Extinction

 An extraordinary discovery in the Sahara desert will turn history on its head…

A series of unexplained phenomena create shockwaves across the globe – a huge religious statue moves its arm, and there’s a spate of floods and earthquakes. Many think it’s the end of the world…

Investigative journalist Alyssa Durham receives a call from an old friend claiming that these phenomena may not be entirely natural, but when he is assassinated in front of her, she finds herself on the run for her life.

Alyssa teams up with Jack Murray, a scientist from a secretive government research laboratory, to uncover the truth. But who wants them dead, and what are they trying to protect?

As chaos descends, Alyssa and Jack are drawn into a battle against an unknown enemy with the highest possible stakes, because one thing they’ve learnt is that nothing is safe from extinction…

Wow, this is a hard one to review.  On the one hand, it’s an utterly gripping thriller with some extremely clever parts and on the other it has the worst type of ending for me personally and I’m going to put that aside because it shouldn’t take away from the brilliance of this book.  It’s also hard not to spoil things as there are a few elements that I really want to shout excitedly about!

The story is extremely well written, engaging and emotional, and oh yes, very gory!  The characters are exceptional too, I especially loved Alyssa and was glad she wasn’t made out to be a wilting flower, given her job as an investigative journalist.

Apart from the prologue and epilogue, the pace is full on, have to keep turning the pages while on the edge of my seat.  You can easily see it being a blockbuster action film.

The twists.  Oh my goodness the twists.  I can’t talk about them because they really would spoil the book, but there are two that had my jaw on the floor.  One is outstanding, I didn’t see it coming and it had me in shocked tears.  The second manages to be both extremely clever and a little disappointing.  Clever in that it encompasses the entire book, the writing is part of it, and it wasn’t until after I’d reached the epilogue, that I then had to skim through the book again to make sure it was how I thought it was.  That aspect – stunning.  The disappointing part was that it was so improbable but it is a minor part of an otherwise fantastic book that still has me thinking about it, a week or so on from reading it.

The first book by J.T. Brennan I’ve read and it won’t be the last.  Even if he doesn’t cater to my ending preferences 😉

[book rating=4.5/5]

Book Information
  • Author: J.T. Brannan
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Time Untime

 12/21/12. 11.11am.  The exact time when an ancient Calendar must be reset or all hells break loose… literally.  Kateri Avani, the last Keeper of a long line must embrace the heritage she barely knows, and be at the right place, the right time to complete the task.  If only it were that easy; dark forces she barely understands have hunted down her family, trying to wipe them out so the reset can’t happen.  Ren Waya, a Dark-Hunter with a brutal and violent history has to confront his brother, the man who betrayed and killed him if he is to have any chance of helping Kateri and atone for a mistake in his past.  Time Untime is upon them, can they open their battered hearts, trust again and ultimately risk losing each other to save the world?

Tracey’s Review

Finally the latest Dark Hunter instalment has arrived! I was a bit confused after reading Retribution but not any more. All of a sudden everything mentioned there seems to have fallen into place.  The story builds slowly but erupts into action about two thirds through. While you don’t have to have read Retribution to understand what is going on here, it would enhance the story.

We get to see some old favourites including Nick and Ash – I love those two. It was nice to see Ash kick some butt and Nick not being quite as nasty as he has been in the last few books. I am getting excited for his story and can we have more Ash please…

As always I loved the two protagonists. We had been introduced to Ren in Retribution but really didn’t get an idea of how tortured he is until now, but Kateri was a completely new character. As with all Kenyon females, she is feisty and ready to protect her man any way she can. When she finally comes into her powers it is like a lightbulb moment – quite literally!

I do love peeking into the future and this time the epilogue was beautiful and had me in tears.

There were some loose ends that weren’t tied up, for example earlier in the story we were given the impression that new Guardians would be chosen, but this never happened, or if it did we were never told about it! I also feel that the ending was a bit rushed as if there was so much legend and history to get in that she ran out of pages.

While the Mayan/American Indian storyline has been interesting it has not grabbed me in the same way previous Dark Hunter books have but there are still the elements that I love about Kenyon – hot sexy tortured hero, feisty heroine and of course a happy ending – I don’t think I am giving away too much by saying that!

Grete’s Review

My feelings on this book are very mixed.  I found Retribution, the previous book to this a bit of a surprising offshoot to the main Dark-Hunter series.  It felt like a very personal story to Sherrilyn Kenyon and wasn’t sure how this book would follow on, but it was obvious there was more to come.  Having finished Time Untime, I’m not convinced it was a success.  That’s really hard for me to say as a huge Kenyon fan.

I found it hard to connect with the characters, I think the sheer amount of history and names made it hard for them to stand out and sneak into my heart.  It wasn’t until the last third of the book, I started to really care what happened to them.  The visions, the back and forth through time scenes didn’t help either and I was often left confused who we were witnessing in terms of modern time.

