ARC Review: Mirror X-Karri Thompson

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3/5 Stars

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Entangled Teen.

“…and once again President William Gifford had me under his jurisdiction, he couldn’t resist plucking an apple from the tree of knowledge and taking a bite. Travel and I were their Adam and Eve, but this was no Eden. There was no place like home, and clicking my heels together wouldn’t help.”

***

“Flooded with nausea, I imagined the babies in various stages of growth catching fire as they hit the flames, babies who never had a chance, fetuses who didn’t choose to be born under odds that were against their fate.”

cooltext1538338582 copyCassie Dannacher wakes up in a hospital over 1,000 years into the future after her space capsule is retrieved from space. She soon learns that 600 years prior to her arrival, the earth was struck by a plague, killing over half of the world’s population. Naïve and desperate, Cassie, who longs for home and is having trouble adjusting to the new, dictatorial 31st century government, is comforted by Michael Bennett, the 20-year old lead geneticist at the hospital where she was revived.

But why is Cassie in genetics’ hospital in the first place, and why do several of the people around her seem so familiar, including Travel Carson, the hot and edgy boy she is fated to meet? Soon she discovers there is a sinister answer to all of her questions – and that they want something from Cassie that only she can give.

-via Goodreads

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Mirror X is quite possibly one of the most disturbing and weird books I’ve ever read and that’s saying something. It’s creepy in the most vile and intrusive ways, getting under your skin and working its way through your system in the form of shock and disquieting foreboding. If you’re looking for the kind of chilling, goosebumps inducing, hair on end read without breaking into the horror genre, this is definitely for you.

PROS:

  • Mirror X is an unconventional, horrifying dystopian that in many ways has veins of other popular YA books but takes them to a new level, one darker and decidedly more twisted. Several of the plot points are ingenious and just so despicable and wicked that it’s hard to imagine that much evil and lack of regard for personal space. The way they harvest DNA, the experimentations, the treatment of the fetuses is all just so grossly and grotesquely described that it will leave you reeling and haunted. The scenes in the uterus chambers are extremely disturbing and nightmarish, the treatment of death and disregard for human life is harrowing and jolting. You will not be able to unsee these images. The descriptions were really intense and graphic. 
  • It’s impossible not to feel bad for Cassie. The way she’s viewed by society, their inability to understand how violated she feels and what they’ve done to her without consent is the most hellish, horrific thing I can imagine. As a woman, as a human being, Cassie’s trauma with shake and twist your stomach. My heart broke for her, to be so worshiped in some aspects and neglected is just hard to handle and understand. While sacrifices for humanity are never easy, this is just beyond anything I’ve seen. And in a comatose state no less-abominable. 
  • The technology and the 31st century is crazy detailed. The life forms, the various shades of robot and devices, the computers and the advances in cloning are see-inspiring. So much has happened and the transition from Cassie’s world in the 2200s to this world is a kick to the system that completely startling and everything in this world is a surprise. 
  • The genetics lab members are creepy. They’re like indoctrinated little puppets with their odd phrases and egg jewelry. The fertility symbols and the leers that Cassie gets from some of the doctors is gross and will leave you feeling dirty.
  • How Cassie holds up and pushes through her circumstances is so admirable. As the truth comes out and what’s been done to her is revealed, she has moments of gut-wrenching clarity and an awareness of her body that puts biological function at the forefront of every thought. Cassie has lost so much and it’s ironic because in being saved it produced the death of her free will. She’s robbed of choices and placed into a lifestyle that she would never have chosen. Death seems like the better alternative, it’s just so sickeningly bad. Cassie is a fighter, she plots and plans to make an escape despite the consequences and the pretty impossible situation, she never gives up. Cassie is an incredible person, despite everything she still sympathizes with the plight of the 31st century and is willing to give herself up to it but on her own terms. That she is able to overcome the hurt and pain of what the society has done to her is amazingly strong and shows how powerful her compassion is, I don’t know many who would do the same in her situation.
  • Love the cover. The colors just pop and while it’s not what I would have imagined for the story, it’s really pretty.
  • The story itself is very bleak and it should be. There’s nothing happy or hopeful, the overall tone was well done and consistent.

