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ARC Review: Bubblegum

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Bubblegum by Sari Taurez

Synopsis:
Tiana is your typical pampered young twenty-something with a love for expensive shoes, hot guys, and murder.

Status means the difference between life and death in this society. For Tiana, she’s never had anything to worry about – that is until her mother cuts her off from the family riches. Luckily she’s got good prospects ahead: a job that could make her a killing.

Her first client: Julia, a lower-class I.T girl that finds life can be tough for those who can’t afford to call the police. When the orphanage where Julia volunteers is targeted by the infamous brothel-owner Bobby Nails, Tiana is excited to take the job. But when she discovers Bobby Nails has a full army of mercenaries at his disposal, Tiana wonders if she may be in over her head.

Tiana and Julia face an unexpected adventure as they seek vengeance against the elusive Nails. Their adventures lead them not only to their target, but to a partnership stronger than any of their differences. But will it be enough to stop Nails and save the orphans from a terrible fate?

Review copy  received from the author

Bubblegum was so much fun to read! Despite it dealing with a lot of dark things like prostitution and human trafficking it manages to not be depressing and the friendships the characters build just left me with happy feels in the end. It’s also very action heavy and a lot of things happen so it definitely doesn’t get boring at any point. I almost couldn’t put the book down because every chapter started in a way that I really needed to know what the characters were up to now and I ended up finishing the book really fast because of that.

Even though Bubblegum takes place in the future it’s not very different from ours. People make references to movies like Die Hard and sounds like technology isn’t much more advanced. The only major difference is the very visible class (or level) system that allows the really high ranked people like Tiana basically get away with murder (guess why she can do her job so easily) and leaves lower ranked people like Julia wondering can they afford to go to the police for help and will they even bother.

The characters were all great personalities, Tiana and Ruby being my favorites. I loved that Tiana was a bit of an asshole who became a killer because it sounded fun and the pay was good. I mean, you wouldn’t expect that to be the number one career choice for a rich girl. She’s a really fun character but it’s probably a good thing that the whole book wasn’t from her point of view (it switches between her and Julia). While Tiana was all about searching for the next thrill, Julia offered a slightly more sane view to things so it balanced things out nicely. There’s also some great LGBT representation happening in the book, probably the most I’ve seen in any book I’ve read so far. I found Julia particularly interesting because she was gay and also religious and that combination was no big deal for her. I don’t know why that stood out to me, but it was just a nice little detail.

The story was a wild ride from beginning to end and I was glad nothing worked out too easily for Tiana, but I think I would have liked to see a little more detail about what they actually planned to do during their hits, because obviously things go wrong and reader is left wondering what were they even trying to achieve? Other than chaos, that is. Some of the plot twists were also a little predictable, like I guessed some stuff multiple chapters before they happened, but that didn’t bother me because it was just nice to be right for once when those were revealed.

With the way Bubblegum is written I think it would work pretty greatly as a graphic novel as well. I could easily picture the events as comic book pages. I might actually draw Tiana with her Bubblegum rifle (yes, her gun is named Bubblegum) at some point when I have time just because I can.

But yeah, if you want to read something fun with badass lady characters and lots of action you should definitely pick up Bubblegum when it comes out in October!

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