It was good to see members of the ‘usual’ cast; I loved the scenes where Ash appears, he is always a brilliant addition and even got to let loose a little!  I was excited to see Nick and gain more insight into why he is behaving as he is, the short glimpse of the ‘old squire Nick’ was a treat and I so hope we get his book soon.  The only downside for me was the reason he turned up in the first place.  He didn’t get what he wanted but didn’t seem too bothered about it and it was never mentioned again.  Almost felt a lazy ‘how to get him into the story’ but I still felt something was gained.

I agree with Tracey in that it felt the ending was a little rushed and the matter of choosing new guardians was forgotten (and it was a big point in Retribution).  It’s possible it’s something coming in the next book, but in all honesty, I’m hoping this is the last book in this storyline.

The last third of Time Untime I loved, it felt like Sherrilyn was back on form and held all the things I love about her writing that engage me and keep me reading.  It was exciting, tense and gripping and I loved it.  The epilogue as well, a glimpse into the future, made me cry and I thought it was really well done.

So considering it took until the last third of the book to fully engage me into the story, I’m a little disappointed but when it was good, it was very, very good.  This is not a book up to Sherrilyn’s usual standard but it is still a cut above the average.  She sets the bar very high for herself and I know she can deliver an amazing read all the way through, so there are no doubts that I will be buying the next book.  I’m just hoping she returns to the main Dark-Hunter story.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Robopocalypse the Movie

You may remember in June last year we reviewed Robopocalypse, and we liked it!  We gave it four out of five stars, and described it as

… an excellent, entertaining and emotional look at what might be if the Robots ever do rebel.

We knew at the time that Steven Spielberg had picked up the movie rights, and there’s news today on that project and when it might start going into production.

Via SFX magazine,

If current plans remain in place, then the next sci-fi film we’ll see from Steven Spielberg will be Robopocalypse, based on the novel by Daniel H Wilson, which should go into production after the director’s finished his next movie project, Lincoln (not the vampire-hunting one, the serious one).

That’s pretty exciting news, but movie projects have a way of coming together and falling apart so we’ll continue crossing our fingers.  You can track updates about the movie on IMDb (normal caveats about accuracy).

Robopocalypse

The story might sound familiar; sometime in the near future, a super-intelligent AI has co-opted all the machines in the world to wage war against humanity.  Humanity, of course, has lined itself up for this disaster by allowing more and more of the machines it takes for granted to be controlled by their own inbuilt computers.  It should be no surprise that eventually the machines stand up and rebel, and that premise has driven any number of books and movies in the past.  But dig just the tiniest bit deeper and you’ll find a far more complex story going on in Robopocalypse.

Along with the more subtle presentation of a familiar theme, this book presents the story in an unusual style.  It is presented as a number of reports or incidents viewed retrospectively by a third person, the narrator.  So while all books are a fusion of style and content, in this book the style is more than just a container for the words, it’s an actual part of the story.  Robopocalypse relies on this unusual structure to build a cohesive and moving story from a number of engaging vignettes.

Cormac Wallace narrates the story for us after a brief introduction, which actually starts just after the war is over.  In fact the first sentence in the book starts, “Twenty minutes after the war ends ….” so there are no spoilers in revealing this.  Cormac takes us back to before the war starts, through reports of a small groups of individuals who turn out to have pivotal roles in the upcoming struggle.  They include a US congresswoman, a lonely inventor, an American soldier and a London based hacker to name a few.  Each shows up over and over in different chapters focussed on them, and we eventually witness the rise of the artificial intelligence (Archos), and the terrible war which follows.

The vignettes are all excellently written and Wilson manages to present well rounded and engaging characters very quickly.  Which is good news, because this format could so easily have failed if the reader couldn’t empathise with or join the characters on their journeys.  It is the emotional engagement that drives the overall story arc, we mostly already know the end, so the only reason to read is to see how these people get there.

The individual chapters each cover very short periods of time, but together they take us from just before the war, to the moment where Archos takes control, through the actual fighting and right up to the end over three years later.  Each chapter has it’s own pace, some are frantic and filled with panic while others are more relaxed.  While we don’t get to see individual characters often or for very much time, the long time scale involved in the main story arc gives Wilson a chance to show us those characters have changed even if we don’t watch that process in action.

I did sometimes feel that pieces of the story were missing, or that I would have liked to have seen more of some of the characters, but that’s the nature of the format Wilson has chosen.  Perhaps less is more, and that desire to find out kept me turning the pages.  Either way the end result is an excellent, entertaining and emotional look at what might be if the Robots ever do rebel.  If my only complaint about a book is that it’s too short, then I think it’s a pretty good sign.  I thoroughly enjoyed Robopocalypse, and hope you do as well.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Daniel H. Wilson
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)