Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Goldilocks by Laura Lam – Book Review

4250F93C-3C6C-4518-979F-C91D827023CF
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A bold, thought provoking and high-concept feminist dystopian thriller

Ravaged by environmental disaster, greed and oppression, our planet is in crisis. The future of humanity hangs in the balance – and one woman can tip it over.

Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.

It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.

But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared…

798A20FE-EBE2-4CCA-9C17-9ADFC53D2D0D

MY REVIEW 

Goldilocks is science fiction that feels a bit too close to home for comfort.

The human race has ruined Earth, the ice caps have melted, temperatures rising and some areas of this glorious planet are now uninhabitable. So there are plans to move to a new planet.

Women are now no longer welcome to work in the space industry, or anywhere for that matter, so a group of 5 women, all trained astronauts, medics and scientists decide to take matters in their own hands and steal a rocket. They head to th new planet, Cavendish, via Mars with great plans to set up a utopian world and save humankind.

But, someone has a secret, one that changes everything.

I loved this, from the atmosphere, the world building plans and life on the ship as they travel for many months. The twists and tension keep building in this tale of hope, of love and betrayal and of the dangers of fanaticism.  Scarily prescient at times and definitely a cautionary tale. Thought provoking and utterly gripping from start to finish.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase link : https://amzn.to/2YqNijz

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

89914F72-1654-475D-8000-C7F9255AA329

Laura Lam is the author of several science fiction books, including Radio 2 Book Club selection False Hearts. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in anthologies such as Nasty Women, Solaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, Scotland in Space, and more.

Originally from California, she now lives in Scotland with her husband, and teaches Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University.

Twitter: @LR_Lam 

Book reviews, Cyberpunk, Dystopian fiction, Mystery, Noir

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter – Book Review

741005A0-FEB1-40CF-9833-8EC10EF1F1B6
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull. 

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine. 

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror

CE439AB0-5F4C-404B-B824-3C1FCD0E37ED

MY REVIEW 

Auxiliary is set in London in the not so distant 2039.

Carl Dremmler is a jaded detective sent to the scene of a death …..seeming just a man plugged in to Alt-World and had forgotten to live in the real world.

This is a world connected to technology, from driverless cars, robot surgeons and arachnoid posties……all with a single operating system known as TIM….’Alexa on steroids’. Robots are everywhere in the workplace and even the bedroom….

Dremmler is then sent to a murder case….the suspect says he prosthetic arm killed his girlfriend….it was out of control. Dremmler’s boss, Maggie, wants this investigated quietly so as to prevent any panic.  But when his partner, T, is murdered things get dark.

This is cyberpunk Noir…..a tale of robots, cybernetics, tech and the loss of society. It’s also a murder mystery, a thriller with some truly horrific moments and so terrifying in its plausibility. I’ll never look at a wireless printer the same way again. A compelling, heart pounding read. Unputdownable!!

Thank you to Heather Fitt at Overview Media for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction

Q by Christina Dalcher – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state’s new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that’s swept the country is all about perfection.

Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don’t measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted.

Elena tells herself it’s not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her.

But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined…

CDD29C6A-E935-47CD-AA4E-DF0BFDA87AD4

MY REVIEW 

What is your Q score?

Everyone is tested monthly, at school and work to find your score. It’s based on IQ, your timeliness (you lose points if you’re late for class or work), health and family wealth. 

Elena is a teacher, her husband Malcolm works in the Department of Education, so Elena’s score is improved by his status. They have two daughters, Anne and Freddie, both are doing well, even if Freddie needs a little help. But then Freddie’s score inexplicably drops…..with terrible consequences.

Q is a dystopian thriller, that’s truly terrifying as it feels so possible. In these current times we hear that if you are no longer young and healthy, you are expendable, so what if someone decided only those with a specific IQ, health and social standing score were worth life?  It’s then only a small step away from the eugenics of Q.

But, this is also the tale of maternal love, how far will Elena go to keep Freddie safe? 

