ARC REVIEW: The First City – by Joe Hart

Title: The First City
(The Dominion Trilogy #3)
Author: Joe Hart

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: March 28th 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: March 24th 2017
Pages: 444

“There’s always hope, but change is the most difficult thing in the world for human beings to do. There is safety in static. Change is the great disrupter, even when it is for the good.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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The First City is the third and final installment of The Dominion Trilogy I started reading some time last year. I remember not being completely convinced by the first book, especially because of the not-so-original dystopian plot and annoying main character, but I enjoyed the second book a lot better. This improvement was probably the main reason I decided to request a copy of the third book, although I don’t like leaving series unfinished either. Unfortunately, I don’t think The First City continued the same line of improvement seen in book two. In fact, I had a really hard time finishing this third book… Like I said before, I never liked the main character Zoey, but in The First City she is becoming amost impossible to tolerate. I have even seriously considered DNFing it at various points… Her self-centered, annoying and whiney dialogues and actions made this read into a true struggle. An example? Her thoughts are basically all about how she is only putting others in danger and that she should do everything alone; sacrificing herself for the greater good; just put that on repeat indefinitely and you get the idea. Luckily the other POVs were slightly better and that’s probably why I decided to see it through. The plot yet again isn’t all that original and I’m not sure if everything is completely credible, but the ending was satisfying enough even though a bit cheesy. All in all the best of this series definitely came a bit early.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first  two books in this trilogy yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

It’s the 2030s and the world Zoey has grown up in hasn’t been an easy one for women. Little girls stopped being born suddenly years before, and the natural balance could never be restored. Zoey grew up in a research center (ARC) along with other girls, the investigators experimenting on them and trying to find a way to save the world. A lot of things have happened since then and Zoey is about to get a very shocking message: she might be the key and only hope for salvation.

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Like I said before, I mostly decided to read the final book of this trilogy because the second book was such an improvement. Unfortunately the main character didn’t change her way in The First City, and I ended up spending most of my time having my patience tested to its limit. It’s a shame a character can influence my feelings about a story in this way, but claiming otherwise would not have been honest. Also, the plot in general sounds too much like your typical dystopian story and some of it was farfetched, but Hiraku’s POV did add a little something extra to the plot.


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ARC REVIEW: The Final Trade – by Joe Hart

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Title: The Final Trade
(The Dominion Trilogy #2)
Author: Joe Hart

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: September 13th 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 28th 2016
Pages: 339
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“You can’t keep bearing all the weight. In the end, if you try to save everyone you’ll only lose yourself.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have to admit I had my doubts about this series after finishing the first book, The Last Girl, mainly because it didn’t really seem to stand out from all the other YA dystopian series out there. But I’m glad I decided to give the sequel a go, because it by no means suffers from the so-called ‘weak-second-book’ syndrome. In fact, I thought The Final Trade was actually a lot better than the first book and I will be looking forward to the third book. The sequel reads a lot faster and not just because of the new plot twists. I even liked Zoey a little better, although she is still annoying and too much like the typical strong, self-sacrificing female main character. The whole Fae Trade angle makes for a great twist though and Wen is without doubt an interesting characer as well. In short, I suggest giving The Final Trade a chance even if you have read The Last Girl and aren’t sure if you want to continue the series. It’s without doubt worth the try and a strong sequel to what was maybe an average start. It does have a mayor cliffhanger ending though… You’ve been warned.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

After all that happened to her, Zoey is no longer the woman she once was. She has returned from the brink of death and now wants to learn the truth about who she really is. Together with the others she wants to find the families they never knew… And when Zoey learns of personal records stored in an Idaho missile silo that may contain useful information, they all decide to tag along and help recover it. The mission is quite dangerous though and they they will most likely discover information that will stray them from their original path…

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I’m glad I decided to give this sequel a go, because I ended up enjoying The Final Trade a lot better than the first book. It does have a cliffhanger ending and Zoey’s character is still quite annoying and not so original, but I liked the new plot twists and the prose read a lot faster. I will be looking out for the third book for sure; recommended to those who enjoy reading the genre.

ARC REVIEW: The Last Girl – by Joe Hart

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Title: The Last Girl
(The Dominion Trilogy #1)
Author: Joe Hart

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 9th 2016
Pages: 386
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“There are prisons of all kinds, Zoey, they take every shape imaginable. They aren’t just concrete, and steel, and stone. They’re everywhere. And even when you’ve escaped one, there’s always another waiting. But you must remember that the first step to freedom doesn’t always start with picking a lock.” He reaches out and touches her temple. “It begins here.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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When I first heard about this book, I thought the blurb sounded really promising and I immediately decided to add it to my wishlist. And while I still think it was quite an interesting read, unfortunately The Last Girl by Joe Hart didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. I can’t exactly put my finger on the why, but it probably has to do with the fact that it was quite a slow read and the prose didn’t seem to grab my attention. It’s not like the story wasn’t well written or anything and I liked the worldbuilding and dystopian elements, but it kind of missed that little something that would turn it into something extraordinary. The same goes for the main character. Zoey is without doubt a very powerful female character with strong survival skills, but her character just sounded all too similar to other main characters of your typical YA dystopian story. Her character development in this first book is interesting, but the story in general doesn’t really add anything new to the genre or stands out from other books of the genre. The Last Girl is still an enjoyable story to read though… Especially since it’s one of the few YA dystopian books with almost no romance and not a sign of a love triangle. Definitely a miracle when it comes to the genre!

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After a mysterious worldwide epidemic, the birthrate of female infants is almost down to zero. Nobody seems to know why this happened and how to solve this problem; medical science and goverments are at a loss to control the chaos as they try to figure out what to do. Twenty-five years later there is still no cure, and an entire generation grows up with fewer than a thousand women left on earth. Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound and protected from the chaos and rebellion. They have been isolated from their families, treated as a test subjects and locked away. They don’t resist, since they have been told that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population anyway. But Zoey suspects something is wrong. And even though captivity is the only thing she has ever known, she secretly dreams of being free… And that dream just might come true one day, although she probably doesn’t realize what consequences that freedom will bring.

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I was really looking forward to The Last Girl, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. The story had a lot of potential and is still a pretty good read, but it showed a lot of similarities with other typical YA dystopian stories and didn’t quite stand out. I did really appreciate this story has almost no romance and NO love triangle, which was really refreshing after reading one too many YA series with this annoying trope.