Vain is the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time. On her way out, she took their prized possession: A Padlock that grants immortality.
They will do anything to get it back.
The forces of the Hotel are aligned against her: mundane items turned into weapons; a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.
Everything changes when Vain meets Emma, a timid grad student with impossible and terrifying powers. Together, they are propelled into an adventure that will see them battle the Wyatts, blow up several objects of significant value, and quite by accident, discover a way to stop the Hotel.
Even with Emma, Vain has a lot of problems to deal with.
She’s exhausted from being hunted. Stopping the Hotel might kill them. She has a hangnail.
A multi-dimensional, time-displaced hotel + a ragtag bunch of slightly dysfunctional weirdoes with somewhat unusual abilities + non-stop action + wacky everything + Conduits and Utilities (a freshly original and originally fresh concept, that) + Vain the psychotic Hurricane and her, um, eye allergies + blood and gore and violence, oh my! + moderately demented psychotic lunatics + the size of David Bowie's codpiece in Labyrinth (don't ask) + moronic photocopied kidnappers, aka the Wyatts + the dietary habits of quolls + hahahahahaha that reminds me of The Everything Box (which is a very good thing, in case you were wondering) + enochlophobia vs. Mexican food + thoroughly electrocuted assholes- a HEA ending *shudders* that feels off in the context of the story and doesn't fit its overall tone =
P.S.: A pessimist is not someone who says the glass is half empty. No, it is not. It is someone who says the glass is filled with a sentient alien that only looks like water and tries to kill them while they sleep. Just so you know.
Well this was surprisingly hilarious. And Slightly Very Fun (SVF™) to read, too. No small feat in this Age of Acute Book Slumpitis (AoABS™), methinks.
My thoughts exactly.
➽ Super Extra Express Review to come and stuff.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
The Hotel at the End of Time is a brilliantly original Urban Fantasy novel about a group of people with special powers on the run from a team of identical baddies, all called Wyatt, after escaping from imprisonment in the titular Hotel. I requested this having very much enjoyed James’ previous book, Aliens & Ice-cream, nearly two years ago, and although a different genre, this was just as good. I received an ARC through the Reedsy Discovery Programme.
Vain and Roman are best friends with a unique bond - she can drain pure energy from him and manipulate it at will, an ability bestowed upon them when they were taken from their past lives by mysterious villain Arthur, who removed their memories and forced them to work in an alternate universe powering his Hotel with it, until they escaped back to earth with a valuable stolen artefact. Arthur wants his “property” back, so sends the relentless Wyatts to hunt them down, and the friends suddenly find themselves magically separated and in different cities. In Boston, Vain sees them tracking a new victim, bookish student Emma, and tries to help her, but soon discovers that Emma might be the one who can save them all.
I do like genre-bending stories and unusual protagonists, and this cleverly mixes sci-fi, fantasy, comedy & thriller elements into a highly readable adventure. UF can often be very formulaic but this has magic without wizards, people being drained without vampires, and male & female leads who adore each other without sex or romance. I confess I wasn’t sure about it in the first few chapters because you are rather thrown into the deep end, not having a clue what’s happening - and I’m not a fan of heist plots, (which it isn’t as it turns out) so left it to read something else & came back to it. I am so glad I did - after a few chapters things started to make sense and then I was hooked. It’s labelled as the start of a series, and I definitely hope there will be more, both because I loved the characters and because there’s plenty more to find out about Arthur, his gofer Trick, and their monstrous hotel. This is however a complete story and ends properly without resorting to a contrived cliffhanger ending.
Vain and Emma are both awesome characters - Vain’s like a more jaded, grown up Aria Stark, wilful and overconfident, revelling in violence, insistent on doing things her own way, egotistical and probably very annoying to be around, but defiantly loyal and brave. Emma undergoes a Sarah Connor-like transformation from Bookworm to Badass as she learns to wield her new psychic powers. There are also lots of hilarious minor characters on both sides, great world-building and sly sarcastic humour all the way through. It would also make an excellent TV series. Recommended to anyone looking for something non-serious and completely different!
Excerpt from my review - originally published at Offbeat YA.
