If you've been looking for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, look no further. This book has it all:
a dark grim setting (the Martial Empire of rIf you've been looking for a worthy successor to The Hunger Games, look no further. This book has it all:
a dark grim setting (the Martial Empire of ruthless soldiers has conquered the Scholars and keeps them under its' brutal thumb);
brave heroes who must persevere against unbelievable hardships and oppression (a Martial warrior-in-training named Elias, who chafes against his cruel upbringing and his own culture's very nature, and a scholar girl named Laia who has lost nearly everything and will do whatever it takes to save her brother, the only family she has left, even if it means undergoing torture and worse);
fierce violent battles to the death and nasty foes;
and the spark of love among the despair. Oh, and there's the possibility of dark supernatural beings from storytelling legend actually being *real.* Strength. Courage. Loyalty. These will all be tested as Elias and Laia struggle to survive.
Excellent book! fast-paced, action-packed, full of heart and themes of courage and perseverance and humanity. Why do I have to wait another year for the sequel?! Aaaah!...more
Okay, a book about genetically altered teens who can breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with dolphins? Who are on the run from the goveOkay, a book about genetically altered teens who can breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with dolphins? Who are on the run from the government and have to fight sharks, giant squids, and each other as they try to find a safe haven? I am so there! This book was a lot of fun, even with the slightly preposterous concept. But really, science fiction can cover everything, so why not talking to dolphins? I'm ready to read the sequel for sure. Give this one to fans of Maximum Ride, for the gene splicing and the chapters with suspenseful cliffhanger last sentences, and to any kid who loves dolphins, or to a reader of The Hunger Games who wants a shorter, lighter dystopian adventure. Set underwater, did I mention it's underwater? Interesting to read this one fairly soon after I'd read Atlantia, also set underwater but much more serious and supernatural in tone. Those kids can't breathe underwater without equipment; not nearly as fun!...more
Another great book from McGinnis and a sequel as good as the first book. Taking place ten years after Not a Drop to Drink, Lucy, the little girl fromAnother great book from McGinnis and a sequel as good as the first book. Taking place ten years after Not a Drop to Drink, Lucy, the little girl from that story is now 16 and living happily with Lynn, her mother figure (the teen who was the main character in the first book). Lucy doesn't know any world but the place she lives, the pond that provides their water, her friendships with Vera, Stebbs and a possible romantic future with Carter. But when polio strikes down many of the community and strangers who come straggling in for help, Lucy's world is shattered. She must separate from Carter and all she's known, setting out with Lynn to try to find a new place to live that will be safe and sustaining. Thus begins the hardest of road trips--a journey on foot from Ohio to California, braving the elements, lack of water, difficult terrain, and trying to avoid any people along the way, because in a world with hardly any water and no amenities, Lucy has to follow Lynn's example, against her own cheerful disposition, and not trust anyone they meet.
I loved going back into this harsh world and reacquainting myself with Lynn, who is tough, gruff, and amazingly strong, yet full of heart (she just never ever wears it on her sleeve). It was cool to see her grown up, and in the position of mother, and to see little Lucy coming into her own. The relationship between the two women is awesome. And Lucy's sense of humor was a great leavener in some pretty grim scenes. I've read quite a few post-apocalyptic survival stories, but I definitely rank these two up at the top for realistic setting and suspenseful plots and well-rounded characters you remember long after you put the book down....more
An interesting premise--people long ago were exiled to live in The Below, deep underwater, when The Above (land) became poisoned by pollution. The twoAn interesting premise--people long ago were exiled to live in The Below, deep underwater, when The Above (land) became poisoned by pollution. The two civilizations help each other: the Above sends food down in exchange for minerals mined by people Below in Atlantia. And some in Atlantia have developed the ability to magically use their voices to persuade or coerce behavior; they are called Sirens and are mostly shunned. Rio, 16, is a Siren but has kept her ability secret all her life, by speaking only in a flat nonmagical voice. She also has an aunt who is a Siren but is the black sheep of the family. Rio's always wanted to go Above, but after their mother died in a suspicious manner, Rio promised her twin sister Bay that she would never leave her. And right at the outset of the book, Bay betrays her sister by going Above! (In the annual ceremony where teens can decide if they want to leave their community forever; but they can only go if they are leaving at least one family member Below. So now Rio is doomed to stay in Atlantia.) Rio decides she cannot live without her sister, and without ever seeing the Above, so she begins scheming to figure out another way to get herself up to the surface without killing herself.
