I really liked this one. Sanaa is a hard-working youngster, driven to try and help alleviate many of the problems holding up humanity’s flight to the stars, while living in the last large underground city. However, time is running out. The Earth’s crust is breaking up and the climate is steadily deteriorating. Sanaa has always assumed that she would continue to pursue her studies, having worked very hard to distinguish herself. And then one day it all changes. She is yanked away from her friends and the job she loves and told she needs to pursue a different path – while not really understanding what that path is. This could have been a really hard sell – that are lively, intelligent protagonist is completely derailed from her life’s ambitions and yet somehow goes along with the flow without creating too many waves. However, Pajonas has been clever in setting up the world where she is an orphan living with her aunt and her lover – a world where obedience and doing your best is highly prized in a society teetering on the edge of obliteration.
In many ways, this story is comfortingly familiar to anyone who reads this genre in that we have a youngster immersed in what they believe to be their life’s ambition, often with the difficult start, and doing very well. At some stage, everything suddenly falls apart as they are forced into embracing a far more difficult, often darker occupation and in following this path, on the advice of some mysterious mentor, they encounter romance.
What I think makes this one stand out, is the complexity of the characterisation and the layers of society and sheer detail we get of Sanaa’s everyday life. This gives us a greater understanding of not only her actions, but her thoughts and her doubts. While the romance was predictable, I was relieved there were no major quarrels or upsets and it is genuinely sweet. One interesting difference was that Sanaa had previously experienced two very unsatisfactory love affairs and talks quite frankly about them - which is atypical in this kind of story.
However, I don’t want you to go away with the idea that this is all about the romance – it isn’t and if it had been I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. This book does what all good science fiction achieves – takes me to a different place and a different time and immerses me in a completely different culture, leaving me wondering what I’d do if it were me. Recommended for fans of character-led, adventure science fiction. 9/10
Pajonas is a very intelligent writer who is able to convey the Japanese culture in a way that would appeal to someone who knows nothing about Japan or a reader who has spent a considerable amount of time in Japan and possesses a strong understanding of the Japanese culture. The dialogue in this book flows beautifully, the plot is carefully planned, and the characterisation is a delight to read.
Sanaa, the main protagonist in the story, is a wonderful role model for young girls in that she has considerable physical and mental strength and these attributes are the qualities that allow her to follow a strong moral code with a courageous mind, body, and soul. Sanaa’s character is explored in depth and her experiences are written in a way that this young girl, who has plenty of kind-hearted hopes and dreams, seems to complement all the other characters in the book. Sanaa’s love for her aunties, her closeness to her two best friends Helena and Miko, her dedication to Jiro and Mark, her commitment to the colonization process, and finally her acceptance of her royal lineage, all make this book a very good read.
I don’t know a lot about sword fighting but it seemed to me that the author is an expert on the subject and each fight scene really comes to life throughout the chapters. You can expect a sweet romance as well as lots of drama in this book based on Sanaa’s very human and emotional reactions to the upheaval in her life and her selfless desire to protect her family and friends. All of this is cleverly entwined in this futuristic novel with a dystopian setting that is entirely believable and fascinating to read.
This book is different for 3 reasons: it's in a science fiction setting but it's really a romance and a mystery; it's told from first person point of view; the characters and culture are entirely Japanese. I was a bit disappointed over the first point as I was looking for a science fiction story, but the other two won me over. I was drawn to the characters and pulled into the story and simply had to read to the end to find out what happened. Worth a read.
The last of humanity are planning to leave earth. This future society has a rich background of Japanese heritage and I felt instantly transported there. I was intrigued by Sanaa and her story- couldn’t put it down.
Earlier this year I was introduced to S.J. Pajonas through Crash Land on Kurai, the first book in the Hikoboshi series. Knowing it was a spinoff of the Nogiku series, I was somewhat tentative to dive into the story. I feared I would not understand the story without having first read the Nogiku series. This fear proved to be unfounded – Crash Land on Kurai was a wonderful read in and of itself – but I was still left wanting to read the Nogiku series. There were comments and references made that left me curious to see how the series played out – not to mention, the series sounded wonderful.
Thus, I was eager to give Removed a read. It sounded like a wonderful read and I couldn’t wait to get those answers I was hoping to receive before I continued through the Hikoboshi series. A dystopian society based around Japanese cultures – it goes without saying that I was interested in finding out more, and that I wanted to fill in those blanks.
If the truth is to be known, I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I enjoyed Crash Land on Kurai. Both were brilliant books, but they had rather different tones. Having read Crash Land on Kurai, I was expecting something different from this one. It is not that this book is bad – so very far from it – I simply believe I would have appreciated it more had I not read Crash Land on Kurai first. For those who have read the Nogiku series, however, I would certainly suggest going on to read the Hikoboshi series – it is promising to be even more wonderful than what the Nogiku series is promising to be.
