Archive for the 'Fantasy' Category



Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter

Genre:  Fantasy/Science Fiction

827 pages

RAC:  Yes

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.

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

until we meet again

Genre:  Romance/Fantasy

# of pages:  322

RAC:  Yes

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.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

red rising

Genre:  Science Fiction/Fantasy

# of Pages:  400

RAC:  Yes

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.

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.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

red queen

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  388

RAC:  Yes

Mare Barrow is a red blood and therefore a lowly worker to the silver bloods who rule everything with their varied powers.  Mare knows that when she turns 18 she will be required to join the army and fight the neverending battle going on at the border.  Her three older brothers are already there fighting.  Mare’s best friend has an internship which means he will be spared from the draft and her younger sister is a seamstress and will also escape that terrible fate.  As bad as things are Mare is finding ways to cope, but then tragedy strikes and everything she ever believed comes crashing down.  In her lowest moment she confides in a young man at a bar and the next day she is offered a desirable job serving the silver bloods in the palace.  On one of her first days, Mare is serving at an important event where the Prince is to choose a bride, but something terrible happens and Mare reveals that she too has a special power despite the fact that her blood is not silver.  What will happen to Mare and her family now that she has revealed herself to be a threat to the silver bloods?  Can she learn to develop and control her power?

This is the first novel in this series and has a futuristic feel to it like The Testing and The Hunger Games.  Mare’s character is captivating and it’s hard to watch her trust people that will ultimately betray her.  As she navigates her way through a new world of silver bloods who have powers such as mind reading, mind control, and controlling elements she realizes how powerful they are, but also how vulnerable and scared they are as well.  Fantasy fans will enjoy this new series.

Utopia, Iowa by Brian Yansky

utopia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  323

RAC:  Yes

Set in fictional Utopia, Iowa where the life expectancy is longer than usual and many people are believed to have “gifts,”  Jack Bell lives with his mother, father, and sister.  Jack, his mother, and his sister can all see ghosts, but they have taken extra precautions to make sure they cannot enter their home.  When Jack’s sister, Amanda, claims to see a ghost on Jack’s bed they are all naturally alarmed because more than likely it would take a much stronger spirit to enter their house than a usual ghost.  Then, a young college student is pushed from a dorm window to her death and she seeks Jack’s help in finding what happened to her.  She does not remember her death, which is unusual for ghosts, but she knows her boyfriend didn’t kill her despite his confession.  The police detective starts to become concerned that Jack is somehow connected to this case because he seems to know details he should not know, and he is not a believer in the town “gifts.”  Can Jack help this spirit find her way and clear his name?  Can he protect himself from the growing number of threats people keep prophesying about him?

This light fantasy story provides an usual spin on the ghost genre in that the reason behind the threats and mysterious deaths actually connect to an ancient story that is slowly explained throughout the book.  Jack comes in contact with several different types of gifted people who all try to help in their own ways as he deals with the ghosts that keep seeking his advice as well as the mounting danger he keeps getting warned about.  The ending is exciting and satisfying, but it’s not a story that the reader will think much about once it is over.  Recommended for fans looking for a fun fantasy.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

atlantia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives.  People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time.  Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play.  Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below.  All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed.  Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why.  She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren.  Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio.  Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister?  Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever?  Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?

This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning.  It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story.  Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself.  While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader.  It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels.  Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

youngelites

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  355

RAC:  Yes

Adelina survived a terrible “blood fever” that killed many throughout the land she lives in with her father, mother, and sister.  Her mother, in fact, does not survive the fever.  Adelina is not left unscathed and loses an eye in the process of fighting the terrible disease.  Her father now views her as tainted and damaged.  He blames her for his business losing money and him not being able to sell her off to a rich husband.  Upon overhearing that he plans to instead sell her to a dishonest man looking for a young mistress she decides to flee, but her father catches her and in her anger she brings forth a power she did not know she possessed.  He is trampled and killed in the process.  Adelina is sentenced to death, but the famous and yet elusive “young elites” come and save her.  The “young elites” are made up of scarred survivors of the blood fever who have also acquired special powers and skills.  They agree to train Adelina in her new found skills, but if she fails to learn to control them they will have to dispose of her.  Does Adelina have what it takes to be a “young elite.”

By the same author as the Legend series, this series will interest fans of fantasy fiction such as Rick Riordan and James Dashner.  The story itself follows a similar plot progression as others we have seen, but remains unique enough that the reader will care what happens to Adelina and her sister.  The characters are well written, but their motivations and actions are sometimes unclear.  The ending has a proper buildup and anticipation and comes through with excess action and a dramatic conclusion.  This is a solid beginning to an interesting new series.

Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

iron trial

Genre:  Fantasy

# of pages:  295

RAC:  Yes

Callum Hunt has been told his entire life that he will not be attending the Magisterium, which is the magic school both of his parents attended.  His father firmly believes it brought them only bad things and the tragic death of Callum’s mother.  When Callum gets the invitation for the admittance test he brings nothing with him as he has no intention of going with the Masters to the Magisterium at the end of the trial.  He does everything in his power to fail this test and succeeds remarkably well, which is why he is so surprised when the greatest master chooses him to mentor along with two other students.  Callum’s father refuses to let him go, but is overruled and Callum is forced to go to the school he has been told his entire life will only lead to his downfall.  Can he succeed even if his father thinks it’s impossible?  Why was he chosen if he performed so poorly on the test?  Will this be the first place he has ever truly fit in?

This is the first in a five book series by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, two very popular fantasy authors.  It will inevitably lead to comparisons with Harry Potter, but there are enough differences to intrigue Harry Potter fans.  Callum’s character is flawed and in no way a real hero to the story, but yet throughout the story he steps up when his friends need him even knowing he very well could fail and make things worse.  There are many unanswered questions that will leave readers wanting more.  Recommended for struggling readers who enjoy fantasy.

The Taking by Kimberly Derting

the-taking

Genre:  Fiction/Mystery

# of Pages:  357

RAC:  Yes

Kyra gets into a fight with her father on the way home from the softball championships and forces him to stop the car on the highway so she can get out and walk away.  Kyra storms out of the car and sees a blinding light before everything goes black.  She wakes up behind the dumpster of the local gas station and is still wearing her softball uniform.  She walks home only to learn that five years have passed since she disappeared.  Her parents are now divorced and her mom has a new husband and child, her father has become consumed with finding out what happened to her that night, and her boyfriend went to college and started dating her best friend.  Everything has changed except Kyra.  She begins to form a relationship with the boy next door, but then the NSA comes looking for her and she has to run for her safety.  What do they want with her?  What do they think she’s capable of?  Will it be possible to be a normal teenager ever again?

This story has a really interesting premise.  What would any of us do if we woke up and the world had moved on without us?  As Kyra’s questions start getting answered readers will be intrigued by what she discovers about her disappearance, but the story does lag a bit in certain places.  The relationship between Kyra and Tyler develops extremely quickly and very little detail is given as to how that is.  For the most part readers will be able to identify with Kyra and want to see what happens to her, but a lot is left unanswered with an ending clearly set up for a sequel.

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

salvage

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of pages:  520

RAC:  Yes

Ava is a young woman who was born on a merchant ship in deep space and has never set foot on a real planet before.  The only way of life she knows is on board this ship, which includes strict separation of women’s and men’s duties.  Women cook, clean, sew, and have babies while men train for jobs in areas such as business and engineering.  When a rumor comes down that Ava has been betrothed to a man on another ship she cannot help but hope it is the young man she met once when they were kids.  He even encouraged her to fix a broken device herself, which was something women are never allowed to do on her ship.  When the two ships come together Ava makes a very unfortunate mistake and her punishment is death, but she manages to escape to earth.  Is she strong enough to survive going “planetside” after a lifetime of never experiencing that kind of gravity?  Can she find her way in a world that assumes she knows basic skills she was denied on her ship such as learning to read?  Will she ever find a way to punish those on board her home ship who failed to stand up for her under unfortunate circumstances?

Fans of Glow, Across the Universe, and other space adventure stories will enjoy this very real and dangerous life that Ava is living.  The supporting characters are interesting and multi-faceted in a way that the reader can understand their point of view, but at the same time Ava is the heroine of this story.  Values, morals, and other societal laws are called into question as each planet and ship tends to make up their own, but all of these discussions can be applied to different cultures and countries on Earth.

Avalon by Mindee Arnett

avalon

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  418

RAC:  Yes

Jeth and his sister have been working for the evil crime lord, Hammer, ever since their parents were executed for treason and their uncle gambled away their parent’s beloved spaceship, Avalon.  Jeth and his friends work by stealing spaceships to give to Hammer that are then chopped up and sold for pieces.  They are hoping to save enough to buy Avalon back so they can escape for good.  On a routine job, a government official comes to Jeth and claims that his next job will include going to a dangerous part of space to retrieve a lost ship.  He wants Jeth to return the ship to him instead of Hammer and in return promises Jeth full ownership of Avalon as well as the truth about his parents.  Jeth is tempted, but Hammer is not someone people generally cross.  Can he trust this government official?  Does he have a choice?

