Archive | November, 2013

The Severed Tower: Review and Giveaway

26 Nov

Today’s book review is for The Severed Tower, by J. Barton Mitchell, published by St. Martin’s Press. I received this book directly from the publisher, for free, in exchange for an honest review. I also received an extra copy, which I’ll be giving away in a raffle. Keep reading after the review for details on how to enter to win.

The Severed Tower book cover

The Severed Tower is the second novel in J. Barton Mitchell’s Conquered Earth series. Earlier this month, I reviewed the first book of the series, Midnight City. The second installment didn’t let me down.

The book picks up with Holt, Mira, Zoey and Max journeying to the the Severed Tower in the center of the Strange Lands so that Zoey can fulfill the prophecy revealed to her by the Oracle. They know that reaching the tower will be difficult, but it proves to be more than they expected. To begin with, the Strange Lands, a dangerous region where the laws of physics don’t always apply, seems to be expanding. Then, the Assembly aliens, who usually avoid the Strange Lands, continue their pursuit of Zoey. At the same time, the pirate group that has a bounty on Holt arrives on the scene. And as the team gets closer to the tower, Zoey grows progressively weaker. Fortunately they’ll find unexpected help along the way: Mira’s old Freebooter associates, the White Helix (a cult that reveres the Strange Lands), a reluctant Menagerie team, and even a mysterious Assembly walker who has been stripped of its colors. Will it be enough? Holt and Mira don’t know, but they’re willing to sacrifice everything to ensure that Zoey reaches the Severed Tower–not just to fulfill their promise to her, but because they’re starting to believe that she just might be the key to overthrowing the Assembly once and for all.

As before, Mitchell has crafted an action-packed novel that keeps you on your toes from beginning to end. Since that was one of the things I loved about Midnight City, I was pleased to see that the pacing didn’t suffer from the sequel slump. Instead, he presented even more sources of danger to keep readers on the edge of their seat. I especially loved the introduction of the Anomalies in the Strange Lands, which were presented as puzzles that could kill. They definitely added a new level of suspense, especially since their appearance was unpredictable.

I also liked how Holt and Mira were forced to confront their pasts–and how it brought old weaknesses and self-doubt to the surface. They could easily have ridden high on the confidence of their victory at Midnight City. Instead, we were given more opportunity to see complex emotions and character development. By introducing people from their pasts, Mitchell also provided the audience a window onto why they behave as they do. And I especially liked the parallel development, that Holt and Mira are both confronting their issues at the same time.

Most of all, I enjoyed getting some more points of view in the narration. The first book was mostly from the perspective of Holt and Mira. Technically, this one might have been, too. However, this time we got much more from Zoey, as well as sections told from the perspective of the Assembly Hunter, Avril (from the White Helix), and an Assembly walker called “Ambassador”. This inclusion of more perspectives helped to flesh out Mitchell’s Conquered Earth world even more.

There were a couple of minor issues with the book. First, there were some flashback chapters that I found a bit jarring. The first time that I encountered one, I wasn’t sure what was going on–if it was the result of a Strange Lands anomaly or what. They could have been set up a little more effectively, so that readers didn’t have to expend so much energy trying to figure it out (since there are so many more interesting things to speculate about). Second, I was a little unsure about how well the book stands alone. As someone who enthusiastically read and enjoyed the first novel in the series, I was able to follow along with no problem. Names, place, and terms specific to the series were already familiar. I do think that people who haven’t read the first book will be able to read and enjoy this one; I just wonder if it might be a bit confusing at times. It’s always a challenging situation, though. Too much rehashing alienates established fans, too little alienates new readers.

Overall, I loved it. I’m a fan of the blending of dystopia, sci-fi and fantasy elements. I like the themes of alien invasion, survival, friendship, social organization, and morality. It’s not only one of the most unique stories I’ve read, it’s also one of the most exciting. The Severed Tower earns 4 stars and my enthusiastic encouragement that you get out there and read it, so I have someone with whom to discuss it!

