Book Reivew: Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin

Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin Book Cover Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin
Gregory Butron
Science Fiction, Dystopian
November 28, 2015

When someone sets out to destroy all electrical technology on the planet, it’s sometimes best to hide under the softest, fluffiest blanket available. Other times you have to run screaming from dangerous robots. In the worst of times, you find out that your best friend has forgotten that you exist, and that you have to ride the world’s longest elevator with the scary girl you only met two days ago. Theo Blinkerson is about to have all of those times.

My Thoughts

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

“Pictures and words can be powerful – but only when people see or hear them. How do you think ideas get spread? It ain’t carrier pigeons. A picture can unite or divide people – but only if they see it. Technology is what makes that happen.”

Theo Blinkerson and the Copper Coffin is a YA Sci-fi novel set in low-earth orbit in a space station, and in and around a space elevator designed to transport people from earth to the space station.

The novel follows Theo Blinkerson, a 14-year old who lives in the space station, and his adventures with Ilene and Carson, who come to the station from earth after a group of people on earth set off an EMP to try to destroy all technology and electronics on earth.

Humans at this time are co-existing with robots called “neurobs”, which have very advanced artificial intelligence. This novel touches on a lot of different themes and questions relating to the practicality and ethics surrounding artificial intelligence, and how the world would respond to it.

I really enjoyed this novel, and the author does a great job exploring these themes, while still having a light-hearted and action packed storyline.

Although I really liked the characters and the character development, especially with Ilene, and Carson, I felt that Theo seemed a bit young for his age, and seemed fairly immature. Theo is the only child that lives on the space station with his parents, and a lot of other scientists. Given his surroundings, I would have expected that he would react to situations in different ways than he did. I hope the author develops Theo further in other novels.

Further, even though it seems this takes place quite far in the future given the level of technology, the author makes a lot of references to technologies used today (i.e. some programming languages.) Although I did appreciate that the author tried to add an element of realism to the technology in the story, it seemed odd that it jumped back and forth between current technology and very advanced technology.

I’m interested to see what other adventures Theo will get into in the future, and I recommend that everyone give this book a shot if you enjoy the genre.

Book Review: The Murdered Banker

The Murdered Banker Book Cover The Murdered Banker
Augusto De Angelis
Pushkin Vertigo
February 23, 2016

A body is discovered in a Milan apartment, and Inspector De Vincenzi investigates. The apartment happens to belong to and old university friend of his, Aurigi. When the body turns out to be that of Aurigi's banker, and a phial of prussic acid is discovered in the bathroom, suspicion falls on the apartment's owner, and De Vincenzi is agonisingly torn between his sense of duty and his loyalty to an old comrade... This intensely dramatic mystery from the father of the Italian crime novel, Augusto de Angelis, is the first to feature his most famous creation--Inspector De Vincenzi. From the Trade Paperback edition.

My Thoughts

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This was a tough book to get through for me. I found the writing style fairly dry, and over-descriptive. I know that these detective-style novels need a lot of descriptions, but it was just a bit too much.

There were a few points in the book where I was drawn in and wanted to know more, but then I was quickly lost again. I just really couldn’t get into the narrative style. I think it would have been more compelling if it was told from the perspective of De Vincenzi.

The ending was overwhelming, the writing style was exhausting, so I can’t recommend this novel.

Book Review: The Passenger

The Passenger Book Cover The Passenger
Lisa Lutz
Simon and Schuster
March 1, 2016

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride! In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it... Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time. She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born. It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past? With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

My Thoughts

I received a free copy of this book from Simon and Schuster (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

I’m not even sure what to call the main character, as her name changed so many times, so I’ll stick with the first name used, which is Tanya Dubois. I really enjoyed this book, but it is not without it’s faults, thus, I am giving this book 4 stars.

The book all starts when Tanya finds her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs. Instead of calling the police or an ambulance, she decides to go on the run. Throughout, she changes identities a few times, and runs into some characters that persist throughout the book. One thing I did not like is that it is not clear until the very end of the book as to why she decides to run and not call the police. This required me to really have faith that the author was going to wrap this all up. For most of the book I just remained confused, which I think could be very frustrating for some readers.

In the end, it was all very tied up well, and I really enjoyed the plot twists and the ending. There were some very interesting characters, and the author develops the characters very well. Tanya runs into two important characters named Blue and Domenic. Blue is in a similar situation to Tanya, and Domenic is a cop/love interest that she runs into on the road. Both characters were pivotal, and it was great to see them develop throughout, but it would have been good to have more involvement with these characters.

Overall, 4 stars. I definitely recommend picking this up.

Book Review: Alien Hothouse

Alien Hothouse Book Cover Alien Hothouse
JMJ Williamson
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
November 12, 2015

An unmarried mother, running a spa hotel in a sleepy North Yorkshire village, helps a group of marooned aliens, living there secretly, to send a distress signal to their home-world, only to find that the signal has unintended consequences.

My Thoughts

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I went into this book thinking it would just be a book about a group of aliens living on earth, and how they were integrating, as the synopsis of the book was fairly vague. I have to say, this book was action-packed, and not what I expected. The plot twisted so many times, I almost lost track of it, but at the same time, I really enjoyed this.

It was well written, and easy to read. There were parts of the book that could have used a good edit, but this didn’t put me off. My only gripe with the books is that there didn’t really seem to be any real conflict in the plot. There were times when the characters ran into certain conflict, and it was so easily resolved, that I as the reader almost completely forgot it happened in the first place. At parts, it felt like I was in some “lovey-dovey” universe where everyone I ran into was a nice person. I would have liked to be a bit more on the edge of my seat.

Overall, I’d recommend it. It was enjoyable, and a different type of style and story than I’m used to. It was an easy, enjoyable read.