Category Archives: Dystopia

The Ones We’re Meant to Find -a review

TOWMTFThe Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Two sisters. An unputdownable story.

Cee woke up on the shores of an abandoned island three years ago with no idea how she got there. Now eighteen, she lives in a shack with an ageing android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and she has to escape to find her.

From the safety of the eco-city floating above Earth, now decimated by natural disasters, sixteen-year-old Kasey mourns Cee whom she’s sure is dead. She too wants to escape: the eco-city is meant to be a sanctuary for people who want to save the planet, but its inhabitants are willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Is Kasey ready to use technology to help Earth, even though it failed her sister?

Cee and Kasey think that what they know about each other and their world is true. Both are wrong. If you loved We Were Liars or Black Mirror, you’ll love The Ones We’re Meant to Find, a clever, inspirational thriller.

Published 4 May 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

My main reason in picking up this book is the POC author and I thought the premise of the story, of 2 sisters trying to reach each other, is interesting. However, the novel is really not what I expected which could be a really good thing but it wasn’t, this time, not for me anyway.

Firstly, I just found the book really confusing. It took me a long time to come to some sort of understanding of the apocalyptic nature of the time. Then, the flashing back and forth between time (before & after separation) also threw me on a loop. It just made me feel that I’m not clever enough to understand the novel.

So, when twists came about, I just wasn’t that surprised but it did help my brain to click and I started to be able to untangle some of my confusion. It just took a really long time to get there. And then the ending was just to vaguely open for my liking; I really feel there should be more of a closure especially after all the effort of untangling the mess in my head.

While I understand there’s some really important message in this novel, the story or structure of this story is really not one for me.

Thank you Text Publishing via Netgalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

Blog Tour: The Unseen Ones by Danielle Harrington + Giveaway (INT)

The Unseen Ones
Danielle Harrington
(The Hollis Timewire Series, #2)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After the government’s brutal attack on the Diseased Ones, Hollis Timewire must wade through the carnage of her treacherous mistake. The survivors want justice, and now Hollis faces impending execution. Each day, she must prove herself to be a model community member. But chopping firewood for the new camp in the forest isn’t enough. Hollis longs to redeem herself, and this sparks an idea to rescue the little boy from the Testing Center. Stealing the government’s secret weapon might just be the perfect way to destabilize the system – enough to bring the whole thing crumbling down. But unseen forces are at work. The world is not what it appears to be, and society has a dark secret that not even Hollis is prepared to face.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This is a review for a second book in a series so there may be hints of spoilers but I will try to be as spoiler free as possible.

The first book, The Diseased Ones, ended in a cliffhanger which this sequel picks up within seconds of that moment. I did get a bit annoyed at Hollis for her naivety combined with her impulsiveness just get her into bigger and bigger trouble. I hoped that she got better in this sequel.

In The Unseen Ones, Hollis has to live & work through the massive consequences of her action. She’s lost a part of herself and she needed to earn trust back all at the same time. She came up with a brilliant idea on how she could earn that trust back again but of course, things can’t just be that simple. And at the end, she found herself trying to fry a bigger fish than she can handle. Thankfully, it’s not a cliffhanger ending like the first book but it was still a curious ending. I’d like to know where the author is taking Hollis and her friends in their next journey.

I have enjoyed both books in the series to date as they are both very fast reads; easily put down and pick up as I go about with my kids. It’s a great book to wind down with as well as it doesn’t need too much brain power and yet, it’s got enough action to keep my interest.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for 4x ebook copies of The Unseen Ones (ends Dec-17)

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About the author

Danielle Harrington is a high school chemistry teacher with a passion for the pen and a knack for storytelling. She got her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Biola University, and although she’s a hardcore science nerd, she’s always been a lover of the arts.

She grew up acting and singing and has turned her love for drama into writing. Danielle lives vicariously through her characters and considers it great fun because she “gets to play all the parts”.

Danielle lives in LA with her husband, Steven, and her two cats, Moose and Turtle. She is working on a four book young adult dystopian fiction series, and she’s beyond thrilled to be launching her debut novel, THE DISEASED ONES, through Acorn Publishing.

