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.

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes

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Crystal Storm: A Falling Kingdoms Novel by Morgan Rhodes

Synopsis:
An epic clash between gods and mortals threatens to tear Mytica apart . . . and prove that not even the purest of love stands a chance against the strongest of magic.

MAGNUS and CLEO are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he’s no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption.

LUCIA, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe . . . but could mean her demise.

JONAS treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey.

AMARA has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she’ll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge.

And what kind of darkness will descend–and who will be safe–after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a set of the Falling Kingdom books by Morgan Rhodes, which includes paperback editions of Falling Kingdoms, Rebel Spring, Gathering Darkness and Frozen Tides and a hardcover edition of Crystal Storm (Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”): $63.00). In addition, four (4) Runner-up Winners will each receive a paperback edition of Falling Kingdoms ($11.00 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:01 AM (EST) on December 5, 2016 and 11:59 PM (EST) on December 16, 2016. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about December 19, 2016. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

Blu-Ray Review: Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad (Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UltraViolet Combo Pack)

Synopsis:
It feels good to be bad… Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?

Review:
After BvS left such a bad taste in my mouth for DC films, Suicide Squad was quite a bit of fun despite it’s flaws. While, obviously a darker super hero film, there was plenty of humor and a wide range of colorful characters. Will Smith and Margot Robbie made up for Jared Leto’s terrible Joker. Honest Trailers called his Joker a cross between James Franco (in Spring Breakers) and Ace Ventura – and they’re spot on. But Margot Robbie was just fantastic as Harley Quinn.

The role call for this unlikely group of anti-heroes is diverse, from the misunderstood to outright murderers. But somehow, they work as a team to bring down an impossibly powerful foe. The story is engaging and full of mystery, suspense, drama, and humor. It’s a fun, roller coaster ride. It’s definitely not the best comic book movie, but certainly not the worst.

Special Features Included:
• Task Force X: One Team, One Mission
• Chasing the Real
• Joker & Harley: “It” Couple of The Underworld
• Squad Strength and Speed
• Armed to the Teeth
• This is Gonna Get Loud: The Epic Battles of Suicide Squad
• The Squad Declassified
• Gag Reel

“Suicide Squad: Extended Cut” features more action and more Squad with 13 minutes of footage not previously seen in theaters. The Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack will include the extended version of the film on the Blu-ray disc. The extended version will also be available to own on Digital HD.

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.

Book Giveaway: Judgment at Verdant Court

Courtesy of Pyr, I have a copy of Judgment at Verdant Court by M.C. Planck for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends December 30. I’ll draw a name on December 31, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Judgment at Verdant Court

Blu-Ray Review: The Shannara Chronicles Season 1

The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1 Blu-Ray

Synopsis:
Based on the 26-volume book series by Terry Brooks, The Shannara Chronicles tells the epic story of an Elvin princess, a bandit, and a half-Elf tasked with stopping the end of the world. Created and executive produced by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (‘Smallville’) and executive produced by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is shot against the epic landscapes of New Zealand.

Review:
The Shannara Chronicles is loosely based on novel The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks. And I do mean “loosely.” While the first episode does feel very reminiscent of the book, it doesn’t take long before the story veers off with different characters and new story lines. And even some of the main characters meet different fates.

Hardcore fans of the novels may not be happy with the path this this series takes. But the story does still loosely follow, with many similar characters, stretching a book into 10 1-hour episodes. This series is on MTV, so not-surprisingly there is plenty of angst and it’s more sexualized compared to the book. To the point of ridiculousness at times. But overall, it’s an action-packed, dark, and dramatic series full of bold characters, grotesque creatures, and arcane magic. Some of the episodes drag a bit, but for the most part I did enjoy most this season. The end leaves off where the book did. So I’m guessing next season would be a fresh new story not found in the books, and that may be a good idea if they stray so far from the source material anyway.

The DVD set was released in June. And finally, the Blu-Ray set releases today! The quality is better and pretty noticeable. If fans have been holding out, this latest set is worth the wait. It even comes with a cooler cover design.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:
– Behind-the-scenes
– Exploring New Zealand
– Terry Brooks interview
– Making of the Dagda Mor

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