Thursday, June 25, 2015

Some Mini Reviews

I see a growing trend with mini reviews of late and I think they're pretty awesome for a few reasons.

What some of you might not know is that I review here as well as over at Stacy Alesi's Bookbitch.com. And I prepare separate reviews for both. That's right - two reviews for each book if I cover them for both places. And sometimes it's hard!

The other reason I like mini reviews is because sometimes I simply don't have a lot to say. Either the book has been SOOOOOO well covered elsewhere that I'm not sure I'm contributing much to the conversation or I just feel meh.

So here goes, my debut mini reviews!

First up, The Three by Sarah Lotz. Readers, I was quite dying to get my hands on a copy of this book but I didn't get around to it for a while. When I did, I really wasn't sure what to make of it.

Four different flights from around the world crash on the same day with seemingly no connection. The circumstances of each flight are different, the flights all departed from different countries and were bound for equally different destinations. They aren't the same kind of plane nor are any of them from the same airline. But in three of the crashes there is just one survivor - a child. And on one flight, a passenger managed to leave a strange message before passing away. A message that leads some to believe that these children aren't lucky survivors at all. As fear and paranoia increase, the children are targeted by groups who believe in everything from the second coming and the apocalypse to aliens themselves. 

The Three is not a straightforward narrative. Instead, the premise is that it is actually interviews and documents used by writer Elspeth Martins in writing her own book about the crashes.

The book begins ominously enough and there is a constant undertone of dread throughout, but it isn't until the conclusion that the book becomes really creepy.

I quite enjoyed this outing from Lotz. It's one of those books that's stuck with me since reading. I was pleased as punch to discover there was to be a sequel of sorts in Day Four as well.

Rating: 4.5/5

Next, A Vision of Fire by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin - one of the debut titles from Simon and Schuster's Simon451 imprint.

Child psychologist Caitlin O'Hara has a difficult task ahead of her. She's been brought in to examine and treat the daughter of India's UN ambassador. The ambassador himself narrowly survived an assassination attempt that his daughter, Maanik, was unfortunately witness to. The girl wasn't physically harmed in any way, but her mental state has rapidly declined leading another doctor to issue a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Caitlin is certain that isn't the case, more so when she discovers evidence of at least two other teens in other countries. Determined to help, Caitlin travels to Haiti to meet with one of the other afflicted and soon realizes that the kids are suffering from something that could defy all known explanation. 

While I wasn't blown away by Anderson's debut outing, I have to say I was pretty satisfied by the end of the book. A Vision of Fire is the first in a series and clearly so. There are a lot of questions left at the end of the book as well as a cliffhanger of an ending that has left me anxious for the second installment ever since reading.

Rating: 4/5

And finally Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson:

Cassie lives in fear that one day the people who came after her parents will come after her and her brother as well. But these people aren't people at all. Since 1914, Earth has lived under the influence of a presence most aren't aware of. They've altered the course of human history, some would argue for the better, but their ultimate goal is still unknown and anyone who's discovered their secret is eliminated quickly and quietly. 

This was an odd one. It was one I'd really looked forward to. I mean the premise just sounded super cool! I'd say about 75% of it did pretty much live up to my expectations. The other 25%, including the very abrupt and sort of meh ending, let me down a little. Even this long after finishing it I'm still on the fence, which is why I've actually held off on covering it for so long.

Rating: 3/5


Unknown said...

The Three by Sarah Lotz sounds like an awesome read. I have found that type of writing style using interviews and documents doesn't always go over so well. Just depends upon how it's handled.
@dino0726 from 
FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

Becky LeJeune said...

I totally agree, Diane, and I have to admit that the first time I sat down with THE THREE I just wasn't in the right reading mindset for that style. The next time, though, I zipped right through to the completely weird and creepy end!

It was something of a relief, admittedly, to see that the follow up (DAY FOUR) is a more traditional narrative style.

I should add, too, that neither of these is truly horror. They're odd and their are creepy moments but they're a good melding of genres I think readers who don't normally turn to horror can enjoy and appreciate.