Amped was a very interesting look at the logical next step to humankind. We’re already designing technology to fit around our ears, recognize our voicAmped was a very interesting look at the logical next step to humankind. We’re already designing technology to fit around our ears, recognize our voices or commands, and to do everything a computer can do without being any bigger than the size of your hand. So, why not put something in your brain that will help you focus and utilize the power it holds? Seems like a great idea, right?
The majority of this book, from the persecution of the ‘Amps’ to the laws being passed in rapid succession, reminded me of the X-Men. Just stick with me for a bit on this. In the comics, and even in the movies, mutants are feared by the public once their numbers start growing and it becomes clear they’re the future. “Normal” people, especially a select few in the government, fear for their jobs and livelihood and in order to get more power, start going after the mutants while they’re still a minority. It’s a classic move made by people who fear change, ever since people first started coming over to this land and driving out the Native Americans. What? There are other people who are different than us? Clearly we’re the normal ones and they’re the ones that need to be suppressed. Even though this time around it’s because some people elected to have this done to them and some were given the opportunity by the very government persecuting them for it now in order to “fix” their mental handicap, it doesn’t matter. It’s still fear of change and hatred of being different. The name may change, but the message behind it is the same.
Beyond the social commentary involved in the book, it’s also about Owen Gray. This guy who thinks he has a medical ‘amp’ in his head to stop epileptic attacks, but it turns out, that’s not all it does. He goes on the run after the Supreme Court passes their judgement to an Amped community in Oklahoma. From there, things take a turn for the… worst? In some ways it’s worst, but in others, it’s good for Owen because he gets some answers about what’s in his head and why.
There are action sequences, tech talk, and villainous ways throughout this book. It was a good read, and it definitely makes you think about what you’d do if faced with a similar situation. Hopefully none of you will have to, but if you do, don’t treat this book like a how-to guide. Owen’s not exactly James Bond. He’s just a normal guy who had this situation thrust upon him and is reacting to events around him, rather than being proactive. The poor guy. But he learns, eventually.
To figure out what he learns and how he reacts to that, you’ll have to read Amped, which is currently available everywhere.
I thought I knew what this book was going to be about based off the summary. Oh, it’s another one of those “Freaky Friday” switch-a-roo books, I mistaI thought I knew what this book was going to be about based off the summary. Oh, it’s another one of those “Freaky Friday” switch-a-roo books, I mistakenly thought. The only real reason I picked it up is because Roxanne St Claire wrote it as her YA debut novel. But I was wrong to force it into the same category as those books that share a similar plot. I should have known better. Serves me right, actually, for doubting Roxanne.
The first thing I want to point out is the SCIENCE in this book. It was actually explained! It wasn’t your typical “magical artifact mysteriously found and then used with unexpected results”. No. There was SCIENCE involved. Thank you, Roxanne St Claire, for fulfilling a wish of mine I didn’t even know I had until now for the young adult genre. Basically, we need more alternative universes where people are AWARE of the other universes. Can someone start writing a SLIDERS type series for YA? Because I want it. You’d have at least one loyal reader and I’m sure I could recruit some other people to read it as well. (Also, ten points to you if you know what Sliders is without having to Google it.)
While the first part of the story went pretty much the way I’d thought it would go, the second half was a pleasant surprise. A boy in Annie’s new life where she’s Ayla now becomes a more prominent character and kind of steals the show. He’s such a sweetheart and helps Ayla figure out why she’s here and how to get her back to her old life, should she choose that one over her current dream-like one. I adored him and wanted to visit this alternative universe where he existed because where was he while I was in high school? No, seriously. Where was he?
Overall, I thought this was a good book and a new twist on a previously overdone plot. I honestly wasn’t sure it would all work out until the very end, but somehow Roxanne pulled it off and it works as a standalone. (I do love standalones.)
Intrigued yet? Well, you should be because not only is it awesome, but also that’s essentially what Map of Time is about. It juVictorian. Time Travel.
Intrigued yet? Well, you should be because not only is it awesome, but also that’s essentially what Map of Time is about. It just toes the line at steampunk, though some might argue it easily falls into that category. And H.G. Wells is a main character! More literary authors should be written about in novels. It’s almost like bringing literature around full circle.
In a way, this book could be called three novellas starring H.G. Wells because it kind of felt that way. Even though the stories do intermingle with the same characters and time travel is a common theme in all of them, they each follow a different POV. In the first act, we meet Andrew Harrington, who is trying to figure out which gun to use to kill himself. (You read that right.) In the second act, Tom Blunt tells us his story, and in the third, it finally comes to H.G. Wells.
I realized after the fact that the three-part book was necessary to wrap everything up that needed to still be wrapped up, plot-wise, but when it came down to it, I really enjoyed the third part and found the first two parts only so-so as I was reading them. In its entirety, I thought it to be an interesting storyline and once events started coinciding and picking up speed, it became quite good.
Now, I don’t know much about H.G. Wells, the man. I, of course, know his body of work, but the man himself, not so much. So, I don’t know if Palma’s depiction of him was accurate, but it certainly was entertaining so there are no complaints on my part. I’d recommend you don’t look up a lot about H.G. Wells until after, just in case Palma did change things around to fit his timeline. (Hah. Timeline. Get it? … Because it’s a time travel book. … Where’s the Doctor when you need him to laugh at your silly time travel jokes?)
Map of Time is only the first book in the Victorian Trilogy. The next one is called The Map of the Sky and comes out September 12th from Atria Books, which I’m very much looking forward to.
If you know me at all, you know the one thing I ask of young adult as a genre is MORE TIME TRAVEL. So the fact that I held off on reading this seriesIf you know me at all, you know the one thing I ask of young adult as a genre is MORE TIME TRAVEL. So the fact that I held off on reading this series is somewhat mind-boggling. I mean, seriously, what was I thinking? Well, the problem’s been fixed now because I am caught up! (And desperately wanting Infinityglass.) And if you haven’t read Hourglass yet, check out Caitlin’s review HERE.
First off, this book is from Kaleb’s POV, not Emerson’s. I liked Kaleb in Hourglass and was really interested to get more of his story than the little bit we were told the first time around.
The consequences mentioned at the end of Hourglass come into play here as more timeslips appear to more people, Kaleb included. Also, we get some answers about who “the powers that be”, aka Chronos, are and just what Jack is ultimately after, so that was nice.
While we see Emerson and Michael together (yay!), Timepiece focuses more on Kaleb and his random friendship with Lily, Emerson’s friend. And I liked that Lily gave Kaleb hell for his flirty, cocky ways. It made me like her so much more. Also, Lily’s backstory is much more interesting than I thought it was going to be from Hourglass. She plays a bigger part in this than as just the heroine’s best friend.
The set-up for the last book, Infinityglass, is very intriguing. I certainly wasn’t expecting that ending, so it makes me want to read it ALL THE MORE. Dang it, Myra. I see what you did there. Also, the time travel aspect is pretty cool. I like that her rules make sense and there are actual consequences for messing with time. And the references! Any book that references Doctor Who is an instant winner to me. (Plus, Myra likes David Tennant, so she is clearly a genius.)
Eeeep! I got this as an egalley for review and completely forgot to review it! Better late than never???
Tributary is the second of two novellas that aEeeep! I got this as an egalley for review and completely forgot to review it! Better late than never???
Tributary is the second of two novellas that act as sort of epilogues to the River of Time Series. You do not need to read them to get a satisfying conclusion to the series but they are fun afterthoughts and looks into where the characters lives go and how they will definitely keep having adventures.
I like that we saw glimpses of the girls and their families being pro-active about the coming plague years. I mean, I think I’d start organizing a city wide eradication of rats, as best as one can anyone, but they had some ideas that where going forward. I was very glad they weren’t just sitting around waiting for the plague.
This story focused more on Lia and where she was heading with her life in the past. Of the four time travellers she seemed the most reluctant to stay in the past so it was nice to see her come to terms with the difficulties and accept the good things.
And we got to see some Lord Greco. In fact I got the feeling that this story existed in order to give him a happy ending. Not that I’m complaining. Just…that was how I felt about it.
As much as I understand that Gabriella and Marchello have had their time in the spotlight, they are still my favourite characters and I wish we’d gotten a little more of them. But all in all I was very happy with this novella. It left me in a good place with all of the characters.
I’m very excited to see what Lisa writes next in the YA genre.
Before starting this book there is one very important fact you must know. Thankfully the wonderful Wendy warned me before I started Origin. Are you reBefore starting this book there is one very important fact you must know. Thankfully the wonderful Wendy warned me before I started Origin. Are you ready?
Yes, Pia has a pet jaguar. No, she never attempts to ride him.
Are you over that bombshell yet? No? Well, don’t worry. It took me a couple days too.
The first thing you see in this story is, well, the story. The entirety of it in metaphor form with a bird in an electrified cage. A tired bird who is desperate enough to not care that the cage is electrified.
Origin is the first of the Breathless Reads 2012 books to hit shelves and while I do not think it is their strongest title I also don’t think it is thier weakest. Pia is an intelligent, strong, girl who has been raised in a sterile environment. Her loveless existense has definitely afftected the way she sees the world but you can tell that she is desperate for emotions and family even if she herself does not know what she is desperate for.
And despite never even trying to ride the jaguar you can tell their is genuine affection between the two of them and it’s a counter point to how she is with her mother. And as she tested her boundaries more and more and did everything she could to learn more than the scientists she grew up with wanted her to know, who could feel her yearning for family and love.
And I really liked that the sci-fi was offset against that. As much of the story was about the psuedo-science and the mysticism it was nice to see it focusing on what a human being really needs.
Speaking of the mysticism I also really liked that it was a science ficiton story but also had this element of fantasy to it. Not like, traditional fantasy but…yeah, the only word I can think of is mysticism.
