Books · Reviews · Spoiler-Free

Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful – Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

Thank you so much to Harper Collins UK / Harper Voyager for kindly providing me with an ARC of Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful.

This is a spoiler-free review and all opinions are my own.

Title: Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Publisher: Harper Collins / Harper Voyager
Publication Date: 7 February 2019
Length: 384 pages
From organ donation to plastic surgery to full bodily reconstruction, these stories take you by your (for now, organic) hand and lead you into a future where the line between person and machine becomes increasingly blurred.

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previous-installments

This is a standalone novel.

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This book is really clever. You can tell the author did a lot of research and went over a lot of scientific papers just to be able to write this.

Though she uses quite a bit of jargon here and there, everything is usually explained straight away so that all readers, and especially those with no medical expertise, can understand perfectly well what’s going. This is done in a very organic way and there’s no info dump.

The world-building was brilliant – well-structured, complex yet not overwhelming. There were no weird-sounding concepts or hard to grasp notions. Most of the things mentioned are actually already in motion as we speak, and those that aren’t will be in the not so distant future. This made every scene incredibly plausible and realistic, and oftentimes simply terrifying.

The book is divided into several stories, each one headed by a different set of characters, and I really enjoyed learning about them and their lives. Even if I kept jumping from one to the other, I felt connected to them in a very inexplicable way from the very beginning.

I think it’s because they were all so human, so flawed. There were some that I liked more than others, of course, but each felt unique and at the same time familiar enough for me to care.

I also liked how each story took place in the same exact universe, with a few years in between, and connected so seamlessly to one another. One would expect them to feel a bit too repetitive but the author managed to create a completely new plot and atmosphere each time.

We got to see or hear about characters that had been mentioned before and especially those who played significant roles in the story, and each one of them contributed in different ways to bring the narrative to a logical and satisfactory ending (in my opinion).

I don’t usually pick up sci-fi books but I found myself really immersed in this one from the first couple of pages. I don’t know if it was because the subject matter was so shocking and controversial, or because the characters were so unapologetically wicked; either way, it made me curious enough to keep on reading.

It was brutal, upsetting, moving, gentle, funny and witty in all the right places.

bitter-bits

While I undoubtedly enjoyed this book, I didn’t feel particularly tempted to reach for it. A weird thing to say after so much praise, I know, but let me elaborate:

When I did pick it up, I usually had no trouble diving into it wholeheartedly and have a good time – and that is a remarkable feat, let me tell you. But after setting it down again, I just felt like the stories and characters didn’t stick with me long enough to make me crave for it afterwards. I was invested in them only for the duration of my reading.

However, I think this had more to do with my mood and the fact that I was facing a reading slump for a while now, and less to do with the book itself. Because just after a few days of finishing it, I did find myself thinking back to the subject matter and feeling a tad unnerved again.

It does make you ponder the scientific advancements and how Humanity is probably doomed to perish from its insatiable greed (lighthearted, I know). But most of all, it makes you desperate to try and change that gloomy future.

overall

Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful was a very pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to get invested in a genre I rarely read but it happened and it made me want to reach for ones like this more often! (Feel free to make recommendations)

It was incredibly well-written, had an almost perfect grasp on characters and situations, the world-building, again, was very well conceived and structured… So, why only four stars? I’m not sure.

I still struggle to find any real flaws with this book other than my emotional availability (or lack thereof). Which means you’ll probably enjoy it immensely if you like YA sci-fi fiction.

I mean, freaking Hank Green, Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman raved about it – if that doesn’t make you want to go and get it, I don’t know what will.

Bottom line: yes, I do recommend you give this book a go!

4 Stars

πŸ“– Do you often struggle with reading slumps?
πŸ“– How big a part do your emotions play in your final ratings?
Let me know in the comments below! πŸ™‚

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43 thoughts on “Stronger, Faster and More Beautiful – Book Review (Spoiler-Free)

  1. Sounds like an interesting book! I’m generally not into short-story-collection type novels with lots of different characters, so this might not be for me, but it sounds like it’s well done.

    And I understand that feeling you describe of enjoying a book while reading it but not feeling particularly driven to pick it up again – I’ve read quite a few books like that. Always hard to pinpoint why that is when there are no obvious ‘flaws’.

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    1. It was! I honestly thought it was one of the most clever sci-fi books I’d read in a while. I’m usually not a fan of anthologies either, but I think that only applies when they’re penned by different authors. I think I need the cohesiveness only a single author can provide hahaha At least in this case, I thought it was done brilliantly.

