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Friday, December 18, 2015

Cress by Marissa Meyer summary

   The book begins with us learning of a girl named Cress.  She is our modern day Rapunzel, stuck in a ship that is revolving around Luna, alone except for the occasional visit from Sybil, Levana's favorite thaumaturge.
     We find out that Cress was to be killed for being a "shell", a Lunar without any persuasive powers, but Sybil discovers that Cress is the best hacker around after Cress hacks her way into the Lunar's database to help her fellow cellmate find his parents.  They find them and he sends them a message, but his parents turn him in to the Royal Guard and he is executed.  Sybil takes Cress and begins asking her to hack different things and soon places her on the ship that is orbiting Luna by herself to be Levana's hacker.
     Unknown to Sybil though, Cress has heard that Levana plans to kill Kai after marrying him and Cress is instead helping Cinder and Thorne (who she has fallen in love with through newsfeeds) by scrambling all signals that could have them identified by Lunar ships that are searching for them.
     Cinder contacts Cress via com to ask Cress to show all the evidence on the surveillance tapes she has of Levana to the world to show what a bad person she is, and Cinder says that if the world sees this they'll never condone this wedding between Levana and Kai.
     Cress says she will, but is hesitant knowing that Levana will kill her for this treason.  When Cress tells Cinder she's not on Luna but instead in isolation on the small ship, Cinder and Thorne agree to come rescue her.
     Thorne takes a pod to Cress's ship, not knowing that Sybil has come back and has tied up Cress and is laying in wait.  Sybil overpowers Thorne and ties him up with Cress and sets their escape pod to self destruct and releases it, then Sybil and her guard take the pod from  back to Thorne's ship so she can capture Cinder.
     Cinder, not knowing that it is Sybil on the pod, opens the door and Sybil captures her and almost kills Wolf, but Sybil's guard turns on her. Cinder, the guard (named Jacin), and Wolf escape, but Scarlet is taken prisoner by Sybil and glamoured into piloting Sybil's ship now that she's been hurt.
     Meanwhile, Thorne and Cress have managed to disable the self destruct on their pod and land on Earth in a desert.  Thorne is blind due to hitting his head when they landed.  Cress leads him across the desert to try to find civilization, and after miles and miles they finally come upon a trading caravan that takes them in.  Cress is out for a few days because she has formed an infection in her feet due to the blisters from all the walking.  When she comes to, they go with the caravan to the nearest city.
     Cinder and Jacin take Wolf to Dr. Erland to see if he can help him.  When they arrive, Cinder is surprised to see that the whole village treats her like a savior and are eager to help them due to what Dr Erland has told them; that Cinder will continue to stand up to Levana and will one day assassinate her.
     The caravan pays for a hotel room for Thorne and Cress, who are posing as a married couple who are on honeymoon and were robbed, and Thorne goes downstairs to gamble to win an escort droid to give to Iko (Cinder's caregiver who is now the control system of Thorne's ship until they can get a new body for her).  Cress doesn't realize that's what Thorne is doing and all she sees is him in the bar gambling with a beautiful girl on his lap, so she readily goes with one of the caravan people to go have dinner with them.  They've lied though, and realized she's a shell and are taking her to "a doctor in the desert who pays good money for shells" and so they kidnap her and Thorne has to find her.
     When they arrive at the village where the Dr is, they take Cress to him and it is Dr Erland.  He seems in shock when he sees her and pays the caravaners for her and takes her blood sample.  She hits him and escapes but only goes a few doors down in the hotel and hides in a closet, knowing the caravaners haven't had time to leave yet.  She waits for a while and doesn't hear the Dr coming after her, so she sneaks into a room that has a netport so she can try to contact Thorne at the hotel.
     It turns out Wolf is in the room she sneaks into and he grabs her and holds her hostage.  Dr Erland comes in and tells Wolf to let her go, and Thorne shows up about the same time.  It's pretty hilarious because they all don't know each other for a few minutes until it gets straightened out (Wolf has been in a coma and doesn't remember Erland, Cress doesn't know Wolf since she's only been with Cinder and Thorne this whole time, Thorne is currently blind so he doesn't see who Cress is screaming about and threatens to shoot everyone....good times).  Once it's all straightened out, Cress tells Thorne that they need to leave because the town they were in has figured out they are the wanted fugitives and are coming after them.  Iko lets Cinder know military are on their way about the same time and she rushes upstairs to find everyone there.  They all try to escape, Cinder telling the others to go on without her for now while she tries to convince Wolf to leave with them.  He has hidden himself in grief once he realizes again that Scarlet has been taken hostage by the thaumaturge.
     Cinder takes control of Wolf's mind once she realizes nothing is dragging him out of the building and makes him come outside with her.  The military has already surrounded their ship and forced them to surrender.  Erland begins controlling the few guards closest to them, but they can't control all of them and they know they are doomed.
     Suddenly, all the townspeople show up and surround them.  The military tell them to back off, not realizing most are Lunar, and the townsfolk take control of the remaining guards making them turn on each other, and Cinder and the rest escape.
     After escaping, Cinder tells them her plan since Dr Erland has convinced her that trying to out Levana at the wedding is a bad idea due to the fact that she's a wanted criminal and nobody will believe her.
     Cinder has decided to go to Earth and kidnap Kai instead of outing Levana so that the marriage won't go through, and then they are going to head to Luna to convince the Lunar people that Cinder is the rightful queen and overthrow Levana.  Everyone agrees and they head to Earth.
     Cinder goes to her stepmother's house under glamour as a guard and tells her that she has their royal invitations.  Her stepmother says they've already received their wedding invitations, and Cinder acts like there's been some mixup and asks to see the invitations they received.  Once she does, she glamours them to look like they are for someone else and glamours some napkins to look like invitations with her aunt's name on them.  She gives those to her aunt and takes the real invitations to use to get into the palace.
     In the meantime, Cress and Wolf are posing as guests and head into the wedding reception.  They sneak to the security room and disable all cameras.  Cress also disables all hidden Lunar cameras that she knows are in the building.
     Iko, with her new escort droid body, poses as a servant and enters the party that way and opens the hatch in the underground tunnels that Dr. Erland, Thorne, and Cinder are sneaking in through.
     Cinder and Iko head to kidnap Kai, and Erland and Thorne head to the medbay so that Erland can fix Thorne's temporary blindness.  Once there, Erland realizes after seeing a bruise on his arm that he has contracted the plague and locks himself in a quarantine room and tells Thorne to go find the others.
     Cinder enters Kai's room and ends up having to tranquilize him with one of her darts because he won't come willingly, and they all meet back up at the medbay.  Dr Erland tells them that he has figured out that the Lunars are the ones who started the plague to begin with, since he has put two and two together from what Cress has told him about the thaumaturge's taking all shells when they're born.  He knew they were working on a cure, but realizes that the shells were being taken and experimented on before the plague ever started, which means the Lunars knew what was coming and had taken precautions.
     We also find out that Erland is Cress's father, and he never wanted to give her up to Levana and the thaumaturge, but he thought they killed shells because they were of no use, not that they locked them up and experimented on them and took blood samples to make the plague. He tells her he had no choice but to give her up and he still loves her and thought about her every day.
     After the speech, Erland tells them to go and leave him behind and they head for the roof, where Jacin is supposed to be waiting with the ship.  Instead it is thaumaturge Sybil and her guards.  Cinder manages to take control of Sybil while she is distracted with controlling Wolf to make him kill Cinder (he also snaps Iko's neck in the fight) and makes her go nuts and jump off the roof.  They manage to take down the other guards, Wolf regains his senses, and they escape.
     One of Levana's other thaumaturge's goes to her and lets her know what's happened and says they've captured Jacin and Dr Erland is in the quarantine room.  Levana goes to Erland and with his dying breath he lets her know that the true queen will soon overtake her.  Jacin claims that he was working as a spy for them the whole time and he is the one who told Sybil where the ship would be.  Levana doesn't believe him but agrees to take him back to Luna for a trial.
     The story switches to Scarlet, and she has been placed in a large cage as a pet for Princess Winter alongside a caged wolf after Levana tortured Scarlet to try to get information about Cinder's wherabouts and Levana forced Scarlet through glamour to cut off her own pinky.
     Before it could get any worse, Winter asked Levana, her mother, to let her have the human as a pet to practice her glamour on.
     Winter tries to convince Scarlet she is a friend, but Scarlet doesn't trust her and accuses her of glamouring her since Winter looks so beautiful and that if she can't even drop her glamour, then how is she supposed to trust anything about her.  Winter tells Scarlet she hasn't glamoured anyone or anything since she was 12 years old and she is there to help.  She leaves Scarlet some candy, and when Scarlet eats it since she is starving, she realizes Winter may be telling the truth since the candy had pain medication in it.
     Onboard the ship, Kai has awoken and goes to find Cinder.  She finally tells him that she is Princess Selene and that they are headed to Luna to take down Levana and she needs his help to do it.  He kisses her, but in the middle of the kiss Cinder sees in her newsfeed that Levana has already declared war on Earth and has killed everyone in the village that helped Cinder and Dr Erland and is proceeding to attack other places too.  They know they must hurry to avoid any further destruction.
End of book 3