I will say, I liked all of the secondary cast. I think, even the ones that were jerks, were that way to serve the story and everyone played their part well. Which, I don’t know, I also kind have had a problem with. Or, hrmm not a problem. But it made every character seem to exist as an extention of Pia. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The story was meant, I feel, to revolve around her. But because of this there aren’t any real surprises about characters motivations or anything. You know who everyone is when you first meet them and what affect they are going to have on Pia. The story is just about watching it all unfold.
Still, I did enjoy it. And I liked the ending. And I really, really liked that it was a stand-alone.
This was a super quick read, so if it intrigues you at all I encourage you to pick it up. It really isn’t going to cost you much (in time, I mean) andThis was a super quick read, so if it intrigues you at all I encourage you to pick it up. It really isn’t going to cost you much (in time, I mean) and the cover is rather gorgeous.
I liked the setting in this one. And I enjoyed the way the characters interacted with one another and had a good balance. There was always some sort of tension going on.
Thinking back on it, I remember enjoying the book, I read it in one sitting, but now all I can think of are my criticisms. Mostly how it felt like two completely different books mushed together. One, a teen romance about a girl realizing there is no such thing as the “perfect” guy. All human beings are flawed and the people you are attracted to will never be “perfect.” And another book about an evil medical corporation playing God and the morality of genetic manipulation.
Sometimes the smooshing together of the ideas worked and sometimes it really, really didn’t. Like at the end when the main characters are on the run from said evil corporation, I just don’t think they’d be as worried about their romantic lives as they were. And, sadly, this took me out of enjoying the ending of the plot as much as I wanted to.
I did really enjoy Solo’s point of view. I enjoyed how he was a mystery that was given to us slowly and it took a while before we knew where his loyalties were. His dynamic with Eve’s mother was very interesting. She was this person that he hated but at the same, she’d given him all that he had. Not that he wouldn’t have preferred things turned out differently but…I don’t know, those two just had a strange dynamic of hatred and guilt yet they were tied together for years and years.
This review is kind of all over the place but honestly I’m just not sure how I felt about this book. It was at time slow and at time rushed and at times the pacing fine. Sometimes it was predictable and sometimes it was completely out of the blue. Will I read the second one? Probably. Though, only because I am intrigued by Solo and I want to see where his story line goes. I do not feel terribly attached to any of the other characters.
Almost a year ago Leiah reviewed Ruby Red by Kiersten Gier and shortly after I bought the book for myself because she made it sound so good. Well, lasAlmost a year ago Leiah reviewed Ruby Red by Kiersten Gier and shortly after I bought the book for myself because she made it sound so good. Well, last month I finally got around to reading it and it was fabulous! Fast paced, lots of characters and mystery and time travel. Much awesome. And I immediately NEEDED Sapphire Blue. But it wasn’t out yet.
Thankfully Raincoast Books was happy to hook me up with an egalley…after I begged…in a very unprofessional manner. Well…it might not have been that bad.
I love how this book has a plethora of characters that get very little screen time but you still feel as if you know them well. You know? Like as much as there are some surprises and twists the writing is so clear and concise and enjoyable that though it’s a short book and the plot happens at a breakneck speed I don’t feel like anything was rushed or that we didn’t get the things we need.
Also, Gwen had better be who I, and I assume everyone else, thinks she is. Or I’m going to be upset. Also, what in the world is going on?? I need book three. I want to know what the organizations purpose is and what will happen when their mission is complete and why is everyone in the organization just going along with everything? No questions asked. What is the benefit to them?
And what is the consequence on the world either way? Ugh, I need answers!
Gwen is just such a pleasure to spend time with. She’s funny and feisty and doesn’t lose any of that when there’s a boy involved or when things aren’t going well. I love that she keeps her best friend involved and doesn’t even try to keep secrets. And I loved all her interactions with Gideon. I love that they banter and tease and make each other angry. I love that they both are attracted to one another but also have very different goals and feelings on what is going on.
I’m so incredibly intrigued by everything and have no idea how it’s all going to get wrapped up in one book. Why aren’t there three more???
I hope they translate more by this author because I am in love with her characters and the writing (though some of that might have to do with the translator). It kills me that if I knew German I could read the third book right now.
This is one of those books that I don’t remember how I heard about it but I remember the summary sounded different than most of the books on my shelf.This is one of those books that I don’t remember how I heard about it but I remember the summary sounded different than most of the books on my shelf.
I highly enjoyed the cast of characters peppering this. They felt realistic to me. Not too old for their age as I feel a lot of YA characters are but not too naive either. The boys felt like nerds, sure, but still boys. And the girls were portrayed nicely as feeling out of reach to the boys but never actually acting haughty or better than them. And I really liked all the set up with the kids and the various adults in their world. And then, on the flip side, I liked how we left all of the characters. They were changed and different but not perfect and still didn’t have all the answers. It was a good balance. And I especially liked how Ephraim and Jena were left. But I can’t say anything more about that.
Also, the plot starts of with a mysterious library card, which is just awesome.
The book than delves into something reminiscent of the Butterfly Effect with jumping around and the world around Ephraim changing and him trying and trying to make things better and not let everything get out of control! It got a little confusing to keep track of some of the changes and alterations made and such but I just sort of “went with it” until we got all the big reveals, as it were.
My favourite and least favourite thing about this book was that it had a classic feel to it. Reading felt similar to watching the movies I loved as a kid. You know, those ’90s movies where a group of friends discover something fantastic and use it to change their humdrum life and then realize that they actually liked their lives the way the were and now they have to deal with an evil villain? I liked that it reminded me of my childhood and a different type of story telling than is prevalent right now but at the same time, it felt almost as if I’d already read it….or watched it. Not necessarily a bad thing, I read books like that all the time, just this time I really noticed it.
I found the characters and the plot made it worthwhile though. I liked that Myers brought a bunch of different elements together into one fun, intriguing story and I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Everyone knows which two things in life are inevitable – death and taxes. But what if death wasn’t inevitable? What if you could live several lives? WEveryone knows which two things in life are inevitable – death and taxes. But what if death wasn’t inevitable? What if you could live several lives? Would you act differently knowing you might be able to come back? Would you, maybe, take more risks?
Daisy takes on several last names over the course of this book, but for identification purposes let’s call her Daisy Appleby. It’s not her real name, but it’s the first one used in reference to her, so it’s the one I tend to associate with her. Daisy has been in a secret government project, titled Revive, for the drug, for the past eleven years. She didn’t ask to be a part of the project, but she was chosen and survived the treatment, so she became a part of it regardless. When we meet Daisy, she’s dying. In fact, she does die. It’s not pretty and it’s not elegant, but it happens. It’s happened four times to Daisy and she remembers each time. We don’t get all the specifics, but it’s enough to make you wonder if a company somewhere is developing this drug already and no one knows about it yet.
With each death, Daisy and her ‘handlers’, the agents who pose as her parents, must move and change their last name. At her new school, she meets and befriends a girl named Audrey. Audrey is her first real friend outside the program and I think finally having a tie to where she lives, a tie to the people who don’t know about Revive, starts making her question her life and what was done to her. Daisy doesn’t make some good choices, basically she does something I rant about in my notes that will ‘blow up in her face’, but because she’s a fictional character and I didn’t write the book, she does it anyway. And it does, in fact, blow up in her face.
The ensuing events that take place after the bad decisions start Daisy on the path to finding out more about the program, about herself, and the man behind everything than she ever wanted to know. In retrospect, I wonder if she would’ve done things differently. If she’d taken the safe route, things would not have changed so dramatically. Or maybe they would have. I guess we’ll never really know.
I really liked Daisy and Mason’s relationship. I also liked Matt and how Cat described hers and Matt’s connection. It was cute and fun and reminded me of my first love, of how consuming they are to you and how aware you are of every move they make. The first kiss was sigh-worthy and the small ways they would touch, like a bump of the shoulders or a small caress of the hand, made me smile fondly in remembrance of when those used to be monumental moments in time.
Overall, this was an interesting read. I wish Cat had gone into the science of Revive more, but I understand why she didn’t. It wasn’t about the program, but about Daisy. This is another standalone book, (I seem to be drawn to them recently), so we get answers and a conclusion, even though it could have easily been turned into a series. I marked it as science fiction, but really, it reads more like a contemporary teen book with a touch of science fiction to it.
Revived comes out May 8th through Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. This is the second book Cat Patrick has written and the first I’ve read from her. I have Forgotten, her debut novel, and look forward to reading it after enjoying this one so much.
I picked up this book at ALA in January and was both excited and wary of it. Excited because I love sci-fi and love seeing it in YA books. Wary becausI picked up this book at ALA in January and was both excited and wary of it. Excited because I love sci-fi and love seeing it in YA books. Wary because the cover was not my cup of tea and it kind of gave me the impression of love triangles and drama.
I was so wrong to be wary! This book is nothing but excellence.
The book starts off in a very Roswell-esque way. Main girl, Janelle, is killed. Mysterious boy, Ben, brings her back to life and Janelle flashes on memories of his life and finds that he has been quietly in love with her for years. And that he has secrets.
I loved so many things about this book I’m not even sure where I can start. I loved that there was a good mystery. I loved that teenagers felt like teenagers. I loved that there was real, lasting consequences for everyone’s actions.
There was so much going on in this book, in a good way, not a single page was boring or dull and the was a good mix of scenes. You would have character development, then plot development, then flashback, then action, then quiet scene, then more action. It kept things mixed up and never lost my attention. I was generally very angry at other life things interrupting my reading of this book.
Janelle was such a fantastic character. Caring and loyal, unless you pissed her off. She was good at knowing what she needed in her life and getting rid of the things she didn’t need. She never lead anyone on or let people walk over her. If someone treated her poorly than she did her best to cut them out of her life. Not to say that she was emotionless, far from it. I would say she had so many emotions and responsibilities that she knew how to peg the people who weren’t worth her worry.
