Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

ISAN – International Sensory Assassin Network. A secret organisation, an experimental serum, a dystopian world. What could be better? I really liked the synopsis and the cover’s fantastic. So I was quite interested in reading it.

I wanted to really like the book but there were a few things that were annoying. For example, how all the superiors at the ISAN call the girls, “Ladies.” They’re assassins. It’s a small thing but it just felt off. Added to that, some of the dialogues felt tacky and out of sync with the seriousness of the story.

The writing dragged a bit at times and some of the scenes were frivolous. Also, what happened to the world and civilization was only hinted at and we see part of the impact later in the book. But the MC didn’t really talk about it at the beginning and this didn’t give a dystopian feel to the story.

For a dystopian story, the writing lacked a certain depth and intensity needed. ISAN had a lot of potential and could have been better but it was a good story.
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This is a reasonable young science fiction / action story.
There are certainly plenty of twists in the plot but at times I just felt the characters did not Gel.
If you have nothing better then it may be worth a read.
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Quite a while ago, I received the book ISAN from NetGalley. This book is written by Mary Ting. The expected publishing date is May 1st, 2018. I got a free kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The book follows Ava, an assassin held in ISAN. ISAN stands for International Sensory Assassins Network, what they do, is they inject kids that have certain special genes with a serum called Helix22B. What Helix22B, or just Helix, does is it boosts all senses. Touch, smell, taste, strength, etc. It makes them more nimble and faster, and in some rarer cases, people can generate things like maps in their mind. They train the kids with mental missions, basically a VR game except the object is to train someone for war. When Ava and her team is assigned one of the most dangerous missions, she will not only have to succeed but survive the things she learned that ISAN wants to keep hidden.

This was a pretty good book. There were so more dry parts, but definitely not many. The majority of the book was pretty action-packed and lots of twists and turns in the story and combat was written really well too. Although a fair bit of dialogue wasn't written too well. By that I mean it didn't seem very real. For the most part though, the story was wonderfully written and I definitely recommend it.
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#Isan #NetGalley

publisher synopsis: Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.

While on a mission, she is abducted by a rebel group led by Rhett and told that not only does she have a history with him, but her entire past is a lie perpetuated by ISAN to ensure her compliance. Unsure of who to trust, Ava must decide if her strangely familiar and handsome captor is her enemy or her savior—and time is running out.

I really tried to get into this book, but it was hard for me. The premise of the book sounded amazing, but in actuality it seemed very far fetched, the characters seemed very winey and I really didn't connect with any of the characters. It also appears as if they are training, but there is not a lot of action.

I received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
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*Received an ARC from the Publisher via Netgalley*

Damn! I really did enjoy this book. Starting with a very action packed beginning until the end, this book will surely get your full undivided attention. 

I personally love women who are equally strong like guys do. And Assassin women are really my thing in terms of watching action movies. So its not surprising that I enjoyed every minute of reading this. Not to be biased, but this book will surely leave you at the edge of your seat. There are strong Protagonist and a very hateful Antagonist in this book. It an interesting plot and world building. The romance between Ava and Rhett are undeniable. I love Rhett! 

There is SO much more to say about this book but my mind is still too messed up after finishing this book. It sure is a cliffhanger! Damn! Am already looking forward for the next book to be released!
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I made it to 45% before I finally had to give up. Trust me, no one is more upset about this than I am. The ONLY reason I managed to force myself so far through this train wreck is because this book was one of my top 5 most anticipated releases of 2018. I mean, come on, an assassin network?! The premise sounded really incredible.

What I was expecting: A kickass, adrenaline-packed, edge-of-your-seat story full of awesomeness and, well, ass-kicking.

What I got: Whiny, catty, bickering teenage girls. And angst. And really horrible writing.

This book was juvenile to the point that it felt like Middle Grade, not Young Adult. If it weren't for the fact that they were assassins, it should have been labeled MG. And really, from what I read it could have passed as it anyway because there was little to none of that ass kicking I was hoping for - the 45% I read was basically all of the aforementioned whiny, bickering teenagers.
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I came upon this book on NetGalley and thought it sounded intriguing. I love books about secret groups, powers, and assassins. Sounds really good. I enjoyed this read. I did have some issues with the read, mainly the pacing. Really that is about it. The pacing was a bit off but other than that it was a good read. I felt the story interesting and the characters solid. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger, nothing to keep me up at night but enough to make me want to get to the next book… which of course will be a while before its out.

This is set in the future. Clean water is hard to come by, people are starving, the country is split into four different territories. There is a war coming.... so the ISAN group thinks. They have a drug called Helix which makes teens stronger, faster, more aware, fearless. They take girls from foster homes or off the street. They feed them, shelter them, and train them to be killers. Ava is a star pupil at ISAN. They love her, she is special, she has a map in her head. On one particular mission, she is kidnapped by a boy that claims she knows him and he knows the truth about ISAN. Ava has no memory of this boy or the gang he lives with. After a few days with this new gang, Ava begins questioning everything. 

