Ty discovers an entire township chained to a sunken submarine, its inhabitants condemned to an icy underwater grave. It’s only the first clue to a mystery that has claimed hundreds of lives and stands to claim two more — – lives very precious to Ty and his Topsider ally, Gemma.
Another good ‘what if’ book in regards to the climate change and rising oceans. This one will appeal to both boys and girls who enjoy reading alternate possibilities to how we treat our home world. Very thought provoking and brings lots of imagination into what it would look like, feel like, very sensory in its pages. I had fun doing just that.
Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.
But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family?
I think I read this book anticipating a more exciting story but although it did not take me long to read, I was not as enchanted with it as I thought. It was very depressing to imagine the world as this was.
Ship Breaker tells the story of Nailer, a teenager living in a futuristic society where large, beached ships are stripped for their materials. Nailer works on the “light crew,” pulling copper out of the abandoned ships to meet the quotas of his boss. One day he finds a large clipper that has only one survivor–a beautiful, young, swank (rich) girl. Suddenly Nailer has to make the decision to break the ship down for all its worth and become instantly rich, or save the girls’ life.
I enjoyed this book as it is the first dystopian novel I’ve read that actually made me think the way Nailer lives could possibly be the US in the near future. A loose representation of the decline of culture, government, and social classes, this was a very interesting dystopian novel. I look forward to seeing what happens to Nailer in the next book.
Picking up right where the last book ended, Thomas has just recovered from his time in the “white room” within the WICKED headquarters after their journey across the Scorch. As expected, everyone who survived the grueling trial across the Scorch is told they are heroes and what they have done is for the greater good of everyone. However, in order for the last part of WICKED’s experiment to work, they have decided to give everyone their memories back. Thomas, thinking he would rather live without the terrible memories he knows were in his past, declines as does Newt and Minho. However, WICKED decides this is not an offer but a demand. The three boys escape the forced Swipe reversal and things escalate from there. Thomas, Newt, and Minho are caught up in a race to find the others who have gotten their memories restored and stopping WICKED. The last book finally explained who WICKED was and where the Flare came from, but it didn’t really elaborate on some of the situations that may have given readers a clearer understanding of everything that happened. I felt like this last book was all about Thomas and him running for his life rather than the whole WICKED situation and the Flare. It kind of just skated over that. A little bit disappointed about the ending, but overall, it was a good teen dystopia book series.
Tris Prior is back and life is just as bad as it was in the last book for her. Her life as a new Dauntless initiate has been turned upside down from the battle between the seemingly innocent Abnegation and the rogue Erudite/Dauntless army led by the evil Jeanine (leader of the Erudites). Her parents and good friend are dead and it seems Tobias is barely speaking to her. From the second book, it is clear that the Abnegation used to have something secret that the Erudite didn’t want any faction to know. Abnegation, being the selfless types they are, believed it was the people’s right within each faction to know what was being kept secret for so long. Whatever the secret is has Erudite all bothered and willing to kill innocent people just to make sure it is destroyed. Sadly, it ended with another cliffhanger and has left me wanting more information about why the four factions were started in the first place and how important the Divergent, which is what Tris is, are to all four factions and possibly all of humanity. Here’s to waiting for Fall 2013.
So the Gladers went from a horrible maze with creepy, blob-like creatures to a wasteland of endless desert wracked with solar flares, lightning storms and crazy humans that have the Flare, a virus that apparently eats away at the brain and makes people irrationally violent and very dangerous. The desert, better known as the Scorch, is the Gladers next trial. They must make it across the Scorch in two weeks to a safe haven – about 100 miles of dry land to cover. Even worse, there is another group consisting of all girls that went through a maze trial very similar to the one the Gladers endured and they are out to get Thomas, the main guy from the first book. I feel with this book the reader becomes more aware of who WICKED is and what the group’s role is in all of the “trials.” It was more informative than the first one as they reveal more of Thomas’s lost memories. I was certainly more excited about the second book, as it goes further into detail why the things in the first book happened the way they did.
The Maze Runner had such potential that was just wasted in the later books, which became convoluted messes. I had hoped that The Kill Zone would clear up some of the confusion created in the last book of this trilogy. That’s what prequels are supposed to do afterall. I wanted to know all about WICKED and how and why the maze was created, what role Thomas and Theresa played in it, and the rational behind everything. But we don’t get any of that. If The Kill Zone was a stand alone novel I would say it is pretty decent. There was lots of action and suspense, the world ends as we know it and there is a shady government organization wiping people out. But it doesn’t stand alone and that is the problem.
