Cover Image: A Soldier and A Liar

A Soldier and A Liar

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An overall enjoyable read full of a great cast of characters and wonderful worldbuilding, it was exactly what I was looking for!
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A Soldier and a Liar is the first installment in author Caitlin Lochner's duology. In this world, Nytes have special abilities  and can function outside the domed sectors of this dystopian world. The Etoiles are what's left of humankind. They make up the majority of the population, but fear the Nytes due to their abilities. One of the key players of this story is First Lieutenant Lorelai (Lai) Cathwell. Lai is a former soldier who has spent 2 1/2 years in prison for reasons that won't be come clear for some time. Her gift allows her to hear people's thoughts (Telepath). 

But, there's way more to Lai than meets the eye. Even though Lai has spent the last 2 years in prison, she's been extremely busy using her telepathic powers to work and recruit for the Order (a peace organization) while slipping in and out of her cell. With a push from her former Commander and adopted father, General Austin, Lai leaves prison and joins Austin's first ever Nyte Special Forces team. Lai's team includes Major Jay Kitahara, a self-conscious perfectionist consumed by the desire to be accepted, Sergeant Major Johann, Al for short, a short-tempered fighter lying for the sake of revenge, and Corporal Erick Mendel, an amnesiac bent on finding what happened to his memories before he joined the military.

But this team has friction, differences, and secrets that tear them apart instead of bringing them together amidst the threats of war on the horizon. At the same time Lai is getting used to her new teammates and helping the Order, she is also being pursued and watched by the rebel's leader Ellis who want to destroy the Etoiles and reign supreme. Lai and Ellis have a history that really won't be explored until much later in the book, as well as the sequel. This book isn't all about Lai even though she's a key player, but it probably should have been.

As a background to this world, what remains of Humanity lives in domed cities, sheltered from the toxic, post-apocalyptic world outside. The cities, called Sectors, are governed by High Councils and protected by the military. Strangely and without warning, two decades ago, children with superpowers, or Nytes, began arising in the Sectors. More about that another time. Much of this story takes place in what's called Sector Eight. Sector Eight is where much of the growing rebellion has been brewing since Lai went to prison.

Slowly, Jay's team comes together and actually starts to look like a team. Unfortunately, this book ends on a heart shattering cliffhanger ending and betrayal. As I have already finished reading the sequel, I can honestly tell you that the second book may be even better than this one. This book does alternate between Lai and Jay's point of views at points in the book. I was actually more entertained by Lai's chapters than Jay's since Lai is a much, much deeper character with plenty of strengths.

Actual Rating: 3.5
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I wasn't sure what to expect, but I enjoyed reading this. An interesting story with fun characters. Well written.
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A Soldier and a Liar is such a good story, one of those books that you have to read in one sitting. The structure, the setting, the characters, all amazing. :)

Different points of views really work in the story. It was so interesting to see Lai's point of view, on one hand, to see how she sees a world and then, on the other hand, to see how the world perceives her. 

The magical system is well thought out and very intriguing. I loved all the different superpower and the dystopic setting. There is a lot of mystery, spying and political intrigue.

I was hooked from the very start and I loved every page of it!

Highly recommend it!
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I wasn’t sure what to make of A SOLDIER AND A LIAR at first. It starts off slow and the characters are difficult to relate to, but I’m glad I stuck it out. The story and character development really picks up at about the 50% mark and takes off after that. Lai Cathwell is 17-year-old superpowered soldier. She and fellow young adults, Al (Johann), Erik (Mendel), and Jay (Kitahara) form an unlikely team of enhanced humans known as Nytes, on a mission to take out an elite squad of rebel Nytes determined to overthrow the Etiole government. While Nytes have powers, they are shunned for them, treated as second-class citizens at best. Lai wants acceptances and equality for Nytes, while the other three each have their own reasons for accepting the mission. With four different motivators, to say they’re a team would be a massive overstatement. Trust is hard to come by and suspicions run high. As their leader, Jay wants cohesion and solicits Lai’s help to make that happen. The more Lai learns about her teammates, the more she both likes them and distrusts them. But they’ll be forced to work together, whether they like it or not, to prevent all out war.

