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Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2) by Andrea K.…
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Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Andrea K. Höst

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6311297,805 (4.27)2
In the months since Cassandra Devlin walked onto another planet, she has grappled with everything from making blankets to helping psychics battle the memories of monsters. Not able to find a way home, she has instead gained friends and a purpose. Unfortunately, that purpose brings with it the pressure of being more than a little valuable, and those she has befriended are also her guards, ordered to explore and control her abilities to find out just what it is a touchstone can do. Test subject was not the career path Cass had been planning. With no privacy, too-frequent injuries, and the painful knowledge that she must always be an assignment to her Setari companions, Cass can only wish for some semblance of normality and control. And as her abilities become more and more dangerous, tests and training may be the only thing capable of protecting Cass from herself.… (more)
Member:Rempala
Title:Lab Rat One (Touchstone, #2)
Authors:Andrea K. Höst
Info:232, Kindle Edition, 232 pages
Collections:2017
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Lab Rat One by Andrea K. Höst (2011)

  1. 00
    Linked by Lisa Alden (quincidence)
    quincidence: what happened? How did I get here. NOW WHAT?! These girls show pluck and really deserve your attention. Consider a good read and well placed character development.
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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
3.5/5 stars. I am so emotionally involved in this series. Cass's feelings are so clear I nearly feel voyeuristic. And toward the end, in the lift, when spoiler spoiled? I couldn't do the I Called It dance because I was too busy holding my hand to my heart and sighing. ( )
  tldegray | Sep 21, 2018 |
4.5/5
review coming. I'm onto book #3 right now! ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Read the full Review at Witchmag's Boekenplank

Wow, WOW and again WOW! Usually I like a sequel about the same as the first book or a bit less, because the concept isn’t as new. But not with this one, this one rocked! Although there is less action, it’s great to discover the planet Muina. This is the planet where Cass landed and managed to survive on her own for a month. I had so many questions while reading this book that I had no other choice than to read this book in one go. But I was very sad when it ended, since a lot of my questions haven’t been answered yet. So now I’m waiting till the third book comes at the end of this month. Sigh, have to wait a bit more…

So many things happened in this book, so much I just couldn’t write a summary about the beginning as I usually do for you guys. So many important events happened that I would have had to copy the entire beginning to write a fitting summary ^^ So this time you’ll have to figure out if this book is something for you by reading just the review and blurb ;) .

Despite that there was less “real action” in this book, so much happened that I was nearly overwhelmed, occasionally. But that just added to the fun! I wasn’t bored for a minute while reading this story. Although, because of all the events, it was easy to forget. Not really a compliment, but if you consider the fact that I’m actually planning to read this book again soon, it is. I can’t give a bigger compliment to Mrs. Höst. Even Twilight, a book I also loved, I read only once, but I think I’ll be rereading this book often! It’s just that good ^^

The focus in this book was the rediscovery of the world were Cass was found, Muina. And what an amazing world it is! Since it’s been completely abandoned by people for some time it returned to how our Earth once was: untouched. The world is described in such a way it’s like seeing a movie and what a beautiful world it is! It reminded me a bit of the nature in the movie Avatar. I especially liked that winter started and there was snow everywhere. That doesn’t happen often at my home, and since I love snow I really enjoyed reading that part ^^

Cass is again subject to the necessary tests and spends much of her time in the medical facility, especially after her powers start to grow. Definitely her ”favorite place to be” ;) . With every page I read, I love her more and more. Despite everything she experiences she stays with both her feet firmly planted on the ground. She has a very hard time when her powers develop, but she isn’t put down by it and trains very hard to keep them under control. Although staring at a certain handsome Setari might or might not help that process ;) .

Overall rating 5 hearts. I loved this book from the beginning to the end. I enjoyed reading about Muina and the untouched nature. I’d love to visit a place like that once! I can recommend this book to everyone who loves a good science fiction, but I advice to read the first book first, otherwise you won’t understand a thing that’s going on ;) . At the moment I’m impatiently waiting for the last book of this series. I so wanna know what happens next! ( )
  Iris-Boekenplank | Nov 10, 2013 |
Without reading Stray, the first book in the Touchstone Trilogy, the following review may not make much sense and will likely spoil some of its developments!

Lab Rat One improves on its predecessor, Stray, and is my favorite of the Touchstone Trilogy. While most sequels falter by failing to raise the stakes set up in the first volume, Lab Rat One builds upon its foundation. Cass’s friendships with the Setari strengthen, the crumbling of the spaces make the Ena more dangerous, and Cass’s minor romantic desire develops into deep infatuation. Even the themes are extended; resource degradation, environmental destruction, privacy regulations, and internet surveillance were explored in Stray, but here Höst focuses on them further with the anxieties over settling Muina and the uproar over the newly biographical spin of “The Hidden War,” a previously fictional TV show about the Setari (though IMO the characters’ reactions to this plot line were overblown and the plot descended into the nonsensical as it continued).

