Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons Of Ares #3

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Story by Pierce Brown, Script by Rik Hoskin, Art by Eli Powell.

Amidst the Sons’ daring operation, Fitchner recalls the assignment where he learned about true strength and honor from the Reds his Gold contemporaries looked down upon. Haunted by the things he experienced at The Institute, his life takes a turn as he meets the woman who would forever change his life…and, therefore, society as a whole!

 

I have been looking forward to this issue because we get to see Fitchner meet his wife, Brynn. Comic books always sum up the story so we don’t get the in-depth details, but I liked seeing how their meeting occurred and relationship developed.

I don’t see why the curse words are blocked out. I think of this story as being for adults and there is plenty of violence in them, so why block out the curses?

I still don’t like the sloppy style of the artwork. Though the cover by Toby Cypress, with Brynn’ flaming red hair is my favorite. Looking at the past issues I like the covers by Toby Cypress and not the covers by Eli Powell.

Looking forward to more Fitchner and Brynn, even though it does not end well.

4.5 out of 5 scythes. 

 

 

Nemesis (Project Nemesis 1) by Brendan Reichs

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He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

 

I got an ARC from NYCC 2016.

I enjoyed this book because it was a quick page turner. I just had to know what exactly was going on and if my suspicions were correct. The suspense pushed me to speed through.

I didn’t see the explanation coming but I don’t think my theory was that far off. There are still some questions that need answers. I’m sure it’s being saved for book 2.

I liked Min a lot. She was a fighter. Noah was annoying at times but the build up of his character makes sense in the end. What I felt had no foundation was the attraction between them. I was glad that the love triangle (I guess they are obligatory in YA novels) was minor and not the focus.

The bullies/popular kids were mainly one dimensional but I understood the motivations when I guessed correctly about two of them.

Sometimes the dialogue was repetitive when the three main characters were searching for answers or were discussing theories.

These critiques are not deal breakers. I found it to be an engaging story. The set up was exciting and reveal left me wanting to know some answers.

I am looking forward to Phase 2. Goodreads says Genesis comes out in March 2018.

4 out of 5 Resets.

Some of my thoughts. Beware: Spoilers!

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Pierce Brown’s Red Rising: Sons Of Ares #2 by Pierce Brown, Rik Hoskin, Eli Powell

Story by Pierce Brown, Script by Rik Hoskin, Art by Eli Powell.

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Pierce Brown’s Red Rising continues with Sons of Ares!

While the Sons of Ares are on the run as their mission takes a deadly turn, Fitchner Au Barca’s time at The Institute is revisited. He learned many lessons there, but the most important of all was one of loyalty. The Peerless Scarred stand above all and look down on the rest. Their dismissal of one of their own proves to be a fateful error.

I liked it better then the first issue. Still not a fan of the style of artwork.  The story is picking up and there was more background story for Fitchner’s parents and his time at the Institute. I like the way it left off for the next issue and I am really excited for it.

4 out of 5 Scars.

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator)

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In this definitive novel, readers will follow Thrawn’s rise to power—uncovering the events that created one of the most iconic villains in Star Wars history.

One of the most cunning and ruthless warriors in the history of the Galactic Empire, Grand Admiral Thrawn is also one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe, from his introduction in bestselling author Timothy Zahn’s classic Heir to the Empire through his continuing adventures in Dark Force Rising, The Last Command, and beyond. But Thrawn’s origins and the story of his rise in the Imperial ranks have remained mysterious. Now, in Star Wars: Thrawn, Timothy Zahn chronicles the fateful events that launched the blue-skinned, red-eyed master of military strategy and lethal warfare into the highest realms of power—and infamy.

After Thrawn is rescued from exile by Imperial soldiers, his deadly ingenuity and keen tactical abilities swiftly capture the attention of Emperor Palpatine. And just as quickly, Thrawn proves to be as indispensable to the Empire as he is ambitious; as devoted as its most loyal servant, Darth Vader; and a brilliant warrior never to be underestimated. On missions to rout smugglers, snare spies, and defeat pirates, he triumphs time and again—even as his renegade methods infuriate superiors while inspiring ever greater admiration from the Empire. As one promotion follows another in his rapid ascension to greater power, he schools his trusted aide, Ensign Eli Vanto, in the arts of combat and leadership, and the secrets of claiming victory. But even though Thrawn dominates the battlefield, he has much to learn in the arena of politics, where ruthless administrator Arihnda Pryce holds the power to be a potent ally or a brutal enemy.

All these lessons will be put to the ultimate test when Thrawn rises to admiral and must pit all the knowledge, instincts, and battle forces at his command against an insurgent uprising that threatens not only innocent lives but also the Empire’s grip on the galaxy—and his own carefully laid plans for future ascendancy.

I really enjoyed this book and one of the many reasons why is because Thrawn is part of the new Disney canon! I was so happy to see him on Star Wars: Rebels. Not much was changed about him. Still the same species, still a tactical genius and a savant at studying artwork to know his enemy. I squeed when he gets his Star Destroyer, Chimaera. I now want to go back and listen to the audiobooks of The Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, The Last Command).

It feels funny rooting for him because he works for the Empire, but he is just so good at what he does. Of course he has faults. He’s not very good at politics and he does face prejudices for being an alien from the Unknown Territories.

I really enjoyed Thrawn’s insight into people. There would be an aside of his observations of them and their reactions. Like studying art, it’s how he would anticipate their actions.

