns (and I don’t just mean turns of maze itself) and high doses of suspense. Instead, I got a dry, overly descriptive novel that took a very long time to get exciting.

Part of the problem is the third person narration–it’s just so impersonal for a story that is supposed to be suspenseful. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters like I wanted and that made it hard to read it.

There also wasn’t a lot of action either until the very end of the novel–and that’s when the plot gets a lot more interesting as well.

Conclusion:

This is one of those “cool concept–poor execution” novels. Read it if you enjoy longer Young Adult reads that slowly build up to the climax.

Rating: 3/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

The Movie:

Despite not having an overly good experience reading the novels—I was SUPER excited to watch the movie! Part of the reason is my massive crush on Dylan O’Brien (who plays the lead Thomas) but part of the reason is that when I was reading the book, I could definitely see it as a movie. James Dashner is very descriptive so I had a very clear picture of the setting in my mind when I was reading and if you got rid of the overly descriptive parts and just took out the highlights, it would have everything that a good movie needs.

I have to say, this was a great adaption–my crushes on the respective actors aside. I really loved the direction they took this movie in terms of what they cut and kept.

First, the cast was great! And I’m not saying that in a biased way 😉 They really did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and I definitely connected more with these characters in film than novel form. O’Brien was exactly what I pictured Thomas to act like–fantastic job!

The set was also really, really well done. Not hard when the movie is adapted from a book as descriptive as The Maze Runner but still important nonetheless.

As for the story–this was exactly what I expected The Maze Runner to be: fast-paced and suspenseful! Even knowing what was going to happen, I still had goosebumps anytime a griever appeared on screen or they entered the maze. The main plot points are pretty much the same from what I remember but only a few minor changes are made. I think it’s a good thing that they changed what they did. There is just one thing that they reveal that seems a little premature to me but I think for the sake of the general audience (who has probably never read the book) it needed to be done.

I’m SO happy that this adaptation was successful at the box office–because a sequel deserves to be made. The Scorch Trials was my favourite book of the trilogy and I can’t wait to see it brought to life. I also won’t lie: I want more of Dylan O’Brien in my life 🙂

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE…hands down. It was everything I wanted the novel to be and was very well done. Fans I think will be happy with the result. I encourage those who didn’t like the book to actually watch the movie at some point because I have a feeling you too will also really enjoy it!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Trailer:

Series Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
# of Books: 3 (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)

There is a prequel novel called The Kill Order and novella that is listed between books 2 and 3 called Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

I had heard about the Maze Runner series before I heard about the plans for the movie and had put it on my to-read list. But with the movie approaching, I decided to read it before the movie was released in September.

The first book in the series, The Maze Runner, was very slow and dry. I was expecting the action to happen right away and I found that the plot really didn’t pick up until the last third of the book–which is quite far into the novel as it is a longer novel. I just felt like the little pieces of the mystery took too long to be revealed; because once more pieces were revealed, it got really interesting. But until you know more it is quite dull. Part of the issue is that it is very descriptive–which isn’t bad because I have a good idea of what the world looks like–when it doesn’t really need to be.

I could see why a lot of people didn’t enjoy the novel as it isn’t as intense or action packed as, say, the Hunger Games were. I think the movie will do well though because they will speed through the exposition quicker and focus more on the few action scenes we do get in the first half of the book and expand upon them.

Up until the halfway point or so of The Maze Runner I wasn’t entirely sure if I would be reading the second novel, The Scorch Trials. I didn’t want to have to put myself through another round of dry, overly descriptive chapters.But when everything is finally revealed, I really got into the story and was excited to read book 2.

The Scorch Trials does what I wish The Maze Runner did, and that’s hitting the ground and running (no pun intended). There isn’t an inflated exposition to sift your way through. Instead we dive right into the next scene and watch the mystery unravel around us. I did find that some chapters were slower than others but overall, The Scorch Trials is a vast improvement over its predecessor and I understand why people love these/this books/series because it is quite the ride when it wants to be. It makes the task of reading The Maze Runner almost worth it.

Unfortunately though, The Death Cure, the third and final book of the series, drops the ball. It was more “death” than “cure”. Like the inaugural book of the series, it was super slow. It got to a point where I was just skimming the text because I really didn’t need to read every detail to get an idea of what was happening–because there wasn’t really anything happening! That was why it was more like “death” because it was a chore to read it–though the last 40 pages really picked up. However, I missed the “cure” part. I really didn’t feel like any of my questions about the entire series were answered and the ending leaves a little to be desired. As a concluding book in a series, it was a fail.

I’m undecided about reading the prequel novel (it is a full fledged novel, not a novella), The Kill Order. It is very important that you don’t read this novel until after you read the trilogy because it will have spoilers about the world that is unveiled as you progress through the trilogy. However, the characters in the Maze Runner do not appear in the Kill Order (from what I understand). I might read it in the future, but after finishing the Death Cure, I need a bit of a break from this series.

Conclusion:

A cool concept for a series but not the best execution. It’s a slower series that does have its higher points but overall drags out throughout the novels and the entire series. I was very disappointed but I am looking forward to the movie–I think if it is executed well, it will be what I expected the series to be. If you like slower, longer stories told from the third person, this is a young adult series for you!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No – unless I know that they love overly descriptive books. I would actually recommend that they watch the movie instead…find out why here!

Similar Reads: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe Trilogy #1) and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.