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Title: Star Stories - Epilogues (The Fixers of KarmaCorp #7)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-fi, short stories
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 88 pages
Date read: August, 2017

A few of the stories in this collection began many books ago. Regalis and Tameka. Yesenia and a second trip to a certain Wanderer flea market. A couple of them are here purely because they made me giggle (Kish facing the impending doom of a crown on her head) or because I simply couldn’t resist (there was just no way for this to end without a quick trip to Quixal.) The rest volunteered themselves as I sat with my knitting needles and checked in with each of the characters who made this series what it is.

As with all short story collections some were awesome, and some didn't touch me much. I really wish Audrey Faye wrote Christian novels - she'd be brilliant at it! The way she describes fellowship and religion would make her even better than Neta Jackson.

But I digress. My favourite story by far was "To See or Not To See". I loved seeing Yesenia back at the flea market of Tezuli, and it bookended the similar story in the first Star Stories collection very nicely :-) I also enjoyed reading about Raven back on her native planet, and Kish finally figuring out how to be herself and a queen at the same time.

Excellent conclusion to the Fixers of KarmaCorp. I'm looking forward to seeing where Audrey Faye takes her writing next.
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Title: Daughter's Need (KarmaCorp #6)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 191 pages
Date read: August, 2017

A mother who violated her deepest needs - to keep her deepest promises.
The daughter she has never been able to love.
The four who wait for what comes in the dark.

Very powerful and emotional addition to the KarmaCorp story. I didn't quite get all the ins and outs of neither the problem surrounding Tatiana nor exactly how the solution was supposed to work, but that's very often the case when it comes to time-travel, so it didn't really bother me :)

Audrey Faye nicely tied up all ends in this 6th KarmaCorp novel, and while I'll still read the epilogues just because I want to read more about the four and the people surrounding them, the short stories. aren't really necessary to wrap up any story lines.
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Title: Shaman's Curse
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 178
Date read: July, 2017

Raven grew up tribal, and she's never forgotten it. She was sent by the grandmothers to serve those who have no tribe. To walk with the darkness. To use her Shaman Talent to balance those who walk in the light.

Which has never felt more important - because this time, the darkness comes for her friends. And for a certain golden-eyed teenager and the mother who isn't supposed to love her.

Raven has been waiting for this assignment. Expecting it. But even she wasn't expecting this.

For some reason it took me ages to get past the first five chapters, but once I did, I gobbled the rest up in two days flat! So I think it had more to do with having to be in the right mood, than with the book itself.

Because once Raven reached Elleni I was hooked. I loved reading more about how the tribes work and the instant feeling of welcome offered to Raven. I could appreciate the spiritual side of things, even when not subscribing to the "religion" thus described. The emotions were still something I could relate to.

Not the best Fixer novel, but certainly not the worst either. I really like Raven and her fiercely protective personality.
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Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Sci-fi, epistolary
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 336 pages
Date read: May, 2017

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she's dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers - and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth... and maybe even the stars.

Thank you Netgalley for this ARC! This book picks up 9 years after the first one left off which disappointed me a bit at first (I wanted to know what happened RIGHT after), but worked quite nicely once I got further into it.

Though obviously not as 'unique' as the first book, "Waking Gods" was every bit as good and every bit as difficult to put down. Even the (relatively) open ending didn't bother me too much, as it fit in with the rest of the plot. Still, I'll be keeping an eager eye out for the third book in the series.

I'm really fond of the writing style. It's a bit of a stretch to call it "epistolary" as a lot of it is transcripts of interviews/conversations, but there's no "narration" - everything is told through dialogue or journal entries. It adds a certain twist to the atmosphere which I really like.

Rather dark at times (Sylvain Neuvel is not afraid to "kill his darlings" - so don't expect anybody to be safe "just because") but still written with a good dose of humour. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more.
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Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Sci-fi, epistolary
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 322 pages
Date read: May, 2017

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

One of those amazing reads where even though I own it as an e-book, I immediately went out and purchased it as a physical book - I want it in my library! But no wonder - it hits all of my insta-loves. An epistolary sci-fi novel with a semi-unreliable narrator (mostly because you KNOW he's not telling you everything) and a totally fascinating concept.