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer summary

     I will be posting this out of chronological order, as the book skips back and forth between Cinders and Scarlets view, but I thought it would be easier to keep track of the story by posting their sections separately.
     Cinder has been imprisoned and has been promised to Queen Levana to take back to Luna by Kai in order to have peace between Earth and Luna.  When we first meet up with Cinder again she is escaping prison with the help of her newfound Lunar persuasion (thanks to Dr. Erland since he removed the chip on her spine that had been implanted to mute her abilities when she was little) and she makes the guards put her in a cell closer to the exit.
     While escaping she accidentally enters the wrong cell through the roof and ends up in a room with  Carswell Thorne, a thief. He tells her he has a ship in a hangar nearby that they can escape in. She agrees to take him with her to get the ship.
     They escape just barely and Cinder installs Iko's personality chip into the ship to be the auto control system since the ship's is on the fritz.  Their power core is almost dead too and they know they must return to Earth soon to get another one, but are afraid to since they are on every most wanted list on the planet now.
     In the meantime, Levana is enraged that Cinder has escaped and tells Kai that if she isn't found there will be repercussions and he knows this means she will have the excuse to go to war that she has always wanted.  What he doesn't know is that Levana and her thaumaturges have been breeding an army of Lunar wolf hybrid people for battle. They are pretty much werewolves who still look human other than fangs and glowing eyes.
     Cinder and Thorne have decided to go to France and find Michelle Benoit, who Dr. Erland told her had helped her escape Luna when she was little and Levana tried to kill her in the fire. They arrive at Benoits farm only to see that it's been ransacked and she's not there, but Cinder has vague memories creeping back and finds a hidden door in the barn that leads to the room where she had been kept in suspended animation for the years they were trying to repair the fire damage and turn her into a cyborg.
    They go to the nearest town to get a new power core and are attacked by one of the wolf hybrids. They get away by trnquilizing the wolf with Cinders handy new tranq gun that Dr Erland had installed in her new hand. I don't know if it needs mentioning, but he made a new foot as well and gave it to her for her escape from prison after she lost her foot running from the queen during Emperor Kai's coronation.
     Lunar wolf attacks begin taking place all over the world under Levanas bidding. Thousands are killed, and in order to stop it, Kai calls Levana and tells her if she will call off the massacre he will marry her and make her Empress. He knows due to Cinders warning at the coronation that Levana plans to kill him after they are married so that she can take over the Eastern Commonwealth and the rest of Earth, but he sees no other choice.
     Thorne and Cinder find Scarlet and Wolf and Cinder tranquilizes Wolf, thinking he's trying to kill Scarlet. The rest of the wolves come after them including the thaumaturge, but Cinder manages to take control of one of the wolves and has him carry Wolf onto their ship to get away. The thaumaturge tries to stop them but Scarlet finds a shotgun amongst Thornes stolen cargo in the ship and shoots and kills him. The remaining wolves scatter and aren't as coordinated now that the thaumaturge isn't controlling them and Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf take off back to orbit to decide what to do.
     Cinder sees the news broadcast where Kai announces his engagement to Levana and decides to go to Africa and meet up with Dr Erland after all to follow his plan and take her rightful place as heir to the lunar throne. She doesn't want to be a princess but knows she has to stop Levana somehow.  Wolf tells her that just by taking control of one of the wolves with a thaumaturge present has proven that her abilities are stronger than the queen's, as even the queen couldn't control them since they had been bred with the wolf pack mentality of loyalty to a thaumaturge.

     Scarlet's story begins with her being frustrated that the search for her missing grandmother has been called off. The police think that she took off on her own since no signs of foul play are shown and her ID chip was left behind, which the cops say people always do when they don't want to be found. Without any evidence they are forced to believe she has taken off rather than being kidnapped but Scarlet knows her grandma wouldn't leave like that.
     Scarlet goes to finish her produce drop off at the restaurant and her friend Emilie starts talking to her about the handsome street fighter that she has a crush on that keeps sitting in her section.
     Everyone inside the tavern is making fun of Cinder on the news broadcast. Frustrated with her day, Scarlet gets on the bar and begins a speech that they don't even know if Cinder did what the reports say she did, she's only 16 and they need to give benefit of the doubt etc. One of the drunk people says Scarlet is going crazy like her grandma did and she attacks him. The street fighter named Wolf comes to her aid and as she's leaving the tavern he asks her for a job on her farm. She notices a strange tattoo on his arm of letters and numbers as she's talking to him, and although she feels sorry for him she tells him their staff is currently full. He tells her if she changes her mind she can find him at the fights at one of the abandoned farms nearby each night.
      When Scarlet returns home, her dad is there ransacking the house and saying that her grandma was hiding something and he has to find it. It comes as a shock to Scarlet to see her dad, since he abandoned them when she was younger a few years ago in favor of a wild lifestyle of drinking and chasing women.
      Although she can tell he's lost his mind, she gets enough out of him to know that a group of people have been torturing him in front of her grandma to try to get some kind of information from her and they dropped him off at the house when they saw it wasn't working and she wasn't telling them anything.  He tells her that the only thing he remembers of the people is a weird tattoo on one of their arms consisting of letters and numbers. Scarlet realizes it's Wolf and goes to the fights to find him.
     He tries to tell her it wasn't him and there are others like him, but the police come to break up the fights and Scarlet loses Wolf in the confusion. He shows up at the house the next day to tell her even though it wasn't him, he knows it was the other wolves that took her and he will help her find her grandma. She asks if he knows their motives and he tells her no, because he took off from the pack a while ago to live on his own. Although still not trusting him, it's the only solid lead she has so she agrees to go with him. They go to the barn since they can't find her dad and he's rifling through all the items in the barn still looking for whatever it is the wolves wanted. Wolf sees her dads necklace and realizes it's a wolves tracker and tells Scarlet they are tracking her dad. Her dad admits that the only
way the wolves would let him go from the torture was if he found whatever the grandma was hiding
and brought it to them. Scarlet is furious that he abandoned her grandma from his own cowardice and now the wolves know she's there too since the tracker has a mic. She sends her dad away and tells him she never wants to see him again and she and Wolf head for Paris to the wolves headquarters to find her grandma.
     While on the train there, a letumosis outbreak happens and the train is quarantined so she and Wolf jump off before it stops to avoid being held up and start walking through the woods waiting for another train to come that they can jump onto to take them to Paris. A charismatic boy Scarlet met on the train while ordering food shows up in the middle of the woods with them, claiming that he smelled their cooking duck they caught and couldn't resist. Warily, Scarlet invites him to join them and realizes from the exchange of words between them that he and Wolf know each other. It turns out to be Wolf's brother Ran, a lowly omega of the wolves who wants to kill his brother to gain a higher standing with the pack. There are three classes of wolves; alpha, then the betas, and then the omegas. If an omega can overthrow a beta then he can gain that position.  Wolf and Ran fight and Wolf almost kills Ran but Scarlet shoots Wolf in the arm to make him stop before he does, thinking that Ran can give them info about how to save her grandma. Wolf, shocked that Scarlet shot him, stops but tells her they won't get anything out of Ran since any way they could torture him wouldn't be as bad as what the pack would do once they found out he revealed information and Ran knows that.
      Scarlet still doesn't want to kill Ran and they decide to leave him there and they can make it to Paris and rescue her grandma before Ran gets there to rat them out to the rest of the pack.
      They make it to the headquarters, and a thaumaturge is there named Jael who congratulates Wolf for bringing Scarlet to them. He calls Wolf "Alpha Kesley" and Scarlet realizes she's been betrayed. Wolf reveals the tattoo doesn't stand for Loyal Soldier to the Order of the pack, but rather Lunar Special Operative.
      They throw her in a jail cell, and later one of the wolves comes and tells her they'll take her to see her grandma now. She is taken to a room where her grandma is sitting and she begins questioning her to make sure she's okay. It all turns out to be a Lunar glamour though, and it's Ran who is sitting there and not really her grandma. She realizes this when Jael has Ran drop the glamour.
      Jael tells Scarlet that they no longer need information from her grandma about where Princess Selene could be (it had been revealed that her grandma is Benoit by Wolf, hence why they captured her to begin with). The search for the Princess had been called off, now that Levana knows it's Cinder and is going after her, but Jael is keeping Benoit now because he found out she is immune to their glamour and is experimenting to find out how, as there hasn't been an Earthen immune to it before and he wants to know how. Although he doesn't know it, it's because Benoit has one of the chips  implanted in her back like Cinder had, knowing that one day she may need to be able to overcome glamour if the Lunars ever found her. Jael thought Scarlet may possess the same gift, but since she doesn't, they make plans to torture her in front of her grandma, hoping her grandma cares more about her than she did about her son. This will have to wait though, as the attacks on Earth are supposed to be tonight, ordered by Levana. Jael asks Wolf to lead the attack and he says he will.
     Wolf goes to Scarlet's cell and kisses her against her will, but she stops struggling when she realizes it's a chip that he's placed into her mouth that is a cell key. He quietly whispers so that the cell guards outside won't hear that she is to use it the next night while the attacks are happening as there will be limited guards left at the headquarters while the fight is happening.
     She does and finds her grandma, who is close to death. She tries to rescue her but Ran has come to find Scarlet, knowing that she is Wolfs weakness and that if he kills her he will hurt Wolf and feel the satisfaction of vengeance for Wolf almost killing him before. Ran kills her grandma and captures Scarlet. He is about to kill her when Wolf shows up to save her. Wolf kills Ran, but his wolf instincts are so strong at the moment that he lunges at Scarlet and is hovering over her with teeth bared when Cinder comes along and shoots him with the tranquilizer. The rest, of course, is tied in to the previous section with Cinder's story.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Armada by Ernest Cline review

