Review: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song

Title: Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song
Author: Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Titan Comics
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The Tenth Doctor and Gabriella Gonzalez return for a second year of cosmic adventures! 

A bold new season begins for the Tenth Doctor and companion Gabby Gonzalez! Whether facing down an evil corruption of sentient music on a gas giant, catching up on unseen trips with Gabby’s best friend Cindy Wu, or journeying back to the dawn of humankind to witness the clash between Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons, there are no limits to the adventure – or the danger!

Review:

The Doctor and his companion Gabby Gonzales go on adventures in this graphic novel. They start on a distant planet that has been invaded by an alien virus, and end up traveling to the past where they have to fight alien creatures with Neanderthals.

I’ve missed watching Doctor Who, since there haven’t been new episodes in months, so I decided to read some of the graphic novels. I’ve enjoyed the graphic novels in the past, but this one was a little disappointing.

This graphic novel wasn’t as exciting as I expected, and the Doctor wasn’t even in many of the scenes. There was a comic in the middle, which was about completely different characters and didn’t seem to have anything to do with the Doctor until the end. I was expecting more exciting stories about the Tenth Doctor.

Unfortunately, this graphic novel was a little disappointing.

What to read next:

Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 5: Arena of Fear by Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande

Other books in the series:

Have you read Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor, Vol. 4: The Endless Song? What did you think of it?

Review: Vengeful (Villains #2)

Title: Vengeful (Villains #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done. 

Review:

After Sydney brought Victor Vale back to life, he has to live with some changes to his superpower, including frequent death. Meanwhile the ExtraOrdinary Observation and Neutralization is trying to hunt down all of the EOs, or people with superpowers, they can find. They have to resort to their prisoner and asset, the villainous Eli Ever to track the new EOs. There’s a new ExtraOrdinary in town, and she’s like nothing they’ve seen yet.

These ExtraOrdinaries had incredibly destructive powers. They get their powers from being revived after death, and their power relates to their final thoughts before dying. There were complications with mixing different powers, such as when Victor had side effects after being brought back to life with Sydney’s power. These were creative powers with surprising consequences.

This story is told through alternating timelines, all leading to one massive event. Each chapter jumps to a different time period, whether years, weeks, or days before the final event. I thought this format would be confusing, but it’s actually easy to follow with the rhythm of the plot.

Vengeful is an exciting sequel to Vicious!

What to read next:

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Other books in the series:

Have you read Vengeful? What did you think of it?

Review: Resistance: A Graphic Novel

Title: Resistance: A Graphic Novel
Author: Val McDermid, Kathryn Briggs (illustrator)
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A gritty, dark tale of infectious disease gone wrong – the timely graphic novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Val McDermid

‘A brilliant and timely story, told with McDermid’s verve, style and passion. I couldn’t stop turning the pages, even when I could barely take the tension. Wonderful.’ Denise Mina

It’s the summer solstice weekend, and 150,000 people descend on a farm in the northeast of England for an open-air music festival. At first, a spot of rain seems to be the only thing dampening the fun – until a mystery bug appears. Before long, the illness is spreading at an electrifying speed and seems resistant to all antibiotics. Can journalist Zoe Meadows track the outbreak to its source, and will a cure be found before the disease becomes a pandemic?

A heart-racing thriller, Resistance imagines a nightmare pandemic that seems only too credible in the wake of COVID-19. Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid has teamed up with illustrator Kathryn Briggs to create a masterful graphic novel.

Review:

Journalist Zoe Meadows went to a music festival in Scotland to report on it. She didn’t expect the festival to be the start of a worldwide pandemic. The first cases can be traced back to Zoe’s friend’s food truck. Since Zoe was at the site of the start of the pandemic, so she wants to investigate it herself. The world is in a race against the disease before it takes over the word.

I believe this story was originally written before the pandemic, but it is so creepy to read now. I’ve learned more about pandemics and viruses in the last year than I ever thought I would know. This story seemed much more plausible than if I had read it years ago.

The disease in this story took over in a different way than Covid-19 did in our world. It was more difficult for the medical experts to treat and figure out the disease in the story. I think we were very lucky to have a vaccine developed so quickly. The characters in the graphic novel weren’t so lucky.

