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August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

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When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity's last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.  Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissi When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity's last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.  Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards--ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.  But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens--the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus's swan song becomes humanity's encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity. 


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When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity's last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.  Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissi When an army of giant robot AIs threatens to devastate Earth, a virtuoso pianist becomes humanity's last hope in this bold, lightning-paced, technicolor new space opera series from the author of A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe.  Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards--ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.  But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens--the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus's swan song becomes humanity's encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity. 

30 review for August Kitko and the Mechas from Space

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This is a fun, queer space opera with plenty of adventure and mecha action. Despite the book starting at the end of the world, this novel has a rather light tone. I wouldn't necessarily call this funny, but it certainly had a glitzy entertaining quality. I enjoyed the Mechas elements in this book, but I wish they had been treated in a more serious manner. I have a personal preference for darker narratives so this glamorous story was simply not to my tastes. I wanted more substance and d 3.5 Stars This is a fun, queer space opera with plenty of adventure and mecha action. Despite the book starting at the end of the world, this novel has a rather light tone. I wouldn't necessarily call this funny, but it certainly had a glitzy entertaining quality. I enjoyed the Mechas elements in this book, but I wish they had been treated in a more serious manner. I have a personal preference for darker narratives so this glamorous story was simply not to my tastes. I wanted more substance and dire consequences but it quickly became clear that this story was not that. I would recommend this new sci fi series to readers who enjoy lighter hearted stories, even if they don't normally read science fiction. Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (The best boyfriends are book boyfriends)

    Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc! This was a blast! I mean, the end of humankind... but, wait! We are saved by music and the sweetest guy on earth and an amazing robot (with a sword!!!). This story has everything; Action, drama for days, a beautiful understanding of music and emotional connections, and love. This is a psychedelic masterpiece that has the kind heart and compassion that truly is world-saving. A thrilling and fantastic read! Out July 12th!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mona

    A fun and glittery rock 'n roll science fiction space battle romp with giant AI robots This was great fun. Nothing deep, but lots of action and imagination. Prose style I thought at first that the author's prose style was going to be problematic. I was afraid that they were going to be one of those narcissistic authors that use a flashy style to draw attention to their writing chops and smarts and away from the story. I find that sort of writer very annoying. But I need not have worried. True, the wr A fun and glittery rock 'n roll science fiction space battle romp with giant AI robots This was great fun. Nothing deep, but lots of action and imagination. Prose style I thought at first that the author's prose style was going to be problematic. I was afraid that they were going to be one of those narcissistic authors that use a flashy style to draw attention to their writing chops and smarts and away from the story. I find that sort of writer very annoying. But I need not have worried. True, the writing style is flashy and full of neologisms. But it doesn't detract from the story. In fact, the writing style suits the story quite well. Story Summary It's the year 2657, and human life on Earth is facing down the Apocalypse, in the form of gigantic, sentient, AI powered robots called Vanguards which are bent on destroying humanity. They've already wiped out all other known human colonies on other planets. People have resigned themselves to the end of homo sapiens, and there's even a party happening in Monaco for the last night of life on earth. But surprise! Some of the Vanguards, realizing that what they're doing is wrong, rebel and decide to protect the human race. Even this still means survival of humankind is dicey. The group of Vanguards bent on destroying humanity is more numerous and more destructive than the so-called Traitor Vanguards. The destructive Vanguards have the advantage. Human Conduits The rebel Vanguards need human "Conduits" to ride along inside them. The Conduits give them an advantage in communications and fighting ability. The Vanguards are musical. So they gravitate towards selecting musicians as Conduits. Our Main Characters Enter the last hope of humanity: our main characters. So our main characters are selected as the Conduits. (Which means they must engage, along with their Vanguard hosts in very dangerous battles fighting other Vanguards). Our two main characters are August "Gus" Kitko (of the book's title) and Ardent Violet. Gus is a gay jazz pianist. He's an accomplished (though very specialized) musician. He tends to be reserved and isn't fond of the limelight. He's a kind, calm, and humble guy. Although handsome, he isn't vain at all. During that party in Monaco (which is supposed to be the last night anyone is alive), he meets Ardent Violet. Ardent Violet is a world famous rock star. They are beautiful, flamboyant, vain, and of non-binary gender. The two hook up, and both become Conduits for Vanguards attuned to their particular natures (and styles of music). Gus does this first; Ardent later. Secondary Characters They are eventually joined by two other musician/Conduits. Hjalmar (a.k.a. "The Swedish Raven") is a huge, intimidating guy who's a genius djent drummer (djent is a subgenre of extreme metal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djent). Nisha Kohli is a petite, goofy Indian dynamo who is the only one of them not a professional (and famous) musician, although she has a wonderful singing voice developed from singing traditional Indian music with her grandfather's band. Music The author clearly knows a lot about music, as the book is brimming with details about instruments, musical genres, etc. I wasn’t surprised to find that their bio mentions that they write music. Battles Much of the story revolves around battle scenes in various locations (space, Earth, the Moon) between the renegade Vanguards (with their chosen Conduits inside them) and the other Vanguards who want to trash humanity. Romance The romance between Gus and Ardent is sexy, sweet and touching. Part of why I read fiction is to learn about life from viewpoints other than my own. I'm not gay, but I enjoy reading about people of different sexual orientations and gender identities. I also like reading about people of different nationalities, cultures, time periods, etc. A Minor Character Quibble Ardent is called a narcissist. He does have some narcissistic qualities (he's in love with himself, big ego, can be cruel, etc.) But he's not really a person with full blown narcissistic personality disorder. (I know about such people because unfortunately there have been a few in my life). Ardent has empathy. People with NPD have no empathy. Ardent cares about others. People with NPD do not. A Minor Story Quibble I might have preferred a bit more backstory and world building. We find out that "Infinite", the creator of the Vanguards, has a grudge against humanity (possibly because humans are destructive and selfish and humanity has been such a poor caretaker of the resources of earth), but I would have liked a bit more background on the evolution of the War between the Vanguards and humans. However, this is a minor issue. I could live with the story the way it was presented. The Cover The bold and colorful cover goes well with the contents. Summary This was a delightful read. I think many readers will enjoy it. Thanks to NetGalley Thanks to NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) of this book in exchange for an honest review. The book will be published on July 12, 2022. #NetGalley