Hello world!  Long time no see!  Yes, Destiny is still the bane of my existence, hence why I haven't been reading very much.  If you want to see how bad it is, watch this funny lil YouTube video I found:

Anyone who plays the game like I do knows that although people may see this as a joke, but only we Destiny addicts know that the struggle is real.....

Anyways, back to the review.

I finally finished Armada today, and even though it was good, it didn't really hit me in the feels like Ready Player One did, and I can't figure out why.  It still had the cool childhood references like I wanted, it was based around a video game, it had really neat characters, but there's something it's missing and I can't quite put my finger on it.  I've heard several of my friends say the same.

I keep going back and thinking to myself, "If I had read this before Ready Player One, would this have captivated me as much as that book did? Is it just the fact that I've seen the whole 80's nostalgia factor before in his previous book that's turning me away from this one?", and the answer is no, that's not it, but to be honest I don't know WHY I didn't like it as much.

Maybe it's because I'm not as much of a fan of interplanetary space wars (never could get into Star Wars.... I know, I know, you disown me now) as I am hostile wastelands filled with unthinkable radioactive terrors that want to devour your soul.  Hmmm, yeah, ya know, that very well may be it! There are a lot of battles in this book, and I seem to remember that Ready Player One, although it had the same amount of action, was more puzzle based, and I think that was the real selling point for me!

If you're a gamer, (which if you're reading this review and like these books at all I'm sure you must be) it would be like the difference between Portal AKA Ready Player One, vs. Dark Souls AKA Armada.  Weird reference I know, but Dark Souls is all "dodge roll stabby stabby run away action", and Portal is "hey, how do I make this thingy open over here when there's no lever? Oh yeah push this box onto this button, jump 10 feet in the air, do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, VOILA!" Puzzles, man, puzzles.  Puzzles > FPS any day.

So, in conclusion, I know that if Ernest Cline ever writes another book, which I'm sure he will, I will definitely read it, but please, give me more Portal and less Dark Souls Mr. Cline, okay?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown summary

