Review of “Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Sleeping Giants
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 320
Published: 2016, Del Ray
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

MY REVIEW

Wow! It has been a long time since I felt like I couldn’t put down a book. Five days to finish a book is fast for me nowadays. And I wanted to pick up the second one right away. And I would have, had I not had a tournament just starting. The ending made me literally sitting with my mouth open on the tram on my way to the tournament. I had been thinking that that could not have truly happened, but at the very end, the epilogue, I was still surprised out of my mind at the revelation. I had been thinking how I should read another book inbetween, but after that ending (and frankly the whole book), I am definitely not. I cannot!

Okay, so I guess I have to explain the crystal clear 5 I gave it. First of all, this is no ordinary book. Like The Illuminae Files, it is written completely from a documentation perspective. Mostly interviews, but also journals and logs of different kinds. Mostly interviews. Very interesting way to write and Neuvel really manages to get the reader to see everything. Isn’t that insane? That just through dialogues, you get a really good idea of what the characters are like and how the environments look like? It’s impressive and Neuvel really does it. And speaking of characters, my complete favorite is the interviewer who you don’t really know anything about. He is so interesting and I can’t wait to find out who he is! He is serious, always use the right words, and fancy ones, well-educated I guess. But he also a smart-ass and really funny, even in his seriousness. Maybe I have gotten the complete wrong picture of him, because like I said you don’t really get any information about who he is, but the way I see him, he is funny and the most interesting character.

What is a minor downside though, is the lack of details and actually the time perception. Where a “normal” book would thoroughly describe every important aspect of the story, this one can sometimes jump several months ahead and all of a sudden something major happened, but it is just mentioned in one sentence and you don’t really get to find out how they managed to do it. It is not needed to understand the story, definitely not, and you get a good understanding of it anyway. But details are good, or maybe I just miss it because all the other books I am reading are full of them.

It gets a strong 5. I was recommended this by a friend who usually don’t read any books, and for once it didn’t take me very long to pick it up and I am so glad I did. An easy read and very entertaining. Now when this review is finished, I will start with Waking Gods right away!

Review of “Höstregn” by Lars Wilderäng

Title: Höstregn (~ “Autumn Rain”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Höstsol
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 395
Published: 2018, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

A bigger part of Europe is without power and means of communication. Control centres are wiped out and hours are passing without backlashes simultaneously as rival troops are crossing the borders.

Time is meagre and hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake. Body guard Christian Vindelby ends up in the middle of the installment of a new government, Johanna is stuck in a desperate juggernaut duel and Jonas is stranded in the chaos south of Uppsala with the kids, at the same time as a huge responsibility are laid upon his shoulders.

In the defense centre of Moscow, Misja’s fight for survival has only just begun and in the USA, hidden forces are working to escalate the situation further.

When old leaders fall, one no longer can control who will take their place. One desperate plan is formed, but the question is if everyone is prepared to pay the price?

MY REVIEW

Everyone who has ever read a book knows that it can sometime start off kind of slowly and uneventful. Even if it is the second or third or 7th book in a series. I have found the exception that confirms the rule: Höstregn, the sequel to Höstsol by Lars Wilderäng. Everything starts at page one! Taking off exactly where Höstsol ended, at the cliffhanger. The feeling of hopelessness that joined me in the end and taunted me with one year of waiting for the sequel joined me right away on page one. And kept going for a long while. It looked very very bad for the poor Swedes. And honestly, it is not until the very end that hope comes forward. I like that it is stated pretty early on about a big secret mission, but you don’t really know until the very end what it is about.

Like with all the other books Wilderäng has written, it follows many characters and at first I felt that it was hard to get to know the different ones, that his type of writing is better to give a full overview of the plot, rather than following the personal developments of the characters. But I changed my mind towards the mid/ending. I did feel with the characters, I felt what they felt and even started crying a little bit at one point.

If I remember correctly, Höstsol had lots of military details and I had a hard time following exactly everything that happened because it was sort of easy to zone out when details occupied page after page. This was easier to understand. I wouldn’t say less detailed, because it still was, which made it super realistic, but it was easier to follow. More feelings involved perhaps? Easier to relate to.

The reason Höstsol only got a 4.5 is because of what I just wrote in the paragraph above. And since that is not applicable in the sequel, Höstregn gets a 5!