  4. 5 out of 5

    Heron

    Even if August Kitko and the Mechas from Space WEREN’T written by Alex White, who has a cozy place on my bookshelves as a favourite author, simply saying the words ‘big robots in space and also make it hella queer’ is enough to get me to drop everything to check out a book. And after going begging—I mean, politely asking for and receiving an advance reader copy of this book, I could not be more thrilled to declare August Kitko and the Mechas from space a cinematic, emotional, action-packed ride Even if August Kitko and the Mechas from Space WEREN’T written by Alex White, who has a cozy place on my bookshelves as a favourite author, simply saying the words ‘big robots in space and also make it hella queer’ is enough to get me to drop everything to check out a book. And after going begging—I mean, politely asking for and receiving an advance reader copy of this book, I could not be more thrilled to declare August Kitko and the Mechas from space a cinematic, emotional, action-packed ride from start to finish. From the start, this novel hooked me. Protagonist Gus Kitko is resigned to his fate along with his fellow humans, literally playing out humanity with his technically elevated and artistically unique jazz at the last party it’s going to throw. The giant and omega-powerful robot known as a Vanguard arrives on Earth as expected, but instead of killing Gus and everything around him, it saves Gus instead. On top of that, mega-popular rockstar and nonbinary siren Ardent Violet ends up in Gus’ orbit, drawn into both the frantic crescendo of humanity’s encore and Gus’ part in it. If I listed everything I loved about this novel, we’d be here for another four thousand words, so I’ll focus on what I loved most instead, starting with the most pleasant surprise: the thematic exploration of art (specifically music), humanity, and the universal connection it can inspire in us all regardless of where or what we come from. Alongside all the delicious transhumanist elements, this theme was a delight. Music deeply inspires me on a personal level, so to get insight into the ways in which music creates meaning for and inspires Gus, Ardent, and other secondary characters introduced later in the book was as equally thrilling as giant mechas fighting. And speaking of giant mechas fighting… wow, was I in for a treat on that front. I mean, c’mon. Loving descriptions of each and every Vanguard that shows up on-page? Immaculately choreographed and lightning-paced fight scenes between said Vanguards? Cool code names? Weird and intense and powerful pilot-mecha connections? GIANT ROBOT SWORDS? Stick a fork in me, I’m done. Last but certainly not least, Gus and Ardent were both uniquely compelling protagonists, in large part because they’re both deeply flawed. Who wouldn’t be in a setting that begins in horrible, galaxy-wide apocalyptic conditions? But their flaws only served to highlight their humanity, and it was refreshing to see characters thrust into world-saving circumstances and not necessarily respond in heroic, brave ways every single time. Plus, I have a particular weakness for ostentatious, borderline-narcissistic-but-impeccably-stylish, artistically talented, yet still loveable nonbinary characters, and Ardent fits that bill well. Anyway, if you, like me, start to experience siren-like levels of excitement in your brain region at the phrase ‘giant mechas in space and also extraordinarily queer’, this is my hearty recommendation to get your hands on August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White. Page turning and intense from beginning to end and with so much more potential to come, I can’t wait to see what The Starmetal Symphony has in store. Thank you to Orbit and Edelweiss for an advance reader copy. All opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly (The GrimDragon)

    4.5 Stars~ "When they're in his arms, they can't decide whether the whole world is upside down, or righted for the first time." August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is the latest book from the brilliant mind of Alex White, the first in their new series, The Starmetal Symphony. Big thanks to Orbit for sending me a gorgeous finished copy! This is out TODAY!! There's giant robots that fight in epic battles, musicology, sexy-times, disability rep, queers saving the world-- I mean, what more could you w 4.5 Stars~ "When they're in his arms, they can't decide whether the whole world is upside down, or righted for the first time." August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is the latest book from the brilliant mind of Alex White, the first in their new series, The Starmetal Symphony. Big thanks to Orbit for sending me a gorgeous finished copy! This is out TODAY!! There's giant robots that fight in epic battles, musicology, sexy-times, disability rep, queers saving the world-- I mean, what more could you want?! It's giving Pacific Rim meets Scott Pilgrim vibes! ::swoons:: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space was a fun, cinematic space opera bursting with heart & hope! Alex White is just bloody incredible!

  6. 5 out of 5

    CJ

    Pros: •giant fighting robots •a curious blending of genres that really did it for me •I really loved Gus, a cute and awkward protagonist •queer AF. So gay. The gayest of books. •I just want to be friends with a giant robot sentience named Greymalkin •I enjoyed the prose, especially the way Greymalkin and Gus spoke to each other. Cons: •I feel like the author liked the second main character better and that offends me. Gus is the best. •the word “folks” IS ALREADY GENDER NEUTRAL, ADDING AN X IS UNNEC Pros: •giant fighting robots •a curious blending of genres that really did it for me •I really loved Gus, a cute and awkward protagonist •queer AF. So gay. The gayest of books. •I just want to be friends with a giant robot sentience named Greymalkin •I enjoyed the prose, especially the way Greymalkin and Gus spoke to each other. Cons: •I feel like the author liked the second main character better and that offends me. Gus is the best. •the word “folks” IS ALREADY GENDER NEUTRAL, ADDING AN X IS UNNECESSARY. “Folx” is the bane of my queer existence. •I feel like it could have had just a little more charm. There was potential for Becky Chambers-level charm and it wasn’t quite there. But obviously the cons weren’t enough to knock it down. 4.5 gay, gay stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    I didn't know what I was getting into when I first started reading August Kitko. In fact, I only knew that it would include a person named August, giant mechs, jazz music, and a race to save the world. Now I know that it's way more than that and one of my favorites this month. Thanks Orbit Books for the gifted read! If you're a fan of cinematic movies like The Matrix, Armageddon, and Transformers, then this is the book for you. The book takes place in the very far future, about 600 years, in a wo I didn't know what I was getting into when I first started reading August Kitko. In fact, I only knew that it would include a person named August, giant mechs, jazz music, and a race to save the world. Now I know that it's way more than that and one of my favorites this month. Thanks Orbit Books for the gifted read! If you're a fan of cinematic movies like The Matrix, Armageddon, and Transformers, then this is the book for you. The book takes place in the very far future, about 600 years, in a world that's still thriving, but on the brink of destruction. Five years prior, an alien tech arrived destroying human beings by the thousands, absorbing their memories. The whole the world believed that this was the end of humanity, an unceremonious wipe of the human race. August Kitko, a jazz pianist who's already lost his entire family to the tech, is ready to die. On the night the world was scheduled to end, Gus attends a party hosted by a prominent lord to play out the end of the world with some good times. However, things change when the end of the world doesn't come and Gus is kidnapped by a giant mech forced to become a conduit of all the human memories that it absorbed. Gus finds out that the mech, aka Greymalkin, is no longer a villainous AI and willing to help the human race hold some semblance of life on Earth. I loved this futuristic view of the world. It feels so familiar because it reminds me of what we see nowadays except with the added bonus of tech that automates everything for us. The world Alex White envisions in their story is remarkable. The descriptions are so vivid that you can literally see what they're describing and it lends itself well when it comes to the big fight scene between mechs in space. Their writing is also very casual and contemporary. I loved that while they're describing massive mech battles in space, there was also levity and humor in their voice. I also thought that the story was so genius. It reminded me a lot of those futuristic sci-fi movies I mentioned earlier, but combining them all to create this intelligent world where sentient AI are out to kill the human race. I think that one of my absolute favorite things about science fiction like this is how humans come together to fight a bigger threat to them. While Gus is the person named in the title, the book also follows Ardent Violet. They're a very famous pop star who hooks up with Gus at the "end of the world" party only to find themself saving Gus when he's abducted by the mech. They eventually become a part of the team designated to help save the world. I also really loved how different Gus and Ardent were. Gus feels more like this introverted jazz pianist who's spent a lot more time alone than Ardent has. While Ardent definitely carried the pop star/celebrity vibe, they were also so vulnerable and scared about what they're about to do. The music in this book was also a major player. I loved how the mech responded to Ardent and Gus's talents choosing them to be their conduits and how that music plays throughout the story as a way for them to connect to their mechs. It was such a clever way to incorporate that piece of both these characters and not let it fall to the wayside. This was such a solid start to a new series from Alex White. While it's my first by them, I'm definitely a fan now and I can't wait to see what happens to Gus, Ardent, and the giant mechs in the next book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    this was so much fun!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    ALI