     This one picks up exactly where we left off in Red Rising.  Darrow has become a student at the Academy and is training for war under ArchGovernor Augustus to Mustang's dismay.  She tried to get him to stay with her but he knew winning at the Academy would get him a fleet and one step closer to helping the Sons of Ares, although he still hasn't heard from them in all this time.
    It is down to only Darrow and Karnus in space and whoever destroys the other wins this game and a place of highest honor with their house plus of course their own fleet.  Darrow pulls a tactical move but Karnus outsmarts him and Darrow loses.
    Since Darrow didn't win, Augustus tells him he will be auctioned to another house since he needs to keep tensions with the Bellona's at bay and it's costing him precious trade agreements from the houses who honor Bellona.  Darrow tries to change his mind, knowing that if he is not under Augustus protection the Bellona's will find him and kill him, or the new house will give him to them as a gesture of good will.  Darrow has heard repeatedly that Cassius, Karnus, and their mother want him dead as soon as possible.  Augustus doesn't listen to him however and tells him he will be sold at The Summit, the gathering and party where all houses discuss important and frivolous matters.
     While Darrow is trying to come up with a plan, Victra (Antonia's sister and one of Darrow's fleetmembers) comes to him and tells him she has a solution.  He goes with her and they meet up with Jackal of all people.  He tells Darrow that since he has been exiled in dishonor due to the incidents before, he has taken control of 30% of all media in the system and can use that 30% to poison the other 70% with what he wants it to see.
     Darrow doesn't understand where he's going with this, but Jackal tells him he's ready to gain his father's favor back, and he will do that by bringing down the Sons of Ares and the Sovereign (she's pretty much head honcho over all Society, like a queen would be except the Society sees her as we would a President and not a queen: she governs everything but goes with the votes of the people).
     ArchGovernor's advisor is a man named Pliny, and Jackal tells Darrow that Pliny is the reason they've both been cast out.  Pliny picked Leto (a warrior that Darrow liked in Augustus house while he was there) because he knew Augustus would be reminded of Jackal's dead brother Claudius.  Pliny began shaping Leto to become the ArchGovernor's heir when Darrow showed up, and just as he pushed Jackal out he has done so to Darrow now too. Once Leto rules, Pliny will be right there whispering in his ear, same as with Augustus but he will have more control since Leto is his vessel.
     Jackal goes on to tell Darrow that Octavia au Lune (the Sovereign) has a fetish for dirty politics (assassinations, rigging appointments, etc), and she and her Furies (3 trusted advisors to the Sovereign) selected the mob who currently run Lost City where Jackal is hiding out, and he's found out that lowColors within the mob despise Octavia and want to overthrow her so he's helping them move up in the world and once he does that they can take down Ares and broadcast it through the media he now controls and he will gain favor with his father again.  When Darrow asks where he fits into this picture, Jackal tells him he is to be the figurehead of this "revolution" since no one likes Jackal.  Darrow will show that Jackal is his equal while they take down Ares and the Society will stand by him once again. Jackal says when Darrow goes up for auction he will buy him so the Bellona's won't get him and their plan can go forward.  Darrow agrees.
     About this time a Pink enters the bar and Jackal tells Darrow that he will buy her for him to seal the deal.  Darrow is surprised when he realizes it is Evey, a member of the Sons of Ares.  She recognizes him too and they agree so that they will be able to talk in private.  She tells Darrow that she planted a bomb in the bar to kill Jackal for the Sons of Ares since Jackal has been snooping for information about them.  Darrow rushes to save Jackal and manages to but many other lowColors die at the bar.
     Evey finds him and takes him to Harmony, another leader of the Sons. Harmony tells him Dancer died during the war they are waging, but Ares still has a plan for him.  They have many bombs set to detonate throughout Society on the evening of the Summit, and since Darrow is now trusted among the Golds he is to set off a bomb at the event since he's the only one who can get close enough to kill all the leaders.  He tries to reason with Harmony and tell her that this is not the way to bring down Society, that Dancer had a plan to rise without killing lowColors in the process by him infiltrating the Golds, but Harmony tells him it's too late for that now, and convinces him to do it by showing him the tape of Eo's death and her last words to her sister; to hide the crib, that it would kill Darrow if he knew.
     Darrow is just about to set off the bomb at the Summit but sees that this is not what Eo wanted, and it should not be Ares plan. She did not want war between the colors, but for the lowColors to rise up and be equal with the Golds and everyone else.  He realizes he knows how to accomplish it without lowColors dying to the Gold's power.  The thing the Society most fears is Civil War among themselves and he knows how to instigate it, so he goes back into the Summit with a new purpose.
     When he goes back in, he challenges Cassius in front of everyone to a one on one battle to settle the feud between house Augustus and house Bellona once and for all. The Sovereign accepts, thinking Darrow will never beat Cassius since Cassius is the strongest around now after training.
     Darrow has a trick up his sleeve though, and has secretly trained with Lorn au Arcos, one of the last great Knights.  He is about to kill Cassius when the Sovereign interferes and says that there are new rules and that the fight can be to death or yielding.  She reveals her favoritism to the Bellona's in this way as Darrow suspected.  When Darrow tells her the laws of Society cannot be changed she says she is the law, revealing to everyone that she thinks she is a ruler rather than a leader.
    All heck breaks loose and the Bellona and Augustus house battle when Cassius lunges at Darrow to try to kill him and Tactus interferes to protect him.  Knowing they are outnumbered, the Augustus house flees but Darrow is taken by the Sovereign into custody.  She tells him she wants him to be a part of her house but he must pass a test.
    She reveals a box with two vipers in it who bite if they sense a lie is told.  The Sovereign tells him that they will ask each other questions and if he is truthful enough to be in her house without being bitten she will make him a great leader.  Darrow doesn't even want to be a part of her house but he has to agree since he knows there's no other option.
     They begin asking each other questions and as his last question Darrow asks her if she planned to allow the Bellona to assassinate Augustus and all those at his table at the gala this evening.  She says no and the viper immediately bites her.
     Mustang is in the room when this happens (she had been dating Cassius and has formed an allegiance with the Sovereign and Bellona's, making them think she no longer cares about house Augustus), and she yells at the Sovereign saying that she promised they wouldn't be hurt.  The Sovereign tells her that her father is a danger to everyone.  He executed Eo and created this spark of revolution in the lowColors, and they have retaliated tenfold setting off bombs in public Gold locations and using him as their villain for this war.  She says if they kill him they can end the revolution by placing the Bellona's in power and showing the lowColors they don't tolerate unnecessary killings and wish to make peace.
     Mustang contacts Sevro and the Howlers on another planet and they all help Darrow escape the Sovereign's house.  They find the rest of House Augustus and escape with the Sovereign's grandson as a hostage (but not before Aja, the Sovereign's head soldier and another student of Lorn's, kills Quinn in retaliation as they take the boy and board the ship) and they take to the skies to try to get back to Mars and recuperate to battle against Bellona and the Sovereign.  Tactus betrays them though and takes the grandson back to the Sovereign to gain favor with her (Tactus is ever only loyal to whoever he thinks will win though Darrow had hoped differently since he considered him a friend).
     Darrow knows the only option they have since they won't make it back to Mars before the Sovereign comes after them is to do something they won't expect, so he and Sevro attack the Sovereign's largest ship by rocketing themselves through the windows.  They take command of the ship after Darrow manages to convince the lowColors on board to fight against their Gold commanders for him since he will be a better leader, and after that they escape the Sovereign's armada chasing them.
     During this time, Sevro tells Darrow he needs to talk to him alone and Darrow finds out that Sevro knows he is a Red in Gold disguise.  Ares apparently had been watching Sevro for a while and deemed him trustworthy, so it was he that sent for Sevro and the Howlers to rescue Darrow from the Sovereign, not Mustang.  Darrow breaks down knowing that he finally has someone on his side who is a highColor that believes everyone should be equal.
     The next part skips in time:  a lot of House Augustus allies have left them fearing the Sovereign's power, their bannermen on Mars are under siege by Bellona and Sovereign forces and they are unable to return home to gain additional forces.
   We pick up while the remaining members of those loyal to Augustus are in council about what to do: keep running until reinforcements can help them, or stand their ground and fight back against the Bellona's and Sovereign.  Pliny, of course, says they should continue to run until the time is right, but Darrow reveals he has a plan.
     He says there is a ship on Ganymede even better than Pax (the ship he just captured from the Sovereign) and when Augustus asks him why they should take the ship, Darrow tells him they need to take all the ships on Ganymede for starters.  A huge argument ensues with Pliny stating this will put the war as more than just the Bellona's/Sovereign and Augustus house, it will start war with the Society.  Darrow convinces Augustus that it is either war or extinction of their house if they do nothing.  Augustus agrees, but tells Darrow they will need Lorn's house if they hope to ever win this war.
     When Darrow goes to Lorn for help, he knows it is a futile cause, as Lorn has now sworn to stay out of conflicts in Society.  Lorn takes Darrow out to the fields at his house to show him his pet griffin, Icarus, and tells Darrow to look to his ship above.  Darrow sees it surrounded by the Sovereign's ships and knows Aja is coming for him.  Lorn tells him that although he wants no part in the war, he will allow Darrow to take the griffin and run so that he isn't captured since he thinks of him as a son.