Review of “Up in Smoke” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Up in Smoke
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 185
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 ships

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

This is the third 100-page novella, continuing the exciting story of fan favorite characters Six and Sam. Following their dangerous battle in the mountains of Montana, the couple has now been ripped apart.

Sam is imprisoned aboard a ship that’s miles off the coast of Mexico. His Legacies have been taken away from him. He doesn’t have any back-up. And if he can’t find a way to free himself soon, he’s going to become a lab experiment.

Although safely recovering at the Human Garde Academy, Six has had her abilities stripped as well. Ignoring everyone’s warnings, though, she decides to mount a rescue mission with the help of Nine and her young charge Nemo. But it’s three of them versus who knows how many teens with Legacies who may be working for their enemy….

Six and Sam may no longer have their powers, but does it mean they’re truly powerless?

 

MY REVIEW

Interesting to have a full novella following Six and Sam, but both completely powerless. It is still as action-packed, still as funny and still as realistic as these stories all are. I find it very easy to relate to all the characters and am so impressed with the author who manages to create so real characters, the things they sare feel real and so easy and so right according to all the different personalities. How does he do it? I basically only have written about one person so far in my own book and I find that hard to make her belieavable. It will be tough when all the other characters around her should be as alive.

I really like this world that Pittacus Lore has painted. But I have to admit that the original story, following the Garde on Earth, trying to run for their lives from the Mogadorians, is better. Now the Mogs are dead and the bad guys are rogue Human Garde (teenagers with newly-developed Legacies) being controlled by manipulative adults who are grumpy because they couldn’t get a Legacy themselves. It is a good way to keep the story goind, for sure. But it doesn’t get it all the way up to a 5, I stop at a 4.

Review of “Mortal Coil” by Derek Landy

Title: Mortal Coil
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #45
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 604
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 remnants

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Following the shocking revelations of DARK DAYS, get ready for the fifth instalment of the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series — guaranteed to contain at least 40% humour, 50% action, and 100% thrills!

The blonde girl with the black lips turned to Valkyrie. ‘We know,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen the future. We know you’re going to kill the world!’

Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back — just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down! While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other!

MY REVIEW

Not even halfway through this series and it is already going very very badly for everyone. How will it end?

It took me almost a month and a half to finish this. Perhaps I wasn’t in a reading mode this summer, or I actually might have gotten a little tired of it. I enjoyed it and I smiled widely at some remarks but I found it hard to concentrate. Was it too much action? Too much going on all the time? I generally feel that fighting scenes in books are hard for me to follow. And there were a lot of them in this fifth book in Skulduggery Pleasant series. I will take a break now from it because another book was just released and other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. But, Landy is so good at writing cliffhangers. It’s insane. The last one, in the fourth book, was intense and very surprising. And so was this, not as strong though.

Many people died and one thing that bothered me was that it was so casual. As a reader, I barely even noticed that they died. Some books have made me cry out in the open while reading about someone who almost died. But this, with characters I liked, nada. Neither did the characters left alive feel anything. It felt unreal.

Something Landy is really good at, is connecting everything. I didn’t really look for plot holes, but it is very obvious that he has put in a lot of thought into everything. Everything written has a meaning and that is very enjoyable. There most likely are some plot holes, but they are hidden and not very noticable.

I will take a short break in this series and read a couple or three other books. I hope I will have something more constructive to write about #6 when I haven’t almost straight-read all previous ones.

It gets a four out of five.

Review of “Dark Days” by Derek Landy

Title: Dark Days
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Skulduggery Pleasant #4
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 419
Published: 2010, HarperCollins
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 villains

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Skulduggery Pleasant is lost on the other side of a portal, with only some evil gods for company. Can he possibly survive? (Yes, all right, he’s already dead. But still.)

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, sorcerer, warrior.

Oh yes. And dead.

Skulduggery Pleasant is gone, sucked into a parallel dimension overrun by the Faceless Ones. If his bones haven’t already been turned to dust, chances are he’s insane, driven out of his mind by the horror of the ancient gods. There is no official, Sanctuary-approved rescue mission. There is no official plan to save him.

But Valkyrie’s never had much time for plans.

