ARV-3 (The after life saga #1) by Cameo Renae

18629550Published November 26th 2013 by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Oh my god this was partially really good but had so many faults.

The good: I found the apocalyptic / post-apocalyptic world interesting but I was not convinced by the concept. According to the story, a massive solar storm wiped out all electricity on the planet. The following Nuclear fallout wiped out life on the planet, except for a few thousand humans who took shelter in underground bunkers across the globe.
When the ejection is directed towards the Earth and reaches it as an interplanetary CME (ICME), the shock wave of the traveling mass of Solar Energetic Particles causes a geomagnetic storm that may disrupt the Earth’s magnetosphere. Coronal mass ejections, along with solar flares of other origin, can disrupt radio transmissions and cause damage to satellites and electrical transmission line facilities, resulting in potentially massive and long-lasting power outages.

So far so good. But, it takes 17h for a solar flare to reach Earth. There would have been enough time to switch off potentially dangerous atomic power plants. 

But let’s go with the story and assume all those scientists at NASA, ESA & Roskosmos, haven’t seen it coming, and the solar storm was like a GIANT GLOBAL EMP and everybody on this planet just wakes up without ANY electricity and EVERY SINGLE nuclear power plant was going to go Chernobyl on us. Life on Earth wouldn’t be over. Life in Europe and USA would be over. But let’s have a look at a picture of nuclear power plant around the glove:

There is not a single red dot in Alaska and Canada, Africa, South America, Australia, large parts of Russia and Asia. Why not evacuate people to these countries, with sailboats and steamboats if need be.

But let’s just go with the story. There are big, government hives and some small “family” hives, build by those who prepared for exactly this end-of-the-world scenario. How people can survive 13 years in a bunker is beyond me. The amount of dried fruits and noodles to feed 15 people for almost 5000 days… wow… is simply unbelievable. The amount of toilet paper alone is unthinkable! I found it not nearly enough explained how people survived that long without sunlight, without access to the surface in an underground bunker.

Now, after thirteen years, people finally are able to return to the topside only to find the world full of aggressive mutants. I have to admit, I did enjoy the Arvies. They are crazed, milky-eyed creatures who have developed a deep hatred towards all survivors over the last decade and they totally like to bite and rip them apart. Also there is more to them than a Zombie-like almost dead status on the surface. They are feeling, communicating and strategizing human-like creatures. And they want revenge for what the government did to them. That was the best part of the book because you never know when one or several hundreds of them are going to pop out behind you. There’s a lot of action with guns, bombs and snipers. Loved it!

Apart from this the story didn’t appeal to me on every other level. Almost all characters are very cliché: you have the ex-Navy Seal uncle who is depicted like a middle-aged Rambo, there is her Mom who constantly panics, her grandparents were kind of forgotten after their introduction, same with Abi’s cousin that never even gets mentioned again in the entire book! the people in the government hive were even more cliché and absolutely nobody contributed in any way to the story. That was kind of a letdown. It felt like the potential of group dynamics under pressure was totally wasted. The interactions remained unfortunately shallow and sketchy which also left gigantic-sized opportunities for plot holes that were filled by “deus-ex-machina”, literally. I have nothing against religion, but please spare me with prayers that are being answered and all the talk about karma and fate. There are like 3 major events where they are up to their ears in a shit storm and would you believe it, they pray to God and salvation comes. Unrealistic much?

One example: Abi is fighting against an Arvy and it’s a close call. Her uncle saves her by shooting it through the head. Unfortunatelly the same bullet also goes through her hand. I ask you: If a disease is transmissible by saliva (remember the bites) wouldn’t it also be by blood contact?

Have I mentioned the romance? No? Shame on me! How could I forget to tell you about ohmygodhejustlookedatmeisn’theawesome FINN. Finn who will always love her, be there for her, who even gives her an engagement ring, who kisses her senseless, love-lost. Kill me please! It was a lot of telling instead of showing involved.

If not for all its faults, Abi’s ass-kicking character, the action and interesting drafted Arvies would have been enough to grant at least 1 or two stars more. But despite my misgivings, I am still interested in the next book in this series.

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Scintillate (The Light Key Trilogy #1) by Tracy Clark

18050015Expected publication: February 4th 2014 by Entangled: Teen

I’m trying to figure out why people love it. What might have been once successful with Edward and Bella as pure wish fulfillment of teenage unicorns and dragons dreams might still work for pre-pubescent girls. Publishers sure think like that but I can’t believe that 14-year olds still fall for that crap: Mary Sue MC, slut shaming, insta-love paired up with totally unrealistic creepy-sugary dialogue, followed by love triangle including sparks flying literally and a lot of magic at work.

Those eyes connected with mine, and every atom in the room crackled with delight.