     Darrow turns the tables though by telling Lorn that he already knew of the attack that was to happen and he has ships waiting outside the view of the Sovereign's ships.  He tells Lorn that he is a part of the war whether he likes it or not, as unless he joins house Augustus the Sovereign will come for him and his house next, thinking he is the one who told Darrow Aja was coming.
     As Aja, Tactus, and the other Golds come through the castle gates towards them, Darrow calls the Howlers and his ships, led by Roque, and Aja thinks they are about to fight, but Darrow sets off land mines that he had dropped on the path while walking towards the griffin and blows most of them up.  Aja and Tactus survive and take off while the Howlers give chase.  Tactus can't be found, and Darrow and Lorn realize that he has been given orders by the Sovereign to kill Lorn's children and grandchildren at the castle in retaliation.  When they find Tactus, he admits that he wishes he hadn't abandoned Darrow.  Darrow tells him he forgives him and will welcome him back if he lets the children live.  Tactus agrees and he and Darrow embrace as friends again, but Lorn stabs and kills Tactus to hurt Darrow since he gave him no choice in this war and betrayed him.
     Upon returning to the rest of the fleet Darrow learns from Mustang that Pliny has betrayed them and told the Sovereign of their plan to take the ships, so her fleet was waiting in ambush when they had arrived and Augustus and Jackal along with other loyal house members were taken prisoner.  While coming up with a plan, Darrow and Ragnar have a long talk and Darrow tells him he is free.  Ragnar tells him he has pledged himself to him and doesn't want to be free, but Darrow tells him he pledged himself to a Gold, and he is not a Gold.  He then tells Ragnar his story and plan for this war and Ragnar joins him as a free man.  Darrow knows he has found a new general for this revolution.
     Darrow leads them on a rescue mission by hiding in one of the food transporting ships, and when they arrive on the ship the Sovereign has given Pliny he heads straight to the war room.  Lorn, Mustang, and the Howlers back up Darrow as he tells Pliny he's taking back control of this ship and releasing all prisoners.  He tells the Peerless Gold's in the room that they must either join or die.  As Darrow turns to leave he hears the sound of razors and knows the other Peerless are killing Pliny.  Jackal and a few other loyal Augustus followers on the ship are realeased from their confinement, and Darrow has Jackal spread the word through his media links that Darrow has called for an Iron Rain.  Houses from near and far begin flocking to Darrow's side after seeing how powerful he has become and knowing there is a chance they can take down the Sovereign.
     A lot of fighting ensues, but the Sovereign has one trick left up her sleeve.  Darrow had the Sons of Ares dig a hole under the wall before their arrival back on Mars that would bring them up through the river and into the town.  He doesn't realize that the Sovereign found it, and when they come up out of the river a young girl is standing there rather than soldiers and sets off an EMP that disables their armor and gravboots and sends all the soldiers on Darrow's side plummeting to the ground.  They are picked off one by one but Ragnar saves Darrow and Sevro along with the other remaining Howlers who weren't killed in the initial fight when they first arrived on Mars.
      Darrow sees the Sovereign and knows he's about to lose his only chance to take her down before she regroups with her forces so he launches himself at her ship as it's taking off and lands inside.  He puts up a good fight but is overwhelmed by the Sovereign's forces including Fitchner, but is surprised when Fitchner holds him as he lay dying and whispers to him that he had it under control and Darrow should have left it alone.  Coming back from the brink, Darrow sees Fitchner launch grenades behind him into the plane as he grabs Darrow and jumps out.  Darrow realizes Fitchner is Ares at this moment.
     Upon coming out of his coma like state, Mustang is in Darrow's room and catches him up on what has happened the past few days.  Roque managed to capture 70% of the Bellona's fleet and is being hailed as a hero, Augustus was saved, and although most of the Bellona's were killed, Cassius and his mother escaped and are in hiding.  Darrow also remembers Ares (Fitchner) bringing him to the Carvers to fix him up and although he doesn't remember it, he assumes Ares dropped him off where he is now, and Mustang states that afterwards Sevro took off with Fitchner somewhere.  Darrow wonders how long Sevro has known about his father.
     Darrow goes to meet with Roque in the gardens to try to patch their friendship again, but their conversation is interrupted by Sevro who says he needs to speak with Darrow in private.  Roque tells him to go, that they can talk later, and Sevro tells Darrow that Harmony and other Sons have been captured by the Jackal.
     Darrow goes to visit the Jackal and Victra, (who has now formed an alliance with Lorn and his house after the battle; where her mother turned on the Sovereign to help them and turned the tides on them winning).  He is visiting under the pretense that they need to discuss their next moves in this war but it's all for show, as Sevro, Fitchner and other Sons burst in with masks on, act like they are attacking Darrow, the Jackal and Victra, and rescue Harmony and the other Sons.  This makes the Jackal think Darrow is still on his side since Darrow tried to help protect him (again, all for show to gain his trust) against the Sons, but it helps Darrow get the other Sons members back from Jackal.
       In the next chapter, Darrow has gone to meet with Dancer, Sevro, and Ares to discuss what their plan is.  Dancer wasn't dead after all, and it turns out that Harmony had betrayed the Sons.  She had been sent to watch some Senators whose house the Sons had bugged.  They thought they would get revealing info on the Society from them but it turns out all they found was "some depraved shit" in Dancer's words.  Harmony still assassinated the Senators and took off on her own with a few of the Sons who believed killing all the Golds would be the solution.  The headquarters was raided by lurchers because of her and she assumed Dancer dead, but she had taken off already to Luna.
     Dancer and Ares tell him that now it's a given that Augustus will make Darrow his heir and they want him to accept. They know Augustus will not be satisfied with just being ruler of house Mars if the Sovereign is taken down and he will want to be Sovereign himself.  Darrow is to help him do this, and later on Augustus will be assassinated and they'll make it look like another Society house did it, maybe even the Jackal since he is trying to build his own empire.  The houses will look to someone strong to lead them, and that will put Darrow in a perfect position to be that person.
     Darrow tells them he will do what they want, but after 4 years of this he is ready to go home and see his family since he has no idea when he will see them again after this.  He also tells them one of his conditions is that he take Mustang too so that he can show her the truth.  They reject the idea, but he says it has to be this way, and that if she of all people can't accept him for who he really is, then there is no hope for the Society at all once this plan has become a reality and the highColors will never merge into a peaceful union with the lowColors.  They ask what he will do if she rejects him, and he can't say anything, but Sevro says if that's the case then he will kill her.
     Darrow meets with his mother, not expecting her to recognize him but she does and tells him that what he's doing will not help.  All the Reds and other lowColors have ever known is this, so even if he shows them that there are other worlds they will not leave since this is home.  He tells her he still has to try so that they won't be slaves any longer.
     While he went to visit his mom he gave mustang a holotape where he explained everything to her, and told her to either join him in the house or leave after hearing it, that he would understand either way.  He sees from the tracking device Sevro placed on her ship that she has left.  Sevro and Ragnar are following her waiting for Darrow to give them word so they can strike her down before she tells her father.
     To gain a moment of peace before going back Darrow goes to the mines but Mustang is there waiting on him with a gun.  Ragnar apparently didn't follow Darrow's orders and he shows up too when Mustang is about to shoot Darrow.  Darrow and Ragnar both take off their weapons and tell her to go ahead and kill them since they know that if she can't change no one will.  She walks away.
     The next chapter shows Darrow being christened as a hero by Augustus and the ArchGovernor has offered Darrow the grandeur of being his heir and Darrow has accepted.  At the feast held in his honor Roque is to present Darrow with a gift of some sort in an ivory box (I don't remember what it was supposed to be; something to do with the Gold tradition), but as he starts to hand it to Darrow he sticks him with a poison needle and tells him (not word for word) that he is a "bloodydamn" traitor.  Darrow knows that Roque knows he is Red.
     All hell breaks loose as Augustus is captured, Victra is killed, and Aja and Cassius show up with several other Sovereign warriors. Jackal is standing by smiling and Darrow knows he has become a traitor too.  Jackal goes up to Lorn and finishes him off and comes back to Augustus.  He asks Augustus if THIS is something worthy of a son of the ArchGovernor and reveals that he paid Cassius' older brother to kill Augustus favorite son and his other brother many years prior in order to try to win Augustus' favor.
     Augustus tells him he is not his son and he should have smothered him in his crib, and Jackal is so consumed with knowing his father hates him that all humanity leaves him entirely and he shoots Augustus.
     Cassius comes up to Darrow and tells him that his brother was one thing, but killing his whole family and the children is another and he now has his revenge.  Darrow doesn't know what he's talking about with the children.  I guess that will be revealed somewhere in the next book.  Cassius then opens the ivory box to show Darrow what's inside and it is Ares head.  He tells Darrow that this still isn't over and that he will hunt down and kill every last member of these opposing houses; Mustang, Sevro, Ragnar....everyone Darrow loves will die.
     The book ends with Aja telling them to bring Darrow to the Sovereign so he can be "dissected".  I'm assuming this is so that they can figure out how a Red was made Gold?  Not sure on that part.  All will be revealed in the finale I'm sure.....End of Book 2

