I never thought I would be caught up in a book about aliens, but Obsidian is very entertaining. It has just the right mix of mystery, adventure and da...moreI never thought I would be caught up in a book about aliens, but Obsidian is very entertaining. It has just the right mix of mystery, adventure and danger with the Sci-Fi element. But Obsidian really soars due to the chemistry between Katy and Daemon. Their relationship is unusual because Daemon is such a jerk to her, moody, and condescending. But, Katy is no pushover and gives back as good as she gets. Daemon has his reasons for being distant, and can also be protective and caring – you just never know what you’re going to get with him.
Katy is likeable and rolls well with the punches, especially in light of the crazy happenings in the town. She’s also a book blogger, so that was interesting reading about her participating in book blog memes and stalking her mailbox for books. She can’t help but fall for Daemon even though he infuriates her a lot of the time. She has a great new friendship with sweet Dee, and I hope to see more scenes with them in the next book.
The writing flows nicely and I was caught up in the story right at the get-go. I appreciated the sharp dialogue and the witty banter in the book, and there were many humorous situations that kept me entertained. I’m not a huge Sci-Fi fan and in this book the alien aspects are not overpowering at all, but add an interesting element even for non-believers.
This was my first read of 2012 and it was a great book to kick off the year with. Recommended if you like your paranormal books on the steamy side with a side of humor and a hint of danger. I’m on board with this fun series and will be picking up the sequel Onyx in May.(less)
Cinder has been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere and I’ve had my eye on it for a while, finally deciding to pick up the audiobook. I’ve n...moreCinder has been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere and I’ve had my eye on it for a while, finally deciding to pick up the audiobook. I’ve never read anything like this Sci-Fi Cinderella retelling and that appealed to me as something new and different. I’m glad I tried it because it ended up being such a fun read/listen. Cinder is the first book in a new four book series that will also feature Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White and it’s Marissa Meyer’s debut novel.
Cinder is a 16-year-old cyborg mechanic who lives in New Beijing after World War IV. She was in an accident as a kid, and saved with robotic parts, including a robotic foot that stands in for Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper. Cinder is an outsider in society, though she is known as one of the best mechanics in New Beijing. Her accident left her without a memory of her time before, and her past is a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Like the fairy tale, Cinder lives with her awful stepmother and two stepsisters, though with a twist. There is also a prince and a ball, but otherwise Cinder spins it’s own story, and there are a lot of surprises in store. Some of the challenges Cinder faces are the deadly plague that’s hit New Beijing, political unrest, family drama, and managing the attention of the young and single Prince Kai.
The heroine Cinder is my favorite part of the story. She is likable, smart and brave, and very human in spite of her robotic parts and extraordinary abilities. The other characters also added a lot to the story, both the androids and the humans. The romance with Prince Kai is refreshingly done and I can’t wait to see how it develops in future installments.
The plot moves at a swift pace, and quickly pulled me in. It was fun seeing how the Cinderella story played out in Cinder’s dystopian cyborg world. The retelling is similar enough to the original to catch the references but with enough of a twist to keep things interesting. Even though I don’t read a ton of Sci-Fi, it was easy to follow along and I could totally envision the world that Meyer creates.
I listened to the audiobook, and narrator Rebecca Soler does a stellar job with the narration. She gives a lively reading and sounds like how I would imagine Cinder to sound. Her pacing is very good and she reads with the emotion that is called for. She handles the different male and female voices and accents with ease, and injects Cinder’s sense of humor into the reading. I actually liked the narrator so much I downloaded another audiobook that she reads to check out. This is a good audiobook to try if you’ve ever been interested to test out the experience.
Cinder is an entertaining kickoff to the quadrilogy, and it left me excited about the series and eager to read more. I think Cinder would appeal to fans of fairytale retellings, Sci-Fi, dystopian, and romance. The next book of The Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and yes it’s about Little Red Riding Hood, though Cinder’s story also continues. Scarlet is due out next year.(less)
I first found out about this book appropriately enough at Comic-Con. My husband attended the Speculative Fiction panel that included author Ernest Cli...moreI first found out about this book appropriately enough at Comic-Con. My husband attended the Speculative Fiction panel that included author Ernest Cline, and later told me about the book. Once I found out it was a dystopian that included 80s references galore I knew I had to read it. I had a blast listening to the audiobook of Ready Player One and loved getting lost in all the pop culture references from some of my favorite movies, music, games and TV shows of the 80s.
Ready Player One is set in a bleak future America in 2044 where real life has gotten so bad that most people spend all their time in the preferable virtual world of the OASIS. The 80s obsessed and eccentric billionaire James Halliday created this virtual reality and does not charge a service fee. When he dies, his will announces a worldwide contest to find the hidden Easter egg, and the winner will inherit the OASIS and his wealthy estate. The contestants must solve the clues that reference Halliday’s favorite games, movies, TV shows and music to find 3 keys to open the gates to fame and fortune. When years go by and no one gets close to solving the first puzzle, it’s beginning to look like a hopeless exercise.
Wade Watts, better known by his avatar name of Parzival, has obsessively been studying Halliday’s favorite pop culture icons to try to win the contest, and best the evil corporation that seeks to win at any cost. Wade is an orphan who lives in a stacked trailer park, and doesn’t have the online currency of his peers to roam the planets in search of clues. But, Wade is still the first to make some headway in the contest, although he soon has some company on the scoreboard.
The author does a good job with the world building and I had a good sense of the issues that led to this dystopian state. It is funny to imagine these teens of 2044 latching on to 80s pop culture in the hopes of gaining a brighter and richer future.
