The Nemesis (Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

In the heart-pounding conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Diabolic series, the Empire teeters on the edge of destruction as rumors spread that Nemesis is still alive.

Three years ago, Tyrus Domitrian shocked the galaxy by killing the woman he swore to love forever. The woman for whom he upended the Empire. The woman with whom he wanted to build a new and brighter future.

Now, the once-idealistic heir apparent has become the cruel Emperor Tyrus, wielding his authority with an iron fist, capable of destroying planets with a single word, controlling all technology with a simple thought. He has bent the Grandiloquy to their knees, and none has the power to stand against him.

But there is a muttering among the Excess. They say that Nemesis is not truly gone. They whisper of her shadow spotted in distant star systems. They say that Nemesis lives. That she will rise, and rally the people to topple the man who was once her truest love—and is now her fiercest enemy.

I waited almost three long years after finishing the second book in this series, The Empress, which nearly destroyed me.  To say I was thrilled upon receiving an ARC of The Nemesis doesn’t even begin to touch my level of excitement.

I’m a voracious reader, and it’s rare I’m surprised by plot twists, but this series is full of them.  Surprises that ripped my heart out, made me want to throw the book across the room, and even kill the characters at some points.  For me, that’s the sign of a crafty, clever writer, and a big reason why Diabolic will always be one of my favorite YA sci-fi series.

Nemesis’s character arc has been fascinating to watch as she learns to believe she’s more than just a killer created in a lab.  Her strong bond with Anguish, a fellow Diabolic, is one of my favorite aspects of this story.  As much as I love her, Tyrus has always been the draw for me.  No matter your intelligence, he’ll always be ten steps ahead of you and can out-strategize anyone.  He’s delightfully wicked in this final novel and has an abundance of thought-provoking ideas in that head of his.  Both he and Nemesis are pushed to their breaking points, so be prepared for some nail-biting moments.

It takes a few chapters to find its stride, but the author delivers an intricately plotted, thrilling story loaded with political maneuvering – and a perfect ending in my opinion.  This is a series I’ll absolutely go back and read again.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff #bookreview #YA #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

Pardon the gasping of air you may hear – I’m still hyperventilating over that ending.  I’m pretty sure I’m not emotionally equipped to wait a year for the next book!

An exceptional first novel in a series (which Aurora Rising absolutely is) sets the mark pretty high for the second.  Sometimes that goal is achieved, but more often that not it isn’t.  In this case, Aurora Burning exceeded both the mark and my expectations.  Tyler and his diverse crew of found family are still comical, loveable, and awkward and find themselves in heart-pounding, life-threatening situations.  And I do mean that in the pleural sense.  These guys attract trouble like a magnet.

Talk about shocking revelations – they run amuck, and those unusual gifts the squad receive left me scratching my head.  Some of their purposes come to light, while others remain a mystery.  Between the unveiling of secrets and the dangerous situations, I ran through the gamut of emotions.  And I feel compelled to mention that ending again – I’m not okay.

If you’re a sci-fi fan, I can’t recommend this series enough.  Squad 312 will steal your heart and take you on a rollercoaster of an adventure.  And those covers – just gorgeous.

 

Pax Novis (The Pax Archives #1) by Erica Cameron #YA #scifi #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog

Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—the cargo ship captained by her mother that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.

She has successfully kept her secret…until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn’t do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with…

And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.

Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.

And Pax Novis is next.

Ships missing in space?  Stowaways?  Yes, please.  And that cover?  A must read.

With a third gender pronoun set created by the author and incorporated into the story and several LGBTQ characters, the representation is outstanding.  Admittedly, I stumbled over the new terminology (ze, zem, zir) early in the book, but before long, I barely noticed it.

The world-building is captivating.  In the midst of war, I loved the idea of a fleet of ships delivering supplies to those in need.  Characterization is also strong with both main and supporting characters.  Riston and Cira both have enormous compassion for the war orphans and big hearts that sometimes cloud their judgement.  And those stowaway war orphans?  The chosen family they create with Riston and the small amount of security they feel on Pax Novis after enduring such horrific circumstances in their short lives is sweet and moving.  You’ll feel like they’re part of your own family by the end of the book.

Pacing is somewhat sluggish until around the 40% mark, but then it rarely slows.  My heart was racing along with the characters’ during the last 20% or so.  The next book is absolutely going on my TBR.

If you’re looking for a thrilling sci-fi mystery with wonderful representation and scenes guaranteed get your pulse racing, Pax Novis checks all those boxes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

*I’m traveling and won’t be able to get to comments until tomorrow afternoon.*