Instead of Thomas and Theresa we get Mark, Trina, Alec and a bunch of other people. When we meet them they are surviving in the Appalachian Mountains after escaping from New York. Then a berg appears in the sky and starts shooting people with darts filled with a virus. Some people die right away and others take time to die and still others turn crazy. The gang decides they need to find out what is going on and follow the berg’s flight to a secret bunker. Along the way there are more villages like theirs, new crazy religious cults and all kinds of other fun stuff. This is non-stop action and pretty much every chapter includes a fight of some kind. In between the current events we get Mark’s flashbacks/nightmares of what happened when the solar flares hit and they were stuck in New York.
What I liked most about this book was the flashback sequences. I am a sucker for the end of the world and the world died pretty spectacularly in this book. Solar flares basically cooked everyone outside, then the polar icecaps melted and sea levels rose dramatically. So our intrepid survivors had to stay indoors in a flooded world. The not so great parts were the trek through the woods to find the answer to the virus. There wasn’t really any new ground covered here. Of course you had crazy people killing everyone and people who found a strange religion and cannibals and what not. What else are you going to have at the end of the world? We don’t really get any good intel on the shady government or their rationale behind the virus. And since it is non-stop action there isn’t a whole lot of character building. I wanted more from this book and was a bit disappointed when I didn’t get it. But it isn’t a bad book and if you forget the rest of the trilogy it is even a little better.
It’s been about a year since the explosion at Happy Jack Harvest Camp. Connor is running things at the AWOL camp in Arizona. Risa is out there too, in a wheelchair due to her severed spine and refusal to accept unwound parts. Lev, the boy who didn’t clap, is doing his part for the underground resistance movement, saving tithes on their way to the camps. Things begin to change when a new kid named Starkey is brought to the camp. Starkey was storked and, as a result, has a serious chip on his back. He’s also brilliant and possibly dangerous. In the world outside the camp, the world’s first “rewind” has come into being. His name is Camus Comprix and he is a composite of over one hundred of the smartest, most athletic and most aesthetically pleasing unwinds. Camus, who prefers to call himself “Cam”, is meant to be the next big thing for the pro-unwind camp, but he’s having some problems of his own. Add in a few more colorful characters and you’ve got yourself quite the harrowing ride.
The second book in a trilogy can be tricky, but UnWholly passes with flying colors. It’s got the characters we grew to know and care about in Unwind, plus a new set of equally compelling teens to up the ante. Shusterman also takes this time to really dig into the political and ethical questions raised by the series’ premise. In Unwind, the premise felt a bit flimsy, but it was easy to overlook because the story was so well written. In UnWholly, the premise starts to feel more realistic, fleshed out by a chilling back-story that is only really hinted at. As with most books that fall second in a trilogy, things at the end seem about as bad as they can possibly get. It’s clear, however, that Shusterman has a lot more to say about this world and frankly, I can’t wait to read it.
Imani lives in a world were everything is monitored. Her town is part of a pilot program for ScoreCorp. Kids are monitored and scored throughout their school years. Their score determines what they are going to do in live. Lowbies will have a hard time finding work, middle numbers can do menial jobs, and if you are one of the lucky 90s your success is guaranteed. You get a college scholarship and a chance at a better life. Imani was a 92 but then her friend’s life imploded and she is caught in the destruction. Suddenly she finds herself with a 62 and no prospects. Her plans for her future are crumbling around her. She has to learn to cope and figure out what she is going to do.
I love dystopians that make you think and this one is a thinker. The Score has taken over these kids lives. Everything they do is about their score; who they talk to, who they sit with at lunch, what they do in their free time. The Eyes watch them and judge them always. I really enjoyed the discussions about societal merit systems and chastes and how the Score compares to slavery or women’s rights. I like Imani’s journey as she learns more about the Score and the role it plays in society. However, I do wish we would have learned more about how it actually works. This is a really short book (and easy to read) so there would have been room for more exploration of how ScoreCorp actually determines the scores and such. As much as I liked Imani’s journey and development I did think it was a little predictable. Her friendship with Diego was a great way for her to become more self-aware but you could see the ending coming. However, it is a great little dystopian and fun to read.
In Quill everyone is sorted into three categories: Wanteds who go on to rule the country, Necessaries who do all the menial work, and Unwanteds who are sent to their deaths in the Lake of Boiling Oil. Alex has always known he will be an Unwanted and his twin brother Aaron will be a Wanted. But the shock of being sent to his death still hurts until he finds out that Unwanteds are not killed. They live in a magical world called Artime. There they use their creativity to learn magic and prepare for a coming war against the Wanteds.
