Archive for September, 2012

Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  309

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to Glow, Waverly and Kieran are still on the space vessel the Empyrean while trying to lead the other kids on board and plan an attack against The New Horizon for kidnapping their parents.  Kieran has self-appointed himself to the position of captain, which grates on some of the younger kids after what they went through with Seth.  Seth, meanwhile, is in the brig and feeling bad about what he has done.  One day he wakes up and the door to his cell is open.  He walks out, but cannot help feeling like it is a trap.   Kieran is still very afraid of Seth after what happened in the last book and tries to blame everything he can on the face that he escaped.  Seth did not have anything to do with the mysterious goings on on board, but then who did?  It seems unlikely any of these children would want to hurt their own ship or those on it.  Can Waverly assert her power as a leader on this ship?  Can Kieran hold onto his power without abuing it?

The only thing I did not like about this book was that it ended too quickly and there is an entire year before the next one comes out.  Glow was one of my favorite books of the year.  These young teens have to think on a whole new level now that they are in charge of a entire vessel and the pressure starts to get to all of them.  Facts start coming out about what happened before the New Horizon’s attack on the Empyrean and it is easy for readers to see how the characters got to this position, but you can’t help feel for these young people who have suffered so much because of decisions the leaders of these ships made.  It really makes you think about the decisions any leader of a nation has and how those decisions affect generations to come.  This book was full of action and adventure, but it goes quickly and will leave fans hungry for more.

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Variant by Robison E. Wells

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense

# of Pages:  376

RAC Book:  Yes

Benson is a foster kid who has been passed from one home to another for years.  He finds information about a boarding school online and applies for a scholarship.  He hopes to find a home for the rest of his high school life so that he does not have to face being the new kid anymore.  When he arrives at his new school, Benson is not as excited as he thought he would be.  The entire school is covered in electrified barbed wire and security cameras.  There are no actual adults in the school and all the kids are responsible for doing everything, such as teach and cook meals.  The kids have broken into three gangs to try and survive, but Benson is not willing to accept that there is no way out, despite the insistence that anyone who tries to escape never returns.  Can Benson find a way out?  Can he handle the answers he finds along the way about the truth behind the school?

Variant is engaging from the second Benson arrives at the school.  There are so many factors involved in the make up of the school that it becomes almost impossible to ascertain why these students are being held captive there.  The author adds an interesting twist about halfway through the book that makes it even harder to determine what the purpose of the school is.  There are many characters, but they are described in a way that makes it easy to understand why they are responding to life in the school this way.  Fans of the Maze Runner series will love this storyline.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Genre:  Romance/Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  549

RAC:  Yes

     Ismae was born with terrible scars on her back because her father is Death and her mother tried to have her killed before she was born.   Later, Ismae’s stepfather sells her into a terrible arranged marriage.  Once her new husband sees her scars he believes Ismae to be cursed and starts to beat her.  She is rescued and sent to a convent where everyone works for Death.  Ismae comes to find she has talents for working as an assassin whenever Death shows her the mark that someone should die.  She is sent on a mission to help a man named Gavriel to protect a young girl who has recently taken power over a big nation.  Ismae knows there is a traitor amongst the duchess’s advisors, but is not as prepared for the task as she thought she would be.  Can Ismae find the traitor who threatens to put an entire kingdom in jeopardy before it is overtaken by enemies?  Can she trust Gavriel as her convent believes or is he in fact hiding any secrets of his own?

     This book is getting a lot of attention because it is engaging right from the beginning.  Any reader naturally wants to know more about Ismae’s skills as well as who is betraying the young duchess.  The characters are all memorable, which is important in a book with so many characters any of which could be the traitor.   The ending is satisfying and readers will want to see more of this character to find out what she is capable of.  Fans of Graceling and Star Crossed will enjoy this title as well.

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

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Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  289

RAC:  Yes

     Luna and her family are struggling to deal with the unexpected death of her mother.  A year after she was hit and killed by a taxi, Luna goes to her mother’s studio and finds her cell phone with seven unheard messages.  As Luna slowly listens to the messages she begins to learn things she never suspected about her mother.  Could it be possible that her mother’s death was not an accident?  Is there information her father is not sharing with her?

     The book lives up to its title in that there is information to be learned from the seven messages, but Luna does not linger too long on them and instead moves on to finding out more.  The relationship with her neighbor seems a bit tiresome at times, but Luna’s relationship with her father and brother are rich and help establish their home life before their mother’s death.  The ending is satisfying, but there is no surprise that the reader won’t predict early on.  Fans of Lipstick Apology will enjoy this title.