Book Review: Infinity Squad by Shuvom Ghose

Inifinity SquadIt was really good to get back to some aliens, clones and explosions.

I actually started this back in November – which is the worst month for me to start reading anything because of NaNoWriMo. Needless to say, I didn’t have time to finish the thing at the time. I finally got back to it last weekend. This book came on my radar because it was on my sister’s Goodreads feed and I thought the plot sounded awesome. I got it from Amazon for the low, low price of zero dollars. And you can, too! Right Here.

In this world, the military has the ability to ‘download’ your mind into a cloned body if you die in combat (an infinite number of times, presumably). The narrator is Second Lieutenant Jonah Forrest who becomes the commander of Infinity squad after their First Lieutenant dies (permanently) under mysterious circumstances. The humans are in the midst of a war with the Hell Spiders on a planet far from Earth. Forrest discovers something very interesting about this alien enemy and stuff starts to hit the fan in short order.

The military science fiction I’ve read in the past always moves along at a good clip, not a lot of description or pontificating like fantasy does, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – just different. The focus is on tactics, weapons, explosions- that sort of thing- as opposed to visuals and exhaustive world building. I really liked the narrative voice – it reminded me of Mark Watney from The Martian, but with a lot more swearing. There was also some sexual content, so reader beware.

This was published by an indie author, but again, it doesn’t show. It was entertaining and well paced. The characters were funny and real. The premise was well thought out and executed. Some interesting uses for the clone technology are used in the character’s various exploits, some of which made me laugh out loud.

Verdict: A-.

Thanks for reading!

 

~ebook purchased from Amazon for $0.

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Recent Good Reads – Cinder

Cinder

Before I talk about how awesome this book is, I just wanted to explain my methodology for picking out books at the library – which is where I got my copy of Cinder.

Usually, with my three little people in tow, I –

~Go to the library, parking as far from the door as possible, because let’s face it, those are usually the only parking spots available

~Go straight to the kid’s section and pick out about twenty children’s books whilst the tiny humans play with the library toys (it’s not like we’re there for books or anything), stuffing them all into my $1.49 library tote until the seams can barely take the strain

~Gather the herd and shamble back up toward the front desk, with my little lambs trailing behind, tripping unsuspecting strangers and getting distracted by the water fountain

~Send the two older ones off to look at the fish tank while struggling to hold onto my purse -which is really heavy – and the tote – which is now really heavy – and my two year-old son – who, though not a chubby kid, is quite heavy and wiggly and who, if released in the library would wreak havoc and devastation the likes of which would make librarians the world over weep into their Ovaltine

~ Take two seconds to pick out books for myself  and shuffle back up to the front desk before the combined weight I’m carrying will simply break me in half.

~ And, finally, digging through my purse for my library card while simultaneously trying to keep the previously mentioned master of chaos from touching everything on the check-out counter.

So…my book choosing strategy has to be super quick. I ask myself three questions: “Is the title interesting?”, “Do I like the cover?” and “Do the first few sentences on the back cover make this thing worth reading?”

Sometimes…I don’t bother with #3. Sometimes I only bother with one of the three…Usually #2.

That’s it. I’m pretty much a marketer’s dream. You know, if I was actually paying for the books.

I especially like this strategy at our library because they often have racks and racks of books waiting to be re-shelved, especially in the Young Adult section. So I don’t even have to take them off the shelf and put them back if I decided I don’t want it. The frazzled mom’s dream!

The only problem with this strategy is that sometimes (read: most of the time) disappointing books have interesting covers or interesting titles. I have picked up a lot of not-so-great books this way. This one, for example. *sigh* I’ve picked up some really good books, too. Like PathfinderThe Secret Hour, and, more recently, Crash.

“Relevance?” you’re asking yourselves. Well, I had, in fact, on a previous occasion not so long ago, picked Cinder up at the library using the method described above and then proceeded to not read it, which often happens when you have a stack of books you’re not quite sure about… The due date came and alas, it went back to the library unread.