    prepare to be sick of me

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    2.5/5 The mechas were great. The humans were not. I would have skipped every Ardent chapter if their POV wasn't plot relevant. 2.5/5 The mechas were great. The humans were not. I would have skipped every Ardent chapter if their POV wasn't plot relevant.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Beth Tabler

    August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White is a kaleidoscope of a space opera story mixed with music notes and cinematic worldbuilding that takes the reader on a wild robot-fueled ride. If I had a visual comparison, think Speed Racer by the Wachowski sisters, mixed with Pacific Rim by Guillermo Del Toro. It is a whole vibe and one in which Alex White revels. You know he had to be cheering on the characters as he was writing this. The plot starts with August Kitko staring at his demise August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White is a kaleidoscope of a space opera story mixed with music notes and cinematic worldbuilding that takes the reader on a wild robot-fueled ride. If I had a visual comparison, think Speed Racer by the Wachowski sisters, mixed with Pacific Rim by Guillermo Del Toro. It is a whole vibe and one in which Alex White revels. You know he had to be cheering on the characters as he was writing this. The plot starts with August Kitko staring at his demise on the cliff's edge. August, Gus for short, is one of our protagonists, and he is a lover and player of jazz who truly feels music in his soul. But like his fellow humans, Gus has resigned himself to the fate of imminent death. He is at a party at the estate of Lord Elisa Yamazaki. The last party of humanity is a literal "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die" affair. "These are Gods, and they speak with infinite choris." Humans are dying, not with a bang but with a single discordant note. An army of AI sentient Mechas from space are slowly destroying humanity by downloading each person's consciousness and killing their bodies. Some of these killer robots break off, join the humans, and fight for humanity. The only caveat is that these robots need humans to pilot them, a prospect that would fundamentally change the human pilot forever. Alongside Gus, we have our other protagonist Ardent Violet, a mega-pop star who shines with an inner light all their own. Again, in the same way music sings for Gus on his piano, music sings for Ardent on their guitar. Unlike Gus, Ardent is super famous. Both Gus and Ardent's lives become intertwined. They have undeniable chemistry with one each other. The Vanguard arrives on Earth in the form of a mecha named Juliette. A giant sleek purple robot set to start the maiming and destroying of bodies and reaping of consciousnesses. Then with an explosion of a "colorful Borealis of solar particles rippling across Earth's atmosphere," a sleek black Vanguard streaks across the sky. It is Greymalkin, the destroyer of seventeen worlds. The humans stare in stunned silence at the display of power, much like ants would stare in horror at an oncoming boot. The titans crash into each other in a thunderous cacophony. The Vanguards speak to each other in musical ululations, and above it all, Gus picks out F Dorian the favorite of jazz musicians everywhere. Instead of gawking with the multitude of slack-jawed humans, Gus wants his true solace at the piano. "He taps the F-zero key, and it's like heaven under his fingertips." Gus lays in an effortless sound that "shifts modes to keep in sync with his new playmates," the Vanguards crashing into each other outside. Gus dances over the sound of the robots outside as if they are playing for him. "If they want to end the world, fuck them. At least he can make it catchy." Gus plays for the lost dead, his friends, his family, and the last vestiges of humanity. Then ardent, whom he connected with earlier, come in like a ray of sunshine; they brandish a red metal flake strat. And they prepare to play to the end of humanity until a black metal fist punches the wall in and grabs Gus. One of the particular thrills of this story is the love of music and art. The story itself ebbs and flows like a symphony. I am not sure if that was a purposeful stroke by the author or me reading into it from being swept away by the descriptions of music. But the descriptions speak to the universal connections music gives us that are not bound by language or creed. Outside of the main characters, Gus and Ardent, the supporting characters we meet later in the novel also have a deep love for music, but with different instruments. I love that White is touching on how music is culturally boundless. If you have giant robots, we have to talk about the fights. Firstly, we get descriptions of every Vanguard that comes in swinging. The descriptions and names are fantastic because it is akin to cheering the home team on. You have a much greater connection to these giants than them being a nameless horde. Every punch and kick is choreographed to have the most effective mental image. The swings are enormous, the slams are massive, and machine parts fly. In the belly of the gigantic beasts are pilots controlling it all. Why does this story work? I think in lesser hands, this story could be a mess. There are a lot of working pieces. However, White helps us keep our eye on the ball. We care about the protagonists, probably more so than the fate of humanity in general. Gus and Ardent are not perfect in any way. Ardent can be narcicistic, and Gus can be melodramatic. But both characters rise above through pain, terror, failure, and heroism. They reach inside themselves to be more than they ever thought possible. Someone has to step up and do it, so why not them? Is this book for everyone? Absolutely not. As I said earlier, this book is a kaleidoscope—a crazy fast, moving, loud story with brilliant lights and massive highs and lows. It isn't for someone who enjoys subtle prose. It is intense from the first page to the last. So if you enjoy stories like Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen and Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson, this story is for you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    Where on Earth do I begin with August Kitko and the Mechas From Space? Between the title and the cover, you have to expect you're in for a wild time, yeah? Well, you are. But I do know literally where on Earth I should begin, and that is Monaco. I won't pretend that I wasn't wholly sold from the first page based solely on the fact that this book is set in Monaco. I've never before read a book set here, but I do want to again. I love Monaco- it's gorgeous, it has a fascinating history, and it's a Where on Earth do I begin with August Kitko and the Mechas From Space? Between the title and the cover, you have to expect you're in for a wild time, yeah? Well, you are. But I do know literally where on Earth I should begin, and that is Monaco. I won't pretend that I wasn't wholly sold from the first page based solely on the fact that this book is set in Monaco. I've never before read a book set here, but I do want to again. I love Monaco- it's gorgeous, it has a fascinating history, and it's absurdly fancy! What's not to love? I digress. I will say, the book starts out slow. That is probably my biggest complaint, but I got past it. And once I did, I was definitely rewarded! So we meet Gus at the end of the world. Literally, everyone is aware that the world is ending, and they have basically been told to bend over and kiss their asses goodbye. Gus spends his last hours engaged in an Apocalypse Love Story™ with the very famous pop star Ardent Violet, which he figures is a great way to go out. I assumed Gus would not die immediately though, for that would be a very short book. And he doesn't! Because when the alien mechas come to kill all of humanity, one of them notices that Gus is a talented musician and decides to keep him. Not to steal all his mind and discard his human form, which is what the Vanguards have been doing, but to basically team up with Gus (against his will or consent, but alas) to try to not kill everyone. Because some of the Vanguards think that maybe killing an entire species is not a great plan, some of the humans live, not just Gus. Ardent lives, which makes Gus positively thrilled. But they're all informed that if they don't  get to work with the Good Aliens, the Bad Aliens will be back in no type to finish the wiping out of humanity. No one wants that. Gus is being pulled in different directions. Greymalkin, his Vanguard pal, has plans. Whatever is left of the government has plans. But Gus isn't really keen on worrying about the government when humanity is at stake, so he and Greymalkin have work to do. For me, this is when the book really hits its stride. The other folks Gus encounters bring a ton of levity and camaraderie into the story, and I loved the excitement and adventure of Gus and Greymalkin trying to get to them, too. Ardent and their agent play a huge role too, in that Ardent is clearly willing to move heaven and earth, quite literally, for Gus. I really loved their romance as the book went on, too. It was clear that it may have begun as an end of the world "last hurrah", but they truly did build a bond and care for each other. Overall, I ended up finding myself quite invested in the story- both Gus's and Arden's stories, as well as the Vanguards'. I look forward to the next installment, where I do hope we find out a bit more about the Vanguards, and why they do what they do- and what led to the fracture. The moments of levity made the story so readable, because yeah the stakes were high, but it was quite palatable with both the touches of humor, romances, and friendships. Bottom Line: Quirky and fun while still high stakes and exciting, I will be looking forward to the next installment! You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate (Feathered Turtle Press Reviews)