Pros: Entertaining twist on the portal fantasy/multiverse genre and the accidental heroes + found family tropes. Humorous and adrenalinic. Cons: The purpose of the Hotel is unclear. The characters could use more growth/development. One of them comes into their powers unbelievably fast. WARNING! Gore and violence. Will appeal to: Those who like a crazy story that never lets up about a bunch of improbable heroes.
First off...DISCLAIMER: this title was up for grabs on NetGalley (in the Read Now section). Thanks to the author for providing an ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.
First thing first: this book was great fun. Please remember that while you make your way through my list of nitpickings 😉. Fun is a valid reason to read a book, even when you think it's a little unpolished (but still remarkable for an indie. I've read traditionally published books far more in need of a good editor. Like, there was an instance of "it's" for "its" in here, but as I said, non-indie books have their share of issues...). Secondly: the blurb is a little misleading. Vain isn't "the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time". And she and Emma aren't the only main characters in the story - Vain fled the Hotel with Roman, a male friend who's bonded to her in a peculiar way (nothing that you've seen before, to the best of my knowledge). I don't have a problem with quiet books, but I must admit I'm a sucker for a fast-paced story, especially if it involves multiple universes (at least as a premise) and people with powers clashing with other people with powers, or trying to get away from them. The Hotel is a place with access to a number of different versions of our reality, where people with special abilities have their memories wiped and then get bonded together in order to pour energy into a bottomless well. Two years prior to the book's start, Vain and Roman were able to escape (with a little help, that is) bringing a magical artifact with them, and they've been on the run ever since. Enter Emma, a quiet student who's on the Hotel's radar, and things get ever more hectic...except Vain and Roman have a chance against the Hotel now that Emma is in the picture. What ensues (but also precedes their encounter) is a series of crazy and funny - yet often deliciously bloody - incidents, involving a series of identical Hotel minions who aren't clones, a Hotel second-in-command named Trick for a good reason, temperament clashes, old frenemies, and new, terrifying powers. Did I tell you this book was great fun? [...]
3 1/2 * probably. I was ready for this book to be over at about 60 or 65 percent, but it ended up better than I thought
My problem with the book was my inability to get interested in any of the characters. Some of them acted strangely and inconsistently Charm and one of the twins, in particular, I thought. But even the main characters seemed like cardboard cutouts. I didn't like one of them, and I couldn't connect to any of them. So this is a surprisingly high rating from my perspective. Why? Because the worldbuilding was great, and the way it was introduced was easy to follow. The plot moved along really well. And no whining! Or teenagers.
I don't know whether I will read any more because character is the most important thing for me.
This is one of the funniest books I've read in a very long time. James spins a unique story about a group of ragtag not-exactly-superheroes who do everything in their power (and superpowers) to take down the bane of their existence, a man named Arthur. Arthur is the reason they are the way they are, and it makes for a very entertaining read. And let's not forget the never ending supply of Wyatts... what's a Wyatt you ask? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out. I laughed out loud so many times I had tears streaming down my face. What really had me rolling with laughter can be explained in two words: Smoove Dick. Some of my favorite lines from the book:
"A huge, meaty Wyatt fist thumped against her head and spots blossomed in front of her eyes."
"'Smoove,' he corrected. 'Not smooth. It's like 'groove,' but even smoother than that, so smoove.'"
"'You know,' he said. Unfortunately, she did. 'I'm Smoove like butter. With my moves.' He gestured vaguely toward his crotch."
I utterly loved it. Loved Vain, loved Roman all the more, and enjoyed every single page. The story is something new. New dynamics, rules, powers. I really liked the idea of interdependence between Conduits and Utilities, and the way emotions and action were described. There's a ton of character development and the found family theme I love so dearly. I will buy the second book right away.
The whole story was an emotional roller coaster, but there is this scene I totally adored:
3.5 Utility Stars This is quite a unique book, at the cross-road of sci-fi, urban fantasy and portal fantasy. The Hotel is like a Tardis, out of space and time. But there's no Doctor in this story. There are a lot of villains though, although many of them are just instances of the same Wyatt. And a lot of people are getting punched. The main characters are on the run. They escaped from the Hotel a year ago, where they were used as energy sources to power something. And they absolutely don't want to go back. The characters in this book were all absolutely unhinged, which made for a very entertaining read. I loved Vain. But why is Roman called Roman? Also the Emma-Roman storyline was unnecessary. I'll just pretend it didn't happen.
