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Free Chocolate

(Chocoverse #1)

by
3.24  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In the far future, chocolate is Earth's only unique commodity one that everyone else in the galaxy is willing to kill to get their hands, paws and tentacles on

Latina culinary arts student, Bo Benitez, becomes a fugitive when she's caught stealing a cacao pod from one of the heavily-defended plantations that keep chocolate, Earth's sole valuable export, safe from a
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Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Angry Robot
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Average rating 3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  44 reviews


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Avery Delany
DNF

Sadly, I'm going to have to DNF this at 10% because it makes for such a painful reading experience that I can't continue with it. I immediately requested this when I saw it on Netgalley last year on the premise alone - a Latina chef, anti-capitalism, aliens and chocolate - it sounded like everything I would love in a book which sounded incredibly fun.

Unfortunately, the writing in Free Chocolate was so distracting that I could barely concentrate on the story itself. The main one being the
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Sana
Dec 07, 2017 marked it as anti-library  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
'Basically, imagine Jane the Virgin, but with aliens.' - Source

UMM HERE FOR IT
Elizabeth
The bad:
As many reviewers have pointed out, the Spanglish is not handled as well as could be desired. Not only does the author insert a lot of unnecessary translations, but as a person from a bilingual background, the word choice itself was a little odd. I got used to it as the book went on, but most of the time I don't use my other language for very easy words, just for things that don't translate well.
There were WAY too many characters for the length and pacing of this book. The Krom extras
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KimStitch
Jun 13, 2018 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
DNF

The writing is incredibly obnoxious. Bo and her mom both speak half in English, half in Spanish, but the Spanish words are always translated, either for the purposes of non-spanish speakers around them, or just in Bo’s inner monologue. This leads to a novel that literally stutters if you understand even minimal Spanish or even just understand the way humans speak. I was excited by the idea of a latina heroine, and wouldn’t have minded the Spanish words - coming from a bilingual family myself,
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Eden Bowditch
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
¡Muy deliciosa! Amber Royer’s Free Chocolate is nonstop fun on every page! From strangely delicious sounding cosmic treats to Spanglish-speaking intergalactic diplomats to the relentlessly breathtaking feartastic adventure, this is a unique read and a total page-turner! Not only does Royer introduce the first university-student Mexican sci-fi heroine, with a host of wildly eclectic friends, but she builds a believable universe around them that is a true delight to visit. Can’t wait for the next ...more
ellis
Aug 26, 2018 marked it as dnf
dnf, which sucks because the premise is AMAZING.
i absolutely could not stand the author's way of writing a bilingual character. every instance of 'but' was 'pero.' when a spanish phrase was used, the english translation was the next sentence, in italics. i know what claro está means, and if i didn't, it's p obvious from context.

instead of reading like a bilingual character, it reads like english with spanish words chucked in so you don't forget she's bilingual/not speaking english.
Pat
Mar 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Bo(dacious) Benitez is a budding culinary star on a planet far, far away from Earth, where she was raised by a widowed Brazilian Julia Child-type celebrity. Chocolate is the reason for her mother's, and the Earth's, success--it was the only product that Earth managed to keep a lock on when the rest of its goods were being replicated across the universe by the aliens who won the First Contact battle. As a result, chocolate is priceless as a trading and wealth-building commodity.

But now,
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Joe
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting beginning to what may become a good series. I only "Habla un poquito" Esapanol, so the author translating of words and phrases was fine with me. Since I personally have been in conversations where we constantly mixed in words from FOUR languages into the mix, I disagree with the reviewer who thought that nonsensical.

As far as the story, I found it interesting without being derivative of other works other than in the general way of basic SciFi. Other than a bit of "if it can go
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Rhode
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Saw this as a recommended book at Powell’s. It’s a NON STOP ACTION ROMP.

There are assasinations, attempted assassinations, space pirates, two types of beheadings, thievery, explosions in space, the threat of civil war, street parties in Rio, murders, running away from murderers, poison, venom, a plethora of scary aliens and also a great deal of chocolate. Plus cooking with chocolate and eating chocolate cake. Oh, and there’s loyal friendship, love of family and boyfriend troubles all mixed in,
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Lauren
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
After the alien Krom made first contact Earth was left with one unique commodity, chocolate. Everyone in the galaxy adores the stuff and will do whatever it takes to get their hand equivalents on it. To protect itself Earth has closed its doors to the greater universe, no aliens allowed. In light of that and recent pirate attacks resulting in the accidental destruction of a civilian ship by and HGB pilot, culinary student Bodacious Benitez is summoned back to Earth to serve as the face of HGB, ...more
Realms & Robots
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Free Chocolate is everything I could have wanted and more, complete with intricate and dramatic characters, dozens of twisting plot lines that lead to a slam-bang finish, and an absurd resource at the center of all the drama: chocolate. Say the words “Space Opera” and I’m there with the popcorn, ready for the ride. This is an outstanding debut novel in a universe I can't wait to dive deeper into.
Full review at: https://reviewsandrobots.com/2018/06/...
Indecisive79
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, dnf
I give this book a second star for having a pretty compelling premise, but the follow-through of that premise, the plotting, the prose, the unconvincing multi-lingualism, the characterization, all are pretty bad.

One interesting note on the copy of the book I was reading: pages 33-64 are from an entirely different book from the same publisher. The book was so bad that I don't think I really missed anything.
OldBird
Oct 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
When someone says Jane The Virgin meets Firefly in a galaxy fighting over chocolate, I thought I was totally there for it. I am actually rather disappointed to say that while that description does kinda fit, it also just didn't gel for me. I spent most of the book in a state of confusion, and not because of the bi-lingual scattering of Spanish in with English sentences as feared. It's because there narrative is actually rather confusingly put together.

