YA Review: Eve of Man

Title: Eve of Man
Author: Giovanna and Tom Fletcher
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
3/5

This is a YA dystopia with an interesting premise. For sixteen years, Eve has been protected. Raised by a team of older women, she is the last girl on earth – and the only woman of childbearing age. No one knows why girls stopped being born, but everyone knows that Eve is going to save humanity. Three young men have been carefully selected as potential partners for Eve, and she has always known what is expected of her. But a chance meeting with one of the young men who helps to run her perfect sanctuary changes everything, and Eve begins to question what she wants.

It’s an engaging story, to begin with. We meet Eve in her beautiful, isolated tower. We meet her carers – the ‘mothers’ – and her hologram best friend, Holly. Eve knows that she is about to meet the potential partners who have been painstakingly chosen for her. As the meetings draw closer we see her begin to doubt her conviction that chosing one of the men and having children – hopefully girls – is what she really wants.

We also meet Bram, one of the human ‘pilots’ behind Holly’s hologram. He’s grown up with Eve, wearing Holly’s hologram and acting as Eve’s best friend. Eve has no idea who is behind Holly’s face and voice, and they are never supposed to meet. When they do, briefly, everything changes, and they will both be forced to choose between their own happiness and the future of the human race.

I don’t know why I didn’t connect with this book. I liked Eve, and I loved all her ‘mothers’. I liked Bram, and his team of pilots. The setup was intriguing and the theme of environmental destruction was extremely relevant. I found myself wanting more science, and more insight into the environmental crisis – but that wouldn’t be possible with Eve and Bram as the only narrators. Neither of them knows the full truth about their world, and about the efforts to save humanity, so their limited views make perfect sense in the context of the story.

Eve is a strong narrator, who moves from a girl who accepts everything she has been brought up to believe at the start of the book, to a young woman daring to challenge her place in the world. The story reflects teenage anxieties about sex and relationships, and about breaking away from the expectations of parents, teachers, and communities. Eve’s role as the only person in the world who can have children dials these anxieties up to eleven, and ensures that her decisions matter.

There is plenty of action and danger, and there are lies to uncover and secrets to reveal, but somehow I wasn’t drawn in. I wanted to like this book. I wanted to enjoy the story, and feel wrapped up in Eve’s dilemmas, but maybe this is a story that works best for readers who identify more closely with Eve. Don’t let me put YA readers off – this is a book perfectly pitched at its intended teenage audience.

Have you read Eve of Man? What did you think of the story? Did the characters grab you? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Daisy Jacobs Saves the World

Title: Daisy Jacobs Saves the World
Author: Gary Hindhaugh
Edition:
Kindle
Rating:
5/5

A fun book that contrasts a cosmic-scale alien threat with the daily life of an intelligent and feisty teenager. Daisy doesn’t expect to be the target for an alien invasion, and the alien inside her head doesn’t expect resistance to his plans. He’s not ready to navigate the complexities of school work, best friends, and family relationships – and Daisy is not about to let him destroy the world.

Daisy is a strong, funny character whose attitude and intelligence drive her resistance to the alien attack. Her friends, family, and teachers may be background characters, but they all feel real and three-dimensional. Her interactions with the alien range from comic misunderstandings to genuine fear, and their conversations are by turns funny, chilling, and heartwarming. The two central characters are strong enough to carry the plot as they explore their relationships with each other, and with the rest of the universe. The concept and setting might be straightforward, but the author uses the alien invasion scenario to examine Daisy’s life, attitudes, and values, and the result is an engaging celebration of a strong, intelligent, female protagonist. A quick, fun read with a surprisingly big heart.

Have you read Daisy Jacobs Saves the World? What did you think of the story? Was the book like anything you’ve read before? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Lore

Title: Lore
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Edition: Kindle
Rating: 4/5

The gods of ancient Greece walking the streets of Manhattan, a seven-day Hunger-Games style fight to the death, and the descendants of Greek heroes warring against each other to harness the powers of the gods – this book has all the ingredients of a gripping urban fantasy, and I couldn’t put it down.

Lore is the last survivor of the House of Perseus. She’s opted out of the fighting between rival families, and she’s trying to live a normal life in present-day New York City. But Zeus is punishing the gods, sending them into the mortal world once every seven years to kill or be killed, and Lore is about to find herself dragged back into the fighting.

