Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer

archenemies

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they’re each other’s worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City – and the world – as they know it.

Archenemies (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer
Published November 6, 2018, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: e-book; 560 pages
Young Adult / Fantasy
Also By This Author: Renegades, The Lunar Chronicles Series (including Stars Above)
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

Originally this series was set to be a duology instead of a trilogy, so when Marissa Meyer announced that she was extending her series into three books, I was really excited! I love the worlds and characters Marissa Meyer creates, so of course I wanted to see more.

The Renegades and the Anarchists are two polarizing groups of prodigies–humans with supernatural abilities. The Renegades are society’s leaders, politicians, and role models. They enact laws and maintain the peace in Gatlon City. The Anarchists are a group of terrorists who were driven underground after the defeat of their leader, Ace Anarchy.

Ace’s niece, Nova (alias Nightmare), has a special mission: to infiltrate the Renegades from the inside. Fueled by her desire for vengeance against the council members she holds responsible for the deaths of her entire family, Nova has earned herself a respectable reputation as a quickly rising Renegade. But now she finds herself in an endless battle with her conscience. She wants to fight for her Anarchist allies while also defending the genuinely honorable Renegades, like Adrian.

Adrian has his own secrets. As the son of the most famous Renegades, Adrian takes his responsibility as a model citizen of society very seriously, except for when he transforms into the Sentinel, his second alter-ego and a wanted vigilante. Adrian has done some questionable things as the Sentinel, but all in the pursuit of Nightmare, whom he believes knows his mother’s murderer. In Archenemies, Adrian and Nova’s secret identities are threatened to be revealed while the Renegades roll out a morally questionable weapon and the Anarchists hatch a plan to restore their power in society.

The moral argument surrounding the Renegades’ new weapon was one of the most interesting and engaging parts of the novel, the full effects off which won’t be felt until the third book. While I wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.Although I was initially excited about a trilogy, I do see how the series could have probably been contained into two books instead of three. There were times when the plot dragged on a bit, and overall this book was less suspenseful than Renegades, as it focused more on the characters’ inner battles instead of physical fights between the Renegades and Anarchists. It was still an intriguing novel that I had a hard time putting down, especially towards the end when things start to really happen. I just wish there had been more at stake in Archenemies. I’m still looking forward to the end of the series! I have no theories about how Marissa Meyer is going to wrap this plot up, so I’m interested to see what’s in store for Nova, Adrian, and the rest of the prodigies.

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The Delphi EffectRed Risingimg_1833

The Delphi Revolution (The Delphi Trilogy #3) by Rysa Walker

A psychotic killer hijacked her mind and her body. She’s taking them back.

Eighteen-year-old Anna Morgan is on the run from the very government project that created her abilities. Now they seek to weaponize the gift she doesn’t want and can’t control: the invasion of her mind and her body by spirits, some of whom have their own unusual powers. Her latest “hitcher” is a former top Delphi executive. Unlike Anna’s previous guests, this one has taken over, and he’s on a personal mission of revenge.

The target is Senator Ronald Cregg, a corrupt, power-hungry presidential candidate. One of Delphi’s creators, he’s now manipulating the public into believing “psychic terrorists” are a scourge to be eliminated. There’s only one way to stop him, but Anna draws the line at murder.

Pulled into a dark conspiracy, Anna struggles to reclaim her body, mind, and soul as she and the other Delphi psychics join together to fight for their right to exist.

The Delphi Revolution by Rysa Walker
Published October 9, 2018 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 528 pages
Young Adult / Paranormal Fantasy / Science Fiction
Also By This Author: The Delphi Effect, The Delphi Resistance, Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide
Goodreads | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥

Thoughts

After a climactic ending to The Delphi Resistance, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion to Rysa Walker’s Delphi Effect series. I had so many questions and curiosities after the second book! When I started The Delphi Revolution, I was a bit confused because there is a noticeable jump in time from the ending of book two to the start of book three. I actually ended up rereading The Delphi Resistance thinking I had forgotten how it had ended; but no, book three starts abruptly without a quick recap of previous events. Instead, Anna is having unexplained blackouts weeks after her run in with Graham Cregg, and there seems to be some distance between Anna and the rest of the characters.

Eventually, the gaps are filled in, the characters continue their quest to take down Senator Cregg, and the plot thickens. A lot of the supporting characters that were introduced in the previous two books have a deeper role in The Delphi Revolution. Unfortunately, there was a lot more telling than showing in this final installment. The first two books in this series also have thick, political storylines, but there seemed to be so much summary in The Delphi Revolution that it was hard to stay connected to the plot at times. The ending was unfortunately anticlimactic for this very reason, and much of the suspense was lost overall.

