Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest Post: World of Genus + Giveaway: 5 copies of Genus by Jonathan Trigell

I’m not sure if you noticed... *hangs head in shame* but I wasn’t able to post for Dystopian Domination 3 one Friday a few weeks ago. Sorry! This is the post that was meant to go live on that date. I present Jonathan Trigell. He will talk about his dystopian novel, Genus.


World of Genus

I’ve always been fascinated by genetics and I’ve known for years that I one day wanted to write a novel that imagined where advances in the study of genetics might lead us, if people were allowed to ‘improve’ their children. But I was never sure quite how, what that world was going to look like.

Holman - who much of the plot of Genus revolves around - was the first character I came up with: the misshapen offspring of a former beauty queen and a wealthy geneticist. I wanted to create an immediate sense of mystery, as to why Holman turned out like that, when his parents had access to all the latest technology. And the more I fleshed him out, the more I realised that my protagonist bore a striking resemblance to the artist Toulouse-Lautrec; who came from an aristocratic back ground of rich, athletic men and beautiful women but inherited a rare form of dwarfism. So I thought, why not develop that: let’s make Holman even more like Toulouse-Lautrec. Make him an artist and an alcoholic, who lives among hookers; make him an incredibly talented man with such inner beauty, but who is tortured by his disability, just like Lautrec was.

I wanted the novel to be set in London. So I turned King’s Cross - which used to a very rough area, but is now actually pretty desirable - into The Kross, a place a little like Montmartre was in the Fin de Siècle Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec. A part of town where the poor and the struggling are forced to live and the rich go to for slum tourism and all night parties. The synth that many of the characters drink – slang in Genus for ‘synthetic alcohol’ - is also an oblique reference to the Absinthe that was the staple of Lautrec, Van Gogh, Gauguin and many of their contemporaries.

But the world of Genus - or more properly the ‘London’ of Genus: I wanted it to feel very claustrophobic, so deliberately we see almost nothing of the rest of the world – also carries hints of other places. For example I had in mind 1970’s New York: the rawness of the place, at a time when disco fever was hitting a city filled with crime and racial tensions. And Berlin between the wars – which was another location of artistic explosion - this feeling that you are living in some kind of end time. Not perhaps the end of the world, but the end of the world as it is now: a country teetering on the brink of a twilight fall.
           
That’s the feeling that I wanted in the novel: a society about to change fundamentally and irrevocably. In reality, pursuing genetic technology is by no means a bad thing: the world of Genus is intended to be very much a worst case scenario; but it’s healthy to examine extreme possibilities. If the technology that is used for genetic enrichment in my novel had been distributed equitably, across society, it could have been a utopia, a fantastic world where people don’t fear the diseases that we die from. The problems that arrive in Genus are more to do with resource hording and the divisions between rich and poor, than the technology itself. For me, at least partly, the function of speculative fiction should be to hold up a mirror to the world we inhabit now.

About the Author:

Jonathan Trigell is best known for his first novel, Boy A, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 2004, the Waverton Good Read Award and the inaugural World Book Day Prize in 2008. Highly acclaimed critically, Boy A was described by Sarah Waters, Chair of the Judges for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, as ‘a compelling narrative, a beautifully structured piece of writing, and a thought-provoking novel of ideas... a wonderful debut.’

Follow Jonathan: Twitter

Giveaway: Win 1 of 5 finished copies of Genus

GENUS is a dystopian vision of perfection from the acclaimed author of Boy A. In the Britain of the not too distant future, physical perfection is commonplace and self improvement has become an extinct expression. In a time of genetic selection and enrichment, life chances come on a sliding scale according to wealth, threatening a new apartheid based on the very building blocks of life.

With each generation, the genetically ‘Improved’ and the ‘Unimproved’ who they have come to despise have branched further apart. For some there is no money or choice, and an underclass has evolved; London’s King’s Cross, or The Kross as it is now known, has become a ghetto for the Unimproved. The Kross is a modern day Montmartre, a place visited by the wealthy for slum tourism, sex and hedonism, but where the poor are condemned to live. Unable to afford new technology they are ultimately left behind in this brave new world.

GENUS alternates between a wealth of characters including a disfigured artist, ageing model, would-be jihadi, blinded writer, mobster, campaigner, hooker, policeman and professor, who find their lives inextricably entwined, in a country threatened by both chaos and order.