A group with special abilities to manipulate energy are running from a hotel where they have been imprisoned that is outside space and time. Constantly evading evil clones and trying to outsmart the main bad guy while cracking jokes, and explosions, this was a fun read and made me want more. I definitely need more books to this series to learn more about the hotel and maybe some origin story. From The Hotel at the End of Time to Aliens and Ice Cream (personal favorite), Michael James is someone to anticipate in the future.
Special thanks to Netgalley for providing a digital copy in exchange for an honest review
This had so much potential. I really enjoyed it for the first 20% or so. But then it just kind of went downhill from there.
I hated reading Vain's chapters. I just found her to be annoying. Especially in the beginning when she was acting crazy, and was oblivious to people thinking she was crazy. Specifically when a character muttered about drugs under their breath because Vain was acting tweaked out, and Vain took it to mean they were too busy wanting drugs to help her out. Oblivious and annoying.
Roman and Emma were okay, but they weren't compelling in the way that I needed them to be to make up for my disdain of Vain.
I think the concept behind this was great. The hotel and the story behind the Wyatt's were really interesting to me and is the reason for 1 star. The other star is because I really liked some of the chapter titles. They made me laugh, which was something I appreciated while I struggled through reading the actual chapters
This is my first book that I've read by this author, and I am hooked. I enjoyed the mix between suspense and humor. The main characters were a pleasure to follow, each unique and fleshed out. The villain was interesting and posed an adequate challenge, keeping the story engaging and fun. I enjoyed the plot and all its turns. Some of the character actions seemed unusual and irrational. That occasionally took me out of the story. I also wouldn't call this so much a "horror" story as a fantasy, but it was still enjoyable and something I would like to follow. I definitely intent to read more from the author and will likely recommend this book to friends once it is realeased.
I received a complimentary copy of this with voracious readers only for review.
This story pulled me in from page one with compelling writing and amazing action sequences. It reminded me a lot of David Wong‘s This Book is Full of Spiders with its use of humor in an action packed plot. This book’s action sequences and wit had me laughing out loud and wanting to see this book adapted into a movie. I loved the characters in this book and hope that the rest of this series goes into more detail about Arthur and the original Wyatt. I see that this book has a sequel but I hope that it becomes a series because the characters and the potential are there. I would love to see these characters explore some of the alternative Earths as they chase someone (Arthur?) or in search of a device to finally stop Arthur.
The reason I gave this book 4 stars and not 5 is because of the sequence of events from their escape from Boston and their arrival in Nevada. Which is because there isn’t any. The entire journey is omitted which I believe was a mistake. This section of the story would have been perfect for the further development of characters interrelationships as well as explaining how Emma went from barely able to control her power and being easily overwhelmed by it to suddenly (in Nevada) being able to wield her powers for a prolonged period of time and with precision and efficiency. She even becomes so proficient as to be able to manipulate her power into several uses simultaneously (for example a shield for herself, Vain, and Roman while also hurling a Wyatt away with energy). Love that she can do that but I wished we had seen her discover the scope of her abilities and how to harness them during that trip.
I am definitely putting the second book The Well at the Bottom of Everything on my TBR.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This was quirky and strange. I got major Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy vibes from the cover and the synopsis, but it wasn’t humorous the way that series was. It was very different. Not a bad thing, but not what I expected.
The story starts off hitting the ground running. Like one of our main characters, Emma, we know nothing and learn as we go.
I just wanted to know what was going on with the Hotel. I read this quickly, hoping to get some information. I didn’t really get a full explanation, so I’m hoping there really will be further novels.
I like the sarcastic humour and all the absurdities in this story. Each piece and character seemed very well developed and thought about. The main characters were all so different and interesting. They all sort of complement each other and they were very well described.
