Wow, wow, wow. This book is amazing. A worthy conclusion to the Skyscraper Throne trilogy and probably one of my favourite books of the year. Certainl...moreWow, wow, wow. This book is amazing. A worthy conclusion to the Skyscraper Throne trilogy and probably one of my favourite books of the year. Certainly in the Top 5 so far - everything about this book was so full of awesomeness. I'll have a review up closer to the publication date. (less)
So it was OK. Nothing to special but thankfully not horrible either. Doubt I'll read the sequels in the foreseeable future. However, I'm just going to...moreSo it was OK. Nothing to special but thankfully not horrible either. Doubt I'll read the sequels in the foreseeable future. However, I'm just going to put it out there and say that a young adult space opera as opposed to a dystopia would be awesome. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy can start a trend? (less)
This was amazing. It's going to be very hard to top this book - best of the year for me so far, and my new favourite zombie novel alongside The Reaper...moreThis was amazing. It's going to be very hard to top this book - best of the year for me so far, and my new favourite zombie novel alongside The Reapers Are The Angels. Love It.(less)
“An excellent, fun cyberpunk novel with a kickass female lead character. Koko Takes A Holiday is a fast paced, awesome novel that comes highly recommended. You won’t want to pass this one by.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
"Five hundred years from now, ex-corporate mercenary Koko Martstellar is swaggering through an early retirement as a brothel owner on The Sixty Islands, a manufactured tropical resort archipelago known for its sex and simulated violence. Surrounded by slang-drooling boywhores and synthetic komodo dragons, the most challenging part of Koko’s day is deciding on her next drink. That is, until her old comrade Portia Delacompte sends a squad of security personnel to murder her."
Going into Koko Takes A Holiday, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I know next to nothing about the author, but the premise sounded cool and at the time I was up for a cyberpunk novel. And as it turned out, this book completely blew me away – it’s fun, energetic and very entertaining, and if you’re looking for a good science fiction novel then Koko Takes A Holiday should be right up your street.
Koko-Takes-A-HolidayThis is one of the books best read in as few sittings as possible, because you’ll be blasting through this as quickly as you can. It’s a page turner in every sense of the word, and once you start you won’t be able to put down. It’s one of the most fun books that I’ve read this year, and has set a new high bar for action cyberpunk sci-fi.
I found myself comparing Koko Takes A Holiday more than once to the style of a graphic novel. It’s hard to write prose fiction that feels like a comic but Kieran Shea has captured that feeling very well. So if you enjoy comics, then you’ll dig this book. Heck, if you enjoy Sci-Fi period, you’ll dig this book. It’s just that good.
Koko Martstellar is our main protagonist, and she more than fills the category of your action heroine. She’s smart, compelling and easy to get behind, with some good solid development making her a three dimensional character. And then, on top of that, you also have the world building to consider – for not only has Shea managed to flesh out his characters well, but the future created by him is given a lot of depth. The fact that this is one of the most fast paced novels of 2014 and you still get a sense of just how good the world building development is really helps its case for one of the better books of the year.
The original content on display in Koko Takes A Holiday is impressive as well. This book isn’t quite like any others, and that’s what makes it great. You’re getting a fun read that you haven’t seen a thousand times before, which is rare in today’s market. There’s little here that falls into the trap of cliché, and by the time the book finished I was left wanting more. It was just too good.
It’s almost hard to believe that Koko Takes A Holiday is in fact, Shea’s first novel. It’s written confidently and with the skill of a writer who’s spent years honing his craft (Shea has written short stories in the past). It comes as a welcome surprise to say the least and I really can’t state just how good this book is. There’s hardly anything that this title puts wrong and you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.
Koko Takes A Holiday is one of those few books where you can in fact, judge something by its cover. If you look at it and think that you’re going to enjoy the book, then pick it up – you won’t be disappointed. (Did I mention that the cover is awesome as well?) Koko is a fantastic protagonist and this book is an excellent introduction to her world.
Told in third person narrative, Shea uses this to shift around from protagonist to protagonist. Whilst Koko gets a vast majority of the attention (as one would expect), Flynn is also given a perspective. He’s a cop who finds himself diagnosed with Depressus, which subjects its victim to join in a mass suicide event called Embrace. And, things aren’t looking good for him – because Depressus is incurable. This allows for an interesting take on Flynn’s character and his development is just as fun to read about as Koko’s.