Rules:

Follow Fragments of Life
Must be at least 13 years old
Open internationally


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Meet the Ancients + Giveaway: Pre-order of Gravity + bookmarks


Hi lovelies! You’re in for a treat today. Melissa West, the author of one of the highly anticipated books this year is invading Fragments of Life for a guest post and a giveaway. Stick around for it. ;)


Meet the Ancients
by Melissa West, author of GRAVITY

It’s interesting that aliens have become popular in YA lit recently making some assume this is a new trend. It isn’t. H.G. Wells and John Christopher began the concept many years ago, followed by a wealth of sci-fi writers that wrote everything from scary aliens to E.T.

For GRAVITY, I’ve attempted to introduce an alien species that has always been known to the leaders of Earth. They are called the Ancients and are coined from the scientific theory of “ancient astronauts.” They built our planet. They helped us prosper. But like with all amicable relationships, survival instinct can propel a relationship into hostile territory quickly, leading to one inevitable outcome—war.  

The Ancients have one great advantage—advanced intellect. And the humans have one great disadvantage—blind arrogance.

So while you will understand within the first few pages what the tagline “Don’t. Ever. Peek.” means, by the end I hope you’ll see that it’s also metaphorical. It’s a look at the way the humans in GRAVITY view themselves against the Ancients. Do they see them? Do they see themselves? Or do they merely go about their lives never peeking at anything other than what exists in front of them. 

And what about you? Do you believe in aliens? If those aliens inhabited Earth, would you eventually view them as one of us or would you always view them as different?

About the Author (from her website):

I'm not one of those writers that can claim to have been writing "all my life." I haven't. But I have been reading all of my life. Does that count? Probably not. I'm a Southerner, raised in a tiny town in SC. Then after graduate school, I moved to Atlanta, GA with my husband and daughter.

I have a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University.  

In addition to all the boring stuff above, I'm addicted to coffee, pretend to like yoga, and am obsessed with shoes. I read frequently, write daily, and adore cooking.

Follow Melissa: Twitter | Site | Goodreads | Facebook

Giveaway: Pre-order of Gravity + bookmarks

In the future, only one rule will matter: Don’t. Ever. Peek.

Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed--arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.


Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know--especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

Rules:

Follow Fragments of Life
You must be at least 13 years old
Open internationally as long as the Book Depository delivers to your country




a Rafflecopter giveaway



Review: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

A friendly reminder: There might be spoilers for people who haven’t read Glow yet. Read at your own risk. :)

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 375 pages
July 17, 2012, Pan Macmillan AU

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems…Kieran’s leadership methods have raised Seth’s hackles— and Waverly’s suspicions. Is this really her fiancé? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth’s. But if Seth is Kieran’s Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean—shooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon—and Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away—or worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts… every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end...

Source: Charlotte & Pan Macmillan Australia (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

In Glow, I enjoyed reading the thrilling misadventures of the youth of the Empyrean. I was sitting on the edge of my seat, hoping that they would be able to escape safely. In Spark, there was a different kind of thrill in the pages. The aftermath of the New Horizon attack was a ship filled with orphans. It was disastrous from the start and it only got worse as each day passed. Without any adults, the ship was manned with kids who were still anchored to their desires and impulses and less on their logic. It became suspenseful and unexpected. Almost every event made my heart run a marathon.

A big twist happened in Spark: the opposite of Glow took place. It seemed that the characters unraveled, showing their dark sides. Kieran, the oppressed in Glow, was now acting as captain of the ship. However, being a leader brought out the darkness in him. He has changed a lot, willing to lie, deceive and do things just to remain in his position. I guess he was blinded with power. On the other hand, his sermons made him look more and more like Anne Mather that it was creepy. What made me sad was the way he treated Waverly as his enemy. He was so cold to her and in some ways, so mean, too. It seemed that he took on Seth’s personality and Seth – my most hated character in Glow – became Kieran-like. I saw his good side. I realized that he wasn’t so bad after all. I was actually rooting for him.

Waverly continued to drift to the dark side. Her dream world and reality were both plagued by her bloody encounters in the New Horizon. The kids on the Empyrean didn’t help, too. They blamed her for leaving their parents behind in the enemy’s ship. She handled the blame and the pressure well but the guilt was dragging her down. I sympathized with her. I could feel her pain and her burden. I wished that I could go in the book and stand up for her.

The almost empty ship gave off an abandoned, haunted vibe. It was the perfect setting for an unexpected string of events and that was exactly what happened. I loved the twists and turns of his novel. The pain and loss of the characters reached me. I was sucked into their black hole, mentally and emotionally.

