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Liberation

After reading the first part of M. C Ronen’s Liberation trilogy, The Shed, it felt right to proceed to the second part. The story picks up immediately after Sunny escapes from Nature’s farm. We get insight into her life after she’s recruited by DaSLiF, an activist organization with the sole purpose of liberating enslaved people. 

Leaving her past behind, Sunny strives to get acquainted with her new reality, but she is still haunted by nightmares from her past, particularly Jacqueline Roth. Roth is the reformed nature’s farm soldier responsible for her mother’s death, and Sunny is convinced that this former assassin is not all she appears to be.

Liberation by M. C Ronen is an independent read, so if you’ve not read part one, you will not be lost when reading this book. M. C Ronen carefully refills all the loopholes from part one. However, I recommend reading it for better context.

The author creates a world where all forms of slave exploitation are legal, a symbolic representation of animal exploitation in the real world. The brutal conditions these enslaved people find themselves in emphasize the cruelty of humanity. Readers’ discretion is, however, advised for young readers as the book contains detailed scenes of horrific experiences that could be triggering.

Another commendable element of Liberation is Sunny’s character development. She undeniably evolves from a dairy slave to an activist while balancing an ordinary life as a teenage girl. She confronts her fears, although not without a few missteps. M. C Ronen crafts an empathic character, making us feel the apprehension of the protagonist.

Liberation is a suspenseful dystopian novel that will leave readers with much to think about. The dynamic characters and drama of fighting for freedom will have readers waiting for the third installment to see how things end.

Page: 300 | ASIN : B084KKNJ77

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The Betrayal

The Betrayal, by Doug Dorsey, is set in the future after much of the earth’s population has been wiped out by a series of catastrophic events, but civilization has not yet come to an end. A new government, ruled by Sovereign Alexander Wraith, has risen to power to ensure everlasting peace. In this riveting dystopian novel, not everything is as it seems. In reality, Wraith is a brutal dictator who will do anything and take out anyone to ensure his hold on power. Thankfully, a rebellion is coming.

This rebellion is led by two unlikely heroes. Liam Adler is a loyal citizen and computer genius who specializes in AR and VR technology. All Liam wants is a quiet, respectable life. However, a series of unfortunate events leads him down a rabbit hole, and he discovers his life is a lie. Jessica, on the other hand, is a rebel fighter, an amnesiac, and a fugitive on the run. She has been fighting The Sovereign for years and is a loyal soldier of Mordecai, rebel leader, and prophet. Liam and Jessica are truly compelling characters that make this first book in the trilogy an exciting read cover to cover, which is important in a character driven dystopian thriller like this.

The Betrayal often reminded me of a Christian version of George Orwell’s 1984. One of the main themes of the book is that religion has been banned, and it is down to Christian rebels to free the world. This focus on religion gives Dorsey’s novel an interesting twist. Government surveillance is everywhere, and expression of religious freedom is a death sentence. Liam is constantly thrown for a loop as friends become enemies and vice versa. The Sovereign is always watching. The author deftly borrows from countless sci-fi classics whilst managing to write something new. This is a refreshing twist on some older sci-fi tropes.

The pacing of the storyline is excellent. The first half is a little slower as Dorsey does some important world-building and introduces and begins to define his characters. In the second half, the story ramps up as utter chaos is unleashed.

Liam and Jessica are both great leads who are easy to root for. Liam especially makes for a very cerebral protagonist. Wraith is an immensely dislikable antagonist in all the right ways. The Betrayal, by Doug Dorsey, is a rollercoaster ride and a great read for any science fiction fan.

Pages: 361 | ASIN: ‎ B09RPYHM8F

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SkyWorld Saga Foundation

It’s the 2070s, and Ben Dawson has built a flying city made of hundreds of flying boats he invented. But Ben’s Sky City is threatened by the Department of Space, looking to take it over to score political points. Now Ben and his small team of loyalists must embark on a daring mission to retain control of Sky City —one that involves space travel, an asteroid, unlikely allies, and going up against formidable forces.

Alan Priest’s SkyWorld Saga Foundation is an upbeat science fiction novel that is bursting at the seams with intrigue and that curious allure that most futuristic stories have. The book is a breezy read punctuated by pulse-pounding moments of action that feels like they are fit for cinematic movie scenes.

