The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

Book CoverMARY WEBER IS COMING TO BOWLING GREEN, KY! -squeals-  For the Young Adult Southern Book Con in October – I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  Below you will find my review of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow that will be published in the Bowling Green Daily News.

“The Evaporation of Sofi Snow” by Mary Weber. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 352 pages. $15.99.

“Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi’s dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth’s corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth’s Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi’s the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she’s convinced he’s been taken to the ice-planet. Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there. For Miguel–Earth’s charming young playboy–the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight’s bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he’s a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.”

Mary Weber is one of my favorite authors (if you have not read the Storm Siren trilogy I suggest you do that now – it was the first book I reviewed for Bowling Green Daily News), and when I received this book I was over the moon.  I was not disappointed.  Weber has the ability to weave together a beautiful tapestry of words, linking diverse cultures, sci-fi and fantasy is a way that had me turning page after page, until the point I could no longer keep my eyes open.  I finished this book in two days – and it only took me that long because I had to go to work.

Perhaps my favorite thing in this novel is the use of technology in the future (and a scary future it is).  Tech, due to alien influence, has taken on a whole new level of amazing when it comes to gaming – but it also has changed our lives and our privacy.  Anyone who likes gaming or advancing technology is going to love this book.  They hack into systems, change living environment digitally and write code. The best part is that it also deals with the negative side of all of these changes, and sometimes that gets glossed over within futuristic novels.

Characters, I believe, have always been Weber’s strong suit and she did not let me down now.  Perhaps my favorite character is Claudius, because he constantly made me laugh out loud while reading. He was certainly a great point of comedic relieve when needed, but he also was serious as it was called for – a dual character which I always appreciate.  Miguel and Sofi have some serious trust issues going on due to their past, and I generally loved their story line together.  Though I did occasionally really wish they would just speak up, I understand the difficulty that we all have doing that, and how we often sink back into our “protective” selves when our hearts are broken.

Characters also surprised me. I had suspicions about some of them – some proved true and some did not.  Something I always like in a book.  The characters have flaws, and their reactions always proved pretty genuine to reality.  Time wise, they also seemed to fit within the world – not to mention being pretty culturally diverse.  In this day and age that can be a hard thing to pull off well, but Weber did it.  The best thing is that Weber weaves in many themes that you pick up on if you know her writing, such as human trafficking.  On the plus side, because fans were asking she wrote back on Goodreads and gave us a list of themes she was exploring beneath the surface: “human trafficking, politics & elitism, strong women, identity, sibling relationships, parent/child relationships, how our words & actions impact others, the role the past plays in a person’s choices, how we retain our humanity.”

On the note of sibling relationships, I loved Sofi and her brother Shilo.  It is the driving force of the novel, and that really is a great change.  While I appreciated the love story sort of happening, I almost wish it did not factor in at all.  It would be nice to have a few books where siblings, family and friendships take the main role, and love stories do not have to be mentioned (I see the selling points though – literally).

Action is not at all lacking within this novel.  Though there are a few slow moments as needed, we quickly jump from one scene to the next, with unexpected turns.  Weber always writes from the point of view of both Sofi and Miguel, so be prepared for the shift – but always in third person and from chapter to chapter. I did want more information on the past history of Earth, but Weber does a great job of world building at a decent pace, without leaving us hanging or slowing down the story.  I learned everything I needed to, in order to understand things as they happened. In large part, there are things we do not know simply because the characters themselves do not know it.

One criticism I have seen, and that I kind of agree with is the fact that these teenagers have jobs way beyond their years.  Now, the game that starts the book off is for teenagers, age 17 and under only, but Miguel is a 17 year old ambassador.  While this is a futuristic world, and we do not know the age demographics of everyone, supposedly technology cures many things.  Perhaps that will be explored more in the next book. Maybe not.  It is a young adult book, and good enough that I threw that piece of common sense out the window and just enjoyed the story, and what was happening.

Be prepared – it does end in quite the cliffhanger. It is a duology, and the sequel, “Reclaiming Shilo Snow” will be released on March 6th 2018.  You can connect with Mary Weber via her website (http://www.maryweber.com/) on Facebook @MaryWeberAuthor, Iinstagram @MaryWeberAuthor, Twitter @mchristineweber, and Goodreads. She is lots of fun to follow, and her website stays pretty up to date.

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Writing Prompt

I almost forgot to write! Not cool, then again, I had a migraine today and I can barely breathe. Also not cool.  So, I’ll cut my some slack since I really want to sleep but am going to write this first. Nanowrimo prep!

Prompt: A seafaring fantasy where your protagonist is not a pirate. Bonus points if s/he’s not in the navy, either.

“Land, ho!”

I hear them yelling above me, as footsteps cross the deck and ropes fall.  It’s a unique pattern I’ve grown to hearing these last few years.  I’ve become used to the noise, the creaking of the timber, and the salt in the air.  Lucky for me, the crew has finally become used to me as well.

Land. I rush up above deck with my sketch book, and find a nice area to prop myself.  I begin drawing the island, for that is what it is, as we come upon it. There is a small pier, and I wonder where we have landed.  The crew is excited, as a pier means people.  And leave.  At least for a few days.

“BRIANNA!”

Uh oh.  I turn toward the bellow, looking for his face.  I see his hat first.  You would think my father wouldn’t go for such stereotypes but he claimed it was no fun to a be a pirate if you couldn’t wear the hat.  It is at that moment that he catches sight of me. “Hi father!” I wave merrily, and begin climbing down.

“Look! Land.  Don’t you want to go with the landing party and explore?”

“No. You know I very well do not.”

“You do not even know where we are.”

“I don’t suppose that matters, now does it? I’m not leaving the ship.”

“Brianna…”  I catch the slight whine to his voice and know that after two years of this he must be about ready to murder me himself. Actually, scratch that. He probably wishes his crew had done it when they threatened it.

“I am NOT leaving.  I know what you swore to Mother.”

“I am a Pirate, you know. It means I don’t KEEP my word.”

“You always kept your word to momma.”

My father sighs heavily.  The crew pays us no mind. We have had this almost exact argument more times than I can count. I really don’t know why he bothers anymore.

“One of these days missy, you will not be able to stay on this ship. And you better hope your feet land somewhere you want to stay.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

I watch him glare at me, and realize that his wheels are turning. He has taken me all over the world in the past two years trying to tempt me off this ship to keep his promise. More than once he has tried to have me carried off. After a few little mishaps, his men refuse to even try. I may not be allowed to be a pirate, but I am one by birth. I always have tricks up my sleeve.

But, so it appears, does my father.  I see a man waving on shore, and I hear my father’s shouts. “Father! Long time no see.”

We have pulled in much closer than we normally would.  As we reach the pier, it dawns on me how familiar this place is. And there is only one person my father would call Father. “You tricky man.”

He picks that moment to turn and smile. “You remember your grandfather? Your mother wanted to see him again, but she did not get the chance. I thought it was time I honored that part of the bargain.”

“I am still not stepping foot on this island.”

“Have it your way. TIE HER UP MEN! WE STAY HERE”  There is a large shout from the crew. They are ready to rest.  On my father’s mad dash from the top of the globe to here in his effort to tempt me off the boat, they have had little of it.

I so badly want to see my grandfather.  It has been almost five years.  I was only 12 the last time I saw him, but I still remember him reading to me by the fire. It was one of the reasons I starting writing down my father’s adventures.

(Battery is dying. I really like this.  More later)

Let me know what you think!