The magic of Artime is gone, and the surviving students and faculty are looking to Alex Stowe for answers and hope. He must find a way to restore what has been lost, including Lani and Samheed, who have been imprisoned on Warbler Island.
This is the third adventure in the Unwanteds series, and quite possibly my favorite so far. While I’m not sure why the far more experienced teachers would rely so heavily on a leader in his early teens, the intended readership most likely welcomes the empowerment of someone their age. Including other islands and societies provides welcome mystery, adventure, and danger to the story. Experience brings changes to budding love, which also is handled well. As with the second novel, the story ends right when it most needs to continue, which I would find frustrating if I hadn’t already grabbed the next two books. Bring ‘em on.
In book three of this series, the magical world of Artime is gone. It disappeared when its leader, Mr. Today, was killed by Quillians. The Quillians would like to keep Artime destroyed and the Unwanteds enslaved or dead. The book follows several different plot lines. Alex, the new leader of Artime, must somehow figure out how to bring Artime back. The Unwanted who have not deserted to become Quillian slaves (at least they’ll get food and water!), are slowly losing hope. Alex is also struggling with the guilt over his friends who were captured by the Warblerians and have not been rescued yet. However, there is no way to do that until he can reconstruct Artime and bring back the magic. There’s a tension that is continuing to build between him and his twin brother that must eventually clash and be resolved, for better or worse.
McMann finishes some plots arcs, develops others, and starts a few brand new ones that leave some fine cliff-hangers. It’s a fun series. Though the plots involve death and kidnapping, the book keeps everything light enough to be kid-friendly. If you’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series, you’re bound to enjoy this one also. If you have not read the first books, I would suggest reading them first. I’m reading it with my 9 year-old son who has already read the series, but loved it so much he wanted to read it again together.
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.
Envision a world where teen suicide is an inexplicable national epidemic. One in three teenagers is affected, and the explosive teen suicide rate sends the world into a panic. Adults will do anything to keep the remaining teenagers alive and well, even if it means sending them away to mental institutions to have their minds irrevocably altered. This is the world that 17-year-old Sloane lives in. She and her peers are under relentless surveillance in case they show signs of depression, despair, or any other negative emotion. Teenagers who display these undesirable emotions are submitted to The Program, where their negativity is completely expunged. Unfortunately, most of their memories of adolescence are erased as well. Sloane and her boyfriend James are desperately afraid of losing their memories to The Program, and they vow to keep each other safe. However, the epidemic soon looms over them, and it is not long before they too fall prey to its fatal grip.
When their close friend commits suicide, James becomes inconsolable and is taken away by The Program. This spirals Sloane into her own depression. Sloane had already lost her brother to the epidemic, and her parents will do anything to keep her alive. Despite her adamant protests, Sloane is dragged from her home and forced into The Program, where she is slowly stripped of her memories. Will she be able to remember James and her past or will her mind be completely reset?
“The Program,” written by Suzanne Young, is both a New York Times bestselling novel and a Gateway Award Nominee. While there are several questions left unanswered in “The Program,” this provides ample opportunity for more plot twists and excitement in the next book in the series, “The Treatment.” There are some sections in the book that are rather slow, but the fascinating plot, strong characters, and resilient, sexy romance between Sloane and James more than make up for this. “The Program” is an intriguing novel that is ideal for readers who enjoy similar dystopian novels such as Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Book one of a trilogy. Annihilation is set in Area X. An area cut off from the rest of the continent for decades that has been reclaimed by nature. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
Now the twelfth expedition is entering Area X. This group is made up of four women, an anthropologist, surveyor, psychologist a biologist. The biologist is our narrator and the psychologist is the leader of the group. Their mission is to map the terrain, collect specimens, record all their observations of their surroundings and one another. And most importantly avoid being contaminated by Area X and watch for signs of contamination in others.
This mystery/adventure story is wonderfully written. The text moves you along quickly and pulls you right into the world of Area X. It is different to read a whole novel and never learn the characters names or much about what they look like. This first book brings up lots and lots of questions. I checked with other staff who have finished the trilogy and some questions are answered but not a lot. If you can enjoy reading for the way it is written and pondering about the mysterious of life and our universe then this is for you. If you need solid answers by the end of the series, skip this one.
It seems that utopian societies always have a dark side. The community in The Giver is no different; the perfect society is balanced by an absence of so many things – colors, feelings, choice. Jonas discovers this absence when he becomes the new Receiver of Memories. In this capacity he learns what really happens in his community and he finds that he can’t live with it. He has to make changes to his circumstances.
