Patterson continues his extremely popular Maximum Ride series with its seventh volume which starts with the flock of flying kids being fractured. LeadPatterson continues his extremely popular Maximum Ride series with its seventh volume which starts with the flock of flying kids being fractured. Leader Maximum is feeling abandoned because Fang, the love of her life, has left the flock and fled off because of his jealousy of Dylan. Max has returned home with Iggy, Gazzy, Angel, Nudge, Total the talking dog, and new addition Dylan to stay with her mom and half sister. She is torn because it seems like Dylan was imprinted by the genetic engineers to be attractive to her, and everyone seems to agree that the two will be the leaders of the new world order that everyone says is coming, and they really need to focus on starting a dynasty. She might still want to be with Fang.
Fang has decided that he wants to continue to try and protect the world from the dark times that are coming, according to prophecy, even it won't be with the rest of the flock. The best way to do that is to start his own flock. That is easier than one would consider because he has access to a number of other genetically engineered kids through the followers of the blog he has been writing about the original flock's adventures for years. The resulting team provides a great deal of hope because their various talents will help cover all the bases. They include Ratchet, Star, Kate, Holden, and Beth.
The one major challenge is going to be Maya, the one remaining member of the team who is actually a clone of Max. Fang included her in order to have some strong fighting skills he knew from working with Max, and maybe because of some subconscious need to keep Max around in the form of a clone.
Both flocks find themselves confronting the same menace. A mysterious cult has set its eyes on taking over the world through the work of genetically engineered kids. What makes things even worse is that they want to do it by killing all of the normal humans. Are the two flocks going to be able to work together despite all the fighting between the them and the members themselves? Time is running short, and they only have days to sort things out to save the world.
This is actually a strong book than the last few in the series have been. I liked the original trilogy, but found the second set of three to be weak and too forceful in its focus on turning the kids into ecowarriors. Patterson has finally found an effective set of villains with this newest book, and I am really looking forward to the next (and allegedly final) book in the series....more
This is the third book in the Coben's teen Mickey Bolitar series, which is actually spun off his adult series that focuses on Myron Bolitar, who is MiThis is the third book in the Coben's teen Mickey Bolitar series, which is actually spun off his adult series that focuses on Myron Bolitar, who is Mickey's uncle. Mickey and his friends Ema, Spooner, and Rachel are back to solve another mystery relating to a missing teen for the Abeola Society. It turns out that it is a mystery that is far more complex.
There is a guy that Ema met in an online fan group dedicated to her famous mom. They had been talking back and forth for sometime and had gotten close. The time had come when they made an appointment to meet ... only he seem to have stood her up. While she probably could have just accepted that fact, but he has gone totally quiet, including his online presence. As a result, she asks Mickey and the others to start looking into what might have happened to him.
Besides that, Mickey is also adjusting to being one of the stars of the basketball team at his new school. This is not easy because the existing A-team has been playing together for some time, and they hate the idea of an underclassman coming in and pushing one of them aside. When that happens, Troy Taylor (team co-captain and school alpha dog) ends up being kicked off the team for using steroids. The problem is that no one really believes he did it. Troy has asked that Mickey help figure out what happened. Mickey is not sure what to do, but he is probably the only person who can get down to the bottom of it.
On top of all this, the mystery of the accident who claimed Mickey's father's life has come to the fore once more. One of the EMTs who assisted after the accident turned up in the previous novel, and tried to kill Mickey. Mickey recognized him, and he is starting to think that it might be possible that his father might actually be alive. The EMT still seems set on targeting Mickey, but Mickey is hoping to get some clues as to what truly happened to his dad.
Like the previous volumes in the series, this book is fast paced. A mixture of mystery and suspense, I know I couldn't put the book down. The story is not totally grounded in reality, but that is often the case with mysteries starring teens. I am definitely looking forward to the next volume in the series....more
A class of sixth graders is taken by storm when Dwight, who is considered to be quite the odd guy by most, starts walking around with an origami YodaA class of sixth graders is taken by storm when Dwight, who is considered to be quite the odd guy by most, starts walking around with an origami Yoda as a finger puppet. What really has their attention is the fact that the little Origami Yoda seems to be able to predict the future and provide wonderful advice. The question is whether Origami Yoda and Dwight really do have some magical abilities or it is just a weird hoax.