CONS:

  • It’s difficult to make a connection with most of the characters, not because they’re brainwashed or so wrapped up in their goal for a productive future but because there’s just not enough of them. Most of the plot is focused on extremes from Cassie’s perspective, there are clear villains and love interests but this is skewed too. Cassie, on one hand is so paranoid and expects sinister intentions from everyone yet is so trusting of others. The entire book, I was just waiting for betrayal.
  • There’s a substantial amount of foreshadowing or in the very least hints that you can fairly often predict what’s coming and because of this, it’s kind of disappointing that Cassie isn’t more ahead of the government’s game.
  • Instalove. Upon meeting there’s an undeniable attraction between Cassie and Michael and a few pages later it’s full-blown love. There wasn’t any build up, at least from Cassie’s side. While Michael has had a long time for his enamored feelings to form, from Cassie it feels random and unfounded.
  • Travel is like a dreamy, fluctuating free spirit without opinions of his own. First, he’s all for the government’s game plan and into making the best out of the situation because that’s what he’s been told to do, then he starts listening to Cassie and he’s 100% with her wishes. Travel’s personality wasn’t developed enough for attachment and his relationship with Cassie is just too easy, it falls into place and it’s hard to gauge whether Cassie feels anything for him and vice versa.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Pleasant reading.

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Review: Mila 2.0-Debra Driza

3/5 Stars

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)-Debra Driza

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I sprawled on my bed in a spent heap, realizing the tale I’d manufactured earlier was probably delusional. Somehow I’d come up with the notion that Hunter could set me free. Like some twisted version of Sleeping Beauty. But instead of saving me from an evil spell, his kiss would save me from the iPod. 

I’d convinced myself, in that tiny space of time, that Hunter’s kiss would make me human. 

Plot: You never realize how important your humanity is until someone tries to take it away…even if you’re not quite human. After the traumatizing death of her father, Mila is broken, sad, and flooded with memories that leave her distant, and removed from the trivial high school world. Mila feels like her mother doesn’t love her anymore and is consumed by guilt over her father’s death because she has no memory of the event, even though she was there. Mila and her mother move to a small town and they both get a chance to start over. Mila is exotic because she came from a big city and immediately captures the interest of the most popular girls in school. When flashes of her memories start to come back, Mila doesn’t know if they’re nightmares or reality. Meanwhile at school, a new guy moves to town from California. Mila is drawn to Hunter, to his manga obsession and beat up skate shoes, but her best friend Kaylee has already called dibs. When Hunter shows interest in Mila her so-called friends turn on her and Mila doesn’t understand. Desperate to gain back some semblance of normalcy, Mila apologizes and tries to explain. Things are just starting to turn around when Kaylee and Mila spot Hunter walking home from school. Mila is shut down with a snarky, rude comment from Kaylee and forced to get in the back cab of the pickup truck while Hunter gets cozy in the front seat. On the way to Dairy Queen, Kaylee enthusiastically suggests a drag race, no doubt to impress Hunter, and takes off down the road, completely disregarding Mila’s safety. Mila is thrown from the back of the cab on to a heap of metal. Mila is terrified that she has a spinal injury because she can’t feel any pain. When Hunter and Kaylee arrive, they’re horrified by the gash in her arm and that’s when Mila first notices that her arm is not bleeding, nor is their any blood beneath the skin only a milky white liquid and a glimpse of metal where bone should be. More confused than ever, Mila confronts her mother and is given an iPod, that holds all the answers to her questions.

Mila learns that she is not a shy, sixteen year old girl but a government military defense initiative in android technology. Mila has never been human or born and all of her suffering and memories of loss were implanted. She’s never been older than 16 and she never will be. Mila is an android and wanted by the U.S. government. As the secrets come out, Mila learns that her mother is a scientist, one of the ones that created her and rescued her from a secret facility, she shut off all of Mila’s android technology and made her forget so that she could have a normal life. Betrayed, sickened, and scared Mila doesn’t know who she can trust or if she can even trust her own emotions, because, after all, they’re simulated. After the drag race accident Mila is alienated by her friends and wants nothing more than to flee town and pick up the pieces of her life when the government comes knocking and Mila and her mother are forced on the run for their lives.

