Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

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5stars

From the ground, we stand. From our ships, we live. By the stars, we hope.

Title: Record of a Spaceborn Few
Author: Becky Chambers
Series: Wayfarers #3
Number of pages: 358 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s just beautiful, perfect, I loved it.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

PLOT —
The story is simple, but at the same time very complex, because humans are complicated creatures. We have met different kind of aliens in the last two books, and we’ve met the humans living and working on alien planets; but this time we are seeing humans, focusing on a few, living in an all human community on the Fleet. The Exodus Fleet, the ship the humans built when they knew the Earth didn’t have much longer left to live, is a world unto itself with a very particular way of living that set them apart from the rest of the communities. It was very interesting seeing how they share resources, worked different jobs to maintain the balance in society and economy, all without using money.

CHARACTERS —
There are five main characters, each with a story to tell, each with chapters in their point of view: Tessa, Kip, Sawyer, Eyas, and Isabel. I liked all of them with their different lives and dreams. Loved the diversity, so natural. I won’t explain each character because I think it’ll spoil the story a little bit. They were all so authentic, with their everyday lives; some with a future still to be chosen, some thinking something is missing from their lives, others with a live well lived and with so much history to tell, and some willing to take a leap of faith to change their present to have a better future.

Perhaps none of us can truly explain death. Perhaps none of us should.

THOUGHTS —
As it was always described, these books are a spaceopera. A tale of lives lived in different environments, surrounded by different people, facing different challenges. Each one of these books has given me a sense of tranquility, without taking away a sense of surprise and awe when something didn’t go as planned. This story, with the sole alien character seeing things from her perspective, is meant to show you human beings evolved to an almost perfect and uncorrupted society. But things can’t be perfect all time, it’s just not possible. I loved how things were portrayed, I loved how easy I found myself cheering for the characters!

CONCLUSION —
Simply fantastic. There’s nothing more to add. Superb writing and storytelling. These books have been worth every second I spent reading them and thinking about them when they were over. I will carry them in my heart for eternity.

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Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

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5stars

I wanted to save everyone. I wanted it so bad. Maybe it’s because no matter how much I try, I can’t shake the thought that they’re dying because of me. I fell on a hand and I brought the world to the brink of war.

Title: Waking Gods
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files #2
Number of pages: 320 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I love the writing style and all the science!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

What a rollercoaster of a book. I was left shaken and with my jaw on the floor. So many things happened. So many twists I should have taken into consideration but instead didn’t so I was genuinely surprised. And shocked.

The first book ended with Rose literally coming back from the dead without her memories of working with Themis and her team of soldiers and scientists. This book starts nine years after that, with Rose feeling out of place and like a fake, and with Kara and Vincent still being the Themis pilots going on tours around the world. A new organization for the protection of Earth has been founded and it has the giant robot as sole protector of the planet. But the feared alien invasion, even if later than anticipated, decided to arrive and one after the other, bigger giant robots than Themis start appearing on Earth in highly populated cities. People in power don’t know what they want, they are scared, and scared people make mistakes. Things weren’t looking very good for humanity.

I still love the writing style of this book: the dialogues, the journal entries, and the mysterious man behind it all. It felt like a movie was playing inside my head while I was reading. No long descriptions, just the characters interacting among themselves or involved in some mission that could be fatal. Sometimes this kind of narration is refreshing.

The third and last book of this trilogy, Only Human, is on its way and I will receive it soon. I have already put it on my may tbr list so I will read it as soon as it gets here. I’m really curious about what is going to happen after than ending! I didn’t really see any of that coming. These books would make a really great mockumentary movie.

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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5stars

“It only takes one pebble to start an avalanche.”

Title: Obsidio
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Series: The Illuminae Files #3
Number of pages: 615 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Amazing ending with amazing characters.
Bad things about this book: That it’s the end? Yes, that’s the only thing that’s making me sad.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

So I cried. I cried during those pages (if you’ve read the book, you know what pages I’m talking about!!), I was a mess. Then I rejoiced for other reasons. And finally I’m leaving these characters for good and I don’t know exactly how I feel. Am I happy? Of course. Sad? Certainly. Empty? A little bit. Did I love it? I MOST CERTAINLY DID ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? This was the perfect ending to a perfect series I thought I was going to have a hard time getting into because of its peculiar format.

This book follows the characters we’ve come to know and love in the previous books and a couple new characters essential to the case they are all building against those BeiTech goons. Kady and Ezra, Hanna and Nik, Asha and Rhys; all of them, along with people they trust and some maybe they shouldn’t have trusted, will join forces to put together the Illuminae Files and stop BeiTech from committing crimes against humanity. They are a nasty bunch!

