Category Archives: Science Fiction
Book: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marisssa Meyer, Macmillan Audio, Feb. 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Fantasy, library audiobook, Audio length: 11 hours 10 minutes, read by Rebecca Soler.
About the Book:
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the best-selling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.
When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
I read Cinder over two years ago, so I’m a little behind at reading this sequel. I kind of like waiting until I have a stockpile of sequel books to read so the cliffhangers don’t get to me too bad. And now I get to read Scarlet and Cress back to back! Fairytale retellings are not usually my thing but maybe the SciFi element of this series makes it more appealing to me. Strong characters, fast paced action, romance, and a creative setting make this a standout series.
I was worried that this installment features a whole new cast, since I liked Cinder so much in the first book. But, there is still a lot of Cinder in this book, and the new characters fit right in. Scarlet features a cool twist on the Little Red Riding Hood story, with a tortured love interest in Wolf, and the mystery of the missing grandmother.
Though it’s been a while since I read the first book, it was easy to catch up. The book picks up where Cinder left off, with Cinder locked up. She meets a cocky spaceship “captain” Han Solo-type named Thorne in jail and they become partners in crime.
Scarlet is a fearless new character. She is self-reliant and kick-ass and just wants to save her beloved grandmother. She doesn’t know if she can trust Wolf, and the reader is understandably wary of him too, considering the source material. But at the same time this bad boy romance works, even though this bad boy is a member of a wolf pack.
The action alternates between Cinder’s and Scarlet’s stories, so we learn a lot more about the political developments and backstories through each character’s eyes. Other fan favorite characters from Cinder also feature in the book, including Prince Kai and Cinder’s android pal Iko.
I loved Rebecca Soler’s performance in the Cinder audiobook, so I’m sticking with that format for the series. Soler gets to play more with accents in this installment since Scarlet’s story is set in France. Her accents are subtle yet effective and help make the character’s voices distinct. Soler’s Scarlet voice lines up with the character’s headstrong and impulsive personality. Soler continues to do a solid job with her performance, and makes the story more intense and exciting. I have the Cress audiobook in hand happily and can’t wait to dive in.
Overall this series is a lot of fun. We are halfway through the four-book series and I can’t wait to see where it’s all going. I liked Scarlet a little less than Cinder, maybe because I missed the Kai/Cinder dynamic in this book, and there are so many balls in the air. We learn more pieces of the puzzle in this book, but I still feel a little in the dark. The new characters bring a freshness to the series though, and I look forward to seeing how the relationships develop. If you’ve been putting off reading the Lunar Chronicles, it’s a good time to catch up on this inventive series! Cress is out now, and the final book Winter is due out in 2015.
Listen to the first chapter of Scarlet, performed by Rebecca Soler:
Book: Champion (Legend, book three) by Marie Lu, Penguin Audio, November 5, 2013
Audiobook Info: YA Dystopia, Borrowed audiobook from the library, and HC purchase. Audio length: 10 hours 3 minutes, read by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
I faced my fears and finally finished the Legend trilogy! I’ve had end-of-series phobia lately, and Allegiant didn’t calm my fears. I know it doesn’t make sense for dystopian series’ to wrap everything up neatly with a HEA. But as long as the conclusion makes sense with the rest of the series I’m okay. The ending of Champion was just perfect though, a little open ended, bittersweet, and satisfying. If you’ve been wondering whether to read this series or not I’d say proceed with confidence.
Marie Lu does a great job getting the reader up to speed with this installment and easing back into the story. The last book, Prodigy, ended with a game changer, and in Champion we see the after effects. Will the peace treaty hold, and can a plague threat be stopped? Day and June have new roles in Champion, and are not sure where they fit in each other’s lives now. Day in particular worries about sick little brother Eden, and his own poor health. Meanwhile, June is working for Anden as his Princeps-Elect and missing her time on the field.
This series has great world building, action, and suspense, as well as a dystopian super couple. I love Day and June together, and the paperclip rings and respect they have for each other. It’s always been them against the world, but this time they face their biggest trials yet. I was on pins and needles at the end there. Both characters show a lot of growth throughout the series.
I listened to the audiobook of Champion, after liking Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern’s narration so much in Prodigy. This book has alternating Day and June chapters and happily dual narrators as well. Steven Kaplan in particular is a wonderful Day and conveys his cockiness, rebellious nature, loyalty, and uncertainty. Mariel Stern is a good fit for June, and shows her fighter nature, struggles, and analytical side. Both narrators make the listener feel the emotion of the story, and their pace and tone build with the action of the book. The physical books are lovely with the different color text for the alternating Day/June chapters, but the audio is quite powerful too.