One thing I did enjoy about the series overall, and wished that there could have been more of, was the fantasy side of the story. I loved the special abilities of the “adepts”, and the scenes where they were more present and spotlighted were the most enjoyable for me.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy novels with thick political plot lines, especially concerning government conspiracies.
…you’re a fan of paranormal fantasy and sci-fi.
…you are looking for a new thriller or series to dive into.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Revolution in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!

All the Answers by Kate Messner

All the Answers

What if your pencil had all the answers? Would you ace every test? Would you know what your teachers were thinking?

When Ava Anderson finds a scratched up pencil she doodles like she would with any other pencil. But when she writes a question in the margin of her math quiz, she hears a clear answer in a voice no one else seems to hear.

With the help of her friend Sophie, Ava figures out that the pencil will answer factual questions only – those with definite right or wrong answers – but won’t predict the future. Ava and Sophie discover all kinds of uses for the pencil, and Ava’s confidence grows with each answer. But it’s getting shorter with every sharpening, and when the pencil reveals a scary truth about Ava’s family, she realizes that sometimes the bravest people are the ones who live without all the answers..

All the Answers by Kate Messner
Published January 27, 2015 by Bloomsbury
Format: Netgalley* e-book; 256 pages
Childrens/Fantasy/Magical Realism
Also By This Author: Capture the Flag, Over and Under the Snow, Marty McGuire
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

Before I get to my review, I have a little story for you all. Around three and a half years ago when I became a book blogger I joined a site called Netgalley. If you’re a book reviewer, you are probably familiar with this site, but if you’re not, it’s where book bloggers can request ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of prepublished books, and publishers will accept or deny these requests. Netgalley only releases e-books or e-galleys of ARCs, not hard copies. For anyone who has used Netgalley, you will be able to relate to me: it is SO TEMPTING to request ALL THE BOOKS. That’s basically what happened to me when I first joined. Since I was brand new, I assumed I would maybe get approved for a book or two. So I requested 20+ books during my first week on the site. I was only denied 6. Fast forward three years and I still have 6 books from 2014 to review (and I want to review them all, so here I am, ticking away at those stragglers).

On a whim last week I decided to finally read All the Answers. It’s been a while since I’ve read any Middle Grade books (the last one being Serafina and the Black Cloak, which I was really disappointed in), but this one just sounded interesting. It’s a light fantasy book, and that’s not really a good description for it because it’s more in the realm of magical realism, a genre I actually really enjoy. The few things I’ve written personally have been in the magical realism genre.

All the Answers was refreshing. I always enjoy reading novels with themes of mental health, and reading about Ava’s journey as she struggles with anxiety reminded me of my own early teenage years. Ava is a worrier; she worries about math tests, she worries about falling down in front of classmates, but most of all she worries about her family. Sometimes she worries so much that she has an anxiety attack, and she is seeing a counselor to help her overcome these attacks. I should say that while this book focuses on Ava’s battle with fear and anxiety, it’s done so in a realistically encouraging way.

As a protagonist, Ava was so easy to like and relate to. She has a good heart and a strong mind, and she would make an excellent role model for any preteen struggling with worrying and anxiety. Middle School is a tough time for every teenager, and I’m glad that there are positive novels like All the Answers for them to turn to.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own!

 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising.jpg

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies…even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown
Published January 28, 2014 by Del Rey
Format: Hardcover; 382 pages
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Dystopian
Also By This Author: Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

There is SO MUCH packed into this novel that I am not even going to attempt to write out all of my thoughts. Instead, I am going to play a little game (since this book revolves around a game of sorts) called Top 3 Takeaways (I just made that up but I like it so I’ll probably use it for future reviews).

Top 3 Takeaways from Red Rising

  1. Nothing is black or white, everything is grey, and all’s fair (but not necessarily forgivable) in love & war: That’s a mouthful, so let me break it down. Red Rising is about war and revolution. It’s messy. It’s tragic. It’s violent (trigger warning: there are scenes involving rape, murder, torture, and enslavement). But both sides are shown and analyzed and the protagonists and antagonists all have realistically complex motives, making this novel full of grey lines. Sometimes Darrow does some unforgivable things. Sometimes you want his enemies to survive. In no way is this an easy novel to read. As Joey from Friends would say, it’s a “put it in the freezer” kind of book.
  2. Character building is better than world building: It took me a while to get into Red  Rising because the first several chapters are mostly world building, which can be rather boring and overbearing at times. I had to push through until Darrow made some frenemies, and then the novel started to get interesting. Those characters are what really grew and challenged Darrow, and the chapters when he is collaborating and conversing with the Golds are far more enjoyable than the first third of the novel when readers are learning about Mars and the Society and the mine where Darrow is from. If you’ve already read this novel, I will let you know that Chapter 36 is my favorite because of the brilliant way in which Darrow is stretched and empowered as a leader and a revolutionary.
  3. A book can be good or enjoyable without being original: The best way to succinctly describe Red Rising is by calling it a cross between three other dystopian science fiction novels: The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. During a few moments in this book I honestly felt I was reading about The Capitol of Panem, and The Institute that Darrow “studies” at is just a high school, co-ed version of Lord of the Flies with much more violence and savagery. Darrow is also very similar to Ender Wiggin, an outsider prodigy who doesn’t play by the rules. I found both characters to be slightly untrustworthy at times, unlike Katniss Everdeen who is steadfast, moral, and a character I could trust with my life.