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads. And, if you have a US or Canadian shipping address, you can enter to win a copy of your very own!

Click the following link to find out how to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Visit

23 Nov

Today’s book review is for The Visit: The Origin of “The Night Before Christmas”, written by Mark Kimball Moulton, illustrated by Susan Winget, published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

The Visit book cover

The Visit is a magical new holiday book that details the history of the famous poem “The Night Before Christmas,” which was written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. This history was passed down through the generations and shared with the author by Moore’s great-great-granddaughter, Dinghy Sharp. It’s a lovely work of family history, literary history and holiday magic woven together in a volume that will surely become a Christmas treasure.

Moulton does an excellent job sharing all of this information. Not only does he pull it all together into a compelling narrative–but he does so in the same rhyming verse style of the original poem. There were a couple of places where the meter was slightly off, but it wasn’t too distracting. He structures the story so that the first portion is told from young Dinghy’s perspective. He really captures the wonder and magic of visiting New York City, for the first time, at Christmastime. Then, Dinghy’s grandfather takes over to explain to his grandchildren the strange words and unfamiliar actions that happen in “The Night Before Christmas”–from hanging stockings to the making of sugar-plums. In the third section, he tells the story of why Moore wrote it, and how he came up with the idea. This structure was so engaging. I loved how it kept drawing the reader further back in time.

Winget’s illustrations are the perfect companion to the piece. They have this beautiful antique feel to them. The colors are muted: burgundy reds, forest greens, parchment yellows, and crockery white. Yet every image is full of beauty and captures that classic Christmas feel. There’s a soft fuzziness that gives the feeling of looking back through the mists of time. There’s rich historical detail. I think that the illustrations alone will motivate many people to buy this book.

My favorite part, though, is the very end. That’s because a copy of the original poem, in Moore’s own handwriting, is included. The old cursive may be a challenge for some to read, but how wonderful to see it in the author’s own hand! (It can even be used to give older children a history lesson on “primary source documents”.) The book was very thoughtfully executed. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. If anyone has been looking for the perfect Christmas book to gift to a kid, look no further.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

Book Review: The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen

22 Nov

Today’s book review is for The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen, written by Diana Prichard, illustrated by Heather Devlin Knopf, published by Little Pickle Press. It is scheduled to be released on Monday, November 25, 2013. I received an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen is a humorous story about a boy who wakes up one morning to discover that the sources of his food have appeared right there in his kitchen. It provides an entertaining way to introduce children to the idea that food originates from somewhere before it arrives in the grocery aisle.

Prichard’s concept is a fun one. In order to eat breakfast, Patrick must gather eggs from chickens and milk from a cow. She describes these actions with accurate details, drawn from her own experiences as a farmer. However, this native Maine girl couldn’t help saying “That’s not right!” when I got to the passage about maple syrup. You see, in the book, a spigot in a tapped maple tree drips syrup. But in fact, that spigot would only be dripping sap–which would then have to be boiled down to produce the deliciously sweet maple syrup that is such a breakfast favorite. While on the one hand, I understand the simplification of the process for the purpose of the story, on the other it feels dishonest. Not to mention, I pity the poor kids who decide to try drinking “syrup” from a tapped tree and instead get a mouthful of sap.

At the end, I had the same problem when Patrick is greeted by an oinking pig and wonders if he smells bacon. If he did smell bacon, I’m pretty sure that pig wouldn’t be oinking anymore. Unless Prichard is alluding to Douglas Adams’s The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, this final scene just felt confusing.

I also wasn’t enamored of Knopf’s illustrations. They do have a lot of character to them, but with their angular style and still visible pencil lines, they feel more like initial sketches than completed illustrations. The digital coloring isn’t particularly well executed–in particular the places where color meets outline seemed sloppy.