Okay, that's the setup. But I think the execution fell a little flat. I just wanted a little more...something. There's a romance, but very tame. The mythologies of the Above and Below were a little vague and confusing to me (the Atlantian Temple has a jar of sacred dirt in it!), and I didn't understand why for an underwater society, the Atlantians were so deathly afraid of swimming or being in water. I get that they're miles underwater and the pressure is crazy, but to have to walk everywhere with an air mask just in case of an emergency leak? Why hadn't they developed any underwater scuba gear or something? The only air tanks were illegally sold on the black market. The book's okay for middle schoolers, but I was disappointed after having enjoyed the author's Matched trilogy so much. I didn't think the language in this one was anything special, whereas in Matched there were many times I was impressed by the wording....more
Well, I should say right off the bat that Lois Lane is my alltime favorite comic book character. Okay maybe tied with Clark Kent/Superman. But definitWell, I should say right off the bat that Lois Lane is my alltime favorite comic book character. Okay maybe tied with Clark Kent/Superman. But definitely my favorite FEMALE character. So I went in to read this book with great anticipation, and maybe a little bias. But it turned out that my expectations were exceeded! This is a fun teen novel about a spunky, hardheaded, curious, brave and feisty girl who just happens to be the same Lois Lane as in the comics. The author got the character right as a teen. She's new to Metropolis High, and hopes to implement her plan to stay out of trouble and make a friend. But on her very first day, her irrepressible nose for news and her stubborn nature get in the way of fulfilling that promise so easily. Lois steps up to defend a girl who's being bullied, which I love about her--the "real" Lois would totally do that!--making herself a potential target too, as she begins to investigate the weird group of virtual reality gamers who are doing the bullying. There's a cool gaming/sci fi element to the plot. She does start to make friends by the end, kind of despite herself. And, Lois keeps up her online friendship with "SmallvilleGuy," a teen with whom she has been instant messaging for a couple of years, ever since they met on an online board for conspiracy nuts and debunkers. (I LOVE how they first connect!) She knows he is her age but that's about all she knows, because he won't tell her his real name or share a photo. The whole Lois/SmallvilleGuy relationship is priceless, knowing what we as readers know about the characters' futures. The way SmallvilleGuy dances around telling her who he is and what he can do, just had me chuckling. And by the end of the story it's really quite romantic. The story progresses quickly, with lots of snappy comebacks and good high school interactions and ambiance. Lois is recruited to be on the "Daily Scoop," a teen-reported webpage that's run by the Daily Planet, and I love that too, that she's not just a reporter for her high school paper but for a real paper already. Totally plausible and cool. The relationships between Lois and her father and Lois and her sister are great too. There's mystery to the plot as well as some action. Please let there be sequels!!