    [ Goodreads | Blog | Instagram | Storygraph ] August Kitko and the Mechas From Space is a queer space opera with mecha, so join me in talking about mecha, because holy shit do I love mecha. The Good – A+ mecha descriptions – A+ mecha fights – Vibrant writing style – Queer space opera! – Very feel-good and fun – Gus is lovely – Gus and Ardent make a nice contrasting couple The Bad – Ardent's chapters aren't as engaging at first – Uneven execution: some scenes are stellar, some scenes are meh – Informatio [ Goodreads | Blog | Instagram | Storygraph ] August Kitko and the Mechas From Space is a queer space opera with mecha, so join me in talking about mecha, because holy shit do I love mecha. The Good – A+ mecha descriptions – A+ mecha fights – Vibrant writing style – Queer space opera! – Very feel-good and fun – Gus is lovely – Gus and Ardent make a nice contrasting couple The Bad – Ardent's chapters aren't as engaging at first – Uneven execution: some scenes are stellar, some scenes are meh – Information provided to reader too late – Gus and Ardent go from one night stand to instalove awfully fast – The use of "folx" is also YMMV (Thank you to Orbit Imprint and Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review!) First, if you look at the title and think, "Isn't the 'in space' redundant? Don't ALL mecha come from space?" I need to say WOW. Just, WOOOOW. Please set your preconceptions at the door. Some mecha are DUG UP from the GROUND. Second: oh my god do I love me some mecha and White did an A+ perfect holy shit job describing mecha. August Kitko and the Mechas From Space is a Queer Space Opera about some mecha who WERE wiping out humanity, but some of them turned traitor and need the assistance of musically talented humans to gain an edge over the murdery mecha. And now one of those humans is Gus. August Kitko and the Mechas From Space is a DELIGHT. Gus is sweet, and Ardent is feisty, and their dynamic is fun. There's some great lines and discussions about mental health and living for the future. White has a vibrant writing style and a really good eye for scenes and details. I loved loved LOVED the mecha descriptions and the fight scenes were sooo good. (And it's hard to write a good fight scene, let alone a mecha one!) Unfortunately, August Kitko and the Mechas From Space suffers from uneven execution. While there are tender descriptions of music, glorious mecha fights, and popstar hijinx, plus White has a great knack for humour. But there are also a few bland moments, and more than once we get key information about Gus or the world too late for it to hit the reader effectively. The central romance is a "one night stand that turned into more" plus a dash of instalove, which is definitely a Your Mileage May Vary thing. Another YMMV thing is White's use of "folx" instead of folks. It's something I don't quite get: "folks" is already neutral. Ultimately, despite any hiccups along the way, August Kitko and the Mechas From Space was an incredibly fun read, and I am 100% getting the sequels—isn't Starmetal Symphony just the coolest series name?—and checking out the rest of White's work! (My favourite mecha is the GSX-401FW Stargazer Gundam 💚) August Kitko and the Mechas From Space comes out on July 12th! Story—★★★★☆ Characters—★★★★☆ (3.75) Writing Style—★★★★☆ Themes and Representation—★★★☆☆ (3.5) Enjoyment—★★★★☆ Overall—★★★★☆ Recommended For... Readers looking for a fun, feel-good queer space opera and mecha fans!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    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 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Evelina | AvalinahsBooks

