Review: “Reviver” by Seth Patrick

16045091Title: “Reviver”

Author: Seth Patrick

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Zombies, Magical Reality, Mystery

Publication Date: June 18, 2013 (SMP – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided Finished copy

Summary: Revivers. Able to wake the recently dead, and let them bear witness to their own demise. Twelve years after the first reviver came to light, they have become accepted by an uneasy public. The testimony of the dead is permitted in courtrooms across the world. Forensic revival is a routine part of police investigation. In the United States, that responsibility falls to the Forensic Revival Service. Despite his troubled past, Jonah Miller is one of their best. But while reviving the victim of a brutal murder, he encounters a terrifying presence. Something is watching. Waiting. His superiors tell him it was only in his mind, a product of stress. Jonah is not so certain. Then Daniel Harker, the first journalist to bring revival to public attention, is murdered, and Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the hunt for answers. Working with Harker’s daughter Annabel, he becomes determined to find those responsible and bring them to justice. Soon they uncover long-hidden truths that call into doubt everything Jonah stands for, and reveal a threat that if not stopped in time, will put all of humanity in danger …

☆: 3/5 stars – large disconnect between the first and second halves of the book but otherwise a solid debut.

Review: This one’s kind of hard to parse out, guys – mostly because while really well-written, each half of the book felt like it was almost written by another author. I don’t think I’ve seen such a big disconnect in a novel in a long time that’s only been written by one person. Nevertheless, this is one very interesting story – really original, full of thrills, chills, and spills of the CSI meets zombie kind. If you’re looking for something more original in the zombie genre, I suggest you check out “Reviver”.

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Review: “Three” by Jay Posey

17162150Title: “Three”

Author: Jay Posey

Publication Date: July 30, 2013 (Angry Robot – North America)

Genre: Post-apocalyptic, AWESOME, zombies, dystopian, biopunk, cyberpunk, coming of age,

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.
But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantel of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

☆: 4.5/5 stars! A really, really fun post-apocalyptic biopunk/biohacking adventure!

Review: “Three” is just what I’ve been waiting for in the realm of the dystopian urban fantasy subgenre of adult literature. It has everything I’ve been craving – biopunk, biohacking, cyberpunk, a bleak post-apocalyptic/dystopian setting, journeys, and more. More than that, it has some of the most awesome fight scenes that I’ve read within the subgenre in recent memory. If you want something fresh and new and reads like a kick to the face, “Three” is definitely a book you should check out.

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“A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Strange #2)” by Susan Dennard

13624584Title: “A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Strange #2)”

Author: Susan Dennard

Genre: YA, alternate history/parallel universes, zombies, steampunk, paranormal

Publication Date: July 23, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

☆: 4.5/5 stars – a sequel that shines brighter than its first book!

Review: I think I can honestly say that this sequel(and what looks to be a middle book in a trilogy?) is stronger than its initial first book in this series. Seriously. “Strange and Lovely” builds upon everything set up in book one, but it also has a lot more tension (almost tension on every page), and we get more worldbuilding, more new awesome characters, and a sea change in everyone we got to know in love back in book one. If you’re looking for one of the best sophomoric efforts this year in YA, look no further than “A Darkness Strange and Lovely”.

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Review: “If Should I Die (Revenants #3)” by Amy Plum

12700337Title: “If I Should Die (Revenants #3)”

Author: Amy Plum

Genre: YA, PNR, Zombies

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

☆: 4/5 stars – an excellent end to an excellent series!

Review: I’m really, really sad that this series is over, guys. At least we got a novella in between books 2 and 3, but still. We have closure at the end of this book, and we’re given a lot of room to think about what might come next for Kate, Vincent, and everyone else, but I know that I’m still going to be pining for more adventures from Plum in the future. If you want a finale that’s got pretty much everything for everyone, I highly suggest you check out the final book in the “Revenants” series, “If I Should Die”. Note, there are some spoilers for the previous books in this review, so if you haven’t read book 2, you may not want to read this review until after you’ve read it.