This is a really interesting book and a great book for discussions. There is the sameness of the community, the regimented lives of the citizens, the lack of choice in everything they do and the release of people from the community. I thought Jonas’s story was one many could relate to; he really grew up and into himself in the book. He learned to think and act for himself and as an adult.
I did find that when I finished the book I wanted to know more though. I wanted to know how they created the sameness — do they genetically engineer all the people to be color blind? The colors are still there obviously but the people just don’t see them. How did they get rid of the weather, the sun, the hills, the animals? I assume they have climate control, but they aren’t under a dome or anything so how does it work? How did the Receiver of Memories gather all the memories in the first place? They seem to be from many different people and places and times and at least one seemed to come from an animal (the elephant). How are they gathered and stored and tied to the community? Jonas looses them so they are obviously tied to a place. Lots of unanswered questions!
The ending is also very ambiguous and left a lot of questions. Was it real? Did he live or die? How will the community deal with the memories? Will the Giver be able to help them? Will the community change? And should the community change? Even with all the sameness and lack of choice was the community bad? Is release bad?
Gaia is a teenage girl who is pushed into an adult world, with adult problems, when her parents are suddenly arrested by the Enclave. This coming of age story is set in a dystopian future where global warming (called the cool age) has already scarred the Earth and several generations of survivors have hashed out a new way of life. Gaia follows in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife for a group of outsiders who live an archaic life. Bakers, carpenters and weavers are at odds with technological leftovers like movie theaters. Gaia’s life is fairly happy, despite that fact that the Enclave requires that a percentage of all babies delivered be “advanced” to the Enclave. These children are adopted into Enclave families. Though they will never see their birth parents again, it is considered a privilege because the children will go on to live rich, fulfilled lives. Gaia has no qualms with the situation until the evening her parents are arrested with no warning or explanation. As she begins to investigate, Gaia discovers a less savory side of the Enclave and starts questioning the rituals that have always been a part of her life. Leaving behind a prosperous job and the safety of ignorance, Gaia sets off to rescue her parents.
Birthmarked is neither the best, nor the worst, teen dystopian I have come across since the explosion of popularity in the genre began. The protagonist, Gaia, is a bit annoying in her blind devotion followed by startlingly sudden and inept actions. However, most of the characters are likable and the plot is simple and clear. It is an easy and fun read.
The Program is set in yet another dystopian future, but this time the plague racking the Earth is suicide. A type of death that once was a choice, has become a sickness that affects a large percentage of the teenage population. Worse still, it appears to be a communicable disease. In order to deal with this, governments are turning to The Program. Teens who are flagged with depression are involuntarily admitted to a center which attempts to cure their illness by wiping away any memories that might make the teens sad. The hero and heroine of this book both suffer through the trauma of The Program, but once they are released as having been cured, they fight to regain their memories. No one has ever accomplished this before and they must try while forced to run away from parents, watchers, and government officials who would lock them back up. Sloane and James, lovers prior to the program, not only find each other, but slowly piece together some memories of their past together because “[she] may not remember him, but [her] heart does.” The story ends as they break ties with their family and start running.
I was not impressed with this book. The plot was thin and, as a reader, I really had to put in a lot of effort to suspend disbelief. Important parts, that do not flow smoothly in any kind of arranged sense, are left up to the reader to find some excuse for. Many parts seemed added solely to add a shock value to the narrative. It is a decent book, but if you have a limited amount of time to read, I would not bother with this one.
In the walled, dystopian city-state of Quill, each year brings the Purge, when children turning thirteen are sorted into two groups. The Wanteds are allowed to stay in Quill, and continue training at the university. The Unwanteds, those displaying any sort of artistic creativity, are taken from Quill to the Lake of Boiling Oil, as a death sentence for their transgressions. When Alex Stowe is taken with other Unwanteds to their fate, they instead discover their salvation- the Lake of Boiling Oil is a front for Artime, a magic refuge and school, where the artistic talents of the Unwanteds become spells capable of amazing things, including the inevitable defense of Artime when the High Priest Justine of Quill discovers the ruse.
At first, the similarities to Harry Potter were distracting, and I found some of the magical artistic powers and creatures to be a bit silly. As the story progressed, though, I was drawn in a little more with each chapter. By the end, I was enjoying it all, and wanting to continue to the next book. I just needed to keep the intended audience in mind, and let fantasy be wild. This Mark Twain Award winner is a great beginning for a creative series.
In yet another brutal and intriguing volume, Shiro tries to learn how to cook in order to cheer up Ganta, who has sunk into a deep depression. It doesn’t really work. In the aftermath of the prison break, the warden moves things in a new direction. It is decided that the public will now be shown what “monsters” the Deadmen are. Behind the scenes, prison officials are now turning regular prisoners into brain-washed Deadmen. Every time anything gets better in this series, something devastating is sure to follow. Still, very imaginative, if a bit disturbing.
