Here comes my second try at mini reviews! I find them very useful and fun, even if I do feel a bit guilty about not reviewing the books properly! Try to decipher the title of the post to know what you’ll find inside this post!
Title: Scared to Death (Kay Hunter series book 1)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Date of publication: December 3rd 2016
Number of pages: 380
A serial killer murdering for kicks. A detective seeking revenge.
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.
But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.
When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.
With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.
For the killer, the game has only just begun…
My love for this series grows with every book, even if I read them in the wrong order! As a serious (and mostly curious and without any willpower) blogger, I decided it would be best for me to properly meet Kay Hunter before jumping on the third book in the series. So on a rainy bad day, I gave up my reading list with all the ARCs waiting for me and decided to read for the sake of reading, with no review in mind. Just me and a story.
Blimey, what a story!
I have to start with the plot. Ingenious, evil, and frightening things happen in Scared to Death (yes, the title is an indicator, but it’s even worse!) Yet, I was able to “enjoy” it through the eyes of realistic characters I felt I could touch, connect with, share the thoughts and pain of. I loved discovering more about Kay, both in her private and personal life. I was surprised the main subplot we follow in the second book was not THE big case of the first book, I’ll admit that. Instead, I sat back and let Rachel Amphlett scatter a few pieces of a puzzle around, playing with my mind and making me root for Kay even more!
The balance between the plot, characterization, hints of subplots, development, everything, was just perfect and makes Scared to Death an amazing first installment in what is now one of my favorite series!
Title: Pirates of Venus
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Date of publication: June 6th 2017
Number of pages: 378
Rating: Did Not Finish
The shimmering, cloud-covered planet of Venus conceals a wondrous secret: the strikingly beautiful yet deadly world of Amtor. In Amtor, cities of immortal beings flourish in giant trees reaching thousands of feet into the sky; ferocious beasts stalk the wilderness below; rare flashes of sunlight precipitate devastating storms; and the inhabitants believe their world is saucer-shaped with a fiery center and an icy rim. Stranded on Amtor after his spaceship crashes, astronaut Carson Napier is swept into a world where revolution is ripe, the love of a princess carries a dear price, and death can come as easily from the blade of a sword as from the ray of a futuristic gun.
Pirates of Venus is the exciting inaugural volume in the last series imagined and penned by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I should have known from the title that this book wasn’t for me. I hate pirates, and I don’t care about Venus.
But, as it was part of my sci-fi challenge, I opened my mind and dived in head first. I hit the ground really fast. So fast I never made it past the 20% mark! I do think that taking into account the year it was written, this must have been considered advanced and new, and had I been born around that decade, maybe this would have been my favorite book. But I was born in 1990, and reading about a guy wandering through the sky with no idea where he is heading and just passing time expecting his death because his big plan did not go well bored me to death. The thing, the guy wanted to reach Mars, and we never did! When finally he hit the jackpot and arrived on Venus, things got weird and absolutely not convincing. My mind has already erased the weird creatures of the planet because I was more interested in eating my weight in sunflower seeds than finishing that story.
It was definitely not a mood thing, I just felt the writing was dull and the character not interesting enough to make me want to have a honeymoon on another planet. So, I did not get to see Pirates and I spent… three pages on Venus maybe. This one is a miss, by far, just like the main character missed Mars!
Author: Laura Frances
Date of publication: November 9th 2016
Source: kindly provided by the author
Number of pages: 226
There is no sun. There is no moon. There is only gray—the smog belched from coal-fueled factories. The Workers silently shuffle to their assigned posts. The Outcasts watch from the alley walls. On every corner, a Watcher stands stone-faced, a rifle in hand. This is the only life that exists. Beyond the mountains is a dream. But dreams are foolish in a place like this.
Hannah has spent nineteen years dodging Watchers and doing as she is told.
“Do not look Watchers in the eye. Don’t give them a reason to notice you.”
But when she wakes to the valley exploding in revolution, Hannah is forced onto a dangerous path, where nothing is what she believed. Suddenly freedom is in her grasp, and the way there requires working with the men she once feared.
Simple but very clear, I liked the combination of the title and the cover. Plus, I hadn’t read a dystopian story in a while! I admit I missed desperate situations and protagonists pushed to the extreme of their being. Well, Slave definitely gave me what I wanted!
Watchers are everywhere, with their guns and dark outfits. Life for Hannah is all about staying in line, doing your work, and dreaming of a blue sky she has never seen. I really enjoyed diving into this grey world and learning the harsh way people survive, disappear, and obey. Everything felt hopeless and I was hooked very fast by the dark description and loneliness oozing from the pages. Cut from everything else, surrounded by factories, people live and die without anyone noticing. Though short, the world-building was efficient enough to transport me!
I only wish there had been a little bit more of Hannah’s life before the revolution came and the assumptions I had made were questioned and both Hannah and me were sent into a new world with its own set of rules.
When you have lived your life being told who were the bad guys and what you should not do, it’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by the big changes created by people you believed you couldn’t trust. Trust is at the heart of this book. Appearances, and the “who is really what they say they are??” I loved wondering, questioning actions, feeling lost with Hannah. It was as though the world had been turned upside down. But our main character had nothing to do with it, and it was refreshing! Hannah goes with the flow, at least for most of the story, and I admired that the author created a nicely-rounded cast to set the action and take everything into their hands, leaving poor Hannah to make decisions and witness what she never would have guessed. Life has more to offer, the revolution is not new, and everything is more complicated that we think! Usually in dystopians, the MC takes a bigger part in events, so I thank the author for the different angle she went with! Not to say Hannah just watches and stares, but she is simply a young and lost girl who finds friendship, hardships, love and pain when she thought the numbness of her old life was all she would ever get.
The different secondary characters all get enough background to feel real and for you to get attached. There’s enough character development to understand and feel for Hannah, and the others.
The ending promises more difficult times, but far from the desolation of the first pages I felt that was the real beginning.
Slave is a refreshing and well-executed dystopian story, with a game of trust that is fantastically gripping, a main character you can’t help but root for, and a lot of potential to be fantastic series!