An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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As a reread, this book is just as amazing the second time around!

An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir, opens as Laia witnesses the killings of her grandparents and the capture of her brother Darin as soldiers attack their home, accusing Darin of being a part of the Resistance. Laia’s story alternates with Elias, a soldier training most of his life to serve the Empire. Laia finds the Resistance to try and save Darin while Elias debates desertion or staying and serving the Empire. Laia is bought as the Commandant’s new slave girl, a Resistance idea to find out information about Darin so they can plan how to help him. Laia discovers life as a slave is horrible and she’s having a very difficult time getting information for the Resistance. Four Masks are sent into nightmarish trials, Elias and Helene are two of the soldiers, and they must overcome their worst fears to survive as their love, loyalty and hearts are strained through horrific events. Throughout the story, Elias and Laia unexpectedly run into each other and they unwillingly get to know each other. Each chapter ends with intensity, so it’s a difficult book to put down. Dynamic, complex characters to love and hate make this story suspenseful, exciting and interesting, 5 stars!

War of the Wilted by Amber Mitchell

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Action packed!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review War of the Wilted by Amber Mitchell. Arianna, “Rose”, wants to help the rebellion but she wants vengeance above everything else. Arianna is working with Rayce, the leader of the rebellion, but she’s angry with Rayce also because he’s keeping the Gardener alive for information, even though he’s responsible for the mistreatment and killing of young women. Arianna is maddeningly stubborn and doesn’t think she makes a good leader, even though she’s independent and headstrong. Rayce becomes frustrated with her because of her actions and the fact that she’s not listening to his wishes or orders. War of the Wilted takes on a different feel than Garden of Thorns since it’s not trapped women forced into submission. Instead, it’s a rebellion within the entire empire and it requires many leaders working together to make any difference. Action packed with strong-willed characters, 4 stars!

In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

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Fast moving and action-packed!
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken intensifies as the danger amps up in this third book of the Darkest Minds series. Liam’s memories are clear once again and his brother Cole continues to hide the fact that he himself is a Red. Cole doesn’t want everyone to be afraid of his powers, shun him and refuse to follow his lead. Liam, Ruby, Chubs and Zu are actually back together but their little group isn’t alone and they have to figure out how to work with the dynamics of a bigger group. The intense plot continues and more characters are introduced and brought into the action. Fast moving and action packed describe this book, 5 stars!

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

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Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken opens with Ruby and how she is now with the Children’s League, helping them free someone from prison. That someone turns out to be Liam, or so Ruby thinks. It’s actually Liam’s brother, Cole. The League sends Ruby on a mission to find a flash drive containing information that can help with IAAN, the “disease” that caused death to many children and gave abilities to the survivors. Cole accidentally gave the flash drive to Liam and so they began the hunt for him. When Ruby finds Liam, she’s not alone. She’s with Jude, Vida and Chubs. They make an interesting group with their strong mix of personalities and their banter. When they do find Liam, he’s dying from pneumonia. Liam also feels a strong connection to Ruby that he can’t understand, since she wiped herself from his memories the last time she was with him, thinking that would keep Liam safe. With one surprise after another, this book doesn’t disappoint! Action, adventure, twists, dark humor and a thick plot make this a riveting dystopian! 5 stars!

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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Friendship, loyalty and danger sum up The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. The story dives right in to the intensity with action and mystery. Many children die while some live. Ruby and several other children are shipped off to Thurmond, a guarded facility meant to contain the children that survived. These children are dangerous and, in bits, we learn why. Ruby is rescued by a league that supposedly helps these children but when Ruby sees the memories of one of the rescuers, she realizes that he’s a killer. She runs and ends up with a small group on the run also-Liam, Chubs and Suzume. They’re trying to find someone known as the Slip Kid, a supposedly great and elusive leader who helps get kids back with their families. The small group finally finds Slip Kid and becomes part of his group. Little do they know what lies ahead for them. Friendship and loyalty are both strong components in Darkest Minds. This sci-fi dystopian is filled with danger, action and suspense, 5 stars!

Rotham Race by Jordan Elizabeth

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Rotham Race by Jordan Elizabeth is a quick read set in a futuristic United States, where a race takes place that’s sponsored by the government. The race encourages civilians to race and hunt for a microchip that will supposedly fix the country’s problems and whoever finds the microchip will be paid enough money to live richly. This short story contains all of the elements of a dystopian book, with danger and a twist included. Fun and quick to read, Rotham Race introduces Troy and Barbie and the secrets they share, 4 stars!

Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

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Fantasy with a dystopian undertone!
Thanks to Capstone and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith. Slow to introduce the main character and to orient the reader to the setting and purpose, so the first book, The Children of Icarus, needs to be read before picking up this sequel. The action picks up the excitement in the story and the reader is still left trying to figure out who Nameless is. Danger and intrigue are prominent and no one knows who to trust and almost no one deserves trust. The ending is awesome and leaves me anticipating the third installment to this series. Fantasy with a dystopian undertone, 4 stars!

Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch, the third installment in her Perfected series! Ella and Penn are on the run for their own freedom and safety and they continue to fight for the freedom of all of the Pets. The group they’re with is bombarded after being deceived into believing they would be rescuing many Pets. No one is truly sure about who can be trusted after that deception. Penn and Ella still have a beautiful relationship, regardless of Penn being the horrible Congressman’s son and Ella still deeply cares for Ruby, Penn’s younger sister. Unraveled shows growth in its characters and the mark that choices leave, decisions always have consequences. Suspense is the overriding emotion throughout the story and the feeling of not knowing who to trust carries on also. I thoroughly enjoyed Unraveled and especially the variety of characters and their dynamics. 5 stars for this dystopian novel!

Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. The story opens with the three daughters, their family owns the Abbey, getting ready for a party that evening. The eldest daughter, Kate, is meant to marry and bear a male child as heir to the Abbey. The party will introduce possible suitors for her to choose from or for them to choose her. The lovely British setting begins with tongue in cheek humor and the calmness of a classic but eventually, horror ensues when a woman is forced to shoot her already dead husband! No one but her nephew believes that her husband came home after she had already verified his death. She claimed that his eyes were unusual and he was no longer her husband, but a monster. Little by little, the Abbey community and surrounding village is overtaken by zombies and the survivors must defend themselves or fall victim also. The gutsy Fanny, a kitchen maid, builds up bravery throughout the Abbey and helps fight to save the residents, along with the three daughters. Zombie Abbey is a fun horror story, which seems oxymoronic, but the author pulls it off quite well! 4 stars for this adventurous dystopian!

Freefall by Joshua David Berlin

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Freefall by Joshua David Bellin. Seventeen-year-old Cameron wakes from a thousand year deepsleep in the year 3151. The destination of Cameron and almost a million other people is the Earth-analog planet Tau Ceti e. The story alternates between 3151 and the year before people were put into deepsleep, 2150. The mystery surrounding the girl with the golden eyes pulled me into the book. The past eventually catches up to when the deepsleep begins and the story stays on Earth Year 3151. This story is a mix of science fiction, dystopian and mystery and it’s filled with suspense, strange creatures and twists. 5 stars!