It’s time to talk about DUOLOGIES again!
Which is fabulous since last week I reviewed The Girl From Everywhere duology and this week we have the most excitingly fabulous Vicarious & Ferocious duo! As they say: duologies are the new trilogies! (Well, okay fine, they don’t say that. But they could if they wanted to.)
These are actually my first Paula Stokes books and I can definitely say she’s an author I want moooore of. I also stalked researched some more of her books (#because #need) and discovered she writes a TON of different genres. Which is amazing. Go well-rounded authors!
But anyway let us discuss thrillers and sci-fi and muuuuurder.
Thanks to Tor Teen for the review copies!
VICARIOUS BY PAULA STOKES
Vicarious was a wild ride that’s part thriller, part sci-fi, part DARK SIDE.
I was expecting something with a lot of people jumping off buildings, but it’s actually more of a murder mystery (not a spoiler! it’s in the blurb!) when Winter finds her sister’s been killed and is determined to get revenge. The story is twisty and the finale is GLORY. Although I confess I struggled to really stay invested at the beginning. It may be because I have a cold soul that’s lived in the fridge for 415 years. I should get it out sometime.
The blurb kind of misleads because it made me think I’d be getting wild stunts. Winter’s job is to record adrenaline-seeking acts for this technology called ViSEs, where people can “relive” the thriller stunts (aka skydiving, swimming with sharks, etc.) via technology from home. So like, whoooo you can nearly die from the COMFORT OF YOUR OWN BED. However the story is more about Winter gathering clues about what happened to her sister, Rose.
I have to admit I was surprised at the heavy themes in the book…and like this is a mixture of good and bad surprise. YOU KNOW ME. I LIKE BOOKS TO BE DARK. But at the same time I felt Vicarious was being super edgy but working so darn hard not to be graphic or explicit that I wondered why it bothered having the backstory it did. Winter was trafficked from Korea and a lot of the book is set against backdrops of clubs, drugs, and prostitution. So like there’s no sexual harassment IN the story. But it’s off page and definitely talked about. And with Winter being 18, it actually didn’t feel super much like YA. So! Anyway! It’s still PG-friendly. I just wonder why bother having such a backdrop while keeping it kid-friendly…like it rings a bit hollow.
- it features sisters who really love each other!
- it really delves into mental health topics and talks about them really well
- there is the cutest not-quite-but-almost relationship between Jesse x Winter
- I SHIP IT…but also appreciate how polite Jesse is and not pushy since Winter is very very very unsure about starting a relationship with her trafficked past
- super cool technology making it a little sci-fi
- fun to put together the clues for the mystery…IS EVERYONE A SECRET KILLER??? I SUSPECT YOU ALL
- unreliable narrators
- the entire cast is super diverse, with Winter and Rose being Korean and Jesse is Mexican
- there is plenty of alternating delicious food including burritos and now I want one
I enjoyed Vicarious a lot but it didn’t quite suck me in like I’d hoped.
I maybe the writing just didn’t hit any feels for me. I always felt severely detached from Winter’s pragmatic narrative. BUT IT MIGHT JUST BE ME. The plot was engaging and the twists thrilling — and that’s what we’re here for, right?! Plenty of burritos and small sharp knives and tears.
FEROCIOUS (VICARIOUS #2)
publishes August 15 2017
Ferocious was a super satisfying conclusion to Winter’s story!
And filled with plenty of stress. #nice Although I’m a smudge disappointed how the stakes were waaaaaay lower than in the first book. I mean the first book was “SOLVE SISTER’S MURDER” but this book was like “STEAL BACK TECHNOLOGY” and I am just not that emotionally invested in technology, okay.
- Lots of action scenes were there is stabbing and shooting and badass girls taking no shennanigans.
- It’s mostly set in Korea this time! I loved the details that really made it pop off the page and just it was written with such care!
- SO MUCH DELICIOUS KOREAN FOOD.
- It really delves deeper into Winter’s mental illness and it was explored really well. I also think it’s 100% awesome that it included a positive and healthy outlook on therapy and getting help.
- Jesse is an adorable little lamb.
- I cannot ship Jesse and Winter enough!! Plus I loved that their relationship (firstly starting as friendship) is built on respect. Jesse knows what Winter has been through and he won’t push or make demands. He’s so sweet. And Winter is so respectful of him too as she figures out if she has room to love. They had SUCH cute moments.
- Character development is A+ and I’m a fan.
- Some witty lines that had me super pleased. MAKE ME LAUGH, SON.
- I struggled to stay engaged with the plot because a lot of it was just stalking around Korea and trying to steal back this tech and I nearly napped. I didn’t feel invested or involved to be honest.
- I often struggled with the writing style and feeling quite detached from the action/pain/emotion happening. Winter would say what she felt, but I wanted to SEE and FEEL it myself. The writing felt a bit too factual and clinical at times. I think this is just a writer-style-preference-thing? So it didn’t really work for me, but that might not be the case for all!
- There was way not enough burritos. I suffer with Jesse.
- I cared 100% about Winter and Jesse and like 2% with what they were actually doing in Korea. I LOVED the fluff scenes vs the action scenes…which is super weird because generally I’m opposite in that regard. Who even am I.
Still GRAND but just not excellent in my withered little heart.
But the ending was super good and I’M HAPPY. I just think the stakes were way too low compared to the first book and there was nothing to tug at my heart strings.
But can we take a moment to say that shade of blue on the cover is FABULOUS.
Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they’ve escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities in the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you–for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.
When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter—finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.
Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?
okay which do you prefer: duologies or trilogies?!? and have you read these or any other Paula Stokes books? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, I MUST KNOW.