The action is fast-paced. New information is introduced with little explanation and I still have no idea about the main question: What is the Hotel? Why is the Hotel?
However, the entire thing is absurd. If you don’t like dry humour, or sarcasm or if you are unwilling to suspend your disbelief, you won’t like this.
I am happy to embrace all those things and enjoyed this immensely!
This was so fun and different. I loved it. There were parts of Vain's story I didn't like, she got annoying, but the rest of it was good enough that I didn't dock any stars. It was an entertaining story with good characters, save the one.
This book was such a blast to read! 4.5 stars! Urban fantasy is a great way to describe this. They should definitely make this one into a movie. I found myself laughing out loud a lot (which is rare for me when reading)! I imagined Emma as Zoe Dashenel and Vain as Kimiko Glenn. These women are funny and sarcastically genuis. The hotel and wyatts are super interesting and cant wait to read more from this series! I only dinged it half a star because the middle was a bit stretched but this is a MUST read! And seriously please make a movie out of this. It would be a girl Deadpool movie and I would be down!
The hardest I've laughed out loud at a book in ages. The author's clear glee in writing these characters is transferred wonderfully into reading about them. Vain, in particular, is a delight. The plot is fast-paced but never too frantic, the action is satisfyingly slick and, honestly, I can't wait to read the next one.
Super fun book about all sorts of alternative universe stuff that you don’t really have to understand to enjoy! In the same kind of vein as Douglas Adams, with characters that you love, even though they only sort of make sense at the best of times. Any book that makes me snort out loud in laughter is a big winner! Can’t wait for the next book in August!
Wasn't at all sure what I was getting myself into with this one, but have zero regrets about jumping in! It's fast paced, really engaging, and while it is decidedly not horror- has decided Stephen King vibes. A perfect escapist antidote to all the cozy mysteries and rom coms cluttering the Kindle right now.
This is exactly the kind of sci-fi/fantasy novel I really enjoy: an intriguing premise and high-stakes situation are smoothly and efficiently introduced but then it is the characters, their emotions and journey that take center stage. Vain is a completely believable, livewire disaster of a person, doing her best to battle impossible odds while attempting to suppress the immense trauma bubbling just under her surface. The ragtag group of friends and new acquaintances surrounding her band together with their unique, superpower-y skill sets to try and right past wrongs and put an end to a possibly nefarious but definitely mysterious and seriously mind-blowing hotel.
What are the things I like most about this book? The science fiction stuff is well-thought out enough to make sense within the universe but the author doesn't hit us over the head with long explanations - the characters and the plot take precedence and propel the story forward. All of the characters, heroes and villains, are well-delineated and have their own weight in the book. And there is a great balance between humor amid the absurdity of the situations with real stakes and emotional weight. Recommend for readers who are looking for a well-written and entertaining word stew of farce, horror, action, emotion, tragedy, comedy, and very human relationships.
Honestly I was so pleasantly surprised by The Hotel. Michael James created such amazing characters that it was hard not to love!
The relationship between Vain and Roman is a perfect balance. It shows that friendships aren’t perfect and that’s ok! Vain as odd as she is is actually a very relatable character.
The book as a whole was a great read. I found myself laughing out loud which does not happen often for me. I was interested from the first chapter straight through to the end.
And can we all agree that I am so happy Roman and Vain don’t just get together? Like I’m all for it but I like the fact that they say I love you as friends at the end. Gives me all the warm fuzzies.
I read the kobo version and my edit comment would be to take away the chapter titles as I find they spoil what happens a bit. The lock letters for the chapter heads however are very clever.
I also want to thank the author Michael for giving me a push to give more male authors a chance. I predominantly read books written by females but I could still relate to all of your characters completely. This is no easy feat. Bravo sir.
Overall a solid four star rating and would definitely recommend. Cant wait for the sequel!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
4.5⭐️ - I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. It sounded interesting but it’s not a book I would normally pick out. Since the book is so new I haven’t heard any spoilers, so when I started reading it I went in without knowing what to expect. I will say this is such a unique book and I’m so glad I read it! I loved it so much! I loved Vain’s personality and how chaotic she is. Although I am disappointed Vain and Roman didn’t end up dating, I still really enjoyed the book. I think the writing could be a bit better but overall the book was really good!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
We’ve always kept moving. We try to stay one step ahead of Trick and the Wyatts. Sometimes we get pizza.
