Category Archives: Science Fiction
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?
Book: The Wells Bequest (Companion to The Grimm Legacy) by Polly Shulman, Penguin Audio, on sale now. Also available in hardcover from Nancy Paulsen.
Audiobook Info: Middle Grade, Received for review, Audio length: 6 hours 46 minutes, read by Johnny Heller.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars
I listened to The Grimm Legacy audiobook last year (review) and thought it was so fun and enchanting, and now a companion book is out. There are some familiar characters from The Grimm Legacy as well as new adventures in the creative world of The Wells Bequest. I wish there really was a cool magical library like the New-York Circulating Material Repository! I would love to visit.
In this middle grade series, the kids always save the day. The Repository’s teen pages are super smart and creative problem solvers. One of the newest employees is Leo, a bright student who finds the Repository when he’s doing research for a science project. He’s also investigating time machines, since he saw a miniaturized version of himself and a girl appear to him. There’s no better place than this library to solve that mystery!
I was happy to read more about the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a library where patrons can check out cool magical objects. There are special collection rooms devoted to different types of items. For example, in the Grimm Collection, you can check out famous artifacts from Grimm’s fairy tales like the Queen’s mirror from Snow White. In this book, the focus is science fiction with The Wells Bequest room that has H.G. Wells-type toys like time machines and shrink rays. Anything is possible in this magical library. Looking forward to discovering the other special collections in future books.
The head page Jaya is a girl who also had a part in The Grimm Legacy, as the younger sister of one of the teen pages, Anjali. Now Jaya is the focus and she’s quite the heroine herself. Leo has a big crush on Jaya, motivated by seeing his future self and her together. They work well at the library- Leo is more cautious and Jaya is bold and brave so they balance each other out.
Since the items available for loan are so special and rare, you can’t check them out with only a library card. You have to offer up something unique to you like your sense of direction, patience, or sense of humor. And if you lose the item, you won’t get your “deposit” back. It would really make me think before I borrowed an object!
I think readers that love adventure and the feeling that anything can happen will eat up this series. The time travel is fascinating stuff and the characters discuss the ramifications and ethics of altering the past. Some of that hurt my brain to think about but it helped if I just went along for the ride. There are some familiar names that pop up in the past that also serves as a fun and educational history lesson.
I listened to the audiobook read by Johnny Heller. Heller is a veteran narrator but I think this is my first experience listening to any of his books. Heller is a great storyteller and makes the story come alive. There are many different characters in the book and Heller gives them all different voices and personalities. He especially gets Leo’s inquisitive voice right. This is a fun audiobook to listen with the family, and the nature of the story lends itself well to audio.
It’s not necessary to read The Grimm Legacy to understand The Wells Bequest; they are standalone books, though some characters do overlap. I read that the author is working on the next Repository book called The Hawthorne Annex, which is the ghostly collection. Looking forward to it!
- Have Time Machine – Will Travel (goodreadswithronna.com)
- ” The Wells Bequest: A Companion To The Grimm Legacy “, Has Been A Must Own Book (kidbooksreview.wordpress.com)
Book: Proxy by Alex London, Penguin Audio, June 4, 2013
Book Info: YA SciFi Dystopia, Audiobook received for review from Penguin Audio. Running time: 8 hrs, 41 mins. Read by: Andrew Sweeney. Also available in hardcover from Philomel.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Whoa, this was an intense ride! I wasn’t expecting Proxy to pack such an emotional punch, but it got to me. Proxy is part SciFi adventure and social commentary on the haves and have-nots. It’s also loosely based on the 1986 children’s book The Whipping Boy. I wasn’t familiar with the title, but similar to Proxy, it’s the tale of a rich, spoiled kid who is provided with an orphan to take his punishments for him. Proxy is the futuristic update of the story, and the wealthy teens are called Patrons, and the orphan debtors are called Proxies.
Proxy is the story of one patron/proxy pair. Patron Knox is spoiled and selfish, and frequently misbehaves, so his poor Proxy Sydney is always paying the price. When Knox gets in particularly bad trouble, Sydney faces a brutal punishment. Ironically the only one that can save him is his patron, Knox, and this pair that was never supposed to meet, have to work together to change the world.