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Red Rising by Pierce Brown summary

    The book begins by showing the classification of colors regarding the human race.  Golds and Silvers are the highest, considered almost immortal by the other classes,  then the Obsidians- Gold bodyguards who are like ninja assassin protectors, then Grays-those who serve the Golds and watch over workers to make sure their jobs are being done, and finally the Reds- lowest of the low, consisting of miners whose jobs are to farm for Helium3, an element needed to make life sustainable on Mars' surface.  There are other colors for other jobs, such as Orange for technicians, but these are all still technically Red classifications and since these don't come into play very much in the book I will skip over them.
     Darrow is a Helldiver, which means he is a miner equipped with an awesome drilling suit (I picture it as a Big Daddy from Bioshock if anyone recognizes that) and the leader of his mining clan, the Lambdas.  
     The Lambdas are competing with another clan called the Gammas to produce the most Helium3 quota to win that month's Laurel, which is a prize that allows for much larger food rations and other added benefits for the clan.
     Even though Darrow wins the Laurel for Lambda, it is given to the Gammas, and no one can say anything because they know they'll be killed for protesting (Darrow's father was killed for trying to initiate a strike for more rations so they all know from experience).  It is all just a show of power that the Gold's, Gray's and Copper's can give the Laurel to whomever they want and it's not a fair competition.
     To try to calm Darrow down, Eo (Darrow's wife) takes him to a small green field she has found through the vent shafts and they spend the evening talking and looking at the stars (there's nowhere else in the underground compound where the stars can be seen and the Reds have been taught that above ground is currently uninhabitable).  Eo tries to convince Darrow that HE could start the rebellion his father couldn't since although his father wanted change he didn't fight hard enough.  Darrow blows off her suggestion.
     On their way back home they are captured by guards while coming from the shaft and taken to the town square to be whipped for going somewhere that is only to be used by higher colors.  Darrow is first and takes his lashes, but when Eo is beaten, as an act of rebellion she begins to sing a forbidden song, knowing that her coming death due to this will finally anger Darrow enough to fight for a rebellion against the Golds.  She is put to death and Darrow is forced to hold her legs due to the low gravity while her neck is snapped.
     Darrow's rebellion begins when he does an act punishable by death, which is to take Eo's body from the hanging spot and bury it.  Darrow is hanged and his Uncle Narol pulls his feet as Darrow did to Eo, but  Darrow awakens in a shallow grave and is told that a man named Dancer who is the leader of a rebellion called the Sons of Ares has a mission for him and has saved him from death.  Darrow realizes his Uncle was in on this and didn't pull hard enough to break his neck but has drugged him to make him appear dead until he could be saved.
     When he meets Dancer, the man tells him that Mars above ground has been inhabitable for years and yet they are still kept as slaves, so an uprising is beginning and Darrow has been picked as a spy due to his strength and desire.  He is to be turned into a Gold....literally, and infiltrate the enemy to get information to bring them down. He is to have a ton of surgeries which makes him faster, prettier, Gold-er.  Darrow agrees, and after many surgeries and training he is snuck in to be one of the new Gold recruits.
     The first thing the Gold recruits are forced to do is that they are placed in groups of two in a room and are forced to fight to the death to weed out the weakest of the bunch.  Darrow is placed in a room with one of the few Golds he actually liked in their previous training, Julian.  He had made friends with he and his brother Cassius during that time. Darrow of course hides the fact that he kills Julian from Cassius later on.
     After this test the students are separated and divided up between 12 separate castles, all of which has been named after the Gods (of Roman mythology, such as Pluto, Minerva, etc). Darrow's house is Mars. The students are given a branding tool and told that they are to take over the other houses by any means necessary and brand those captured to use as slaves in their army, and whoever wins will earn the right to become Peerless Scarred, highest of the Golds with the best jobs in society.  Seems like not much of a thing to fight over, but it's hard for me to describe just how shallow the Golds are:  they value beauty, strength and status above all else in life so for them this is very important.
     Darrow forms close bonds with a few of the students in his house, namely Cassius, Sevro, Roque, and Lea.  He becomes house (castle) leader, but it is a house divided since there's another student who has started his own ragtag group named Titus.  Let's just think of him as the supervillain of the story for the moment.
     Titus captures Cassius girlfriend Quinn thinking she is Darrow's girl, and Darrow's group vows to get her back.  On their way to attack Titus they are attacked by another house whose leader is a girl named Mustang.  Darrow met her once in training and couldn't help but like her since she seemed more Red than Gold.  Darrow and Cassius run from the Minvervans who come to the rescue of Mustang and manage to escape from them with the help of Sevro (Goblin he's now called) and Sevro tells them that since Minerva has found their castle the best way to keep them from winning will be to steal their branding staff so that no Mars people can be made slaves by the Minervans.
     Darrow agrees and they take the Minervans by surprise and steal their staff and their cook, since no one in Mars knows how to cook and they've been so hungry that that's part of the reason the whole castle was going bonkers.
     They return to castle Mars to find that Mustang has taken it with her group, but Darrow offers her a deal that she can take her people back to castle Minerva with her without anyone being branded if they go peacefully.  Minerva says she wants to take Titus for what his group has done (raping the imprisoned Minerva girls), but Darrow tells her no and that if she doesn't go there will be war.  Minerva knows they will lose if all of house Mars attacks them so she agrees.
     I don't remember the exact point in the book, but somewhere around this time Titus tells Cassius that HE is the one who killed Julian, just so he can get a rise out of him, and of course Darrow goes along with it.  Cassius tells Darrow that he has to be the one to kill Titus if the time ever comes.
     Everyone is wondering why the Proctor's (Peerless who are overseeing all this from the sky like the Gods the houses are named for) don't come in and stop this, and as Mustang leaves Darrow tells her it is because for now they are all Reds, and they will be Reds until one of them gets enough power.  Then they will get rights, and they'll make their own law. He tells her that's the point of all this: to make them terrified of a world where Gold's don't rule, and security and justice aren't given but must be earned and make them into better leaders. 
     Mustang tells him she hopes that's not true because there is another named Jackal who is said to be smarter, crueler, and stronger than Darrow and will make them all his slaves if Darrow does not evolve from Red to Gold.
     When Darrow questions Titus, Darrow realizes all the anger and hatred, the rape, cruelty to other Gold's etc, is because Titus is just like him, a Red turned to Gold who has been planted, but Titus has let his need for revenge get in the way of the mission that has been planned for them.  Darrow realizes he must put Titus to death so that he will not ruin what Dancer is trying to build in the revolution.  
     He sentences him to death in front of the Proctors watching from above and house Mars, but does not forget his promise to Cassius that he would allow him to kill Titus.  Cassius easily overtakes Titus in a duel and Darrow sees that his was not just punishment; that Cassius need for revenge has overtaken him and Titus is carved away little by little as Cassius taunts him. Afterwards, Darrow sees that no one in the house trusts he nor Cassius anymore and have lost respect for them after that poor excuse for justice.
     Darrow begins asking their Mars Proctor (Flitchner) questions about why they've just watched from the sky this whole time but never done anything, and it's as Darrow had figured: it's all about teaching them what it would be like if they weren't Gold, therefore giving them more initiative to never let the Golds fall from power. 
     Flitchner also tells Darrow that the Jackal is the ArchGovernor's (this is like the king of the country) son.  Hearing this, Darrow realizes that since each house can't take down the other due to the pretty much impenetrable walls, they must make allies of one of the other houses to take the biggest threats out and make them slaves to join in an even larger army.  
     Darrow senses that Mustang is their biggest threat at the moment, and he and Sevro ride to meet with the leader of House Diana to get them to join Mars.  Darrow tells their leader, Tamara, that if she will help take Minerva he will help her take Ceres and they can go their seperate ways and fight against each other again afterwards.  Knowing Ceres has bread they do not have, she barely wastes any time saying yes.
     They attack and take Minerva easily but Tamara tries to betray Mars by closing the gates and branding the Minervans with the Diana brand first. Darrow is prepared for this, expects it actually, and has already had Sevros and his band who wear wolf skins (The Howlers) slip inside the gates. They burn all the food supplies and eventually House Diana tries to flee in the night and is captured along with Minerva.
     A girl shows up saying that she wishes to speak to Cassius and that if he will turn in the Reaper (Darrows nickname since his weapon of choice is a slingblade) that Jackal will give Mars 50 ion blades. Cassius denies her request and then she gives him a pouch and states that what's in it may change his mind.
     It turns out it's a holo tape from where Darrow killed Julian and Cassius leads Darrow out into a field by stating that Sevros has found Roque and that he needs help. They battle and Cassius overtakes Darrow and leaves him to die in the field.
      Mustang saves Darrow and they live in the woods for a while since neither has a house at the moment.  Some Oathbreakers (people who were taken as slaves but ran away) try to rape Mustang while Darrow is away hunting but he comes back in time and saves her.  She tells him to let them live and he ties them to a tree and lights a fire so that a house clan will come find them.
     Darrow gets the idea to start an army out of the Oathbreakers they can find.  They gather 10 together and free them of any bonds (Mustang still has the Minerva standard so she's able to clear the previous slave mark from their head), and since they are free the Oathbreakers gratefully follow them.  They then track members of house Mars and the slaves they have from Minerva and sneak up and free the Minerva slaves, who of course are more than willing to go with their former leader Mustang.  Even Pax, a boy who is described to be like Goliath that Darrow previously fought and managed to beat, is excited that Darrow is now on their side.
     They next overtake Ceres and all slaves inside there join their army as well for freedom while the rest are made slaves until they see what's being accomplished and why they should fight as well.  Next they head south to begin to try to take down the Jackal before he gets more powerful.
     Apollo is first in the south.  Darrow knows the Apollo and Jupiter Proctors are his greatest threat in stopping his band from winning due to the bribery from the ArchGovernor for his son Jackal to win, so his army takes down Apollo by sneaking in through their sewage holes.  Flitchner told Darrow before that if a house is completely taken the Proctor of that house must leave "Olympus" where the Proctors are watching from.  Darrow's army realizes when he mocks the Apollo Proctor after taking the house that their war isn't about taking the houses anymore; it's about taking down the corrupt Proctors, and this makes them happy to follow Darrow even more.
    Darrow comes up with a plan to fool the Proctors, knowing they are listening to them through microphones in their house rings since Flitchner told him that at their meeting earlier.  He tells Mustang they are going to take Jupiter's castle now and wait for the rest of Jupiter's army to come back.  When they arrive there it is very thinly guarded since most of Jupiter is away fighting other battles and a boy named Lucian comes out to meet them waving a white flag.
     He tells them the remaining guards inside will allow them to take the castle if they just do not make them slaves and give them some food as they haven't had much in weeks.  Darrow agrees, but this is all part of his plan too.
     He tells his army to enjoy themselves for once since there won't be an attack anytime soon and they get drunk on wine.  Darrow begins making conversation with Lucian.  After talking and laughing a while he sees Lucian finally opening up a bit and he tells him to give him his hand so he can show him something.  Warily Lucian does and Darrow immediately stabs it into the table trapping him.
     Darrow tells him he knows he is Jackal, and when Jackal asks how he tells him it's because he knew the Proctors would try to set a trap for him, and A)his Ceres house ring doesn't fit and B)no one would ever give up a castle that easily.
     Not thinking he will do it, Darrow tells him if he will free himself he is free to go, meaning if he cuts his hand off that is held down by the knife.  Unbelievably, Jackal does it.  Darrow knows he can't let someone this crazy go, but as he's about to stop him the Proctor's step in and give Jackal a sonic detonator (I guess it's a type of sword? not even sure myself) and he immediately attacks Pax.  He then lunges for Darrow, but Pax throws himself on top of Darrow to protect him as he dies and Jackal stabs him over and over trying to get to Darrow.
     By this time the rest of Darrow's army in the room is recovering and start to come after Jackal so he runs away before he can get a chance to kill Darrow. They pursue him but Proctor Apollo has not left Olympus like he was supposed to and he confronts Darrow, tells them that the Proctor's have Mustang and if he doesn't stop pursuing Jackal that they will kill her.
     Darrow has a surprise for Apollo though.  When Apollo takes him up in the air to drop him and kill him, as he lets go Darrow remains in the air as he stole Flitchner's GravBoots.  He kills Apollo and comes back to the ground and tells the Howlers and Sevro that they must take Olympus.  This army of assassins is half crazy so they readily agree.  Sevro asks where Darrow got the boots and he tells him "from Daddy".  Sevro laughs, realizing Darrow has figured out Flitchner is his father.  After their last meeting Darrow had figured it out and he knocked out Flitchner and stole his stuff while leaving him in a cell at the castle.
     Darrow takes Apollo's armor and they head for Olympus, with the Howlers being attached to Darrow by belts as they make the flight.
     They take Olympus pretty easily since everyone is unprepared, and Darrow sends Mustang to capture Jackal in the mountains (not before they do some hanky panky though) so that they can finally end this and go on with their lives and gain their new apprenticeships for winning.
     Flitchner has been released and he tells Darrow that there might be a small problem with his plan with a smile on his face.  Darrow asks what it is and Flitchner tells him he just sent half his army and Jackal's sister away.  Darrow freaks out and takes off from Olympus with what remains of his people, goes back to house Mars with them and takes everyone back as slaves there to try to fight Jackal and Mustang.  Mustang however doesn't betray Darrow and brings back Jackal naked and bound.
     Later, Sevro tells Darrow that when he was editing the feed from their rings to let the Council members (would be kind of like the US Congress who are there to make sure the President does everything right) hear what they wanted them to hear, the conversation between Darrow and Apollo was jumbled near the end so he edited it out. One of Darrow's last words to Apollo in the heat of revenge was "bloodydamn", which only Reds say.  Darrow doesn't know if Sevro knows he is Red and is covering it up or if he really just couldn't understand what was said.
     When the Council members come (by now they've seen the edited holotapes Sevro sent and know Darrow's house is the winner), ArchGovernor is there and he takes Darrow aside and tells him that as long as he will not say anything about his involvement in trying to help Jackal win that he will take him under his wing as a member of his house and he will train with the best in the Academy, have the best position near him and won't ever have to want for anything in his life.  Darrow tells him no one but a few in his army knew of the ArchGovernor's bribes and they won't say anything because of their loyalty to him.  The Proctor's won't say anything either because of course they don't want to be stripped of their titles for taking the bribes.
     Although he hates the ArchGovernor more than anything, Darrow knows this is his reason for being here at all; to get close to those in highest power to help the Sons of Ares bring down the Council and make everyone equal whether they be Red, Pink, Gold, Brown, etc., so he agrees and accepts ArchGovernor's offer.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder review

