ARC REVIEW: Hero – by Belinda Crawford

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Title: Hero
(The Hero Rebellion #1)
Author: Belinda Crawford
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
First published: September 21st 2015
Finished reading: May 22nd 2016
Pages: 242
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“All my life, everyone has used my ‘ilness’ as an excuse to take my choices away. I’ve been locked up, told what to eat, who I can be friends with, where I can go to school. They even forced those damn meds down my throat.” She paused, breathing hard. “It’s my life. Even if I’m sick, I’m the only one who should get to choose what I do and how I do it.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I am becoming seriously tired of the fact that EVERY single YA fantasy/sci-fi series I decide to read seems to be having either a love triangle, insta-love where a strong female main character falls hopelessly in love with the pretty boy or sappy romance scenes in general. I like the genre too much to give up on it all together, but I have started screening my potential reads… So you can imagine how happy I was when Belinda Crawford contacted me about her novel Hero with the promise that it would be a proper science fiction story without any focus on romance. In fact, in her own words:

A large part of why I wrote Hero was because I was sick of all the female protagonists losing their brains as soon as a cute boy came along. Drives me nuts.”

How can I say no to that? Hero ended up being just as good as I was hoping for. First of all, the worldbuilding is really intriguing. The story is set on the distant planet of Jørn and kind of has a dystopian/futuristic feel with all those scientific elements and genetic engineering. The main character is interesting and I can’t wait to learn more about her in the sequel, although I do think I liked her ruc-pard Fink even better. In fact, the companion animals and the streetrace scenes are probably two of my favorite elements of this story, although I really enjoyed reading Hero in general. With its fast pace, interesting prose and worldbuilding and the promise of no romance, this first book of The Hero Rebellion series is without doubt worth reading!

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After careful observation centuries ago, the humans decided to colonise the planet Jørn on the far side of the galaxy. They arrived in big colony ships and settled on the surface of the planet, but soon found out that a native spore was slowly killing them. With the help of genetic engineering, the scientists were able to blend Earth and Jørn DNA and create new hybrids for their crops and livestock. Unfortunately, the same didn’t seem to work for humans. They were forced to leave the surface and turn their ships into cities that floated in the sky. Only trained teams can now travel to the surface and while Hero Regan’s mother is involved in the organization, Hero herself won’t be seeing the surface any time soon. To make things worse, she is special; surrounded by bodyguards and tutors all day and insulated from the outside world. Her only companion is a huge genetically engineered ruc-pard named Fink, who she can even share her thoughts with. One day her situation seems to improve as they allow her to attend school in Cumulus City. She will be having more freedom than ever, but things are getting more and more dangerous as well…

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It is not every day that you find an entertaining YA science fiction novel that doesn’t include any sappy romance scenes, insta-love or love triangle and this fact should definitely be celebrated. But more importantly, Hero is so much more than that. The worldbuilding is intriguing and I really liked the idea of hybrids, companion animals and humans living on a distant planet in a dystopian future. The prose is easy to read and the ending definitely left me wanting for more… If you like the genre, make sure to read this book.

WWW Wednesdays #92 – May 25th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

Note: I’m actually out of town right now, but will be back before the weekend… Gotta love the post scheduling option! 😉

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been seriously neglecting one of my favorite genres lately, so I decided to put all my planned books on hold and pick up a proper whodunit: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I’m not far into it yet, but I hope to finish it before I come back! Also, I will try to read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry during my trip. I’m ashamed to admit I have never read this classic, but better late than never right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is Binge by Tyler Oakley, which turned out to be a really entertaining memoir even though I hadn’t heard from the author before.
* I’ve also finished Hero by Belinda Crawford, a very enjoyable ARC with an interesting worldbuilding, no romance and a fast pace. Definitely recommended!
* I also finally picked up my Spanish copy of the first Harry Potter book again. I have been wanting to read more books in Spanish and it was the perfect excuse to reread this series… Because no matter what language the story is told in, it always stays magical (Although I prefer the original version). I found out while reading Harry Potter Y La Piedra Filosofal that I’m still able to read Spanish with a ‘fast’ pace, so I’m quite a happy camper right now. 😀

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Once again I haven’t been able to start any of the books I wanted to read last week…Whcih is partly to blame to the lack of time and I was in the mood for different genres as well. But I’m going to try and read them this week though! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation.😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

