Book Review – Shadeward: Exoneration

In October 2016, I wrote a review of the first book in the Shadeward series called Shadeward: Emanation. I have now finished the second book and decided to review that as well.

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Exoneration is the second book in the four-part Shadeward Saga by Drew Wagar. It mainly follows three main characters – Meru, a Timekeeper from Amur; Kiri, an “only” – an orphan – girl from the slums now one of the Priestesses of Drayden and Zoella, a young girl orphaned and left and abused at a farm before running away and being saved by Prince Ioric.

At the end of the first book, Meru sets off in a flying metal machine to warn the people of Scallia about a catastrophe that is about to befall the planet. His friends, Mel and Coran take a floating metal machine that runs on ‘tricity to another area to warn people.

Of course, not everything goes the way it is supposed to, and a few more people are thrown into the mix for good or ill. Sometimes it is hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. It reminds me of a quote from a film – “I have seen good men do bad things, and I have seen bad men do good things”.

There is plenty of action and intrigue in the book with many twists. You find yourself hoping for some characters to survive only to start hoping they die later. And the other way round – you hope some people and then find yourself glad they didn’t. Wagar builds characters well and makes them believable with their views and scheming.

The creatures, measurements and times in the books are unique with no description needed as to what they mean, although there is a glossary in the back if you want confirmation. Creatures like flits, which, from the brief description, you know are butterfly-like creatures and marsips which in my eyes, are rabbits or something similar.

The only problem I have found with the book is the length of time I have to wait until book three comes out. At the moment, that is looking like 2018. So you have plenty of time to grab the first two books and read them.

Exoneration is a must for any library of fantasy lovers.

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Shadeward: Exoneration ………………… UK Paperback

Shadeward: Exoneration ………………… UK Kindle

Shadeward: Exoneration ………………… US Paperback

Shadeward: Exoneration ………………… US Kindle

Armada – A Review

After reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, I thought I would see how his other book, Armada, would play out.

Armada

It’s just another day of high school for Zack Lightman. He’s daydreaming through another boring math class, with just one more month to go until graduation and freedom―if he can make it that long without getting suspended again.

Then he glances out his classroom window and spots the flying saucer.

At first, Zack thinks he’s going crazy.

A minute later, he’s sure of it. Because the UFO he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada―in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

But what Zack’s seeing is all too real. And his skills―as well as those of millions of gamers across the world―are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

Yet even as he and his new comrades scramble to prepare for the alien onslaught, Zack can’t help thinking of all the science-fiction books, TV shows, and movies he grew up reading and watching, and wonder: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little too… familiar?

Armada is at once a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien-invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before―one whose every page is infused with author Ernest Cline’s trademark pop-culture savvy.

When I first started reading this, I was disgruntled as I thought “Oh, here comes The Last Starfighter again”. To my surprise, it isn’t. The concept of the book is good, and Cline names a fair few programs, films and games that conspiracy theorists would have a field day with.

Whilst the book is not overly bad, there were some twists I saw coming a mile off. Whether it is because of Cline’s style of writing, or because they are twists that are all too familiar.

Like Ready Player One, the book is similar to that of a teenager’s daydream. It is similar to the kind of daydreams I used to have when I was at school. Albeit with a lot more pizazz and graphical interface. Graphics and processor power have increased a millionfold since I was a teenager, and it shows in the book.

Cline draws upon his own experiences with science fiction games, films and all other memorabilia with his descriptions and backgrounds.

It is a good book, but some of the “seen a mile off” twists and a few cringeworthy moments that almost make me ashamed to be a gamer, it gets three stars.

This, like Cline’s other book Ready Player One, is in production for being turned into a film.

Armada ……………………………. Amazon UK Paperback

Armada ……………………………. Amazon UK Kindle

Armada ……………………………. Amazon US Paperback

Armada ……………………………. Amazon US Kindle

Ready Player One … Boop Beep Boop

I was recommended this book by a friend who said she enjoyed it immensely. I had bought it over a year ago, but finally got around to reading it in February this year.

ready-player-one-book-cover

Ready Player One was suggested to me by a friend who knows the types of book that I like. I thought it was going to be a trip down the nostalgic lane, but it was so much more than that.

The book is set in the OASIS, a virtual reality system that with the right equipment can feel like the real thing, where people are searching for Halliday’s Egg, an Easter Egg that contains riches beyond belief to the person who finds it first.

The story is from the point of view of Wade Watts, an 18 year old “gunter” – Egg Hunter – obsessed with the 80s and Halliday as most people in OASIS are. He receives a wake up call when the first key is found and he learns what lengths some people will go to in order to win the competition.

Cline draws upon his own childhood and teenage years as the background and inspiration to flesh out the book. Being an avid gamer and roleplayer in the 80s, I can see all the inspiration through the games, books, films and TV programs. The detail is incredible, and at times you forget you are reading a book as you are transported in there.

It is one of the only books that when I finished it, I immediately started it again to see what I missed.

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Paperback

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon UK Kindle

Ready Player One …………….. Amazon US Paperback

Ready Player One ……………..  Amazon US Kindle

Book Review – Shadeward: Emanation

I read – and reviewed – Elite: Reclamation recently by Drew Wagar. After reading that, I thought I would try another of his books. The one I picked up was the first in a quadrilogy, all with the prefix Shadeward. When I read the title, I read it was as ShadeWARD – as in the ward of a hospital. Reading it though, it is more of a directional word as in Eastward.

The book is set on a planet of endless day that is devoid of technology, and history is rumours. Calling creatures by other names, and just giving slight information on them so they are accepted as the norm and not out of place. With just a sentence or two, you can see what a flit is, you understand the carn and the herg. You can understand the time and measurement systems from the outset, and how they are implemented.

The book is set around three main characters, two females and a male. Kiri is an “only”, an orphan on the streets who has to fend for herself and looks after her friend Tia. They are treated like dirt by the nobility. Her life changes after an encounter with priestesses, and she realises there is something about her that makes her different. We watch as she grows from urchin into something more.

Meru is an apprentice timekeeper assigned to a fisher boat, but when a freak storm hits, he is the only survivor and is rescued by the crew of the Mobillis. A ship the likes of which he has never seen, with a crew on a journey of discovery. What he does discover, rocks his world to its foundations and everything he knows and accepts is no longer what he accepted or knew. I see some chemistry between him and another member of the crew.

Zoella is the youngest of the three protagonists and lives in a home where her “guardian” sent her to stay. She is mistreated by the other children and the overseer of the home. Like the other two, hr life is changed and she has to use everything she has learned to survive where it seems so many others want her dead for reasons she can’t comprehend.

The book slowly builds pace, with twists and turns that leave you breathless at times, and action scenes are well described. You can almost smell and see the backgrounds as they are explained, and all characters are believable, including the fleeting ones. Each of the main characters hold a secret, with a line here or there hinting at what it might be.

The book ends in a way to leave you wanting more, and I am so glad I have already brought the follow-up as it means I don’t have to wait long to carry on the story. If you have never read any of the books by Drew Wagar, this is as good a place as any to start. At times I am reminded of the Malazan books by Steven Erikson,

Meet Zoella, Kiri and Meru. Find out their secrets and read as they find things so unbelievable to them, that they question what they see at times.

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Shadeward: Emanation ……………….. Amazon UK

Shadeward: Emanation ……………….. Amazon US