*I received an ecopy of this book from Net Galley. This has not influenced my review.*
Vanguard is the fourth book in the Razorland series. However, the book is about completely different characters, Tegan is the main character in this book. I loved the rest of this series, it's been my favourite series since I picked up Enclave. I loved the post apocalyptic vibe, I loved that Deuce and Fade were fighting for their lives from these creatures that just wanted to eat them, I loved the fighting and the adventure. Before you pick up Vanguard, think of it as a companion novel that closes the stories of characters we met in previous books, and we learn how the world is coping after the end of Horde, rather than a continuation of the original story. I say that, because if you expect the same sort of story as the first three books, you will not get it. It is a very different story, and it is a good one.
When I picked up Vanguard I was thinking about the original three books, however I knew it would be different because of the way the third book ended. So I wasn't disappointed when there wasn't a lot of fighting, the enemy were not the monsters, the action was not the war. This story is not about survival from monsters that want to eat you like the first three books were, this story is about the future and how the world is learning to move on. It's about forging new connections, pushing past the boundaries of the old world, and learning to be open-minded. I loved that.
Vanguard focuses more on romance than any other sort of story, in fact not a lot else happens. There is the fact that Szarok is searching for new land for his people to survive on, however the main focus is the romance forming between two unlikely people. It's forbidden and un-heard of, but it's so exciting seeing it happen. However, I did feel like James and Millie's stories didn't have much of a purpose, they got on the boat with Tegan just because they wanted to, and they didn't really do much except survive. If they hadn't been in the story at all, this book still would have been told and still would have had the same outcome. I didn't mind too much about this, but I wasn't as invested in them as characters. I wanted to read more of Szarok! His chapters were a lot of fun to read.
The main thing that I loved about this story, was how it portrayed the willingness of people to be open-minded and to trust the unknown. In our world today, we need more of this open-mindedness, especially from the people in positions of power. It was really hard not to feel like the people in this book were better leaders than the ones we have in a lot of countries today. I was so excited by this and the way Ann Aguirre had shaped their world. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every characters journey, the way each story grew was exciting.
Vanguard is the perfect companion novel to this series, it finishes the untold stories of the characters we saw in the previous books, and it shows you more of the Razorland world. Tegan is a very different main character, but she is also so much more than she was in the previous books. Understanding who she really was, was one of the best things about this story. I definitely recommend this read!
I wanted to like this sooo much. But I really didn't.
Zero Repeat Forever at first felt very similar to The Fifth Wave, except not as rich in sceneryI wanted to like this sooo much. But I really didn't.
Zero Repeat Forever at first felt very similar to The Fifth Wave, except not as rich in scenery or as well described. (Side note: I didn't like The Fifth Wave either, mainly because it dragged on and was boring, so I really wanted ZRF to surpass the alien invasion story line). The world was bland, I couldn't really picture it, and the alien invasion? Confusing. Nothing was really explained. I felt like the idea had potential, but was executed poorly.
First off, I did not relate to nor did I like Raven. She was frustratingly brash and had no depth. At first she was described as a bad girl that was a bad influence, got everyone into trouble, and did stupid shit just for the hell of it. I thought she would be cool and that her story arc would make her likeable. But she never became likeable. I just did not like her as a person. She was horrible to Eighth and most of the time I don't think it was justifiable, she was selfish, she was a coward, and she lost all her depth.
At first my favourite chapters were of Eighth, he was a way more interesting character. His chapters were the only reason I did not DNF this book. I was so intrigued by him and I wanted to find out what happened to him. But then around 60% I kind of started to dislike him. I'm going to explain in spoiler tags because the next part is a huge chuck of the story, so beware!
(view spoiler)[ When Eighth runs away with Raven it's so random, I didn't expect a huge part of their story to be in a pent house because Eighth lost his mind for a bit and kidnapped her. Eighth just wanted to look after Raven and make sure she survived, this part of the story has become my least favourite. Raven was horrible to Eighth on purpose even though he did everything she told him to, he stayed away, he didn't touch her, he didn't even look at her. She knew she needed him to survive and she relied on him, but she still decided to treat him like trash. Yeah, he's an alien, but he never personally did anything to her to harm her. Her behaviour was despicable. I felt sorry for Eighth for most of this part of the story. But then I also realised that Eighth was actually really creepy. He literally would do ANYTHING for Raven, and that's not natural or normal.
He started to creep me out. When Raven finally decided he wasn't all that bad, it didn't feel right. She had suddenly gone from yelling at him and telling him he's disgusting, to realising that he was in love with her and that maybe he was actually really sweet. Was this Stockholm syndrome? I mean I know he didn't actually ever hurt her, but it didn't feel right when she started thinking that maybe she felt something for Eighth. I was just really creeped out. (hide spoiler)]
Secondly, the twist was no twist, it was so obvious. I had figured it out early on mainly because it was the obvious choice. There were a couple of things meant to be twists but I saw saw most of them. There was one twist I was surprised about so I have no idea where the story will go with that, but it was rather interesting in the end.
So what DID I like about this book? I really liked the way the aliens communicated, is this a spoiler? I don't think so since you learn about it in Eights first chapter. They communicated with sign language, now that was pretty cool. I did enjoy how Raven started to understand the signs Eighth was signing to her, I mean it would have been cooler if she had tried to learn some signs herself, but I guess there was no need since he could understand what she was saying.
So while I still have no idea why these aliens invaded, where they came from, or why they're designed as they are. But I now have no desire to find out. I can't be bothered reading the next book because I have nothing to hang on to. I am not rooting for Raven and Eighth to be together, and there are no characters in the story I'm attached to.