A dark tale that feels at times like Ashfall and at times like Ashes. There's even a boot-camp scene that reminded me of Ender's Game and Starship Tro...moreA dark tale that feels at times like Ashfall and at times like Ashes. There's even a boot-camp scene that reminded me of Ender's Game and Starship Troopers. Is it derivative of almost every alien-invasion story ever? Yes. Is there a completely extranious love story? Yes. But the pace is good and the alternating view points make for an interesting read.
I'm curious where Yancey will take this planned trillogy, but he's already demonstrated that he has the writing chops to pull off a multi-volume collection (see The Monstrumologist).(less)
Takes a while to get going, and then ends abruptly, a la "Empire Strikes Back," leaving everything up in the air for the next two volumes. Which might...moreTakes a while to get going, and then ends abruptly, a la "Empire Strikes Back," leaving everything up in the air for the next two volumes. Which might make some readers ready to dive in, but I'm not convinced. Perhaps I've grown so accustomed to first person narration that the third person herein didn't feel right. Perhaps Tucker Faye doesn't start out Perhaps the issues are so many and of such scope that none received adequate screen time. Whatever the case, Hautman has composed a curious book that wanders very far indeed - historically, philosophically, through space and time - while ending about where it begins.
The book was more thought-provoking than emotionally rewarding. Some readers may like that. A niche audience to be sure.(less)
An average read. There were some really fun possibilities, espcially in the moments it touched on The Handmaid's Tale territory and some serious tensi...moreAn average read. There were some really fun possibilities, espcially in the moments it touched on The Handmaid's Tale territory and some serious tensions over religion. Morality is on stage here, and pleasantly there aren't any easy answers. It is a fairly simple idea: a boy and girl seem to be heading towards matrimony on their long deep-space voyage when something dramatic separates them. Loads of possibilities. But none of it worked to build an effective whole. The first act comes of implausibly. I didn't feel Waverly's story intensely - and it should be affecting - as Ryan has a preference for telling and not showing. When Kerian's narrative returns after a long hiatus, it feels incomplete and too short compared to the many pages devoted to Waverly's saga. The main characters are thin, their motivations too simple, while there minor characters sprout up without much explanation.
Many sci-fi authors have worked over similar subjects. Ryan may be a good place for readers ready to make the leap from twee-YA to something speculative, and those curious about faith may like the comfortable, non-specific-Christian story element. But there isn't enough here to recommend it to a wide audience. The ending is unsatisfying on its own, but I'm not curious about the sequel.(less)
Great fun. The beginning of this reminds me of my favorite 1950's era Heinlein Robert A. Durango, our strong, young hero who doubts his own skill, rec...moreGreat fun. The beginning of this reminds me of my favorite 1950's era Heinlein Robert A. Durango, our strong, young hero who doubts his own skill, recalls Space Cadet's Matt Dodson or Starship Troopers's Juan Ricco. And the 'woman's-voice-in-your-head' device is straight out of another Heinlein story - I Will Fear No Evil. Not so original, but if you're going to steal, take from the good stuff. Then, about a hundred pages in it dawns on me that this is a re-imagining of "Magnificent Seven" (which was a new take on "The Seven Samurai," but I digress...). Even better source stuff. Yep, this is good, old-fashioned Martian adventure with plenty of shoot-em-up action.
The plot is simple: poor miners hire Durango to protect them from canibals that are raiding their feeble outpost. Durango assembles a motley crew of mercenaries. Much mayhem ensues.
I would have appreciated just a touch more background at several points in the story, as Macinnis seemes content to sketch when detail would have helped. The honor bound 'Regulators' deserved more explanation. The tension between the 'CorpCom' nasties and the older religious governors didn't seem real. What is that title about?
