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The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

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Melanie's Week in Review - July 26, 2015


Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015


Sorry folks I was AWOL again from my Week in Review. This lack of commuting business means I am not reading as much as I normally do.

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015
I am going to focus this WIR on 1 book for no other reason than it deserves your (almost) full attention. Breakout the final book of The Dred Chronicles will be out on the 25th of August from Ace.

You only have 30 more sleeps until you get to find out what happens to Dred and her friends aboard the Predition but until then I will give you a non-spoilery review.

Book 3 starts almost immediately after the events of book 2  - Havoc. The many battles on board Perdition have whittled down the the Dread Queen's soldiers and this has driven her to make an uneasy alliance with the mercenary Vost and the few remaining members of his crew. All that remains of Queensland are Jael, Tam, Martine, Calypso and the Queen herself. Vost has offered them a way off the ship but Silence and her tongueless horde have other ideas. Its all hands on deck to try to build a way off Perdition and not get killed in the process. 

Breakout takes nail biting to a whole new level. This final instalment of the trilogy is very exciting...well the first 3/4 is very exciting. Will they escape? Will they all escape? What will become of them if they do? Aguirre really ramps up the tension while at the same time continues to fully develop her remaining characters. We learn more about Jael's previous life in the lab, about what Tam did to earn a life sentence on the ship, and bit more of the circumstances around Dred's path to her undoing. These experiences described through POV chapters gives the reader a full picture of what the characters are like and why they have made the decisions they have. I think that Jael's POV chapters are the most compelling and as his memories merge with current events they become especially chilling. Be sure not to be eating dinner when you are reading these! Aguirre also gives us a mystery to enjoy when Dred discovers a video diary of a young woman who was on Perdition before it became a prison ship. This was quite predictable but I enjoyed it all the same. The last 1/3 of the book is much closer to romance than it has been so far and it almost came across as being a bit self indulgent. Aguirre leaves nothing to chance with the ending and everything is tied up quite nicely. I was just a tiny bit disappointed with the ending as I thought the author would be a bit 'meaner' to her characters. I LOVE this cover although I think I have loved them all. Overall, I was still satisfied with the conclusion of the trilogy if not just a tiny bit predictable.


Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015I had a little unexpected trip down memory lane in the last few weeks. I was thinking about Harry Dresden and found Cold Days on Amazon. I couldn't remember if I had read it and searched my Kindle for the book. As I couldn't find it I bought the book and after about page 3 I remembered the plot and figured I must have had a hard copy in the past. If only I had checked Goodreads I would have realised I read it back in 2013. OOPS! Oh well. I read it again and still enjoyed it. I would like to read book 15  - Skin Game but alas I avoid buying books on Kindle that cost more than £5. I will have to wait awhile for this one to go on sale I guess. (You can see Qwill's review of Cold Days here.)


Apart from that I have only read the third part of the Lost City series by Kelley Armstrong. I am loathe to tell you much more about it as unless you live in the UK you have to wait until next year to find out what I am talking about. I am not that much of a tease.

That is all for this week. I am doing some travelling this week so hopefully I will have a chance to get through a few more books. Until then Happy Reading.





Breakout
The Dred Chronicles 3
Ace. August 25, 2015
Mass Market Paperback and eBook,  336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015
All hell is breaking loose in the edge-of-your-seat follow-up to Havoc and Perdition from New York Times bestselling author Ann Aguirre…

The prison ship Perdition has become a post-battle charnel house with only a handful of Dred’s soldiers still standing and now being hunted by Silence’s trained tongueless assassins. Forging an uneasy alliance with mercenary commander Vost—who is their only chance at escape—the Dread Queen will do whatever it takes to end her life sentence on Perdition and keep the survivors alive long enough to cobble together a transport capable of getting them off station.

If Dred and her crew can win the deadly game of cat and mouse, the payoff is not only life but freedom—a prize sweeter than their wildest dreams. Yet the sadistic Silence would rather destroy Perdition than let a single soul slip from her grasp…


Release Day Review: Havoc by Ann Aguirre


Havoc
Author:  Ann Aguirre
Series:  The Dred Chronicles 2
Publisher:  Ace, August 26, 2014
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
List Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425258125 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Release Day Review: Havoc by Ann Aguirre
The Conglomerate’s most dangerous convicts have made the prison ship Perdition their home. And they will defend it…

Perdition is under siege. Mercenaries have boarded the station with orders to take control of the facility—and execute the prisoners. Their commander is offering full pardons to the first five inmates willing to help the mercs complete their mission.

