Book Review: EXOTIQA (YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia) (EXOTIQA WORLD Book 1) by M. Black

EXOTIQA (YA Robot Cyberpunk Dystopia) (EXOTIQA WORLD Book 1) by M. Black

A Sicence Fiction/Cyberpunk Novel published by Amazon Digital Services (03/01/17)

Summary:

The technology of the world in 2055 has given humans the ability to easily connect with others using integrated robotic parts. The technology has also created robots that are more human-like than ever. For Fione, as a human, she doesn’t think that the robots are still obeying their fundamental laws. For Maci, as a robot, she has found a way to elevate her consciousness outside of the parameters of the robotic laws. And now her creators are out to shut her down.

Keywords:

Cyberpunk, Robots, Dystopia, Technology, Canada, Human-like, Online, Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence, Identity, Self-Awareness, Politics, Life, Death, Living, Escape, Running, Futuristic

My Review:

The difference in thought, character, personality, and dialogue/speech patterns between the humans and the robots was very distinct. I loved the very different voice of Fione versus Maci and very much appreciated having both distinct voices in alternating chapters. I loved how even Pix differed in personality and thought process from Maci, even though both were robots. Not all ascended robots are equal and this novel does a great job layering in their personalities seamlessly with their voices and not overpowering the ongoing plot.

This book contained a lot of action. The setup for the main premise of the story happened a bit abruptly at the beginning, but the storytelling was fairly seamless from that point on. Fione does not jump at the chance to help Maci immediately and she has her doubts. Fione’s character is built on the mistrust of the robotic infiltration into her world. She is sympathetic to them, as her best friend is also a robot, but she distrusts them as a whole.

I loved the subtle hinting of a potential romance between Fione and her best friend Pix, as if he really is a human.

I did feel that Fione’s overpowering of her mother was a bit off-putting and her mother’s inability to think for herself made her a flat character, but other than that this book was a sound and juicy addition to science fiction and cyberpunk in particular.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services on 03/01/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

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Book Review: Catalyst by Kristin Smith

Catalyst by Kristin Smith

A Dystopian YA Novel published through Clean Teen Publishing (11/21/16)

Summary:

Sienna lives in a world where almost everyone around her has been genetically upgraded. She is shorter, plainer, and all around normal. But her normal world gets shattered when her she finds out her father didn’t die of natural causes. It is up to her to support her family – her mother and young sister – as she tries to figure out who was behind her father’s death. Before she can even begin to uncover these secrets, one of her side jobs goes awry and she’s in hot water with the government. Her life goes from barely manageable to disaster when her mother is taken away by the government and the only way to get her back will be to join forces with an extremist group.

Keywords:

Runaway, Dystopian, Values and Virtues, Science Fiction, Futuristic, Female Main Character, Adventure, Romance, Deception, Las Vegas, Technology, DNA, Family, Lies

My Review:

This book was a nonstop adventure ride with a lot of action packed scenes. It was the Chosen One crossed with a Love Triangle mixed with some Dystopian thriller goodness. That being said, I did think it was too easy for Sienna any time she faced adversity. She was always getting out of any situation! Her triumphs, especially against an organized body like the government, seemed a bit too easy.

I loved Sienna’s spunk and positive attitude. She never had negative thoughts regarding her own possible failure and she never dwelled on the what ifs because she was a woman of action! She was always brave and fearless. In her last year without her father she had to learn to be self-reliant and resilient, because her mother was not able to provide and support the family. We don’t see Sienna grow during this time period, but we do see her on the other side as she faces all sorts of problems and difficulties.

I liked that Zane existed, even though he didn’t feel fully formed. I liked that there was a love triangle in this book because it added some more complications to Sienna’s already complicated life.

YA literature needs more red heads like Sienna.

This novel was published through Clean Teen Publishing on 11/21/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.25

Links for more information:

Kristin Smith’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Numbers Raging (Numbers Game Saga Book 3) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Raging (Numbers Game Saga Book 3) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (02/19/17)

Summary:

Treena wants to save everyone, including citizens of NORA and the integrants and settlers of the desert. She will have to use all her political prowess to convince her hometown and those abroad to help with her cause. The enemy looms, but nobody will believe that the young teenagers Treena and Vance are telling the truth. It’s much easier to sweep it all under the rug and look the other way.

