Review | Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 402

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.


“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

I’ve survived my first Kristoff book. And when I closed it, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or what I should do with myself. Lifel1k3 is a brilliantly crafted novel I never knew that could exist. And yet, here I am writing a review for it. Now, I understand why so many readers love Kristoff’s work. I’m an instant fan.

Rarely do I find a book that offers everything to readers: a stellar cast, captivating writing and storytelling, explosive worldbuilding, and heartbreaking character growth. But Kristoff exceeds those expectations. I was close in dnfing Lifel1k3, but I’m thrilled that I pushed on to find one of the best books of 2018!

Eve lives with broken memories and in a shattered country once named the US. But in this post-apocalyptic world, she wants nothing more than to survive the next day with her bestie, Lemon Fresh; her logika, Cricket; and her dying grandpa. But when she uncovers Ezekiel, a lifelike, that life is over when she attracts the wrong gang that wants to see her dead.

Other than the worldbuilding, the characters are what win me over with this book. I grew to love Eve. She’s a badass, tough female lead who takes nothing from no one. And as the storyline progresses, I empathize with her once she discovers her past and the lies surrounding it. She may rock a fauxhawk and a cybernetic eye and fight robots in death matches. But by the end, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Her character growth rivals that of well-written characters.

The lifelike, or android, displays more empathy, compassion, love, and humanity than most humans do. Ezekiel is swoon-worthy, but he’s the moral compass to the book. And I love that about him. Lemon Fresh—yes, that’s her name—may be the finest sidekick a woman can ever dream of. I loved the banter and sarcasm she brings to this colourful gang. And I can’t forget to mention Cricket. I can’t imagine I’d love a robot this much, but I never rooted so hard for one in my life!

Kristoff combines Tank Girl, Romeo and Juliet, and Mad Max in this outlandishly wild journey. What excels in this chaos is the worldbuilding. Eve and her cohorts live in the destruction of what was known as Kalifonya, now called the Dregs. Corporations now fight over what is left of the country after the annihilation of lifelikes, which refused to follow the Three Laws, which govern all robotics. Unfortunately, she has attracted unwanted attention from the Brotherhood. This mayhem just enhances the intricate design of the story. And with every chance I got, I reveled in it. Kristoff makes you want to love science fiction all over again.

I’m not sure if I can put into words of my admiration of this author. Even though Lifel1k3 is the first book I’ve read of his, I need the rest so I can tame my need for his writing. Not many authors have that kind of writing power. But Kristoff does. His writing enthralls your imagination from the start. You need to know how the world fell, how society made it this way, and if these characters will survive to the next chapter. This must-read science fiction needs to be on your TBR list.

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Review | War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: May 15, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian

Page Count: 672

Rating: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all…starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?


“I am less than his crown, but he is less than my cause.”

With betrayal and heartache, deadly politics and a revolution, War Storm has the makings of a truly spectacular ending. I cannot remember the last I eagerly awaited for the finale in a series. And while War Storm is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018, I want more. Even if I’ll always hold this series in high regard, I am disappointed. Perhaps I simply expect too much from it.

When I first bought Red Queen, this series immersed me into such a politically charged world. And yes, I admit that the tropes Victoria uses may not sit well with everyone. I cannot fault her for that though. However, I love her writing. And I love how I evolved my reading because of her storytelling. But I want her to take more risks and give Mare the ending she deserves. The finale seems underdeveloped. And I walk away from this series asking for more. Am I the only reader who feels this way? I don’t know.

I think sometimes we readers gamble with stories. We cannot predict what may happen to the characters we love. And we cannot dictate what happens. The story is the author’s design. And Victoria has taken chances many readers do not like. But this ending feels, to me, unfinished. Even though I leave this series disappointed, I credit Victoria for achieving what she has done. I respect her for sticking to the story she decided to write. And she forges her own path.

She weaves in current political issues that affect us today and creates multi-layered, albeit scary, world. And she writes real and conflicted characters readers can relate to. Mare has grown up from the thief roaming the Stilts to the poster child of the revolution. I‘ve cried with her, screamed at her, yet she’ll be one of my favourite characters. Now with Cal, I still want to throttle him. His crown comes before anything, but he soon realizes it isn’t worth the pain.

But Victoria misses an opportunity to make Maven outshine even his own mother. While I hate him, the author doesn’t explore the internal struggle he faces because of what Elara did to him. She offers you glimpses, but I want more from this troubled character.

Evangeline, the magnetron I wish suffered horribly, surprises me the most. And one reason why I enjoyed this book is because of her. Her character growth and overall arc make me root for her. And even though, at first, she’s an unlikeable character, I’ve grown to like her. Was I expecting this? No. Two years ago, I never would have uttered those words.

I will always respect what authors want in their stories. I may not agree with the final product, and I may too high expectations, but the story is their own. The Red Queen series will always have a place on my shelf, but maybe I expect too much from War Storm.

What are your thoughts on the final installment of Red Queen? Did you leave disappointed? What did you love the most from it?

Blog Tour Review: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 660

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Common Deer Press

Goodreads | Common Deer Press | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine–the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.

Then you have to deal with them.


“Immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”

Stop, take a step back, and marvel at this creation. I want to pick apart Collin’s mind because his writing is beyond what I imagined. Collin takes science fiction and flips it upside down. So get ready, world. Here comes Genesis 2.0.

The last survivors of the human race have been lied to. Now their lives have changed, and they must learn to live in a world they don’t understand. Problem is that Brian, the original human malls operational manager (MOM) and general badass who wreaked havoc in the first instalment, is on the warpath with the self-aware artificial intelligence, Sky, who’s in bit of a hurry to reboot herself, and now the heroes may run out of time to save themselves and their loved ones.

I usually write my reviews within the first day or two after reading, but when I finished this book, I had to adjust my thinking, digest what I’ve read, and somehow wrap my head around this impossibly creative world building. Collin adds layer upon layer, and each one is unbelievably complex in its own right. He doesn’t just stick with one arc, whether story or character. He throws in multiple storylines, and somehow, they combine together to make a captivating science fiction story. He makes me want to read that genre.

At first, Collins throws you in a new environment with new characters. Son and his family live in mondoland, the real world outside of the generated realities and the former malls. He, one of the few people to be born after a virus that made everyone sterile, eventually meets up with our favourite characters Cisco and Dee Zu, two tests pilots. And that is where everything goes to hell.

Mondoland, the remnants of our old world, isn’t what MOM, or Sky, made it out to be. No superorganisms are out to kill the rest of the human race. And now since the malls, where the last survivors of humanity lived, are non-operational, and the main characters’ world is completely turned upside down, they must survive in a landscape they’ve never lived in.

Beyond the world building, Collin excels at writing a deeply flawed yet compelling character. Even Sky, the AI, shows her humanity, yet you want to die as much as Brian. But what stands out the most is Cisco and Dee Zu. They lose everything, they realize their lives were built on a lie, and yet they create an incredible bond. I enjoyed reading their scenes, even though they were short. And I’m dying to see how their future plays out in the third novel, which, if you haven’t figured out, I want right now.

I don’t always read science fiction, but I think Collin has convinced me to jump into that world. So here it goes.

Blog Tour Interview: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone!

Guess who’s back on the blog? Collin Piprell! The author of MOM and Genesis 2.0 from the Magic Circles series sat down (digitally) to talk with me about his new book. I’ve been wondering how this insanely thought-up series will go, and finally, we get to find out.

Genesis 2.0 is now available online!

 


Hey, Collin. Welcome back to my blog. I’d like to congratulate you on your latest release, Genesis 2.0!

 

 

  1. You’re on your second novel in your Magic Circles series. Can you explain what’s happening in Genesis 2.0? What are Cisco and your other characters facing?

The book begins with a new character, a young man who negotiates a grueling gauntlet through the terrifying world Outside that we saw in MOM. He eventually encounters survivors of MOM’s cast of characters. Some of these have come to resemble the Olympian gods of old. Cisco himself resembles a hero out of myth, operating in both Aeolia, a virtual realm, and in mondoland, the ruined remnants of the pre-PlagueBot world (real world).

The story involves (1) a titanic contest between our villain-in-chief Brian Finister and the AI that superseded him as MOM (mall operations manager), (2) another contest between the personality alters of the fragmented AI MOM, (3) contests between our young heroes (Cisco, Dee Zu, and Son) and the Olympians (and others), and (4) two different love triangles with all the attendant drama.

 

  1. What surprised me the most is how the former generated reality test pilots don’t know how to survive in the wild (the real world). They’ve lived in malls for most, if not all, of their lives. This dependence on technology smacks you in the face when you read Genesis. Were you hoping for that effect from readers? Is there some message you are hoping to impart?

