Archive for the 'Science Fiction' Category

After Impact by Nicole Stark

after impact

** Special Review**

Genre: Futuristic Sci/Fi Thriller

# of Pages:  259

RAC:  Yes

Avalon wakes up in her cryochamber and learns that she has been frozen for 100 years.  She also remembers that when her father predicted that a meteor would strike earth, and completely decimate life as they knew it, only 5000 people were allowed into the underground habitat that was created to sustain life until humans could return to the surface again.  Since such a limited number of people were allowed into the habitat only younger people were allowed and Avalon was forced to say goodbye to her beloved father.  Upon reawakening, Avalon notices some strange happenings in the habitat including that some people seem to be getting deathly ill when they are supposed to be immune from such diseases due to a vaccine everyone receives once they come out of the cryochamber.  Who could be behind this?  Whom can she trust in this new place surrounded by people she does not know?  Should she speak up and ask questions or simply take the safer route and follow the rules?

Fans of futuristic novels such as The Testing, Alive, Across the Universe, or Red Rising will enjoy this title.  The plot moves quickly and the characters are interesting and engaging.  There is some resolution, but the ending definitely leaves room for a sequel.  While some aspects in the story can be found in other similar titles, there is enough originality here to draw readers in and make them want to know what’s going on in this strange habitat controlled by a few people.  Recommended.

Shutter by Courtney Alameda

shutter

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  372

RAC:  Yes

Micheline is the youngest descendant in the Helsing blood line.  Her and her friends work catching ghosts and other supernatural beings.  They each have special talents that allow them to track down and properly extinguish these harmful beings.  At the beginning of the story they are called to a particularly heinous scene where a ghost has killed people in a hospital.  They are supposed to wait for backup, but Micheline decides to go in alone and her team is forced to follow.  They are attacked by this being and contract a rare disease known as soulchain.  Soulchain will kill them if they do not kill the creature that infected them in seven days time.  Their parents wish them to lay low while they hunt the dangerous ghost, but Micheline and her team know it is them who must hunt it down to save their lives.

The plot is much more intriguing here than most readers will expect.  There is a lot of backstory on Micheline’s family and how her and her father came to be so estranged.  There is a fair amount of suspense and plot twists that keep the story active and fast paced.  The characters are interesting as their talents and personalities are revealed.  Plus, in this world no one is really ever safe, which makes the suspense all the more real.  Recommended for fans of science fiction and suspense.

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.

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.

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.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

these broken stars

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  374

RAC:  Yes

Lilac is the famous daughter of a prestigious businessman who owns the amazing spaceship, Icarus, that she is currently traveling on.  Tarver is a decorated war hero also traveling on the luxury spaceship, but his experience is much different.  When he tries to speak to Lilac in public she makes it very clear that he is beneath her in every way, but shortly after their public altercation the ship is suddenly pulled out of hyperspace.  They both end up in the same escape pod and it’s Lilac’s quick mechanical skills that free their pod before the ship crashes.  They land on what appears to be an uninhabited planet.  In order to survive they must trek across the planet in search of food, people, or a means to communicate.  The two are very different and do not get along well at first, but over time they must come together for the goal of survival.  Eventually, they start to get close and wonder if they even want to leave their own private planet, but then mysterious things start happening.  They hear voices and see hallucinations, among other things.  What is this place and can it in fact hurt them?

This sci/fi adventure is very exciting with many twists in the plot.  The characters and setting are well developed and interesting, but the ending may confuse some readers.  The pacing seems uneven at times too, with parts moving slowly and then a lot happening at once.  Fans of this genre will enjoy, but most others will pass on this one.

