Tag Archives: ya dystopian

Retaliation (The Mind Breaker Trilogy #2) by Marina Epley Review

It’s time to return to the dark, bloody world of The Mind Breaker Trilogy. In Marina Epley’s second novel of the series, Retaliation, the war
between humans and mind breakers deepens, as series protagonist Rex straddles the line between resistance hero and mankind’s most feared terrorist.
Here is the synopsis for the Dystopian novel:

RETALIATION is the second novel in THE MIND BREAKER trilogy, set in a violent dystopian world where governmental forces wage war against humans
with psychic abilities.

Against all odds, Rex escapes from an Elimination prison and joins Retaliation, a rebel group consisting of humans with abilities in hypnotism,
memory reading and telepathy. Unfortunately, this place turns out a bit different from the sanctuary he dreams about. Half of the rebels are
hardened criminals, and the rest are merely children, kids brainwashed into hating and killing any non-breakers they encounter.

In Retaliation, Rex decides to try and change things from the inside before the criminals take over, simultaneously looking for a way to
capture his hated enemy, Captain Wheeler. But it happens that the captain is always one step ahead, and has been planning an opportunity to
destroy Rex. He takes Rex’s mother and sister hostage, demanding Rex to surrender. So Rex now has to figure out how to save his relatives from
Wheeler and rescue trapped Retaliation recruits from the hardened criminal element currently taking over the group.

The underlying problem is that no matter what he decides, it always seems to be exactly what Elimination wanted him to do. In believing that
he is fighting a just war against his enemies, Rex may well happen to be nothing more than a puppet in somebody else’s game.

With Elimination seemingly ahead of him at every turn, the struggle for Rex is very real. Facing enemies both from the outside world and from
within his own group, Rex must find a way to stop Elimination and his foe, Captain Wheeler, and stop the hatred brewing on both sides between humans
and breakers. The writing in this story is real and passionate, and does a marvelous job of developing complex characters that you will either
love or hate deeply, making it an even richer story.

The themes of this story are a powerful one, especially in this day and age. The hatred and violence the breakers feel towards humans and the
humans feel towards breakers are an excellent study of prejudice against minorities or people who are different from the “norm” of society. It
speaks volumes for the hatred that is born out of fear of the unknown, and showcases the difficult path that acceptance and peace runs on.

Overall, this is a phenomenal novel. Fans of the dystopian genre will love delving into this series, and if you haven’t read the first book,
I highly suggest you do. Marina Epley is a talented indie author who is sure to storm the dystopian world with her insightful and thought-provoking
work, and that is why I give her novel, Retaliation, a 8 out of 10 rating, and highly recommend you guys check it out for yourself! We look forward
to reading the final chapter of this series and hope to see Rex find a way to end this war once and for all.

Red Death by Jeff Altabef Book Review

Fantasy and Dystopian genres blend together beautifully in author Jeff Altabef’s novel, Red Death. Exploring the impact of religion on various
groups of people and the dangers of how it dictates their lives, Red Death delves into the lives of several young people throughout this
deadly world, with various tribes and Kingdoms conflicting with one another and the mysteries of this world waiting to be unlocked by one
courageous hero. Here is the synopsis:

Every child of Eden fears the Red Death. All those afflicted with the plague die young, their souls stripped away as punishment for ancient
sins long forgotten. For centuries, Guardians have protected Eden from the Red Death by killing outsiders who stray too close. They must
keep Eden a secret if they are to survive.

Seventeen-year-old Aaliss is a highly-trained and dedicated Guardian, but when her rather odd thirteen-year-old brother discovers a cure to
the plague, her world is turned upside down. The discovery is a miracle, yet miracles are dangerous in Eden.

The corrupt, all-powerful High Priest brands Aaliss and her brother Wilky as traitors, forcing them to run. They seek refuge in the last
place Aaliss thought she’d ever go—beyond the boundaries of Eden, and into the land of the Soulless. Here they must navigate a medieval
world filled with witches, magic, and warrior kingdoms run by Elders who are only a few years older than her.

Aaliss yearns to return home to Eden, but she must protect Wilky at all costs. And when her heart tugs her deeper into the world of the
Soulless, she questions everything she once believed, everything the Priests had taught her about those who live outside Eden—they are
forever cursed, savage, soulless.

Has her soul been taken? Will she and Wilky fall victim to the Red Death, or might they die sooner in the center of a battle that threatens
to tear apart the Soulless world? Or… might Aaliss finally find, against all odds, what her heart has yearned for all along?

This was an incredibly well written novel. The dark dystopian world is so vividly described that you can visualize the characters in your
mind. The action and plot of this incredible book took this reader on a roller coaster of emotions and created a world that can easily
pass for a dystopian version of our own. The themes of this novel have never been more true than in this day and age, from the dark side of
power in religion, to the judgement we often have for anyone who isn’t a part of our own culture, to the true meaning of family and how
a person can find family in the most unlikely of places.