Dresdemona “Dred” Devos hasn’t survived hard time just to surrender to the Conglomerate’s armored thugs. Leading a ragtag army of inmates, Dred and her champion, Jael, wage a bloody guerilla war of chaos and carnage against impossible odds. But no matter how dire the outlook, the Dread Queen never backs down…



Melanie's Thoughts

Ann Aguirre doesn't let up on the pace in this action packed second instalment of The Dred Chronicles. The story starts almost immediately after the end of book 1, Perdition. Dred defended her territory against almost impossible odds in book 1 and won, but the fight isn't over. Unfortunately, a new enemy has boarded the station and Dred has to battle not only this new foe but Mungo's and Silence's rabble of cannibalistic freaks, as well. The Conglomerate wants to take back the station, take Dred's home away from her and she will do anything, kill anyone to stop it. She is not alone in this fight as the genetically enhanced Jael is by her side to help her destroy anyone who gets in her way.

I am really enjoying this series and Havoc doesn't disappoint. Aguirre builds on the strengths of Predition with its bleak setting, anti-heroes and cunning game of cat and mouse. In fact Aguirre ramps up all of these elements even further as she continues to develop her characters and the environment they are fighting over. The assassins who have boarded the ship keep the plot fresh and by the end you come to realise that maybe they aren't that villainous after all.

Both Dred and Jael are developed further along with their romance. Aguirre balances the romance perfectly to the environment so it fits rather than being overly syrupy or too aggressive. I think this relationship really works and exposes the vulnerabilities of each of the characters. Aguirre also lets us get better insight to some of the other inmates on the ship including those in Dred's inner circle such as Tam. We also learn more about Jael, about his time in custody and how he ended up in the prison ship. Through the aliens on the ship we gain a better insight into Jael and learn his back story. Of all the characters Jael is the one that I feel is the most developed through the events of book 2. Aguirre does give some depth to Dred through a girly bonding scene. This could have turned out to be too incongruous with the plot but it did work to expose more about this character.

Science fiction fans get buying this book post haste (well start with book 1 if you haven't already read it). I really enjoyed Havoc, even though its full of murder and mayhem. Dred is an excellent female lead and has a great supporting cast to help her whip some assassin butt. Check her out on the book's cover. All I can really say is Dred rocks!


Review: Perdition (The Dred Chronicles 1) by Ann Aguirre


Perdition
Author:  Ann Aguirre
Series:   The Dred Chronicles 1
Publisher:  Ace, August 27, 2013
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 337 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print)
ISBN:  9780425258118 (print)
Review copy:  Provided by the Publisher

Review: Perdition (The Dred Chronicles 1) by Ann Aguirre
WELCOME TO HELL

The prison ship Perdition, a floating city where the Conglomerate’s most dangerous criminals are confined for life, orbits endlessly around a barren asteroid. 

Life inside is even more bleak. Hailed as the Dread Queen, inmate Dresdemona “Dred” Devos controls one of Perdition’s six territories, bordered on both sides by would-be kings eager to challenge her claim. Keeping them at bay requires constant vigilance, as well as a steady influx of new recruits to replace the fallen. Survival is a constant battle, and death is the only escape.

Of the newest convicts, only one is worth Dred’s attention. The mercenary Jael, with his deadly gaze and attitude, may be the most dangerous criminal onboard. His combat skill could give her the edge she needs, if he doesn't betray her first. Unfortunately, that's what he does best. Winning Jael’s allegiance will be a challenge, but failure could be worse than death…


Melanie's Thoughts:

In Aguirre's most recent novel, the inhabitants of the prison ship Perdition battle it out for supremacy as the ship circles Earth, slowly falling apart. The ship has been carved up into territories and the novel's anti-heroine, Dred Devos rules hers with an iron fist. Quite literally an iron fist, as her armour consists of leather with long, deadly chains wrapped around her arms and legs. The other rulers of the ship are the things nightmares are made of making Dred appear almost soft and cuddly in comparison. Regular excursions into her territory have left her looking for the one thing or one person who will tip the balance in her favour. That one person is in the form of the lab born mercenary Jael. Jael is the newest recruit to 'team Dred' and do anything and risk everything to help her succeed.

