Book Review: Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Dystopian future. Ex-cop fights to survive 

The Blurb:

When the oceans rise… Truth drowns.
It’s the year 2031. Our future. Their present. A world decimated by climate catastrophe, where the sun’s heat is deadly and the ocean rises higher every day. A world ruled by the rich, powerful, and corrupt. A world where a good man can’t survive for long.
Hogan Duran was a good man once. He was a cop, forced to resign in disgrace when he couldn’t save his partner from a bullet. Now Hogan lives on the fraying edges of society.
But after four years of living in poverty, Hogan finally gets a chance to get back on his feet. He’s invited to join the National Security Council, the powerful paramilitary organization responsible for protecting the rich and powerful from the more unsavory elements of society. All he needs to do is pass their deadly entrance exam, and he’ll be rewarded with wealth and opportunity beyond his wildest dreams.

But this ex-cop’s path to redemption won’t be easy. The NSC are hiding something, and as Hogan descends deeper and deeper into their world, he starts to uncover the terrible truth of how the powerful in this new world maintain their power…and just how far they will go to protect their secrets.

In a world gone wrong, can one man actually make a difference, or will he die trying?

Release Date: December 5th 2018

The Review:

I came into this book expecting yet again another version of The Hunger games or another Dystopian fiction novel but I was pleasantly surprised. This novel was different in the way that Clive wove Virtual reality and truth in such a tangled web that it made it very intriguing. The short length of the book made the read fast and furious.

The first 3 chapters of the book were uninteresting and make it hard for the book to get into but those final 3 chapters, wow they really keep you guessing. The plot really started to get interesting around the chapter where Hogan has to complete a serious of tests, which if he failed could result in death. I have to say, I thought I knew the result of the tests but I didn’t. The plot twists, yes I promise I won’t tell, were great. I should have guessed that earlier on, as the clues were there but I was left completely dumb-founded when the characters were revealed for who they really are.

The main character Hogan Duran was a little to ‘Hero-type’ for me. Always stepping up to save the day and telling the minor characters what to do. I think that his side-kick Ruby Mason should have had more to say and not be ordered around so much by Hogan. And why does Hogan always have the answers? There were multiple times where Ruby asks Hogan what is going on and why. Ruby could have been a stronger feminine voice for the novel, which it so desperately needed. Jake Teerman was your traditional annoying character, the kind that leaves the characters for dead to make of with the money. The enemy biker Krails made an interesting addition to the story, but we only knew what they looked like and some of the conditions where they lived. What was their history? How did they get their name? There was a lot more that could have been considered in the making of this book.

This novel had a lot of just strange additives to the plot. Like with the getting naked all the time. Why do the main characters have to keep getting naked to go into the VR tests? It just seemed a bit to much stripping off for me. Also, at the beginning of the book, Jake is seen with two girls on his arm. I understand this part was in the book to introduce characters but it was simply just a little too strange and unnecessary for my liking. I also found General Stoker’s son Jerry a strange addition to the book. I don’t know why but his being trapped in the car made me feel uncomfortable. This part just didn’t make sense.

The final chapter was a little weird too, with an odd ritual/meeting type thing, where of course, you guessed it, the characters take their clothes off! And since when do these people have the power to regenerate their life after they have been severely injured, why didn’t they save the other members this way?

The style of this novel was modern and lacked powerful description. Clive Fleury did go on an escapade of world-building but because he didn’t have the powerful description it was hard for me to picture the look of the setting. The chapters were divided well and created suspense at the end of each chapter. The setting was good, but the time it was set in was a little too near to the present. 2031 is literally 11 and a half years away – I sincerely hope that this book does not come to reality in that time.

I would recommend this book for 18+ because of the violent deaths and abuse which was the result of the intense fights and battles waged against the Krails. I gave Kill Code 3/5 stars because for the majority it was enjoyable but was pretty gruesome. I would recommend this book for thriller and sci-fi lovers. The author Clive Fleury is a film director which I could see come through the writing of this book. This book ended in a way where a sequel is viable.

Content Warning:

Lots of violent and abusive scenes which could be triggering for some. A single mention of prostitution. Blood and gore are rife throughout this novel, with characters dying every which way. Loads of swearing as well. This book is not for the faint hearted.

What’s in A Name?

The title of this book is an integral part of the plot as everything comes down to the Kill Code. Also there are lots of codes and killing in the novel so it is a fitting name. Although it is pretty similar to Maze Runner: Kill Order, I continually got the names confused.

Favorite Quote

Taking a deep breath, I wrote the envelope open and pulled out and official- looking letter. I scan the note quickly as Max period over my shoulder. “Well?”

This is where the story really began. Note: Did you see the grammatical error in the quote? The official- looking should be official-looking or just official looking.