I loved the art in this graphic novel. Each page was a separate piece of art. The images were coloured with shades of black, white, and gray. The backgrounds were often collages of different scenes or newspaper articles, but they related to the subject matter in the story on that particular page. This kind of patchwork art reflected the way the characters had to piece together the disease and how to fight it.

Resistance is an honest graphic novel about a global pandemic.

Thank you Grove Atlantic for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim

Have you read Resistance? What did you think of it?

Review: Pizazz

Title: Pizazz
Author: Sophy Henn
Genre: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Discover the annoying side of being a superhero from snarky, reluctant hero Pizazz in this hilarious and highly illustrated new series for young middle graders—perfect for fans of Dog Man and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Most people think superhero work is awesome and fulfilling. Pizazz knows better. Whenever she’s in the middle of a movie or having fun with her friends, she has to dash off the save the world. And she’s always in the same outfit, including an embarrassing glittery cape, and the wedgies are unreal. Plus, being the good guy all the time is so not easy. Superheroes have bad days like everybody else, but Pizazz always has to be cheerful and noble and brave. More than anything, she just wants to be normal.

Review:

Pizazz is a superhero, but it isn’t easy. She has to dash off to fight villains while she’s with friends or even while she’s sleeping. And she always has to go to school the next day. Pizazz has to put on a happy face, because she’s a superhero who saves the world, even if she’s having a bad day. Plus, she thinks she has the worst superpower ever, but she has to use it sometimes to defeat villains. Even though Pizazz doesn’t like being a superhero, she’s always there to help her superhero family.

This was a fun superhero story. Pizazz feels like a lot of middle graders, which is uncomfortable with herself. She doesn’t like her place in her family because everyone else has a better superpower than her, even her little sister. She had to start at a new school so she didn’t feel included by the kids in her new class. Pizazz wanted to fit in with the popular kids, like her sister did, but she didn’t. Though most middle graders aren’t superheroes, I think a lot of them can relate to feeling out of place during that time in their life.

There were a few funny moments in this book. Pizazz and her family had a dog that would report to them on what villain they had to go fight. They had to fight unusual villains. There was Twerknado, who would twerk and destroy the city. There was also Goo Go, who was a giant baby fighting with baby toys. Pizazz’s secret superpower was saved and only revealed at the end of the book, so that was a funny part since she hated it so much but always ended up using it.

Pizazz is a fun start to a new series!

Thank you Simon Kids for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

How to Be a Supervillain by Michael Fry

Have you read Pizazz? What did you think of it?

Review: A Universe of Wishes

Title: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology
Author: Dhonielle Clayton (editor)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBT, Short Stories
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased from Owlcrate
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 8, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From We Need Diverse Books, the organization behind Flying Lessons & Other Stories, comes a young adult fantasy short story collection featuring some of the best own-voices children’s authors, including New York Times bestselling authors Libba Bray (The Diviners), Victoria Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic), Natalie C. Parker (Seafire), and many more. Edited by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles).

In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Samira Ahmed, Libba Bray, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, Kwame Mbalia, Anna-Marie McLemore, Tochi Onyebuchi, Mark Oshiro, Natalie C. Parker, Rebecca Roanhorse, Victoria Schwab, Tara Sim, Nic Stone, and a to-be-announced debut author/short-story contest winner

Review:

This is a collection of fantasy and science fiction stories written by diverse authors. These stories had characters of a variety of races, religions, and gender identities.

I used to think that I didn’t like short stories because the ones I read in school were literary and complicated to understand. If I had been introduced to collections like this book when I was younger, I would have read many more short stories before now!

Two of the stories are from the worlds of fantasy book series. The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libby Bray is from the Gemma Doyle series. A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab is from the Shades of Magic series. I’ve only read the Shades of Magic series, so it was fun to see this story from before the events of the series. I really want to read the Gemma Doyle series after reading that story.

I enjoyed all of these stories. I would read any of them if they were expanded into a full length novel. I had only read a handful of these authors before. I will definitely be reading more of the authors that were new to me.

I highly recommend this collection to YA fantasy and science fiction readers!