The orphan proxies are in their predicament due to a debt they owe society. They own nothing, not even their own names. Their names are assigned from forgotten, out-of-context works of classic literature. Syd’s name, Sydney Carton, is taken from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. And he crushes on a boy named Atticus Finch. It’s refreshing that the main character in this dystopia just happens to be gay, and it brings an interesting dynamic to the story.
Syd and Knox are both flawed characters in their way, and Knox especially is pretty unlikable for a lot of the story. But it’s gratifying to see their characters develop over the course of the book, and Knox really won me over. The chapters alternate with Syd and Knox’s perspectives so we can see where both of them are coming from. Along for the ride with the pair is a female friend, and she has a smaller yet important role in the characters’ journey.
Proxy is action packed and exciting like my favorite type of dystopias such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. And like those books, Proxy gets the reader comparing the troubled world of the future with the problems in the world today. The third act meandered for me a bit, but was more than made up for with the powerful ending.
I listened to the audiobook of Proxy, read by Andrew Sweeney, and it’s my first experience with his narration. He makes Knox sound like the charming sort of jerk that he is, and Syd sound appropriately more humble and sincere. He does well with the accents and female voices as well; they are not overdone and distracting. Sweeney’s pacing is appropriate to the tension and action of the story and made the book come alive.
I think Proxy has wide appeal for SciFi, action and contemporary fans. The characters, unique setting and social commentary got me thinking. I could easily imagine this one as a movie. The ending is strong on its own, but I’m glad that there will be even more closure with the final book in the duet, Guardian, due out next year.
The Movie Date is a weekly feature where we discuss movies that may appeal to YA readers. Andrew is The Reading Date’s resident movie critic and this week he has a book and movie twofer review of World War Z.
“The monsters that rose from the dead, they are nothing compared to the ones we carry in our hearts.”
- Admiral Xu Zhicai, World War Z, Max Brooks
Undead zombies tend to bring out the worst in us, the still-living. In the first modern zombie film, 1968′s Night of the Living Dead, nearly all the conflict was between the trapped humans themselves, not against their shuffling, rotting foes. Since then, the best zombie stories have focused on the often-selfish struggle of humans to survive the attack. Because let’s face it: Warm Bodies aside, zombies aren’t very interesting: they can’t talk and they don’t think. They’re not exactly cunning adversaries.
Max Brooks’ novel World War Z wisely focuses on the man-on-man battles during a horrific global zombie apocalypse. It’s fiction written as nonfiction; it announces itself as an “oral history” of the pandemic, written several years after mankind somehow survives the catastrophe. True to form it’s a series of interviews, with no central protagonist. We hear from military leaders and soldiers, politicians, medical experts, and dozens of other observers as they recount the challenge in understanding the plague and surviving the attacking hordes of undead. Many of the speakers have secrets to hide or are defensive about their choices; it’s clear that our enemies are not just the zombies but human selfishness, pride, and confusion. It’s a gripping, well-researched, and frankly brilliant portrait of a world teetering on the brink of the abyss.
The film World War Z takes place in the same universe as the novel but takes no events or characters from it. We follow suburban dad Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) as he drives his wife (Mireille Enos, The Killing) and kids into downtown Philadelphia. Suddenly a zombie outbreak erupts, instantly converting thousands of citizens (via zombie bites) into walking dead. Because Lane is a former United Nations task force member, he and his family are extracted to a sanctuary aboard an aircraft carrier. But to earn his family’s right to stay, Lane must set off for North Korea and the Middle East to uncover the zombie plague’s origin. Gerry Lane’s thrilling storyline doesn’t appear within the pages of Max Brooks’ novel, but it easily could have. Again, there’s plenty of human conflict as each person Lane visits is suspicious of his motives and reluctant to put himself at risk helping him.
Just to be clear, this is not a horror film, a la the many Living Dead films and most zombie movies. Rather it uses the backdrop of the zombie plague to tell a engaging sci-fi adventure story; the feel is similar to Independence Day. There’s no shortage of action, but most violence takes place offscreen and there’s a minimum of gore (it is a PG-13 pic, after all). And there’s more going on here than massive zombie battles. Some of the best sequences take place quietly in enclosed spaces (a stairwell, a plane, a research lab), with characters moving quietly to avoid alerting the zombies and starting a swarm. (Director Marc Forster isn’t just an action director; he brought us Stranger than Fiction, Finding Neverland, and Monster’s Ball, and this film displays his sensitive spirit.)
