Lenni Reviews: “Sea of Rust” by C. Robert Cargill

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Humanity is gone. Robots are also going extinct. Two remaining AIs are readying to go to war to claim the remaining freebots to add to their collective consciousness. While out scavaging for parts, former caregiver bot, Brittle, gets swept up in an insane gamble to save the last freebots on Earth.

If you like movies like 9, this is the book for you. The plots are similar in that the machines win a war against humans and the world is in ruins; minus any definitive heroes. Every character is flawed and out for myself, making this book ooze the very essence of a bleak, dystopian world. And I loved the adventure.

One nitpick I would have is the robots are almost too human but reading about a bunch of bland, personality drained dolls bashing up against one another would be boring. So, I’m all for it. 4.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Sinless” by Sarah Tarkoff

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*This book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Grace lives in a world where your sins are physically manifest on your body. Pretty people are good and bad people have been punished with physical deformities and are ostracised from society until they earn forgiveness. When she encounters a boy seemingly immune to Punishment, it starts a chain of events forcing her to face some rather ugly truths about the world she lives it.

While an awesome concept, it feels immature in execution. About halfway through the book, Grace comes off to me as stumbling over the line between “flawed character” and “spoiled brat” so I found her hard to relate to; even as a YA novel. As things go on, (spoiler maybe??) she turns into the Queen of Being Kidnapped as this happens WAY too often in order to get her to the next plot point.

It’s a good thing this is essentially told by an older character because I am way more interested in adult Grace than teenage Grace. I almost want to read the next one with that want in mind. Despite not being thrilled with the protagonist, I still wanted to know what happened next enough to read through to the end. 2.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Broken Mirror” by Cody Sisco

 

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

After the death of his grandfather, Victor is convinced he was murdered. But nobody believes him due to his diagnosis of mirror resonance syndrome, which causes blackouts, nightmares, hallucinations, and a lack of control over strong emotions. Determined to discover the truth, Victor no longer knows who to trust as not only his condition worsens but a dangerous conspiracy involving a possible cure and a plot to lock up any broken mirror whether they’re a threat or not.

This is a great cyberpunk thriller. Set in a dystopian, 1990’s, you get this futuristic feel and the stakes make it tense but there are moments that drag as the next twist is set up. I really felt for Victor and I think you’ll find yourself rooting for him the entire book, as I did. The world around him is built perfectly within the narrative making the entire story engrossing and engaging. An awesome novel worth checking out. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Bitch Planet” vol 1 & 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

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In this dystopian future, if a woman commits a crime (or generally doesn’t “behave”) she is shipped off to prison world; nicknamed ‘Bitch Planet.”

This mashup of Handmaid’s Tale and Beyond Thunderdome is admittedly not an easy story to read. Having personally faced many of the micro and not so micro-aggressions inflicted upon the women in these books, the trigger warning was appreciated as it dredged  up some shit I’d repressed for quite some time.

As in I have been told “Do what I say then I’ll be nice to you.” The expletive laden reply I gave would have gotten me shipped off to Bitch Planet in a hot second.

While triggering, it was also cathartic in a way to see the characters bond and support each other. It was also good to see trans women included in such a feminist laden story. It would have been easy to leave them out and going the distance to include them was a great gesture.

All that being said… There is something very superficial about it. It smacks of a hidden check list the creators are trying to complete. It gave this a exploitation B movie feel which you may want to avoid if you are trying to send a serious message. Unless that prison exploitation movie feel is what they were going for cause in that case, mission accomplished. But I like cheesy exploitation movies so I can forgive this. Solid 3.8 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Crossing in Time” by D.L. Orton and Micah McDonald

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated for 18+

*This review is cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks

Geneticist Isabel is given a once in a lifetime chance; to go back in time and get a second chance with her lover, Diego. But this is for much more than just love as their relationship may hold the key to saving humanity from mass extinction.

Now, I know one would think that knowing me and my other reviews; a “time travel, dystopian romance” would not only have my eyes rolling out of my head but send me into Serena’s Plight levels of anger. Neither of these happened. I LOVED this book.

Isabel and Diego are both whip-smart, strong brave characters and there were precious few moments in the plot where I doubted they were anything else. And while their relationship takes center stage, supporting characters like Matt are quick witted, kind, and funny. All of them have such chemistry I didn’t want to leave them (and I will be getting the next books in the series).

The time travel bits can get confusing and part of me doesn’t want to believe anyone could accidentally set off a nuke (but with how things are with a president who tweets unintelligible typos, it seems sadly likely) but overall, this story had even a cynic like me believing that one relationship could mean saving the world. 4.7 out of 5.

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Finally Watched It: “Dark City” (1998)

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In this dystopian scifi, John Murdoch finds himself with no memory in a strange room with a dead body. Mysterious figures in dark coats are on his trail as he discovers a dark conspiracy about what happens to the people around him and the city at night.

Just from the first ten minutes, I could already tell this was going to be a movie I need to watch more than once to really get it. From the way the story is told and presented, it is subtle, beautiful, and scary. From what little I to know about how to make movies, this is framed and shot AMAZINGLY well.

I just don’t understand why this isn’t more popular. Right away, it felt like Bioshock hacked The Matrix and demanded the movies become smarter and more subtle. It really highlighted for me what I have noticed about mainstream media; it’s all dumbed down, loud, sanitized, safe, drivel that doesn’t bother to challenge your brain at all. When you finally sit and watch something like this, it’s such a breath of fresh air. It ticked off every geek switch I have and I can’t wait to watch it again.

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Lenni Reviews: “W.U.M.E.: A short story” by Marc Poliquin

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**I purchased this book for free from Amazon.**

When Kate Murdoch sees her baby boy for the first time, she decided there is no way she will allow Snazzy Corp to begin a process called fetal imprinting; which ensures brand loyalty to the company before a person is even born. This corporation is powerful and devious, not simply taking no for an answer and Kate will have to fight to protect her son.

This is a cool story with an interesting premise but man is it jumpy. Where it could have been fast-paced, this story is blasting it all at you as quickly as possible. It seems crammed in where it could have been a decently written longer novel. I give it a 3.7 because I felt I blinked and it was over.

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Finally Watched It: Mad Max: Fury Road

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When this movie came out, all my friends were on me to see it. I finally got my hands on the DVD and gave it a watch.

Do I really need to summarize this movie for you? Geez, check out the IMDB page

This movie doesn’t fuck about. It picks you up in it’s teeth, locks it’s jaw, and shakes the shit out of you only stopping to check if you still have a pulse. Then by the end you need a cigarette.

I have a soft spot in my heart for action movies that keep you on the edge and every character is strong and worth watching no matter what gender they are. Man, did I ever enjoy this movie; even though I have to say Beyond Thunderdome is still my favorite in this series. More movies need to use practical effects in their action scenes. Limited CG is best, in my opinion.

I think my only real gripe is the one thing all these apocalyptic and dystopian stories seem to forget: Bicycles! Fucking bicycles! No gas needed and there are ways to to heavy loads with them. And how awesome would it have been to have a hundred bikers pulling a war machine like sailors rowing a ship?! Yeah, the sand would be a bitch but not needing massive amounts of fuel has got to be a plus.

Anyway, I’m glad I watched it. Totally worth my time.

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June Loot Crate: Dystopian

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In this box:

  • Terminator tin plate
  • Fallout pin
  • Bioshock blank key
  • Matrix puzzle
  • Fallout Dorbz figure
  • Robocop shirt

These boxes have been on point with the shirts this month. I think the only thing I outright don’t want int his box is the puzzle. I’m just not a puzzle person. It’s all good. Anything I don’t want or can’t use I sell on eBay since I am doing my level best to clear out my clutter.

I was hoping for something a little bigger from Bioshock, since I’m a bigger fan of that than Fallout but the key is pretty. Overall, very pleased!

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Lenni Reviews: “Hopebreaker: A Steampunk Dystopian Fantasy” by Dean F. Wilson

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I purchased this book for free from Amazon.

Jacob is a smuggler who ends up imprisoned when a job goes bad. Once there, is meets a man called Whistler who is a member of the Resistance. In his world, The Regime controls everything, right down to women’s wombs. Humans can no longer give birth to humans, only demons and they are slowly taking over the population. Guilt prompts Jacob to stay and help fight, taking on a mission to destroy one of the factories where the demons manufacture the drug Hope with the aptly named experimental landship; Hopebreaker.

The mission to destroy the factory is an interesting story and written well, but I could have used a bit more world-building. I didn’t get a real sense of the demons other than they’re bad and trying to overtake the human population. Overall, this is a pretty cool story. I got just invested enough to want to know what will happen at the end. Jacob is a typical bad boy turned rebel and provides an entertaining read in his perspective. A little snarky with his teasing sometimes but once he gets to business, he’s fun and determined. The steampunk elements are technical enough to be believable but don’t bog down the story or interrupt the narrative. The spy and espionage elements hit all the right notes and of course the story ends in a way to lead right to the sequel. And I certainly wouldn’t mind reading it. Solid 3.5.

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