Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Review: Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets

Title: Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets
Author: Jeffrey Cook
Page Count: 156
4 TURTLES: A great read, I definitely recommend.
*This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review
Mina Cortez on Amazon

Description (Goodreads):
She'd never said, "I want to join the Secret Police when I grow up."

Of course, Mina Cortez hadn't known there were secret police. She just knew she'd rather be a ballerina than a florist. But in 2154, though the world has mostly recovered from the supervolcano, vocational education is still programmed based on aptitude testing. An implanted skill chip can give the recipient many things, but not longer legs. So Mina fully expected to end up inheriting her family's flower shop and landscaping business someday.

Like three generations before her, she had the nose for it.

She didn't expect one of her best friends to be kidnapped. She didn't expect to be inducted into a covert organization by desperate authorities. She didn't expect to have to be grateful for her other best friend's 'undead' Chevy. She didn't expect programmed spy information to come with the taste of aluminum on her tongue — or a burning sensation when she fought its impulses. She didn't expect fights, car chases, family secrets, bureaucrats acting as espionage cheerleaders, electro-magnetic pulses, or the frequent scent of gun oil.

She definitely didn't expect to still have to deliver flowers while figuring it all out.

I’d like to start by thanking the author, Jeffrey Cook, who gave me this copy for review at a backyard and gardening convention of all places!

Mina is the daughter of two Seattle florists. The book takes place several centuries in the future after a super volcano erupted and decimated the world as we know it. By the time we enter this world, much of the clean up has happened, but we see how this disaster steered scientific advancement. For example, there is a lunar colony, and everyone is given series of aptitude tests in school to determine their future careers. At the time they are to graduate and begin said career they have a chip implanted into their spine that has all the information needed to do their job effectively. The time of turmoil after the eruption also gave rise to the Secret Police which Mina is recruited for.

I loved this premise, it was well thought out and conveyed and even felt plausible to me. I really enjoyed how we got to see the parts of our world that poked through into the year 2154 and all the small details that filled out the picture of this future. I almost wish that this world had been filled out a bit more, but given that it is Young Adult it made sense that Cook didn’t go into detail of the geopolitics of all of it.

This book is short but it is packed full of non-stop action, plot twists, and developed characters. There was never a lull or dull moment. I particularly liked Amiko, Mina’s best friend, martial arts specialist, and self-proclaimed side-kick. Her spunky personality added great comic relief to the constant intensity of the story. The idea of chips also lead to a lot of interesting plot developments that really amped up the action. The only thing I would say detracted from my enjoyment was that at times phrases were worded confusingly and I’d have to go back and re-read them to understand what they were saying.

This book is really an entertaining read for Science Fiction and Young Adult fans alike. I’m not sure if there is a sequel in the works, but Cook definitely leaves the door open for one. I know I’d read it should it come into being. I’d definitely recommend this book!

Disclosure: this post contains links to an affiliate program (Amazon), for which I receive a few cents if you make purchases. 

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