The Court of the Air (Jackelian #1) by Stephen Hunt

The Court of the Air (Jackelian #1) by Stephen Hunt
Publisher/Year: Harper Voyager, 2007
Format: UK paperback
Pages: 582
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐


Two orphans on the run, each with the power to save the world…

When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to scurry back to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack.

Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle. But when he is framed for his only relative’s murder he is forced to flee for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air.

Molly and Oliver each carry secrets in their blood–secrets that will either get them killed or save the world from an ancient terror. Thrown into the company of outlaws, thieves and spies as they flee their ruthless enemies, the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue and adventure.

What I thought

My thoughts on this book are a lot like this book in itself–all over the place. On one hand, I struggled with it, and on the other hand, I loved it. So meanwhile, I’m also kinda wondering: what the hell did I just read?

This wasn’t my first rodeo–I’ve read high fantasy before. Even steampunk fantasy. But honestly? I feel like most of my struggles with this book could have been resolved with two things: a map and a glossary. Don’t mistake me, I’m certainly not one to complain when an author makes a reader do a little work when it comes to world building. But c’mon, throw a dog a bone, man. I finished this book feeling like I didn’t grasp a good portion of it, but also still kind of loving it.

Because for as confusing as this book could be, I tried to just ride the waves because I loved how unique and imaginative and different this was. I was totally sucked into this world as I read, even though I couldn’t even begin to try and describe it.

Overall, this has to be one of the strangest books I’ve ever read and one of of the strangest reading experiences I’ve ever had. I really don’t know if I’d recommend this to everyone, unless you’re in the mood for a challenge. As for me, I think I’d certainly like to continue this series–I’m not ready to be done with this world just yet.

Providence by Max Barry

Providence by Max Barry
Publisher/Year: Putnam, 2020
Format: ARC – paperback
Pages: 303
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


An inventive speculative adventure, a riveting thriller, and the intimate tale of four people facing their most desperate hour–alone, together, at the edge of the universe.

Seven years after first contact with an alien race, Providence Five launches. Like all Providences, it carries a crew of four– tasked with monitoring the ship and keeping humanity up on the war effort by way of social media.

But while pursuing the enemy across space, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson confront the unthinkable: their communications are cut, their ship decreasingly trustworthy and effective. Their only hope of getting home is to win a fight that is suddenly and terrifyingly real.

What I thought

Thank you to Putnam and Goodreads for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I will be the first to admit–I don’t read a lot of science fiction. But holy shit, you guys, this book was GOOD. I think I shy away from sci-fi because I worry it will be jargon-heavy and incomprehensible. Providence was anything but that, and it blew my expectations away. I thought it was fascinating and thought-provoking and deeply frightening, but also deeply funny. The prose was clear and direct, making this an easy read, and the plight of the four crew members kept the pages flying and the tension running high. And can I just say–for me, the idea of being stranded in space, trillions of miles from home, is one of the most horrifying things I can think of. But this story is more than just that. Some of my favorite aspects were the look at the psychology of interpersonal relationships, the unnerving question of whether or not to fully trust the almighty A. I., and the satire which examines war and media and corruption. And let’s talk about the unsettling parallels to our current state of affairs! All of this is to say that I found this book to be absolutely excellent. There’s so much to dig into, if you want, and if not, the story alone makes for a riveting adventure. I highly recommend this one–even to the most reluctant sci-fi readers!

American Supernatural Tales edited by S. T. Joshi

American Supernatural Tales edited by S. T. Joshi
Publisher/Year: Penguin Books, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 477
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The ultimate collection of weird and frightening fiction by American writers

It takes an unusual caliber of writer to deliver readers into the terrifying beyond–to conjure tales that are not only unsettling, but unnatural, with elements and characters that are all the more disturbing for their impossibility. From Edgar Allan Poe to Stephen King, American authors have excelled at journeying into the supernatural. You’ll find them here, including H. P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and others. An unprecedented anthology of phantasmagoric, spectral, and demonic writing, American Supernatural Tales celebrates our enduring need to be spooked and horrified.

What I thought

If you are looking for a collection of “supernatural”/horror short stories, look no further. This was a solid sampling of stories from some of the genre’s best authors. I was so excited to dive into this one to not only read selections from some of my favorite authors, but also to discover some of the other greats that I hadn’t read before. As with any collection, there were some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but for the most part, I really liked what I read and even found a few new favorites. I also really enjoyed Joshi’s introduction and found his commentary on the genre to be fascinating, although I highly disagree with his opinion of Stephen King. All in all, I thought this was a comprehensive anthology and one I’d like to add to my own shelves!

