“Cress” by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

“Maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

Rapunzel and the Satellite | Cress by Marissa Meyer [Book Review]

★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series

In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

NOTE: I’ve reviewed the first two books in The Lunar Chronicles. You can read them both here:

Cinder Review | Scarlet Review

The Summary Checks Out

Now that’s a good summary. Does what it’s supposed to. Doesn’t falsely describe the book in any way. It’s a very accurate depiction of what lies in store in the novel. (Unlike some books. Ugh.)

Cress is a 2014 novel written by Marissa Meyer, and is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles. (It’s also published by Feiwel & Friends, and is 552 pages.) This time, it formally introduces sci-fi Rapunzel as a major character, but also continues with the overarching story introduced in Cinder.

The Characters are Once Again the Stars of the Show



“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”

He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”

Meyer has a knack for writing likable and interesting characters, and that continues with this book. Funnily enough, all of the major characters in the novel had already been introduced to us in Cinder and Scarlet. Even this novel’s titular protagonist – Cress.

Cress is a character that I was initially not very fond of. She was mildly interesting, but I just didn’t care for her personality at first. She was just too… innocent, I guess. And innocent-type characters tend to hit or miss for me. But she grows and evolves a lot throughout the book, and I really ended up liking the Cress in the last third of the book.

Thorne was introduced in Scarlet, and was also a key character there. We didn’t really know that much about him until this book though, and his character and personality really shine through even more here. He also has a decent amount of character development, which was nice to see.

“Come on, Iko.”

Iko was still hiding, hugging herself self-consciously. “Is he looking?”

Kai raised an eyebrow.

“He’s not looking,” said Cinder.

A hesitation. “Are you sure?”

Cinder gestured exasperatedly at Kai. “You’re not looking.”

He cast his eyes to the ceiling. “Oh, for all the stars.” Crossing his arms, he turned his back on them.

Cinder and Kai were doing their things, which were very similar things, but were doing them thousands of miles apart from one another. (Until they weren’t.) They both had things about themselves and each other that they had to grapple with, but I was pleased with the results.

Iko was a joy to read about as always, but that goes without saying.

Despite being our hot couple from the last book, Wolf and Scarlet really didn’t do much in Cress. Especially Scarlet. She has very few POVs compared to everyone else here, and she doesn’t really do a lot, or appear that often, after the first third of the book.

The Plot was Fun (…Once It Got Going)

“If you honestly believe that,” said Thorne, stowing the gun again, “then you really don’t recognize true value when you see it.”

This book had a much slower start compared to its predecessors. And that made it more difficult to get into. It wasn’t until over a quarter of the way through that things really started happening.

As with the first two, there’s a lot of references to story beats from the original fairytale: Cress escaping from her “tower,” Thorne going blind, Thorne’s name being a reference to how the prince is actually blinded in Rapunzel, wandering through a desert. There’s a lot. And I knew a bunch of it going in, so I was very excited to see it all play out.

I really like how we’re kind of going around the globe in this series. It makes the setting and Meyer’s world building even better to behold. We haven’t seen hardly anything of Luna (Earth’s terraformed moon) yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of it in Winter.

Final Thoughts

It always came back to love. More than freedom, more than acceptance—love. True love, like they sang about in the second era. The kind that filled up a person’s soul. The kind that lent itself to dramatic gestures and sacrifices. The kind that was irresistible and all-encompassing.

Cress was something I started reading quite a while ago, after reading it’s two prequels, and even though I’ve had a bit of a tumultuous reading experience with it, I’ve always been determined to finish it. And I’m very happy that I did. It was a fantastic read overall, and I highly recommend fans of the series to continue on with book three.

The Lunar Chronicles is such a fun and interesting series as a whole, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends when I read Winter. And I’ll also maybe read Fairest and Stars Above eventually too sometime. I don’t know yet, though.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading, and have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar

LINKS: Goodreads | Instagram

“Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer: Book Review

Good [insert your time of day here]! It’s been a few days since the last one, and because of time constraints due to some medical stuff on the horizon, I haven’t had time to finish my current -current read, so I’ve decided to do another retrospective book review. This one’s gonna be on Scarlet (you’ll never guess what I’m gearing up for…).

As I’ve mentioned before, a retrospective book review is when I review a past read of mine, after skimming through it again. Today, I’m gonna talk about Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. (I recently did a review on Cinder, which you can check out here.)

She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him.

scarlet - marissa meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #2)

Length: 454 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Book Description:

The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

“I lied to you about a lot of things….but I meant every apology.”

Out of all I’ve read in The Lunar Chronicles so far, Scarlet has to be my absolute favorite in the series. To me, it was like Cinder but better, which is a bit of a feat in itself, cuz I loved Cinder.

But yeah, there’s so much that I adore about this book. And because of that – and to save my sanity – I’m gonna divide up this review with some lovely headings.

The Characters

A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”

The characters are definitely my favorite thing about this book. Scarlet is, at least to me personally, a much better protagonist (or co-protagonist) than Cinder is. She’s a couple years older than Cinder and she’s also got a little more life experience, and you can tell.

Carswell Thorne is also a very entertaining member of the supporting cast. He was introduced near the end of the first book, but you really get a feel for him and his personality in this novel. He’s the kind of character that I like to call a “stupid genius” – a character that appears stupid most of the time and frequently acts like an idiot, but also has some smarts hidden inside. (This character type is also sometimes naturally talented at a certain skill, as is the case here.)