It was refreshing to see the gender roles reversed from the “traditional” book styles, where a man is the hardened warrior and the female
needs rescuing or needs to be taught how to fight. Aaliss is a seasoned warrior, and the male lead of this novel that fans will meet must
seek her help for a quest, and must use her skills in order to learn and survive. It shows a welcome trend of strong female characters that
may be flawed but still become the epic hero of the story and prove that they don’t need a man to save them. It helps to break down the
gender stereotypes of our world and showcases that a person’s gender doesn’t define a hero, but rather their actions.

This is a beautifully dark world that has been created by Jeff Altabef, and is a promising first novel in a brand new series. This new world
promises to bring deadly threats to Aaliss and the rest of the people she befriends in this novel, and shows that the world she knows is
going to change drastically. Filled with twists and turns, characters we love and characters we love to hate, this is a fantastic read that
every dystopian and Fantasy reader must check out, so make sure you pick up your copies of Red Death today!

10/10 Stars

The Deadbringer by E.M. Markoff Book Review:

It’s not often that a reader gets the chance to meet with the author of a book they just purchased, but that’s where I found myself when I made
my recent trip to San Francisco Comic Con and met author E.M. Markoff. While speaking, she told me of her book, The Deadbringer, and getting to
see the passion in which she spoke of it really got me interested in reading this story, and I have to say that after reading this book, I can
understand why she felt so strongly for this tale.

First, here’s the synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Purging, the Deadbringers are no more. The Ascendancy has positioned itself as the land’s dominant power by exploiting
the people’s fear of the Deadbringers’ innate abilities to summon souls and reanimate the dead. Yet its hold is not complete, for in the North
the Bastion stands in the way of the Ascendancy and its iron-willed elite soldiers, the Sanctifiers.

But, somehow, a single Deadbringer has managed to survive. Kira Vidal, a boy of fifteen, has remained hidden, living peacefully with his uncle
in the northern city of Opulancae under the Bastion’s protection. But it seems their luck is at an end when rumors begin to spread, and a
strange man shows up at their door, seeking the forbidden services of a Deadbringer.

Aware of the dangers should word of his nature reach the Ascendancy, Kira makes a promise to himself to protect his beloved uncle at all costs,
even if it means pursuing the limits of his powers … and learning painful truths.

This novel was beautifully written. The rich history that fits into this nearly 300 page novel is breathtaking to behold, with several different
species and powers being revealed through complex layers of history established as the story goes on. The intricate and delicate line that the
characters struggle to balance on to define their own moral compass is fascinating to watch unfold, and getting to see the various ways each
character views the world and the way in which they justify their actions makes this an incredibly complex world to dive into. This is a mature
YA novel that any fantasy fan should not miss, so be sure to pick up your copies of The Deadbringer today! This reader cannot wait to dive into
more adventures with Kira Vidal and discover more about this fantastic new YA mythology!

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings Book Review:

Murder is the new normal in this visceral YA novel!

What would our world look like if murder became a way of life? How would two people who were born and raised in that bloody world survive? That’s the question answered in the first novel of New York Times bestselling author Lindsay Cummings series, The Murder Complex.

First, the plot:

A cure for human disease has been found, and overpopulation sets in, causing the society in this bleak dystopian novel to create an official murder compound. Cummings builds an intense, distinct world full of rogue pirates and government commandments. Meadow’s main concern is taking care of her family, and her father has trained her to survive in any situation, making her a tough fighter. Zephyr is an unhappy ward assigned to carry out the Initiative’s violent commands. After a chance encounter brings the two together, they form an immediate bond, though the reasons for their desire are not set up beforehand, which leads to a forced romance. The point of view alternates between the teens, but it is difficult to distinguish between their narrative voices. This dismal look at the darker side of humanity raises interesting questions of wealth, power, and privacy, yet none of them is fully explored.

This was a fantastic and heart-pounding read. The brutal reality of a world where the law of the land is murder, readers are able to get a great look at two very different perspectives. One is ruled by hopelessness and humor, the other by ruthless survival and family. The way these characters are introduced and the plot which brings them together is an incredible journey that is not to be missed, so be sure to pick up your copies of author Lindsay Cummings book, The Murder Complex, today!

Author Interview with Marina Epley, author of “The Mind Breaker Trilogy”

Here is a fun interview we did with author Marina Epley for her incredible YA/Dystopian novel series, The Mind Breaker Trilogy!

1) What
inspired you to write Elimination and create the world of this dystopian
series?

I’ve actually
been fascinated by the idea of mind control for quite some time. The character
Rex first came to me almost 10 years ago, although it was difficult to find the
perfect setting for the story. About two years ago I was watching Schindler’s
List, one of my favorite movies, and realized that this is a type of situation
to throw characters in and see how they react. Afterward, creating the setting
and characters came easily.

