Cover Image: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this book. Unfortunately I have chosen to DNF this for the time being.

I don't know what about this in particular did not work for me. I felt out of touch with the book from the very beginning. I even questioned whether or not I was reading maybe a middle book in a series, because I was lost. Maybe it gets better, and maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance, but I felt like I should have known more about the characters, the world, and what was going on. Instead, I just felt like I was dropped in head first and expected to KNOW or just accept whatever was happening.

I feel like I should give this book another chance because it does sound unique and like something I would enjoy, but right now, I think that forcing myself through this one would just put me into a reading slump.

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A bit of a hard book to classify as this blends multiple genres.

Loved the mechas action. The writing and prose was superb. The action and mecha fights were awesome.

On the flip side the book felt a bit flimsy and lacking depth and substance, but still entertaining nevertheless.

If you are looking for something different and off beat from the usual stuff, definitely give this a go.

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I was so excited for this book!! I absolutely adore Alex White. however, I found this book hard to follow and I couldn’t really picture the things happening. So while it was very unique and had a great premise, I have to give it 3 stars. I know plenty of people who adored this book though, so I would still recommend it! I can’t wait to see what else Alex White comes up with in the future.

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Earth is being threatened by a giant army of robot Al's. Gus Kitko, a virtuoso pianist oddly becomes humanity's only hope. Kitko expects to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at one of the greatest goodbye party ever. He even hopes that before humanity is ended that he can kiss Ardent violet. However, the vanguards arrive and one of the mechas decides to spare him. He just find himself with a small group of traitorous Vanguards who are dedicated to saving humanity.

I have been meaning to read this book for a while and I even received this book as an arc on Netgalley. However, I decided to finally pick this up on audio on Libby.

I really regret waiting to read this book because this was such a fun read. We have cool giant fighting robots and the action was well done with these giant robots. This book is action packed, gets you in the feels, has you rooting for Gus and humanity, and will make you laugh out loud.

Also, August Kitko features diversity with having Ardent, who is non-binary, which is awesome since I feel like I have not read many books and more specifically in sci-fi/fantasy genre when it comes to gender identity.

I enjoyed Gus and Ardent as characters and Alex does well giving them pizazz to their personalities, but at the same time, they make the characters flawed and I really love when authors give characters flaws instead of only having a few minor flaws. It just makes them seem more real and relatable.

When it comes to the romance between Gus and Ardent, I found it really sweet and just love them together.

I decided to rate August Fitko as four stars only because I struggled with getting into the book in the beginning.

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I hated the main character and I hated the writing style, I thought it had too much info dump and not enough stuff happening on page. The story was so confusing.

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August Kitko and the Mechas from Space makes the dire, impending doom of apocalypse as vibrant and catchy as it can. We've got robots fighting with a mix of old-school and high-tech weaponry, musicians standing between humanity and malevolent A.I., and a queer love story holding up against the pressures of the end of the world. Our two protagonists are Gus Kitko, jazz pianist, and Ardent Violet, pop icon. The two start up a fling with only days before Earth's impending demise, humans' many other colonies already lost to the invading mecha force. Their affection for one another takes a turn for the serious when the two harmonize with an attacking mecha, called a Vanguard, bonding Gus to the giant irreparably. It turns out that the Vanguard Graymalkin and three others are traitors to their cause, and with Gus' and three other musicians' help, humanity has a fighting chance (literally).

The story flows pretty seamlessly through action scenes built on high stakes and near misses. When humans link up with the Vanguards, they get five minutes connected to a Fount of past humans' knowledge, after which their brains would melt from the strain. This keeps the mecha battles snappy on two fronts: there's extreme time pressure on each encounter and the characters have access to expert knowledge that keeps each engagement on the move. Under the electricity of the battle scenes, there's a pervading sense of despair about humanity's unlikely survival, no doubt filtered through Gus' intense mental health issues (it's the apocalypse, so that checks out). Note that there are heavy doses of depression and a recurring theme around suicidal ideation in the story. But this apocalyptic desperation also comes through in our characters' fighting spirit to do what they can on behalf of everyone, and a tender love story gives a personal reason to fight for something more after the battles are through. As a foil to Gus' quiet hopelessness, Ardent has marginal hope, supreme, reckless self-confidence, and the willpower to stand up against anyone who tries to stop them. So it's not all doom and gloom, though humanity's collective decision-making apparatus is always a bit of a downer, re: who's in charge and what they do about it.

You can also expect glittering, effervescent queerness to chase off your end-of-the-world blues. Our central romance is between the two protagonists, Gus (he/him) and Ardent (they/them). It seems that despite its many faults, this future Earth has adapted its mindsets and language to better encompass the spectrum of gender. Groups of people are referred to as folx and Ardent is widely referred to as the joyfriend in the couple (an existing term that I learned from this book and intend to adore forevermore). While we're definitely working with an instalove scenario, Gus and Ardent's care for one another is sweet and meaningful. It's a warm counterpoint to the intimidating cold of space battles between giant mechas.