I’m not a big fan of the zombie genre (too often it’s used as a way of offering guilt-free violence and gore) but I really enjoyed both the book and the film. And happily enjoying one won’t spoil the other for you, since the stories in each are so different. Both are zombie entertainments with braaaaains (sorry).
Book: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, Penguin Audio, May 7, 2013
Book Info: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Audiobook received for review from Penguin Audio. Running time: 12 hrs, 41 mins. Read by: Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza. Also available in HC, 457 pages (I bought it) from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
The 5th Wave is impossible to ignore right now, and arguably the hottest YA book of the summer. I don’t read a lot of science fiction so I was wary about an alien invasion book described as The Passage meets Ender’s Game. But, all the rave reviews and Hunger Games comparisons got to me and soon I had the 5th Wave fever. The 5th Wave is thrilling like a rollercoaster and fun like a summer popcorn movie. And I think it’s accessible enough for the casual sci-fi fan and very much a human story. It’s one I picked up in hardcover because I know it’s going to be a book I can loan out to a wide variety of readers.
In Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave, civilization as we know it has been wiped out by alien invaders in four devastating waves. The aliens want to get rid of the humans but leave the earth in good shape for themselves. These aliens are smart and have done their homework on how to exterminate the human race. Cassie is a teen who miraculously survived the first four waves with most of her family intact. She gets separated from her younger brother Sammy though, and the goal to get him back is what’s keeping her alive. Meanwhile she’s dodging aliens (nicknamed “the Others”) and hoping there won’t be a fifth wave.
In addition to Cassie and her brother Sam, we meet a character referred to as “Zombie”, and the mysterious Evan Walker who gives shelter to Cassie when she’s on the run. The story kicks off with Cassie’s POV but changes setting and characters with Zombie’s perspective. I clicked more with Cassie’s story and preferred being in her head, but the dual POV does give the reader a wider view of all the happenings. One drawback for me is that with the change in perspective I felt a little detached from the characters. Ideally, I would prefer the book was only from Cassie’s POV even though I get it from a storytelling perspective.
The chapters are short and action packed. The story drew me in quickly and I could feel the hopelessness and desperation the characters faced. It’s a scary story; partly because it seemed so realistic I could buy into the terror of it all.
I mentioned there are two guys in the story, right? So, yes there is some romance and it’s not without its complications. I liked that the romance doesn’t take over the book but it is there to break up some of the tension of the alien attack. I wouldn’t call this an alien romance exactly in the vein of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series, but it is there and I’m curious to see where it goes.
I listened to the audiobook read by Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza, both new-to-me narrators. I’m happy that I listened to the audiobook because it was easier to keep track of the different perspectives with different male and female narrators. Phoebe Strole’s voice reminds me of narrator Emma Galvin (Divergent) combined with Sarah Drew (Delirium). She sounds age appropriate for sixteen-year-old Cassie and conveys her toughness & sarcasm as well as her vulnerability. I liked her quite a lot. Brandon Espinoza also does a fine job with the male voices, and he in particular has to voice a variety of ages and personalities. Both read with a pace to my liking and increased the intensity as the story dictated. I’d recommend listening to the audiobook of this one to really let you escape into the story. I’m going to read it in print to get that experience as well.
I do think this book is a natural sell to Divergent and Hunger Games fans and has crossover appeal for any type of reader. The ending really makes me eager for the next book in the series, though we have a long wait on our hands. Bring on the movie!
Book: Prodigy (Legend, book two) by Marie Lu, Penguin Audio, January 8, 2012 (Hardcover on sale Jan. 29)
Audiobook Info: YA Dystopia, Own audiobook via Audible credit. Audio length: 10 hours 10 minutes, read by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
I held off on reading this book for as long as I could. I’ve had a copy for a long time, but I didn’t want to read it too early when there will be another long wait for the next book. But- when I saw Prodigy pop up on Audible I couldn’t resist it any longer. The sequel to Legend is so exciting- I couldn’t stop listening. It has lots of heart pounding action and veers off in unexpected directions. The audio experience was also a treat and brought the excitement to life. I think this series is right up there with Divergent, and even though I don’t read a ton of dystopia anymore I’ll always have room for this series.
