Not the easiest read, with a lot of technological concepts to integrate. However, it was a fulfilling read. And a form of therapy for an artificial inNot the easiest read, with a lot of technological concepts to integrate. However, it was a fulfilling read. And a form of therapy for an artificial intelligence phobic person like myself.
I really enjoyed this latest installment in the series. Black Jack goes from one mess to another, and his enemies aren't always the ones he's expectinI really enjoyed this latest installment in the series. Black Jack goes from one mess to another, and his enemies aren't always the ones he's expecting. Lots of twists and turns and space battles. The series is going in an intriguing direction.
Sarah is one of the "poor" kids at the exclusive prep school she attends. Her father lost his money, and with it, any claim she had to socialSynopsis
Sarah is one of the "poor" kids at the exclusive prep school she attends. Her father lost his money, and with it, any claim she had to social status in the environment where how much money your parents have determine how many friends you have and if the boys want to date you. She admires Dan, the heir to a lucrative technology enterprise from afar (with no hope of him ever noticing her that way), even though he's dating her best friend Jillian. Sarah is biding her time until she can graduate, enjoying her art class the most, out of a love for art and the fact that Dan is also in her class. She also spends her time trying to avoid the disturbing attentions of Frank, a mean-spirited classmate with an unhealthy attraction to her. In short, her life is rather mundane, until things change in a spectacular fashion, and events beyond her comprehension show her that her world is nothing like she believed.
I enjoyed reading The Heir. The writing is smooth and it kept my interest. Sarah is an appealing lead character. I appreciated how the story begins in a very mundane fashion, but with the continued narrative, the reader slowly becomes aware that things are far from what they seem. This links the reader's emotions very tangibly to Sarah's, as we experience things concurrently with her. As tragedy befalls Sarah, I felt so much sympathy for her, as well as unease at the strange developments in her situation and in the relationships she has with pivotal characters around her.
The science fiction angle is well done. However, I think seasoned science fiction readers might find her world-building thin. While I would have liked more complexity and description in the world-building in the later part of the book, the developing plot details perked my interest, and I appreciated the creativity on offer. I also liked the societal concepts she presents in the science fiction aspect of this novel.
While the romance is a strong part of this story, it did feel a bit subdued. The chemistry between Sarah and Dan could have been better developed and touched on earlier in the book, and their changing relationship toward the end of the book would have felt more authentic and believable.
The Heir is a good start to a promising series. Lynne Stringer has crafted a young adult science fiction romance that feels distinct, with a lead character that readers will root for and feel sympathy with in her journey.
I'm really glad the Action/Adventure Aficionados group chose this as a monthly reading selection. It encouraged me to grab the audiobook from my libraI'm really glad the Action/Adventure Aficionados group chose this as a monthly reading selection. It encouraged me to grab the audiobook from my library. And this was a book I am definitely glad I read.
I grew up in the 80s, so most of the pop culture references hit me right where I lived. I'm not much of a gamer, although we did have an Atari 2600 growing up, so I totally got some of the more obvious ancient gaming references, even though the more obscure gaming references passed me by. But that was okay, because many of the references were explained over the course of this novel.
This book will tap into the reader's hidden or untapped geeky depths. Maybe you already know you're a geek of old. Or maybe you never realized how much of a geek you are. Either way, you will find some resonance in this novel.
To be honest, I was thrown by the this novel's rather bleak beginning. I expected something more light-hearted. In a strange way, this book is both tragic and light-hearted fun. The tragedy is in the fact that people hide from the world in the worlds of fiction and gaming when the world is falling apart around them. And who can blame them, really? Some of us know how the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday, feels, having felt socially awkward and rejected by the mainstream, finding your identity in your particular fandom or sub-culture. Also, it was amazingly shocking how ruthless IOI was in getting their way. I can be a bit suspicious and mistrustful of big business, no question about that. But I didn't expect IOI to be willing to commit murder to win the contest. That was surprising to me.
