30 July 2011


Remember a few months ago when I reviewed Cyrus Keith's Becoming NADIA and promised that a sequel was on the way? Well, here it is! :)

Six months have passed since Nadia realized that her world was nothing at all like what she had imagined. She is not a journalist, as she had supposed. In fact, she is nothing at all what she had supposed, and the reality of what she actually is is almost too much to fathom. The ensuing fallout causes her to take refuge in a remote cabin with Jon Daniels and his ragtag team of vigilantes, who are determined to keep Nadia safe from her pursuers, the menacing and mysterious Pinnacle. Unfortunately for them, the Pinnacle is not pleased with the stubborn defiance they've received from Nadia and her friends. And for that, the Pinnacle is determined to extract vengeance from everyone connected to Nadia. . . .

It is my great pleasure to review the second installment in Cyrus Keith's gripping The Nadia Project trilogy! (Also, a special thanks to Cyrus for being kind enough to send me an ARC! :)) I think one of the hardest books to successfully pull off is the second one in a trilogy. More often than not, the second book is little more than a bridge whose only function is to give the reader the background essential for the finale. I think boring second book syndrome is a form of book abuse, for such texts are unfairly deprived of their own plots or identities. Tis not fair! I have reluctantly slugged through many such a book for the sole purpose of being prepared for the third book. Keith has avoided falling into this trap and, in Unalive, delivered a sequel that is every bit as engaging and suspenseful as the original. And that's no mean feat, for Becoming NADIA is a superb sci fi thriller, in and of itself.

Unalive possesses many of the same attributes that made its predecessor a great read: a fast-paced plot, great complex characters, and deep themes about identity. One thing that I particularly noticed in this book was the skill with which Keith switched between several related but quite different subplots throughout the book. I love these kinds of stories, but I'll be the first to admit they are often confusing. I never found myself perplexed with Unalive because the transitions between the varying plot threads was seamless.

I also enjoyed the villains here. Not only did they become more fleshed-out as characters--especially the intriguing spitfire Jenna Paine--and their nefarious motives somewhat more clear, but they also became even more creepy in the process. I think the most disturbing thing about them is how they feel they're acting for "the greater good." One of my favorite C. S. Lewis quotes is "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." I think that quote sums up the members of the Pinnacle rather nicely.

If you're a fan of spine-chilling thrillers or good science fiction or any combo of the two, I highly recommend Unalive. With its readable style and action-packed plot, you'll easily while away these last days of summer.

If you're interested in purchasing Unalive, you'll have to wait--but not too long! Only a few days. Go to MuseItUp Publishing's website for details about purchasing a copy. I will note that this book is a good story independent of its role in the trilogy; nevertheless, as with most sequels, you'll enjoy the book far more and follow the action much better if you've read the first book. Fortunately, that's easily done for the first book is immensely readable and easily acquired. I guarantee you that if you start Becoming NADIA within the next few days, you'll have it finished in time to read Unalive when it is released this Friday (August 5th).
What's Next: Probably Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine's School For Peculiar Children. I have three words for you: creepy gothic pictures. ^^
This Week In Literary History: 30 July 1818 On this day, Emily Bronte was born in England. Sadly, Bronte died at the age of thirty and authored only one book, which was roundly panned by then-contemporary critics as immoral. Happily for us, this maligned book is the gothic classic Wuthering Heights. I'm not a huge fan of happily ever after romances, so I suppose it's only natural--but twisted--that I enjoy this tale of Heathcliff and Cathy's tumultuous and dysfunctional relationship set amid the atmospheric Yorkshire moors. Personally, I have always envisioned Heathcliff as looking like Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd. He'd be perfect for the role! Well, either him or Keith Richards, circa early 1970s. Think about it! Erm, on that note, I'm going to run away now. . . .


  1. Cyrus Keith is a master teller of techno suspense interwoven with political intrigue. I am a die hard fan and will be right there to grab this book the minute it becomes available.

    Thank you Zella for such a great review.

  2. Indeed, he is a master of the genre! :D I'm not usually a fan of hard sci fi--I'm more of a dystopian type of girl myself--but I really do like his work.

    You're most welcome! :) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. I may be biased (I'm one of his editors) but so far, both books in the trilogy have been impossible to put down. Cyrus is an incredible storyteller.

  4. Fiona, I agree! I've managed to read both of them in a matter of hours.

    Chrys, thank you! :)

  5. Oh I do hope you choose that book for the next review! I have seen it everywhere and very much want to read it myself. Can't wait to here your take on it! I myself am on a teen paranormal kick with such book as Holly Black's White Cat (I simply adored her Modern Faery Tales), and Kiersten White's Paranormalcy (realllly excited about that one,,love her style already!)

    So...um...I have never read Wuthering Heights *runs away in shame and horror* I know, it's my favorite genre and time period, and her sister wrote my second favorite book of all time but...it's just been sitting on my shelf forever. But I'll take it with me to college and read it then, promise! :)

  6. You're in luck, Sweet Tart Girl! I'm going to write the review tonight. If you're in a teen paranormal mood, you'll probably want to read this one. :D

    Don't feel bad! I didn't read it until a couple of years ago. The book is a little uneven--the structure is creaky and Joseph's dialogue is virtually unreadable (Yay footnotes!)--but the atmosphere is superb and the cast of characters is delightfully wicked. If you like that time period and genre, I think you'll enjoy it. :)

  7. I'll definitely have to get my hands on it then! I'm really intrigued by it; it seems like nothing I've read before, what with the pictures and all.

    Hmm...I'll have to make sure my copy has footnotes then. I think I will enjoy it. It's just a matter of getting around to read it. :)

  8. The review has just been posted! :D

    Do let me know what you think of Wuthering Heights when you get around to it. :)