Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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5 Stars (5 / 5)

The Illuminae Files #3
I have so much love for this series, that it’s hard to see it end. From its unique style, to its crazy and epic storylines, to its unique characters and brilliant storytelling, The Illuminae Files does not disappoint! It is one of my top recommended series for a reason.

Obsidio, like its predecessors, is told in a unique style of chat logs, video transcripts, official reports, illustrations, and more. This book brings the main characters of Illuminae and Geminae together, with two new additions: Asha and Rhys. Rhys’s character is particularly interesting as he’s a BeiTech operative, allowing us our first glimpse behind the curtain. We’ve always seen BeiTech as this relatively faceless enemy and it was interesting putting ourselves in their shoes for a change. Quite an enlightening experience.

My only complaint about Obsidio is that I didn’t feel I really got to know Asha and Rhys the same way we did Ezra, Kady, Hanna, and Nik. But…when you are trying to wrap up a series that brings all these characters together, you don’t get to spend a whole book on just the set of characters. I also loved getting to spend some quality time with Ezra and Kady again (and Aiden), so I guess I can’t really complain.

This story is heartbreaking and nail-biting and leaves you wanting so much more. It’s a constant page-turner that you won’t want to put down. I can’t wait to see what Kaufman and Kristoff cook up next.


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

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2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

Firebird #1
While I liked the premise of A Thousand Pieces of You, the execution unfortunately fell a little flat for me. As Marguerite sets off dimension-hopping in order to find her father’s killer, I’m expected adventure and action. What I get instead is a lot of stumbling around, fretting about how she’s “fitting in”, and very little actual investigation into what happened to her father. In fact, everything that Marguerite ultimately learns about the events surrounding her father’s death seems to be fed to her by her co-dimension hoppers: Theo and Paul. And add to this the fact that about half the book has her “stuck” in a dimension, making no progress towards her goals whatsoever, just left me feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

But I really liked the idea of dimension hopping, and getting to see different versions of yourself and your life. The novel also brought up some interesting ethical quandaries surrounding the concept of taking over the body of your “other self,” and essentially blocking them out of their own lives. Overall, I wish that the story focused more on the adventure aspect, and less on what I felt ended up being a romance. I may try to finish up the series at some point, but I’m not in any rush.


Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

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4 Stars (4 / 5)

Constellation #1
Defy the Stars opens on soldiers preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice, a suicide run against a deadly enemy that wants to take over their planet. The name of their enemy…Earth. It’s not often you read a story where Earth is made out to be the bad guy, but that’s how Defy the Stars begins, and it instantly peaked my interest. Add into that super advanced artificial intelligence and a plucky young girl prepared to do anything to save her world, and I was hooked!

Even beyond being a fun Science Fiction adventure, Defy the Stars makes us examine what it truly means to be human. Abel’s progress from sophisticated mech to autonomous being is wonderful and inspiring and I loved it so much! He’s such a great character, and I loved getting to watch him grow and change. We see him shift into something he was never meant to be, a new kind of machine with thoughts and feelings all his own.

At the same time, we see a universe in turmoil. Earth, having been ravaged by disasters of its own making, is furiously trying to expand out into the stars. But when its best hope of survival breaks away from the rest of the colonies, declaring itself an independent world, what choice does it have but to strike back? But Genesis does not want to see their beautiful world fall to the same destruction as Earth, especially since Earth shows no indication of changing their polluting, resource-draining, destructive ways.

At its heart, Defy the Stars is a fun sci-fi adventure that takes a deep look at the human condition and the shades of grey that color our world. Though it stands well on its own, Defy the Stars leaves a lot open for future exploration. And I look forward to seeing where it goes.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

For any child of the 80s or video game nerd, this book is pure gold! So much nostalgia and geekdom, most would have a hard time not liking Ready Player One. I think that many of us dream of the day that VR systems gain the kind of sophistication that we see in the Oasis. But as the same time that Cline shows us this amazing technology, he also paints a bleak picture of what the world could be, where the Oasis is not only a game, but an escape from the destroyed world that’s we’ve created.

While the “post-apocalyptic” nature of the world is not the main focus of the book, it paints a vivid picture of a possible future. Where the world collapses not with a bang, but with a slow downward spiral as resources dwindle and populations grow beyond the planet’s means. Wade lives in a world where he’s never known the comforts that we take for granted, like a bed to sleep in or enough food to eat. In a world like this, it’s easy to imagine escaping inside a game at every opportunity, especially one in which just about anything is possible.

But, Ready Player One isn’t really about all that (though it’s something that certainly brought an edge of realism to the book that really grabbed me). It’s more about the quest; the journey to win the ultimate prize, control over the Oasis itself. And through this, he must go up against the overbearing IOI corporation, who with its unlimited resources plans to claim the Oasis for itself as the largest capital producing machine in the world.

Overall, this is a story of friendship and perseverance that is great nostalgic fun, but also a damn good book. You can’t help but root for the little guy, while still taking notice of the harsh reality our world could become, if we don’t stand up and pay attention.


Warcross by Marie Lu

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4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Warcross #1
Warcross was just about everything that I wanted it to be and more. Being a gamer myself, I find the idea of a large scale virtual world and gaming competition thrilling. What a wonderful and inclusive technology! One of the main competitive Warcross players is in a wheelchair, but due to the nature of the game his physical capabilities are never an issue. And the notion of using one’s own brain to render VR environments is genius, if a bit creepy.

Emika is a bright and talented hacker, entering into the Warcross championship games in order to track down someone who’s been tampering with the Warcross code. Someone who creator Hideo Tanaka believes to be another competitor. Thus Emika is thrust into the limelight, simultaneously trying to win her team a championship title while seeking out the mysterious Zero, all while juggling her growing feelings for Hideo. Sci fi, action, adventure, mystery, and romance, what more could a reader ask for? And it’s good…so very good.

There’s not much more that I can say about Warcross without giving things away. If you are at all a fan of science fiction or video gaming, pick up Warcross. You will not be disappointed!