I found Q to be a gripping, disturbing thriller and I read this in one sitting, I just had to know how it was going to end…..oh my ! 

It’s well written, with great characters and a very clever plot.  I loved Elena, even with her spiteful past, Lissa and Ruby Jo are brilliant and Malcolm is a truly despicable excuse of a man, which makes this a tense, terrifying and heartbreaking read. Utterly compelling.

Thank you to HQ, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Q for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2XNlKov

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, YA fiction

The Book Of Koli by M.R Carey – Book Review

D4977A32-D61F-4A00-8D65-070144666045

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is — what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

08A2207B-EB5E-4A73-ADBF-0F377B07F5DC

MY REVIEW

Young Koli has grown up in Mythen Rood in Ingland. It’s not an easy life, summers are hot, winters are cold and the trees want to kill you…..so does the wildlife and the shunned men.

Some people are born able to control the ancient tech that keeps the society going…these are the Ramparts, but Koli finds out a secret and an adventure begins.

I loved the world building,  the fantastic creatures and the moving trees…although the Choker tree seeds that burrow into flesh and sprout are a thing of nightmares…I have to admit to struggling at first with Koli’s manner of speaking…..written like a 5 years olds grammar……but once I got used to it I found it charming and fit Koli’s character.

Well written, great characters and with a clever plot all make this a thoroughly engaging read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Fantasy, post-apocalyptic, YA fiction

Cynetic Wolf by Matt Ward – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It’s 2096, sixty years after ninety percent died from a man-made Bioplague. Humanity has splintered into four unequal subspecies: immortals, cyborgs, enhancers, and subservient half-human, half-animal hybrids. 

The world is anything but equal. Hybrids everywhere are suffering, but sixteen-year-old Raek Mekorian, a wolfish with a nose for trouble, doesn’t see an alternative. Except the Resistance, who don’t stand a chance against the world government. His mom always said, “Keep your head down.”

And he does, until his sister is murdered by a pair of cyborgs. Overnight, his simple life is shattered, fracturing the rigid governmental caste as he is thrust into the dangerous world of superhuman hit squads, Resistance uprisings, and secrets better left unsaid.

With only built-in blasters and the advice of a mysterious professor, Raek must navigate crushing betrayal, self-doubt, and a limitless enemy whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Raek unify his people and free them from tyranny? The fate of mankind may rest in his hands.

DFD3CE79-C50F-4AC5-BC74-86A99C209CA3

MY REVIEW

Cynetic Wolf is #1 of the Wolfish series. 

Set in 2096, this is a post apocalyptic YA fantasy tale in which Raek,16 and a wolf hybrid lives a quiet life.

But then his sister is murdered and his parents are abducted,

People are now routinely a mix of human and animal genes and the world is a very different place to live.

This is a coming of age fantasy tale as Raek has to grow up quickly and deal with life and its many challenges. The pressure on him is immense. Can he rise to the challenge and help save the world?

This is action packed and so fast paced it will leave you breathless. A fantastic mix of characters, creatures and even cyborgs. Brilliantly entertaining.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

I’m an entrepreneur, blogger, startup advisor and futurist (actually ranked #24 worldwide), and I run Disruptors.FM, a podcast on exponential tech and where we’re headed. I wrote this book because I see humanity diverging in the coming years as genetic engineering and self-enhancement change our very essence and hope to safeguard against the big challenges I see facing all of us.

 

My website is mattwardwrites.com. You can also find me on Twitter @mattwardwrites and Instagram @mattwardwrites

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, humour, Science fiction

QualityLand by Marc-Uwe Kling – Book Review

96CC8740-318A-40AD-8ADF-A309FE419110
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Everything in QualityLand is geared towards optimizing your life. QualityPartner identifies your ideal mate, earworm personal assistants get you where you need to go and android drones know you need a six pack of beer at the end of a long day even before you crave one. Humans, robots and algorithms co-exist, everything is seamlessly corporatised, stratified and monetized. Your very name reveals much of what we need to know about you and your profile discloses the rest.

