Category Archives: Book Reviews

Fantasy Book Review: Wings of Fire: Talons of Power

Wings of Fire: Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland

Synopsis:
FOR EVERY VILLAIN, THERE IS A HERO…
Turtle isn’t one of the heroes he reads about in stories. If he were, he’d use his animus powers to help Pyrrhia—instead of keeping his abilities a secret, even from his own sister. Now that Darkstalker, the sinister and impossibly old dragon from Pyrrhia’s most notorious legends, has returned, Turtle knows his own role is simple: hide. And stay hidden.

The other dragons at Jade Mountain Academy, on the other hand, think Darkstalker is fascinating. He charms everyone he meets, including Turtle’s most skeptical friends. They all seem convinced that the ancient dragon has changed.

Turtle isn’t so sure. The more he watches Darkstalker from the shadows, the more Turtle knows that someone needs to stop the powerful dragon. A real hero. But Turtle is running out of time to find one, which means…he might have to try to save the day himself.

Review:
Turtle is content to hide and not let anyone know about his powers. If someone else can take down Darkstalker, Turtle is willing to let them do it. But unfortunately, he may be the only one who can follow Darkstalker, stay unseen, and make sure his friends stay safe.

Talons of Power is the latest in the Wings of Fire fantasy series for young readers. Dragons are the main characters. And these characters are complex and compelling and just plain fun to read. This latest story picks up immediately after the last cliffhanger, as Darkstalker wakes up. With plenty of drama, suspense, and a bit of humor – Turtle’s adventures build to another climactic cliffhanger that left me wanting more. As always, I eagerly await the next in this exceptional series.

SciFiChick’s Best of 2016

I read a total of 132 books this year, much less than years past. However, I was also a lot busier.
Here’s the list of my favorite SciFi/Fantasy titles (published in 2016) that I read and reviewed.

Science Fiction:

Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot: To Preserve by Mickey Zucker Reichert
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/01/scifi-book-review-isaac-asimovs-i-robot-to-preserve/

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/09/13/scifi-book-review-the-last-one/

Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/01/18/scifi-book-review-star-wars-the-force-awakens/

Star Trek: The Original Series: Elusive Salvation by Dayton Ward
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/01/scifi-book-review-star-trek-the-original-series-elusive-salvation/

Quantum Night by Robert J Sawyer
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/04/28/scifi-book-review-quantum-night/

YA SciFi:

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/04/scifi-book-review-starflight/

The Capture by Tom Isbell
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/03/03/scifi-book-review-the-capture/

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/03/10/scifi-book-review-calamity/

Alight by Scott Sigler
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/05/18/scifi-book-review-alight/

The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/12/12/scifi-book-review-the-diabolic/

Fantasy:

Arabella of Mars by David D Levine
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/10/28/scifi-book-review-arabella-of-mars/

Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/07/fantasy-book-review-warcraft-durotan/

To Kill A Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/05/20/fantasy-book-review-to-kill-a-kettle-witch/

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/22/fantasy-book-review-the-invisible-library/

The Night Voice by Barb & JC Hendee
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/01/14/fantasy-book-review-the-night-voice/

YA Fantasy:

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/16/fantasy-book-review-the-trials-of-apollo-the-hidden-oracle/

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/02/15/fantasy-book-review-the-girl-from-everywhere/

Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril by Tui T Sutherland
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/07/11/fantasy-book-review-wings-of-fire-escaping-peril/

Ruined by Amy Tintera
Reviewed here: http://scifichick.com/2016/06/09/fantasy-book-review-ruined/

Wings of Fire: Talons of Power by Tui T. Sutherland
Reviewed forthcoming

What were some of your favorites this year?

Star Wars Book Spotlight

Star Wars Rogue One Rebel Dossier

This is a nice hardback containing all full-color pages. Young Star Wars fans will enjoy this close look at major and minor characters in Rogue One, including information on the Empire.

Star Wars books

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Star Wars Galactic Maps: An Illustrated Atlas of the Star Wars Universe

This is a fantastic, oversized book on various planets in the Star Wars universe. It’s a great collector’s item with fun details – from a timeline and cast of characters to maps of world and battles.

Star Wars books
Star Wars books

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Art of Coloring Star Wars: Rogue One

I enjoy adult coloring books, so this was a must. I like the mixture of characters, ships, and patterns. The artwork is spot on with plenty of variety.