Overall, this book produced good and bad reactions out of me, but I think its praise is deserved, even if the dystopian Society is reminiscent of other novels. Red Rising will still keep you up until all hours of the morning with cliffhanging chapters and unpredictable characters.

You May Also Enjoy

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for the dystopian society)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (for the psychology behind war & survival)
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (for the sci-fi and war games)

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades.jpg

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both

Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Published November 7, 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Format: Netgalley* e-book; 556 pages
Young Adult/Fantasy
Also By This Author: The Lunar Chronicles Series (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above), Heartless
Goodreads | Amazon | Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts

When a book makes me cry during the prologue, I know I’m in for a fantastic read! I tend to rate books based on the emotional impact they have on me, and I have given books an extra star rating before just because they’ve managed to make me cry. The prologue to Renegades connected me instantly with the antihero, Nova, and I can honestly say she is one of the most interesting characters I’ve encountered in a book before. She is fierce, intelligent, and confident, and even though she’s intimidating to her enemies, I would love to be friends with her in real life.

Nova is an Anarchist, a group of exiled rebels who have been living in abandoned subway tunnels ever since the Renegades defeated them ten years before the novel takes place. The Renegades are Gatlon City’s beloved superheroes, leaders, politicians…basically they do everything and are loved by everyone, except the Anarchists. Nova hates The Renegades, and would like nothing more than to shatter their perfect image that the city idolizes. Adrian is a Renegade legacy, and he is good (honestly, he’s such a pure character, like a perfectly compassionate All-American brainiac with glasses–too many adjectives?). It’s no surprise that Nova feels conflicted about her mission the more time she spends with Adrian.

When I finished Renegades, I had SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’s one of those books that stays on your mind for a few days afterwards while you unpack and analyze everything. This book ends on a major cliffhanger that seriously had me questioning one character’s entire point of view (not really a spoiler, but I felt like one character was revealed to be an unreliable narrator, which of course had me as a reader feeling betrayed!). The sequel (and conclusion) to Renegades had already been announced before I started reading this book, so a cliffhanger wasn’t a huge surprise for me, but the actual cliffhanger was shocking and I did not see it coming. I’m definitely excited to read the finale later this year!

Read This Book If…

…you are a fan of The Hunger Gamesor other dystopian novels that feature a fierce female main character (seriously, Nova is awesome).
…you love superhero movies!
…you enjoy reading books from the POV of a villain or antihero.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own!

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker

Delphi Resistance

Struggling with evolving psychic abilities, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan and her equally exceptional friends are on the run from the ruthless Graham Cregg, leader of a covert operation known as the Delphi Project. Cregg has already killed repeatedly to test Anna’s ability. Now, he and his father, a presidential contender, will stop at nothing to recapture the Delphi adepts, whom they see as weapons to be controlled—or destroyed.

Navigating an increasingly hostile landscape, Anna and her friends form a resistance to rescue those still in the Creggs’ fatal grip. As more gifted kids vanish and public awareness of the Delphi Project grows, so does the opinion that getting rid of the adepts may be a necessary evil.

Yet even as they face off against cold-blooded killers, government operatives, and a public intensely afraid of their psychic powers, the greatest threat to Anna and the resistance may come from within themselves—and their own mysterious abilities could spell their ultimate downfall.

The Delphi Resistance (The Delphi Trilogy #2) by Rysa Walker
Published October 24, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: Netgalley e-book; 456 pages
Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Also By This Author: The Delphi EffectTimebound
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Thoughts:

First off, I love this cover. The splotches of blue and purple look so well together (also, they’re my two favorite colors!), and the sphere in the middle reminds me of a black hole, even though this book series has nothing to do with black holes or space travel.

My favorite thing about this series so far has been the characters, especially the ones with special abilities. In The Delphi Effect, we mostly see Anna with one “hitcher”, as she calls them. Towards the end of the book, however, as the plot and conspiracies grow deeper, Anna takes on multiple hitchers and her self-control and focus are pushed to the limit as she tries not to be pushed to the backseat of her consciousness. In The Delphi Resistance, Anna consistently has multiple hitchers, but she has learned how to keep control, even during stressful situation (these hitchers are more friendly than some of the ones we met at the end of Delphi Effect.

Similarly to its prequel, The Delphi Resistance has more exposition scenes and fewer high-intensity action scenes, although there are two really suspenseful ones in this novel. The characters spend weeks researching, investigating, and, in Taylor’s case, tracking down key people in the Delphi Project. I believe this reflects Rysa Walker’s own writing habits, as I know she is a history buff who loves researching real events for her novels. It’s one of the biggest things I admire about her as an author :)

The ending to The Delphi Resistance came suddenly, and I’m anxious to read the final installment of the series next year. I’m really excited to find out what’s going on with some of the “gifted” characters, like Daniel, and the boy Anna first encounters at The Warren.

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Delphi Resistance in exchange for an honest review. These thoughts are my own!

The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker – Audiobook Review

The Delphi Effect

It’s never wise to talk to strangers…and that goes double when they’re dead. Unfortunately, seventeen-year-old Anna Morgan has no choice. Resting on a park bench, touching the turnstile at the Metro station—she never knows where she’ll encounter a ghost. These mental hitchhikers are the reason Anna has been tossed from one foster home and psychiatric institution to the next for most of her life.

When a chance touch leads her to pick up the insistent spirit of a girl who was brutally murdered, Anna is pulled headlong into a deadly conspiracy that extends to the highest levels of government. Facing the forces behind her new hitcher’s death will challenge the barriers, both good and bad, that Anna has erected over the years and shed light on her power’s origins. And when the covert organization seeking to recruit her crosses the line by kidnapping her friend, it will discover just how far Anna is willing to go to bring it down.

The Delphi Effect (The Delphi Trilogy #1) by Rysa Walker
Published October 11, 2017 by Skyscape
Format: e-book/e-audiobook; 379 pages/12 hours
Young Adult / Fantasy / Paranormal
Also By This Author: The CHRONOS Files Series (Timebound, Time’s Edge, Time’s Divide)
Goodreads | Audible | Amazon Author’s Website
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 

Thoughts

Once again, I bought a Rysa Walker book and then didn’t start reading it until MONTHS later. Let’s just say I was waiting until book 2’s release date was close so that I wouldn’t have to wait long in-between (this is true! I just received an advanced copy of The Delphi Resistance, which comes out next month, so I’ll be starting that ASAP!). My husband actually finished this book before me, and I’m so glad that we both enjoy Rysa’s novels because it’s fun to discuss and digest them together.

This series is more fantastical than I had been expecting. Her previous series is a solid sci-fi tale, and while The Delphi Effect can definitely be classified as sci-fi, it was more in the fantasy/paranormal realm. Our protagonist Anna is able to converse with spirits, particularly spirits of deceased persons who are unable to move on. I guess you can say they are stuck in purgatory, and they try to convince Anna to help them with their unfinished business. Sometimes that unfinished business is easy, like finishing a crossword puzzle or making sure someone’s beloved pet was adopted. But other times Anna has difficult, even dangerous hitch hikers. Such is the case with Molly, a murder victim, and who unintentionally catapults Anna into a secretive government conspiracy.

Rysa Walker is very skilled at world building. She is a history buff, and she always weaves her stories into real-life events. I also love how detailed and intricate she makes her characters’ powers. In The CHRONOS Files, the main character has the genetic ability to time travel. In The Delphi Effect, Anna and many of the characters she meets have supernatural abilities: ability to converse with spirits, power of persuasion, visions of the future, etc. I really enjoyed visualizing all of these different abilities, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more of this series. The Delphi Resistance comes out in October, and the final book, The Delphi Revolution, will probably be released next year.

Audiobook Review

If you’ve ever hesitated about buying a Kindle, let me persuade you (with my supernatural powers of persuasion…): Amazon has this feature called Wispersync. When you buy an e-book, you are then able to purchase the audiobook (at a much cheaper price) and switch back and forth between reading and narration within the Kindle app. I had already bought the first two CHRONOS Files novels when my husband wanted to read them as well, and since he prefers audiobooks so he can listen at work (he does drafting so lucky for him he can put in headphones and tune the office out), I went to buy the Audible version and found out about Whispersync. It cost me between $20-$25 to buy three e-books and the corresponding audiobooks! It usually costs that much for ONE audiobook. I don’t know if this feature is available for every e-book, but it’s worth a try. I don’t even think you really need a Kindle; just an Amazon account and the Kindle app.

Now, onto the audiobook review. Kate Rudd narrates this series, and she narrated The CHRONOS Files as well. I love her narration. She does a great job with the characters’ different voices and accents, and I would be highly inclined to listen to any audiobook that she narrates. Even though I only have an advanced e-book version of The Delphi Resistance, I still plan on buying the published e-book/audiobook copies via Whispersync, especially so my husband can continue listening to the series. I will probably be rereading these books sometime. I already want to reread Timebound because Kate Rudd’s voice reminds me (unsurprisingly) of that story and how much I absolutely adore it.

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