Peter Jobless is a down and out metal press operator, dumped by his long term girlfriend when she is alerted to a better option on her QualityPad. But Peter has another problem – he seems to be the only one noticing that his fellow Qualityland robot citizens are experiencing an existential crisis. There is a drone who’s afraid to fly. A sex droid with erectile dysfunction. A combat robot with PTSD. Instructed to destroy these malfunctioning A.I., Peter starts to suspect the technology that rules us all has a flaw, perhaps a fatal one. Not only that, these robots might be his only friends…
1D5E8EC3-EF2C-4B3D-AE2E-4AE5591CF015

MY REVIEW

Well where do I start?

Qualityland is a country renamed to fit with its ethos. Everything is the bestest it can be (yes I know that’s not a word), it’s the greatest, the loveliest, the beautifulist….language is now in the superlative…..always.

Peoples surnames have changed too, they now reflect the occupation of your father or mother, from Peter Jobless to Monica Sex-Worker and so, so many more. 

Also every consumerist need is fulfilled automatically by TheShop, before you know you need them (or not in some cases). Technology now runs the world, Androids are real people and have rights, they can even run for president! With drones and bitter driverless cars it’s non stop mayhem..

When Peter receives an item he doesn’t need or want he tries to return it and this is where some true hilarity begins. All he wants is to return an item and get some autonomy back into his life….is that too much to ask?

This reminded me a little of the humour in Incompetence by Rob Grant(he of Red Dwarf and Courgette leather shoe fame) and the dystopia of Rob Hart’s The Warehouse, but this has its own remarkable humour and it’s totally bonkers, hilarious and utterly terrifying in its plausibility. Brilliant.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Legal drama

Unborn by Rachel McLean – Book Review

0088E079-9699-4F0A-9543-72E29CCA2219

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.

Feminism has been defeated.

Equality is a memory.

And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.

Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.

And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

B5C71DB1-7D3B-4473-B19C-DF9FA9BC8934

MY REVIEW 

This is a dystopian tale that feels all too real in its plausibility. The fact some states in the US are already making laws to limit a woman’s decisions relating to her own body makes this a terrifying possible reality.

It is the story of 3 women who are affected by a law that criminalises abortion for ANY reason and results in imprisonment, even a miscarriage has to be proven. This is a world similar to that in A Handmaid’s Tale in that women’s reproductive rights are controlled by men, but this is also a legal drama as these laws are challenged. It’s thought provoking, anger inducing and totally gripping from start to finish.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08184VDBV/

 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08184VDBV/

 

Author Bio –

4A335E41-C28B-4A75-B5CA-C4AFB8CB7798

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelmcwrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcleanwrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelmcwrites/

9B8AAA16-F3B7-4081-9DC9-28DE4FD3C6B5

Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic, Science fiction

The Hidden Girl and Other Stories by Ken Liu – Book Review

81D88CCC-94A5-4D07-AE8B-A0952D0FD1E7
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From a Tang Dynasty legend of a young girl trained as an assassin with the ability to skip between dimensions on a secluded mountain sanctuary to a space colony called Nova Pacifica that reflects on a post-apocalyptic world of the American Empire and ‘Moonwalker’ Neil Armstrong, The Hidden Girl and Other Stories is laced with  depictions of silkpunk fantasy, Sci-Fi and old Chinese folklore, wrapped up in a mesmerising genre-bending collection of short stories.
40CD896D-2113-492E-8B49-133643DC7E4B

MY REVIEW 

This is a collection of short stories by Ken Liu with the theme of Science fiction. 

These are tales of alien invasion, of the singularity ( the digitisation of human consciousness – a bit like the film Chappie), survival after the singularity, climate disaster and post apocalypse survival. There are some lighter moments but not many.

This is not a light happy read but almost a warning of letting technology take over and leaving us in a digital dystopia. 

I have to admit a couple of stories did go right over my head, I really missed the point I think and was left a bit puzzled, but this in no way detracts from this rather marvellous, dark and thought provoking collection. 