Here’s my rating of each story:

–“The Adventure of the German Student” by Washington Irving ⭐⭐⭐
–“Edward Randolph’s Portrait” by Nathaniel Hawthorne ⭐⭐⭐
–“The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe ⭐⭐⭐
–“What Was It?” by Fitz-James O’Brien ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Death of Halpin Frayser” by Ambrose Bierce ⭐⭐
–“The Yellow Sign” by Robert W. Chambers ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Real Right Thing” by Henry James ⭐⭐⭐
–“The Call of Cthulhu” by H. P. Lovecraft ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis” by Clark Ashton Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Old Garfield’s Heart” by Robert E. Howard ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Black Bargain” by Robert Bloch ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Lonesome Place” by August Derleth ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Girl With Hungry Eyes” by Fritz Leiber ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Fog Horn” by Ray Bradbury ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“A Visit” by Shirley Jackson ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Long Distance Call” by Richard Matheson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Vanishing American” by Charles Beaumont ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Events at Poroth Farm” by T. E. D. Klein ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Night Surf” by Stephen King ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“The Late Shift” by Dennis Etchison ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Vastarien” by Thomas Ligotti ⭐⭐⭐
–“Endless Night” by Karl Edward Wagner ⭐⭐
–“The Hollow Man” by Norman Partridge ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“Last Call for the Sons of Shock” by David J. Schow ⭐⭐⭐
–“Demon” by Joyce Carol Oates ⭐⭐⭐⭐
–“In the Water Works (Birmingham, Alabama 1888) by Caitlin R. Kiernan ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Next Together (The Next Together #1) by Lauren James

The Next Together (The Next Together #1) by Lauren James
Publisher/Year: Walker Books, 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 356
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different…

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

What I thought

The Next Together was, by far, one of the most unique and creative books I’ve read so far this year. And I have to say, it blows my mind (and makes me feel a tad bit old) that this was written by someone who’s 26! That just seems impressive to me because I can’t fathom what it takes to write a book!

Anyway, first thing’s first–I simply adored Katherine and Matthew, and I couldn’t help but root for them. They were just so cute and in love, and (not to get sappy) but as someone who’s very much in love with her own husband, their relationship felt very genuine. I loved reading about their adventures through time, and I have to say I’m glad there’s a sequel because I’m not ready to be done with Katherine and Matthew yet! 

As for the story itself, I thought the multiple timelines flowed smoothly, and I loved the little touch of having each timeline being written in its own font. I also loved the use of multimedia. I’ve always been a fan of epistolary novels, and even though this isn’t one, the little “extras” (like the maps, the articles, the sticky notes, etc.) had that kind of feeling to them–plus they were really fun and added so much personality to the story. 

Overall, I tremendously enjoyed this novel. It was fun and different (especially for a genre that sometimes feels monotonous). And there’s something here for everyone–contemporary, romance, historical fiction, science fiction, time travel, and more! This was a great read and one I highly recommend! 

**On a side note–I just discovered on Lauren James’ website that she has Spotify playlists for several of her books, including The Next Together–how fun! I wish I would have known that before reading this one. I’ll include the link here. Have fun listening! 

The Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer

TheSeaWasaFairMaster_CoverThe Sea Was a Fair Master by Calvin Demmer
Publisher/Year: Unnerving, 2018
Format: E-book
Pages: 83
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Summary (from author)

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.

The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.

For the sea was a fair master.

CalvinDemmer_PhotoAbout the Author

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.



What I thought

This was my first time reading flash fiction, and I’ll be totally honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m all about development, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about stories that were all less than 5 pages long, especially stories from several of my favorite genres. But I have to say, these were pretty darn good stories! As with any collection, I prefer some over others, but I really did enjoy a majority of them. Since they were so short, I wanted to take my time with them, so I only read one or two per day so that they would linger with me. And I’ll tell you what, Demmer really knows how to pack a punch in just a handful of words! Overall, I was truly impressed. I’m definitely curious to see what this author could do within the realm of short stories or even with a novel!

Thank you very much to Calvin Demmer for providing me with a digital copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my review.