This becomes particularly important for our narrator Tommy. He is hoping to find out whether the pretty and popular Sara is interested in him, but he is afraid to trust our Japanese paper-folded prophet with potential ties to the Force. To decide whether to trust the little green guy, Tommy has decided to talk to all of the students in his class to see whether Origami Yoda is right most of the time. This book is the result of the study. Each of the chapters provides the story of a student's request to Yoda and what happened as a result.
The result is a very funny look at middle school life, which is swirling with budding hormones, interest in the opposite sex, and worries about the social caste system. While Dwight's impersonation of Yoda may not be the greatest, his classmates are definitely interested in the predictions he is helping to dole out. Tommy's love life and the potential for a date to the school dance relies on the results of his research.
This is really a quick and fun read. The pages are patterened to look like the crumpled papers of a tween and the text is accompanied by interesting, cute, and crude illustrations provided by one of Tommy's friends. Each of the students' stories is presented in a different font to really give a sense of the other, and each story is accompanied by notes from Tommy and his doubting friend Harvey on the believability of the story.
There are lots of Star Wars references for fans of the series, though most tie in with the original trilogy. There is even instructions for those interested in making their own Origami Yoda at the end of the book.
Kids, particularly boys will have a hard time putting this one down. Fans of the Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will be natural readers for this tale....more
This really is an amazing story about how bullying really is a complex issue. Auggie just wants to be an average in. In many ways, he really is. In onThis really is an amazing story about how bullying really is a complex issue. Auggie just wants to be an average in. In many ways, he really is. In one important way, he is different. Auggie was born with a pair of genetic disorders that have left his face misshapen. He has had a number of surgeries and treatments since his birth to try and help normalize his appearance, but he still stands out in a crowd.
Auggie has been homeschooled for all of his life, but his mom and dad have decided that it might be a good idea to mainstream him. They had him apply to the Beecher Academy, which is named after the abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher. He passes all of the required testing to get into the fifth grade at the school.
As you can expect, things are not easy. Some of the kids mock and tease him while others, surprisingly become close friends. It is not always easy to predict who would take on which role, but Palacio has done a masterful job in presenting the realities of the middle school environment. All of the voices are true and honest.
What I really liked is that Palacio opted to tell the story just from a single perspective. While Auggie is the primary narrator, others get a chance tell the story from their own eyes. The result highlights how the social caste system in our schools is not always clear cut. While there are often the bullies and the bullied, choosing sides and behaving appropriate is not always as easy as you would think it would be. Peer pressure, the need for acceptance, and the evolving development of self image makes it a difficult dance. Palacio presents that masterfully.
It really is a great story, but it does have a feel of an "After School Special. As a result, I am not sure how the kids would take the message. It is not so much preachy as it is so realistic that the kids might not see themselves in what is happening.
I would definitely recommend this for reading, particularly if it could be supported with discussion....more
No longer safe in the Inner Core and looking to get away from everything with ties to the Jedi and his pass, Cade Skywalker heads out to the Outer RimNo longer safe in the Inner Core and looking to get away from everything with ties to the Jedi and his pass, Cade Skywalker heads out to the Outer Rim and finds himself on Tatooine, the planet that has played a major role in his family's history. Along for the ride, he has brought his reliable sidekicks Deliah Blue and Syn. Unfortunately, they are not as alone as they thought they were.
Moff Nyna Calixte has decided to take an interested in what he has been doing, particularly in light of the assassination attempt he made against Emperor Darth Krayt. In order to get her hands on him, she sends her own daughter Gunn Yage, a pilot in the Skulls fighter pilot team, to Tatooine to locate and capture Cade. When Gunn arrives, she is supposed to connect with Morrigan Corde, a long-time Imperial secret agency who has a lot to teach Gunn.
Morrigan has her own interests in Cade. While she is dedicated to the Empire, she is also his mother and would like to keep an eye out for him. This is not something that is known by her Imperial superiors. Because of this she is particularly frustrated when Gunn decides to get started on the hunt before she connected with Morrigan.
The two Imperial ladies are not the only people looking for Cade. The Black Sun, a long-lasting and evil group of smugglers, are also out for our hero, though they would be just as happy if he turns up dead. To achieve that goal, they have sent a trio of assassins after the not-quite Jedi.