Thank you to Amber at Midas PR for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

6735B69A-E006-4F86-849D-572BCEBC22C6

Ken Liu is an American author and the winner of the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy, Sidewise, and Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards. He emigrated to the US from China at age of 11 and graduated from Harvard with a degree in English Literature and Computer Science. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. His work includes the epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty and his debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories. His short story Good Hunting was adapted for an episode for Netflix’s science fiction web series Love, Death and Robots. 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Rain God by Ian Dowson – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Every second, every minute, every hour for five years: the incessant rat a tat-tat of rain.The rain has come and so has the killing. Rain and death in a city where madness is winning : it infects the sewers, lives in pipes, has a hook for a hand, no eyes and filed teeth. Insanity has swallowed the city, washed it down with rain and now there will be Payne.
C675FDBD-6357-4E29-9FB2-1DBFE1440C5F

MY REVIEW

Rain God is a novella of 99 pages, but don’t let that fool you. This is packed with an incredible, action packed story.

Five years ago Kate Payne’s sister, Grace was murdered and her mutilated body left in a graveyard. Then it started raining and it hasn’t stopped since…..

The city is depressed and violent with people seeking drugs and alcohol to escape the miserable lives they lead. The Postcode Gangs run riot with death everywhere.

Payne and her colleague, Johnson,  are police officers, just as violent and unpredictable as the rest…..but Payne is on a mission to find the Rain God. He’s responsible for the murder of Grace and so much more.

This is a fast paced and so gritty you’ll get road rash, it’s a tale of the incessant rat a tat-tat rain and the madness that brings, a tale of grief and anger…..oh and a damaged killer is roaming underground…..

Dystopian fiction, beautifully written and even poetic at times, but also utterly terrifying. I loved every violent, gore filled minute. 

Thank you to Yinka Olainyan at Holland House Books for the opportunity to read this dystopian wonder for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here:   https://amzn.to/38RATaF 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic

Maxine Unleashes Doomsday by Nick Kolakowski – Book Review. @nkolakowski #MaxineUnleashesDoomsday


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The United States has collapsed. Bandits stalk the highways, preying on the weak and unaware.

In order to transport goods between heavily fortified cities, companies hire convoy escorts. Maxine is the best of these new road warriors: tough, smart, and unbelievably fast. But she also has a secret: She’s the niece of New York’s most notorious outlaw, a man hunted by what’s left of the nation’s law enforcement.

Maxine wants to live a normal, upstanding life. But a bad incident on the road leaves her mauled, penniless…and fired. If she wants to survive, she’s going to need to embrace her outlaw roots—and carry off the biggest heist that the post-apocalypse has ever seen. It’s a journey that will take her through obstacle after obstacle to the edge of death itself—and beyond.

Maxine Unleashes Doomsday smashes the gritty frenzy of Mad Max: Fury Road with the top-notch suspense of a crime saga like Heat. It’s a brutal thriller that offers a terrifying glimpse of our future.

8353B93D-DBA0-459A-9029-3F0AE9B0614D

MY REVIEW 

This is the tale of the history of Maxine’s life, taken from old records after the world has been practically destroyed in the Collapse. Global warming and rising sea levels have flooded large areas of the US. Food is scarce, towns are dead and people are scratching a living the best way they can. Various clans control areas and are constantly battling each other for control.

Maxine lives in a poor area, her mother is an addict. So Maxine looks after everything including her younger brother, Brad. She also has an uncle, The Preacher, a well known criminal. She has an agreement with him, that she will finish college before she joins him in his ‘activities’….

But, she decides to do a job of her own…..she gets hurt and her friend becomes paralysed…warned off, she ends up in a job in a convoy…which is how goods are transported….in a heavily armed convoy….

Maxine, is a chaos magnet and obviously things go wrong…she loses an arm and finds out she has cancer…she needs drugs to help and so a big raid is planned and she meets PIG, an AI computer…..will she be cured? Why is her life so interesting to the future world?