I think the primary plot is about the mission and stopping the war, but it feels more like it’s abut the relationships between the four Nytes as they get to know each other and grudgingly begin to trust one another. The action scenes are really well done, but they don’t drive the plot as much as the interpersonal scenes do. And it’s those scenes that made me care about the outcome of the action scenes. There’s also a budding romance between Jay and Lai always simmering just below the surface. This relationship came across as forced initially, but as with the rest of the book, it hit its stride about halfway through.

The Characters
The characters are my favorite part. Watching shy, socially awkward Jay try to navigate his attraction to Lai, Lai’s heavily armored exterior giving way to friendships, Erik’s selfishness giving way to something more, and Al’s standoffishness meld into someone I could identify with was what made this story really work for me. The author has created deeply authentic characters that are initially tough to get to know, but evolve with time at the same pace for us as they do for Lai. By not trying to force us to care early on, the author does us a favor and allows the reader’s feelings to grow organically as the story progresses. There are a lot of secondary and tertiary characters, who only make sporadic appearances, so I found myself flipping back to reread the scenes where they were first introduced.

Top Five Things I Enjoyed About A SOLDIER AND A LIAR
1. Scene setting. The author has a way of bringing her settings to life in this world where people live in underground sectors to protect them for dangers above ground that only Nytes can survive. The descriptions are so vivid, I had no difficulty immersing myself in this world.

2. Friendships. The relationships between the characters develop over the story, so that the reader builds the same relationship at the same time as the narrator.

3. Super powers. This isn’t your typical superhero story, but the powers the Nytes possess are no less fun and shape the story as much as anything else.

4. Equality. Whether it’s Sneetches with stars upon thars, the color of one’s skin, or being a Nyte or Etiole, everyone wants to be seen as equal, and this classic theme is well done.

5. Lai. She’s fierce, independent, and just vulnerable enough to make her a heroine worth rooting for.

Bottom Line
A different take on superheroes and dystopian adventures with strong characters.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Title:  A Soldier and a Liar
Author:  Caitlin Lochner
Genre:  YA, fantasy
Rating:  4.5 out of 5

Lai is a Nyte, a supernaturally gifted teenager with abilities that frighten the Etioles without abilities—but with numbers and power on their side. Lai is in prison:  by her own choice and for her own reasons. Going back to the military is not what she had in mind, but when a chance to join a special team of Nytes comes her way, she decides that it might suit her own agenda perfectly, if she keeps the truth of her power to herself.

She joins Jay, an uptight perfectionist haunted by his father’s expectations, Al, whose short temper keeps her own secret hidden, and Erik, a surly amnesiac desperate to find out who he really is. Their team has a chance to stop the rising rebellion between Nytes and Etioles, but will the secrets they’re hiding destroy their team before they can?

This is a dystopian story, but without the dystopian feel. The focus is on the two groups, Nytes and Etioles, and the conflict and rebellion between them. Each of these characters has secrets, big ones, and keeps everyone at a distance to keep their secret safe. This novel is about finding trust—for yourself and those closest to you—even in the face of danger. An enjoyable read not bogged down with romance and flirting (although there is a teensy bit).

Caitlin Lochner lives and teaches in Tokyo. A Soldier and a Liar is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Swoon Reads via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
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After reading the blurb, I knew I had to get my hands on this book, and I was not disappointed.

Lai's world is broken into two sorts of humans, those with powers and those without. Those with powers, the Nytes, are shunned, mistreated and mistrusted. Although Lai, a Nyte who is a telepath, was a top solider in the military of the normal humans, she was thrown into prison thanks to a small crime. She sneaks out and secretly works for the Order, a growing underground society which strives for a peaceful life for both types of humans. When the military comes and asks her to return in exchange for her release, she's not sure she wants to, but realizing it's a chance to gather more valuable information for the Order, agrees. But after begin back in uniform, she soon discloses secrets more dangerous than she suspected.