When Prodigy starts out, Day and June are on the run in Las Vegas. Day is injured and they meet up with Patriot rebels who agree to help them. In exchange, they have to prove their loyalty by agreeing to assassinate the new Republic Elector. Seems like an easy decision, right? The Republic has hurt Day and June in a lot of devastating ways, and maybe it’s the right time to make a change. But things are not all black and white, and Day and June have to decide the best course of action on their own.
Day and June alternate POV again in Prodigy. I have to hand it to Lu that she kept me involved even with the introduction of new characters and through character separations. Day and June have both been through so much, and have each other’s backs, but still have a lot to learn about each other at the same time. Doubts and insecurities plague our duo this time around.
There is more information filled in about the Republic, Colonies, and Patriots and it’s eye opening to learn more about them. Even though Day and June travel to several cities, we still keep tabs on Los Angeles as well. The characters are a big part of why I love this series, though the setting certainly plays a role as well and takes on a character of it’s own in a way. And speaking of characters, Anden, Kaede and Tess play wonderful supporting roles in the story. And I especially look forward to seeing how Anden’s part develops in the next book.
I always know when I have a good audiobook on my hands because I get a cleaner house because I want to keep listening, such as the case with Prodigy. Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern read the audiobook, and both narrators are new to me. Since I read the book Legend I already had an idea in my head of how the characters should sound. Stern lines up pretty well to how I envisioned June – she sounds like a young girl of privilege from Los Angeles. And Kaplan is outstanding as Day and nails the tone of his character. Both narrators convey emotion in their readings and make the action scenes that much more tense and thrilling. About three quarters into the book I’d barely notice the narration at all because I was so drawn in the story. I’d absolutely continue to listen to this series.
Ultimately I’m glad that I waited to read this book because that ending is brutal, and I don’t want to wait any longer than I need to for the sequel. Can’t wait to find out what happens next! Prodigy comes out in hardcover and e-book January 29th and the audiobook is available now.
Book Info: YA Science Fiction / Romance, ARC via Edelweiss, Hardcover 336 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
I’m always excited when there’s a new David Levithan book out, and Every Day may be my favorite yet. The concept caught my eye immediately – a being who wakes up every day in a new body, wow! It works as both a science fiction book and a contemporary love story and really draws you in.
“A” is a genderless entity and spends every day in someone else’s body- going through the motions of their life and trying not to disrupt anything. No matter what, the next day there will be a new body, could be male, female, straight or gay, a drug addict, a loner, an athlete, or a social butterfly. A has learned to adapt, and race, gender, and sexual orientation is no big deal to A. A can access the host body’s memories to get by, but still has a unique personality and thoughts, just without a physical body. It’s lonely never being able to form attachments or stay in one family for more than one day. Everything changes one day when A falls in love and begins to question everything. Sounds like a cool concept, yes?
This exercise of A’s really made me think when I was reading it, trying to imagine what it would be like to experience the world through someone else’s eyes every day and all the good and bad that comes with it. It’s a big responsibility to hold someone’s life in your hands for a day! It definitely takes someone kind and compassionate with a good moral code to handle that role. There is the temptation to meddle in the life of this temporary body, but should you?
Given A’s situation of being without a permanent body, the romance is on the angst-y side. It takes a special person to be accepting of their partner regardless of their ever-changing appearance and gender. It is really sweet to see A make a go at romance and let someone in on the secret. Talk about relationship challenges!
I liked learning about all the different characters A personified and seeing how A handled the reactions of others to each different body. The situation inspires a great deal of empathy. A is respectful of each character’s choices, but the different experiences can’t help but color your view of the world.
Of course I questioned why A has this role, and if there are others like A, etc. But I also was really interested in the story Levithan was trying to tell and not too concerned with the whys. Every Day is really gorgeous, thought provoking and special, a little melancholy and intense. This is a good choice for fans of Levithan or John Green, and should appeal to young adults and adults of both genders. I liked the ending too, but can’t help thinking about what happens next…
Every Day is in stores Tuesday August 28. Hope you check it out!