After the failure of their last attempt at getting a data chip out of Deadman Wonderland, Scar Chain regroups and tries again. Ganta decides to try training and Shiro remains…well, Shiro. DMW remains one of the darker and more intriguing manga series I’ve come across in recent memory.
Oh how I hate a cliffhanger! Mainly because I don’t have the next book on hand to immediately start reading. I have wanted to read The Last Wild ever since I heard about it and it did not disappoint.
Kester is a boy who has been taken from his home and imprisoned in Spectrum Hall. He is unable to speak ever since his mom died several years ago. He hasn’t heard from his dad in the six years he has been in Spectrum Hall. Kester’s world is one in which there was a plague that destroyed all the animals and the food of the world. The people of the island where he lives are confined into four cities and the island is controlled by the powerful Factorium. One ordinary day in Spectrum Hall Kester discovers he can hear animals. First it is a cockroach and then pigeons. They break Kester out and take him to the last wild. There he meets the last stag and many other animals that have survived the plague. Unfortunately, they are in danger because the plague has reached the last wild. Their only hope is Kester and finding a cure. Kester sets off with the stag, cockroach, pigeons and a courageous wolf-pup to the city to find his father and a cure. Along the way he is joined by other animals and Polly, who has lived in the quarantine zone with her parents until they disappeared. They are chased by the evil henchmen of the Factorium who wants to destroy all animals no matter if they are sick or not. Kester has to find his courage and his voice in order to succeed.
It isn’t often that you read a book where the main character cannot talk. While Kester can talk to the animals, he is unable to communicate with the people he meets. This leads to some pretty interesting situations. As much as I liked Kester and Polly, it was really the animals who were the stars of this story. There is the only white pigeon who repeats everything the gray pigeons say only in a different order and often with completely different and hilarious meanings. There is the brave wolf-pup who is super courageous and let’s everyone know about his bravery. There is the cockroach named “General” who seems to sleep more than most put still claims to be the leader. There is the mouse who has a dance for every occasion. And finally the majestic stag who saves them time and again. The book is a mix of fantasy and dystopian and road novel mixed with coming of age. I loved every page of it!
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
This third installment in the American Vampire series takes place during World War II in the 1940s. Follow Pearl and Henry as well as Cash and Felicia as they battle for their very lives. Again, Skinner Sweet, the first American Vampire makes an appearance, though he doesn’t figure as prominently in this volume as the other 2. Still, he does not disappoint. Ever wonder what would have happened if the Nazis had vampires? Find out in American Vampire Vol 3. The story is beautifully written and the art is amazing.
Skinner Sweet is back in a second volume of American Vampire. This volume takes place during the 1930s and has more about Pearl, the vampire Sweet created, and her lover, Henry. The art is wild in the volume and Albuquerque has really outdone himself with showing vampires as they look in battle. Enjoy this second installment. Like the first, it promises to not disappoint! Skinner is as sneaky as ever.
I greatly enjoyed the last book in the Uglies Trilogy. I love how Tally transforms in each book, and seeing her as a fierce and beautiful Special was intriguing. The end of the book wrapped up the series quite nicely. I can’t believe I waited so long to read these books! They are definitely one of my favorite dystopian series to date.
A fantasy novel by one of the most popular (if Not the MOST popular author – I think he has the broadest appeal). I’d had such good luck with David Baldacci, and Nora Roberts. Well this time I struck out. There was way more freaking out than was necessary and also too much immediate foreshadowing “my next decision was stupid, and unfortunately, so was my next”. I would think someone like Patterson would be good at straight out telling a story, without so much dancing around with the thoughts of the main characters. Basically two teens wake up in the middle of the night and are taken to jail, after a new order has been elected into office. Oh, yeah, and they both apparently have major powers, which their parents explained to them, except they weren’t listening.
I’m not sure why I went ahead and read The One since I thoroughly disliked The Elite. It was a bad choice. The One is basically a repeat of books one and two of this series. America is still unsure about her relationship with the prince, the castle is still constantly attacked by rebels, and character development is still awkward and stilted. This series was such a bore/snore/waste of my time!
While the Selection was fun and fluffy and romantic, The Elite was just annoying. America is one of the few Selected left, and she is trying to figure out whether she would be a good princess. She goes back and forth about this and about her love for both Prince Maxon and Aspen roughly a billion times. If one doesn’t give her attention, she gets huffy and falls into the arms of the other. She is wishy washy about pretty much everything. The plot was slow and boring, and nothing really happened except a few of the Selected got booted. Her rotten attitude in this novel made me very much dislike America.