Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller | Spoiler Free Book Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

The Game But Not As You Know It!

Disclaimer: A big thank you to Bloomsbury publishing who sent me the ARC, and the finished copy upon release.

 

Otherworld has sat on my shelf for two years; it’s about time it was read and reviewed! Despite it being a middle-grade novel, I really enjoyed the story. It was a different concept to others that I’ve read, despite my constant comparison of it to the Mortality Doctrine Series and Warcross.


Blurb: 

The company says Otherworld is amazing — like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive — that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.

Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

You all know I won’t get through this review without mentioning the parallels between Harry Potter. It’s a new middle-grade novel. Many clichés were included, but also many twists on the clichés. So I won’t directly reference Harry Potter, but y’all know that when I discuss the clichés and tropes I’m thinking of the famous series.

REVIEW!

I thought this book was average. So in my opinion, to best review it, I will be ‘comparing’ it against a book of similar genre and content as I cannot compare it against the likes of Warcross (not middle-grade) or Harry Potter (too highly rated). The only book/ series that I can think of that is the most similar to this novel is The Mortality Doctrine Series by James Dashner. I loved those books, finding the concept original and compelling. That series is the only middle-grade gamer novel I have read before and therefore sets the standards in my rating of this one.

Overall:

Right off the bat, we start off with a rich kid whose parents are lawyers and he thinks he can get away with anything because of it. He acts up and thinks it’s okay because his family is protected by whatever life his Grandfather’s had to lead. He has a love interest who is a smart girl – smarter than himself, though not in portrayed in a way that makes him look stupid – and a hacker ‘friend’ who owes him a few favours.

As much as I’ve been giving the “golden trio” trope a bit of a hammering, none of the aforementioned characters is in the “golden trio”, they’re totally different people. Totally irrelevant as per the actual story and their adventure took up the majority of the novel.

In my opinion, this book is really a set up for the next one but creates no anticipation or interest to read the next one, aside from actually wanting to know about the other characters, of whom are integral, though shared little page-time in the novel.

The Main Adventure (which could’ve been told in fewer pages):

Despite all of my complaining above, this section of the novel was enjoyable. I really enjoyed how the characters actively make allegations of the Chosen One trope and denyed it in the same sentence. My first thought was that this was probably done in an attempt to not have the trope in the novel. I’m glad it was funny and that the trope was most certainly avoided aside from the mentions.

There were also some positives, like the fact that the entire ‘Main Adventure’ had two settings – one in Otherworld and the other in the real world – and that one of the most over-powered characters, in terms of knowledge (because that’s the only power that matters in these situations) is a girl with a disability! Honestly, Simon would be dead without her.

Themes such as abusive parents and fatal accidents were prevalent but not expanded on, especially not in a way that teaches a middle-grade audience about anything beneficial. I feel that where themes such as obvious domestic abuse are present, the writer should be teaching the reader something in regards to this situation and showing the impact the situation has on a character, not just having it there for a plot twist!

I don’t have much else to say about this novel. It was a quick, fun read but I wouldn’t be recommending it to the next person I see but I enjoyed it, and I will be picking up the sequel out of curiosity.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book a ★★★☆☆ (3/5 stars) because it had elements of generic middle-grade fiction – i.e. this is not a unique book – but has an interesting storyline that differs from the usual magic and fantasy elements of a middle-grade novel. It made the three-star category as there was a lot of poking fun at the ‘Chosen One’ trope, which was heavily shunned upon, with supporting evidence.

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What were your thoughts on the conclusion of this series? xxx

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With Love Bree xx

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City of Saints and Theives by Natalie C. Anderson | Non-Spoilery Review

Heyo Bookaholics!

I have never been more excited to write a non-spoilery review more than this one! I received this novel at the Bloomsbury Bloggers event in a goody bag over a year ago and I just recently decided to read it.


Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

This was the second last book on my TBR for July and though I could’ve finished by July 31, I didn’t and it ate into my August reading time, though was so worth it and here’s why!

Review

I really don’t know where to start with this review; the only note I have is to “talk about representation and stuff”; and really that is the main reason why I adored this book so. I really felt the divide between the classes and races of people in Tina’s world. The struggle for survival on either side and how some of these groups overlapped and worked together to survived though double-crossed each other with thoughts only of their own.

The fun part about the novel was Tina’s rules for being a thief and how upon second look, can be applied to normal life and not just that of a thief as Tina is, though it wasn’t long before she had to abandon her rules of being a thief and rely on pure instinct alone.

This novel changed from a book about a gang of rag-tag teens trying to topple an empire and make some cash, to a murder mystery novel with two teens trying to uncover the death of one’s mother. Old friends join sides, truths are uncovered and the brutality of the Milita in and around Congo and their alliance with the rich moguls in Sangui is honest and real, something I enjoy hearing about in books; especially those targeted to middle graders.

The difference between Tina and the people she met was often expressed in how their skin differed from hers, this usually translating to mean that the lighter skinned folk were richer and more privileged; usually, this allowed the reader to understand the setting and how there were power shifts and even sense the possibility of danger.

There is a big difference between guessing the killer and losing interest in the book, and guessing the killer but maintaining interest in the novel. This book achieved the latter brilliantly because although I had spotted the twist from the first mention of the killer, the path in which the novel descended to come to that conclusion was far more captivating than the major detail. The finer details and the relationships that were formed from once broken bods between broken people really made reading the novel worth my time, regardless of the distractions that caused me to take weeks to read it. I always came back begging to be let into Tina’s mind, into her web of love, lies and deception; the plans she so methodically set out often interrupted by the truths that were uncovered.

Though we see through her eyes, her loneliness and isolation; we think that she is not alone, though in her heart – something that isn’t conveyed through worlds – she feels as if she is; and that hurt me more than anything. How a young refugee orphan on the streets of Sangui felt that she could trust no one, could call no one her friend.

★ Rating ★

I chose to give this book ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars) because of the wonderfully engaging plotline, character development, and the educational message between its pages. It filled me with energy everytime I turned the page, waiting for another mystery beyond. I want to read more by this author and more on young people of colour who return or reside within their motherland, facing the conflicts that the suppressors inflict upon their people.

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What are your favourite books that have people of colour in their motherland?

Leave your opinions in the comments or alternatively on my social media channels!
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Thank You, With Love Bree xx

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© Jasper+Spice 2018. All Rights Reserved. Please do not use without my permission. This post was not sponsored, all photos and graphics are of my own creation.

 

The Hammer of Thor By Rick Riordan | Review

Hey Ho Bookaholics!

It’s Monday again, and it’s been 30 dgrees celcius for three days now and I haven’t been able to use the pool at all! But not to fear, I’ve been working on this review all day and I have finally finally finished it.

I hope you enjoy reading my review that was such a pain to write because I could not seem to gether all my thoughts together to sum up this wonderful masterpiece of a book.

hammer-of-thor-book-coverGoodreads Summary:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.

Continue reading “The Hammer of Thor By Rick Riordan | Review”