Mini Reviews: The Sci-Fi Edition

Surprisingly, I’ve read a lot of sci-fi books in the past month. Seeing as my most-read genre is contemporary, followed by fantasy, I’d say that reading five sci-fi novels in four weeks is quite impressive. So I’m going to share my thoughts about them with you!

Invictus

Invictus

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

I went into this book hoping for something I loved as much as I love Doctor Who, which I should have known would be impossible because Doctor Who is the love of my life and nothing can convince me otherwise. But I was willing to give this book a go. Time travel? Perfect for fans of Doctor Who? Yes please. I’ll take it.

However, this book didn’t live up to my exceptionally high expectations. It was probably my fault for building it up to be the most spectacular book I’d ever read, but it was just an entertaining read — and that isn’t bad. It was still a good book. It started off with a bang and although I was a bit confused as to what was happening in the beginning, because we weren’t eased into the story by any stretch of the imagination, I was intrigued to find out what would happen next. And the Doctor Who vibes were everything.

However, I wasn’t able to connect to the characters to the degree that I would have liked, which is always an issue for me in books that aren’t contemporary. I always feel the need to understand the world completely before I can move on to understanding the characters, and because there was so much going on in this novel, I could barely keep up. I wanted to connect to the characters, while also trying to work out where they were, while also trying to work out what the stakes were, while also trying to keep all the backstories of the characters straight. It wasn’t a relaxing read — I had to pay attention 110% of the time or risk missing something. It was just so action-packed.

If you’re looking for a fun read about time-travel and space and and heists with an interesting group of characters, then Invictus is the book for you! It was an enjoyable read, but one that I think I’m going to have to read again to make sure I followed everything. It was a little too complex for my poor contemporary-loving heart at times, but it was undeniably a thrilling read and one that I think I’ll appreciate more the second time around.

Rating:

3-stars

Thanks to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Warcross

Warcross

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Wow, another exceptionally hyped book. While I’ve only read Marie Lu’s Legend series, I was really excited to sink my teeth into another one of her novels. I mean, Tokyo? Rainbow hair? Video games? Sign me up. I hadn’t read that many books about video games and virtual reality, if any, so I was excited to learn more about it in Warcross.

This book started off really strong for me. It captured me from the very first page and made me not want to put it down until I’d reached the ending. But while this novel started off strongly, it slowly declined into mediocrity. The premise was fascinating and the whole idea of hackers and players and virtual reality was something I probably would have sold my soul for an advance copy, but I was whisked up in the excitement. It was only until the halfway point that things got a little more questionable.

One of the main complaints from people who’ve read Warcross is that the virtual reality and gaming aspect was poorly explained, which isn’t the best for a book where virtual reality and gaming is the whole premise. Only in the last half of the book did Marie Lu add that the participants were typing while simultaneously being in this virtual world, which wasn’t always clear the whole way through. And I’m no gaming expert but I felt like the other aspects could have been explained a little more. I just wanted to know more, and I never got that chance.

Unfortunately, the romance in this novel fell flat for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two characters and I honestly didn’t care if the protagonist went and got her heart broken. I honestly think the book could have dealt without it and use that word count towards allowing the reader to better understand the world of Warcross and the virtual reality. It just wasn’t needed. Additionally, I didn’t feel like I got the chance to get to know all the other characters in the novel. I loved Emika and felt that she was totally badass, but everyone else was just kind of there. Warcross is aesthetically pleasing, but once you dig a little deeper, it’s lacking in a lot of areas. But if you’re looking for a fun sci-fi read with future Tokyo vibes and an intriguing plot, then I recommend picking this one up!

Rating:

3-stars

Thanks to Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…

Now, this book was phenomenal. I’m honestly still thinking about how spectacular it was. I went into this book knowing exactly nothing about it, so much so that I presumed it was a contemporary with a deep and metaphorical title and cover. Alas, it was about just what it proclaimed — a lonely girl in space. Literally. She’s the only person on her spaceship. While I thought that I’d get bored of reading about just one girl, I actually loved it. And that twist was everything. Wow.

What I wasn’t expecting was how much of a role fanfic would play in this novel. It was unexpected and utterly brilliant. So this girl, Romy Silvers, is on a mission to find humanity a new home while also being obsessed with this show and writing fanfic for it. That takes up a lot of her time, as well as emailing her best friend back on Earth. But then she starts emailing this mysterious boy named J on a ship coming towards her. Although Romy is the only character we really read about for a while, J and her friend felt remarkably fleshed out for only hearing about them via email. It would have been really easy for this book to be boring, but it wasn’t. It captured me from start to finish.

