# of Pages: 323
First in a trilogy
Charlaina of “Charlie” lives in a society where every caste has its own language. Englaise is the universal language everyone speaks, but her family belongs to the serving class and they have a language. The elites has a language as well. If anyone is in the presence of someone speaking a language they do not know they are required by law to drop their eyes out of respect. Charlie has been able to read, write, and understand all languages since she can remember and her parents are very fearful due to this ability. If it were ever discovered she could understand all of these languages it could be considered treason and their queen has publicly hanged people for much less. She has kept her secret hidden from even her best friends until one day she accidentally looks at someone in a dance club speaking a language she has never heard before. He begins to suspect she is “the one” the queen is looking for and starts tracking her movements. Can Charlie trust him? Can she trust anyone? Why is the queen looking desperately looking for the next female relative in her otherwise male dominated bloodline?
Fans of futuristic series such as Divergent, Cinder, and Red Queen will enjoy this trilogy. The use of languages to represent status is a new detail in this story and makes it an unusual but interesting talent for Charlie to have. The queen is every bit as evil as many of the villains of other futuristic stories, but her purpose for seeking Charlie out is very different than readers will have seen before. Her friends, family, and allies make for interesting and well developed characters to help Charlie navigate her role in her country’s future.
# 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.
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.
# of pages: 277
Jillian does not believe in paranormal activity, but yet she works running her father’s paranormal investigation firm ever since he left her to fend for herself and her dying mother. She tells clients what they want to hear in order to earn money to pay the electric bill, but that does not stop her from judging those who do believe in the paranormal. When a high school classmate offers to pay big money for her to find her missing boyfriend, Jillian jumps at the chance until the mysterious new student, Sky, inserts himself into the investigation claiming that there is supernatural activity at work here. As Jillian and Sky work the case she faces the possibility that supernatural occurrences might actually exist.
Fans of mysteries and fantasy will enjoy this light, fun story about a teenage girl trying to do it all. There is a lot about Jillian’s backstory that has not been uncovered yet, including a mysterious obituary she finds of herself dated six months in the future listing a sister among her family whom she’s never heard of. There’s plenty more stories Jillian can and probably will tell in future volumes.
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
In this final and entralling conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder is still desperately trying to stop Levana from taking control of Earth and her beloved Kai. Thorne, Cress, Scarlet, Wolf, Jacin, and Winter are all there to help her succeed, but it won’t be easy. Due to the fact that Levana has unbelievable gifts in mind manipulation and often forces her enemies to do things they would never do on their own it is often difficult to tell whom they can trust in their quest to stop her evil plans. The characters try hard not to stoop to Levana’s levels, which is amazing considering everything they go through in the story. Fans will not be disappointed with the ending to this exciting adventure.
# of pages: 322
Cassandra is living in a beach house for the summer that her mom and stepdad rented and is finding a hard time filling her time. One day she wanders down to the private beach and meets a young man there who is very polite and friendly. They get to know each other and eventually discover that they both believe they are residing in the same house, but Lawrence is in 1925 and Cass is in 2015. Cass decides to do some research and discovers Lawrence was murdered on that very beach in two weeks from the time they are at now and she believes they can see each other so that she can help save him. Can they save Lawrence from his early demise? Who is the person trying to kill him? How will Cass explain her strange behavior to her family?
This is a very sweet romance story that successfully places characters in two different time periods. The supporting characters are well established to help readers visualize these characters in their own times as well as together. The ending is very satisfying and believable, which is an incredible feat for a story based on people meeting across 100 years. Fans of romance novels or the Ruby Red series will enjoy this title.
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
# of Pages: 400
Darrow is a “red” in a caste society where reds work below the surface of Mars trying to terraform the planet for other life forms to eventually come live on the surface. The work is hard and thankless and they are compensated with hardly any food and poor living conditions. Darrow’s wife, Eo, believes there is more than the “golds” are telling them and thinks they should revolt in order to get to the truth. Darrow lost his father when he peacefully protested their work conditions and does not want to lose anyone else. When Eo defies the golds anyway, she is publicly hanged and Darrow refuses to let this go. He eventually gets a makeover to make him look like a gold so that he can infiltrate the golds to take them down from the inside. He learns that the golds have been hiding a lot about the actual development of the planet Mars in order to keep them in a lowly position. He vows revenge for his entire family who are starving and slaving so that others can grow fat and rich. Will they discover he is not truly a gold? Will he find any compassion for the golds he has come to despise?
Fans of futuristic fiction will enjoy this title because there is a lot of violence and colorful characters. The story eventually evolves into a competition similar to the Hunger Games that will keep even reluctant readers’ attention. Many questions are left unanswered and there is currently one sequel already. While it is similar to other titles out there it is unique enough that it is finding an audience of supporters who desperately want to know what will happen to Darrow.