Favorite Character

This was really difficult to decide as I didn’t feel a strong connection to any of them. Maybe Hogan, he did annoy me though because he always seemed to know the right way and bossed everyone around.

QFTR (Questions For The Readers)

  • Do you like dystopian fiction? What would be among your favorites?
  • What did you think of the ending? Did you see it coming?
  • Did you want the book to be longer and would you read the sequel?
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Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Jewel protects blind girl. WW2 begins.

The Blurb:

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

Release Date: 6 May 2014

The Review:

I chose this stand-alone book in my local book store after being entranced by the beautiful cover and immediately spent my voucher to buy it. Little did I know I was soon to be opening the cover of one of the greatest novels I have ever read.

The plot was amazing. I went into the book thinking that I knew what the end would be but I was wrong. It was very unexpected. All The Light was set in 1944 in the midst of the German occupation of France. It is primarily historical fiction but has elements of fantasy with a cursed jewel called the Sea of Flames. The overarching plot was centered around the theme of light and good always triumphing. The protagonists paths of life are so different and their lives interconnect in the most interesting way.

The characters were original and weren’t perfect but both had struggles of there own. Marie-Laure was a relatable character even though she was from the 1940s. Having become blind at the age of 7 she experienced her world in a way through texture and touch. The author specifically wrote her chapters in a way where other senses such as sound and touch were predominant. She and her father were characters that had to adapt to their environment, having to move to Saint-Malo as Paris got taken over by the Germans. Also, the characters all engage in small acts of rebellion against evil in their world which contributed to the overarching themes.

Werner’s story is different and equally interesting. It is interesting to hear what a young German boy experienced and the pressures he had in joining the Hitler Youth. His sister Jutta has a different story where she copes with a life separate from her brother and unsure of what he is really going through. The characters all have their own stories and chapters which have titles connecting to the main idea of the chapter – which I love.

It was written in an enigmatic and beautiful style in a way that reflected the chapters main theme. I actually cried when coming to the end of this novel because I felt so close to the chapters and didn’t want to say good bye. The prose was so delicate. Some people have reviewed this book saying that the delicate prose detracted to the fact that it was a WW2 story – but I say that that was a point of difference in fact the delicacy and beauty of the prose enabled me to understand the lives of the civilians at the time of such drama and importance.

I would recommend this book to ages 16+ as it contains the rawness of a time of war. it contains brutality of the opposing sides in the time of WW2. I would definitely recommend this book to first time historical fiction readers and all those wanting to experience such an awesome book that won the Goodreads choice awards for 2014 in Historical Fiction as well Pulitzer prize in 2015.

I am rating this book 5/5 as it was absolutely beautiful with delicate prose. One of my fav books.

Content Warning:

Ages 16+ as brutal war and abusive scenes, bloody/gory scene murder of a young girl, could trigger uncomfortable feelings.

What’s In a Name?

All the Light We Cannot See title can be taken in different ways being all the “light” as in the radio waves Werner can transmit on his radio and the light that Marie cannot see as she is blind. It could also be the good that goes unnoticed in the world amidst the evil.

Favorite Quote

Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.

the man on the radio

When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?”

Marie-Laure

Favorite Character

Marie and Werner were very intriguing characters and taught me a lot about whats really important in life. I particularly liked Uncle Etienne as he experienced a story arc of his own as he leaves the trauma of WW1 behind as he develops a fatherly relationship with Marie.

QFTR (Question for the Readers)

  • What do you think the title means?
  • Did the book end the way it thought it would?
  • How does the change in time setting change the way the book evolves? Did you like how the narrator jumps back and forth between time and narrator or did you find it distracting?

What did you think of All The Light? Is it one of your faves or do you did you find it a challenging read?

Book meme of The Month (1-08-2019)

Hello there readers! Here is a question for you: have your ever seen Toy Story? This meme contains a quote from Woody that can definitely relate to some novels.

Today’s meme is…

After All We’ve Been Through

Image Credit: : http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Have you experienced this? With what book? I don’t want to be a spoiler but Allegiant sadly did this too me. After 3 books of connecting to the characters and journeying through the different factions and beyond the wall (by the way I think I am an erudite/amity) I was met by a shocking ending where I reacted in the way Woody did here.

I must also mention the film as it had a shocking ending too as it didn’t even exist – where was the ending, where was the proposed 4th film? The 3rd film finished about halfway through the Allegiant book’s plot. Really quite disappointing – but then again did I really want to relive that ending? Well just to see more scenes with Four!

What do you think? Put your comments below.

Book Haul (09-07-2019)

I recently got a mini-book stack from a book sale. Guess how much money they were each?? – 50 cents. Yes, I am being honest. I ended up spending $2 on four books. Here they are:

  • Tales from Shakespeare by Charles & Mary Lamb
  • Pollyanna grows Up by Eleanor H. Porter
  • Treasure Island (Abridged) by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle

I didn’t want an abridged version for Treasure Island as I never really like reading abridged books as it feels as though I’m cheating. But it was only 50 cents so why not?