I love this book, from its clever little pop culture references, Heisenberg Blue, SkyNet, sick sticks and droogs, (which appeal to the geek in me), to the dystopian world building. Maxine is a strong, intelligent female character, flawed but determined and likeable. A compelling, imaginative, brutal dystopian read and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to the author, Nick Kolakowski, for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (well preorder as publishing 4 Nov)

https://amzn.to/2pkP1r7

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

347B0F97-AB05-428B-A5B5-76ED6EA3FF74

Nick Kolakowski’s work has appeared in The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, Washington City Paper, Playboy, LOST magazine, Trader Monthly, WebMD, and eWeek, among other venues. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Neon Empire by Drew Minh – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rare Bird Books and California Coldblood Books are proud to bring you the remarkable debut novel from social media maven and marketing expert Drew Minh,

Neon Empire.

Imagine a city fueled entirely by social media.

Rising out of the American desert, this city is a real-world manifestation of a social media network where fame-hungry desperados compete for likes and followers. The bloodier and more daring posts pay off the most. As crime rises, no one stands to gain more than the city’s architects—and, of course, the shareholders who make the place possible.

This multiple-POV novel follows three characters as they navigate the city’s underworld: Cedric Travers, a has-been Hollywood director; A’rore, the city’s lead social media influencer whose star is fading; and Sacha Villanova, a tech and culture reporter.

Bold, colorful, and seductive, Neon Empire is a radically inventive

new thriller for the social media era. It’s due to publish on July 9, 2019.

Thank you so much for your time.
3428222C-B7C0-4FB5-909F-53AA9CDCB5CC

MY REVIEW 

Set in the near future, this is an artificial world in a city called Eutopia…which sounds to me how I imagine Vegas to be….with all the famous European landmarks in one, bright, neon, strobe lit place. Full of social media celebrities and ‘influencers’ vying for supremacy and a complete lack of scruples.

Eutopia is bright, flashy, decadent and so so seedy…..an upmarket Blackpool! Everything is an advert, a marketing opportunity…….scary in that we are not far off that now.

The story follows 3 main characters on their travels through this almost psychedelic world, there is a plot, with a missing person, politics and money but it really is about this dystopian world where money and fame drive everything, the real and manufactured events to raise those ratings… very clever and utterly terrifying.

Thank you to California Coldblood Books for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Drew Minh is a digital strategist living in Los Angeles, CA. He has previously published short stories and nonfiction in 3AM, Word Riot, Litro UK and many others. NEON EMPIRE (coming out September 10, 2019) is his debut sci-fi novel.

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction

The Warehouse by Rob Hart – Book Review

FD42B96A-3BEC-4440-9A45-070804955E70

PUBLISHERS BLURB  

‘TO BEAT THE SYSTEM, YOU NEED TO BE INSIDE IT’

An immersive dystopian thriller set in an America addicted to consumerism; gun violence, climate change and unemployment have ravaged the nation, and an online retail giant named Cloud reigns supreme. Rob Hart has taken our current reality and transformed it into a terrifyingly recognisable future.

Paxton never thought he’d be working Security for the company that ruined his life, much less that he’d be moving into one of their sprawling live-work facilities. But compared to what’s left outside, perhaps Cloud isn’t so bad. Better still, through his work he meets Zinnia, who fills him with hope for their shared future.

Except that Zinnia is not what she seems. And Paxton, with his all-access security credentials, might just be her meal ticket.

As Paxton and Zinnia’s agendas place them on a collision course, they’re about to learn just how far the Cloud will go to make the world a better place. 

The Warehouse is brilliantly devised and fantastic world-building. Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

Perfect for fans of The Circle, The Martian and Ready Player One.

A928A954-7A88-42A0-A93A-E5E44D753758

MY REVIEW

The Warehouse is probably one of the most terrifying novels I’ve read as it feels so plausible and that we are only a few years behind when this will be our lives…..

