Book/Rant Review: Dreadnought by April Daniels

30279514

 

Genre: Science Fiction, Superhero Book

Publisher: Diversion Publishing

Length: 276 pages

Format: ebook

Rating: 1.5 stars

Publication Date: January 27th 2017

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero.

Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Book Review

Quick disclaimer: this review is going to be pretty ranty.

 

Danny is a girl born in the wrong body. She knows it and has been keeping it secret from her family for a long time. One day, while painting her toenails behind a supermarket, she finds herself in the middle of a fight between two superheroes and it ends quite badly for the good guy. Dreadnought is one of the most famous superhero in the US and well, Danny didn’t expect him to die and pass all of his powers into her hands. She finds herself being the new Dreadnought and having her dearest wish fullfilled. She now has the body she only wanted to have… whiwh means that she has to find a way to explain why she is now a girl to her family.

 

Dreadnought was one of my most anticipated releases last year and I preordered it weeks before its release. I had high expectations going in because I couldn’t imagine how it could fail with such an amazing premise. I love superheroes stories, I love both Marvel and DC’s universe and I watch a ridiculous amount of superhero movies and shows I was extremely interested by the fact that the main character is transgender and I was so prepared to love this.

Well, obviously, I didn’t.

I have several complaints about this book and I don’t really know how to start.

First of all, it was obvious that it was a debut, the writing felt young and awkward, the characters are as flat as can be and the story was very predictable. I can tolerate bad writing and meh plot if the characters are multi-dimentional but it definitely wasn’t the case here.

Danny, while being the main character, was a complete cardboard cutout. The book was narrated from her perspective but after spending almost 300 pages in her head, I still know next to nothing about her. Sure she wants to be a girl and she struggles to explain it to her family but that’s all. She doesn’t have any hobbies: she saves people because she’s able to do so but doesn’t have any particular characteristics. She’s an idea not a person.

Same with every other character actually. Even her best friend, David, isn’t fleshed out at all. His first idea after seeing Danny in her new body is to stare at her (enormous) boobs and the day after, to ask her on a date. Is it normal behaviour? No, I’m sorry, if one day one of my male friend turns up in a female body, I would have a bit more questions, like “what happened to you dude?” and “are you okay?”. All the characters are devices to move the plot forward, they don’t feel like human beings. All of the characters have one role to play and can be described in a few words: the pervese BFF, the transphobic superhero, the nice girl, the sexy one, the friendly one, the bully etc etc… That’s not character building for me.

However, I could have seen past that and enjoyed the book for what it was if I didn’t have to deal with all the sexist and just completely WTF moments in this book that really pushed my nerves.

I know nothing about transitionning so I can’t attest about the effects on one’s body but I’m sure it doesn’t turn people into dumbass, so how am I supposed to react when one of the first remark Danny makes after being transformed into a girl is

Suddenly, I am worried about getting fat, which is something that hasn’t happened to me before.

What. The. Fuck. Oh yeah, because all the girls have issues with their bodies and weight obviously. I mean, who has heard of a confident girl? It doesn’t exist. Right?…

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "facepalm gif"

 

Also, in this book Danny makes countless remarks on how much she feels more emotional since being a girl and how she is so much irritable now. Why, oh why… I mean this is ridiculous, yes hormons are a thing but being a girl doesn’t systematically mean that you have mood swings. I am a girl and I am calmer than a lot of my male friends. Men are not robots and women are not bipolar, it is ridiculous. Girls don’t all wear pink and “girly things” as Danny always seem to thing and they are not prone to be more emotional being, I just do not get why it had to be in this book.

So yeah, I can’t for the life of me recommend this to anyone. The characters are flat, the story is boring, the writing isn’t good and some passages pushed all my wrong buttons. I won’t give this book one star because I found the relationship between Danny and her parents interesting and, from the reviews I have seen from people who transitionned, it seems like good representations. However, it’s the only good point.

For me, this book feels like a first draft that was published without any changes made by an editor. Lots of things could have been improved and left out. Because of that, I just won’t be reading the sequel. I just don’t care enough to want to know more about this world and the characters, I wish I gave up on this book because I just feel like I lost my time.

Please read something else.

