Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Three Reviews: Unknown Trilogy by Wendy Higgins

I had purchased the first book in the trilogy, Unknown, last March when I got to meet the author at Apollycon.  I hadn't had a chance to read it, but then I heard of the tour for the final book in the series, and so I signed up to read them and review.  I was fortunate enough to get copies of the second book, Unrest, and this third and final one, Undone, to review for the tour.  The first two books took me about 3 or 4 days to read each. But the final one, well besides that I was down to only two days till I had to review it, it was so good I could barely put it down to go back to work from my breaks, or go to bed.  Obviously if you haven't read any of them, you'll want to probably stop with my review of book one below, and not go on to the second or third book reviews, as they will have spoilers for each of the book before them, I don't know how to do much of a review without it.  Let me just say that I ended up loving this series, and while I only own a physical copy of the first one, I will be purchasing physical copies of the final two in the trilogy, in hopes of getting to meet the author again and get them signed as well.

Book info:
Title:  Unknown

SeriesUnknown Trilogy #1
Genre:  YA/NA Science fiction
Release Date:  August 8th, 2016
Source:  Purchased physical copy from author at Apollycon
My rating:  5 stars

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins's debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more. 
Amber Tate believes the worst thing she'll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother's best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She's wrong on both counts. 

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed-everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn't one to hide or watch helplessly. She's determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

My review:
I picked this one up to read right before bed one night, and told myself I would just read chapter. Well, that didn't last as I could barely put it down!  The character, Amber, was just so relatable and interesting, that I was drawn in and had to know how things would go. And then there was Rylen.  It was a total brother's best friend romance, but then again it wasn't.  When Rylen went away to war, he came back and it was as if he'd  never known how she felt about him. Even all the moments when it seemed like maybe he felt the same, or she even basically came out and told him in one of her emails.  So when he comes back at a point in the war that means everyone ends up back home, when things get really bad all over the world, what has happened to him keeps them apart, and I know I was crying so much, as if it had happened to my best friend, or even myself.  I loved Rylen, and I just knew that he was supposed to be with Amber, in spite of what happened.  There came a time when the back story to the little issue was revealed, and then I knew it was what I had suspected caused that issue in the first place. And I felt a little better and could go on reading, not quite as heartbroken as before.

The tragedy that happens to all of their family is really insane, and what it does to all of them definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I liked the little dalliance between Amber's best friend Remy and Amber's brother, Tater.  It was a humorous scene, even surrounded by all that happened to them before.  It was a little frustrating that Rylen and Amber could not overcome it all to take that moment to finally figure out what was between them as well.  In the end I was so glad I had book two to go on and find out what happened next.

Book 2:
Release Date:  February 9th, 2017
Source:  E-copy from author/publicist
My rating:  5 stars

New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins brings you the second book in this thrilling apocalyptic world... 

Being on the run in the desert means food and sanctuary are hard to come by, but Amber Tate and her crew are not about to give up. Not after having the things they love brutally ripped from them by an unknown enemy who sent their world into the apocalypse. 

Survival takes precedence, but once safe shelter is found, their guards fall and the emotions they’ve been holding in are finally released. Anger, insecurities...lust. In their tight quarters, Amber, Rylen, Tater, and Remy can't escape it. The past must be faced, and passions run even stronger in the darkest of times. 

In the midst of unrest, their worlds are rocked again when they discover the truth about the war that’s ruined their lives. They thought finding out the enemy's identity would give them the edge; instead it’s revealed terrifying dangers they never thought possible.

My review:
We got a lot of great new characters, both from the end of the last book, as well as at the base where they ended up in this book.  There was a point when I was practically shouting at Amber and Rylen to figure their stuff out and get together.  I hated the character Linette, even though in the end, she may have done a good thing, in finally helping Amber make her move.  When the two of them finally figure it out, it is perfect though.  I really liked the base that they lived at, the underground part, as well as how they tunneled through to a nearby hotel so that they all had pretty comfortable living quarters to start with.  Finding out just what the aliens had done to the girls and other people with the shots and other things they'd done was heartbreaking in this story, but also helped make things easier for other things to take place.  