Our footage opens on a tableau I like to call Portrait of a Bad Idea.

So many things happen and my beloved AIDAN is part of some of them. It is magnificent because it doesn’t have filters; it analyzes situations and opts for the best solution. Maybe not the human solution, but a solution nonetheless. It is the only one who can make hard choices and I’m glad it’s still there to help them make them. I was enchanted by how ADAIN acted with Kady. It amused me so much, AIDAN caring about someone so deeply it made decisions not entirely based on statistics, but maybe on a feeling so much similar to love.

I am clarity.
I am necessity.
I am inevitability.
But am I evil?

Of all the characters and the characters growth and development, I have to say that the thing I loved most about Obsidio was the bromance between Nik and Ezra. They were born to be besties and I want to imagine them having boys nights out (and maybe once in a while they will also invite Rhys). I feel like among the three boys, Nik is the one that got to my heart the most. He felt genuine and raw, a look that said he had nothing to lose but a heart that would do anything to save the ones he cared about. So much heart inside such a sassy boy: my feelings for him were sincere. Nik was such a surprise, from beginning to end.

“You know what they call me behind my back?”
Malikov shrugs.
“Lieutenant Babyface,” Mason growls.
Malikov laughs, smoke spilling from his nostrils. “You do have a certain cherubic quality about you, Flyboy. Just saying.”

It’s been a few days since I finished Obsidio and I still don’t know how to put into words how I feel and how this book made me feel. All I know is that once I started it I couldn’t put it down and once I finished it I had a big smile on my face and couldn’t stop giggling. I was satisfied with how things ended and nothing made me feel like I wasted my time reading it. This is a perfect young adult sci-fi series; yeah, even with teenagers being able to save planets and humanity while also finding a special someone to share romantic moments with. Not very plausible but a lot enjoyable and I wouldn’t have liked it in any other way.

Let’s wrap this up with the quote that, once I read it, broke my heart and made me feel feelings, so many feelings, feelings in the shape of big fat tears rolling down my face and stuff, those kind of feelings:

“Of all the things I have seen and the places I have been, you were the one who felt most like home.”

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Black Light Express by Philip Reeve

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5stars

He didn’t have a plan. He thought love and anger would be enough.

Title: Black Light Express
Author: Philip Reeve
Series: Railhead #2
Number of pages: 303 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s the perfect sequel of Railhead with everything you didn’t think you needed.
Bad things about this book: The twists!!! How many can my heart take? (Not really a bad thing, I just like things being easy even when they never are)
Do I recommend it? Yes, it’s a great sci-fi book and it’s worth a chance.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I’m glad I waited this much to read the second book of the Railhead series because maybe now I won’t have to wait long for the third and last book. It’s already the end. It’s never easy.

Zen and Nova took the new gate to an unexplored part of the galaxy and will meet quite a few interest characters. Their love is pure and adorable, never too much, never forced, just right for the kind of book we’re reading. There’s nothing wrong about two people loving each other even if the rest of the world may think it’s unconventional, with Nova being a machine and all. Their adventures in the Web of Worlds was fantastic and there’s so much they found out, so much that can change everything and maybe by changing everything, they will have to make sacrifices. I’m never ready for sacrifices.

Threnody Noon, new Empress of the Great Network, along with newly unfrozen criminal Chandni Hansa, will be forced to escape the Network to save their lives and their journey will intersect with the one of Zen and Nova. There’s only a tiny detail: Threnody was deceived by Zen in Railhead; he’s at fault for the death of her uncle, the previous emperor. She doesn’t like him and she wants him to pay for what he’s done.

While they are escaping, they found themselves in Desdemor, where the new gate is, and they go through it with a new character, one that will be my favorite from the time they met him, until the end of the book: the interface of Mordaunt 90. This guardian in the form of a magnificent golden man stole my heart. I was torn because guardians aren’t really trustful but there was something in him that gave me hope.

This book didn’t lack twists; right from the beginning things started to go wrong, everything seemed to fall apart very easily and I was scared because, if that certain thing happened, nothing could stop other bad things to also happen, right? I was on edge all the time.

I was scared for the humans, for the other beings, for the golden guardian, for the motorik, and for the trains! This is my first time being scared for trains but in this book they’re as important as all the other characters. They have personalities; they are smart and essential to the success of the various missions. The Damask Rose is as caring and witty as ever and there’s also a new entry: the Ghost Wolf. A black wartrain with fire in its engine! Not real fire, it’s only very enthusiastic. The trains are great and they also have villain counterparts in this book and you can’t help being afraid. You care for them as much as you care for the main characters. I just hope they’ll have a happily ever after!

