Gospel and Merciful Truth live in a cabin in the woods with their mother, who has just died. Their only neighbors are Widow Cally and Jenny Gone and the Minister, a made thing who preaches the word of God. They are surrounded by a closing fog that leaves nothingness in their wake. Merciful thinks her mother is up and moving even though she is dead. The minister is keeping secrets. The world is ending and strange things are happening.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book about the world ending because God is punishing humanity. Most apocalyptic books have some references to God and religion (not always positive), but I don’t think God is often shouldering responsibility for the end of the world. This is an interesting mix of horror and spirituality. The characters are confined to the cabin because of a snow storm for the majority of the book which makes it very claustrophobic. Gospel and Merciful have to rely on themselves for most of what they know. Everyone is hiding things from them or lying and it is up to them to discern the truth. I’m not sure it all makes sense; the backstory is not adequately explained in my opinion. There is a sense of mystery and unknowingness that permeates the entire thing. There is also a beauty in Merciful’s story as she tries to figure things out. Ultimately she is responsible for her choices and the decisions she makes and she accepts that. There is no happy ending for our characters; just choices, mistakes and an ending.
I received a copy of this book at ALA 2013 and from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
The Earth is slowing, days are getting longer, the planet is not in sync with clocks anymore. It starts as 56 minutes, then gradually lengthens until the days can last weeks as the Earth slowly moves towards its demise. Julie is an 11-year-old girl when the slowing starts. She tells us the story of how plants and animals withered and died, how people grew sick from gravity sickness, how the world fractured into those living on clock-time and those living on real-time, and of how the Earth died.
This is not a fast-paced, action-packed apocalyptic book. It is a slow, measured study of the end of the world. Even at the end of the world, Julie is still dealing with boys and friends and her parent’s marriage problems. She experiences friendships growing apart, her first love, her mother’s manic worry, and her father’s infidelity. This is set against the background of food shortages, species extinction, radiation from the sun and people disappearing.
On paper this seems more like a young teen novel, but it is written for adults. Julie is telling the story as an adult looking back on her life as an 11-year-old. As such, the voice is not always what you would expect from an 11-year-old girl; some of her insights are too wise, some of her foreshadowing too precise. I enjoyed Julie, but I don’t think this is a book for everyone. For those used to a different type of end of the world saga, they will probably be frustrated by the slow pace. For those wanting answers and scientific facts, they will be disappointed in the lack. We just know the Earth is slowing and the world is dying; we do not know why or how. Therefore, we just have to live our lives and hope for the best.
In the not too distant future a plague has wiped out the population of Earth. All that is left are those who took to the water to escape. They live on clan ships, pirate ships and there is a small community on Hatteras Island. This community of 14 people has set itself apart from the others; they are different. These people have control of the elements: earth, wind, fire, water. When a storm comes up the Guardians (adults) send the children to nearby Roanoke Island to shelter. When the storm is over the kids realize the Guardians have been kidnapped by pirates. It is up to them to first make sure they don’t get kidnapped as well and second rescue their parents.
Our cast of characters includes Alice, fire element, who has a secret and who is kind of an outcast; Rose, water element, the darling of the community and daughter of the leader; Dennis, wind element, brother of Rose; Griffin, earth element, deaf and lame boy who is also a seer; and Thomas, no element, brother of Griffin and true outcast of the community who no one will touch. On Roanoke, secrets are revealed about the Guardians and the past and more questions arise. Everyone’s elements seem to work so much better there than on Hatteras. And there is the question of why the pirate Dare wants “the solution” and what exactly that is.
I like the characters of Thomas and Griffin. They are intriguing because they are different from everyone else and they share a strong brotherly bond. I like how Antony John seems to always have deaf characters in his books and how they are not shown as weaker than others, just different. I am not sure why the romance element had to be brought up. It seemed a little forced to me. There is a love triangle between Thomas, Rose and Alice that plays throughout. Thomas seems to go back and forth between which girl he likes at any given moment. In such a small community I really wondered how they planned to continue the population. It isn’t really brought up, but I kept thinking about it throughout the book.