      Yeah I don’t really know why… I still think about what could have made me appreciate the book more, but alas, nothing comes to mind. I’m glad I enjoyed it enough whenever I did read it, though, and it’s all right not to absolutely love every single book πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I think one author does make it more cohesive, and I do like clever sci-fi, so I’d be more likely to enjoy an anthology like this I think. Great it was so well done! And true, you don’t have to absolutely love every single book – I’ve still really enjoyed plenty even if I wasn’t constantly reaching for them πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, me neither! It’s a shame because it’s a really great book. The big names of YA sci-fi have raved about it, too, which although not always a sure sign of success, in this case is very well deserved.
          I hope you enjoy it, Christina! Looking forward to your review πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Dee! I found your comment in my Spam recently, so sorry for taking this long to reply…
      That’s awesome! I’m so glad to hear it πŸ™‚ I’ve had a few here and there but not one that has lasted me this long, I don’t think. Ugh! I’ve been reading some nice books lately but none has been truly able to cure this literary insatisfaction… But we’ll see.
      Thank you, and you too ❀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this one, Kat πŸ™‚ It felt more like an “it’s not you, it’s me” type of situation because honestly, I can’t pinpoint anything wrong with it and many people seem to agree that it is a fantastic book.
      Thank you for reading! ❀

      Like

    1. Imagine reading a whole book revolving around that particular topic! It’s a bit brutal, not going to lie. But surprisingly, I didn’t really feel depressed or disheartened by this book (thank God!). I think it’s because the author showed so much hope and optimism in it, even when things got particularly bleak. There’s always a tiny silver lining to look forward to πŸ™‚

      Ugh, same here! I think this book did find me at a particularly awful time and that’s the only reason I wasn’t able to connect with it as much as I wished. Also, the fact that I hadn’t read sci-fi in a while might have put me in a weird mindset to read it (see, twins xD) Otherwise, it was pretty stellar!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t heard of this book but it really sounds pretty good! I might give it a shot! Emotions play a big part in my final ratings. If a book leaves me sad it’ll effect my final rating. I’ve also come across some books that I wasn’t eager to pick up again even though I enjoyed it. I think they’re more enjoyable if read in one sitting.
    Great review!

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    1. Definitely do! It seems a bit different from the usual YA scifi that I’ve read but then again, I don’t read enough to draw a fair comparison. You seem to read a lot more so I’d love to read your opinion on it πŸ™‚

      I can totally relate! If a book either disappoints me, doesn’t live up to my expectations, has a sudden twist that disagrees with me, ends in a bad way, the characters’ personalities change overnight, etc. it will definitely change my rating.

      Even if the book is technically perfect, if it doesn’t evoke the right emotions within me, it will not get a high rating. They might be enjoyable enough, but they won’t leave a lasting impact so not really worth remembering…

      Thanks so much, Raven! ❀

      Like

  3. Wow, fabulous review! I find it rather hard to pick up sci-fi myself (I lack the motivation, sigh), but this book sounds very thought-provoking to me. Seems like the author did a great job of thinking everything through to convey all the morals she wanted, but then on the other hand, I think I can see why you weren’t totally jazzed by it? Like, I have the same issue with autobiographies slash memoirs myself; I’m totally immersed once I start a memoir, but for some odd reason or another, I’m not excited to pick it back up once I put it down! (I think it’s simply a case of me not being a fan of the genre despite my appreciation of the book itself.) πŸ˜›

    I do hope you get over that reading slump btw! Those are the constant bane of my existence, so I know how much they totally suck. 😭

    Like

    1. Oh thank you so much! πŸ™‚
      I don’t know, I see all these fascinating books that I want to read but never do, and then when I do want to choose one I can’t pick xD (I’m a very complex human)
      It was certainly thought-provoking – perfect word to describe it!
      Hmmm we might be onto something here… I wonder what makes us so unattached? I mean, I did feel attached to the character WHILE reading but afterwards I just forgot about them? I don’t know…
      Could be the genre, I guess. But I don’t have enough data to prove that theory xD
      Me too! Oh gosh, I get them so often nowadays… I think it’s because I’ve been getting more ARCs and books from publishers than usual, and it puts additional pressure to read, so reading becomes a bit more stressful – which it shouldn’t but inevitably is if you want to set certain goals… Ugh
      I’ve tried to just alternate between them if I get bored xD Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. My brain seems to enjoy wanting to read that ONE book I don’t currently have, and that I’ve seen once in a blog somewhere, but that I WANT RIGHT NOW… Sigh xD
      What do you usually do to cure yours?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reading slumps are horrible, aren’t they? I too get them when I have more ARCs on my plate than books I actually want to read, and I usually get over them by, well, shirking my responsibilities as a professional reviewer and completely ignoring those ARCs. πŸ˜† Works wonders lol. Alternating only prolongs the slump for me, but I’m extra sensitive to this sort of stuff, so that’s just me.