How to describe the amazing insanity that is Michael James "The Hotel at the End of Time: Book 1 of The Hotel" (which btw is the last time I'll be spelling that out in its entirety)? Well, first of all, I made the decision to read the entire series within around 10 pages of this first book, so that was a good sign. Stick that in your marketing budget why doncha? Secondly, I was genuinely worried that my eventual reviews on goodreads and Arthur, oops, I mean, Amazon wouldn't be accepted as my reaction had quite a few expletives thrown in. Like "holy sh$t" and "fvckin' heck" and whatever other local colloquialism you'd like to add yourselves. It all worked quite well though I have obviously edited my thoughts down to a more family-friendly format (thanks for that assholes)!
Item number one on her bucket list was to create a bucket list.
Now in terms of an actual description of the book and/or my reading experience, well, I'm not sure if you'll be able to follow all of this because it relies heavily on my own even earlier reading experiences and preferences, as in 5-star faves. But here goes: Jackson Ford (author of the just awesome "Frost Files" books, also known as the "Sh*t" series! Not to be confused with my own mention of "sh$t" above…) and G.M.Nair (writer extraordiNAIR - hee hee - of "The Duckett & Dyer" series) are called together to write a more light-hearted version of Blake Crouch's "Black Matter". Or maybe it was "Recursion", I'm not sure. Anyway, they're told it needs to be really wacky, totally avoiding any semblance of easily identifiable genres and still be able to work in Denver, Boston, Minneapolis and a random location in Nevada. Oh and things should definitely be set up for Wes Anderson to take a stab at, cause I'm definitely feeling the need for some odd color schemes and weird camera angles here. Sell it to him as giving him a chance to do the second chapter of Douglas Adams' HHGTTG movie (something something End of the Universe something Dark Side). That should work, no?
Usually, coincidence was cause and effect that hadn’t been properly introduced.
So yeah, there's light-hearted bits, some serious bits (slavery in any form is totally uncool), a wide range of eclectic characters including the good and the bad ones. Oh and like I said (no "Sh*t", I said this, not my fault if you didn't catch it), super powers are a must. And multiverses. Gotta have multiverses in 2023 or nothing will make sense! But yeah, mentioning ol' Wes again, here is yet another bizarre hotel - this time one that is interdimensional and located at the nexus of time and space - but with all-inclusive resort amenities. Not counting the torture, mind you. I am desperately trying not to give too much away but damn is it making me twitch.
She was scared. She was tired. She still didn’t know how Game of Thrones ended.
But look: you'll at very least just love the names our cast carries. This includes Vain, Roman, Trick, the Wyatts (not clones dammit!), Hush, Blunt, Patience and Charm. Oh and Tank, let's not forget that hulking he-man that should definitely go by Tank! OK, OK, we'll call him Mark, sheesh! Actually, call him whatever he wants as he is, quote, "a trained dinosaur made of pectoral muscles." But as we meet these strangely powered Conduits and Utilities (again, just trust me on this and accept no spoilers!) along the way, we can't help but really connect really quickly to them! And that's even before young college student Emma does her incredible Dark Phoenix impression with a side of Quicksilver thrown in.
What are the chances you know karate? Jiu-jitsu?? Even sexy mud wrestling?
Seriously though, James has put together an absolutely brilliant tale! It reads quite fast though I wouldn't say it's an easy read. You are going to need to have your wits about you and pay attention, even though drinking heavily while reading this is not a bad plan either! After all, you might just find yourself confusing excessive room humidity with tears and that just won't do! But the author's prose is absolutely spot on and for a word junkie aka logastellus like myself, features as well a delicious selection of exotic and, more importantly, correctly used and spelled vocabulary! Lots and lots of fun for the entire nerdy family! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my electronic KU library to check out Book 2!