I spent most of the book in a constant state of "What on earth is going on? And what on earth is going to happen next?" Those questions were only half-way answered, which for once didn't frustrate me, as it fit perfectly with the atmosphere of the book. I couldn't put it down and can't wait to read the sequel.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: In Arcadia (Touchstone #5)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 252 pages
Date read: March, 2017

One does not simply walk onto another planet. At least not without the help of a daughter who has developed unlikely powers, fought an intra-dimensional war, and then arranged for a family relocation to a futuristic clone of Earth. Laura Devlin would gladly have paid any price to have her daughter back, so living in a techno-paradise with spaceship views is merely an added bonus. And a dream come true.

But Arcadian paradises do not come without complications. Laura's include a plethora of psychic grandchildren. Interplanetary diplomacy. Her daughter's immense fame. And KOTIS, the military watchdog that seems to consider Laura's entire family government property.

Forewarned by her daughter's experiences, Laura had anticipated as many problems as she could, and didn't doubt her ability to cope with the rest. But she had not planned on Gidds Selkie, a military officer 'chipped from flint' and not at all the sort of man lifelong geek Laura had ever imagined would find her interesting.

Very satisfying follow-up to "Gratuitous Epilogue" and perfect for people who want to know more about how Cass' family adapts to a new planet.

I knew from the set-out that Cass wasn't the main character of this book, but was slightly surprised by just how little a role she played in it. At times it almost seemed like she was left out deliberately, which was a bit jarring.

But apart from that minor nitpick, I really enjoyed it. I loved hearing more about Cass' Australian family, and how they all managed the huge change to their lives. Of course the epilogue only resulted in making me want to know more! I hope Andrea Höst will revisit the universe at a later stage.
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Title: The Book of Strange New Things
Author: Michel Faber
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 512
Date read: December, 2016

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

I really can't figure this book out... it was fascinating and boring at the same time, and I'm not even sure how that works! Also, I have no idea what story the author was trying to tell! (But then I had much the same thoughts after reading "The Crimson Petal and the White", so perhaps that's just his writing-style). I was intrigued by Peter's experiences on Oasis and liked his time at C-2 much better than when he was back at base. I loved the natives and wish we'd seen more of their lives.

But at the same time, I felt there were SO many questions that weren't answered! Mostly about what was happening back on Earth while Peter was away. And worst of all, the book had no real resolution or conclusion... it just ended, as if Michel Faber had written himself into a corner and couldn't figure out where to go from there.

At the end of the day, I think I liked it. And I did appreciate that it didn't poke fun at Christianity or missionaries. But apart from that, it had too many problems for me to really be able to recommend it to anybody else... unless you happen to love vague books with ambiguous endings.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 342
Date read: November 2016

"Are you happy with your life?" Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined - one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

I needed an accessible book for a long train ride, and this fit the bill perfectly. I could dive right into it, and not return to 'real life' until the train pulled into the destination station. That requires a special kind of book (which means this would have been perfect for the readathon as well). Unlike many others, I didn't mind Blake Crouch's writing style - in fact, I thought it worked really well to emphasize Jason's confusion and frustration. I got to love Jason, and became quite fond of Daniela, Charlie and Angelica as well.

"Dark Matter" has definite shades of the old Nicolas Cage movie, "Family Man" - a man gets the chance (albeit unwillingly) to see what his life would have been like, if certain choices had been made differently. It was rather heavy on the science in places (sort of like Scarlett Thomas' books), but I don't think it matters too much, if the reader doesn't get all the details.

The book was a lot darker than I had anticipated - especially as we came closer to the end, and it seemed like there was no one right decision. I did ultimately feel satisfied with the conclusion though - despite the fact that it was rather open.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Fortune's Dance (The Fixers #3)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 152
Date read: September, 2016

Imogene Glass isn't a Fixer who makes waves - she leaves that part to her friends. They fight. She Dances the universe into harmony. Until she gets called onto the carpet for choosing the easy road instead of the right one.