I had mixed feelings about this book. As with any dystopian novel I want the world to make sense and this world just didn’t at times. For one thing, Quill has fallen into disrepair and segregation within 50 years. The world is crumbling around these people yet they have shut away all emotions and become evil robots basically. They have no problem sending their children off to die. Artime is a land of plenty and filled with magic and magical creatures. How do these two worlds exist side by side? I also didn’t like that being creative was evil to the people of Quill and they only defined creative as being of the arts. All the Wanteds seem cold and evil, but they are still able to think for themselves and solve problems (in creative ways?). I am not sure I buy that the world can devolve and diverge in such a short amount of time. And in the end magic triumphs rather easily over reason. Why let the world go on as it was for 50 years if it was that easy to solve everything?
That being said I really enjoyed the story. I love the characters and I enjoyed the magic of Artime. I like that the magic spells are those created from the arts: deadly rhyming couplets, invisible paintbrushes, etc. I thought that was really creative. I also enjoyed that the kids in Artime were real kids with real emotions and problems. Alex truly loves his brother and wants to be with him. In order to accomplish that he makes mistakes and alienates his friends. The other kids are equally flawed and perfect.
This was a quick, fun read and if you can get past the world-building one I am sure kids will enjoy.
Part I of a new series from Thursday Next author, Jasper Fforde, Shades of Grade: Road to High Saffron introduces you to a future society after the “Great Something” happens. You follow young adult Eddie Russett as he tries to decide on a career and marriage and moves into adulthood. As long as anyone can remember, society has been ruled by a colortocracy: a social hierarchy based upon one’s limited color perception. In this world, you are, what you can see.
Eddie Russet, with his better-than-average red perception, could marry Constance Oxblood and inherit the string works; he may even have enough red perception to make prefect.
But everything changes when he is sent to East Carmine for “humility training.” There, he falls in love with a Grey named Jane who opens his eyes to the painful truth behind his seemingly perfect, rigidly controlled society.
Oh my, what a great book. A really fast read and very memorable characters. I fell in love with Beatrice, the star of the book, immediately. Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction, where each member is expected to be selfless and think of others’ needs before his or her own. At 16 years old, citizens of what seems to be a dystopian version of Chicago are able to decide to keep with the faction they were born into or turn to another one. Beatrice, believing she does not fit into the Abnegation faction, is torn between putting her family first or embracing a faction more suited to her personality. She goes through a kind of “graduation test,” which determines what the best faction is for 16 year olds. Although her test results are inconclusive (which makes her Divergent according to members of the factions), she decides to go with Dauntless, the faction in charge of security and law enforcement. All Beatrice is able to get from her test results is she could not be honest at all times (Candor), she is not completely enthralled with learning a ton of stuff every day(Erudite), and being nice and happy 24/7 is not for her (Amnity). To top off being a Dauntless initiate, which is most definitely not easy, Beatrice also has to deal with a few bullies. On a lighter note, for readers who like romance, she has a cute relationship with Four, a top Dauntless initiate from a few years back. Looking forward to reading the second one, as this one left me hanging and begging for more.
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.
I’m a huge fan of the Uglies series, so when I found out that there would be a graphic adaptation, I was intrigued. Thankfully, this new version is not attempting to rehash the plot of Uglies. Rather, it is fleshing it out by telling Shay’s story (as the title obviously implies). It’s an interesting enough read, but I ultimately didn’t feel that it captured the excitement or urgency of the original. Shay is a great character, but I’m not really feeling like this does her many favors. In other words, this isn’t exactly a revelatory perspective. It is nice to see Shay’s back story and it was fun to see Tally through her eyes. The artwork is vaguely manga-inspired, which honestly makes all the characters look way too pretty (even if they’re still “ugly”).
This is definitely geared towards those who are already familiar with the Uglies story. Much would be lost without the original series’ world-building and character development. I still can’t help but think that this could have been so much better.
Cassia and Ky are separated. At the end of Matched, Ky is taken by the Society to the Outer Provinces somewhere. Cassia and her family are transferred from their Borough to a new city outside of Oria. Heartbroken, Cassia decides to find Ky. This book focuses on Cassia’s journey to find Ky and Ky’s journey to find Cassia. Narrated from both characters’ points of view, this book was all about Cassia’s desire to find the Rising, a revolutionary group against the Society, and Ky’s battle to forgive himself and decide how important Cassia really is to her. The love triangle among Cassia, Ky, and Xander is stronger than ever as Ky has a secret about Xander he believes will change Cassia’s choice between the two of them. Ky knows he must decide whether he should let Cassia make her own choice about Xander and him, but doesn’t want to lose her.