Genre/Format: YA Dystopia, Received for review, 336 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Starters is a thrilling Sci-Fi dystopia debut from Lissa Price. The creepy body rental concept and plot twists got me invested in the story from the beginning and kept me up late reading. It is fast moving and gripping and just the thing to get me excited about dystopia again.
As Starters begins, sixteen-year-old orphan Callie is struggling to survive in a near-future Los Angeles. She lost her parents to the Spore Wars, where the biological attack killed all adults aged 20-60, because there weren’t enough vaccines for them to be protected in an attack. Now Callie, and friend Michael, is responsible for her sickly little brother Tyler. Unclaimed minors like Callie (called Starters) are forbidden to have jobs, while the elderly (called Enders) live a luxury lifestyle, with job security, fancy cars, and mansions. But Starters do have something that Enders want, and that is youth, which is where Prime Destinations comes in.
With nowhere else to turn, Callie signs a contract with the body renting company Prime Destinations, run by the mysterious “Old Man.” This company rents the bodies of desirable Starters for up to a month to Enders seeking to be young again. After the Starter has fulfilled their contract by being rented 3 times, they in turn receive a big sum of money. But things don’t go as planned, and in the middle of a rental, Callie wakes up as herself in unfamiliar surroundings in the middle of a nightclub. She has to fight to keep control of her mind and body from her renter, who is cooking up a dangerous scheme.
The idea of body renting was so disturbing to me, and even though certain dangerous behavior was off limits, you never know what’s really going on. It’s interesting to see Callie portray someone else with her own body, and befriend other elderly “renters.” She gets an inside look into how renters view the donors and the dangers involved. It’s like an undercover operation for Callie as she gets pulled into a bigger mystery. I liked Callie – she’s resourceful and strong, and it made sense to me that she signed the contract in hopes for a better life for her brother.
There are no lulls in the action in this book. Callie is always on the move, and even though she has some allies it’s hard to know whom she really can trust. There are several jaw-dropping reveals that keep the story interesting. There is not a lot of detail about what led to the current circumstances in the world such as the reasons behind the war, why teens can’t work, etc. But for me, I was entertained just the same with the multi-layered characters, the action and the suspense.
The romance does not play a starring role in this book. There are two potential love interests introduced, but it was not enough of a focus for me to be invested in either character. Am interested to see how the romance develops in the sequel though.
The ending brings a surprising cliffhanger that will leave you clamoring for the sequel. The second and final book in the series, Enders, is due out in December, but in the meantime there are some short stories planned. And there is a prequel called Portrait of a Starter, told from Michael’s POV that is available now. If you are looking for something to read after Divergent or The Hunger Games, give Starters a try.
Giveaway has ended – Congrats to Paige who has won a signed ARC of Starters.
Book: Shadows (Lux series, prequel to Obsidian) by Jennifer L. Armentrout, YA Paranormal, Entangled Publishing, February 21, 2011
Format/pages: Own Kindle edition, also available in paperback – 180 pages.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
The first book in the Lux series, Obsidian, caught me off guard with its fresh and exciting brand of Sci-Fi action romance. Obsidian is pure fun and entertainment and leaves you craving for more. I jumped at the chance to read this novella to learn more about the mysterious events hinted at in Obsidian and to get more insight into the alien world.
The setup of the series is a group of displaced aliens set up home in West Virginia, including the Black triplets: Dawson, Daemon, and Dee. They are supposed to keep a low profile, blend in and stick to themselves, while fighting off another evil faction of aliens that’s after their powers. The first book focuses on Daemon and the challenges that occur when sparks fly between him and human newcomer Katy. In this prequel we find out the story behind Dawson’s ill-fated romance with human Bethany.
At first I thought I wouldn’t be as engaged with Dawson and Bethany’s story as I was with Daemon and Katy’s. But, I was quickly won over by Dawson’s sweet nature, and rooting for a different outcome than the inevitable. They are really interesting characters in their own right and help to round out the group. Their story also helps shed some character insight into stormy Daemon’s behavior. The brothers couldn’t be more opposite, but have a fierce family loyalty all the same. If you found Daemon too mean or over the top, prepare to be won over by Dawson.