Whether Lab Rat One will work for you, though, depends on your opinion of Ruuel, the tortured Fourth Squad Setari captain that Cass started to lightly crush on in Stray. Because it is written in diary format, we see Cass’s obsession with Ruuel firsthand. Like any 18 year old recording her private thoughts, Cass pours her soul out into this diary, discussing the minutiae of her day with a particular emphasis on her interactions with the super-hot Ruuel (which, of course, barely amount to anything besides a simple acknowledgement of her existence). So, teenage angst abound! but as a reward, we do see Höst writing from a refreshingly female gaze about Ruuel, a perspective that is altogether lacking in literature. For me, Lab Rat One was successful because I cared enough about Ruuel that I was mostly willing to read through Cass’s endless musings about him. That said, I don’t find him to be a perfect love interest. He’s mysterious and kind but his curtness makes him almost cardboard. For all of Cass’s incessant lust, I barely knew a thing about him, though I think enigmatic may have been the intention and most of his appeal. Having read Caszandra, the final volume, it is definitely most of the appeal. Once we know Ruuel as Karoen, he’s boring and average. I want to find an author who can take a secretive, closed archetypal love interest and have him get together with the protagonist without destroying what made him mysterious.

However, just as Lab Rat One betters the successes of Stray, it also falls prey to the same weaknesses. Again, there are no considerable plot happenings, and the world-building, while great, remains unexplored. At the end of Stray I was so excited to learn about Muina’s mythology, but aside from a few archaeological sites (which were awesome!), we didn’t discover anything new and concrete about the Lantarens. I continue to be confused about the specifics of the spaces, Ionoth, and the talents. In particular, I don’t understand the full capabilities of Sight Sight talents and seeing as Ruuel, the omnipresent love interest, has this talent, elucidation would have been useful. An additional problem is the capability of Cass. In my review of Stray, I remarked that I enjoyed Cass’s character because she was a bit of an everygirl. She wasn’t a Chosen One (though she does accrue some unique individual powers in this installment), meaning she was relatable. This same strength is a weakness when Cass’s relative averageness prevents her from taking initiative. I wanted her to ask questions, demand KOTIS to stop making her go to medical, and try to figure out her problems alone, but alas, she was out her element and didn’t achieve anything individually. It’s a fine balance between a pathetic, useless character and an omnipotent superhero, and I think Höst was a bit too conservative here. Indeed, my favorite scene of the entire series is in Lab Rat One when Cass finally must face the Cruzatch and find her way out the platforms alone. Her ability to handle herself when necessary is a highlight of the series, and I wish we could’ve seen this a few more times. Still, Lab Rat One is a wonderful sequel, and the ending…well, I’ve never been more thankful that I could download Caszandra immediately from Amazon.

Similar to: the film Inception. Cass’s developing talents and Ruuel’s advice on how to control them reminded me a lot of Inception.
( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
Lab Rat One by Andrea K Höst is the second book in the Touchstone trilogy, following on immediately from Stray. This is definitely not the kind of series you could read out of order and still easily follow what was going on.

Lab Rat One continues to tell Cassandra's story, the Sydney girl that took a wrong turn and ended up on another planet. The story continues with more of her training with the Setari — psychic space ninjas — and more discovery's of the alien people's past. As with the first book, the plot is driven in large part by things unexpectedly happening to Cass, often as part of the larger experimentation with her still mysterious powers. It gave me the inescapable feeling that she is both terribly unlucky and very lucky to still be alive. She continues to almost die a lot.

The writing has gotten tighter in this volume. Whereas in book one I felt there were some slow bits, I didn't get that feeling in Lab Rat One, where everything moved things along or was hilarious. The last quarter or so of the book (roughly from the snowball fight onwards, for those familiar with it) made me giggle a lot and the very end, though slightly surprising, was well done and made me happy and keen to keep reading.

The way the romance was done (or not done) in this book appealed to me. Without spoilers, Cass has a crush (since Stray, actually) on one of the Setari but decides that a relationship between them is unlikely to happen. She spends a lot of time trying not to have a crush on him, unsuccessfully but without it getting tedious for the reader. The former aspect struck me as realistic in the circumstances. She also doesn't let her feelings get in the way of almost dying her work.

One thing that didn't quite fit for me but I couldn't quite put my finger on when I was reading Stray is the YA label for this series. At first I put it down to the diary entry style being unusual, but I think it's more than that. Yes, Cass is eighteen so if the only requirement for YA is a teenage protagonist, it does technically fit the bill. But the story starts after she's finished school when — aliens notwithstanding — she would be starting to make her way in the world as an adult. Much as I'm not fond of the moniker, perhaps "new adult" is more apt than "young adult". Don't let either of those labels put you off though; it's first and foremost a science fiction book and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to readers of all ages. (Or if the term "science fiction" puts you off — why are you reading this blog? — my all means latch onto one of the other labels.)

I loved Lab Rat One and I couldn't not pick up the third book after I finished it (which was very inconvenient, since it was the middle of the night). For anyone who enjoyed Stray, this is a must read. If you thought Stray was kinda all right but weren't sold on reading more, I strongly encourage you to give Lab Rat One a go.

5 / 5 stars

You can read more of my reviews on my blog. ( )
  Tsana | Apr 3, 2013 |
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In the months since Cassandra Devlin walked off Earth onto another planet, she has grappled with everything from making blankets to helping psychics battle the memories of monsters. Not able to find a way home, she has instead gained friends and a purpose. Unfortunately, that purpose brings with it the pressure of being more than a little valuable, and those she has befriended are also her guards, ordered to explore and control her abilities to find out just what it is a touchstone can do.

Test subject was not the career path Cass had been planning.

With no privacy, too-frequent injuries, and the painful knowledge that she must always be an assignment to her Setari companions, Cass can only wish for some semblance of normality and control.

And as her abilities become more and more dangerous, tests and training may be the only thing capable of protecting Cass from herself.
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