We nearly all rely on certain large e-commerce companies and the boxes they deliver to our doors…..from cotton wool balls to bookcases and everything in between……as Will Smith so succinctly puts it in iRobot ‘shitting on the little guy’.

The Cloud is one such business, it’s employees work, socialise and live in the same complex..cash is obsolete and CloudBurgers are the best food around…..(that still makes me shudder)…..

Paxton, used to have a company of his own but now applies for a job at cloud with the intent of meeting Gibson, the creator of Cloud…..

Zinnia, is a corporate spy…she has applied for a job at Cloud….as she is being paid to get secrets…

These two meet and have a relationship…..each keeping secrets from the other…they are only there for one reason, but is life in Cloud all bad? The world outside, it’s trouble with global warming, poverty, unemployment,  the gun violence and hate that seems to be taking over (sound familiar?) seems so far away in the cocoon of Cloud.

The chapters are written from three perspectives, Gibson, Paxton and Zinnia and tells how and why Cloud was created, it’s plans for the future….it’s all one big ‘family’..it gives their inner thoughts and plans…will they carry these out or will they settle into Cloud life? Red or Blue shirt….just not Pink!

All is not as it seems though in this dystopian tale that feels prescient and the power these companies wield is what makes this so utterly scary. Will Zinnia complete her task, Will Paxton become a company guy? Just how far will Cloud go to keep its secrets?

A completely mesmerising and compelling tale of our possible future…..absolutely petrifying and brilliant……a MUST read cautionary tale.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here ( I feel bad putting an Amazon link here……go to a shop!)

https://amzn.to/2N2dBae

 

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • The film rights have been sold for a six figure sum after a five-way auction to Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment with Ron Howard set to direct, fresh from the Star Wars: Solo movie.
  • Book rights already sold in 15 territories and counting and a major publication in the States. This is going to be the book everyone is talking about in August.
  • Rob decided to write the book because of  this news story – the tragic death of Maria Fernandes who suffocated in her car whilst napping between her three shifts a day at different Dunkin Donuts stores.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

52C1BC6F-42D5-4D13-9929-09B321001FD4

Rob Hart has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, a commissioner for the city of New York and is currently a publisher. The Warehouse is his first standalone novel.

 

 

 

EARLY PRAISE FOR THE WAREHOUSE

 

‘The Warehouse is an inventive, addictive, Crichton-esque, page-turning, near-future dystopian thriller about a corporation ruling over every aspect of our late-capitalism lives. While I hope Rob hasn’t been sent back from the future to warn us, we should heed him regardless.’

Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

 

“The Warehouse is an absolute thriller. Using wit, insight and masterful story-telling, Rob Hart has written a riveting tale that reflects on the state of humanity and where we might be heading. Be prepared for the unexpected and to look at our world through a new, twisted lens.”

Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

 

“On the surface, The Warehouse is a thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a terrifying cautionary tale of the nightmare world we are making for ourselves—where our reliance upon e-commerce giants is turning them into malevolent entities more powerful than government.”

Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter

 

“Fast-paced and unputdownable, thrilling and ominous, The Warehouse is a terrifying object lesson of a story that will haunt you each time you see a box on the front step—and yet make you wonder what colour your shirt will be, one day.”

Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Wake of Vultures and Phasma

 

“I loved The Warehouse, although and because it made my blood run cold. The world Rob Hart creates is what our world could be by this time next year. Watching these oh so human characters try to cope, even thrive, in their new normal makes one alternately hopeful and despairing.”

SJ Rozan, author of Ghost Hero and Absent Friends

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Horror, post-apocalyptic, Science fiction, Thriller

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig – Book Review

D8F64623-65FC-4407-8533-4AFBD8400771

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope. In the tradition of The Stand and Station Eleven comes a gripping saga that weaves an epic tapestry of humanity into an astonishing tale of survival.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and are sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unraveling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.
E6D70313-4632-4009-B68F-089C7E755AE3

MY REVIEW

This is my first read of a novel by Chuck Wendig and it’s definitely not going to be my last…..