*Note: I'm not sure what shelf to put this on: it's a "realistic" teen novel, but there's kind of a sci-fi element if you think about who SmallvilleGuy really is! And the VR stuff is pretty advanced. So I went with both....more
Excellent third book in the series. I think this one is my favorite so far.I love the banter, the romance, the space opera-ness. And Iko the Ship! CanExcellent third book in the series. I think this one is my favorite so far.I love the banter, the romance, the space opera-ness. And Iko the Ship! Can't wait for the next book....more
Although it's been awhile since I read any of the Divergent books, I'd wanted to read this collection to finish up the story. I enjoyed the narrator'sAlthough it's been awhile since I read any of the Divergent books, I'd wanted to read this collection to finish up the story. I enjoyed the narrator's voice, first of all; he sounded close to the actor from the movies which is always helpful :-) It was cool to hear things from Four's point of view, and see how the author retold some of the scenes from Divergent from his perspective. Nothing fantastically new here, but it was nice to dip into the universe again while waiting for the second movie....more
Very violent, yet thoughtful sequel to The Fifth Wave. Human survivors Cassie, Ben, and their young compatriots are hiding from the Others, trying toVery violent, yet thoughtful sequel to The Fifth Wave. Human survivors Cassie, Ben, and their young compatriots are hiding from the Others, trying to recover and look for a safe place to live. Ben has to decide whether or not they can trust alien-human hybrid Evan, whom Cassie loves. And they discover that the invading Others have stooped to a new low in their plans to eliminate the human race. Meanwhile fellow human Ringer, who had gone off to scout possible caverns, ends up in enemy hands and must go to extremes to survive alien medical technology experimentation and her own personal demons. Lots of action, shootings, killings, sacrifice, and the overall theme of what it truly means to be human. ...more
I wanted to like this more because I thought The Maze Runner was so unique. This book is good, just not fantastic for me. The virtual reality video gaI wanted to like this more because I thought The Maze Runner was so unique. This book is good, just not fantastic for me. The virtual reality video game setting was cool, but I got bored when the game turned surreal; way too much running through long boring empty hallways. I also thought that if you have players in the game who are hackers and can "see" the Code that the game runs on, then you're giving them a lot of power. They use it a little, but most of the time when they look into the Code it's vaguely too complex or confusing for them to do anything with. Well, then why bother giving them that ability in the first place? It took the fun out of it for me, seeing that Michael wasn't just playing the game but also hacking it. Yet, he wasn't able to hack it when he really needed to. I would have preferred him just to be immersed in the world and having to come up with solutions based on his surroundings. This book may also have suffered in my opinion of it because I was listening to it while also reading a print copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which I much preferred as a very realistic way to write about virtual reality gaming. That one made sense! This book was too fantasy for me. But I can see recommending The Eye of Minds to middle school kids, especially boys, for a fast-paced sci-fi story with a surprising twist at the end....more
Excellent sequel to The Reluctant Assassin. It starts out a little confusingly, however, because our heroine Chevie has come back from the past into aExcellent sequel to The Reluctant Assassin. It starts out a little confusingly, however, because our heroine Chevie has come back from the past into an alternate future--and she's not the Chevie we know from the first book. Her personality has changed because of her new timeline; yet there's a part of her consciousness, what she calls "Traitor Chevie", that is trying to break through and regain control of her body. Sounds confusing, but it makes sense after you read it. Chevie and Riley, who's still in 1899, eventually get together to fight against the evil Colonel Box, who has come from the future (his future, where he runs an evil empire) to start creating his empire in Victorian London. Lots of action, humor, time traveling confusion, and two lunkhead characters named Thundercats who are comic relief and also provide muscle and danger. Great book, I love Colfer's stuff!...more
An interesting science fiction story about a teen girl who dies from a sniper's bullet at a political rally in 2027, and wakes up in a hospital 100 yeAn interesting science fiction story about a teen girl who dies from a sniper's bullet at a political rally in 2027, and wakes up in a hospital 100 years later, having been cryogenically frozen and reawakened when the technology was available. Tegan is the first ever person to be successfully revived in this way, as part of a military project designed to resuscitate fallen soldiers. She is naturally very shocked, and has to adjust to a new culture, new computer technology, and the loss of all of her friends and family. She had just begun dating a boy, what seemed like yesterday to her, so she mourns the sudden loss of him and what might have been for them as a couple, although in reality he went on to marry and live a long life without her. Tegan also gets caught up in a political fight, as there are many people who protest her very existence; a radical religious group claims she has no soul and that the government has no right to play God and exert control over life, etc. She befriends a Djibouti boy who is in Australia on a special visa because there is a strict "no immigration" policy. Then there is the conspiracy theory/hidden agenda aspect of the story, as Tegan learns more about the truth of the military revival project and why she is being kept a virtual prisoner, told what to say to the media and not allowed to go anywhere on her own. Once I got used to the strong Australian accent of the book narrator, I really liked this story for the interweaving of all of those plot threads and the themes of independence, fate, standing up for what's right and the thought of what it might really be like to outlive one's entire family and support system. Tegan's voice is realistic, she has normal reactions to what's happened to her, and develops strength of character as she gets caught up in scary situations. This would make an interesting book to discuss with teens in a book group or classroom setting, because there's a lot of political stuff like climate change/overpollution/overpopulation/meaning of life stuff in the book as well....more
Wonderful sequel to Cinder. This is my favorite kind of book, a "space opera," with fun characters who engage in witty banter, evil villains with an eWonderful sequel to Cinder. This is my favorite kind of book, a "space opera," with fun characters who engage in witty banter, evil villains with an evil plan (mindcontrolling aliens from the moon who want to take over Earth? Check!), a sci fi setting (future Earth, where countries have been united in various Federations and are at peace with each other, and cyborgs and androids are commonplace), action, suspense, romance, sigh....