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

body electric

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  466

RAC:  Yes

Ella lives with her mother in the new city that was built after a major world war.  Her mother is famous for inventing the technology of reveries, which enable people to go into a sleep where they can relive their happiest memories.  Her father was also a brilliant scientist who worked on finding a cure for the terrible disease her mother had before he was suddenly and tragically killed in a lab accident.  Ella’s mom has lived longer than anyone else with this disease, but she’s getting weaker and Ella knows it is only a matter of time before she’s on her own.  Her mother’s childhood friend helps run the reverie spa and one day informs Ella that she needs to go meet with the president of their newly established government.  The President informs her that she feels rebellious rumblings and will do whatever it takes to stop another war, including altering the memories of the rebels.  Ella isn’t sure about using her mother’s technology that way and goes to her father’s grave to think it over when a teenage boy comes up and acts like she should know him.  He knows things about her family and seems genuinely hurt she doesn’t know him.  Is it possible someone is using her mother’s technology to alter her memories?  If that’s true, what else doesn’t she remember?

This thrilling sci-fi novel takes many plot twists to get to the final conclusion.  Some readers may find the constant revelations start to get a little confusing at times as they happen quickly near the end.  As Ella’s parents were both genius scientists there are numerous referrals to science and technology in the ultimate resolution of the plot.  The characters are very memorable and engaging, especially considering some of them aren’t in the story that much.  The romance between Ella and the boy is well described and a believable source of angst for Ella, but isn’t dwelled upon too much in a book that has a lot going on.  Fans of sci fi will devour this title.

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.

Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan

flame

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  326

RAC:  Yes

In the third installment of the Sky Chasers Series, everyone is on the New Horizon since the Empyrean was destroyed in the last book.  Anne Mathers is trying to promote peace, but she has both Waverly and Kieran under armed guard at all times since she doesn’t trust their motives.  Both of them are living with their mothers, but they seem a bit off and Waverly wonders what exactly has been done to them to make them so agreeable to everything the New Horizon suggests to them.  Meanwhile, Seth has landed on his own on the ship and has been on the run ever since.  His arm is badly damaged and is in danger of infection, but he just cannot bear to turn himself in.  Everyone on the ship is divided over the conditions they are living in.  Some believe the New Horizon did what they had to to ensure survival while others believe it wrong how they used murder and drugs to get everything they wanted for the Empyrean and the poor girls they violated.  Everyone does want to live peacefully, but can they overcome their past in order to move forward and work toward that goal?  Will Waverly and Kieran end up together just like everyone always planned?

The conclusion of this series is just as exciting as the rest with many close calls for Kieran and Seth especially.  Waverly and Kieran want to move on and promote a peaceful existence, but it is difficult to forget what they have been through and all of their shipmates who died in the process.  Anne Mathers is losing control of her ship, but for the first time Waverly starts to see who exactly created the evil persona she has become.  There are many surprises and the ending is far from predictable, which should intrigue fans.  Overall, it was a very satisfying ending to a fun and creative story.

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

eye of minds

Genre:  Science Fiction/Mystery/Adventure

# of Pages:  310

RAC:  Yes

Michael enjoys playing video games, but he lives in a world where the best games are part of the VirtNet.  In the VirtNet you can actually immerse yourself completely into the game and leave your body behind in your house.  There are many types of games you can play, adventures you can try, and friends to meet in the virtual world.  People like it because they can do things they wouldn’t normally do in real life and if they “die” they simply wake up  safely in their own home.  Recently, there have been reports about a gamer who has managed to hurt people both in the game AND in real life.  Michael and his friends are enlisted to track this gamer down because they are very successful hackers and can see stuff others can’t.  Michael and his friends learn quickly that this is no ordinary gamer and if they are not careful they will not come out of this alive.  If they do not help the Virtual Authorities to catch this guy they will have all of their privileges revoked and can never game again.  Can they face a life without gaming?  Are they willing to risk their lives to keep gaming?

