Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Illumination Paradox Book 2

August is almost over and kids are heading back to school. It is officially time to back up the summer reads for next year's trip to the beach. We are now moving into fall which means Halloween is coming! That means some great creepy, crawly books are on their way. (It also means the unfortunate amount of zombie stories will be out there too. sigh.) Jacqueline Garlick has some great ghouls in her Illumination Paradox series.

Noir by Jacqueline Garlick

The second book in this trilogy proves it has some writing chops. The action just keeps on rolling and all the characters keep it light with great humor. The novel manages to feel serious without being depressing. It is absolutely brimming with love and laughter even in the depths of madness. While I don't usually go for the lovey-dovey goo, I really had fun with Urlick and Eyelet's love development. They certainly have some passion. Garlick shows how a story can have passion without vulgarity which always wins huge points for me.

The first aspect that really elevated this novel for me was the additional character points of view. We now see the world beyond just Eyelet and Urlick. The first novel had many great characters and now we get the voices to get an full-sided insight into the world Garlick has created. There is an authenticity to reading through a whole chapter in the character's point of view, not just the dialogue being in the character's voice. This is seriously a huge plus to this novel. The C.L. chapters really add to the comedic relief of the story.

The second aspect I really enjoyed was the steampunk twist of our modern technologies. Sure you can have automatons and steam powered gadgets, but this one takes the cloud to a whole new level (haha--I seriously recommend you pick up a copy to find out why that is funny). Since reading the Baskerville series by Emma Jane Holloway, I have been very intrigued by the new steampunk genre. It has been fascinating seeing how each author treats this category. Most have been a little boring to me with just the bland shift of steam power in place of electricity. Garlick takes a more metaphysical and humorous approach to how the inventions in a steampunk world would be different. This is not Victorian England alternate history. It is some futuristic, post-apocalyptic place with all our current knowledge warped by those experiences. I am much more appreciative of this look at steampunk because it is all possible without tainting history.

**EDIT** Four stars only because of a continuity error that kind of peeved me because it rocked the balance of my reading. I was really into the imagination of the story when it just knocked me right out of the zone. The e-book has been corrected as well as subsequent print editions. Five stars now. Definitely very excited for the third novel, though, and avidly recommend the first two books so far.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Military space opera that just keeps kicking the heartstrings

The mornings are starting to get crisp and cool. Being able to spend the mornings out on the porch reading good books is just amazing. I could use the cool mornings with all the adrenaline pumping from the third novel in the ATLAS series.

ATLAS 3 by Isaac Hooke

This was another emotional installment in the ATLAS series. Nothing that happens is overly surprising as the plot of the story is rather logical. They are fighting a war.  What I did not see coming was the ending--again! Seriously diabolical cliffhanger genius.

The story isn't any different from the two that came before. War, bloodshed, adrenaline, cliché topics repeated from the first two novels. Yet, I could not put the book down and was blindsided by the ending again. The characters continue to have an excellent development. We get the chance for another perspective when the teams are split and Tahoe becomes the point of view.

We are facing another battle of the same crazy war for humanity. The previous enemies have banded together in the face of a new foe. A stronger, more disturbingly alien foe. We meet several new species of weirdness that just make me wonder how authors come up with aliens. (Kind of my sticking point with sci-fi novels is the absolute creation of races that have no logical existence. Here included.) This novel gets more in depth with the Phants and their motives for being on earth. The color coded mystery is also solved. My favorite part of the story was hearing the war from their stance and getting a history of their race. I actually wish there was more of the Phants interaction.

The reuniting of Shaw and Rade is very well handled leading to an emotional pounding at the end. I knew it was coming and yet there is still hope that around the next corner there is going to be some miracle. It is so obvious but still heartrending. The whole war wraps up and it seems like there is healing and conclusion. Then the epilogue. Geez--what a cliffhanger.

There better be another novel. For now, I'll have to go pick up the short stories to get my MOTH fix. I really cannot recommend this series enough. It isn't going to be breaking any literary barriers, but the stories are just so immersive and amazing.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Light inside the dark

Late summer means fall is on its way. The beach reading is drying up and the leaves are going to start changing soon. I'm going to smell fall in the air. This is not my favorite time of year. I always have to battle off an extreme wave of emotions this time of year. It is these times I am really glad Netgalley is around. There is a never ending supply of great reads to fill my days.

Lumiere by Jacqueline Garlick

Amazon Publishing imprint Skyscape gave me the opportunity to try out another steampunk author. It does seem so many authors are trying to get into the lucrative steampunk genre. There were some I have not enjoyed and others I enjoy immensely. Like all literature, the genre has become flooded. That is why the cover and back of the book are so important to the sell. Amazon Publishing did a good job with the revamping of Lumiere in anticipation of Noir releasing this month. The cover is gorgeous and I was pulled in by the synopsis.

The characters have personality, the antics keep going, and the oogie boogies are fascinating. The whole novel is just fun--to read and to experience imaginatively.

There is a wonderful blend of magic and science that gives the essence of wonder and awe. For all the scientific reasoning and answers out there, it is nice to still have the wonder that comes from magic. An innocence of awe from the imagination that seems to stymie out as we age. The author has a great way of keeping the story fun and moving. The gadgets are really cool and the landscape is a nice change from Victorian England or Europe or the other many obvious choices of steampunk. I keep thinking about Hawai'i and all of its volcano-y landscape goodness. A steampunk approach to geological science of volcanoes. Nice!

I highly recommend this novel and give it 5 stars. Perfect digital price over at Amazon.