Of course we had to lose characters, it wouldn't be realistic if not, I'm glad that for the most part, our main characters stayed alive. Even if Tater was just so out of it, not being able to overcome what had happened to his family, and almost to Amber at one point in their journey.  Then there was the discovery of one of the humans that had worked for the aliens, and I knew exactly what he was going to end up with as a secret that would hurt our main characters.  The plan they set up was great, and leaving to go to the next part of the plan worked out, other than when we lost a couple of the characters, two of our very important ones in fact.  Once again, when I finished, I was so glad I had book three, so that I could jump right in and see what happened to those three who'd been left behind unfortunately when the base got attacked by the aliens.

Book 3:
Release Date:  December 5th, 2017
Source:  E-galley from author/publicist
My rating:  5 stars

USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins, brings you the gripping, sensual conclusion to her apocalyptic trilogy.

Amber Tate never dreamed their heart-wrenching escape from the enemy’s attack would lead them to the most beautiful place she’s ever seen, marred by one ugly fact; it’s under enemy control. Like everywhere else in the world, Elmendorf military base in Alaska has been captured, and it’s time to take it back—all of it—one base, one city at a time. After losing so much, Amber clings to the only precious person she has left, and vows to sacrifice everything to help save the Earth.

Remy Haines is a lover, not a fighter, so when she finds herself in enemy territory, expected to feign allegiance while gathering intel for the rebel cause, she’s never been more out of her element. Tensions only increase when her feelings for Jacob “Tater” Tate won’t go away, and the enemy’s leader takes an interest in her. She’s torn between what her heart wants, and what she knows she should do. As for what her body needs…well, it’s always had a mind of its own.  

My review:
I feel like it has been a while since I have marked every book in a series as 5 stars, but this trilogy really earned all of those stars for me.  This final book goes back and froth between two viewpoints, Amber as in the first two, and then Remy, her best friend.  Since Remy and Tater and Linette were all captured by the aliens at the end of book two, we had to follow them to find out how they would survive all of this. And in a way, their story was often the one that kept me going, quickly reading through Amber's parts to get back to them.  Mainly because Remy was set up in a way that she had to deal with the leader of the aliens, the man who also happened to be the Senator that everyone respected and looked up to so much in the first book.  It turned out he was one of the aliens.  But he had been with the humans his whole life basically, and felt a connection with Remy. She was able to use that connection to try to find things out to help her friends.  In this story we had the other crew, Amber and Rylen and the others from the military base in Alaska now, that were doing their best to plan a way to take the aliens down, before more came from their home planet.  We find out there are pockets of human resistance all over the world, and they learn to communicate with very old technology, keeping the aliens, for the most part from figuring out or noticing.  

Again we have injuries, and a couple deaths.  The romance between Rylen and Amber finally gets to take place, even as they have to move to the base in Alaska where they are no longer staying in a hotel room, but sharing huge rooms with lots of other members of the same sex.  A base where there is a closet people meet in for their rendezvous.   It is definitely a part that adds some lightness and humor to the darkness they all live in.  Not to mention the run in with a bear, the tall guy being afraid of heights, and more.  Remy gets a chance to be a teacher, like she'd wanted before all of this happened, although not in the way she'd thought. But by her closeness to their leader, she also began to empathize and feel a little more than just the hatred for them that the rest of the humans felt.  Amber gets to continue working on her medical skills, as she has all through the whole series.  

The ending was great.  I liked that we could have such a happy ending, and have the main characters survive.  While maybe that is not realistic, I'm reading a fictional story, I'm okay with a happy ending, or happier ending I should say.

If I can find a way to get these books for my school library, I will definitely do it, as I think my students would enjoy this series as much as I did. 

I included the  original covers of the first two above, but they were redone to match the final book in the trilogy. So here are the redone covers of books one and two.