Book Review: Chasing Nonconformity by Michelle Proulx

Title: Chasing Nonconformity
Author: Michelle Proulx
Genre: YA/sci-fi
Date Read: 03/11/2015 – 08/11/2015
Rating: ★★★★


nonconformitycoverThis is the sequel to Imminent Danger (and How to Fly Straight Into It), which I reviewed back in February. It picks up pretty much exactly where book 1 finished up and was exactly the sort of sequel I had been hoping for.

First up, we are treated to some delightful new characters, in the form of Prince Trystan, Varrin’s younger brother, and his bodyguard, Sebara. Trystan needs a lot of hugs, and someone to appreciate his poetry. Sebara does not appreciate poetry exactly, but she does earn the Prince’s trust and they develop a really adorable bond. We also meet the Emperor, Varrin and Trystan’s father, and my, isn’t he a piece of work? Trystan and Sebara are given the task of tracking Varrin down and forcing him to come back to claim his birthright.

Meanwhile, Varrin, Eris and Miguri are still searching for Varrin’s ship, the Nonconformity. Eris has basically thought that Varrin is just being a typical guy in love with his vehicle, but it turns out there’s a much bigger reason he needs to get his ship back. Along with the help of an old flame, Kalla, they form a plan to sneak into a Tetrarchy facility and steal it back. Their paths with Sebara and Trystan’s in an exciting climax.

Much of what I had to say about the first book can be echoed here. There’s still plenty of snappy dialogue, fun characters, and the world-building expands even more. Varrin still needs a punch; it got to the point where I couldn’t really reconcile his supposed feelings for Eris with the fact that he kept so. many. secrets from her. Eris kept excusing this, which did get a bit annoying after a while, as did her jealousy at the thought of anyone else with Varrin.

The final 25% was great. There was both action and character development, with all the characters involved. I’m not sure whether this series is meant as a duology or a longer series. The story actually felt quite complete at the end, though I would certainly enjoy more stories set within this universe.

#WWW Wednesday and WIPpet Wednesday- 04 November, 2015

This has been one of those weeks where I can barely believe it’s only Wednesday, and yet Wednesday it is. On the upside, that means fun blog hops! First up we have WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

  • What are you currently reading?

wwwwednesdayI started Chasing Nonconformity by indie author Michelle Proulx yesterday. This is the sequel to Imminent Danger (And How to Fly Straight into It), which I reviewed back in February. This is a really fun YA/sci-fi/romance series with some really entertaining characters and strong world-building. After reading a whole slew of things that only got three stars, I wanted to read something that I’m pretty sure I’ll give at least four to.

Still going with The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. The pace is very slow, but the writing is good, and I am interested in the characters. They’ve only just met where I’m up to, and I really want to see how their relationship develops.

I’m also reading How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson. I’ve been interested in this method for a while, so I’m going to give it a go with my next WIP.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I read the first two volumes of Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth. They were fun, and I’m thinking about making my rating 3.5 rather than 3. They gave Jareth a tragic romantic backstory, though, which I have mixed feelings about, because really, can you imagine the man who sang “Dance, Magic, Dance” having a tragic backstory? And even though this is set 13 years after the movie, he seems to have been mooning over Sarah all that time. Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a Jareth/Sarah shipper, but I’ve read fanfiction that depicted this relationship better (The Goblin Market is a good one, if you’re interested).

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood is my November Pick for me read, and it arrived for me at the library today, so probably that. I’m actually not sure what to expect with it.

In other news, I hand in my final assignment for the year on Friday, and I’ve got to say, after the best part of ten months spent studying straight, I am so looking forward to the break. Nothing to get up for on the weekends! No feeling guilty for doing fun things! Yay!

