Our heroes from Unwind are back. Connor and Risa are running the Graveyard, trying to save as many AWOL Unwinds as possible and deal with the day to day hassles of hundreds of kids. Lev, the tithe who didn’t clap, is helping a resistance organization save other tithes. We also meet new kids in this second installment of Shusterman’s trilogy. Starkey is an AWOL Unwind with a chip on his shoulder who has designs on leadership and power. Miracolina is a tithe who truly believes she should be unwound and definitely doesn’t want to be rescued by Lev. Cam is a rewind, a kid made from hundreds of unwinded parts. He is a composite being who just came to be.
I loved Unwind; it was one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I still think about it years after I read it. Shusterman has a twisted mind and I love to see where it goes. In the first book we learned about unwinds and why they exist. In this book we get a more thorough history of the process and a glimpse at the real reasons behind the Unwind Agreement. We also learn more about who is controlling things and who the resistance is. This second book is all about setting up the last book in the series. It is all about introducing us to the players and putting them where they need to go. That is not to say that it isn’t a fabulous read because it is. There is something so compelling about this world and its people that you really want to know more. I can’t wait until the next book.
It has been 8 1/2 months since the events of Bumped. Melody and Harmony are both preggers with twins and eagerly awaiting D4 (Double Double Due Date). Harmony has returned to Goodside with her husband Ram and Melody and Jondoe are shacked up and the most talked about couple in the country. But all is not as it seems and as the due dates get closer secrets are going to come out.
This is such a fun series and this is a fitting ending to it. In this book McCafferty still focuses on the culture of teen sex and surrogacy, but the twins have grown up a bit. They are now less interested in the pop culture obsessed world and more worried about who and what they have become. I think these books are smart, funny and a really interesting comment on our obsession with sex and celebrity.
Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are still trekking East on their quest to find the jet. They are still really from the loss of Tom at Gameland. They rescue a child from a zombie hord and meet Riot and the Reapers. Riot is trying to lead a group to Sanctuary when they were attacked by the Reapers. The Reapers, led by Saint John and Mother Rose, are trying to finish what the zombie plague began and end humanity. Our group gets separated and danger finds each of them. In addition to the Reapers, they also discover the remnants of humanity. There is hope for them if only they can find Sanctuary.
These books are about so much more than zombies. It is about humanity and what the human race is capable of, both good and evil. I am glad we find out more about what is going on outside of the mountain communities in this book. We learn that there is a form of civilization left who is working on saving what is left of humanity. Whereas some of the previous books were about evil and despair this one is ends with hope (amid all the evil and despair). I can’t wait for the fourth and final book in this series.
Aurora is the final book in Julie Bertagna’s trilogy of a water destroyed world. It has been many years since the events in Zenith. Mara and her group are settled in the mountains of the north. Fox and Pandora are setting up rebellion in New Mungo and throughout the other skycities. Lily, Fox and Mara’s daughter, finds out about her missing father and sets off to find him.
This is an enjoyable finale to this series. It finishes up the stories of all our main characters and brings them back together. However, it feels a little disjointed as if the stories are not connected. I am also not a fan of the ending. There is so much set up in the reunion of the characters and then Bertagna leaves us hanging with no reunion scene. I do enjoy the world of these novels though. It is a not-improbable future where the oceans have risen and flooded the world. The remnants of humanity are scattered across the world in boat cities and the highest ground and in skycities created after the world ended.
Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris and Tobias and the gang have survived the Erudite takeover and are on the run with a few Dauntless defectors and Abnegation survivors. They seek help from the other factions, the truth-telling Candor and the peace-loving Amity, but soon realize they are on their own. They team up with the Factionless, all those who have left their factions and been marginalized by society. Together they must stop the Erudite from taking over completely. Along the way new alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, enemies are revealed and friendships are tested. Tris and Tobias and the rest must discover the secrets Erudite are willing to kill for and save what is left of their people.
There is a lot going on in this book and yet it seems like not a lot is accomplished. I do still enjoy this world Roth has created and am interested to see how the story plays out. This book suffers a bit from the sophomore slump; it is definitely the middle of the story setting up the big finale. In this book Tris is damaged by the events of the last book and what she had to do to survive. She is haunted by the shooting of her friend Will and can barely pick up a gun. This tests her relationship with Tobias and her friends. The Erudite are just as evil as always and their role is one of the more unsatisfying. It is never really adequately explained why they want to hide the information Abnegation was going to reveal or why they are so determined to exterminate the divergent. The big twist at the end is interesting and should make for an exciting final book.
In the future the earth is plagued with Aether storms that destroy people and crops. The survivors have divided into two groups. Those that live in pods and spend most of their time in psuedo-reality Realms and those who live outside in tribes surviving however they can. Aria lives in Reverie, one of the pods, with her mother Lumina. Lumina leaves Reverie and Aria doesn’t hear from her for over a week. This leads her to a dangerous plan that ultimately gets her kicked out of the pods. She has never been outside and doesn’t know how to survive. Peregrine, Perry, is an outsider, a savage to Aria. He teams up with Aria in order to save his nephew who has been kidnapped by the pod people or moles. Together they must learn to trust each other and survive the outside world. Along the way they discover things about each other and their world.
