Babylon's Ashes by James S. A. Corey Image

Mini Book Review: Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey

Title: Babylon’s Ashes

Author: James S.A. Corey

Series: The Expanse #6

Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: The Free Navy – a violent group of Belters in black-market military ships – has crippled the Earth and begun a campaign of piracy and violence among the outer planets. The colony ships heading for the thousand new worlds on the far side of the alien ring gates are easy prey, and no single navy remains strong enough to protect them. James Holden and his crew know the strengths and weaknesses of this new force better than anyone. Outnumbered and outgunned, the embattled remnants of the old political powers call on the Rocinante for a desperate mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. But the new alliances are as flawed as the old, and the struggle for power has only just begun. As the chaos grows, an alien mystery deepens. Pirate fleets, mutiny, and betrayal may be the least of the Rocinante’s problems. And in the uncanny spaces past the ring gates, the choices of a few damaged and desperate people may determine the fate of more than just humanity. –Goodreads

The  Mini Review:

Babylon’s Ashes is what I’m calling the “stepping stone” novel of the series. Its purpose was to wrap up fallout from the events that happened in the amazingness that was Nemesis Games and set up for what’s to come in Persepolis Rising (which doesn’t have a release date yet, but I’m wagering sometime around December 2017). Because it felt more like a transition novel, I didn’t rate it quite as highly as others in the series. Comparatively, especially coming off of Nemesis Games (possibly my favorite of the series), Babylon’s Ashes had nothing particularly earth-shattering about it. There was definite plot progression, and a few poignant moments, but overall it was a little underwhelming. I also had a difficult time focusing at the beginning until the story really got going, which is unusual.

To clarify – I think Babylon’s Ashes was an important chapter in the saga but it didn’t bring as much action and excitement as its predecessors. What it did bring was lots of good character interactions and, as exciting as the plot can get, it’s these well developed, relatable characters who keep me coming back for more. My favorite character has always been Avasarala (a snarky politician who always says what she thinks – whom incidentally, I was thrilled to see introduced earlier in the TV series), but there are many great ones to choose from. Any one of them could rank as my favorite depending on the day.

So, overall, compared to most books, Babylon’s Ashes was a knockout. Compared to The Expanse series as a whole, it was a little tame. I still love the series though – reading a new Expanse novel feels like coming home. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Image

Mini Book Review: Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

bad blood

Title: Bad Blood

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Naturals #4

Genre: Teen Fiction

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The OverviewWhen Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI’s Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother’s murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far. As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock. New victims. New betrayals. New secrets. When the bodies begin piling up, it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren’t just hunting serial killers.

The Mini Review:

This book. This series. Is perfection.

Need more convincing?

Niki Reviews The Naturals – in which I gush profusely.
Niki Reviews Killer Instinct – in which the gushing continues.
Niki Reviews All In – in which I completely lose my shit.

Seriously. It’s my all-time favorite series. Read it.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

February 14, 2017 Image

Coming Soon: Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

February 14, 2017

Title: Miranda and Caliban

Author: Jacqueline Carey

Series: N/A

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: February 14, 2017

The Overview: In William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the action of the entire play unfolds over the course of a single day. But what happened on the island in the twelve years leading up to that day? Why does the magician Prospero keep his daughter Miranda ignorant of her history? Why does he take the supposedly monstrous Caliban under his wing?

Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love. This darkly re-imagined vision of Shakespeare’s beloved tale is told in their voices and is rife with issues of power and control, innocence and sexuality. Lovers of the fantastic, the classic, and beautiful writing will fall in love with Carey’s imaginative retelling. -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Jacqueline Carey dazzled me with her Kushiel’s Legacy and gave me all the feels with Imriel’s Trilogy (I’m still saving Morin’s Trilogy for a rainy day). Now she has a prequel retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest on the way and, regardless of my initial hesitance at anything Shakespeare-related, I can guarantee Miranda and Caliban is going to be a beautiful piece of work. I may not read it immediately, but I’m thrilled Carey is still writing and always look forward to anything she produces.

What book are you looking forward to?

By Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Death’s Mistress by Terry Goodkind

January 10, 2017

Title: Death’s Mistress

Author: Terry Goodkind

Series: Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #1

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: January 10, 2017

The Overview: Onetime lieutenant of the evil Emperor Jagang, known as “Death’s Mistress” and the “Slave Queen”, the deadly Nicci captured Richard Rahl in order to convince him that the Imperial Order stood for the greater good. But it was Richard who converted Nicci instead, and for years thereafter she served Richard and Kahlan as one of their closest friends–and one of their most lethal defenders. Now, with the reign of Richard and Kahlan finally stablized, Nicci has set out on her own for new adventures. Her first job being to keep the unworldly prophet Nathan out of trouble… –Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

No. Goodkind can’t do this to me after I finally made peace with DNFing Omen Machine. Now he has to come out with a new series from Nicci’s point of view? As soon as I found out about this, I started agonizing whether or not I really wanted to read it. After all, I DNFed Omen Machine for a reason (it was as if all of his bad habits of repetition and redundancy were back with a vengeance… I found the entire thing unbearably self-indulgent). Death’s Mistress means I’ll either have to catch up with the storyline (I don’t wanna), start it out of order (OCD WARNING: SYSTEM FAILURE!), Or ignore it. I’m both looking forward to and dreading its release in January.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: Scythe by Neal Schusterman

scythe-by-neal-schustermanTitle: Scythe

Author: Neal Schusterman

Series: Scythe #1

Genre: Teen Science Fantasy

Release Date: November 22, 2016

The Overview: In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do. Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives. -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Scythe cross my radar relatively recently – think it sounds like a ton of fun! A grim reaper’s apprentice? Come on! It sparked my interest, doubly so because of all the great things I’ve heard about Shusterman’s Unwind series. I will definitely be picking up Scythe sooner than later.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

[May 16, 2017] Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb Image

Coming Soon: Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Fate by Robin HobbTitle: Assassin’s Fate

Author: Robin Hobb

Series: The Fitz and The Fool #3

Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: March 7, 2017

The Overview: Prince FitzChivalry Farseer’s daughter Bee was violently abducted from Withywoods by Servants of the Four in their search for the Unexpected Son, foretold to wield great power. With Fitz in pursuit, the Servants fled through a Skill-pillar, leaving no trace. It seems certain that they and their young hostage have perished in the Skill-river. Clerres, where White Prophets were trained by the Servants to set the world on a better path, has been corrupted by greed. Fitz is determined to reach the city and take vengeance on the Four, not only for the loss of Bee but also for their torture of the Fool. Accompanied by FitzVigilant, son of the assassin Chade, Chade’s protégé Spark and the stableboy Perseverance, Bee’s only friend, their journey will take them from the Elderling city of Kelsingra, down the perilous Rain Wild River, and on to the Pirate Isles.

Nik’s Notes:

I’m very passionate about Hobb’s epic Fitz and the Fool saga. There have been so many profound moments throughout it, and it only seems to get more poignant with each book. I’m especially excited for Assassin’s Fate because it’s likely going to incorporate characters from The Rain Wilds series (which focused heavily on dragons<3), so I couldn’t be more excited. This is the sort of armchair adventure series that’s guaranteed to be a good read every time. I can’t wait!

 If you have not yet read this author, I would recommend starting with the Assassin’s Apprentice. :-)

What book are you looking forward to?

By Niki Hawkes