1.5 stars

Advertisements

Book Review: Ironclads by Adrian Tchaikovsky

34466691

 

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Thriller

Publisher: Solaris

Length: 200 pages

Format: eARC

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: November 7th 2017

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

Scions have no limits. Scions do not die. And Scions do not disappear.

Sergeant Ted Regan has a problem. A son of one of the great corporate families, a Scion, has gone missing at the front. He should have been protected by his Ironclad – the lethal battle suits that make the Scions masters of war – but something has gone catastrophically wrong.

Now Regan and his men, ill equipped and demoralised, must go behind enemy lines, find the missing Scion, and uncover how his suit failed. Is there a new Ironclad-killer out there? And how are common soldiers lacking the protection afforded the rich supposed to survive the battlefield of tomorrow?

Book Review

Ironclads is a military science fiction novella following an impossible rescue mission led by a couple of soldiers who don’t even know what they are fighting for anymore. Ironclads is set in a future where the war is now a playground for the rich kids. Think of it as the return of chilvalry: if you are rich, you have all the cool toys and armours to play with and kill a bunch of soldiers incapable of protecting themselves. You are a Scion, an unbeatable being. To be a Scion, you have to have money, which means that most of them are heirs of CEOs of huge corporations. Those corporations  lead the world and decide who fight who.

Serngeant Regan and his team have to find a Scion gone rogue, nobody knows what happened to him so they have to send a team to find out where he is. However, finding what happened to this Scion is not an easy-feat for ill-equiped simple soldiers especially when the Scion was last seen in the land of the enemies, here, the Nords. However, a job is job and we follow the (mis)adventures of Regan’s team as they travel in search of the missing Scion.

In this future, the world is a complete mess: war is everywhere and boundaries are constantely changing. The UK is now part of the US after completely collapsing because of the Brexit. Discrimination and sexism are at the heart of this new civilization and corporations do whatever they please.

I don’t want to go in too many details about this book as it is extremely short (only 200 pages!) but I have to say that a lot of things are packed into it. The worldbuilding is very detailed and the characters are multi-dimentional and complex. They know they are probably going to die on this impossible mission but we can understand their motivation to keep on searching for the missing Scion. By the end, I felt like I understood all the different players in this story and why they acted the way they did. It is really impressive to see how much every little detail is thought-out especially in such a short number of pages!

I read and loved Children of Time by Tchaikovsky in 2016 and it is now one of my favorite book of all time. After reading Ironclads, I think I can count Tchaikovsky as one of my favorite author and I can’t wait to see what he puts out in the future! I highly recommend this novella, I don’t usually read military science fiction stories but I found this one very good! 🙂

4 stars.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Solaris. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Steal the Stars by Nat Cassidy & Mac Rogers

35293339

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Thriller

Publisher: Tor

Length: 403 pages

Format: eARC

Rating: 4 stars

Publication Date: November 7th 2017

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

Dakota “Dak” Prentiss guards the biggest secret in the world.

They call it “Moss.” It’s your standard grey alien from innumerable abduction stories. It still sits at the controls of the spaceship it crash-landed eleven years ago. A secret military base was built around the crash site to study both Moss and the dangerous technology it brought to Earth.

The day Matt Salem joins her security team, Dak’s whole world changes.

It’s love at first sight—which is a problem, since they both signed ironclad contracts vowing not to fraternize with other military personnel. If they run, they’ll be hunted for what they know. Dak and Matt have only way to be together: do the impossible. Steal Moss and sell the secret of its existence.

And they can’t afford a single mistake.

 

Book Review

 

Steal the Stars is the novelization of the podcast produced in 2017 by Tor Labs. You can listen to the podcast for free here. I actually listened to the entire thing before picking up the book but of course, you don’t have to do that to enjoy the novelization by Nat Cassidy.

Steal the Stars follows Chief Dakota Prentiss, also know as Dak, a woman working for Quill Marine, a private research laboratory lead by Sierra Corporation, an organization so big and powerful that it basically rule the Pentagon. Quill Marine isn’t a simple laboratory but an incredibly complex research facility dealing with alien artefacts and Dak has to assure the protection of the site.