The author utilizes simple but elegant writing to tell an imaginative story. This writing style helps keep readers focused on the creative world that Alan Priest has created and the clever storyline that delivers some stunning moments of sci-fi melodrama. This is a spirited adventure story that explores humanity’s ingenuity, resilience, and bravery contrasted with some of the more unsavory elements of humanity’s traits like power and a conspiratorial streak.

I was engrossed with the detailed world that is being built in this dystopian thriller. The world that the author is creating seems immense and begs to be explored in further novels. What is presented in this book serves as an interesting backdrop for the compelling cast of characters. I really appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating the backstory and I look forward to seeing how this evolves as the series continues.

While this can be considered hard sci-fi I appreciated the well-balanced ‘techsplaining’ that is used to drive this story forward without losing readers. Character development is also one of Priest’s strengths, as Skyworld Saga contains characters that have distinct and relatable, if not understandable, personalities. And the author really knows how to create genuinely unlikable characters too. I love how he throws wrenches into his protagonists’ plans and introduces new conflict to ramp up the drama and suspense that will eventually conclude in moments of fist-pumping glee for his readers.

SkyWorld Saga Foundation is an exciting science fiction story that builds a complex world with an organic sense of adventure that never forgets to entertain the reader.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B09Z1S3M3Z

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To Those We Found

To Those We Found by George Ander is a science fiction book based in a completely different galaxy. Instead of having features like tentacles and an exoskeleton, the aliens have the same physical construction as humans. This captivating story has been told from the viewpoint of an alien competing for the position of a champion; the winner will represent their planet in other solar systems.

The protagonist of the story, Taman Yedder, is selected by a random lottery to represent his world to the whole universe. He reaches the destination but finds himself trapped in a desolate hospital with the doctor forcing him to stay there. After a scuffle, he escapes the hospital and begins exploring this mother world he is supposed to prepare a report about.

Through the journey and thoughts of Taman, readers will explore his world. The historical evidence and the leaders’ talks are contradictory, and Taman begins his search for truth. However, his investigation leads him to deep and dark secrets which no one wants to hear about. He also explores his sexuality and begins to question the reason for his sacrifices. The leadership doesn’t want anyone to know things Taman has started asking.

The author explores many human world problems like religion, politics, economy, sexual identity, and technology through the alien world. The characters and their responses are eerily human but being in a different world creates an estrangement with the readers. This book is a deep dive into the psychology and philosophy of the human mind. I felt that, at times, the author’s explanation of the psychology of humans was lost in the story’s narrative or just confusing to understand. The cultural hegemony of our world has been shown, and capitalism has been questioned. The protagonist is an outsider, enabling him to question and look at these from a fresh perspective rather than blindly follow them. This book is fiction wrapped in ideological and realistic problems that plague our world.

The author brings out a lot of contemporary issues through the story. I liked the subtle yet firm way the author establishes the parallel between our world and this fictional world. The writing style is captivating, and the plot engages with enough dialogues and actions. So many contemporary and chronic issues of our world have been represented without any solution.

To Those, We Found is a riveting young adult science fiction novel for teens who want to read action-filled and engaging plots and for people who want a philosophical look at the world in their readings.

Pages: 389 | ASIN : B09MNS6J4V

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Surviving the Second Tier

Surviving the Second Tier by author M.K Lever is a sci-fi novel that is different from anything else out there. It is a combination of dystopian sci-fi, college drama, and an underdog sports story. The setting is nebulous. We know the novel is set in the future, but Lever leaves it up to the reader to decide how distant. Technology has advanced but is not far-fetched. We know that there are drones, automated exercise equipment, and self-driving cars.  The setting is what I would call grounded dystopian. There has been yet another economic crash, and once again, it is the younger generation who are paying the price.

This captivating novel takes a close look at the world of college sport but through the lens of a dystopian future. In this world, college sports as we know it has been replaced with the AFA (American Fighting Association). Male and female athletes now fight in an MMA-style fighting league where only the toughest and best-funded succeed. Like most extraordinary sports stories, we follow Sis Jones, a second-tier fighter who is undefeated and coming towards the end of her college career.  Sis might be successful in the ring, but it isn’t doing her much good. As a poorly-paid second-tier fighter, the fighting takes its toll on her health and grades. We follow Sis and her teammates as they are pushed and manipulated further and further by their greedy coach and college higher-ups. In the end, enough is enough, and the athletes rebel and take on the corruption directly.

