It is time to BLESS YOUR EYEBALLS with a double review.
This is similar to double chocolate chip ice cream except less chocolate…unless you bring the chocolate? Like totally go get some, I’ll wait.
I’m reviewing two books today: The Build-Up Season by Megan Jacobson and This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada! They’re both by #LoveOzYA authors which is freaking awesome, but both different genres because reading ALL THE GENRES is what makes you happy in life. Also eating all the chocolate. But I’m trying not to get distracted here.
Thank you Penguin Random House for both these review-copies!
Seventeen-year-old Iliad Piper is named after war and angry at the world. Growing up with a violent father and abused mother, she doesn’t know how to do relationships, family or friends. A love-hate friendship with Max turns into a prank war, and she nearly destroys her first true friendship with misfit Mia. She takes off her armour for nobody, until she meets Jared, someone who’s as complicated as she is.
This book was very serious and hard to to read. It deals with domestic violence — and really focuses on the psychology of the after-effects. I think that’s an important story to tell and while this book wasn’t exactly “enjoyable”, it was totally well written. It explores that “ripple-effect” of what it’s like to escape abuse and how that impacts your life. My ONLY disappointment was that the character development came a little too late. But that could be just me!
✓ I loved that it was set in Darwin!
I’ve been to Darwin before and the whole thing felt SO authentically written! Now, my mates, Darwin has one temperature setting (MORDER) and it’s full of crocodiles and no speed limits. Great place. Totally felt the humidity and heat on every page!
✓ I loved that there was Indigenous Australian representation!
I read a far amount of #LoveOzYA and there’s still a woeful lack of Indigenous characters. So it was amazing to see them featuring here (particularly Max who is an adorable prankster) and the book nods to their words and culture too.
✓ Plus Max is the freaking gift to the universe.
He and Iliad have a “prank war” going and “hate each other” (HAHA HAHAHA HAHAAH #shipit) and he’s like dorky, cheeky, and super sweet underneath it all. He also wants to be a nature documenter.
✓ I think it handled the devastation of domestic violence well.
It is NOT an easy topic. It’s horrible and terrifying. Iliad’s dad is in jail, but she’s living with the repercussions.
✓ The book is also really arty!
I mean look at that cover. That cover is GORGEOUS and just lets you know the inside is full of artists. I personally have the artistic skills of a 5 year old with a piece of chalk that’s been slobbered on by a great dane BUT HEY, I can appreciate art in books! I also loooved the contrast of Iliad expressing her art through bullet shells and violent colours, while her mother was into healing crystals and chakras.
✗ OK so unlikeable characters…
It’s tough to analyse it in the story because I understood why Iliad was so “horrible”. She is the direct result of a childhood of trauma and abuse, so it makes sense that she’s mean, acidic, and gravitates towards problematic relationships for herself. But like I said…I felt her character arc started too late. I wanted to root for Iliad but she was also being domestically abusive, especially to her mother. Violence isn’t just a slap — it’s also intimidation, screaming, and the threat of violence. So every time Iliad smashed a plate near her mother, she too was being abusive. And this is “okay” in the sense that it’s REAL. The entire book felt attuned to reality. But when you excuse your actions because of your past…that’s a problem. I couldn’t root for Iliad when she was being cruel. (It’s like my beef with Snape all over again smh.)
Plus I was confused because Iliad’s boyfriend is awful and abusive and he is 100% condemned in the book. But he was abused at home too??? So why is Iliad redeemedable but he’s not?
When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.
Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.
There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.
This one feel flat for me because I READ TOO MUCH, OKAY??? Wow I never thought I’d say that. But I honestly read 200+ books per year and this felt like a remix…a nice remix! Well written and complex. I just knew EVERY plot twist coming because of having read the same story 24 other times.
✓ It features reverse-zombie viruses which is pretty awesome.
So instead of the zombies eating you, YOU have to eat the zombie to get immune. #Clever And it’s also a lot like X-Men with sort of mutant diseases and mutant people full of hightech devices and SuperSoldier children. And angst! Gotta love some superkids with angst. (I DO.)
✓ Cole was super sweet.
I do so love some badass terrifying “I AM A WEAPON” soft cinnamon boys. Like yes, Cole, we realise you could destroy the world but you just want to cuddle a puppy.
✓ Full of interesting sci-fi tech stuff.
I mean…I have no idea what was going on with it BECAUSE I DON’T SCIENCE. But I appreciate that it was cool.
✗ It’s…so long.
I’m terrified of books over 400 pages because they almost NEVER need to be that long. The action didn’t even start till after 100pgs and I rapidly felt my eyes glaze over.
✗ Catarina was a little bit of a vanilla pancake.
She’s introduced as the genius daughter of a genius scientist and then…well that’s her full personality. She just gets more and more SPECIAL as the book goes on. Like the blurb says “only she can find and decrypt the vaccine!!” and that’s just the edge of her Specialness.
✗ The plot twists felt SO obvious to me.
And I’d read them…so many times… Like Catrina’s here saying: “My dad is a GOOD MAN and would never experiment on children! I am allergic to technology! My dad would never lie to me!” And I’m there like: I felt it LABOURED the “surprises” so early that you could see them coming a mile away. For example, I’ve read these plot twists in: Disruption, Frost, Vicarious, The Body Electric, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Spark, and Eve & Adam. I wish I was kidding. I need to read less.
✗ And while I DID like Cole, I found him overbearing.
He’s programmed to protect, so aka he won’t let Catrina even breath or make decisions. Look overbearing boys are NOT my thing. I don’t care if it’s “program”. Shut up, son. I wanted Catrina to take more charge of her own fate, but she relied on males EVERY TIME to tell her what to do. sIGH.
✗ Still a bit confused on how humans can run on apps.
I guess we’re cyborgs in the future?? Like they have technology panels in their arms, but they didn’t APPEAR to be robots?? But I still don’t understand how these apps could like heal you or whatever. BUT OK. I hope there’s an app for napping because I want it.
✗ It really really didn’t work for me buuuuut….maybe that’s just me!
It’s low on romance, big on science/tech talk so if that’s your THANG…you might like this. I was just a bit bored and disenchanted. #My #Bad.