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.
Something has decimated our world in the future. This caused a reorganization of countries and governments. North America is now the RUNA and the place to live. It is civilized where the rest of the world is still a little wild. Mae is one of the super soldiers of the RUNA; this gives her super strength and speed. But unlike her fellow soldiers Mae is sometimes too strong and too fast. Justin has been exiled from RUNA and is now living in Panama. He was once a brilliant investigator for RUNA but did something that got him kicked out of the country. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin and bring him back to investigate a series of murders. Their first meeting is all mistaken identities, violence and hot sex, which makes it pretty awkward when they are actually introduced and puts a strain on their relationship. Together they investigate these bizarre murders and discover something their religion-despising country definitely does not want known.
This is an intriguing world that Mead has created. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a lot of the book since she takes her time explaining, but it was always interesting. Mae and Justin are fascinating characters with rich backstories and intriguing futures. This series is probably going to deal with actual gods and their interference in everyday life. I wish we would have learned more about the gods and how they actually came to manifest, but hopefully that will be explained in future books. This is a pretty entertaining and intriguing starter to this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Stephen has been trekking back and forth across the United States with his father and grandfather for several years. They work their way north and south, depending on the season, to trade salvage for food and supplies. The United States has completely collapsed after a war with China led to an outbreak of an extremely virulent P-11 flu virus which has become known as the Eleventh Plague. The vast majority of the population has fallen prey to the virus and civilization has collapsed. Stephen was born after the Collapse, so their nomadic lifestyle is normal to him. Then his ex-military grandfather dies, taking his strict rules regarding interacting with other people. Stephen and his father begin to move on, but quickly encounter some vicious slavers along the way. In an attempt to rescue some captives and flee the slavers, Stephen’s father falls into a gorge, causing a traumatic head injury. Helpless to do anything, Stephen stays with his father until a group of men and boys come into the woods. Finally accepting that these new people are not slavers, Stephen lets them take him and his father back to their community where Stephen’s father can get medical attention. The community turns out to be the remains of a secluded gated community, largely untouched by the looting that had followed the Collapse. The residents there live a relatively normal life, but Stephen has difficulty adjusting to being around other people. Things only get worse when Stephen gets involved with his host family’s adopted daughter, Jenny, who is Chinese and puts the rest of the town on edge. She’s a bit of a rebel and manages to get Stephen (and the rest of the community) into serious trouble in next to no time. Not that she’s a bad person, she just really doesn’t like her status quo.
Not a particularly groundbreaking post-apocalyptic novel, but it does blend the dystopia with survivalism pretty well.
In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 40 feet below the basement level of his house, Captain Lee Harden of the United States Army waits. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, Captain Harden will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his very simple mission: Subvenire Refectus.
To Rescue and Rebuild.
World War Z is the first hand account of those around the world who survived the near extinction of the Zombie War. Max Brooks travels the world to interview men, women and children to document this historical event. The book is chilling and makes you think of present times. My favorite part is when a man commented on how whales got the worst of it when the plague broke out.
Michael Grant, you have sucked me into your world of the FAYZ for the last time and I leave as bloody and broken as everyone else. This series has been addicting and depressing and amazing. I am sad to see it end, but I devoured every page racing towards the end.
Grant pulls no punches in this last installment (as if he ever as). Life is brutal in the FAYZ. Sure the barrier is clear now, but you still can’t cross over. You can see your parents on the other side eating their doughnuts and Carl’s Jr. even while you are starving. The Darkness is now a little girl named Gaia, but she is just as powerful and evil as ever. Little Pete, the only thing Gaia fears, is a disembodied spirit. And everyone else is just trying to survive and wondering about life after. The endgame is here and no one will walk away unscathed.
This is a brutal and brilliant series. I have loved every minute of it as I have despised the characters and cheered them on. The FAYZ has always been about good versus evil and what you are willing to do to survive. In this book the characters start wondering what will happen when the dome falls? What will the outside world think of them? Will anyone be able to understand just what went on in the FAYZ? Who will be blamed for it? This series was a wild ride and the ending was a double loopty-loop with a steep drop. I may have screamed all the way down but I loved every minute of it.
