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Coming Soon: To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: To Guard Against the Dark

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #3 [A Clan Novel]

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2017

The Overview: The final book in the hard science fiction Reunification trilogy, the thrilling conclusion to the award-winning Clan Chronicles. -Goodreads

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Nik’s Notes:

I’ve been a long-time fan of Czerneda, even going so far as putting myself through a grueling (but fun) competition to become a beta-reader for this trilogy. Alas, I didn’t win, just missing out on being an alternate by one spot. I didn’t mind too much, though, because it gave me the opportunity to re-immerse myself in Czerneda’s Clan novels before diving into this Reunification Trilogy. To Guard Against the Dark is the trilogy-ender, and quite possibly the saga-ender. I’m not so sure how I feel about the cover, being a huge fan of Luis Royo’s work for previous books, but I am definitely excited for its contents in October!

Who else is excited for this one?!

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

This Gulf of Time and Stars by Julie E. Czerneda

Title: This Gulf of Time and Stars

Author: Julie E. Czerneda

Series: Reunification #1 [A Clan Novel]

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: November 3, 2015

The Overview: First in a new science fiction trilogy, set in the same universe as the Clan Chronicles, by the Prix Aurora Award-winning Julie E. Czerneda. [I’m a little underwhelmed by this description… Basically, if you’ve read anything in the Clan world, or more specifically, the Trade Pact Universe Trilogy beginning with A Thousand Words for Stranger, this is a continuation of Sira and Morgan’s story.]

Waiting on Wednesday
Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Czerneda is my favorite sci-fi author, and I recently entered (and lost) her Beta Reader competition to have the chance to check out an early copy of this very book for consistencies. I “studied” for the competition for about two months, but in the end just missed the mark (but would totally do it again if the opportunity presented itself – how many people get to say they beta read for one of their favorite authors?). Anyway, I think it’s safe to say I know this series a lot better than the average reader and am tickled pink to finally get my hands on This Gulf of Time and Stars in November. It’s a continuation of Sira and Morgan’s story, so I’d recommend reading the Trade Pact Universe first at the very least and  the excellent prequel series, Stratification, at the most. I loved them all!

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

The Glass ArrowTitle: The Glass Arrow

Author: Kristen Simmons

Series: N/A

Genre: Teen Dystopian

Rating 1.5/5 stars

The Overview: The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

The Review:

I was warned about this one. One of my favorite book bloggers posted a review explaining why she did not enjoy this novel… and I read it anyway. To be fair, I’d already been approved for a digital arc, so I was kind of already committed to reading it, underwhelming review or not. It turns out, my fellow book blogger was totally right… this was not a very strong book.

I really love the idea for it – women living in the wilds, on the run from hunters who’s goal is to capture them and sell them to the city as breeding stock. You see, evidently the women who live in the city are incredibly infertile, so the wilds women are high commodities. I thought it sounded fascinating, and reminded me of some of the other similar books I’ve read and loved recently (Wither by DeStefano, The Jewel by Ewing), but it just did not deliver. All of the books in that specific sub-genre require a bit of the “just go with it” attitude, but the plot structure and world building for this one just had so many things wrong with it that it was hard to read. For every rule she gave on how the society functioned, I could think of a couple of reasons why it wouldn’t work. And the thing is, I wasn’t actively looking for inconsistencies, they were just so blatant that my brain couldn’t help but point them out.

It wasn’t just the illogical nature of the plot that took away my enjoyment of the book (although that was the main thing). I also thought the book suffered from poor pacing and a bit of repetition. I don’t think there were enough plot points to sustain an entire novel and probably would have liked it a lot better had it been a short story. The plot points that were there still have me a bit perplexed – very little of the story had anything to do with the overall arc and climax of the book. It almost felt like I was reading three different books in one (or short stories –  bam!) and none of them related to each other very well… It was weird.

Eventually I got fed up and just started skimming during the last fifty pages of the book. But I did finish it, which I thought ironic considering how many issues I had with it. It made me go back and really think about what compelled me to keep going. It wasn’t what the author was writing, but rather how she was writing it that kept me reading. I enjoyed the style and thought Simmons had a lovely voice. She made me care about the main character and I had no trouble immersing myself into her perspective. I would love to see this author tackle something that requires a lot less world building and concept so she could focus on the element that, in my opinion, she does very well.

Overall, I was really underwhelmed by this title and it was a bit of a struggle to get through it. I was really excited about the concept and the writing style, but don’t think it ever lived up to its potential. I don’t see myself hand-selling this one anytime soon. Maybe it’s just me though – go check out the “this is her best book yet” five-star reviews on goodreads before making any rash decisions. ;)

Other books you might like (better):

by Niki Hawkes