Beyond the dystopian elements, the book really shines with its nod to and obvious affection for the 80s. I could not include every reference found in the book, but suffice to say there are a ton of 80s references, from War Games to Heathers, Family Ties, Duran Duran, and Pac Man, Galaga, and more. It lost me a little bit with the Dungeons & Dragons and Monty Python, but for the most part the references were a fun trip down memory lane.
The book also touches on other themes that are relevant in today’s world, such as in person versus online relationships. The character Wade strikes up some friendships in the book via his Parzival avatar and it is interesting to see how the relationships develop. It is also interesting to see how the contestants plan to spend their potential fortune, and speculate what the world would be like if the evil corporate leader Sorrento won.
Wil Wheaton reads the audiobook, and I can’t imagine a more perfect choice. His enthusiasm and knowledge of the material shines through and his voice is just right for Wade. He even gets to name-check himself in the book which is hilarious. I got through this over 15-hour audiobook in just a few days, as I was addicted to the story and listened to it as often as I could. I can’t recommend the audiobook highly enough.
I think this entertaining and fun read will appeal to a wide audience, not just those with firsthand knowledge of the 80s. I’m ready for the movie and the soundtrack!(less)
I have been eagerly awaiting this book for a year, since reading Across the Universe. Despite being a Sci-Fi novice, the tension, danger, and the char...moreI have been eagerly awaiting this book for a year, since reading Across the Universe. Despite being a Sci-Fi novice, the tension, danger, and the characters made for an unforgettable read, and I hoped the sequel would be just as good. If anything A Million Suns is even better than the first book, and managed to surprise me multiple times with the direction it took. It felt like there was never a dull moment in this suspenseful sequel.
Amy and Elder narrate A Million Suns through alternating POV. The dual narration works well as we learn different aspects about the ship’s mysteries in their day-to-day explorations. Elder is especially interesting in this book, as he tries to find his footing as Godspeed’s youngest leader. Now that the inhabitants of Godspeed are off of the sedative Phydus, they are more unpredictable and questioning of the inexperienced Elder, setting the stage for an uprising. Amy also has an important role to play as Orion left her some important clues about the ship to find, in the hopes that she can set things right. A murder mystery also keeps the inhabitants on their toes as one of the many challenges these characters face.
This series is not all about the romance, but there is some progression there. Amy is questioning whether she is drawn to Elder because he is the only boy her age on the ship, or if it is meant to be.
The book is well written and had me completely absorbed in the story. Beth Revis sets the tone so you feel the tension and cabin fever as if you were stuck on the spaceship with them. The chapters are short and fast paced and just when Amy or Elder gets a lead on something the chapter teasingly cuts to the other narrator.
This is the first of the series that I’ve experienced in audiobook format, and I think it works very well. As Elder, Lucas Salvagno is a perfect fit and conveys Elder’s state of mind realistically. Elder’s frustrations and worries all come through the reading. As Amy, Tara Carrozza is also convincing with the character, and Amy’s strength and maturity is clear in her voice. She also does well with the other character voice nuances. This audio recording is one of the reasons I like audiobooks in general because it really makes the book come alive and like you are right there in the action.
The second book in the A Million Suns trilogy is a suspenseful thrill ride and I can’t wait to find out what Beth Revis has up her sleeve for the final book.(less)
UNWIND is one of the more powerful and disturbing dystopian novels I have read. Many other dystopian books have tackled the theme of reproduction righ...moreUNWIND is one of the more powerful and disturbing dystopian novels I have read. Many other dystopian books have tackled the theme of reproduction rights, but this book takes it even further, and also poses thought provoking questions regarding population control, organ donation, morality, and religion. The idea is that in the future abortion is illegal, but a parent can choose to "unwind" their child between the ages of 13-18. The "unwinds" have all their body parts harvested and donated. There are so many unwind-body parts available that most surgeons just choose to do organ replacements rather than trying to fix an existing organ.
There are a few reasons why a parent may choose to unwind their child, and we follow the lives of three such characters in the book. First, Connor is somewhat of a troublemaker at school and his parents have given up on him. He finds his unwind paperwork and decides to go AWOL to avoid the harvest camp. Next, Risa has grown up in a state-run orphanage. She is well behaved, however her talents as a musician are unexceptional. The state budget simply does not have the money to keep everyone. Finally, Lev, is the tenth child in his family, and for religious reasons was raised to be a tithe. Lev has grown up all his life with the realization that he was born to fulfill his destiny as an unwind. On their way to harvest camp, the three teens find themselves thrust together as they try to survive.
The characters go on a dangerous journey to try to avoid being unwound. If they can stay hidden until they turn eighteen, they are safe. On their adventures we meet other kids who have gone AWOL. The burden of running and hiding has caused the teens to be mistrustful of one another, and different faction's and bullying behavior develop. With many lives at stake, tensions run high.
This story gripped me with the first pages. The story is chilling and provides a lot of food for thought. The characters are strong and sympathetic, fully formed beings. The story is told in multiple points of view, and I liked reading each character's perspective. The book is fast paced and delivers a thrilling and horrifying story.
I listened to the book in audiobook format. The reader does an excellent job of portraying the different character's voices and conveying the appropriate mood of the story. Some of the scenes are very difficult to read and made my stomach churn as I was listening to the story.
The book has a satisfying ending on it's own, but also leaves itself open for a sequel down the line. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I am intrigued to read more. Recommended for mature readers and dystopian fans. UNWIND is a book you won't soon forget.(less)