This series is amazing and this book is even better than the first. I loved it. A lot of wth moments, lots of gasps, lots of “now what?”. Can’t wait to see how it all ends!

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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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3stars

We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.

Title: The Martian Chronicles
Author: Ray Bradbury
Number of pages: 241 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s easy to read and it’s short and has lots of interesting elements.
Bad things about this book: All the stereotypes and obvious flaws because of them.
Do I recommend it? Yes, give it a shot.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I don’t think I really liked this book. Yes, it’s very well written, it has many elements beyond its time, nice ideas for a dystopian sci-fi story, but it has flaws I can’t seem to tolerate. I think the fact that it’s so old, with its use of such antiquate views of the world, made the whole reading experience barely tolerable for me. It’s a book about a second America, built by Americans with typical American methods and American point of views, on Mars. They literary built cities and called them New New York, etc. Really, a clone country on a different planet with zero regret for what happened to the Martians. Sounds familiar, right?

It’s a book written in 1950, and it shows. A lot of themes were typical of America during those years and the futuristic elements were different from the ones I’m used to with more modern books. There’s the oxygen situation that’s not really an issue and that’s not really explained, and the fantasy parts like the rain that makes seeds from Earth grow to their maximum capacity in just one night. There are lots of interesting elements that fit well into the sci-fi narration but some others that were quite improbable. I know how the sci-fi genre plays a lot on the imagination just like the fantasy genre, but usually the elements are so well integrated and explained in the story that they do seem plausible; it doesn’t matter how crazy a thing is, if you give me a good explanation I can believe in anything.

While I did enjoy some chapters, there were a lot that were so hard to read I was tempted to skip them completely. Take the chapter with Walter, the allegedly last man on Mars; it was one of the creepiest chapters I’ve ever read. I was furious and disgusted and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but guess what? It was one of the longest. Also the chapter with the man with the hot dog stand; oh my, how much I didn’t like that one. People do stupid things when they’re afraid, I can understand that, but this was on a whole new level of stupidity. Again, furious. That state of mind was a constant during my reading of this book and I don’t think that’s really how I was supposed to feel.

A while ago I read “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin and I fell in love with the characters and with the story. That is also a sci-fi written a lot of years ago and it also had tons of stereotypes typical of the time. While the Le Guin book didn’t get ruined but that flaw, this one lost lots of appeal to me because of them. I think this is mainly because there really aren’t recurring characters. There are different stories, from different characters, that take place during a long period of time. Not being able to connect with a character resulted in me seeing all the flaws that, with at least one strong character, would’ve been bearable.

Long story short, The Martian Chronicles had all the potential to be a sci-fi book I would’ve loved but then, in my opinion, it didn’t live up to its fame. That’s a pity, though; I truly wanted to love it.

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Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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5stars

I know all that is possible to know, and it’s increasingly unbearable.
Because I know next to nothing.

Title: Thunderhead
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of Scythe #2

Number of pages: 504 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s intriguing and it keeps you glued to the pages.
Bad things about this book: It’s not the last so we keep on suffering.
Do I recommend it? Yes, this series is becoming one of my favourites.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I knew it was going to be great but, did I know it was going to make my heart beat so fast because of anxiety? No. No, I didn’t. My poor heart is still beating like crazy and my brain is trying to come up with a lot of explanations and ways this story is going to end. So far I do not like any of the theories it has come up with. Please, let it be all flowers (artificially grown) and rainbows (created by the Thunderhead, of course). Nonetheless I loved it so much I will not stop recommending this series to everyone who will pay attention!

Each time I witness a cruel act by a corrupt scythe, I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.

Scythe ended with Citra becoming Scythe Anastasia and Rowan going rogue with the intention of ending all the corrupted scythes. Thunderhead starts with Rowan, as self-appointed Scythe Lucifer, punishing one of those scythes. Little did I know that, from that day on, things were going to get much more complicated than what my little brain could imagine. Anastasia and Marie are in danger; there’s a new character so important to the world that the Thunderhead makes complicated decisions to put him in the line of action; and Rowan finds himself in a weird and frustrating position. What is the fate of scythedom, and of the world, is something humans cannot predict, and maybe neither can the Thunderhead.

This book was one WTH after the other. Things that were already complicated seemed to get more so in just a few pages. I wanted to proceed but was afraid of reading and finding out I was not going to like what was written. I am heartbroken and that’s a fact, and now I’m curious to see how all the things that have started a chain of reaction will unravel in the third and last book. There’s just so much that can still go wrong and so much that maybe can put a stop to what has been angering the omnipresent Thunderhead. Humans just can’t behave and it’s infuriating.