Twice 22: The Golden Apples of the Sun / A Medicine for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury


Twice 22: The Golden Apples of the Sun / A Medicine for Melancholy by Ray Bradbury
Publisher/Year: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Summary (from Goodreads)

Twice twenty-two makes forty-four–a multiplication that explodes into nightmare fireworks when the twenty-two (and the forty-four) happen to be the number of collected stories in a collection by Ray Bradbury. For the first time, two complete books by the acknowledged Grand Master of fantasy and science fiction are here brought together: The Golden Apples of the Sun and A Medicine for Melancholy.

But of course it would be a mistake to call Bradbury a “science fiction” or a “fantasy” writer: he uses elements from both forms in the way a painter uses pigments. He can create images of the darkness and density of, say, “A Sound of Thunder”–a strange parable of the Faustian lust to conquer Time–and at the same time evokes the haunting delicacy and lightness of fifth century China in a story like “The Flying Machine.” His “All in a Summer Day” is an indelible portrait of a child’s torment and isolation; his “The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit,” a splashy mural wild with gaiety. Endlessly, he subjects the reader, under his commanding power, to worlds as redolent with reverie, humor, and fear as those of Hawthorne or Poe or Kafka–worlds which have given him a multitudinous audience, including such men as W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, and Dylan Thomas.

What I thought

I think it’s safe to say that Ray Bradbury has officially made it onto the list of my favorite authors. This man is just a brilliant writer, simply put. I am so very glad I stumbled upon this collection of short stories.

Bradbury is a master of his craft, and nowhere is this more evident than in his short stories. Usually with a collection of short stories, it ends up being pretty 50-50 for me–some I like, some I don’t. With the exception of a few (and I’m talking 3-4 out of 44), I really loved these. There was a little bit of everything here; it wasn’t just one genre or another. And his stories are short & sweet, if you will, which I liked. They weren’t drawn out unnecessarily, and they got to the point. Bradbury has such a way with words that this brevity really worked. He describes things in a way that you’ve never thought of but that makes perfect sense. This makes his stories come vividly to life without the need of cumbersome back story. I truly have no other words–his stories are beautiful.

All in all, I enjoyed this collection immensely and it is not to be missed for Bradbury fans. I can definitely see myself revisiting this in the future. If you are a fan of the short story and are looking for some incisive, artful stories, look no further –Ray Bradbury’s your man.

The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub


The Talisman by Stephen King & Peter Straub
Publisher/Year: Berkley Books, 1985
Format: Mass market paperback
Pages: 770
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟


Synopsis (from Goodreads)

On a brisk autumn day, a thirteen-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America–and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother’s life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more.

Let the quest begin. . . .


What I thought

Update – 2017 

There’s something about summertime reading that puts me in the mood for epic adventures,
so it was high time for another visit to see Jack Sawyer.

In looking back over my previous review, my thoughts, including my rating,
have stayed pretty much the same. There were a few things of note for me this time.
If it’s possible to do so, I loved Wolf even more. I’ve always loved Jack, but I was actually surprised by how much I appreciated Richard’s character this time. I had so much more empathy for him–I felt pretty sorry for the kid.

As for my rating, it stays the same ultimately because I much prefer Stephen King’s writing when he’s working alone than when he’s writing with Peter Straub. I can’t quite put my finger on why,
but I know I can tell the difference between their writing styles.

All told, I still very much enjoyed this novel the second time around & I think that’s a sign you’ve got an excellent book in your hands.

Initial review – 2011


Hear that? That was me finally releasing the breath I’d been holding for the last 300 pages.

This book may be thick as a brick, but it reads very quickly. At first, I have to admit, I wasn’t too sure of it. As you all probably are aware, I’m a <i>huge</i> Stephen King fan, but I haven’t read anything by Peter Straub. I was a bit nervous and a bit excited to see how the two worked together. And at first, it was a little jarring for me. It didn’t take long for me to settle down into the story, however, and get sucked into this epic tale. Speaking of which, this journey of a boy on a noble quest is certainly a perfect story for those who enjoy tales of epic proportions. I was actually pleasantly surprised, as well, by how much this book reminded me of The Dark Tower series but also by how it was as much its own tale.

