Book Reviews

#Review: The Final Trade by Joe Hart @AuthorJoeHart

The Final Trade cover

At the end of The Last Girl,  Zoe and her friends helped her attack the ARC and rescue some of the girls who remained there… but not all of them. Her friends Lily and Terra were killed, as well as Lee’s father, Simon—Zoe’s Cleric when she was imprisoned in the ARC. Zoe nearly died after being shot, and was left temporarily paralyzed from her injury. Worst of all, Lee abandoned her because she was a constant reminder of his father’s death.

In The Final Trade, Zoe has regained the use of her legs and life goes on as usual. While interrogating a NOA spy, she discovers the location of copies of records on all the women formerly held in the ARC. In the pursuit of this precious knowledge, the terrible truth about NOA’s association with the “Fae Trade” comes to light, and Zoe sets her sights on a new mission… to destroy the Fae Trade.

The Final Trade is book two in The Dominion Trilogy series, and there’s never a dull moment in this action-packed sequel. The story is told from the perspective of Zoe, as well as that of a mysterious woman called Wen, who travels with the Fae Trade as a cook. While Zoe plots the destruction of the Trade, Wen and her friend are planning their escape. Both sides of the story were equally compelling, and when the two merged, it set the stage for an explosive reveal that slowly built from the beginning of the book.

The evil specter of NOA takes a backseat to the Fae Trade this time around. Ingloriously repulsive and chilling in its purpose, Hart does an excellent job of portraying the depravity of the Trade without going too far.

With intense situations and thrilling action sequences alongside moments of raw emotion,  The Final Trade makes for a powerful read that will have you clamoring for the final book of the trilogy. Highly recommended for readers of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Thomas and Mercer.

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Author: Joe Hart

Title: The Final Trade

Series: The Dominion Trilogy #2

Genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

Published: September 13th 2016 by Thomas & Mercer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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About the Book

The thrilling sequel to the runaway bestseller The Last Girl.

Zoey is not the woman she once was. She’s watched her friends die at the hands of their captors, been hunted, and returned from the brink of death. Now she must find the truth about who she is.

In search of the family she never knew, Zoey learns of personal records stored in an Idaho missile silo that may contain the information she and the other women seek. With the help of her group of newfound friends, Zoey travels to the missile facility, but among the records, they uncover information that leads to an insidious and horrific new foe: the Fae Trade, a macabre carnival of slavery and pain.

Zoey’s journey into the darkest parts of the human psyche brings her perilously close to the ever-thinning line between good and evil, and the final cost in her quest for justice might be her own humanity.

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About the Author

Author Joe Hart
Author Joe Hart

Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota. Having dedicated himself to writing horror and thriller fiction since the tender age of nine, he is now the author of nine novels, including The River Is Dark, Lineage, EverFall, and the first two books in the Dominion Trilogy, on which this graphic novel is based. When not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, exploring the great outdoors, and watching movies with his family. For more information on his upcoming novels and access to his blog, visit http://www.joehartbooks.com.

Author photo and bio via Amazon.

 

Book Reviews

Review: The Last Girl by Joe Hart

The Last Girl book cover

A virus caused female births to be almost nonexistent worldwide, and brought about the creation of the National Obstetric Alliance, the purpose of which is to find a cure and restore the female birth rate. The NOA actively searches for baby girls, bringing them to the Advance Research Compound, or ARC, in order to keep them safe and teach them about their important purpose in life.

Zoey has lived in the ARC her entire life, her every move constantly monitored by security cameras and guards. She feels like a prisoner and is determined to escape… somehow. A terrifying situation morphs into an opportunity for escape, but danger lurks around every corner and the freedom she wants so badly will come at a  terrible cost.

I enjoyed this novel very much. A world populated almost completely with men and boys would be a very frightening place for women and girls, and Hart does an excellent job of maintaining an undercurrent of danger in every situation, including the mundane. This is the first in a trilogy of novels, so the end of the book leaves several unanswered questions, but they were the right questions, in my opinion. I’m looking forward to reading more of Zoey’s story in the next book.

If you enjoy reading dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels, I think you’ll like this one. I certainly did!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer.

