Monday, October 14, 2013

One of my favorites over the past couple of months

If you don't feel like waiting till April when Far From You comes out, The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson is out now, and it is fabulous.  Dystopian books are a dime a dozen these days, but Johnson's is original and beautiful and very much its own story.  Here's my Goodreads review:

The country that used to be Brazil is the setting for this lushly-imagined, futuristic story that blends art and technology and love in its many iterations. June Costa has grown up in Palmeres Tres, a vast pyramid city in which the wealthy live on the upper tiers and the poor live in the Verde, the green and stinking lower level whose algae produces the needed oxygen for the city. 400 years ago, the actions of men led to the Y plague, which destroyed a large percentage of humanity. Palmeres Tres was established largely as a matriarchal society, given that men had gotten the world into the mess. The queen rules with a group of Aunties, or advisors, with a Summer King and a Winter King alternately elected every five years, but sacrificed at the end of the first year. June and her best friend Gil get swept up in the latest election and are ecstatic when Enki, the beautiful boy from the Verde, is declared the new king. Enki is not the settled, discreet king that the Queen and the Aunties might have wished for: he and Gil quickly enter a passionate relationship, and when he learns that June is an artist, the two of them develop a close friendship. June manages to convince herself that she and Enki are only about the art, but as time goes on and the countdown to his sacrificial dealth draws closer, the triangle between her and Enki and Gil grows more complex. Alaya Dawn Johnson adds to a sparse field of wonderfully-written science fiction featuring people of color.
Completely original and luminous and just can't-even-think-of-putting-it-down amazing.

Far From You, due out April 2014

I'm starting to review more and more books via NetGalley, and really appreciate the ease of the electronic format for ARCs.  My latest read courtesy of NG is Far From You, by Tess Sharpe, due out in April 2014.  Here's my review from Goodreads.

Prepare to be grabbed in the opening paragraphs, when the narrator, Sophie, relates that the first time that she almost died was when she was 14 and in a car driven by her best friend's brother. Trev and Mina walked away with minor injuries; Sophie almost didn't make it, and her many injuries led to a pain killer addiction. The second time she almost died is when she was 17. Mina wants to make a detour on the way to a party. On a lonely stretch of road, the two girls are attacked by a gunman who knocks Sophie unconscious and shoots and kills Mina. But what looks like a random shooting, or a drug deal gone bad, isn't. Because even though Sophie has been clean for several months when this happens, the police find a bottle of Oxy in her jacket pocket. And Sophie knows that she heard the killer say "I warned you" before he shoots Mina. The police don't believe Sophie with her history of addiction, so she knows it's up to her to find out who wanted Mina dead. Chapters alternate between the present and flashbacks over the past three years, slowly revealing more and more about Sophie's and Mina's relationship, and how Trev and their other friends factor into the equation. As layers are peeled away, the action ramps up, and readers won't be able to stop turning the pages until they get to the end of this utterly compelling, character-driven whodunit.

Electronic ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.