If there’s a message in that, it’s simply that digital tech and, more so, the qubital tech to come encourages us to outsource our mental faculties to the point we’re in danger of becoming entirely dependent on that technology. (Though Dee Zu and Cisco are uncommonly resourceful, for mallsters, and cope pretty well with losing their qubital umbilicals.)

For a take on the outsourcing theme, you can visit this blog post: “Outsource our minds? What a good idea.” http://www.collinpiprell.com/outsource-our-minds-what-a-good-idea/.

Even without all that, imagine your average modern urbanite reduced to living off the land. Would they have the skills to find food and water, to find adequate shelter or defend themselves against physical threats from animals and other people?

 

  1. Cisco’s (the main character) world has fallen apart. His life is turned upside down at the end of your first book. What is his frame of mind in the sequel? What is he fighting for?

He finds he’s even more in love with the “wet” Dee Zu that he was with the virtual variety. And the Lode has enough of Cisco—enough of the “right stuff,” the properly stressed personal data—that, as he has already proven, he’s capable of ascension as an autonomous ebee to Aeolia, Sky’s qubital alternative to mondoland, or what you refer to above as the “real world.” He wants to ensure that Dee Zu survives long enough the Lode can absorb enough of her data that, should the wet Dee Zu die, she also has this option of a second life in Aeolia.

At the same time, Cisco is co-opted by Sky, serving as her agent in resisting both Brian’s machinations and the attempts of Mildread, one of Sky’s personality alters, to shut down Sky’s Aeolia project.

 

  1. Who or what inspired you to write Brian and Sky (the antagonists)?

Sky, to some limited extent, is a virtual version of the ancient Pygmalion story. A human creation that comes to life in a way that causes people to become infatuated, even sexually embroiled with her. But that’s a real stretch, and is misleading.

Other than that, I wanted an AI with human qualities, at least in part, and discovered a fine source of dramatic conflict between a machine MOM (mall operations manager) who has ascended to self-aware autonomy, and Brian Finister, the megalomaniacal last human MOM, whom she superseded.

 

  1. What was your favourite part in writing Genesis?

I enjoyed writing all its various parts, but maybe I had the most fun with Brian. First of all with his “despatches,” his raving fulminations and attempts to supply a history for a future readership he believes will never exist; and, secondly, with the chapters where his scendent personality fences with the super-intelligent Sky, determined to prevail in the end, no matter how unlikely that outcome appears.

 

  1. Can you give us a glimpse into your third novel, Resurrections?

To reveal the essential theme and plot device would prove a spoiler for readers of Genesis 2.0. The best I can do is say that, underlying MOM and Genesis, we find developments that point towards a game-changing evolutionary emergence. This element is brought to surprising conclusions in Resurrections, and our heroes (including, again, new characters in addition to the old cast) have to cope with these developments, which offer at once huge promise and dire threats for the future.

Blog Tour Spotlight: Genesis 2.0 by Collin Piprell

 

Hey everyone,

This is my first stop on the Genesis 2.0 blog tour! I’ve been curious to see how Collin’s characters have dealt with their lives being turned upside down by a self-aware AI. Genesis 2.0, the sequel in the Magic Circles series, is now available online.

Don’t miss my next two stops tomorrow and Thursday.

But for now, enjoy!

 

Genesis 2.0

Collin Piprell

Publication Date: October 5, 2017

Buy Links: Common Deer Press Website, Amazon CAN, Amazon US, Book Depository, and Barnes & Noble

A nanobot superorganism lays waste to the Earth. Is this the apocalypse? Or does the world’s end harbor new beginnings? Life will always find a way. Though some ways are better than others.

Evolution on steroids and crack cocaine—the most significant development since inanimate matter first gave rise to life. You can’t predict novel evolutionary developments, you recognize them only after they emerge.


About the Author

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer resident in Thailand. He has also lived in England, where he did graduate work as a Canada Council Doctoral Fellow (later, a Social Sciences and Humanities Fellow) in politics and philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford; and in Kuwait, where he learned to sail, water-ski and make a credible red wine in plastic garbage bins.

In earlier years, he worked at a wide variety of occupations, including four jobs as a driller and stope leader in mines and tunnels in Ontario and Quebec. In later years he taught writing courses at Thammasat University, Bangkok, freelanced as a writer and editor, and published hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics (most of these pieces are pre-digital, hence effectively written on the wind). He is also the author of short stories that appeared in Asian anthologies and magazines, as well as five novels (a sixth forthcoming in 2018), a collection of short stories, a collection of occasional pieces, a diving guide to Thailand, another book on diving, and a book on Thailand’s coral reefs. He has also co-authored a book on Thailand’s national parks.