Her next assignment is an observation-only mission, one where she's supposed to keep her eyes open and her Talent off. Which only sounds mildly frustrating - until she gets there.

This was definitely a book I read despite the cover rather than because of it. I'm sorry - it is UGLY! Fortunately, since it's an ebook, I've only really had to look at it on Goodreads.

That out of the way, I enjoyed this KarmaCorp novel just as much as the previous two :) I enjoyed getting to know Iggy, and her mission at Thess rang very true to me. It was certainly very different from the more active missions of the two first books, but though I hadn't expected it at first (which is why it took me awhile to get properly started on this), it worked for me.

I do recommend reading "Star Stories" before reading this one though, or there are some references that you won't get.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Down with the Shine
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: 2/5
# pages: 368 pages
Date read: August, 2016

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...

Ooooh boy, where to begin with this one! The concept sounded intriguing but the book itself ended up being ridiculous, far-fetched, outrageous, oh, and did I mention ridiculous?

People died or were permanently disfigured and apart from an initial "Oh no, how terrible!" it ended up being regarded as non-events? And everybody just mostly accepted these totally crazy things that happened? Honestly, at one point I wouldn't have been surprised if the book had ended with "And then they woke up, and it turned out it was all just a dream."

Fortunately, they didn't sink quite that low, but it came close. So why do I still give this 2 stars? As ridiculous as it was, it did keep my interest, and I really wanted to know how it all got sorted in the end, so I never considered giving up on it.

I'd never recommend it to anybody else either though.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Tidsfangen (The Prisoner of Time)
Author: Gry Pil Lund Ranfelt
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 415
Date read: June, 2016

Louise's dad dies when she's 11, and Louise herself never manages to get accepted to the design school she's dreamed about for as long as she can remember. But when Louise is 22, she's suddenly returned to her 11-year-old body. She feels that she's been given a chance to make everything right; to save her father and realize her ambitions. But what if it happens again? And again? And again?

I can't quite decide what I thought of this book. It kept me fully captivated while reading it, and I finished it over a weekend, but as so often happens in novels with some level of time-travel involved, the end fell slightly short. I thought there were a number of questions left unanswered, and the ones that were didn't always make complete sense if you stopped to look at the details.

The premise of the book reminded me a lot of "The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August" by Claire North , but I think I liked this one a tiny bit better. I got really frustrated with Louise at times (but then, she did lead a frustrating life), and never thought Lett's behaviour in loop 4 was fully justified or explained. I loved Maria though, and was glad to see her shine in loop 5.

All in all, a really interesting premise, but one that could have been handled better.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Star Stories (KarmaCorp Tales)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Short stories, Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 165
Date read: June, 2016

A Seer in a spaceport fleamarket and a StarReader in his ivory tower - both with messages for Yesenia Mayes. The first days on Stardust Prime for a very special assistant and a very important class of tadpoles. The birth of two daughters - and the terrible sacrifices of the mothers who love them.

A collection of really charming short stories, set in the KarmaCorp universe.

As a general rule, I'm not fond of short stories, but that rule goes flying out of the window when it's short stories set in a universe I'm already familiar with, revolving around characters I'm already fond of (or at least know), so I guess my beef with short stories is mostly because I think they give too few pages to set the scene, so when the scene is already set (so to speak), I'm free to love them just as much as I would any other book by that author.

If anything, I thought some of these short stories were far too short. I'd have loved to read more about Kish, Tee, Raven and Iggy's introduction to KarmaCorp and how their friendship (and talents) grew, and the stories about Yesenia and Bean were heartbreaking in their lack of closure (although we did get a bit more of that in "Grower's Omen", so more may still come).

I devoured the book, and wouldn't have complained if it had been twice as long.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Grower's Omen (The Fixers #2)
Author: Audrey Faye
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 162
Date read: May, 2016

Sometimes the right choice feels like anything but. Tyra Lightbody lives steeped in family, community, and promises made long before she was born.