The problem is, even if she can get Skulduggery back, there might not be much left for him to return to. There’s a gang of villains bent on destroying the Sanctuary, there are some very powerful people who want Valkyrie dead, and as if all that wasn’t enough it looks very likely that a sorcerer named Darquesse is going to kill the world and everyone on it.

Skulduggery is gone. All our hopes rest with Valkyrie. The world’s weight is on her shoulders, and its fate is in her hands.

These are dark days indeed.

MY REVIEW

My general feeling about Dark Days is that this is mostly an in-between-book. That this book is only taking you from the previous and transporting you to the next. Som big reveals, recurring characters, but nothing really new.

I did really enjoy the first part, where Valkyrie tries to save Skulduggery in the dimension of The Faceless Ones. That was new and interesting and fun, after that it basically only felt lika a transportation from book 3 to book 5.

Still very entertaining and I smiled several times while reading. As usual.

Review of “The Fates Divide” by Veronica Roth

Title: The Fates Divide
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Carve the Mark #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 450
Published: 2018, Katherine Tegen Books
My Grade: 4.5 out of 5 stars

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Fate brought them together. Now it will divide them.

The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth are ruled by their fates, spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates, once determined, are inescapable.

Akos is in love with Cyra, in spite of his fate: He will die in service to Cyra’s family. And when Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek—a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead—reclaims the Shotet throne, Akos believes his end is closer than ever.

As Lazmet ignites a barbaric war, Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost. For Cyra, that could mean taking the life of the man who may—or may not—be her father. For Akos, it could mean giving his own. In a stunning twist, the two will discover how fate defines their lives in ways most unexpected.

With the addition of two powerful new voices, Veronica Roth’s sequel to Carve the Mark is a chorus of hope, humor, faith, and resilience.

 

MY REVIEW

Carve ther mark might not have been my favorite book, but I really liked the plot and I knew I would instantly give The Fates Divide a chance when it was released. I waited a couple of months to read it. And I have to say that it kind of felt that Veronica read my previous review and did something about it. It was so much easier to read, the distinctions between the different characters writing style made it easy to see who was in the spotlight at the moment (if you somehow forgot what the chapter name was). The world got more colorful with more and more thorough descriptions. I had no problem seeing everything in my head.

The plot continued in the same way as Carve the Mark left it. Still as good, still not unecessarily twisted or complicated.

It was a great end in this duology and it raises the grade by 1.5 points up to a 4.5 out of 5.

Review of “The Time Paradox” by Eoin Colfer

Title: The Time Paradox
Author: Eoin Colfer
Series: Artemis Fowl #6
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 391
Published: 2008, Puffin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5 monkeys

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After disappearing for three years, Artemis Fowl has returned to a life different from the one he left. Now he’s a big brother, and spends his days teaching his twin siblings the important things in life, such as how to properly summon a waiter at a French restaurant.

But when Artemis Fowl’s mother contracts a life-threatening illness, his world is turned upside down. The only hope for a cure lies in the brain fluid of the silky sifaka lemur. Unfortunately, the animal is extinct due to a heartless bargain Artemis himself made as a younger boy.

Though the odds are stacked against him, Artemis is not willing to give up. With the help of his fairy friends, the young genius travels back in time to save the lemur and bring it back to the present. But to do so, Artemis will have to defeat a maniacal poacher, who has set his sights on new prey: Holly Short.

The rules of time travel are far from simple, but to save his mother, Artemis will have to break them all.and outsmart his most cunning adversary yet: Artemis Fowl, age ten.

MY REVIEW

Another Artemis Fowl book devoured but different than the rest. I think I was a little bit afraid that all the books would be the same. The young, criminal master mind who was selfish like no other, always coming up with new schemes, the next one more thoroughly thought through than the last. But no. This was what I assume that I thought after reading The Arctic Incident three years ago. I am glad I was wrong and took up this series again. It is really good!

The Time Paradox is kind of obviously about time travel to save his dying mom. And for once, he dives headfirst into this adventure without having a real plan. I am guessing that he is truly stressed about his mom and therefore acts recklessly. It turns out well in the end anyway, obviously, but it takes a while and many events to get there. It was entertaining to read about an Artemis who didn’t have a plan yet still solved everything, after many ifs and buts. I also like how he is developing into a young adult who have feelings.

Even if it was good, it does not quite feel like a five, so it gets a 4.