Wolf is one of my favorite new characters introduced in Scarlet. He’s very mysterious initially (though I think most readers will get what’s up – Scarlet certainly did), but he opens up as the story progresses. His and Scarlet’s relationship is one of the defining pillars of the novel, and it’s also one of my favorite things about it.

The Story

This is another thing about Scarlet that I preferred over its predecessor. But it’s not that the plot of this book is better than Cinder’s.

Nope. I just like Little Red Riding Hood more than Cinderella is all.

But yeah, the futuristic, science-fantasy, retelling is an amazing spin on a classic fairytale.

The Setting

I’m going to sound like a broken record soon, but this is yet another thing I preferred over the first book. Because of Cinder’s state as a fugitive (spoiler), the book has finally moved out of future sci-fi China and expanded the setting.

Also, Scarlet lives in France, and spends a lot of time in a more rural area compared to the city slicking Cinder of the first novel. And I really liked that. It made the world feel both large and lived in, and it also further accentuated the differences between Scarlet and Cinder.

The Romance

“We met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance…all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.”

Now, if you’ve read some of my other posts, you’d know that I’m pretty anti-insta-love. And that’s because most insta-love stories are written like shit.

But this one isn’t. This is (a very rare case of) insta-love being done properly.

Wolf and Scarlet have an awesome dynamic. Despite Wolf being both physically bigger and stronger than her, their relationship never feels unbalanced in any way. And despite how he initially appears, Wolf really isn’t a bad boy. He’s kind and protective, and he just wants to love and support his girl.

And Scarlet cares for him in a very similar way. They just work together so well: they’re kind of a perfect team.

(The Very Few) Things That I Didn’t Like

There’s really only like one or two things that I didn’t care for, honestly. First: the POVs are numerous. Not as many as I’ve seen in other books (looking at you ASOIAF), but still climbing. And yeah, I get that it’s necessary for the story progression, but I would’ve liked more focus on Scarlet. The book really makes it feel like she’s less of a protagonist, and more of a girl who’s just gonna join and support Cinder eventually.

The other thing I didn’t care for: the insta-love. I know, I know, I just said that I actually enjoyed it for once here and just sang Wolf and Scarlet’s relationship praises. But, I dunno… I guess I just have a natural aversion to the trope, even if it’s done fantastically. I just prefer a good slow-burn is all.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, I really don’t have much more to say except go read this book/series right now! It’s truly an amazing set of books (so far), and I’ve pretty much only heard good things about the ones I haven’t read yet, too.

Also, Scarlet’s tenth anniversary is coming up later next week, so if you’ve already read it, why not reread it to celebrate? And if you haven’t, well I say that a tenth anniversary is as good a reason as any to read it!

As always, thank you for reading, and have an excellent day/night! Join me next time for more bookish things!

~ Mar ~

Cinderella, But She’s a Cyborg | “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer [Retrospective Book Review]

Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.

Title & Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #1)

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 3, 2012


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl….

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.

I love this book so much. I first read it like… around five-ish years ago, I guess? Cinder was originally a 4.5 star rating, but then I read its sequel, Scarlet, which I liked even more, so I bumped it down half a star after I read that one. But it was 4.5 / 5 for a time.

(Glancing over it again, I still think it’s a 4 star book today, by the way. But it did change at one point, so that’s why the star ratings are different.)

Anyway, the book’s main character is Linh Cinder, a futuristic version of Cinderella, but with an actual personality and also happens to be a cyborg. I liked how smart and good with mechanical stuff, which was nice to see in a female character, and I really like how it tied her being a cyborg.

Prince Kai is TLC’s version of Prince Charming (he doesn’t have a name in the original version, to my knowledge). And he also has a personality. This is also a much less insta-lovey version of the original fairytale, which was also nice. I really liked how active he was in the plot, and how he had his own POV chapters.

It’s not just a sci-fi retelling of the classic story though. There’s definitely been a few other kinds of alterations here. Like Cinder’s stepsisters Pearl and Peony. Pearl is a pretty standard interpretation – she’s kind of a bitch. But Peony isn’t, and she and Cinder are actually quite close. I adored how sweet their relationship was. Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, is also closer to her original character, but she also has her reasons, even though she’s still a bitch.

My favorite alternation – and character, incidentally – was Iko, Cinder’s android BFF. She’s the definition of “being extra” before being extra was a thing. She’s sassy and funny. And let’s not forget horny. Very horny.

Cinder twisted up her lips. “Do you think it could have a virus?”

“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”

This quote here encapsulates the humor vibe for this book pretty well. (And this series, now that I’m thinking about it.) But there are series parts to the plot as well.

Dr. Erland is another character that I rather like. I liked his dynamic with Cinder, and how she kept sassing him. Erland is also a gray character, at least for most of the book, and you didn’t really know whose side he was on until the very end.

My favorite part of Cinder, though, definitely had to be all of the little bits of foreshadowing littered throughout the book for its sequels. An important character from later in the series has a cameo here, and another character here was introduced, whose name is a clue to their future role. And all kinds of other stuff.

Before I move on to my criticisms, I also wanna mention how good the writing is. Not only is the dialogue absolutely fantastic, but the prose and descriptions are also really great. I love the way that Marissa Meyer writes.

Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.

I didn’t really have any gripes with this novel, except for a thing or two. The first is that I wasn’t super into Cinder (the character). I didn’t hate her or anything – not even close! – she just seemed kind of like a generic sort of protagonist. I preferred Scarlet (the character), introduced in book two, as a protagonist.