Common Deer Press is publishing the first three novels in his futuristic Magic Circles series.

Collin has another short novel nearly ready to go, something he only reluctantly describes as magic realism. Less nearly ready to go are novels he describes as a series of metaphysical thrillers. Not to mention several Jack Shackaway comic thrillers, follow-ups to Kicking Dogs. He also has a half-finished letter to his grandmother, dated 10 October 1991, saying thanks for the birthday gift.

Website | Facebook | Book Page | Twitter | Goodreads | Reddit | Medium

Blog Tour Review: MOM by Collin Piprell

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

Published by: Common Deer Press

Publication Date: April 5, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Extent: 324 pages

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Publisher

A GOD IS BORN!

TOO BAD ABOUT THE PERSONALITY DISORDER

So reads the graffito.

MOM is the mall operations manager — the greatest intelligence in history, a machine awakened to self-awareness at a time when the last few human survivors have withdrawn to the last two remaining refuges on Earth. Quarantined from the global nanobot superorganism outside the malls and from each other inside, the mallsters are utterly dependent on MOM for everything — including the ever-more suspect information they’re getting about the world Outside.

Now the malls are crumbling.

A mystery thriller set in the second half of the twenty-first century, MOM is the first novel in Collin Piprell’s darkly comic and always thought-provoking MAGIC CIRCLES science-fiction series.


Stepping just an inch inside Collin’s world is not only terrifying but also thrilling. I wondered what I have gotten myself into. I haven’t dived in to sci-fi for a long while. But Collin creates a richly dark and gritty story that will keep any science fiction lover up at night.

 Our society is dead. The last remaining humans retreat and find shelter in Malls, where MOM (mall operations manager) protects them from the outside post-apocalyptic world and the superorganisms that destroyed it long ago. Cisco the Kid, the protagonist, and other test pilots “world” in generated realities. Throughout the book he starts to lose himself, and he finds that something in these virtual worlds doesn’t add up. Once Cisco and the others discover MOM may have misled them and may also have become a self-aware AI, which may be slipping into insanity, life as they know it will change forever.

Overall I enjoyed reading MOM. I discovered an intriguing side to futuristic sci-fi, which isn’t always on my TBR list. You get a strong sense that Collin takes the time to flesh out his work. And he dedicates his efforts to create an entirely unique world. How many times have you heard the word “autonomous ebee” (electronic being)? For this fantasy lover, I’m lucky if I understand it (and thankfully I do).

Collin’s world building is superb. It hooks you in and takes you on a sci-fi junkie’s mind-altering adventure. His characters move the story along and keep your attention. I’m not a huge fan of multiple POVs in stories. Sometimes I find any more than three distracting. However don’t let that issue waylay you from reading the book. From chapter one to the next, you aren’t sure which POV you’ll read next, but that change keeps the story stimulating. One big tip any readers need for MOM is to pay attention to every detail. Collin incorporates intricate information into his work.

I think my only negative for the book is the terms and the language characters use. Understanding what each new word means took me awhile. If you aren’t accustomed to this type of writing, you may feel a bit lost. But, and I mean but, I am grateful for the glossary (yes, this book has one). You know you’ve stepped into a multi-faceted universe when you find one at the end of the book.

But if you’re a sci-fi fanatic like some people I know, MOM should be your next book. This book will take you on the craziest trip you’ve ever been on. And it will make you question everything. So get ready and strap in. MOM has just arrived.

Wrap-up: March 2017

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Faeries, a Beauty and the Beast retelling, beautiful storytelling, and political plays? I’m set. This series has been on my TBR list for almost a year, and I regret not reading it sooner. I’d definitely recommend it, but hold out on your opinions on the book until you read the sequel! You’ll be surprised at the turnaround.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book De

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

How many times do I say the sequel is better than the first book? RARELY. But A Court of Mist and Fury destroys every expectation you may have. Sarah masters foreshadowing. Perhaps some people didn’t like the pacing in the book, but I enjoyed it a lot. This sequel is definitely on my reread list. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Court of Wings and Ruin.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was a huge surprise for me. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but surprisingly, I do. I may have liked it better if I weren’t in such a reading slump, when I read it. Labyrinth Lost is a unique, diverse find. Zoraida incorporates many Latin American traditions. The culture in this book makes it shine and stands out against many YA novels. And I’m a sucker for beautifully designed books.