    How I read this: Free audiobook copy received through Libro.fm I loved this story. At first it took me a while to settle into it, like 15-20% of the audiobook, but after that it just flew by, and I was surprised that I'm already at the ending. I can't wait for the next installments, as I've become pretty invested in the characters' lives and I just want them to be okay. Also, the sass of those vanguard machines is certainly not something I'll forget anytime soon. The book just had a specific vibe How I read this: Free audiobook copy received through Libro.fm I loved this story. At first it took me a while to settle into it, like 15-20% of the audiobook, but after that it just flew by, and I was surprised that I'm already at the ending. I can't wait for the next installments, as I've become pretty invested in the characters' lives and I just want them to be okay. Also, the sass of those vanguard machines is certainly not something I'll forget anytime soon. The book just had a specific vibe to it that I don't know if any other book I've read has ever had. While it's about heavy survival stuff, grief and just plain old scifi villains, it's also about music, art and rock stars, and therefore, wildly informal where other scifi books would be pretty formulaic. I loved that. I can best describe this story as very colorful, and I really enjoyed that. The audio is good as well, the range of voices the narrator did was really good, and it was nice to listen to in general. I thank the publisher and libro.fm for giving me a free copy of the audiobook in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion. Book Blog | Bookstagram | Bookish Twitter

  16. 5 out of 5

    Siavahda

    HIGHLIGHTS ~the BEST Big Bad ~simultaneously the scariest and cutest ghosts ~everything is queer ~jazz saves the day ~(sorta) I’m not completely sure what I think of this book – but I do know I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel! Centuries into the future, Earth is braced for annihilation as the giant robots that have destroyed every other human settlement in the galaxy close in. August Kitko, aka Gus, a jazz musician, has managed to hook up with one of the biggest popstars in human space and is at HIGHLIGHTS ~the BEST Big Bad ~simultaneously the scariest and cutest ghosts ~everything is queer ~jazz saves the day ~(sorta) I’m not completely sure what I think of this book – but I do know I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel! Centuries into the future, Earth is braced for annihilation as the giant robots that have destroyed every other human settlement in the galaxy close in. August Kitko, aka Gus, a jazz musician, has managed to hook up with one of the biggest popstars in human space and is attending the biggest possible end-of-the-world party when the robots arrive. Things do not go as expected. It turns out that the Vanguards (don’t call them robots) are not united on the whole destroying-humanity thing. A few of them are fighting to defend humans from the rest. But each Traitor Vanguard, as they’re known, needs a human to help them beat the other machines. Only a human can access the Fount, the store of memories harvested from all the humans the Vanguards have killed; only by utilising the experience of millions of human fighters can the Traitor Vanguards defeat the other Vanguards. The Traitor Vanguard nicknamed Greymalkin pairs up with Gus, and the fight is on. Where White shines, as usual, is with the characters and the worldbuilding. Mechas alternates between the POVs of Gus and Ardent, the latter being the aforementioned galactic popstar who hooks up with Gus just before doomsday and won’t let him go off to fight alone. Gus has a kind of everyman vibe about him, which makes him hella relatable, whereas Ardent is a nonbinary glitz-and-glam fashionista who’s flamboyant as fuck and hides panic attacks behind their deadly fierceness. Ardent is objectively more interesting, but you can’t help falling for Gus’ deep earnestness. They’re both pretty damn inspiring. The romance between them… It all seemed to get very intense very fast, but that is what happens in intense, life-threatening scenarios – history and science have both proved that over and over. That being said, I have to admit that some of the kissing/sex made me cringe: I thought we were collectively past ‘their tongues danced’. Or maybe it’s supposed to be silly? I’m not good at picking up on jokes like that, so, perhaps. Regardless, I loved both these characters, even if I wasn’t completely sold on their love story. But the worldbuilding! I loved what we got to see of far-future Earth, where humans seen to have gotten their act together, finally. I loved the tech and the queernorm default; I loved words like ‘joyfriend’ for a nonbinary datemate and the use of ‘folx’; I loved all of Ardent’s incredible clothes! And I was utterly delighted by the reveal of the Big Bad and the motivation/purpose of the Vanguards; I can’t talk about it, because spoilers, but White has managed to completely justify this very cinematic way of taking out humanity. It’s not handwaved or left to our suspension of disbelief; there’s very, very good reasoning behind it all, and that makes me so happy! And it’s SO COOL AND CLEVER, YOU GUYS! I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. Read the rest at Every Book a Doorway!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scott - Book Invasion

    This is Alex’s first entry into a new ‘The Starmetal Symphony’ series and packs in all the fun of Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, meets Gundam, meets Pacific Rim but these ‘Vanguards’ were not actually built by humans. They’ve come to earth to extract all human knowledge from our brains and leave our bodies to die. And there’s not only giant robots terrorizing the world, there are also the ‘ghosts’ which are robotic beasts with fangs that plunge into your skull and suck out your knowledge. Stuc This is Alex’s first entry into a new ‘The Starmetal Symphony’ series and packs in all the fun of Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, meets Gundam, meets Pacific Rim but these ‘Vanguards’ were not actually built by humans. They’ve come to earth to extract all human knowledge from our brains and leave our bodies to die. And there’s not only giant robots terrorizing the world, there are also the ‘ghosts’ which are robotic beasts with fangs that plunge into your skull and suck out your knowledge. Stuck in the middle of all of this falls out depressed protagonist August Kitko. A bar-scene jazz pianist just waiting to die as the world and the ones he loves dies around him. Until he casually tickles the ivory for one last tune that will change his life. Throughout the story of Gus and Ardent, Gus continually falls under the umbrella of ‘hapless hero’ where he struggles in his new role of humanity’s savior and opposes this ‘chosen one’ trope. He relies heavily on his non-binary ‘joyfriend’ rockstar Ardent Violet for the comfort and encouragement to dig up confidence to fight for humanity. I felt like Gus was a little too resigned to his fate and really wanted him to snap out of it and get some more gusto through the evolution of his story. White does a great job on the action, chasing, and giant robot fights and he’s not afraid to put his characters through the ringer. His writing tends to shine the spotlight a little more on the relationships of his characters than the bad-ass fighting robots. I felt that through the 60-80% mark of the book slowed down a little and got me out of the groove. I liked meeting the tertiary characters and their history and enjoyed the attention to detail on the musical composition going on. The final battle was fairly epic and the villain of the story was quite sinister and powerful and I’m glad i stuck with it. I would recommend that you give this a shot if you’re a fan of Alex White’s other writing, perhaps softer scifi, and love an apocalyptic gay romance covered with giant fighting robots and modal musical composition.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Delara