The story is told in dual narration so we get to see Bethany’s reaction to the alien family, and get cool tidbits from Dawson’s life at home. Bethany likes to paint, and she has an adorable baby brother. She is less feisty than Katy, but rolls with the punches pretty well considering the circumstances, and the frosty reception from the other alien sibs Ash, Adam and Andrew. Dawson and Bethany’s romance is bittersweet but I remain hopeful that their story will continue somehow.
The novella is a generous size at 180 pages and it packs in a lot of story that adds a new dimension to the Lux series. Even though it is a prequel, I think it works better to read it after Obsidian. Shadows is a worthwhile read for Obsidian fans and a nice distraction while waiting for the next installment. I’m even more eager to read Onyx, due out this August.
Audiobook Info: Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopia, Own audiobook, Audio length: 10 hours 6 minutes, read by Rebecca Soler.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Cinder has been getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere and I’ve had my eye on it for a while, finally deciding to pick up the audiobook. I’ve never read anything like this Sci-Fi Cinderella retelling and that appealed to me as something new and different. I’m glad I tried it because it ended up being such a fun read/listen. Cinder is the first book in a new four book series that will also feature Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White and it’s Marissa Meyer’s debut novel.
Cinder is a 16-year-old cyborg mechanic who lives in New Beijing after World War IV. She was in an accident as a kid, and saved with robotic parts, including a robotic foot that stands in for Cinderella’s iconic glass slipper. Cinder is an outsider in society, though she is known as one of the best mechanics in New Beijing. Her accident left her without a memory of her time before, and her past is a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Like the fairy tale, Cinder lives with her awful stepmother and two stepsisters, though with a twist. There is also a prince and a ball, but otherwise Cinder spins it’s own story, and there are a lot of surprises in store. Some of the challenges Cinder faces are the deadly plague that’s hit New Beijing, political unrest, family drama, and managing the attention of the young and single Prince Kai.
The heroine Cinder is my favorite part of the story. She is likable, smart and brave, and very human in spite of her robotic parts and extraordinary abilities. The other characters also added a lot to the story, both the androids and the humans. The romance with Prince Kai is refreshingly done and I can’t wait to see how it develops in future installments.
The plot moves at a swift pace, and quickly pulled me in. It was fun seeing how the Cinderella story played out in Cinder’s dystopian cyborg world. The retelling is similar enough to the original to catch the references but with enough of a twist to keep things interesting. Even though I don’t read a ton of Sci-Fi, it was easy to follow along and I could totally envision the world that Meyer creates.
I listened to the audiobook, and narrator Rebecca Soler does a stellar job with the narration. She gives a lively reading and sounds like how I would imagine Cinder to sound. Her pacing is very good and she reads with the emotion that is called for. She handles the different male and female voices and accents with ease, and injects Cinder’s sense of humor into the reading. I actually liked the narrator so much I downloaded another audiobook that she reads to check out. This is a good audiobook to try if you’ve ever been interested to test out the experience.
Cinder is an entertaining kickoff to the quadrilogy, and it left me excited about the series and eager to read more. I think Cinder would appeal to fans of fairytale retellings, Sci-Fi, dystopian, and romance. The next book of The Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and yes it’s about Little Red Riding Hood, though Cinder’s story also continues. Scarlet is due out next year.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer (bookjourney.wordpress.com)
- Book: Cinder (bookchelle.com)
- The Cyborg Cinderella: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (tor.com)
- The Big Idea: Marissa Meyer (whatever.scalzi.com)
- Review: “Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)” by Marissa Meyer (witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)
Audiobook Info: Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopia, Audiobook provided by Penguin Audio, Audio length: 10.2 hours, read by Tara Carrozza and Lucas Salvagno. Also available in Hardcover from Razorbill.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
In the sequel to Across the Universe, life on the spaceship Godspeed is uncertain, as a change in leadership, a ship that’s showing it’s age, and a newly alert and agitated crew all lead to a chaotic atmosphere onboard. It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged from her cryogenic chamber aboard Godspeed, where she builds an alliance with Elder, the only person her age on the ship. Now that Elder assumes a leadership role, he must handle the pressure of guiding the ship, as well as tend to his romantic feelings towards Amy.
