Blog Tour: The Polaris Uprising by Jennifer Ibarra

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Good morning! I hope you all have had a great week. Today I’ll be participating in the blog tour for the fabulous first installment of Jennifer Ibarra’s new series, The Polaris Uprising. Take a look!


Displaying Polaris.jpgGenre: Young Adult, Dystopian

Synopsis: In less than seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will succeed her father as the president of Neress, a nation where all citizens are cared for from the moment they’re born. Fed, sheltered, even educated—every need of theirs is met.

The only price they pay is their free will.

Groomed since childhood to take on a role she’s not even sure she wants, Ryla’s only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she’s set to inherit—and finds herself at odds with her sister’s blind allegiance to their father.

Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla must decide just how far she’s willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.

Purchase Links:

Barnes & NobleAmazon

My Thoughts

I was sold on this from the first page, and a good chunk of my love for The Polaris Uprising has to do with the fantastically written relationship between Ryla and Alanna. They were both amazing characters and I had no trouble rooting for either of them. Ryla’s spark and strength were really refreshing, and her devotion to her sister was just wonderful to read. I loved their dynamic and the way they played off each other was so brilliantly done I couldn’t put the book down.

The plot was at first a bit slow, as there were many pieces to put into place before the action could get going, but once it picked up, by God you couldn’t drag me away from the page with a tractor. The author put a lot of care into the story’s progression, and it shows in the plot twists and the new revelations that Ryla and Alanna encounter.

I was expecting to enjoy The Polaris Uprising, and I certainly did. The sisters’ relationship was probably my favorite part of story, I’ll admit, but the romance was also lovely and felt very genuine, which in the world of YA one learns to appreciate very quickly. Overall, an exciting, well-written debut; I can’t wait for the sequel!

About the Author

Displaying headshot.pngJennifer Ibarra grew up on a steady diet of books, Star Wars, and other fantastic feats of the imagination. Her debut novel, The Polaris Uprising, is the first book in a trilogy and mixes dystopia with family drama, romance, and political intrigue.

She lives in Silicon Valley, where she does marketing for a tech company and spends her time running, cooking, baking, and keeping up with celebrity gossip.

Find Her:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

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Review: These Broken Stars

These Broken StarsHow did I get it? Bought

Genre: YA, Romance, Science Fiction

Summary: It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

My Thoughts

To be perfectly honest I have read very little this month, and I’m not being modest. Other than reading for class, These Broken Stars is literally the only book I’ve finished thus far. And that’s mostly because it’s the only book I’ve tried out in the past few weeks that’s incredibly hard to put down.

I’ve heard so many fantastic things in the past few months about Lilac and Tarver’s story that despite my reservations about the whole space thing (which I’m not typically keen on) I bought it as soon as it was released. Because of all the praise and hype surrounding it, I tried to prepare myself to be at least a little let down, but for once that did not happen. This book was absolutely incredible in every way. Lilac and Tarver were everything I hoped for and more, and the imagery and writing were just stunning. I loved Lilac’s determination and her strength of will, and Tarver constantly made me smile. The world that I read about was incredibly well-developed, with layers upon layers of social and political issues lying just under the surface, and the setting drew me in completely.

These Broken Stars also dealt with some truly terrible things. Lilac’s confrontation with the realities of this planet, the horror of so many deaths, and her struggles with the harsh environment around her, were all really powerful moments that made me connect with her even more. Tarver’s determination to survive and go home really struck me, especially his motivation to get back to his parents.

Overall, I have no complaints with These Broken Stars. It was an amazing book that reminded me just how much a fantastic story can make you feel, and I cannot wait for the next book in the Starbound Trilogy.

Aside: Can I just say how awesome it was to read about a heroine who can kick ass at mechanics/engineering/science-y stuff? I loved that underneath this spoiled, rich-girl exterior, she’s completely BAMF and it’s wonderful.

 Rating:

Five Stars

Recommend it?

100%

Purchase Links

Barnes & NobleAmazonBook Depository

ARC Review: Damselfly by Jennie Bates Bozic

How did I get it? Netgalley

Genre: Science fiction, dystopian, YA

Synopsis: In 2065, the Lilliput Project created Lina – the first six-inch-tall winged girl – as the solution to a worldwide energy and food crisis. Isolated in a compound amidst the forests of Denmark, Lina has grown up aware of only one purpose: learn how to survive in a world filled with hawks, bumblebees, and loneliness. However, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she’s not the only teenager her size. Six ‘Toms’ were created shortly after Lina, and now her creators need to prove to the world that tiny people are the next logical step in human evolution. In other words, they need to prove that reproduction is possible.
Um. No thanks. Lina’s already fallen in love with a boy she met online named Jack. Only he has no idea that thumbelina1847 could literally fit inside his heart.
When her creators threaten to hurt Jack unless she chooses a husband from among the ‘Toms’, Lina agrees to star in a reality TV series. Once the episodes begin to air, the secret of her size is out. Cut off from any contact with the outside world, Lina assumes Jack is no longer interested. After all, what guy would want to date a girl he can’t even kiss?
Slowly, very slowly, she befriends the six young men who see her as their only ticket to happiness. Perhaps she can make just one guy’s dream of love and companionship come true. But her creators have a few more twists in store for her that she never thought possible.
She’s not the only one playing to the cameras.