How frustrating it is to have so much power, yet be so impotent to wield it when it counts.

It has come with no surprise whatsoever that the Thunderhead is, in the end, my favorite character. I don’t really know why I always find myself on the side of the artificial intelligent, be it good or bad. I just can’t help it. The intra-chapter bits of the Thunderhead were the parts I couldn’t wait to read because there was so much true in them and I loved the way it voiced its flawlessness and its choices. It sees it all but it can’t change human nature; it has done everything to ensure humans could live as immortals in a world made of commodities and everything they needed. Still, humans always find a way to ruin everything. It’s the sad truth.

The last book will be anxiously waited by yours truly and it will be read with my heart in my hand and a few tissues next to me, just in case. I’m sure I’ll need them.

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[ARC] Artemis by Andy Weir

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5stars

Attack of the Moon Woman Who Made Bad Life Decisions.

Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir
Expected publication: November 14th 2017
Number of pages: 384 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Artemis is on the Moon!!!!
Bad things about this book: Nothing, it has everything.
Do I recommend it? Yes, if you loved The Martian you will love Artemis.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for a review – This review will contain many quotes but zero spoilers.

Artemis was so much fun to read and plenty interesting. I love a good sci-fi book and if the mc is funny but not in an overwhelming kind of way, then I’m hooked from the start. Guess what? I was hooked from the very first page! I fought to get an ARC because I loved The Martian; I couldn’t miss another book like that one, right? I was such a fool to let two whole months pass from receiving the ARC to finally reading it. Such a fool, shame on me!

“Oh, poor billionaire,” I said. “Maybe you should have some moors installed so you can pine on them.”

Now that I have read it, I can very much say that I loved it; loved the concept, the characters, the heist, the twists, and how easy was to read it without being a scientist. I recommend it more to science enthusiasts, though, because it has many terms that may confuse or bore most of the people I know so, if you’re not in awe of everything scientific, then maybe this book is not for you.

I had this bad habit of checking my bank account every day, as if compulsively looking at it would make it grow. But the banking software wasn’t interested in my dreams.

Jazz is a wonderful main character. She is fun, she is a rebel, and she is extremely relatable. She lives in the poorest part of Artemis. Did I mention that Artemis is the only city on the Moon? On the freaking Moon!! Can you believe how cool is it to live on the Moon with only 1/6th of the Earth’s gravity? I loved everything about Artemis; it seemed like magic but at the same time it all seemed so possible it was incredibly enchanting. I was dreaming with my eyes wide open.

“I’m sorry, but this isn’t my thing,” I said. “You’ll have to find someone else.”
“I’ll give you a million slugs.”
“Deal.”

Let’s go back to Jazz: she is a Saudi-Arabian 25-year-old girl, she works as a porter, and she is a criminal. Not a dangerous one, though. She smuggles things from Earth to sell to a higher price to Artemisians. Let’s say you miss smoking and it’s forbidden to smoke in Artemis because it’s flammable, then what do you do? You call Jazz, place your order, she emails her friend on Earth and, tadah, you have your very expensive cigarettes and you can smoke on the Moon, hopefully without setting the whole city on fire killing everyone inside.

The city shined in the sunlight like a bunch of metallic boobs. What? I’m not a poet. They look like boobs.

Jazz needs money and she’s been presented with the perfect opportunity to gain enough money to live like a queen possibly for the rest of her life. She can’t turn it down even if it’s dangerous and she risks being deported to Earth where she hasn’t been since she was a little girl. She is not an Earthling anymore; she is a 100% Artemisian.

How dare you call me lazy! I’d come up with a scathing retort but, meh, I’m just not motivated.

The story doesn’t lack twists and many of them involve side characters. I knew things weren’t going to be as they seemed at first, but some twists got me totally unprepared. I love a story that doesn’t put drama just for the sake of it and the twists are well managed so that the story doesn’t drag pointless for too long. The story flows perfectly with all its obstacles. Jazz, her inner monologues, and her interactions with the side characters make this story captivating. Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop until the end.

“You are unmarried and have sex with many men.”
“Yes, I’m quite the harlot.” Her son, Isvan, had banged more dudes than I ever had. I resisted the urge to tell her.

I can’t and won’t say much about anything else. I found myself rooting for Jazz from the start and I wanted to see how her crazy self was going to manage all the crazy things she wanted to do to have a better future and to redeem herself from all the bad decisions she’s made in the past. This is a charming story and it’s told perfectly. I loved it and if you loved The Martian as much as I did, then pick this book as soon as it’s released and read it.

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