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MOM by Collin Piprell

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

MOM has taken me on a psychedelic trip, and I’m still trying to land on my feet. Picture a futuristic world where the remaining human population lives in malls. And MOM goes from protecting people to becoming self-aware. But their world is turned upside down when they realize MOM may have lied all this time.

Goodreads | Publisher’s Website | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

Blog Tour Interview: MOM by Collin Piprell

Today’s my second stop on the blog tour! I had the pleasure to read an eARC of MOM by Collin Piprell. And I had to learn more of this futuristic world, so I set up an interview with him.

Hope you enjoy!

Siobhan

 

 

  1. MOM is one of the most complex multi-layered stories I’ve read in a long time. Can you tell the readers what it’s about?

That may be true, but I’d like to reassure readers that the novel focuses on dramatic developments between the characters — the heavier themes and multiple dimensions frame the action without intruding on what’s otherwise just a rollicking good read.

MOM is the “mall operations manager,” a machine intelligence become self-aware. And one theme in this book is the question of reconciling machine and human evolution. MOM also takes disintegrative trends in our current material and cognitive worlds and extrapolates to what may not be unrealistic extremes in the not very distant future. Forces for disintegration contend with reintegrative moves as background to the dramatic conflicts.

In the Magic Circles series as a whole, this becomes in part a contest between opposing cosmic imperatives — call it a war between the urge, on the one hand, to bring everything in the world under the control of one agency in the search for absolute security, and, on the other hand, the acknowledgement that error and diversity and conflict play essentially positive roles in our experience, essential to our staying open to the rise of real novelty — what some describe as creative emergence.

In fact, the story eventually proposes novel developments at least as revolutionary as the rise of life itself, or cultural evolution’s supersession of biological evolution. That thread is developed more surely as the story unfolds in Genesis 2.0 and Resurrections and beyond.

Throughout MOM and the novels that follow, there’s also much play with the variety of ways we can experience “reality.”

Here I should say again that, despite all that, MOM basically presents a ripping good read. And so my dear, departed mother would agree were she still with us.

 

  1. MOM has been published before. Can you explain what has changed from the first publication?

Not much has changed. The publisher chopped about 10,000 words (10 percent) — mostly a first few chapters I’d thought were needed to introduce readers to life in the malls and in the Worlds — and I had to agree that, after I wrote patches, the book now gets off to a faster start, while nothing essential has been lost.

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same book. I’d had the ruins of the Baiyoke II Tower, formerly the tallest building in Bangkok, poking up out of the sea that surrounds the Eastern Seaboard, Southeast Asia (ESSEA) Mall. In the current edition, I’ve substituted the MahaNakhon, an even taller building that’s almost finished.

 

  1. I see that Bangkok holds a special meaning to you. Why have you incorporated it in your stories, especially this one?

I’ve lived in Bangkok for quite some time, and it seems natural to borrow settings from that city and the rest of Thailand. MOM is set in (1) the ESSEA Mall, what remains of a coastal megalopolis; (2) generated realities set in 1980s-90s Bangkok; (3) a subterranean site beneath a much-changed landscape several hundred kilometers north of Bangkok; and (4) the Eastern Seaboard, United Securistats of America (ESUSA) Mall, roughly where New York used to stand.

 

  1. What inspired this futuristic sci-fi? Has recent (or older) technological advances inspired the book at all?

I believe nanotech and qubital computing will together transform our lives far more than the digital revolution ever has. And — like the digital revolution, or the Industrial Revolution before than, and so on back to the rise of agriculture and cities and to even earlier radical transformations of our human worlds — these technologies will bring new advantages, some of which would seem miraculous to people from our time. At the same time, they’ll bring new problems, some of them so horrendous as to threaten the extinction of all life on the planet.

At the start of MOM, the PlagueBot — a global superorganism emergent upon a failed “gray-goo scenario” involving self-replicating nanobots — presents one of these threats. But nanotech and qubital computing have also provided fixes, however inadequate, by way of the malls and the Worlds, among others. Much of the drama arises amid the ever-accelerating failure of these fixes.

Later in the Magic Circles series, we see what looks like the end of humanity and the rest of the planetary biosphere transformed into a strangely familiar but in fact radically new basis for Gaia 2 and a human renaissance.