     This story really gave me emotions about a character that I hadn't felt in a long time.  A heroine who is weak and strong at once, who isn't a complete idiot and doesn't just "save the day" with no training at all.... I really loved it.
     When we first meet Yelena she is trapped in prison, and I felt such pity for this girl! The author has a true way with words and the way the cell and chains are described I felt like I was right there with her in her suffering (a feat that usually eludes me since I've seen so many horror movies and read so many books that it's hard to feel terror anymore in the fictional universe).
     I honestly don't think I've ever read a book before where the main character was as well and truly alone as Yelena.  For 3/4 of the book she struggles to survive in this place where absolutely NO ONE has her back and is just waiting for the food taster to die.  They even wage bets on whether she will live through the poisons she's given!
     The only part I found lacking at all was the love story, and even on that I'm torn.  The buildup of tension, knowing Valek cares about her and then wondering if he really does (after he makes her do some kind of crazy training that almost kills her), just added to the story.
     But when the tension finally climaxes and Valek reveals his feelings for her and she to him, what came after was just....boring.  No "honeymoon syndrome" here folks, just back to business and what lies ahead.
     I get it, I really do.  Valek and Yelena have a job to do.  But for God's sake, I just spent 200 pages watching this unfold and know it was coming, only to get 4 or 5 pages of the actual romance part of it!  I wanted more from their story, and after the ending I don't even get the hope of that!
     After I finished the book I automatically went to Goodreads to see how everyone felt about the rest of the series, and unfortunately I guess it's in my best interests to just keep this book close to my heart as a favorite and not be disappointed in Yelena by continuing, since apparently she just turns into a whiny, typical "oh that was so close but we knew she would overcome" hero.  *Sigh* always with the 2nd book syndrome SMH.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Old Man's War by John Scalzi review

 I think my expectations for this book were too high.  After seeing on Goodreads that it is voted as the best sci-fi novel behind Ready Player One, I was giddy to read it as Ready Player One is by far my favorite book that isn't part of a series.
     Was this book worth the read?  Absolutely! The story never faltered and I finished it the fastest of any books I've read recently, but I realized that this may have been TOO sci-fi for me.
     An intergalactic battle raging between so many different species and all the technicalities that go along with it had me skimming through paragraphs where the detail was just too much for my tastes.
     Read this by all means as it definitely is a fantastic story, just be prepared to skip a few pages if you're not into learning details about how to fight a Consu or a Rraey in the best way possible (I don't think it will come up in any real life conversations anytime soon).

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa review

     It's normally really easy to determine whether I like a book or not after I've read it.  Did it amuse me?  Did it take two months to finish because I was bored?  Did I hate or love the main character?  Was the love story realistic?
     These are all questions I ask myself while reading to make my rating decision, but this book just doesn't fit into any of my usual categories.
      Let me explain myself:  I absolutely LOATHED the main character, but I  LOVED the world built around her (picture Alice in Wonderland meets Pan's Labyrinth meets everything steampunk). I'm actually even confused as to why I hate this girl.  She is everything any normal person would be if thrown into this situation; confused, lonely, a bit at odds and underwhelming since she's up against monsters that aren't supposed to exist in the real world.
     Even though I know this, (and knowing I wouldn't do any better in this situation), after reading about so many kick ass heroine's I can't help but feel that she's weak and I just want to slap her.
     I get that Julie Kagawa was trying to make us feel like it could be any one of us stuck in this situation and make it seem more realistic by making this girl weaker than the fey, but at the same time, if I'm reading a fantasy novel, I want to read about someone who ISN'T like me.....I want a human who is thrown into this world of terror and shows that humanity is the strongest of the bunch; she can fight like a wildcat, doesn't show fear, learns the ways of the creatures in this strange place and outsmarts them, etc, etc.... It's fiction after all, right?  Why shouldn't I be able to have that?
     Don't even get me started on the love story.  The guy is likeable sure (most of the time), but it seems like insta-love plays a huge role in this.  The first time they kiss, instead of having a Little Mermaid "don't be shy, you know you want to kiss the girl; just do it already!" moment, I had more of a "wait, why are we here, why are they doing this, did I miss something?" moment.
     I had already bought the second book at the same time as I bought the first, thinking since I loved The Immortal Rules that Julie Kagawa could do no wrong, so I'll read it, but I don't know if I'll continue beyond that,sadly.  Too bad, since after seeing all the other reviews I thought this would be my new "must buy the next one right now" series.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Quarantine:The Burnouts by Lex Thomas review

     What the heck was that? Seriously! Just....what?
     I finally finished this series today and I am so disappointed in this ending that I don't even know where to begin. They take a character I came to know and like and made him seem completely unimportant by the end of the book, while letting another who never would have actually survived on their own in this world and making them seem to be the whole reason for the series.
     Those last couple sentences will only make sense to others who have read the book, but those who have completely get what I'm talking about.
     Was it a memorable series? Absolutely, but with that ending I think it's definitely not going to be put on many must read lists anytime soon.
     Another Divergent-esque surprise ending, yet not nearly as thoughtfully planned out.  Two babies? Really?
     Wasn't this trilogy entirely based on the world building and figuring out how the characters would make it knowing everything they were familiar with had been destroyed? If so, then why didn't the authors at least give us some kind of closure to the main players? Telling me Zachary now works at a theater store in New York in two sentences does not an ending make. What about Sasha??? What about these kids who were put to death by the government???
     Yet the others act like it didn't happen and go back to everyday life? Shouldn't there be a revolution against these ppl??? I just don't buy it.
      If there was to be another book I may feel differently, but if this is really the last then....just....no.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard summary

Mare Barrow- main character
Kilorn- Mare's best friend
Gisa (Gee)- Mare's sister
Shade, Bree, and Tramy- Mare's brothers
Cal- the king's son, general over the Silver army located at the castle
Elara- the king's wife/queen
Maven- Elara's son
Lucas- assigned as Mare's guard
Julian- one of Mare's trainers and the former queen's brother
Arven- one of Mare's trainers
Evangeline- Cal's betrothed

