Showing posts with label Science-Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science-Fiction. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: The Forgetting

The Forgetting Cover
"The past is never really gone. It only lies in wait for you, remembered or forgotten."
-Sharon Cameron, The Forgetting

The Forgetting occurs every twelve years in Canaan, when everyone forgets friends, family, and memories--unless they're written down. Everyone, that is, except Nadia. As Nadia starts to use her memories in order to solve the mysteries at the heart of Canaan, she discovers truths that will alter the structure of Canaan forever. As the Forgetting looms nearer, Nadia and Gray must figure out how to stop the threats at work in the heart of the city, before everyone forgets.

The core idea behind this novel was so fascinating to me. It explores a lot about the importance and truth behind the written word and people's ability to manipulate the truth. At first, it seems like your typical dystopian novel; some event has happened and thrown everyone back into the Middle Ages, they're sheltered from the rest of the world, and hidden behind a wall everyone is afraid to cross. However, when you throw in the Forgetting, everything becomes more interesting--no one knows how long they've been there or how long this cycle has been happening.

While the writing wasn't necessarily the best I've read (it was a little repetitive at times), the characters and the plot kept me going throughout the book, and the need to understand what the Forgetting actually was. The ending was complex, filled with twists that kept me turning the pages until I finally reached the very end. Like any good first book of a series, there's a cliff hanger that's sure to keep you hooked for the next book (which just came out this week!).

Overall, an engaging read certain to make you think about the way the truth can be warped.

4/5 stars

Friday, October 6, 2017

Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One Cover

"Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable."
-Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Up next on Amanda plays catch-up on her reviews is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This book got lots of attention in the media, and is getting a movie next year. I made a playlist for this book a few weeks back, and now I'll finally give it my full review.

In the year 2044, pretty much everyone lives in a virtual reality, called OASIS, because life outside of it is miserable. Wade Watts exemplifies this, living in a trailer stacked on top of other trailers, barely scraping by and dedicating his life to figuring out the puzzles hidden within the game by the creator James Halliday. Whoever figures out the clues gets the rights to OASIS, and Wade has just solved the first clue. Thus the race begins--and the only way Wade is going to survive is by winning.

I'm definitely not a gamer, and my pop culture knowledge is often pretty lacking (unless it's about books), but I still absolutely loved this book. It was packed with action, and I love quests spurred by riddles. Cline created a story that I was able to immerse myself, and of course, I always have a weakness for dystopian worlds. And this one is pretty believable, which is...scary.

Cline's ability to build worlds is one of the strongest aspects of this book. He's able to explain things enough so that non-gamers (like myself) can understand everything he's created. There are a plethora of 80s references throughout the book, given that James Halliday is a huge fan/nerd of the 80s. While I didn't understand all of them, I had enough base knowledge to understand most of them. Wade is relatable and realistic, adding to the colorful tapestry that Cline has created in his world.

Though the book is a little on the long side, and drags a little before the end, it's still an a fantastic work of science fiction. Engrossing, entertaining, and great for science fiction fans of all kinds.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Review: When She Woke

When She Woke Cover
"She'd crossed into a place where truth, even if it was brutal, was all she had to offer."
-Hillary Jordan, When She Woke

In a not-too-distant future, people who commit crimes are coded by color. In this new America, one of the worst crimes to commit is that of abortion. If you have an abortion, you are dyed red, and considered a murderer. Once you serve out your sentence in prison, you're forced into world, to survive as best you can in your newly acquired skin.

Hannah is a Red--she has been convicted of murder. As she lives out her sentence as a Red best she can, she's forced to re-consider the values she once held true, and navigate her way in a country that politicizes faith.

I originally picked up this book on my trip to London, downloading it on my phone because it sounded similar to The Handmaid's Tale, and I do quite love a good feminist dystopia. I loved the concept of this novel, because it presents a pretty realistic future, and was a somewhat different concept than what I had read before. The idea of chroming (or dying the skin of) people who had committed crimes was interesting, and I wish that the author had delved into more of this particular aspect of the society. We learn about Hannah as a Red, and a few of her other comrades when she's let out, but the colors are never clearly outlined. I feel that if they were, I would have had a better grasp of the society.