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship, Desert, Travel, War, Weapons, Death

My Review:

The first half of this book was not as exciting as book 2, as it was full of political subterfuge and Treena trying to gain political support from the other Nations. I really enjoyed the Star Wars feel this book had, with the council and the underhanded politics that Treena was subjected to during her stay at the peace council meeting.

As I was reading I couldn’t help but wonder how it would end. There only seemed like two possibilities, but I was pleasantly surprised by the turn the story took. This book expertly wrapped up the series and the final climax was awesome! So much happened!

What would you do to save everything and everyone that you loved?

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 02/19/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game Saga Book 2) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Ignite (Numbers Game Saga Book 2) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (01/26/16)

Summary:

Treena is ready to leave NORA behind forever, but NORA is far from done with her. With the hope of a life ahead with Vance, she pushes onward through the uninhabitable dessert. After losing all her gear, it seems like she’ll never make it, but is saved by a hidden underground settlement. Vance doesn’t know that Treena is on her way to join him, but he is up to his elbows in his own problems. After agreeing to be put on trial for his previous actions, he’s become a prisoner of his own people.

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship, Desert, Travel, War, Weapons, Death

My Review:

Vance and Treena are creating their own paths in this second book. They want to be together, but first must overcome obstacles in their own lives and find each other again afterwards. I enjoyed seeing Treena and Vance in their own stories as they struggled with different problems.

Now that Treena can no longer turn her back on NORA, it’s citizens, and all the problems right in front of her, she will have to fight even harder for what she believes is right. For Vance it was never a question of if he should or should not help others, but without having the power to lead or change situations, he will have quite a difficult time of it!

This story picks up right where the first one leaves off and ends with quite the chaotic climax.

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 01/26/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Numbers Game (Numbers Game Saga Book 1) by Rebecca Rode

Numbers Game (Numbers Game Saga Book 1) by Rebecca Rode

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Diamond Patch Press (03/10/15)

Summary:

Treena has followed the rules her entire life and her rating should be high, as high as her boyfriend’s rating. She should be a green with a good job and a great life in NORA, the only thriving city in futuristic and devastated North America. They have technology and a water filtration system as well as a strict rating system to keep citizens in line. When Treena receives one of the lowest ratings of her entire class, there must be a mistake! Treena will do nearly anything to fix her low red number, even go undercover for the empress and find a military spy. What if her rating wasn’t an accident? What else is going on in the fringes of this perfect society?

Keywords:

Futuristic, Water Shortage, Protection, Family, Loyalty, Number System, Ratings, Scores, Technology, Politics, Survival, Strict Society, Dystopian, Friendship

My Review:

The Numbers Saga is a dystopian novel with an active female heroine. Treena has quite a bit thrown at her, but she doesn’t just react to her situations, she actively seeks out her story. She creates her own rules.

I wasn’t entirely convinced that a 16-year old who is referred to as ‘small’ would be able to defend and defeat a fully trained adult soldier after one week of training. There were other small plot conveniences – punishment mode was only triggered for important characters when it could be overcome. Important characters could escape when they needed and get to where they needed to be. I could see the plot twists coming.

That being said, I could not put this book down. The writing style, characters, and plot pulled me right in and I didn’t want to stop reading. This was a fun and engrossing book.

If you were a fan of Divergent and Hunger Games, you will enjoy this book.

This novel was published by Diamond Patch Press on 03/10/2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Rebecca Rode’s Website

Book Review: Configured: Book #1 in the Configured Trilogy by Jenetta Penner

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Configured: Book #1 in the Configured Trilogy by Jenetta Penner

A YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (10/20/16)

Summary:

“Manning reminds us that over one hundred years ago, the human race risked extinction from a deadly flu the government called Aves, which crossed from birds to humans. Only a limited amount of both species survived the Collapse.” (Page 52).

Avlyn Lark wants to live a normal life, but her emotions and her secret hacker ability won’t let her blend in or be content in her highly dystopian society. After her placement in the high level GenTech corp. she starts to notice that not everything is as it seems. If given the choice to join the rebels, will she give up a good job, steady income, and potential for a mate?