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Blog Tour: Indigo Owl by Charline Archbold

 

Indigo Owl by Charlie Archbold

Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Australian RRP: $24.99

After Earth was destroyed by climate change and overpopulation, private corporations colonised new planets. On one such planet, Galbraith,the fertility of its citizens is tightly controlled. But at what cost?

When Scarlet Bergen leaves her childhood home to be trained at the Arcadia Institute, harnessing her psychic Solitaire talents, it feels like the beginning of her future. But on the Institute steps, her father whispers a life-changing secret about the past. Her mother, a geneticist who disappeared when Scarlet was ten, had enemies …

Scarlet vows to discover the truth about her mother – and is joined in her mission by fellow cadets with their own family secrets and special talents: tech-savvy Rumi, a tenacious truth-hunter, and Dylan, the aloof classmate who can literally read her mind.

Together, they’ll uncover a planet-wide conspiracy … and discover that there’s little the Galbraith Executives won’t do to get what they want.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | A&R  | Wakefield Press

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

Somehow, I have gotten into the habit of not reading the book blurb / description / synopsis before I started reading. I would have read it some time before I decided to get my hands on the book so at one point in time, I wanted to read it, so I’d just jumped in. Therefore, most times I’ve no idea what I got myself in for. And such is the case with Indigo Owl because I didn’t realise that it was set in a different planet and for a while, I was really confused! So that’s the first thing you should know… This book is set on a completely different and very very cold planet called Galbraith.

There are 3 perspectives but Scarlet’s the primary one while Rumi’s & Dylan’s felt like they revolve around her. I guess this is really Scarlet’s story but we do need Rumi’s & Dylan’s help to know what’s happening around Scarlet. This makes me feel that Scarlet is very focused on the one thing (her mother) and so quite blind in her peripheral vision. She could be likeable but I actually prefer Rumi with all her “unbalanced” angle. I must admit though that at the end, they both improved so much! Scarlet could be a good friend but again, I don’t feel that friendship any particularly well with anyone. And I also find the romance a little bit lacklustre.

Indigo Owl was a very easy read with a truly fascinating setting with a sort of low key creepy vibe in the way of The Handmaid’s Tale. With a fast pace and an engaging mystery, it is a captivating read.

Thanks to Wakefield Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Charlie has worked as a primary years educator for many years. She has a Master of Education Degree in Studies of Asia and has spent time teaching in the UK, Australia, and Indonesia. In addition to teaching she has a passion for creative writing. Her new young adult novel is Indigo Owl.

Charlie’s debut young adult novel, Mallee Boys, was the recipient of the 2016 Adelaide Literary Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and was a 2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour book. Her middle grade manuscript, Red Bottomed Boat, was shortlisted for the 2020 Text Prize.

Find Charlie on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Review: The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy

The Last Migration by Charlotte McConaghy

For readers of Station Eleven and Everything I Never Told You, a debut novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world’s last birds – and her own final chance for redemption.

‘An extraordinary novel… as beautiful and as wrenching as anything I’ve ever read.’ Emily St John Mandel. ‘This novel is enchanting, but not in some safe, fairytale sense. Charlotte McConaghy has harnessed the rough magic that sears our souls. I recommend The Last Migration with my whole heart.’ Geraldine Brooks

For readers of Station Eleven and Everything I Never Told You, a debut novel set on the brink of catastrophe, as a young woman chases the world’s last birds – and her own final chance for redemption.A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.

How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.

As animal populations plummet and commercial fishing faces prohibition, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny’s life begin to unspool. A daughter’s yearning search for her mother. An impulsive, passionate marriage. A shocking crime. Haunted by love and violence, Franny must confront what she is really running towards – and from.

The Last Migration is a wild, gripping and deeply moving novel from a brilliant young writer. From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds.

Published 4 August 2020 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Franny Stone is desperate. Desperate to follow the Artic terns on what could be their last migration. She has a mission to fulfil for her beloved husband and she’ll not fail. The world is falling apart, many creatures have been deemed extinct, if not close to, and fisheries are close to being outlawed. She found a boat that will take her to where she needs to go but along the way, she’s also found life…

Mam used to tell me to look for the clues.
‘The clues to what?’ I asked the first time.
‘To life. They’re hidden everywhere.’