I feel like most dystopian novels I’ve been reading lately are about the same things. The Matched series has strongly reminded me of The Silenced by James DeVita.
Aria’s life in Reverie has been relatively normal. She spends her time in the Realms, a virtual world accessed via “smarteyes”, hanging with her friends and meeting up with her mother periodically. When the link to the pod that her mother is living goes dead and stays dead for over a week, Aria begins to worry and takes a risk that ultimately gets her kicked out of Reverie and all the other pods. She has effectively become an outsider and is pretty sure that she won’t survive the first day outside the pods. In the meantime, an outsider named Peregrine has managed to temporarily break into Reverie after an aether storm destroyed part of the pod. He’s in search of medicine for his young nephew, Talon, but the same catastrophe that gets Aria in trouble also prevents Perry from succeeding in his risky mission (one that is forbidden by his tribe and has been undertaken in secret). Lucky for Aria, she narrowly misses getting killed by an aether storm due to Perry’s arrival on the scene. Together they must attempt to find common ground so that they can each stay alive long enough to do what they need to do.
In some ways, this felt like a sci-fi version of “Nation” by Terry Prachett. We have the “modern” girl and the “savage” outsider pushed into relying on each other for survival. So the overall storyline really isn’t anything new. I did like the setting and Aria’s transition from being weak and naive to finding her own skills and adapting to her surroundings. Perry is somewhat grumpy at the beginning, but warms up and fleshes out as a character. I never did get the whole “rendering” thing or why it mattered (aside from making Perry do things his character might not otherwise consider). The reasoning behind the outsiders and their special senses is not really explained either, though I suspect it will be developed more in later installments. I’m guessing genetics and natural selection, but we’ll see. An entertaining, but not life-changing, entry into the YA dystopian-romance cannon.
Thumped picks up about 8 and 1/2 months after Bumped, which naturally means that some babies are on the way and quite soon. Harmony is back in Goodside with her husband, Ram. Melody is by now one of the most famous young women in the world. The press is positively rabid for any details about either twin. They’re scheduled to deliver twins on the same day and in a world where babies are some of the most expensive commodities, it’s no surprise that Melody and Harmony are the focus of nation-wide attention. Unfortunately for the girls, this fame does not come without its difficulties, especially since there are certain secrets that could take the girls from famous to infamous in a split second.
Now that the world-building from Bumped is out of the way, McCafferty is free to dig deep into the implications of such a world. It remains a humorous indictment of fame, pervasive media, advertising and gender politics. It’s as clever as the first book, only with more growth from the characters. The ending may be a bit too tidy, but fans of the first book will ultimately be satisfied by the conclusion of this quirky story.
Gah! This series! I love it! I’m not even going to recap what’s been going on in this book or any of the others because to do so would likely mean spoiling something for those who aren’t yet at this point. I will say that, with one book left to go, this series is getting even more intense. Fans of these books will definitely be pleased to find that this one is every bit as exhilarating as the rest. I love Michael Grant’s writing in these books. The narrative shifts from character to character and each one has a distinct voice and personality. Nearly every bit from each character ends in a mini-cliffhanger which propels the reader through the book in a breathless manner to see what happens next. I certainly lost some sleep over this book. And that’s a good thing. Fans of the Gone series should put this on hold immediately. They won’t regret it.
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.
One of the best books I have read this year, When She Woke is a thought provoking channeling of The Scarlet Letter and The Handmaidens Tale. Set in the near future, Hannah Payne lives in an America where women have few rights and the church and state are synonymous. Instead of imprisonment for most crimes, the offender is genetically altered to be a color to match their crime, murderers are crimson, sex offenders blue, other criminals orange and yellow, and then they are sent back into society. Hannah was caught after having an abortion and is a now a Red. Her religious family is horrified, her lover is a up and coming married minister, and she is left on her own to find her way in a hostile and dangerous world. When She Woke is both very prescient and pertinent in our current political climate. The novel is a retelling of The Scarlet Letter and closely follows to classic’s plot, which inevitably leads to serious foreshadowing, whether that was the author’s intention or not, I am undecided. To be clear, I found When She Woke to be a great read but not a literary classic like either A Scarlet Letter or The Handmaiden’s Tale. When She Woke is a definite book to be read and discussed.