Review Tuesday: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

One of the endorsements quotes for Leviathan Wakes was from George R.R. Martin, which since I hated Game of Thrones (I’m pausing here for a moment for you to blink in shock and then curse at your computer…over it now? Good. Moving on.), was not an endorsement for me. I bought this book in spite of his quote. And I was not disappointed.

From Goodreads:

Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

I was excited to start this book because I was looking for a new series to get into, and this series is at least 5 books, I think, and about 500 pages long. I ended up getting it originally from the library, and then halfway through it, I decided to buy the first 3 as a box set.

The book, at the very beginning, is a little bit challenging to get into only because there are a couple of different factions, languages, and politics to understand/learn about. Once you get the basics sorted out in your head then you fall into the story very easily.

The story was engaging, (though definitely gross in parts. This is not a book to read while you eat), and the characters memorable, (though I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of Miller’s storyline from about the halfway point onwards). I never fully guessed what was coming down the pipeline, and I was always interested in finding out what was going to happen next.

I have not started watching the tv show yet, and I’m not 100% sure if I’m going to or not. (The gross parts really creeped me out, and I don’t know if I want those visuals in my head). However, I am definitely going to be reading book 2. I want to know what’s in store for humanity in The Expanse.

Review Tuesday: Shutter Volume 1

I was at the American Library Association convention/meeting in June in San Francisco, and while there I stumbled across Image Comics table where they were handing out free first issues of some of their comics (I know, I love my job). Shutter was one of the ones I picked up, and I really liked issue one, so I decided to get volume one and see how it went.

Firstly though, from Goodreads:

INDIANA JONES FOR THE 21st CENTURY! Marvel Knights: Hulk and Glory writer Joe Keatinge teams up with artist extraordinaire Leila del Duca for her Image Comics debut in an all-new ongoing series combining the urban fantasy of Fables and the globe-spanning adventure of Y: The Last Man. Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer of an Earth far more fantastic than the one we know, is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.shutter volume 1

I have to say, that I love the artwork for this series so far. It captured my attention immediately, and I was intrigued with every page I turned. In terms of the storyline, I will admit that currently I am massively confused. Kate is a kick ass character (who does seem to be getting her ass kicked at the moment, but you know the girl has moves) who is struggling to find out what exactly is happening and thus so is the reader.

Kate is an explorer who has given up that life and turned to photography. She lives with her best friend Alain who is transgendered, and who is also the first transgendered character I’ve read where the storyline has absolutely nothing to do with anything about gender identity or sexuality. I love that. It’s mentioned that Alain is transgendered, but it’s done in a way that shows that this is just normal life, nothing to see here, let’s move along.

Things then start happening to Kate, and she has no idea why, but it all comes down to a big (or a couple of big) family secrets that are coming to bite her in the ass [read: trying to kill her], and thus she needs to come out swinging. Volume one ends however before she does fully come out swinging, and before the reader knows or understands fully what is going on. Thus my confusion.

I am intrigued enough however to read volume two and hopefully have some of my questions answered, and to watch Kate kick some serious ass.

 

Review Tuesday: Armada by Ernest Cline

Oh that’s right! The book published today, I’ve already read it! When I was in San Francisco in June attending ALA (the American Library Assocation) Annual Conference one of the freebies that I was able to grab was an advance copy of Armada by Ernest Cline. (I was actually able to snag 2 copies – one for me, and one my bestie Jay – definitely a perk of the job). I did a massive fan girl dance when I got it, texted Jay letting him know, and then proceeded to tell everyone that I got the book. I didn’t start reading it until I got home from my trip, and man oh man, I was not disappointed. Armada

From Goodreads:

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Now before we go any further if you haven’t read Ready Player One do that first. It’s the first book by Ernest Cline (it has zero bearing on this new book) and it’s one of my ultimate favourites.

Armada was an awesome read. I flew it through it, and I was entirely entertained the whole way through. The book was action packed and moved quickly from one situation to the next. You discover things as you go along, and I will admit that while there were some things that I guessed might happen that did end up happening, the end took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It also does leave room for a sequel, or a couple of sequels if we’re being honest. And I’m totally okay with that because I enjoyed Zach and this world that Ernest Cline built.

The main drawback (if you can consider it a drawback) is that the gimmick that makes Ready Player One so interesting (all of the 80s trivia and references etc) is the same gimmick that he uses in Armada only with sci-fi. In that regard the books are very similar. So as my friend Jay was telling me when we were talking about Armada – perhaps don’t read Ready Player One and Armada one right after the other.

This is a fabulous read overall though. It has some awesome situations, some kick ass scenes, and is overall a book that I will definitely be reading again.