Surviving the second tier feels almost like a more grounded Hunger Games. The setting may not be quite as dramatic and the stakes not quite as high, but Sis is still fighting for survival in many ways. Most of us have never had to fight to the death, but struggling to make ends meet will be painfully familiar to most of us.

Lever is a former college athlete herself, and this shows. She has extensive knowledge of the subject and has gone to great pains to highlight the abuse and corruption that goes widely unreported in college sports today. As well as shining a light on the discrepancies between first-tier and second-tier college teams. For every first-tier college athlete that goes on to great success, many are left behind.

Surviving the Second tier is a gripping dystopian novel with a great underdog story full of easy to root for heroes with an important message. This unconventional combination of genres will give readers a unique look into college sports and much to think about.

Pages: 429 | ASIN : B09MDR6FYH

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The Shed

The Shed is a suspenseful young adult novel and is the first installment of the Liberation trilogy authored by M.C Ronen. This chilling dystopian story revolves around Sunny and her seemingly apocalyptic community called Nature’s farm. Sunny lives in blissful ignorance, governed by strict rules and occasional raids. Her innocent bubble bursts when she discovers a disturbing revelation of what goes on in The Shed: a place off-limits to younger children on the farm. Stomach-churning secrets surround the shed that Sunny and her friend begin to uncover as they begin to explore forbidden areas on the farm.

With this gripping tale, M.C Ronen delivers powerful writing that will chill you to the core. The author’s use of detailed descriptions creates graphic images that will forever be stuck in the mind of readers. I found certain parts of this story unnerving, adding to the dystopian feel. This thrilling story is quite the page-turner, and I found myself flying through the pages.

The author is excellent at character development. The character of Sunny starts out as this naïve girl and develops into a strong independent thinker who starts to question her surroundings. With a strong intuition, Sunny can sense when danger is near and uses this to her advantage to survive the raid that attacks the farm in the opening chapter.

The story progresses smoothly, and the tension remains until the very end. M. C Ronen keeps the reader wondering what is going to happen next. Unfortunately, when the story ends, readers will be left waiting for the second book in this series to find out what happens to Sunny’s character.

The Shed is a shocking and unpredictable dystopian novel. Readers will be taken into a dark and thrilling world where women must fight for their very survival. Older teens and young adults will find this to be a suspenseful read and find it hard to put down.

Pages: 302 | ASIN : B07H4GYYLY

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A.I. Can Be More Humane

David Crane Author Interview

Age of Magnus: Keepers of the Rain follows the ruling A.I. system of Earth as it prepares to battle a group of humans that want to restore power to the human race. Where you able to wrap up all your storylines in this third book?

I must say yes, I have managed to complete the trilogy with this final volume of the Magnus series, bringing this post-apocalyptic science fiction story to satisfactory conclusion. The storyline has been in development during the final stages of completion of the second novel of the trilogy. Before I started my work, I knew exactly how the story would end. All of the characters presented in the final book were new, and it was an interesting process of integrating them into the story. I wanted this to be a character driven book that also poses many interesting philosophical questions about relationship between man and advanced Artificial Intelligence and man’s relationship with nature.

Has writing and publishing this trilogy changed the way you see the future of technology?

Ever since I was a kid, I was always fascinated by technological marvels. Over many years, my interest in technologies, especially futuristic technologies and new forms of energy provided me with rich food for thought. I initially saw technology as the necessary part of everyday world, until gradually, I matured to become more analytical about its applications. Writing and publishing this book made me aware of many interesting possibilities advanced computer technology can offer mankind in its technological evolution. In my novel, I imagined a very powerful Artificial Intelligence that helps mankind in its darkest moments in history, but at the same time demands order over chaos and kindness and respect over cruelty and arrogance. In some ways, the A.I. can be more humane than any human if it taught the right values from the start.

What risks have you taken with your writing that have paid off?

