Thomas wakes in darkness, with no memory of the past, inside an elevator. Soon, he arrives at the Glade, which is surrounded by impossibly-high walls, and is greeted by the inhabitants- other teen boys. He soon learns that outside the Glade is a maze of unknown, deadly purpose, filled at night with horrific creatures known as Grievers. Why are the boys here? How will they ever escape? Who is Thomas?
A decent mysterious object/device/location story is enough to get me to crack most any book. This story has a great one, in the towering form of the stone maze, which changes configuration each night. I also enjoy teen fiction, mostly because writers of it feel free to delve into the most outlandish plots and scenarios. A huge maze filled with amnesiac boys? Why not? Dashner spins a nice dystopian mystery- well enough that this is becoming a movie to be released next year. The characters are believable, and the setting is both cool and creepy. Don’t expect all the answers to life and the universe by the end, however. This is the first in a trilogy. Recommended!
In an alternate 1950’s England lives Standish Treadwell, a boy with different colored eyes and learning disabilities. Standish has lived a tough life under the Motherland’s rule. He lives with his grandfather because his parents have already been taken. Standish himself is constantly harassed for his difficulty with reading and writing as well as his “impure” appearance. Everything changes when a new family moves in next door. They have a son named Hector, who is everything that Standish wishes he could be: smart, brave, well-liked. One day, their football goes over the giant wall that the government has built in back of the row of houses. Hector rescues it, but discovers a government secret that threaten all of them.
Extremely fast-paced and told in an unusual narrative style, the novel comes complete with illustrations that begin as almost cute or quaint, but turn vaguely disturbing as the story progresses. This is as dark or bleak as the most ambitious of the futuristic dystopias out there, but its setting makes it far more eerie and believable. Standish is a protagonist to cheer for, in spite of his grim life. The world the characters inhabit may be ominous, but the characters themselves shine like the beautiful beacons of humanity that they are. This brilliant book is short-listed for the Carnegie Medal (and deservedly so!).
Dance of the Red Death takes place immediately after Masque of the Red Death. I will admit that it has been awhile since I read the first book and was a little fuzzy on details. Basically, Araby, Will, April, Elliot and the rest have fled the city. Araby’s dad has disappeared and they need him for a cure to the new plaque, the Red Death. Prospero is abandoning the city and Malcontent is trying to take over and infect as many people as possible. Elliot wants to return so he can save the city. Araby is torn between Will and Elliot . Can she forgive Will’s betrayal? Can she put up with Elliot’s quest for power? The group has to go back into the city and try to save it and themselves.
I really wish I had reread Masque of the Red Death because I forgot what was going on, but it did eventually come back to me while reading. This is definitely gothic and grotesque with all the infected people wandering around and the drowned world of swamps threatening to take the city. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the world created for these books. However…love triangle! I have made my feelings on love triangles perfectly clear (they are unnecessary and stupid!) and this one is a perfect example. I felt like the back and forth between Will and Elliot really took away from the story. These people are fighting for their lives and trying to save the world, yet every other page is a scene with Araby either making out with someone or debating the merits of the boys. I would have liked more of a story about them saving the city and the people. The end seemed so rushed that I was left wondering why we needed two books for it.
Edward Abbey is best known as the author of the novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and the non-fiction book of environmental essays “Desert Solitaire.” He is also known for the 1956 novel “The Brave Cowboy” which was made into the 1962 film “Lonely Are the Brave” starring Kirk Douglas as Jack Burns, a loner cowboy who disdains modern society and the destruction of natural resources in the Southwest. Jack Burns made cameo appearances in several of Abbey’s novels, and was a major character in “Good News.”
“Good News” takes place in the near future of the USA in which the government and economy have collapsed due to an unspecified disaster, and chaos reigns in most places. Most of the action is in Phoenix, Arizona, which is under the control of a quasi-military dictatorship. A group of rebels is attempting to undermine those who wield the power. Jack Burns is on his way there with his Native American friend Sam and together they are looking for Jack’s son, whom he has not seen in over 20 years. Jack makes contact with the rebels, and together they attempt to overthrow the dictator who runs the city, and who wants to expand his power across the country.
Although the scenario is a bleak one, this novel was quite an enjoyable read, and shows how a small group of under-equipped freedom fighters can make a difference against overwhelming odds. The characters in this novel are realistic and charming, though the bad guys are almost cartoonish in their villainy (not unlike real life!).
I highly recommend this book as a companion to “The Brave Cowboy,” “The Monkey Wrench Gang,” and “Hayduke Lives!”