Dak isn’t particularly happy with her job but at least, it is so time-consuming that she doesn’t have to think about how shitty her life is. When she has the time, she spent her money on alcohol and tries to forget about her past in the army.

Every day ressemble the others until Matt Salem, a new recruit, joins the team at Quill Marine. He is young, sweet, beautiful and clearly attracted to her. The thing is, if you work at Quill Marine, you can’t “fraternize” with your fellow colleages meaning that their affair is doomed from the start. You can’t just quit working at Quill Marine because of the things you see at the facility and you cannot run away either since Sierra Corp basically rules the US.

So Dak and Matt’s only solution is to buy their freedom stealing a few things at Quill Marine: an alien named Moss and an harp capable of shutting down electric network. Of course, as you can imagine, things don’t go so smoothly for them.

 

I first experienced Steal the Stars with the podcast. The entire production is really fantastic, it is narrated by a full cast and it has cool special effects. The pacing is also pretty damn perfect and I binge the entire thing in just a few days.  However, I think I prefered the book over the podcast because it allowed me to understand the characters more.

Indeed, in the podcast, I was thrown off by how quickly the relationship between Dak and Matt developped and how intense it seemed. I mean, I don’t like insta-love, I just don’t think things like this happen in real life, of course, attraction can be immediate but love? No. So to see two people barely knowing each other falling head over heels in love after such a short period seemed a bit off to me. However, in the book, I understood a bit more where Dak was coming from, she’s old, depressed about her life and is basically waiting for her miserable life to end so, of course, when a beautiful knight in shining armour arrives, you cannot be indifferent to that. Also she is so desperate that it is easy for her to mistake a simple need for companionship for love.

Their relationship isn’t healthy, it is not something to strive for, they just want to survive and escape their miserable lives. In this book, this desesperation is much more explicit than in the podcast and this explains a lot of what happens toward the end. (The ending is amazing by the way, I totatlly did not see it coming!).

I have to say though that Steal the Stars is much more a character study of Dak than a thriller. The first half is slow-paced and I read a couple of reviews mentionning it as a problem. I didn’t mind it since I listened to the podcast first and I already knew what was going to happen and it allowed me to understand the characters more but I can see why it would bother a few readers. If you are interested by Steal the Stars but you don’t know which format you might prefer, give the podcast a go. It is free and it will give you a sample of the style and the pace.

All in all, I would recommend Steal the Stars, it is a bit different to what I am accustomed  to reading (or listening!) but it kept me on the tip of my toes and I really enjoyed it!

4 stars.

 

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Tor Books. All opinions are my own.

La crème de la crème: Best Books of 2017

2017 wasn’t the best reading year of my life but still, I read some amazing books! I already mentionned a couple of my honorable mentions here but, wer are finally here to discuss la crème de la crème of 2017.

All of the books mentionned weren’t necesseraly published last year mind you, but I read them all in 2017.


*FANGIRL MODE ACTIVATED*

Image associée

 


 

  • In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

26832215

In Order to Live is the memoir of Yeonmi Park, a girl who managed to escape from North Korea when she was just a child. It follows her incredibly hard journey to freedom as she finds herself in the worst situations who could possibly imagine.

It is a difficult book as it is impossible not relate to Yeonmi and to compare your confortable life the the horrors she confronted. It is a short but very impactful book and I will be re-reading this one in the future. It managed to re-shape the way I view my life. Highly recommended.

 

 

 

31228637

Rosewater was published in 2016 and I’m afraid it was ignored by too many people. If you enjoy Nnedi Okorafor’s writing and themes, you should absolutely give a chance to Tade Thompson. After reading three of his short stories and Rosewater, I can say without a doubt that he is one of my favorite author. His works are brutal and fascinating and his protagonists feel incredibly real (even if most of them are assholes) and very relatable.

Rosewater follows the aftermath of an alien invasion in Nigeria and it is a raw tale of survival and discoveries. If you are looking for a challenging read, give this book a try you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)

 

Aaaah this book is everything I wanted it to be and more. The third and final book in the Broken Earth trilogy was simply an astounding  conclusion to a phenomenal series. I was a bit disappointed with The Obelisk Gate so I was afraid about this the ending but, wow, I don’t have words. Just go read it if you haven’t already.