It’s unfortunate, because the other elements of the book design were rather nice. I enjoyed the font that was used quite a bit. The placement of text on the page was aesthetically pleasing. There was enough variety in the amount of text per page to keep things from moving too quickly or too ploddingly. And I liked the way the illustrations stretched across facing pages.

Overall I’m going to give it a somewhat generous 3 out of 5 stars. It was a fun story, misrepresentations of maple syrup aside. And I doubt that children of the target age group will be as critical of the illustrations. My own suggestion is that parents be prepared to explain butchering at the end.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.


21 Nov

Today’s book review is for Contaminated by Em Garner, published by Egmont USA. I received an electronic copy of this text from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Contaminated book cover

Contaminated is a novel for young adults and teens, set in a dystopian near-future. When a trendy diet drink started to turn people into shambling, murderous creatures unable to control their impulses, society starts to crumble. Luckily the government is able to step in to round up those who have been contaminated and neutralize the problem–the first step to getting back on track. Since the contamination, 17-year old Velvet Ellis has been juggling school, work, and parenting her little sister, Opal. Then, after months of searching, Velvet finally finds her mother at one of the “kennels” for the contaminated, and her life is turned upside down again. She’s told that her mom will never recover from what happened, but it’s not long before Velvet starts to question that assertion. Is it just foolish hope, or can the contaminated improve? And will she be able to hold her family together when the world seems to be doing everything in its power to tear them apart once more?

I have to say, Garner has come up with an incredibly compelling plot. As soon as I read the book synopsis I was eager to request a review copy. Not only was it an interesting twist on the zombie trope, it also pulled in the moral questions of dystopia. Heck, there was even a little jab at diet culture and consumerism. What’s not to love? Unfortunately, quite a lot.

First, the pace was ploddingly slow. From the description, it sounds like the sort of book that would have a lot of action and intrigue–but it doesn’t. Very little actually happens. I was halfway through the book when I had the realization that nothing really significant had happened. Then, I realized that all of the cool-sounding plot stuff wasn’t the primary story. The primary story was the story of an adolescent, Velvet, having to grow up before she was ready–learning how to navigate the world of adulthood. She spends most of her time worrying about laundry, the food budget, keeping her sister in school, how to support her family, all while caring for a mother who has essentially the same problems as a patient recovering from a major stroke. It wasn’t a bad story–it just wasn’t the one that was advertised.

Then there was the problem of Velvet. The entire story is told in first person from her point of view. The problem with this is that Velvet isn’t all that interesting or likable as far as narrators go. She’s too flat, too catty, too irritating. Fortunately I liked Opal and I was interested to discover what would happen with their mother. Otherwise, I’m not sure I could have tolerated the narrative voice. Velvet’s inner monologue is incredibly redundant and exceedingly boring. That’s because, as mentioned earlier, she spends a lot of time thinking about mundane things. She’s also so judgmental and catty that when other characters are hostile toward her it’s hard to feel much sympathy. I think it’s supposed to be an indication that she’s hardened by the trauma of her experiences, but it read as mere pettiness.

Here’s the thing, though. In the last hundred pages or so, stuff started to get interesting. New cases of contamination started to appear. The media started to shut down. Soldiers and police started asserting more control. And even though Velvet was still focused on her family, it raised a lot of questions for the reader. Then, it ended before any of those questions were answered.

So, even though there were some problems with this book, I’m hoping that there will be a sequel. I don’t really care about what happens to Velvet, but I do want to know more about the world she’s living in. Which means I’m giving Contaminated 3 out of 5 star rating. Because, for all that I didn’t like about it, I still liked it enough to want to read more.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

It’s a Feudal, Feudal World

20 Nov

Today’s book review is for It’s a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History, written by Stephen Shapiro, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird, published by Annick Press. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

It's a Feudal, Feudal World book cover

It’s a Feudal, Feudal World is an innovative book that explores medieval history through infographics, cartoons, and lively text. It covers a wide range of topics, from life expectancy to siege methods. Throughout it makes a point to emphasize the contributions of both women and men, and to highlight the intercultural influences on the period. As a bit of a medievalist myself, I was thrilled to see how much detail was fit into such a short volume.