Just when I thought I knew which direction this book was heading in, something happened and flipped the whole story on its head. I honestly had no idea that things were going to end in the way that they did, and the twist was honestly what made this book what it was. It was unexpected and jaw-droopingly brilliant. It’s so hard to discuss this book because I don’t want to give anything away, but be warned — this book isn’t just all that the blurb alludes to. It’s dark and twisted and you won’t suspect anything. Just read it.

Rating:

5-stars

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

My Side of the Diamond

My Side of the Diamond

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air. Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance? Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

With detailed and intriguing black and white illustrations throughout.

 

I’m so confused. I’m just so confused. This was an… adult sci-fi? I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book, but I had even less of an idea when I finished it. What did I just read? There was aliens and cyborgs and just… nothing made sense to me? I’m sorry. I tried.

The writing style was one of the things that made it so hard to connect with this book. It was written like someone was telling a story, so I felt somewhat disconnected from the actual events. It just didn’t feel compelling and I had no desire to find out how things ended. I just didn’t care anymore. And it was just so strange. Like, I’m all for a bit of weirdness in cupboards, but only when it benefits the book or the plot or something. Just like, live mannequins in closets? Are you trying to play off Doctor Who? It just didn’t work for me.

I’m sure there’s a market for books like this one, but obviously, I’m not it. I was so distracted by my inability to connect to the writing style, and thus, the characters, that I think I may have missed the entire point of this novel. The only positive thing I can say about it was that it was different. It was just… so strange. That is all.

Rating:

1 Star

Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished.

The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC. The weekend has only just begun…

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read forever. It’s The Book that always comes up in conversation at sci-fi panels, and after putting off reading it for literally years, I finally got a copy. And it was truly excellent. It was weird and funny and I loved everything about it. I should have read this book sooner. I can’t believe it has over one million ratings on Goodreads. What.

My favourite thing about it was without a doubt the humour. It was just so damn funny. There’s no point to some of the things that happen, and there’s a bit of dark humour, and a lot of funny exchanges. This book was just such a fun read and I’m looking forward to reading more books by Douglas Adams, including more modern classics. If you like sci-fi and don’t mind something a bit stupid and humour at times, then I urge you to pick up this book if you haven’t already. But let’s face it — I’m probably the last person on Earth to have read this book. It’s just a must-read for people of all generations.

Rating:

5-stars

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Let's Talk

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Are you planning on reading any of them? What’s your ultimate sci-fi recommendation? What do you look for in a good sci-fi novel? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Graphics sourced from ExuberantWe Heart ItZzorna ArtWinged GraphicsOpiaDesigns and Clker.com.

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14 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: The Sci-Fi Edition

  1. I LOVE sci-fi, especially anything Star Wars-esque and basically just something that has spaceships & battles & adventure, HAH. I haven’t read any of these, though. Yet. WARCROSS is definitely on my list. I love Marie Lu (especially her THE YOUNG ELITES books… the writing is just gorgeous, and there needs to be more anti-heroes in books), so I’m looking forward to it. I have to admit I haven’t read Hitchhiker’s Guide, though so many people have recommended it to me. Just doesn’t seem like my thing? But maybe, oh maybe, I’ll get around to it one of these days. 🙂

    Great pictures!

    • Ooh nice! I’m more of a Star Trek person, myself. While the amount of hype affected the reading experience for me, I do think WARCROSS is a must-read – especially for sci-fi fans! I hope you love it once you get around to reading it. AND OMG YOU MUST READ THAT ONE! Even if you don’t LOVE it, I think it’s worth giving it a shot. I’d love to hear your thoughts once you read them! 💜

  2. Yes, I live for Sci-fi recommendations! Warcross and Hitcher Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were already on my TBR. This is my first time hearing about The Lonliest Girl in the Universe, though! You made it sound really good, so I’m adding it to the TBR. Great post 🙂!

  3. I’m planning to read the first three book you listed. To be honest, I’m not so surprised to read that about Warcross, I had the same feeling with the Legend trilogy and I was going to read this one without such high expectations. About The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, I’m happy to see that it’s dark and twisted *dark readers look…. whatever it’s*. It seemed like such a fluffy read about hope, but I’m good to hear the contrary 🙂

    • I hope you enjoy all of them! While I did enjoy LEGEND, I didn’t have any expectations before launching into them. If only the hype didn’t get to me with WARCROSS! Haha yes, I thought the same about THE LONELIEST GIRL but it totally surprised me! I hope you love that one as much as I did 💕

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