"Black Hole Sun" moves so fast that complaints about character development and sketchy world building seem beside the point. Any teen (or adult) looking for a fun ride would do well to check this out.(less)
Although there are many impressive things about this series, I'm humbled that Ness has taken each book in different directions, constantly expanding and shading the story. Rather than simply continuing adventures of a couple of characters, the books of Chaos Walking seem to expand over grander and wider themes.
I now want to sit down with all three and re-read them in one sitting. (less)
What an outstanding follow-up to The Knife of Never Letting Go. The plot is just as suspenseful, building to a maddening ending that made me want the...moreWhat an outstanding follow-up to The Knife of Never Letting Go. The plot is just as suspenseful, building to a maddening ending that made me want the planned third volume right now. Without revealing too much, Todd and the other characters change and grow as they face the horrors of dictatorship, oppression, and war. The deposed mayor of Heaven is a welcome new character, as is a young soldier, Lee. Of course, Mayor Prentiss remains Satan spawn, and hating him is one of the book’s joys.
This series is perfect for teens who might think they know who they are. One of the central issues of the book is the struggle to be true to your self, and on this front “The Ask and the Answer” offers no easy solutions. Will you commit horrors for love? Will you betray yourself for another? Can you avoid being controlled when you love someone? In the middle of a war, Todd has disturbingly little clarity.
Most of all, I appreciated Ness’ clear and fast style that never slacked. He deftly alternates the narrative between two characters, a move that could have been distracting but works well with his skilled use of dialect. I'll be recommending his books to many, many readers. (less)
This could have been a great YA title. The premise is right. It has monsters, an obvious mystery, boys isolated away from civilization, and none of th...moreThis could have been a great YA title. The premise is right. It has monsters, an obvious mystery, boys isolated away from civilization, and none of the sex/drug/profanity issues that can complicate recommending a title to younger teens. But by the end, I was only so-so on "The Maze Runner," which suffers from not one, but two fatal flaws.
The first is that the writing takes two speeds: melodramatic and clunky. There are some good action sequences early on. Yet I found myself groaning repeatedly as Dashner's prose lurched along.
The second flaw is that none of the characters, not one, feels real, or even distinct. Three hundred sixty pages is a long slog without someone to root for.
Not quite as compulsively readable as The Hunger Games, this is at least as original a world as that of Scott Westerfield's Uglies trilogy. The world...moreNot quite as compulsively readable as The Hunger Games, this is at least as original a world as that of Scott Westerfield's Uglies trilogy. The world is more alien than that of Margaret Peterson Haddix's Shadow Children series, and even more sinister than that of The Giver. The first two chapters took some getting used to, but if a YA reader can muscle through them, the book is highly engaging. Todd is compelling every-teen, aware of the adult world and not quite able to make sense of it. Although the plot moves along, really the thematic issues are equally compelling: coming of age, the dishonesty of adults, the struggle to be a man and on whose terms.
Some high lights include a solid friendship between Todd and his dog, as well as between Todd and another teen. I suspect that mid-to-strong readers will enjoy this, especially as the layers of the story unfold. I look forward to the sequel.(less)
Because of many favorable reviews, I read this with high expectations. In many ways, Reeve lived up to them by delivering a story of solid pacing and...moreBecause of many favorable reviews, I read this with high expectations. In many ways, Reeve lived up to them by delivering a story of solid pacing and easy to follow dramatic action. He quickly constructs a world of mobile cities coursing a post-appocalyptic earth, feeding on each other, the weak falling prey to the strong. His action is brisk, combigining elements of Airborn and "The Terminator" and pirate yarns. If you read for plot, then this may be a book for you.
I hesitate to give it more stars because the characters didn't matter to me. The teen protagonists are flat, not even feeling like stereotypes but like place holders. Perhaps it is a result of the third-person narration that I don't know enough about Tom and Hester and Katherine. Or, perhaps I'm expecting more than the target audience of the book demands. Male readers may well love this more than heavily character-driven dystopian tales like Uglies and Unwind. There is some violence, but of the PG sort, making this appropriate for middle school as well as older readers.(less)