This setting is certainly not of today’s world although it feels that it certainly couldn’t be far off with the way we’ve used the earth so harshly. Even as the book is slotted into ‘science fiction’ or ‘dystopia’, please do not let this stop you because most of the time, it really doesn’t feel like a science fiction novel to me. I actually have to keep reminding myself that it’s not exactly ‘today’ as I read it.

The Last Migration is an achingly beautiful love story; that special love between 2 people, bonds of friendships, and an overwhelming pull of the sea, the birds, all nature. The beautiful prose completely pulled me in and I’ve spent today drowning in this tale only to resurface wanting to get back in. A hopeless yet hopefully determined purposeful ending from which we can all take a page from.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Charlotte McConaghy has been writing from a young age. She has both a Graduate Degree in Screenwriting and a Masters Degree in Screen Arts, and has worked in script development for film and television for several years. She has written a number of speculative fiction books but The Last Migration is her first literary novel. She lives in Sydney.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  facebook  |  twitter

Review: Pinkers by Alison Croggon & Daniel Keene

Pinkers (Newport City #2) by Alison Croggon & Daniel Keene

The revolution has begun. But where does it end?

The banns are in lockdown, making it all but impossible for Dez, Bo and their friends to resist the authoritarianism of Newport City. Bo believes that the mysterious power of the water is the key to winning their struggle, but Dez is deeply troubled about his increasing obsession.

Meanwhile up-and-coming soap star Erin Saba is in trouble. In Newport City, there’s nowhere to hide. Especially if you’re Erin Saba…

Published 15 August 2020 |  Publisher: Newport Street Books  |  RRP: AUD$1199 (ebook)

Buy it at: A&R  |  Amazon AU

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

In the first book of Newport City series, Fleshers, we see certain young people rising up against injustices suffered by their people. In this exciting sequel, Pinkers, we read of the immediate aftermath of a particular action followed by escalation of conflicts between the fleshers and pinkers. If you don’t know what these terms mean, I won’t spoil you but direct you to read Fleshers instead 😉

Following the first book, we have alternating perspectives between Dez and Bo (flesher siblings) but we also have additional perspective, Erin Saba (pinker). I thought this last perspective was a very interesting addition as we have, to date, not heard of a pinker’s perspective even as we know not all are bad. As Dez, Bo, their mother and friends are preparing to fight for a chance at a better life, Erin felt her life was not as it should be. As it happened, life turns out to be quite different for Erin when she found herself amongst the fleshers.

Dez has an obsessive personality but a very big & kind heart. Bo has a goal in mind and is focused on getting there. Erin was just hopeless, really, but let’s just say that she learns a LOT by the end. They may all see the world differently but they also all see the potential for it to be better; they are seeking to bridge differences. Pinkers is an exciting and thoroughly enjoyable sequel and as I think that not everything is tidied up yet, I have hope for another instalment.

My thanks to the authors for providing me with an ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alison Croggon is an award-winning novelist, poet, theatre writer, critic and editor who lives in Melbourne, Australia. She works in many genres and her books and poems have been published to acclaim nationally and internationally. She is arts editor for The Saturday Paper and co-editor of the performance criticism website Witness.

Find Alison on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  |  twitter

Daniel Keene has written for the theatre since 1979. He has written over 70 plays, both short works and full length.

Find Daniel on:  goodreads  |  website

Blog Tour: GENES by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Genes (International Sensory Assassin Network #3) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Allegiances will be tested.
Identities will be revealed.
No one is safe.

While searching for the HelixB88 anti-serum on the black market, Ava uncovers valuable intel that may help the rebels in their fight to bring down ISAN—the location of a hidden facility. But first, the insurgents must find the female citizens unexpectedly displaying powers without use of the Helix serum before ISAN captures them.

As the rebels join forces with other sectors, ISAN plans their destruction by using someone they don’t suspect at the rebel home base. A traitor within.

Now, Ava must make a dangerous decision, one that could risk their capture—or worse.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 3 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there may be spoilers of books 1 & 2

GENES picked up right from the end of Helix and if you’re a follower of the series, you’d know that Ava had been impatiently waiting for a certain test result and we find out right at the beginning of this book with an immediate twist to the story. And this sets the tone of the book, many more twists, some kick-ass action, and lots of lovey doveys.

