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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Killshot by Aria Michaels

If you're looking for a book that has it all, this is it.  It's YA, which I love, and there's a mystery for the teens to solve and overcome.  There's almost a feeling of a quest of sorts, and a definite dystopian feel.  While you won't love every character the same way, you'll definitely agree that they are very real and very brave.

This is one of those books that I loved reading so much, I'm not sure I can do it justice in this review!  It's so well done, the pages flew by despite the length.  (474 pages)  The story focuses around Liv, a 17-year-old girl who has recently lost her parents and is in a separate foster home from her little brother.  Her life went from carefree high school students to seriously focused young adult.  Everything she does is focused on earning enough money to support herself and her little brother once she turns 18.  That is, until the night that she accepts an invite from her foster sister to a rooftop viewing party for a solar flare.

Just one of the many things Aria Michaels does really well is the way that she introduces characters.  First we meet Liv, and see a little of her backstory through her memories.  Then we meet her foster sister, Riley, when she comes to wake up Liv for school.  Each character that is introduced is introduced in a really natural way, and we're never bombarded with a whole room full of new characters at once.  I love that chance for character development!  Even though we end up with a group of about 10 teens surviving together, I never had to flip back and forth to try to remember who was who.  Also, the cast of characters was diverse without feeling forced.  There were multiple sexualities and ethnicities represented, but none of it was thrown in our faces, and none were exaggerated into stereotypes.  For example, there's a Black girl, but she's not ultra-sassy or ratchet or anything.  She's cool, and goes with the flow.  In fact, the reader knows Falisha for about two chapters before it's even mentioned that she's Black.  Michaels even throws together different religious belief systems in her characters without ever sounding preachy!  I couldn't tell you if the author herself is Christian or not.  (Personally, I can usually guess the author's belief system if belief is mentioned at all in a book.  Very impressed that it wasn't obvious in this one.)  Not only were the characters very real and introduced in such an awesome way, they also show great growth throughout the book.  This goes hand-in-hand with none of them being stereotypes, I guess, but it's still worth mentioning.

(A tiny warning:  I'd give this to older teens.  The characters don't shy away from occasional heavy-handed language.  But that just makes them more real!  It's not overdone.)

The characters felt natural and were introduced in a smooth way, and the plot unfolds in the same way.  In the whole book, there wasn't a single period when I was bored and skimming, and there also weren't any areas where the plot unfolded too quickly.  You know how sometimes you're reading and you have to stop and say, "ok, what just happened??  That came out of nowhere!"  None of that in Killshot.  And that's a big compliment!  We're talking about a solar flare that's decimated society, and I never felt confused or overwhelmed or out of my ability to grasp the situation.  Oh, and I also loved how even though the characters are teens, I never found myself seriously disagreeing with decisions that they made.  They weren't too mature for belief, but they also weren't stupid.  Awesome!

Only two tiny complaints:  I read Killshot as an eARC, and there was a serious lack of conjunctions in it.  This really might just be because I read a pre-edited version of the book.  Unfortunately, I found it a little distracting, especially when the characters were in conversation.  Everyone says "I'm" instead of "I am" when talking!  Also, the ending.  Michaels, if you're reading this, I'm going to need the sequel ASAP.  Like, yesterday.  I'm way too invested in these characters for that exciting of an ending!  I need more!

While the length might be off-putting to some, the story is very much worth it.  Exciting without being overwhelming, with characters you'll get attached to.  Highly, highly recommended!


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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1 Person left their mark:

  1. Hi - Nice review. I don't read many dystopians, but this one sounds good. ;)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews