Review of “Metro 2035” by Dmitry Glukhovsky


Title
: Metro 2035
Author: Dmitry Glukhovsky
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 622
Published: 2017, Coltso
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

World War Three wiped out the humankind. The planet is empty now. Huge cities became dust and ashes. Railroads are being eaten by rust. Abandoned satellites hang lonely on the orbit. Radio is mute on all the frequencies.

The only survivors of the last war were those who made it into the gates of the Metro, the subway system of Moscow city. It’s there, hundreds of feet below the ground, in the vaults of what was constructed as the world’s largest air-raids shelter that people try to outlive the end of the days. It’s there that they created a new world for themselves.

The stations of Metro became city-states, and its citizens, torn apart by religions and ideologies are fighting for the now scarce commodities: air, water, and space. This tiny underground world can only remind humans of an immense world they once were the masters of.

It’s been twenty years past Doomsday, and yet the survivors refuse to give up. The most stubborn of them keep cherishing a dream: when the radiation level from nuclear bombings subsides, they will be able to return to the surface and have the life their parents once had.

But the most stubborn of the stubborn continues to search for other survivors in this huge emptiness that once was called Earth. His name is Artyom. He would give anything to lead his own people from the underground onto the surface.

And he will.

MY REVIEW

The Metro trilogy has come to an end. It started out real strong with 2033, came out flat with 2034 and ended a little confusing and complicated with 2035.

I honestly love this setting, and that alone will make me recommend this series to people. And I would probably say something like: yes, read the first one, it was amazing! The second, not so much, but if you’re anything like me, then you won’t be able to stay away because you want to know what the author has to say. The third is very similar to the first. What happened with the second, I don’t know. Probably just read them all.

But other than the really cool setting and the reality of it (except for the black ones in Metro 2033)… it was Russian, that’s for sure. One thing I found really hard to follow were all the names and nicknames every character had. I had no idea who was who. I guess that’s a cultural thing?

Some parts were very confusing, but I guess that was because Artiom was rambling in his radiation sickness? It was also confusing with what was real or theories. But that’s not a bad thing. That’s the author being very true to his character. You only get to follow Artiom and only his thoughts and ideas and perspective. So when he is certain of something, the reader gets certain of it too. But in the end?

Kind of a big reveal at the end and the reactions from everyone are not surprising, yet maybe a little. A good ending. I want to read Metro 2036 (if Dmitry ever decide to write that book) because it would be very, very different from the first three.

I recommend it, but only to get a proper ending to Metro 2033 which was incredible!

Review of “Only Human” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Only Human
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #3
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 336
Published: 2018, Del Ray
My Grade: 3 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In her childhood, Rose Franklin accidentally discovered a giant metal hand buried beneath the ground outside Deadwood, South Dakota. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin led the team that uncovered the rest of the body parts which together form Themis: a powerful robot of mysterious alien origin. She, along with linguist Vincent, pilot Kara, and the unnamed Interviewer, protected the Earth from geopolitical conflict and alien invasion alike. Now, after nearly ten years on another world, Rose returns to find her old alliances forfeit and the planet in shambles. And she must pick up the pieces of the Earth Defense Corps as her own friends turn against each other.

MY REVIEW

5, 4, 3. That’s my judgement of how these books unfortunately went. Don’t get me wrong, I loved all three books, but the first was by far the best, the second was slightly less sharp and the third was promising until the end that made the whole book kind of feel a bit unneccessary and very flat. Let me explain why.

If you haven’t read the first two, then here comes spoilers, but I can’t really write this review without it since all the books are connected. The second book ended with the main characters ending up on the planet whose inhabitants created Themis, the Ekts. Super cool. I love other people’s fantasies on how different planets might look. It is somehow different than fantasy where it kind of feels like it is Earth, just another version of it. I loved Esat Ekt and how Neuvel managed to describe the world and the people in depth through files, mostly conversation logs between the characters.