This was an interesting story. The main character, Ava was taken from a foster home as a young teen and put into a secret agency that trained her. She knew about the missions but didn’t know the missions might require assassinating. This gives her worry. She doesn’t want to kill. Ava is a complex character in a way that she has been trained to be one way but her heart tells her to different. She has never really questioned what the agency wants of her, she is just thankful they gave her a home and they keep her safe, warm, and fed. After having to kill she starts to question things. Not too much. Just a little. Then she gets a mysterious message from someone who claims to used to know her and wants to meet her. This changes everything and really brings on the questions that change her entire world.

What I liked about Ava… even though she has been trained to think one way, she refuses to ignore questions that nag at her. She isn’t really into investigating but isn’t afraid to ask questions. She also has a fierce loyalty to her team and her friends. Even if she doesn’t to the agency. She is brave… even without the helix. She ignores her fears and fights through them. She is smart and knows when to quit and think and then knows when to speak up. She is sharp and quick thinking. I didn’t find much fault with her really. I mean she is a little naïve at times, but only because things have been kept from her and she trusts just a little too much in what she has been told… only in the beginning though. Once she finds holes in the story… she starts to question everything.
The boy in the story, Rhett. He is sweet and loyal to his friends too. I didn’t really connect with him as much as I did Ava but he was alright. I hope to spend more time with him in future books. I think he will be a pretty cool character once I get to know him better. He is sneaky and smart and I did like that. I felt at times he came on a little strong and desperate but I guess that comes with being separated from the one you love.

There is romance. A little. Rhett says that Ava loved him once, but she has no memory of this, so the romance is a little one-sided. I guess that is why I felt Rhett came on a little strong and desperate. I think the romance will go somewhere for sure. This was just the setup. I couldn’t get on board fully with the romance, but it was starting to flourish in my heart. I can see it becoming deeper and oh so lovely.

In fact, this book was a set up for a lot to come. I can see that. The beginning of the book was a little slow. The time spent training and on missions. A lot of action, but done in a way that kind of bores me. I did get a feel for Ava, and her friends, and the agency during this time. So it was just the start of building the story. After halfway through, the story picked up and was really interesting. I had a hard time putting the book down.

I think the pacing caused me to not love the book quite as much as I wanted to but the story is interesting. There isn’t a lot really given away in this book. The surface was just cracked a little, so the book left me wanting more and I am hoping the next book will fill in all the blank spaces in the story. I wanted to know about the world in this book. The country is split into four corners and they have different rulers. The world doesn’t seem to be in much peace and chaos seems to be all around. I didn’t get much of the world though. SO I am hoping this will be expanded in the next issue.

There was a bit of a cliffhanger in the ending. Not a jaw-dropping heart pounding type of cliffhanger. Just a small one, a doable one. I do want to continue with the series and I will for sure continue once the next one is out.

A good read. A good start to what may just be a pretty awesome series.
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Probably a 3.5 out of 5, actually. The action scenes are nicely done, but the language in the book seems to be straddling the line between older YA and adult fiction. Also, the protagonist seems she can't decide if she is girly or gutsy at some points.

That aside, I liked for the most part the romantic development and how the author laid the groundwork for future revelation in upcoming books.
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Best Dystopian read! I was pulled into Ava's world from page one and I couldn't put it down, I was caught up in their world and I'm still reeling with emotions! And now I desperately want book two! This book has suspense, adventure, love,lose and a range of emotions that keep you hanging on til the last word!This is a must read book! In my opinion it's the best dystopian read since Divergent and I actually think it surpasses Divergent! It is full of twist and turns that will keep you guessing and anxiously awaiting book 2! There's plenty of action to keep you turning the page til the very end and also alittle romance to spicy it up a bit. All in a dystopian sci-fi setting that is ingenious and creative!Definitely give this book 5 hearts! ❤💜❤💜❤
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ISAN is the first installment in author Mary Ting's International Sensory Assassin Network series. Protagonist Ava lives in a world where meteors destroyed what was once Planet Earth. In the aftermath, the US was divided into four regions; East, North, South, & West. Each region is overseen by the so called Remnant Council. Remnant Council members are supposedly secret. Then there is the International Sensory Assassin Network (ISAN) who takes in those left in foster care and juvenile detention. 

ISAN takes mostly young women like Ava who have no family left and a specific DNA marker. ISAN injects them with a serum called Helix B77 which gives candidates increased abilities like senses, stronger, faster reflexes, and in some cases, ESP. The author hints that these meteors were responsible for enhanced technology and medical care. Ava is a bit different from the others. She's had a rather hard life with the loss of her mother, ending up on the streets, and then being placed in Juvie after trying to survive on the streets.

