ISAN by Mary Ting
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Vesuvian Books (5.1.2018)
eARC, 330 pages
The world has changed.
Scientists warned it would happen.
Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.
Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.
While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.
I just can’t do it anymore. Trust me, no one is more disappointed than me.
I made it to 45% before I finally had to give up. The ONLY reason I managed to force myself so far through this train wreck is because this book was one of my top 5 most anticipated releases of 2018. I mean, come on, an assassin network?! The premise sounded really incredible.
What I was expecting: A kickass, adrenaline-packed, edge-of-your-seat story full of awesomeness and, well, ass-kicking.
What I got: Whiny, catty, bickering teenage girls. And angst. And reallyhorrible writing.
This book was juvenile to the point that it felt like Middle Grade, not Young Adult. If it weren’t for the fact that they were assassins, it should have been labeled MG. And really, from what I read it could have passed as it anyway because there was little to none of that ass kicking I was hoping for – the 45% I read was basically all of the aforementioned whiny, bickering teenagers. Sorry, but I was never that immature when I was 17.
There were too many things in this book that were ridiculous to the point that I rolled my eyes. Such as:
1. They’re distracting us with their stench. Yes, that’s right. With their stench. The other team purposely made themselves stinky so that it would be distracting to the girls hyped up on the sensory-enhancing drug, Helix. What?
2. The MC’s best friend got pissed at another girl for taking too long getting her food in line. She flips her off just for that, then the girl threatened to break her fingers. And there were other scenes with similar escalating tempers. I don’t know, everything just seemed overly-dramatic? Like whyyy are you getting so upset over pot roast and mashed potatoes.
3. This literal line: [He] watched me soak in his hotness. Soak in his hotness? Maybe I’m too old for this? I guess I just want something that feels a little less like reading from an angsty 14-year-old girl’s perspective when I’m expecting a book supposedly about ASSASSINS.
4. In the middle of a fight:
Two gunshots whiffed past me. At the same time, the bullet tore through skin, muscle, and bone. As my body slammed into his, shattering glass crashed in my ears as pain wrenched through me. I flew out the window. I didn’t know which one of us had been shot.
Which one of you had been shot? HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW YOU’VE BEEN SHOT?! I mean…what would I know, I’ve never been shot? Buuut I’m pretty sure you would feel it?? -baffled- I get that when you’re hyped up on adrenaline you probably wouldn’t feel pain acutely but HOW would you not know you’d been shot?! Even if the pain doesn’t register you’d still be able to feel it. Right? Am I crazy?! (If anyone reading this has ever actually been shot, I’d love some insight on this subject lol)
5. Some random dude messages Ava on her Tab (iPad thingy) and asks to meet her and SHE GOES TO MEET HIM? What the actual ever loving fuck? She didn’t know a thing about him (seriously, not even his real name, because he told her to call him Sniper), had like two 15 minute electronical messages with him, and when she went to a club and got a mysterious note from him that said to meet him at the back door and “don’t tell anyone,” wandered off alone to meet him. But it’s okay because he was hot. That’s a great thing to teach teenage girls.
Anyway, you get the point. There were so many other irritating things in this book that I was rolling my eyes or cringing on almost every page. The prose was horribly sophomoric, even for a low end YA. This would have been too juvenile for me even when I was 17. Looks like this book has really high reviews so I must be the black sheep again…
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published by Ecco (4.17.2018)
Hardback, 336 pages
After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living, however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population.
When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.
I could tell within the first 20 pages that this was NOT a ‘me’ book. I am a ball of sadness because I was really excited over the whole “orcamancer” bit. Sigh.
Issues I had within a mere dozen pages:
1. Massive infodumps that made it hard to follow and also I re-read the same paragraph about 93845 times because my brain kept checking out
2. There were THREE switching POVs (maybe more, didn’t get that far) and that’s just too many for me. They didn’t feel different and I don’t feel like being lost in POVs the whole book
3. It felt annoyingly political and that is just NOT my cup of tea thanks
4. It was boring AF to the point of making me narcoleptic. Pass.
Your comment on the character not knowing whether they’ve been shot or not made me laugh, lol. Like no matter how much adrenaline you’re running on, surely you’d be able to feel the type of pain that comes with being shot?! Also I don’t think that I have ever come across the line “Soak in his hotness” before. Thanks for the giggles, great post! :)