The Lost Thorn by Joshua P. Aguayo

The Lost Thorn

3 Stars

Publisher: Full Runa Transmedia Studio

Date of publication: December 4th, 2015

Genre: Cyberpunk, science fiction, dystopia

Where you can find The Lost Thorn: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The Lost Thorn is a science fiction novel, with a strong and unstable female protagonist, that fuses the ideas of cyberpunk with dashes of urban fantasy. It’s a heart-pounding adventure told from the perspective of a highly chaotic girl who has lost everything she held dear, leaving her with nothing but a powerful drug to cope with the inescapable pain.

Cyberpunk meets psychological thriller. The Lost Thorn deals not only with mega-corporate thugs and gang politics, but it also follows Samantha’s spiral and constant clash with the demons of addiction and madness.

The novel is a grim and depressing social critique that often becomes a foil for the protagonist, whose voice we hear guiding us through her story. She is spunky, easygoing, careless, and terrible at making puns. This is an adventure of contrasts from beginning to end, one that will leave you hanging and asking for more!

My review:

Cyberpunk is a genre that I haven’t read. So when I was approached to review The Lost Thorn, I decided to accept it. I am undecided on how I feel about this book. I thought that I had a good storyline with interesting characters. But, the plot was all over the place. I got lost several times while reading the book. The characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked for them to be.

The Lost Thorn is about Samantha. Sam is an addict. She wasn’t always an addict. But after the execution of her father and her identical twin sister being held hostage by ClearSight, snorting Obsidian is her way of coping with her pain. Sam is barely getting through life when the head of the gang that she was affiliated with asks her to take a look at something they have. Something that only Sam can open. See, Sam is a mage. Mages had been outlawed for the past 20 years. Sam was in hiding. But she needs to reawaken her powers. Because someone needs her to break someone out of a prison for mages. They also need her to destroy it. Can Sam shake her addiction long enough to do what her mysterious employer wants? Or will she succumb to it?

I liked Samantha. She was such a wise guy. Always had a quick comeback for people or a bad pun if the situation called for it. Her grief over losing her father and sister came off the pages. Up until the end of the book, I felt that there could have been more “oomph” to her character. If what was revealed at the end of the book was stated at the beginning, everything would have made much more sense to me.

I couldn’t read Kiki. Up until the middle of the book, I didn’t know how she felt about Sam. Her flirting with Sam annoyed me because there was no other sign that Kiki felt anything for her. She flirted, it seemed to me, to get information out of Sam. She also knew a lot more than she let on. She had known about things that surprised Sam. I also didn’t understand why she had to go along for the rescue mission.

The secondary characters were interesting but I wish that they were more fleshed out. I wish that more was said about the mysterious Hummingbird and why that person wanted Sam to take down ClearSight’s mage prison. It was very frustrating not to know that.

As I mentioned above, the plotline was all over the place in this book. There were times where I had to backtrack to earlier chapters to understood what was being referenced in what I was reading. Or I was left going “what the heck“. Usually, because I couldn’t figure out what was going on in the book. I do not get confused while reading books. So, yes, this factored hugely in my rating.

I had a few questions about certain things mentioned in the book. What happened to Earth to make it the hellhole that the author made it out to be? Was it war? There were some vague references in the book but nothing was truly answered. I also wanted to know why mages were being hunted and kept in prisons. Why did the ruler of that city hate them so much that he ordered them to be executed? I also had some questions with Obsidian and its origins. Not going to get into it here but I was kinda confused about how it was created. The Last Thorn should have answered those questions by the end of the book. But it didn’t. I can only hope that there is going to be a book 2 and that book will answer my questions. And, like with the previous paragraph, this factored in with my review also.

The end of The Last Thorn confused me. What Sam “confessed” to should have been made clear at the beginning of the book. It did explain a lot about her personality. I got no sense of closure from the ending. The storylines were not ended and were left hanging. Which makes me wonder if there is going to be a book 2.

I gave The Last Thorn a 3-star rating. I thought the characters were interesting but felt that the secondary characters could have been a bit more fleshed out. The plotline was fast-moving but I kept having to backtrack and that added time to my reading. There were also times where I got lost because I had no idea what was going on. The end of The Last Thorn was confusing and storylines were not resolved.

I would give The Last Thorn an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Last Thorn. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review The Last Thorn.