Ben was…so many things but I think his shining moment was when he admitted that Wonder Woman was his favourite superhero because girls who rescue guys are hot. What more needs to be said? Sure, he’s smart and fun and he and Janelle have awesome chemistry, and he struggles with his morals and with what he really wants in life. But all of that awesomeness is second fiddle to him never, ever being threatened by a girl with a strong personality. Also he’s super smart and mysterious and I just loved everything about him.
And then there was all of the amazing supporting cast. Janelle’s family, Ben’s…uh…situation. Every single person in this book, even if they were only there for a page or two, clearly had their own agenda and motivations. Everyone seemed to have some small part of the puzzle and were all trying to bumble along in life. It was such a good ensemble book and I love (and HATED) that the ensemble didn’t make it all the way to the end. One death in particular tore me apart. Just not cool.
Also also also!! This book does what I have most been wanting to find in YA books. It has an Alex. Alex is Janelle’s best friend. They’ve gown up next door to each other, and have the ability to communicate with one another using facial expressions. They depend on each other and support each other. Alex is a straight male, not in a relationship and there is no one iota of romance between him and Janelle. They are friends and neither wants to be anything more. I love this. Very, very seldom (so seldom I can’t think of any other examples) is there a male friend who is both straight and unattached that is not a romantic interest of some kind. Which, in YA, upsets me because I had (and have) plenty of male friends who I would never look at in a romantic way and not EVER showing this in YA literature can only reinforce with young people (and not so young people) that girls and guys can never be just friends. Which is complete and utter nonsense. So, I loved Alex, a LOT. I loved how they were pretty much siblings and always knew they would be there for each other.
Also, I loved that they worked through their argument before the ending of the book. I didn’t want things to end with them upset with one another. I wouldn’t have liked it at all.
Speaking of the ending, and I know you’re probably getting tired of me saying this, but I loved it. I loved that the world was changed, not just the characters. I loved that there as simply no possibility of things going back to the way they were before and I loved that Janelle was practical enough to cut her loses while everything was going down.
I absolutely need the sequel right now. Right. Now.
Marissa Meyer’s debut novel Cinder hits shelves today and Christine and I are here to tell you how much we loved it, and how much we think you’re goinMarissa Meyer’s debut novel Cinder hits shelves today and Christine and I are here to tell you how much we loved it, and how much we think you’re going to love it!
Caitlin: When I first heard about this book I didn’t think I’d like it. I’m not a big fan of books with main characters that are mostly robots/creations that then have to examine the moral/ethical/blah blah blah question of whether they are human or not.
But this book wasn’t like that at all! This book was just fun. And awesome. And I loved it to bits!
Christine: I’m the complete opposite. I’ve always been fascinated with cyborgs, automans and basically anything robotic in nature. You can blame my background in sci-fi books and shows on this (The Borg, anyone?). Give me a robot, hopefully blowing stuff up, and I’m happy. The concept and world behind Cinder drew me in from the beginning.
I loved how Marissa Meyer created this futuristic world of peace and prosperity, but with an underlying dark side to it that came about if you were part cyborg. It didn’t matter how much, either. The cyborgs in this world are considered second class and looked upon as such. I felt bad for Cinder, who had no choice in the matter, having no memory of her life before she was part-machine.
Caitlin: Yes. There was so much going on in this book. There was the mystery behind Cinder, the plague decimating the population, the looming threat from the powerful race of mutants living on the moon, the class bigotry and..well…just one character’s search for family a belonging.
And I just wanted to say, I AM a fan of robots blowing stuff up and being kick ass. I’m not so much a fan of them being all existential and wondering about whether their “life” means anything.
Christine: Oh, come on? You don’t enjoy Data’s little human moments on Star Trek?
Caitlin: I enjoy them in a comical sense, sure. But I’ve seen/read/whatever enough of robots/cyborgs/test tube babies/whatever wondering if they are really human. It’s gotten boring for me. But, like I said, Cinder is nothing like this so….
Christine: Gotcha. It’s not like that. You will notice several of the same themes and events that happen in the story of Cinderella that we all know by heart, but there are enough differences — especially with Cinder herself and her background — that it’s not completely predictable.
Caitlin: I LOVED the orange, pumpkin car! I don’t know why I just liked it better than any of the other fairy tale references.
Christine: That said, I think we need to discuss Prince Kai for a second. How adorable and persistent was he? I knew I wasn’t supposed to get attached to him — it is the first in a four-part series, after all, but I did. I got attached. And that last scene with them… *cries*
Caitlin: Prince Kai was awesome. I loved how he was just a regular guy forced into this situation where he has all this power but then, he doesn’t really have any power at all. And you could really tell how frustrated he was. But I liked that…erm…I don’t know how to say this without spoilers but I liked the choice he made at the end regarding…well…things. It showed that he wasn’t content to remain powerless or become a pawn.
Christine: I also liked his choice near the end. Good for him. And the very end, when certain things are revealed and it sets up the next book… I want to read the rest of this series SO much. Also, I really want to know more about the Lunar people and how that came about.
Caitlin: I’m too am eager for the rest of the series. I know each book is going to feature a different fairy tale heroine and I want to see how she brings each story into the over arching plot and how she balances it all out and how we still get enough Cinder and Kai.
We should also talk about how awesome Cinder herself is. I mean, she’s an amnesiac, cyborg mechanic with a crush on the prince of the Empire and has a strange robot best friend who says the weirdest things! I think we need a completely separate book about the adventures of Cinder and Iko. It would be the best book ever.
Christine: I’m pretty sure that’s what the next book is going to be about. At least, it should be.
Cinder is a great character. She’s compassionate, hard-working, intelligent and strong-willed. She’s had to be strong, with how other people treat her when they find out she’s cyborg, but she’s managed to maintain the best parts of humanity in the face of adversary. That’s what makes her so compelling to read about. Her background is fascinating, but just a small part of who she is and who she’ll eventually become. Well, who I’m hoping she’ll become, anyway.
Caitlin: Why do we have to wait so long for the next one? I hate waiting.
Though, luckily for us, Marissa Meyer used to write fanfiction so there’s a whole plethora of her writing available for us to read here. Of particular note is The House on Thornrose Lane. It too is based on fairy tales and really showcases how much Marissa loves them and has studied them. And if you missed it, we totally posted the best ever interview with Marissa yesterday!
So, last January a book came out called Across the Universe. This book had a LOT of buzz. It was a sci-fi, romance, mystery…which sounded AWESOME! PluSo, last January a book came out called Across the Universe. This book had a LOT of buzz. It was a sci-fi, romance, mystery…which sounded AWESOME! Plus whenever I thought of it I got a Beatles song stuck in my head. In short, I was very excited to read it. And, while I loved the plot and the characters…I was a tad let down when I did read it. Mostly because of certain choices made in the writing. Amy was asleep for so long. Dual point of views…which I’m never a fan of. And a couple of other small things that all added up to the book not being amazing for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing.
So, when I got a chance to read an advance copy of A Million Suns I was all over that because I was definitely still interested in what happened next but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue spending my money on it.
I’m happy to say, I liked A Million Suns a WHOLE lot more than Across the Universe.
Once again there are a couple mysteries going on in this book. Which I like because one always seems to be easy to guess, and I am SO not a a guesser. Like, I don’t even usually think about it. So, if I’M guessing the correct outcome, you know the author isn’t even trying…probably on purpose. But there were so many different things going on on the ship, so many people and so little people at the same time.
Amy was still on the fence about Elder. She was drawn to him, mad at him, worried for him, and worried what he might do. She missed her parents and the sunshine and living on a planet. Amy becomes determined to see her parents again, to get off the ship by any means necessary.
Elder is lost. He’s trying to lead people that are just realizing they’ve been lied to all of their lives. People that are just realizing they’ve never had a choice and they have nowhere else to go. Which basically means chaos starts happening everywhere. I thought, in both books but in this book especially, that Elder’s story line was much more interesting than Amy’s. Amy basically wants two things that are sort of wrapped up in each other. Elder is floundering in life but wants so much and has so much potential and is trying his hardest to do everything and make things better with and for Amy.
There’s a scene where Elder gets a proper view of the universe outside of the ship and you can just tell that it’s such an eye opener for him. Seeing the universe spread out before his eyes, not through a window or a hatch but all of it RIGHT THERE. And then to have to go back to the ship with it’s walls and it’s chaos.
This book felt like it was about Elder so much more than Amy. Elder had more of a journey. I’m hoping Amy has one in the next book.
Guys. The next book. oh em gee. I don’t even know what it’s going to be. Or what’s going to happen. Or anything. A Million Suns definitely doesn’t end on a cliffhanger but I need to know what happens next so BAD!
Last September, I reviewed a book that I’d picked up based on what I thought was a striking cover that just happened to have a rec from Suzanne CollinLast September, I reviewed a book that I’d picked up based on what I thought was a striking cover that just happened to have a rec from Suzanne Collins. That book was Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill. I loved Black Hole Sun. I loved that there was a male lead. I loved that it was a sci-fi book that felt like it was a western. I loved that the female lead could kick the male lead’s ass. And I loved that it was going to have a sequel. Invisible Sun is that sequel, and I pretty much loved it too. I don’t love the cover (or the re-release of the Black Hole Sun cover), but you have to look past that and get to the completely under appreciated gem that is this series. This review shall be as spoiler free as I can make it for Invisible Sun, but some spoilers for Black Hole Sun might sneak their way in.
I can’t review this book without making comments about the writing in general, which is pretty much perfection for a sci-fi novel. This book and its predecessor have some of the snappiest, most entertaining dialogue I’ve read in a long time. It felt really organic, and was always pitch perfect for whatever the mood is in the background. I laughed out loud more than once, and I grinned through almost every scene with any hint of banter. The tone of the dialogue alone is enough to tell the reader what two characters mean to each other and the kind of relationship they have. It was a great way to show and not tell, and I think that’s what made the characters work sow ell together and as individuals.
