Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Power Ballad of a Tale

Sugar SkullsSugar Skulls by Lisa Mantchev
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an intense, fun ride Sugar Skulls is. Though I am previously familiar with the literary concept of a young adults utopia where your main goal in life is just to party and have fun (The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld and Night Creatures Trilogy by Marianne de Pierres), this has a fresh spin to it which I quite enjoyed.

In this dystopian world where regular energy sources are depleting, people are searching for a new sustainable energy. Cyrene is a unique pioneer city which is harnessing the energy created through one's pleasure, both on a physical and emotional level, via thrum-collectors and a grid that keeps track of it's citizens. (Big Brother is totally watching you... right now... just kidding... Or am I?)

Enter stage left is Vee, our scrappy, no bull, punk-rockette leading lady; the Corporate's songbird whose voice has an amazing siren-like power over the masses. Along with her two friends, Sasha of the hot-pink punk style and retro-goth with Victorian flair Jax, they make a band called Sugar Skulls whose fan base is ever growing. In a city where it's power if you can heighten the citizens excitement and adoration, Vee and her friends are pretty close to being a gods, or so it seems.

Beneath the shiny surface of Cyrene there are hidden dangers and with the appearance of Micah, an untraceable ghost to Cyrene's grid, the dark secrets in Vee's forgotten past come to the surface threatening to swallow her whole and take all she loves with her. Does she have the strength to overcome her demons, both in her past and her present, in order to save her future?

This tale is a power ballad of dark and light, glitter and ruin, love and hate. Vee is both tough and fragile, her vulnerabilities making her human and relatable. I would have loved to have read more about her band mates and seen more interactions between them all as their relationship did seem a little disjointed but I guess there can only be so many pages right?

The plot was interesting and seeing the story unfold from the viewpoints of both Vee and Micah made it a fascinating read. The story was relatively fast paced and the climax though exciting, was a little bit underwhelming but didn't detract from the overall tale. The story can stand alone but perhaps, just maybe, there is an opening for a sequel? I just didn't get my fill of Cyrene and the Sugar Skulls.

Overall I devoured this story of song, grit and glitter in one sitting; it was an enjoyable read, the cover is amazing and I am seriously considering getting a hardcopy for my bookshelf.

Sugar Skulls is available here

Please Note: I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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