Nevertheless, as I said, this book was a great read. It took me a few chapters before I was really pulled into this story, but once the ball was rolling it was extremely difficult to put down. So much happened throughout this one, so many things were revealed. I could mention so many of the individual plot lines, but I would have no idea where to start – so much grabbed my attention, so much left me excited for more. There really are so many layers to this story, leaving you with very high expectations for the rest of the series. Do I believe the rest of the series will hold up? Hell yeah, I do. The way this one ends promises so many wonderful things, many new twists and turns. It’s not just the expectations from Crash Land on Kurai that have me saying this – Removed really does leave you with the belief this series is going places.
Without a doubt, I fell in love with the storyline and characters. Already, I’ve been telling other people to pick up the book, needing people to join me in my enjoyment. Without a doubt, I’m diving into book two. I need more of this world; I need to see how things play out.
After just two books, I’m positive S.J. Pajonas is going to be one of those authors whose books I make a crazy grab for whenever I can. Put simply – I’m hooked.
I’ve just finished this book, and all I can say is….what a cool story!!! The author mixed some amazing elements together in ways that I didn’t think could be done! She mixed dystopian, science fiction, and the Japanese culture together in the story of one girl who discovers who and what she really is, while learning to grow up and accept duty and adulthood. I thought it was done really well, and I’m definitely coming back for book 2.
I thought Sanaa was a wonderful protagonist. She had many of the elements I love in my book heroines. She was intelligent, witty, and brave. However, she was very forward, and would be quick to tell anyone how she felt, about anything. I thought that this was a wonderful characteristic, and following the story through her eyes was a great reading experience.
Her love interest, Jiro, was perfect for her. He was creative, very smart, and he was a swordsman. That last thing was definitely interesting, and I loved watching Jiro teach Sanaa how to fight. I thought they were great as a couple, because they never lied to one another, and always talked out their issues.
The side characters in this book were intriguing, although I’m sure we don’t know everything about them. I loved the support that Sanaa received from Helena and Miko. I was relieved that they always cared about Sanaa, and when they thought she was too impulsive, they told her so. I thought Mark was very enigmatic, and very mysterious. I didn’t trust him at first, but he did become a favorite character of mine. I have a feeling I’m going to quite like Beni too, but we didn’t really learn much about her yet.
The plot was very interesting. It followed Sanaa as her life changed drastically, and she was torn from one job into another entirely different one. We watched as she became stronger, developed a relationship with Jiro, and learned of her duty. I thought this was a very great plot, and the only downfall it really had for me was the cliffhanger ending.
Therefore, it’s obvious just how awesome I thought this book was. I loved the incorporation of the Japanese culture, and thought it was very well-done. The science fiction elements were definitely interesting, and I can’t wait to see what happens with that in the next part of this series. Sanaa made a wonderful heroine, and after the ending, I can’t get back to her and Jiro fast enough! ~Brianna
I started this book back in November and for some reason or another - maybe my head wasn't in the right place or I was too busy writing and finishing my latest novel - I just couldn't get into the story. I tried several times over the last few months, only to set it aside, frustrated because I'd heard what an amazing book it was. Since I sent my latest WiP out to my beta readers, I've had a little more time on my hands and I've been catching up on my to-read list. I was determined to read Removed by S.J. Pajonas, all the way through - to finish it and give it the attention I knew it deserved...
I'm so glad I finally did. One of my friends called me a "reading machine" the other day and it was an apt description as I've read nine books since the beginning of the year! Oh.My.Gosh. Once I put my mind to it, I finished the book in two days. Two Days! I couldn't set the book down to do much of anything and have sacrificed quite a bit of sleep the past few days to stay up reading.
Sanaa is an amazing heroine - she's strong, caring, sincere and confident. I love that her emotions are written all over her face, I love that she breaks down and has moments of fear or insecurity, I love that she is so physical and I love that she cares even though she doesn't have to. I'm always amazed, and I have no idea why, when certain authors have such a gift with character development. When I feel like I know the person I'm reading about so well, it's like they're a friend I've known all my life...like I should be able to fall into the book and become part of the story. S.J. Pajonas has this gift. It's awe-inspiring, truly it is.
The world this author has created is fascinating! She brings the sights, smells, sounds and culture right to your senses and it's hard not to imagine that you aren't really there, participating in the events, conversations, the hustle and bustle. It's these well-developed worlds that make me wish they were real because I want to explore and experience them. I want to submerge myself in this world and quite possibly never come back.
I'm very eager to read the remaining books in this four-part series, and when I do, I'll be sure to post another review here for you to read! If the other three books are as delicious as this one, I know I'll be missing out on a lot more sleep...