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Author: Joe Hart

Title: The Last Girl

Series: Dominion Trilogy #1

Genre: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic

Published: March 1st 2016 by Thomas & Mercer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the Book

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

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About the Author

Author Joe Hart
Author Joe Hart

Joe Hart was born and raised in northern Minnesota. Having dedicated himself to writing horror and thriller fiction since the tender age of nine, he is now the author of nine novels, including The River Is Dark, Lineage, EverFall, and the first two books in the Dominion Trilogy, on which this graphic novel is based. When not writing, he enjoys reading, exercising, exploring the great outdoors, and watching movies with his family. For more information on his upcoming novels and access to his blog, visit http://www.joehartbooks.com.

Author photo and bio via Amazon.

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Book Reviews

Review: The Punishments by J.B. Winsor

The Punishments by J.B. WinsorAn Orwellian thriller – The heart-pounding story of a family after electing a demagogue and fundamentalists who adopt Biblical Law for moral punishments.

The economy sucks. Robots keep eliminating middle class jobs. Terrorism is a constant threat. The CIA and FBI can’t stop terrorists. The bureaucratic IRS needs to be shaken up.

Angry, fearful voters elect a narcissistic demagogue President and fundamentalist congress. The CIA, FBI and IRS are organized into a super-department, the Department of Virtue, with a mandate to bring the nation back to its Christian roots. Virtue’s director institutes Biblical Law punishments as an example to those who break the commandments. Only two US Senators — and one mysterious woman — can prevent a disaster.

 

I wanted to like this book. I really did. The plot—an America ruled by Christian fundamentalists and biblical law—was ripe with possibility. Unfortunately, The Punishments failed to live up to it. There is at least one scene that borrows heavily from a scene in George Orwell’s 1984 (if you’ve read it, you’ll recognize the similarities instantly). I found that a bit annoying as it threw me out of the story I was reading, but it happened very early on, so I was willing to overlook it.

What I couldn’t overlook was the predictable way the story advanced. The one twist that actually surprised me a little wasn’t enough to impact the way I felt about the story overall. Something else that bothered me was there was too little ‘show’, and far too much ‘tell’ in the writing. Towards the end, it felt like I was reading a lists of actions and reactions, rather than losing myself in a story.

I was greatly disappointed because I felt it could have been so much better.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Boulder Digital Publishing, LLC in exchange for an honest review.

Author: J.B. Winsor

Title: The Punishments

Published: 5/23/2016 by Boulder Digital Publishing, LLC

Rating: ★★

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Book Reviews

Review: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

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Author: Alexandra Oliva

Title: The Last One

Genre: Dystopian

Published: July 12, 2016 by Ballantine Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Ballantine Books.

I love to get lost in a  good dystopian novel, and The Last One is truly magnificent. The premise—twelve completely isolated contestants filming a reality TV show, unaware  something horrible has happened in the real world—was brilliant in its simplicity. There was no need to suspend disbelief; it was completely plausible that such a thing could actually happen, and for me, that made the story even better.

I also loved the way the story was told, in a before-and-after way. The before portions center on the filming of the reality series, where we learn how Zoo came to be part of the filming, and what she and the other contestants go through. The after portions focus on Zoo’s journey alone, thinking everything she sees is part of the game—potential clues and challenges—and what happens to her along the way. I sometimes find myself feeling a little impatient with flashbacks, because the events in the story’s present are so engrossing I want to keep reading more of that, rather than past events. This was not the case in The Last One. Each storyline was gripping in its own way, and rather than being impatient about it, each timeline shift was eagerly anticipated and welcomed when it came. In fact, the only thing that I found upsetting was reaching the end.

If you enjoy reading dystopian novels, I highly recommend this one. It’s one of the best I’ve ever read, and I fervently hope Alexandra Oliva will write more dystopians in the future!

About the Author

Alexandra Oliva
Alexandra Oliva

A graduate of Yale University, Alexandra Oliva grew up in a small town deep in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School University and undertook intensive wilderness survival training while researching The Last One. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their brindled mutt, Codex. The Last One is her first novel.

Photo via Goodreads, Bio via Google search.

 

Book Reviews

Review: 1984 by George Orwell

go_1984

‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

Nineteen Eighty-Four is George Orwell’s terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime.


I was so looking forward to reading what I expected would be a really great book… and got this drivel instead. How disappointing. This is the first “classic” I’ve read that I absolutely hated. Total waste of time.

Author: George Orwell

Title: 1984

Published: June 8, 1949

Rating:

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This (brief) review was originally published on Goodreads on May 26, 2015.