In some ways, this book reminded me of the X-Men but placed in a futuristic world with a heavily split society. And it worked. Lai is an easy character to root for. She's tough, she carries loads of secrets, she's clever, she carries doubt of her own skills at times, and she has a good compass for knowing right from wrong. Her dedication to her friends is inspiring, and her ability to win people over...although not always through the best means...makes her hard not to like even with a few sharp personality corners. It's easy to root for her and those around her, especially with the situation of the Nytes pulls at the sense of needed justice.

The pacing in these pages is pretty fast, guaranteeing a grabbing read with lots of surprises. There are levels of intrigue, some just dabbed upon and leaving the promise of excitement to come in the rest of the series, and secrets around every corner. Everyone has a history, and everyone has an agenda. It makes for interesting characters and a plot which is hard to decipher at times. 

While there is a little romance, it by no means carries the plot but rather lays in very slight dabs with the rest of the story. In these pages, friendship is golden and team work is not simple, but inspiring all on its own. Fans of super humans, fast paced action, intrigue and fighting for justice in an imbalanced society...and girl power...are going to enjoy this tale.
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It has been so long since I have read a dystopian novel and A Soldier and a Liar was the perfect book to fall back into the genre. Providing a futuristic setting where the world is in disarray and people are fighting to survive, this book provides an outlet for multiple characters to shine brightly in two main perspectives of gifted soldiers: Lai and Jay.

One of my favorite aspects of A Soldier and a Liar is that the world development is articulated and molded so well, which allows the pacing of the story to be steady and straightforward. Not only is the story filled with groups of gifted and powerful people known as Nytes, but I loved how uniquely their supernatural powers are explained and used throughout the plotting of some strategically planned and action-packed scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed that along with the fight for good and survival, the book also adds in small dashes of mystery, humor, and wit. Add in some unraveled secrets, messy twists, and unexpected turns and you won’t want to put this book down. In the end, what kept me ingrained in A Soldier and a Liar was the (un)reliable narratives and newly developed friendships, which formed the strongest bonds to keep this apocalyptic and military-driven story together.
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**3.5/4 Stars**

A Soldier and a Liar was a unique and action-packed story with a mixture of sci-fi and dystopia. Each character held depth and felt fully realized, standing within this world on their own two feet with a purpose. There was such an instinctual relatability with Lai’s character—even with her gifts—with how any reader could understand her wants and struggles in her divided nation. And seeing the dynamic of her and her unlikely crew being forced to work together became the best part of the book.

Though I would’ve liked more world-building and background for this world and our two main characters, I was still able to enjoy the story that was being told. I loved the conflict of interpersonal struggles clashing with personal objectives and how it worked against the backdrop of this tension-filled world. I am excited for the possibilities that could come next and look forward to exploring them as A Soldier and a Liar was a fun, fast-paced read.
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While the book was well written I really couldn't get into it. I'm sure it would appeal to other readers I just don't think I was the target audience for it. I will try other books from this author in the future though because she does seem to be a very talented author.
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A Soldier and a Liar by Caitlin Lochner is a pretty good read.  It's a bit disturbing, as well.  It's pretty obviously young adult, as there isn't a lot of graphic description of violence and the small bits of romance are definitely small.  However, there's the seemingly ever-present issue in dystopian novels that is the basis for the whole novel--Us vs. Them.  

Lochner does a pretty good job of twisting the impact of nuclear fall-out to her own story.  She introduces a fairly stnadard idea with small changes and details that make it new.  The people live in domes, but there is a new generation of people who don't need to.  While the governments focus solely on the military applications of these people, there is another group that focuses on equality and peace.  The whole thing is kind of 'kumbaya' and a bit over-sweet.  Obviously, our MC belongs to the hippy-dippy crowd trying to create world peace.  What's not so obvious is that our MC is not a white knight.  She's more of a grey knight.  And that makes her infinitely more likeable, in my eyes.  