I have been eagerly awaiting this book for a year, since reading Across the Universe. Despite being a Sci-Fi novice, the tension, danger, and the characters made for an unforgettable read, and I hoped the sequel would be just as good. If anything A Million Suns is even better than the first book, and managed to surprise me multiple times with the direction it took. It felt like there was never a dull moment in this suspenseful sequel.
Amy and Elder narrate A Million Suns through alternating POV. The dual narration works well as we learn different aspects about the ship’s mysteries in their day-to-day explorations. Elder is especially interesting in this book, as he tries to find his footing as Godspeed’s youngest leader. Now that the inhabitants of Godspeed are off of the sedative Phydus, they are more unpredictable and questioning of the inexperienced Elder, setting the stage for an uprising. Amy also has an important role to play as Orion left her some important clues about the ship to find, in the hopes that she can set things right. A murder mystery also keeps the inhabitants on their toes as one of the many challenges these characters face.
This series is not all about the romance, but there is some progression there. Amy is questioning whether she is drawn to Elder because he is the only boy her age on the ship, or if it is meant to be.
The book is well written and had me completely absorbed in the story. Beth Revis sets the tone so you feel the tension and cabin fever as if you were stuck on the spaceship with them. The chapters are short and fast paced and just when Amy or Elder gets a lead on something the chapter teasingly cuts to the other narrator.
This is the first of the series that I’ve experienced in audiobook format, and I think it works very well. As Elder, Lucas Salvagno is a perfect fit and conveys Elder’s state of mind realistically. Elder’s frustrations and worries all come through the reading. As Amy, Tara Carrozza is also convincing with the character, and Amy’s strength and maturity is clear in her voice. She also does well with the other character voice nuances. This audio recording is one of the reasons I like audiobooks in general because it really makes the book come alive and like you are right there in the action.
The second book in the A Million Suns trilogy is a suspenseful thrill ride and I can’t wait to find out what Beth Revis has up her sleeve for the final book. Recommended even if you aren’t a Sci-Fi fan – the characters, suspense, and excitement are sure to entertain. A Million Suns is out today.
Other Reviews of the book:
Format/pages: eGalley provided by NetGalley, available in paperback 266 pages or ebook.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
In Obsidian, the set-up is that Katy and her mom move to West Virginia to start a new life after the death of Katy’s father. She meets her next-door neighbors, twins Daemon and Dee, and sparks an instant friendship with Dee and an instant attraction/loathing for Dee’s hot arrogant brother Daemon, who seems to despise Katy on sight. There is something a little strange about those two with the bright green eyes and unnaturally fast movements. It turns out that this town is a hot bed of alien activity and Katy’s association with these alien sibs will bring on a whole host of problems.
I never thought I would be caught up in a book about aliens, but Obsidian is very entertaining. It has just the right mix of mystery, adventure and danger with the Sci-Fi element. But Obsidian really soars due to the chemistry between Katy and Daemon. Their relationship is unusual because Daemon is such a jerk to her, moody, and condescending. But, Katy is no pushover and gives back as good as she gets. Daemon has his reasons for being distant, and can also be protective and caring – you just never know what you’re going to get with him.
Katy is likeable and rolls well with the punches, especially in light of the crazy happenings in the town. She’s also a book blogger, so that was interesting reading about her participating in book blog memes and stalking her mailbox for books. She can’t help but fall for Daemon even though he infuriates her a lot of the time. She has a great new friendship with sweet Dee, and I hope to see more scenes with them in the next book.
The writing flows nicely and I was caught up in the story right at the get-go. I appreciated the sharp dialogue and the witty banter in the book, and there were many humorous situations that kept me entertained. I’m not a huge Sci-Fi fan and in this book the alien aspects are not overpowering at all, but add an interesting element even for non-believers.
This was my first read of 2012 and it was a great book to kick off the year with. Recommended if you like your paranormal books on the steamy side with a side of humor and a hint of danger. I’m on board with this fun series and will be picking up the sequel Onyx in May.