Despite the fantastic concept, an issue I had with the text was the pacing. It didn't quite feel even throughout the text, and there were definitely times where the plot slowed way down, almost to the point that it was difficult to keep reading. The ending felt a bit open to me, which I normally don't have a problem with, but in this instance, I felt like there was almost no resolution. It felt like it should lead to something more, like a sequel, but it doesn't seem like that will be happening.

All in all, this is a fascinating concept that I wish was done a bit more cleanly. But, if you're looking for a novel that will make you think about the way we treat criminals, and perhaps the direction our justice system might be going, the core concept is interesting enough that it should drive you through the slow parts of the plot.

3/5 stars

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: The Girl with All the Gifts


"Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved."
-M.R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

Melanie is brought to a school room everyday at gunpoint, wheeled into a room with other kids that are just like her. They're all under heavy guard, strapped into their chairs, and surrounded by a constant chemical smell. But, they just might be the answer to saving humanity.

I think this book has been out long enough that this isn't a spoiler--Melanie is a zombie. A virus/fungus has taken over the Earth, turning everyone into zombies, and the base that Melanie lives at is one of the last strongholds of humans. At the military base, Dr. Caldwell is studying Melanie and the other children to find a cure for the virus. Because the novel is narrated by multiple points of view, the way morality and the survival of humanity is presented is fascinating.

This definitely isn't your typical zombie novel, and it isn't for the faint of heart. There were passages that I had to skip over because they were simply too graphic for me--and some of the science explanations went over my head. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book; the writing was sound and the world created was intricate and well-thought out.

Overall, in my knowledge and reading of dystopia, this one definitely rates at the top of the list!

4/5 stars

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Review: Junior Hero Blues

Junior Hero Blues cover






Title: Junior Hero Blues

Author: J.K. Pendragon

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release Date: November 7, 2016






"I, Javier Medina--or Blue Spark, as I'm known to the citizens of Liberty City--am one-hundred-percent dork, through and through. The mask only makes it worse." -J.K. Pendragon, Junior Hero Blues

I received this book for review from NetGalley, and just let me say, I was so excited when this was approved. It breaks the mold from the traditional superhero story, and gives readers a different type of hero to look up to, which is especially fantastic for its targeted audience. The voice is remarkable, and the action was paced well throughout this book, making this a highly entertaining read.

Javier Medina is a Junior Hero in Liberty City, and he's still trying to figure out how to navigate from being an awkward gay high schooler to a newly buff and attractive superhero, hiding his identity from his school mates and his parents, all the while trying to learn how to navigate the dating world when his boyfriend keeps mysteriously disappearing. Javier gives an unflinching account of the sacrifices needed to become a superhero--something that didn't quite fit his original expectations.

Let me begin by saying the voice in this book was absolutely fantastic. Javier is so real and honest, and downright hilarious at times. It honestly reminded me a little of the Spider-man comics, and the sassiness and snarkiness of Peter Parker, thought maybe not quite as quick witted. Pendragon also created very real characters throughout, incorporating a lot of diversity that is slowly making it's way into the superhero world in the ways of sexuality. It's refreshing to read a book with a gay male superhero that isn't afraid to hide his sexuality. 

The only critique I have of this novel is the formatting at the beginning. Though I liked that it jumped right into the action, it took me a while to realize exactly how far back in time Javier jumps. Add in a little more transition there, and think this book will be golden. Absolutely golden. And I would love to read more stories from Javier, because I think he has lots more to tell!

4.5/5 stars

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Eve & Adam


Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant follows the story of Evening (Eve) Striker who ends up in a horrible car accident, and is rushed to the hospital with terrible injuries. Before anything can be done, a strange boy named Solo whisks her away to her mom's lab. While recovering from her injuries, Eve's mom gives her a task. To create the perfect boy. Through the technology from her mom's company, Eve builds a boy from the ground up. But will he be the perfect boyfriend?

I originally picked up the book because I've read stuff by Michael Grant before, and the story concept sounded interesting to me. And I wasn't necessarily disappointed. The story pulled me in from the beginning, and kept me interested right up until the end, especially with Solo's story intertwined with Eve's. I almost think I liked his story line better, because it was less predictable than Eve's. I also felt his motives made for a better story than Eve's.