Review: This was one of those books I just had to have. I have a love of fairy tales and I couldn’t wait to see what the author did with her world and her characters. The combination of fairies, Bachelorette-style reality TV, and a dystopian setting where starvation is looming, had me intrigued and I was curious to know how it all fit together.

I read Damselfly in one sitting, and although it wasn’t addictive at first, by the time I’d gotten halfway through, I was hooked. The author has a way of writing in a way that’s very simple and straightforward while still managing to confront difficult topics with maturity. Her main character, Lina, is likeable but still with some serious flaws and personal obstacles that she has to learn to overcome as the story progresses. Her love interest, Jack, is absolutely wonderful and I love how unique he is as a person; he’s certainly not perfect, but he’s a lovely, rounded character with a good deal of depth to him. I liked him almost instantly, and he actually made me tear up at one point, which I was really not expecting.

I will admit that the reality TV plotline didn’t grab me. Bozic introduced these six “Toms”—little male fairies engineered to reproduce with Lina—and I was really looking forward to getting to know them, but in the end only three or four were actually near memorable. Most of them were given potential room to grow and develop as characters, but that potential was sort of left hanging. I felt a bit cheated because I would have loved to have more attention given to the five other Toms, especially Blue and Shrike, but they were just left waiting in the wings instead.

That being said, there were a lot of great things going on in this book. I adored the characters and my friends can tell you how much I was fangirling because I had to stop after every chapter to share my emotions and do a little dance-jig thing that made my dog run away in terror. The glimpses of the dystopian world Bozic built were fascinating and I loved the way she threaded hints of the state of society into conversations and plotlines. It felt very authentic and unique.

I’m just really hoping that the author isn’t planning on leaving us with that ending. I’m not sure what her companion novelette is going to contribute, but I will track her down and demand a sequel if I have to, because I’m not ready to let this story or these characters go just yet.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Other Books By the Author: Ms. Bozic has also written a companion novelette for Damselfly called Sugar Plum which has not yet been released, but I am definitely going to be waiting in line to get it. And bonus: it’s free! To keep up with the release, you can check out her website here.

ARC Review: The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

How did I get it? Netgalley

Genre: Science fiction, dystopian

Synopsis: “Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion…and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat’s heart.

Review: Okay, so first things first. This? This was beautifully written. Like, crack-your-heart-open-and-make-you-bleed kind of beautiful. Every word had thought behind it, every character was real and complex and emotive. This is a book that you have to take a break from every once in a while to just lay there while your brain takes it all in. It’s powerful and poignant and deep, and it’s like reading something vast and tiny at the same time, a small story that feels big.

The main character, Cat, is someone with a plethora of faults, which in my case made her more relatable, although I can see how she might grate on some people’s nerves. Her journey through life is very tumultuous and she makes a ton of mistakes, but I liked that about her, and she certainly isn’t the only one with issues in this book. Her parents, her friends, and the other people around her have their own flaws, and I really enjoyed how much thought Ms. Clarke put into every single character. I grew especially fond of Finn, which is probably due in part to my love of the awkward-male-turtle role, but Finn really did make my heart ache. Reading about Finn’s struggle to understand his surroundings and his own capacity to feel made me think about human nature and emotions, and how powerful they really are. How ironic that a robot should be the one to teach readers about humanity.

***SPOILER***

One thing that I didn’t care for was the plotline concerning Cat’s marriage. For one, a lot of Cat’s interactions with Richard made her seem, well, catty. And also, while I understand this part of the story is crucial, I didn’t like the way it was done. Richard’s character was horrid, yes, but it didn’t feel authentic. His violence and mistreatment of Cat were done in a way that made me feel like the author was just saying her lines, and there was nothing raw or cutting in their final interactions. Cat’s behavior toward Richard seemed like a shallow effort by the author to show her strength of character, as though by publicly embarrassing him or saying “You hit me, so I’m divorcing you” automatically makes her a woman of steel when in reality, it felt like there was very little thought behind Cat’s actions, like the author was shoving words in her mouth and situating her just how she liked.

***END SPOILER***

I don’t read books like this very often simply because I end up walking around for the next week with a hangover. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s very draining, especially in my case since I read it in a day. But at the same time, this book was completely and totally worth the energy. The author put such care into it, and it’s so stunning both stylistically and thematically that even if I didn’t like the story, I would love the book anyway for the writing.

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend it? Yes

Other Books By the Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke has also written a YA series called The Assassin’s Curse, which from what I can tell looks pretty awesome.