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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

BLOG TOUR: Socialpunk by Monica Leonelle, Review + Contest!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….where every day may not be a cloudless day but you can count on something bookish to help bring in the sunshine.

Today we are taking part in a blog tour, but not of the usual sort.  This one is more about the week you will post and not an official day, so there may be several other sites posting something in correlation to today’s title as well…and I encourage you to investigate them too!  (Just click HERE to be whisked away to the blog tour page.)  Hey, the more the merrier, right?  Anywho, getting back to the story at hand….

The featured title of today’s post is a YA read (not unusual for my tastes) with a large dose of cyber-ness, virtual reality, and future technology injected into every page (there’s the new-ness of the read for me!).  I can honestly say to date, I haven’t read a story even remotely like it and while that can play against some books, it speaks well for this title….especially when you discover its part of a planned trilogy!  Ready for the big reveal?  Grab your 3D glasses and virtual reality gloves, we’re going in.  Today’s book of choice is…

The Socialpunk Trilogy, Book 1:

From the author….
Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

Oh where, oh where to begin!  (Well, the beginning, I know…but that’s just stating the obvious.  ^_^)  First off, this book takes place after Mother Nature takes a bite out of …well, us.  The ozone layer was so depleted that large holes turned into larger holes and BOOM….we have the Scorched Years.  Those that survived (as in weren’t burnt to a cripy critter like state….~eww~) went into domed cities where they were protected from the uber strong rays of the sun…and the government could better control everything they did (i.e. you eat what they decide to grow/cultivate, work where they say to work, live where they…well, you get the idea).  This is the only life Ima aka E (aka something else soon) has known.  Her mother is a basket case.  Her father is abusive.  Her best friend, Dash, is also her love interest but completely unattainable (for reasons fairly obvious…to us anyway).  She’s an outsider in her own life…but things are about to change….DRASTICALLY.

One night, she escapes to a party with Dash at her side, for the time being.  She’s dressed to the nines (a little hookerish if you ask me, but then again the look is cyber-punkish I suppose so off the wall is the norm) and ready for action…just not the sort of action that she’s about to encounter.  Attending the party is everyone who is anyone, along with a group of suspicious hooded figures stationed curiously about the room.  No one really seems to take notice of them….except Ima…but then again they are lost in their own worlds of music, dance, and debauchery…and when I say lost, I mean LOST (again, there’s a reason, but I don’t want to spoil your reading fun).  We’re talking unaware of their surroundings to the extent that a huge explosion complete with roaring flames doesn’t rock their boat.  *-*  (Hello…calling Captain Oblivious?)  But…Ima IS aware and one of the hooded figures recognizes this, snatching her at the last second to avoid oblivion.  But what about the others….and why save her?  Were they responsible for the explosions or is something bigger at work here?  All I know is someone has some explaining to do and if explanations don’t start coming, the pretty little girl with the Asian eyes might just be looking for a sturdier pair of boots, if you know what I mean.

The answers may surprise you and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat; trust me.  As I said, I haven’t read anything like it to date (just take a gander at the prologue, you’ll see what I mean)… if I had to classify it, I’d say YA (of course) cyber-punk maybe?  (I’m not big on labels….sorry!)  There’s A LOT of technology involved but not in an overwhelming way.  Once we enter Silicon City (not the “valley” you’re thinking of in our current world), there’s no turning back….literally because everyone has bionics and while getting your insides redone to have a computer systems of sorts installed may not sound like fun, it’s something you wouldn’t want to be without once experienced. 

Imagine having the knowledge of the world with you at all times and accessed with a simple though on the merest of whims.  The date/time/weather, no longer a question…ever.  How much currency you have?  POOF…there you go.  The stats on the person you’re standing in front of?  Right there for your perusal.  It turns the human body into a high functioning, extremely effective machine making civilization ten times more productive and as a by product….less impacting on the environment.  I know what you’re thinking, why does THAT matter, aren’t they in domes?  Ah, my curious friend…that is too deep a question for me to answer without spilling the beans but let’s just say that there is a lot that’s been kept from certain people in an effort to mold the world to their liking…and that control is about to be broken. 

Aside from the technological advances (which I could so go on about!) and save-the-planet message (again with the going on!), the characters also leave their mark.  From those in the Domed City to the hashes in Silicon City (they’re like little families), they are different in many ways but the relationships they form are just as deep.  Dash (aka Dashinell) is the best guy friend Ima could ask for, except she desires more than friendship (and gets it a time or two…*ahem* …warning on light content, nothing descriptive) and he is “unavailable”, a fact that was clear to me but she couldn’t quite see.  It stands in her way time and again but until she comes to grips with it, it will remain an obstacle (I think she’ll shake loose in book 2 from the sound of it).  Let’s add another side to the love triangle, shall we?

