The Strain makes vampires monsters again. They aren’t conflicted or sparkly or misunderstood. They are killing machines infected with the vampire virus and they want to take over the world. The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking I was reading a tv miniseries. You can see Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic stamp all over this book from the transitions to the flashbacks. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I like tv miniseries. And this story was strangely compelling. A plane lands at JFK and is dead; no lights, no radio, no movement. All the people are dead too except for four survivors. The CDC is called in lead by Ephraim Goodweather. He is puzzled and concerned. Then he teams up with pawn shop owner Abraham Sekarian, your typical holocaust surviving, vampire slaying old man. Abraham introduces Ephraim to the world of vampires and vampire slaying. Sure he is skeptical but reality soon makes him a believer.
First the bad: even with the cinematic quality there was a lot of filler in this book and not story filler. I am talking about weird asides about rats and HAZMAT and the eclipse. They were boring and chopped up the storytelling and frankly made the book twice as long as it needed to be. There was also a lot of tell not show. We are told what characters are doing and feeling instead of seeing them do and feel it. Always weak storytelling. The characters are stereotypes and pretty thin. Ephraim is a recently divorced dad going through a custody battle. He didn’t want to break up his marriage and has rearranged his whole life to be with his son Zack. Of course mom is mad and not budging on anything. At one point he misses a custody session because of course he is in the middle of a horrible epidemic and the psychiatrist basically blows him off saying he lost his chances for custody. Really??? The epidemic is on the news and they can’t reschedule? Seriously?? Nora is partner is of course barely mentioned other than she is his partner and he had an affair with her. Then you have the middle part of the book which is basically people turning into vampires and Ephraim being confused…for a couple hundred pages! The pacing in this book is definitely off; a lot could have been trimmed and the book shortened. And what was up with the eclipse; it basically had no point in the story but went on for chapters.
The good: I liked the flashbacks to Abraham’s story. These were interesting, relevant and exciting. I liked Abraham as a character too. He was by far the most interesting one in the whole book. I actually liked the vampires; they are evil and nasty and just want to kill you. That is what vampires are supposed to do. I kind of enjoyed the different take on the vampire tale. They don’t bite you they have giant stingers that cut your throat and suck your blood. There are little worms that invade your body when attacked and transform you (kind of like cancer or a virus). I even liked the vampire/human partnership and the vampire politics (which we just glimpse and I assume are going to be much more relevant in the next book). That all made for some exciting reading; I just wish there wasn’t so much other crap getting in the way.
I didn’t hate this book, but it made me remember why I don’t read a lot of adult books. There is just too much crap in them. This book definitely could have used some editing down to fix the pacing and the length and the characters. But it reads like an exciting move of the week that just hasn’t been edited yet. With editing this could be must see tv.
OK. There were a few things I really wanted from this book. Namely, answers that I had left over from the first three books. I knew this was a prequel, but I had no idea where Dashner would pick up the storyline. I had *hoped* that it would involve Tom and Teresa’s work with WICKED prior to the maze. But, with the exception of the introduction, Teresa is nowhere to be found and Tom is only mentioned one more time in the entire book. Instead, it focuses on Mark, a teenaged boy who has become separated from his family in the aftermath of the solar flares, and Alec, a grizzled retired soldier-type, who leads Mark and several others to safety.
So there they are, a group of folks living in the Appalachian Mountains, minding their own business, when an airship lands nearby. The occupants of the airship begin shooting darts at the people in the settlement. Many of those hit die shortly after. Others take days to die. One thing is certain: if anyone is to survive, Mark and Alec are going to need to track down the source of the mysterious airship in the hopes that it can lead them to a cure.
So, if you’ve read the Maze Runner series, you very likely have a good idea of what’s in those darts. And really, this incident is about the only thing that explains any of the state of affairs in the rest of the series. I really wanted more world-building out of this series. The first two books were so good, mainly because they created so many intriguing questions. These last two books though…they just fall flat in spite of all the action. Fans of action will be pleased to note that this installment has it in spades. Nearly every chapter includes a near-death fight or daring escape, so it moves quickly. If it weren’t for the mentions of a few “Maze Runner”-specific lingo (i.e. “Bergs”, “Flat trans”, etc.), I might have even forgotten this was part of the series. In that sense, Kill Order can stand alone. It’s just that there was so much promise at the beginning of this series that it’s hard not to be a little disappointed when the ending/prequel doesn’t meet expectations.