Ava seems to have the ability to know where she is going as though she has a map in her head. Ava's team includes Brooke, Justine, and Tamara. Make no doubt about it folks. 
ISAN, under the leadership of Mr. Novak owns the girls outright. He can do whatever he wants and there won't be any blow back from any government agency. After passing rigorous tests to find out if they are worthy of an outside mission, Ava's team is chosen to assassinate a political figure. 

This is when things get curious and interesting. Curious because of the fact that nobody is supposed to know who the Remnant Council members are. Interesting because someone from Ava's past makes contact with her. Ava's team ends up with a second mission. One that ends up with Ava being kidnapped by a boy named Sniper, and his friends Ozzie and Reyna. While among Sniper's group, Ava gets a hint of her past relationship not only with Sniper, but Reyna as well. She also gets some interesting revelations about herself and her family for which I will not spoil. 

All good things must be twisted. You know that Ava can't stay with Sniper's group forever. ISAN won't allow their million dollar investment to just walk away scot free. Whatever it takes, Ava needs to do her own investigation. She can't trust anyone. Not even her own teammates. Ava will need to be strong, and be brave if she is to survive against those like Mr. Novak who seems to have his finger in more than one pot. Will Ava's memories reawaken, or will Novak find a way to suppress them in order to keep her as a good little soldier?

This is one of those stories that easily can and should be picked up for a TV series. I hate a hit or miss relationship with this author, but in this case I found the action and the mystery to be intriguing. Unlike other series I've read, I do plan on continuing with this series.
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I think fans of young adult dystopian novels will fall in love with ISAN! I agree with some of the reviewers who thought that the world-building was a bit sparse. I didn't see the lack of world-building as a negative, I thought it demonstrated how limited the girls' lives were and emphasized that they were living in a sterile, institutionalized environment. The dialogue, which is filled with the girls swooning over "hot" guys, seemed appropriate for the setting.

Personally, I appreciate character-building over world-building so I was a little disappointed that more wasn't revealed about Ava in the plot. However, I can appreciate that Ava's history remained elusive as this is the first book in a series, and it wouldn't be appropriate to spoil the series by revealing too much information in the first book. When it was revealed that Ava had lost some of her memories and why she couldn't remember certain events in her life, it demonstrated a vulnerability behind the "kick-butt assassin" veneer.

I enjoyed the dystopian premise; troubled girls being handpicked to become assassins by an agency whose philanthropic intent is dubious at best. You know that something is sketchy about it, but the adventure lies in figuring out what the agency's true intentions are. It's not overly complex; however, I think the complexity will increase as the series progresses. The plot seems to resemble high school society, particularly what one might find in a high school gym class. Physical acumen is prized over scholarship and there is some in-fighting as the different teams attempt to assert their dominance over other teams. While some adult readers will be put off by this, I'm not one of them, and I think this will resonate well with young adult readers.

I fell in love ISAN and I'm anxious to see where Ting is going with this series!
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I wish I could have given this novel a better review but I just can't. There are a few reasons but I think the main reason is that it's a typical YA novel, the type of books that give YA novels a bad reputation. 

The plot was okay but there wasn't enough backstory to help evolve it further. The reader is given brief glimpses into the world outside the ISAN compound but not enough. I wished to learn more about how meteors lead to such a controlling, deadly future. 

The characters were awful as they were cliche teenagers. All the female characters drool after any boy that crosses their path, pick pointless verbal fights with each other over nothing important and overall act juvenile. These characters are supposed to be assassin teenagers yet they feel like eleven or twelve year old. I also don't understand why the characters question the world and ISAN more, they just accept everything that is handed to them. 

The "romance" was a joke and had me constantly rolling my eyes. 

In summary, this novel was okay but nothing special. If you love younger YA novels though this novel might be perfect. 

Thank you to Vesuvian Books and Netgalley for this ARC.
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I thought that the premise was very interesting. I like the idea of an agency that trains assassins and also the concept of having them injected with a special serum that makes them far more effective than they would otherwise be. It reminded me of Captain America in that regard with the exception of the assassins having to be injected every time they have a mission. 

I liked the main character. She wasn't naive by any means but is trying to survive is a world where she is essentially alone. When she is given a choice between remaining in juvenile detention or joining ISAN, she chooses ISAN which she feels is a no brainer. She comes to realize that all is not what it seems and that she may not last long there if her usefulness runs out. I enjoyed her tough take no prisoners attitude. She was pretty bada$$ and reminded me of a greener version of Nikita. 