While Under the Never Sky doesn’t really break any new ground in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic/sci-fi genre it is an entertaining read. Aria and Perry are both very interesting characters set in their ways and forced to realize that things are exactly how they thought they were. I enjoyed their journey, both the physical and the mental one. I’m glad that Rossi didn’t go for the immediate romance angle. Aria is understandably frightened of Perry and her situation at the beginning, but they grudgingly learn to trust each other and their romance progresses naturally. I was also intrigued by the outsiders enhanced senses. They seem like some kind of natural genetic mutation caused by the Aether storms. I like the fact that these mutants have status and power in the outsider societies. I guess my complaints about the book are the lack of explanation for how the world came to be like it is, what exactly the Aether is and what caused it, how the world became divided and how the pod-people live most of their lives in the Realms but still move around their physical environment. These things might be explained in future books in the series. Even though I had a lot of questions it didn’t take away my enjoyment of this story. It was entertaining and intriguing.
Calling all remixers, hackers, activists, freedom fighters and rebels! Your book has arrived. Cory Doctorow hits it out of the park again with another scathing indictment of government surveillance and corruption. Our protagonist, Trent (aka Cecil B. DeVil), is your average teenaged bloke. His main distinguishing characteristic involves his obsession with remixing the films of his favorite movie star. When his hobby gets his entire family kicked off the internet for copyright violations, Trent/Cecil decides to leave home and head for London. In London, he meets a colorful array of characters, including the unflappable Jem, who teaches Cecil all he needs to know about Squatter’s Rights and dumpster-diving (i.e. how to be homeless with class). Eventually, Cecil gets a new laptop and begins to remix again. He’s getting increasingly popular online and is developing something of a fanbase. He joins up with a couple of other remix artists and become part of a network of “pirate cinemas” (film screenings in random locations like graveyards and abandoned sewers) across London. As his popularity increases, so too does his rap sheet. The British government is in the process of passing even more draconian copyright laws and they (or, rather, the large media corporations who hold the rights to Cecil’s downloads and have massive influence at the governmental level) are not happy with Cecil’s work. Cecil and co. find themselves drawn into the fight against criminalizing artists who use previously copywritten material as their artistic medium. Is Cecil a criminal? It certainly doesn’t appear as such. He merely views his art as putting things together that no one ever thought to combine before. And honestly, is that really so different from any other modern art form? Isn’t everything a remix at this point?
This book is every bit as much a call to action as it is a fun, well-written coming-of-age/speculative narrative. Cecil grows as a person, meets other fascinating and well-written characters, and learns a lot. Readers will learn something new, guaranteed. The book may be set in the not-too-distant future, but it’s certainly not a future that would require binoculars or any other corrective lens. This is exactly where we (not just Britain, but every copyright-obsessed nation) are headed. And it isn’t pretty.
This is the second book in the Walking Dead trilogy. It tells the story of Lilly Caul and how she came to Woodbury. Lilly is a survivor from Georgia who is part of a large group. She and a few others leave the group and set off on their own. They eventually reach Woodbury. Some of the group find their place right away. Bob, the drunken Army medic, becomes a favorite of the governor. Megan becomes a prostitute selling herself to survive. Scott, Megan’s druggy boyfriend, disappears. Lilly and Josh are left wary of Woodbury and its leader the Governor.
I really enjoyed this book as a addendum to the series. Lilly and Bob are both seen briefly in the comics. Bob is given the tasks of fixing the Governor after Michonne has her way with him and of taking care of Penny. Lilly is actually responsible for killing Lori and Judy and because of that she kills the Governor. I love that these little characters are given a backstory and a book of their own. I found their journey interesting. I think Lilly’s story is a fascinating one. She goes from basically helpless and reliant on others to survive to part of the Governor’s army. I am a little confused on how she went from hating the Governor to fighting for him but I think it is all part of surviving the world of the zombie apocalypse.
The Governor, our big bad villain from the Walking Dead series, turns out to have a really interesting backstory. This book explores how a person becomes the sadistic creature we know from the comics. Rise of the Governor follows a band of survivors comprised of Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his brother Brian and two buddies from high school. This group is just looking for a way to survive the zombie apocalypse. They move around a lot, making their way to Atlanta and then escaping to the country. Along the way who they are becoming is taking shape. Phillip is the leader of this group and he does whatever needs to be done to survive. Penny is pretty much catatonic throughout the entire book. Brian is whiny and not surviving very well; he has problems killing zombies and relies on his brother for everything. We lose one HS buddy and the other becomes more and more religious. This all comes to a head when the group is attacked by evil humans. Penny is killed and Phillip goes off the deep end. He starts raping and torturing their captives and he keeps Penny alive (or undead) and tied to a tree. Our group makes their way to Woodbury where they live in obscurity until the Governor steps up. I am not going to give away the twist but it was definitely a big one. Holy cow!