Hero for Wondla picks up right where Search for Wondla left off. Eva Nine and Rovee have been picked up by pilot Hailey and are taken to the human city New Attica. Now of course nothing is what it seems in New Attica (is it ever?) and Eva and Rovee soon find themselves on the run again. This delightful book is filled with interesting characters and just enough sci-fi to keep us wanting more. I love all the creatures that now inhabit Earth or Orbana. I love the sinister leader of New Attica and his bubble-headed daughters. But most of all I love the relationship between Eva and Rovee and the rest of the planet. This is truly a gem.
Araby lives in a world filled with disease and despair, forced to wear a mask covering her face so she won’t catch the plague. She is cold and frozen from the death of her twin brother Finn years before. She spends her nights with her friend April at the Debauchery Club trying to find oblivion. It is at the Debauchery Club that she meets Will, the handsome club attendant taking care of his younger brother and sister, and Elliot, April’s reckless revolutionary brother. Elliot convinces her to join the resistance against his uncle, the ruler of the city, Prince Prospero. Araby must come to terms with her father’s role in the plague and her own desires.
This book is based on Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, which I have not read. But that did not diminish my enjoyment of this story at all. In fact, I might have to go back and read Poe’s version and compare. I loved the world created by Griffin. It is dark and dreary, filled with tattered clothes and steam carriages. Araby is an interesting narrator and a great heroine for our story. She has to balance her grief and guilt over her brother’s death, her parents’ apathy and her own desires. I like that the love triangle wasn’t a trite, messy thing (I HATE love triangles). This one worked because of the political messiness of the story. I do wish we would have gotten more information on Prince Prospero and Malcontent, but I foresee that coming up in the sequel. This is a fun book with lots of dystopian, steampunk angst.
I received a copy of this from the publisher at PLA 2012.
Yes, a thousand times yes! This might be my new favorite zombie novel. Sloane’s life is miserable. And that’s before the zombies kill nearly everyone. Sloane had been planning on killing herself the day that the undead broke through the door of her house. Yes, she’s depressed. But that’s not even the half of it. Her mother died when Sloane was young. Her father was severely abusive. Her sister, Lily, ran away six months ago, in spite of promising to take Sloane with her. Now, petrified of her father and reeling from her sister’s betrayal, Sloane is faced with the zombie apocalypse. She winds up back at her high school with a handful of others who have managed to survive. There is distrust and in-fighting immediately and personalities continually clash. All Sloane wants to do is die. Nightmares of her father wake her up more at night than the fear of the undead.
What does one do when the world appears to be coming to an end? When you didn’t want to live in the first place? This is such a fascinating twist on the classic zombie novel. Summers, who has already proved herself an exceptional YA writer, once again shows her skills in giving voice to an all-too-common issue (the depression, not the zombies), giving this novel an added emotional charge.
This book was very dark. If the sun hadn’t still been shining when I read it I may have had nightmares and/or been severely depressed. Suffering from MS, the author, John Hicklenton, committed assisted suicide the day after finishing this graphic novel. I was not surprised to learn that fact after reading and looking at the very disturbing and graphic illustrations. The entire story is about death and suffering. Mara, an earth goddess, is sent by her father (a scary looking creature who is presumably Satan) to slay the swine God Longpig (presumably all the negative aspects of humanity). It centers on her journey to find the Longpig. Mara claims the purpose of her task is to ultimately avenge her friend’s death (Jesus?). Along the way, anyone she finds she punishes. She pretty much unleashes her wrath on all of humanity. The accompanying pictures are graphic but the composition and the usage of colors is quite breathtaking (if you can look past the death and destruction the illustrations represent).
I randomly came across this book while looking for another and am kind of glad I decided to read it. Considering this was Mr. Hicklenton’s final statement to the world, I almost wonder if he was trying to give people a glimpse of what he thought the world is coming to and what will happen if we don’t change. It was almost as if he believes in the whole idea of self-destruction is imminent if humanity refuses to change kind of view. Creepy but interesting book.
