Transient Echoes is book two in the Variant Saga and picks up a few years after the second Jolt. It’s a story of 2 halves moving towards a common end, we have Mei and John working with a team at the Ortego site and Terry barely surviving in the other world. His years alone have pushed him to the brink of madness, taunted by voice of his younger sister, Janice and also haunted by Alex and the ghosts of what happened at the end of The Amber Project. When he is forced to run for his life he stumbles into an area of the world unknown to him, signs of life once held and intelligent life at that. Seemingly abandoned in haste, Terry’s curiosity gets the better of him, it’s a curiosity which both gives and takes to complete extremes yet opens Terry up to the true abilities that the Variant has granted him.
In turn Mei and her team are working hard to excavate the Ortego site, their objective to recover the Framling Coils as a new source of energy, cleverly masking Mei’s hidden agenda to try and discover the truth behind what happened to Terry. Time is against her and the ruins still hold dark secrets that threaten to undo everything they have been working towards. Playing politics with those back at Central whilst holding onto her true mission objective becomes a dangerous balancing act that she struggles to maintain without help.
The two stories come together gloriously for the cliffhanger and with a real humdinger of an epilogue you will want to jump straight into book 3!
Transient Echoes maintains the high standard set by The Amber Project. The 2 branches of the story are delivered perfectly, leaving you on the edge for each part when they move from one to the other, the action sequences are again some of the best I have read, really catapulting you into the fray with its fast pace and hold your breath moments. I’m still reeling from the epilogue and all the implications that has for the future books, I truly wasn’t expecting that! My only sadness about it is that I would have liked to have known more about Mara’s story back at Central, how she was coping with the loss of Terry, but perhaps that would have pulled the story in too many directions. It doesn’t detract at all from the impact of the story though, i’m just kicking myself now that it’s taken me so long to get round to reading book 2 as it’s definitely a 5* read!
Retribution is the final instalment in the After light saga and I’m so sad to see this series come to an end. The situation has reached desperation point, no matter where Abi and Finn try to run and hide they are always found, General Drake has seen to that by the manipulation of Dr Simon and the fear mongering broadcasts brandishing Abi a monster who must be captured at all costs. When Abi’s collection is compromised by a more important diversion she finds herself in a beta research facility where the true nature and heritage of the ARV-3 virus becomes clear. Even more than before Abi must fight to save those who she loves, she has more friends than she thinks on her side but is her will to keep those she loves safe enough to keep Venge at bay?
I adore this series and Retribution doesn’t disappoint as a finale. It is non stop action and complete edge of your seat page turning goodness. Abi’s transformation from simple hive member to full on Arvie fighting machine is summed up so completely by new character Lina’s comment “I thought you were older.” She has been through so much and yet much more is expected from her, Venge takes more and more every time and Abi knows that there will come a time that she wont come back, which is heartbreaking. The inevitable must happen though and Abi is placed in an impossible position, but one she must endure for the sake of all those she loves.
I read Retribution in a single sitting, because it’s just that amazing. As a series, it still manages to surprise you by tricking you into a finale that you think you will be getting but actually giving you the finale that was needed. There are some characters that I would have loved to have known the outcome for, but then I think it would have impacted upon the pace of the story, so I feel torn.
This remains one of my most beloved series and I wouldn’t have started my blog without it, so for all the ARV-3 survivors I salute you ❤
At the end of the Other Inheritance, Reggie had finally managed to get to Rhys, a person only ever known to her in the Dream realm, allowing him to take up his rightful place as her guardian. Asher and Brywn are in toe, having escaped Andrius and outed themselves as resistance fighters. Blissfully unaware that Andrius has her mother and John held captive, Reggie and the others set about their training regime, honing their magical skills whilst trying to fathom how to rescue Reggie’s father and the other Aether mages.
Reggie must learn to harness her powers within the Dream realm, a place where she has found herself to be most vulnerable. But her training doesn’t prevent her from being pulled into that realm by a mysterious force, a young girl referring to herself as the Black Queen. Through her Reggie begins to realise the depth and breadth of Andrius’ hold and depravity over his captives, but despite the mind traps he has set, Reggie and the Black Queen form a bond and with the help of Brywn they set about a secret rescue mission. Their plans are stuck in the starting box however, as Reggie decides to contact her mother in the Dream realm, only to discover her and John’s terrible fate.
The team are forced to play their hand too soon and what seems like an easy win, turns their world upside down and forces the tight knit band to spread themselves to thinly with all of what they need to achieve. Having spent most of her life being the strong willed one, Reggie simply cannot sit back and allow everything to go on around her, but her will to do the right thing unwittingly causes more danger to both her friends and herself than she could have imagined.
The Other Queen is a really emotional ride. Early on it fills you with so much hope but little by little the anxiety grows and you feel like you have been chewed up and spat out by the end (but in a good way!) I was utterly absorbed in the pages, there is always something happening, always a new twist and always another spectacular set piece. Again, I love the freedom of imagination the realm of The Other grants you, captivating scenery and inspired creativity. For me a real stand out “wow” moment was when Brwyn and Asher must take a diving trip, their diving suits and breathing apparatus are simply amazing and who doesn’t love a Sea Dragon!