Bo(dacious) is a culinary arts student on
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Leigh Strommen
Space Opera meets Soap Opera.

In my quest to fulfill a sudden craving for science fiction I found Free Chocolate, the story of Bodacious Babe, a.k.a. Bo. Bo is a culinary arts student on a distant planet, daughter of a celebrity chef and girlfriend of uber hot alien hunk. Oh, and the chocolate industry, or HGB, has become Earth's numero uno dictator. So, of course, when Bo's boyfriend suggests toppling the dystopian government like any proper dystopian protagonist, Bo agrees.

Overall I really
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Johanna
What a mess of a beginning. But just how you start to watch a soap and getting into the faulty plot and questionable choices people make you get invested in it so at a certain point I couldn't get off the ride anymore. I've gotten hooked on soaps when I've been in hospital or summer vacations where the time-frame of watching tv is pretty much set on when things like this air. The thing with this book is that... you don't have to get hooked, you're not strapped in a hospital bed (or if you are ...more
Wayne Santos
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun romp through an alien-filled world that puts a Spanish chef with a Brazilian background on the other side of the colonial lens. Bo Benetiz lives in a period where Earth has made first contact and the planet is on the losing end of the culture wars. Earth has chocolate, none of the other civilizations do, everyone else wants it, Earth is using to keep its borders secure against superior military and cultural forces.

Bo finds herself engaged in a conspiracy that, once it starts, doesn't let
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Sarah
Jul 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Free Chocolate is as advertised - soap opera meets space opera. I'm not a huge fan of either but Royer's writing is light and punchy, and the idea is clever as anything. I did find that that light and punchy prose lost me a lot, especially in scenes where a lot is going on. The topic of conversation shifts so fast that you get whiplash, and I lose the thread in complicated action scenes. "Wait, how did that happen?" is a thought I had a lot. But the story overall is fun and packed with twists ...more
Kam
This review is based on an ARC given to me for free by the publisher, Angry Robot Books. This does not in any way affect my review. This book is slated for release on June 5, 2018.

... As human populations grow and climate change alters entire ecologies, the demand on various natural resources – chocolate among them – will steadily climb and reach breaking point. The most frequently mentioned are the impending water wars, but even in the context of chocolate these dangerous changes are already
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Amanda
Angry Robot used to be one of those publishers I could read just about anything from and find it was well put together, innovative, and compelling. Sadly this is no longer the case, and this book is yet another in a long line of disappointing titles from Angry Robot. The idea is great, the fact that it’s essentially economic SF is wonderful (very rare), but the execution is so ham fisted and badly edited that it’s a wonder it ever got past the desk reject stage. The duolingual aspects seems as ...more
Brianna
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish this one.
The plot concept was absolutely a great one. The execution was lacking. I got almost 25% of the way through before I gave up. The way that the language is played with is done in a way that messes with the readers ability to get into the story. The timing of events is very jumpy and rushed. I couldn't get through this as much as I wanted to. Kudos to the writer for trying to incorporate multiple languages in the story but I would suggest observing how Spanglish is executed
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Groucho42
Aliens have come to Earth and stolen IP of value for things like tea and coffee, but they missed chocolate. A huge conglomerate now controls it and runs the earth like a dictatorship. Great concept, really bad writing. First, the Spanglish gets old very, very, fast. Second, the characters are, as they are in too many bad books, cardboard. Third, the plot is completely standard. Nothing here to enjoy but it's not quite bad enough for 1-star.
Doon
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. The world building is unique, the pace frenetic and the story fantastically inventive. Bo is a really engaging MC, funny and capable, whilst also continually learning who she is. Although, there is just so much going on in the story and Bo meets so many people that I got really confused towards the end about who was doing/had done what. However, I would definitely read more of this interesting world.

*i received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Scott Mccoy
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm going to assume this was written like a telanovela because it's too preposterous to be this way independently. the juxtaposition of not only spanish, but made up words and alien words into the text made the story tedious to read. if i never see cabeza or heroe in print again, it will be too soon.
Barbara
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, abandoned
DNF. I gave up after the first 5 chapters. I liked the premise and world building was promising but the writing style just got on my nerves. The random phrases in Spanish, almost always followed by the English translation just was too jarring for me. I'd start a chapter enjoying the story but then put it down by the end in irritation. A minor quibble really but just too much for me.
Joseph  Zak Bailey
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In the far future chocolate is earth's sole valuable export and the HGB (Hershey, Godiva and Bissinger) wants to keep it that way. It's up to Bodacious Babe Benitez to steal a cacao pod from a heavily defended plantation, unwrap the mysteries and tuck into the conspiracies. May contain; reptilian galactacops, alien chefs and money robots with laser beam eyes.
Kend
You know, this is an absolute hot mess of a book with an incredible, life-changingly-good premise. Five stars for the premise ... and fewer stars for the execution. But still, this book needed to be in my life and I don't regret paying money I don't really have in order to buy it. I really look forward to seeing what else Amber Royer has in store for us!
Jeff
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
Jumpy stern covering several fronts of Earths participation into galactic culture & how chocolate was the only unique product Earth offered. Bo is the one to break the monopoly with the help of a few friends, a few smugglers & a race that eats stowaways!
Melissa
In the end, I enjoyed this book. I think I was trying to take it too seriously. It's more hitchhiker and less ender's game. I guess. I don't know. I don't generally like scifi. But I'm glad I read it. The plot was interesting and the characters wild.
Erik
May 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Too many holes in the plot, pace very inconsistent
Sheldon Wiebe
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book kept me up until 2:30 in the blessed a.m.

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