This book reminds me a bit of one of my current favorite shows, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with their inhuman characters, who are humans that have gone through something called terrigenesis and therefore have powers. In this story, people who have gone through some kind of transformation can either store energy or draw it from the other person they are linked up with. Unfortunately, being able to do this makes them targets for Arthur. He uses them like human batteries to power a place called the Hotel.
“Life, since the Hotel, came in heartbeats.”
People who are taken to the Hotel to be used in this way, have their memories wiped. They can remember nothing of their life before. They are beaten and kept in line by Trick and The Wyatts. Wyatts are multiple instances of the same person. Trick is middle management, an enforcer for Arthur, and the Wyatts are the goons, the hitmen.
Somehow, a pair have escaped from the Hotel, Vain and Roman.
Vain is very impulsive and tends to lie to herself as much as anyone else. It seems like she either had some problems before she went into the Hotel, or it messed her up a bit. She’s not stupid, far from it, but rather hyperactive and has trouble focusing on just one thing. She stole something from Arthur when she escaped, a Padlock, and Arthur wants it back.
Roman is very quiet, methodical, and intelligent. It seems clear to Vain that he went to college.
“No matter how much time he spent with Vain, he’d never understand that twisted brain of hers. There were entire sections of her thought process he couldn’t even begin to unravel.”
Roman and Vain are friends, but it seems clear that they are more attached than that. Roman is more or less a human battery for Vain to draw on in supplying power to The Hotel.
Roman and Vain always seem to be on the run, just trying to survive, hunted by the Wyatts.
Then they become separated, and Vain finds Emma.
Emma is quiet, studious, at least upper middle class, a student. Based on her speech and opinions, I expect her clothes to be well put together.
Vain can tell Emma is like her, though only newly so. Vain attempts to warn her that the Wyatts are after her, to take her to the Hotel, but Emma doesn’t listen. Vain can’t stand to walk away and let Emma be treated the way Vain was.
“Emma sighed at her, but Vain was getting used to that. She suspected Emma has undiagnosed asthma and made a mental note talk to her about it.”
That’s my kind of humor.
“Impulsively, Vain made a promise. ‘He will not get you.’ She left out the part about how they might need to run right at him to stop him. Minor details.”
For a first book in a series, and self-published, I was very impressed. There were only a few punctuation or grammatical errors that I noticed, very minimal, no more than some big name traditionally published books that I’ve read in the past year which I could name, but won’t.
It’s a fast-paced intrigue and the characterization is very strong, each one well differentiated in their dialogue and expressions.
First and foremost, a big thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
“For that day, for an hour, for each minute, she was happy to let the river of life carry her in its currents. No more struggling to steer the raft, no more caring where life ended up. No more anger. She was content.”
This is the tale of Vain, Emma, Roman and a few other people who have special abilities. Life has been measured in heartbeats for them since the Hotel. When Vain escaped from the Hotel, she stole their prized possession on her way out: A Padlock that grants immortality.
The Hotel would go to whatever length to reclaim it.
The Hotel's powers are united against her: mundane objects transformed into weapons; a gang of multi-dimensional felons known as The Wyatt’s; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium maniac with a penchant for unrealistic jokes.
When Vain encounters Emma, a shy graduate student with impossible and frightening powers, everything changes. Together, they are launched into an adventure that will see them fight the Wyatt’s, blow up some valuable items, and, by chance, find a way to stop the Hotel.
Vain has a lot of issues to deal with, even with Emma. She's worn out from being pursued. Stopping the Hotel could result in their death. She’s got a hangnail.
Vain, on the other hand, is resourceful. Vain is astute. And she's always got a plan.
The novel is an entertaining tale of urban mundane magic. The first few chapters were a bit of a let-down in terms of intrigue. However, after a few pages, the tempo quickened. It took me a while to get into the plot and groove of this fast-moving, rather clever story. Halfway through, I was absolutely engrossed in the novel.
Although, I wasn’t initially interwoven with the very frenzied, Vain and her little insane visions. It takes a while to get into the flow, with her dialogues and craziness. It is often work to maintain the dialogue and mind slips, but it is sublime, and quirky to read until you get into the flow. There is plenty of satire and characterization in the pages of the novel. Most importantly, it was fascinating to see Vain grow throughout the book.