In case you haven’t already guessed, Koko Takes A Holiday comes highly recommended. Kieran Shea has just become an author to watch, and I’m fully looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
“This book is proof that you shouldn’t judge things just by what they’re billed as. What could have been a cheap ripoff and cash-in attempt on the popularity of The Hunger Games and Divergent instead is something that shines, and is full of its own originality. The Dystopian Young Adult genre may be overcrowded right now – but Paradigm is something that’s worth checking out.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
What if the end of the world was just the beginning?
Alice Davenport awakens from a fever to find her mother gone and the city she lives in ravaged by storms – with few survivors.
When Alice is finally rescued, she is taken to a huge underground bunker owned by the mysterious Paradigm Industries. As the storms worsen, the hatches close.
87 years later, amidst the ruins of London, the survivors of the Storms have reinvented society. The Model maintains a perfect balance – with inhabitants routinely frozen until they are needed by the Industry.
Fifteen-year-old Carter Warren knows his time has come. Awoken from the catacombs as a contender for the role of Controller General, it is his destiny to succeed – where his parents failed.
But Carter soon discovers that the world has changed, in ways that make him begin to question everything that he believes in. As Carter is forced to fight for those he loves and even for his life, it seems that the key to the future lies in the secrets of the past…
As the quote above suggests, I was initially put off by Paradigm. It looked a bit too much like familiar territory for me and quite frankly it’s annoying to see yet another young adult dystopian fiction title when there’s so much more to the science fiction genre than just post-apocalyptic scenarios in a world screwed up. I for one, would kill to see a fully blown Space Opera young adult book – think the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie for where I’m getting my thoughts from. I’d take space opera as a trend anyday over well, this.
However, as is proven in the case of The Hunger Games, there are some titles worth reading from this subgenre, and Paradigm is a great example, with a plot that isn’t exactly your standard dystopian fare, and for a refreshing change, it’s actually set in London – or at least, in part – and that pretty much gains points from me right there because I will read pretty much any SciFi/Fantasy that has some version of London as its origin, purely because I’m an ex-Londoner myself.
The book isn’t just set in London though. It deals with an interesting scenario where the narrative actually has an 87 year split. The book tells the story of how the world went to hell, and what happened in the future. It’s smart, compelling, and Ceri A. Lowe has found a good way to bridge the gap and keep both stories relevant.
The main characters are interesting and compelling. Alice Davenport is essentially the main character from the present, where we get to see London destroyed by storms that leave little survivors. She’s lost her mother, and it’s interesting to see how Lowe handles Alice’s character in the aftermath and as she develops over the course of the book. However, what makes a refreshing change from the likes of Divergent and The Hunger Games is that there’s actually a shift in narrator – rather than sticking with Alice throughout the whole book, we also meet Carter Warren, who’s a fifteen year old 87 years into the future, who has his own problems.
What also makes this book stand out from the crowd is that we get to see the dystopian setting not only from the perspective of the rebels but we also get the reasoning behind its creation. Why was a strict Government necessary? It’s an interesting addition and the time-split in the narratives helps Lowe illustrate how much things have changed. It’s handled well and that’s not just the only thing that feels fresh about the dystopian setting in this novel.
For a start, there’s virtually no romance. Paradigm doesn’t fall into the trap of other books by overloading on love triangles and making the romance become the main focus of the plot. Like the refreshing changes and additions to the book, it really helps make it stand out. This isn’t just your average cheap cash in novel, folks.It proves there’s still good things to be found in the young adult dystopian genre, even if I’d rather that we moved on from this craze.
There are a few problems however, and for a start, I’d like to talk about the cover. It just feels so same-y and as though we’ve been there, and done that. The addition of the London skyline is good but more change should have been made to make this book standout more. It doesn’t detract from the main experience of the storyline but it probably should have been improved
Carter’s development is unfortunately inconsistent, and happens too quickly and too fast. The change should have happened at a slower pace and he shouldn’t have been influenced as easy as he did, and as a result his story comes across as weaker than Alice’s.
On the whole then, Paradigm is a mostly successful read. It’s compelling, engaging and a refreshing dystopian Young Adult novel that can come recommended despite its flaws.