Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald

Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 28th March 2017
Book Depository | Goodreads

A Dragon is dead.

Corta Helio, one of the five family corporations that rule the Moon, has fallen. Its riches are divided up among its many enemies, its survivors scattered. Eighteen months have passed .

The remaining Helio children, Lucasinho and Luna, are under the protection of the powerful Asamoahs, while Robson, still reeling from witnessing his parent’s violent deaths, is now a ward–virtually a hostage– of Mackenzie Metals. And the last appointed heir, Lucas, has vanished of the surface of the moon.

Only Lady Sun, dowager of Taiyang, suspects that Lucas Corta is not dead, and more to the point—that he is still a major player in the game. After all, Lucas always was the Schemer, and even in death, he would go to any lengths to take back everything and build a new Corta Helio, more powerful than before. But Corta Helio needs allies, and to find them, the fleeing son undertakes an audacious, impossible journey–to Earth.

The Luna series is set in a futuristic version of our own world where the moon is ran by 5 family owned companies. These books focus on the Corta family whose business; Corta Helio mines helium which is sent to Earth and “keeps the lights on”. The end of Luna: New Moon saw Corta Helio collapse and family members scatter all over the moon. Wolf Moon is the story of these characters trying to rebuild their lives.

I think the thing I liked most about this book was the sense of scale. Everything feels epic. From the descriptions of the underground cities, to events like a massive foundry explosion and satellites raining down on the Moon. Then you have the more abstract things like a character born on the moon going to Earth despite this being technically impossible and describing what it’s like to stand on another planet and look up at their home. That was cool.

My only problem with this book is it felt like the first half was you checking in with each character to see what they had been doing over the 2 years since the last book ended. It felt like the plot took a long time to get going. But I would still highly recommend this book. Also you should definitely start out with Luna: New Moon if you haven’t read it yet.

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Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine | bluchickenninja.com

Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 1st July 2016
Book Depository | Goodreads

With an iron fist, the Great Library ruthlessly controls the knowledge of the world, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but his life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered for ever. Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe any more. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or a Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control . . .

There are two things you need to know about this book. The first is that read almost all of it in a single day. The second is that I was only 25% of the way through this when I went and preordered the next book. I think that says more of how I feel about this book than any other versions of “I like it” that I could come up with.

The strange thing I find with this book is it isn’t in a genre I normally read. This may be a surprise but I don’t read massive amounts of YA any more because I always feel that I can’t connect with the characters. But for some reason I love this. I love that it’s about the Library of Alexandria which is this thing people always go on about how amazing it would be if it were still around. But it’s about freedom of information which is turning into a really important thing in the world we’re living in just now.

I like the fact that this gang of kids actually has some adult figures around telling them what they are doing may not be the best or right thing to do. One of the things that always annoys me about YA books is how the adult characters get forgotten about or sometimes aren’t even mentioned at all. In this the adults are part of the “gang”.

I love that you have a diverse cast of characters. I love how it touches on sexuality and normalises LGBT relationships. I love that the characters are all motivated by something, and that their actions aren’t always the right ones. I love that it feels like an adventure. I love that this book made me feel real sadness when a robot cat died. And of course I love that it’s a book about books.

Basically I need 20 more books in this series and considering that Rachel Caine is a book writing machine I may just get them.

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Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine | bluchickenninja.com

Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 7th July 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

I have to thank Jess over at EverTheCrafter for recommending this book to me, which she did after I tried to read The Invisible Library and failed (it was a terrible book). Ink and Bone is sort of similar in that it’s a book about books. But it is also so much more, in this the Library of Alexandria still exists but has turned into this evil organisation that controls all the information in the world. It does this by keeping all genuine  books locked away and only allowing people to read copies of them through old timey Kindle technology.

Just as an aside, one of the things I love about this universe is that copying or creating new books isn’t allowed. So Johannes Gutenberg who was the first person to invent the printing press in 1439 is jailed for his invention. Maybe it’s just cause I do graphic design and have been learning about printing recently, but I love the fact that the most dangerous thing in this universe is a printing press.

Because of this ban on copying books our main character Jess comes from a family of smugglers who trade and sell original copies of books. Because Jess doesn’t want to join the family business he is sent to join the Library so he can act as a spy on the inside. This is the point where I started getting Harry Potter flashbacks. Jess, along with other applicants get on a train to Alexandria where they hope to compete to get a position at the Library.

Another note, I don’t mind books that have similarities to Harry Potter. What I object to is books where one of the major selling points is that it’s like or is the new Harry Potter. Those books tend to never be as good as they claim.

Have I mentioned that I liked this book yet? It’s a great YA adventure story. I love that one of the characters is a muslim and that her religion isn’t made part of who she is. I love that two of the male characters are in a relationship and no one questions it. I love this book and am going to pretty much immediately start the second.

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My Spring TBR List

Spring is almost here and I thought I would share 4 books I really want to read soon. I’ve not been reading very much recently so if this is all I get through before summer I’ll be okay with that.

My Spring TBR List | bluchickenninja.com

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I shouldn’t go into bookshops because I always end up buying something. To be more specific I always end up buying a book because I think it’s pretty. Which is what happened with this book. But I had heard that this is similar to The Night Circus which I enjoyed, so I wanted to give it a go. Actually now that I’m thinking about it I liked and didn’t like The Night Circus. Maybe I should read that again.

The Pigeon Tunnel by John le Carré

I have actually started reading a little bit of this. It’s John Le Carre’s memoirs. It’s actually really interesting to see how he got into MI5. He also writes about some of the problems that come from being a spy and also writing books about spies. If you like his books this is one to check out.

Invisible Planets by Ken Liu

This is a collection of short speculative stories written by Chinese authors. Some are award winning stories and others are Ken Liu’s personal favourites. The interesting thing about reading sci-fi written by Chinese authors is it’s very different compared to what you would get from Western authors. If you haven’t read The Three Body Problem yet you really should because it’s great.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Funny story, every year a friend and I send each other a book for Christmas. This past Christmas we both sent each other the same book, this book. No idea how that happened because we hadn’t even talked about it. Maybe it was the Force or something. It arrived the day before Carrie Fisher died so it didn’t feel right for me to read it at the time, but I think enough time has passed that I really should read this.

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How To Get Rid of Books

How To Get Rid of Books | bluchickenninja.com

You may have noticed I own quite a lot of books. Around this time every year I go through all the books I own and clear out the ones I don’t want. I do this mostly because I have limited space for books and there is no point keeping something just for it to sit on a shelf. So today I am going to share my process for purging books.

The first thing I do is just look at my shelves. It may seem pointless to mention it but this is what I do. I go through each shelf and pick out the books I’ve read and didn’t like. This is the easy bit. I then go back through my shelves and pick out any books that I’ve read and don’t have a close connection to. This is a bit more complicated. These are usually books that didn’t make me feel something.

Maybe it will be easier to explain my criteria for keeping a book. I keep books that:

  • I loved and may want to read again at some point in the future.
  • I have some sort of memory associated with them (this doesn’t need to be a book I’ve read).
  • They physically contain something I find interesting (I like collecting books that have been written in).

I go through this clearing out process a number of times. Usually not on the same day. This is because on the first pass I may have decided to save a book, but after going away and thinking for a while I realise I don’t actually have any reason to keep it.

Now the most difficult bit. Actually getting rid of the books. I do a mixture of donating them to charity and selling them. I don’t use websites like Amazon or Ebay. You could quite easily put your books up there to sell, but in my opinion that is far too much hassle. In the past I have used webuybooks.co.uk, this makes it really easy to sell books in bulk. You scan each barcode and the app will tell you if they will buy it and for how much. Then once you’ve scanned all your books you just box them up and arrange for a courier to collect them.

Websites like this won’t accept all the books you have for sale. Usually because they have too many copies of the book you are trying to sell or because it’s not worth anything. These books I donate to a local charity shop. People have all sorts of reasons why they choose specific charities but I take mine to my local Oxfam because one time the manager gave me a bunch of free Star Trek books.

I do this process once a year but I know of others who do it more regularly. It just depends on how quick books pile up, which can be frequent if you’re a book blogger.

Now if someone would like to tell me what they do with their ARCs that would be great.

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