Posted in Book Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Machine (White Space #2) by Elizabeth Bear

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*No Spoilers* 

**Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Saga Press for letting me review this early copy**

Meet Doctor Jens.

She hasn’t had a decent cup of coffee in fifteen years. Her workday begins when she jumps out of perfectly good space ships and continues with developing treatments for sick alien species she’s never seen before. She loves her life. Even without the coffee.

But Dr. Jens is about to discover an astonishing mystery: two ships, one ancient and one new, locked in a deadly embrace. The crew is suffering from an unknown ailment and the shipmind is trapped in an inadequate body, much of her memory pared away.

Unfortunately, Dr. Jens can’t resist a mystery and she begins doing some digging. She has no idea that she’s about to discover horrifying and life-changing truths.

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I was excited about this book when I received the email about it from NetGalley. One of the issues that can be explored in science fiction is when advanced species encounter ancient ones. What kind of viruses and bacteria can affect both groups of people? This novel wants to examine this issue however, the technological discussions went over my head to the point where I felt intimidated to continue the story. 

If you are not deep into the world of high-tech or futuristic tech then I would say avoid this novel. I think what I read was written well, but the in-depth specs on the technology felt confusing and overwhelming for me. 

For example, I understood that the main character has a disorder that causes her to be in a constant state of pain. With her working in a futuristic and advanced society, her spacesuit helps her do everyday functions and can help her with her chronic pain. How any of that works I don’t understand. I just went with what the author was telling me about the subject. 

I know this novel isn’t meant for a casual sci-fi fan. This is for someone like a die-hard Trekkie or someone who can follow deep and futuristic tech discussions. Overall, I think The Machine is a well-written sci-fi mystery thriller for those who can follow the tech talk. This novel just wasn’t for me.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

ARC REVIEW: Ain’t No Messiah by Mark Tullius

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*No Major Spoilers*

**I was given a copy of the novel by the author**

***Ain’t No Messiah will be hitting bookshelves February 5***

From the day he was born, Joshua has found himself the recipient of death-defying miracles. His earliest memories include his own father proclaiming him the second coming of Christ. However, Joshua has wrestled with serious doubts about the validity of this claim all his life. How could he not, having survived a childhood filled with physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his earthly father. Now, one way or another, Joshua is going to show the world who he really is.

This novel has a very interesting concept of a religious cult, where the leader is someone’s child. Instead of Joshua’s father claiming to be the Messiah and using Joshua’s unusual birth as proof. He claimed that Joshua is the Messiah.

Watching Joshua grow up in this cult, where he was expected to be perfect, and god-like. To “give judgment” and to forgive those who followed their beliefs was intriguing. It would’ve been one thing to have him grow up in a cult solely focused on his father. However, having their cult beliefs based on him, whether he wanted it or not made Joshua more relatable as a character.

One thing I found interesting was how this novel takes place in modern times, and yet Joshua never went to a school of any kind until their father added a schoolhouse onto the church. It wasn’t until he adventured into the world outside of the cult and slowly learned how things worked in the real world.

Although Joshua has vehemently denied his father’s “gospel” that he is the Messiah. When he is defending himself, or reacting to negative outside forces. He says that he’s “casting judgment” or “the fist of God” has judged those who had wronged Joshua or those he cared about.

Before Joshua ran away from home, his father brainwashed him to believe there are millions of bad people in the world who wanted Joshua dead. He also made Joshua believe that all the tragedies in the world, like 9/11, the war in Iraq, and mass shootings were his fault.

Although, you want to believe that there’s at least one person in the world who is kind without taking advantage of Joshua’s “slowness” or “gullibility”. However, this novel takes that and makes sure Joshua doesn’t get a sense of kindness or just in this world.

I felt the ending was justified and fulfilling. The ending provokes emotions of all kinds, from sadness to anger, and even peacefulness. Things end in a way that finishes everything but leaves just enough open to have a sequel. This novel is apart of a series called “The Blessed and Broken”. Of course, I am interested in reading more from this series and Mark Tullius’ other works as well.

I would recommend this novel for those who want a dark and thought-provoking “coming of age” story. Also, if you enjoy novels about cults, this is the novel for you.

Buy “Ain’t No Messiah” HERE

Read My Q&A with Mark Tullius HERE