Fast forward six months or so and my favorite podcast mentions how awesome is it. I, however, was heading out of town. So I went to the library’s digital catalog and put a hold on it.

Having read it now, I was a fool…a fool(!) for sending it back to the library unread.

I’ve heard this book pitched as Cinderella with cyborgs, which, though true, does it a disservice. Personally, I’m getting kind of tired of formulaic YA books. Cinderella is, like, the origin of this trope of every conflict in the story culminating in a dance. A trope that’s SO overused that if there were a list of YA Ten Commandments, the first would be “THOU SHALT NOT HAVE A DANCE.” I feel like every YA book I’ve read recently has a stupid dance at the end where all the things happen. Gah! I can’t stand it! Thus, though I liked the cover of Cinder, it went straight back to the library the first time I checked it out.

Cinder was fantastic despite borrowing from an overused premise.

The thing I liked the most about the book was that it wasn’t predictable. The author takes some of the these Cinderella story tropes and cleverly turns them on their head, but it’s not a plot point by plot point re-hash.

And Cinder’s a cyborg. Come on, that’s pretty awesome – though, in the story her Cyborg-ism(?) causes the girl some issues. Naturally.

It was a fun read with well written and likable characters. I really enjoyed the main character’s voice. The Prince’s chapters were also great – I wasn’t impatiently waiting to get back to Cinder’s point of view.

It’s refreshing to just get lost in the storytelling for once. I couldn’t put this one down until I’d finished, even though that ended up being 4:30 in the morning (Obviously, I’m an adult at the height of responsible behavior).

I really can’t wait to read the next one. Well done Marissa Meyer. Well done.

 

* This post contains links for Amazon Affiliates.

 

Recent Good Reads – The Hollow City

This is the first in a series of regular posts that I’m calling ‘Recent Good Reads’ – because I read a lot – and I do like to talk about the books I read – but the only other adult in my house doesn’t share my passion for reading (I still love him, though) – so, congratulations(!) – you, dear readers will be subjected to my ramblings instead. (it’s an excessive hyphens sort of day)

Hollow City

Today’s book is The Hollow City by Dan Wells.

I got this book from my parents last Christmas and it’s been chillin’ on my shelf ever since (I did get a massive stack of books last Christmas and I make regular trips to the library so, you know, I have plenty of lame excuses). I read it as a reward for surviving NaNoWriMo. As I usually don’t do any reading during November, now I’m behind on my yearly goal of 50. I have ten more to go. Thank you GoodReads for helping me keep track (and reminding me that I’m six books behind and failing at life – so helpful of you).

I love Dan Wells’ books.

I’d never read anything in the horror genre, before picking up I Am Not A Serial Killer, but I’d been listening to the Writing Excuses podcast for awhile and wanted to check out his work. I loved I Am Not A Serial Killer, so I went and bought the rest of the series and loved those, too. And then there’s Partials – which is YA Sci-Fi (probably Stacy’s favorite genre). It’s awesome, you should read it – and Fragments is even better, so you should read that one, too.

Dan Wells is meticulous. You can tell the man does his research and really thinks about the worlds he creates. And then he comes up with these wonderful, flawed characters (sociopaths, schizophrenics, androids) and he makes us care about them and root for them.

I don’t even know how to classify The Hollow City – sci-fi horror maybe?

I didn’t know if I was going to like it – and only vaguely recalled what it was about (too lazy to read the front cover blurb) – but I couldn’t put it down!

One of the things that makes this book interesting is that you have a completely unreliable narrator. The main character, Michael, has schizophrenia so as a reader, you’re really not sure what’s real and what isn’t. And his thought process is absolutely fascinating. I was convinced that his delusions were real and Mr. Wells presents Michael’s point of view in such a way that his delusions and reasons for believing them made perfect sense.

And then the plot went in some unexpected directions…hey, I like being able to figure stuff out before I get to the reveal, but I like not knowing, too.

Conclusion: Dan Wells just writes fantastic books. Go check this one out!

 

* This post contains links for Amazon Affiliates.