Keywords:

Dystopian, Love, No Emotions, Separation, Independence, Twin, Coding, Friendship, Competition, Genetic Experimentation, Plans, Societal Expectations, Rebellion, Freedom, Questions, Curiosity

My Review:

Avlyn’s thought process and curiosity throughout everything that happens is the most interesting aspect of this novel. The dystopian society is very stereotypical, though Penner does a good job bringing the world to life. The plot is fairly standard for a dystopian YA, even a bit bland as we wait for the action to catch up with the main character and finally, about two thirds of the way in, it does! The action was quite exciting and I read to the end fairly quickly once I’d gotten to this part.

Avlyn’s unique intelligence and ability to connect with software was very easy and simple. The lack of description and detail about hacking or coding was a bit disappointing.

I didn’t quite believe that a rebellion on the scale presented in this book could exist in such a society with all that technology, especially within the society itself. There was never an explanation of how the rebels infiltrated high end buildings/offices/people or how they obtained the same tech as the Direction.

Ultimately this book was easy to read, but didn’t add anything to the dystopian pile of YA and I won’t be reading onward in this series.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on October 20th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.50

Links for more information:

Jenetta Penner’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Influence (Influence Series) (Volume 1) by David R Bernstein

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Influence (Influence Series) (Volume 1) by David R Bernstein

A YA Sci-Fi Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (08/15/16)

Summary:

In this dystopian American society, Kaylin stands out, even amongst others with similar powers. Her ability, to influence others, is highly sought after by warring factions. She’s been on the run with her best friend for years, but will her powers of empathy change all that?

Keywords:

Self-reliance, self-esteem, friendship, betrayal, trust, unique, abilities, powers, influence, thought power, thought control, mind control

My Review:

Where only teenagers have the ability to “push” others’ consciousness to do something or feel something, this society is set up much like other young adult dystopian novels. There’s the female main character who doesn’t know the reaches of her own power. There are the factions that want to use her for their own evil plans. Where Influence is different is with its well-developed characters and satisfyingly detailed world building.

I knew exactly how a “Push” worked and was shown many possibilities for how and why one would be used. I knew Kaylin and her best friend Amanda almost as well as they knew each other and loved how empathetic Kaylin was!

Where the story lost me a bit was with the plot details and the romantic element. The sweet romance between kaylin and Farren was stereotypical for a dystopian teen read, but I enjoyed that even though this romance was based on mutual first attraction (duh!) that the romance grew slowly and steadily throughout the book and didn’t end with too much of the romance taking over the plot! The romance and action were well balanced.

Some elements of the plot seemed a bit convenient and somewhat unexplained, but the book moved at a nice fast pace and kept me interested in the characters, their world, and their ultimate goal the entire time. The plot twist at the end was a bit rough and though all the elements to tie it in were there, they were a bit too loose for my liking.

I loved the tease at the end and appreciated that this book contained both a full and satisfying ending while making the reader want to read more and find out what happens to Kaylin next!

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on August 15th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.0

Links for more information:

David Bernstein’s Website and Blog

Goodreads

Book Review: The Seeker’s Keys (The Treemakers, #3) by Christina L. Rozelle

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The Seeker’s Keys (The Treemakers, #3) by Christina L. Rozelle

A Dystopian/Sci-Fi Adventure Novel published by A Spark in the Dark Press (12/03/16)

Summary:

Joy Montgomery, along with her band of children, are nearly at their journey’s end. All they need to do is find a set of keys to unlock the wall and get to paradise, but one man stands in their way: Lord Daumier. Will the clues left behind by Joy’s father: Zephyr the Magnificent, be enough to find the keys or will Daumier beat them to the punch and destroy everything that is good in the world?

Keywords:

Children, Orphans, Survival, Death, Exploration, Dystopian World, Polluted Air, Evil Intentions, AI, Motherliness, Help, Underground, Paradise, Fighting, Strength, Resilience, Spirit, Refuge, Power-Hungry, Keys, the Wall

My Review:

After a long break from reading books one and two, this book was a bit difficult to settle into  as there were numerous characters that I couldn’t quite remember and past events that were distant memories, but I slowly got back into the book as the plot was strong and led the book. Relationships between characters, though numerous, were reiterated and expanded upon. Because there were so many subplots carried over from the previous books in the trilogy, this third and last book was longer in order to resolve all of them. Every plot line was resolved by the end in some way or another! What a feat!