I really liked Wade as the lead character. He is quite cynical in a way that I found sad, but I don't live in the world he does. Maybe all belief would be snatched out of me too if I lived what he lives through (I hope not). Even with his flaws, he's a rootable hero, and I was actually quite worried about him throughout this novel I also liked H and Ar3mis and Shoto. I wasn't expecting a bad guy, but boy does this book have a majorly hard core bad guy and they are quite relevant to the world we live in today.
Wil Wheaton is a fantastic narrator. He imbues the characters with plenty of life, makes them believable and sympathetic when they are supposed to be, and seriously mega-jerks when they are not.
This is one of those books that I feel is enhanced significantly by the audiobook experience. I felt even more like I was part of the book. It's a long book, but it doesn't feel long, because the story flows so well.
Even though some aspects could be on the technical end of computer knowledge, it doesn't feel technical or dry to me. I'm not a computer programmer by trade or aspiration, so anything that goes too much in that direction tends to go over my head. Thankfully, Cline doesn't bog down the narrative with too many technical explanations.
I found the gamescape fascinating, and I rooted for Wade and his friends to work their way through the OASIS and claim the Egg.
I think that Cline appeals to readers in that he has so many different avenues of pop culture that even if you aren't a gamer or into online culture, you can still appreciate the TV, books, music and movie tidbits from this book. I am not shamed that I have not seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, since I did watch the show. If folks are giving out geek creds, I have plenty in other areas. Even if you aren't technically a geek, you might still enjoy this book. It's a fun adventure book with plenty of laughs, more sadness than I expected, and realistic characters who will have you cheering them on.
How much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would caHow much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would cause her to lose the intrinsic element to her nature. She goes from being a normal teenager who has nothing more to worry about than whether her epic crush on Ben Parrish will be returned, to losing nearly everything, and living in a earth decimated by an alien invasion that is nothing like the ones showcased in movies and books thus far.
The aliens want the earth, and view humans as pests, much like we view cockroaches. Their solution, to kill off the majority with cataclysms and world-wide pestilence, and let hysteria and suspicion do the rest of the work.
What happens when humans can't trust each other and start viewing each other as the enemy? It's not much longer before humanity becomes extinct.
Cassie learns the hard way that she is safer alone, trusting no one, but she made a vow to her brother, and she will do anything to keep that vow. When her life is saved by Evan Walker, every hard lesson she learned to stay alive in the earth devastated by the alien invasion will be tested. Can she trust, when trust has led to betrayal?
This is a bleak and heartbreaking read. I listened to the audio, and I would highly recommend this medium because it makes the story that much more personal. The narrators, Phoebe Stohl and Brandon Espinoza allow us to view the story through their eyes, and feel their pain. Their voices portray the passion and pain, the angst and longing, and the violated innocence of young people who are in a horrible situation that they cannot escape.
While this is okay for the older end of the young adult audience, I don't feel that subject matter is appropriate to kids younger than 14. The atmosphere is dark and desperate, and people die in this book. Lots of them, and many in horrible ways. Not only that, but people are forced to kill others to survive or as part of the consequences of the invasion. But don't misconstrue me to be saying this is full of gratuitous violence. Many who have read Yancey's Monstrumologist series know that Yancey is not afraid of gore, but he doesn't take that tactic in this book. Instead, his tone is frighteningly realistic. Don't think that just because the majority of the characters are children, that he will take it easy on them. You'd be lying to yourself.
As a reader, I was sucked into this world, and I asked myself how I would adapt or deal with the circumstances that our characters faced. I am amazed at the resilience of the young. That Cassie could stay strong in heart and her mind whole after seeing what she's seen and being forced to make decisions she never would have faced before. That Ben could find the strength to keep living under his burden of guilt for surviving when his family and many others didn't. That they both could deal with the massive betrayals they suffered.
While clearly science fiction, the use of technology is minimal, but it feels credible. Enough that the presence of the alien invaders is undeniable. But not so much to blunt the realism of the novel.
