Tag Archives: dystopian

Review of Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising, by C.k. Dawn

I received audio codes for Remnants of Ash and Scorched Uprising (Reign of Fay, #1&2), by C.K. Dawn.

Description from Goodreads:

Mere mortal. Fae hunter. Oh, and the apocalypse? Yeah, that happened!  

She’s an unstoppable human. He’s an immovable beast. But the Fae have scorched the earth, thrusting it into unending darkness, and humans are next… 

Through her research, University of Washington student Chloe Etain stumbled into an ancient war between the Light and Dark Fae that has culminated in her world being thrown into pre-industrial chaos. Dark Fae scum now roam free, feeding on unsuspecting humans. Chloe knows the truth though and, possibly, how to stop it. But as a mere mortal, what can she do? 

That’s when the fates step in. Bram Tice, a fae hunting his own kind, vows to help Chloe. But he won’t say which Court demands his allegiance. Together, they set out to right the imbalance plaguing her world and save humanity before they turn into nothing more than remnants of ash. 

I’m only going to write one review for these two books. The reason is that I feel this is a serial, not a series and, and as such, both books contain one single story that doesn’t break. I don’t actually understand why it’s broken in two. Neither book is so long as to prohibit their remaining as one. I can only imagine the same can be said for the rest of the series. I got no conclusions in either of these two, so I doubt I’d get one in the next or the next, etc.

There was a time I felt like I was making this point, about the difference between a serial and a series, every day. I even wrote a ranty blog post about it. But the trend finally died down and I haven’t had to in a while. I guess all those same books are making it to audio now. Because this is the second time in a week I’ve written a review for a ‘series’ that is actually a serial in my opinion.

So, on to the actual review. I don’t want to be mean, but I don’t think this was particularly good. I think the author probably had a good idea, but didn’t quite manage to get it onto paper. The hero and heroine meet in the prologue (meet and nothing more) and then when all hell breaks loose in chapter one (some time in the future) they are meant to already be friends and at least one is in love. The story moves from there. HOWEVER, the reader has been left out of all of it. Thus, I didn’t feel Bram’s affection for Chloe at all. How could I? We don’t see any of it prior to him basically telling her he loves her. NONE. In fact, I initially thought they were still virtual strangers.

We also don’t see any of the research Chloe, Bram and the professor have been doing to understand the Scorch. So, when it happens right out of the gate, the reader is clueless and basically unconcerned. And Chloe seems to know things she shouldn’t, because I didn’t know what she’d been researching. So, how could she recognize a royal fay [fae] on sight? No idea.

Then there is the rather large and abrupt shift in Chloe’s personality that happens at roughly 50% into the first book. She goes from teary and afraid to kick-butt superhero in a split second (in a seriously stupid move too). Though she does remain a too perfect Mary Sue throughout, as well as too good at everything, mastering magic and weaponry in an instant, without effort.

Then there is the fact that I think the author tried to get too much in. There are fae (high, low and royal), the four horseman of the apocalypse, witches, werewolves and vampires. And none of it given any real world building to understand it all.

The narrator did a fine job, except that it’s based in Seattle. Chloe started out sounding perfectly American. But about halfway through the fist book she turned English, apparently. Then in book two, she’s American again.

All in all, this was not a winner for me. Mechanically the writing is fine but the story feels barely sketched out.

Review of Imperfect Match, by Jordan Castillo Price

I received an Audible credit for a copy of Jordan Castillo Price‘s Imperfect Match.

Description from Goodreads:

Lee Kennedy’s destiny is controlled by the Algorithm. It’s the reason he’s still in college, regardless of his good academic performance. He’s switched his major repeatedly and stalled on his Master’s thesis, but there’s only so much longer he can hold out. Because once he graduates, the Algorithm must be triggered.

Everyone in Lee’s family has allowed the Algorithm to match them with a spouse. As has everyone on his block. His neighborhood. In fact, everyone he’s ever known. Pairing with his own chosen match seems inevitable…until, at his sister’s wedding, he meets Roman.

The waiter lives in the Taxable District, a run-down neighborhood that’s only a brief train ride away, but feels like another world. The seedy District is governed by different standards—different expectations—so it’s not exactly a surprise that Roman isn’t married. But it’s definitely a shock to taste his lips.

One forbidden encounter has Lee reeling. He questions everything. His past. His future. And especially the Algorithm. He longs for the freedom to choose not only his own partner, but his own destiny. 

When defying the Algorithm will cost everything—family, home, and even livelihood—is Lee strong enough to take another path? 

Review:

It took me a surprisingly long time to settle into this relatively short story (novella). I caught on fairly quickly that the Boomer and Taxable districts were adherents to different economic and dogmatic systems. But it wasn’t until Lee started to identify his own privileges and the restrictions that came with them that I really started to appreciate the story. Watching him struggle with his responsibilities, searching for a way to meet them while being true to himself was a pleasure. The romantic subplot was sweet, but I felt almost unnecessary. I don’t mean I wish it wasn’t there. It was integral to the story Price was telling. But I also think the rest of Lee’s experience was substantial enough all on its own. 

I don’t know if the term Boomer was chosen specifically to create parallels to the Baby Boomers. But I do think that this story could easy be read as representing the divide between them and Millennials (leaving Get X out as always). Certainly, the difference in opportunities, mind set, and mores fits. All in all, a satisfying read. And Joel Leslie did a good job with the narration.

Review of Demon Ember (Resurrection Chronicles #1), by M.J. Haag & Becca Vincenza

I won a signed copy of Demon Ember, by M.J. Hagg and Becca Vincenza, through Goodreads.

Description:
Mya’s world is falling apart. After a series of earthquakes, deadly animals with glowing red eyes begin attacking people and start the spread of a zombie-like plague. Safety is just a memory as she tries to make her way home. When a different creature attacks the people helping her reach Oklahoma City, Mya is sure she’ll never see the light of another day. Despite his eerie green eyes and very sharp teeth, the grey-skinned creature is more intelligent and humanlike than he first appears. He’s determined to keep Mya by his side and protect her from the new world’s dangers. When his path starts taking her further away from home, she must choose between safety and her family.

Review with a slight spoiler:
Basically entertaining, but not much more. So, Mya decides to cross the zombie and hellhound infested state to get home to her family (without verifying they’ll be there). Along the way she runs into Drav, a large, human-like creature who decides he’s going to protect the female at all costs (without asking if she’s interested in this). That’s the plot…all of it. The book is basically just them running from one place to another and Drove defeating anything that threatens Mya. There really isn’t a lot to it in terms of development or explanations. You are left with a lot of questions in the end (which is a cliffhanger).

Drav can conveniently learn a language by hearing a word once, so the whole communication thing is easily dismissed. And he’s sweet. I liked Drav. Once he could understand her instructions, he was scrupulously attentive to Mya’s demands not to touch her (consent, basically). I liked that. Mya wasn’t particularly adept at survival, but not too stupid to live either. So, I was fine with Mya.

My issue arrises from the fact that he decides to protect her because he’s never seen a female before. There’s nothing inherently special about Mya herself that makes him take interest in her. He’s pretty much just protecting the pussy or womb. He of course falls in love and I imagine Mya will in future books, but when you get right down to it, this isn’t about Mya as a person.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. There were some funny bits. Like the meta scene where the large, fanged, grey-skinned man with pointed ears getting his hands on a Ruby Dixon novel. I’d be more than willing to read the rest of the series.