Genre: dystopian

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Reign of Shadows: Review

Reign of Shadows: Review

I wonder sometimes if I’m too harsh on a book from the start because an early detail annoys me. Case in point, Reign of Shadows takes place in a world of night, the moon fixed in a perpetual solar eclipse. Why would you name a girl who was born on the night this happens Luna? While the world is plunging into chaos and fear you name a newborn baby after the darkness? I am guessing that it will eventually be revealed that her birth and this eclipse are tied together and Luna has some Very Special Powers indeed. This perpetual eclipse also gave me some questions about how exactly any life is still functioning? I am perfectly willing to buy that this is a fantasy story and that I am supposed to just go with it. Some things, like bats evolving into 4 foot monstrosities in the span of 17… Read more »

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The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

You get two for the price of one today–Layla has a review of The Scorpion Rules for you, and Wendy has a giveaway + recap of the Erin Bow event she attended awhile back! Review: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I have been in the middle of a fairly severe reading slump (and am also reading nonstop for my dissertation, so you know, take that into account, too) and The Scorpion Rules is one of the few books that have successfully broken through the haze of grumpiness I’ve been in for the last few months. But The Scorpion Rules really worked for me. From what I can tell, though, it seems like it’s been a fairly divisive read – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Luckily for me, I am firmly on Team Scorpion Rules (and Team Talis!). If you like dark humor, morally ambiguous AIs,… Read more »

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Willful Machines: Review

Willful Machines: Review

When I saw Kirkus describe this book as “Gothic, gadget-y, gay” I knew I needed it in my hands as soon as humanly possible. I am happy to say it is all of those wonderful things. And while I didn’t quite love it, I did really, really enjoy this book. There’s so much to like! Yes, there  are wonderfully complex characters, killer robots, and the sweetest M/M romance. The writing beautifully evokes the brooding boarding school setting. This is a near-future sci-fi thriller with a touch of the dystopian. 16 year-old Lee is the closeted son of an ultra-conservative president who is both fiercely anti-gay and anti-robot. It’s unfortunate then, that Lee has a penchant for tinkering with mechanicals, too. The Human Values platform was created in response to an attack by Charlotte, an AI gone rogue, in which  Lee’s mother was murdered. Ever since, Charlotte has been using her… Read more »

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An Inheritance of Ashes

An Inheritance of Ashes

A lone figure ambles its way up the twisted ruins of road to find itself unbidden on the steps of a solitary farmhouse. Is the stranger friend or foe? God or man? For 16 year old Hallie, the questions, and the threat, are all too real. In the desolate ruins of civilization, Hallie and her much older sister Marthe have been clinging to their farm, their world, and trying to hold on to each other, but are failing at both. I really enjoyed this book; more, actually, than I have any book in almost two months (I’ve been in a really terrible slump). It has the isolated, post-apocalyptic farm vibe of The Hallowed Ones, with a touch of The Stand, and more than a touch of The Subtle Knife. Leah Bobet crafts this book out of simply gorgeous prose that is never overwrought. This is a sparse, ruined world and… Read more »

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Lizard Radio: Review

Lizard Radio: Review

Do you want to read a dystopian novel with a genderqueer protagonist who may or may not be part lizard? If this sounds like something you didn’t know you wanted, Lizard Radio is the book for you. It’s a hard book to describe. Our protagonist, Kivali – familiarly known as Lizard, was abandoned as a baby  (wrapped in a lizard t-shirt!). Lizard is adopted by Sheila, a human woman who becomes her foster mom and sends her, at the opening of the novel, to CropCamp. The novel takes off from there – CropCamp is all about teaching teenagers how to be good citizens of an oppressive totalitarian government; teens have to attend CropCamp or one of the many other strictly regimented government-run camps and, if they fail, risk being sent to Blight. At CropCamp, a camp focused on developing agricultural workers, group conformity is prized; state-sanctioned heterosexual relationships are supposed to emerge… Read more »

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Archivist Wasp: Review

Archivist Wasp: Review

This is the story of a girl lost in a lonely, desolate, and bare world; and a girl lost in herself. Wasp is an Archivist, one of a handful of girls selected from a young age to serve in a religious order where she must capture ghosts, learn what she can from them about their lives in the world Before and then dispatch them. It is a good thing to finish them eternally, or so she has been trained to think. Wasp must also battle to the death for her title every year. There is a line of upstarts looking to become Archivist themselves, and it is also how she herself took the title. She wears the braids of the Archivist before her and of all the upstarts who have challenged her in her own hair. It’s a fierce and brutal world our Wasp inhabits. This is a girl who… Read more »

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The Invasion of the Tearling: Review

The Invasion of the Tearling: Review

The Invasion of the Tearling is not the book The Queen of the Tearling was for me. (This is to say that I was not excitedly texting everyone I knew at 4 a.m. telling them to GO READ THIS BOOK.) In part, this is because The Invasion of the Tearling is a much more ambitious, a much darker, and a much harder book to read than its predecessor. One of the criticisms I remember seeing quite a bit around the interwebz for The Queen of the Tearling was the lack of clarity around The Tearling’s backstory. “What is this crazy dystopian medieval fantasy land and why are we given very little information about how it came into being?” For those of you who had those feels, let me tell you that a good 50% of this book is dedicated to answering precisely those questions. The Invasion of the Tearling alternates… Read more »

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