The tension is neck-breaking, sustained until the last words of the book. I honestly had to take my time listening to this. It's so bleak and depressing at times, it doesn't make for 'fun' reading. But at the same time, I can say this was a fantastic and moving book. I think this book shows what can be achieved in young adult literature. Showing teenagers and young people in a scenario where as much is demanded of the reader as is of the characters. Not lightening the subject matter just to get a YA rating, or fantasizing or sensationalizing the story either to get more readers. From the beginning, I was engaged in this novel, and even when things got harrowing and I feared for what would happened next, I couldn't turn off the CD player and refuse to finish the book. I had to know what Cassie would do next, how she would handle the next situation. If she would find her brother and save him.
Yancey made me care about these people. He made me rage that children had to make these kinds of decisions, but at the same time, he didn't give me a convenient villain, not in the easy way that can happen in fiction. Instead, I was continually forced to reevaluate the situation and my hypotheses, along with the characters. There were times, I just gave up on making a guess on what was going to happen and I just kept listening and decided to let the chips fall where they may.
You wonder what an author feels when he puts his characters through the depredations seen in this book. Does it hurt like he's hacking off a limb? Does he smile gleefully at the computer screen? Or does he feel the grim determination of a surgeon who is cutting into their patient to save its life? This is a question that books like this make me ask. In a strange way, I feel more connected to the writer of a book like this, because I can imagine that the creative process was a demanding one. The they sweated and shed their own blood to write a book just for me to read.
I recommend this book fully to readers who are prepared to face the bleak, upsetting content of this novel. To walk in the shoes of these young people who have to face the end of the world head on, and can't close the book and read something else when it gets too painful for them....more
Four stars is well-earned for this book. It did take a while to read, but it was a good mix of action and character development that I enjoyed readingFour stars is well-earned for this book. It did take a while to read, but it was a good mix of action and character development that I enjoyed reading. I love the game of chess played out by General Drakon and President Iceni. I definitely want to continue this series!
Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics,Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics, but it was still an interesting and enjoyable read.
I liked this much better than the previous book, Dreadnaught. The pacing was much better, although it started a bit slow for me. I had some issues witI liked this much better than the previous book, Dreadnaught. The pacing was much better, although it started a bit slow for me. I had some issues with accepting the big bads as they are described though. Much more exciting read and I really do like Geary and Desjani, also the secondary characters.
"Steelheart" is a should read for fans of 'superhero' fiction. This is a different vantage point of superheroes though. In this world, they are the vi"Steelheart" is a should read for fans of 'superhero' fiction. This is a different vantage point of superheroes though. In this world, they are the villains. Called "Epics", they are humans who manifest powers after a comet called "Calamity" arrives. These guys are just plan mean, and above that, they are also murderous psychopaths if not sociopaths who believe that their abilities make them above the rules and also human ethics and right and wrong.
Sanderson is a great writer. He sucks the reader right into this story from the first page. David has a very personal reason to hate the Epics, and makes it his mission to bring down the Epic who murdered his father. You see first hand how terrible the Epics can be in action. If you're like me, you have to reorient yourself to understand that the Epics can't ever be the heroes of this story. But then, you also know to keep reading, because it's not as cut and dried as you think.
This whole story felt new and unique to me. Some elements are tried and true, but the execution is unique. I can see this making a great movie. The art direction for Newcago would be fantastic. Having been born in the shadow of this great Midwestern city, it was really compelling to see how Steelheart had distorted this city and remade it in his own image. Seeing the Epics in action as well. The way Sanderson writes, it does feel very vivid and lifelike in my mind.
I didn't give this more than four stars, because it still has that young adult superficiality that I regret when I read Young Adult books. I feel like the publishers must make the authors and editors trim down the books in some way, in this mistaken belief that younger readers can't handle a deeper read. Having read Mistborn by Sanderson, I know he is capable of going deep, and I would love to see more that in this series. The idea is great and the story itself is well done. I just want to feel like I'm reading a more finished/complex work. I refuse to believe that younger readers can't handle it. After all, this story does go to some dark places.