    Well drop me in a mecha and call me Gus, I loved this book! It's fast-paced, action-driven, cinematic, transhumanist, gay, sweet, and full of hope. My kind of space opera, tbh. So here's the deal: instead of killing him at the end of the world when the giant mechas from space known as the Vanguard have come to finish off humanity after taking what they needed, one of them, Greymalkin, saves Gus instead. Could it be because he's jamming out on his piano with rockstar Ardent Violet as the world bur Well drop me in a mecha and call me Gus, I loved this book! It's fast-paced, action-driven, cinematic, transhumanist, gay, sweet, and full of hope. My kind of space opera, tbh. So here's the deal: instead of killing him at the end of the world when the giant mechas from space known as the Vanguard have come to finish off humanity after taking what they needed, one of them, Greymalkin, saves Gus instead. Could it be because he's jamming out on his piano with rockstar Ardent Violet as the world burns? Gus and Greymalkin's connection is strong, and that's how Gus knows there are a few traitor Vanguard who want to save humanity. Cool. This book has epic battles, tons of feelings, challenges gender, delivers on some wonderful disability rep, is SUPER QUEER & nonbinary (Ardent!) and even uses folx on the page which is, to this trans reader, fucking magic. (And on that note, just gonna say, telling trans folx not to use words bc a word already exists created by cis folks is, you know, not cool. Gender-neutral does not mean inclusive. In case it wasn't clear, I am talking about "folx.") Back to my review. Gus is an awkward jazz pianist and Ardent is a beautiful yet flawed rockstar guitarist and at the end of the world, all they want to do is jam. I love how it’s musicians and mechas working together save humanity. Talk about getting the band back together. Thanks to Orbit for the ARC and Libro.fm for the ALC!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Bookwormgram

    Giant killer robots and queers saving humanity. What more do you need?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sieger

    Book Review: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White 4 Stars I was provided an e-ARC on Netgalley by Orbit in return for an honest review. Recommend if you like: Gundam or basically all mechas, good LGBTQIA+ representation or a sci-fi romance blend Not recommended if you dislike: Love on first sight, soft Sci-Fi or apocalyptic settings August Kitko is a brilliant jazz pianist, but he has two problems; the new love of his life Ardent Violet isn't talking to him and giant robots are about Book Review: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White 4 Stars I was provided an e-ARC on Netgalley by Orbit in return for an honest review. Recommend if you like: Gundam or basically all mechas, good LGBTQIA+ representation or a sci-fi romance blend Not recommended if you dislike: Love on first sight, soft Sci-Fi or apocalyptic settings August Kitko is a brilliant jazz pianist, but he has two problems; the new love of his life Ardent Violet isn't talking to him and giant robots are about to destroy the world. Using his music he communicates with these robots and reconnects Ardent. This starts a wild ride through the universe, filled with Mecha, Music and a bid to rescue the remaining human race. This blend of music and mechanics is an amazing concept, masterfully used by Alex White to make humans and machines interact on a common ground. The Mechas gave me very nostalgic flashbacks to the Gundam Wing series I used to watch as child. Also the fight scenes are *chef's kiss* good. I really felt like I was there during an amazingly written space battle between the giant Mecha's. It was all very cinematic. Kitko himself is what you would expect a brilliant but awkward musician, this works especially well because his lover is the extravagant Ardent. They complement each other extremely well. I also love the way Ardent is represented as gender neutral, by the author. From his descriptions they sound like the most unique person you will ever meet. My biggest annoyance in the book is the love at first sight romance aspect. The book takes place in about 2 months, but within seconds the main characters cannot live without each other. Although if you love this trope and the star-crossed lovers trope, this book is certainly for you! All in all I'm really curious too read the second book, which is coming out in 2023 already! I would also like to thank the publisher and author for making me able to review this!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Raaven

    Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review! Epic giant robot space battles! Awesome musical numbers! Adorable main characters in love during the end of the world! “The right kind of demise trumps the wrong kind of survival” Gus Kitko is just a jazz piano player who is in the right place at the right time to be chosen to be a conduit for a giant robot at the end of the world. Gus’s character is extremely relatable. He’s extremely depress Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review! Epic giant robot space battles! Awesome musical numbers! Adorable main characters in love during the end of the world! “The right kind of demise trumps the wrong kind of survival” Gus Kitko is just a jazz piano player who is in the right place at the right time to be chosen to be a conduit for a giant robot at the end of the world. Gus’s character is extremely relatable. He’s extremely depressed his entire family and his friends were wiped out but he still hopes for the safety of humanity. He mets super star Ardent Violent on the last day of Earth and the two quickly start a relationship. Just when the end is near, Gus and Ardent are both thrust into a new reality that they had no idea about. When a Traitor mech comes to defend Earth against its brethren, it hears Gus playing his piano and chooses him to be a conduit for its mission to save humankind. I felt like I was watching a movie while I was reading this book. I could see all the colors and the glitz and glamor that Ardent had and I could hear the music that everyone was playing. The action scenes were awesome and the characters were relatable. While I’m not a huge fan of giant fighting robots and really got out of my comfort zone, this book showed me the good side of Mechas. It of course ended on a cliffhanger and I’m super excited to read the next book!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne Plat (Freckles)

    *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion* When a bunch of giant mechs have been destroying the colonies out there in space and are coming for you, what would you do? Turns out that sometimes the correct answer is very simply; play music. Turns out that if you can keep up with a mech's song, you might be able to help them fight for the world. And when multiple musicians manage to establish this form of communication with a mech, the world might even survive its, well, in *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion* When a bunch of giant mechs have been destroying the colonies out there in space and are coming for you, what would you do? Turns out that sometimes the correct answer is very simply; play music. Turns out that if you can keep up with a mech's song, you might be able to help them fight for the world. And when multiple musicians manage to establish this form of communication with a mech, the world might even survive its, well, invasion by those evil mechs. . In my usual methods of not spoiling anything, here's what this book has: -the actual most space Opera of space Operas -a fascinating form of symbiosis -dual POVs -Male X Genderqueer romance -a clear love for both mechs and music of different genres This book made me laugh out loud, I messaged my friend multiple quotes, and I desperately wait for its sequel. The only question I have, aside from "how dare you end on a cliffhanger" is "why would you use the word folx". CW: suicidal ideation, drug use, violence (obviously), anxiety, probably more but these are the ones I specifically picked up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    jordyn ♡ birdie's book nook