Scarlet, the new main character, is as determined and feisty as Cinder, and I love how the two characters' storylines intertwine as the story goes on, adding new characters for more interest (I love the dashing playboy pilot Thorne, and of course, Wolf is the darkly handsome, darkly mysterious and musclebound hero every girl wants to read about :-)
I couldn't put this book down, and eagerly grabbed the sequel, Cress. Now I am longing for the fourth book to hurry up and get here!...more
Very weird and depressing story. It's 1959, in an alternate-world dystopia setting. Standish, 15, can't read or write, lives in horrible poverty withVery weird and depressing story. It's 1959, in an alternate-world dystopia setting. Standish, 15, can't read or write, lives in horrible poverty with Grandfather in "the Motherland" where no one is free to speak their mind and homes are subject to sudden unannounced searches by the "greenflies" (soldiers). He's bullied at school for his two-colored eyes, even sees a sadistic teacher meat a boy to death merely for laughing at him (the teacher). Standish and his grandfather, Standish's one kind teacher, and Standish's only friend, Hector, are all involved in the search for a missing "moon man" (astronaut), during which Standish uncovers a strange government conspiracy. I can't even summarize this plot; I don't want to give away the ending but it had a lot to do with why I didn't like the book. The basic theme is how totalitarian states can't entirely suppress individual freedom of choice, but then there's the rat illustrations (rats die; a fly lays eggs on them; new fly hatches! Why?!) and weird vocabulary choices; Standish uses made up words like "frick-fracking" but then the book also contains the F bomb and other real profanity. Weird book. Not at all sure why the Printz committee gave it an honor, but that's just MHO....more
This is a very weird book. It is a very funny book, also profane, and a little profound maybe. The basic plot is like something out of a 1960's atomicThis is a very weird book. It is a very funny book, also profane, and a little profound maybe. The basic plot is like something out of a 1960's atomic-science fiction movie: two high school boys witness the unwitting unleashing of giant killer praying mantises on an unsuspecting town! All these bugs want to do is is eat--they eat humans, as well as each other--and mate. And maybe eat their mate while mating. If the bugs aren't stopped, they will rapidly multiply and take over the world! But oh no, they're UNSTOPPABLE! They were created in a secret lab experiment in the 60's, by some really twisted scientists trying to come up with the world's best soldier, and it's going to be really hard to undo that experiment. Then there are the two young men who get caught up in this horrific carnage--Austin, who loves his girlfriend Shannon but who is also having strong feelings for his best friend Robby, who came out as gay a few years ago. It's going to be up to the three of them to save the world and maybe perpetuate the human species. This book is a story of love and sexual identity and the end of the world, and the bonds of friendship and the hopes of small town boys who yearn to get out of their dead-end lives, as well as a story of a lot of blood and guts and sci-fi hilarity. The book is really funny! But also gross at the same time, which is also funny. Austin styles himself a historian, so he's writing down everything that happens to himself and his friends, in what he feels is a detached objective manner. He also is documenting his ancestry, weaving in the stories of what happened to his father and his grandfather and his great-grandfather who came over on the boat from Poland. So there are a lot of details in this book, some of which weren't necessarily needed, as well as crude teen-boy language. (There's also a lot of repetition--every time Austin gives someone's name, he gives both first and last name, which drove me crazy by the end of the book. And he started chapters by repeating what had just happened previously. I think it was his pseudo-historian writing style, trying to be that impartial observer, but it got old fast. Just my opinion.) Austin is confused about sex, and misses his older brother who is serving in the military overseas, and Austin also has been bullied, and is now thrust into a really scary situation. This book is just a great mashup of everything. I finished it laughing with tears in my eyes, for Austin and his tribulations and his heroic efforts, but I was also a wee bit annoyed. I can't decide whether to give it three or four stars. I had fun reading it, but I was also frustrated with the writing style. Definitely recommended for only high school and up, for the mature content. (But then again, there's a lot of IMMATURE content as well! Ha!)...more
