Romance Reviews

From Far Away Volume 5

[openbook booknumber=”159116835X”] [rating:4/5]

Transported into a fantastical world of high adventure, a confused and frightened teenager discovers she holds prophetic power that will awaken a new epoch of staggering uncertainty.

But even with such infinite power, Noriko still relies on the help of her faithful companion Izark to protect her. There are enemies lurking everywhere and Noriko needs all the help she can get.

Izark, however, may be the biggest threat of all. Within him lies an evil most unimaginable. When that evil finally reveals itself, Noriko’s spontaneous reaction surprises everyone… including herself!

As if being dumped down into a completely fantastical and strange world that doesn’t speak her language or play by her rules wasn’t bad enough. Noriko faces bigger enemies in this volume and feels more powerless than ever. She can’t help her friends or fight the bad guys, all she can do is be herself. But will that prove to be enough?

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Across the Universe

[openbook booknumber=”9781595143976″][rating:3/5]

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

When young adults leave their hometown and go off to college it can feel like they have left the planet. All of a sudden they are in a whole new town with all new people, there are new rules of engagement and you are suddenly expected to act and think very differently. Worst of all many if not all their friends and family, most importantly the ever-present parents, are now gone and they are on their own. In Beth Revis’ science fiction debut Across the Universe she manages to capture all of this perfectly as we follow Amy and her journey aboard the spaceship Godspeed. Unfortunately it is captured too well and that along with a few other hiccups resulted in this book not turning out as well as I hoped it would.

Let me start this off on a positive note, Revis can write really, really detailed and realistic scenes. The book opens with Amy watching her parents be cryogenically frozen and then experience it herself. I have extreme needle phobia, it took forever to get through those pages. Even people who don’t have needle phobia squirm through that first chapter, it is intense and present and real and that kind of talent in a writer is extremely promising. She captures the small ship, the feeling of being trapped, the abandonment all very well and you experience it along with Amy and that is very powerful.

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From Far Away Volume 4

[openbook booknumber=”1591167701″] [rating:4/5]

A prophecy of doom, passed down from generation to generation, has finally arrived. Manifest in the form of a young teenage girl named Noriko, the awakening promises a new world of frightening uncertainty.

But not everybody lives in fear of this ancient prophecy. Slowly, a group of sympathizers has come together to befriend and protect the vulnerable teenager. One of them, a valorous warrior by the name of Izark, continues to stay by her side despite the gander and complications that lie ahead.

In an attempt to avoid capture, Noriko and her band of allies travel into the White Mist Forest. Danger lurks everywhere, however… especially in this infrequently traveled wildwood!

Wow! Everything in this volume has reached new heights and I really think the series is starting to come into its own. Noriko and Izark find themselves in some pretty precarious situations after they were separated in the previous volume. What happens next was worth having in its own volume. Wow is all I can say without spoiling things, just wow.

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From Far Away Volume 3

[openbook booknumber=”1591166039″] [rating:4/5]

With each passing day, Noriko discovers more and more about the strange and chimerical world she now calls home. And the more she learns… the more frightened she gets!

Everyone around her is talking about an ancient prophecy and the awakening that will usher in a new epoch. To some, this foretold era is fraught with uncertainty and danger. To these people, the power of the awakening must be eliminated.

Ever so slowly, Noriko starts to realize that she, somehow, embodies the gift of the awakening. With the help of a valiant hero named Izark, the young teenager has thus far eluded the attention those who wish to destroy her. But secrets are hard to keep… and with one misspoken word, Noriko could seal her very own death!

Picking up the third volume in the From Far Away series I thought I had a pretty good handle on where things were headed. We had a teenage couple set up against some pretty corrupt and evil governmental figures and some sort of magical prophecy bound them together. So I was stunned that within the first five pages Izark left Noriko! Their separation allows them to grow individually as they each go on their own adventures and yet something magical still ties them together. Not to mention that even through the language barrier Noriko is beginning to realize it and just how much danger that puts them both in.

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Blood Red Road

[openbook booknumber=”9780385671835″][rating:3/5]

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she’s a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

I was torn on a lot of this book and I feel very much on the outside because so many people I really respect love this book to absolute pieces. I guess I feel like I am missing something because this book didn’t click with me as it does with many others and so I recommend right off the bat to weigh my words with all the positive reviews given and give this book an honest shot. After all I did finish the book and it’s nearly 500 pages long! Also keep in mind I am reviewing the advance copy of the book which is about 50 pages longer than the final copy that went to press so perhaps much of what I didn’t like ended up on the cutting room floor.

So, Blood Red Road is a unique take on the dystopians that have swept the YA genre for the past several years. The book is written in a “poetically minimal” style which is to say the writing is largely spelled out phonetically in an American southern drawl and there are no quote marks to denote speaking versus action anywhere in the text. The phonetic spelling actually reminded me a lot of reading Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. It had a way of bringing you into the world and seeing it more from the characters point of view just because you have a great understanding of the way they communicated and got their thoughts across. That part I loved. I’m being a total kill joy here but the lack of quote marks on the other hand was just frustrating and made reading it a bit of a slog, especially because I was trying to read parts of it aloud to my husband and it just proved frustrating for both of us without that marker showing where speech ends and action begins. I understand where the need for it stylistically came from, but I think the end result, for a 500 page book, was just overkill.

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