This book left more questions than it answered. It is clearly the start of a series and as such does a great job of peaking your interest and making you want to read more. I like the fact that it is set in the real world and the not so distant future. I really want to know what is so special about Roanoke and why these people have powers and what it has to do with the original colony there. All questions I hope will be answered in future books. This is an intriguing start and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides–or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail–and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.
Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
The history of the zombie apocalypse told through a series of interviews with survivors, politicians, soldiers, and others. This is not the zombie war up close and personal; it is recollections told years after the hostilities have calmed down. We learn how the outbreak started, what the first responses were and how each country handled the great panic and cleanup. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. I didn’t feel like I was getting a complete picture of the World War Z. I thought the beginning was pretty fragmented and a little hard to follow. But then I got into the story and couldn’t put it down. I wanted to learn more about what happened and how the people handled it. I loved that we got a picture of the entire world and how different groups handled things differently. My quibble is that I didn’t feel like things were adequately explained. It seemed like there were some geopolitical changes in the world that must have happened before the war and we are just supposed to know what they were. I also think I would have liked less broad and more specific information. As much as I love stand alone books it seems like there was so much information that this book would have benefited from being a duo or trilogy.
Imagine you go to a huge high school in Phoenix. Imagine this high school gets locked down everyday; it has a huge fence with spikes on the top and locked gates. Now imagine the zombie apocalypse starting during an assembly at this school. That is what happens in Sick. Brian and his friends are in the last period of the day when all hell breaks loose. Kids are sick; infected with something that turns them into zombies determined to suck your bones and eat your flesh. Brian and crew barricade themselves in the drama department, but he is determined to find his sister and girlfriend and get out of the school.
There is nothing revolutionary about this take on the zombie apocalypse, but it was definitely a fun, exciting read. The zombies are a little different in that their skin crystallizes and they start walking on all fours. I thought the tension in the book was great, the horror was just right and the kids were all written perfectly. Everyone reacted differently to the circumstances and I thought everyone’s reactions were justified. There were no weird revelations or stereotypes to deal with. This is just a straight up zombie book for teens and it is worth the read.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.
Oh boy. Fans of Patrick Ness are going to eat this one up! The book opens with the protagonist’s death. Seth is in the ocean, drowning and freezing. And then he is smashed into the rocks, which snaps his spinal cord, killing him. That, friends, is just the prologue. Time passes. Seth wakes up naked except for some bandages on the sidewalk outside his childhood home in England. It’s exactly as he remembers it from his youth, with one huge difference: everything is abandoned. Weeds have taken over lawns; dust lays thick in the houses; even the non-perishable food has, well, perished. People? None to be seen. Seth is obviously perplexed. He remembers dying. Vividly. So why is he here, in England? His family had moved to America years ago after tragic circumstances. But the house he’s in now has artifacts that he knows made the trip to America and should not still be in England. He can’t figure it out. All he knows is that he doesn’t want to sleep, because sleep brings with it memories. Memories Seth can’t bear to face. He should be dead, so is this hell? The afterlife? Something else entirely?
This is a very, very unusual book. There are essentially two narratives going on throughout: Seth awake and Seth asleep. Seth’s waking world is every bit as disarming to the reader as it is to Seth and the reader is not made any more aware of why Seth has awakened where he has or why he’s alive (?) again in the first place. Seth’s memories are both beautiful and painful, often at the same time. The dream-memories fill in the story of how Seth came to be in the ocean and each one reveals important facets of Seth’s life. I was hooked from the first page and read breathlessly, trying to figure out just what is going on. This likely won’t be a book for everyone, but for those who are looking for something decidedly different, this is just the ticket.
Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher at the ALA Annual Conference (and got it signed!!!). I am in no way compensated for my review. This title comes out in September 2013.
In the not-too-distant future, plans are being made to bring mankind back to the moon. It’s been decades since the first astronauts set foot on the lunar surface and NASA has now decided to send a new crew up. The twist this time is that they’ve decided to send three teenagers (for the ratings, ostensibly). A giant, world-wide lottery is held and three are chosen: Midori (a trendy Harajuku girl who longs to see the world), Antoine (the broken-hearted Parisian who wants to get as far away from his ex as possibly), and Mia (a musican from Norway who honestly has no desire to go to the moon, but is signed up by her parents and goes anyway). After their training, they’re off to be the first inhabitants on DARLAH-2, a space station that was built in the ’70’s but the existence of which has only just been made known to the public. Things go smoothly until the teens and their accompanying astronauts arrive at the station. First, the power goes out. Then people start dying.