    For more of my reviews, check out my blog. Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. If there’s one thing you need to know about me before we get into this review, it’s that when Pacific Rim came out in 2013, I went and saw it approximately 238472394 times in the theaters. I adore that absolutely absurd movie. It is fun all wrapped up in a Transformers movie, dipped in a kaiju movie. Is it supposed to be taken seriously? Absolu For more of my reviews, check out my blog. Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. If there’s one thing you need to know about me before we get into this review, it’s that when Pacific Rim came out in 2013, I went and saw it approximately 238472394 times in the theaters. I adore that absolutely absurd movie. It is fun all wrapped up in a Transformers movie, dipped in a kaiju movie. Is it supposed to be taken seriously? Absolutely not. Does August Kitko and the Mechas from Space scratch that same ridiculous itch? 100000%. Giant robots come to Earth (and all the human-colonies) in an attempt to upload their minds and kill their bodies. Basically, they’re trying to wipe out the human race in whatever horrible, violent way they can. A few of these robots betray their cause and actually switch sides to help the humans fight off the other robots. But these traitors need humans to act as conduits — basically pilots. Is this sounding familiar at all??? One of the main characters — the aforementioned August Kitko — is a depressed, semi-sort-of-famous pianist. He is frequently mopey, but does his best to do what he can to help humanity. He is a fine main character. He does the job. The other main character, and Gus’s lover/joyfriend, Ardent Violet, steals the show. They are a non-binary rock star with an outrageous personality, and a fabulous sense of style. I loved reading their chapters, and frequently found myself wondering when they would be back on page. Gus and Ardent’s relationship is a little insta-love, a lot of teasing, but they really do care about each other, and it’s a joy to watch. If you enjoyed Pacific Rim at all, if you like giant robots fighting other giant robots, then you will enjoy August Kitko and the Mechas from Space. The fight scenes are awesome, the chase scenes are scary, the tech described is just phenomenal. I can’t recommend this one enough.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    This book is not for me. I went out of my comfort zone to try it, knowing I might not like it, and unfortunately my intuition was correct. That being said - the characters in this are very dynamic. the futuristic setting is fun and not overwhelming. I guess what really got me was all the mecha? I mean, I KNOW, it's fricking called AUGUST KITKO AND THE MECHAS FROM SPACE. I was trying to broaden my reading, haha, knowing I've not liked any mecha-type media I've consumed before. So that's absolutel This book is not for me. I went out of my comfort zone to try it, knowing I might not like it, and unfortunately my intuition was correct. That being said - the characters in this are very dynamic. the futuristic setting is fun and not overwhelming. I guess what really got me was all the mecha? I mean, I KNOW, it's fricking called AUGUST KITKO AND THE MECHAS FROM SPACE. I was trying to broaden my reading, haha, knowing I've not liked any mecha-type media I've consumed before. So that's absolutely on me and not on this book. If you like mecha, try this shit out!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Evyn

    How can a book make me want the sequel so badly when the first one hasn’t even officially released yet 😭😭😭

  26. 4 out of 5

    Evan Ladouceur

    Alex White has written a fine first book in his new series and I am already looking forward to the next volume. Gus Kitko is a charming, very relatable hero, thrust into importance as humanity is threatened with destruction at the hands of the Vanguards, enigmatic and inimical mechs from space. Somehow scarier than the Vanguards are their chilling companions, the Ghosts, which seem to harvest peoples identities in a thoroughly brutal and disconcerting way. When Gus, a pianist, musically bonds wi Alex White has written a fine first book in his new series and I am already looking forward to the next volume. Gus Kitko is a charming, very relatable hero, thrust into importance as humanity is threatened with destruction at the hands of the Vanguards, enigmatic and inimical mechs from space. Somehow scarier than the Vanguards are their chilling companions, the Ghosts, which seem to harvest peoples identities in a thoroughly brutal and disconcerting way. When Gus, a pianist, musically bonds with a rogue Vanguard, averting Earth’s imminent destruction, he becomes the focus of much official scrutiny, seeking to explain and exploit his success. As this unfolds, so does a delightfully portrayed romance between Gus and Ardent Violent, a flamboyant rock star of indeterminate gender. The book is wild and chaotic and moves at a manic clip, but never loses its internal logic and never ceases to drag the reader along. The characters are endearing, the dialogue crisp, the threat palpable, and the love story charming. Bravo.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bunny

    But if the world has to end, Ardent wants the best seat: front row, mosh pit. I need a GR shelf for "I am so thoroughly biased that I don't think my review counts but also because of the way I read it I am not allowed to be biased so it still counts". Also known as my Alex White shelf, I guess? I adore EVERYTHING about this book. It's the end of the world as we know it, and everyone at this party is drunk or high, living life to the fullest before their doom. The whole world knows that the Vanguar But if the world has to end, Ardent wants the best seat: front row, mosh pit. I need a GR shelf for "I am so thoroughly biased that I don't think my review counts but also because of the way I read it I am not allowed to be biased so it still counts". Also known as my Alex White shelf, I guess? I adore EVERYTHING about this book. It's the end of the world as we know it, and everyone at this party is drunk or high, living life to the fullest before their doom. The whole world knows that the Vanguards (see above re: Mechas From Space, aka Giant Murder Robots) are about to arrive, and decimate the planet, just like they've done to so many before. Possibly the only person not enjoying themself is Gus. There to play jazz piano at the Last Party on Earth, having already made out with the Ultra Famous, Uber Fabulous Ardent Violent, and then screwed that up. What a terrible last act on earth, amiright? But then the Mechas arrive. And Gus and Ardent make like the Titanic orchestra and have one last jam before it all ends. But it doesn't end. In fact, one of the Mechas apparently really digs jazz, and...well. Eats Gus. And that's just where the story BEGINS. I haven't even talked about the BRAIN EATING BABY MURDER ROBOTS. Because those fuckers. Have I mentioned I love EVERYTHING about this book? This is unlike anything we've seen from Alex so far, but has all the hallmarks that those of us who have read their books have come to expect, and come to adore. If you loved Salvagers, and think you're getting the remix, you'll be let down. But if you loved Salvagers and want to see what else Alex can do, this is right up your street. And if you've never read an Alex White book, what are you doing with your life? Get on this. ::snap snap::