PROS: 

  • Hunter and Lucas are by far the most interesting, compassionate, developed characters in the story. They both have depth, intelligence, and quirky, caring personalities that help Mila grow. Hunter is gorgeous, different, and someone who Mila feels like she can trust with her secrets. Lucas is a genius, that nerdy-cute guy that draws you in with his awkward attempts at humor..er…conversation, and keeps you on your toes. Both are pleasant components and give the story a potential love triangle without unrealistic love at first sight. It’s real, it’s complex, and definitely refreshing.
  • Mila’s internal battles to embrace her dual natures, that of her android body and her human emotions, is both heart-breaking and incredibly moving. Her hurt is genuine, how is she supposed to know if any of her feelings are authentic or just some cleverly written technology?
  • The technology itself is fascinating and extremely detailed. The test procedures for the androids, the underground anarchist groups that threaten the government, the risky, heartless goals of the military are all compelling and somehow very believable.

CONS:

  • All of the female characters are stereotypical, and their faults are emphasized to the point of disbelief. Kaylee is the epitome of a bitchy, self-absorbed, vapid mean girl who drops her friends whenever she feels slightly threatened or doesn’t get her way. The other members of her posse are just as bad, if not worse, and some sections of their dialogue are so obnoxiously evil that it’s infuriating and you’ll desperately yearn for Mila to grow a backbone.
  • There’s little development between characters in the first half of the book, Mila’s trauma over her father’s death is crippling and forces her to stick with the “friends” she’s got but how she deals with the abuse is detrimental to her character development. Mila seems weak, and while it’s understandable that she’s recovering from her loss and eager to fit in, the fact that she allows her friends to treat her so poorly diminishes her character. This changes as the book progresses and Mila gains some confidence and learns that the only way to feel strong is to embrace her humanity and android technology.
  • The first half of the book is a little slow and while not hard to get into, a bit tedious because of the sheer fury generated by most of the smaller characters.

If you like any of the following you will enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: Cinder- Marissa Meyer

4/5 Stars

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)- Melissa Meyer

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Lunars were a society that evolved from an Earthen moon colony centuries ago, but they weren’t human anymore. People said Lunars could alter a person’s brain-make you see things you shouldn’t see, feel things you shouldn’t feel, do things you didn’t want to do. Their unnatural power had made them a greedy and violent race, and Queen Levana was the worst of them all.

Plot: A retelling of Cinderella with a robotic twist, Cinder follows the journey of Cinder to escape her wicked stepmother, fall in love with her prince charming, and to save the world from the evil Lunars who threaten all of the Earthen inhabitants with a deadly plague. All her life Cinder has felt like a burden, and a freak, part cyborg, part human she has never quite fit in anywhere but she is the most renown mechanic in the Beijing district. Cinder is forced to work, and because she is the ward of her stepmother her earnings are taken away and lavished on her step sisters. Cinder is avoided by the people in the market because cyborgs are seen as less than slaves, they’re unnatural, and unwelcome. All Cinder wants is to escape but with her stepmother breathing over her shoulder and no income there’s little hope for a brighter, freer future. One day while at her booth, a hooded stranger approaches Cinder with an ancient Android. She is shocked by the warm brown eyes that seem to embrace, and welcome her in, and even more startled to recognize their owner at the crown Prince Kai. After this chance meeting Cinder’s thoughts revolve around the Prince but she knows he could never possibly fall for her, after all she’s a cyborg and yet she clings to his compassionate, boyish kindness. Cinder loves her sister Peony, even though cyborgs are rumored to lack emotional capacity, and when Peony is struck with the plague Cinder’s world falls apart. She is blamed for Peony’s sickness, and given to the medical researchers as a guinea pig to test plague microbes on. Cinder is injected with the microbes, and the plague is tracked through her system but miraculously, the plague seems to disappear. Dr. Erland thinks Cinder might be the key to an antidote, and Cinder is willing to sacrifice herself in order to find a cure to save Peony. With a separate bank account set up, and bruised by needles, Cinder returns home. Cinder continues her budding friendship with the Prince, and soon learns that nothing is ever what it seems, even your own identity. Soon Cinder no longer knows who she is as her DNA results come back she has more questions than answers. Meanwhile, Prince Kai is negotiating with the deceitful Queen Levana of the Lunars-a group of magical beings who are able to manipulate, and brainwash through bioelectric powers, and live on the moon. The story follows Cinder through her quest for love, the truth about her past, and how to save the world from the plague, and the imminent Lunar-Earthen war.