2) What drew
you to write in the YA/Dystopian genre?

I was
initially writing contemporary fiction for YA, but this genre never seemed to
provide enough freedom for imaginative ideas. I switched to dystopian because the
genre has less limitations and provides a fantastic opportunity for world
building. I love writing dark, gritty stories filled with action and danger,
and the dystopian world seems like the perfect setting to accommodate.

3) Are there
any characters in Elimination that are based on people in your life? (I.E. Rex,
Kitty, etc)

I never base
characters on real people, only using some singular features of people I’ve
known. My characters often seem to take on a life of their own and control
their destinies within the story, even more so than I do. The characters I
write about also have a tendency to influence me, just like real people.

4) Was there
an author or a particular book that inspired you to write?

Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov gave me a lot of confidence
and inspiration because he was one of only a handful of native speaking
Russians to successfully become an American author. I’m following a similar
path.

5) What drew
you into the writing world?

I guess I’ve never consciously chosen to become a writer, the choice
seems to have been made for me. The real world just never seemed to be enough
for me. Around the age of twelve, I was already writing short stories to share
with classmates. They could never get enough, so I realized at that early age a
future in writing fiction was possible.

6) If there
was one genre of writing you could never write, what would it be and why?

I doubt I
will go back to contemporary fiction, because the genre has too many limitations.
However, I’ll keep an open mind and enjoy experimenting with different genres
in writing.

7) What is
your favorite part of the writing process: character development or plot
creation?

I love
creating new worlds, although character development excites me more. I enjoy
putting my characters into dangerous situations and forcing them to make
difficult choices. Watching them change and grow within a story is to me the
most thrilling part of my work.

8) What
social media network do you enjoy using to connect with readers the most?

So far, I
prefer Twitter and Goodreads.

9) If you
could collaborate with any author, (living or dead), who would it be and why?

It would have
to be my favorite crime-fiction writer Jim Thompson. I’m drawn to his brilliant
ability for exploring the minds of psychopaths and killers, as well as writing
about something that doesn’t fit a social norm. Reading his books gave me additional confidence to write what I
want and to be bold in my writing.

10) What are
your future plans for the Mind Breaker Trilogy? Any other books you are working
on outside of the trilogy?

I’m
currently preparing the third book in the Mind Breaker Trilogy, Annihilation,
for publication on Amazon. I’m also planning to soon have my books available in
paperback. At the same time, I’m working on a new YA series, Roamers from the
Darkness. A story about a shy, sixteen-year-old scavenger who must transform
into a fearless warrior in order to liberate herself and her friends out of
slavery. It’s been quite challenging, as I’ve never before worked with a female
protagonist.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerdystopian/?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarinaEpley

Elimination: The Mind Breaker Trilogy Book 1 by Marina Epley Book Review:

It’s not often one finds themselves at the forefront of a fantastic new YA series, and yet that is what’s happened to this reviewer after reading author Marina Epley’s Elimination, the first in the Mind Breaker Trilogy!

First, the description.

ELIMINATION is the first novel in THE MIND BREAKER trilogy, set in a violent dystopian world where governmental forces hunt down, imprison and even kill those with psychic abilities.

Rex is an eighteen-year-old mind breaker hoping to keep a low profile. Unfortunately, he was forced to use hypnosis on criminals during an attempted bank robbery, revealing his abilities. Now considered a national threat to society, he has to flee through devastated countryside in order to remain alive. Even worse, by going on the run, he’s endangering his one and only friend Kitty, another strong hypnotist.
Rex soon realizes that together they make a vulnerable target. And the only way to save Kitty is to allow himself to be captured, thus diverting attention while his friend escapes. But nothing goes as planned, as his actions only serve to push Kitty into an even worse situation than a life sentence in prison. With his world falling apart, Rex must figure out how to fix his accumulating mistakes and regain their freedom before it’s too late.
What Rex doesn’t yet understand, is that he may soon play a major role in preventing all-out war between ordinary humans and mind breakers, a war which could lead to total extinction of the entire human race.

The dystopian future created by Epley feels so real in this first book that one expects to open their front door and see it for themselves. The complex world that protagonist Rex is forced to navigate conjures up feelings of anxiousness, fear and loneliness that can mirror parts of our world.

What really makes me love this book is how similar in plot the novel mirrors both our world and the world created by legendary comic book company Marvel, and that is the world of the X-Men. The fear of the unknown or different showcases a human tendency to judge, hate and cast out people who don’t follow the “social norm” that they create. It’s a fantastic social point made through a well written and amazingly creative novel, and I can’t wait to see more from this incredibly talented emerging author, so be sure to pick up your copy of Elimination: The Mind Breaker Trilogy #1 by Marina Epley today!

Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HW5AKK0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_kdFNxbQ9H5DQ9