Fans of The Maze Runner series will enjoy this title as well.  Like that series, this one has a fair amount of excitement and violence.  The book is also set up as a series of tasks the characters must accomplish in order to be free.  The tasks are very challenging and often scary, but the characters feel they have no choice but to press on and follow through.  The ending is a bit of a surprise, but fans of  Dashner would be surprised if there wasn’t a twist at the end.  Video gamers, boys, and reluctant readers will enjoy this title.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  454

RAC:  Yes

In this sequel to Cinder, Scarlet is introduced as a brassy red headed girl who becomes alarmed when her grandmother goes missing.  The police believe she ran away and will not look for her, but Scarlet knows something is wrong.  Then, she meets a mysterious man who comes to her defense after she makes some remarks defending Cinder, who is all over the news and considered a traitor.  Cinder, meanwhile, has been given the tools to escape her maximum security prison and she takes advantage of it.  Along the way she picks up another prisoner she believes might be helpful in the journey.  The evil Lunar queen tells the Emperor that if he does not produce Cinder for her to punish as she sees fit in three days time they will launch a devastating war on earth.  Will Cinder let countless others die just to save herself?  Will Scarlet ever find her grandmother or the reason for why she disappeared?  Will the prince give in to Levana’s demands?

In my previous post on Cinder I spoke very highly of a book that frankly did not sound that appealing initially.  Scarlet might be even better than that one.  It is so rare for a sequel to continue to build on the momentum acquired in the first one.  Meyer managed to continue Cinder’s story while also introducing many great new plot lines and characters in a way that connected and did not seem confusing or forced.  The action in the book is so exciting and tense that you cannot help but keep reading because the suspense of not knowing is just too much to handle.  Highly recommended.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages 398

RAC Book:  Yes

Amy must make the very difficult decision of whether or not to cryogenically freeze herself with her parents.  They have been chosen for their elite skills to lead a new planet in 300 years.   Amy can choose to wait 300 years to continue her life on a new planet with her parents or she can stay and live the rest of her life without them.  She chooses to get frozen, but is unexpectedly awoken 50 years early by someone wishing to cause harm to frozen people.  Amy feels it is her responsibility to protect her parents from the person trying to hurt the frozen people, but how?  Meanwhile, Elder, the future leader of the ship, is trying to learn what it will take to lead one day from Eldest, the current leader of the ship.  Eldest is tyrannical, oppressive, and difficult to work with.  Worst of all, as Elder soon learns, he has no problem with lying to the passengers of the ship.  Can Elder become the kind of leader the ship needs?  Will he go along with the lies they currently believe just to make Eldest’s life easier?

Fans of Glow and Divergent will enjoy this title.  The plot is interesting, even for those who have read similar titles.  Although the plot can be predictable it is also clearly thought out and multi-layered.  Some difficult issues are discussed or displayed such as suicide and sexual assault, so beware of younger readers.  All in all, it was an interesting, enjoyable read.

Michael Vey: The Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of pages:  335

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel, Michael and his friends who escaped from the academy are trying to stay away from Dr. Hatch, while also finding and rescuing Michael’s mother.   They learn Michael’s mother is being held in Peru and try to find a way to get there, but no matter where they go the Elgen keep finding them.  A mysterious voice on a cell phone keeps warning them of impending danger and vows to help, but so far they have not stepped in to do much.  Going to Peru is very dangerous because they are being tracked.   Plus, the place where Michael’s mother is being held is highly secure and a place where torture is commonplace.  Can they really breach the fortress in order to save her and safely get out again?

Like the first in the series, this book is full of action and adventure at every turn.  There is no dead time for Michael and his friends to catch their breath.  Every time they think they have created a brilliant plan they are thwarted in their endeavors by Hatch.  This one is a bit darker than the first and torture is featured quite often.  It’s not gory, but becomes a huge focus of the book and in many ways it feels like the plot does not develop that much.  We know pretty much what we knew before this book.  We still have a lot of unanswered questions about the Electroclan, what their plans are, and how they plan to survive.  Fans of the first will enjoy this one too.  Recommended for reluctant readers.

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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