The world as we know it has collapsed through war and disease. It is in this post-apoclyptic world that we meet Stephen. He is a scavenger with his father traveling the paths of the old world looking for things to trade and sell. Then his father has an accident and Stephen meets some new people; people who don’t live on the open road but have created a new town and are trying to rebuild their old lives.
Post-apocalyptic teen fiction is everywhere and there aren’t a lot of original stories left to tell. This one is definitely not an original; there isn’t anything really ground-breaking about this tale, but there also isn’t anything wrong with it. Stephen is an interesting character who wants to find a place to belong; he is struggling with who he is now that his grandfather is dead and his father is injured. He has to stand on his own for the first time. The rest of the characters aren’t quite as interesting. They all seem to be your typical archetypes for the post-apocalyptic world: evil slavers, people just trying to get by, family that wants to rule what little is left of their domain. Of course there is conflict, but it all gets resolved rather easily.
This book could actually be recommended for younger audiences (tweens) or your more innocent teens. It is a very clean read. There is only a bit of very clean kissing, no swearing that I can remember and even the violence is very non-violent. I would almost classify this as a gentle post-apocalyptic read. All the conflict is resolved at the end and everyone has their happily ever after.
It is an age old question.
Zombies or Unicorns?
Are you on team Zombie or team Unicorn?
I assumed going into this collection I would definitely fall into the team Zombie category. I love zombie stories and movies and unicorns have always just seemed to girlie to me. And I have to admit that I am still on team Zombie, but the unicorns might have turned my head just a little bit.
This is a pretty solid collection of stories from some of the best teen authors of today. I love the back and forth banter of our team captains before each story. Yes, it could seem annoying to some but I thought it brought a lightness and a sense of fun and illustrated the challenge of the book. Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black were clearly having fun with this book and we should too.
As for the stories…some were better than others. Some were great short stories, some were not that great and a few I wish were the start of an actual book. So bring on the zombie apocalypse or the invasion of the unicorns. I am ready!
Michael Grant is dark and brutal and pulls no punches and I LOVE it! Fear definitely ramps up the tension for the Gone series. You can tell the end is neigh and I for one can not wait to see how this series is going to play out.
In Fear, we have our two camps. King Caine in Perdido Beach ruling through fear and intimidation and Sam at the Lake just plugging along. There has been peace for about 4 months and both sides are a little bored. But be careful what you wish for because the Gaiaphage is never done with its plots and schemes. And of course Drake/Brittney is always willing to carry them out. They have a lot to deal with in this book. The dome is changing, it is going dark. Soon they will lose all their light, which means no food. That is when the fear and chaos sets in.
I think what I loved most about this book was the character growth. I mean Astrid alone changed so much. She has always been a black/white no gray type of girl which made her not very likeable. Her genius/virgin personality and her unwillingness to compromise her principles really set her apart in this world. But the new Astrid is someone who the people can relate to and seems more human. I also loved that Sam realized that he is not a leader…finally the bumbling can stop! He is their warrior, their champion, but he is not the leader. Quinn stepped up the plate, Diana became more human, Caine learned some humility. Everyone was changing in this book and I loved it. They are growing up. I also loved the look on the outside. For four books we have been wondering what was going on outside the dome and we finally got a glimpse. I have a feeling this is going to be explored even more in the next book.
As I said Grant is brutal. There are scenes in this book that made me cringe but I get it because the FAYZ is a brutal place. I’m a little sad about the treatment of some of our mainstay characters; seems like they were thrown away in this book, but that goes back to the brutality of this world. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t talk about the ending or what we learn about the dome or Petey but only say OMG!
Humanity has been devastated by a war with the Partials (synthetic beings created by man to fight another war who rebelled against their creators). There are less than 50,000 humans left all huddled together on Long Island trying to survive. But humanity is not surviving; they can’t have children. During the war a virus called RM was released that killed 99% of the population and is still killing the babies born today. The survivors are immune but their children are not. In order to combat this disease the government has enacted the Hope Act which decrease all women age 18 and older must give birth as often as possible. It doesn’t matter the babies still die. The harsh dictates of the government have given rise to a rebel regime called the Voice and a civil war is imminent. No one has seen the Partials in 11 years since the end of the war.