As they are being hunted, Cade and his team find themselves trapped on the planet when a part on their ship, the Mynock needs to be replaced. They don't have the funds to do it. Cade and Syn set out to try and rustle up some funds, while Deliah decides to pretend to be a mendicant of the faithful in the hopes of collecting enough alms to buy the part. She finds herself alone until she gets help from a senior member of the organization.
This leads to an increasing level of fun for our heroes and a surprising reveal for one of the characters tied to them. All-in-all, this was a fun volume that is clearly setting up the quickly approaching conclusion in volume 10.
The final portion of the book is dedicated to a short story surrounding a Mandalorian warrior Chanon Ordo who has been serving as part of the Rogue Squadron. What role will he play in all of this?
I have been really intrigued by the mysterious familial background of Cade. We know who he is descended from over time, but his more immediate relatives are a bit of a mystery. This book provides some interesting insight that really twists how the reader views some of the characters.
These volumes are more than just action/adventure tales. There is quite a bit of character development involved....more
Bartoletti is a well respected writer of historical non-fiction for tweens and teens. Previously, she has looked a the Hitler Youth, winning a NewberyBartoletti is a well respected writer of historical non-fiction for tweens and teens. Previously, she has looked a the Hitler Youth, winning a Newbery Honor for it, the Irish Potato Famin, coal mining, and child labor. Her Newest book, is a strong study of the Ku Klux Klan. Using all sorts of primary documents such as newspaper clippings, poliical cartoons, slave narratives, and photographs to flesh out the events of the time period on which she is focusing.
The book brings readers through a history of the Ku Klux Klan. Bartoletti starts by introducing the facts about American slavery, the Civil War and the ensuing Reconstruction Era. She utilizes these details to introduce the environment in which Southern folks started to form the KKK, which started a small social group created by six men living in Pulaski, Tennessee. She then tracks the development of the organization as it ebbed and flowed in membership through the years. This includes information about the organization was governed, the acts members committed, and how the American and state governments responded.
Bartoletti has done an amazing of presenting the facts of what happened over the years, and allowed the information from the primary documents representing both Klan members and African Americans to tell the story. She made clear in the Introduction that she was not going to censor the content, and she doesn't in any way, but she does present the events in a way that the true horror of what happened is evident without being overwhelming for the reader.
This really is a must read for those looking to have a better understanding of the history of civil rights and the Antebellum period....more
It's not easy being a witch, and Alex Flinn nicely shows that with this novel, which brings back Kendra, the witch who set the curse on Kyle in "BeastIt's not easy being a witch, and Alex Flinn nicely shows that with this novel, which brings back Kendra, the witch who set the curse on Kyle in "Beastly." As a result, readers get a peek into Kendra, where she came from, and why she tries to help with her magic.
It all starts by bringing the reader back to London in 1666, when Kendra's family and village are being brought down the Black Plague. It is through this disaster and an adventure that draws on the tradition of Hansel and Gretel that Kendra's powers come to the fore.
Readers are then jumped to modern-day Florida, where we meet Emma, who is finding her whole world being shaken up. Her step-father has learned that his former wife has died of cancer, and that Lisette, his daughter from that marriage, is going to be moving in. At first, Emma is actually quite excited about the posibility of getting to know her sister and possibly gaining a friend in the process.
Emma is self-conscious about her weight and appearance, and she is definitely not one of the popular girls. This is something that is a disappointment to her mother, who is always encouraging her to do what she can to show everyone how special she is. Emma also finds that all of her dreams seem to be coming true ... at least, that is how it would seem.
Unfortunately, that quickly starts to change. Emma quickly seems to take over everything that was great about Emma's life, including her special time with her dad, the spotlight as she becomes part of the ruling queen bee group, among other things. Pretty much in all things, Emma loses just about anything, and Lisette is blackmailing her to keep it quiet.