I loved the little details of all the places in this world and very much enjoyed that Rozelle’s world was multi-dimensional and multi-faceted. Her dystopian didn’t center on one measly place, but focused on jungles and cities and ships and tunnels and basements and labs and many, many more locations. Her world felt like an entire world, above-ground and below.

This book featured multiple POV and though I enjoyed getting a well rounded story (as not all the characters were together all the time), I sometimes got lost in who was narrating the story. I appreciated that the multiple POV was used to move the plot along, but I didn’t feel like it added to each separate character that much. Many of the characters blended together and I wished there hadn’t been so many. This was one of the reasons I set the book down so many times and it took me a long time to finish.

The only other detail I would have changed was to have less moments of preaching/uplifting speeches from one character to another or from the narrator to the reader. It felt like I was in an advertisement for the book at some points and I glossed over most of these parts.

All in all it was a great series with an interesting dystopian story that was fully fleshed out.

This novel was published by A Spark in the Dark Press on December 3rd, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

 

Book Review: Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

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Reclaim (The Harvest Saga Book 3) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (06/01/15)

Summary:

This ending to the Harvest Saga will take Abby through the greatest difficulties she’s ever faced. Can she overcome once and for all and help her fellow Lessers into freedom?

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

There are now more powers than just Olympus hovering over the Lessers and Orchard. What seemed an ally is just a power standing by and waiting for their opportunity to strike. Or were they waiting by? This book’s plot is much more complex than it at first seemed and it was so satisfying to plunge into its depths.

This was a fantastic ending to the Harvest Saga and worth the read. I finished the entire trilogy in less than a week. Thanks Casey L. Bond for a thrilling ride. I will definitely be reading more of your books.

Dystopian literature has saturated the market, especially books with strong female leads, but the Harvest Saga is so well written and fantastically engaging that it draws you right in and you don’t even notice that you’re reading another dystopian female-protagonist book, you’re too busy turning pages.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on June 1st, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Book Review: Resist (The Harvest Saga Book 2) by Casey L. Bond

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Resist (The Harvest Saga Book 2) by Casey L. Bond

A YA Dystopian Novel published by Amazon Digital Services LLC (07/31/14)

Summary:

“Trust was earned, and they’d broken too many promises, told too many lies.” (Kindle Locations 7574-7575).

Abby is headed to the Greater city of Olympus with Crew. His lies and betrayal cause strain between them as Abby sees what is really going on with the “Harvest” and all the Lesser women that were taken from Orchard and the surrounding Lesser cities. When Abby gets out of Olympus, things aren’t much better in Orchard as anyone who speaks out is taken away for resistance. Resistance is coming, but in the meantime Abby must lay low.

Keywords:

Strength, Dystopia, Orchard, Apples, Apple Picking, Castes, Poverty, Female protagonist, the Special One, Infertility, Trains, City, Technological Advances, Weapons, Fighting, Resiliency, Harvest, Oppression

My Review:

This middle book in the trilogy flew by! I learned so much more about Crew and what the Greater cities were like. The oppression of Lessers isn’t restricted to Lesser cities, for of course Lessers are needed within Olympus as well. Just as oppression builds, so must resistance! This book is full of the mindsets that will lead to this resistance, even though it does look mighty bleak. What can unarmed lower-class citizens do against well armed and technologically advanced Greaters? Read to find out…

The characters, especially those surrounding Abby are given more depth in this book. I still can’t decide if I like Crew or not, if he’s truly a good person or not. I fear he will have to make a choice eventually and this will show for good whether he’s a good person, but I’ll have to wait to see. I was much less interested in Kyan than Crew in this book, but both are playing an integral role in Abby’s life and the greater plot and dilemma between Orchard and the Lessers and the world that they live in.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services LLC on July 31st, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Casey Bond’s Website

Goodreads

Twitter