I have never read A Wrinkle In Time before – I know it is an abomination – but recently saw the film – again I’m sorry – but it was quite good so I got this book.

By the way in the background is my fabulous ‘what I have already read’ bookshelf.

What do you think?

Have you read any of of these? Have you brought any books recently?

Book Meme of the Week (01-07-19)

Hello, readers! How did June reading stack up? Are you on track for your Reading Challenge this year as we are now over halfway through the year! Can’t believe it – time flies when you’re stuck in a book. The meme for this week is…

Living with book problems

This image helps to describe how many readers feel after finishing pretty much any book they have been totally engrossed in. They realize they’ve been living in an alternate reality – one that no one understands but Readers. Books affect us way too much, so why do we go into “post book depression”, as I call it, after experiencing emotional trauma at the hands of a paper back? I know because books are awesome!

Have you had this before? What book really made you feel this way? For me I think a book I was way too emotionally invested in was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince… Snape, nooooooooo, the trauma you put me through! After I came out of this book’s world I couldn’t stop talking about Snape, Dumbledore, and the adventures of Hermione, Harry, and Ron … and then it hit me – some people don’t even know they exist!

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Review: Great Expectations

Youth’s comeuppance documented. But where’s benefactor?

The Blurb:

Written in 1861, Great Expectations is a favorite among many Dickens readers. In addition to its endearing hero, Pip – a blacksmith’s bot, desperate to escape his humble background – the story is populated by a vivid cast of characters from the convict, Magwitch to Miss Haversham who, jilted long ago, still wears here wedding gown and for revenge, schools the beautiful young Estella in the art of Malice toward men.

When Pip receives a legacy and promptly leaves for London to become a gentleman, only then does he begin learning about the gulf between appearances and reality.

The Review:

This is probably one of the first classic books I ever read. What really attracted me to this book was when I heard about Mrs Haversham, an intriguing character who was jilted at the alter and surrounds herself in a place locked in the time of her long-past wedding. I haven’t read any another Dickens (I know its appalling!) but I definitely am wanting to read more.

This book was set in 1800s London, following protagonist Pip, as he climbs the social ladder. This book was awesome and intriguing and really quite gripping. Yes, some parts were a little slow but finishing this book gave me such a sense of achievement and it was truly worthwhile in the end. It helped me to understand Britain in the 1800s. From Magwitch and his vittles, to Estella and her gowns each character added a little more foundation to the novel. The characters were stereotypical but maybe Dickens added them for a reason to help us, The Readers, to understand what was happening and the motives of their actions. The style of this book is classic text, meaning there are quite a few big words – good to expand vocab.

Phillip Pirrip (Pip) made a sweet protagonist. I enjoyed following his social climb from just a wee lad to an aspiring gentleman, with the help of an anonymous benefactor (Yes it is revealed, wait til the end!). On the surface this book is a Bildungs Roman (a coming-of-age) but st its heart this book is a love story of a hopeless romantic and a perceived- as heartless character.

I would recommend this to ages 15+, due to some mature themes, and if you have never read a classic before I would recommend this one. It can be a slight struggle in some moments but keep persevering, It will be worth it!

In 2011 the film came out, which I watched after reading. It stuck quite well to the book plot and was a good movie.

I rated this 4 out of 5 stars as while the book was so good, it was at times a little dry. But I would definitely recommend this book to first-time Classic readers and to those with more experience in this wonderful genre.

Release Date: August 1861

What’s In A Name?

I may be wrong but I believe that the title of the novel ‘Great Expectations’ is a nod to the great expectations that Pip received in his life after going up in the world through a benefactor. He gained expectations to become a worldly gentleman and have a change of status. Do you have any other or deeper insights?

Favorite Character

How could it not be our endearing protagonist Pip!

Favorite Quote

I quite liked both of these quotes so there can be two favorites.

“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.”

Mr Jaggers

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”

Pip

QFTR (Questions For The Readers)

Feel free to post your comment on the questions below and state how your found this book.

  • What kind of life would Pip have led had he not received the legacy?
  • Who was your favorite character? Who do you think was most misunderstood?
  • What do you think happened in Magwitch’s past?
  • There are almost two narrators in this novel: Young Pip and older Pip (similar to that of To Kill A Mockingbird). How do their perspectives relate and differentiate to each other?

Book Meme of the Week (24-06-2019)

Welcome to yet again another Book Meme of the Week! How is June reading going?

Today’s meme is…

Book Hangover

I know I definitely experience this often with a really good book, particularly with All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I recently finished. I felt reluctant to start my new book as was still emotional from the ending of All The Light, I just wanted to hang out with Marie-Laure and Werner. All The Light was absolutely amazing, put it on your TBR list now!