The other thing is a bit spoilery, so if you don’t want to be spoiled skip this paragraph. *SPOILERS* I didn’t like how Peony was fridged. Though it wasn’t as soon as some fridgings I’ve read, I wish she had more time on the pages. *SPOILERS END*

So yeah, I definitely recommend Cinder to anyone and everyone, especially those who love the original fairytale. I love how the whole series flows together, and how it appears like the entire thing was mostly plotted out before all of the books were out. But yeah, read this book.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night!

My Anticipated New Books in 2023 | First Quarter ❄️💖☘️

I’ve decided to start posting about books that I’m interested in looking into and/or reading again. It’s just such a hassle to try to find at least three books a month that I might be interested in and that I might read, so I decided to broaden the scope.

To do so, I’ve chosen to start doing quarterly posts about it instead. So the first quarterly post about my anticipated books – which just so happens to be the first month of the year as well! – is gonna be focusing on new books that are releasing in January, February, and March only.

This time, there’s actually a bit more than sci-fi and fantasy on my list (who knew I actually had the ability to branch out like that? lol), but it’s pretty much all YA (okay, nevermind). I should also note, before I get into things, that this list includes books that just look interesting to me, ones that caught my eye a little and am interested in looking into further before I read them – if I read them. And others on the list I just really want to read right now. I have a feeling you’ll be able to tell which ones are which.

So, here comes the list!

(Also, apologies if the emojis that I used to rate my excitement levels for the books don’t match suuuper well. There’s only so many emojis available. I tried.)

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, YA

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them.

Kellen does not fully understand his talent, but helps those transformed maliciously—including Nettle. Recovered from entrapment in bird form, she is now his constant companion and closest ally.

But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything—and everyone—around him…

Excitement Level: 🧵🧵🧵🧵🧵 • 5 / 5 spools of (unravelling) thread

Release Date: January 10, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, YA

Edward Dinnissen, Crown Prince of Canada, loves getting the royal treatment at his exclusive Manhattan private school and living in a fancy mansion on Park Avenue. But despite living a royal life of luxury, Edward is unsure how to tell his parents, his expectant country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay.

Billy Boone couldn’t be happier: he loves small-town life and his family’s Montana ranch, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. But this out-and-proud cowboy is finally admitting to himself that he feels destined for more…

When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City and discover that they are long-lost twins, their lives are forever changed. The twin princes—“twinces”— be able to take on high school, coming out, and coronations together? Or will this royal reunion quickly become a royal disaster?

Excitement Level: 👑👑👑👑 • 4 / 5 (princely) crowns

Release Date: February 7, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, YA

A boy wakes to find himself locked in a white room. He has no memories, no idea who he is and no idea how he got here.

A computer-generated voice named Alice responds to his questions – through her, he is able to access the internet. He gradually pieces together his story – an abduction, a critical injury, snippets of his past … But how can the boy tell what’s real and what’s not? Who is he really?

Excitement Level: 💾💾💾💾💾 • 5 / 5 floppy discs

Release Date: March 7, 2023
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, YA

Flint Larson has 41 days, 9 hours, and 42 minutes to live. He’s known that since he was eight years old and half-lifed, a small twinge that tells a person when they’ve lived exactly half their life. And since then, Flint’s done everything he can to make dying seem like a good thing. Cutting off all his friends, refusing to eat his favorite foods or listen to the best bands, reading only the most depressing Russian literature. He plans to spend his final days quietly back in his hometown with just his parents, waiting to die.

However, as September and Flint grow closer, Flint can’t bring himself to tell September he’s going to die. Because he might just be falling in love with her. But as his time runs out, his secret only grows heavier. And the truth could very well be the key to unlocking the pent-up sadness September never dealt with. And discovering more about half-life.

He did not expect to meet September Harrington, an utter explosion of brilliance and fun. September has dedicated her life to curing the half-life, landing a coveted internship at the world-renowned Half-Life Institute in town, after her sister’s death last year. A loss she’s never dealt with, instead choosing to live up each moment in the center of everything or deep in lab.

Will their connection prove extraordinary enough to last beyond those two months, or is their time together destined to end in heartbreak?

All’s fair in love and death… or is it?

Excitement Level: ⏱️⏱️⏱️ • 3 / 5 stopwatches

Release Date: March 7, 2023
Genres: Historical Supernatural, Mystery, LGBTQIA+, YA

London, 1885. Gabriel Utterson, a 17-year-old law clerk, has returned to London for the first time since his life— and that of his dearest friend, Henry Jekyll—was derailed by a scandal that led to his and Henry’s expuslion from the London Medical School. Whispers about the true nature of Gabriel and Henry’s relationship have followed the boys for two years, and now Gabriel has a chance to start again.

But Gabriel doesn’t want to move on, not without Henry. His friend has become distant and cold since the disastrous events of the prior spring, and now his letters have stopped altogether. Desperate to discover what’s become of him, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house.

In doing so, Gabriel meets Hyde, a a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma. He claims to be friends with Henry, and Gabriel can’t help but begin to grow jealous at their apparent closeness, especially as Henry continues to act like Gabriel means nothing to him.

But the secret behind Henry’s apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to coalesce. Monsters of all kinds prowl within the London fog—and not all of them are out for blood…

Excitement Level: 🎭🎭🎭🎭 • 4 / 5 masks (pairs of faces)

Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genre: Science Fiction

Edward Ashton’s Antimatter Blues is the thrilling follow up to Mickey7 in which an expendable heads out to explore new terrain for human habitation.