Her next mission will try to take all that away.

She's being sent to an experimental-species biome to see why the locals are having bad dreams and throwing beakers at each other. What she discovers will test her loyalties, her courage, and her ability to make the very hardest of decisions in the very darkest of nights.

A bit slower to take off than the first book in the series, but once it did, I enjoyed it just as much. Especially the ethical dilemma Tyra faced, and her absolute dedication to staying on the right side of the equations, even if she did have to cross certain lines along the way.

After reading the first one, I was glad to see that there didn't seem to be any romantic interest for Tyra in this one. While I loved the story of Kish and Devan, I still appreciate that the focus is on the Fixers' jobs, rather than on getting them all paired up ;)
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Gratuitous Epilogue (Touchstone #4)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 5/5
# pages: 128
Date read: March 2016, March 2017

What happens when the plot ends? A relentless barrage of weddings, babies, and planetary colonisation! Meandering through the two years following the conclusion of the Touchstone Trilogy, this self-indulgent collection of family reminiscence is more saccharine than dramatic, with the most action to be found in snowball fights.

For those who truly just want to know what happens next, no matter how mundane, read on for the everyday, ordinary lives of psychic space ninjas playing house.

Best gratuitous epilogue ever :) It didn't answer as many questions about the Powerstones etc. as I had hoped, but I hardly minded, because I LOVED how much to ended up focusing on Cass' family back in Australia... ever since finishing "Caszandra" I'd been slightly disappointed that we didn't get to see her Mum's reaction to the letter.

Having a diary entry per month worked out well, and allowed the epilogue to spread out over 2.5 years without seeming too drawn out. I loved the weddings and seeing the children grow... and the last chapter had me in tears.

Totally awesome ending to an excellent trilogy.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Caszandra (Touchstone #3)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 357
Date read: March 2016, March 2017

Cassandra Devlin doesn't know what she's for. But she knows she's running out of time.

Since Cass was rescued from the abandoned world of Muina, the Aussie teen has proven more than useful to the people of Tare. Expeditions to their home world no longer end in slaughter. The teaching city of Kalasa has been unlocked. After years of searching for answers, they are starting to make progress.

But space is tearing itself apart. Ionoth attack in ever-greater numbers. And "the useful stray" has been injured so many times that the Tarens hesitate to use her for fear of losing her.

With one particular Taren now her most important person, Cass is determined to contribute everything she can - and hopes to find some answers of her own. What is the link between Muina and Earth? Why are the reclusive Nurans so interested in 'rescuing' her? And what role in the crisis do the inhuman Cruzatch play?

Very satisfying ending to the trilogy (although I am glad there is a "Gratuitous Epilogue" as well!). I did think the whole Powerstone issue was solved surprisingly fast, and there are a lot of unanswered questions about those and the Cruzatch still, but I'm hoping some of those answers will be given in the epilogue. I also want to know more about Cass' family.

I loved the addition of Sen, Ys and Rye and how Sen 'adopted' Cass, without her really having much say in the matter. I liked that there was a lot of character development in this book - not just for Cass, but also for those around her. I felt like I got to know the other Sentari a lot better.

Really brilliant book I couldn't put down and finished over a weekend... quite a change from book 2 which took me 4 months!

(I did get annoyed with Andrea Höst using 'smex' for 'sex' though. I mean, really?! )
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Lab Rat One (Touchstone #2)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4/5
# pages: 232
Date read: March 2016, March 2017

In the months since Cassandra Devlin walked onto another planet, she has grappled with everything from making blankets to helping psychics battle the memories of monsters. Not able to find a way home, she has instead gained friends and a purpose.

Unfortunately, that purpose brings with it the pressure of being more than a little valuable, and those she has befriended are also her guards, ordered to explore and control her abilities to find out just what it is a touchstone can do.

Test subject was not the career path Cass had been planning.

With no privacy, too-frequent injuries, and the painful knowledge that she must always be an assignment to her Setari companions, Cass can only wish for some semblance of normality and control.

And as her abilities become more and more dangerous, tests and training may be the only thing capable of protecting Cass from herself.

Very obviously the middle book in a trilogy, and as such took me ages to read. Not because it was dull, but because most of it was spent figuring stuff out (about Muina mostly) and that meant there was a lot of literary 'waiting around'. I still loved Cass though, and found it interesting to read how she slowly got more and more settled in her new life.

And of course the end was very satisfying and gratifying, and meant I'll pick up the third book right away.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Oasis (The Last Humans, #1)
Author: Dima Zales
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 238
Date read: February, 2016

My name is Theo, and I'm a resident of Oasis, the last habitable area on Earth. It's meant to be a paradise, a place where we are all content. Vulgarity, violence, insanity, and other ills are but a distant memory, and even death no longer plagues us.

I was once content too, but now I'm different. Now I hear a voice in my head, and she tells me things no imaginary friend should know. Her name is Phoe, and she is my delusion.

Or is she?

I received this ARC from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I love dystopian novels, so I figured it would be right up my aisle.

And as the rating indicates - it was. Slightly slow to start, but once it did, I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of "Ready Player One" (Ernest Cline) meets "Across the Universe" (Beth Revis) meets "Unwind" (Neil Shusterman). And if you think that sounds like a really weird meshup, I don't blame you... but it works.

I liked the twists and turns - some of which I'd seen hints of ahead of time, others I'd never seen coming, and not only did I feel nicely entertained, but I actually had a hard time letting it go after I turned the last page.

It's the first in a series, and thus no real resolution is achieved, but it didn't contain any of the stereotypical problems of a first book in a series. No cliff-hanger, no excessive world-building at the expense of plot, no major setup that's never followed through on.

If anything, I might say there was too little world-building. Some things were explained in an aside or left to be read between the lines. I think I got most of them, but a bit more 'showing' Theo's every-day life at the start of the novel might have been nice.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Time and Time Again
Author: Ben Elton
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 464
Date read: January 2016

It's the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.

Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.

Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century?

And, if so, could another single bullet save it?

Fascinating book! Time-travel always appeals to me, and Ben Elton managed to deliver a book somewhat similar to "11/22/63" by Stephen King, but with twists and turns that were entirely its own.

It took a few chapters to get into it, but once I did I loved it and couldn't put it down! Some of the twists I had not seen coming, which always pleases me.

As often happens in time-travel novels (at least those set within our own universe), the ending at first glance seemed slightly depressing - but once I started thinking about it, it really couldn't have ended any other way.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Author: Claire North
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 3/5
# pages: 486
Date read: January 2016

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message."

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

I don't quite know what I think of this book... it was a surprisingly slow read while simultaneously being surprisingly fascinating as well. At about the half-way mark I commented that I could neither get into this book nor put it down, and that seemed to be the case until the very end.

A fascinating story with a very unusual plot. It focuses on a different sort of immortality from what is often portrayed in books, and I think Claire North handled it very well. I can't quite make up my mind as to whether or not I actually liked it, but I read the last 200 pages in one sitting, so it certainly kept my interest well enough.
goodreads: (Peanut: Book geek)
Title: Stray (Touchstone #1)
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Genre: Sci-fi
Rating: 4.5/5
# pages: 273
Date read: October 2015, March 2017

On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive.

The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she's being watched?

Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people's skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a 'stray', a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow.

Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?

I've wanted to read this for ages - pretty much ever since I read and loved "And All The Stars" which I picked up 3 years ago.

Fortunately it completely lived up to my expectations. I loved the world building and how the entire universe was set up. I adored reading about Cass' struggles with learning the language, and even found myself thinking in her disjointed sentences at times. I enjoyed seeing the friendships grow despite Cass being a 'Stray' and was totally fascinated by her coping mechanisms.

It's the first book in a series, so there's no real resolution. On the other hand, there's no real cliff-hanger either, so I thought the book nicely contained, even if the main arc wasn't resolved.

But still - with a 4.5 star rating, you can bet I logged on to Amazon right away to get hold of the rest of the series!


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