The one possible good thing that is still there is that Emma is friends with the strange girl at school. That girls is our star, Kendra. Kendra feels for Emma, but is unsure of whether she should help. She has tried to help in the past, and she sites two stories as to how things can go horribly wrong: 1. The story of Prince Louis who is looking for a wife among the qualified princesses only to find that his mother is doing everything she can to make things difficult, including using a twist taken from "The Princess and the Pea." 2. Poor Doria was a mermaid who fell in love with a young boy who survived the Titanic disaster. With the help of Kendra, Doria is able to reconnect with him, but things go terribly, terribly wrong. On the other hand, during the telling, Kendra hears from Kyle, who phones her to share his appreciation for what she did for him with her curse.
A Justin Beiber-like character takes on an interesting role as Emma and Lisette's story comes to a very fun and interesting conclusion with a twist on the classic Cinderella tale.
Anyone who enjoys the retelling of fairy tales will definitely find this one enjoyable. I will admit that I found myself going back and forth with my reactions as to how Emma was reacting with regard to her, but I had to tell myself that she is starting off as a middle schooler and carrying through into her sophomore year. With that approach, she makes a lot of sense. She really is a likeable character, and I found myself wanting to see how things would play out for her and Lisette. I think Flinn did a great job with coming up with an conclusion that works quite nicely....more
I have always been drawn to the histories and biographies written by Alison Weir. She is a specialist in late-Medieval/Enlightenment English history.I have always been drawn to the histories and biographies written by Alison Weir. She is a specialist in late-Medieval/Enlightenment English history. I decided to read this book because I realized that I had very little knowledge about the Wars of the Roses and I wanted to learn more after watching a documentary series called Monarchy that takes viewers through the whole history of the British royal houses.
The first third of the book provides background history about the ruling kings prior to the period the book is focusing on. This includes kings like Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, who will all be familiar to folks into Shakespeare. While this period is not actually part of the Wars of the Roses, it is the events that occurred during this time that set up the division.
Richard II was ousted from the throne by Henry IV, the first of the Lancastrian kings. Richard's relatives would continue on the the form of the Dukes of York, who would try to regain the throne, claiming that the House of Lancaster were usurpers. For much of this early history, the two families would bicker through political intrigue and gossip, but that would change once Henry VI became king.
He married Margaret of Anjou, a niece of the French king. Beside bringing some strong continental support, Margaret also proved to be quite the administrator. She was able to step in as Her husband would suffer from bouts of of a psychological condition that would (at times) send him into a stupor for months at a time.
The problem was she would accomplish many things through special favors to the supporters of Lancaster to the detriment of their foes, the supporters of York, and the average English citizen. This caused resentment to brew, and before long, the two sides found themselves fighting minor-to-major day-long battles over the course of more than 30 years. During that time, the crown would repeatedly change hands between Henry VI and Edward IV, the first of the Yorkish kings.
The noble houses of England would jostle for power as they supported either the Yorks or the Lancasters. At times, some of the nobles (or magnates) would even switch sides or try to position themselves from a third perspective in the hopes of using the ongoing fighting to bring power into their own hands.
The result is a country that was confronted with decades of civil war, but at a pace in which it was not crippled since battles never lasted more than a day and were spread out over a great deal of time. In fact, Weir points out that their was only about 13 weeks of actual warfare during the more than 30 years of conflict.
Weir does a wonderful job of utilizing primary resources from the period and secondary sources from a short time later (the Tudor period) to supplement the content and provide interesting details to the story and insight to the events and the people that experienced them. These include household records such as supply lists to actual histories from the period. These also do a nice job of presenting the biases of those involved and those who followed.
As with other books that I have read by her, including her biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth I, the tale is rich with detail and presented with a smooth and comfortable narrative that makes it feel almost like a novel rather than a history.
The one complaint I have has nothing to do with her own presentation of the events. The folks from the period seemed quite attracted to the same names as they named their children so the presentation is filled with Henrys, Marys, Margarets, Edwards, and a number of other common names. Weir does a great job of trying to help the reader keep track of who is who by referring to them by their landed titles or making sure to include their prenomens.
The books also has some really great genealogical charts for those who are really into that. Besides being interesting to see how interrelated everyone is, it helps provide some clarity when reading about the individuals since they can be referenced in the family trees.
As an interesting aside, I learned that the Tudors, who would rule later one in the form of Henry VIII, his father, and his children, first come to notice in the history of the Wars of the Roses. They apparently were a very minor Welsh family who married into some of the minor noble houses and dedicated themselves to both the Yorks and the Lancasters at various points in the period. They also started out as Tewdwrs rather than Tudors. One of them changed the spelling right around the time they started to get noticed.