This is a fun time-travel-with aliens-twisty story. I listened to it on audio over the course of a few weeks, unfortunately, just in little bits and pThis is a fun time-travel-with aliens-twisty story. I listened to it on audio over the course of a few weeks, unfortunately, just in little bits and pieces at a time, so I don't remember a whole lot about the plot. But I definitely enjoyed it; the diskos concept (of disks that are portals to fixed points in time, usually where a disaster occurred) is fun. Tucker is a great everyman reluctant hero character, caught up in weird circumstances and just trying to get back home. Great for middle school readers. Makes you think--what would YOU do if you had the chance to time travel, but weren't sure where or when you'd end up?...more
A suspenseful sci-fi novel with some great twists and turns! Marshall lost his twin brother Austin 3 months ago in a car accident; Marsh was driving,A suspenseful sci-fi novel with some great twists and turns! Marshall lost his twin brother Austin 3 months ago in a car accident; Marsh was driving, and is wracked with guilt as well as grief. Ever since, he has been walking around in bare feet, a rather unusual way to grieve, his parents think--but it's because he is determined to find a "thin space." This would be a spot, hard to see, where the barrier between our world and the next is thinner, so the living can enter the world of the dead. Marsh desperately wants to speak to his brother again, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. He meets Maddie, a girl his age who moves in next door, and this complicates his search for a thin space because he is sure there is one in her house; but how can he get inside to search without revealing to her his mad quest? I can't talk too much about this book for fear of spoiling too much; it's just a really cool and clever book! It's suspenseful, dark, and keeps you guessing; an excellent psychological study of survivor's guilt, with a supernatural bent. Ohio author....more
This book is totally "brass"! That's League of Seven steampunk slang for cool, awesome, exciting, and terrific. Archie Dent lives in an alternate 1875This book is totally "brass"! That's League of Seven steampunk slang for cool, awesome, exciting, and terrific. Archie Dent lives in an alternate 1875 America, a United Nations of cooperation between Yankees and 6 tribes of Native Americans in the Iroquois Confederacy. In Archie's world, Cherokee and Muskogee Indians are as commonplace as Latinos and African-Americans in ours; in Archie's world, all boats are submarines, flying is done in steam-powered airships, and electricity is a forgotten, forbidden evil. Archie's parents are members of a secret society that has the important mission of keeping an eye out for the escape and return of giant scary Mangleborn monsters that want to enslave all of humanity. And this action-packed story begins with some serious action, as Archie's parents become controlled by a Manglespawn--smaller but no less nasty creatures-- and it's up to Archie and his clockwork Machine Man companion/guardian Mr. Rivets to try to rescue them, while fighting for their very lives! Along the way, Archie will team up with the highly skilled girl warrior Hachi and a funny mechanical genius named Fergus, and encounter more sinister monsters, alternate versions of historical figures we know such as Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla, and even tangle with a mecha-ninja. Will Archie be able to stop the evil Mangleborn from taking over? Or is mankind doomed to failure? Is this the moment when a new League of Seven, legendary figures who alone can defeat the Mangleborn, is being formed? Find out by reading The League of Seven!