Oh, the characters. The best thing about these books for me is the fact that the characters are complete people. With sci-fi, it’s easy to get bogged down in the cool world-building and the neat gadgets, but David Macinnis Gill has written two novels now where the neat stuff coexists with these great characters he has given us. The gadgets and gizmos are part of the story, yes, but they enhance the characters. We see the pieces the characters see and touch and use. And we see the way the cool science stuff is literally integrated with the characters. It’s a great balance and it lets these books be action packed while keeping their soul.
First and foremost, there’s Durango. I love him. I love that he’s smart. I love that he knows when to ask for help, knows when he’s been beat, and also knows that there are things too important to give up on even when beaten. Durango had a great evolution between Black Hole Sun and Invisible Sun. I liked that we got to see him grow in his skills and maturity while still remaining a teenage boy who is confused about girls and what to do with his feelings for a certain girl in particular. What I really liked was how perfectly paced the exploration is of Durango’s backstory. In Black Hole Sun, we got a big piece that let us know what motivates Durango to do what he does. Then, in Invisible Sun, we get to find out the smaller ways that this has not only affected him, but everyone around him. We get enough pieces to move the plot forward, but not so much that there’s nothing to look forward to or so little that it feels liek the author is hiding the ball.
I also really enjoyed the back story we got for Vienne. Vienne was one of my favorite parts of this first book because she was pretty unapologetically badass. She’s the kind of girl who can do anything a boy can do, only better. And she doesn’t try to hide how awesome she was from Durango because, well, she has a level of awesome that can’t be hidden. In Invisible Sun, we get to find out where that strength and toughness came from. We also get to see that the strength and toughness is so amazing because it doesn’t dominate the caring, loyal aspects of Vienne’s personality.
Durango and Vienne work well within the plot of this book. The way they are and the way they think and the things they do fit perfectly into the puzzle going on in the background. And really, I can’t say a lot about it without spoiling the whole thing. But, let’s just say this book has a wonderful beginning, an exciting middle, and a clutch your chest kind of ending. I can’t express how much I appreciate that even though there is clearly more story to tell, Invisible Sun was it’s own complete piece of that story.
The one thing about this book I didn’t love, and I felt this way in Black Hole Sun, is the “villain” point of view. It works in the sense that things are happening offscreen that the reader needs to know about, but it also had a tendency to pull me out of the intensity of the story. The buildup of tension in scenes is awesome in these books, but then I’d flip the page and I wouldn’t be with Durango anymore and that would all sort of fizzle. We spend enough time with the bad guy point of view that I’d be intrigued, but not quite enough to hook me on his character. But then again, it might just be that I was so hooked on Durango and Vienne that I was impatient to get back to them.
Overall, the name of the game in Invisible Sun is balance: the balance of characters and plot, the balance of maturity and age appropriate behavior, and the balance between taking the easy way out and hoeing the tough row. Invisible Sun comes out on March 27, 2012 (thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, for letting me read this early!), so use the time until then wisely, go pick up Black Hole Sun, and buckle in for an awesome ride.
I’m a sucker for best friend stories. I always have been, and I’m pretty sure I always will be. I have seen Made of Honor more times than I’d care toI’m a sucker for best friend stories. I always have been, and I’m pretty sure I always will be. I have seen Made of Honor more times than I’d care to admit even though…well, let’s just say I know I should be and I am pretty embarrassed about it. It doesn’t have to be best friends to more (though that’s a plus), I just like stories where we get to see two people who know things about the other person and like them because of those things. I also really like stories that have an element of the supernatural without it being the usual supernatural or the whole omg it’s fated thing. On top of all of that, I was/am/will always be a little bit obsessed with Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. So when The Future of Us, a book co-written with Carolyn Mackler, magically appeared on my doorstep, I might have done a not-embarrassing-at-all dance of glee.
I loved the idea of this book. I loved the idea that maybe living in a time where every little details about ourselves is online isn’t such a great thing. And I really loved the idea of looking forward into the future and thinking…how did I get there? Because, for me, this book really hammers home the idea that life is what we make of it. Sometimes there are things that are completely out of our control, but how we react to those things is a choice. Seeing two seventeen year old not-quite-kids-but-definitely-not-adults struggling with their whole future? Some of us graduate high school and pop off to college and pick a degree without really thinking about what that will mean for our futures. And some of us think about it too much. This whole plot was a great play on what would otherwise be the usual high school theme of self discovery and etc.
I liked the Emma and Josh because I thought they fit the plot and because of their history. I liked seeing where they’d been and what had happened when things didn’t go the way either one of them had planned. I liked seeing the consequences of their decisions in their now and in their future and how they handled the idea of what all of that meant. And I really liked how long it took them to figure it out because, cheesy though this seems, that’s life.
Emma’s and Josh’s voices were similar enough that you can see that they’d know each other for their whole lives but different enough (yay for a working two author system) that they didn’t feel like one person. More importantly, each of them was a complete character. I got to see how they were when they were happy and sad and determined and confused. I got to see them experience sitting all alone without anyone else around. I got to see them as individuals, so I understood them by the time the book ended in way I’ve missed in a lot of YA books lately.
The book was predictable, I have to admit, but it’s not the type of book that shouldn’t be. It’s the kind of book you curl up with on a rainy/snowy fall/winter day (assuming you’re not as unlucky as me and live in a place that doesn’t have two seasons: early summer and late summer ), and just read to enjoy. It will make you think, sure, but that sort of delicious nostalgia kind of thinking and that awesome “my future is what I make of it” dreaming. I finished this book smiling, and really, I don’t know if I can ask for much more than that from any author. Now I just need to go find a bunch more Carolyn Mackler books because I am apparently missing out.
When I first read about The Predicteds, I thought I had it figured out. I dropped it into a category, thinking ‘it sounds like Minority Report‘. But oWhen I first read about The Predicteds, I thought I had it figured out. I dropped it into a category, thinking ‘it sounds like Minority Report‘. But oh, how wrong I was. Because while the premise is similar, The Predicteds is unlike anything you’ve read or seen before.
Daphne is the only point of view in this book. She’s a junior at a new school. Her first week she almost dies once, is threatened with violence and/or death once, and meets a hot guy in glasses who saves her both times. So already it’s shaping up to be a great year, as you can tell. And this is all in the first chapter!
The book’s plot quickly picks up after PROFILE is mentioned for the first time. Daphne has no knowledge of this program since she wasn’t attending this ISD when they were tested, so we get to learn about PROFILE at the same time that she does. The program itself is one of those that sound great in theory, but trying to predict human behavior is, as Stephen Hawking said in Black Holes, Baby Universes and Other Essays, ”just too difficult.” Of course he was trying to prove free will in the essay where he mentions this, but the theory behind behavior prediction is sound. Without knowing the fundamental equations that govern the brain, we are unable to use them to predict human behavior. But with PROFILE, those fundamental equations were found. So the question becomes, is it a ‘prediction’ if you know about it beforehand? Are you fulfilling your ‘destiny’ or making choices based on what you already think will happen regardless?
Amazingly, The Predicteds only deals with PROFILE on the fringe of the main plot, which centers around Jesse and Daphne as she tries to figure him out. There’s an entire violent mystery story going on during the unveiling of PROFILE at this high school that Daphne is unwillingly caught up in, which keeps your attention just as much as the sub-plot of what’s going on with the “Predicteds”.
The humor in this book (yes, there’s humor!) was very sly. There were several times I was surprised by the witty one-liners, usually about Daphne’s mom, which had me laughing quite loudly. As I read the majority of this book on an airplane, I would like to take a moment to apologize to the people sitting near me. These moments helped lightened my mood as I read and worried over all the characters I’d grown attached to, Jesse in particular. (It’s the glasses… and the skinny tie… I was imagining a young Zachary Quinto the entire time. I mean, just look at this picture, then read this book and tell me you don’t see it too.)
Anyway, the only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the ending. It was very open-ended, as far as PROFILE was concerned. Christine Seifert could very well take this idea and spin an entire series off it, basing it in different schools across the nation as one teen or a teenage couple deal with the outcome of the PROFILE tests while laying down an overall arc that reaches an amazing complex in the last book when the characters from the first book (meaning Daphne, Jesse and maybe even Daphne’s mom) take down the entire system! Clearly Christine and I (like that won’t get confusing at all) need to have a talk about future plot lines for what could be an awesome series.
When I interviewed Christine, she did say she wanted to go deeper into the new world PROFILE establishes, so we should definitely talk.
Overall, fascinating premise both psychologically and emotionally, great set-up for a series, super cute male interest… my recommendation? You should read this.
The Predicteds is published through Sourcebooks and available in bookstores nationwide and anywhere they sell books online, so go read it!
I’m starting to think that books about past lives and reincarnation are becoming my thing. I seem to just keep seeking them out, and publishers seem tI’m starting to think that books about past lives and reincarnation are becoming my thing. I seem to just keep seeking them out, and publishers seem to be finding an emerging market for them. In the last year or so we’ve had My Name is Memory, Falling Under, Wake Unto Me, Timeless and if you think about it, even Beautiful Creatures & Beautiful Darkness dipped their toes into past life regression to an extent. Since I happened to have loved all of these books, it comes as no surprise that I was anxiously awaiting Kirsten Miller’s second installment to the Eternal Ones series, All You Desire.
Miller took her happily ever after characters, Haven and Iain out of there love shack in Rome and threw them back into the heart of danger that comes with digging too deeply into the past. Unsurprisingly, choices made in another life have come back to bite them in the rear, but Miller managed to make it new and refreshing by turning everything we thought to be true upside down. While a complete reversal of plot from the first book is fairly standard in sequels, All You Desire managed to accomplish this in a non-rage inducing fashion.