Summer has come to Niflheim. The lichens are growing, the six-winged bat-things are chirping, and much to his own surprise, Mickey Barnes is still alive—that last part thanks almost entirely to the fact that Commander Marshall believes that the colony’s creeper neighbors are holding an antimatter bomb, and that Mickey is the only one who’s keeping them from using it. Mickey’s just another colonist now. Instead of cleaning out the reactor core, he spends his time these days cleaning out the rabbit hutches. It’s not a bad life.

It’s not going to last.

It may be sunny now, but winter is coming. The antimatter that fuels the colony is running low, and Marshall wants his bomb back. If Mickey agrees to retrieve it, he’ll be giving up the only thing that’s kept his head off of the chopping block. If he refuses, he might doom the entire colony. Meanwhile, the creepers have their own worries, and they’re not going to surrender the bomb without getting something in return. Once again, Mickey finds the fate of two species resting in his hands. If something goes wrong this time, though, he won’t be coming back.

Excitement Level: 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀 • 5 / 5 rocket ships

Release Date: March 14, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, YA

Clara’s magic has always been wild. But it’s never been dangerous. Then a simple touch causes poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest.

The only way to heal him is to cast an extremely difficult spell that requires perfect control. And the only person willing to help is her former best friend, Xavier, who’s grown from a sweet, shy child into a mysterious and distant young man.

Xavier names a terrible price in return, knowing Clara will give anything to save her father. As she struggles to reconcile the new Xavier with the boy she once loved, she discovers their bargain is only one of the heavy secrets he’s hiding. And as she hunts for the truth, she instead finds the root of a terrible darkness that’s taken hold in the queendom—a darkness only Clara’s magic is powerful enough to stop.

Excitement Level: 🌼🌼🌼 • 3 / 5 flowers

Release Date: March 28, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, YA

The villagers of Greymist Fair know that the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and that they should never set foot off the road. But when a young tailor discovers a body, her search for the culprit reveals even more strange and dark happenings around her town.

Two roads lead into a dark forest. They meet at Greymist Fair, the village hidden in the trees, a place kept alive by the families that never leave. The people of Greymist Fair know the woods are a dangerous and magical place, and to set foot off the road is to invite trouble.

When Heike, the village’s young tailor, discovers a body on the road, she goes looking for who is responsible. But her quest only leads to more strange happenings around Greymist Fair.

Inspired by the original, bloody, lesser-known fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, acclaimed author Francesca Zappia crafts an enthralling murder-mystery that will keep readers turning the pages. Told from multiple points of view, with each narrative building on the crime discovered by Heike, Greymist Fair examines the themes of childhood fears, growing into adult responsibilities, and finding a place to call home amid the trials of life and death.

Excitement Level: 🌙🌙🌙🌙 • 4 / 5 moons over a dark night

Release Date: March 28, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, YA

Meet Winter Young—rookie backup dancer turned global pop phenomenon. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. Now he’s bringing his swoon worthy assets to a whole new arena…

Infamous criminal tycoon Eli Morrison has just one weakness—his daughter, Penelope. And Penelope has just one wish for her nineteenth birthday—a private concert with Winter Young. When covert ops organization The Panacea Group approaches Winter with this once-in-a-lifetime chance to infiltrate Morrison’s inner circle, Winter must use his fame, cunning, and charisma to pull it off—only he won’t be on his own.

Posing as Winter’s bodyguard is the fiery Sydney Cossette, Panacea’s youngest spy. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter’s charms, but as the mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit there’s more to this A-lister than slick dance moves and a handsome face. Panacea’s unlikeliest partners just might become its biggest heroes—and maybe even more—if they can survive each other first.

Excitement Level: 👞👞👞👞 • 4 / 5 pairs of shoes

The Chaos Walking Book Review

The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

This series. This. Series. Chaos Walking was such a defining trilogy of books for me in my high school years. It’s made up of three books: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men, as well as a short prequel story called The New World.

It’s one of those series that I read again. And again. It’s one of my favorite trilogies of all time, and one I feel is still underrated. Also, there’s a shitty Lionsgate film adaptation that came out last year, based on the first book. We don’t talk about that film adaptation. Anyway, before I get into the actual review, here’s the synopsis for book one of the series.

Title & Author: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Series: Chaos Walking

Length: 497 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Mystery

Release Date: May 5, 2008

Book Description

A dystopian thriller follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard – and the passage to manhood embodies a horrible secret.

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World?

Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Doesn’t that sound interesting? It does, doesn’t it? That’s precisely what I thought when I picked it up in the midst of a reading slump, way back in high school. And it was amazing.

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.About anything.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Todd’s narration was unique and hilarious. I mean, just look at that quote – that’s the opening line! His narrative voice was very strong, which is something that I really love in books that do that kind of thing properly. He’s one of my favorite protagonists, and is just as compelling to read about a second, or even third, time around. And I can’t forget about Manchee the doggo. He’s the absolute best boy (that can also talk!). His and Todd’s relationship is so sweet, and it makes my heart warm just writing about it right here.

Viola is the dueteragonist of the series (and the mysterious girl mentioned in the synopsis), and I liked her just as much. She and Todd are a perfect team – hers strengths cover his weaknesses, and his strengths cover her weaknesses. In several ways, the two seemed like equals. And their relationship was the central pillar that this trilogy stands on, and I absolutely loved it – it was written so perfectly.

“Here’s what I think,” I say and my voice is stronger and thoughts are coming, thoughts that trickle into my noise like whispers of truth. “I think maybe everybody falls,” I say. “I think maybe we all do. And I don’t think that’s the asking.”

