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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Dystopia
Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?
Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

 Why would you write a book summary that makes a book sound like a romance? This drove me nuts the entire book because while Spare and Found Parts was interesting (at times, I'll get back to that) it's more of a coming of age story and learning to be independent of what defines you.  Nell is a girl with a clockwork heart whose father practically saved humanity. She constantly struggles to relate to people and, as a result, is a rather isolated individual who is more than a little haughty.  Nell's exploration of herself is the focus point of the plot, but there is this kind of hazy romantic tone that hangs over the whole story that just leaves an unsatisfying feeling  when the story ends.  This also really isn't a summer read, it can be pretty dark at parts and because the novel plays on gender roles and romance it's more for reading in bed or curled up in a chair than at the beach, so it is good this book is coming out in October. Perfect Fall feeder.

 The characters vary in quality because you don't know enough about them until the very end of the story. I didn't end up liking Nell until the end because I didn't realize how much she changes through the course of the novel.  At points my eyes ended up skimming over huge chucks of paragraphs because I simply did not care what Nell was thinking. Yeah, fun fact: a solid 60% of the novel is Nell thinking to herself and descriptions of the setting and it's about as much fun to read as it sounds.

Nell also has a small circle of friends, but some of them are just sort of there for plot devices. Nell's best friend, Ruby, is the archetypical best friend so she's not exactly interesting but harmless. The "romantic lead" is kind of interesting if you don't guess his big twist, but again he's pretty harmless.

Okay, so why didn't I give this book five targets? The narrative is a little jarring and I get what Griffin wanted to do, but certain themes did not completely transfer off the page and it felt awkward.  Finally, this book is good for all ages and if you like steampunk, Spare and Found Parts is a dream, although the world really isn't explored enough for my taste. It's more of a tone than a setting.  There is exactly one non-binary character in this story, not a huge deal but worth mentioning. Great book for the budding feminist in your life or anyone who needs a palate cleanser from predicable romances.

This book almost moved my cold human heart

Thursday, August 25, 2016

To August, with revelations

August was a gust of work and books and poems.
I found myself crushed by endless nights of no sleep, of cocktail kisses and midnight meanderings through poetic words that I fought through my chain-link fence of a mind. I have been preordering my favorite series and listlessly wait for their arrival at my doorstep. And while reviews have been sparse, they will continue to be coming.

Though most that I have read are novels I, sadly (not really), did not finish.

And I am okay with this. Because books are plentiful. And I have no time to continue in a story that I am uninterested in. No time to waste. No questions asked. If I am not enthralled with the beginning, I will cease to finish. If your story does not hook me from the first line, I will swim away looking for tastier bait. I am hungry for a story that will keep me on my toes, characters that I want to love to lose and lose to love. I want to be wowed. Close that back cover and stare at my wall like I just took a right hook to the face.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight  by Jay Kristoff
Series: (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Destined to destroy empires Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death. 
Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything. 
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult. 
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows loves her. And they drink her fear.

I have always really enjoyed books that chronicle the entire lives of character like in The Song of Lionness series by Tamora Pierce and the Harry Potter series.  Hopefully, this book will work along those lines so I'm very excited for this book.