If you love action-packed sci-fi, steep odds, or queer people standing at the end of everything with technicolor ferocity, this might be a good read for you. Thanks to Orbit for my copy to read and review!

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Please no one let my review discourage them from reading this book. I am new to space operas and I found this one long and dragged out, the romance under developed, and the action hard to follow. But maybe space operas just aren't for me. I don't know. I enjoyed the early parts of this book but the middle lost me a bit. And, while I can appreciate the presence of two queer characters in a story where their queerness isn't central to the plot, I just don't think this book is for me. Started it in July, finishing it in November. That maybe says it all.

I think if you enjoyed the movie Transformers but wished the main characters were queer, you'd probably like this.

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Here’s another book a little outside my comfort zone. Yes, it’s science fiction, but it’s mecha (not normally my thing) and the title strikes me as cheesy. Maybe I was looking for a little cheesiness when I requested it.

And am I glad that I did! I loved it! Looked for the next book’s release date then went to find stuff White has already published.

It’s science fiction. It’s action. It’s romance done right (for me) and it’s queer!

But it also gave me something I never expected: a chance for my music nerd side to geek out. It touches on aspects of music practice, performance, and theory I never imagined to find in fiction. And it was well mixed, never pulling me away from the action, the characters, the story.

And I’m not sure I can judge this well, but I think it would work for someone who didn’t know anything about those parts of music. Maybe especially in science fiction, where I think folks are more likely to know how to work with unfamiliar technical concepts.

Like I say, I can’t wait for the next entry. In the meantime, I’ve queued up “Alien: The Cold Forge” and “A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.”

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I loved this one! I really enjoyed all of the musical elements, including the creation of a history of music that is in our future. The worldbuilding was really successful due to a lot of great details. Although the plot takes place while trying to avert a total apocalypse, the tone was still pretty hopeful with a lot of humorous moments.

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“We might live in a tragedy, but we still deserve happiness. Someone has got to do it.”

The world is ending. Everyone around the world is having parties celebrating their last few hours. Juliette is predicted to make landfall at any moment, and as a destroyer of two worlds, she’s prepared to take a third. That is, until a dark and foreboding vanguard makes landfall with her. Everyone was prepared for the end of the world, but nobody was prepared to be saved by the destroyer of seventeen worlds.

August Kitko is a musician and one of the billions of people waiting for the world to end. He begins playing and is joined by Ardent Violet, a popular star, when he’s pulled into the chest of Graymalkin, the destroyer of seventeen worlds.

I read my first Alex White novel not long before starting their new series, and I can definitely say they are amazing at world building. I never knew where this story was going to go. I flew through it pretty quickly (it’s 400+ pages!) and there were never any dull moments. Sometimes it did feel like it was the first in a series, and thus establishing storylines instead of stories in itself, but in the end I did enjoy all of what was established, and I can’t wait to continue with this series.

It seems I may be in the minority, but I loved both Gus and Ardent; as a couple and separately. Ardent was written with a specific purpose, and a lot of the people who weren’t fans of them didn’t seem to understand this. There is a lot of character development coming for them, and I’m excited to see where they and Gus go in the future.

I’m beginning to realize how much I love mecha/robot science fiction stories. More please!

I received this advanced review copy from Orbit Books and Net Galley. My opinions are all my own.

CW for suicidal thoughts, violence, war, blood, panic attacks, mental illness, and death

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This was such a fun read. I think lovers of space operas will be into this book. The action, drama, and charm were all there in spades. I didn't find every character was all that important and I didn't care for every POV but overall the book is worth the read!

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a scrumptious, fast-paced, kaleidoscopic meal of a read. musician queers in a futuristic/apocalyptic world fighting in mechas? in space? hello? i need more books to be this weird, please. why be a coward with bland premises like everyone else when you can have this much FUN?

would i have loved it more if the romance was given rooms to breathe and developed properly? absolutely. would i lay down my life for ardent violet, anyway? please.

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This book unfortunately was not for me. The writing focused more on the flowery and lyrical aspects of the world ending, and did not do much to explain the actual world they were in. It felt reminiscent of an early draft of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, without as much wit. I made it about 30% into this novel.

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"It’s the year 2657 and August “Gus” Kitko is a jazz pianist with a front seat to the end of the world. Like the string quartet playing a swan song on the deck of the sinking Titanic though, he’s doomed not to live out his last days with friends, or family, or even in the comfort of his own home, but at a lavish party hosted by Earth’s richest. At the estate of Lord Elisa Yamazaki in Monaco, Gus is the hired entertainment for a victory party meant to celebrate the Dictum, a warship designed to eliminate the alien mechas, or Vanguards that have for years now threatened the extinction of humanity.

Of course, the Dictum is only a symptom of the United Worlds goverment’s giant hubris; it’s cast aside in the first battle like scrap metal, leaving only hours for the Vanguards to regroup before they inevitably commit intergalactic genocide. Gus is left amongst insipid apocalypse partiers drinking their last hours away. Standing at the edge of a cliff, he wonders if he should take his own life before he’s casually slain. Only of course, the fall might not kill him and he’d be leaving his half-dead body to the mercy of marine life or seagulls, and as we can all concur, “seagulls are assholes.”

