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Audiobook Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Series, #1) (Audiobook narrated by Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole)

March 7, 2016 3 comments

Audiobook Review: The 5th Wave by Rick yancey (Series, #1) (Audiobook narrated by Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole)Summary:
When a giant spaceship showed up above Earth that wasn’t ours, Cassie and everyone else expected contact. What they didn’t expect was waves of attacks, everything from EMP to disease. Now, she’s at a refugee camp with her father and little brother wondering what the 5th wave of the attack might be. When it comes, will they even know?

Review:
I really enjoyed Rick Yancey’s other series (The Monstrumologist, series review). I must admit to being surprised that this is the series that got picked up into a movie. I didn’t find the blurb nearly as intriguing as that of The Monstrumologist. But since I liked the other series so much, I figured I’d give it a shot. While I can see why it’s taken off, I don’t find it to be as well-constructed or nearly as unique as Yancey’s other series.

The beginning of the book is very slow-paced. Cassie is off hiding in the woods on her own and through her diary where she tries to deal with what has happened the reader learns about the waves of the alien invasion. I like a diary book, but the slow pacing just really didn’t work for a book about an alien invasion.

At a certain point, this narration switches for one chapter to that of the perspective of an alien. Then it switches to the perspective of a boy from Cassie’s high school she had a crush on and his experiences with the alien invasion. Later it flips back to Cassie, only it’s now no longer her diary. Her diary just sort of gets dropped. While I can enjoy multiple narrators, I don’t think these are handled as well as they could have been. The chapter from the alien’s perspective ruins any tension or mystery that had been building around a certain event, in particular. Often switching between Cassie and Ben just feels like it’s convenient for world building and not adding very much to the plot. That said, I do like that the “star” position of this YA action is shared between a boy and a girl fairly equally.

The plot, although slow-moving, starts out strong. There is a plot twist that made me roll my eyes and that I think makes this less unique in YA literature than it started out.

Initially it appears that there will be no love triangle but there ends up being one. I can’t go into the details without some big spoilers but I will say that you make it through most of the book without a love triangle, and then there ends up being one in the last bit. It was disappointing, as I thought something more unique was being done (something akin to a crush turning into a real friendship…but that’s not what happens).

Ultimately the book ends up feeling less about aliens and more about the horrors of child soldiers and war stealing childhood. I definitely think scifi can bring a current issue such as this to people’s attention, but I also think the narration and various irritating and/or confusing plot points ultimately weakens the point. I doubt when I was a teen that such a book would have made me think about child soldiers. Instead I would have felt misled by the title and blurb and been irritated about that, distracting from the point.

All of that said, if a YA reader is looking for an apocalyptic setting featuring dual leads instead of one hero, this is a book that will fit that bill. Just be sure the reader is ok with some surprisingly slow-moving portions for a book with an action-packed blurb. However, I would suggest that a YA reader looking for something truly different check out Yancey’s other YA series: The Monstrumologist.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Audible

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Book Review: Timeless Trilogy, Book One, Fate by Tallulah Grace (Series, #1)

January 2, 2012 2 comments

Clouds.Summary:
Kris is a successful video editor in Charleston, South Carolina with two best friends she’s made her own family with.  She has a beautiful beach house and a loving fluffy cat named Pegasus.  She also just so happens to be precognitive.  Her visions have never been about herself until she starts sensing that she is being watched, receiving late night phone calls, and finding flowers left at her house and on her car.  Increasingly, she realizes she is in danger, and right then her old college flame moves in next door.

Review:
This is an interesting mix of suspense, romance, and paranormal that keeps the reader guessing and interested and shows promise in the writer.

Kris’s life prior to the stalking is relatable to the modern female reader.  She has a core group of good friends, a pet she loves, a career that is solid but not yet stellar, and her dream home.  All that she is missing is the man.  The added touch of her visions gives her that extra something special, but her visions are not over the top.  She can’t control when they come or what they’ll show her, so she treats them more as an odd talent.  This keeps the heroine from being over-inflated, which is nice.  The love interest, Nick, is cute without being a god and kind without being perfect.  He’s a good guy with flaws, ie, the ideal love interest in a romance that we’ve, alas, been seeing less and less of lately.

The plot is this book’s strong point.  It is scary and suspenseful, but still believable.  No characters make obvious stupid mistakes that would make the reader scream at them, and let’s just say, Kris is no Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she also isn’t a weak, quivering Disney princess.  Kris is neither a super-hero nor incredibly weak, which is just the kind of heroine we need more of in literature.

All of that said, Grace shows promise as a writer, but she still needs to work on her craft.  Her plot structure is excellent, but she frequently shows instead of tells.  Similarly, she struggles a bit when first introducing a character, often falling back on the beginner writer’s method of explaining hair and eye color before anything else.  Similarly, the book needs more editing for simple grammar, spelling, and typos.  The book does not read like a strong author’s work, but it also is still enjoyable.  I am left wanting to find out about the romances of Kris’s friends Cassie and Roni, but I am also hoping that the writing that goes along with creative plots improves in the next two books.

Overall, if you are a fan of suspenseful romance with a dash of the paranormal and don’t mind a bit of showing instead of telling, this book is a fun way to pass a few hours, particularly for the low cost of 99cents.

3 out of 5 stars

Source: Kindle copy from author in exchange for my honest review

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