Thursday, March 1, 2018

Darkside Earther

Darkside Earther  (Darkside Earther #1)Darkside Earther by Bradley Horner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Axel Stahl is a normal young man. He has school he's not overly interested in, parents who are often too busy to spend time with him, and a crush on a girl he doesn't think has ever even noticed him. The things that set Axel apart are that he's the failed hope of mankind and he lives aboard a giant space station called the Ring. One day everything is looking up for Axel and the young woman he's been dreaming about, Helen, has been watching him watching her and she likes him. All seems grand until war brakes out on many fronts.

Darksider Earther is at it's core a young adult book about love. Axel loves Helen and Helen loves Axel, they're ready to fight for it against anyone who stands in their way. There was a time in my life that I found scenarios like these engaging and sweet, but now as a parent I fear the pairs naivete and question their feelings. Undoubtedly my next time facing such love in real life, I'll be the bad guy poking holes in the undying love of the young. I'm getting off topic. For me the love fest between Helen and Axel is one I can relate to in the past, but I react in a much more cynical fashion to now. The first two thirds or so of the story revolved around the kids love for one another.

When the true war struck I was engaged even if I found myself not totally understanding how most of the weapons and tools worked. The last third of the book was filled with heart pounding fear as it's far from certain what will happen.

I found myself feeling as though the teen love and war aspect felt smashed together like a car accident. The two parts of the story didn't feel as though they belonged together. The teen love was largely light and airy with defiance and devotion. I didn't feel as though it was evident war would break out at any point. There were some brief mentions of the tensions between Space Ops and the Earthers, but that was largely glossed over in the wave of love. As for the other war, there was little indication to expect it at all.

To be fair to Darkside Earther I have to admit that young adult and space based science fiction are far from my preferred genres. I tend to avoid young adult at any cost. That being said I feel as though a good bit of the stories strong points just don't particularly appeal to me personally.

Darkside Earther is a space based science fiction young adult love story that shows some creativity and promise.

2.5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Red Sister

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Nona has lived a hard life that was about to end with a noose around her neck when Abbess Glass rescued her and took her to her convent. Nona's crimes earned her enemies yet the convent offers Nona things she never really had before. Now Nona trains to hone her skills to become a Red Sister.

I've come to believe all writing has risks and no matter how good a book is to some others will dislike it. One risk is the choice of point of view characters. Using a single point of view character is akin to going all in when gambling. If the gambler wins with a single point of view character they win big, but if they lose they lose it all. Multiple point of view characters hedge the bet and allows readers to like some and not others while still enjoying the story, the same can't be said for a single point of view character. For me Mark Lawrence lost the bet by using Nona as the single point of view character. Nona feels like she would make a fine support character, but nothing about her truly drew me in. The point of view of a young girl in a warrior convent was frankly dull and subsequently made the story dull for me.

Red Sister never really caught my interest. The warrior convent, the coming of age tropes, and endless classes just weren't something I wanted to read about. I can't say why it didn't work for me. I started avoiding the book shorty after I started reading it, which is always a bad sign. Perhaps I'm just not really a fan of Mark Lawrence's writing.

Red Sister, in the end, just wasn't a story for me.

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