The Captain’s Log – warcross (Marie Lu)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I can’t decide if the problem was me or the book.  I borrowed this one from a local library in hardback form and tried multiple times to read it without much success.  So it was returned.  Fast forward and a local library had an audio copy that was available.  I was in the mood for a young adult novel and so thought I would give it another try.

And to be fair, I was highly engrossed in the beginning of the book and especially enjoyed the narration by Nancy Wu.  This was despite the romance that was evident within the first couple of pages.  I shrugged and decided to go with the flow.  I loved the characters and story all the way up through the first warcross match in the book.  And then it began to unravel.

I can’t get into too many specifics without spoilers but three things eventually bogged down the story.  The romance set-up was fine overall and the banter before the couple gets together was okay.  But the declaration of feelings section just felt so juvenile and silly and I quickly wished the romance was out of the book altogether.

Then there be the main character, Emika.  I really did like her a lot but had trouble with how she was “one of the best ever hackers” and yet continued to make novice mistakes that seemingly existed only to move the plot forward.  She also seemed to always be rushing into things with nary a thought.  I don’t mind some impulsiveness but would rather have seen her think her way through problems.

After the first match, the plot began to bore and never brought back the feeling of excitement.  I wanted more warcross matches, more time in the game underworld, more showing instead of telling, more development of the team members, and more use of Emika’s actual skills.  I wanted less of Emika second guessing everything, way less insta-lust/romance, less angst, and less dropped plot points.  The hacking “rules” and lack of game rules in particular left much to be desired. Oh and the plot twist at the end made me grit me teeth in frustration.  It used a trope that needs to walk the plank.

So basically I am not excited for the set-up for book two and think I may be abandoning the series and perhaps this author’s work as well.  This be the second series of hers that I am disinclined to finish.  I think her world-building and characters be very interesting indeed but her plots fail to float me boat.  But I be in the minority of this one so bear that in mind.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu – when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. When Emika hacks into the game illegally, she’s convinced she’ll be arrested, and is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Marie Lu – Author

To buy the book go to:

warcross – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

legend – book 1 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)

prodigy – book 2 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)

champion – book 3 (3 Bells – Young Adult Dystopian)

Advertisements

The Captain’s Log – the wild robot escapes (Peter Brown)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I fell in love with Roz in the first book, the wild robot.  While I try to post no spoilers, if ye haven’t read the first book then ye might want to skip this post.  If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .

It was wonderful to be readin’ about Roz again and seeing how she handles the new obstacles in her path.  Unlike the first book that happens in the wild, this book finds Roz dealing with humans and farming and cities.  As always she is gregarious, hard-working, thoughtful, compassionate, and fabulous.  I adored her entire time working on the farm.

Another quick and lovely read by the author.  His illustrations were wonderful and heartwarming.  While I be satisfied with the conclusion of the series, closing that final page was bittersweet.  I will miss the further adventures of Roz but know she can surely handle anything that comes her way.

And like I said before, this be categorized as middle-grade.  Bah!  Don’t let that stop ye!  I don’t put age limits on things.  Everyone should read about Roz the robot.

If ye be like me (Arrrr!) and love the stories behind the stories then check out the author’s inspiration and ideas for the wild robot like this example of an early sketch for Roz (from the author’s website):

Check out me crew members’ reviews of this one:

Dan @ onemanbookclub’s review – “We finished The Wild Robot Escapes together last night.  Friends, it was SO great! We teared (quietly) and cheered (loudly) at all the right places, and I’m still trying to figure out how a story about a robot with a goose for a son can have the same impact on a 5 year old, and 8 year old, and a 42 year old.”

Lola @ hitormiss’ review – “It was a pleasure to see Roz again, because she truly is the most wonderful robot I have ever met, and this comes straight from the mouth of someone who, as a general rule, would rather read about anything other than metallic creatures.”

The author’s website has this to say about the novel:

In 2016 I published my first children’s novel, The Wild Robot. It’s the story of a robot named Roz and her struggle to survive on a remote, wild island . . .

But that wasn’t the whole story. You see, from the moment I started dreaming up The Wild Robot, I was also dreaming up the sequel. It would be another survival story, only this time Roz would have to survive in civilization, with cities and humans and other robots. Well, it’s taken a while, but I’ve finally written and illustrated that sequel.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Peter Brown – Author & Illustrator

To buy the book go to:

the wild robot escapes – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

the wild robot (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Sci-Fi)

The Captain’s Log – thunderhead (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  If ye haven’t read the first book in this series, scythe, then ye might want to skip this post and go read the first book. Worth the read. If ye keep reading this log then ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril .

First let’s take a look at another beautiful cover:

 

I am absolutely glad I read this novel.  I loved it!  This book is set one year after the events of book one.  Citra is a junior scythe and is trying to settle into that new role.  At the same time, her approach to death is unusual and is causing political waves.  Rowan has chosen to become an vengeful angel of death known as “Lucifer” and attempts to fight the corruption of scythes from the outside.  Much to the chagrin of the organization.  The clash between the new wave scythes and the older guard continues to cause havoc.