I pull on her arms gently to make sure she’s listening.”I think the asking is whether we get back up again.”

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The plot also moves at a breakneck pace in all three books, but somehow there’s still time for character moments and development. I really don’t know how Ness does it. The secret that Todd’s town is hiding is also bone-chilling, and the plot twists for all three books had me at the edge of my seat.

“War is like a monster,” he says, almost to himself. “War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows and grows.” He’s looking at me now. “And otherwise normal men become monsters, too.”

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The first book probably did everything the best out of the three, but all of the books in the trilogy were honestly all five star reads for me. It’s an absolute understatement to say that I recommend this series.

And by this I mean, don’t just read the first book to give Chaos Walking a shot. Read the whole thing. Not the you’ll need any encouragement from me, though, once you read the ending of The Knife of Never Letting Go. You’ll want to keep going immediately – it’s just that strong of a novel. I’m not gonna spoil it, or any of the second or third books, because this series works best if you go into it blind on a first read through. (Second or third it works even though you know the plot. It’s just that good.) But yeah, I definitely recommend it, so you should definitely read it.

And if you’ve already read it, then you should read it again. And you should absolutely ignore the movie completely and pretend that it doesn’t exist, at all costs. (Someday soon, I’ll probably do a post about how much the movie sucks and why, and how it did everything wrong – down to the freaking casting even – but alas, that day is not today.)

My Star Ratings

The Knife of Never Letting Go: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars
The Ask and the Answer: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars
Monsters of Men: ★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars
The New World – A Chaos Walking Short Story: ★★★★★ 5 / 5 stars

My Favorite Quotes

And because there’s just so many darn good and quotable lines in this trilogy that I like – and because I have absolutely no restraint – here’s all of my favorites from the series to end off this review. Here I go!

But a knife ain’t just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don’t. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Men lie, and they lie to theirselves worst of all.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Life equals running and when we stop running maybe that’s how we’ll know life is finally finished.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.

It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.

It’s not a weakness.

It’s your best strength.

The Ask and the Answer

Faith with proof is no faith at all.

The Ask and the Answer

You’ve never stood on a beach as the waves came crashing in, the water stretching out from you until it’s beyond sight, moving and blue and alive and so much bigger than even the black beyond seems because the ocean hides what it contains.

The Ask and the Answer

To say you have no choice is to relieve yourself of responsibility.

Monsters of Men

A monster, I think, remembering what Ben told me once. War makes monsters of men.

Monsters of Men

“Usually when a man calls a woman a bitch,” a voice calls over from a cart pulling up near us at the edge of camp,”its because she’s doing something right.”

Monsters of Men

“It’s always darkest before the dawn, Todd.”

I look at him, baffled. “No, it ain’t! What kinda stupid saying is that? It’s always lightest before the dawn!”

Monsters of Men

“And you,” he says, “you need to talk to your boy.” He lifts my chin. “And if he needs saving, then you save him. Isn’t that what you told me you did for each other?”

I let go a few more tears but then I nod. “Over and over again.”

Monsters of Men

I’ll find you–

You bet yer life on it–

I’ll find you–

Keep calling for me, Viola–

Cuz here I come.

Monsters of Men

Shelf Control #5: Goddess in the Machine

It’s that time of the week again, so it’s time for some more Shelf Control. Shelf Control is an original feature created and hosted by Lisa @ BookshelfFantasies.com.

It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out BookshelfFantasies.com.

This time, I’m talking about a sci-fi novel that’s been on my shelf for a hot minute. It’s called Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson.

About Goddess in the Machine

Series: Goddess in the Machine duology [Book #1]

Length: 397 pages

Genre: Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Post-Apocalypse

Release Date: June 30, 2020

Book Description

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

Why It Languishes on my Bookshelf

When I Got It: July 2021

Why I Wanted to Read It: It seemed like a cool sci-fi YA novel with an interesting presence. I love it when science fiction, or when science-fantasy, has technology that seems like magic, because most of the characters don’t actually understand what it is. It just usually makes for a compelling and interesting story.

Why I Haven’t Read It Yet: I had lots of stuff going on at the time, so I pushed it off to the side for a while. Then I got distracted by other books when I had less stuff going on, and the rest is history.

Will I Ever Read It?: Hmmm… I’m not sure actually. I still kinda want to, in the back of my brain, but I honestly don’t know. Maybe someday soon when I’m feeling a sci-fi novel again.

And that’s it for this week’s Shelf Control! Have you read this book? What did you think of it? As always, thanks for reading, and join me next time for some more bookish things.

Book(s) Review: The Murderbot Diaries

I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites. It had been well over 35,000 hours or so since then, with still not much murdering, but probably, I don’t know, a little under 35,000 hours of movies, serials, books, plays, and music consumed. As a heartless killing machine, I was a terrible failure.

Book #1: All Systems Red

About This Series

It’s finally time. For the long-promised The Murderbot Diaries review! So, this is normally the part where I give all the info about the book, it’s series if it has one, the page length, the publication date, and the synopsis. But since I’m reviewing an entire series for once, I thought it would probably be best to do something a little different this time. Just cuz (it might get a little repetitive, is all).

Anyway, The Murderbot Diaries is about a rogue construct (a human-robot hybrid, though not quite a cyborg, if I’m understanding some of the reviews correctly) known as a SecUnit (Security Unit). As the quote above alludes, this SecUnit – who secretly refers to itself as Murderbot, and considers this to be its true name – is quite self aware, is irritated by humanity, and just wants to be left alone to watch its favorite media. (Sanctuary Moon, if you were curious.)