PROS:

  • Cinder is a unique heroine. She is ballsy, direct, sarcastic, and so witty. She has several hilarious lines and her personality is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Cinder knows how she is perceived by others but she believes in herself and is not afraid to share her opinions. Cinder’s is also as compassionate as she is funny, and does not let her horrible living situation break her.
  • There are several comical, all around heart warming moments that leave you laughing out loud with how cleverly they were delivered.
  • Kai is handsome, honest, and so full of life. You will fall in love with him as easily as Cinder does. He will take you in with his charming, smiling, adorableness, and you will never want to let go.
  • The social hierarchy when it comes down to technological advancement, and materialism is really interesting in its complexity. Humanity is valued above all else, and although technology in the form of gadgets is smiled upon, cyborgs and androids are merely for aiding in entertainment or as servants.
  • The use of the plague, and the Lunars as a combined medical, magic, and scientific threat was innovative, and added to the overall dystopian outlook.

CONS:

  • There’s not a very detailed description of what Cinder looks like.
  • Some things were rather predictable.
  • There were a few monotonous parts but they quickly picked up.

Overall Cinder was an enjoyable, pleasant read. If you liked the following books you might like this:

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-BB

Review: Revolution 19- Gregg Rosenblum

3/5 Stars

Revolution 19- Gregg Rosenblum

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“You are our creators,” said the robot. “We revere you as such, despite your many flaws, and we cannot abide a world devoid of our creators.” The robot stood, and paced back to the screen. “And so, the Great Intervention was born. It was time for a radical restructuring of society. Time to save mankind from itself. Time for robots, once simply tools, to become leaders.”

Plot-Here is the Goodreads summary:

“Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.

Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.”

Here is my commentary:

Cass, Nick, and Kevin embark on a journey to save their parents who may or may not have been captured by evil robots who wield their lasers with abandon, burning and incinerating people at random. There are many different types of robots, but the main ones are sphere and Peteys. Sphere robots merely scan a person’s identity, report infractions, and summon real policing robots. Peteys, who come from the acronym P.D., are hulking robots that roll around, and shoot people with their hand beams, jolting them with electricity much like a taser until severe burn. People outside the robot run cities are known as Freemen, that’s what Cass, Nick, and Kevin are. There are two warring narratives within the story; the Freemen know that robots are killing machines that aim to destroy mankind by incinerating them and destroying villages. The people within the cities believe that the Freemen suffer from horrifying plagues and brutal uprisings and that the robots rescue them from danger. Within the city, the technology is unlike anything Cass, Nick, and Kevin have ever seen, and they learn that the robots keep track of the citizens with a chip implantation at the back of their necks. The people who have been rescued by the robots go through a process of testing to be acclimated into the robot society as citizens. First, if they were ‘accidentally’ injured by the robots during their attempt at rescuing them from rebellion, they are put into a tank where their injuries are healed. Then they go through a process of re-education. Re-eduction is learning through videos and live examples the propaganda of the Great Intervention. If a person does not obey and pass the tests of re-education they will be terminated. Nick, Cass, and Kevin don’t know if their parents have been captured but they will not give up until they find out. Thus, they infiltrate into the robot city, and go through dire trials and tribulations to find out what happened to their parents, and perhaps even take a step towards fighting back.

PROS:

  • Lexi. Despite her over use of the term rock star, Lexi is a fierce, independent, headstrong, and determined girl. She stands up for what she believes in, she takes risks for a greater cause than herself, she is compassionate, loving, funny. Lexi is a strong role model and a very positive female character.
  • The organization and implementation of robot laws and practices and how they deal with infractions, the whims of the new citizens, and education is really complex and notable addition to the story. The robots have their own system of government and extremely advanced technology that is really cool, and crazy to think about because our current technology is not that far off.
  • The fact that the focus is not on the love story but on a family’s love for one another is refreshing.
  • The use of carrier pigeons is awesome and the juxtaposition of a world with and without technology is startling.

CONS:

  • These characters make the most reckless, stupid decisions ever and then wonder why things always end badly. I was constantly infuriated by the fact that throughout the book they’re concerned about safety and taking risks but when it matters they’re too stubborn to follow their own advice. There were several instances where I wanted to strangle Nick. By the end, this urge did not go away, writing about it only continues to fuel my fury. 
  • Infiltrating the system should not have been so simple, it’s barely plausible.
  • It makes no sense that they would not be more concerned about robotic implantation, especially of organs.
  • It is also unclear why the robots changed heart. Why were they first presented as cold, killing at random but then they make a collective decision to be humankind’s savior?
  • The secondary characters are so much more interesting than the main protagonists.

If you liked

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you might enjoy this.

-BB