Title: Zero Sum Game
Author: SL Huang
Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi
Date of Publication: 2nd October, 2018
Word/Page Count: 336 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Cas Russell is the geek’s Jack Reacher… ZERO SUM GAME is a smart, accessible sf thriller with blockbuster appeal.
Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she’ll take any job for the right price.
As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower…until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.
Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she’s involved. There’s only one problem…She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.
I originally gave up on this maybe a quarter of the way through, but as I had requested a copy for review on Netgalley, I felt guilty about abandoning it and decided to return and try to power through. It ended up being a really fun read and a couple of the issues I had at the start turned out to have plot-related explanations, so color me shocked and intrigued!
Title: Light Years
Author: Kass Morgan
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Date of Publication: 9th October, 2018
Word/Page Count: 384pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.
Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain – but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy – even if he has to steal someone’s identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong – he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret – she’s infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it’ll be her life on the line.
These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy – but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think…
I wanted to read this because of the diverse characters, and Light Years did not disappoint on that front. Aside from the gay relationship hinted in the blurb, we had a character with a prosthetic leg who was shown to have a fulfilling and prestigious career, racial diversity and also an examination of class differences now that the Academy is including citizens from the ‘lesser’ planets into its hallowed halls, to the dismay of some of the elite!
I didn’t expect the latter and was pleasantly surprised at how it was incorporated with a great level of nuance with subtle nods at the characters’ different backgrounds, for eg. a wealthy privileged Tridian automatically offering a handshake to a Devan character to whom this was a foreign concept, as Devans grow up in a toxic environment where they would never expose themselves to harm like that.