It is a twisty and imaginative novel, filled with action and a lot of fun, but still very good pace. The hotel at the End of Time is a great option for readers who are searching for something new.
This was not my kind of book, but I enjoyed a solid 25% in the middle.
I can appreciate that it was going for comedy/sci-fi, but the comedy just fell flat. I found the dialogue largely awkward, and in many instances going on too long to the detriment of the story. Vain’s character was difficult to read and her motivations never clarified, and I learned too little from any of the other 6-7 main characters to care much about them. Roman and Emma had potential and I would have loved to see them developed.
If it wasn’t for needing to finish it for a review, I would have DNF’d this book by the 20% mark, BUT i carried on and from about 60-85% I actually liked some of it. The action kind of got into its groove, I had been told everything I needed to know, I had been introduced to all the new characters, and the comedy moments had their best effort to shine. Two or three times in this 25% window I was reminded of Riordan’s Lightning Thief series, both by the character interactions and riffs, and by the miraculous and fantastical saves that seemingly come out of nowhere for our heroes. I enjoy Riordan’s books for lighthearted adventure and humour, so this was nice.
The first 20-30% really put me off with the moments of physical abuse directed at two of the female leads, as well as the use of profanity to demean them while they’re being beaten. It felt gratuitous and unnecessary for the plot or development of the story, so that left me feeling the author felt it contributed to either the comedy or overall enjoyment of the story, which didn’t sit well with me.
I really like the premise of this story and some of the elements like the power couples and the magical devices. I just wish there had been more character development, and more time put into the unbelievable ending. SPOILER: Considering I finally reached a point where I was on board with the adventure, to have a deus ex machina style moment - suddenly “all powerful” hero in perfect control without training etc save the day in a matter of pages - absolutely wiped the fun and interest out for me all over again.
* I received this ARC from the NetGalley and the publisher BooksGoSocial in exchange for an honest review.
**I received this book for free from Voracious Readers in exchange for a review**
I can’t believe the enormous good fortune that brought this book to me.
I can’t believe they gave it to me FOR FREE.
From now on, I will spend good money to read everything this author writes. I think this is his second novel, which is amazing; it is so polished I would have thought he had written many others.
When I read the description, I was sure this story was going to be right up my alley. A few pages in, I realized I had made a horrible mistake. I had started reading it on my morning coffee break and was going to have to wait all the way until lunch time to read it again.
Here’s a quote, from near the beginning: “An awkward pause followed, the type that only ensued after you told someone your preferred name was ‘Smoove’” That is hilarious! I laughed out loud, and I did that a lot throughout the story. I was going to collect some more quotes to put in this review, but there were too many good ones. The review would be all quotes, or basically the whole book.
The characters are well-written and fun, even the minor ones, like a taxi driver that appears once. The plot is fast-paced, original, and so exciting, I couldn’t stop reading - even at work, with my phone on my desk, carefully sneaking bits here and there.
The humour and style remind me of Douglas Adams and David Wong. If you like those guys, you will love Michael James.
This book is a blend of modern day life mixed with fantasy and Sci-fi, and while that combination sounds really interesting it threw me off in most chapters. I had a hard time following the narrative but somehow I managed to see most of the important details that made the story. The start was great and I really liked the scenes on the rooftop and the action that came with it. But then I had to be on the watch on whose perspective I was reading and what details were worth keeping track of. Near the end the action was a jumbled mess in my head and I think that was because of how fast things were moving. I would've wanted the action to move a bit slower and the high tension scenes a bit more detailed.
The 3 main characters were so different but funny in the way they talked and behaved sometimes. Vain was weird but she really wanted those she cared about to be safe and even if her plans were were destined to fail she still tried and I appreciate that. Roman was the guy who tried to keep anyone happy even if it was near impossible. It would have been great if we cold see he be a bit strict with Vain and plain say NO to her schemes . Emma was the powerhouse... literally . She got roped into that mess and I think that she did better that anyone else. I adored her descend into madness at the end.
All in all this was an ok book but it just wasn't compatible with my style of reading. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.