What to read next:

Vampires Never Get Old; Tales With Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker (editors)

Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles (editor)

Have you read A Universe of Wishes? What did you think of it?

Review: Stargazer

Title: Stargazer
Author: Anthony Cleveland
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Source: Diamond Book Distributors via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 11, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago Shae, her brother Kenny, and two childhood friends experienced a traumatic, unexplainable event that left Kenny scarred for life. Kenny commits himself to the belief that what they experienced was an alien abduction. Twenty years later and the friends have since drifted apart, but the sudden, mysterious disappearance of Kenny leads the group to reunite and discover the truth of what took place all those years ago.

Review:

When they were in middle school, Shae, her brother Kenny, and her two friends had an alien encounter that left her brother scarred for life. He had an accident and became obsessed with alien abductions. Now, twenty years later, Kenny mysteriously disappears, and only Shae and her friends have the key to finding him.

This was an entertaining story. There was a lot of mystery around the alien abduction when they were kids. It seemed like it really happened, but they were young so no one believed them. Even when they got older, Shae had to wonder if it really happened. Once her brother went missing as an adult, she had no choice but to believe he had actually been abducted by aliens.

This story alternated between the present and twenty years ago when the kids first encountered the aliens. The first time this happened, the two timelines were labeled so it was easy to see the time jump. However, the other times there wasn’t a label to indicate that the time period was changing. It was a little confusing to get used to at first. The older timeline had illustrations in more pink colours and the present story was in blue colours, which made it a little easier to tell them apart. It would have been a smoother transition if each jump in time was labeled.

I really enjoyed this sci fi graphic novel!

Thank you Diamond Book Distributors for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Villainous by Stonie Williams

Dark One, Vol. 1 by Brandon Sanderson, Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly

Have you read Stargazer? What did you think of it?

Review: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1)

Title: Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable #1)
Author: Charlie Jane Anders
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBT
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.

Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.

But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachel, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.

Buckle up your seatbelt for this thrilling sci-fi adventure set against an intergalactic war from international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders.

Review:

Tina Mains isn’t an ordinary girl. She was raised by her mother on Earth, but she was actually sent to her mother as an alien clone. Tina was given human DNA so she could blend in on Earth. Now, teenage Tina is being called up to space to fulfill her destiny and return to the role as Captain Thaoh, the person she was cloned from. However, the procedure to return Thaoh’s memories to Tina doesn’t go as planned, so she can’t take on the role of captain. She ends up bringing her best friend Rachael up to space with her, where they join the space crew on an adventure to save all the worlds in space.

This was a gender diverse story. Many of the characters in space were from different species, but they all introduced themselves with their name and then their preferred pronouns. I loved seeing this unity between the worlds, where they had the same form of introduction, even though each of the residents of the different worlds had different appearances and languages. I found this introduction funny at times when an enemy would introduce themself. They would take the time to say their name and pronoun before announcing that they were going to attack. This created a delay in the attack, which could have been avoided without introducing themselves, but it shows how important gender diversity is to their world.

This story was also really funny. The beginning seemed like a comedy of errors when everything went wrong. When Tina was supposed to become the captain she was cloned from, the procedure went wrong so she remained the human Tina. This ruined all of their work of making sure Tina was raised to replace Captain Thaoh. This was followed by another funny scene where they tried to recruit intelligent humans to join the crew. The way they found humans that were smart enough to join them was through a puzzle app. However, the humans they found may have been good at a game on their phone, but they weren’t necessarily the smartest people on Earth. These are just a few of the funny parts of this book.

This was a fun science fiction story with a humorous twist. I can’t wait to read the next book!

Thank you Tor Teen for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Have you read Victories Greater Than Death? What did you think of it?

Review: The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts #1)

Title: The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts #1)
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

Review:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto was preparing for her high school graduation when she was suddenly killed. She wakes up in a place called Infinity, where she’s offered a pill to numb the human pain that her consciousness still feels. She’s rescued by a team of rebels who are working against Queen Ophelia. Ophelia was the virtual assistant that everyone used on Earth, but she’s taken over Infinity with plans to erase humans and fill the world with her Residents. Nami is special because though she is human, she can alter her appearance to look like a Resident. Nami has to work with the rebel group to save the humans and defeat Ophelia and her sons.

This was an original story about death. I was enjoying Nami’s story in the first few chapters, where she was living like a normal teenager. Then, she was murdered and sent to Infinity, the afterlife for human consciousness. It was strange to be thrown into this new world that is so different from our world, but it was fast paced and mysterious that I had to keep reading.

This world had complicated relationships between the humans and the Residents. The humans served the Residents, and didn’t have awareness. The pill that they were offered after waking up in Infinity removed any awareness they had, so they could follow orders from the Residents. There were different courts that they could be sent to, including War and Death, which didn’t have positive outcomes for the humans sent there. The rare few who could escape without taking the pill and keep their awareness tried to rebel against the Residents.

The final chapters of this book were really surprising. There was a character who I found suspicious from the beginning. I was right in suspecting there was something wrong with that character but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I hope there will be a sequel because I really want to know what happens next!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Have you read The Infinity Courts? What did you think of it?

Review: Pleasant Grove

Title: Pleasant Grove
Author: Jason Price
Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Author
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 29, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Welcome to Pleasant Grove, a quiet small town where neighbor helps neighbor and doors are left unlocked at night-an unspoiled paradise with one peculiar feature: It’s enclosed by a glass dome.

No one can leave.
No one can enter.
No one can survive beyond the dome.

But then, a visitor arrives from the outside.

When 12-year-old Agnes Goodwin discovers a strange boy with no memory, she teams up with her best friends to unravel the mystery. Their extraordinary adventure will threaten everything they know…and everyone they love.

Review:

Twelve-year-old Agnes Goodwin lives in Pleasant Grove which is a town under a dome. Everything they need can be found in the dome. Their food is grown there and everyone works. Everyone knows each other and all the children go to school together. One day, Agnes sees a boy that she’s never seen before. This makes her start to wonder what is outside the dome. This strange boy must have come from somewhere else since she doesn’t know him. She brings her friends to investigate the dome, but what they discover threatens their town and life as they know it.

This was a thrilling science fiction story. It had a lot of similarities to the show Stranger Things and the Stephen King book Under the Dome. The people of Pleasant Grove had everything they needed in the dome, but there had to be something outside it. The story has a science fiction ending that made sense for the story.

This story is classified as a middle grade story, but the writing was more mature than writing for a middle grade reader. Just because the main character is of middle grade age, doesn’t mean the story has to be targeted to a middle grade reader. Some of the descriptive words were strange and unusual, such as “a family of strawberries” instead of a few or a handful of strawberries. The language could have been simpler and it would have made more sense.

This is a great story for fans of Stranger Things! This ebook will be free on Amazon from Feb. 22-26, so go check it out!

Thank you Jason Price for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Runaway Mix by Brenna Yovanoff

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

Have you read Pleasant Grove? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: We Could Be Heroes

Title: We Could Be Heroes
Author: Mike Chen
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 26, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.

Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.

Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.

When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.

Review:

Jamie woke up one day in an apartment with a note that said he has a superpower to read and erase minds. He decided to use that power to rob banks, giving him the name Mind Robber. Zoe also woke up in an apartment with a note that said she has super strength and a name tag with Zoe Wong written on it. Zoe stops criminals and has been given the name Throwing Star. When Jamie and Zoe clash, they start to realize there are similarities between their pasts. The two vigilantes work together to figure out where they came from.

This was such a thrilling superhero story. It started out with Jamie and Zoe in action, with him robbing a bank and her trying to stop him. It developed into a broader story about identity. There were loads of secrets that they kept from each other and that they had to learn along the way. I really couldn’t put this book down.

My only criticism is that the ending felt a little long. There was a long, technical action scene. However, the final pages were definitely worth the wait!

This is a great science fiction superhero story!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

About the author:

Mike Chen is a lifelong writer, from crafting fan fiction as a child to somehow getting paid for words as an adult. He has contributed to major geek websites (The Mary Sue, The Portalist, Tor) and covered the NHL for mainstream media outlets. A member of SFWA and Codex Writers, Mike lives in the Bay Area, where he can be found playing video games and watching Doctor Who with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Have you read We Could Be Heroes? What did you think of it?