Plain Jane gets not only the hot guy but two of them: The hot Irish exchange student, who can sing and shit and the blond-blue-eyed Italian Giovanni who is just like her sparkling and shit. What is with all the guys panting after her? It’s implied several times that our MC is plain, socially inapt but of course the two hottest guys on earth insta-sea how super-special she is. PHHHLEEEASEEE spare me. Of course the main “character” in this Twilight fanfic is not only super special but also super dumb. When someone tells you to not tell other people about your super-specialness because it’s dangerous (implying that all others like you are dead) what would you do?
A: Try to not tell anyone?
B: write ”I am sparkling silver what does it mean” on a public internet forum and for good measure tell people at school.

What really unnerved me though is the following: It is not ok to make a creep into the love interest. Creepy is creepy. Basta. I mean come on, the MC fucking fears Finn, he irritates her, she’s afraid of him, but that is all cast aside, dismissed as soon as she remembers how beautiful he is? How can it actually be ok to advice teenage girls to not listen to their own instincts? I loathe it when authors are implying that girls shouldn’t think about their own fears because Prince Charming is just that beautiful and charismatic. No man/boy should be above a girl’s right to decline. But this book tells girls that voicing their discomfort is of no importance, that it’s better to feel awkward and submissive then to voice your fear. She knows the guy only by sight but he’s popping up in her hospital room at night, creeps up on her in a room at school and surprisingly comes to her rescue out of the blue. And now he wants to tag along? Creepy much? But hey it’s ok because he is Irish and has those good looks????

Do you mind if I tag along? I’d like to see what you do.”
“No, you wouldn’t,” I said with a dismissive wave.
“Yes,” he said, opening his car door. “I would.”
I got out and crossed my arms. “Why? What is up with you?”
“What kind of foreign policy is it not to show a visitor your customs and culture?” Finn laughed, which sparked some irritation in me. I wanted to walk away, but his gravity pulled me out of my own tight orbit.
He raked his hands through his wild hair, the kind of hair that wanted to be messed. Why was I suddenly imagining leaving rows in it with my fingers?

Because Finn is the hot exchange student from Ireland not even Cora’s cousin and best friend Mari intervenes after she faints and Finn declares that he will take her home. 

“Ready to go?” “I’ll take her home,” Finn said. “She’ll be okay with me.”
Mari’s eyes glinted. “I’m sure she’s in good hands.”

Are you fucking kidding me? A girl that has had a near death experience the week before and was in the hospital for days faints and you just let her go with an almost stranger because he is so hot? Don’t call an ambulance, don’t call her father, don’t be afraid for her, because she will be okay with a foreign stranger. Makes perfect sense. In real life a girl might as easily end up murdered in some dark alley with her body parts tossed into some trash can! But no it’s love, I am sorry I ranted.

“You know I am. Mad in love! It’s fookin’ insane. I talked to my mother last night after what happened at your house. She’s angry at me forbecoming so involved and for sneaking into your room and jeopardizing you. I know—I’m not good for you. I have to go home, Cora. My flight for Ireland leaves tonight.”

Back in Edward and Bella fanfic-territory: She is just that special. Her love changed him. Now he has to leave her. You might think that finally she might voice her feelings. Oh but you are so wrong:

Worry radiated from my center, up to my chest, closing off my throat. I swallowed hard. Had I done something to him? I was simply trying to give him love last night, from my soul to his, but maybe because I was this silver aberration I had inadvertently affected him badly.
(…)
Then, the truth I couldn’t hold back any longer. “I love you.”
“I’m not the same person since I met you. You’ve affected me forever.”(Finn)

Awful!

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood, #1) by Victoria Scott

16069167Expected publication: February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press

“Another one bites the dust” … This book doesn’t make sense and I can’t be bothered to read any more of this. I’ve been reading the first 100 and the last 20 pages.

My problems with this story are: 
The premise: The race for a cure is so totally unrealistic (even after reading the last 20 pages and knowing the reason behind it). It’s the same problem I had with the Hunger Games: why do people think that parents, family, friends and the rest of the society would contend sending children to their death or into danger? I felt like it was all so unexplained and simply there in a “Take it or leave it but don’t try to make sense of it” kind of way.
The pets: They have all those miraculous powers and skills, like lions breathing fire or rams making earthquakes and all of them hatching from an egg. Sure. Again just go with it.
The main character: She is so vain and rather spends time on fixing her hair and her make-up then to actually compete in the race for the cure her brother needs. She loses track of her goal (the cure for her sick brother) so often it is rather embarrassing. She gets distracted by unimportant things constantly. She doesn’t choose anything of her own volition but acts without thinking and makes stupid decisions based on incorrect assumptions.
Unrealistic plot: You have 100 people racing through a jungle with nothing but their eggs/animals. It’s like a stroll through the woods behind your house than an actual race for survival through a difficult landscape. Food? Shelter? Danger? Parasites? Hygiene? Don’t you mind, because if our MC needs it she will find almost always someone who will offer it to her.

This book just didn’t do it for me.