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Meme of the Week (17-06-19)

Welcome to my second week of Book Meme of the Week. Leave any bookish or meme related thoughts below.

Today’s meme is…

Feisty Reader

Has anyone had someone steal or “borrow” a book that never got back? This has never happened to me (probably because I am way too protective of my books), but I would expect to react in the way this meme indicates.

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Girl rebels society, finds love cliché

The Blurb:

In the society officials decide. Who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices, it’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known, and a path no one else has ever dared to follow – between perfection and passion.

The Review:

This 2010 novel written by Ally Condie is based around the themes of freedom of choice and identity. When protagonist Cassia has to decide whether to go against society or stay within the safety of the rules she is faced with consequences of either action.

I know what you’re thinking – doesn’t this sound like every other dystopian YA romance ever made. Then yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head – it is like every other dystopian YA romance ever made. However, the difference in this novel is that poetry is used in a very inspiring way, to encourage the freedom fighters of this story. Poems used include, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight and Poem in October by Dylan Thomas and Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The style of this novel is modern and much like others of the YA genre such as Divergent and The Hunger Games, but is worse as it lacks creative world building. The limited description of the setting hindered my imagination and therefore interest in this story. Condie does however end her chapter with strong statements that do persuade you to keep reading on to the next chapter.

The plot was alright – it did have more characters then others of this genre but the overarching ideas of the story were predictable. Was she to end up with normal Xander? Or exciting rebellious Ky… what do you think?

The plot, much like other books includes the 16 – 19 year old girl breaking the ordinary and finding love along the way cliché. The addition of the colored pills was a unique aspect of this novel as the purpose was obscured until the final stages of the book.

The characters, I’m sorry, seem shallow and you couldn’t find a deeper perspective of why they made the choices they did ( I don’t call ‘breaking the boundaries’ a deeper motive for a decision). Xander and Ky, in the end, do have some interesting backstories but this is not revealed until later in the series. Cassia and her sidekicks (which don’t do much) are shallow and seem to be only after one thing – to be rebellious for the sake of it. Cassia is intrigued by Ky’s story and all the things he knows (fair enough – as he can… guess what… write!). But poor Xander over here, life-long friend and match, is left in the dirt. However, she won’t break it too him, nope… She will keep stringing him along, using him to her advantage, and hoping in the end that he still cares for her.

Cassia, in my view, just tries to be perfect for Ky – what happened to being yourself and having an identity Cassia! She tries to fit in by being rebellious.

By the way, these insights can only been found on reflection but during reading the book Matched is actually ‘averagely’ enjoyable. I gave it three stars because in comparison to other amazing books out there it simply falls flat (C flat to be exact, for Cassia’s shallow character) and soon becomes forgettable. It becomes very ‘same old, same old’. The lack of world building also contributed to this rating and made cringe moments more cringe… (Cassia giving Ky a piece of green silk from her matching ceremony dress with Xander… why? Why give a random person you barely know something that at the beginning of the book you found so special and wanted to keep as a memory?). The book was also a bit disjointed.

I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because of some mature themes and to people who don’t mind a bit of budget cheese… I prefer Camembert. Matched is part of a trilogy with Crossed and Reached which I will review at a later date… but trust me it just gets worse.

Release Date: 30 November 2010

Favorite Quote:

Do not go gentle into that goodnight
Rage, rage at the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

I know that might not count as it is actually a famous poem, but most of the other quotes were cringe.

Favorite Character:

Xander – he needs some appreciation, but yes, he also annoyed me at some moments. Bram as well, does any one actually remember who he is? He is Cassia’s little bro, who really didn’t have much to do with her or the story.

What’s in a Name?

I think the title, Matched, represents the fact that she was Matched. Done. Sweet. Has anyone had any other ideas of what else the title means?

QFTR (Questions for the Readers)

  • Are you Team Xander or Ky or neither as that is always as option?
  • What do you think are the themes of this novel?
  • Do you think Cassia is just trying to break boundaries for the sake of it?
  • In comparison, what do you think was better: The Hunger Games, Divergent or Matched?

Book Meme of the Week (10-06-19)

Here’s to starting our week off well and full of bookish joy!

Today’s meme is…

A New Adventure

This simple meme sums up what most avid readers feel before bursting into a new book.

I know I certainly felt this way before reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, as I was so ready to engage in another wonderful story.

I also love The Hobbit film and novel where neurotic but sweet Bilbo leaves behind Bag End to help the dwarves reclaim their homeland.

Image Credit: http://slaplaughter.danoah.com/36-memes-for-book-lovers-that-will-make-them-happier-than-getting-a-letter-from-hogwarts/