Life on board the prison ship is a harsh, cruel place and about to get worse as the ship becomes one big battleground. Atrocities are committed on both sides and Dred controls her territory with more than just her willpower. Jael becomes pivotal in Dred's quest to keep her territory and take down her enemies. Jael is battling his own personal demons at the same time as fighting other prisoners on the ship and it isn't clear who will win either struggle. My only tiny criticism with this book was in the book summary and the description of Jael. He was so many things but he didn't come across as someone who would betray those around him, especially Dred. This minor thing is really quite trivial as Perdition has so much to offer the reader.

Aguirre excels in her world building and its easy to imagine the austerity of the crumbling ship, the terror felt by the new inmates of the ship when they realise they are entering hell itself and the pervasive lack of hope. She has also created a wonderfully, sinister mood with the battle for supremacy between Dred and the other psychotic leaders on the ship. It is very dark and the readers only reprieve is the dynamic between Dred, Jael and the other characters that form her inner circle. The power play is not all that it seems and snippets of inner dialogue tease the reader about what or who may be lurking around the next corridor.

While I love watching science fiction I don't always like reading it. Aguirre has me starting to doubt what I think of this genre and that I need to check out her other novels. I really enjoyed Bronze Gods that Aguirre wrote with her husband but I was still a bit unsure whether I would like a story set on a prison ship. Clearly I was wrong. I really, really liked Perdition. It had all the elements I enjoy from a super strong heroine, engaging and conflicted characters plus a big surprise in the plot towards the end that I didn't expect. I wasn't sure whether the story would drag within the confines of the ship but it in fact, almost became a character in its own right. Whether you are a fan of science fiction or not I challenge you not to like Perdition. I really looking forward to the next instalment in the The Dred Chronicles series and off to buy some more books by this fantastic author.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013


Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013


Hello! Autumn decided to surprise us this week with some gorgeous weather which allowed me to sneak in a bit more outside reading time on my lunch breaks. I fear that is all over until next June (if we are lucky, this is English weather). Anyway onto what I was reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013
I finished off Cracked by Eliza Crewe (Strange Chemistry, Nov. 5, 2013) and LOVED IT! This is the first in the Soul Eater series and I can hardly wait for the next book to come out. The more I thought about it the more I decided it was definitely YA UF. If you go purely by the book summary it could be adult UF but the heroine (or anti-heroine) Meda is in her teens and towards the end it reads more like typical YA novels I have read before. Meda however, is not your typical teenage heroine. She is part demon and rips people to pieces in order to eat their souls. Needless to say she isn't terribly likeable at first but has all the funniest lines in the book. There was several places where I got all 'LOLy' and doing that on public transportation can lead to a lot of weird looks. I had a few of the more hilarious comments bookmarked and went back and read them afterwards and still thought they were funny after a second reading. I even have a new favourite word that Meda uses in the book which is "hangry" when you get angry from being hungry. Tee hee.

Meda finds out that she is more than just a soul eating, violence craving monster and teams up with a group of 'templars' in training teenagers to try to eradicate her own kind. Nothing is ever straight forward and Meda discovers more about herself than she bargained for. There are some quite sad parts of this book, as well and demonstrates Crewe's ability to create a well rounded character that had me cringing at the gruesome scenes where Meda literally 'lets rip', laughing at her sarcasm and reaching for a tissue during some rather touching moments towards the end (don't want to give you any spoilers!). This is a great start to the series and if you like YA then this is a must read.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013I also read Perdition by Ann Aguirre (Ace, August 27, 2013). I read and reviewed Bronze Gods that Aguirre wrote with her husband but I haven't read any of her solo novels. If Perdition is anything to go by then I am going to get buying a few. I will be writing a full review so keep your eyes out for it.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013I started to panic that I had only read two books this week and wouldn't have anything to tell you so I was very naughty and bought some more. I bought and read Priceless by Shannon Mayer. It is about a young woman with exceptional talents at finding lost children. Her sister was kidnapped when she was young and the guilt has driven her to use her skills to rescue other missing kids. When a child is kidnapped on the same day in the same park as her own sister she discovers this is more than just a coincidence. The heroine Rylee is pretty kick ass. She is friends with a witch, has a werewolf as a pet, a troll makes her brownies and she fancies an FBI agent. I thought the book was OK. I had it finished in a day which means it was fairly easy to read but maybe not as challenging with the plot as it could have been.

I also bought King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas. I  read the first books of both these series last year and decided I was overdue in buying the next books. Hopefully, I will get a chance next week to get them read and tell you what I thought of them. But until then I wish you a good week ahead and Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review  - July 26, 2015Release Day Review: Havoc by Ann AguirreReview: Perdition (The Dred Chronicles 1) by Ann AguirreMelanie's Week in Review - September 29, 2013

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