 

 

 

 

28250841

This one I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction and even if I knew it had speculative elements, I was afraid it was going to be too serious and hard for me. However, since it was nominated for the Clarke (and it won!), I read it as a work of SF.

If you didn’t want to pick it up because it’s “not science fictioney enough”, you might be surprised by how much the speculative elements are necessary to tell the story. I mean, you surely have read a couple of books marketed as SF that could have happened in a contemporary setting and without any real important impact on the story, well, it isn’t the case here. Whitehead didn’t use speculative fiction as a gimmick but because it was an important tool to show his point.

So yeah this book won the Pulitzer and the Clarke and it deserves both.

Fun fact, I offered a copy of this book to my father who loved it then my mom read it and loved it and bought a copy to my aunt who is currently reading it and loving it. I’m a bit jalous of my dad who had the chance to meet Colson Whitehead and have his copy dedicated!

29570143

Ah this book was such a delight. I really didn’t like Aurora by KSR so I was extremely hesitant to pick it up but I loved it so much that I can’t wait to gift it to everyone in my family (yeah you can see a recurring trend here, if I love a book, I gift it to everyone!).

This book is amazing and managed to appeal two of my inner geeks: the finance geek and the climate fiction geek. It was fun and challenging, a bit rambly and info-dumpy at times but just the way I enjoy it. It made me laugh several times but it also taught me a lot. It’s not a book I would recommend to everyone but it felt like it was written just for me!

 

 

  • Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer

28220647

Okay so this one I am conflicted about. I mean I LOVED it with my whole heart but I have to admit that it is quite pretentious. I mean the style is quite off-putting and even if I get why Palmer is using it, I feel like she could find an easier way to tell her story. I can definitely see that this book has flaws and I get the mixed reviews this series is receiving BUT I just cannot not love it you know? In my opinion Seven Surrenders is even more amazing than Too Like the Lightning, it made think a lot, I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I re-read some passages multiple times to try and understand what was going on. It was challenging in the best way possible and I loved it. What can I say. At this point, I am just fangirling.

 

 

30691976

I have read some truly amazing books this year but, if I had to choose one, it would be Raven Stratagem. I read and adored Ninefox Gambit last year and I re-read it in preparation for Raven Stratagem (the re-read made me fall in love even more) but for me the sequel is even more amazing because more things happen and it is easier to follow what is actually going on. The characters, the world and the story are all complex and outstanding and I am dying to read the sequel. I have this series in every format possible, I have the eARCS, the paperbacks and also the ebooks, I mean if I have a sudden impulse to read those books at any given times, I can, I’m ready.

 

 

As much as I can find flaws in almost everything I read, this book series is perfect in my eyes and I wouldn’t change a single word!

 

 

Enough about me, what were your favorite books of 2017?

2018 Goals

New year usually means new resolutions! I am not gonna lie, I’m pretty terrible at actually accomplishing them but they are fun to make anyway so…

 

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "goals"

 

I mostly failed last years resolutions because 1) I wasn’t a consistent blogger at all 2)I didn’t keep track of my short story reading because it was almost inexistant in 2017. However, I didn’t request too many books from Netgalley, I DNF’d a bit more and I didn’t buy too much physical books. So everything isn’t a complete failure!

To continue the tradition, here are some bookish goals for 2018!

  • Read at least 52 books

This one is pretty easy as it means reading a book a week which is completely doable. I didn’t read as much as I wanted in 2017 but I realized that I don’t want to put pressure on myself this year. 52 books is way more than what the average anyway! If I read more, that’s good, otherwise, it isn’t really a big deal. Who cares how much I read anyway?

  • Read more than 2 non-fiction books

99.99% of my reading is fiction and I would really like to branch out more in the realm of non fiction. I read two last year and they were absolutely amazing so I want to read more than two this year. I do have a couple of them on my Kindle already so that shouldn’t be too difficult!

  • Read more literary fiction

Same as non-fiction, I don’t read a lot of literary fiction even if I seem to be really enjoying it. I don’t have a set number in mind but I just want to read a couple more than last year. I know it’s vague but, I’m not good with constraints 😛

  • Not fall into the hype of a new release

I read a good number of 2017 releases last year which was fun but I neglected a bit my backlist reading. I have a ton of older books on my Kindle that I am drawn too but I was too excited for new releases to give them a try. So less new releases and more backlist!