Anyway, this was an awesome and very thorough read on the topic. I would definitely recommend it!...more
Fans of Michael Crichton will have no trouble getting pulled into this posthumously written work. Just think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for grownups!
AFans of Michael Crichton will have no trouble getting pulled into this posthumously written work. Just think Honey, I Shrunk the Kids for grownups!
A mysterious biotech firm with secret ties to the federal government has set up research labs in Hawai'i. As with many of Crichton's horror/suspense novels, readers know that greed from the firm is going to lead to lots of problems. That is most definitely true in this situation. The firm is working on a project that allows regularly sized objects from cars and planes to people and animals to be shrunk down to tiny sizes. (i.e. humans are about 1/2 an inch tall when shrunk). The problem is that living creatures seem to go some sort of variation of the "bends" after a few day of being wee. This leads to a form of hemophilia that allows the to basically bleed to death from a bruise or small cut.
Of course, the firm wants to work this out so it arranges for a small group of grad students working with it to be mistakenly shrunk down. They find themselves on a journey to get back to the lab, where they are hoping to be resized back to normal. They, of course, are unaware of the dangers that face them from the their small statures ... and they are quickly preoccupied with the dangers they are confronted with from all sorts of birds, insects, and even the weather.
This is not a novel for the faint of heart as it is filled with lots of violence and gross scenes. Unlike in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the ants they meet are not looking to befriend them and provide a means of transportation. The tiny humans seem to be more like a food source than pals to the ants. That is just the beginning...
Anyone who loved Jurassic Park, Congo or any number of Crichton's other similar works will find themselves quite happy with this book. It is not to be passed up!...more
Things are getting more and more serious for the New York Coven of Blue Bloods. One of their number has been kidnapped, and rather there has been a thThings are getting more and more serious for the New York Coven of Blue Bloods. One of their number has been kidnapped, and rather there has been a threat that she will be burned alive. The problem is that no one seems to know who could possibly want to do this, and the Red Bloods directly bonded with the Blue Bloods are the most likely suspects. The questions is whether they really could do that.
Mimi Force, who has taken on the Regency of the Committee of Blue Bloods finds herself with some much welcome distraction from her personal life. Her brother and fated lover Jack has run off with Schuyler Van Alan. Mimi ends up finding a surprising ally in Schuyler's human familiar, Oliver.
Oliver is now working for the repository and has come to be considered one of the leading researchers of their generation. He might have the exact skills she needs to sort this problem out quickly. The video that was released of the Blue Blood victim's abduction is being played off as a hoax to promote an upcoming film, but they still only have four days to find her before she is killed.
While they find themselves on the trail, Oliver and Mimi run out of time only to find themselves back in the same situation again with another Blue Blood victim ... this time a male. Mimi decides to bring in specialized Venator help from Japan. in the form Deming.
As all of this is going on, Schuyler and Jack are in Italy. They have taken refuge with the Eurpopean Coven under the auspices of the Countess. The only problem is their protection seems to have turned into a prison. When they head out on the run, they land themselves in the center of a Red Blood mystery with ties to one of the gates of Hell that is centered in Florence. The only problem is that the Seven Gates are supposed to be only protected by Blue Bloods. Where is the Blue Blood that was meant to be guarding this Gate?
The series is taking on a new level of complexity and interest as these fallen-angels-turned-vampires try to maintain their millenia-old culture. Things are definitely changing with this newest generation, and it is becoming clear that the Silver Bloods are not the only enemies. The human Red Bloods and the Blue Bloods themselves are proving to be threats themselves.
The author set out to write an epic tale with this series, and it is definitely starting to achieve this goal with the more recent volumes. The characters are complex, and it is not always easy to see who is good and who is bad because good and evil varies in degrees. I am definitely looking forward to the next book, which is due out in October....more
Family dynamics takes on a big role in this case when Kinsey Milhone is hired to look into the disappearance of Dowan Purcell, a doctor specializing iFamily dynamics takes on a big role in this case when Kinsey Milhone is hired to look into the disappearance of Dowan Purcell, a doctor specializing in geriatrics. What is strange is rather than being hired by his current wife Crystal, it is his ex-wife Fiona who calls her up. Kinsey finds herself being drawn into an awkward mix of interviews with many of Dow's relatives and co-workers at the nursing home he managed. The latter is even more bizarre as it becomes clear that the institution is being investigated for Medicare fraud.
