Ruins

A solid ending to a solid series.

I think Ruins actually managed to pull things together in a way without feeling (too) rushed that none of the other YA series recently have managed to pull off. The previous plotlines (Kira’s conflicted nature, the rest of the Trust, the cure(s)) all come to a head in a way that’s still driving enough to finish the series but don’t feel like the author was just phoning it in.

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Fragments

A good continuation to Partials. In this book, we see Kira start to come to terms with who she is as she sets off with Samm and Heron across what’s left of the United States in search of answers–only to find more than she was looking for. Meanwhile, Marcus is back home, stuck between two warring Partial factions, trying desperately to broker a piece.

It’s a neat continuation. I like watching the world expand, exploring more of what happened in the decade and change since everything fell apart. We’re starting to get some answers, which of course lead to more questions. I look forward to Ruins, cautiously hoping that Wells can pull everything together for the finale.


Isolation

Quick and to the point, Isolation tells the story of Heron (who we met briefly in Partials) during the Isolation War. It gives a better picture into the Partials: how they are made, how they are trained, and why they might not only want to, but even been the right to, kill us.

It’s a good story and I hope to see more of Heron in the second and third books of the Partials Sequence. It’ll be interesting to see how she’s grown and changed in the intervening years and how she interacts with the other human (and not) protagonists.


Elantris

I have yet to find a Sanderson novel that I don’t particularly like and Elantris is no exception.

Basically, Elantris focuses around the titular city; once a place of wonder and magic which. Ten years ago, all that ended and now it’s populated by essentially zombies: those without heartbeats who cannot die and cannot heal. We follow a few different story lines–a princess from another land engaged to the prince who gets Elantrisified in the very beginning of the story; an attempted religious coup from multiple fronts; and the politics of a kingdom/city trying to heal after massive upheaval.

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Partials

The story of Partials takes place 11 years after humanity lost a terrible war. Basically, we created super soldiers (Partials) to fight for us. Of course, after they won the war they turned on us… Worse yet, right at the same time, there was a virus which killed 99.96% of humanity–including any new pregnancies.

So that’s where we start. Humanity is stuck on Long Island while the Partials are out there ™. Because no babies can survive the virus, the youngest living people are 14. The main characters are roughly 16. Even stranger, in an effort to figure out how to cure the virus, the Hope Act has been enacted. All women 18 or older must get pregnant as often as possible.

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The Iron Wyrm Affair

Disclaimer: I didn’t actually finish the story. I stopped at about 80%, although I was skimming before then. The cover looks good and the summary is intriguing, but the book itself I didn’t particularly care for.

Main problems:

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Cauldron

A solid conclusion (for now) to the Academy series.

Following from Omega, the Academy is basically dead (lack of funding / interest) and humanity is withdrawing from the stars. Then there’s a breakthrough in new FTL drive technology orders of magnitude faster than the previous incarnations. Hutch returns as one of the two pilots sent out on a high speed mission to the origin of the Chindi, a world SETI received a transmission came from, a black hole, and the possible origin of the Omegas (finally).

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Odyssey

Summary: The Academy is running out of money. In the meantime, MacAllister, a senator’s daughter, a pilot, and a PR guy from the Academy are on a tour looking for UFOs because reasons. Eventually the find some (ish), the daughter gets contacted by aliens (maybe, no one believes her at first and it’s never really explained), and a bunch of people die.

As with a few other books in this series, it takes half the book to get to what feels like the main plot point, with a massive acceleration in the last 15% and a final climax in the last 5%. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt a lot more obvious in this book.

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Omega

Omega continues on in much the same vein as the previous Academy books. Science fiction in a universe where life is remarkably rare and civilization even more so. This time though… we’ve found someone.

The Omegas (clouds coming in 8000 year waves from the center of the galaxy which have a tendency to seek out and destroy right angles) return in the book, pointing directly to a new civilization. It’s thousands of light years away, so there are only a limited number of ships that can possibly get there in time.

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Chindi

Chindi continues the trend of the previous two books in only vaguely being a sequel. It takes place after the previous two with one of the same characters (Hutch) and there are a few references to previous events… But that’s about it. That’s not a bad thing though.

This book starts with the discovery of an alien satellites around a neutron star. Hijinks ensue and people die (I’ll come back to that in a second). It turns out that the satellites are part of a communication network. The next large chunk of the book follows our characters from world to world chasing after this network. (More people die). They finally end up finding a truly massive alien starship and exploring that (more people die). Then there’s the climax where–just like Deepsix–our heroes have to attempt a daring / insane rescue mission so as not to leave a man behind.

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