The world has been decimated by a deadly virus. At first the virus killed you quickly, then it mutated into something else. Now if you get the virus you may mutate into an animal and become savage or you might just die. The East has been cut off because of the virus. A giant wall divides the US at the Mississippi River. No one in the West is allowed to cross over into the East and no one in the East is allowed in the West.
Delaney Park lives in the West with her father. She has a privileged life even though her dad is obsessed with making sure she can survive anything. One day Lane is arrested. Why? Because it turns out her dad is not your average art dealer, but a Fetch who crosses the wall and retrieves items from the East. Lane is blackmailed into going over the wall to find her dad so he can do one last fetch. Across the wall is nothing like Lane thought it would be and in some ways it is worse. There are lots of people who are living with the virus as manimals (humans who have animal DNA but haven’t gone feral). There are ferals who want to kill you. And there are normal humans who haven’t gotten the virus yet. There are also two boys vying for her attentions. Everson is a guard on the wall who wants to find a cure for the virus. Rafe is an orphan from the East who has a connection to Lane’s dad. The three of them travel to Chicago, facing dangers along the way, to fetch the item that will save Lane’s dad.
One thing I really liked about this books is the world building. Kat Falls does an amazing job setting up the world in a realistic and scary way. It is a very complex world and Falls does a great job on it. I also really enjoyed Lane as a fish out of water as she adapted to her new environment. I’m not sure why authors always have to include a love triangle (definitely not needed!)…seriously why!??!? I did like the characters of Ev and Rafe, but I thought the relationships were underdeveloped. Basically Lane falls for the first cute boys across the wall and then spends the trip debating between them. I thought the story was fresh and interesting and a new take on the end of the world. I enjoyed it.
I also enjoyed meeting Kat Falls at ALA 2013. She was very nice and gave me a copy of this book with her signature in it! Yeah!
Some books you read and you know what is going to happen from the beginning; some books you figure out half way through; and some books you finish and really have no idea what is going on. That is the case with Sylo. I read it and the entire time I was thinking “what the heck is happening here? what is going on?”. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun and entertaining, because it was. It just didn’t explain enough for me. I have no idea who the bad guys were, who the good guys where, who is fighting who? It is all very confusing.
Basically, the story takes place on an island off the coast of Maine. There are mysterious deaths and a weird off-islander pushing a new drug (ruby dust that makes you superhuman and might kill you). Then the Navy arrives and quarantines the island. Everyone is stuck and the Sylo guys mean it when they say no one leaves the island. They will stop at nothing (including murder) to make sure the quarantine holds. Then there are these mysterious flying objects and air battles with the Navy ships. The Sylo group also starts rounding people up and putting them in camps. It all seems to be connected to the strange “Ruby” that has appeared on the island. I am not going to give away the ending because it is a huge plot twist but it basically sets this up as a series. I sincerely hope future books give a little more explanation, because this one leave you scratching your head.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
A great new telling of the old classic, Cinderella. This book was thoroughly enjoyable, It was hard to put down at night. At one point, you even have to wonder if Cinder is really the missing princess, such is the way you get hooked to it. I can’t wait to read the others in the series, a definite recommend!
To support herself and her younger brother in a future Beverly Hills, sixteen-year-old Callie hires her body out to seniors who want to experience being young again, and she lives a fairy-tale life until she learns that her body will commit murder, unless her mind can stop it.
To think that old people could be so callous in the future is just unimaginable to me but when you have a lot of money I guess anything is possible. A very good story, futuristic with mystery and murder thrown in, as well as the usual political intrigue. I thought the ending was nice, it tied everything together, while leaving a way for the next one in the series. I hope our future never turns out like this!
Moving and thought-provoking. Definitely not two words I thought I’d ever use to describe a zombie novel.
It didn’t dwell on the gore of a zombie attack and killing zombies though some of that action is described. Instead it is a collection of first person accounts from doctors to soldiers to individual citizens and political leaders in a variety of countries and cultures. It clearly brings home the emotional, social and economic damage caused by world-wide plague conditions or even an individual country laid low by a plague outbreak. It deftly combines the two (war and plague) never completely forgetting that the enemy were once other human beings often neighbors and friends or family who did not choose to become the enemy but for your survival and the survival of the human race and the human spirit — they all have to die.
