Brief blogs for busy bees

Rapid Reviews #1

Rapid Reviews #1

It’s been practically impossible for me to blog recently, as my glasses are broken and my laptop screen just isn’t clear when I’m wearing my contact lenses. However, it hasn’t slowed down my reading, which is why it’s time for my first ever Rapid Reviews post!

If I was going to try to catch up on writing reviews of all the great books I’ve read this month, it would be an endless struggle, so I’m just going to share my star ratings and some brief thoughts on each of the books I’ve gotten through.

On The Come Up by Angie Thomas – 5 stars

I loved The Hate U Give, but I waited far too long to read it (as in, I literally read it last month. Oops) so when On The Come Up was released I made it a priority to pick it up as soon as I could.

On The Come Up tells the story of Bri – daughter of dead rapper Lawless – who is following in her father’s footsteps trying to make a name for herself in the rap game. After an incident at school encourages Bri to write a rap which should be taken more sarcastically than literally, she starts getting painted as a hood rat and has to figure out who she really is.

Although Bri’s story is a standalone, it makes direct references to the events of The Hate U Give because they’re set in the same universe, so I would definitely recommend reading Thomas’s debut novel first.

Warcross by Marie Lu – 4 stars

Warcross is the second Marie Lu book I’ve read, and I genuinely think she might be becoming one of my favourite authors. Warcross is a game played via the NeuroLink, a high-end gaming system which uses your brain to make hyper-realistic graphics and authentic experiences. Emika Chen hacks into the opening ceremony of Warcross in the attempt to steal a power-up which she can sell to pay for her rent, but she ends up making herself visible – not so sneaky after all.

Fast forward a couple of days and Emika finds herself being flown to Tokyo by Hideo Tanaka, creator of the NeuroLink. Someone is attempting to hack into the game – someone known only as Zero – and Hideo needs Emika’s expert hacking skills to stop him before something seriously bad happens.

The only reason this didn’t get 5 stars is because at the beginning it’s really hard to distinguish between when the characters are in the NeuroLink and when they’re in reality, but that issue is resolved towards the end of the book. Looking forward to continuing this story in Wildcard, the second book in the duology.

I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan – 5 stars

I was torn between 4 and 5 stars for I Am Thunder, but I finished it a couple of days ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it which is why I’ve bumped it up.

Muzna’s family move across country after her father loses her job and her best friend is involved in a scandal. Her new school isn’t the most accepting of difference, but luckily hottie Arif is there to help. For some reason he likes her just as much as she likes him even though she’s not the prettiest, and he happily takes her under his wing to teach her about religion.

However, it isn’t long before the teachings of Arif and his brother start to feel uncomfortable to Muzna, who beings to wonder whether there might be some truth to the rumours of radicalisation.

I loved this book because it openly tackled the belief that all Muslims are followers of ISIS. “Islam was once a well-respected religion. Now these bloody ISIS and Taliban bastards come along and make it a thing to be reviled!” is just one of many quotes exploring the misconception that sharing a skin colour means sharing an ideology, and it was great to see this deconstructed. It also has a strong focus on family dynamics, and the way that it’s important to be able to explore your individuality rather than just following the path that your parents want you to take.  

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble – 3 stars

The Dog Runner is a middle-grade dystopian novel, in which a red fungus has destroyed all wheat, leading to a shortage of food and a fight to survive. Ella and Emery take five big doggos and travel across the Australian desert to Emery’s mum’s house, avoiding danger and hoping to be reunited with their dad or Ella’s mum, who have both gone missing.

Until the end of the book this was a solid four star, but the last chapter is so rushed and underdeveloped that it undoes a lot of the hard work MacDibble put into crafting such a complex world. However, it’s likely to encourage young people to think seriously about the environment, which is always going to be a positive thing.

The best thing about The Dog Runner (other than the doggos) was Ella’s voice, which was extremely strong. Riddled with grammatical inaccuracies and slang, it brings Ella’s youth into the forefront of your mind and makes some of the trials that are faced all the more harrowing.

I hope you enjoyed this Rapid Review post! Leave me a comment down below if you prefer this style of reviewing, because it’s something really different for me.

Alyce

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