I picked this up, thinking it was going to be a sci-fi book but was surprised to discover that this book is far more horror than sci-fi. The setting, however, did add to the claustrophobic feel- earth is days away, which means no rescue and nowhere to run. There’s a pervasive feeling of dread throughout in spite of the excitement that surrounds the fanfare put forth by NASA (the narrative is interspersed with advertisements promoting the lottery, as well as photos and diagrams from the mission itself).
I wound up using this book as one of my high school book group’s selections, with great success. There was plenty to discuss and all agreed that the book was definitely creepy. One girl claimed to have screamed. I, personally, had a few issues with the premise itself (i.e. who would ever think it’s a good idea to send minors into space?). I was also very unclear as to the nature of the menace facing the kids and crew. This was likely intentional, but still a bit frustrating. Overall, an unusual reading experience. Gotta love YA lit for its genre-blending tendencies.
Dance of the Red Death takes place immediately after Masque of the Red Death. I will admit that it has been awhile since I read the first book and was a little fuzzy on details. Basically, Araby, Will, April, Elliot and the rest have fled the city. Araby’s dad has disappeared and they need him for a cure to the new plaque, the Red Death. Prospero is abandoning the city and Malcontent is trying to take over and infect as many people as possible. Elliot wants to return so he can save the city. Araby is torn between Will and Elliot . Can she forgive Will’s betrayal? Can she put up with Elliot’s quest for power? The group has to go back into the city and try to save it and themselves.
I really wish I had reread Masque of the Red Death because I forgot what was going on, but it did eventually come back to me while reading. This is definitely gothic and grotesque with all the infected people wandering around and the drowned world of swamps threatening to take the city. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the world created for these books. However…love triangle! I have made my feelings on love triangles perfectly clear (they are unnecessary and stupid!) and this one is a perfect example. I felt like the back and forth between Will and Elliot really took away from the story. These people are fighting for their lives and trying to save the world, yet every other page is a scene with Araby either making out with someone or debating the merits of the boys. I would have liked more of a story about them saving the city and the people. The end seemed so rushed that I was left wondering why we needed two books for it.
What if the Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t end with both sides backing down? What if Russia really did drop bombs on the US? And what if your family was the only one with a bomb shelter?
This is the premise for Fallout by Todd Strasser. The neighbors think Scott’s dad is crazy when he installs a bomb shelter under a new addition to the house, but when the bombs start dropping everyone wants in. In the end, several neighbors manage to push their way into the shelter with Scott’s family. His mom gets hurt in the process. So now the shelter, which was meant for four, holds ten and tensions are on the rise. There isn’t enough food or water or air for everyone. One of the other men keeps pushing at Scott’s dad and his mom is suffering from a head injury. They have no idea what has happened above or who has even survived.
The story is told in alternating chapters with the current events in the bomb shelter and the events leading up to the present. Scott and his friends are normal kids at that time. His friend Ronnie is all about the girls…he is only interested in girls and boobs and Playboys. He and his mom and dad have made it into the shelter. The one girl on the block also made it in with her dad (who is causing all the tension), but her mom and brother did not. Scott’s brother and their housekeeper are also present. After who knows how many days, they are out of food, too tired to do anything and running out of time. They must get out, but is it safe above?
I really enjoyed this book. It seemed very true to the time with the paranoia and indifference. I thought the tension in the shelter was spot on. These people were confined in too tight quarters with not enough supplies and no idea what is happening in the outside world. Tensions are bound to rise. I think my only complaint, and it is a minor one, was the names for the neighborhood kids. Besides Scott and Ronnie, no one has a normal name! They have names like: Freak O’ Nature, Sparky, Why Can’t You Be More Like Johnny, Puddin’ Belly Wright and so forth. Seriously! It got confusing and old. Other than that I really liked the book. It is set up as a series as this one ends on a question mark.
I received this book from the Publishers on Netgalley.com. Thanks!