        Haha you speak the truth btw! You’re in the mood for that ONE random book you don’t have in your hands, and your brain rejects everything else? Then once you finally get that book in your hands, you’ve already moved past wanting to read it. INFURIATING, I tell you.

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        1. Hahaha same, girl…. I have to physically force myself to face my ARC pile every other day, just in case I “forget” it’s there and try to get away with not reading any of the books in it πŸ˜›

          I’ve been lucky that at least a third of the ones I’ve been picking up recently have been very enjoyable, while another third of them have been all right. The remnant third have been, well, meh.
          I’d been postponing those ARCs for a while, so very glad I finally gave them a go! (My conscience cheers for it too xD)

          I don’t know how to feel about this “thrill of the chase” kind of mentality… On one hand, I’m so very glad I’m not like that romantically, but I feel terrible knowing I am like that with books x’D Dunno what that makes me 😑

          Like

  4. Lovely review, Sophie, thank you so much for sharing! I have been so curious about this book, I sometimes enjoy reading sci-fi and futuristic books like this one, but I have to be in the right mood for it, too, so I might keep this one for the right moment! I’m so happy you enjoyed it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie! You are lovely as always πŸ™‚ ❀
      Yeah I feel sci-fi requires a specific mood for me as well… I was lucky SFaMB was good enough that it required very little commitment on my part but had it been a different kind of book, I might have postponed reading it for the time being.
      Thank you, I hope you do too once you decide to pick it up! ^^

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a similar time while reading this one. I enjoyed it too, but the characters really don’t seem to stick with you. It is definitely one that has a unique premise, though. I am glad that you were able to enjoy it, though. It definitely makes you think. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I thought the concept and pace were great, they really kept me engaged throughout. But there was still something missing, and I can’t quite pinpoint what…
      Definitely does! Some of the stories were downright creepy, especially since they are not all that unthinkable.

      Like

  6. Love the cover! I’m not much of a sci-fi fan, but this sounds quite interesting. I’m going to add it to my TBR list. And as always, I enjoyed your thought out review. It is funny how our moods can alter our reading experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! It was one of the first things to call to me πŸ™‚
      I hope you enjoy it, Denise! ❀️
      Yeah I feel like any books I might read now, unless they pull me in at the very start and really hook me until the very end, might not be granted anything above a 3 or 3.5 rating. That’s partially because of my mood but, I mean, it’s about one’s personal experience anyway πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

      Like

  7. I’m not a fan of anthologies at all. I feel almost exactly like you explained in your post. I enjoy them when I get into them but after I’m done they are kind of meh. It’s fascinating that you enjoyed these because its the same author. I’ve never enjoyed an anthology from the same author. It’s all so fascinating to me!! ❀️ Great review. I feel like I ought to try these now and test my feelings out!

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    1. Yeah anthologies tend to let me down… But I usually read them by different authors, this is one of the first ones by the same author that I did read and ended up enjoying. I’m not sure if that was just coincidence or if I really don’t like the inconsistency of having various authors pitching in. Maybe both?
      Thanks so much, Dani! ❀ Hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent review, Sophie. I like that you focused a lot on the fact that the author knew how to chew the science for her readers since a lot of them won’t want to or can’t read a whole book with scientific jargon. While I personally appreciate that, I also prefer when it’s a bit more challenging and demands that I focus more if I want to appreciate it hahah I’m just glad that this one wasn’t too overwhelming though! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lashaan πŸ™‚ It’s definitely up to personal taste!
      I think that even if you’re a science fiction junkie with a lot of books under your belt, you might still be able to enjoy this one. It’s more simplified, but not to the point of treating the reader like an idiot. It’s still quite complex, but states facts about the world-building that were otherwise inferred earlier on, anyway.
      I felt like I was still being challenged, yet didn’t feel frustrated or confused. Granted, I’m probably not the best person to say whether it’ll be challenging enough or not for you and more advanced scifi readers hahaha But personally, it was just right.
      Thanks for reading! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

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