Believe it or not, all of this occurs in the first few pages of August Kitko and the Mechas from Space, a rapidly shifting stunner of a space opera novel that is more delightful whiplash than languidly-paced tragedy.

Unlike others of the genre, that can sometimes risk putting sentiment aside for an orgy of technological detail, there’s nothing thin, artificial or glossy about it. Rendered with Alex White’s panoramic description, humor and kaleidoscopically lurid prose, this is a book that manages to capture the surprising micro-emotions of living through crisis without sacrificing twisty, ambitious arcs of plot.

After all, it’s the fault of a mind-blowing, last-minute hookup with pop-rock guitarist and star Ardent Violet that Gus keeps off the ledge long enough to encounter the rebel Vanguard, Greymalkin, who, contrary to its orders, wants to save humankind from its unceremonious end. Hilariously enough, Greymalkin seems to have more respect for Gus’ artistry than the other guests at the party, who know him only as the guy whose piano piece got remixed into a mainstream hit. It’s Gus’ sitting down at the piano and hitting the F Dorian key in an attempt to to die doing what he loves, that causes Greymalkin to recruit him as a Conduit, a sort of translator for Vanguards (who communicate through musical variations), as a first step towards saving the world."

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This book just never quite got off the ground. Both main characters were a little dull. The action was not terribly exciting and took too long to arrive and the intervals between action pieces were too long. The narration was well done but there just wasn't enough to work with.

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Highly recommend for those who like BIG sci-fi and space operas. Fun characters, big action and a great world to boot!

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I really loved the concept of this book and was very excited about it after reading the synopsis. A music-filled apocalypse with mechas and hella queer representation? Count me in, I am here for it. Unfortunately, this book ended up being a struggle to finish even though I really wanted to like it! In theory, the characters were very cool and went with the upbeat pace of the book. I personally never felt like I could connect with them and the character development was lacking. Gus was sweet and adorable and Ardent was badass but as much as I tried, I just couldn't get invested in their relationship because the build-up and chemsitry just wasn't there like I wanted it to be. I think the writing style was what really worked the least for me. However, it definitely matched the sporadic, light-hearted tone, which I love to see in apocalyptic books. I did really enjoy the music aspect and how they used various instruments to communicate with the Vangaurds. All in all, even though this didn't work for me, I think there were a lot of awesome components and I am positive plenty of my friends would still enjoy this book! Big thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!

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This is kinda weird. It drops the reader into a complex universe, and into the middle of a battle, with no background. It feels very much like the middle book in a series, missing all the set-up and establishment usually found in the first book.

There are constant references to future technology, although they are not as obviously-named or extrapolated from current technology as Drunk on All Your Strange New Words. Even readers familiar with sci-fi may feel off balance.

Numerous battles get blow-by-blow narration. This seems like a good suggestion for readers already familiar with the genre, who like space opera and intensively-described fight scenes. Not as much space was given to the interpersonal/romantic storylines. The musical talent used by each conduit is a cool plot device, and a lot of music terminology is thrown around, but this also seemed to play second fiddle to giant fighting space robot battles.

Quick pacing. Suggest carefully: not for all sci-fi readers. eARC from NetGalley.

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Sentient killer robots have been destroying human colonies, and have targeted Earth next. August Kitko, pianist, goes to Monaco, meets flamboyant pop musician Ardent Violet before the first of the Vanguards shows up with their terrifying Gilded Ghosts (autonomous drones of sorts) in tow. But then something odd happens. Another Vanguard also appears but it begins attacking the first. Terrific damage occurs, but more importantly for Gus, he’s pulled into the body of the Traitor Vanguard Greymalkin, to help it combat the first.

After destroying the first, huge robot August is interrogated for days, and he and Ardent begin getting to know one another. When word arrives of an impending attack at another planet, Gus and Greymalkin go off to defend it, with Ardent heading spaceward to find another Vanguard so they, too, can do something about the impending attack, and more importantly, so Ardent can be reunited with Gus.

This is one giant bunch of terrifying robots crashing into planets and spaceships, and the two humans tied to them making and sustaining their connection and romance with one another. Alex White never lets up the action, except for short periods, before returning you to the noise and bombastic violence and danger. It’s fun, super violent, and deeply romantic. Yes, I mean it. Gus and Ardent’s connection is deep and really sweet. And the giant robots are terrifying. The book is fun, and who doesn’t love giant robots/mechs punching each other?

3.5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Orbit Books for this ARC in exchange for my review.

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This was a terrific read! It's like if The Last Starfighter was directed by Ingmar Bergman. There is obviously not a lot of humor here since we're dealing with the potential end of humanity but still very enjoyable. The plot is fast paced and works very well. The characters are well developed and fun. The win here, though, is the worldbuilding. From Earth to space to off world colonies and the mechas themselves, it's a delicious ride. A planned sequel is already scheduled for release next year and I can't wait for more adventures in this universe!

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