On that note, since I now have free time on my weekends, I decided it was time to re-join WIPpet Wednesdays. I missed sharing my writing with you guys, though on the upside, sitting out for a few weeks does mean I’ve got lots of new stuff to share from. I’m actually pretty excited, as I may end up finishing the first draft of Operation Sugarplum tonight or tomorrow! I plotted out the last few scenes at the end of my lunch break yesterday. I’ve also got a lot of notes for things to be improved upon in the second draft, as well as some glaring inconsistencies that need patching up, but I will be putting this aside for a little while and picking up something else. Probably Lessons Learned, which I have shared from before. It’s the one with Grace and Frederick.

wednesdaybannerAnyway, WIPpet Wednesday. It’s a blog hop where we share some of our current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Our linkup is here. K. L. Schwengel is our host and she is awesome. This week, I’ve four paragraphs for the 4th of November. Not long after the last excerpt, in which the Creelan King was threatening Clara that she’d better do as she’s told, he notices that she’s wearing a familiar pendant. Max gave it to Clara earlier, promising it would guard her against Creelan magic. The King wants to know why she has it and if she knows where it would have come from.

“I can tell you where it came from. Either your Max, or someone else who could then pass it on, stole it from the body of a Creelan soldier. When there is magic flying blindly in the heat of battle, it can be easy to miss our intended target. These stones ensure we cannot be hurt by our own magic.” Again, he reached out his hand, though this time it was with the palm held upwards. “I would be grateful if you would hand it back, so it could be returned to the man’s family.”

Clara had to admit he was good. She nearly took the pendant off and handed it over, but common sense kicked in at the last second. “Do you think I’m that stupid?” she asked. “Give up my one means of protection while you’re keeping me a prisoner in my own house?”

“You think I’d need to rely on magic to hurt you?” the King countered, his voice rising. “Give it to me!” He lunged towards Clara, grabbing both the pendant and a handful of her shirt in his fist. Clara wrenched herself away.

“No!” she screamed. “Do you think I’m going to believe a single word you say to me? When you’ve already tried to kill me once, and now you’re taking me hostage? Leave me alone.”

Clara then flings herself off to her bedroom and the King lets her go because honestly, he’s got plenty of time to wrestle pendants from around her throat.

I have to dash now, as I need to be somewhere in half an hour or so, but I will catch up on your blogs soon!

~ Emily

Book Review: Imminent Danger and How To Fly Straight Into It by Michelle Proulx

Title: Imminent Danger (and how to Fly Straight Into It)
Michelle Proulx
Date Read: 06/02/2015 – 13/02/2015
Rating: ★★★★


immientdangercoverGenerally I like my sci-fi Earth-based. Interstellar travel is just not something I usually get into. However, after seeing a couple of friends review this book favourably on GoodReads, I thought I would give it a go. It sounded fun, if nothing else.

Due to essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time, high school junior, Eris, finds herself kidnapped by six-armed blue aliens. This is the start of an adventure across the galaxy, during which Eris makes friends, enemies, is tortured and experimented on and pursued, mostly in the company of a very attractive alien called Varrin. Oh, and Miguri, another alien who is small and furry and adorable. More on those guys in a moment.

Proulx’s world-building was thorough, from alien civilisations and languages/translation devices, to methods speedy interstellar travel. There were a couple of moments when I wondered why things on other planets seemed very similar to things on Earth, but that didn’t bother me too much.

The three main characters were all very well constructed and very consistent. Eris is a teenager, and she does have her teenage moments, but she’s also resilient and a good lead. Miguri, her Claktill companion, is kind of the “wise old man” character, but at the same time, he doesn’t seem wise beyond Eris or Varrin’s years. There were times when I wanted to punch Varrin in the face, and I kind of hoped that the romance would be drawn out a little longer, though the punchline regarding this at the end did make me laugh. While he does go through his own character arc, there are certain parts of him that I’m not sure will ever change, regardless of how many books there end up being in this series.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable read. It wasn’t hard sci-fi, but if it was, I would have stopped reading. Fun characters in a fun world to explore. Looking forward to book 2!