Review: “Titans” by Victoria Scott

“Tonight, the Titans will run.”

A Red Raven Reads Review of “Titans” by Victoria Scott

titans

redravenreads.wordpress.com

THE STORY

Welcome to Detroit, Motown, The Motor City, an American crime capital— and home to the “Titans” protagonist, Astrid Sullivan. Astrid is a teenage mathematical genius— numbers are everything she sees and feels. The only part of her world more omnipresent than math is her obsession with the Titans: mechanical racehorses with steel bodies, red eyes, and all of the badassery you’ve ever wanted and more. The story initially follows a predictable path. The book is called “Titans” after all; she’s probably gonna ride one of those things, right? But this is more than just a book. This is a journey, a lifetime, a tear-jerking, heartfelt STORY that brims with life and gleams with purpose.

THE BAD:

I’m starting with the bad first, because there’s really not much I can say here. I didn’t like Astrid at first— she felt a little too brash. Much of the story followed an obvious plot line that you could’ve guessed from the beginning. But I think my least favorite part, the heinous, unforgivable crime this book committed, was that it had to end.

THE GOOD:

This book is beautiful. Everything about it. The beats of racing hooves will pulse against your fingers, the smell of smoke and oil and barn dust will fill your nostrils, you will taste sorrow and anguish and victory and love. You will cry. I’m surprised that I only cried for 20 minutes and not days. It was that touching.

Astrid is now easily one of my favorite characters of all time, and this book is now easily one of my favorite books of all time. The characters are vivid, honest to reality, relatable, dynamic, and extraordinary. The pacing alternates between strong and thrusting, and heartbreakingly soft— every emotion placed with incredible precision. The structure is perfect. The imagery is breathtaking. And the ending! The ending left me speechless.

There’s so much emotion— the raw slap of reality that makes a book really special. It was almost cinematic in its presentation and scope, and honestly, this would make a phenomenal movie adaptation.

I think even further, it’s beyond refreshing to read a young adult novel with a female protagonist that doesn’t involve romance. This book, more than anything, is about loyalty, family, and friendship. It’s exactly the kind of book the young adult industry needs right now. It’s the kind of book everyone needs.

THE CONSENSUS:

This book is a treasure, a gift, and in my humble opinion, a masterpiece of young adult literature that demands and deserves recognition. After the first 20 pages you will be hooked. You will not want to leave this world, these people, or the Titans behind. The story will follow you everywhere. Everything will remind you of Astrid and the cast of characters she meets throughout the book. There’s no escaping a story as powerful as this one and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

THE RATING:

My oath is to be objective, and even with that in mind, this book deserves 5 out of 5 stars. Just get it right now. Get off of your couch or bed or toilet (hey, I read book reviews on the pot, this is a judge-free zone), or wherever you are, and go get this book. You won’t regret it. Just don’t start too early in the day or you’ll have to be careful not to devour it all in one sitting whilst ignoring all of your family and friends, only to proceed to ugly-cry in front of them.

Victoria Scott: thank you for this book. I salute you.

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Review: “Luna” by Garon Whited

“It’s the end of the world, and I have the best seat in the house.”

A Red Raven Reads Review of “Luna” by Garon Whited

luna

redravenreads.wordpress.com // booksarefood.wordpress.com

THE STORY:

The book begins with an introduction to protagonist Maxwell Hardy, an astronaut in the post-apocalyptic aftermath of World War III, and his fellow crew members aboard the titular space shuttle “Luna.” They are voyaging toward the moon when they learn that the world as we know it has, in effect, ended. We follow Max and the crew on their journey to the moon, but mostly their life on the moon when they land shortly thereafter— decisions about repopulating the planet, searching for other survivors, and characters discovering themselves amidst an existential crisis unlike any other. “Luna” is a strange combination of lunar-borne science fiction, subpar romance, humor, action, and… murder. BUM BUM BUMMMMM.

THE GOOD:

“Luna” has a LOT of good things going for it. The realistic descriptions of lunar life are phenomenally presented and well-researched. The writing itself is vivid, spunky, and alive. Further, it is literally laugh-out-loud funny. However, the reason why I read this book throughout the problems I will discuss below is Maxwell himself. Is he realistic? No, not really. But he’s so gosh darn likable that no negativity I could give about his character even matters. He can be impulsive and immature, but he’s also down-to-earth, witty, carefree, and childish in a way that made me smile right along with the 6’5” goofball. I love Max. I really do.

It is exceedingly clear that a lot of love and heart went into this book, and that Mr. Whited is a gifted writer and character-creator. However, despite the immense amount of positivity I can discuss, as a reviewer it is also my job to be the bearer of bad news.

THE BAD:

It seems fairly obvious to me that this book was plotted out sparingly, if at all. The scenes mesh together like bricks and Elmer’s glue— that is to say, they don’t. The book is all over the place. There is a lot of sharp wit to this book that I appreciate but it’s hard to appreciate when EARTH IS BASICALLY DEAD. The light-heartedness about the affair is so contradictory to a necessary but absent sense of realism concerning the very serious subject matter.

There is an abundance of typographical errors, which didn’t bother me much when I was reading the book, though I know that is a deal-breaker for some. The romance was poorly done and it made little to no sense at all. Maxwell is a very likable character, so why in the world does he choose to propose to Kathy, a veritable jealous psychopath, less than halfway through the book?

I think my biggest complaint is the lack of realistic human emotion. Stop making jokes about how badly every woman wants you, bro. And the sex jokes were absolutely the worst. I actually couldn’t tell if they were supposed to be jokes or a form of seduction half the time. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure there was a joke about Max’s penis “lifting off” that Kathy tried to say seductively. You had one job, and it was to not go… there.

THE CONSENSUS:

Despite all this, I liked what I read. The writing style is very fun to read— it bounces along and sparks and sizzles and bites. Maxwell is likeable— his “delightfully skewed way he looks at the world” is beyond refreshing. Further, I’ve said it once and I will say it again- PHENOMENAL. RESEARCH. I didn’t understand half of the technical jargon but I was super into it. Say more big words I don’t understand, please. -insert heart-eyes emoticon here-

While this would be a great book for the right person and it definitely deserves a chance, the bad almost drowned out the good for me. And it kills me to type that, because with a solid plot, with more character development, with a concise theme and direction, this book has the potential to be GREAT, and I truly mean that. I think Mr. Whited is a unique voice, a breath of fresh air, and a writer with boundless potential. However, amidst the poor plotting, unrealistic characters, lack of direction, and a rushed and unfulfilling romance that I would love to see removed from the book entirely, I can only say I liked it, but I disliked it a little more.

THE RATING:

However, from a solely objective point of view, I would rate this book 3/5 stars, and would certainly recommend giving it a shot (especially for only $3 on Amazon) if the problems I’ve mentioned aren’t deal-breakers and you’d like to read something witty and lighthearted. This book WILL make you laugh, guaranteed. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but hey, I’m a coffee person.

How My Reviews Work

Welcome to Red Raven Reads, and thanks so much for taking the time to check out my blog!

I wanted to use this first post to describe how I will be formatting my reviews. I will start with the first sentence of the book itself, then the title and author, and the rest of the review I’ve broken down into 5 separate pieces:

THE STORY – A brief summary of what the book is about

THE GOOD – The positive qualities about the book

THE BAD – The negative qualities about the book

THE CONSENSUS – A summary of my personal opinion about the book

THE RATING – A rating out of 5 stars, with 1 being “This was horrendous” and 5 being “I want to marry this book and have its children”

I aim to provide a blend of humor, brutal honesty, entertainment, information for the consumer, and credit given to the author. I give my objective review, not my personal review. I will rate books 5 stars even if I hated them and I will rate books 1 star even if I loved them– if the rating fits!