Review: Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Synopsis

“Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed?

After hundreds of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.”

My Review:

Hm. This book had many things I didn’t like, many things I didn’t mind, and a few things I liked. Will this review follow that order? Eh. Debateable.

I know that this is a novella, but in my opinion it needed more. It felt like Gibbs tried really hard for this novella to end on a cliffhanger, that so much of what I needed to read in order to want to continue was missing. Once I reached the cliffhanger, there was no silent screaming (which I often do when I want more), instead it was: Oh? That’s it? Alright, fine then.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs

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Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 96

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Summary from Goodreads:

Taken off the streets Nika is thrown into an unknown world where she’s held captive. As an orphan, she has been on the run and must find her way out before they discover her secret. But these people held the knowledge of her family and who she is. Will she be able to find out before her secret is revealed? After hundreds of years, Demyan has finally found the rightful ruler of his race. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know who she is and is doing everything in her power to escape him. Time is running out and Demyan has to convince Nika to take her rightful place otherwise the battle will be lost and his race extinguished.

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Author Bio:

d-h-gibbsWith an active imagination and a love of art D.H. Gibbs has chosen to combine her talents by writing and illustrating books. She writes for both the children and young adult genre, where both of her debut books has been published and is available on amazon. Her new children’s book will be coming out in 2016. D.H. Gibbs hails from the Caribbean where in her free time she reads, paint and travel when she can.

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Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau, Joe King

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4/5 (on a novella scale)

Synopsis:

“The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.
Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.”

My Review:

This was a fast-paced and fascinating novella. I liked that it took me no longer than an half an hour to read (although the original expected time of completion was an hour) and that it was packed with action and slivers of wisdom and honor.

Considering that this is a novella, I cannot say much because it is short and also so that I don’t reveal any spoilers, but I connected with the characters, Ferran especially. I believe that although none of the characters (save Ferran) were given a backstory as of yet and there wasn’t much exploration of their personalities, Gelineau and King left a promise behind to give them depth. And I do believe (and hope) they will keep that promise.

My only complaint is that as the story continues, the action scenes seem to be recycled. Although the actual scene that is taking place is different, the way it is described doesn’t change. The same phrases were used with a little to no changes made and that made each scene a little bit less ‘originally’ vivid. Nonetheless, Rend the Dark was still great to read and I would even be interested in reading the sequel.

Would I Recommend Rend the Dark? I would recommend Rend the Dark, but keep in mind that it is a novella and short no matter the price.

I received this novella for free via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Review: 1/5

Synopsis:

In the very near future, the country is plunged into drought and unrest. Scare resources and constant heat are making life completely miserable. Casey doesn’t think she can stand slugging back another gel pack or working one more shift at the wells. Fortunately, there’s a solution: anyone over the age of seventeen can sign the Forever Contract and enter a utopian paradise. While people’s minds take a permanent vacation, their bodies get warehoused and hooked up to a complex array of sensors and feeding tubes. As Casey’s brother says, “You upload your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want. No more pain, no more heat, no more awful dust, no more work. Just pure thought. It’s what our species has always been meant for. Suffering is for philosophers. Not for me.”
Casey’s ready to sign–a permanent vacation is just what she needs. There’s only one problem: her boyfriend James doesn’t trust it.
Told from his and her perspectives, The Forever Contract is a 17,000 word (60 page) novella suitable for readers in grade 8 and above.
Would you sign the contract?

My Review:

The cover of The Forever Contract and the synopsis were both misleading. For the most part, I stay away from books that have covers like that, it usually means certain “special” events occur. None of that happened though, so I’m not sure why Sawyer chose this cover. The synopsis was what pulled me in, but it didn’t quite deliver what I was expecting either. The thought of “upload[ing] your consciousness to the system and you’re free to live as long as you want, however you want.” was intriguing. A unique twist to a dystopian novella. So why didn’t I give it more than one star?

It was completely and totally dull. I was losing my mind trying to get through this novella. Casey, James, and all the other characters were completely one-dimensional. This is one of the biggest issues with novellas: Too complex of a concept crammed into a novella. It almost always leads to poor character development and a poorly delivered plot. If you need more “book time” to develop a solid plot and solid characters than a novella will be able to provide, do not write a novella. It’s unfair to the reader, not just because they may have spent money to buy the book, but in addition, they spent time reading your book only to receive something sub par. It’s equivalent to going to a restaurant and reading over the menu (the books on shelves) and you finally choose something that sounds appetizing (the cover). The chef (author) is making the food in front of you and there are lots of flips and sizzles (the synopsis). Then, your food is finally done and the food is being put on your plate, a little sloppily, but it still looks rather good (the first few chapters). You finally take a bite and your face scrunches in disappointment as your taste buds recoil in horror. It’s undercooked and not what you expected after watching the chef’s grand flips and loud sizzles. But what can you do? You already paid. You wasted your time and money on a chef that did not deliver the service you deserved.

It was honestly a shame because this plot was incredibly amazing. There could have been ocean-deep depth, heartbreaking-ly emotional scenes between James and Casey, gorgeous world-building, and just so much more. There was barely a climax before the ending, the ending just quickly wrapped everything up. It was like those times when you’re having company over soon and you aren’t quite ready and don’t know what to do so you quickly throw things into closets and shove things under couches. I don’t know what happened why Sawyer decided to hastily end The Forever Contract this way but it was inexcusable. It left an appalling amount of uncertainty and was poorly put together. It clearly says “END” in bold letters, but seems to hint at a sequel since it “ends” at a cliffhanger. The Forever Contract has immense potential and I truly mean that. It should definitely not be a novella, but at least a full length novel so that Sawyer can make this plot reach its full potential.

Forgiven (The Trouble series) by Rachel Morgan

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

Three hundred and six days ago, Julia ran away from home. Abandoning her family, friends, boyfriend, and university plans, she fled with no explanation. She can’t hide forever, though, and now it’s time to face the mess she left behind.

My Review:

If you listen very carefully, you can hear me sighing loudly. If you’ve ever been at an amusement park at least once, and I’m sure you have, there’s always that one ride that kind of bothers you. It’s that single ride that has all of those twists and turns, but ends too quickly for the thrill to actually hit you. That’s what Forgiven felt like. Forgiven follows a girl who ran away from home. But she didn’t just run away from home to a town nearby, she ran all the way to London.

I didn’t like this very much, which is surprising since I liked a different book from her that I reviewed, and it’s one of the last few prequels/novellas that I’m probably going to read. The story deals with rape and I don’t appreciate how it presented it. The whole story was based on how a rape was handled the wrong way and it left a bad taste in my mouth. In all honesty, it seemed to me that the book was mainly “romance with a dash of rape to add character.” It would take quite an author to convince me that a story that covers a girl who is raped, can be wrapped up with a cheery ending in seventy-six pages. It wasn’t quite disrespectful (from my limited point-of-view), but it didn’t accurately cover the physical and psychological effects of rape. It just left it all out. (spoiler) One minute she left because she didn’t want to ruin all of the relationships because of what happened and the next she’s completely fine. Maybe she got therapy during her time in London, but if the reader doesn’t know that, then you can’t not include that.
There wasn’t enough time to develop Julia or any of the characters. I couldn’t relate to her, not even remotely, and she was dull. I would be shocked (and I was) to find out that she was the spice to someone’s life. Maybe that’s a bit too harsh, but it was true. I notice that in a lot of “0.5” and novellas and prequels there isn’t a lot of development. It’s never a good idea to write a novella without the intention to have development in it. Even if it’s to provide a tiny bit of background, definitely make those 76 pages worth the time you spent writing it and the time the reader spends reading it.