Showing posts with label space and other planets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label space and other planets. Show all posts

Thursday, June 8, 2017

[Review] Across the Universe (#1) - Beth Revis: Spaceships and Cryogenic Freezing

In ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Amy was cryogenically frozen and supposed to live on a new planet three hundred years from now, but got woken up early.

What intrigued me: I love space books, shower me in space books!

Errors and Sex-Obsessed Incestuous People

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is probably the most frustrating book I've read this year. There are so many errors within the first 20 pages alone (15ish!), grammar issues, misplaced commas, wrong tenses etc, that it honestly gave me an eye twitch for the entire book. Just everything about the execution of this potentially interesting story misses the mark for me. 

I hated the dual POV, especially love interest Elder, mainly because the voices of both protagonists sound the exact same, which made me super uncomfortable with the romance. It's like you're reading about siblings *shudder*. The whole concept heavily relies on masterful storytelling because the setting is so repetitive and feels almost like a chamber play. Revis just doesn't deliver, it's not helping that the world building is super confusing and makes no sense. I struggled paying attention, I struggled caring for anything that's happening, I struggled finding the actual plot in there - the whole book is basically summed up by saying this lady woke up early and meanwhile the inhabitants of the ship developed a taste for incest. This also features a super unnecessary scene in which protagonist Amy gets saved from being raped. You'll find that a huge chunk of this book deals with sex and people not being able to control their desires and pumping themselves with hormones to increase their sexual desires, so yeah, that's something I wish I had known before picking this up. I was looking for a action-filled, fast-paced spaceship book, not this.

Science? What Science?

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE taught me that I love space books, but I hate spaceship books. The setting is the thing I disliked the most about this, if you're like me super into discovering new worlds and alien planets, this isn't the right pick at all. 

And if you're expecting accurate science or even just science fiction, look somewhere else. The sciencey parts are so ridiculously off that it honestly made me angry. The simplest scientific processes, even just common sense issues, really, are misconstrued in order to fill up the pages or to make a super dramatic shocking reveal. People being away while they're frozen, clones not realizing that they look like somebody else, a ridiculous shift in social behavior structures that could've never happened to human society in the 250-odd years that Amy has spent frozen - it all made me want to tear my hair out. 

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE really reads like a very awkward attempt to make a commentary on society and carnal desires in the least elegant way possible, and I couldn't help but feel tricked into reading this, because this is just not what I signed up for. What did I just read?


highlight text for SPOILER


This is literally the movie Passenger. This ends in love interest Elder admitting he unplugged Amy's cryogenic chamber, thus, forcing her to live out her life on the spaceship and she forgives him, because he's nice to her. I'm going to throw something. That only made me even angrier about this book. How am I supposed to not hate this guy with the fury of a thousand burning suns?! Feminism, who?



/SPOILER

Rating:

☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I genuinely disliked this, beyond the super subjective points, the craft aspects are less than ideal - so many typos, so many unncessary scenes, so much rambling - I wish somebody else would rewrite this. This is basically the movie Passenger, in an AU where everyone is incestuous and sex-obsessed. I don't even know

Trigger warning: rape, incest, suicide


Additional Info

Published: November 29th 2011
Pages: 416
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi 

Synopsis:
"A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.... 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, 300 years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end 50 years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. 

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. 

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming."
(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite book set in space?



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Saturday, December 3, 2016

[Review] Other Systems (#1) - Elizabeth Guizzetti: Aliens and Human Colonies | #ReadIndie





In OTHER SYSTEMS, future humans are coming back to Earth because their colonies can't survive without human DNA much longer.

What intrigued me: I love everything related to aliens!

What's happening?

The initial idea is absolutely brilliant, I was very excited about reading this. However, OTHER SYSTEMS really, really lacks in execution. 
The story is told from the POV of Abby, a girl that is taken to Kipos, the future human colony's home planet, and Cole, a space traveler. I especially struggled with Cole's POV because just didn't understand what was going on. 

There are so many specific terms in this that are hardly explained, it took me too long to even understand what the different kinds of humans are and what happened to Earth. I can safely say that I spent the first 150 pages being absolutely confused and not really knowing what was happening. You'll definitely need to be invested and/or don't mind about not really understanding all details to finish this. I feel like there are different stories in this, three books tried to be told in a single volume. Resulting from this, OTHER SYSTEMS seems very chaotic and difficult to read.

Fascinating idea, but too very complicated

Even though it is difficult to read, the idea is just too fascinating to toss OTHER SYSTEMS aside and give up. I absolutely love novels about humans going to space, even more so when everything has already taken place and the humans are going back! The world building truly is impeccable and there is a lot to explore. I would have liked this a lot more, had I been given the opportunity to actually have those elements all explained instead of just getting bombarded with information.

Generally, OTHER SYSTEMS really would have benefited from being told from one person's POV. Abby's chapters are significantly easier to read and it does feel like you're actually reading a YA novel. With Cole's POV thrown in, the book just gains a strange dynamic, again, it's just multiple stories fused into one. 


Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

OTHER SYSTEMS displays a magnificently built, fascinating world, but simply makes the mistake to leave out explanations. It portrays an interesting possible human future that is truly fun to explore.



What's #ReadIndie?



Additional Info

Published: 10th April 2013
Pages: 532
Publisher: 48Fourteen
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space & Other Planets
ISBN: 9781937546144

Synopsis:
"Without an influx of human DNA, the utopian colony on Kipos has eleven generations before it reaches failure. Earth is over ninety light years away. Time is short. 

On the over-crowded Earth, many see opportunity in Kipos's need. After medical, intelligence, and physiological testing, Abby and her younger siblings, Jin and Orchid, are offered transportation. Along with 750,000 other strong immigrants, they leave the safety of their family with the expectation of good jobs and the opportunity for higher education. 
While the Earthlings travel to the new planet in stasis, the Kiposi, terrified the savages will taint their paradise, pass a series of indenture and adoption laws in order to assimilate them. When Abby wakes up on Kipos, Jin cannot be found. Orchid is ripped from her arms as Abby is sold to a dull-eyed man with a sterilized wife. Indentured to breed, she is drugged and systematically coerced. 

To survive, Abby learns the differences in culture and language using the only thing that is truly hers on this new world: her analytical mind. In order to escape her captors, she joins a planetary survey team where she will discover yet another way of life.(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite book about aliens?

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

[Review] Aurora - Kim Stanley Robinson: Colonization and New Planets





In AURORA, a giant spaceship full of colonists is approaching the end of its 159-year-long journey to a new planet.

What intrigued me: I love reading about alien planets.

Extremely technical and difficult read

I picked up AURORA hoping for something in the vein of Scott Sigler's Generations trilogy, but was bitterly disappointed. AURORA is hard sci-fi, space opera even, that reads very clunky, difficult and facts-centric. The really interesting premise is pretty much negated through the way it's written. 

I especially struggled with the strange character voice that borders on extremely juvenile in a condecending way as the story begins being told through 12-year-old Freya's eyes. Mixed with terms and concepts that are impossible to understand if you don't have a degree in quantum physics. From detailed paragraphs and paragraphs about how the spaceship works to rambling passive narration, AURORA does everything it possibly can to derive from the plot. 

If you care about the mechanics of spaceships and their logistics, this will be a treat for you. For me, who's just looking for some fun space travel, this is a very clear miss. This story absolutely has no business at all being 500+ pages long. It drags, it's difficult to read and understand, and really just doesn't get to the point. It took me a ridiculous amount of time to even understand that the ship has a conscience and it's not just some more rambling directed at no one in particular. 

So, so, so much filler

AURORA is separated into seven parts that chronic a specific stage of the journey, centered on a handful of characters, but yet somehow written in omniscient perspective. It takes a ridiculous amount of time until the actual plot takes off. You could basically skip about 200 pages and have a great reading experience - AURORA has so much filler, so many unnecessary scenes, and so much rambling that you really really don't have to bother reading the whole thing. 

This is just a story that revels in the authors storytelling - this isn't about the characters who are mediocre cardboard cutouts at most, it's about the author showcasing their knowledge about space travel. Enhanced by off-screen comments from the sentient spaceship it's quite obvious that AURORA isn't about the characters. That's essentially what made it so hard for me to connect with this narrative and stay focused and interested in the story. AURORA really just is a pick for die-hard space opera fans.

Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

AURORA is a hard miss for me. Strange writing paired with lots of filler and mechanics and logistics-centric narration is absolutely not what I was looking for. If you enjoy hard sci-fi and space opera, and love yourself some technical reads about spaceship mechanics and physics, this is your perfect pick.



Additional Info

Published: November 14th 2016
Pages: 560
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Adult / Space & Other Planets
ISBN: 9783453317246

Synopsis:
"A major new novel from one of science fiction's most powerful voices, AURORA tells the incredible story of our first voyage beyond the solar system. 

Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, it is the work of a writer at the height of his powers. 

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our new home.

AURORA.
"(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like hard Sci-Fi?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[Review] Alight (Generations #2) - Scott Sigler: Mayan Culture and New Planets




In ALIGHT, the Birthday Children have arrived at planet Omeyocan and are exploring it.

What intrigued me: I absolutely loved the first book ALIVE.

Solid pace and jungle adventures

What initially fascinated me with the predecessor was definitely the mystery. In ALIVE, we don't get answers until the very end, which sort of made me forgive that the book had a very dragging middle and little plot.

ALIGHT follows a similar formula: We have to wait for every bit of information to make sense, so despite the fact that there's lots of exploration and action, it still feels dragged out. You really have to be patient to get to the interesting parts of the story, which are indeed quite fascinating, but the mere fact that it takes a ridiculous time to get there frustrated me immensely.