All opinions stated in this review of The Last Thorn are mine

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Have you read Aaru: Halls of Hel?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Stuck in the Game (Dream State Saga: Book 1) by Christopher Keene

Stuck in the Game (Dream State Saga Book 1) by [Keene, Christopher]

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Date of publication: August 4th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Cyberpunk, Action, Adventure

Series: Dream State Saga

First in the Game—Book 0.5

Stuck in the Game—Book 1

Back in the Game—Book 2

Ghost in the Game—Book 3

Lost in the Game—Book 4

Found in the Game—Book 5

Purchase Links: Amazon | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo

Goodreads Synopsis:

After a terrible car crash puts seventeen-year-old Noah Newbolt into a coma, he is hooked up to the innovative Dream Engine—a virtual reality helmet that immerses the player in an online fantasy game. The Dream Engine keeps Noah’s mind alive while doctors frantically work to heal his body, but his death in the game could result in irreversible brain damage.

While Noah learns to navigate the Dream Game, his girlfriend, Sue, suffers injuries from the same crash. Then the doctors’ attempts to connect her to the game result in her apparent death. When a mysterious avatar drops notes suggesting the last remnants of Sue’s consciousness are being held prisoner in the most dangerous part of the game, Noah takes it upon himself to rescue her.

He allies himself with a group of high-level players to help him in his quest, but his rise through the ranks earns him a bounty. With top players across the world gunning for Noah, can he stay alive–and awake–long enough to save Sue and escape the game?

This book was great!! As a long-time gamer, I loved that the author picked an MMORPG game to set this story. Call me a huge nerd, but I liked that he did that.

I did feel for Noah. He is stuck in Dream Engine in a coma after being in a car crash with his girlfriend, Sue.

When Noah awakens in Dream Engine, he is confused. Wouldn’t you be if you were awakened in an online virtual reality game? When his mom gets in contact with him and explains what happened, he sucks it up. His parents hired one of Wona’s employees to “protect” him. Also, to help him level up while he was being brought back to health in real life.

I laughed when I started reading the areas Noah was going to quest/level up/grind. Reminded me of the different areas of WoW. Duskshire was the main one. I giggled when Noah was hunting spiders for silk to make a robe. Been there, done that. The other areas reminded me of Kalimdor, Northrend, Pandaria, and Booty Bay.

The elitist attitudes portrayed in this book were hilarious and very on point. Noah’s friends have views when they realize he is being run through dungeons. If you have ever sat in trade chat, you know what I am talking about.

There is a huge twist in the story that did take my breath away. Not giving too much away because you need to read the book, but I cried and then got mad.

This book ended with one of my biggest pet peeves, a cliffhanger. I hate them with a passion, but it did grab my attention and make me wish that book 2 was there. I want to find out what happens to Noah after he wakes up and if things get resolved!!!

I would recommend Stuck in the Game to anyone over 16. There is no sex, mild violence, and no language.

If you enjoyed reading Stuck in the Game, you will enjoy reading these books:

Infomocracy (Centenal Cycle: Book 1) by Malka Ann Older

Infomocracy: Book One of the Centenal Cycle by [Older, Malka]

Publisher: Macmillan-Tor/Forge,

Date of publication: June 7th, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Thriller

Series: Centenal Cycle

Infomoracy—Book 1

Null States—Book 2

State Tectonics—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powells | Indigo | BetterWorldBooks

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.

With power comes corruption. For Ken, this is his chance to do right by the idealistic Policy1st party and get a steady job in the big leagues. For Domaine, the election represents another staging ground in his ongoing struggle against the pax democratica. For Mishima, a dangerous Information operative, the whole situation is a puzzle: how do you keep the wheels running on the biggest political experiment of all time, when so many have so much to gain?

Infomocracy is Malka Older’s debut novel.

Imagine that one day, all the world governments decided to end all wars and switch to a global government. And now, instead of countries and states, there are governments, each with its own rules. Now, imagine every 10 years, you have to vote for a new government. One on the local level and one on a global level. Also, imagine that all the information is controlled by an all-encompassing search engine and is filtered for you.

Confusing, huh?

Well, it was confusing to read, to be honest. The backstory isn’t explained until the middle of the book. This wasn’t helpful because I kept thinking “WTH” every chapter. But when it was explained, it made more sense. If the author had explained it better, there wouldn’t have been any confusion.

There was a huge pet peeve of mine in the book. The author did not give any warning when jumping from character to character. It got confusing at times.

Now saying all that, I did like the base storyline. It was good, and I liked Ken and Mishima’s chemistry.

I did feel that the book was rushed in places and that some storylines should have been delved into more. But that’s my opinion.

With the book ending, I could see a 2nd book being written. Again, too many loose ends that weren’t tied up.

I would recommend Infomocracy to anyone over 21.

If you enjoyed reading Infomocracy, you will enjoy reading these books: