Book Review: Tar by Taylor Hohulin

Tar by Taylor Hohulin

A Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (11/27/18)

Summary:

For as long as Brendan has been alive, there has been tar in the world. Tar infiltrated the world as an infection that took over the bodies of people who got too close to it. Tar attacks the body by hollowing out the insides and replacing blood with blight. There is no cure. Brendan has managed to survive as a salvager, trading his finds for a fitful night of rest in one of the converted hotels that offer safe shelter. The only protection from tar is to stay away from it and those infected, but as easy hauls dwindle in Brendan’s town of Newhaven he must venture to new places and take more risks. Brendan has never known a world without tar and he has become very good at avoiding it, until one day when another gang of salvagers bumps into him. That same day, Brendan runs into another stranger who believes that Brendan is the key to ridding the world of every last speck of tar. If Brendan believes this stranger and goes with him on this quest, would he be better off without a world of tar?

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Evil, Tar, Post-Apocalyptic, Survival, Mistrust, City, Infection, Distance, Monsters, Avoidance, Salvage, Shelter, Ruin, Power

My Review:

Every book I’ve read by Taylor Hohulin is better than the last. The writing style sucks you into the first page. Being thrust into the middle of an action sequence keeps you reading past the first page. The world Hohulin has built keeps you reading through to the end of the first chapter. By then you are hooked and you haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.

The three main characters were fully developed and had such distinct personalities and backstories. They all felt so alive and real. Brendan does everything he can to stay alive down to the careful skepticism of every stranger, acquaintance and even friend. He doesn’t let down his guard. Almost all his actions are propelled by his strong will to survive. He is one of the most selfish people you will read about. Hohulin cleverly builds Brendan’s character throughout the book, showing us just how far he will go to survive and then puts Brendan into a position where he will have to make a difficult choice. Is there an alternative? Can Brendan make this kind of decision? As a reader, I was so hopelessly obsessed with Brendan and the way he approached the apocalyptic world he lives in, that I finished this book in less than two days.

I loved Krystal! She was the empathetic do-gooder who was easily taken advantage of, always looking for the good in people. And yet, years and years after the apocalypse, she still survives. She is the opposite of Brendan in so many ways and yet they are friends. She is smart and tech-savvy but also the voice of reason and humanity for Brendan. Will she be able to influence him enough that he can set aside his own will to survive and help others or will he finally prove to her that the world is a terrible place?

What is tar? It is more than a simple alien substance. It creates the worst monsters out of people. It is a substance that zombifies its host, but also sticks to inanimate objects, waiting for any victim to walk too close.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 11/27/18 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

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Book Review: Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

Falling Into Flight by Linda Jordan

A Science Fantasy Novel published through Metamorphosis Press (3/27/15)

Summary:

Caer was the first person born into the post-apocalyptic Seattle with wings. In a world where buildings are grown and ballets are performed in the air, Caer fits right in with her dance company. She only wants to dance, but fate has other plans.

Keywords:

Wings, Evolution, Arts, Dancing, Air Dancing, Flying Ballet, Creativity, Building, Architecture, Family, Future, Apocalyptic, Romance, Soul Mate, Dreaming, Corporate, Corruption

My Review:

A new take on post-apocalyptic fiction! I absolutely love the crossover that happens when science fiction meets fantasy and this book was a wonderful example. Buildings can magically grow and people can be born with wings in this society. These two aspects are uniquely distinct for this world, but they both grew out of the post-apocalyptic history of the world.

I love books set in Seattle and it was interesting to see which parts were ‘underwater’ and which parts were ‘new.’ In this world, there are still high-rises (because buildings grow). I would have liked to see more detail (science) into how they grew buildings, how they killed buildings, and everything in between for this new technology.

The details of the air ballet were incredible and I felt like I was right there in that building watching that performance. I wish air ballet existed today.

The storytelling was smooth and the world building was unique. I wouldn’t mind reading more fantasy by Linda Jordan.

This novel was published through Metamorphosis Press on 3/27/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Linda Jordan’s Website

Goodreads

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The End is Nigh

Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic Giveaway

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Book Review: The Cloud (The Marian Series #3) by Taylor Hohulin

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The Cloud by Taylor Hohulin

A Steampunk/Pirate Sci-Fi Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (10/21/16)

Summary:

“Donovan Johns clearly preferred motivating his people to stick to Plan A by leaving them woefully unprepared for Plan B.” (Kindle Locations 1480-1481).

Ethan’s last hope lies in a three-way soul swap between the water dictator Donovon Johns, Duncan, and Ethan himself. All they have to do is go into the Cloud and get Duncan out of Ethan’s home dimension, use the blood from all three, and get someone to read from a book so powerful it corrupts. Easy, right? The Marian and its crew is committed to helping out Ethan, not just because he’s part of the crew now, but because they can change the face of the post-Bomb water scarce world for good.

Keywords:

Illegal Water Harvesting, Water Scarcity, Criminals, Soul swapping, Steampunk, Ship on Legs, Navigation, Well, Extraction, Water Police, Teenagers, Captain, Mercenaries, Trouble, Pirates, Post-Apocalyptic, Own Agenda, Death, Other World

My Review:

Excellent trilogy. Excellent ending. Excellent book. The Marian Trilogy is the best steampunkian series I’ve ever read. It’s well written and the plot makes sense on both the individual book level and as a series. There’s action, adventure, and tension. There’s depth, complexity and the characters are interesting and multi-faceted.

Every part of this story felt tight and well-edited. I never questioned a single scene or moment or piece of dialogue. I simply read the book (and the series) as a well-written story should be read: at the edge of my seat and without putting it down.

The evil HydroSystems and Donovon Johns were fleshed out and clever enough to give the Marian and its crew a run for its money. The good guys weren’t all good though – they were conflicted and sympathetic. And we finally get to see Duncan ‘in the soul’ with this final book! After so much hype about how great and motivating he is, even after abandoning his crew and a random soul to its own sordid fate, Duncan did live up to all that everyone thought he was. I very much enjoyed this book and the series and look forward to what Hohulin will write next!

I received a free copy of this novel.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on October 21st, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Book Review: The Hunted (The Marian Series #2) by Taylor Hohulin

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The Marian by Taylor Hohulin

A Steampunk/Pirate Sci-Fi Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (8/17/15)

Summary:

Ethan Denby is still trapped in Duncan’s body: the former captain of the Marian, a ship full of illegal water harvesters. Now it is more imperative than ever for Ethan to swap out of Duncan’s body as the Other World is closer and closer to claiming his new body. It is harder than ever to find a solution as Ethan has nowhere else to turn after the Cloud Priestess screwed him over and he was forced to kill Jarvis in self-defense. It isn’t until one of the mercenary twins finds a book of the Cloud that Ethan’s hopes are revived. He might well be able to swap back into his former body and former life after all. The adventures take the Marian and her crew to more HydroSystem wells and through more dangers, as more than just the HydroSystem workers are out for their blood, now it seems the entire Empire is after the Marian’s crew to claim the price on their heads.

Keywords:

Illegal Water Harvesting, Water Scarcity, Criminals, Soul swapping, Steampunk, Ship on Legs, Navigation, Well, Extraction, Water Police, Teenagers, Captain, Mercenaries, Trouble, Pirates, Post-Apocalyptic, Own Agenda, Death, Other World

My Review:

The Hunted begins with a new character in the same world as the Marian. She is a mercenary. Her name is Scarlet and she has a story. When she is given the task of killing the Marian’s crew she hesitates. She is human. She has a moral conscience. Then again, she has taught herself to forget the faces of those she’s killed. What makes the Marian and her crew any different? It is not one bad man having her kill another bad man. The Marian steals from the rich to give to the poor and though they are one drop in the bucket against HydroSystems monopolization of the world’s remaining water, it is enough of a rebellion to give Scarlet pause in her murderous task.

Ah Scarlet. We lost one female only to gain another. Bonnie for Scarlet, a worthwile exchange, though I wonder what in fact happened to Bonnie and if we will ever find out. Why Bonnie, after all? Why not have someone else kidnapped in book one? Only because Hohulin gave her the most obstinate personality that she was the one who insisted on going with Ethan in the first place. She was the only one that could have been sacrificed at the time for the book to continue.

As Jackie puts it, nobody is trying to find Bonnie, they are only after Duncan and righting the soul swap that left Ethan out of his body and world. This creates great tension between Jackie and Ethan as Ethan is mostly to blame for allowing Bonnie to go to the Cloud and get captured.

Scarlet was one of my favorite additions to the Marian, she had such a great backstory and added much to the plot. She was conflicted but resolute. She was the strongest character. “She collected all the anger at being turned into a killer before she could turn into a woman, all the frustration at being given an identity she couldn’t control, and all the horror at having two fathers taken from her.” (Kindle Locations 3755-3757).

I love the idea of different types of mercenaries that Hohulin introduces and how he defines each type, giving more shape to the politics going on in this world and how everyone has their part to play. Kyle and Kale are given more definition within this context as well and I enjoyed seeing more to them than was revealed in book one.

The Players in the front describing all the characters was very helpful and I’m always glad when authors re-iterate who is who and what is most important.

The plot clicked into place, things from book one, small almost insignificant details were brought to life in book two. What a great continuation and I can’t wait for more from Taylor Hohulin.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on August 17th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Taylor Hohulin’s Website

Twitter

Goodreads