Shapiro clearly knows his material. Each page is filled with information to stimulate and engage young minds. It’s hard to find history dull, as presented by the author. That’s because all of the information is accompanied by jokes and bits of humor. The reason he’s able to include so much information is because rather than get bogged down in explanations of everything, he opts to use infographics to convey important data and ideas. After all, why read a description of a Viking longship when you can look at a diagram instead?

There’s an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. I’d say that in this case, it’s absolutely true. Kinnaird’s illustrations give life to this history. His cartoons grabbed me from the beginning and made me want to keep reading. They also helped me to understand concepts, such as how mills could be powered by various sources. And I loved the image of the librarian chained to his books–maybe because I could relate a little.

The book also contains a glossary, selected bibliography, and index to enhance the ways students are able to engage with the book. It has a great design and format.

I think this would make a great addition to a classroom or library that serves grades 4-7. It’s the sort of book that I wish had been around when I was growing up. It looks deceptively simple–it’s mostly pictures, and many of those are cartoons. However, anyone who reads it is sure to come away knowing far more than when they began. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars. It’s always nice when a book is able to successfully combine education and entertainment.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

The Dragon’s Boy

19 Nov

Today’s book review is for The Dragon’s Boy, by Jane Yolen, published by Open Road Integrated Media. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

The Dragon's Boy book cover

The Dragon’s Boy is a classic Jane Yolen book for middle grade readers, reissued as an ebook. It tells the story of young Artos Pendragon–better known as King Arthur. Artos is a foster child in the castle of Sir Ector, and the youngest of the boys who reside there. He often feels left out and overlooked. But when he stumbles upon a cave and finds a wise old dragon, things begin to change for him. This beautiful coming of age story is full of magic and wisdom that will capture the minds and imaginations of young readers.

Yolen does an amazing job of setting the scene of ancient Britain. She combines the mundane with the magical to create a place and time that feels very real, without getting bogged down in details. Readers are given just enough information to construct a picture in their mind. As a fan of Arthurian legend, I liked that some aspects of her world were comfortable and familiar, while others were fresh and new. This is always the best way to handle things when dealing with beloved old tales.

I also enjoyed the way she developed the characters. Although the names she uses aren’t the ones with which most readers would be familiar–they’re close enough that even the un-savvy should be able to figure out who is who. And it’s nice to see how these familiar knights may have behaved in adolescence. They weren’t perfect, and yet, despite their arrogance and immaturity, we know that all will grow up to be exemplary men.

My primary complaint with the book is that the ending felt rushed and unsatisfying. It was a reasonable ending and it made sense. But it felt like it came too soon. Maybe part of the problem is knowing that the Arthurian cycle is rich with stories. Another part is that I wanted to see how Artos’s relationship with the other boys would grow and change once he discovers the secret of the dragon. And of course, there’s the bit where the ending just feels like a beginning.

Overall, I think this would be a nice book to introduce younger readers to the Arthurian legend. Artos is a protagonist that tweens and early adolescents should be able to relate to and sympathize with. Although, if they are already reading fantasy, they might find it a bit short compared to other books they’ve encountered. In final analysis I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I liked reading it, but it could have been better.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

Will O’ The Wisp

18 Nov

Today’s book review is for Will O’ The Wisp: An Aurora Grimeon Story, written by Tom Hammock, illustrated by Megan Hutchinson, published by Archaia Entertainment. It is scheduled to be released on December 10, 2013. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Will O' the Wisp book cover

Will O’ The Wisp is a wonderful graphic novel debut from Tom Hammock and Megan Hutchinson. Aurora Grimeon finds herself orphaned after her parents accidentally ingest death cap mushrooms. Having no other family, Aurora is sent to live with a grandfather she has never met, on Ossuary Isle–deep in the swamps of Louisiana. Ossuary Isle is a strange place: there are more graves than people, no other children around, and the locals seem to all adhere to Hoodoo. Aurora doesn’t feel like she belongs in her new home. But when mysterious deaths start plaguing the small swamp community, she can’t help but investigate. Will Aurora get to the bottom of things before she ends up at the bottom of the swamp?

