Tag Archive | Novel

The Martian by Andy Weir

Format: Paperback
Rating:  5 stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Six days ago, the first team of astronauts landed on Mars. A dust storm forces the team to evacuate and return to Earth. In the confusion and drama of the evacuation, Mark Watney is injured and left behind for dead. Discovering he is alone and without any communications, and no hope of retrieval, Watney must come up with a plan to survive until the next team arrives on Mars. But it isn’t going to be easy.

After watching the movie, I had to read the book, so I acquired it and settled in. And was I in for a treat. Yes, the book is technical (and gives a whole load more information than the movie ever could), given that most of it’s format is log entries from a stranded astronaut, but astronaut Mark Watney’s take on life, innate sense of humour and can-do attitude make for a thoroughly enjoyable read.

This book is an outstanding offering from Weir, and is very well written. The level of detail (and the research that surely backs it up) is immaculate and he kept me engaged from start to finish. That’s actually quite a feat – to be able to be detailed with technical stuff AND keep an audience engaged, and not all writers (or speakers) manage it. Weir pulls it off with aplomb – and a flourish to follow it up.

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Hell Divers III: Deliverance by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Format: Ebook
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

What an absolute treat to be able to reenter the post-apocalyptic world of the Hell Divers. The first book blew me away, the second book was duly devoured, and this third book was no less of a hell-ride.

Approximately 250 years after the world went to hell in a nuclear war that destroyed the surface of the planet, airships ply the skies over what used to be the USA, unable to land on the blasted – and dangerous – earth. Now aged and falling apart, the airships are maintained by supplies collected from locations across the country by the intrepid Hell Divers, men and women who risk their lives with each jump they take to retrieve the supplies, battling raging thunderstorms, high radiation and mostly humanoid monsters called Sirens.

Hive, the last of the airships, recently lost its last two teams of Hell Divers. Unknown to them, some of those Hell Divers survived to find a new airship they name Deliverance. And they are hunting down the legendary Hell Diver, X, lost ten years ago on a mission in Hades.

Meanwhile, on the Hive, a new team of Hell Divers must be trained to continue the supply runs. But when Captain Leon Jordan learns of Deliverance, he has a new goal: acquire the sleek new airship at all costs.

Nick’s prose, particularly in this series, is some of the most beautiful I’ve come across, making this series a qualified (due to the nature of the storyline) pleasure to read. It’s rare that I find books I can inhale as rapidly as these. The settings and characters are so realistic, and the delivery so smooth, that I just wrap myself up in the world for a few hours – sans hot chocolate!

For all this is a post-apoc book with monsters – humanoid, animal and plant – Nick always manages to show that the true depths of depravity are found in the human heart; there’s truly no monster worse than one that wears a human face. I’m by nature not a vindictive person, but I really really hate the villain in this story.

Oh, and that epilogue? It had me in tears. SO beautiful.

Fringe Station by Rachel Aukes

Source: Own Collection
Format: Hardcover
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Having grown up reading Anne McCaffrey, Space Opera tends to be a comfortable place for me. So it was a delight to be able to return to the world of Captain Aramis Reyne, Critch, Throttle, Heid and the other players. This story is complex, as nothing in the Collective is simple. As the worlds on the fringe of the Collective seek independence and full citizenship for the inhabitants, Reyne and Critch need to bury the hatchet in order to become the motivational force they once were as leaders of the Torrents. But to do some means overcoming betrayal (aka learning the truth), and seeking those who would join their ranks. But sometimes the Collective is one step ahead, and resources can be closed down at a whim. We also get to know more about a mysterious group who like to run the Collective from the shadows, so to speak.

An exciting space-romp that is a pleasure to read, with plenty of action, strange worlds and compelling characters.

The Sigma Surrogate by JT Lawrence

Source: Own Collection
Format: Kindle Edition
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

I just spent two hours of my day reading this, and I can tell you, every moment was well worth it.

What starts out as a simple investigation for resourceful journalist Keke takes twists and turns she doesn’t foresee until she’s in way over her head. In a world where infertility is rife, those who are fertile are well-protected (or are they?) – and used as surrogates. Of course, surrogacy has its opponents, cue the Sigma surrogate. Also seen in this book is Kirsten, heroine of Why You Were Taken.

Full of action, suspense and with a few more twists than I could keep track of, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Lawrence paints a vivid picture with her words, drawing the reader easily into Keke and Kirsten’s world.

Apocalypse Weird: The Red King by Nick Cole

Source: Own Collection
Format: Kindle
Rating:  3 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

This is a post-apocalyptic zombie tale with a few twists thrown in. It follows Holiday, a barista who turns to drink after his girlfriend leaves him to go to college, as he experiences the end of the world as he knows it. Holed up in suburbia, he slowly gathers a group of survivors around him – and braves the outside world occasionally in order to survive. But there are strange things afoot, which add a wonderful mystery element to the story. Is there time travel, alternate realities, or something else entirely, going on? The questions this book raises definitely draw one on to read the next book in the series.

Nick Cole’s writing is vivid and realistic, drawing the reader into the characters’ lives and experiencing events with them as they unfold. A lot of fun – with some suspense thrown in for good measure. I really liked this book.