Monday, October 31, 2016

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

"You deserve this," he continued. "People are evil to the core. That's what the Epics prove. That's why you're dying out..."

In Steelheart, we were introduced to the Reckoners. They are the sole resistance to the Epics, normal people who developed super powers after the appearance of a star called Calamity. David joined the Reckoners to kill Steelheart, the Epic who killed his father.

The second book, Firefight, brought new revelations about the Epics. David encounters Megan again, AKA Firefight. Prof, the leader of the Epics (And also an Epic), is completely overtaken by his powers. David meets Calamity, and it turns out that Calamity isn't a star, but an Epic. There is a whole plan to turn David into an Epic by throwing him at Calamity in hopes that his initial transform will lead him to killing a bunch of people, but he ends up resisting. Megan was almost killed after being confronted with her weakness, but they figured out that by confronting the fear she could overcome it. 

Calamity shows the Reckoners after the devastating events at the end of Firefight. Quick, spoilery recap: Prof went full-on Epic. The remaining Reckoners keep on keeping on. David takes Tia's recon position (Tia was Prof's girlfriend, they haven't heard from her and assume she is dead) as they raid a weapons factory. The factory is run by Prof's old friend Knighthawk, who ends up helping them. Prof, now calling himself Limelight, has taken over a city made of salt that constantly moves around, collapsing and rebuilding itself.

David and the Reckoners plan to confront Limelight with his fears to get Prof back. Knighthawk manufactures tech that can replicate Epic powers through DNA. The Reckoners simply have to get Limelight's DNA, send it to Knighthawk, wait for him to create the tech, then use Limelight's powers against him. Since Prof was most afraid of using his powers and being overwhelmed, he should hypothetically stop being an Epic jerk and turn back into Prof.

They get an unexpected ally when the  Epic Larcener shows up at their hideout. Limelight has been looking for him because of his power to steal abilities and make Epics ordinary again. Limelight doesn't want to make friends, if you catch my drift.

There are, as always, some twists and turns along the way. Overall, I found Calamity to be a pretty satisfying conclusion to the series. Steelheart hooked me from the first sentence, and I've enjoyed my time in the world of the Reckoners.

I received my copy of Calamity from Edelweiss, courtesy of Delacorte Press. It's available for purchase now.

Wax by Gina Damico

"The town of Paraffin smelled of everything.
At the same time. All of the time..."

Paraffin, Vermont is the home of the Grosholtz Candle Company. Because of them, the town smells like a little bit of everything all at once. There are lots of urban legends around the factory, especially about the Hollow Ones. The Hollow Ones are living people made of wax with a flame inside.

Poppy was the pride of Paraffin. She was a hit on the talent show Triple Threat until some misplaced pie and pudding en flambe took her down during a rendition of "The Hills Are Alive." She performed the song with a bleeding head wound and passed out, becoming a laughingstock instead. Now, she is the president of the Giddy Committee, a theater club, and pushing to perfect the Club's Broadway revue.

After a visit to the candle factory, Poppy encounters a strange old woman. Madam Grosholtz was the one who sculpted all the wax figures in the factory's museum, and she warns Poppy of the danger that is coming. She also offers to send someone as protection. Then there is a fire at the factory, in the older parts where Madame Grosholtz worked. She didn't make it out.

Poppy is also surprised when she opens the trunk of her car and finds a very alive, very naked wax figure of a teenage boy. Dud is a lot like a newborn baby. He doesn't understand a lot of things, and he is always learning. Poppy convinces her parents that he is a foreign exchange student that she forgot to tell them about.

Soon, Poppy has to figure out how to save the town. The factory's new owners have been making limited edition candles based on the citizens of Paraffin. Two scents are released a day, and the people each scent is based on are turned into a strange, waxen facsimile of themselves. It happens to the mayor and her son, as well as Poppy's nemesis Blake. Poppy and the Giddy Committee decide to out the revue on hold in order to defeat the wax army and save their town.

I have wanted to read one of Gina Damico's books for a while now, and I'm glad that I finally did. Wax was a lot of fun, and so incredibly funny. I loved the innocent Dud, chipper Poppy, and Poppy's sarcastic bestie Jill. Basically the entire Giddy Committee was fantastic, especially the fact that they are called the Giddy Committee. I love rhymes. If you're looking for a read that will make you laugh out loud, and don't mind some mild horror, then I would highly recommend Wax.

I received my copy of Wax from Edelweiss, courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's available for purchase now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

“You know it's going to be one of those nights when you start it with moving a body...”

Zoe and her mother moved to a small town after her parents divorced. However, she doesn't plan to stay very long. Her goal is to get into Princeton, and in order to get into Princeton, she plans to transfer to the fancy boarding school near her father's house. A complication messes everything up. The complication is in the form of a boy, though not in the way you'd expect.

Digby just shows up on Zoe's doorstep one day. He's a weird boy and Zoe dislikes him immediately. He seems to pop up wherever she goes, almost getting her into trouble at school. Digby reminded me a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock. He makes all kinds of deductions about people, all with the same lack of tact. Digby convinces Zoe to partner with him for a special independent project, but they never really do any work. Obviously, this freaks Zoe out to no end because: Princeton.

Instead, Digby wants to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl, Marina Miller. Zoe finds out that Digby's sister, Alice, disappeared years earlier. The entire family was under suspicion, including Digby. The officer who worked on their case now works at their school. He uses his position of authority to harass Digby, and it seems really immoral and possibly illegal. When she learns his entire story, Zoe becomes more sympathetic and helpful. She sees that Digby wants to be known for something other than having a sister who was kidnapped.  

Before I read the book, it had been featured on lists that extolled its humor. I was expecting to laugh out loud, and I really did. I ended up liking Digby a lot, and Zoe was cool in her own type-A way. It was a fun mystery, and I am excited to read the next book in the series, Trouble Makes a Comeback.

I received my copy of Trouble Is a Friend of Mine from Edelweiss, courtesy of Kathy Dawson Books. It's available for purchase now.