Archive for the 'Adventure' Category

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

zeroes

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  546

A group of teens who all have unexplained talents have found each other one by one and formed a group they call the Zeroes.  They all have different ideas for how to handle their bizarre powers, however.  Bellweather can take the energy of a group and focus it on one goal and he believes they should stick together and try to do important things with their powers.  Flicker is blind, but can see using other people’s eyes.  Scam has a mysterious voice that will say whatever it takes to get him what he wants and often has disastrous results.  Crash has the ability to crash electrical devices and because of that has struggled to find a place where her powers are anything but destructive.  Anonymous can disappear and be forgotten in any situation, which has led to a lonely life.  Finally, Mob can change the energy of a crowd to feel whatever she wants it to.  Scam had previously distanced himself from the rest of the zeroes when they had a disagreement, but it forced to call on them for help when a video of him using his voice goes viral and he is hauled in by cops for answers about a local bank robbery.  Can the zeroes come together to help one of their own or will the situation just get worse as they try to con their way out of it?  Will the situation bring them together or drive them further apart?

This has been on my reading list for awhile and it took a little bit to get into the characters, but eventually the story really takes off and readers enjoy a lot of adventure and action.  The talents of the characters take a lot of explaining as some are more complicated and require examples to fully understand.  All in all, fans of fantasy adventures such as the Michael Vey series or Blackout will enjoy the first in this series.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

court-of-fives

Genre:  Futuristic Fiction

# of Pages:  432

Jess lives with her military father, pregnant mother, and three sisters.  Due to the fact their mother is a commoner, her father was never allowed to legally marry her, but he has always taken care of them like they were legally his family.  Secretly, Jess likes to run the court of fives, which is an intricate and physically grueling competition that involves different challenges in a variety of patterns to figure out.  Jess knows that if her dad ever found out she was doing this he would be furious, which is why she’s kept it a secret.  The day before Jess is scheduled to compete in her first match, her father unexpectedly returns from war and insists on taking them to the competition.  She is forced to sneak out and compete or else she’ll lose her entrance fee that took her a year to save.  She is forced to throw the match at the end because winners must take off their masks and she cannot risk her father learning her secret.  However, she does not realize the attention her actions will bring to her family and the ferocity in which someone with power will work to destroy everything she holds dear.  Ultimately, it is the court of fives she must do in order to bring respect to herself and her family, but will it be enough?

Fans of futuristic novels like The Testing will love this book.  It is full of plot twists, excitement, and adventure.  A main part of the story even features an Indiana Jones’ type adventure that is hard to put down.  Jess loves training for the court of fives partly because it encourages her to think strategically, but in the end she is forced to use that kind of thinking in order to protect her family from a vicious adversary.  It is a fast paced, exciting story.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

the-jewel

Genre:  Futuristic Fiction

# of Pages:  358

Violet was pulled away from her family three years prior to the beginning of the story because she tested positive for a specific gene that made her desirable in their community.  After completing three years of training she is to be sent to auction to be sold to a rich and powerful royal family to be a surrogate for a royal child.  Violet would rather return home to her family, who resides in the marsh, in order to live in poverty than to be a plaything for the royals whilst living in true luxury.  Once Violet is purchased she does not know what to make of her new owner, her owner’s ungrateful son, or her owner’s absent husband.  Plus, she begins to discover there are lots of secrets in the Jewel, where the royal live.  She finds herself struggling not to rebel against those around her, but they really do have all the power over her.  Can she keep her beliefs intact while everyone around her views her as an object to be owned and manipulated?

Fans of The Selection and Divergent will enjoy the first in this series.  Violet is tough and smart, but there is so much she does not know that the reader gets to find out the true nature of her situation along with her.  There are some very intriguing supporting characters including the man who helped her prepare for her auction, her best friend who went to auction at the same time as her, and the royal women who scheme and gossip behind each other’s backs.  All in all, an intriguing premise that will hold your interest until the surprising last page.

Alive by Scott Sigler

alive

Genre:  Sci/Fi, Futuristic

# of Pages:  345

RAC:  Yes

Em wakes up with a shooting pain in her neck and believes she’s being attacked by a snake.  She quickly realizes she’s trapped in a dark box and must fight her way out.  When she does, she sees she is in a room full of what look like coffins, which is what she just forced her way out of.  She begins to hear screaming in a nearby coffin and helps another girl break free.  They both think they are 12, but they look much older than that.  They have no memories and have to look at the name plates on their coffins to discover what their names are.  Eventually, they find there are others nearby, but no one knows where they are or how they can get out.  Em finds herself the leader of these kids and shocks herself when she discovers she feels confident she can lead them out of this nightmare.

This futuristic story introduces several characters and most of them are developed well enough that you can see their motivations, strengths, and weaknesses.  There is a fair amount of violence as these kids have to fight their way through one obstacle after another.  The plot carries many interesting twists, but there is still a lot more of this story to tell which I can only imagine will continue with the next installment.  Fans of James Dashner will enjoy this title.

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

seeker

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages: 429

RAC:  Yes

John, Quin, and Shinobu have been training together for years in order to one day take their oath and become Seekers.  When the final test comes, however, John stumbles and is cast out by the master Briac.  He is devastated at being kept from what he sees as his birthright and concocts a plan to get what he believes is rightfully his.  Meanwhile, Quin and Shinobu take the oath but are horrified to learn what becoming a Seeker actually entails.  When John and his soldiers arrive on the estate to destroy everything on it, Quin and Shinobu must make some fateful decisions about their future as Seekers.  Can they abandon their oath and the training they have spent their whole lives learning?  Will John ever be able to let his quest for justice for his ancestors go?

This fantasy story introduces three very interesting main characters as well as supporting characters.  The history of the Seekers is engaging, but there is still a lot to learn about the past and how it came to shape the present they are dealing with now.  Despite the length it doesn’t feel like the story develops as much as it should in this first installment and leaves quite a bit unanswered.  Die hard fantasy fans will enjoy this series.

Kalahari by Jessica Khoury

kalahari

Genre:  Adventure/Survival

# of Pages:  354

RAC:  Yes

Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research.  After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money.  Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert.  Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased.  The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots.  Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation.  They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive.  They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet.  Can Sarah get the others to safety?  Will she ever find out what happened to her dad?  Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?

Fans of survival books will enjoy this title.  There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes.  However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs.  The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

all fall down

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Grace knows she saw a man with a scar on his face standing over her mother’s dead body three years ago.  Yet, everyone tells her that her mom died of an accidental fire in her antique shop.  For three years, Grace has seen countless doctors and retold her story to many well meaning people who think she’s simply going crazy from the trauma of losing her mother.  Grace’s father has been stationed overseas and so she is forced to go live with her grandfather where he works as the U.S. ambassador to the tiny country, Adria.  Returning to her mother’s childhood home brings back many feelings and fears for Grace, none of which are helped when she sees the man with the scar she saw that fateful night.  Will anyone believe her story now?  Can she prove her mother’s death wasn’t an accident and prove her sanity?

Fans of Ally Carter books will like this new series as well.  It’s fun, unique, and has some clever plot twists.  The characters are interesting, but will get more engaging with each installment.  Grace’s post traumatic stress is described vividly and helps the reader understand why everyone around her feels she’s an unreliable witness.  Recommended to readers looking for a quick read.