Hammock does an excellent job at crafting a story full of intrigue and suspense. His descriptions and characters make Ossuary Isle come to life. As someone who has never been to the swamps of Louisiana, I felt like I could picture this place and feel the other-worldliness of it. One thing in particular that I thought Hammock nailed was how Aurora is initially skeptical about Hoodoo, but quickly embraces it–because young adolescents often are more open and flexible in their beliefs. She’s rounded out by being curious, resilient, and independent. In short, she’s a pretty cool protagonist.

Hutchinson’s art is fabulous. The entire book has a heavy, muted, dark feel to it, due to Hutchinson’s color palette. Even the gutters (the space surrounding individual panels) are black. She also uses a lot of strong, angular lines in her work. All of these elements work together to create a sense of mystery and foreboding. I enjoyed the stylized rendering of people–everyone has exaggeratedly long legs and short torsos. It’s especially noticeable on Aurora, who is often wearing skirts and knee socks–and generally dresses like a goth.

It’s been a while since I read a great comic with a paranormal story–so this left me excited. Due to the number of dead bodies encountered in the story, it’s not recommended for readers under the age of 12, unless they are exceptionally mature. I can’t really speak to the accuracy of the depiction of hoodoo or swamp life, but I can attest that it’s an excellent work of speculative fiction for middle grades and teen readers. That’s why I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

Smelling Sunshine

9 Nov

Today’s book review is for Smelling Sunshine, by Constance Anderson, published by Star Bright Books. I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Smelling Sunshine book cover

Smelling Sunshine celebrates the ritual of laundry day. All over the world, families wash their clothes and hang them outside to dry on the line. The experience can turn a chore into something fun. It’s a chance to celebrate being outside and bonding with one’s family.

I liked the concept behind the book. Hanging up laundry to dry on the line can be an enjoyable experience. It gives you a chance to be outside, connecting with the world. Anderson touched on these feelings in her book. Unfortunately the prose fell flat for me. To start with, the first 13 pages are just one clumsy, run-on sentence. By the time I reached the end of the sentence, I couldn’t remember how it had begun. After that, there are a series of awkward sentences–including one that wasn’t even grammatically correct. The only section that actually worked for me in terms of the writing was the very end.

On the other hand, I did like the illustrations. They are richly textured, full of beautiful patterns and vibrant colors. Anderson appears to use a combination of collage and painting to produce her images. It’s a nice technique. By blending the two mediums, she is able to create greater depth than collage alone could–while maintaining the fun play of pattern and texture. I also appreciate that she depicts a wide variety of cultures and traditions in the book, so that children can see that hanging laundry is something we have in common with people around the globe.

If you’re looking for a book about laundry that depicts positive parent and child relationships, then this would be an appropriate choice. However, due to my dislike of the prose, I can only give it 2 out of 5 stars. Like I said, the concept was lovely, but the writing didn’t deliver.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.

External Forces First Chapter Reveal

8 Nov

Today I am pleased to have the opportunity to share the prologue and first chapter of External Forces, by Deborah Rix. Last month I posted a 4 star review of the book. Since then I’ve been talking with the author about her research, her publishing experience, publicity, and life in general. One of the things I love about reviewing books is that sometimes I stumble upon a work that I really believe in–and I can help to share it with the world. If the chapter reveal piques your interest, keep watching the blog for a follow-up interview with the author, and information about a giveaway.

Treason, betrayal, and heartbreak.

A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill.

It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.

When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.

As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.

