EARTH GIRL by Janet Edwards is a young adult sci-fi adventure which is set hundrReviewed by Rebecca for www.BookChickCity.com - 3.5 Stars on the blog.
EARTH GIRL by Janet Edwards is a young adult sci-fi adventure which is set hundreds of years in the future, portraying a vision of mankind’s future.
In this world Earth is no longer the main planet for the human population, as humans have migrated to a whole host of other discovered planets, each with their own class systems and rules. For example, there is the prestigious Alpha sector, sexually open Beta, moral Gamma, and a whole host of other planets within these sectors.
The occupants of these planets are referred to as ‘norms’ as they are free to portal to other worlds as they please, and can live on any of the planets available for human inhabitation. Then we have our main character, Jarra, who is ‘Handicapped’ as she is one of the few people whose immune system won’t let her live anywhere other than Earth. As a result of this there is prejudice between the norms and the Handicapped, with the norms thinking they are superior to the ‘apes’ on Earth.
Jarra is a typical victim of this prejudice, whereby her off-world parents had a baby that couldn’t survive on their planet and sent her to Earth. As a result, she has grown up with a certain amount of bitterness against the ‘norms’, determined to prove that she is just as good as they are.
This bitterness, coupled with her love of history, leads her to choose a history course at an off-world university, as the first year of all history courses are carried out at dig sites on Earth. She chooses University Asgard, and forms a false identity for herself as a Military child, which will give her an excuse for her background knowledge about dig sites and the Earth environment.
Her plan is to reveal herself as ‘Handicapped’ when she’s proved herself to the ‘norm’ students, as she wants to shock them and change their prejudices about those who live on Earth. However, when she meets the class her perceptions start to change, and is her battle really against the ‘norms’, or against herself?
Jarra was a really great main character, as there is so much going on in her life for the author to delve into, such as her relationship with the ‘norms’ and her feelings regarding her parents. She almost takes on a new life in creating her Military persona, which did get a little frustrating at one point in the book, as the truth being revealed to her classmates is dragged out too long for my liking.
A lot of the drama in this book does come from typical young adult sources, such as finding out the truth about her parents, and suffering a dilemma over whether or not she should become involved with ‘norm’ Fian. I think it was written in such a way that older readers shouldn’t be put off, as I quite liked Janet Edwards’ writing style.
However, this book does have its problems, and for me the main problem was the plot, or lack thereof. Although Jarra’s life is detailed in great detail, it feels like the book is always building up to some big event, but nothing big really happens. Less significant scenes, such as the historical digs, are given a wealth of detail, which was good the first couple of times but began to get a little repetitive towards the end. Then there are big life events for Jarra that are described in only a few sentences and feel like a wasted opportunity.
Overall, I did really enjoy this book, as despite the excessive description of history and adolescent dramas the author has built up a very convincing futuristic world, and it is very easy to see through Jarra’s eyes. Her relationship with Fian is built up slowly, and is different to the instantaneous love that seems to be seeping into young adult fiction. I really liked how this was different to current books, and would recommend giving it a read!
I thought this book was refreshingly different to anything I’ve read before, and I really liked the author’s vision of Earth’s future. Her world is detailed so thoroughly that you can become lost in the future, and I really liked the main character’s internal struggles with her identity. However, it felt like the book was building up to a big event that never really came, with a lot of important moments described in a few sentences whilst other less important ones took a whole chapter....more
172 HOURS ON THE MOON is a novel narrated in the third person and is set in the futReviewed by Becs for www.BookChickCity.com - 2.5 Stars on the blog.
172 HOURS ON THE MOON is a novel narrated in the third person and is set in the future of 2019. As the novel is told from different view points, you are able to follow the main protagonists giving glimpses of each character and their personality.
NASA’s funds, and people’s interest, in space exploration is dwindling, and so they decide to fund another moon landing by holding a lottery to win a trip to the moon for three lucky teenagers. Reality TV is immensely popular and has huge money making potential, which NASA hope to capitalize on to support their next moon mission.
