Sunday, February 14, 2016

ARC Review: Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

I received an eARC copy through NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thanks, Albert Whitman & Company!
eARC, 272 Pages
Release Date: April 1st, 2016
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life--or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can't say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she'll be set for life.

Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates.

Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.

I'm ashamed it took me so long to finish this book, especially since I read the last 50% in one sitting.

Future Shock is a great book with time travel, suspense and an intriguing mystery. It's hard to talk about much of it, since even mentioning the main plot would constitute a spoiler (so stop reading if you don't want to know). The summary only hints about the main characters discovering that they die within 24 hours of returning to their own time period. I honestly think the publisher should have included that little tidbit in the summary because it's way more interesting than the vague "seemingly inevitable future" Elena has to prevent.

Despite that, Ms. Briggs wrote a fast-paced, fun read that kept my eyes glued to the page. The mysterious element of who caused the "inevitable future" kept me wondering with each new development. I loved that I didn't expect the culprit, but I also think it would've been nice to feel betrayed by one of Elena's teammates. Since the culprit was a minor character, I wasn't connected to them and didn't feel much about what they did.

To be honest, I was secretly hoping Elena would fail at preventing her future. I would've upped this book to five stars if it had ended with mass murder. But, alas, it didn't and I had to make do with a happy ending (which I didn't mind.... much).

Would I recommend this book? Yup

Would I re-read it? No

Would I read a sequel? I would, but I don't know how there would be one

Sunday, January 31, 2016

ARC Review: Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

I received an eARC copy of Tell the Wind and Fire through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Clarion Books! 

eARC, 368 pages
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets. 

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised. Lucie alone knows the young men’s deadly connection, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan weaves a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

Despite following Sarah Rees Brennan on Twitter for years, this was the first book of hers I've actually read. It was probably not the best book to start with. I can tell Ms. Brennan is a talented writer, since her prose was lovely, but my praise unfortunately ends there. 

Until around page 300, I wasn't that interested in the plot or the main character, Lucie. I don't think I would normally read through 300 pages of "meh", but I got this book for free in exchange for a review and thought I should therefore read the entire thing. Lucie spends the majority of the book going about her daily life, recounting her tragic past and obsessing over her boyfriend, Ethan. That wouldn't really bother me that much if the story was set in an unique world or if Ethan was worthy of obsession, but there wasn't anything special about the worldbuilding or Ethan. They were both rather... bland.

Carwyn was a much more compelling character than either Lucie or Ethan (and a motivator for me to continue reading). Unlike the other two leads, Carwyn had humor and an intriguing backstory, but Lucie spends the entire book hating him for, well, everything and anything he does. Her inner monologue made it hard to enjoy any scene with him.

The ending did save it from being a completely "meh" book. I read the last 60 pages in one sitting and got emotional during the final scene, so that's a plus for me. If Ms. Brennan had only added more action into the first 80%, Tell the Wind and Fire could've had me on the edge of my seat.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe, if someone wanted a retelling of A Tale of Two Cities

Would I re-read it? No

Would I read a sequel? There isn't going to be one, but if there was, probably no