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Sugar Skulls Paperback – November 10, 2015
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a serious thrill ride. Sexy dames, hot Street hustlers, and killer lyrics. Kind of hard to sum this one up, so I recommend reading for yourself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sierra Nitschke
The cover of this book is amazing and the blurb about the all girl band both lured me in :-) I loved the girls in the band and that dressed as sugar skulls. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Melissa Martin's Reading List Blog
It was entertaining and an interesting concept, but got a little cheesy at times. It's a good, easy read.Published 3 months ago by Kim T
Omg I can't say how much I loved this book! A strong female lead as well as a couple more awesome female characters. I was sad to see this book end. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tequila Rose
Up until this point, everything I have read by Lisa Mantchev has been very nice and easy to read. This book on the other hand was very dark and mature and I loved it! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
What a great ride. Honestly, this book surprised me. This is not a genre I read much of, but found myself unable to break away from it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Casondra Brewster
I'm an avid reader, be it popular or more unknown- I love to lose myself in a story. This one caught me by surprise. Read morePublished 4 months ago by sarahnewton
Drawing the reader in on its first page, Sugar Skulls proves a unique and satisfying read on multiple levels. Read morePublished 4 months ago by ReviewWriter