I just adored this book. The steampunk setting is cool and cleverly described; loved the pneumatic mail system (an 'inter-net' of tubes! Ha!) and other nods to modern tech done in steampunk style, everything in brass or leather, the clever alternate history of not only the USA but also Europe and other countries thrown in for good measure. Excellent worldbuilding without dragging down the story. Frequent sprinkling in of Latin and other languages, and some clues to solve, and terrific characters who grow throughout the book as they learn their own strengths and/or embrace their pasts. Funny dialogue and witty comebacks, too! And the Machine Men (clockwork robots, basically) are really nifty. Great book to share with Percy Jackson fans or fans of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and other steampunk stories, but also anyone who loves a rollicking good story. I read an ARC of this book and I can't wait to share it with several young readers....more
An excellent survival story, set in the near future. Sixteen year old Lynn has grown up living alone with her mother in rural Ohio, where they live inAn excellent survival story, set in the near future. Sixteen year old Lynn has grown up living alone with her mother in rural Ohio, where they live in the basement of their farmhouse and defend the farm's pond from any visitors. Water has become exceedingly rare in this post-natural disaster world, and so lives depend on having a source of fresh water. Lynn has learned how to shoot a rifle at anyone who comes near. When tragedy strikes her mother, and she finds a helpless family has squatted in the nearby woods, Lynn has to fend for herself, putting her hardearned survival skills to the test. But her mother never really told her that some people can be friendly, or about how to deal with them. Especially not about how to cope with a little kid, or a boy her age.
I loved this story for the action and suspense, but also for the great character development. Lynn undergoes all sorts of growth as she figures out how to be a friend, how to trust strangers, how to love. Good for middle school readers who want a good survival story; has violent acts but not too gory; some swearwords but no f-bombs....more
Interesting futuristic tale (ahem, okay, I'll call it a dystopian) about a girl who's been imprisoned in solitary confinement for over a year, thinksInteresting futuristic tale (ahem, okay, I'll call it a dystopian) about a girl who's been imprisoned in solitary confinement for over a year, thinks she might be insane--she can't touch anyone's bare skin without causing them excruciating pain, killing them. When a teen boy is moved into her cell, she's not sure how to behave, she's been alone for so long, not ever hugged or loved by her parents. She's seriously messed up. But soon she and Adam discover that he is immune to her deadly touch--and things get interesting from there. this one took me a while to get into, because of the way it's written. The writing style in the beginning (first person) is very stream of consciousness, poetic, long sentences with some thoughts crossed out, which was annoying until I got used to it. But when the action picks up and the inevitable fight against authorities kicks in, I couldn't put it down. And the final scenes introducing some new characters guarantees I'll read the next book.
Wow, what a nifty book! Seven stories, all set on the same remote island, from seven different time periods, told in reverse chronological order. (FirWow, what a nifty book! Seven stories, all set on the same remote island, from seven different time periods, told in reverse chronological order. (First one is in the future, 2073, and then goes all the way back to prehistoric times.) All of the stories have a character named Eric (or a version thereof: Eirik, etc.) and a character named Merle, and there are other connections between the stories. The stories are written in different points of view, and in different genres, from ghost story to science fiction. One is about a World War II airman who crashes on the island; he has a connection to an archaeologist in another story; and a Viking vampire (yes!) turns out to be connected to someone else as well. It was really cool; if you have read or seen Cloud Atlas you may already be familiar with this type of book. The overall effect is of a romantic epic feel, yet with enough suspense and questions to keep you reading to find out what is going on. Might be a hard sell to teens, since there are only a couple of minor characters who are close to teen age, but there's nothing overly "adult" about the stories, and with booktalking about the vampire and the "love through the ages" angle it should get many teen readers to at least try it out. I love how the whole book was inspired by a real painting, Midvinterblot, that you can look up online....more