At some point in the future, war and disease have decimated the planet. Humanity is forced into a few mountain cities to survive. Rebuilding is expensive so in order for the poor to live in this new society they must go into massive debt and become the “proxy” for a wealthy patron. What does a proxy do? They are punished in the place of their patron. So if the patron destroys property, the proxy takes the punishment. Syd is an orphan and a proxy who lives in the Valve (the slums). He is constantly reminded of his debt because his patron Knox is always getting into trouble. This time it is more than just a little trouble; this time Knox steals a car and kills a girl during a joy ride. So Syd is punished and sentenced to hard labor. Syd was also forced to give blood so that Knox could have a life saving transfusion. The transfusion not only saved Knox’s life it revealed just how special Syd really his. Seems he has a virus in his blood that can wipe out all the systems of debt and free everyone from its control. The only problem is that Syd has to survive in order to release the virus and right now he is a wanted man.
What a fascinating world. Alex London has done a wonderful job creating a world that is different and unique. He has also created two truly different characters. Knox is obnoxious, privileged and self-indulgent, but he does have a heart and he really just wants his father’s attention. Syd just wants to survive. He wants to make it to 18 to life out his debt. He keeps his head down and his profile low and he has no respect or time for his patron. Unfortunately, in order for Syd to survive he has to rely on Knox and others in a way he never dreamed. They must outwit the system and escape the city, survive bandits and the wild, and make it to the resistance to release the virus. Along the way they get to know each other and themselves. They mature (at least Knox does) and become who they are meant to be. I even liked the ending of the book.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
Some kind of disaster has befallen the world and humanity must be saved. So the Builders create Ember, a city deep underground. They create instructions for the citizens to follow once it is safe to emerge. Unfortunately, the instructions are lost and the people of Ember never know there is a world outside of their small community. The expiration date is coming due on Ember; the power is failing and they are running out of supplies. No one seems that worried however, except Lina and Doon. Lina finds the instructions, unfortunately after her baby sister Poppy has eaten part of them. As Lina and Doon try to decipher the Instructions, they also uncover corruption and greed in Ember. In order to safe everyone they must find a way out of Ember.
I really enjoyed this book and my bookclub kids did as well. I also thought they did a really good job on the movie as well; one of the few times when I actually liked a movie made from a book. Lina and Doon are really interesting characters who are actively pursuing something unlike the majority of the characters in this book who are stagnant and just want to continue with the status quo. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what exactly the Instructions were saying and I thought the adventurous escape was thrill a minute. However, my favorite part had to be the end where Doon, Lina and Poppy discover a world they have only dreamed of. This book won the Missouri Mark Twain award.
Something has decimated our world in the future. This caused a reorganization of countries and governments. North America is now the RUNA and the place to live. It is civilized where the rest of the world is still a little wild. Mae is one of the super soldiers of the RUNA; this gives her super strength and speed. But unlike her fellow soldiers Mae is sometimes too strong and too fast. Justin has been exiled from RUNA and is now living in Panama. He was once a brilliant investigator for RUNA but did something that got him kicked out of the country. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin and bring him back to investigate a series of murders. Their first meeting is all mistaken identities, violence and hot sex, which makes it pretty awkward when they are actually introduced and puts a strain on their relationship. Together they investigate these bizarre murders and discover something their religion-despising country definitely does not want known.
This is an intriguing world that Mead has created. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a lot of the book since she takes her time explaining, but it was always interesting. Mae and Justin are fascinating characters with rich backstories and intriguing futures. This series is probably going to deal with actual gods and their interference in everyday life. I wish we would have learned more about the gods and how they actually came to manifest, but hopefully that will be explained in future books. This is a pretty entertaining and intriguing starter to this series.
I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.
In a dystopian colony of the United States where everyone is born with powers of the elements, water, wind, earth, and fire, sixteen-year-old Thomas, the first and only child born without an element seems powerless, but is he?
While I liked this book, I didn’t find myself as engrossed in it as I thought. I’m hoping the sequels are a little more in-depth with the mystery of the past and why the colony chose to close themselves off from any other humans. Some of that is uncovered and part of the storyline, but I want more!
Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.
Another dystopian book for this month! I like the way the kids in this book learn to cope with the rigid rules the adults have set, in order to survive. There is one girl who always ignores the rules, several kids that always follow the rules and a pair of brothers who are also treated as outcasts, even within their group. They have to learn to trust each other and know that adults don’t always know best or do the right thing, if they want to survive the assault on their colony. Another one that begins a series I might read as it comes out.
Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen’s life is turned upside down.
A quick read for me, I do enjoy reading dystopia novels. There were a few things about the book that made me go “hmm” and a couple of times it didn’t seem plausible, but then again, that’s why I don’t write because I don’t think my stories would necessarily flow smoothly. I might just read the sequel.