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reviewed The Will of the Many by James Islington (The Hierarchy, #1)

James Islington: The Will of the Many (Hardcover, 2023, Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers) 5 stars

At the elite Catenan Academy, a young fugitive uncovers layered mysteries and world-changing secrets in …

Review of 'The Will of the Many' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Loved this book to bits! 5 out of 5 stars
Red Rising (first book) meets The Name of the Winds meets Hunger Games. Doesn't feel derivative though, it feels fresh.
Normally, I don't like the first person limited and present tense, but it works here. One would think this is trope gallore, but strangely it isn't. Yes, all the tropes are there, but they are worked out really well and believable.
Vis and Darrow could be twins. Same simmering anger. Vis is Kvothe, but without the Gary Stu vibe. Maybe because we're seeing him work at things, failing at things, even though that is as flimsy as it can be? I don't know.
The last part has Vis as Katniss, but without the whining and pathetic love triangle.

James Islington doesn't leave too many Tjechov's guns on the mantle piece unused, which is nice after reading Martha Wells Murderbot Series. …

reviewed All Systems Red by Martha Wells (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

Martha Wells: All Systems Red (EBook, 2017, 4 stars

"As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure."

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, …

Review of 'All Systems Red' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Not bad, slightly entertaining, fun premise. But not very good either. Maybe it was the narration: it felt... off. I had to fiddle with the speed-settings during most of the book (1.15x speed). I think better narration could have made it a more immersive read. But maybe the mechanical voice was intentional, it is about a bot :-)
Still, I liked it enough as a short palate-cleanser that I jumped into the sequel.