This is an interesting question. For writer, there are always risks he or she must take to see the story move from start to finish. Some writers tend to be either too shy, too nice or too politically correct to get their point across without being labeled as abnormal or evil. Thankfully, in my story politics takes a backseat to the drama and the scenery where my characters operate. In my story, each person has a motive, regardless of them being protagonists or antagonists. My biggest risk in this book was in taking Magnus’s side in the human-machine conflict. Since I wrote this trilogy from Magnus’s point of view, I have imprinted on Magnus some of my strongest personality traits. There is an old saying: Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Through Magnus, I drove my point across how I would rule the world if I had attained absolute control over the planet. I do think that risk paid off because the book was worth it!

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

I would advise them to be patient and set realistic goals from the beginning, in order to avoid their great expectations to be damaged or crushed because of multiple rejections. Working on the first book is a great pleasure, once the writer knows what kind of story he or she wants to tell. I would advise the writer to make his first book character driven, have interesting and intriguing storyline and keep the sentences clear, simple and avoid literary cliches. First time book writers are very impressionable and take their inspiration from other books and movies. The trick is to develop your own voice and carry it through the book from start to finish. My final advice would be to make their characters, especially their main characters to have flaws. All humans have them and the characters’ vulnerabilities as well as their strengths would make them more sympathetic.

Author Interview: Facebook | Amazon

After conquering Earth after two centuries of brutal struggle for supremacy, Hyper Quantum Supercomputer Magnus is preparing to celebrate one thousand years of his worldwide cybernetic reign. Machines rule the planet with inhuman efficiency and near absolute domination of every sphere of influence. Almost everywhere there is peace, prosperity and abundance of every basic necessity to satisfy human desires. Humans under the benevolent rule of machines now can opt for true immortality at the end of their natural lifespan. The cybernetic empire stretches far beyond Earth and across the solar systems as humans raised by machines are living in the most magnificent and enduring era of machine domination.<br><br>But inside the wildlands, places Magnus had left for humans to live as they wish without the control and help from machines, the seeds of the massive worldwide insurrection finally bore fruit in the form of the GHR, the Global Human Resistance. For one thousand years, the enemies of Magnus gathered their resources, preparing for the final grandiose showdown between the man and machines. Assisted by the new, powerful and lethal technologies as well as biological weapons to destroy all humans who worship machines, they are determined to win or die for the cause of human freedom. But as Magnus prepares to defend his imperium from all enemies foreign and domestic, an even greater threat now hangs like a giant Sword of Damocles above the planet. Now both the biological and mechanical races face the greatest danger in their lives in a standoff that will determine who will survive, man or machine?

Utopia? 

Utopia is a city in which everything is based on a system-created hierarchy, where the higher your level, the more luxury and opportunity you would have. George Mason is hell-bent on rising through the ranks while being disgusted by those below him and intensely envious of those above him. Utopia is now ripe for the taking, with the city’s leader on the verge of retiring. Whoever has the most power gains control.

Using their hidden and enormous network of control, the smoking man and the pixelated man are contending for the rule over the city. But unfortunately, George Mason becomes caught in the crossfire and is forced to go undercover to infiltrate the Commune, a settlement outside of Utopia’s boundaries. As he is exposed to ludicrous and foreign ideals, he is drawn deeper into the chasm caused by people seeking control of Utopia.

R.A. Rowlingson’s book Utopia? transports readers to a gloomy universe that is all too familiar. In this terrifying piece of fantasy fiction, horrible forces are developing within the city of Utopia. Many themes of this story resonate with our current reality, particularly the recent global political issues. The author subtly injects bits and pieces of truth into his craft that readers will surely indulge in.

The plot moves along at a steady pace, never dragging and never going too fast. My favorite aspect of Rowlingson’s writing has to be his meticulous attention to detail in character development and world-building. Readers will get to know the characters’ minds, learning their motives and inner struggles. The descriptions of the city and the Commune will have readers feeling like they are in the middle of everything and experiencing the conditions of the dwellers as they follow George.

Utopia? is a sinister and dark reflection of our reality as a whole. This dystopian novel will give readers a look into what could be their own post-apocalyptic world. Science fiction and fantasy readers will find this novel to be engaging, with plenty of unique characters and situations to explore.

Pages: 263 | ASIN : B09HQ43QV9

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