Utopia by L.J. Higgins

The following is the description that I read to spark an interest in Utopia.

“In a single moment, Aurora’s life is forever changed…

The floating city Utopia, is all sixteen-year-old Aurora has ever known. Along with three other cities, it is home to the only survivors of the cataclysmic events that ended life on Earth sixteen years ago.

After witnessing her mother’s gruesome murder, Aurora finds herself on the run from the very people who are meant to protect her. With the help of her best friend, Fletcher, Aurora must find the truth behind her mother’s execution and why she is being hunted.

Someone wants the facts to remain hidden, but Aurora won’t stop until each hurtful truth is revealed. When her search takes an unexpected turn, nothing can prepare her for the answers that prove her entire existence has been built on a lie.

Will the truth set her free?”

Utopia is another first in a series book. This one was new to me though. It’s a futuristic sci-fi book. The book follows the story of Aurora, 16 years old and living on Utopia. Aurora’s birthday takes an unexpected turn and leads to her running for her life. Secrets are revealed, and Aurora is no longer sure what the truth is, or how much of her life has been a lie.

The first thing I’m going to say is that this book is definitely full of suspenseful moments. There’s fighting, breaking into and out of places, and more. So, if you like a good action filled book, Utopia is totally for you.

Now, as for what I am taking away from this book? Family isn’t always who you’re actually related to. Sometimes families choose each other and sometimes you honestly just get lucky and end up with the people you need in life. Maybe that’s not really the whole idea behind the book, but I’m seeing that theme coming up in it.

Other things to think about if you are considering reading Utopia? It is the first of a series, so L.J. Higgins does some impressive world building and creating something that allows you to imagine a whole new way of life. I can imagine it will continue to build throughout the next three books, which I definitely plan to give a chance to. Let me know if you give Utopia and Aurora’s story a chance too. I’ll be looking forward to picking up book two in a few weeks!

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Obernewtyn

So, I just finished reading book number one for the year. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. This book and the author hold special meaning to me, so even though I have already read it, it’s where I wanted to start. I don’t recall the exact year, but I would have been in middle school at the time. I was at home when my mom suggested going to the school and listening to an author give a talk. Off I went, a short walk away and sat in on Isobelle Carmody talking about her books and writing. Much of the talk I don’t recall, I was the youngest one there though. At the end, she donated a copy of Obernewtyn to our library as well as a few other books. Of course, I was the first to check them out and read them. The Obernewtyn series remains a love of mine to this day. I even ordered paperback copies from Australia at one point just so I could have my own. I need to reorder the whole set with matching cover art some time to add to my library.

Obernewtyn follows the journey of the orphan Elspeth. It is a glimpse into a terrible future, where some disaster has wiped out much of the world and left some people with deformities, either physical or mental, known as Misfits. Those who have been affected by what they call the Great White are sent away to perform manual labor not fit for those who are “normal”. Elspeth is unique among the people and her deformities result in special abilities. When it is discovered that she is a Misfit, Elspeth is sent to the mountains, to Obernewtyn, where she will discover many secrets are kept.

I’m sure, based on the above, that you already know I’m a huge fan of Obernewtyn and Isobelle Carmody. Obernewtyn is the first book in the series and so much of it is based on world building and character introduction. It’s a short, quick read really, but worth it, especially if you continue on to the books that follow. Isobelle Carmody creates a world that has undergone serious damage, and while it feels like this story takes place a long time ago, it is the story of a future none of us would want to live in.

I am drawn to this book because of Elspeth, the main character whose point of view Obernewtyn follows. You get glimpses of her history as memories are sparked on her journey. I spent some time reading other reviews of the book and came across a few that criticized Elspeth for being a heroine that could not rescue herself. For some reason, that particular view left me thinking a great deal as I reread the book. What I see in Elspeth is a girl who is so determined to not need anyone else. I don’t think her tale is one where she has to be her own hero, but rather one where she has to learn that sometimes being alone and separate from everyone else isn’t what you need. Sometimes a helping hand or a friend to lean on is more important than all the independence in the world. For a girl who has grown up like Elspeth has, in a world where trusting anyone is not suggested, learning to trust is the bravest thing you can do.

Overall, what I can tell you about Obernewtyn is that as a stand alone novel, it would be lacking so much, but as the start of a series, it gives you just a taste of what is to come. Elspeth and her new found friends have more adventures ahead of them, and characters have just barely been introduced. Hopefully you’ll give Isobelle Carmody and Obernewtyn the chance they deserve. And even more, I hope that you’ll return for the second book.

Australian Women Writers Challenge

Well, here goes nothing! I have recently been introduced to the Australian Women Writers Challenge and am going to try it for the first time for 2019.

What does that mean? I’ll be reading books by women from Australia along with my normal reading. Since this whole thing is new to me, blogging and the challenge… I’m starting by signing up to read 10 books and review 6 of them over the year. I hope to go beyond that number, but want to give myself something more achievable to start.

I’m planning to start with a few books I’ve already read in the past, but, I’ll be reading them again with reviewer’s eyes instead of just entertainment eyes. Book one for me will be Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. Mostly because Isobelle Carmody is the reason I first read any Australian novel.

After that, I have a few ideas, but to be safe, we’ll just see where this adventure takes me and you as you follow my journey.

I’d also like to thank the Book Muse for introducing me to this challenge and convincing me to start a blog to go with it. If this goes wrong, it’s totally her fault!! See you soon!