As 172 HOURS ON THE MOON progresses you can feel that NASA is hiding information relating to their reasons as to why they wish to return to the moon and why moon landings had ceased. This element of the unknown helps to create an atmosphere that keeps you guessing as to what may be hiding out on the moon.
The three lucky teenage winners are Mia, Anotoine and Midori.
Mia is a sixteen year old girl from Norway and has overbearing parents who enter Mia into the moon lottery thinking that she would regret a missed opportunity, as Mia has no intention of entering. Mia loves music, and dreams of playing in a famous punk band. Mia is persuaded to go by her friends, to enhance their bands chances of making it big.
Antoine, a heartbroken seventeen year old French boy, needs a way to escape his obsession with his ex-girlfriend, Simone. Antoine enters the competition in the hope that if he wins he will be able to get as far away from Simone as possible.
Midori is a sixteen year old Japanese girl who insists on not following the crowd and wants more from her life than being the expected dutiful Japanese wife. Midori’s dream is to one day live in New York, and hopes that if she is picked to go to the moon, it make that dream a reality.
The three winning teenagers are wanting to get away from something in their lives, be it parents, an ex or a lifestyle, and a trip to the moon offers each person the opportunity to get what they think they want. The trouble is, most things never turn out as good as you expect, and 172 HOURS ON THE MOON teaches a valuable lesson in that the grass isn’t always greener.
There are a few other characters mentioned to help create an alarming situation, mainly an elderly man, Mr Himmelfarb, that has lost his mind and is living in a care home. As the story develops it becomes evident that Mr Himmelfarb used to work for NASA and knows something sinister to do with past moon landings and that his mind is trying to protect him from the memories.
The flight and moon landing takes place without incident and you begin to feel how desolate the moon would be.
Mia could see the surface very clearly now, and she thought she’d never seen anything so lifeless. Everything was just grey. Gray, grey ash, absolutely no sign of life.
I was disappointed that the majority of the book was based on earth before getting to the moon, and the frightening exploration on the moon was rushed and over with too soon. When the story eventually takes place on the moon, 172 HOURS ON THE MOON is more exciting as it’s a race against time as power fails, oxygen supplies dwindle and something evil is trying to prevent their return home.
Johan Hastrad creates a believable plot using actual astronauts and events then adding his own fictional twist, which is interesting. However, due to the third person narrative you never get a full insight into the personalities of the three main teenage protagonists. It is the lack of an emotional connection to the characters that reduced my enjoyment.
I may be a little harsh with my rating as the writing style and plot flowed easily making 172 HOURS ON THE MOON a simple read. However, it just wasn’t my type of book. I kept waiting to feel the tense, scared, heart pounding moment that you expect from a horror/sci-fi, which never came, and I was never fully absorbed with the characters, giving me very little emotional connection to 172 HOURS ON THE MOON as a whole....more
I cannot tell you how excited I was to be reading and reviewing this book. It’s been on my wish list since it hReviewed by Andrea for Book Chick City.
I cannot tell you how excited I was to be reading and reviewing this book. It’s been on my wish list since it hit the shelves, it’s won awards, it’s had rave reviews and I was looking forward to delving into a rich and vivid world of ‘heart thudding action sequences, sordid sex and enough speculation for two lesser novels’.
Which is one of the reasons I was so disappointed that I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, the premise for this novel is amazing, and a hauntingly good idea, I just found that I had to work too hard to read it, and in the process any enjoyment I had disappeared.
It’s set in a distant dystopian future where a plague has wiped out natural food sources and only genetically made food is available. This is a great hook--I wanted to know more about this, but the opening chapter starts off with Anderson a ‘Calorie’ man combing the streets of Bangkok on the hunt for new genetic food for his company.
I think the style of “The Windup Girl” is what has me so stumped; because the storyline really interests me. I found it so hard to get into and read, mostly because of the pseudo Japanese words and made up creatures with Japanese sounding names which confused me to the point that I wasn’t sure they were real or made up for the story.
There was no explanation for the world or the food and creatures in the beginning. Nothing to explain the little terms and idiosyncrasies; nothing to make the reading journey smooth so I would slip into the story and become part of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want or need everything explained to me straight away, nor do I need great long winded expositions explaining the ins and outs, but I needed something extra than what I was given to help me understand the world.
I’m the first to admit that my knowledge of Asian languages, places and history is very rusty (mind the pun, those who have read this will understand!). Maybe if I had a better understanding of these things then I wouldn’t have found “The Windup Girl” so difficult to read.
By the time Emiko, the windup girl, who is as man-made as the food everybody eats, turns up in the book, I didn’t care. She’s very interesting, and how she differs from natural humans is really clever, and takes the Japanese children’s toys to a whole new chilling level, but my mind had already started to leak by then, that I didn’t get enjoyment of discovering her life and journey than I could have.
She almost reminded me of the robots in the movie AI, but a story based on the seedier side, that’s barely touched in the movie. I really can’t tell you how disappointed I am that I didn’t enjoy this.
Maybe if Emiko’s introduction was the opening chapter I would have been hooked enough to read through the parts I found difficult and not care about it so much, but because it opened with the rather clinical and unemotional Anderson, added to a world more alien than a fantasy world to me, and I found my head spinning and I was having to reread sections because I was unsure what was actually happening.
To me, a novel should be a joy to read; you should forget you’re actually reading and be transported into that story. Maybe this supposedly SF literary masterpiece was just too clever for me. I know I am disagreeing with many people, but I really felt like it was written with too much self awareness and a dash of pretence. A whole lotta world and not enough world building....more
To celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3To celebrate the release of the Extended Collector’s Edition Blu-ray, Titan books have published a companion to the movie: 'Avatar Collector’s Vault 3D'.
When I received a request to review 'Avatar: Collector’s Vault 3D' I didn't really know what to expect, but when it arrived all I could say was WOW. This book is gorgeous! It's beautifully packaged in a hard glossy landscape slipcase. The book itself is hardback and contains the same glossy feel and image as the slipcase. It's full of 3D illustrations, which you view through the 3D glasses supplied - these are not the typically flimsy cardboard variety but a very good quality black plastic.
When viewing the images through the glasses the illustrations are really good and they bounce off the page in glorious 3D - the 3D aspect works surprisingly well. There are also many lovely little details which add to the quality of the book, such as profile cards with pictures of the characters, alien species and weapons as well as removable pieces.
This is a gorgeous illustrated book and I would highly recommend it to all Avatar fans. And with Christmas just around the corner, what a fantastic gift! ...more
Review coming soon!It is hard to read 'The Flock' without drawing some similarities to 'Jurassic Park', although I'm talking the movi5/10 on the blog.
Review coming soon!It is hard to read 'The Flock' without drawing some similarities to 'Jurassic Park', although I'm talking the movie as I haven't read the book yet. The premise promises "the most exciting dinosaur thriller since Jurassic Park, an ecothriller with blood on its beak that shows what happens when man violates nature, and nature fights back." Sounds good doesn't it - unfortunately it wasn't.
It wasn't particularly exciting, in fact it had the same monotonous pace throughout. The characters were rather lack lustre and the only aspect I found enjoyable in the entire novel was when we got a glimpse into the mind of the dinosaur. The dinosaurs think and strategise like man, they are intelligent beings and I liked them more than the human characters. I wish the book was narrated entirely by the dinosaurs, it would have been far more entertaining.
This story should have been fun, energetic and thrilling, instead it was laboured, the dialogue clunky and unrealistic, especially when romance was involved, and the action scenes...well, there were none.
The characters were pretty shallow too, they had no depth to them at all, and the main character, Ron, who was supposedly meant to be the one to stand between the threats to the flocks existence, was in fact a rather dull, pathetic, weedy specimen who had his ex-girlfriend to protect him - and of course she single handedly brought down two huge killers with her bare hands, and only with a couple of punches no less. Hmmm.
A big disappointment to be honest as I was really looking forward to reading 'The Flock' - unfortunately it just didn't deliver on any count and it read like a very badly acted movie......more
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel. A world where love, also known as amor deReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this novel. A world where love, also known as amor deliria nervosa, is classed as a disease. Every citizen must undergo an operation as soon as they turn eighteen to 'cure' them. I found the concept both unique and fascinating.
