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Sugar Skulls Paperback – November 10, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

When not working on puzzles for Penny Press or writing about them for PuzzleNation, Glenn Dallas is an author of short stories and at least half of one novel. After appearing in the acknowledgments of several outstanding novels, he looks forward to returning the favor in the future.

Lisa Mantchev is the acclaimed author of Ticker and the Théâtre Illuminata series, which includes Eyes Like Stars, nominated for a Mythopoeic Award and the Andre Norton Award. She has also published numerous short stories in magazines, including Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Weird Tales, and Fantasy. She lives on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State with her husband, children, and horde of furry animals. Visit her online at www.lisamantchev.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape (November 10, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1503949710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1503949713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,820 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel. Even though it appears to be intended more for a younger audience, it certainly held my interest, and I often had trouble putting it down when I was supposed to be doing something else! I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and their actions seemed believable enough given the circumstances. The pacing was great, it was an interesting setting unlike anything I've encountered before, and the authors did a nice job providing enough sensory information for me to feel like I was right there in the story.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
My Take:
This was a random request – based on the cover and the interesting as all get out premise. I honestly had not seen this one around that much, and it was fun going in completely blind. While it didn’t blow me away – it does have its good parts.

Vee is the lead singer of the top band in the city, and Micah is a runner; off the grid and with a past. Both have past really. Told in dual POV, we learn about Vee, Micah, the rest of city and just how far they go to keep their hold on Vee.

What I loved most about Sugar Skulls was the setting. It’s in his domed city called Cyrene that runs on energy from its residents. It’s high-tech, drug pushing happy place. It was weird but great at the same time. I also loved the thrills. It’s quick pace, and suspense. I was gritting my teeth at times, anxious on where the book was going to go.

Sadly, the romance was my biggest issue and since it played such a HUGE part in the book, it kind of clouded my judgement a little bit. You guessed it, insta-love. If you set how they met aside, the instant attraction and obsession, it turns out to be a sell-able romance and they are quite cute together. They went above and beyond to save each other, and while their efforts are awe-inspiring, I didn’t understand it.

Plot wise – well, I can’t really think of what the plot was in its entirety. I mean, they were just basically running from someone. There were quite a few small sub-plots that weaved together nicely, though. Vee’s past. Micha’s past. The rogue drug. Nothing concrete though, and that was frustrating.

Also, this is marketed as YA – and while I agree with that, it’s mature YA. There is, obviously, a lot of drug use, explicit language and the sex scenes aren’t always fade to black.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a world desperate for new energy sources, Corporate has come up with the perfect solution: Harvest the energy generated by kids that are connected to the net with nanotech. What generates the most energy? Music, of course - along with chemical enhancements. Enter Vee, lead singer of the punk rock band Sugar Skulls, whose nanotech is so fried that she periodically has to be reset - thus wiping her memories. She's the biggest thrum generator Cyrene has seen. Her counterpart is Micah, who no longer has nanotech and has snuck back into the city to work as a runner, bringing in music from over the wall. Micah also has a mysterious past, and a mission: stop the dealers and the drugs that killed his friends. From their first electric encounter, the heat is on between Vee and Micah.

Told from alternating points of view, this is a fast-paced, heady mix of sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll. New Adult genre means mature content - some parts may not be for the faint of heart (drugs, violence, casual sex). Will appeal to older teens/young twenty-somethings, and those who've enjoyed Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and other cyberpunk novels. Amazing cover art!
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Format: Paperback
I received this e-book from Skyscape Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Let's talk shop, fellow readers. Here we have a book that wins on many levels but falls short on some others.
Cover: Beautiful. Enticing. I love when realistic depictions of characters are put on the cover, front and center. Which brings us to...
Characters: This book had insta-lust on Micah's part but it was easy enough to wave it away to creative license. I'm sure the story would have survived just fine if Micah's attraction to Vee had started later in the book, when they actually meet maybe. Aside from that, even 15% in both characters and the world they live in were well developed and interesting to boot. Speaking of the world they live in...
Plot: Honestly there was so much focus on the insta-love that there wasn't much of a plot for nearly the first quarter of the book. BUT there was also a focus on world building so I guess it evens out?
Writing style: It was easy to tell the voices of Micah and Vee apart, but I wouldn't say their voices were distinctive. There was a lot of description on Micah's part and a lot of angst on Vee's part, both of which fit in well with their characters.
But would I buy it?: If I was in charge of a library for a number of young adults, yes. I would. If I had a friend who was super into dystopians disguised as utopians, yes. For myself? Maybe not. Maybe if it was on sale.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wow! What a ride! There are so many things about this book I'm truly high on. I love that it's set in a not-so-distant, but not-at-all dystopian future. It's so easy to follow along with the trends in writing and so difficult to forge new paths but that's exactly what happens here. Kudos to both the writers, Mantchev & Dallas and to the publishers and team they put around themselves for having the bravery to take a different angle.

The bravery doesn't stop there though. These writers also show courage--and respect--for their audience by never dumbing things down and never faking it, despite what they must have known would be some objection from fools. This is a book likely to have a largely female audience, from YA readers and beyond and it features teens who aren't treated like children. They swear. They lust. The love. They live. And they do all of this unabashedly and without excuse. Again, more hive-mind philosophies in publishing surely would have toned these artists down, but the books vividness and verve come from it's reality and it's rawness and it's truth. The suspension of disbelief is easy because of how gritty and real the characters act.

And thank the Maker for some realistic love scenes. Mantchev & Dallas managed to make things racy and hot without ever crossing over into cheese. They succeed where so many fail. They told a love story that wasn't contrived and sappy. They may be guilty of some love-at-first-sight treatment, but they respect the reader enough to sell it. They don't just gloss over it and ignore what they've done. They take the time to construct the content of the love and make the instant spark it begins with plausible and real.

The pace is fantastic.
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