I thought this book be way better than the first novel in terms of plot and pacing.  The Thunderhead viewpoints were fun and I adored the addition of Greyson.  In fact he became me favourite character in the book.  And I loved the ending all around.  I won’t give any other details because no spoilers.  But I am eagerly awaiting book three and think that all of me crew should give this series a chance.  Arrrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

thunderhead – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

scythe – book 1 (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Sci-Fi)

The Captain’s Log – scythe (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This cover and its title drew me in:

Isn’t that gorgeous?  So of course I had to know what it was about.  Turns out that Earth, with the help of a super computer, has no natural death, hunger, disease, war, etc.  But because the population still needs to be controlled, there are human scythes whose job it is to choose who will die.- within certain rules and parameters of course.

The story concerns Citra and Rowan, two teens, who are chosen to be trained as apprentice scythes.  Neither of them wants the job but both say yes for assorted reasons.  The catch is that only one of them will be chosen to advance as a scythe.  But each apprentice has to decide if they truly want the job as well as try to pass the appropriate tests..

The world and characters that the author set up were extremely interesting.  I liked the various scythes and how each chooses to approach the work.  I love the weird super computer.  I enjoyed both Citra and Rowan’s stories.  I thought the introduction to both of those characters as well as to their master scythe were especially well done and engaging.  There are a lot of lovely details that made this version of Earth come alive for me.

The flaw in the reading was in the plot.  The first half flew by and then the story seemed to stagnate.  The middle was kinda boring and there were some plot twists that I did not like at all.  But I kept reading because I loved the overall world set-up and wanted to know how it ended.  And I highly enjoyed how the author chose to conclude this first book.  I am not sure what will happen in the second book but I do believe I will read it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

scythe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – above world AND mirage (Jenn Reese)

Ahoy there mateys!  I read these books back to back so you get two book reviews in one!

above world and mirage (Jenn Reese)

I first learned about this author by reading her adult book, jade tiger, and decided to see what else she had written.  These are the first two books in the Above World series.  In a world where humans have combined with biotech to survive, two friends Aluna and Hoku, leave their underwater city to try to save their community.  In doing so they meet allies from the Above World in a war that encompasses them all.

The first book is not as fun in my mind as the second one.  Unlike the rather plausible narrative of the second book, the first book was full of fortuitous meetings.  Character A meets character B on a page by accident and happens to help them in some fashion.  Oh look in the next chapter character A is in deathly trouble!  Character B swoops to the rescue out of the blue!  Lucky they met isn’t it?  Rinse and repeat.  Also book one had so many locales and introductions to the various Above World peoples.  I get why we meet them.  I just wish it didn’t feel so forced.

Book two was much better.  There was basically one main setting and a second smaller one.  The new characters’ introductions feel much more natural.  The storyline seems a lot better organized.  Some of the plot twists were just plain entertaining.  One of the main things I loved about this series is that it has a relationship of a boy and girl who remain just friends.  Their friendship is steady, loving, and enjoyable.  Platonic love and companionship stay constant.  It was lovely.  Not to say that each party does not have love interests of their own in the books but it was a nice change from the recent books that I have read that not everyone is in love with the main character.

I did enjoy the different cultures mentioned though I would have liked a little more detail in that regard.  The tech possibilities also could have been a little more detailed.  I think the author gets away with the tech in the long run though because it is in a world where tech is dying or is misunderstood.  The books had both strong female and male characters.  Even though I liked these books, I am not sure if I will go out of my way to read the third.  Have any of you read it and if so should I go for it?

Side Note: I did not censor the mermaid photo used above.  I found it that way.  Funny no?

Here is what Amazon has to say about book one:

A suspenseful sci-fi escapade plucks two children out of the ocean for a thrilling adventure.

Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is at risk. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna’s fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt — growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains — here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Jenn Reese – Author

To buy these books visit:

above world – Book

mirage – Book

The Captain’s Log – burning midnight (Will McIntosh)

Ahoy there me mateys!

burning midnight (Will McIntosh)

So, I first heard about this author when I read his book love minus eighty, which you should read if you haven’t. This novel is the author’s first foray into young adult novels. This one is a sci-fi novel set in a time extremely similar to the present with a twist. The twist is that there are mysterious colored spheres that if used will enhance traits like singing ability or ability to sleep.

The novel was a quick read for me. I loved the two main sphere hunters, Sully and Hunter. Sully is a good chap who is caring, a good friend, and enterprising. Hunter is my favorite type of girl – badass yet with a softer side. Their relationship, while predictable, was sweet.

I loved the entire idea of the different spheres, their abilities, the sphere market, the colors, etc. That part of the story made me happy. And I loved about the first 2/3 of the plot. I have to admit that overall I did not love the rest. I certainly enjoyed some of it but the bad guy in the book and the overall resolution of the plot just didn’t do it for me. Unlike his others novels, this ending seemed rushed and too simple. I am not sure if it was just because it’s his first young adult novel or what. But this is certainly not my favorite novel of his. Liked it though.  Definitely worth reading.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.
 
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Will McIntosh – Author

To buy this book visit:

burning midnight – Book