Our lead character is Lena. A young, seventeen year old girl with a mere ninety-five days remaining until she can be cured, and she cannot wait. Dreading the very thought of catching the disease and looking forward to a life of simplicity and conformity.
Of course, we know that this life cannot be for Lena. And just a few months to go until her operation, she meets Alex.
The book is slow at first and takes a little while to get going. This is because the author takes time to set the scene and draw this vacuous society. The world is fully realised, a dystopian future complete with a utilitarian dictatorship, propaganda and mass brain-washing.
At first, it's hard to grasp exactly what a world without love equates to. A lot of the hideousness of it is in the subtleties as much as the vicious punishments for those who do not conform. It simply feels hollow and it took a while for me to fully comprehend the barbarity of it.
The cured are like neutered zombies as though part of their souls, their very life essence has been carved away. People raising children out of duty, only picking them up to clean their cuts when they remember this is something they're supposed to do as a parent. Not something they feel compelled to do because they care. All passions be it for one another, a favourite hobby, even dreaming have been wiped from the world.
It did have one thing missing though. An understanding of how the world ended up here. We're treated to lots of snippets of educational literature at the beginning of each chapter, which adds to the overall rich tapestry of the story:
"Symptoms of amor deliria nervosa PHASE ONE: preoccupation; difficulty focusing dry mouth perspiration, sweaty palms fits of dizziness and disorientation reduced mental awareness; racing thoughts; impaired reasoning skills"
But, there is not one reference to what caused society to declare love an enemy. And this revelation was missed.
Lena really struggles to come to terms with her feelings for Alex, so convinced at first that she is diseased. But, what also makes this book work is the complex relationship she has with her best friend Hana. Hana, the beautiful, wannabe rebel, meets the girl who just wants a safe and predictable life. This adds a interesting dynamic to the story, when the unlikely half of the pair ends up rebelling. Lena's journey is believable, intense and engaging.
As the end drew closer, I was almost frightened to read any further. My stomach weighed down with lead. Could anything good come out of this barren world? I actually thought about putting it down for a while, so afraid was I of what those final pages would say. I should have known there would be a cliffhanger!
I'm going to contradict myself here, but bear with me. This book is imaginative, clever and very well written. The problem is, I'm not quite sure I liked it. But, if that's the case why am I already looking forward to the sequel, knowing I won't be able to resist reading it?...more
Rating 7/10 on the blog, Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!
The Secret Hour is the first book in the 'Midnighters' series and I found it to be qRating 7/10 on the blog, Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!
The Secret Hour is the first book in the 'Midnighters' series and I found it to be quite fun and original. The writing style is smooth and easy to read so I sailed through The Secret Hour quite quickly. The plot is an interesting one involving maths and linguistics in a pretty original way.
Jessica Day has just moved to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma from Chicago and is trying to fit in at school. After only a few days of being in Bixby, she is confronted by a strange light and when she steps outside the rain that had been falling is frozen and looks like diamonds all around her. From that moment every night at midnight, weird and surreal things happen. She then meets a small group of friends who are all quirky in their own way and seem to have strange abilities.
The group call themselves the "Midnighters" and are the only ones that know of and can enter the secret hour. The twenty-fifth hour of the day where everything else freezes and other things begin to come to life; creepy and sinister Darklings who are trying to kill jessica but nobody can figure out why.
The characters are likeable, although not particularly three-dimentional. They lack a certain amount of depth and felt I didn't really get to know them as much as I would have liked. Other aspects to the story were only touched upon or alluded to and relationships were formed a bit too quickly. But there is some great dry, teenage humour, which I really enjoyed and which had me smiling throughout.
The Secret Hour has a bit of everything; mystery, intrigue, romance and the supernatural and although I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I did 'Uglies', it is definitely an entertaining read. ...more
This is the first book in the The Uglies Trilogy series by Scott Westerfeld. Uglies was quite a roller coaster for me to read. One minute I was enjoyiThis is the first book in the The Uglies Trilogy series by Scott Westerfeld. Uglies was quite a roller coaster for me to read. One minute I was enjoying it, then I was bored, then I was enjoying it again. Happily though my overall feeling was that I really enjoyed it. For the most part is was fast-paced, with great characters and a great story.