The book starts with the characters coming back to Earth and every chapters now and then was to look back at what had happened there. Sure, it was smart and kept it interesting, but I also think that it would have been better to have put the focus on Esat Ekt and only written a small part of what happened back on Earth after, in normal and logical chronologial order. And the ending should also be completely different. No, wait, I changed my mind. It should be as it is, it is clever. But the ending should have been different! More interesting and not so flat. It was almost anti-climactic. Siri Pettersen had a gigantic cliffhanger at the end of her Raven Rings trilogy, that exact ending would have worked perfectly here too. Just saying.

Even though I mostly wrote about the flaws now, it is a good book and I really enjoyed reading it as well. But when compared to the two prequels, it just doesn’t feel right to give it a higher grade than 3.

Review of “Waking Gods” by Sylvain Neuvel

Title: Waking Gods
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 325
Published: 2017, Del Ray
My Grade: 4 out of 5

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

MY REVIEW

After the cliffhanger in Sleeping Giants I couldn’t wait and picked up the second book in the Themis Files trilogy right away. Waking Gods is written in the same way as Sleeping Giants, in interview form. But I have to admit, that it was harder to follow the story in this one, there were more logs than interviews and it was hard to understand exactly what was going on when the characters talked into a mic during the action-packed event. And also when several people were involved in one recording. Like who said what exactly? Not that it actually matters, because you get the idea anyway. I think I am just used to everything being super clear in “normal” books with detailed descriptions and who says what. But to understand what is going on, that is actually not needed and Neuvel proves that very well.

In the first book, you were always sitting on the edge of your reading place, you had no idea what was going to happen, and it took so many surprising turns. The second was more action-packed. Instead of getting previous events explained through interviews, you were there and were told through recorded mission logs. I think I preferred the interviews. But I also see why the author chose to do it. Not gonna spoil it, I promise.

The ending, and I mean the very very last sentence. Extreme cliffhanger! But I had figured that out a long time ago and wasn’t as surprised or dropped my jaw like in the first one. Still, hell of a cliffhanger!

So, lots of action, long time jumps, many deaths, not as many interviews equals to a grade of 4.

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 “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 “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 “Into the Fire” by Pittacus Lore

Title: Into the Fire
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: The Legacy Chronicles #2
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 113
Published: 2018, HarperCollins
My Grade: 4 out of 5 puppeteer

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

After escaping from their sabotaged plane and avoiding a crash, Six, Sam, and their new charges manage to make it to the Human Garde Academy and meet up with Nine. Instead of continuing their investigation, though, the Garde decide they must take on the dangerous new foe who has abducted their friends and allies.

But the trail has gone cold, and the only way to find their enemy is to infiltrate his organization. Against Six and Sam’s better judgement, they send Rena and Nemo undercover. But things take a frightening turn when the two young teens are forced to play a deadly game, and Six and Sam may not be able to reach them in time.

 

MY REVIEW

Another action packed story by Pittacus Lore. Like I have said in my previous reviews of books by the Loric Elder, it is as good as the long novels, except that all the stuff happens in only 100 pages. What differs this side-story series compared to The Lost Files that accompanied the original I am Number Four series (The Legacy Chronicles follows Lorien Legacies Reborn, a series which follows the new Human Garde at the Academy rather than the original Loric who had numbers), is that this is not stand-alone novellas in the world describing events that take place alongisde the main events of the main series. This is a story with cliffhangers. A whole new side-story which I guess could be put into a full book. But it works perfectly when the short novellas are released in between the longer books. Otherwise it could be confusing to which order to read them all.

It is a very exciting story and we get to follow Six and Sam more who didn’t have too big roles in the first series. It’s great. But I do miss following John Smith. He is pictured as an almighty god now in the aftermath of the war on Earth between Lorien and Mogadorien.

So to sum up, this is not a standalone novella in this side series. Read Out of the Ashes first. After reading the full Lorien Legacies series. And The Lost Files. And probably also Generation One. Read them all, they are great! 4 out of 5!