They've left the cage—but they're not free yet. After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of humaThey've left the cage—but they're not free yet. After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok's pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders. The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt's Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she'll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.
The Hunt is a dangerous game, a dangerous mission of survival. The tension is still high, their chances of getting caught or killed is still high, and the thought of escaping and returning to Earth is drifting further away.
Cora knows more of what's true now, now that they're outside of the cage. Now that she knows who Cassian really is. Now that she knows she can't funny trust him. But to be able to leave, to be set free, she has to work with him, let him teach her how to use her growing abilities. She needs him, and she's willing to lie to him. But is that really for the best? Out of the cage, Lucky and Mali are now part of the Hunt, part of the meager workforce of a safari-type area. Where the animals are the least dangerous creatures. Leon is off running packages for a dangerous alien, learning who he can really trust, who he can call family. And Nok and Rolf are being watched because of their unborn baby, because a scientist is extremely interested in their baby. Because they want the baby. Out of the cage, no one is safe.
As with the last book, no one can really be trusted. Certain people can, certain humans, but that's about it. How can you trust those who imprisoned you, who tested you, who put you in danger over and over again? The betrayal, the lies, all the moments of doublespeak, are fresh in Cora's mind, in Mali's and Lucky's, in everyone's. They just want to go home, to leave the station and go back to Earth. And as with the last book, it's all about staying alive. Being quick and clever. Being strong.
I was never sure on what would happen because I could never predict the choices of the Kindred. Aliens with a moral code. They would do what they thought was best, but it wasn't always the human choice. I'm curious as to what the last book will bring, what will happen and how it will all end.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)...more
The Pharos Gate is magical, a return to the impossible and inescapable magic of the previous books. A return to a couple separated by land and sea butThe Pharos Gate is magical, a return to the impossible and inescapable magic of the previous books. A return to a couple separated by land and sea but connected by the depth of their love for each other, connected by happenstance. By letters and postcards.
The first three books enchanted me as a child. The gorgeous and sometimes abstract artwork of the postcards. The curved lines of Sabine's handwriting. The nervousness and hesitation in Griffin's first few messages, the panic at the end of the first book. The intensity of their journey. The way this story is told in few words, the finite number of words that can fit on the back of a postcard, but conveys enough emotion and determination as any thousand page book can.
Here is the last stretch for Sabine and Griffin. After corresponding for more than a year, after travelling around the world, after a failed attempt at being together, they are ready to leave their homes and their lives behind. They've shared secrets, shared artwork and ideas, shared the depth of their love for each other and the joy and sorrow that sprang up from it, like seedlings in the spring. They're ready to be together. But it's not so simple. Their first encounter was by chance, Sabine somehow, in the South Pacific, being able to see into Griffin's London studio. It was impossible. Improbable. And here are those in the world that will not allow them to meet.
There's an extra something in this book, an extra poignancy that's currently lost in the digital age, in the age of technology and immediacy. Time passes so slowly here. The longing, the waiting. The yearning to find a card in the mailbox, to see the familiar handwriting. This is what I remember when reading those first three books so many years ago. The desperation in Griffin and Sabine's words. Their desire to finally be face to face, to finally be together without fear or anger or distance in their way. Without the rules of the world in their way. They defy their hunter, defy the idea that "the pragmatic and the ethereal" should never meet, never marry. This is their choice. No matter what the rules of the world are, what some say. Their connection is stronger than that, goes deeper than that, and they will not be kept apart any longer.
I wonder if these books are where it started, my love of the mundane combined with the extraordinary. With storytelling. With epic love stories and connections. This is a definite must-read for those who fell in love with the earlier books, for those who've always wondered what happened between The Golden Mean and The Gryphon. For those looking for a piece of the impossible.
(I received a finished copy of this book to review from Raincoast Books.)...more
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books stoTrixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four. Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all. The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You is full of snark, sci-fi pop culture references, clever banter, and a silly reason to hold a grudge for a decade. It's fun, clever, and has some great female friendships.
Trixie is all brains and sass and snark and attitude. She's sharp and determined, will support and defend best friends Harper and Meg with everything she has (because she knows they also have her back, even when they're acting weird), and she won't let anything go. Like getting her revenge on Ben West, even if the reason, which dates back to their elementary school days, seems childish. But Trixie can't let it go. They always clash, battling with quips and snide remarks. Because she can't let go of anything, like her revenge, like her friends, like her comics and her fandoms, she can come off as harsh and unfair. As too stubborn. But every character has flaws. It's her confronting them, coming face to face with them and learning from them, that makes her interesting as a character.
The sci-fi nerd in me loves the idea of this book, of teens reading comics and loving science fiction. There are lots of references to shows and comics like Doctor Who, Firefly, Buffy, Spider-Man, and Battlestar Galactica. I do wonder if some of these are a bit dated, some of these shows were on when I was in high school, but the internet doesn't like letting things fall into the ether of the forgotten. Some shows, like Doctor Who or Buffy, are timeless. I also love that this is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Knowing the play means knowing how the characters will progress so I knew how it would all end, but it was still fun to read. Fun to see how everything would happen in a modern setting.
I had so much fun reading this. Every time a TV or comic reference came up that I knew I would chuckle and keep on reading, waiting for the next one. As a fan of certain sci-fi shows and certain comics (like Saga), this was the book for me. This is the book I wish I could hand to teenage me to have fun with. This is all kinds of geek fun and supportive female friendships. A must-read for self-proclaimed geeks.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)...more