Kinsey's personal life is also adding some interest to this volume. In the previous novel, Kinsey had learned that the lawyer from whom she had been renting some office space was going to be moving. She was not really sure that she wanted to follow him, and found herself looking for some a new space of her own. The place she finds herself most interested in is owned by a pair of brothers.
The apartment seems to come with an added benefit when she starts dating one of the brothers. The only problem is that after a while, she learns that their parents were murdered 10 years previously. Someone else was blamed for the murders, but he has turned up dead and all clues point back to her new beau and his brother. She has to get out of the relationship and her new office space. Can she do it before she becomes their next victim while also figuring out what happened to Dowan Purcell?
I thought this book seems to have captured the plot rhythm that has made this series so popular. The last few books before have struggled a bit with maintaining that. I am so glad that Kinsey is back to being as good as most of her earlier books.
I thought this was definitely a page turner....more
A whirlwind of mysteries hit San Francisco as a serial killer, a cat burglar/jewelry thief, and the murder of a well-known movie actor's wife seem toA whirlwind of mysteries hit San Francisco as a serial killer, a cat burglar/jewelry thief, and the murder of a well-known movie actor's wife seem to take over the town and grabs the attention of the Women's Murder Club. The book starts in the bedroom of actor Marcus Dowling and his wife. The two have just finished up with a houseparty, and things tie up with a pretty intense argument and some serious making up. Little do they know it, but their untimely return to the bedroom away from their party has trapped a jewelry thief in their closet.
As the burglar is trying to plan an escape, things go terribly. A gun goes off, and Mrs. Dowling turns up dead, but who really did the deed is not really clear. Mr. Dowling seems so torn up.
Lt. Lindsay Boxer is going to have her hands really full when a mother and her young sun turn up shot to death in a parking garage. It turns out that this pair is just the first in a series of mother/child murders that have one thing in a common. The killer leaves a calling card in the form of writing WCF or some variation of the letters near the body with the victim's lipstick.
Everyone is totally horrified by the death of the children and the cold-hearted nature of the murders. The tough thing is that their is little evidence to direct the case other than some weird striations left on the victims by the gun nuzzle and the calling card.
Lindsay is getting more serious with Joe, and Cindy seems to find herself in a budding relationship with Lindsay's partner. Yuki is finally getting a chance to win some cases while she also starts to find love in a most unexpected place. Claire finds herself calling the public to arms so mothers will defend themselves and their children from this madman.
Can our four heroes figure out what is going on before more families are shattered. Can they figure out the bizarre nature of the three cases and how they are intertwined?
I really loved this book. In fact, the series is quickly becoming a lot more enjoyable than Patterson's Cross. As you can see the heroines are given a chance to further develop their private lives will also confronting a complex and brutal set of cases. My only complaint is a single subplot that happens in the Epilog since it pops up and is totally undone in about 10 pages. Other than causing trauma for Lindsay, it seems to serve no other purpose. Whatever the reason, fans of this series will definitely not be disappointed by this installment....more
The recent arrival of Batwoman to the world of DC Comics came with much excitement. She is the first major superhero from either of the two big housesThe recent arrival of Batwoman to the world of DC Comics came with much excitement. She is the first major superhero from either of the two big houses (Marvel or DC) to be gay or lesbian. This was my first chance to actually read some of her title, and this book is actually made up of a series of issues from the comic.
Kate Kane is not what most people would think of when they think of superheroes. She is a bit of a goth-girl with tattoos, short hair, and a gruff exterior. But when darkness falls, she dons the cloak that was made famous by Batman and takes to the streets of Gotham City to fight crime.
She is actually still recovering from a battle she had with the Religion of Crime, a cult that bases its faith on doing wrong. She was actually captured, drugged, and even stabbed in the heart during her last run-in as she was believed to be meant as sacrifice. She was able to dispose of their prophet/leader, but word is that a new leader is coming to take over.