Omeyocan is a very interesting setting and managed to fascinate me. I was a little frustrated with the characters' lack of information and didn't really like the little guessing games that arose every time they encountered something they didn't immediately recognize. Omeyocan is based in Mayan culture appearance-wise, which is to be expected if you take a look at names like Xolotl. Called that one! I was hoping for more of an alien feel to the whole planet. Like this, it just feels like your average Mayan-inspired jungle with a hint of modern technology.

All the little nods to colonialism somehow give this book a cautionary tale kind of feel. Especially with Aramovsky and his neverending missionary crusade I got tired of it very quickly.

Sigler didn't quite manage to keep my interest in this sequel. I was hoping for more information and reasons very early on, maybe a big revelation or something. Though the change in scenery is quite neat, it can't hide the fact that there isn't really much plot in this.

Too many characters and a very forced romance

As for the characters - there still are too many. I couldn't keep up with them in the first novel, and has tremendous problems remembering these people and trying to figure the relationships out. It hasn't even been that long since I read ALIVE and if it weren't for the little information dumps before each character gets introduced anew, I would have been completely lost. 

ALIGHT focuses a little more on the dreaded love triangle and I just couldn't warm up to it. There is little to no real reason why these people are attracted to each other - aside maybe from superficiality and hormones. There is no base for their relationship, which just couldn't make me sympathize with Bishop and Em as a couple, even less with her and O'Malley. Honestly, I wouldn't even have minded all that if Em was an LGBT protagonist. I will never understand books in which societal norms don't exist, yet everyone turns out to be straight.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

ALIGHT didn't have me hold my breath and frantically turn the pages like the predecessor, but it's a solid read. A typical second book that lowered my enthusiasm for the third, mainly because it's just too heavy on the instant hump romance.



Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 448
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space and other Planets
ISBN: 9780553393156

Synopsis:
"Alight reveals to readers the further adventures of Em, Spingate, O’Malley, Bishop, and the other young heroes introduced in Alive. In Alive, Em fought to assert herself as leader and her friends tried to comprehend their own mysterious identity; now she must wrestle not with the challenge of winning power but the grave responsibility of having assumed it, and she and her friends must contend with a grim fact: the revelation of their identity is not an answer but another question—and one with terrifying implications."
(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like books set on other planets?

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

[Review] Zodiac (#1) - Romina Russell




In ZODIAC, humanity has long left the earth and moved on to another group of planets named after Zodiac signs. Telling the future is the new science of this galaxy, until one girl starts predicting the impending doom of all twelve planet constellations brought upon them by the mysterious thirteenth star sign.

Why it intrigued me: I love everything astrology and I'm a sucker for books with a space theme. Also, this probably has the most beautiful cover of 2015.


Mediocre World Building Can't Carry This Premise

Though the premise is very, very promising, Russell absolutely fails in world building. The biggest problem of the book is that it's set in a distant future instead of an alternate timeline or fictional world. Having those twelve planet constellations named after the star signs with each person living there having a personality associated with that star sign, is pretty hard for me to believe. Even taking this as just high fantasy concept, it's nothing that we haven't seen before.  *cough* DIVERGENT *cough* 

ZODIAC has this nice concept and promising idea of fortune-telling futuristic humans living somewhere in space, but that's it. A lot of it doesn't make sense and the biggest problem is that so many concepts are named, but remain unexplained. I don't even remember all the specific names for emperors and soldiers and matriarchs. There is so much lingo in this and so much unexplained, complicated pseudo-world building that I was just at a loss at some point and felt like giving up. 
I'm not sure what the world of ZODIAC is trying to be. High fantasy, futuristic, science fiction, something entirely unique? For a different galaxy there is just too little imagery to even create a world in my head. 

From Zero to Holy Mother of Everything??

I'd forgive all the issues I have with the confusing world of ZODIAC if the characters were decent and likable. Rho Grace is a fortune teller from the planet Cancer that somehow is able to tell the future without any science-y gadgets. So far so good. She's one of those blank slate characters that you can't help but not care about because she doesn't really have a personality. 

But then she randomly gets promoted to emperor of everything and addressed as Holy Mother for literally no reason at all and her voice and everything just changes and I felt like I must have skipped 300 pages of character development by accident. Honestly, I've never had the issue with too much character development before, but this novel will probably become my standard example. 

The whole novel is simply about her trying to convince everyone that someone coming from the ancient long forgotten thirteenth planet is trying to kill everyone. Along the way she also falls in love with two very easily forgettable, replaceable love interests who I'm sure were pretty much taken straight from SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi. It's just every cliche every packed in an insanely beautiful cover and thrown into space. Can I get my time back?


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

You can try, but it's just too light for me. Nothing I haven't read 700 times before and with a way better execution. It's every debut YA novel ever smashed into one. I'm grieving for the wonderful premise.



Additional Info

Published: November 9th 2015
Pages: 448
Publisher: ivi
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space and Other Planets
ISBN: 9783492703819

Synopsis:
"Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?"(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read ZODIAC?

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