I also wasn't that fond of the relationship between David and Megan. I felt like it was checking of the list for young adult books nowadays--obligatory young adult elements. Don't get me wrong, I really love romance. But romance has to feel real and integral to the story, and Megan and David's relationship wasn't deep enough to get to that point. Megan wasn't likable as a character (or as well developed), and I had trouble believing David would fall for her. Out of the members of the Reckoners, she was the least appealing character to me. I though the Professor, Abraham, Cody and Tia were all really cool. And of course, I liked David. I loved how he was a real geek, a compiler of facts about the Epics to an exhaustive degree. And he had developed the skills in himself to accomplish the goals he needed to have to get his revenge on Steelheart.
Despite the fact that this wasn't a perfect book, I still recommend it readers of superhero fiction. It takes the familiar concepts of the genre and makes you think about it hard. I could almost see Steelheart as a dark version of Superman, much like Plutonian from Irredeemable, Vol. 1 , and that's a very scary thought. I will definitely keep reading this series....more
This book had way too much talking for a military sci-fi action novel. I think some showing could have done the same thing to advance the plot. The enThis book had way too much talking for a military sci-fi action novel. I think some showing could have done the same thing to advance the plot. The ending was exciting, so it pushed my rating up. I'm actually looking forward to the next book in the series now.
This book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and hThis book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and her father are black. I have had trouble reading on the Kindle right now, and this book made me want to brave the migraine just to finish it. This book series has its hooks in me! Highly recommended.
There was too much about this book I didn't like, even though the idea is interesting, and the writing isn't bad, and the action is almost non-stop. IThere was too much about this book I didn't like, even though the idea is interesting, and the writing isn't bad, and the action is almost non-stop. It was too gritty and dark for my tastes. I guess I'm just not into zombies, regardless of the type.
Alright, I thought the narration on this book was way cheesy initially. But, like the bookcrazy girl I am who is a sucker for a good story, I got suckAlright, I thought the narration on this book was way cheesy initially. But, like the bookcrazy girl I am who is a sucker for a good story, I got sucked in.
This book is many things:
*Fun aimed at kids, but fun that an adult who isn't terribly cynical and superior could enjoy. *Penetrating, insightful look at human nature and society (don't laugh--it is). *Utterly disturbing view of the unscrupulous applications of modern science. I truly did feel my stomach lurch at some of the experimentation on children that the white coats were doing. What do we allow to happen in the name of the god of progress? *Fast-paced adventure *An exploration of a family that doesn't meet the typical, Leave it to Beaver definition.
The six members of the Flock soon found their way into my heart. I hurt for them when they suffered, and feared for their safety, and cheered them for their successes. I loved all of them: Max, Fang (he's pretty droolworthy for a fourteen year old--I think I would be crushing if I was that age), Iggie, Gasman, Nudge and Angel (adorable and kind of scary in some ways). They make quite a team. Max is a really awesome main character. I think she's a great role model for young girls. Her self-sacrifice and her determination to protect her family is admirable. She's a sharp, adaptable girl.
Oh yeah. The flying is pretty awesome. It made me almost wish I had wings...well, sort of.
Warnings: *Violence involving the kids and their scary pursuers *Some questionable actions (that these kids exhibit to survive) that most parents probably wouldn't want promoted or justified to their kids, such as stealing and destruction of property. I think the way it was handled is okay, as long as a concerned parent makes it clear that this isn't acceptable behavior outside of the circumstances of this book. *As I mentioned above, the author isn't shy about mentioning human experimentation, and on children, no less. A younger reader might find that pretty disturbing. I know I did, and I'm not particularly young (late thirties).
...Yeah. So I admit I got won over. This book gets four stars from me. It's actually very good. The chapters are really short, but don't let that fool you into thinking that content in this book is neglible. There is a lot to this book. It's not even what I would consider easily digestible. The author uses a lot of sophisticated vocabulary, which is great. I'm all for kids (of all ages) looking up words. Best way to expand your vocabulary.
I would recommend this to readers who are younger or who enjoy books aimed at a younger audience. It has a lot of adventure and action, and very likable characters. My eyes are on the lookout for the rest of the books in this series. ...more