I think the biggest thing that tripped me up throughout the story is how difficult it is to guage ages.  Obviously, all Nytes are teen or younger, but Team One usually comes off as much older.  Given the ages at which they joined the military, that shouldn't be so surprising.  However, Lochner makes sure to intersperse little totally kid/teenager moments to remind the reader that Lai and pals are NOT 30+ years old, despite their demeanors when it comes to war and life.  While occasionally, these moments shake the reader, most of the time, they serve their purpose.  Not only are you supposed to feel outrage at the Nytes are treated as lesser, but Lochner sends little reminders out to play on the reader's sense of humanity.  Casual references to Lai's previous service, references to their sexual inexperience, and moments where the characters are nothing BUT teenagers in attitude and bearing serve as harsh reminders that the world they live in is not our own--that this is not an UF, but a post-apocalyptic dystopian story of a group of people who just want to be people.

Lochner did a great job of portraying the disparities in the groups, but I would have much rather seen her show a bit more of the characters' personal reactions.  I feel like there should be quite a bit more outrage by the Nytes and on behalf of the Nytes.  They're the first Gen, and's like this prejudice and segregation has been around for centuries.  There's a level of acceptance in the Nytes that just doesn't add up to humanity and society in general. 

Overall, the story was really good and I'm interested to see just how Lai and the gang are going to escape their fates...and what they're going to do once they do that.  There were definitely parts that drag and that made it harder to just sink into the story.  A solid 4 stars.
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Come join me at

Lia has spent the last two years locked away in prison, but what nobody knows is that she sneaks out at night to help the underground group of Nyte's who long for peace and acceptance in a world that calls them "demons". When the General she use to fight for asks her to come back to the war effort and stop the rebel Nytes, she agrees, mainly as a way to gather more information for her group. Jay just wants to make himself useful and follow orders, to maybe one day be looked on as a fellow soldier instead of a monster, but what he never expected was to be caught in the middle of a real war he never even knew was coming.

Let's start out with mentioning that I have a total case of cover love going on with this book. It is so pretty and basically perfect for the story- and I can easily picture Lai here. This is a Swoon Reads publishing book which means that readers get a say in what is published and they get to vote on the cover and they did a great job with their selection. High five guys! If you want to learn more about the Swoon Reads website and process go here . I found A Soldier and A Liar to be an interesting mix of supernatural and dystopian, with lots of action and secrets to keep the reader turning the pages for more.

I found it interesting that one of the main characters, Lai, was seen as "crazy". This is the first time that I have been inside the head of a character that everyone sees as mentally unstable and it was such an interesting ride! I love how her attention flickered randomly, with so many triggers to cause her to lose focus, yet she was crazy smart like a fox. She could see and pick up things that nobody else noticed (like that one person was really a girl and nobody else caught on). At times I doubted what she was doing but then she surprised me as well as her team. I liked that she could keep me guessing.

The other main character was Jay, aka Kitahara was the complete opposite of Lai. He was the definition of focus and drive, never letting his goals strays from the purpose that he was assigned. He was such a kind character, which feels odd to say when he is a battle trained soldier in the middle of a gory war, but it was the truth. 

The one aspect of the book that made me struggle a little was that the reader is just blindly thrown into the middle of the book, with Lai locked up in prison for an unknown action, in a unknown world that has people (kids only it seems) with powers potentially due to an illness (a la The Darkest Minds series), and no real idea of how anything came to be. And I feel like the world started to come together as I read the book, but honestly it still felt like I was missing some pieces to make the world and the book complete. I was still able to enjoy the story but I would have liked a little bit more of the filler.

This is Caitlin's first book (and very much a series with an ending that hints ar more to come!) and I am really impressed with her storytelling abilities and creativity. I can't wait to see what else she wants to create next.

I reviewed a complementary copy of this title.
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I would liken this book to The Darkest Minds mixed with X-Men in terms of how the Nytes are treated and still teenagers/young adults.

It was just okay. I never really connected with Lai or Jay, and the world wasn't well explained (or laid out), so I probably won't pick up the second book. (And there will be a second book because of how this one ended.)
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Wow! This book had me intrigued from the beginning! It's told with alternating point of views from Lia and Jay, which I always really enjoy. Lia is an ex-soldier with the ability to read minds and has been placed in prison. While Jay is a soldier who can read emotions based off auras.