I also loved how every chapter started out with his how-to-be a genius at strategy. It was like the Star Wars version of “The Art of War by Grand Admiral Thrawn.”

A few critiques:
1. Some parts I thought were slow and my mind would wander off. Mostly it was the parts with Arihnda Pryce, but there is a point to her subplot. Her political manipulations balance with Thrawn’s military tactics. Some of the missions Thrawn and Eli were on were slow, but they all come together in the end and add up to a final conclusion.
2. Sometimes Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep and would have to go back and listen again. (Thrawn says “Perhaps” a lot. A LOT.)
3. Thrawn’s aide, Eli Vanto, got on my nerves sometimes. He was taking too long to get up to speed with Thrawn’s plans.

Marc Thompson is an excellent narrator. I know I said Thrawn’s voice was so soothing I would drift off to sleep, but it was so perfect. Matched the voice on Star Wars: Rebels. He was also excellent at performing the voices for the Emperor and Tarkin.
My favorite voice though was Arihnda Pryce’s friend. I think her name was Jewett? I can’t find her on Wookieepedia. It is really annoying when their articles and character lists are incomplete. I wonder if the printed edition has a Dramatis Personae…
Anyway, her voice was so funny. It was like the Star Wars version of a valley girl and I could not be more amused by the way Marc Thompson performed her voice.

From now on I want to listen to Star Wars on audiobooks. It’s like a radio drama with the sound effects and the music.

4 out of 5 Glowing Red Eyes.

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Spoilers Below.

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

I loved this book so much. During the epilogue I was reading through tears. I felt the outcome of events was very plausible and a good balance to the fateful events that took place throughout the book.

I didn’t cry the entire time, just during the epilogue. It was also really funny too, like when Times Square was compared to hell. I feel the same way. As a native New Yorker the setting was another favorite thing of mine. It really made the story come alive. I could picture everything about it.

I connected with both Natasha and Daniel. Like Daniel I believe in fate. I think coincidences are very, very rare and it’s most likely something “meant to be”, that events are lining up to all connect together.
I also believe there are infinate multiverses. For each choice we make somewhere out there is a version of us that made a different choice.

I love the short chapters (makes for a fast read), and the different points of view from the older generation that immigrated to the U.S., the kids who grew up in the U.S., and the strangers who effect and are affected by the main characters. It really made it complete and balanced.

At the end of the month the film adaptation of Nicola’s other book, Everything, Everything, is coming to theaters. I hope it’s a good adaptation and does well at the box office so that this book can also be adapted into a film.

5 out of 5 Suns that are also stars.

Sons of Ares (Sons of Ares Issue 1)

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From the world of the best-selling YA series Red Rising comes a story of love and loss and rage!
In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one’s caste. The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red? See how a forbidden love will set the course of events for the future and lead to the formation of the formidable Sons of Ares!
Written by author Pierce Brown (The Red Rising Trilogy) and Rik Hoskin (Heroes of Skyrealm, Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand), with art by Eli Powell (Yakuza Demon Killers, The 13th Artifact), comes the in-continuity story of revolution and Red Rising!

4 out of 5 Sons.

I love prequels. This is a good start to know more about Fitchner and the beginning of the Sons of Ares.

The introduction gives a brief description of the Red Rising world for those who have not yet read the Red Rising trilogy. But honestly, stop what you are doing and read it right now before reading this series.
I really like that the colors of the dialog bubbles tell you which Color of the society is speaking.
What I am not a big fan of is the style of drawing. It’s too sketchy and messy. I know it’s probably more expensive to produce, but I like clean and detailed comic drawings.
However, I am really excited about this new series.

Spoiler below:

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Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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The thrilling first book in a YA fantasy trilogy for fans of Red Queen. In a world where social prestige derives from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, one girl has the ability to break the spell that holds the social order in place.

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

I picked up an ARC from NYCC in October.

At First In Line I showed them the email I received in exchange for the Blood Rose Rebellion. I got very excited when I read the jacket because I have a friend from Hungary named Noémi (No-amy). I messaged her about the book and asked if her name is popular in Hungary. She said:
“It’s not a very common name, actually. It was a writer who came up with it in 1872. In that book the main guy is an aristocrat and he goes on his boat and discovers an island where only a mom and the daughter lives. He falls in love with the daughter, whose name is noèmi. It means beautiful. So then he starts going back and forth between his real life and the mysterious island with his beautiful lover. And writers like to use the name in their books ever since.”

I liked the character Noémi and wish there was more of a storyline for her. Perhaps in book 2. I really appreciated the glossary and the character guide in the back. It helped immensely. I still pronounced words and names wrong. I would ask my friend Noémi if I was saying it correctly and I was embarrassingly wrong.

As the world building goes, I liked that magic was not a secret society but out in the open and controlled by the aristocracy. I think the mix with some Hungarian historical events made it an interesting historical fantasy novel. I don’t know much about Hungarian history so I learned a little bit.

I was glad I read The Bear and the Nightingale first so that I was familiar with some of the mythical creatures that make an appearance.

There were many things I did like about the story, like Anna’s struggle with her decision and how breaking the binding was not done in a simple 1,2,3 rushed plot. It took a few tries. However, towards the end of the book I lost motivation to finish. I pushed to finish and even started to skim it. I can’t say why I lost steam because I liked the story and the characters, but it took me more than a month to finish.

I can’t say I’ll go out and buy the second book of the series, but if I see an ARC at Comic Con or Book Con I’ll pick it up.

3 out of 5 Broken Spells.