Murderbot isn’t entirely “done” with humans as it were, though. It does end up making friends throughout the series, over the course of its character development. And it does enjoy doing its job – acting as security – a fair amount.

I liked protecting people and things. I liked figuring out smart ways to protect people and things. I liked being right.

Book #2: Artificial Condition

But it is a bit of an a-hole, much to the annoyance and chagrin of some of those that spend time with it. Though some of those individuals fling the sass right on back. For example:

Gurathin turned to me. “So you don’t have a governor module, but we could punish you by looking at you.”

I looked at him. “Probably, right up until I remember I have guns built into my arms.”

Book #1: All Systems Red


Pin-Lee had promised, “Don’t worry, I’ll preserve your right to wander off like an asshole anytime you like.” (I said, “It takes one to know one.”)

Book #6: Fugitive Telemetry

Pin-Lee is so sassy and smart and I love her. She’s also got some great interactions with MB, as seen above. Gurathin is also sassy, and he may be an even bigger a-hole than MB itself, but his heart is in the right place and he helps out his friends when they need it. And yes, this even includes Murderbot. MB has a lot of sassy and meaningful interactions with most of the supporting characters. But the most important one of these, is Dr. Mensah.

Dr. Ayda Mensah is, in many ways, Murderbot’s adoptive mother, or perhaps an older sister or mentor figure. (But she’s definitely its mom.) She cares so much for this snarky, emotionally repressed construct, as goes so far to help it and make sure it’s okay. In fact, as far as MB goes to save and protect her, she matches. She goes above and beyond to try to save and protect MB, even as it protests over and over again, that it is not her job. There’s another important individual to our favorite SecUnit, however.

ART said, “I want an apology.”

I made an obscene gesture at the ceiling with both hands. (I know ART isn’t the ceiling but the humans kept looking up there like it was.)

ART said, “That was unnecessary.”

In a low voice, Ratthi commented to Overse, “Anyone who thinks machine intelligences don’t have emotions needs to be in this very uncomfortable room right now.

Book #5: Network Effect

ART, otherwise known as Asshole Research Transport, is a sassy research ship that eventually becomes Murderbot’s best friend. (Though both of them are loathe to admit it, at first.) Their dialogue and banter, is the absolute best. Nothing beats sassy sort-of-a-robot versus sassy sort-of-a-ship-computer. Most of everything they have to say to each other is gold. But the best part about their friendship is how much they care about one another. Like MB and Mensah’s relationship, these two will go above what is legal, and sometimes what is moral, in order to help each other, as well as those they care about. It’s so sweet and wholesome, and I love it.

These aren’t the only characters and interactions that are fantastic. Like I mentioned above, most of the interactions are funny and meaningful. But the ones I’ve already listed, namely ART and Mensah, are the most important, as well as the best ones. My honorable mentions are as follows, though: Ameba, Ratthi, Miki, and Thiago. I love, loved these characters so much, too. And these were also very important people for Murderbot, and its continuing self-development.

This review is beginning to get really long – which, fair this is a series of five novellas and a full novel – but in the interest of keeping this a somewhat manageable length, and to keep it generally spoiler free, I’m just gonna put mini reviews for each book, and then finish it off with a few of my favorite quotes.

All Systems Red [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #1]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

I loved basically everything about it honestly. It’s actually hard for me to choose what I liked best about it, between the fast-paced plot, great world building and side characters, and the superb narration by the titular character.

Since I have to choose, my favorite thing about this novella was Murderbot itself. It was such a funny, interesting, and highly relatable character. I loved how its favorite hobby was watching soap operas in its spare time and how socially awkward it was. It was adorable.

I highly recommend this to everyone. And, it’s also not that long, so you won’t be devoting too much of your time reading it.

Artificial Condition [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #2]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

This series continues to be absolutely fantastic. Murderbot is out on its own trying to find out what really happened in the incident it named itself for. Along the way it meets some new characters, including ART (aka Asshole Research Transport) who I’m positive will return.

I loved watching MB start to slowly change and further develop as a person. It, like many humans, has started to learn that sometimes in order to get things that you want, you have to compensate by doing things that make you uncomfortable, and it makes MB even more relatable as a character. MB — through admittedly mostly external forces — is slowly beginning to realize that it is in fact a person, though it’s still in extreme denial about this and dies not even come close to acknowledging this yet. It just gives the excuse of doing the things that it’s doing for survival, which is valid, but is not completely true.

I loved seeing Murderbot’s interactions with humans, and especially its interactions with ART. Those were particularly amusing as well as important, as ART is the one to pressure MB to grow and evolve the most. And as I said above, I’m sure that ART will return. Its interactions with ‘Bot were too fantastic for it not to be so.

If you liked the first book, all I can say is that you have to continue reading because book two was just as awesome.

Rogue Protocol [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #3]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

That’s three perfectly rated books (by me) in a row! Yay!!

I loved this book, just like I loved the first two. Murderbot continues to be just as endearing and hilarious as it’s been in the past, and it’s my favorite part about its character.

Rogue Protocol was very important for finishing an emotional arc that MB’s been having, as it comes to a certain realization at the end of the book.

This book was also important because it finally showed a wholly positive relationship between a bot and a human in the characters of Don Abene and Miki, her “pet bot” (according to MB). These two characters genuinely love each other like family (and no that’s not a spoiler because it’s obvious to literally everyone except Murderbot from the onset) which is very different from how we’ve seen a lot of bot-human relationships so far.

