27. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead , 464 pages, read by Angie, on 05/25/2013

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.

30. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Teen Books

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, 278 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/09/2013

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.

29. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Helen, Horror, Science Fiction

The Remaining by D.J. Molles, 220 pages, read by Helen, on 04/25/2013

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.

24. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Brian, Fiction, Horror · Tags:

World War Z by Max Brooks, 342 pages, read by Brian, on 04/22/2013

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.

worldwarz

14. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Light (Gone #6) by Michael Grant, 411 pages, read by Angie, on 04/13/2013

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.

09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Horror, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

Light (Gone #6) by Michael Grant, 411 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/07/2013

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.

09. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Teen Books

Safekeeping by Karen Hesse, 304 pages, read by Courtney, on 04/03/2013

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.

30. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Bloodring book 1 Thorn St. Croix series by Faith Hunter, 319 pages, read by Kira, on 03/29/2013

BloodRing

Thorn is living in the end of times, though an its ambigous end of times, seraphs and demons are still fighting in a post-apocalyptic-ice-age.  Thorn is part of a new species, neomages, who are able to bend leftover creation energy to their will.  Specifically she is a stone mage, and since mages present a threat to both humans and seraphs they are confined to luxurious Enclaves.  Thorn is passing for a human, working as a jeweler, in a remote icy town.  When her ex-husband Lucas is kidnapped and her friends are threatened, she risks revealing her true identity in order to save her adopted family.

 

BloodRing isblodring a fastpaced page turner.  Lush imagery and really interesting world-building (especially the magic-working of the gems) add to the tale.  Though the book does NOT end on a cliff-hanger, it fails to wrap up a number of the mysteries.  Who is the Amethyst Mistress?  Why did Lucas haul all that amethyst back to the store/house for his ex-wife? did he really cheat on Thorn voluntarily and what is his latest wife up to?

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

Breathe by Sarah Crossan, 373 pages, read by Angie, on 03/27/2013

In this future world, the trees are gone and the air as well. People are forced to live in pods in order to survive. All are not equal in the pods. Those in zone 1 have the most privilege and the most air. The privileges and air goes down as you go further into the pods. Quinn is from zone 1; is father is very powerful in Breathe, the corporation that runs the pods and controls the air. His best friend Bea is from zone 3. Her family is poor, but she is smart and ambitious. Quinn and Bea decide to go camping in the Outside. They plan a two day excursion but at the border Alina insinuates herself into their group. Alina is a member of the resistance and needs to get out of the pod fast. Together they set off across the wastelands of the past world with only an oxygen tank between them and suffocation. Alina introduces Bea and Quinn to the resistance, who are trying to replant the trees and wake up the citizens about the corruption of Breathe.

This book was ok. I feel like it really didn’t cover any new ground in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic world. You had the typical corrupt corporation/politicians, resistance fighters, innocent teens, and of course a love triangle. The romance in this book was beyond awkward. Bea is in love with Quinn but he doesn’t know it. He becomes infatuated with Alina after a minute, but she doesn’t care. Alina thought she was in love with this resistance guy Abel, but who knows if that was true. Quinn finally wakes up and realizes he loves Bea but they can’t be together because of the class difference. It was pretty ridiculous. I wish there was more about the resistance and the uprising, but Crossan leaves us hanging. Not a terrible book, but nothing new here.

20. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Stung by Bethany Wiggins , 304 pages, read by Angie, on 03/18/2013

Fiona wakes up in her bedroom, but it isn’t her bedroom. Everything is dusty and broken and abandoned. She also realizes she is different herself. She has a weird tattoo on her hand and she seems older. In fact, she is older. She has lost four years of her life. Once she travels outside she realizes the world has gone to hell in that time. Nothing and no one is the same. There are now armed gangs patrolling the streets, a walled compound protecting people and feral groups living in the sewers. Fiona is captured by the militia and taken into custody. Apparently the tattoo on her hand means she is one of the most dangerous people alive and any moment she could turn into a raving beast. Her captor turns out to be her childhood neighbor who has always had a crush on her. They are soon on the run and falling in love.