I thought that the storyline was well done and I look forward to reading the next installment to see what choices Ava will make while at ISAN. I'm hoping that the author will explain more about the world and Ava's past. I got the gist of why there was so much destruction and why food was harder to come by but I'm not sure that I understand the governing body of the world that Mary Ting created.
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Hold on to your dust jackets because wow. I want the sequel now! *ugly cries* 😭

This book is a fabulous, heart-rendering take on an amnesia storyline. Ava knows who she is, or so she thought until she met Rhett. He will stop at nothing to help her remember her past, their past, who she really was. Can she trust the people she's working for? Will he foil her goals? Is she the girl he remembers? Is that girl dead?! Find out in this stunning book ISAN as we learn who Ava can and can't trust.
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I gave it 3.5

I didn't know if I would like ISAN going in, but by the end I wanted more.

It started out a bit slow, but I enjoyed ISAN. I felt myself caring for not only Ava—although she could be very naive at times—, but many of the supporting characters. Once things got going the story had a nice flow to it.

Hold onto your pants because there is a lot of action in ISAN and you never really know which characters to trust. It seems like a few characters have hidden agendas and I'm not quite sure if they are on the good or bad side of things yet. I look forward to finding out.

There is a bit of romance going on in ISAN, but I don't really have a lot to say about it yet. One thing that ISAN was missing was details about the world. The world building was minimal and I think some more detail would have pulled everything together.

I'm excited to read more of the ISAN series and will keep checking the authors website for news on when it will be coming out.

* This book was provided free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Hold on to your dust jackets because wow. I want the sequel now! *ugly cries* 😭

Ava thought she knew who she was, what she was doing, and who she could trust, but after being taken during a mission and coming face to face with Rhett (allllllll the heart eyes!) - a guy who is determined to make Ava remember him and their history - nothing in Ava's world is certain anymore. 

I blew through this story in less than 24 hours. ISAN grabs you from the very beginning and doesn't let up until the very end all the while making you question everything right along with Ava. The action had my heart pounding, the swoon had my pulse hammering, and that cliffhanger will give you LIFE! 

Highly recommended!
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Just from that description, you know exactly what happens, so the books plot wasn't exactly a surprise, felt very "Divergent" to me. However there were some interesting points, and also I am actually interested to know what will happen next, so I will be reading next books at the series. Not the best dystopian I've ever read, but I will continue. Maybe younger people will enjoy this book especially if they're new to dystopian genre..
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Hey, book dragons! So I have another ARC review for you all. And believe me when I say I already need book two now. Mary Ting is an amazing writer and I have to say this book is great for the YA community. 

Now if you like Spies, missions and just girls kicking butt than this book is for you. I will warn though in the starting of this book its a bit hard to read/understand vs E-book, now until I get a physical copy I can’t say how it will read physically. But I am very excited to get my hands on a finished copy.

There are so many things I could say about this book, it is an action-packed book with a hint of deception a dash of romance and a girl who is just trying to figure out what the heck is the truth. For me this book is amazing, when I was getting to the last few pages I was in agony form wanting to know what happened and not wanting it to end. Now, bookworms if that isn’t a good book I don’t know what is.  Go and pre-order yourself a copy trust me you won’t regret it. And if you reading this review before April 23rd head over to Good Choice Reading and you can get your self a singed/personalized copy.

But till next time here at the Nook,

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**I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own**

I just love dystopian literature, each story has similar elements, but each author uses them in their own way to create such amazing novels and Mary Ting did an amazing job. I absolutely stunned at how great this book was!!
Ava, the main character, is strong and fierce, but she has normal human flaws that make her relatable. Of course, her life experiences aren't very relatable. I mean, she's a freaking assassin!! 
I liked how the book had started out about a bunch of girl being trained to be assassins, there weren't many guys in the picture, which was nice because there aren't a lot of dystopian books out there that don't have some sort of romance present. Towards the middle, however, the boys enter the picture and a hidden romance appears (I won't say anything else...spoilers!!)
It was overall a wonderful read. I wish there hadn't been any romance in it, just because a lot of books have that in it these days, but it added a nice flare to the story.
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First I want to thank Net Galley and the publisher for letting me read an AC of this book for my honest opinion.  That being said the way I look at this book is Mission Impossible, Charlie's Angels with a little Jason Bourne thrown in. I really liked the way it read and how there was never a slow down in the book and that it gave the perfect balance of action with character development. It also keep you guessing at what was going on and of course made you paranoid about everyone the main character encountered. The only thing is that I wish it would have given more back story at some points but I think that will be fixed in later books at least I hope there will be later books because I feel there is a lot more story to tell. If anything the ending felt a little rushed and a little weird but I don't want to say how because it would give to much away. Again though I think that can be addressed in later books and could give you that ah ha moment but I guess we will have to wait a see. Overall it was a great book and read really fast leaving me wanting more so I think the author overall nailed it.
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