What a weird mashup of a book! Unfortunately I listened to this audiobook months ago and am just now getting around to writing a review of it, so I'mWhat a weird mashup of a book! Unfortunately I listened to this audiobook months ago and am just now getting around to writing a review of it, so I'm a little hazy on details and recalling how I felt about it at the time. I think for the most part I liked it, though it is very confusing at times. It's a dystopian science fiction novel about people plugged into a virtual world of their own choosing, where they can erase tragic things that happened in their lives and live as if people they love didn't die, for example. And so many people have plugged in that the real world is a desolate series of abandoned dusty towns, a nightmarish landscape that seems like Hell. Seth drowns, in the opening paragraphs, very thoroughly, and then wakes up in what he guesses is an afterlife, thinking he is either in Hell or dreaming. There are no people anywhere, until he eventually meets another teen and a young boy, who explain the whole virtual life thing to him. But Seth is also having dreams/flashbacks of his life, that seem so real he thinks they must be memories and not dreams. He was in love with another boy, Gudmund, until their secret romance became shamefully public. He was also dealing with guilt over his part in the terrible something that happened to his younger brother. This part of the book is a really good realistic teen novel about first love and LGBT harassment. The two stories are tied together with a lot of suspense and action, but also with weird androidlike monsters who try to kill Seth. Like I said, weird!...more
A seriously creepy and violent, but also interesting book--about a young man who learns he is a clone. And not just any clone, but the clone of a seriA seriously creepy and violent, but also interesting book--about a young man who learns he is a clone. And not just any clone, but the clone of a serial killer. The man whom he'd thought for 16 years was his father, turns out to be a scientist who cloned him from Jeffrey Dahmer's DNA, in a lab experiment only 8 years ago! Along with six other teen clones of other serial killers. And then his "dad" abruptly disappears, leaving Jeff on his own to deal with that earth-shattering news, as well as the armed government thugs who are arriving to search his house. Hiding for his life, he's rescued (practically kidnapped!) by Castillo, another government soldier-type guy who convinces him he's a good guy, but who needs Jeff's help to decipher his father's cryptic notes. Together Castillo and Jeff go on a bizarre road trip, following a trail of murder sites to try to find the other cloned killer teens, who have escaped in a bloody rampage from the clone institute and are Bonnie-and-Clyding their way across multiple states (including Ohio, where the author is from--this is the first teen novel I've ever read that mentions McArthur, Ohio, a tiny town not too many people know of). The book is about as confusing as all of that sounds, and for much of it Jeff is alternating between terrified and morose. There are scenes of terrifying brutal action (although much of the killing is not described in detail) and suspense, lots of pages about conspiracy theories, actual secret government experiments that no doubt inspired this book, a character who thinks he is the descendant of Jack the Ripper, and facts and photos of real serial killers. The book is rather depressing, with sort of a happy ending but open-ended. The most interesting aspect to me was learning that the author also wrote an adult novel telling the same events, but from the point of view of Castillo--so I am guessing that book has even more gore and killing in it. I dunno, I've enjoyed other teen serial killer books more (I Hunt Killers comes to mind)....more
An action-packed comic-book-scifi actioner with a fun premise for a dystopian novel: a mysterious Calamity in the sky has imbued certain people with sAn action-packed comic-book-scifi actioner with a fun premise for a dystopian novel: a mysterious Calamity in the sky has imbued certain people with superhuman abilities, like superheroes--they can fly, or cause earthquakes with a touch, or project illusions. However, these "Epics" as they've come to be called, do not act like superheroes but rather like supervillains, and they have taken control of various cities, killing humans who stand in their way. Our hero, 18 year old David, lives in Newcago, which is under the dictatorship of the cruel Epic known as Steelheart, who is invulnerable, and has turned every part of the city--wood, concrete, glass-- into steel. David wants revenge against Steelheart, who murdered his father in cold blood. David wants to join the only group of humans brave enough to fight back against the Epics, a band of guerrilla fighters known as The Reckoners. But first he'll have to prove himself as a soldier and bring them his files of painstakingly gathered research on the only known weaknesses of various Epics. I loved this book for the depth to the characters, the growth David goes through as the story progresses, and all the cool super-action scenes and battles. give to graphic novel readers who are ready for some text-only superheroics....more
Taking up the story a few months after the end of Ashes, we get multiple narrators, and a lot of plot that will be confusing to anyone who hasn't readTaking up the story a few months after the end of Ashes, we get multiple narrators, and a lot of plot that will be confusing to anyone who hasn't read the first book. Alex fights for her life against the Changed (zombies) who attack her outside of the town of Rule; Tom, recovered from his injuries thanks to the help of a kindly couple in Wisconsin, still suffers PTSD flashbacks and wants to set out to find Alex; and Lena, one of the Spared teens inside Rule, becomes involved in a scheme to help Chris lead a coup against the Elders and take over the town's leadership. The back-and-forth between plotlines gets a little hectic at times, as the point of view switches with each new chapter (something that often irks me), but the suspense is amazing and the action nonstop. This book is more gruesome than the first one, just to forewarn you: the Changed (who get a new nickname, "Chuckys" !) are savage and cruel and voracious, and Alex in particular goes through heck at their hands. DO NOT READ ON A FULL STOMACH! :-)...more