There are plenty of hold your breath moments and moments of genuine sadness are felt throughout. I especially liked that the author explored the fact that when someone comes back from a terrible ordeal that they will come back perhaps just a little bit wrong, and that years of torment cannot be held back no matter how much of a happy face is painted. Where the start of the story seems very neatly tied up, the end is very chaotic and almost frantic with the different roads the friends have had to take which gives plenty of scope and direction for book 3. I actually shouted “No!” at my Kindle when I realised I had reached the last page, I enjoyed this immensely and don’t hesitate to give it 5 stars!
Something Blue by Kristy NicolleSeries: standaloneGenre: romance/dystopian
In the city of Monopolis where happily ever after is just a scientific formula away, Valentine Morland has been waiting nine years for her day to come. Now it’s here, and she will marry the man of her dreams, a stranger to her, before being swept off to life of carefree luxury and bliss, courtesy of the Jigsaw Project. However, all is not as Valentine imagined as her new husband is quickly discovered as not the man of her dreams, but one who claims he isn’t capable of love at all. Harbouring an intense paranoia for the system, which upholds the very idealist fantasy that Valentine holds so dear, Clark threatens to throw her into a world, not of bliss, but of scary consequence where her every emotion is under scrutiny. Can it be that the scientific formula with a 99% success rate got it all wrong, or is everything in the world of Bliss Inc. more sinister than it seems?
About the author
Writing has always been an escape for me. I can imagine bizarre new worlds, create entirely new living species and dream up all kinds of odd and absurd scenarios. I love it, and always will do. Its my life. Even now, while preparing for to begin my Masters degree in 21st century literature, I am always searching for fresh inspiration. I live in England, in the city of Lincoln but originally hail from Norwich. If I am not concocting up mad magical ideas, I am usually curled up in bed reading, Modelling or adding to my vintage book collection. The power of the written word is marvellous, and I am continually finding myself learning, and exploring all its shadowy corners. I spend hours and hours combing through texts, books and words and quite frankly, it is exhausting. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Title: Rebel: the Alliance Chronicles, Book Three
Author: SF Benson
Genre: NA Post-Apocalyptic Thriller
Cover Artist: Regina Wamba, Mae I Designs
Anticipated Pub Date: June 2017
Tru Shepard holds the key—a highly coveted piece of tech—in the palm of her hand. As a Creative, Tru fights to maintain her identity in the American Republic—where some secrets are more dangerous than others. She seeks the truth, knowing the new leadership lies about its plans for the citizens. Zared Aoki wants to expose the conspiracy too, but more than that, he needs Tru safe, and telling government secrets is dangerous business. He loves her, maybe even more than he does his country. But if Tru and Zared don’t tell the people Leader Venter’s plans, he’ll consolidate power by use of force, doing away with any who’ll stand for individuality, controlling the population with clones, and taking away more rights when they’ve lost so many. Rebel is the highly anticipated third installation of the Alliance Chronicles series, a fast-paced post-apocalyptic thriller that surprises a reader at every turn.
Something Blue looks to a future where the world has almost destroyed itself, indiscriminate breeding leading to overpopulation and chaos. Enter Bliss Inc, a company rebuilding society with it’s Jigsaw project. Only those passing a rigorous test are deemed suitable candidates for the programme. To be given the honour of becoming married and allowed to have children. For those not so fortunate a life in the labour district and a future of servitude awaits, however, Valentine Moreland is one of the fortunate ones. Deemed worthy of the project she waits longer than most for her “readiness tests” to confirm that she is ready for her wedding, but once the day that she has dreamed of arrives, she feels beset with nerves and questions about her future with a stranger, a situation which becomes compounded when her perfect match doesn’t live up to the match of her dreams. Bliss inc’s formula is only 99% successful, what if she is in the remaining 1%, what happens to those that the formula fails? As she struggles with these questions she finds herself being dragged into a world filled with paranoia and lies; are the appearances she has been keeping up really still just appearances? With the 100 day assessment period ticking by, she needs to try and separate the truth from the lies and the dream from reality, will she be able to make it?
When I first heard the premise for Something Blue, I was immediately struck by how different it was. For the first part, you become completely whipped up into Valentines’ world, the excitement and trepidation of preparing for the biggest day of your life, coupled with interfering family members all condensed into one week of chaotic arrangements. Your heart is left furiously beating as you finally get to live the wedding day with Valentine and her hopes and fears. Looking back, the signs are there that not everything is perfect in the utopian wedding district, but very the hints are subtle.
The growing relationship between her and Clark is beautifully done, two people questioning a system and a formula, which against all thoughts to the contrary seems to have maybe got it right after all, is wonderfully played out. They both find common ground with their disdain for a system which removes their choices and seemingly small acts of rebellion lead to so much more. Clark has a lot to prove however as his inability to fully open up to Valentine could halt their fledgling relationship in it’s tracks.
Bliss inc is an unlikely baddy to start but truth behind the new hard light holograms sets in motion a series of events from which no-one can step back from.
This is a wonderfully captivating story which I almost read in one sitting and I was so relieved to find that it was a stand alone – I have missed stand alone stories recently and being able to see these characters through without a cliffhanger was really refreshing.
This gets a solid 5 starts from me.