 

So as you can see, my goals are pretty achievable! As for non-bookish goals, I only have two of them and those I really have to accomplish:

  • Pass my driver license test
  • Finish my undergraduate years and start biological engineering studies. (The French system is pretty different from other education systems so I hope it makes sense because I don’t really know how to translate it otherwise)

Those goals really matter to me, the other ones are for fun!

 

What are some of goals for 2018? 🙂

Best Books of 2017: Honorable Mentions

I don’t know how I persuaded myself that 2017 was such a bad reading year. Sure I didn’t read as much as the last two years but still, looking back at what I read, I discovered some really good books!

Today I am here to talk about very good books, books that might not have blew me away this year but that I am still very happy I ended up reading and that I think are very much worth a mention.

So here are my honorable mentions (in no particular order, they are all good):

31177581

The Fortress at the End of Time follows a soldier working in a miserable space sation at the end of the word where boredom is the only think think striving. This is not an action packed military SF book but a quiet story of someone who just want to have more for a life than  a slow death on a planet where the suicide rate is so high that people won’t talk to you for the first few months “just in case”. This is a very sad book but it touched me and I still find myself thinking about it to this day.

 

  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

3040953

I don’t know why I haven’t read this earlier, I mean this book is a classic (and one of my dad’s favorite book) for a reason. It is so relevant that it could have been written today. I don’t have much to say about it except that, if you have not read it yet and you love SF, you should definitely give it a try. I really have to read more Asimov this year!

 

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison

6149

 

Beloved is a heartbreacking tale about motherhood and slavery. It is sad, hard, complicated but also beautiful. This is one of my mother’s favorite books so I guess my parents must have amazing taste because I tend to really enjoy the things they love!

As with I, Robot, I think I should probably re-read Beloved in the future to get more out of it.

 

32075842

 

On a completely different note, The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden is an utterly crazy book full of witches, AIs, drugs and uprisings. Is it perfect? No but it’s bloody fun and I am eagerly waiting for Drayden’s next novel coming out later this year.

 

 

35267859

Someone has to explain to me why Roberts isn’t more famous, his works are amazing. Granted, I have only read two of his books and a couple of his short story but that’s enough for me to know that 1) the man is smart and has a great sense of humor 2) I don’t know where he finds his ideas but he make them work very well. The Real-Town Murders is an exciting thriller that manages to be very humorous while still presenting a future where humans have left the Earth for Internet. Highly recommended.

 

28765598

 

This book is insane but also hilarious. I didn’t know I could have so much fun reading horror books. I devoured this one in a couple sittings and I want more.

 

 

 

What are some of your 2017 honorable mentions? 🙂

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018 everyone!

I hope 2017 was a good year for you and that 2018 will be even better for you. 😀

2017 was a pretty bad year for me hence why I disappeared a bit in the last few months, I couldn’t bring myself to read and because of that, I wasn’t in the mood to talk about books. I was so tired that I just couldn’t concentrate on anything except work, podcasts and cheesy TV shows. However, in the last few weeks, I slowly started to get out of this slumpy mood and I allowed myself to read total guilty pleasures read (I binge read the first six books in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning in a month, a urban fantasy series that doesn’t have the best intrigue but that I still very much enjoy). I also gave myself the time to read some books I didn’t have the chance to read earlier in 2017 such as Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer and Acadie by Dave Hutchinson. I ended up loving Seven Surrenders even if it took me a month to read and I slowly realized that I shouldn’t put pressure on myself to read. I read for fun and it shouldn’t feel like a chore.

Anyway, yesterday I started to write extra short reviews of some books I enjoyed this year and it made me so happy, I didn’t realize writing about books missed me so much. So here I am again. New year, same me, I still love books and I love talking about them and I will continue to do it as long as it is fun.

I wish  you a really awesome 2018, hopefully you’ll see a lot more of me and my posts as I slowly learn to organize myself to take the time to do the things I love.

I will see you again very soon with all the round-up posts of the year.

Happy New Year!

 

Maryam