It does not take her long to run into this new leader, who calls herself Alice and seems to be obsessed with all this Wonderland. Alice is also a goth-chick, though she has the form of the more doll-like appearance. This doesn't make her any less deadly, but she clearly does have issues with her sanity. In some ways, she is a cross between Batman's foes the Joker, the Hatter, and Harl E. Quinn.
As the tale strides toward its expected good vs. evil conclusion, the readers join Kate as she looks back over her life to explain how she has ended up the woman she is. This includes the fact that her twin sister and mother were killed decades earlier when they and she were kidnapped by terrorist. Her mother and her father, who now serves in the role that Alfred has for Bruce Wayne/Batman, served in the military ... a path that made her want to follow in their footsteps. She also goes over how she had to resign from the Marines because of the country's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and how that action was received by her father.
Readers also get a chance to see Kate as she tries to date and build a relationship, something that is always difficult for those hiding behind a mask. Being Batwoman creates a number of problems in that arena.
The artwork is interestingly drawn. It nicely draws on the psychedelic nature of the story and the characters Batwoman is dealing with. Williams nicely interprets Rucka's story not only in function, but by also using interesting framing that symbolizes the diametric opposition between Alice and Batwoman as well as the dark nature of the story.
I would say that this is definitely a must for anyone looking to get a first look at DC's newest hero. She is a really interesting addition to the Batman "family of characters, which includes the original Batman, Alfred, Nightcrawler (the original Robin), a number of newer Robins, Oracle (the original Batgirl), Catwoman, Huntress, and a newer Batgirl....more
In the not so far off future, humanity is faced with severe climate change as the result of global warming. In response decisions were made on how toIn the not so far off future, humanity is faced with severe climate change as the result of global warming. In response decisions were made on how to distribute resources in a way that would help the most people survive. For Gaia, a 16-year-old girl living outside of the Enclave, a walled city, that means basically living a medieval life. Inside the walls, everyone lives with all of the modern conveniences from fine food and all the water they need to elaborate clothes and finery.
Gaia is following in the footsteps of her mother by training to become a midwife. Besides helping the locals with their births, the job also comes with an awesome responsibility. Each moth, there is a quota in which midwives must turn over the first twhree healthy babies they bring into the world to the Enclave, where they will be adopted. This is heartbreaking for the families, but it is also an opportunity for their children to have the best the world has to offer from a formal education to having all of their needs met.
The Enclave holds a dark secret. The small numbers of residents has led to a narrow gen pool, and the result is a growing number of people who are either infertile or carry dangerous genetic diseases, such as hemophilia. The hope is that by bringing the children in from the Outside will help bring diversity in the gene pool, helping to overcome the troubles.
For the most part, Gaia's family is happy with the life they are living. They took the loss of Gaia's two older borthers, Arthur and Odin, with some difficulty, but they continue to live on, knowing that the odds are that both boys will have grown up happy in their new surroundings. Things quickly start to fall apart one evening, when they are taken by the authorities on charges of treason and working against the state.
Gaia can't help but believe the charges are crazy because of who she knows her parents to be. That doesn't stop her from sneaking into the city to try and help them flee. It does not take her long to be captured herself, where she is brought into the system.
It is at that time, that Gaia starts to learn about the horrible failings of her society. The more she learns, the more she starts to realize that her parents did play a role in trying to open their society up to what is happening to the babies taken into the Enclave.
Gaia also finds a surprising ally in Captain Gray, one of the guards in the city who has his own secrets that will help draw them together. It seems that these dark secrets are really well-known by many, but spoken about by few. Gaia knows that she, through actions by her parents, holds the secret that might start their society on the road to betterment.
This really is a great first novel, and I know that I am already looking forward to its sequel Prized. O'Brien does an amazing job of pulling the reader into the world of her characters. She also does a wonderful job of making the reader care about the characters, whether they are good or bad. It is clear that the people living in the Enclave and Outside are all victims of the decisions made generations before, which brings about a certain level of empathy for them all.
The book is sometimes predictable, but it is also filled with surprises. I know that I wanted to keep turning the pages to see what was going to happen to the characters next. Gaia, like most heroes in dystopias, is putting her life on the line in order to make things better. While this starts off as something she is doing only for herself and her family, it becomes clear to her and the reader that these things must be done for the betterment of all....more