Enter Nahum.  Who is he?  He’s the nice guy who doesn’t really get a chance (yet) introduced by said friend already mentioned and “fated” to be with Ima…sorta.  His past is fuzzy at best except for the vivid memory of a dream starring Ima that he was certain connected their pasts and their futures (~psst!  There’s a reason for that too…it’s not explained per se but the pieces are easily fit together!)…and he’s looking to explore that connection, in an honorable way of course.  Now to close the triangle, we have Vaughn; though not an easy prospect to spot, his actions speak louder than his words…though much to chagrin of Ember (fellow hash member in Silicon City with an obvious “thing” for him).  Oh wait, did I say triangle? I meant square.  No, hexagon.  Okay, so you get the picture…there are many options (notice I said options not interests) available for one reason or another, so I’m anticipating either a showdown at some point or a BIG decision to be made.  Hopefully she follows her heart (after getting a piece of information through her head!)….

Moving away from the flames of the heart, we step into the flames of trouble…with a capital “T”.  If there is one name that comes up in conversation more than those of rival hash leaders out to expand their territory (which believe me, there are and they are treacherous), it would have to be Alazar Wrightwood.  I won’t go into too much detail on him now because honestly, he remains a bit of a mystery, but even with that being said it’s not hard to form a strong dislike for the man.  The technology and advancements he’s introduced are grand, but the purpose behind it all?  Oh my….let’s just hope they uncover it in time.  Now, we have a character equal part good and slightly-evil-by-association, the Researcher.  The Researcher is a mysterious man who pops up a time or two.  His presence is explainable though I must say head-scratching at times (think The Matrix how everything existed but didn’t yet affected the real world….~shakes head~), and it’s doubtful we’ve seen the last of him….which is definitely a good thing for Cinder (oh, that’s Ima’s NEW name….don’t worry, it’s all explained in the book ^_^). 

Last but not least, we have Ima aka E aka Cinder.  The name changes will make your head spin as will her transformation but her character remains true to form throughout.  She’s not easy to know with the past she has but once you’re in her heart, you’re there forever.  Even obvious trader-ish actions are hard to loose her grip.  Though blind to certain matters (which really make you want to shake some sense into her), it doesn’t falter given various situations despite the change in environment…something that is easy to fall prey to in any story….but her character remains a rock hard image of herself through and through.  The open mind she is forced to have once things go from ugly to holy-cow-everything-I’ve-ever-told-is-a-lie is something to see but she digests it gradually, questioning what needs questioning to establish her own stand in the truth presented.  Needless to say, despite her blinder moments, I really enjoyed getting to know her character.  Now, on to the itty bitty mention of the not-so-good….

There was only one part I felt a little off about…the ending; not in an overall aspect because the cliffhanger is enough of an interest holder without being soap opera-ish (great job to the author there), but the (small) reveal that felt a bit thrown in.  I can’t say what it is or whom it involves, but to me at least, it felt unnecessary to make it the final note like it was SUCH a big deal.  I know it is to some of the characters and may sway them one way or the other, but was THAT much drama needed to play out the big scene?  In my opinion, no….but I digress.  When that’s the only thing to “gripe” about, I think you’re doing PRETTY darn good, don’t you?  ^_^
In conclusion, Socialpunk is not your average YA story.  It takes the world of today with a few more scars, transports us to a world of tomorrow with all the bells and whistles advancement can bring, and shows us that although technology can change the way mankind gets along, in our heart of hearts, it can’t kill our spirits or our thirst for more….for better or worse.  It’s an eye opening look at what could happen should we continue to use our resources at the rate we currently are as well as a great sounding board for some ideas on how to get things back under control.  The story sweeps you away wrapping you in lines of code and depositing you on the other side no worse for ware, more AWARE, and hungry for more.  (Someone pass me a food pill, please?) 
Recommended for teen readers and beyond; again there’s a slight amount of light content and language, but nothing to really shake you loose of your socks.  Ebook for review courtesy of author Monica Leonelle.  (THANKS!)  For more information about this book as well as her future works, please visit her site, the official book site, like her on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  This book is available now at your favorite online retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Speaking of “other works”, as you may have caught in the opening section of this post, this is the FIRST book in a trilogy.  Book 2, Socialmob, is scheduled for July 2012 and book 3, Socialhood, is set for October.  *adds to wish list*


Oh yes…and one more thing.  The author is running a contest!  Care to enter?  You better be quick because it all ends April 30th.  Just use the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time….happy reading!


Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Wow. This was really a fabulous post! I love the way you did this and the pictures too. :) THank you!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

wonderful review...this sounds like a great trilogy and the first I am hearing of this..your enthusiasm shines through in your lovely review!

Alexia561 said...

Sounds like an awesome read! Thanks for the great review!

The1stdaughter said...

Wow. There is a lot going on in that little book! It sounds as though, despite the craziness it all comes together. Sounds like the beginning of a great series! Wonderful review! :o)

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