WWW Wednesdays #91 – May 18th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I haven’t been reading much during the last two days, because I have been trying to reduce the backlog of reviews after the Bout Of Books read-a-thon. Still 5 reviews to go, sigh… I have started reading Hero by Belinda Crawford the other day, which is a very interesting read so far and I’m looking forward to continue reading this story soon. I’ve also picked up Binge by Tyler Oakley on a whim because I was in the mood for a light (and funny) read, and this memoir has been really entertaining so far even though I have to confess I hadn’t heard of the author or his youtube channel before.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, which was originally written in French. I really enjoyed this story! Part of it felt a bit like Fahrenheit 451, but also completely different… And I loved the fact that the main character read random pages he had saved himself from the Thing.
* I then finished Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which I read for the The Revolving Shelf book club. I really liked that this story was a mix of elephant info, paranormal elements and a missing person case. Not perfect, but really entertaining.
* Stars Above by Marissa Meyer was my previous TBR jar pick, and turned out to be just as entertaining as I thought it would be. I liked some stories better than others, but the epilogue was without doubt brilliant. It might be a sappy happy ending, but I really didn’t care in this case. 😉
* I also read See How They Run by Ally Carter, and the sequel was almost just as good as the first book. A really entertaining spy thriller with an international touch that is definitely worth reading, even though the main characters can get annoying.
* My last BoB book I finished was Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, which has turned out to be yet another ‘unpopular opinion’ book for me. I didn’t really like this story: the way the main character treated the others; the way she was treated by most people; the stereotypes; the bullying… I just wasn’t convinced.
* I also read the classic The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, which turned out to be a really short read and quite interesting.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I just realized that I have actually read or at least started all the books I mentioned here last week! That has to be a first… On to four fresh titles this week it is! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation. 😉 My new TBR jar pick is The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

Teaser Tuesdays #94 – May 17th: Hero

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve only started this ARC, but I’m really enjoying what I’ve read so far. Hero by Belinda Crawford is an interesting science fiction novel set on the planet of Jorn and is one of the few YA stories out there that has the promise of no sappy romance scenes or strong female characters falling for the typical male love interest. I can’t wait to continue reading this story!

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My teaser (5%):

“The memory of the cold, thumb-sized nozzle pressed against her neck, the way it hissed when it shot the meds into her bloodstream, made her stomach clench until she thought she might be sick. It was bad enough hearing voices, answering questions that no one asked, and having every friend she’d every tried to make give her that look, the special look.”

What are you reading right now?

Friday Finds #86 – May 13th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Books And A Beat and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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Continue reading

WWW Wednesdays #90 – May 11th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which is this months The Revolving Shelf book club choice. The other book I’ve picked up is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, a story originally written in French I’ve chosen as my translated title for the yearly Bookish Bingo challenge.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak by Brian Katcher. It was without doubt a very entertaining read and I loved Zak’s chapters with all its awkward, geeky and funny moments, but I wasn’t so charmed by Ana… Still definitely worth reading though.
* I’ve also finished The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which I had mixed feelings about. I don’t think the story actually lives up to the expectations after seeing the gorgeous cover… Some of the prose is more than excellent, but I would have liked to read more about Ava herself and I felt the story lacked cohesion.
* I also finally read Daugher Of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I expected to love this story and it started out that way, but this ended up being another of my unpopular opinion titles… Once the insta-love moment happened between Akiva and Karou, I think I stopped enjoying this story. Why o why did a story with so much potential have to be turned into a sappy romance story?!
* The first book I finished during Bout Of Books 16.0 was All The Rage by Courtney Summers, which turned out to be a fast read even though I didn’t find it as good as I thought it would be. The topic is a difficult one (rape and disappearance of a female teenager), but I couldn’t really connect with the main character…
* The last book I finished this week is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira, which was my latest TBR jar pick. Not as good as I hoped, but not bad either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Hero by Belinda Crawford is my newest ARC that I am really looking forward to read, since it brings the promise of being a YA sci-fi novel without any sappy romance scenes… Which seems to be a rare thing in this genre nowadays. I also want to try to read another classic this month, and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is on the top of my list. I still need to read See How They Run by Ally Carter as well… And Stars Above by Marissa Meyer is my newest TBR jar pick. I’ve actually read a few of these novellas in this collection last year, so I will only be reading those I don’t know yet.