After reading the graphic novels I was really interested to know how the Governor became the Governor and this book does that. It explains the crazy journey of the Governor and what led him to become the benevolent leader of Woodbury. It is a fun addition to the series.
Rick and Carl have escaped from the prison massacre and made their way back to the farm with Michonne. There they find Andrea and Dale and Maggie and Glen and the kids. Soon they join another group who are heading to Washington to find the remnants of the government. Along the way the pick up Morgan, who we haven’t seen since the first issue, and Father Gabriel. They also encounter zombies and cannibals. They end up at the Community, a place that is trying to rebuild society; a place a little like Woodbury without the violent dictator. The Rick Grimes gang has to find a way to fit into this new society. Can they leave the violence of the open road behind? Can they become normal again?
This series grabs you and really doesn’t ever let go. I find myself so invested in these characters that I don’t want to stop reading. This series is about more than zombies; it is about what it means to be human and retaining your humanity when you are forced to do terrible things. I especially enjoyed that this edition explored the relationships of our survivors. Carl and Rick are dealing with the death of Lori and how Carl is growing up in this world. Maggie and Glen’s relationship has its ups and downs as the apocalypse and its consequence drags them down. There is a lot of heartbreak in this book but there is also hope. Hope that they can survive and rebuild. I really like that this book ended on an upbeat note, but I am sure our band of survivors will be kicked down again before long.
My one complaint about this series is the drawings. I love the text and think it really conveys the story well. It is sparse and haunting and real. However, I don’t think this is the best drawn book. I found myself confused as to which character was in the frame as several of them look very similar. When Jesus appeared I was thoroughly confused thinking we had already met him, but then I realized he looks a lot like the Governor. I don’t know if it is the lack of color or just a lack of skill, but I wish the illustrations were better. Of course there are panels that will blow you away and suck you into the story; it is really just the characters that I have a problem with.
Boston has been nuked; the north is a radiation wasteland; the government is a religious cult called HomeState. This is the world of Shift and Adrian Havoc. In the not to distant future the world has fallen apart and been put back together by religion. The government preaches daily through “Raptures” and is predicting “Shift” or the end of the world. Adrian lives with his mother, who is a scientist for the government, and his little sister Shriek, aka Melody, who is somewhat psychic. His father has not been seen in a long time; the last they knew he was on the moon. His mother has to go on a secret mission and disappears. Shriek is obsessed with the zoo and the last penguin. Soon Adrian finds himself of a mission, a mission to rescue the penguin and take it north. Adrian, Shriek, the penguin and a young zookeeper kidnap the penguin and head into the Deadlands. They travel through the radiation wasteland before reaching Maine. There they have to confront the end of the world and their own secret mission.
There is a lot going on in this little book. I enjoy these types of post-apocalyptic dystopians. The more plausible the story the more intriguing it is. While I am not sure a religious group would nuke a city just to come into power, I did find this society eerie and pretty realistic. It has aspects of Nazi Germany with its persecution of other religious groups. The characters are all well developed; you really understand who Adrian and Shriek and Lenora are and what they want to accomplish. Where I think this book falls apart a little is the ending and the secret mission into the mountain. I found this part a little ridiculous, but it did make for an exciting end to the book.
Hannah Payne wakes up red. Not angry or sunburned red but a deep red that colors her skin. She has been convicted of murder and chromed. Her crime was having an abortion, killing an unborn child. In Hannah’s world, our future, criminals are not incarcerated and allowed to live off the state. They are chromed different colors for the type of crimes they commit. Yellows are short-term misdemeanors, Blues are child molesters and Reds are murderers. In this world the line between church and state is no more. The religious right has taken over. And Hannah’s lover, the man she will do anything to protect including having an abortion and being chromed is the Secretary of Faith Aiden Dale. Aiden is the spiritual leader of millions and a married man, but Hannah loves him and won’t betray him even when it adds years to her sentence.
The life of a chrome is not an easy one. They are sent out into the world with no protection and usually with no family. Hannah’s family hasn’t completely abandoned her but nearly. Her mother won’t speak to her and her dad tries to help. Her sister is under the thumb of a controlling husband and doesn’t dare help Hannah. Hannah of course won’t turn to Aiden for help. But Hannah is not without support. She is taken in by the Novembrists, a group dedicated to getting chromes out of the country and dechromed in Canada.
Hannah starts this journey as an innocent with her faith in tact. As she continues her faith is rocked and broken as is her innocence. She learns to see the world in a truer light and realizes she can’t depend on anyone except herself. She is no longer the innocent sheep following the shepherd and believing without question. She starts to question the world and her place in it. And ultimately she decides she is important.
I found that I couldn’t put this book down. I was so invested in Hannah’s story and where her journey would end up. Her world is a scary one but not an implausible one. It isn’t hard to imagine a world where the religious right has taken over. I find that my favorite dystopian novels are those that are believable, that you can see happening in our future. It makes them scarier and more real. I would definitely recommend this book.
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.