Edward Abbey is best known as the author of the novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and the non-fiction book of environmental essays “Desert Solitaire.” He is also known for the 1956 novel “The Brave Cowboy” which was made into the 1962 film “Lonely Are the Brave” starring Kirk Douglas as Jack Burns, a loner cowboy who disdains modern society and the destruction of natural resources in the Southwest. Jack Burns made cameo appearances in several of Abbey’s novels, and was a major character in “Good News.”
“Good News” takes place in the near future of the USA in which the government and economy have collapsed due to an unspecified disaster, and chaos reigns in most places. Most of the action is in Phoenix, Arizona, which is under the control of a quasi-military dictatorship. A group of rebels is attempting to undermine those who wield the power. Jack Burns is on his way there with his Native American friend Sam and together they are looking for Jack’s son, whom he has not seen in over 20 years. Jack makes contact with the rebels, and together they attempt to overthrow the dictator who runs the city, and who wants to expand his power across the country.
Although the scenario is a bleak one, this novel was quite an enjoyable read, and shows how a small group of under-equipped freedom fighters can make a difference against overwhelming odds. The characters in this novel are realistic and charming, though the bad guys are almost cartoonish in their villainy (not unlike real life!).
I highly recommend this book as a companion to “The Brave Cowboy,” “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” and “Hayduke Lives!”
The world has been decimated by a deadly virus. At first the virus killed you quickly, then it mutated into something else. Now if you get the virus you may mutate into an animal and become savage or you might just die. The East has been cut off because of the virus. A giant wall divides the US at the Mississippi River. No one in the West is allowed to cross over into the East and no one in the East is allowed in the West.
Delaney Park lives in the West with her father. She has a privileged life even though her dad is obsessed with making sure she can survive anything. One day Lane is arrested. Why? Because it turns out her dad is not your average art dealer, but a Fetch who crosses the wall and retrieves items from the East. Lane is blackmailed into going over the wall to find her dad so he can do one last fetch. Across the wall is nothing like Lane thought it would be and in some ways it is worse. There are lots of people who are living with the virus as manimals (humans who have animal DNA but haven’t gone feral). There are ferals who want to kill you. And there are normal humans who haven’t gotten the virus yet. There are also two boys vying for her attentions. Everson is a guard on the wall who wants to find a cure for the virus. Rafe is an orphan from the East who has a connection to Lane’s dad. The three of them travel to Chicago, facing dangers along the way, to fetch the item that will save Lane’s dad.
One thing I really liked about this books is the world building. Kat Falls does an amazing job setting up the world in a realistic and scary way. It is a very complex world and Falls does a great job on it. I also really enjoyed Lane as a fish out of water as she adapted to her new environment. I’m not sure why authors always have to include a love triangle (definitely not needed!)…seriously why!??!? I did like the characters of Ev and Rafe, but I thought the relationships were underdeveloped. Basically Lane falls for the first cute boys across the wall and then spends the trip debating between them. I thought the story was fresh and interesting and a new take on the end of the world. I enjoyed it.
I also enjoyed meeting Kat Falls at ALA 2013. She was very nice and gave me a copy of this book with her signature in it! Yeah!
At some point in the future, war and disease have decimated the planet. Humanity is forced into a few mountain cities to survive. Rebuilding is expensive so in order for the poor to live in this new society they must go into massive debt and become the “proxy” for a wealthy patron. What does a proxy do? They are punished in the place of their patron. So if the patron destroys property, the proxy takes the punishment. Syd is an orphan and a proxy who lives in the Valve (the slums). He is constantly reminded of his debt because his patron Knox is always getting into trouble. This time it is more than just a little trouble; this time Knox steals a car and kills a girl during a joy ride. So Syd is punished and sentenced to hard labor. Syd was also forced to give blood so that Knox could have a life saving transfusion. The transfusion not only saved Knox’s life it revealed just how special Syd really his. Seems he has a virus in his blood that can wipe out all the systems of debt and free everyone from its control. The only problem is that Syd has to survive in order to release the virus and right now he is a wanted man.