Death, destruction, brutality, fear, hunger, disease…in other words, things are as normal as they can be in the FAYZ. When the countdown begins this time, one word sums it up: endgame. The gaiaphage has a body. Little Pete is disembodied. The barrier is transparent and the rest of the world can see what is happening in the fishbowl that is the FAYZ. The public is shocked at Sam’s actions involving Penny and the baby Gaia; video has circulated around the globe painting him as a killer. Sam’s mother, Connie, knows that if or when the kids make it out, someone will be made to pay for the numerous crimes committed in the FAYZ. The kids inside are getting hungrier as more and more of them gather at the barrier to look out at the world they haven’t seen in nearly a year. Few seem to be willing to work and starvation is imminent if something isn’t done. As if these circumstances aren’t bad enough, the gaiaphage, in its human body, is on the loose and seeking total destruction. Our heroes are at first concerned about the “after”, the time when they are able to emerge from their prison. They quickly realize that they have far more important issues at hand that will make the very concept of “after” completely uncertain. The only thing that is certain is that not everyone will make it out alive. Those that do will never be the same.
I’ve been waiting for this book for a full year now. I’ve read each book as they came out and have grown to love, admire, hate and respect the various characters. Finishing this book was like attempting to pull myself out of the FAYZ. It didn’t really feel like the world should even still be turning. Michael Grant pulled no punches here. This book is every bit as exhilarating and compulsively readable as all its predecessors. The ending is as epic as one might expect and just about every question gets answered. An electric ending to one of my favorite series. It may have been a rough and disturbing ride, but I’m sad to see it end just the same.
Radley is in Haiti when the American People’s Party takes control of the US government. When the president is assassinated and martial law invoked, Radley decides she needs to return home to be with her parents. She arrives in the US with only her backpack. Her parents are nowhere to be seen. The banks are closed; her debit card useless. She has no cash, no charger for her dead cell phone and no means of getting home. Radley begins to walk.
When she does finally get to her house, she finds it completely empty. There are no signs of her family anywhere, but news reports indicate massive numbers of citizens imprisoned and/or fleeing the country. Radley has no idea what happened to her parents, but hopes that they got out of the country. With this in mind, Radley begins an even longer trek to Canada. Along the way, she meets another girl traveling with her dog. The girl, Celia, is desperately sick and Radley nurses her back to health before the two move on. Over time, Radley and Celia learn more about each other’s past as they struggle to create a home for themselves in a ramshackle abandoned schoolhouse just past the border of Canada. They can’t survive in the schoolhouse forever though, even with the frequent gifts of kindness left by a local woman. Radley, tired of waiting for her parents to appear, leaves for home as soon as news arrives that indicates an end to martial law in the US. Sometimes, though, you can never really go home.
Interspersed with photos taken by the author (though presented as photos taken by Radley’s mother), this is an interesting take on a possible future. This book does not focus on the political machinations that took place, nor does it linger on the state of affairs in the rest of the world. This story is almost purely character-driven. Radley is saved mostly by the strength she learned in Haiti, living with the poorest of the poor children. Celia is an interesting character and only becomes more intriguing as her story progresses. Many of Radley’s motives are unclear, which makes the story frustrating at times. I kept wanting to know more about how the US had gotten to the state that it is in by the time Radley leaves Haiti, but since the whole martial-law thing is more a framing mechanism than anything else, world building is kept to a minimum. The writing is spare yet fluid and a few tragic turns near the end will add to the emotional weight of the book.
In the future the earth is plagued with Aether storms that destroy people and crops. The survivors have divided into two groups. Those that live in pods and spend most of their time in psuedo-reality Realms and those who live outside in tribes surviving however they can. Aria lives in Reverie, one of the pods, with her mother Lumina. Lumina leaves Reverie and Aria doesn’t hear from her for over a week. This leads her to a dangerous plan that ultimately gets her kicked out of the pods. She has never been outside and doesn’t know how to survive. Peregrine, Perry, is an outsider, a savage to Aria. He teams up with Aria in order to save his nephew who has been kidnapped by the pod people or moles. Together they must learn to trust each other and survive the outside world. Along the way they discover things about each other and their world.
While Under the Never Sky doesn’t really break any new ground in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic/sci-fi genre it is an entertaining read. Aria and Perry are both very interesting characters set in their ways and forced to realize that things are exactly how they thought they were. I enjoyed their journey, both the physical and the mental one. I’m glad that Rossi didn’t go for the immediate romance angle. Aria is understandably frightened of Perry and her situation at the beginning, but they grudgingly learn to trust each other and their romance progresses naturally. I was also intrigued by the outsiders enhanced senses. They seem like some kind of natural genetic mutation caused by the Aether storms. I like the fact that these mutants have status and power in the outsider societies. I guess my complaints about the book are the lack of explanation for how the world came to be like it is, what exactly the Aether is and what caused it, how the world became divided and how the pod-people live most of their lives in the Realms but still move around their physical environment. These things might be explained in future books in the series. Even though I had a lot of questions it didn’t take away my enjoyment of this story. It was entertaining and intriguing.