An explosion of darkness, pain, revenge, loss and changes, Spark is suspenseful, thrilling and unpredictable. Although not as good as Glow in terms of the pace and the action, it was better in the field of character development and unpredictability. I recommend this to readers who enjoyed Across the Universe by Beth Revis and readers of dystopia, science fiction and suspense.

Rating:


Also, I was notified a few days ago that Spark is also available in audiobook version from Macmillan audio! Here's a sample:





Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review: Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff


Book Description via Goodreads:

ARC

August 21, 2012, Pan Macmillan Australia (AU)
September 1, 2012, Thomas Dunne Books (US)



Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?

Source: Charlotte & Pan Macmillan Australia (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Post-reading reaction:

I just closed Stormdancer a few minutes ago and I’m speechless! This is what I’m thinking of right now: WOW. It’s the most perfect, most exciting, most everything book I’ve ever read. Period. I tend to read and prefer romantic books but when it came to this, I pushed away my romantic-self in a dark corner of my mind, opened the ARC and started reading. Guess what? I was hooked from the beginning.

Post-post-reading reaction:

The story world that Kristoff built was magnificent and highly imaginative in mind-blowing proportions. Shima was a group of islands covered in chi fumes, bowing under the demands of its Shogun, Yoritomo-no-miya, burnt and damaged. The Shogunate was being run by chi from the blood lotus flower which was destroying the land and enslaving the people with its addicting smoke. I liked the Japanese influence that spilled all over the pages. As a girl who loved anime ever since I was a kid, I didn’t struggle with the terms. I’m familiar with half of them, plus there’s a helpful glossary at the book so readers won’t feel lost.

Yukiko was an easy character to like. She was fierce, kickass yet down to earth and concerned with other people. She had a strong stand against killing people. She was fine with killing onis though. I like that she wanted to keep her hands clean from human blood. But just like other teens, she crushed on cute guys, too, and she preferred the green-eyed ones. I loved seeing Yukiko grow as a character. She started as a simple hunter who deeply cared about animals and the people around her but her stay with Buruu on the Iishi mountains molded her and hardened her to some extent. She was no longer just Yukiko, she carried a wildness, a fierceness and a strength in her that went beyond her humanity – she was manifesting Buruu’s attributes.

I enjoyed everything about the Japanese mythology in this book, from the creation myth wherein Izanagi and Izanami starred, to the children of Raijin, God of Thunder, to the magnificent arashitora, and to the twisted, grinning onis from the depths of Yomi. It was something new for me and it appealed to my mythology-crazy self.

The characters were not only interesting but they were also well-developed. There was a background story for every character; I got to know all of them, down to the minor characters. Kin-san was one of the touching characters. For me, he was fragile – physically and emotionally. I felt for him. Buruu, the arashitora, was undeniably mesmerizing. Mighty and fierce, he could take down several oni any time of the day. What I loved about him was how he became humanized: he was perceptive and easily learned human concepts. Above all, I found him cute especially when he was protective and when he would offer the warmth of his wings to shelther Yukiko from the cold.

One of the things I liked about Stormdancer was the action. It was beautiful in a lethal and elegant manner. The attention to the detail of the weapons and to every move, and the breathtaking writing delivered thrilling action that could rival that of Legend and Divergent. Another point was the humor. At times I just couldn’t stop laughing after reading certain scenes. Kristoff’s humor clicked with me – almost sarcastic, playful and witty.

With an unforgettable, tantō-wielding heroine, wave after wave of loss, pain, and betrayal, an onslaught of humor, unpredictability and razor-sharp action, Stormdancer is perfection. This novel is exciting steampunk adventure, rich fantasy and kickass action rolled into one. I highly recommend this to reader of dystopia, steampunk and fantasy! If you’re looking for action, adventure, or badassness, Stormdancer is the book for you!

Rating:




Thursday, July 19, 2012

Character Interview with Sam + Giveaway: Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

Hi everyone! I hope you’re enjoying Dystopian Domination III. Today, I invited a guy from the future. (I know, most of the character interviews are with girls, right?) He’s Sam, not your typical human boy, from Phillip W. Simpson’s novel, Rapture.


Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Sam. It’s short for Samael. That’s my demon name. My mother was a missionary and my father… well, my father is Satan, the Morning Star, the Father of Lies. He seduced my mother. My mother managed to smuggle my new born self to her friend and fellow missionary – Hikari. He brought me up, alongside his daughter, Aimi.