The premise of this book is about a rebel group of people with abilities who want to wipe out all people that do not have abilities. The military wants a group of soldiers with abilities to help stop them. I really liked the world building in this book. It was interesting to learn about the theories as to why the people with abilities came to be. I was also curious about all the different abilities. 

The relationships in this book kept me engaged the entire time. The group of soldiers put together all have their own hang ups that make it challenging for them to trust and work with each other. The way the relationships grow and change is fantastic. While there is a bit of romance, it does not over power all the other important stuff that is happening in the book. 
I really loved this book! Between the relationships, Lia's friendships with the Order, the world building, and the different abilities everyone had, I couldn't put this book down! I can't wait for the next book! 
I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group Publishing via NetGalley.
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Four gifted teens will learn the meaning of teamwork in order to prevent a war that could end the world and one of them may be the prophesied to make the ultimate sacrifice…

Caitlin Lochner’s A SOLDIER AND A LIAR is an action-packed tale where coming of age can be deadly for those who are “gifted” with special abilities, expected to save their world, yet are shunned by the normal around them.

Brilliantly colored characters, a plot that shines with imagination and an author who has brought it all together never wasting a single word!

Lai is a master of deceit, an accomplished escape artist and yet, she is the most untrained of her group when it comes to warfare, offense and defense. She jumped off the pages for me as a fresh character with so many facets to who she is. 

I am very impressed with the potential for an incredible series that will have readers begging for more!
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I’d heard this book compared to X-Men, so I went in expecting to love it. That wasn’t quite the case. I found it to be just “okay.” It was hard for me to really connect with the characters and stay engaged. There was a disparity in how the story was told, as I didn’t find Lai and Jay equally developed. Telling the story from both POV’s made it feel a bit jumpy, at times. It ended in a way that leaves the reader expecting a sequel, but I don’t think I’ll be checking that one out. I can be satisfied not having some of the loose ends and questions tied up. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from NetGalley, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.
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I really enjoyed this book!  It's fast paced and fun, sort of an X-Men in space feel. I've put it on my list of 2019 buys for both the library and myself.
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A Soldier and A Liar by Caitlin Lochner is an action paced book that brings great action and characters. I really enjoyed it!
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When Lai decides to leave prison and rejoin the military, she doesn't know she's going to be part of a small task force consisting of Nytes. Nytes have a special ability and can function outside the domed sectors of this dystopian world. The Etoiles (French for "stars") are what's left of humankind, make up the majority of the population, and fear the Nytes due to their abilities. Lai is paired up with Jay, Al, and Erick to assist the military in secret missions against the Rebels--the Nytes who live outside the domes with a burning hatred for Etoiles due to the harsh treatment they've received from them. But this team has friction, differences, and secrets that tear them apart instead of bringing them together amidst the threats of war on the horizon.

This was a rare read that I didn't want to finish because of the action and mystery. You don't know everything up front, and not everything is revealed once you get to the end. There wasn't much suspense since you know the reveals from the moment they are introduced. I haven't found any information stating whether this is a standalone or series, but I'm hoping for the latter due to many questions left by the last pages. On the other hand, this doesn't end with a mind blowing cliffhanger and instead a sufficient one is used that either stands as the ending or a bridge to the next installment. 

A dislike includes the alternating chapters between Lai and Jay's point of views. The majority of chapters were from Lai's point of view so it would have been easier to keep this story in first person from Lai's perspective. The two points of views weren't written strongly so a lack of connection to Lai and Jay resulted. We learn glimpses of their past, more so for Jay, and chunks of time are left off with the switching viewpoints. So once finishing the story, the reader only knows these characters from the moment they were introduced without any history or depth. If there is a sequel, I'm hoping the author decides to write it from Lai's point of view to make the story stronger.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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I loved this book! The full review will be posted soon at! Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to connect books to their readers!
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