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Review: “The End Games” by T. Michael Martin

13228537Title: “The End Games”

Author: T. Michael Martin

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, zombies

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC/Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

☆: 1/5 stars – interesting mash-up of current concepts but ultimately fails to deliver.

Review: I was pretty excited for this one, guys, I won’t lie there. “The End Games” sounded like a Western reboot of one of my favorite manga series, “Mirai Nikki (Future Diary)” but with a little more twists and turns flung in. I love anything with a survival game (and zombies), so I thought this book was right up my alley. Sadly, while “End Games” has some really interesting current concepts mashed up together to make something somewhat new, it’s all current concepts nonetheless, and not really new or breathtakingly original. However, those just getting into the apocalyptic/survival genre might enjoy it as I do think it’s a good book to start getting your feet wet within those genres. I just can’t recommend “End Games” for veterans of those genres.

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Review: “The Inexplicables (The Clockwork Century #5)” by Cherie Priest

Title: “The Inexplicables (The Clockwork Century #5)”

Author: Cherie Priest

Genre: Adult, Steampunk/Alternate History, Zombies

Publication Date: November 13, 2012 (Tor/Macmillan – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided finished copy

Summary: Rector “Wreck ‘em” Sherman was orphaned as a toddler in the Blight of 1863, but that was years ago. Wreck has grown up, and on his eighteenth birthday, he’ll be cast out out of the orphanage.

And Wreck’s problems aren’t merely about finding a home. He’s been quietly breaking the cardinal rule of any good drug dealer and dipping into his own supply of the sap he sells. He’s also pretty sure he’s being haunted by the ghost of a kid he used to know—Zeke Wilkes, who almost certainly died six months ago. Zeke would have every reason to pester Wreck, since Wreck got him inside the walled city of Seattle in the first place, and that was probably what killed him. Maybe it’s only a guilty conscience, but Wreck can’t take it anymore, so he sneaks over the wall.

The walled-off wasteland of Seattle is every bit as bad as he’d heard, chock-full of the hungry undead and utterly choked by the poisonous, inescapable yellow gas. And then there’s the monster. Rector’s pretty certain that whatever attacked him was not at all human—and not a rotter, either. Arms far too long. Posture all strange. Eyes all wild and faintly glowing gold and known to the locals as simply “The Inexplicables.”

In the process of tracking down these creatures, Rector comes across another incursion through the wall — just as bizarre but entirely attributable to human greed. It seems some outsiders have decided there’s gold to be found in the city and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of the pie unless Rector and his posse have anything to do with it.

☆: 4/5 stars – a great way to round up all of the characters in this series so far, and bring them one of their biggest battles yet!

Review: Okay, so I admit I missed the last installment in this series previous to this one, but I was really relieved to find that I was able to pick right back up again and sink back into the world that is the “Clockwork Century” series without feeling lost or confused. This is definitely one of the best volumes yet, bringing together everyone from all of the previous books and novellas, and really making this world feel full and entirely whole. While I did have a few gripes, “The Inexplicables” delivers wonderfully, and leaves us on a a semi-cliffhanger, promising us more. At least, I hope that’s what that epilogue was, anyway.

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Review: “Outpost (Razorland #2)” by Ann Aguirre

Title: “Outpost (Razorland #2)”

Author: Ann Aguirre

Genre: YA, Dystopia/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies

Publication Date: September 4, 2012 (Macmillan – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

☆: 3.5/5 stars – a good continuation from book one, but could have been better.

Review: Sadly, guys, there’s a lot of middle book syndrome in “Outpost” – things don’t start getting really interesting until the second half of the book, and I felt like the pace overall was pretty sluggish whilst it tried to set up for book 3. However, even if it has MBS, it is a pretty solid sequel to “Enclave”, and you can definitely bet I’ll be reading book 3. I guess I just expected a lot more from Aguirre after the awesome thriller that was “Enclave.”
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