There were characters to love and characters to despise. The character development that I love so much in King’s tales were definitely present here. Jack was the perfect protagonist, leaving readers rooting for him along the way, but also with enough flaws to make him seem real. Besides Jack, though, my favorite character (right here and now) was most definitely Wolf. He’s such a loveable, goofy, yet loyal guy—my favorite kind of sidekick.

Besides the characterization, the descriptive passages are to die for and the stream-of-consciousness parts worked well, producing the effect they were meant to. I was transported into this story, totally and completely. I mean, I was there. My heart would race, my heart would fall, my heart would leap. This is one of those stories you just can’t help but react to, although it was quite as scary as I was expecting. Scary in the sense that there are some really really evil characters, but I wasn’t quite as scared reading this as I have been reading some of King’s other books. I couldn’t stop thinking about it after I put it down. I’d be at working, daydreaming (no pun intended) about the Territories. I didn’t want it to end. But now that it has, I supposed I have The Black House to look forward to…

Once again, I would definitely recommend this to fans of epic tales, the Dark Tower series or Stephen King in general.


Under the Dome by Stephen King


Under the Dome by Stephen King
Publisher/Year: Scribner, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 1074
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟



Synopsis (from Goodreads)

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.

What I thought

Man, oh, man–nothing feels as good as reading a new (to me) book by your favorite author. I am honestly at a loss for words, I just loved this THAT much, so here goes nothing. I’m a slow reader & I’ve just recently started back to work, so it did take me a month to get through this mammoth. But it was SO difficult to put down & when I did find myself with a chunk of reading time, I flew through the pages.

For me, where King KILLS it is his characters (both literally & figuratively, I guess). And that was really his purpose with this one. I don’t think the where’s & why’s of the Dome are as important as the people involved. This really was like one giant experiment–what would happen if a small town of people was left completely to its own devices? Would “good” prevail? Or “evil”?

And speaking of evil–King just has this knack for writing excellent villains. I mean, certain characters, like Big Jim Rennie & Carter Thibodeau, actually made my blood pressure rise. I physically felt the urge to strangle them. If that’s not good writing, I don’t know what is. Obviously, the same can be said of the “good guys”–I rooted for them so much it hurt at times. What it comes down to is that this is precisely why I love King so much–I was so invested in these characters’ outcomes, it made a nearly 1100-page read seem effortless.

There are other things I loved about what King did with this story, but I don’t want to go into too much detail or give anything away. I will say things got pretty gory & gruesome at times, but personally, I LOVE the way King does it. Every time I think I’ve seen him at his gnarliest, he never fails to make me cringe & say, “oh…my…GOD!” or “…EW.”

I will also just say this–I really loved the “ants under a magnifying glass” concept & found that it gave the story a good amount of depth. I thought it was a totally thought-provoking idea & I know it will stay on my mind for some time to come.

Overall, I thought this was another fantastic read from King, and I’m kicking myself for the fact that it took me so long to get to it. Under the Dome has certainly landed itself among my favorites!

World War Z by Max Brooks


World War Z by Max Brooks
Publisher/Year: Broadway Paperbacks, 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 342
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟



We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z is the only record of the plague years.

What I thought

Let me begin by saying that, as I read, I had to keep reminding myself that this was a work of fiction. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to read this, then I think you & I are done here.

I do need to back up a few steps here & go over a few of the things I wasn’t crazy about. First of all, this is absolutely not a book with any form of character development. When the subtitle says “an oral history,” that’s what it literally means. This interview format is not one I’m used to, but it did lend itself to making this read like non-fiction–really engaging non-fiction. There were some interviews I really enjoyed & others not so much, but I feel like that goes without saying. The only other thing that I didn’t really care for with the interview format was that, depending on who he was talking to, some of the interviews went into WAY too much detail about politics or weaponry, but that’s just me.

Another thing that’s worth noting before starting this is that this book is literally NOTHING like the movie, which is good because the movie was awful. FAST zombies? No, thanks.

Where this book shines is that it is a highly intelligent, highly plausible take on what would probably happen in the event of a zombie outbreak. It’s very evident that Max Brooks did his research, particularly in regards to global politics & human nature. I also want to note, there were some pretty gruesome scenes (which I was all about), but this wasn’t scary, at least to me. Unnerving maybe, but not scary.

Overall, if you’re into this sort of thing, the believability alone is worth checking out, but to the casual zombie/horror fan, be aware of the non-traditional (and at times, detail heavy) format. Definitely recommend!