I have to confess that while I was reading this book I couldn’t put it down. It is fast-paced and entertaining. However, for the most part it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I enjoy dystopians and my biggest pet peeve with them is lack of world-building. The world-building in this book didn’t make the most sense. It only took four years for the world to fall apart and it was all because the bees had disappeared (why do I keep getting Dr. Who flashes???). A vaccine to protect the elite (of course) from some disease caused by the bees disappearing actually turns people into monsters. The vaccine not only comes with a side of beast but a tattoo. And you get additional marks on your tattoo for every shot you get; so of course 10 marks means you are crazy! I didn’t get the militia, the compound, the gangs, etc. Bad world building!

The other thing I had a problem with was Fiona and Fiona and her beau. Fiona had to be the most pathetic, worthless heroine ever. She didn’t seem to have any survival instincts or actual intelligence sometimes. She never tried to escape her captors and at one point thought it would be a good idea to dress up in a pretty sundress and sandals in a world where she has been told women get raped for just being female. And how come men can’t control themselves? Really? It isn’t like the women died. Fiona and Dreyden were another big question mark for me. He starts out hating and fearing her and by the end of the book is ready to die for her. She still thinks she is 13 and lusts after his brother. Doesn’t matter if he holds her captive and is going to turn her over to become a guinea pig in a lab she will still always love him by the end. And the end…ugh! That is all I am going to say about that.

I did receive this book from the publishers on Netgalley and they obviously did not pay me for this review.

17. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Prodigy by Marie Lu, 374 pages, read by Angie, on 03/15/2013

Prodigy picks up after the events of Legend. June and Day have fled Los Angeles and are headed to Vegas. They are hoping to find the Patriots and enlist their help in rescuing Day’s brother Eden. The Patriots agree to help as long as June and Day help them. The Elector Primo has just died and his son Anden has taken his place. The Patriots want June and Day to assassinate Anden and start a revolution. The plan calls for June to be captured and become close to Anden and for Day to show his face and start causing a ruckus. The people see June and Day as heroes and the Patriots want to cash in on their celebrity status. The plan goes off without a hitch, but while getting close to Anden June learns that he is not what the Patriots think. He could be the voice of change they all hope for. She just has to get the message to Day and hopefully foil the assassination plans.

Oh how I love this series. It is so smartly written and so engaging that you really don’t want to put it down. As in Legend, this book is written from the dual perspectives of June and Day and while I am not always a fan of this style of writing I think it works perfectly here. By having both June and Day tell the story from their points of view you get a much wider picture of what is going on. I think the world-building is much stronger in this book. We get a look at the colonies and at the history of the country and a peak at the world outside the former United States. I like that both June and Day each have their eyes opened to what is going on outside the Republic.

The story was so fast-paced and so tightly written that I really can’t say anything negative about it. There is the inevitable love triangle or love square. I have to admit that I like the contrast between Anden and Day and their affections for June. I despise the addition of Tess to this romantic scenario. It just kind of grossed me out! But the June/Anden connection works as does the June/Day connection. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I do have to say the ending was heart-breaking and Marie Lu better fix that in the next book!

03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, 336 pages, read by Angie, on 03/01/2013

Hurricane after hurricane as hit the Gulf Coast. Each one destroying more and more until finally the last one pretty much wipes out the Delta. Then comes diseases and finally Delta Fever. Everything is so polluted after the destruction that disease runs rampant. Delta Fever is something new that attacks by blood type and only transfusions will slow the disease. The Delta is released from the US and a wall built to keep the survivors and the fever safely away from the rest of the world. The people left behind do not crumble; they recreate their civilization; they form tribes based on blood type and they survive. Fen de la Guerre is one such survivor; she is an OP (O positive) and has her tribe. But her tribe is attacked and she is the only survivor except a newborn baby girl whose mother, the OP tribe leader, died birthing her. Fen must find a way to survive and keep baby girl alive.

Into this crazy world comes Daniel, a scientist from across the wall. He was been working on a cure for Delta Fever and found one with only a small drawback, not only does it kill the virus it also kills the host. He is hoping there is something in the Delta that will help him fix his virus. Of course, Daniel is useless in the world of Orleans and needs Fen to help him survive. Together they must travel across Orleans looking for information and surviving the dangers of the Delta.