The Wanderers is an epic journey of a band of people, the flock and the shepherds…..trying both to survive and keep the sleepwalkers safe….

Safe from what ? 

White Mask…..a fungal infection that slowly invades a person, giving symptoms of a cold, but as it grows it reaches the brain causing dementia and madness…..where did this disease come from?

There is Stover, a white supremacist who is violent and a vile man, he uses torture, rape and fear to keep control. He believes the walkers are the reason for this illness and so plans to kill them all…..I found this all too real, just listen to the news coming out of America these days…..the hatred is there coming right from the top.

Matthew, a man of god, gets drawn in by the charisma of Stover, until he realises the truth, but it’s too late and he is imprisoned by him…..he does have a change of heart, but can he do the right thing??? 

Then there’s the CDC\EIS group, all doctors and scientists trying to find out how this illness works, is there a cure? How are the walkers surviving with no food, rest or seemingly any consciousness other than a desire to keep moving….woe betide you try and stop them !!

There are incredibly well written characters that you will truly become invested in, willing them on, suffering their fears and doubts, the little successes and those awful moments of failure.

Yes, there will be comparisons to Stephen King’s, The Stand, there is a ‘plague’, and two distinct groups of people but that’s where the comparison ends. (There is a mention of The Stand in the Book too)….In my view, this is even better…

It’s unique and ultimately scary, as it’s so believable. The fear of AI taking over, just look at the fake news bots!!…..Black Swan the all seeing, statistic driven computer programme is terrifying ….

Will the walkers awake? Will humanity survive? What will happen to Benji, Shana, Sadie, Arav, Matthew, Pete, Landry and of course Black Swan?

At 780 pages, this is not a light read, but it is totally and utterly compelling. I loved every single minute of this beautifully harrowing tale. A modern classic and a must read.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2lfDyHD

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, a screenwriter, and a freelance penmonkey.

He has contributed over two million words to the roleplaying game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP).

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is a fellow of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, will show at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producer Ted Hope.

He’s written too much. He should probably stop. Give him a wide berth, as he might be drunk and untrustworthy. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs. He is represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

You can find him at his website, terribleminds.com.(Courtesy of Goodreads)

2DE2866D-9060-4B6C-8039-54DB05F88846

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, YA fiction

Jacob’s Ladder by Charlie Pike – Book Review

CA5AEF02-2E62-44D8-8A02-FB96B7BCB66F

PUBLISHERS BLURB

We have heard your call

You no longer need to fear.

You will receive five messages, of which this is the first.

The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation.

 

Two hundred years from now, the earth is dying, scorched by powerful flares from the sun. A series of messages from an alien civilization sent to humanity over two centuries promise rescue to those strong enough to survive on their planet.

Initiate Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and preparing for his Rising. But when his test comes – to kill in cold blood – he cannot do it. To redeem himself, he must journey to find the earth’s fifth and final message from the Saviours, with the help of his resourceful servant, Martha.

Out in the wild, Leon discovers alarming changes in his body – he can drink water through his skin, and has poison barbs buried deep in his flesh. Martha reveals to him the secret that the True Path have kept from him all this time: Jacob’s Ladder, an adaptation for life on the alien planet, has lain dormant in his genes and is now being activated. He is part alien and part human, and he is in grave danger from those who wish to take what is in his body.

An ambitious YA novel for fans of Patrick Ness, Rick Yancey and James Dashner.

B1F54D71-ED78-42B1-A4BA-04830CBBEC71

MY REVIEW

Leon is ready for his Rising, he has trained for this all his life……he meets his bind and is shocked it’s a woman…surely he is worth more than this? It will be too easy to hunt and slit her throat with Stella! ……won’t it?

His bind is sent and he and his ‘crew’ are on the hunt, but she escapes when Old Sally, the acid rain, hits……

They eventually find her, wounded but she pricks Leon’s neck with something, before all hell breaks out and the only survivors are Leon and his divvy (slave) Martha….