Ava & the rebels continued to find ways to thwart ISAN & Mr Novak but first they needed Brooke to wake up and Gene to cooperate. Gene has completely thrown them off by his very different attitude & personality. Even as he’s kept tightly in isolation and continuous watch, he does not appear to be worried and continue to threaten the safety of the rebels. Ava was a little worried but she’s also got other things to do. The mystery remains, however, just what can Gene do?

A fast paced read with loads of actions and plenty more romance. I love to see Rhett and Ava together though sometimes, I get frustrated because… hello, you’re in the middle of a situation here?! But, as their friends said it, it’s just how they are. The group of friends are just fabulous as ever and growing!! That last sentence-twist at the end of the book was mind boggling BUT *gosh* I’m getting frustrated with Ava too. I do want to find out what’s really going on though so… onto book 4 (hopefully)!

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Jul-09)

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About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / News update

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Blog Tour: An Outcast and An Ally by Caitlin Lochner + Giveaway (INT)

An Outcast and an Ally
Caitlin Lochner
(A Soldier and a Liar #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 21st 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Dark secrets and conflicting loyalties abound as four superpowered teens are torn apart by war in Caitlin Lochner’s An Outcast and an Ally, the epic YA sequel to A Soldier and a Liar.

Lai, Jay, Al, and Erik are on the run after the military accuses them of being traitors. Tensions between everyone are high, but they have to stick together if they want to survive. And somehow stop the war that’s now in full swing.

But when Erik returns to the rebels to find answers about his past, Lai, Al, and Jay have no choice but to go to the Order―a peace coalition bent on stopping the rebels and dissolving the enmity between gifted and ungifted. However, the longer the war drags on, the more Lai’s long-kept secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s ever worked for. Sparks fly as the team constantly questions whether they can trust one another and everyone tries to navigate a war that will change everything.

Filled with the same high-stakes superpowered action and complex relationships as A Soldier and A Liar, Caitlin’s first book, An Outcast and an Ally brings this story to a dramatic and satisfying close.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Some time has past since the end of A Soldier and a Liar and we find the four friends still together but fraught with tension. They must decide what to do even as each struggles internally with what they should do. In this book, we are given insights into all 4 friends as chapters alternate between all 4 POVs.

As was seen in the first book, Lai is a strong independent young woman, but she’s even stronger in this one as we see her break but only to surface stronger than before. Jay’s chapters were to me the weakest in this book as he seems only to serve as a little helper (even if his actual role in the Order wasn’t that little) and some sort of romantic interest (I found this even slightly lacking; yes, I wish there was a bit more spark).

Erik’s & Al’s struggles, however, were soul searching ones. All Erik wanted was to regain his memory yet finding out about his past self made him doubt whether that should be his priority in life. While Al’s purpose in life was to avenge her parents, she was derailed by what she actually found out and after all that she and the Order has been through, she begins to question what’s truly important in life?

An Outcast and An Ally is a novel about fighting for justice; it is filled with broken pasts, betrayals, but best of all, friendships and what that means. It is YA dystopian with characters who aren’t overwhelmed with anger and who aren’t afraid to think for themselves. It is a fascinating world despite the twists of betrayals for if one or two are willing to change, there is always hope.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of An Outcast and An Ally

(ends Apr-30)

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About the author

I’m a nerd, traveler, and architecture enthusiast who worked as an assistant English teacher in Tokyo for three years before pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida. I love reading and writing anything with magic, adventure, and complex found-family relationships. I can typically be found absorbed in books, games, or manga, or else obsessing over said books, games, and manga.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram

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Review: False Hearts by Laura Lam

False Hearts (Pacifica) by Laura Lam

One twin is imprisoned for a terrible crime. The other will do anything to set her free.

One night Tila stumbles home, terrified and covered in blood. She’s arrested for murder, the first by a civilian in decades. The San Francisco police suspect involvement with Zeal, a powerful drug, and offer her twin sister Taema a chilling deal. Taema must assume Tila’s identity and gather information – then if she brings down the drug syndicate, the police may let her sister live. But Taema’s investigation raises ghosts from the twins’ past.