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: A weird and wonderful trip through space, blasting with loud music, fabulous outfits and of course, giant killer mechas, August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is a wild ride from start to finish. It’s the end of the world—no, it’s the end of all the worlds—but humanity might just be saved by a jazz pianist and a famous pop star, in Alex White’s new book, an outrageous space opera that spans multiple worlds and involves gigantic killer mechas. August Kitko and the Mechas from Sp The nitty-gritty: A weird and wonderful trip through space, blasting with loud music, fabulous outfits and of course, giant killer mechas, August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is a wild ride from start to finish. It’s the end of the world—no, it’s the end of all the worlds—but humanity might just be saved by a jazz pianist and a famous pop star, in Alex White’s new book, an outrageous space opera that spans multiple worlds and involves gigantic killer mechas. August Kitko and the Mechas from Space is a bold, exciting love letter to music, mechas and mayhem, full of lovable characters that I couldn’t help but root for. This isn’t the first time I’ve read a space opera that revolves around music, but it’s definitely one of my favorites.  Jazz pianist August “Gus” Kitko has been invited to the party of the century. The Vanguards are headed to Earth to destroy humanity, just like they’ve destroyed countless other planets, and Earth is next on the list. But Gus plans to go out in a blaze of glory. Hired to perform at an exclusive “end of the world” party in Monaco, Gus has recently hooked up with the party’s main attraction, famous pop star Ardent Violet. But as the party goers resign themselves to their fate, something interesting happens. Two of the Vanguards start fighting each other, an unprecedented event that changes everything. Gus is shocked when the winner of the fight, a Vanguard called Greymalkin, chooses him to be a Conduit, a human who is physically (and painfully) hooked up to the mecha in order to help it fight. For whatever reason, Greymalkin has become a Traitor Vanguard who wants to save humanity. Now Gus must join forces with two other Traitor Vanguards and their Conduits in order to stop the rest of the deadly mechas and their terrifying fleet of Ghosts, gold-plated cat-like robots whose saber tooth tusks pierce the heads of humans in order to Wipe their memories and experiences, killing them in the process. With the fate of human life hanging on by a thread, Gus and Greymalkin find themselves up against some formidable opponents who are determined to destroy them. Where do I even start? This is one crazy book, folks, and I absolutely loved it. It’s chaotic and fast-paced and full of expansive ideas, but at the same time the story feels intimate and personal, probably due to White’s wonderful characters and the relationships they have with each other. That being said, some readers may struggle with the constant bombardment of frenetic action and detailed world-building. There is a lot going on, and the scope of the world is huge. Even I was intimidated in the beginning, trying to grasp exactly what was happening. But it doesn’t take long for White’s addictive prose to do its magic, and once you get the hang of this world, it’s easy to sink into the story and become invested in the characters. And speaking of the characters, I loved a bunch of them, but Ardent in particular stole my heart. Ardent is super famous and loves their fans, and they love all the attention as well. Ardent has an immense wardrobe (a crazy futuristic wardrobe!) and a singular style that works perfectly for their David Bowie-like persona. They also have a beloved Stratocaster called Baby that’s almost an extension of their body. Ardent comes across as spoiled and bratty at first, but later we see how devoted they are to Gus and their agent Dahlia. (Dahlia is a great character as well!) There is a romance brewing between Ardent and Gus, and it was so sweet. I guess when you’re staring down the end of the world, relationships feel even more intense than normal, and I loved the way the author handled theirs. Gus and Ardent spend a lot of time apart in this book, so the times they finally get together are super cute. The story alternates between Gus’s and Ardent’s points of view, so the reader can more easily see the wide scope of this world. We follow Gus and his adventures with Greymalkin, as they eventually meet up with the other Conduits and their Traitor Vanguards and engage in even more space battles. Meanwhile, Ardent is desperate to go after Gus, and so they convince Dahlia to help them steal a ship. The resulting chase through the galaxy was thrilling, and I have to say the scenes with Ardent and Dahlia were by far my favorites. If you love mecha battles, then you won’t be disappointed. White does a great job of describing the sheer size of the Vanguards, who are armed with all kinds of deadly weaponry. At one point Greymalkin acquires a spear that has the ability to “pierce planets.” The author’s description of Greymalkin emerging from the ocean in the beginning of the story made me gasp, and the fights between the Vanguards were even more exiting that I expected. Eventually we learn where the Vanguards come from—and it’s mind blowing! Alex White’s world feels fully formed, and while we don’t learn everything about the mysterious mechas from space in August Kitko, I’m betting the next book in the series will fill in some of the gaps. And tying everything together is music, from the strange harmonies of the Vanguards to Ardent’s impossibly fast guitar riffs, to Gus’s bravura chord progressions. White’s story sings with both melody and discord. Music is the first way Gus communicates with Greymalkin, and it’s an important and impactful part of the story. If you’re a Stranger Things fan and you loved the scene where Eddie plays Metallica’s Master of Puppets in the Upside Down, then I guarantee you’ll relate to the musical elements in this book!  Ridiculously high stakes, tongue-in-cheek humor, emotional moments and much more add up to a uniquely unforgettable reading experience. I guarantee you won’t read anything quite like August Kitko this year. Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sana

    NEW ALEX WHITE SERIES FEATURING GIANT BATTLING ROBOTS, HOLY FUCKING YES.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Azrah

    [This review can also be found on my BLOG] **I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review** CW: violence, blood, gore, injury, body horror, medical content, suicidal ideation, war, genocide, death, death of parent (off page) -- A highly entertaining and action packed space opera that cranks the volume up high! August Kitko and the Mechas from Space takes place far into the future at the end of the world. Giant alien robots with their shapeshifting robotic beasts [This review can also be found on my BLOG] **I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review** CW: violence, blood, gore, injury, body horror, medical content, suicidal ideation, war, genocide, death, death of parent (off page) -- A highly entertaining and action packed space opera that cranks the volume up high! August Kitko and the Mechas from Space takes place far into the future at the end of the world. Giant alien robots with their shapeshifting robotic beasts in tow, are zipping around the galaxy destroying the countless worlds humanity has ventured out to and Earth is up next. After a fall out with famous pop star Ardent Violet, Gus Kitko is aimlessly wondering the “greatest goodbye party of all time” alone but decides to see the final moments out by playing some piano. Except his jazz resonates with Greymalkin, one of the Vanguards that crashes onto the planet, and rather than destroying him it chooses Gus to be its Conduit to help it fight. When it becomes apparent that Greymalkin is not the only Traitor Vanguard, both Gus and Ardent find themselves drawn into a mission to prevent humanities annihilation. This was such an entertaining read and gave me major Transformers and Pacific Rim vibes with some added rock ‘n roll and great queer rep. Though the beginning is a little slow it’s not long before the chaos kicks in and grabs your attention. Both Gus and Ardent were such fun protagonists to follow, I loved their individual personalities and their relationship was sweet despite developing a little fast / being a bit insta lovey but hey it’s a book set at the end of the world so.. The worldbuilding was really well established and the heart racing action and battle scenes gave the whole story a cinematic edge. The idea behind the Vanguards/mechas and their accompanying ghosts was equally fascinating and terrifying – be aware there is a fair amount of body horror involved. However, I really loved the involvement of music in both the overall plot and the process of bonding with the mechas, who each had their own unique characteristics too. My only real issue with the book was that I got lost with some of the music/musicology lingo. Not being much of a musician myself there were some conversations and descriptions that were just flying over my head and in a scifi book where there is already going to be a handful of obscure science lingo that I am only half going to understand without Google, having the two together meant I was feeling more than the usual amount of confusion at times. This did not diminish my overall enjoyment of the plot and development of the characters though and I am looking forward to seeing where The Starmetal Symphony is going to head to next! Final Rating – 3.5/5 Stars

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