Kira Walker is a 16-year old maternity medic. She is tired of watching baby after baby die. She wants to study the RM virus and find a cure. What she discovers is that researchers have studied every possible cure and there is no hope. Everyone is infected. Her idea is to capture a Partial and find a cure through their immunity. The government denies her request but that doesn’t stop her. What she finds will change everything; how she views herself, her world, her government, the Partials.
I have to admit that I had a hard time getting into this book. It starts out pretty slow and the action doesn’t really ramp up until the second half of the book. Once it gets going though it is pretty good. I like the implications of who is responsible for the war and RM and the downfall of humanity. Are humans culpable in their own demise? Where the Partials victims just trying to get a better life when they rebelled? I also really enjoyed the the look at what the human government has become. It is basically a totalitarian regime taking away peoples rights, for the good of the people and the state of course, but isn’t that how all these types of governments start. They send people to work camps, they search people’s homes, people disappear, they force women to get pregnant. I thought the society was fascinating and wish it had been explored a little bit more.
I guess that is my biggest complaint. There was a lot of time spent on the science of RM, which was interesting but not that interesting, but some of the world building/society stuff of the humans and partials was just barely touched on. Even some of the characters could have been more developed. Xochi for instance…why did she hate her mother so much, why did she want to rebel, what were her motivations? Then you have the Partial society which I am sure Wells is saving for book 2, but that was fascinating but just barely mentioned. I did enjoy the fact that this book, unlike other dystopians did not dwell on romantic interests even though they are present, and that the lead Kira was not a weak character. She knew what she wanted and went after it no matter what. She was determined, intelligent, strong and heroic. I liked her as a character. I am interested in this world but I am not sure I will read more about it. We will just have to see.
After reading the post-apocalyptic Hunger Games series, I decided to start reading James Dashner’s Maze Runner series. There were several similarities between the two series. This book, like the Hunger Games series, is all about sacrifice, survival, and death. It is also going to the big screen. However, there were a few differences that made me like the Hunger Games much more. Although I liked The Maze Runner’s plot, I found Dashner’s writing style to be a little irritating. The creepy maze, desperation to find a way out, and suspense of the situations made me continue on, but the frequent breaks in the flow of the book (each chapter averaged about 2-4 pages at the most) seemed to chop the book up a little awkwardly. Overall, it was a good idea for a book and I am looking forward to learning what happens to the characters next.
Cyborg Cinderella…post-apocalyptic world…Earth and Lunar peoples at odds…strange plague ravaging the planet…handsome prince…evil queen. This is the world of Cinder and it is a fun, fast-paced adventure-filled world.
Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living with her adopted family in New Being after WWIV. As a cyborg she is not considered human but property of her family. Her stepmother hates her because she believes Cinder caused the death of her husband. Cinder meets Prince Kai when he brings her an android to fix. Soon after Cinder’s stepsister Peony falls ill with the plague and her stepmother volunteers Cinder for medical research. At the medical facility Cinder learns things about herself; who she is and where she came from. All of this is set against the political backdrop of Earthen/Lunar politics that Kai is dealing with. The moon is ruled by an evil queen who uses magic (or bioelectricity) to control people. She wants to marry Prince Kai and through that union rule Earth.
First of all I loved the character of Cinder. She is kickass and awesome. Who wouldn’t love a cyborg Cinderella who is also a mechanic. The image of her coming to the ball all wrinkled and stained and in a crashed car just made me smile. I like that she solves her own problems, she doesn’t depend on anyone else, she doesn’t whine about her situation, she just does what needs to be done. I also like some of the other characters like the evil Queen Levana. She is just so nasty and exactly what an evil queen should be like. Prince Kai reminded me of the Disney princes a bit…he was kind of bland and more like a placeholder than a real character. Didn’t leave that much of an impression on me. I didn’t really buy the romance between Kai and Cinder. I didn’t think they actually had time or motivation to develop feelings for each other more than just a simple crush or thinking the other was “hot”.