     We begin the book by learning that there are two different types of people in the world: Reds and Silvers.  The Reds are treated as slaves since they do not have the abilities the Silvers have. Silvers all have some sort of superhuman power: there are telkies (use telekinesis), nymphs (control water), strongarms (superhuman strength), swifts (amazingly fast), greenys (can bend nature to their will), etc.
    Mare and her family are Reds and live in one of the villages called the Stilts.  A few Reds are able to become apprentices for jobs that the Silvers see fit for them.  Mare's sister Gisa has been apprenticed as a silk maker for example, and her friend Kilorn is apprenticed as a fisherman.  For those who are not suitable to the tasks, they are sent to the war in a process called conscription after they turn 18. It is the Silver's war between each other battling for lands, but very few Silvers fight and instead the Reds are sent to the frontlines to die.
     When Kilorn's master (this is what they call the teachers who are training the apprentices for their specific career) dies in an accident, Kilorn informs Mare that he will be sent for conscription, and although she is scheduled to go as well, she feels the need to protect Kilorn.
    Mare is a master thief and decides to visit her friend Will who runs the local black market to get him to try to help smuggle Kilorn out of the city and go into hiding.  There Will introduces her to Farley, the head of the Scarlet Guard (rebels that are trying to start a war against the Silvers to demand equality), and Farley says she will help smuggle Kilorn in exchange for a huge payment.           Mare knows the only way she can come up with that much money at once is to steal from the Silvers and asks for Gisa's help.  When Mare can't find an opening to steal, Gisa tries to do it for her but is caught and her hand is crushed, meaning she will not be able to apprentice sewing anymore.
     Distraught but refusing to give up, Mare goes to the local tavern to pickpocket people there and is caught by a boy named Cal when she tries to steal from him.  He begins talking to her asking her why she's stealing and something about him and the stressful day she has had makes her break down and tell him about everything that's happened.  He walks her home and gives her the money he has on him.
     The next day a guard knocks on the Barrow's door and says that Mare is to come with them.  She is taken to the king's castle and put to work as a servant there.  She finds out it was Cal's doing to help her escape conscription when she sees that he is actually the son of the king.
     Mare learns an event called Queenstrial is going on, which is the event the Silvers have where the young girls compete with their abilities to earn the right to marry the prince.  The queen has a son named Maven (Cal's half brother due to the fact that Cal's mother, the former queen, is dead), so there will actually be two marriages.
     Mare is serving at the Queenstrial when she falls off the balcony of the arena where the contestants are showing their skills and lands on the electrical shield which is blocking the Silver's in the stands from the abilities being used below.
    Mare expects to die, but instead absorbs the electricity into her body and falls unharmed.  The Silver girl currently in the arena (Evangeline, the girl who ends up being pledged to marry Cal) uses her magnetic ability to try to kill Mare but Mare throws her hands up and ends up shooting lightning from her fingertips.  She knows she is about to be killed so she runs but is captured.
     The Silvers are in a frenzy knowing that a Red has the same powers they do, so in order to mask it, the king tells Mare that she will wed Maven, and her backstory is that she always believed she was Red, having been raised by Reds, but it turns out that she is one of the fallen Silver general's daughters.
     His angle is that he thinks she will be able to bridge the gap between the Reds and the Silvers and make speeches to help stop the war the Scarlet Guard has started, by showing that Silvers are kind to Reds, knowing she has been raised as one.
     Mare begins training with the other Silvers to control her powers, including Maven and Cal, and ends up growing close to them both.  Cal shows her how to sneak out of the castle to see her family one last time since she never got to say goodbye before she was taken. She tells them the whole story and they are understanding, but Kilorn vows to join the Scarlet Guard and stop what Mare is being forced into.  Mare learns at this time that Shade has been killed in the war and she joins the Scarlet Guard herself along with Maven, who wants change also.
     They help Farley plan an attack on a few of the Silvers who have hands in the war during a ball that is planned.  The key targets are killed but a bomb also explodes killing many others.  Farley and Kilorn are captured and are tortured to try to get information out of them.  Maven and Mare must stand aside and act like they know nothing, but Mare enlists Julian's help since he can control minds and they use this against the guards to help the prisoners escape without anyone being the wiser.
    Before Julian runs, knowing Elara will find out he helped due to the abilities used, he tells Mare that she is neither Red nor Silver but stronger than both, and he has been researching her DNA and came up with many others just like her, Shade having been one of them.  Mare realizes this is why he had been killed in the war.
    Before Mare will help them escape she asks Farley about the bomb as it was only supposed to be a few targets, and after Farley swears she doesn't know about any bomb, Mare finds out it wasn't a bomb at all but a gas leak that ignited while Cal was using his fire powers to try to capture the prisoners.
    After the Scarlet Guard attack which now has the Silvers on edge, Farley manages to meet back up with Mare and Maven and they take the Undertrain (which I picture as a subway) to the irradiated part of the country.  It turns out it isn't plagued by radiation at all and this is where the Scarlet Guard along with any Reds seeking refuge have built a city.  They have tech that makes the place still seem like it has radiation to the Silver's radiation detection machines.
       At their meeting with Farley, Mare gives her the names Julian had written down and tells her they could build an army that could win the war, but Farley says they do not have enough time for that, since the Silver's are retaliating harshly after the attack by imposing curfews, killing any Reds who step out of line at all, and offering freedom from conscription for information leading to the arrest of the Scarlet Guard. She says there are a lot of Reds who will help, but even more who would turn them in to save their sons and daughters from conscription.
     Maven says that they could hit the Silver's at their heart by sneaking into the castle and forcing the king to surrender, since he is the heart of the war anyways.  If he falls, the war ends.  Farley and Mare state that there's no way they would get past all the guards, but Maven knows Cal is in love with Mare (as he is also), and says that if it were between Cal's crown or saving Mare (knowing that if the plan fails she'll be seen as a rebel and be executed), Cal would always choose Mare and convince his army to step away and not attack the Guard.
     They all sneak up through the tunnels under the city and blow up the bridge leading to the castle.  When the Silver guards run in, Cal included, Mare tells him that he should choose to make a new world, a better world, and choose her.
     She is acting like she loves him, and although a part of her despises him for the way he believes the war needs to continue in order to avoid the fall of both races (and he's sure the Silvers are in the right), there is a part that also remembers how kind he's been to her and the way he's shown her he loves her, and she realizes her words are not totally false.
     The plan goes awry when he does not listen to her though and instead puts two and two together, realizing she is with the Guard and is partly responsible for all the deaths at the ball and the other attacks on the Silvers.
     Maven, the Guard, and Mare run to escape but are captured and taken before the king.  Elara wants to save her son, so she uses her mind control powers to disable the king and Cal.  Mare has hope that they will be saved even though Elara has always treated her like trash.
     Elara forces Cal to kill the king, his father, as Mare and Maven watch.  When Mare looks over at Maven, she sees that he is smiling and realizes this was his and his mother's plan the whole time and he has used her and the Guard from the beginning.  Now he will be king since Cal will be seen as a king killer and executed, and Elara will still serve by his side, while Cal and Mare will be executed for treason.  We learn that Maven made Julian has already been killed since they knew too much.
   The arena for Silvers who have commited treason is called the Circle of Bones, and Maven tells Cal and Mare this is where they will meet their end.
     When they arrive, Lucas is there and is executed in front of them before they are sent into the arena to fight barehanded against some of the best recruits with Arven watching.  He is their former battle trainer who apparently is in cahoots with Elara.  He can diminish recruits abilities and he does this to Mare so that she can't use her electricity against the foes, including Evangeline with her magnetic abilities and her brother Ptolemus.  They evade the warriors as long as they can, with Cal telling Mare to stay behind him and he'll try to protect her.
     Mare tricks one of the fighters into throwing a spear at her while she's in front of Arven and she steps out of the way at the last second, causing Arven to be killed by the spear.  Her abilities return and she begins fighting with Cal.  In the meantime, Maven has had the arena spectators evacuated "for their safety", but really because he is still trying to cover up the fact that Mare is Red but has abilities.
   After defeating all the warriors (Evangeline ran when she saw they were losing), Maven sends in the guards to kill them, but a storm has been brewing and Mare uses her ability to control the lightning and destroy the arena to try to buy them time to escape.  Maven tells the guards to shoot them and Mare knows it's over, but when she hears gunfire she realizes it's coming from the chasm in the arena that held the water for the nymph warrior to fight them with and she sees the guards fall.  Hands grab her and Cal and pull them into the chasm and the water below.
    Mare wakes on an Undertrain headed for the Scarlet Guard's city to find that Shade is alive and on the train with them.  He reveals that he has a teleportation ability and that's why the Silvers have not been able to kill him even though they've tried.  He tells her that their parents and brothers are waiting for them at the Scarlet Guard city. Cal is tied up and although Mare tries to convince Farley to let him go, stating that he saved her life in the Circle of Bones, Farley says she won't ever trust another Silver.  Mare and Cal exchange looks and Mare realizes that although he could burn the chains on his wrists at any time and escape he chooses not to, and Mare knows it's because they BOTH have unfinished business with Maven and want to find the others like Mare to take him down.

End of book 1

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Which author would you like to meet if given the chance?

I set up this poll before I took my.....uh, I guess you'd call it a blog vacation...a couple months back, and the results were as follows:

1. JK Rowling (author of Harry Potter) 42%
2. Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games) 29%
3. Other authors 12%
4. Stephen King 7%
5. Dean Koontz 5%
6. Stephenie Meyer 1%

I guess everyone has finally gotten over the Twilight craze, huh?  LOL.  I myself chose Stephen King, although I would love to meet JK Rowling as well.  Both have built excellent worlds and I would love to live inside their creative minds for even a day to see where they get their ideas.  Thanks to all who voted and please check out the next poll!

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin review

     Wow, it's been 2 months since my last post on here!  I really need to start reading more!  Sorry to everyone that reads the blog; I just haven't been able to find many books recently that haven't been DNF's (did not finish).
     I tried Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick, Zodiac by Romina Russell, and a few others, but I've been very disheartened with these, as they truly felt like YA rather than something that a person of my age (aka, someone who isn't a young whippersnapper anymore) would have any interest in.
     I'm sure teens will probably love those books, and I may go back and give Zodiac a shot at some point, but for me they just didn't do it.
     I kept seeing glowing reviews on Goodreads for this book so after reading the synopsis I knew I had to give it a shot, especially considering it was based on a real place...a place I'd never heard of before reading the book, but a real place that sounded terrifying nonetheless.
     Well, it was just okay.  Not great, not awful, just okay.  I loved Jin but her sister irked me to no end, and let's just say the "love story" left a lot to be desired (love at first sight anyone? yuck).  The ending wasn't rushed exactly, but the epilogue was only 4 or 5 pages long and could have definitely used more oomph.
    I feel it would be a good beach read for mindless entertainment, but if you're expecting a thought provoking piece based on a historical event, don't even bother with it.

3 out of 5 stars