(And yes, I remember ART going on and on about how great its human crew was in the last book, but those humans are never actually in that book, so we don’t get to read how they interact with each other.)

I definitely recommend this if you liked the first two, even just a little. I personally can’t wait to jump into book four.

Exit Strategy [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #4]

★★★★★ • 5 / 5 stars

Four for four, bay-bee!! This series really is the gift that keeps on giving if the gift you’re looking for is a great story, with great writing, and great characters. (Particularly a certain shy, antisocial, cyborg/biomechanical construct/AI who wants to be left alone so it can just watch its favorite TV shows and not talk about its feelings or interact with any humans in general, please and thank you.) It was nice to see a lot of the characters from the first book again, as I actually really liked them and their interactions with Murderbot.

Exit Strategy was a wonderful conclusion to the first arc of The Murderbot Diaries. I’m so happy that I discovered a series this late for once, as reading all four of the first novellas together really showed that they had a nice and tight story — despite some of MB’s meandering around the universe — and wrapped up the plot with very few loose ends. The ending was left open-ended with lots of room to expand the MD universe.

The ending was also really, really good. I was honestly kind of hoping for a resolution like what was written, and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to see this series goes next!

Network Effect [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #5]

★★★★✬ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Another sci-fi, space adventure with everyone’s favorite sassy cyborg, but this time as a full novel!

It was an interesting go around this time, as this novel is twice as long as one of the four novellas that came before it. But it was a good interesting, and I think it displayed that the Murderbot Diaries can work as average length novels as well.

Regarding the stuff inside Network Effect that I liked… well, obviously MB’s snarky narrative voice is always a pleasure to read. It was top-notch as usual, too. I also liked seeing MB interact with new characters and watch them all grow and change as they had more interactions with one another. MB and Amena’s friendship was a highlight of the new character relationships for me, and I hope we see more of it in future novel(la)s.

And ART! ART how I’ve missed you, it was great to see you again! Not to mention, the banter between our favorite SecUnit and research transport was just as good as the last time we saw the two together. I also loved seeing how much these two cared about each other and how far each was willing to go for one another. Nevermind, this was (again) my favorite relationship of the book.

I also liked the plot as well. Though the characters and personalities are always the strongest parts of this series, the story was decent and relatively interesting too. It was nice to move away from the series’ usual villains for a bit and I liked seeing that they weren’t the only thing that sucked about the universe (besides the Corporation Rim of course).

As I said, fantastic as usual with this series, but I might’ve liked this ever so slightly less than all the others, so it gets a half star docked. Still amazing, though.

Fugitive Telemetry [The Murderbot Diaries, Book #6]

★★★★✬ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Martha Wells knocks it out of the park with Fugitive Telemetry, as well. But that’s per usual with The Murderbot Diaries. I’ve honestly yet to read a subpar installment of this series – it’s utterly fantastic!

This time our sassy SecUnit is playing detective with Preservation Aux’s security team, in order to solve the cause of death of a body found on the station. And we all know how much fun it is (for us readers) whenever MB has to interact with annoying humans.

This was a fun read, just like the rest of the series. Highly recommend.

And Now, Some of My Favorite Lines

I was having an emotion, and I hate that.

Book #4: Exit Strategy


So the plan wasn’t a clusterfuck, it was just circling the clusterfuck target zone, getting ready to come in for a landing.

Book #4: Exit Strategy


There was a big huge deal about it, and Security was all “but what if it takes over the station’s systems and kills everybody” and Pin-Lee told them “if it wanted to do that it would have done it by now,” which in hindsight was probably not the best response.

Book #6: Fugitive Telemetry


Unidentified One sounded even more amused. “You had better have the weapon we were told of, or I’ll take your ribs out one by one and break them in front of your little face.”

I saved that for future reference. Unidentified One seemed to have gone to some trouble with the wording of that threat, it would be a shame if they never experienced it firsthand.

Book #5: Network Effect

and, finally

I hate caring about stuff. But apparently once you start, you can’t just stop.

Book #3: Rogue Protocol

So, so many good lines! Too many, honestly, to share with everyone. If you enjoyed any of these quotes at all, definitely check out this series, if you haven’t already. To further motivate those who have not yet given The Murderbot Diaries a shot, here’s the book description for the first book in the series, All Systems Red:

Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella
Winner: 2018 Alex Award
Winner: 2018 Locus Award
One of the Verge’s Best Books of 2017
A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence.

“As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure.”

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

Doesn’t this book sound amazing? It does, doesn’t it?!? See, the sass even makes it into the plot summary! That’s definitely the sign of a great book!

In all seriousness, I really do recommend this book. Books. Highly recommend. It’s one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had reading, and I pretty much adore everything about it. So, do check it out.

And hey, if science fiction isn’t your thing, and you’re not super interested in the premise, at least check out one of Martha Wells’ other works. This lady has written a ton of stuff, and a lot of people agree that it’s all pretty great. So maybe you’ll find something to your tastes in one of her many stories.

Book Review: Mickey7 • Edward Ashton

“What difference does it make if he replaces them one by one, or if he replaces them all at once?”

About Mickey7

Series: Mickey7 (yes, it’s a series now) (as well as an upcoming movie, apparently)

Length: 288 pages

Genre: Science fiction

Released On: February 15, 2022

Book Description

The Martian meets Multiplicity in Edward Ashton’s high concept science fiction thriller, in which Mickey7, an “expendable,” refuses to let his replacement clone Mickey8 take his place.