I thought the Cinderella plot was well done; however, since we knew it was there it is a bit obvious throughout the story. You know who she is and the big revealing twist of her identity is not a surprise at all if you have been paying attention. I liked the modern twists though. The foot falling off at the ball (because it is her cyborg foot), the chariot is her old car she fixed up, the dress is her stepsisters castoff and wrinkled and greasy. I thought these were charming ways to tell the Cinderella part of the story.
I did think the world building was a little generic. The story is supposed to be set in New Beijing but we really don’t get any Asian influences. However, I really did like the Lunar stuff. I liked what Meyer did with a lunar colony…they developed abilities, the way they are ruled through glamour and manipulation, they cause a plague on earth, they want to take over earth, etc.
This is a series that I think has a lot of potential. It sounds like the next book in the series is about Little Red Riding Hood so I am interested to see how Meyer ties it all together. Definitely worth the read.
When reading Mockingjay, I had an odd feeling the author, Suzanne Collins was mocking me. She probably wasn’t it but wouldn’t it be great if she was? Mockingjay is the third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, a trilogy I was ready to move on from and put behind me. I’m not saying it wasn’t a well written, heart wrenching book but rather a story I was tired of. It took forever to read the book, I just didn’t care anymore. I love variety and I think it was a mistake to read all three books back-to-back. After finally finishing it the first time, I reread the book and enjoyed it more. I suppose the way the book ended, there could possibly be more books but none are planned at this time. Overall the book left my hungry for more.
Gaia is the daughter of a midwife and has trained for it her whole life. She’s really good at what she does, which happens to include making sure that the ruling Enclave gets the required three babies per month. On her way back from a delivery, Gaia is told that her parents have been arrested and that if she has any lists that her mother may have kept, she needs to turn them over to the authorities. Puzzled, Gaia can only think of one thing that might be what the Enclave is looking for: an embroidered ribbon that contains a code. While she doesn’t know what the code means, she attempts to keep it safe while keeping up her duties as the official sector midwife while her mother is in prison. When Gaia receives a note from her mother instructing her to destroy the code, Gaia decides to take actions into her own hands and endeavors to break into the Enclave to save her parents.
Gaia’s character begins as one who simply does as she is told. Entering the Enclave, however, fundamentally changes how Gaia sees her world and compels her to act even when her own life may be threatened. The world inside of the Enclave is very different from the world outside. The outside, or Wharfton, is rough and relatively primitive. The Enclave, on the other hand, has all the amenities afforded to the wealthy. The only problem with those living in the Enclave is their gene pool. The human race has suffered catastrophic losses and the population inside the Enclave is so small that diseases like hemophilia run rampant. Thus, healthy babies are taken from the outside to be raised inside with all the perks granted to the citizens inside.
I found this to be a very interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre. At first, I felt like the premise was a little thin, but by the end, I was hooked. There’s just enough world-building to flesh out the plot and enough action to keep even the more impatient readers going. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that there was little romance; just hints of it. I’ve gotten so tired of post-apocalyptic love stories that this was a rather refreshing change of pace. Gaia’s development as a person comes through fairly well and she makes for a pretty decent heroine. Recommended for fans of Margaret Atwood’s speculative work.
Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Starting off where the first book left off, our heroes are thrown into the world of politics and see even a more darker side of Snow’s society. The first book has a pace that is fast and furious and you will no complaints with this one. If you like Hunger Games you will like Catching Fire. You can’t really reveal anything in the review or it would ruin the first book and the second one as well. Happy Hunting.
I love the television show, The Walking Dead on AMC, so it stands to reason I would want to read the graphic novels too. This compendium covers the first eight novels into one economical book. This means you can sit in your chair, grab a beverage, read all night long then call in sick for work. The story follows Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma alone in a hospital to find the world ruled by the undead. Rick finds his family with a group of people and they embark on a journey for survival and trying to find a way to have as normal as a life possible in this hideous world. Even though the story involves zombies it is more human interaction and how people relate to one another in desperate times. I enjoyed it very much.