It's three hundred years into the future and the main protagonist, Tally, is anxiously awaiting to become a 'Pretty'. But she has to wait until she's sixteen. Tally lives in Uglyville and is an 'Ugly'. Her best friend Peris is already a Pretty and lives in New Pretty Town and she misses him a lot. Along comes Shay, another Ugly and they become fast friends. Shay tells Tally of another place called The Smoke where Uglies live out their lives without becoming Pretty.
For the majority of the story Tally is pretty adamant that she wants to become a Pretty, brainwashed into thinking that anyone other than a Pretty is downright ugly. This has blinded her to what's really important, the person you are on the inside. But she's seduced by the Pretties lifestyle of parties and fun, their unblemished, perfect skin, plump lips and big beautiful eyes.
But when Shay tells Tally that she's running away to join the other Uglies in The Smoke, Tally cannot understand why. Why would Shay not want to be pretty? After Shay leaves, Tally is lonely but she believes she has made the right decision. She doesn't want to be ugly any more. On the morning of her operation things don't go to plan and she's taken to Special Circumstances where she meets Dr Cable who blackmails her into infiltrating the others at The Smoke by being a spy.
The journey to The Smoke is where I became slightly bored. I wanted action and yet it slowed down quite a lot in terms of pace and I struggled. But I'm so pleased I continued as it got better and better with each chapter.
Once in The Smoke, Tally's life really changes. She meets David and other Uglies that are living very much in the wild. In The Ruins of a city past. Her perception of the Uglies slowly changes and her outlook on life as a Pretty and what she thought it would be like is turned upside down when she discovers a secret. A conspiracy. And it shocks her to the core. In the end Tally makes a decision that will change her world forever and maybe the lives of those around her.
I really enjoyed seeing Tally evolve from a brainwashed young girl into a young woman with her own mind. The characters are well rounded and the relationships between them are believable. There's even a little bit of romance, but not a lot. The story ends on a slight cliffhanger, which has me itching to begin the next installment. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to young adults and adults alike.
I actually gave this 7/10 on my blog but Goodreads still doesn't offer half stars!...more
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the futureReviewed by Laura for Book Chick City. 7/10 on the blog.
This book is worth reading for the fantastically imaginative setting alone. Set in the future when the world has been consumed by the oceans. People live in cramped high rise blocks on the limited land available, lucky to have two rooms per family. But there are some that choose a very different life entirely and decide to live the 'darklife' and make their homes at the bottom of the sea.
Now, if you like me think that living at the bottom of the sea means a life in oppressive submarines, think again. Kat Wells' under sea world is magical and vividly drawn. With homes built from jellyfish style structures, liquid gel that means people can dive without the risk of decompression sickness, electricity and entire farms and rural wildlife surviving in this new world, as well as dangerous deep sea creatures. It really is fabulously clever.
Ty has lived on the ocean's floor all his life. At fifteen, he was the first child to be born and live his entire life under the sea. But there are rumours that this new life damages children, giving them a 'darkgift', a new supernatural ability. Which has made topsiders suspicious of darklifers and other people reticent to try this new life for themselves.
Then, during a dive Ty meets Gemma. Gemma is a gutsy topsider searching for her missing brother. But the more Ty and Gemma begin to investigate and look for Gemma's brother, the more they begin to realise things are really not what they seem in this new world.
This book has a nice element of drama to it. With an underwater outlaw group raiding homesteads and submarines, a small murder mystery, as well as the dangers of the deep. It's actually a really absorbing read.
As Ty is fifteen, I would say that this book is on the younger side of YA. But it's pitched really well, with just a small romantic element. Ty is grown up and brave for his age, and a really engaging main character. As this is slightly on the younger side, I probably would not have picked this book up ordinarily if it had not been sent to me for review, which would have been a real shame, because I really enjoyed it. But more than anything I just loved the deep sea world.
A great book with a spectacular world setting that will appeal to adults both young and old. This is one of those books I would love to see translated into film, because of its cinematic quality....more