On the outside, I’m an 18 year old teenager. That’s if you don’t look too closely. If you do, you’ll see the horns that I try to hide underneath my hoodie or cap or whatever else I use to try and conceal my heritage. And my black eyes. Actually, they’re only mostly black. When I get angry (and I do that a lot), they turn red.

If I don’t hide what I am – well, that’s when I see the true nature of most people. Most people who do find out either hate me or fear me. It’s all the same to me these days. I’m used to it.

Hikari and Aimi were my rocks. Hikari is not only my father in every sense of the word, he’s my master as well. He’s a swordmaster, martial arts expert and demon scholar. He’s trained me all my life in preparation for the Rapture. I don’t know how I cope without him.

Hikari organised for my swords to be forged. My Katana and Wakizashi – my daisho. They’re made from iron – from a meteorite. Crafted by one of the finest swordsmiths in Japan, they’re the most deadly weapons against demons. They’ve been blessed and quenched in holy water. They’ve also been inscribed with latin prayers in silver. Sometimes, I think they’re the only friends that remain to me in this world. My constant companions. The two things I trust the most.

Aimi – well. She’s beautiful. Three years younger than me. She was my training partner, my friend, my companion and guidance counsellor. At least she was before she went up with the Rapture alongside Hikari. I also love her but I don’t know if she knows that.

What do you think of the present world?

It’s much the same as the one I live in. Still filled with the same judgemental, hate filled people. The only difference is the Rapture hasn’t happened here like it has in my world.

What was the first thing you did when you got here?

Got some decent sushi. I don’t need to eat much but I do miss sushi. I’m sick of living on rat. Aimi was an awesome cook and I miss her food.

If you lived in our time, who would you be? What would you do?

You mean if I wasn’t half demon? If I didn’t have these horns? Well – I’d do what I always wanted to do. What I always dreamed of doing but couldn’t because of who I am. Be a quarterback. Play in the NFL. I’m big and stronger and faster than any human and I love football. I used to watch it in secret from under the bleaches and imagine what it would be like. Of course Aimi would be with me. She’d go to college and then probably grad school but she’d always have time to watch me play.

What is your favorite thing about 2012? Why?

Because the Rapture hasn’t happened here (yet). You don’t know what it’s like living in my world. No water, no food. Demons stalking the land every night. Crimson moon. Ash covering the ground like a blanket. Everything dying. I can’t remember what it’s like to see the sun.

Here in 2012 – well, it’s nice. Normal. I want to stay. Maybe in this world, I’d get to be with Aimi.

If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for? Why?

Geeze – that’s an easy one.
1.      Not be the son of the devil
2.      Spend the rest of my life with Aimi and Hikari
3.      Have friends who trust me and that I trust in turn

Thanks for dropping by, Sam!

About the Author:

Phillip W. Simpson is an author of  mostly children's books - both fiction and non-fiction.  To date, he has also written one adult novel.  When not writing, he works as a primary school teacher.  He lives with his wife, Rose,  their son Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles

Follow Phill: Twitter | Site | Goodreads

Giveaway: Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson

The Rapture has occurred, just as the Bible predicted. The faithful have risen up to Heaven. Those left behind are in a living hell. 

Earth burns, hell-like in its oppressive heat. Every volcano in the world has erupted, and tsunamis and earthquakes continue to devastate the planet. Clouds continually rain ash onto the scorched landscape, sparking fires all around. Plants and animals are dying. Food is scarce. The night sky is devoid of stars, and the moon - when it can be seen - is the colour of blood. 

The remnants of humanity fight for survival. Most have fled the cities and now hide in caves deep in the mountains. By night, demons stalk the Earth, capturing the remaining humans and killing them - if they're lucky. The less fortunate are converted to worship of the Devil, and ushered into endless hell. 

Eighteen year old, Sam (short for Samael) was raised in the town of Jacob's Ladder, Utah. It is appropriately enough near to a place of natural scenic beauty called Devil's garden. He finds himself alone, unable to rise up with his family because he is half demon. His mother, a devout Christian, was seduced by Satan and conceived his child. She smuggled the boy to an old friend Hikari, a Japanese sword master and demon expert. Since then, Hikari and his daughter, Aimi, have been all the family Sam has known. 