I have been on the Hunger Games bandwagon from the very beginning and my love of this book does not diminish with the second reading. Katniss is a great character. She isn’t the strongest, smartest or prettiest girl, but she is a strong character with excellent survival instincts. I really enjoyed how she learned to play the game. It was all about survival for her but she didn’t comprise who she was as a person. I think she is a much better role model for young readers than some of the other female protagonists that appear in teen literature today.
I also appreciate the fact that this book doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending and everything isn’t perfect at it’s conclusion. I also like the fact that the love story isn’t front and center to this book. It is present but it isn’t what this book is about. This book is so much more than a teen angsty love story and I for one am glad. I also like that none of the horror of the world or the Games is whitewashed; it is a brutal world and we get to see it in all its guts and glory. We see exactly what lengths the Capital will go for entertainment and to keep the districts in line.
Suzanne Collins created something truly wonderful in this series and I am glad that it caught on with the public.
What fun! A zombie book that’s not really about the zombies at all. I mean, it is, in the sense that zombies are present throughout the book and pose a constant threat to the protagonists. But it isn’t in the sense that it’s more about the living and what they’re living for.
Benny has grown up with his older brother Tom raising him. Their parents? Killed on “First Night”, the night of the zombie apocalypse. And all Benny remembers is Tom carrying him and running away from their mother. Thus, in Benny’s eyes, his brother is a coward, even if he is a zombie hunter. In fact, Benny worships at the feet of the town’s big, bad zombie bounty hunters and can’t understand how his brother could even compare. Now that Benny’s turning 15, he has to find work or lose his rations. After failing (or recoiling in horror/boredom) in a variety of jobs, Benny finally decides to try out the “family business”. His first trip with Tom is a life-changing journey into the vast “rot and ruin”, the zombie-infested land outside of the town gates. His world view will never be the same.
This is the thinking person’s zombie novel. The relationship between Tom and Benny is painfully realistic. The bounty hunters are palpably disturbing. And the “Lost Girl”? I want to be her friend. Also, I *might* just have a bit of a book-crush on Tom. His zen-like patience concealing some serious potential to fight like a samurai….his compassion and intelligence….and he raised a bratty little brother! le sigh…
The last book in the Hunger Games series was rather violent. I guess I should have expected that from a society that ultimately used children’s lives for sport and entertainment. Even after her part in the Hunger Games’ arena is over, Katniss finds herself “back in the arena again”, as she is forced to face the same horrors as she did during the Games. She makes some horribly tough choices about survival, friendship, and trust. The book pretty much focused on her and her role as the face of the rebel revolution. It was more intense and detailed than the first two books. I felt as if those focused more on character development and description of the games while the last just focused on the vivid gore of the rebel revolution and their plans to expose the horrors of the Capitol. It seemed that, overall, the series was showing its readers the dangers of a leader and how vulnerable we can be to its decisions and desires.
Eve Nine lives in an underground Sanctuary and dreams of one day exploring the surface, but MUTHR (Multi-Utility Task-Help Robot) will not allow it. Then the Sanctuary is attacked and she is captured by a strange creature. And the surface is nothing like the holograms she has studied and trained for. There are strange creatures, carnivorous walking trees, and no humans. She makes friends with a telepathic water bear and Rovender who becomes her guide. Together they set off to find clues about Eve’s origins and where her people have gone.
This is a fun read and a truly delightful journey. Eve is a wonderful character; she is smart and spunky and brave…basically everything you want in your heroine. I love her gang of friends as well. Muthr is awesome. I thought she was going to be a pill but she really steps out of her comfort zone of the Sanctuary and goes with the flow on the journey and she truly is the mother of Eve. I think my favorite character is Otto the telepathic water bear. I can just hear his gentle voice in my head. I have to say that as much as I loved the main characters I found the villains to be a bit one note. They weren’t as developed and we really didn’t get as much out of them, especially the hunter…he seemed very single minded and a bit crazy.
I think the illustrations really made this book. They were awesome. They truly captured the spirit of the text and were just fun to look at. Of course this is the first book in a series so it does end on a cliffhanger (boo hiss), but it is a satisfying ending.