The sisters were raised by a cult, which banned modern medicine. But as conjoined twins, they needed surgery to divide their shared heart – and escaped. Taema discovers Tila was moulded by the cult and that it’s linked to the city’s underground. Once unable to keep secrets, the sisters will discover the true cost of lies.

My Blurb

If you’ve read One by Sarah Crossan and if you’re anything like me, you’d have cried your heart out and wished for a somewhat different ending. Without giving too much away, it could have been like False Hearts though of course, False Hearts is set in a very distant future. There isn’t actually a specific date but technology-wise, they seem to be far ahead of us.

The world setting is fairly similar though differences lie in technology including medicine. So, it was pretty easy to get into. Taema as the main protagonist is also easily likeable and therefore, memorable. Tila, on the other hand, was not quite present in the story for me. She provided only certain perspectives that the readers need to fill in the blanks. Otherwise, we mainly follow Taema.

I felt that this book is quite different from other dystopians though most dystopians I read are YA so maybe that’s one difference. But it also incorporates a cult living in isolation from the world though not without communication. In addition to this, there is bloody murder or is there? Let’s just say that this book has everything that I like in a book and that’s why I’ve really enjoyed it.

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Originally from sunny California, Laura Lam now lives in cloudy Scotland. Lam is the author of BBC Radio 2 Book Club section False Hearts, the companion novel Shattered Minds, as well as the award-winning Micah Grey series PantomimeShadowplay, and Masquerade. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in anthologies such as Nasty WomenSolaris Rising 3, Cranky Ladies of History, and more.  She lectures part-time at Napier University in Edinburgh on the Creative Writing MA.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  | pinterest  |  twitter  | facebook  |  instagram  |  tumblr

 

Review: The Blood in the Beginning

the blood in the beginning
The Blood in the Beginning by Kim Falconer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected proof courtesy of publisher

The Blood in the Beginning sounds so appealing and could fit right in my comfort reading zone. A paranormal/urban fantasy/dystopian novel with a “kickass nightclub bouncer” female main character, this is a potential for a pick-me-up feisty fabulous read but whilst I enjoyed the read, it fell short of my expectation.

Ava Sykes is not actually ‘Ava Sykes’ and she has a blood disorder so rare, she has to fly under the radar. Unfortunately, there are people (& others!) sniffing around her and will not leave her alone. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity she cannot miss in finding out the truth about herself and who she really is. But will the truth set her free?

Her secret reminds me so much of a certain movie trilogy (view spoiler) though of course, there are differences. I’ve really enjoyed the world-building and without giving too much spoilers, I wish to see a lot more of the ‘under world’. Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel any sparks between Ava and her male counterpart(s). She’s one confused little lady and this, I think, also affects any ‘sparks’ she may/may not have for anyone. I wanted more from this part of the book.

As I read an Uncorrected Proof, I did find that it needs some tidying up so I do hope the final copy will proof to be a better read. The book ended, however, with a promising note of more exciting things to come so I will definitely give book 2 a chance.

Many thanks to Harlequin Australia; I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Matched

matchedMatched by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: purchased own paperback copy

I added this to my TBR because the person who recommended it saw some similarities with another book I like though except for that one particular thing, there wasn’t really much else. However, it’s funny how I kept getting flashes of other dystopian…

The novel opens with Cassia on the train, on her way to her Matching ceremony. I had in my mind of Katniss on her way to the Capital. The way she’s surrounded with all the glamour that is a contract with the drabness of real life. That’s all the reference to THG I’m going to make though as the rest of the novel is so very reminiscent of The Giver by Lois Lowry. There were quite a number of similarities: the lack of colours, the tablets, old age/dying, vocations, etc. The difference here is the romance which was missing in The Giver.

Despite all my thoughts meandering over to other dystopian novels, Matched has been a fairly engaging read, mostly due to the romance. I also liked the number of ‘bombs’ dropped near the end and I’m wondering what other twists will be introduced in the rest of the trilogy. So, I’ll be looking those up though probably not in any hurry to do so.

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