Dying isn’t any fun…but at least it’s a living.

Mickey7 is an Expendable: a disposable employee on a human expedition sent to colonize the ice world Niflheim. Whenever there’s a mission that’s too dangerous—even suicidal—the crew turns to Mickey. After one iteration dies, a new body is regenerated with most of his memories intact. After six deaths, Mickey7 understands the terms of his deal…and why it was the only colonial position unfilled when he took it.

On a fairly routine scouting mission, Mickey7 goes missing and is presumed dead. By the time he returns to the colony base, surprisingly helped back by native life, Mickey7’s fate has been sealed. There’s a new clone, Mickey8, reporting for Expendable duties. The idea of duplicate Expendables is universally loathed, and if caught, they will likely be thrown into the recycler for protein.

Mickey7 must keep his double a secret from the rest of the colony. Meanwhile, life on Niflheim is getting worse. The atmosphere is unsuitable for humans, food is in short supply, and terraforming is going poorly. The native species are growing curious about their new neighbors, and that curiosity has Commander Marshall very afraid. Ultimately, the survival of both lifeforms will come down to Mickey7.

That is, if he can just keep from dying for good.

My Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

× 5 / 5 stars

So, like, I know that I said I’d read Children of Ragnarok next – and I am! But, this review has been languishing for a while – I read Mickey7 a few months ago (*cough* When-It-Came-Out-And-No-I-Don’t-Want-To-Talk-About–It* cough*), so I thought that it was finally time to release this.

Let’s get into how I felt about this book, because this book made me feel.


  • The Characters

The strongest aspect of this book was definitely the characters. Mickey Barnes, both 7 and 8, were both very compelling characters; though Mickey7 was our main protagonist, and the one whose POV we followed throughout the story.

I really liked Mickey, he was blunt and sassy, and he was a history major. A history major. Who doesn’t love that? Especially with how out of place it is in a sci-fi setting, wherein it’s just a tad useless. (Mickey realizes the irony, don’t worry.) In fact, his poorly chosen college major (sorry, all history majors. I sincerely promise I’m not dunking on you. I was very nearly a history major myself.) is the conduit to many of the events of the plot.

But the real highlight of Mickey’s character is definitely his personality. His sass is absolutely fantastic. Not only is it prevalent in his dialogue, but throughout his entire narration, as well. And it never gets old

I’m not the most sensitive person, but I’ve been alive long enough to figure out that telling a miserable person about how much worse things can be is usually a bad idea.

The banter and relationship between the two Mickeys is also extremely compelling and interesting. Are you still the same person if there’s suddenly two of you? If you’re missing some of the memories that another you has, how different are you really? Are you the same individual you were seven or eight clones ago? The existentialism focused on in Mickey7 is as fascinating as it is soul crushing.

Regarding the rest of the cast: I quite liked them. Berto was a fun best-friend-type character who plays off of Mickey’s wit pretty well, as well as his differing skills and interests. You also understood very clearly why these two were friends, which is something that some books don’t establish very well. So kudos to that.

Nasha is also amazing. She’s introduced as Mickey’s girlfriend, but immediately feels like so much more. She’s awesome, not just cuz she’s a badass, but because of how committed to her and Mickey’s relationship. As difficult as being an Expendable is for Mickey – with the whole dying horribly over and over again thing – Nasha has to deal with this externally. She continues an extremely intimate relationship with him, despite the fact that he might suddenly no longer be the same man that he was the day before (literally). But she just takes everything in stride and gives everything she has to their relationship, just like Mickey. It should be noted that their dialogue together is also amazing.

The other characters were also great, though I don’t find them nearly that notable. The human antagonist was decent, too, and I loved the verbal shiz he and Mickey constantly flung at each other. Also, the giant space worms were pretty cool too, I guess.

  • The Setting

Ashton manages to create a richly built world (worlds? universe?). The ship that is most of the setting feels so vivid, and the entire atmosphere of Niflheim – the land and the alien creatures – are so richly described.

I also like the emphasis on how it’s so far in the future, that history and our modern era (Mickey7’s past) are irrelevant. It almost feels like a fantastical space opera, in some ways.


  • The World Building

I know, I know. I just mentioned how much I loved the setting and all that, but I didn’t care as much for how it was actually built. The switching between “past” and “present” chapters kind of prevented me being as completely drawn in as I would’ve liked.

And there was also a lot of superfluous exposition, particularly in the “past” chapters, which really kept me from getting as into those as I would’ve liked. I found myself skimming several paragraphs at a time, and I still didn’t miss anything. Don’t get me wrong, some of the background was pretty cool. I just wish it hadn’t been so info dumpy at times.

  • The Plot

It wasn’t as strongly focused on as it could’ve been, but that’s the drawback of a mostly character focused narrative. I’m not disappointed about this at all, actually, but it could technically be considered a weak point of the book, so I put it here for that reason. That’s also why this part is so short and sweet – nothing really positive or negative about it, honestly.

Final Thoughts

Mickey7 was an enjoyable little read, perfect for a free afternoon or (preferably) late at night when the existentialism hits you harder. It balances snappy dialogue and humor masterfully with the more serious aspects of the narrative.

I definitely recommend to those who like sci-fi, but more soft sci-fi. Like I said, the world building is okay, but it’s not as grand as many hard sci-fi epics out there. This is a very character driven story, and the novel is very aware of this, and does this part very well. So if you like character focused stories, you’ll probably like Mickey7, too.