For one week every seven years, the gods can be killed, and their killer takes on their powers. All the families want a god on their side, so everyone is hunting, and everyone is hunted. The author doesn’t pull her punches – this is a violent book with plenty of blood and gore. The stakes are high, for the gods and the hunters, and Lore’s involvement puts her in serious danger.

She’s a great protagonist. Strong, intelligent, and fiercely protective of the family she’s built for herself. When we first meet her, she’s fighting in an illegal underground boxing match, finding the weakness in her male opponent, pushing her advantage, and playing to the crowd who are betting on the result. Her strength is physical as well as emotional, which gives her the advantage she needs. As a teenage girl surviving alone, the other houses have discounted her from the fight, and she’s going to need all her strength to prove them wrong.

She has the support of her best friend Miles, who knows nothing about her background. Add in her childhood training with the House of Achilles, a mysterious benefactor, an injured god, and the return of someone she thought was dead, and Lore’s plans to survive the week take a dangerous turn. The story unfolds alongside flashback chapters, filling in important details as necessary.

If I have a criticism, it’s that the plot isn’t always clear. Lore and her group of supporters make plans to trap gods and trick their rivals, but the story feels repetitive as plan after plan is thrown off-course by the warring factions. It’s not always clear what they are trying to achieve, and why they make their decisions. The complexity of the setup can be off-putting at times. Trying to remember which characters are allied with which families and which gods is not always easy, and while there is a list of people and their affiliations, it’s at the end of the book, so I didn’t notice until I had finished reading!

It’s an exciting, constantly moving story. I’m a fan of urban fantasy, and this ticks all the boxes: supernatural fights in recognisable New York locations, high stakes, a reluctant hero, and real danger for the characters and the residents of the city. It’s an inventive idea and an engaging story. Definitely worth a read.

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Lore? What did you think of the story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Black Ice

Title: Black Ice
Author: Julia Blake
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Buckle up – this one’s a wild ride! Think you know the story of Snow White? Think again. This adventurous fairytale retelling begins with the attempted murder of Princess Snow, heir to the throne of House White, and builds the drama from there. Instead of seven dwarves, the protagonist’s companions are the last seven survivors of the Dwarvian people, living in secret in the Great Forest. There’s a steampunk theme to the story, but technology, and the magic that powers it, is forbidden in the Kingdom of House White – a rule enforced by the powerful Contratulum. Princess Snow is the only person standing between the Contratulum and absolute power, and she’s going to need all the help she can get to claim the throne.

The Dwarvians are engineers with magic in their blood. They are masters of forbidden technology – and they know how to build airships. Snow might stand a chance after all …

This is a fairytale with a difference: kick-ass female leads, dark family secrets, evil plots, a dose of magic, a sprinkling of romance, fabulous parties – and epic airship battles. Hold on to your corsets and goggles, and prepare to fight for House White!

Black Ice is published as adult fantasy, but it is suitable for a YA audience.

Have you read Black Ice? What did you think of the story? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: Darkness, Be My Friend

Title: Darkness, Be My Friend
Author: John Marsden
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Book Four in the Tomorrow series continues the story of seventeen-year-old Ellie and her friends as they strike back against a foreign invasion of Australia. This time they have help from the New Zealand army, but they quickly learn that their new friends can’t guarantee their success, or their safety.

I adore the Tomorrow series. I love Ellie’s narration. I love the characters, and the setting. I love the relationships between the school-friends-turned-fighters, and the way they develop through each book. I love the bravery of the teenagers, and their creativity in standing up to the people who have invaded their country, their town, and their homes.

Hiding out in the bush and launching guerrilla attacks is the only way for Ellie and her team to resist the invasion, but sneaking into their heavily guarded town, even under the cover of darkness, is far from safe. Darkness, Be My Friend brings the group into increasingly dangerous situations, with revelations about the state of the town, the strategic importance of the airfield, and the fates of their families. Expect heart-stopping scenes, real danger, and adrenaline-pumping excitement as the teenager’s daring plans meet the reality of strangers in their homes, and enemy soldiers on the streets.

There are obvious parallels between these books and my own Battle Ground Series, but I only started reading the Tomorrow series after my books had been written. I love reading John Marsden’s take on teenagers as reluctant fighters, and the characters’ practical approach to making a difference against the invading forces. There are three more books in the series, and I’m trying to decide whether I want to binge-read them all now, or save them so that I don’t have to say goodbye to Ellie too soon!

Have you read the Tomorrow series? What did you think of Darkness Be My Friend? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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