Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two: Dark Fervor (Empire Of Rust) by V.J. Chambers

★★★
An apocalypse brought on by revenants, feral reanimated corpses, has caused society to denounce technology and embrace a strict religious order with an imperial political structure. Darius has been transformed into a necromancer, a powerful revenant able to think and speak. Darius struggles to endure the ravenous hunger as he is introduced to Michal, the emperor's daughter, selected to test his control by becoming his wife. Meanwhile, a treacherous political plot begins to take shape with revenants amassing around the capital. This part is roughly 79 pages and is the second of six installments. It includes chapters six through eleven for the serial novel Empire of Rust.

I enjoyed reading this second installment of the serial novel though some story elements still seem rough around the edges. I liked that this portion focused on developing the world and characters more. There was a nice mixture of background story and suspenseful forward progression leading up to a dramatic cliff hanger.

I enjoyed reading about the society, social customs, and traditions. I felt this installment gave me a better understanding of the world being post apocalyptic. It illustrated how much technology and knowledge was lost or suppressed by the dominant regime.

I liked that Darius, Michal, Leah and other supporting characters were developed more. I'm still not a fan of Ezekiel or Gabriel but this installment enabled me to better understand their personality and motives.

In this second installment of the Empire of Rust, the world and characters are developed more while the story begins to build up towards the unveiling of a deadly ploy.

Related Posts:
One: Necromancer Rising (Empire of Rust) by V.J. Chambers

Monday, June 23, 2014

One: Necromancer Rising (Empire of Rust) by V.J. Chambers

★★★✩✩
An apocalypse brought on by revenants, feral reanimated corpses, has caused society to denounce technology and embrace a strict religious order with an imperial political structure. Ezekiel's sister was betrothed to the emperor's heir and is presumed dead but no one seems to know what happened to her or even where her body is. Darius awakens chained and ravenous told he was selected to become the next necromancer, a powerful revenant supposedly capable of control. This initial part is roughly 62 pages and is the first of six installments for the serial novel Empire of Dust.

This is my first time reading a serial novel as opposed to a novella serial series. I'm conflicted about writing a review because it's only the first five chapters of the novel. Overall, I had mixed feelings about this first installment but I do plan to continue reading the serial novel.

There was a combination of different ideas presented that were interesting but they also created an uneven reading experience. I enjoyed reading about the imperial political court life and liked the fantasy element it gave the story. I liked the concept of society reverting back to a low-tech simplistic imperial era. The religious cult foundation created an interesting variation in society norms. I especially liked the mythos for the zombie creatures called revenants and what it could mean for the necromancer.

The story is told from alternating points of view which gave a diverse perspective of the world. I adored a lot of the characters and I thought their story lines were intriguing. There was Darius the selected necromancer, Michal the emperor's daughter who questions the system and now has to test the necromancer, and Leah the new fiance' that has a shady past and possesses too many secrets.

Ezekiel and Gabriel seemed to have the longest perspectives unfortunately I didn't care much for either of them. I'm not sure if their story lines had too much foreshadowing or if they were just too predictable but it felt overly scripted. I grew impatient with Ezekiel's internal narration and his constant reflective questions made the mystery arc feel dull to me. Their attraction to each other created an awkward courtship that was overly sensationalized because of the religious condemnation. I wasn't invested in their relationship as a reader. I was more interested in the other characters and the revenant situation.

These are a few of my prominent thoughts so far on the Empire of Rust serial novel. This first installment gave a conflicting first impression but it was compelling enough to keep my attention and desire to continue reading.

Related Posts:
Two: Dark Fervor (Empire of Rust) by V.J. Chambers

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dangerous Reflections by Shay West

★★★★
Alexis Davenport is trying to adjust to her dramatically altered life after her father walks out on the family. Destitute, Alexis and her mother move to a new town relying on the generosity of a relative. Alexis starts high school where she makes new friends and develops a crush that results in a bully becoming fixated on her. Meanwhile, the disruptive manipulation of historical events forces hidden abilities within Alexis to surface along with an altered reflection that draws her into the past. This is the first book in The Adventures Of Alexis Davenport trilogy.

Dangerous Reflections is a charming and dramatic young adult novel with an interesting take on time travel. I enjoyed the time travel portions of the story the most. I loved that the story explored different eras of history. The historical settings, characters, and cultures were vividly portrayed in addition to possessing story lines that were intriguing and suspenseful. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself taking a legitimate interest in learning history due to Alexis' personality and enthusiasm.

A majority of the book has a contemporary feel that kept my attention by having dramatic conflict with great characterization. Alexis is a teenager that has to deal with the pressures of high school in addition to family problems. Her character was frustrating at times but I enjoyed seeing her grow and develop as the story progressed.

I adored the supporting characters and the relationships they formed with the main character. The school antagonists were gasp worthy vindictive. There were a few messages about dealing with bullying I didn't agree with because they felt too understated to me. However, I liked that it portrayed Alexis as gaining confidence with the more trials she faced and overcame.

The other antagonists were mysterious and I'm curious to see what their main goal and agenda is. The time traveling aspect was only partially explained so I'm looking forward to reading more about it along with their unique abilities.

There are few times when third person omniscient narration is used. It wasn't excessive but it stood out as odd to me mainly because I rarely come across it. It gave an interesting rounded experience to the highly charged emotional conflict. The story is fast paced and the drama never lets up completely creating an engaging story that made me feel a myriad of emotions as it progressed through each scene.

I especially liked that it explored various issues like divorce, bullying, dating, and identity with a wholesome yet mindful perspective. I appreciate that it didn't get too heavy and the scenes were well balanced. So while it might take an agnsty tone transition to sadness there was always a lighthearted fun scene before returning to the suspenseful action.

Dangerous Reflections is a wonderful young adult novel that weaves historical and contemporary themes into an engaging dramatic story and I look forward to continuing the trilogy.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

Related Posts:
Twisted Reflections (Adventures of Alexis Davenport, #2)
Desperate Reflections (Adventures of Alexis Davenport, #3)