 

  1. Can you explain to readers what worlding is and what’s its purpose in this dystopian world? How did you come up with the concept? How does it affect Cisco and others?

Worlds UnLtd is an infinite manifold of interactive, totally immersive generated realities accessible to denizens of the malls on certain days. These are the only escapes from the quarantine imposed on the mallsters. Except for telepresent encounters in their holotanks or in the Worlds, these few surviving people are kept strictly isolated both from Outside and from each other inside. One of the early mysteries in MOM is why it’s an offlining offense to try entering the Worlds on a Monday. Another mystery is why the ever-more frequent Mondays are getting longer and longer.

Meanwhile “to world” has become a verb, and people can be more or less adept at worlding. Because of their special training and experience, Cisco Smith and Dee Zu, two of the main characters, are Worlds test pilots, making sure they’re safe for the average mallster. The Worlds — realer than real, higher-rez and infinitely customizable — are utterly addictive, and most mallsters, if they could, would spend their entire lives in them.

 

  1. Now you’re expanding on your series, what are you looking forward to in the next instalments? What do you have planned?

In MOM, I established a variety of fictional “worlds.” When I started writing Genesis 2.0, I was delighted to find that, rather than creating worlds, it was more like I was exploring worlds that were already there. Implicit in the settings that underlay the dramatic action in MOM I found all kinds of new features and dimensions. The same thing is proving true as I work on Resurrections.

Much of the pleasure of writing Magic Circles, one reward for all the hard work, has been this excitement at learning what happens next and where those developments are going to lead.

Book Haul: March 2017

I’ve been catching up on my TBR list, so I haven’t bought anything recent. However, my friends at Common Deer Press sent me an eARC of their book coming out in April, and my bestie told me I must read her two favourite series (I love book lovers 😌).

What have you bought this month? Are you trying to tackle that growing TBR pile?

 

MOM by Collin Piprell

I admit I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi books. Some are good, and well, others don’t stand up to time. But I’ve been intrigued by this book since I first heard of it.

MOM is the first book in the Magic Circles series. Society is wiped out, and the last remaining humans live in malls and are protected by MOM, which is a mall operations manager. Humans are entirely dependent on this machine, and unfortunately for them, it’s become self-aware.

Next month I’ll be involved in the MOM blog tour. So watch out for some posts!

Goodreads | Publisher’s Website | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

 

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

Demons, mythology, and gorgeous men? Oh hi, I haven’t read you before. I may not be a huge romance reader, but with this book, I’m in. I’m a bit late getting into the series, but naturally I usually am.

I’m looking forward to the mythology in The Darkest Night. I’m usually an instant fan when authors incorporate Greek lore (actually, any good lore) into their work! I can’t wait to read this book.

Thank you, Beth! ❤️

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Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

I haven’t read vampire books in several years. I can’t remember the last time I have. When my friend handed me the book, I was a bit hesitant. But the author’s J. R. Ward, and she’s huge in this genre, so I have faith in this book recommendation. From the start, the Black Dagger Brotherhood appealed to me. And I like the whole pureblood concept.

I have an inkling these two fantasy romance novels may get me hooked. Help me if they do. Or at least drag me out to get some fresh air once in awhile.

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Wrap-up: February 2017

february-wrap-up

I loved February. I got to read the books I’ve been dying to get my hands on. And my heart, psyche, and well, mind are all in revolt. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried. So here are the reads that kept me up past midnight!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Naturally, my first carnival book is, in fact, my favourite. Yes, Caraval has a insta-love feel to it, but the author makes a nice twist to it. The hype is real, so magically real, and I can’t help but gush about this book.

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A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kelley’s books are always instant buys and instant reads for me. I’ve read most of her work and probably own well over thirty of her books. I’ll warn you now: this book is dark and may trigger some readers. Kelley has an uncanny talent for writing complex and utterly intriguing characters. I can’t get enough of the series and hope to get my hands on the next instalment.

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I need a support group, stat. Please. King’s Cage is a vast improvement from Glass Sword. You can feel how much time and effort Victoria put into this book. It’s deliberately slow paced, yet it smacks you with intensely real emotions at the end. The sequrel cannot come soon enough.

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A poignant tale of a girl falling in love with the Goblin King and finding herself and her music in the Underground. I knew I had to read this story. Don’t expect anything similar to the Labyrinth. Wipe the slate clean and prepare yourself for this gut-wrenching love story. Highly recommended!

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