Star Wars books
Star Wars books
Star Wars books

Book Review: The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I loved the Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and this look at the new movie is just as fantastic. The sheer amount of characters, aliens, bots, worlds, and more explored here is very impressive.

Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One

From early concepts to various costume ideas – this is a fascinating look at most of the characters with details and notes.

Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One

Ships and aliens and stormtroopers.. oh my.

Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One

Breathtaking worlds and fun concept boards…

Art of Rogue One Art of Rogue One

But some of the coolest images are of Vader’s Castle and Bacta Tank.

I could literally spend hours looking at everything here in more detail. With stunning artwork, behind the scenes details, and in-dept notes, this is a fantastic collectible for fans of all ages.

Fantasy Book Review: The Bronze Key

The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Synopsis:
Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But now the chaos is fighting back.

Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer… and risk their own lives in the process. As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

Review:
When it’s clear that someone is trying to kill Call, another student is murdered to cover the trail. And Call, Aaron, and Tamara take it upon themselves to investigate, as they don’t quite trust their authority figures.

The Bronze Key third installment in the Magisterium series. It’s a unique fantasy series for youth. Though it’s easy to compare to the feel of other series such as Harry Potter, because it’s set at a magical school. However, there is plenty that sets this story apart, the major difference being that the main character thinks he may become evil. The characters are engaging and the story is exciting and builds in each installment. Full of suspense, drama, and humor – the story is a wild ride that builds to a shocking ending.

SciFi Book Review: The Fever Code

The Fever Code by James Dashner

Synopsis:
Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

Review:
The Fever Code is a prequel to the Maze Runner series. The synopsis claims that “all will be revealed,” but I felt the story didn’t reach back far enough. The novel starts with the children being taken and the plague had already rampant. Years pass as Thomas and the other children grow up at WICKED – which drags a bit. And it’s never really fleshed out why Thomas was so special.

Once Thomas meets the other kids, events start happening a bit faster and Thomas uncovers more about the organization he works for. It’s all pretty predictable, with no real big revelations as promised. But while I was a bit disappointed with the plot, enough time has passed since I read Maze Runner that I enjoyed getting back into the story and characters. I actually wouldn’t mind reading the first novel again. It’s a fantastic and inspired world with engaging characters.

SciFi Book Review: Assassin’s Creed: Heresy

Assassin’s Creed: Heresy by Christie Golden

Synopsis:
Simon Hathaway, member of the Templar Inner Sanctum, brings a cool head and detached manner to his new role as Head of Abstergo Industry’s Historical Research Division. But Simon also has an insatiable curiosity, and is fascinated by the thought of experiencing history first-hand through his ancestor–Gabriel Laxart, who fought alongside the legendary Joan of Arc.

When he enters the newly-designed Animus for its initial project, Simon finds himself unprepared for what he discovers: How deep the conflict between the Templars and the Assassins goes. What Gabriel will do for the woman he both loves and reveres.

And the most dangerous truth of all: Who is the heretic…and who is the true believer.

Review:
I’m not a gamer, so I wasn’t familiar with the actual story behind the series. I only know the movie is coming out and wanted to read a bit about the saga before it releases. Unfortunately, the novel is not for newbies. I definitely recommend reading up on the internet before starting this book to know what the sides are and why and what they are searching for in the past. I was completely lost until I did.

Simon is searching the past through his ancestor for history on a sword in the possession of Joan of Arc. The premise alone is intriguing, and I wasn’t disappointed. Besides the fantastic look at the past as historical fiction with science fiction thrown in the mix – the present day begins to build with suspense as well. Though I wish the fascinating worldbuilding would have been fleshed out a bit more, there is plenty of intrigue, lore, and drama that made for an exciting read. I look forward to reading more in this series (as well as the film) and seeing other time periods explored.

SciFi Book Review: The Diabolic

The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid

Synopsis:
A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Review:
This story is told from Nemesis’ point of view. She’s been programmed from a young age that because she was engineered in a lab, that she’s not human. But she certainly has all the same feelings as a human – though no one, including herself, believes she’s anything more than property and a weapon. The character development in this story is amazing.

The Diabolic is a fast-paced, roller coaster of suspense, drama, political intrigue, and a bit of romance. Young adults and adults alike will enjoy the fantastic characters and captivating story. This is one that’s nearly impossible to put down. I enjoyed the author’s previous Insignia trilogy. But I feel her writing reached a new level with this novel. It was incredibly fun to read, from the first page to the last. It’s a wonderful stand alone story about a selfless girl who is willing to do anything to save those she loves.