I think I was also a little put off by Eve's character. Don't get me wrong, I thought she was interesting. And a good, strong character. But the fact that even though she often talked about not needing or wanting a boy in her life, and then still ended up with one seemed like the easy way out. There was potential here to actually make a story without a romance, without the main character ending up with someone at the end. And for a moment at the beginning, I truly thought that was where it was going. But alas, it followed the conventions of most young adult novels. And while that isn't necessarily a bad thing, I was hoping this would be the exception to the rule. Perhaps another book in the future.

So overall, while there were some things I didn't necessarily like about the book, I think it was a decent book. I probably won't read it again, but I would recommend it if you are looking for a fun summer read that's fairly fast paced and doesn't require much thinking.

I guess that's it for now. Next I will be reading Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kristin Conn-Mills. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Gone Series

Back in 2008, I first started reading the Gone series, not realizing that it would still keep me hooked 5 books later. Since the last book came out just a few weeks ago, I decided to re-read the whole series, so I could better remember everything that had happened. Re-reading the books reminded me why I was hooked on the series in the first place.

Gone begins with everyone over the age of fourteen suddenly disappearing. At first, all of the kids are glad the adults are gone. But then strange things start to happen. Kids start to develop powers, weird creatures begin to appear, and worst of all, they all seemed to be trapped in a giant dome, something the kids name the FAYZ. The series follows, with Hunger, Lies, Plague, Fear, and finally Light. Each novel presents a different difficulty for the kids, a new challenge that they have to overcome. Will they all make it out of the FAYZ? That is up to them.

At first, this series is quite unassuming. It just seems like a young adult superhero story. But I think Michael Grant makes it much more than that. As each novel progresses, things get darker and darker, and Grant creates twists that the reader never sees coming. Every time you think you know what's going to happen next, something completely different happens. That is what kept me hooked in the series. That, and I wanted to know what created the FAYZ. Grant also did a decent job at including a diverse audience within the series. There were representations from almost every race, gender, and sexual orientation. Any young adults could easily find a representation of themselves within the novel.

The one thing I think threw me off about the novel was the age of the children, which I think was the point. Often, while you're reading, you will forget that all of these people doing these horrible acts of violence, these things that any "rational" human being would do, are all being done by kids who are fourteen or under. This might be me over-analyzing the novel, but I thought of this as Grant possibly making a comment on childhood, either that we grow up too quickly now, or that anyone in a situation like that (life or death) is forced to grow up more quickly than we think is acceptable. It is an interesting perspective to look at the series as a whole.

Overall, if you're looking for an exciting, action packed summer read, I would definitely give this a try. The action is basically non-stop, and you won't be disappointed. Until next time, happy reading! :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fear


I have been waiting since 2009 to figure out why all of the adults in the Gone series disappeared, and I was hoping that in Fear I would get some sort of idea, being that it is the second to last book in the series. Alas, I was disappointed. I still have no idea how this whole thing fits together, and at the end of Fear, I felt like I was left more confused than ever. I just want to know why all of the adults are gone!! I really don't think that's too much to ask from Micheal Grant. I was kind of shocked when I learned the series was going to be 6 books, but I'm going to say he definitely made each and everyone just as suspenseful as the last, with more and more creepy and disturbing stuff I wasn't expecting. I think Micheal Grant is becoming an expert as creepy and disturbing.

Fear picked up 4 months after the end of Plague. A sort of peace has come to the FAYZ (the dome that all of these kids are stuck in), but Sam and the gang are just waiting for something to happen. They know that the Darkness, or the Gaiaphage, the evil force in the FAYZ, doesn't allow peace to happen for long. And, of course, it doesn't. The kids soon start to notice a stain that's creeping up the barrier, a black stain that will plunge their entire world into darkness. And when the whole world is in darkness, how are they supposed to survive? Fear is a fitting title, as fear is what drives everyone crazy as the lights start to go out.

