The Black Key by Amy Ewing

the-black-keyTitle: The Black Key
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: October 4th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Quick Look: A solid conclusion to an enjoyable series. I really liked the fantasy elements that were introduced in the second book and continued in this one. I never really found myself in love with Ash and Violet, but I thought there was a little more to their relationship in this book. The external conflicts in this book were hit and miss, but I found myself interested in how everything would come together. Continue reading

The White Rose by Amy Ewing

the-white-roseTitle: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: October 6th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)

Quick Look: I enjoyed The Jewel, but wasn’t blown away. I hoped The White Rose would give more information on the world the story is set in, and it did do that. It also explored the fantasy aspects a little more, which I was glad to read. The romance still felt stiff and sometimes the pacing was a little off, but it was a decent sequel that set up the conclusion well. Continue reading

Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex
Rating: ★★★★

The Murder Complex

I’m a little weird about blood and killing. It doesn’t bother me, really, but gratuitous amounts of it annoy me. So I was a little hesitant that a book with the title The Murder Complex would be one of those books that would overdo it on the killing. And I won’t lie, there is death and blood and killing. But it didn’t feel like it was killing for the sake of it. I enjoyed this book quite a bit.

Meadow lives with her sister, brother, and father on a houseboat. They are getting by on the serving or rations her father earns, but they need more. She has been trained by her father her entire life to protect herself through any means necessary and uses those skills to earn a job in the city. One evening, she comes across a dying Zephyr and for a reason she can’t quite explain, she stops and helps to save his life. From that point on, their lives are intertwined.

Meadow is a fighter. She doesn’t show weakness. It’s the only way to try and survive in the world. When the murder rate is higher than the birth rate, one must always be ready to fight. Her family, however, is her soft spot. She can take any beating, fight any enemy, but her family is where to hit her hardest. I liked Meadow, and I liked her moxie, but I want to see a little more depth of character. She’s got a great beginning and I have hopes that she’ll develop a little more as the series progresses.

I’m not sure about Zephyr. He’s not really my kind of guy, but he works with the story. He’s lived a life of struggles, and has a past that he doesn’t even understand. My only problem with his character has to do with a problem I find common in a lot of novels. The idea of instant love. And granted he has dreamed of a girl like Meadow for a while, but to love a dream of a person is different than loving a person. I’m hoping this idea is explored more going forward.

The story of The Murder Complex is something I haven’t read before. In the genre of dystopian fiction, there can be a lot of repetition or an author can try to be so different that it borders on the unbelievable. Cummings writes a world that paints a dire picture of the world, but adds a unique spin. I’m definitely intrigued by this world and am looking forward to more.

The Murder Complex is a new take on a bleak future. The characters are interesting and have room for growth. This is a series beginning that gives promise of good things to come.

If The Murder Complex sounds like a book you’d like to read, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: After the End by Amy Plum

Title: After the End
Author: Amy Plum
Series: After the End
Rating: ★★★

I fell in love with Plum’s first series. It had the perfect mix of romance and action. I would swoon on one page, and then be engrossed in a fight on the next page. After the End is a little different. It’s not the same type of story, and I’m thankful for it. This novel and her other series do have one thing in common, though. In both, Plum creates two vastly different worlds existing together but without knowing about the other. When the two worlds are finally reviled to each other, what unravels is amazing.

Juneau has lived her entire life isolated in the Alaskan wilderness. World War III has destroyed the rest of the Earth, save for her clan and a few other people. She knows how to live off the land and has a special connection with the Earth. She has never questioned the story of how her clan came to be. When she is out hunting one day, she hears a dangerous sound. Believing her clan is in danger, she races back to her home. When she arrives, every person is gone, the only clues to their location coming from Juneau connecting to the Yara, the power that fills everything on Earth.

Miles is in trouble. His admittance to college is in jeopardy and his father thinks very little of him. When Miles stumbles across the opportunity to earn back his father’s favor, he jumps at the chance.

That is how the two characters meet.

Juneau is learning just how much of her life has been a lie. World War III never happened. The world continued to evolve as her clan stayed frozen in time. The world is overwhelming and she’s not sure where she can turn. The people she trusted most in her life lied to her. She doesn’t know how to behave in the current world. She’s questioning everything she knows. She’s a fantastic character that is the perfect mix of bravery, innocence, and maturity. I loved that she holds onto her values, even when confronted with how much the world has changed. She might not understand the world, but she understands herself. She’s still learning, but she’s determined to find her own way.

I didn’t really like Miles to begin with. I understood his reasons, but it felt a little strange to me that he didn’t see a problem with using a girl to get back into his father’s good graces. But as the story progressed, and he started to realize what he was doing, I started to like him more. He started to see Juneau as a person and not just a means to an end. I was extremely pleased with his character growth from the beginning to the end of the novel.

The cliffhanger is horrible. I was getting closer and closer to the end and I was desperately hoping that there would be just a page or two more. But Plum ended After the End at exactly the best and worst spot. I desperately want to know what happens next.

If After the End sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Amazon
Audible
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.