I was getting burnt out on all the post-apocalyptic dystopians that have been coming out the past year, but this one restored my faith in the genre. Orleans is a well-written, well-developed book with a great story. Sherri L. Smith really spent a lot of time building this world and laying out the details for the reader. You know exactly how Orleans became what it is. You understand the people and what they are doing to survive. I also love that in this world race no longer matters. You know there are people of different racial backgrounds but what separates them is not the color of their skin but the type of blood they carry. Nothing else really matters except your blood type in Orleans.

Fen is a great female character. She is strong, she is a survivor and she will do whatever she needs to do to stay alive. She doesn’t really care about a lot of other people but she still has hope. I liked the dual narrators, although I was much more interested in Fen’s story than Daniel’s. I enjoyed the fact that there was no romance in this book. Dystopians so often fall into romantic angst or god-forbid love triangles, but Orleans steers clear of all of that. Fen and Daniel are worried about survival not hooking up (as it should be). Fen’s part of the book are written in dialect which might turn off some readers, but I didn’t find it difficult to understand at all. I like the open-endedness of the ending; this is a world I wouldn’t mind returning to.

I received this ARC free from Netgalley.com.

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, 374 pages, read by Angie, on 02/18/2013

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.

14. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Eric, Fiction, Horror · Tags: ,

Devil's Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, 278 pages, read by Eric, on 02/14/2013

The sheer bulk of zombies and similar human horrors in films, books, and television makes it increasingly difficult to bring something new to the genre. In Devil’s Wake, the husband-wife writing team of Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due don’t attempt to do so. In their scenario, the undead are of the infected variety, which pass the infection on through bites.  A ragtag group of young adults must avoid being bitten as they travel from the state of Washington to Devil’s Wake, a reportedly “freak free” island off the coast of Southern California.

For the most part, the characters’ back stories are given perfunctory glances. A majority of them are delinquent teens from a work camp. At times, their dialog seems out of place for their age, and the cultural references too dated. This, combined with the familiarity of the plot, failed to spark my interest much until they were on the road, and interacting with other survivors. Unfortunately, the novel abruptly ends after this point, not because it’s a natural break in the story, but so there can be a series of books. I’m not sure I’ll go along for the ride.

31. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Fiction, Teen Books

Harbinger by Sarah Wilson Etienne, 309 pages, read by Courtney, on 12/12/2012

After her panic attacks/hallucinations and nightmares get too bad, Faye’s parents ship her off to Holbrook Academy. It’s really more of a prison than a school and residents are locked in their rooms at night, pepper-sprayed when they talk back and drugged indiscriminately. Faye and the rest of her “Family” (a seemingly random group of 5 students) seem different from the rest of the kids though, particularly since they keep waking up with their formerly locked windows open and their hands stained red. Only one member of the Family is really set apart and Faye begins to suspect that he may know much more than he is letting on. In fact, Faye is fairly certain that he might be trying to kill everyone.
While this book is, for the most part, rather entertaining and unusual, it is also a bit of a hot mess. The setting is somewhere in the not-too-distant future. Oil has peaked out and most forests have been clear-cut. Holbrook Academy, however, appears to have avoided the worst of the clear-cutting as it is heavily wooded (evidently a rare sight in this world). The headmistress of the academy, Dr. Mordoch, is constantly spouting Buddhist phrases that somehow support the “goals” of the school. It’s honestly the first time Buddhism has ever sinister to me. Anyway, the Buddhist symbolism is more or less completely dropped by the time the second half of the book rolls around. And so does the tone. Ecological themes begin to play an increasingly important role and then an ancient culture comes into play. I get where the author was headed with some of this stuff, but it still feels muddled and far-fetched. Bonus points, however, for the author’s notes indicating that the ancient race mentioned in the book did actually exist (though very little appears to be known about them). An interesting debut novel though, flaws and all.

18. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Fiction, Janet

The End of the Age by Pat Robertson, 374 pages, read by Janet, on 12/18/2012

     If you ever wonder what might happen when this stage of world life ends, this is the book to read.  Interestingly, many of the things mentioned seem to already be happening!  Every time I hear of a meteor heading toward the Earth I will wonder if it is the one to bring an end to things as we know them.  The one in this story landed in the Pacific Ocean near southern California.  The resulting waves wiped out a large part of the West Coast, countless islands, like Hawaii, caused huge damage to all ocean-lying areas all over the world, and, of course, sank most of the ships in the water.  Many water creatures were also killed.Volcanoes erupted and earthquakes were felt almost everywhere.  Many of the surviving people were withough any power, transportation, homes, or much food.

During this time, two societies developed.  One, led by the Devil’s advocate, Mark Beaulieu, who has unearthly powers and takes over the Oval Office.  He triess to squash his opponents in the Christian Resistance Movement, led by John Edwards.The clash at the end of the world is outstanding, and, thankfully, with a good outcome.

16. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Leslie, Teen Books

Nomansland by Lesley Hauge, 243 pages, read by Leslie, on 12/22/2012

Nomansland

Living under a strict code of conduct in an all-female community 500 years after the earth’s destruction, a sensitive teenaged girl raised to be a hunter discovers forbidden relics from the Time Before.

An okay book, a bit draggy throughout.  I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought by looking at the cover and synopsis.

 

16. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Leslie, Teen Books

Partials by Dan Wells, 470 pages, read by Leslie, on 05/27/2012

Partials (Partials, #1)

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials–engineered organic beings identical to humans–has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

I love science fiction based books so this book was very appealing to me.  Another take on what could happen to future of humanity, I enjoyed reading it.  If you don’t like science fiction or apocalyptic tales, then this is not for you.

05. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Teen Books

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick, 465 pages, read by Courtney, on 11/05/2012

Now here’s a very interesting twist on the zombie genre…an EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) bomb goes off, fries all electronics and scrambles the synapses in the heads of the vast majority of the population. Alex is out in the woods, preparing to release her parent’s ashes while she still can. Alex has an incurable brain tumor that has already taken her sense of smell and left her with a death sentence looming over her head. She is out camping when the EMP bomb (or series of bombs) goes off. With her is a young girl, Ellie and her dog, Mina. Ellie has recently lost her father to active military service in Iraq and has now seen her grandfather die when his pacemaker is taken out by the EMP. Alex and Ellie continue their trek through the woods, hoping to find a ranger station and get help. Along the way they meet Tom, a young soldier on leave from Afghanistan. Together, the three attempt to survive in the face of diminishing supplies, violent survivors and the brain-scrambled “zombies” who are all the more scary for their adaptive capabilities. About the only thing actually going in Alex’s favor is the “zap” scrambled her brain such that her sense of smell returns better than ever. In fact, she can smell threats coming…
So much goes on and happens here that there are about a zillion questions that the reader will have left by the end of this installment. How long can the three survive? How long can they survive alone? What really did happen to Ellie, Mina and Tom? What’s with the uber-strange town of Rule? And who the heck though it was a good idea to set off a series of EMPs anyway? Here’s hoping the next book offers more answers. I was getting pretty frustrated with Alex by the end, so I hope she pulls herself together and becomes the protagonist we all wanted her to be.

05. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Courtney, Teen Books

Ashfall by Mike Mullin, 466 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/23/2012

As the book begins, Alex has just had a fight with his family about going to visit his cousins in Illinois. He gets his way and stays home for the weekend. As he’s playing World of Warcraft, the power goes out and the noises begin. The next thing he knows, a giant projectile has crashed through the roof of his house and set it on fire. He manages to escape the burning house, but quickly realizes his problems are just beginning. Yellowstone has just erupted, and it’s the largest eruption in human history. Even though Alex is over 900 miles away in Cedar Rapids, IA, he is deafened by the ensuing noise. By this time, ash is beginning to fall from the sky and the light is diminishing rapidly. As soon as the noise dies down, Alex decides he is going to find his family. Thus begins a 140 mile trek across an ashen wasteland, populated by the occasional farm house with gun-wielding occupants, impromptu small town refugee centers and large-scale FEMA camps.
This is very dark and gritty. The threat of starvation and exposure appears to bring out the worse in the vast majority of those affected. Alex struggles to retain his humanity in the face of dire circumstances, which makes him an admirable character. Recommend this to fans of survival fiction, they won’t be disappointed.