Talk about a suspenseful novel! Not only do the chapters countdown to something (like they do in every book in the series) but as the wall is slowly getting darker and darker, you can definitely see the panic that sets in in the children. I think Grant does an excellent job of portraying the reactions of kids, especially the younger ones, to the disturbing, creepy, slightly disgusting things that happen in the FAYZ. However, at times, I forget that Sam, Astrid, Cain, and all of the leaders in the FAYZ are just young teenagers. None of them are much older than 15, though at times they definitely have to act a lot older than they really are. And while most of the things they do make sense, I feel like some of their actions don't really fit for the age that they are. I think that's Grant's only downfall in this series. Otherwise, I think he's written a great series, one that never keeps you bored. There's always something happening int he FAYZ, and it's never something good.

Clash of Kings is up next on my list to read, and it's excellent so far. Until next time, happy reading! :) 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Taking Technology to Another Level

iBoy 
What would it be like if you had all the capacities of an iPhone in your brain? It'd be pretty spectacular, wouldn't it? That's what happens to Tom Harvey, the main character of iBoy by Kevin Brooks, after an iPhone collides with his head and causes extensive damage. After the collision, pieces of the iPhone are stuck in Tom's brain and it does crazy things to him. He can send texts, e-mails, make phone calls, surf the web, all with his brain. And that's not all. He can zap people with electricity and create a force field that protects his body. When Tom finds out about all these powers, he decides to use them to avenge Lucy, the girl he likes that was raped by a group of local gang members. But will he go too far? You'll have to read it to find out. :)

So Kevin Brooks isn't exactly my favorite author of all time. I read one of his books, Being, quite awhile ago and I absolutely hated it. Nothing got resolved in that novel, and he left me with A LOT of questions. Not exactly what you're looking for in a novel. Needless to say, I haven't read anything by him since then because I hated his writing style. Now for iBoy...I'm not entirely sure if I liked this book or not. It was an interesting concept...but I couldn't really get over how Tom became iBoy. I mean, would someone throwing an iPhone at your head really cause that much damage? I suppose it matters how hard it was thrown. But I still can't imagine it putting you in a coma for seventeen days and causing an extensive amount of damage in the brain. It's kinda far fetched if you ask me. But I guess the whole book was kind of far fetched, so it kind of worked. I don't know. I still don't think I liked it all that much.

I also didn't like how Tom thought when he was iBoy. He had a weird thought pattern that kind of irritated me. And the whole making phone calls with your brain thing...that was really weird. I don't even understand how that would show up on caller ID. Tom definitely became weird after the iPhone collided with his head. And not necessarily a good weird...a really, really odd weird that I don't exactly like.

Well i guess that's all for now. Next I will be reading All You Desire by Kirsten Miller.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

After recommendations from many different people, I have finally read and finished The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I must say, the recommendations were correct. It was indeed an excellent read, and the next one should prove to be just as good. Which is next on my list :)

For those of you that don't know, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy follows the two main characters Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect. Arthur is from Earth, and Ford is from a planet called Betelgeuse, and has been stranded on Earth for 15 years. He's a hitchhiker doing research for the book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We find the both of them on Earth, right before it's about to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The Vogons, who are demolishing Earth, apparently don't care that much about all of the humans living there, and are describing as very, very ugly aliens. Anyway, Ford saves Arthur by taking him off Earth right at the last minute, and now their hitchhikers exploring the Universe. It's a really fun story, with lots of fun explanations about things.

One of my favorite things about the book was the little side facts that Adams added to the book. One of my favorites was about the intelligence of beings on Earth. The book says that even though humans think they're the second most intelligent (I'm not sure what we're supposed to think is the first....but dolphins are mentioned, so we can go with that), they're really the third. Dolphins are second, but what do you think is first? I guess you'll just have to read the book and find out :)

I also enjoyed the excerpts that were inserted from the "real" Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, especially the one about the towel. The Guide says that a towel is the most important tool that a hitchhiker can have when traveling the universe. And they give lots of good reasons, my favorite being that you can trick non-hitchhikers to give you things if you pretend that all you remembered to bring was a towel. I never thought of it that way, and it's quite interesting.

Well, I guess that's all for now. The next book that I will be reading is The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, the sequel to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'm hoping this one will be just as exciting.

Have a book that you want me to read? Leave it in the comments :)