Monday, July 20, 2015

Kris's Mini Reviews

 The Darkest Hour by Tony Schumacher
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 418

In this crackling, highly imaginative thriller debut in the vein of W.E.B. Griffin and Philip Kerr, set in German-occupied London at the close of World War II, a hardened, dispirited British detective jeopardizes his own life to save someone else and achieve the impossible—some kind of redemption

London, 1946. The Nazis have won the war and now occupy Great Britain, using brutality and fear to control its citizens. They even use it to control those who work for them. John Henry Rossett, a decorated British war hero and former police sergeant, is one of those unlucky souls. He's a man accustomed to obeying commands, but he's now assigned a job he didn't ask for and knows he cannot refuse: rounding up Jews for deportation, including men and women he's known his whole life. Robbed of his family by a Resistance bomb, and robbed of his humanity by the work he is forced to do, fate suddenly presents Rossett with an unexpected challenge that could change everything. He finds a boy hiding in an abandoned building and is faced with a momentous decision—to do something or to look the other way. Yet whatever Rossett does, he will be pushed into a place where he could endanger all he holds dear.

Played out against a city in ruin, a place divided between the conquered and the conquerors, The Darkest Hour is a tense, driving adventure thriller, a fascinating alternate history, and the unforgettable story of a man who will be broken—or be given a completely new lease on life.
***
It took me a while to get into this book. I struggled up till about page 50. Then I was very interested. It movies along at a great pace after those first 50 pages. 

The characters are all very well written. The worldbuilding is fascinating, but I felt like there could have been more. There was hardly any detail about how regular people lived and that was disappointing. 

The ending was horrible. I was really, really furious at the ending. The book is moving along at a fast clip and then it ends. Abruptly. So I took off 2 stars for that because seriously. Worst ending ever.

 Last Train to Babylon by Charlee Fam
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 352

Fans of Alice Sebold and John Green will be transfixed by this sophisticated, edgy debut novel packing dark humor, biting wit, and a lot of Jack Daniels

Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.

Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after leaving her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck.

But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone… including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between she and Rachel.

In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again.

But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now, Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind… or what waits ahead.
 
***
I had such high hopes for this book. I've heard so many good things. Unfortunately, it fell 10000% flat for me. The characters were all awful and pretty much unredeemable. Particularly the main character - she just whines throughout the entire book and it's like "you really need to move on with your life." I just found myself annoyed with the whole thing. The story was meh, the characters were frustrating, and I just didn't like it.
Rook by Sharon Cameron
Publication Date:
Publisher:
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History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she. 

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.
***
A revamp of The Scarlet Pimpernel that takes place in a dystopian future? SIGN ME UP ALL OVER THE PLACE. 

This book was so good. The characterization was fantastic. The plot moved along at a steady clip. I took a star off for the love triangle because that trope is so tired and I am sick of it, but overall I loved this book and the world it created (even though I want to know way more about the fall of the Ancients.) Highly recommend.

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