This space adventure is full of action and twists and turns that keep the reader guessing.  Jeth’s crazy crew all have fun personalities that make them likable and interesting.  The villains are truly terrible people who do unbelievably terrible things.  The plot feels refreshing and unique, unlike some new series out there.  Recommended for fans of Glow, Salvage, and even the Michael Vey series.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

miss peregrine

Genre:  Supernatural

# of Pages:  382

RAC:  Yes

As a child Jacob was always told fantastic stories about the orphanage his grandfather grew up in headed by Miss Peregrine.  He even had photos depicting the many hidden talents of the children who came to live there including levitation, invisibility, and incredible strength.  As Jacob grew up he began to doubt his grandfather’s stories, but   nevertheless he and his grandfather were very close until the day he received a frantic call from his grandfather claiming he needed to get into his gun safe.  Jacob went to see him thinking it was merely an episode of senility brought on by old age, but when he arrived he sees his grandfather has been murdered by a creature he has never see or heard of before. After, his parents send Jacob to a psychiatrist to help him through the trauma he has experienced and he ends up deciding to go visit the little island where his grandfather’s stories came from.  He hopes this trip will bring him closure, but what he sees when he gets to this place is most unexpected and Jacob finds himself pulled into the past on that fateful day when Miss Peregrine’s home had become yet another casualty of WWII.  Were his grandfather’s stories true?  How is Jacob connected to all of this?

This is truly a very unique story that blends the present and the past through actual photos recovered from past archives and attics.  The characters and the story pull the reader in simply because it is so different than a lot of fiction out there currently.  The underlying problems and motivations of the characters are very relatable to everyone, but yet they are manifested through very unusual circumstances.  Fans of mystery, historical fiction, and supernatural fiction will all enjoy this title.

Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano

perfect ruin

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  356

RAC:  Yes

Morgan lives on  a city that is floating in the sky.  The legend is that the gods of land believed the humans to be greedy and wasteful and were going to exterminate them and begin a new race when the god of sky decided to save them.  Therefore, their floating city is suspended in the sky and anyone who attempts to look at or jump to the earth either dies or is seriously injured.  Morgan’s brother was blinded when he attempted to see the ground below.  The community has limited space and resources so everything is carefully monitored such as who will marry who and when or if they will be allowed to have children.  Morgan and her betrothed are very close and have no secrets from each other.  One day a young girl is found murdered on the train tracks and this makes for the first willful murder ever to take place in this city.  Naturally, the citizens get scared and are on high alert even as security is enhanced.  Then, Morgan sees the suspected culprit running free in the woods despite all accounts of his being in custody.  Is the government lying to the people?  If so, what exactly are they lying about and what can she do to find out the truth?

Futuristic stories are incredibly popular right now amongst young adults and this one will fit into that niche easily.  The story has similar aspects to books like Matched and Divergent but is different enough to encourage interest.  Morgan comes to find that much of what she believed her world to be is in fact a lie.  Her government, her teachers, and even her family have all kept secrets from her.  The end of the story is exciting and leaves an opening for a thrilling sequel.  The supporting characters all enhance the story as you see how each person responds to the world they live in and the rules imparted on them differently.   Recommended.

Blackout by Robison Wells

blackout

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  426

RAC:  Yes

This futuristic novel depicts the U.S. suffering from multiple terrorist attacks at the hands of U.S. teenagers.  The army begins gathering up all teens to have them tested for a particular virus they believe is causing special powers in these young adults.  Every teen seems to manifest different powers, but they are all extraordinary such as manipulating minds and turning invisible.  Alec and Laura belong to  one of the terrorist groups trying to destroy national landmarks and industrial buildings.  Meanwhile, Aubrey and Jack are merely two teens at a high school dance when they are apprehended and tested for the virus.  Aubrey knows she has a special power, but Jack is shocked to learn he tested positive for the virus.  Through exciting circumstances all of these characters will come into contact with each other and try to survive this deadly situation.  Unfortunately, some want to make the chaos and destruction stop while others want to be the cause.

Fans of futuristic novels such as Divergent will enjoy this title.  There’s even a super hero feel to this as the teens learn of their different and amazing abilities.  The story moves at a steady pace and the characters are portrayed in a way that really lets the reader know who they are and what they want.  However, there are a lot of unanswered questions and unexplained potential that most definitely will be used in future books so readers need to be prepared to end this book with a lot of questions.  All young adults will enjoy the title, but boys and reluctant readers will especially enjoy it.


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