The heart of the novel dealt with the notion of absolutes. In the beginning Haven and Iain are madly in love in Rome and desperately hoping the big bad Adam Rossier never finds them. Iain is allegedly dead, which has granted Haven one free lifetime without Adam trying to woo her, and if he were to find out otherwise, all bets could be off. And with Haven’s paranoia running high, she begins getting signs that their bubble has burst and she and Iain are no longer safe.
Tension builds even higher as she finds out that her best friend, and brother-from-another-mother, Beau is missing. Her whole world in a tail spin forces her into asituation that makes her choose between saving Beau and protecting Iain, and going directly into the lion’s den- back into the Ourobouros Society. Back in New York, fear and distrust put Iain and Haven’s relationship in a bit of danger, Adam suddenly seems to be good to be true, and the line between allies and enemies blur to dangerous levels.
The pages in this book seem to turn on their own, keeping you desperate to make sure Iain and Haven’s lifetimes of love last yet another, and to try and find out who if anyone is the real good or bad guy. Ultimately it becomes obvious that there are no absolutes, because everything is about balance- between right and wrong, good and evil, and even love and hate. The usual cast is back with a vengeance, though I desperately needed more of Beau and Iain. Beau’s sass and loyalty was needed to lighten the book up at times, and Iain was so distant in the Eternal Ones I had hoped to be able to get to know him better. There’s just something so sweet and loving about the both that you want the to be in every scene. New characters appear, making their own interesting mark on the series, and old ones get a very new look.
All You Desire is a worthy sequel to the Eternal Ones and if the surprise at the end of it was any indication, I think we’ll have another look at the many and fascinating lives of Iain and Haven. Make sure to check it out, and tell me what your favorite past life book has been lately!
Time travel—I’ve always had an interest in it. Is time like a burrito or like string? Can you meet yourself without creating a black hole? What aboutTime travel—I’ve always had an interest in it. Is time like a burrito or like string? Can you meet yourself without creating a black hole? What about changing the past? Can time travel be used to change events like Hitler’s birth or stop the bomb from dropping on Hiroshima? What about going back and burying something that will become valuable in the future and then digging it up in your own time? Is that dodgy? So many questions and rules! Most books about time travel that I’ve read have gotten really complicated really fast, and there always seems to be one impossible flaw that makes one lose all suspension of disbelief. I didn’t experience that at all with Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.
The book starts off with a mysterious pair and builds in suspense from there. You don’t have to wait a long time to be thrown into the thick of things with Gwyneth. You will discover, as she does, that time travel can actually be kind of a pain, but through it all she is someone you will enjoy rooting for. She’s funny, has the requisite YA best friend who is adorable in her own right and, of course, there is Gideon. He’s not the easiest guy to get along with at first, he’s actually quite brash, but having been prepared for his “duty” in the same ways as Gwyneth’s cousin, he really hasn’t had much practice at being a teenager. Luckily for him he has Gwyneth, who has a lot of experience at being one.
Originally written in German, it was translated into English beautifully by Anthea Bell. It’s a book full of humor, mystery, characters you will love and love to hate. I’ve taken issue with a few “first in a trilogy” books lately that don’t tell a story of its own. I was so pleased that Ruby Red had plenty of mysteries that still need to be solved in the coming books (ho boy, is there! Seriously, some major stuff is going down and there is intrigue flying all over the place!) but that it felt very complete in its own right. I’ve had Ruby Red on my “TBR” shelf for awhile and I’m so glad I finally pulled it off and read it. Now my problem is I’m dying for Sapphire Blue!
Let me start this review by saying, what you think you know about this book is probably wrong. I read the blurb, saw the cool cover and was all happyLet me start this review by saying, what you think you know about this book is probably wrong. I read the blurb, saw the cool cover and was all happy because it’s the second new Elizabeth Scott book this year and I like Elizabeth Scott. Her books are usually contemporary and cute and involve guys I wish were real. So when I started reading this book, I thought it would be similar to her others. But then the more I read, the more I realized this was completely different from her other stuff. And it was absolutely brilliant.
Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I cannot completely reveal why this book is brilliant. I will say that the thing I’ve been wanting more in YA is in this book. It was a surprise (a very welcome surprise) that you have to work out with the narrator and when I figured it out, I frakkin’ celebrated. I want more books like this. (Please, please, authors, write more books like this.)
Okay, let me tell you what I can. Ava is the narrator. She wakes up and knows absolutely nothing. She doesn’t know who she is, where she is, or what is happening around her. It reminded me, in a way, of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, which is also a brilliant book with a mystery behind the narrator’s amnesia. The more Ava interacts with the people and places around her, the more she remembers… a different place, which is where the mystery really kicks in. What’s caused Ava’s amnesia? What’s real? Who are these people Ava sees in her visions/memories/episodes and why do they look so familiar?
From the beginning I was spinning theories of what I thought was going on. Most of them came from TV or books I’ve read, but nothing I thought of completely fit the situation, which is great. I love not being able to figure out what’s happening until the end, or near the end as the case may be.
The part I couldn’t get to fit until the end was the boy Ava sees the most in her visions. He was an anomaly who played a large role. I loved everything about him. At first you have no idea who he is or how he connects to Ava, but after a while, it doesn’t matter.His relationship to Ava is the central point to this book and what pushed it over the edge from brilliant to I-will-tell-everyone-about-this-book brilliant.
I will warn you, though, that Elizabeth does not give you all the answers. I still have questions about the ending and what really happened and how it happened and what happens next and OMG SHE NEEDS TO WRITE A SEQUEL. *takes a deep breathe* I’m better now. But seriously, Elizabeth Scott, you need to write a sequel, or a short continuation. Something, anything. Please.
Yes, it’s that good. And yes, I recommend it to everyone. I don’t care if you’ve read her books before and they ‘weren’t for you’. I don’t care if you don’t like mysteries or books where the main character can’t remember anything. Whatever excuse you have, I don’t care. You’re reading this book. The day it’s released. Add it to your to-be-read lists, mark September 15th down on your calendar, and set a reminder alarm to visit your local bookstore because this is a great book and you should read it. And once you’ve read it, you can join me in stalking Elizabeth Scott and constantly asking her to please, please, if you love us at all please, write a sequel.
As I Wake will be released on September 15th from Dutton Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin.
I wasn’t too sure about this book when I saw it listed on NetGalley, but it’s NetGalley and free, so I said what the heck and requested it. When I finI wasn’t too sure about this book when I saw it listed on NetGalley, but it’s NetGalley and free, so I said what the heck and requested it. When I finally decided to read it, I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. A sort of futuristic world similar to Surrogates where no one goes outside and are always “plugged in” was my initial thought. What I found, though, was a story more complex and thought-provoking than what the summary suggests.
First off, people do go outside in this world. Just wanted to clear the air before diving in deeper. But they do carry around tablets with their entire lives on them, which people rarely look up from when outside. Nothing is written down anymore – it’s all on computers. And there’s plastic paper, which just blew my mind.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Awaken is set in 2060. The world is similar to ours, but technology is more intertwined with people than it is now. (Hard to imagine, right?) The reasoning behind the isolation of people is explained and it’s a very plausible explanation. I would not be surprised if our world or nation goes down a similar path in my lifetime.
Madeline, or Maddie, is the narrator of Awaken. She seemed like a normal girl… until she meets Justin. Then we learn she isn’t that normal. But then, neither is Justin.
Maddie and Justin’s interactions are what ultimately made this book so good, for me anyway. Justin had a very Doctor Who-isc vibe to him, which I loved. (If you don’t watch or know what Doctor Who is, you should immediately rent it or stream it on Netflix. Seriously, stop reading this review and watch it. Right now.) Maddie was a treat as well. She was a strong girl who knew what she was capable of and what she wanted. And them together? Very good. Excellent, even.
Digital School, which is mandatory, online and free, plays a big part in the overall story arc. Maddie and Justin have their own thoughts in regards to Digital School and I’m very interested to see how their different roles play out in the next book.
Like I said, this book is thought-provoking. If you’re like me when it comes to computer usage, you’ll find yourself questioning the amount of time you spend on Tumblr or Twitter or whatever else sucks away hours of your time. Not that I’m giving up on either because really, how else would I get my fill of Alexander Skarsgard if not for Tumblr? But I’m very aware of how much time I spend on my computer compared to how much I spend interacting with people, and this book is part of the reason why I’ve cut back on the weekends and actually *gasp* gone outside! So, thank you, Katie Kacvinsky, for that.
Overall, this is a book that surprised me and left me wanting more. If you like tech-focused dystopians, I urge you to try Awaken.
You might not have heard much about this book, if anything at all. But the way Macmillan is heavily promoting it, you will hear more buzz about it asYou might not have heard much about this book, if anything at all. But the way Macmillan is heavily promoting it, you will hear more buzz about it as its release date approaches. (It’s September 27th, in case you want to mark your calendars.)
I didn’t know much about it when I requested to read it through the Around the World ARC tour site, but after reading it, I’m glad I did.
Switching between Kiernan’s and Waverly’s POV, Glow unfolds as a disaster story, a mystery, a love story, and science fiction, all rolled into one. You don’t know who to trust, or what to expect next. One minute you’re rooting for one character, the next, something is revealed about him or her that makes you question everything you knew just seconds before.
I haven’t read much YA science fiction set in space before. Ender’s Game sticks out as one of the few. So, I didn’t know what to expect. But the ‘science’ part of science fiction doesn’t play much into the story. You don’t need to know the equation to find the gravitational pull of the sun to understand what’s going on, thank goodness. But the ‘space’ part is crucial to the story as they’re literally stuck inside a ship. There’s no running away unless you can fly a smaller craft and only so many places to hide.
The fact that it’s being linked to Hunger Games should give you a clue that this book isn’t rainbows and unicorns. These kids go through a LOT, and the sad fact is there are two more books in this trilogy. There’s so much more they have to go through before some resolution is found. What happens to Waverly is heartbreaking and I got so angry at one point when the people around her started justifying what they did. What happens to Kieran made one character that I initially liked into a Bond villain, in my mind.
But it is important to remember, these are kids. Kieran is the oldest one at 16. They don’t know what they’re doing half the time and are trying to figure out how to survive.
I realize this review is vague. I purposely made it vague because I don’t want to spoil anything. It’s so much better, in my opinion, to be surprised. If that’s not the case for you, I’m sure you can find a blow-by-blow account of the plot somewhere online.
Overall, Glow was engaging, with characters that will surprise you and leave you more confused about their future than they are. I really liked it and need to know what happens next.
Once again, this book will be released by St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan) on September 27th.
It’s probably obvious but I really wanted to read this book mostly due to it’s cover. It’s so simple yet beautiful. I went into the reading of with veIt’s probably obvious but I really wanted to read this book mostly due to it’s cover. It’s so simple yet beautiful. I went into the reading of with very little idea of what was actually going to happen.
Though I did know it was about teenagers with special abilities, and that always makes me excited as well.
My favourite thing about this book was the awesome one-liners. But, unfortunately, I didn’t jot any of them down while I was reading and now I can’t find any. But I remember laughing, and appreciating them all.
My other favourite thing about Hourglass was Emerson. She was such a smart, fun, sarcastic, main character. It was fun going on this crazy journey with her. She has all these horrible things in her past and in her present but she doesn’t let them get her down too much. She makes jokes and tries to stay cheerful and hopeful. Emerson was just the right character to go on this crazy, time-bending journey with.
Her relationship with her brother felt spot-on as well. You could tell he was caring, and worried about her, and stuck in this limbo between brother and father and not sure which role their relationship needed in each situation. And I’m so glad Dru was a nice loving role-model for Emerson. The mean “step-mother” (sister in-law in this case) character has been done enough. Their family situation was a nice breath of fresh air.
Oh, that reminds me, this book is a book for nerds. I mean, there’s plenty in it for non-nerds to enjoy as well. But with all the pop-culture references, the time travel theory, a slight resemblance to X-men, it’s a paradise for those of us who enjoy the nerdier things in life.
Now, I can’t be too specific here, but there was an awesome plot twist at the end that I just loved. It pulled Emerson’s past into the main plot and made her a part of the story in a way that I wasn’t expecting but absolutely loved.
OH! And the time travel was done to perfection. There were no moments where you had to stop and tell yourself not to think about because if you thought about it, it wouldn’t make sense. You know, like all of Terminator 2. The time travel moments in Hourglass were all planned out very well and all broken rules were taken into consideration. I love when time travel happens without the characters erasing their own existence (I”m still looking at you, Terminator 2) and your brain doesn’t feel broken at the end.
Awkward cover art aside (the one eye zoom always freaks me out a bit), this is one of my favorite books this year. Rot & Ruin goes beyond the ideaAwkward cover art aside (the one eye zoom always freaks me out a bit), this is one of my favorite books this year. Rot & Ruin goes beyond the idea of “Ahhh! Zombies are trying to kill us!” to take us inside a small community a few years after the ‘end of the world’.
I feel like I’m not going to do a good enough job convincing everyone in the world to read this book, regardless of how you feel about zombies. The reason I feel so strongly about Rot & Ruin is because of how Jonathan Maberry slowly reveals the world in which Benny Imura was raised. Benny’s state of mind when the story begins is vastly different than how he thinks at the end, and the events that lead him there are some of the most riveting and insightful glimpses into post-apocalyptic psyche that I’ve ever seen.
The book is told through Benny. I think that’s another reason why I liked this book. It was written by a guy, which added to the realism of Benny’s voice and thoughts, especially when it came to girls. There’s a great bit in the story between Benny and this girl. Benny’s thoughts during the entire thing had me giggling. He’s so adorable.
There’s so much about the characters and this world that I want to talk about, but at the same time, I don’t want to spoil anything. Like with Tom. Oh, Tom! *sigh*
I will say this, though. Once you start this book, expect to not put it down until you’re finished. I was thoroughly engrossed in Benny’s story after he decided on a vocation, to the point where I forgot to eat dinner. And I need to tell y’all that I teared up a little toward the end. It’s a very emotional story, one that I found to be a bit sad with just a dash of hopeful. There was some closure, but really, so many more questions were raised during the last chapter that I’ve been dying to read Dust & Decay the second after I finished Rot & Ruin.
Overall, I consider this a MUST READ book. The world and the characters make this one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent YA books I’ve ever read.
And since I loved it so much, I contacted Jonathan Maberry and he was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions, which you can read below. (Also, there is a bit of a spoiler in the last question/answer, if you haven’t read Rot & Ruin.)
This week I want to talk about Gone, by Michael Grant. If you’re like me and not at all ashamed of judging a book by the cover, please, don’t do so heThis week I want to talk about Gone, by Michael Grant. If you’re like me and not at all ashamed of judging a book by the cover, please, don’t do so here. I almost did (because let’s face it, this cover is crap), and I’m so glad now that I looked for its inner beauty.
The first thing that readers need to know about Gone is that, though it is classified as a YA novel and centers around young adults, it is written by an author whose primary focus up to this point has been children’s literature, specifically the Animorphs books. This means that the book can at times feel younger than their target audience.
In Gone, fourteen year old Sam is sitting in class one day when POOF, everyone over the age of fifteen disappears. There’s no explanation, no reason that anyone can figure, and absolutely no warning. Worse still is that anyone left disappears once they too turn fifteen. Left behind are a group of children, some of whom have begun to develop strange abilities, who must suddenly fend for themselves.
The problem is, with the disappearance of the adults came a new threat – and not just the Lord of the Flies-esque power struggle among the remaining children. All around the California town that provides the novel’s setting, a strange , impenetrable wall of energy has appeared – a wall that traps them where they are and prevents any outside assistance.
The real strength of Gone is the plotting of the mystery and the action. The true genius about the way the book is set up – and the thing that really made me feel the tension that was building the most – was that the chapter titles are a countdown. This is a major unifying element in a book that explores multiple points of view. Every time I turned the page to a new chapter and saw that time had barely moved or that a big jump had happened, I’d feel that little tightness in my stomach and that urge to read on and find out what the hell was being counted down to.
The multiple points of view in the book could have ruined it. I myself tend to hate multiple points of view because, for me, it spoils the mystery of what the other characters are thinking. However, Grant has handled the issue intelligently. Technically, the book is third person, so these jumps between characters seem less jarring. Mostly, though, the points of view all highlight very different aspects of the novel’s plot.
The villain and his compatriots are obvious from the beginning, which was something I wish had been hidden a little more and drawn out a little longer. As this is the first in a series, the ultimate climax is not any kind of resolution or explanation about what’s happened, but rather a showdown between the hero and his counterpart. This was one portion of the book that could have been more tightly packed with action. Unfortunately, the villain was not as well drawn as the good guys, which made it harder to feel anything about what he was trying to do or who he was.
My favorite thing about the book was Sam. Sam emerges as the leader in the Fayz (the Fallout Alley Youth Zone inside the dome) early through both his fairness and his heroism. But what makes Sam special is that Sam doesn’t want this. Sam wants to figure out what the hell is going on with his body and what it means. He wants his mother back. He wants to figure out what’s going on and how to fix it to get everyone’s old lives back. And he wants to figure out if Astrid, the crazy smart girl he’s had a thing for, has a thing for him. (Yeah, there is some romance, but it’s not the focus.)
The biggest problem with Gone stems from Grant’s background as a children’s author. The major difference that I’ve noticed between these two genres is that in one you have to explain all the messed up things going on and in one you don’t. Grant has tons of really crazy things – flying snakes, talking wolves, special powers – without ever really explaining them. It’s only the first book in what will ultimately be a series (the sequel is out, but I’m waiting for paperback so it’ll match the first book because I’m OCD that way), but at times, as an adult reader, you can’t help cocking your head and thinking “Flying snakes? Really?”
The younger voice of the book also can make things predictable. While you can’t quite figure out what’s going on, you can figure out the small things. You can call the villain almost immediately. You can tell what’s going to happen between the characters early. And the problems the teens are facing privately sometimes seem clichéd (a character has an eating disorder, there is the stereotypical bully, the typical jealous best friend etc.).
Overall, Gone makes for a good, suspenseful read that kept me interested through all 558 pages. It certainly contains bizarre elements (see: flying snakes), but, much like The Last Apprentice series, the pages seem to fly by and the simplicity of the writing works well to complement the mystery of the plot. I’ll definitely read the sequel.
Let me start by saying that I have not read Uglies. I own it and have read the first chapter three times. I’m even intrigued by the characters and theLet me start by saying that I have not read Uglies. I own it and have read the first chapter three times. I’m even intrigued by the characters and the introduction to the plot but for some reason I cannot get into it.
So, I was surprised at how excited I was to read this. I didn’t even pause to think I wouldn’t be buying it. Maybe because its steampunk and I love steampunk, maybe because it has that awesomely beautiful cover, or maybe because it rewrites the history surrounding WWI. I’m not sure, but I’m so glad I did.
The book centre’s around two main characters, Aleksander and Deryn. Aleksander is the fictional son of two real people. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Princess Sophie (I think I got that right, their weird marriage and titles are a little confusing), and the book starts off the night they are murdered, the beginning of the Great War.
Just as in actually history Westerfeld has WWI be more about weapons and the leaders of countries showing off. But the type of weapons have changed. It’s no longer tanks and machine guns. The Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungry, and Italy, in this book sometimes called The Clankers, have steam-powered iron machines. Some of the machines look vaguely humanoid, some like giant insects that scuttle across the ground. All are fast, heavy and heavily armed.
Deryn is a fifteen year old girl from Scotland who wants to fly. Her, now deceased, father used to take her up in an air balloon and she has never loved anything as much as flying with dad. And now she wants nothing more than to join the Air Service so she can fly all the time.
The only problem being they only accept males. So, Deryn becomes Dylan and is quickly made a midshipman on the great living airship, Leviathan.
The Triple Entent of the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire do not use giant iron machines. They are Darwinists, and use genetically manipulated animals as weapons. The Leviathan is a living, breathing animal.
I enjoyed Westerfeld’s representation of the weapons conflict that actually did happen in Europe. His fictional one, of Darwinists versus Clankers almost makes more sense than what actually happened, as WWI was the war of “I have more tanks than you, nanner, nanner, nanner.” In Leviathan we see that the two sides don’t trust one another’s technology. Westerfeld weaves the history and sci-fi together seamlessly.
Despite all of the history intermingled with fantasy and science-fiction, what I loved most about the book was the characters. Alek the spoiled rich kid who isn’t a snob and Deryn the commoner determined to go after her dreams. Their journey’s were intriguing and kept me turning the pages, eager for more.
Westerfeld’s description of the weird science in the story was very artfully handled. The details made sense, were informative and didn’t take over the story. There has been so much steampunk where the plot is just a tool to describe the authors mechanical ideas. That did not happen here, thankfully.
I had one pet peeve, and it probably isn’t something most people would pick up on. Near the beginning of the book, Deryn goes for a ride on something similar to a hot air balloon. But instead of being in a basket she’s is free hanging from a harness, her legs dangling. And because of gravity affecting a person’s circulation, if one were to actually do this for as long as she did, they would probably be dead. Or at least have severe brain damage. And this wasn’t really addressed at all.
But like I said, most people aren’t aware of this and probably wont find it distracting.
All in all, it was a fast paced, enjoyable read and the ending definitely left me wanting more.
I like sci-fi novels, but they aren’t my favorite thing so the standards for me even reading them are pretty high. It takes both a good cover and a grI like sci-fi novels, but they aren’t my favorite thing so the standards for me even reading them are pretty high. It takes both a good cover and a great premise for me to pick one up. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi had both. I have a weird obsession with old ships. It’s part of why I saw Titanic eight times in theaters (the other part being that I was in eighth grade, so no judging please), it’s part of why I’m obsessed with WWII museums, and it’s part of why I love living in a port city. So the cover and title of Ship Breaker tugged me in. And the blurb kept my attention because I live on the gulf coast and the only books that are ever set here are the ghost stories people set in New Orleans.
Ship Breaker takes place sometime in the future, but we don’t really know when. We also don’t really know what happened to get people to that point except that the coasts of cities are wrecked, huge portions of the population live in abject property, the old Gulf cities have been abandoned, and massive clipper ships with huge sails are the primary and most luxurious method of transportation around. Nailer Lopez has only seen these ships in pictures. He’s one of the poverty stricken masses, working on the ravaged coastline to scavenge pieces of old oil tankers run aground, crawling deep into their bellies to try to meet the quota his crew needs of things like copper wire. His only chance out seems to be finding a “lucky strike,” some scavenge he can use to get rich quick. Until, that is, a huge hurricane ship wrecks one of the wealthiest girls on the planet on his shores.
I always start my reviews talking about characters because characters are what tie me to the books I read. It is a testament to the brilliance of this book that the characters are what I go to first here, as well. I loved Nailer. Too often, characters are black or white, good or bad. Nailer lived firmly in the gray areas, where all of us real people live. He wasn’t always completely altruistic, but even if he considered the less savory option, he usually did the right thing. And Paolo Bacigalupi does an excellent job of showing us, not telling us the kind of person Nailer is. He comes from a rough background and we see the way that changes the way he sees things rather than being told every page that look, he had a rough life, cut him some slack. We know he did and it’s obvious that his history determines how he sees things. I also felt like he went on a good journey in this book – not that he had some aha moment about how the world really works, but that he learned things about himself that the reader knew were there all along.
I also liked Pima and Nita, who in a lot of ways were two sides of the same coin. Both girls, but from two completely different worlds – Pima a ship breaker like Nailer and Nita the richest girl on the planet. Pima was loyal and fair and, like Nailer, she didn’t always want to do the right thing, but she did it anyway. And Nita was more than her swank upbringing, but she wasn’t this perfect compassionate person. She judged and thought she was better than the people who were trying to save her, even if she didn’t want to and even if she worked twice as hard as they expected. It’s Paolo Bacigalupi’s real strength, I think, drawing whole characters who are true to the background and history he gives them.
The details of the world built in Ship Breaker were what put it a cut above so many other books. From the tattoos that brand Pima and Nailer like sheep, like the property of the crew bosses who treat them like slaves to the way the “city” they lived in was described was perfection. I loved the idea of the clipper ships, and I could see how easy it would be for someone like Nailer to romanticize them – I did too. The “Half-men” in the novel gave it a real sci-fi feel without overwhelming things, as did mentions of the “Cult of Life” and the harvesters who bought organs and eyes and any body part that might have a value.
My one complaint is entirely centered on the fact that I live in Louisiana and I’m sensitive to the talk of hurricanes etc., but sometimes the talk of the city killer hurricanes and how people drilling destroyed the wetlands felt a little preachy, a little too political and out of place with the rest of the book. In the end though, I doubt people outside of this region would notice, and I ended up not caring at all because I loved this book so much.
Overall, Ship Breaker was a balanced book. It had a strong plot that kept me turning the pages with characters who were all likable and relatable. And the characters perfectly fit the plot, which is something I find that too often novels don’t do anymore. When I got to the last page, it felt like a complete book, too, but I was hoping for a sequel anyway. And my wish is apparently the universe’s command, because the next installment, The Drowned Cities, is due…sometime in 2011. I’d guess in May, though there’s no release date and how I will wait that long I don’t know (See? There was no cliff hangar and still I’m desperate for more of this world).
Also! I just saw on Twitter as I was preparing to post this review that Paolo Bacigalupi has won a Hugo Award (wow I have excellent taste). Congratulations! So, readers, Kate and critics agree – his books are awesome and you should read them!
I fully picked this book up in Barnes and Noble because it had a rec from Suzanna Collins on the cover. I have no shame in admitting that. And, ok, II fully picked this book up in Barnes and Noble because it had a rec from Suzanna Collins on the cover. I have no shame in admitting that. And, ok, I liked the cover, too. And the title. And, fine, I read a few pages and that tickled me enough to buy it. But still. When Suzanne Collins is reccing things, well, I’m dang sure going to listen. And boy am I glad I did.
Black Hole Sun tells the story of Cowboy. Or Durango. Or Jacob. Three names that all refer to one incredibly awesome lead character. Durango is a regulator on Mars, where it seems at least part or maybe all of humanity has relocated. Regulator’s are sort of like Jedi – they have a moral code they live by and don’t kill for the sake of killing. But he isn’t a real regulator anymore. He’s dalit, and he’s an outcast (cue girly sigh). Durango and his fellow regulators agree to travel to an old mining posts to help the miners – who are kind of the dregs of Mars society – fight a cannibalistic enemy who wants to feast on their children.
Even though this is clearly a science fiction novel, it was perfectly tailored to a young adult audience. The science-y stuff (see how technical and savvy I am?) is kept to a definitely readable and enjoyable level. Instead, Gills focused on the style of a sci-fi book – the feelings it evokes in the reader. Durango was brash and space cowboy-esque. He frequently let out his feelings in exclamations in foreign languages. But not alien languages, French or Chinese etc. This was not only helpful in adding some familiarity, but it told us a lot about the world Gills created on Mars, one in which humanity has simply popped itself across space and kept a lot of the same history. And the action in the novel was excellently done – fast-paced but still readable and intense without resulting to gore (which was a feat considering the fact that the enemy likes to eat people). Oh! And having just a couple chapters of villain point of view really set the pace of the book – it gave enough background to raise the stakes for the reader without spoiling the overall plot by losing the mystery of what was going on with the bad guys.
My favorite part of this book was Durango. I liked that he had a troubled history but refused to let it define him. I liked that he wanted to be his own man and was willing to break the “rules” – even if it meant giving up on something he wanted – to do the right thing. He was strong without being perfect. He was funny and humble and it was so clear that he was someone to respect and look up to. And I love the fact that he treated his subordinates as equals, that he was quick to point out and rely on the strength of the people in his group.
Which brings me to Vienne. It’s nice to see a female supporting character who has the same strength and brains possessed by the male lead. And it’s nice to see the male appreciate it. Part of the reason Durango works so well with Vienne is that he does know that he can count on her. But he also knows she isn’t made of glass and when he has hard decisions to make he can make them without worrying about her going to pieces on him – and he can make them even if he knows it will make her hate him. Because she has the strength to put that away and focus on the big picture.
The rest of the supporting cast was also fun and well done. Each character had a niche, but they filled it well and they all came together to make a really fun group dynamic. Mimi especially – the “Artificial intelligence” unit transplanted in Durango’s brain and the one who calls him Cowboy – was an added level of intrigue. She is such a part of Durango yet separate and apart, torn between a human part of him and a mechanical tool which played perfectly into the story. I wanted to know more about Mimi throughout the book, and getting to see her evolving relationship with her Cowboy was a lot of fun.
My only problem with Mimi was that there was some inconsistency in how Durango talked to her. Sometimes it was in quotes and sometimes it wasn’t, so it was often hard to tell if he was saying something aloud to her or thinking etc. And really, my one complaint about this novel actually had nothing to do with the story. Scattered throughout, and especially towards the end, were a variety of typographical errors etc. There weren’t a ton, but they occurred at intense bits. On the one hand, it made me smile because I’d guess even the editor was so caught up in the end that they might have missed it. But I saw them, and they pulled me out of the magic that was the final fourth of the book a bit.
My only other complaint is that I want to know more. More about Durango. More about Mars. More about the history of humanity that led them there. More about the regulators. And I can only hope that enough people other than me read this book so we can find out more. Because if the author isn’t planning a sequel, I’m going to pout for an unseemly amount of time for someone my age.
Black Hole Sun is fast-paced, exciting, funny, and yet still smart and emotional. I hope y’all love it as much as I did.
There is an exception to every rule. I hate the sci-fi genre. I hate dystopian novels. I have no use for alien races or novels with outdated-yet-futurThere is an exception to every rule. I hate the sci-fi genre. I hate dystopian novels. I have no use for alien races or novels with outdated-yet-futuristic cyber graphics on the cover. Except, naturally, for one. Orson Scott Card’s novel, and frankly the entire series that it spawned, Ender’s Game, proved in both the year of my birth and now 25 years later, that it will forever surpass all boundaries.
For example, while searching for a copy of the novel in a book store you’ll find it in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Young Adult and Popular Fiction sections. It’s often required reading in high school and is also on the U.S. Marine Corp Professional Reading list at all levels. It can be found on both the Modern Library “100 Best Novels” and the American Library Association’s “100 Best Books for Teens,” and can boast of winning both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel in 1986. For people who know Sci-Fi, those are mighty prestigious awards.
Yet looking outside of awards and lists, Ender’s Game is one of those novels that can be something completely different to each person who reads it, and even to the same person who reads it at different times. I first read it when I was a senior in high school under the recommendation of a friend. I’ve since read it every year thereafter, and not once have I taken the same message from it twice. At each new age and place I am in my life I read it entirely differently.
At first glace, it’s easy to see how Ender’s Game could be a young adult book – the main character never ages past his early teens. It begins with a six year old Andrew “Ender” Wiggins, the third child in a world that rarely sees more than a two child household. His parents, who are quietly brilliant in their own way, had two older children, one far too cruel, and one far too kind. The government commissioned the Wiggins to have a third; a child small for his age, terrified of his brother, and ostracized for being incredibly brilliant. It was for this reason that the government chose him to attend Battle School, an elite school designated to train children from a very early age for combat in the next Formic War.
The Formics are an alien race, nicknamed “Buggers” by most people, who attacked Earth. Barely able to defeat them once decades earlier, the world’s governments united as one under the Hegemony on Earth and the overarching space military, the International Fleet. The common enemy and fear of oblivion did what no man could accomplish, and because of that the power the IF maintains is vast and all encompassing. The Battle School is seen as the only hope for mankind, and by having a trained army at the ready, the Earth will be able to protect itself from the inevitable next invasion of the Buggers. At this macro level, this novel seems highly futuristic and sci-fi, but rest assured, I wouldn’t have kept reading it if this was all there was to it. The alien invasion and the IF are plot devices, but moreover they are symbolic of a novel written during the Cold War when the detente between the Soviet Union and the United States led many to believe the oblivion of man was not only possible, but at times inevitable. The Hegemony parallels the limited enforcement capabilities of the United Nations in a rather ingenuius way. Ender’s brother and sister become anonymous web demagogues, taking the names of famous theorists, Demosthenes and Locke, to shape the politics of the world. Honestly, this series takes a lot of the responsibility for me majoring in International Relations and Political Philosophy – it was quite literally life shaping.
The heart of the novel though, is not its setting or its background politics, it’s the character of Ender. He’s taken into space to Battle School, isolated instantly and deliberately targeted by Commander Graff as the smartest, and therefore least liked kid in school. He is taught to be distant from everyone around him and forced into horrific situations by bullies that taught him that it’s never enough to stop an enemy temporarily – they must be put down permanently. What is most remarkable about Ender, though, is that he is created to destroy, but it is only through his all encompassing ability to love that he is able to do it. The phrase, “Love thine enemy” is taken quite literally; first an overgrown six year old bully on earth, then a teenage wannabe commander in Battle School, to ultimately the Bugger Queen, in succession Ender’s relations with each shape who he becomes as a person. Ender, the child created because his sister is too kind and his brother too cruel is the Wiggin that learns his enemy until he loves them and is finally the one to kill them.
The book has serious Machiavellian overtones ala Cesare Borgia – do absolutely anything to put down the enemy and the end always justify the means when it comes to survival. Ender is a tool of the government, of Battle School, of his peers, and of humanity. He was created for the purpose to destroy and yet is never once told that’s what he’s doing. He’s not informed that he’s killed two children (he thinks he hurt them) and when he kills the Buggers it’s done in a simulation of a final exam. It’s only afterward, when his life’s work has been completed and he’s being heralded as a hero that someone clues him into what he’s done. He’s committed xenocide, taking out an entire race of sentient creatures all before he’d normally graduate high school. It destroys him and effectively separates him from humanity for the rest of his life. It’s a powerful and gripping look at human nature as a whole, sociology, psychology, warfare and child development.
As a young adult, this novel reads as a great adventure; how one kid saves the world. In college it’s a genius portrayal of all those classes you’re sitting through – history, politics, philosophy, physics, psychology, etc, applied into a novel without you realizing it. Now as an alleged adult, I read it and it breaks my heart what’s done to this child – and I see the strength and the power of his character – both entirely naive and yet naturally cynical, and I want to protect him. I’m compelled to give him the childhood that was stolen and allow someone who is naturally benevolent the ability to grow up without knowing what it means to kill. Most of all though, at every age, through a novel about space aliens and warfare, from a character who becomes entirely disconnected from mankind, I learned about humanity and the strength of man.
For these reasons I chose this novel as my Flashback Friday choice. It shaped me as a person and how I’ve learned to see the world and others and it has never once made me stop thinking. The sproceeding novels, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind and Ender in Exile are far more oriented toward adults, particularly delve into politics and philosophy. The secondary series, tells the story of Bean, a member of Ender’s jeesh (Battle School Army) who is far more coldly calculating and who after the war returns to Earth to be apart of a world now at war with itself in Ender’s Shadow. I cannot recommend them enough, and I hope they come to mean as much to you as they do to me.
A different sort of Flashback Friday than usual. This book was published when I was teenager (I think…it’s pretty close anyway) but I didn’t read it uA different sort of Flashback Friday than usual. This book was published when I was teenager (I think…it’s pretty close anyway) but I didn’t read it until just now. So, it’s sort of like a Flashback…right?
*squidges by on a technicality*
I loved this book. I loved it’s fast pace, it’s cast, and it’s flying and jumping off of things.
I feel that Uglies paved the way for the YA Dystopian genre. I’m sure it wasn’t the absolute first (although, now I’m wondering what was?) but it holds many similarities to other dystopians I’ve read. Not in the writing or the characters or the plot, but in the idea that in the future, we will all be forced to undergo some sort of operation at a certain age, to make us less human. Something that started out with good intentions, like making everyone equally pretty as in this book, but paved the path for a tyrant to come in and take over.
Uglies is one of those books. When one reaches the age of sixteen, in this world, you go under the knife and come out…pretty. They shape your bones and your eyes and your lips. The scrub off any marks on your skin and suction off all your fat. They make you gorgeous. Unbelievably gorgeous. Just like everyone else.
More than the story or the characters, or perhaps not MORE than but alongside all of the traditional parts of telling a story Scott Westerfeld tries to ascertain whether or not this is a good thing or not. Whether or not all the insecurity and self-doubt and self-consciousness that afflicts us as teenagers and young adults can be solved by changing the way we look. This spoke to me a lot. I don’t know that I would be able to turn this down even now that I’m twenty five (and have read a LOT of cautionary fiction) so it is very easy to identify with Tally, the main character. I completely understand why she wants to be Pretty. All her friends are Pretty. She has been brought up on the idea that she isn’t just ugly, she is an Ugly. Her whole being right now needs to be different so that she can fit it. Authority figures have been telling her this all her life.
So, the idea that she would betray a friend, especially so new a friend, when her Pretty operation is withheld from her is completely believable and understandable. And also awesome because it sends her on a hover-boarding adventure across a deserted landscape of future earth. I especially enjoyed the way the setting was described because it could have been anywhere, on any continent, the aftermath of any part of civilization. It felt the same and yet different from anything else I’ve read like it.
The world building was exceptional in this story.
As were the characters. Tally’s longing to become Pretty and join her friends was palpable. It made the whole story stick together. Her complete and utter belief that she was ugly and inferior and needed to be different. Needed to have someone else change her, was, in a way, just as I’d felt as a teenager but was also a million times worse.
Shay, Tally’s friend who runs away from the city just before her Pretty operation, was very simple on the surface but the more I think about it, the more complex and important she was. All her appearances in the beginning seem to serve some sort of purpose to the plot. Whether it be teaching Tally to use the hover-board or being the runaway that forces others to send Tally out into the wild searching for her. But the relationship the two develop outside of the city is different and her character became more alive to me then. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes Shay.
And then there’s David, who, despite being an ugly past the age of sixteen, seemed to be the most attractive character in this book. I loved his confidence and his authority and his connection to Tally. A lot of spoilers are wrapped up in why I love David so much so I’m not going to say anything more, except if he and Tally don’t end up together, I’m gong to be unhappy.
After years and years of not reading this book, I’ve owned for it at least two yours, what prompted me to pick it up was, well, Scott Westerfeld was in town and man does he know how to put on an author event. If he is ever doing an event near you, go. Don’t think twice about it. He was funny, informative, entertaining, and just had some awesome things to say. As I went to his very last tour stop for Behemoth I respect his ability to keep things sounding fresh and new even though he must have shown those same slides a million times.