Now they're gone, and Sam must set out on the mission Hikari charged him with long ago: to help all the humans left behind. Armed only with his beloved Japanese swords and his wits, Sam wanders the post-apocalyptic world alone, separated forever from everyone he loves. Cursed by his demonic heritage, he must now embark on a quest that will take him across the US to the City of Angels. 
There he will confront his destiny. There he must fight to save a friend ... and the souls of the living. 

Rules:

Follow Fragments of Life.
You should be at least 13 years old.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Rootless by Chris Howard + Taken by Erin Bowman

Hi everyone! I know you've probably noticed that it's quiet here...but I'll make it up to you, lovelies.
For this week's Waiting on Wednesday, I have two books for you.


Rootless by Chris Howard
Publication Date: November 1, 2012
Published by: Scholastic Inc.


Seventeen-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan’s never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .

Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can’t escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he’s running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he’s forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

In this dazzling debut, Howard presents a disturbing world with some uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of stunning images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.



Why I Chose This:


Wow. I think I found out about this book last year (if my memory serves me right). I visited the author's site and was drawn to the metallic branches header there. A few months ago, I stumbled upon this cover and remembered that I was so freaking excited about this. It sort of reminds me of a recent animated movie...the one with no trees? By Dr. Seuss? Sometimes I tend to withdraw myself from action-packed dystopia to enjoy beautiful, haunting books. :)


Taken by Erin Bowman
Publication Date: April 16, 2013
Published by: Harper Teen


There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive. 

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?


Why I Chose This:

The first three sentences got me. Why are they disappearing??? This sounds suspense, scary and thrilling. Sounds exactly like the kind of books that I love. But 2013? *cries*


What do you think? What books are you looking forward to? 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: Sirenz Back in Fashion by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman


Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 288 pages
June 8, 2012, Flux

It's Hell on heels--again

When Shar tries on a ring from Hades, it activates an obscure contractual clause that puts Shar and former-frenemy-now-friend Meg in Hades' service once more. Shar is whisked away to the Underworld to prepare a ball for Persephone, while Meg is sent to retrieve the errant soul of spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson and send her to the abyss. Just when it appears the girls will be doomed to serve Hades for eternity, Shar meets two possibly helpful demi-gods who also happen to be gorgeous. Can the girls finally ditch the Lord of the Dead once and for all?

Source: Netgalley, Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Shar and Meg’s adventure continues in Sirenz Back in Fashion. Just when they thought everything was back to normal, Hades struck again but this time the duo couldn’t work together. Shar would spend her time in Tartarus, constantly resisting Hades’ advances, while Meg would finish the mission on earth. It got worse when everything about Shar was erased from the face of the earth. No one but Meg remembered her.

Paulina Swanson, Meg’s new roommate, was her next assignment. All Meg had to do was to make Paulina wear the Golden Fleece and that would send Paulina straight to Tartarus. But of course, when it came to Hades’ assignments, things were never easy. Everyone seemed to be attracted to the fleece aside from Paulina. She wouldn’t get anywhere near it. Aside from that, Paulina was a good person. She was actually friendly and nice albeit weird. This made it harder for Meg to send her to Tartarus.

Tartarus was scary and weird but also imaginative. Hades converted it into his own Olympus, creating strange but beautiful things and landscapes. I enjoyed reading about Shar exploring hell. Aside from playing with Cerberus and talking with Benjamin “Ben” Franklin, she met someone who made everything a little bit easier – gorgeous and charming Caz. He was ever helpful and was a good listener. Together with Shar, they searched Tartarus for a way back to earth. The romance between Caz and Shar was sweet. It was the kind that left you wanting more.

Meanwhile, Meg’s lovelife was a bit dull what with the stress of trying to finish the assignment while battling with her guilt, catching up with school and worrying about Shar. No longer frenemies, the BFFs had a stronger friendship. I liked how the authors focused on friendship rather than romance. It was something that I missed seeing in paranormal novels. The voices of Shar and Meg despite the supernatural, extraordinary situations that they were in, remained witty, funny and also down to earth. For me, that element allowed me to connect with them easily. It was like reading a paranormal novel that has a Chick-lit soul, the best of both worlds.

As usual, Zaman and Bennardo amazed me with their beautiful writing. I was pulled in with the storytelling.  I also loved the new characters. Shar and Meg’s world became broader, encompassing not only earth and hell but everything else in between. Hermes and Zeus made their appearance in the sequel as well, adding color and complexity to it. Sirenz Back in Fashion is packed with humor, romance, adventure and misadventure. Every page is addicting. I couldn’t stop reading this.

Rating: