Review: Reintegration by Ashley Bogner

Reintegration (Reintegration #1)Reintegration by Ashley Bogner

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

My Review

Ashley Bogner’s debut novel, Reintegration, calls to mind some of the best dystopian books of our age–books such as Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy, Nadine Brandes’ Out of Time Trilogy, and The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. It also follows the dystopian pattern of three, being the first of a trilogy. The sequel is set to release in 2018.

Reintegration’s strongest suit is its characterization. The reader is deeply immersed in Katherine Holliday’s point of view, and experiences the entire plot through her eyes. It was impossible for me not to connect with Katherine on some level, because while reading this book, I was Katherine. I was thinking her thoughts, feeling her emotions, and following along with all of her actions and reactions.

The deep characterization did lead to some drawbacks, however–for the first 60% of the book or so, I felt like the plot was spinning its wheels a bit. Katherine rehashed the same issues over and over, without coming to any real conclusions. It wasn’t until she decided to stop worrying and start acting that the book hit the ground running. Once the plot stopped revving its engine and got started for real, it took off at light-speed and never looked back.

The last quarter or so of the book was especially phenomenal. I could not read fast enough to find out what was going to happen! Bogner packs a lot of punches into those last few pages, making up for the slow beginning several times over. There are a lot of secrets hinted at through out the book that weren’t explained by the final page, and some major surprises that I wasn’t expecting. Miss Bogner has chosen to play her cards close to her chest, and there’s no telling what will happen in the following books.  I’m rating Reintegration 3.75 stars out of 5. While Reintegration dragged some through the beginning and middle, the end made up for it with non-stop action and surprises. I’m hoping that the sequels will keep the action going, and get off to a flying start.

 

Recommended for Ages 13 and up

Cultural Elements
None.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None. 

Romance/Sexual Content
Some light kissing, hand-holding, and hugging. 

Spiritual Content
Matthew is a Christian, and shares his faith with other characters in the book, resulting in one or more conversions. The Federation teaches relative morality (that there is no “right” or “wrong,” and everything is a matter of opinion), and intolerance is a punishable crime under the Federation.

Violent Content
One violent death. Several injuries (some by  use of a “stunner”–a taser-like weapon, and others by fist fights.)

Drug Content
Matthew is drugged to forget his past. A character takes a medical drug later, and experiences painful side effects.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Cross-posted on The Story Sanctuary on August 18th, 2017.

Review: Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Murder, Magic, and What We WoreMurder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Review

This was a fantastic light-hearted read. Rollicking and reckless, it kept up its tongue-in-cheek humor while still keeping me intrigued as Miss Annis attempted to puzzle out her father’s mysterious death. The plot was slightly predictable, but the wild humor kept everything fresh enough to hold my amusement.

This book did stretch my suspension of disbelief until it began to fray like a thread. However, I think that was intensional. The story is intended to entertain, rather than immerse, and for that purpose it works beautifully.

I loved the magic system in this book. It fit so perfectly with the historical period in which the story was set. Also, I liked how there were dashes of history thrown into the midst of the suspense, as it helped to ground the story a little more (and keep that thread of disbelief from snapping entirely).

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is comparable to the Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal while being easier to read (and cleaner) for the younger generation. Fans of Cindy Antsey’s books will also fall in love with this comedy of manners. Overall, I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. I hope that the author decides to make this book into a series, as I’m very curious to see what Annis and her friends do next!

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

Cultural Elements
Most of the characters in this book are English. One minor character is described as being either West Indian or African. Some antagonism (characteristic of the time period) toward those of French descent are shown.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
None.

Romance/Sexual Content
One character is insinuated to have attempted to rape several maids. He attacks Annis at one point, and it is assumed that he has less-than-honorable intentions. One proposal of marriage. One remark that it is not considered good form to allow a young gentlemen’s lips to approach a young lady’s.

Spiritual Content
A few characters dress as characters from Greek mythology for a masquerade.

Violent Content
A few suspicious deaths (off page). A few attacks, including one insinuated to be an attempted rape. Some injuries. Nothing graphic.

Drug Content
Characters drink and serve alcoholic drinks as a matter of course. One character comments on a memory of a lady getting drunk and behaving in a silly manner. More alcohol is added to the punch at the masquerade to insure that the guests forget the unusual events of the evening.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Originally posted on The Story Sanctuary on July 24th, 2017

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