What a fascinating world. Alex London has done a wonderful job creating a world that is different and unique. He has also created two truly different characters. Knox is obnoxious, privileged and self-indulgent, but he does have a heart and he really just wants his father’s attention. Syd just wants to survive. He wants to make it to 18 to life out his debt. He keeps his head down and his profile low and he has no respect or time for his patron. Unfortunately, in order for Syd to survive he has to rely on Knox and others in a way he never dreamed. They must outwit the system and escape the city, survive bandits and the wild, and make it to the resistance to release the virus. Along the way they get to know each other and themselves. They mature (at least Knox does) and become who they are meant to be. I even liked the ending of the book.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Some kind of disaster has befallen the world and humanity must be saved. So the Builders create Ember, a city deep underground. They create instructions for the citizens to follow once it is safe to emerge. Unfortunately, the instructions are lost and the people of Ember never know there is a world outside of their small community. The expiration date is coming due on Ember; the power is failing and they are running out of supplies. No one seems that worried however, except Lina and Doon. Lina finds the instructions, unfortunately after her baby sister Poppy has eaten part of them. As Lina and Doon try to decipher the Instructions, they also uncover corruption and greed in Ember. In order to safe everyone they must find a way out of Ember.
I really enjoyed this book and my bookclub kids did as well. I also thought they did a really good job on the movie as well; one of the few times when I actually liked a movie made from a book. Lina and Doon are really interesting characters who are actively pursuing something unlike the majority of the characters in this book who are stagnant and just want to continue with the status quo. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what exactly the Instructions were saying and I thought the adventurous escape was thrill a minute. However, my favorite part had to be the end where Doon, Lina and Poppy discover a world they have only dreamed of. This book won the Missouri Mark Twain award.
If you are a hardcore zombie fan, this book is for you. Max Brooks wrote the popular World War Z, where the world had to fight off zombies to survive. He takes a fiction/nonfiction look on what to do to survive such attack and the other humans still hanging around. You learn how the living undead move and survive, the best way to fight depending on where you live, what the best weapon is to use and many more things.
In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.
If you liked Hunger Games, you may enjoy this book. What interests me is finding out what created the split in the nation, which is not really addressed in this book, hopefully in a future book. I think the mystery of who, what and why are done very well and just enough is answered to create the need to read more.
Do you want to stop eating meat? Read Apocalypse Cow and your meat eating days will be in the past. The setting starts out at a slaughter house outside of Great Britain. A cow dies and then comes back to life to attack the owner of the establishment. Without warning all the cows start attacking the humans. A special group of men are sent to take care of the problem. The only issue, a cow gets away starting and an epidemic of animals turning into zombies begins. This book could have been called, “Revenge of the Animals”, as the human population [Great Britain area] starts to head towards extinction.
Finally! The last book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series, wherein we get to see what things look like from the perspective of Death! We’ve already met War, Famine and Pestilence and the humans who took up their mantles. Death has been a constant throughout, but we’ve never really gotten to know him. Guess I didn’t see it coming when this book’s main crisis is the fact that Death has determined that it is time for it to end. And by “it”, I mean “existence”. Which is bad, particularly if you happen to like living. Now it’s up to a guy named Xander to try and talk Death out of killing himself (and everything else). Xander’s remarkably “normal” for one of the humans in this series. He’s got friends and no major psychological issues. He even has a girlfriend, who he is desperately in love with. So much so that he’s changed his college plans to dovetail with hers. He just needs to tell everyone, including his parents, that he’s not going to Carnegie Mellon on scholarship after all. The main complication in his life is the new baby in the house. Sleep deprivation gets to Xander; blackouts ensue. And then a guy that kind of looks like Kurt Cobain shows up on Xander’s balcony. Xander intuitively knows this guy is Death. And Death informs him that he is owed a boon, for Xander had once shown Death kindness. At this point, Xander realizes the tell-tale signs of suicide and demands to know Death’s entire story, in the hopes of delaying what seems inevitable.
This is one of those series where the premise really shouldn’t work, but for some reason works exceptionally well. There’s a lot to chew on here, both philosophically and emotionally. There’s a sense of humor in the face of universal hardship (at times, Kessler’s Death reminds me of a male version of Gaiman’s Death from Sandman). Each one of the books in this series comes across as completely unique and never, ever formulaic. I never know where the story is going to go, but I always know I’m going to enjoy the ride.