External Forces book cover Title: External Forces
Author: Deborah Rix
Publisher: Dime Store Books
Pages: 268
Language: English
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eBook and Paperback

Purchase at Amazon


I haven’t slept in forty-eight hours.

It’s part of the Special Operations Assessment and Selection course, twenty-eight days of grueling work. The two days of no sleep are meant to disorient us, part of discarding our former selves. There are three hundred of us trying to figure out how to do what we’re told, when we’re told to, and how to do it correctly. Jay and I weren’t assigned to the same platoon, which was unexpected. I’m in the “civilian” platoon; we’re the ones with skills that don’t generally require brute force. I think Jay is in some kind of elite group because I haven’t seen him, I’ve only seen the G-men platoon. They are all about brute force; they’re the ones that opted for genetic enhancement at age thirteen without the supervision of the Devotees. But Special Forces is, well, special, so they have to prove they’ve got more than muscle and I’ve gotta prove I’ve got more than a quick mind.

If I don’t make it to Special Forces, my life expectancy in the regular army could be pretty short. And if I’m a complete washout, I’ll have to go to my assessment with the Devotees and they’ll find out about me, making my life expectancy even shorter. I seriously need to pass.

Zero dark thirty is when I have to haul myself out of bed in the so-called morning. My drill sergeant has been yelling at me for most of the past two days. The word “why” has been surgically removed from everyone’s vocabulary. Any individual hesitation in following orders means at least one private is getting smoked, if not the whole platoon, which usually means push-ups. We’ve done a lot of push-ups. I stare straight ahead as the drill sergeant walks by me and continues down the row of privates. I made the mistake of “eyeballing” him yesterday.

Never. Eyeball. A drill sergeant.

First Chapter:

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Midnight City

6 Nov

Today’s book review is for Midnight City, the first book in the Conquered Earth series by J. Barton Mitchell, published by St. Martin’s Press. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, through the Goodreads First Reads program, in exchange for an honest review. The second book in the series, The Severed Tower, is scheduled to be released later this month.

Midnight City is a science-fantasy novel set in a dystopian future where aliens have conquered earth. When the aliens invaded, they were able to subdue the human population through the use of a strong telepathic signal called the Tone. However, the signal only works on people once they’ve reached adulthood. The result is that children have organized themselves into a new society, doing what they can to survive until they finally succumb to the Tone. The story follows Holt Hawkins, a loner bounty hunter, whose only companion is his dog Max. But when Holt and his target, wanted treasure hunter Mira Toombs, discover a young girl in a crashed Assembly ship, his life is turned upside down. As the three companions make their way to Midnight City, they must evade feuding alien armies, deal with pirates, and escape mutants. Meanwhile the mysterious young girl, Zoey, starts to display amazing powers that just might be the key to defeating the Assembly once and for all. Holt must decide: is he going to continue to go it alone–or will he work with his newfound companions for something greater than mere survival?

Mitchell’s debut novel starts in the middle of action and never relents. It is a fast-paced and gripping story that I didn’t want to put down. The plot and pacing were both masterfully executed. And, yet, for as much action as there is, there are some wonderfully executed characters. Not only do they feel dynamic and real, but they also grow over the course of the story. It’s nice to see that sort of development in a work that is so heavy on plot and action.

I was especially drawn in by Mitchell’s world building. I loved the empty landscapes, the crumbling remnants of civilization, and the strange new settlements built by the surviving children. I liked the descriptions of the Assembly, cloaked in spindly-legged walkers, true forms always obscured. Even the descriptions of the Strange Lands, which are never visited in the course of this novel, still pop with life and energy. This world is broad and complete–especially the descriptions of the expansive cave metropolis known as Midnight City.

This is a compelling young adult read with elements of dystopia, science fiction, and fantasy. It explores themes of alien invasion, survival, friendship, social organization, and morality, among others. Although the descriptions of the aliens were reminiscent of War of the Worlds, the overall story is refreshingly original. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for being such a strong and engaging novel. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.