Book Review: Project Tau

Project Tau by Jude Austin is a story about a regular boy named Kalin Taylor who gets himself into a ton of trouble by accident. The book starts out with a prologue that is vague to the reader as we do not yet have background to who these characters are. All we can really pull from these pages is that chaos has ensued but are unsure who the protagonists and the antagonists are. Obviously, since the book is called Project Tau we have a hunch whose side we should be on. 

This story is set many years in the future, the year is approximately 3389 when the chapters begin counting. Kalin has just arrived at Sanderson College of Arts and Sciences (SACAS) from his home planet, Trandelia. He is nerdy and has little to no friends. Kalin decides that the best way to rectify this is to join a frat. He approaches the guys of the Phi Mu Alpha frat house about pledging and they, in turn, tell him that he needs to submit a picture of himself with Project Tau as a kind of entrance token. We gather that Project Tau is a government classified project and we have the prologue from which we can identify him. Once Kalin pursues this mission, he is captured by the leaders of the space station which houses Project Tau and held captive. We then follow his story through the following two years of what he is made to face. 

Austin has a unique concept that she is laying out to readers in Project Tau. It is the basic metaphor of man versus government. She tells the story of someone who is powerless to what occurs to him and is finally pushed so far, he starts to push back. This metaphor is not unique or innovative, but the approach is interesting. As I read through this book, I found myself outraged at what happened to Kalin Taylor. I have not come across a book that shows this kind of oppression without first giving a back story. There is no legitimate reason, whether it is justified or not, as to why Kalin has to go through the events laid out in the book. I came face to face with the idea that the government does not need a reason to oppress and usually does not have one. The lies that are spun and sold to Kalin are hard to swallow but they make the reader reflect on how many lies have been fed to us that we willingly accepted. Also, I loved that even though I read the events that led Kalin to his precarious situation, Austin’s writing still left me wondering if he really was a clone the whole time! It was awesome story telling on her part.

What I liked least about Project Tau was that the ending was given away in the prologue. Even though when I first read the prologue I was unaware what was actually happening, as I advanced through the book I was able to piece it together. The story was fun and exciting but it felt like I was safe from really falling off the cliff into the story because I already knew what was going to happen. I can appreciate a book that is written to draw a parallel to current injustices but I wish Austin had made us work for the ending instead of just giving it away. 

I recommend reading this book as it does get the mind rolling about media and government information sharing or lack thereof. However, I would recommend skipping the prologue and jumping back over to it after chapter thirteen if you want a more exciting story that you can be fully invested in.

Series Review: Shatter Me (Books 4-6)

So, these are definitely the set of books that I prefer in the Shatter Me saga. Again, spoilers ahead for both the 1st and 2nd set of the Shatter Me books. But I will try not to give it all away!

In these books, Juliette and crew have overthrown the Reestablishment regime in Sector 45, with Warner by their side. They have killed Anderson and Juliette has declared herself Supreme Commander of North America. Things start getting really weird when the children of the other Supreme Commanders start arriving at Sector 45. Eventually we learn that they are there to spy on Juliette and the crew and report back to their parents. Restore Me is very slow to be honest. The only super critical event that happens is when Juliette gets kidnapped in the last, I don’t know ten pages?

Any way, it picks up after that as we learn that Juliette is not actually who we think she is and has a whole history with the children of the other Supreme Commanders, including Warner! A whole chain of events unfold from the kidnapping that ultimately leads the crew to the final battle for the world. Juliette finds out she has a sister who is essentially The Reestablishment’s secret weapon and they have been draining the life out of her to use her to their advantage.

These books are more fun than the first set for a few reasons.

  1. Juliette is no longer a scared and helpless little girl. She finally starts to face the demons inside her and take charge of them, even if she can’t drive them out fully. She really comes into herself and her powers and I enjoyed reading a version of her that is powerful and strong.
  2. Warner and Juliette are goals.
  3. Kenji and Warner’s relationship and banter was actually very entertaining
  4. Mafi starts to pull on our heartstrings a bit as we read about Juliette’s frankly traumatic upbringing and how far The Reestablishment would go for their own gain. The struggle between science and emotional ties is so stark in this story and it really starts to make you wonder, how far would I go?

A few critiques:

  1. Some Warner/Juliette plot lines were so forced, I just wanted to cut them out of the story. The whole situation with Warner’s ex-girlfriend? Come on, that was so middle school it made me roll my eyes.
  2. Anderson coming back to life like 12,983 times? It got so predictable by the time I was reading Imagine Me that it became a bit of a joke to me.
  3. Some decisions the crew made throughout these books were unforced errors to be honest and they just didn’t always match the picture that Mafi tried to draw of these characters sometimes.

Overall, I enjoyed the 2nd set in this saga. If they were stand alone, they would have been stronger than the 1st set. The ending of Imagine me brought me to tears, because I have a sister (you’ll understand when you read it). And the fact that Mafi brought us back full circle to the white bird with the gold crown atop its head and completely hit us over the head with a new metaphor, that is what I call good writing.

What did you all think? Let me know!

Any suggestions for what to read next? Any one want to start reading a book together? Let me know in the comments!

 

Series Review: Shatter Me (Books 1-3)

To start out, please note that I don’t think I am a good enough writer to be able to share this review with you all without spoilers. So, please beware! Spoilers ahead!

Where to start with the Shatter Me series? Well let me start by saying that the first three books and the last three books are two very different stories. Central characters are the same but the events and central story are very different. So, I will only be addressing the first three books in this review or it would just take too long to explain everything!

We meet Juliette Ferrars, in a world that is dying due to human pollution. There are no more birds, animals are scarce and the weather is unpredictable. Juliette is locked up in basically an insane asylum because she has killed a little boy, accidentally. Juliette suffers from a strange affliction that makes her touch lethal to all. She is, obviously, extremely scarred by not only accidentally killing a child and not being able to touch anyone, but as we find out also because of her abusive parents. Juliette is scared and alone and continues to dream of a white bird with a gold crown on its head which at first, symbolizes the freedom she longs for, or at least I thought so in the first three books.

Juliette suddenly gets a guest in her cell. Adam, who she recognizes eventually as a boy she used to go to school with, gets tossed in with her and she can’t understand why. Eventually, Juliette and Adam are released and Juliette finds out that Adam is actually a soldier in The Reestablishment. The Reestablishment is a regime that took over the planet in promises to undo the human damage that was done and return the world to how it used to be but surprise, surprise, they’re a bunch of lying assholes who just wanted to take over the world.

Juliette discovers that Adam’s commander, Warner (um yeah please remember him), sent him to do recon on Juliette in her cell only to release her and take her into his own custody to use her powers as a weapon for the reestablishment’s agenda. But, plot twist, Adam and Warner can touch her.

Throughout the three books, Juliette goes through a journey of discovering the power she holds within herself. She has kept people at bay for so long that she has to learn how to let them in so they can work together to overthrow The Reestablishment. She also has to learn to decouple herself from the scared little girl who shied away from everything and tried to make herself as small as possible for everyone else’s benefit.

I enjoyed these books for a few reasons:

  1. They are a really easy read and super fun to get through
  2. I love the way Mafi uses the language she writes with to reflect what is happening in Juliette’s mind (My sister and I are in disagreement on this point, she is not a fan)
  3. Warner. Duh, he is everything, even though he is just as messed up as Juliette (I am a sucker for a tortured and misunderstood soul)

Some critiques:

  1. It seems a bit too “middle school” at times. The dialogue between the characters is often not representative of the personalities Mafi draws up for us
  2. The plot builds to a bit of a disappointing climax. I mean, I guess it makes sense after the last three books come out, but I know these were a bit of an add on.

As a stand alone trilogy, these books are fun. However, I am personally more of a fan of the 2nd set.

What did you guys think? Which of the two sets was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

 

Series Review: Throne of Glass

Throne_of_Glass_series

I want to start by saying that I know that this series is a huge commitment, especially because the final book, Kingdom of Ash, looks more like an encyclopedia than an enjoyable read but just stay with me here and watch me try to explain how I feel about this series without trying to spoil it all for you if you haven’t read it.

I was originally introduced to Sarah J. Maas’s work via the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series, and I’m not going to give too much away here because I will do a separate review on that series, but let’s just say I was legitimately having withdrawals when I finished that series. Anyway, so naturally I went searching for something else to read that made me feel the same way I felt when living through Feyre’s adventures.

Through my research, the Throne of Glass series came up and it turned out I had already read the first book way back when there was ONLY a first book. When I realized the commitment I was signing up for, I shied away and honestly thought “I really don’t have time for this right now”. But a friend of mine was raving about the series so I decided to give it ago and said goodbye to the next few months of free time (I am a serial reader, if you have not caught on yet).

The book Throne of Glass follows a young assassin named Celaena Sardothian who is in a heavily guarded basically death prison. The book starts with an arrogant prince (Dorian) and his puppy dog Captain of the guard (Chaol) who show up to the death prison (Endovier) to release Celaena only so she can be Dorian’s champion in his dad’s competition. The winner of this competition basically becomes the king’s assassin on retainer for the next few years (4 years I think it is). We follow the tale of Celaena through this book as she uncovers some really strange stuff that is going down in the castle as the competition takes place and she figures out her role in all of it.

Long story short, after the first book we are following Celaena basically try to solve a mystery to explain why all this weird stuff is going down and why it keeps happening near her (I want to elaborate but there are no spoilers in this review!).

This series is full of plot twists that actually had me just staring at the last page of some of these books going “I am SO glad I don’t have to wait for the next book to be released”. Most of the time, I bought the book following the one I was reading well before I was done because who even knew where I would be and if I would have access to a bookstore the second I finished the book I was reading. I traveled to Greece with the Queen of Shadows book unread and I finished it just as we got to the airport to get back to the US (thanks to the ferry rides between islands! Greece was amazing, and I think everyone should visit). I was heartbroken because I had to wait 14 hours until I picked up the next book, poor planning on my part. But the story is captivating to say the least. Celaena was such an interesting character and her development throughout the series stays true to who she is and what we love about her in the first book but allows for her growth at the same time. And I love me an arrogant female heroine!

Some critiques:

  • The 6th book in the series Tower of Dawn felt a bit like Sarah’s editors just wanted to extend the series to make more money. I think the story could have been told simultaneously as the other events of book 5 were taking place. I liked the story and what was happening and some parts were vital to the plot but I would say about 75% of that book was fluff.
  • These characters were awesome and I really enjoyed their different personalities but they were heavily resembling the A Court of Thorns and Roses crew with some minor tweaks. Sarah loves her goofballs

All in all I highly recommend this series. It’s so worth the time. I could be a bit biased because of how much I loved the A Court of Thorns and Roses but I can see myself at some point starting up this series again.

What did you guys think?! Let me know in the comments I am dying to discuss this series with anyone!