Review: Catalyst (Insignia #3) by SJ Kincaid

Catalyst (Insignia #3) by SJ Kincaid

“There has to be a reason for it all, a meaning, a point to living in the first place. A better future had to be possible.”

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction Publisher: Katherine Teagen Books Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought Rating:  (5/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

Tom Raines and his friends are eager to return to the Pentagonal Spire to continue training for the elite Intrasolar Forces, but they soon discover troubling changes: strict new regulations and the revelation that the Spire is under new military control. What begins as an irritating adjustment soon reveals a dangerous shift in reality. Those now in control are aligned with corporate sponsors and their ruthless agendas. And when the military academy begins welcoming new cadets with suspicious neural processors, the first step in a plan with horrifying worldwide ramifications, Tom is desperate to stop it, even if that means keeping secrets from his closest allies.

“Wow,” “Amazing,” and “Fantastic” have been the main things I’ve had to say about Catalyst since I finished it. It was unbelievably good, and it’s (as of now) the best book I’ve read all year.

Catalyst is the third book in the Insignia series, and while it might not be my favorite of the series, I think it was the best one. Catalyst had the same snark, humor and excitement that Insignia and Vortex both had, but it also was a bit more profound and was able to be extremely heart wrenching and creepy as well.

Like the previous two books the one-liners were great, the characters were amazing and well written and the universe was extraordinarily detailed. The story sucked me right in and I wasn’t able to put it down until I finished.

The ending was also amazing, satisfying and perfect for the whole series. Last books of favorite series are always hard, but the ending of this series was pretty perfect and I actually feel okay saying goodbye to this story.

I’ve loved every minute of the Insignia trilogy, and Catalyst completed it perfectly. This is how you end a trilogy.

(Also, fun fact: I was the same age as Tom Raines when I first read each book. That’s pretty cool.)

Catalyst

“He felt like anything was possible around her, like his life meant more, like he meant more.”

Review: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan

Book Haul #3 - Blood of Olympus

Genre: YA Fantasy Publisher: Disney Hyperion Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought Rating:  (5/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

— Lots of spoilers bellow. Just don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book yet —

Frankly, that was an unacceptable ending. I mean, I knew Riordan wouldn’t write an epilogue or anything, but really? Would it have killed him to write one more chapter??

Don’t answer that.

Anyways, I’m going to talk about the rest of the book now… because it was great. Not fantastic. Not nearly as epic as the first series. But still pretty darn great.

I really felt like this was Nico’s book. I was really drawn to his point of view and I found myself more focused on his story in the book. I just… Nico. He’s great and so sad and… He got a lot of growth in this book. I liked that. Also, Nico and Will Solace is totally something I’m liking.

There were definitely a lot of great moments between most of the characters in this book, but I especially liked the Annabeth/Piper and Percy/Jason friendship moments.

In all honesty, I felt like the final battles were kind of anticlimactic? Maybe that’s why I made it through Leo’s ‘death’ with dry eyes. (Leo is my favorite character after, well, Percy who I absolutely love) It happened so fast, and then it was just there. I don’t know.

All in all- good series, alright ending, but Percy Jackson and the Olympians was a lot better.

October 2014 Recap

I love October in that it is a transition month in so many ways. The weather is changing, school and swimming are both getting more intense, but it’s still too warm to wear a winter coat and I still have some free time in which to read and make things. This month I attended a book fair, theorized about the finale of a favorite series, bought a few new releases and tried something new: creating a how to video about my Halloween costume. I also dressed up in two costumes for Halloween- I was a Slytherin student for the school day and a Hunter of Artemis for Halloween night.

October 2014 Recap

Books I Read This Month:

#1 – A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook 

[Review]

#2 – The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith 

This book was very good and very cute, just like the other two books I’ve read by this author. A very fun read!

#3 – The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality #1) by James Dashner 

[Review]

#4 – No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale 

This book was just really, really weird. I’m not going to comment on anything more than that.

#5 – Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

[Review]

#6, #7, #8, #9, #10 – The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan 

[Re-Read]

#11 – The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan 

[Re-Read]

Book Haul: (#3) New Bestsellers, Superheroes, and the End of an Era

Book Haul #3 - Event Books

Two Fridays ago, on the night before I went to the Twin Cities Book Festival, I decided to stop at Half-Price Books to see if they had any of the books I wanted, and I ended up walking out with all three! (And even better- the price of them all fit on my gift card) The books I bought were Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins and The Young Elites by Marie Lu- both of them new books I wanted to read, had pretty covers, and whose authors I meet the following day.

The third book I bought was the last book of the Heroes of Olympus series and the last book relating to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan.

Book Haul #3 - Blood of Olympus

The Percy Jackson series was the main thing that me and my friends were obsessed with in Middle School. I actually got into them right after The Last Olympian came out (so I got to read straight through without any year long breaks) and I absolutely loved them. They inspired a love of Mythology, and after reading them I devoured any greek mythology retelling books I could get my hands on. I was thrilled when a second series was announced, and while I haven’t loved Heroes of Olympus as much as I did the original series, the release of this conclusion is just as exciting and sad as the end of any beloved series could be. (Hopefully it’ll do better than the end of the Artemis Fowl, Animorphs and Sisters Grimm series did…)

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 2

My next books came from a Wednesday afternoon trip to the Red Ballon Bookshop. The first book, My True Love Gave to Me, is what I went to the bookstore for, and is a holiday short story compilation with stories written by some of my favorite authors including Ally Carter, David Levithan and many others. The book itself is just as beautiful in person as I thought it would be, with it’s holiday themed font work and whimsical illustrations.

Book Haul #3 - My True Love Author Bios

Plus, look at these cute little author bios on the back flap!

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 3

Book Haul #3 - My True Love and Illusive 4

The second book I bought was Illusive by Emily Lloyd Weber. It’s a superpower themed book with a thief for a main character, (easily combining two of my favorites themes in books) and I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, so I was thrilled to find the store’s last one sitting on a 15% off table.

Also, because it was the last one, I also got the bookstore’s sweet little (handwritten) recommendation card with it. I really love that both these books look wonderful both with dust covers and without them.

Well, that’s it for this book haul! Did you buy any good- or at least very pretty books lately?

Ridiculous Catalyst Theories

In honor of the third book in the Insignia series releasing in 10 days, I thought I would share a few ridiculous won’t-ever-happen “theories” for what events might be contained within Catalyst.

  1. Tom and Medusa will meet face to face and it will be awesome. (This one’s not a ridiculous theory- it’s more one I really hope will happen.)
  2. We will see Nigel Harrison again, this time as the NSA’s walking, talking computer.
  3. Blackburn will finally get tired of everyone’s crap and quit, leaving his spot to be filled by Wyatt Enslow and a few robots she builds to be her assistants.
  4. It will be found out that all Coalition CEOs have neural processors and that they are all so evil because Vengerov wrote them a program that makes them care only about money and power, and not about what they have to do to people to obtain it.
  5. Vik will inherit Walton’s gnome minions.
  6. Heather will come back as a zombie (or ghost)  and she will be super mad.
  7. Or, better yet, Heather was somehow downloaded to the Spire systems before she was killed, and will not have a turn as the ghost in the machine.
  8. Vik is elected president.
  9. Vik and Tom buy matching Doctor Doom masks and wear them everywhere.
  10. Wyatt, Tom and Vik make an accidental discovery and win the Nobel Prize. (Alternatively, Tom takes down the coalition and wins the Nobel Peace Prize for doing so.)

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