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley



BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
Publisher/Year: The Modern Library, 1932
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 311
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟




Brave New World is a brilliantly satiric novel about life six centuries from now (in “632 After Ford”), the Utopian era in which science has, with juggernaut indifference, triumphed. It is an era of perfect stability, control, conformity. There are, for example, no mothers or fathers because babies are mass-produced from chemical solutions in laboratory bottles; children are completely conditioned for their designated roles as adults in a precisely ordered society. Into this incredible world comes Bernard Marx, hatched in an excessively alcoholic prenatal solution, with ideas worthy of the primitive twentieth century.

This is a shocking, fantastic novel, rich in witty entertainment and biting comment. Its status as a classic increases steadily as what seemed imaginary fiction becomes each day more of a reality.

What I thought

I have no idea where to start with my thoughts on this one.

I stand by what I said early on in my reading: “sometimes unsettling, sometimes utterly captivating, sometimes really odd, and sometimes downright creepy.”

I can absolutely see what makes this a classic. There was just so much to contemplate, and I know that this book will stand up to multiple readings. I would like to own a copy just so I can go back & see what else I can get out of this read.

Between the ideas of eugenics, clones, social conditioning from conception, and that creepy hypnopedia, this book from the outset really disturbed me. Add to that the artificial “happiness” created by recreational drugs, recreational sex, and recreational sports, and you have a “brave new world” that I truly hope never becomes reality. It was rather interesting & thought provoking, but I definitely echo the sentiments of John when he says, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

Again, I feel like I’m having a hard time articulating my thoughts on this book. It was so fascinating, and so different from books that I normally read & enjoy. Even though I just finished it, I definitely plan to re-read it at some point because I know I’ll get more out of it each time.

A modern classic, dystopian/science fiction, utopian satire…this is a must read for fans of those genres.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed‘s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.




Publisher/Year: Penguin/Razorbill, 2011
Source: My own shelf
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 398 pages
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟





Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends–and planet–behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship.

Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed‘s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside a tiny world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed‘s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.

Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship’s cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed‘s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

What I thought:

I have this tendency to shy away from science fiction. I’m not sure where it comes from. I’d like to say it’s because technical jargon doesn’t do it for me, but I don’t think that’s quite it. One of my favorite genres is fantasy & while it doesn’t have technical jargon necessarily, it does usually involve some pretty extensive world building.

While I wouldn’t necessarily classify this book as heavy science fiction, it was an awesome intro to the genre for a reader like me. I discovered this book when it exploded through the YA book blogging world a few years ago. Despite the STUNNING cover & all the hype, I was admittedly nervous to begin this.

Now that I’ve finished, I can say 2 things right off the bat: 1) I shouldn’t have been nervous 2) I NEED books #2 & #3 ASAP.

As for the science fiction element, I truly did not have trouble following the world as Amy & Elder knew it on Godspeed. I think what really helped was having a character (Amy) who was being introduced to this world alongside the reader. That is seriously my favorite world building strategy. Elder was also learning as he went, too. Between the dual narrative, Beth’s easy to read writing style, and the near constant revelations & action…this was an absolute pageturner for me.

Although I did guess one of the plot reveals, I really wasn’t bothered because it seemed like every two pages, I was thinking, “OMG whaaaaaat” or “WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THIS SHIP?!” Especially in the last ~100 pages.

On another note, there were a few technical descriptions of the ship, but I never felt bogged down. For the most part, I just got lost in this story. I love those books that you sit down to read & the next time you look up, it’s however many hours later & you’re hundreds of pages further in the story. Across the Universe is one of those books.

A few other random thoughts I had:

–The beginning of Amy’s story truly freaked me out. Being frozen but semi-conscious for TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS?! ::shudder::

–Amy’s version of life on the ship was brilliant. It made me feel SO claustrophobic.

–I watched an interview Beth did a few years ago, during which she talked about being born & raised in a small town & what that meant to her. It was so interesting to see how that came out in the story.

–Another thing I really loved was how the romance kind of took a backseat in this one. I thought the budding romance was very sweet, don’t get me wrong, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes. I just thought it was nice to see that the romance wasn’t the whole story here.

Overall, I really loved this book. I think it was a great intro to a genre I haven’t read much of, and now, I’d like to look into reading more of. I can’t wait to continue this series!!