Though I’m content with the way the series ended, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I want to see what happens next. But Marie Lu has something new up her sleeve- coming up next is The Young Elites, due out this fall.
Book: Enders (Starters, book two) by Lissa Price, January 7, 2014
Audiobook Info: YA Dystopia, audiobook purchase. Audio length: 7 hours 57 minutes, read by Rebecca Lowman, from Listening Library. Also available in HC, 288 pages from Delacorte Press.
Publisher’s Summary via Audible:
The riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller Starters.
Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations – Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too…and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?
No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.
Enders is the second and final book in the Starters duology. In this series, teens are implanted with a microchip that allows their bodies to be controlled by the older members of society. Creepy, huh?
I read Starters almost two years ago, and I remember the sci-fi body rental concept made an impression. The idea is that there are only the very old and the very young left in the world after a biological attack left the unvaccinated “Middles” vulnerable. The wealthy seniors (“Enders”) rent out the bodies of the young “Starters” for fun, though some of the Enders abuse the rental agreement. And the “Old Man” in charge has his own ideas about how to use renter’s bodies. Can Callie help herself and other Starters regain control of their bodies?
One thing I like about a two-book series is that there is no filler- it’s non-stop action! Callie dodges trouble left and right in Enders and can’t shake the Old Man loose. He’s back and has some new tricks up his sleeve that makes him even more of a threat to Callie and the other chip-implanted “Metals.”
Callie’s brother and her friend Michael are back, along with some new characters, notably Hyden. Hyden teams up with Callie to try to stop the Old Man – he is technically savvy and seems to be on the same page as Callie too. He’s a good addition to the series.
The final act of the book is where Enders really shines and kept my ear glued to the audiobook. Like in Starters, Enders pushes boundaries and is an uncomfortable and disturbing read at times. And the ending gives the satisfying payoff I was hoping for.
I listened to the audiobook of Enders, performed by Rebecca Lowman. I’m familiar with Lowman from Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, so it was a new experience hearing her perform something of a sci-fi nature. Lowman speaks clearly and carefully and her tone fits the story. Sometimes she would have to speak with a robotic tone of voice as the story dictated and she pulled that off well. Lowman’s Callie sounds age appropriate and strong and her male voices are subtle and believable. The pace at times was a little slower than I prefer, even though stylistically I’m sure it was the right choice. Overall I think the story is probably equally enjoyable in print or audio format.
Enders didn’t wow me as much as Starters overall, maybe because the sense of urgency wasn’t there since it had been awhile since I read the first book. The story is entertaining though and there are some fun twists that I didn’t see coming. I’m content with the series conclusion as is and feel like all my questions were answered. I’m looking forward to seeing what Lissa Price cooks up next.
I’m sure many of you read and loved Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds last year. I was late to the party and I’m finally reading it now, and it’s SO GOOD. And the sequel, Never Fade, hits shelves this week! Read on to find out how you can win a copy of Never Fade, and a cool book t-shirt as well.
About Never Fade:
The gripping and highly anticipated second installment in a dark YA trilogy about teens with dangerous powers on the run from the government.
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children-and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts-has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future-and who now wouldn’t recognize her.
As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam-and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart-she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
The series kicks off with The Darkest Minds, and the kindle edition is currently on sale for $0.99 so grab it now!
Get up to speed by checking out the official book site: http://www.thedarkestminds.com/
Check out the book trailer for the series:
Congrats to Michelle who won a copy of NEVER FADE and a book t-shirt!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event brought to you by Breaking the Spine where we spotlight upcoming books we can’t wait to read.
I’m excited that the cover of Ernest Cline’s latest book, Armada, was unveiled this week! Armada doesn’t come out until Summer of next year, but when I saw the cover I couldn’t help but feature it.
Armada by Ernest Cline
Publication Date: July 2014 from Crown
Publisher’s summary :
Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming.
But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming.
As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.
In Armada, a gamer has to use his skills to prevent an alien invasion, and reunites with his father along the way. Sounds cool, right? I’m a big fan of Cline’s Ready Player One, and while Armada isn’t a sequel it definitely sounds like it will appeal to the same audience. And there’s going to be a movie too. I expect we’ll hear a lot more about this book next year! The cover has a retro videogame Galaga thing going on that seems fitting to the story – what do you think of it?
What book(s) are you eagerly anticipating this week?