What follows is a journey, a perilous one to say the least and the relationship between Martha, or Ulya as she has said her real name is, and Leon….will they hear the final message from Thule……or is everything Leon believes about to come crashing around his newly changed body…?

While this is a YA novel, it’s not a light read….there’s brutality to women, slavery and general cruelty, oh and worm brood!! A clever and well plotted tale of a dystopian world…..dark and moody with the underlying desperation of hope…

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacobs-Ladder-Prepare-Born-Anew/dp/1788490401

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Charlie Pike
Charlie Pike by City Headshots Dublin

Charlie Pike started his writing career when he lived in Turkey, teaching English to adults and children. When he returned to Ireland he worked as an advertising copywriter and freelance journalist, writing feature articles for Irish newspapers, until an opportunity came along to work for an Internet start-up. In 2003 he formed his own web company, Usable Design. He met his wife, Birgit, in Turkey and they now live in County Wicklow. They have two children. Charlie is a graduate of Trinity College.

His debut YA science fiction novel, Jacob’s Ladder, was published in spring 2019.

 

Jacob’s Ladder by Charlie Pike

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The O’Brien Press (1 April 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1788490401
  • ISBN-13: 978-1788490405

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Thriller

The Disappeared by Amy Lord – Book Review

F2AA94FD-25E6-49EB-B1B8-26B75F53D54B

PUBLISHERS BLURB

Winner of a Northern Writers’ Award

Longlisted for The Bath Novel Award

What if reading the wrong book could get you arrested?

In a decaying city controlled by the First General and his army, expressing the wrong opinion can have terrible consequences. Clara Winter knows this better than anyone. When she was a child, her father was taken by the Authorisation Bureau for the crime of teaching banned books to his students. She is still haunted by his disappearance.

Now Clara teaches at the same university, determined to rebel against the regime that cost her family so much – and her weapons are the banned books her father left behind. But she has started something dangerous, something that brings her to the attention of the Authorisation Bureau and its most feared interrogator, Major Jackson. The same man who arrested Clara’s father.

With her rights stripped away, in a country where democracy has been replaced with something more sinister, will she be the next one to disappear?

‘Provocative and prescient,  The Disappeared is an unflinching tale of resistance in dark political times. Set in a near-future Britain where books are banned, this is a thought-provoking dystopian debut.’ –  Caroline Ambrose, Founder of The Bath Novel Award.

5CC149F4-EAB6-4428-94E5-E34C37B0AB86

MY REVIEW

Set in the U.K in the near future, Clara is haunted by the arrest of her father, Matthew,  by agents of the Authorisation Bureau and Major Darius Jackson. He has disappeared.

Major Jackson becomes besotted by Clara’s mother, Lucia and to keep her family safe, she has her marriage to Matthew annulled and marries Darius. A violent, evil man to say the least.

The government controls what books can be read, or taught, that free thinking is dangerous and so just owning banned books is enough to be arrested.

As Clara grows, literature is her passion and like her father, she becomes a teacher. She meets and falls in love with Simon, and together they begin teaching a few select students from the banned books…will they be found out? Or will they too disappear?

This is a fraught, dystopian tale (reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, which does get a mention) that feels all too real in the current political climate of ‘fake’ news and hate.

This is full of fear, violence and tension, but also love and hope. Compelling and disconcerting writing by Amy Lord. A thought provoking read… I loved every minute…..

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book  in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

My thanks also to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read along with them.

You can buy a copy here (click on the image)

About the author

7ED784B8-48D3-43A5-A093-536747321AD1

Amy Lord is a writer, blogger and digital marketer from North East England. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015 for The Disappeared and was also longlisted in the inaugural Bath Novel Award. An earlier manuscript saw her shortlisted for Route Publishing’s Next Great Novelist Award. She blogs about books, writing, travel and life in the North East at Ten Penny Dreams, which won Best Arts and Culture Blog in the Northern Blog Awards. Amy is currently working on a new novel, which was developed as part of a year-long mentoring scheme with Writers’ Block NE.