Posts Tagged 'torture'

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze

Genre:  Futuristic Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  295

RAC:  Yes

Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country.  Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death.  Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King.  Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured.  Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed.  Should she run for her life?  Should she stand and fight?  There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.

Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way.  This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times.  The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much.  Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times.  The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.

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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.

Boot Camp by Todd Strasser

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  235 p.

RAC Book: Yes

2010 Iowa High School Award Winner

Garrett is forcibly taken from his home and transported to Lake Harmony, which is a reform school for teens.  His parents basically signed their rights away and give the boot camp the right to use whatever force they feel is necessary in order to steer their child down the “right path.”  Garrett believes that some of the decisions he has made are ones he would make again and that his parents just can’t handle the publicity of having a difficult child.  As he struggles not to succumb to the torture, beatings, and humiliation he comes to the terrible realization that he may never get out unless he bends to their will.  As he looks around he sees those who have thrived in this school and appear brain washed because of it and those who refuse to give in and look beaten down and exhausted.  How can he survive without losing who he is and what he believes in?

Todd Strasser has put the spotlight on these teen bootcamps that are more plentiful in the U.S. than anyone might think.  Parents pay thousands of dollars to have their child straightened out, but often the tactics used by these places are unconstitutional.  These places work by cutting any trust or communication between parents and their children so that no one thinks they have any choices, but to let the school do what it thinks it best.  This is an issue that teens and parents should be aware of and this is a fast paced, exciting story that all teens will love, but especially teen boys.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  391

RAC Book:  Yes

In this sequel to The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have returned home to district 12 but life is not as easy or calm as Katniss hoped it would be if she survived the games.  Their previous fears of starving or failing to feed their families have been relieved as they now have plenty of food and money due to their winnings, but there is an uneasiness as Katniss realizes she may be in trouble with the Capitol for breaking the rules and managing to have two survivors of the vicious games.  Her fears are turned into reality when she receives a surprise visit from the president of the Capitol.  He warns her that if her and Peeta do not convince everyone that they are in fact in love, then the lives of their family and friends may be in danger.  Katniss was surprised to learn that her act of defiance that allowed her and Peeta to survive the games was seen as a first step of revolt to some of the districts.  Since then they have followed suit and established uprisings that the Capitol does not approve of.   As Katniss tries to squelch the uprisings by acting more in love with Peeta than she could imagine, she can’t help but wonder what will happen if she fails and the Capitol blames her for the beginnings of a revolution?  What’s worse, she starts to wonder if she really wants to squelch the uprisings at all or if she would be willing to give her life in order to make life better for those who come after her.

This sequel delivers all the action, surprise, suspense, and passion as the first one.  The year following Katniss’s triumph in the games is full of heartache and worry as she wonders who is watching her and what they will do to her family if she angers them.  Her life is completely changed, but not necessarily in a better way.  As she tries to help those around her she is in no way prepared for the role that will be thrust upon her in the next hunger games.  Anyone who liked the first installment of this series will devour this one and will have a difficult time waiting for the release of the next one.

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  314

RAC Book:  Yes

Whit and Wisty are brother and sister and believed they lived normal teenage lives.  That is until one day when they are arrested and charged with witchcraft.  There is a new government in their world called the New Order and this government is gathering up anyone it feels to be a threat.  Whit’s girlfriend had disappeared shortly before his own arrest.  They are taken to a terrible prison where they have to fight angry dogs for food and get whipped on a regular basis.  Whit and Wisty do not know anything about witchcraft, but when they get upset they do seem to be able to do impossible things such as stop objects in midair and burst into flames.  As they start to come to terms with the fact that they may in fact be a witch and a wizard, they are faced with the sobering fact that they are to be executed for their crimes.

For fantasy lovers this story is a lot of fun.  Whit and Wisty are interesting and well-developed characters who are dealing with a difficult situation that is similar to the Salem Witch Trials and the Holocaust all at the same time.  They are also concerned with finding their parents who managed to escape getting arrested in the first place.  The beginning of the story definitely grabs the reader’s interest and the crazy events that follow manage to keep it all the way until the ending of this first book in the series, which unfortunately comes too soon.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  382 p.

RAC:  Yes

Marcus and his friends choose to skip school and go downtown in order to participate in a tech savvy scavenger hunt type game and are caught in the middle when terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.  Marcus and his friends pull out of the crowd running for cover in order to get medical attention for their friend, Darryl, who was injured after the blast.  Instead of going to a hospital, however, they were transported by Homeland Security to a facility in which they were detained, questioned, and tortured for information on the terrorist attack.  Marcus had several items on him that they wanted access to and when he refused to give them passwords they would use terrible tactics to get him to talk.  His parents were not notified of his whereabouts and he was not allowed to consult with an attorney.  When they finally released him a few days later he was warned not to tell anyone what had happened or else they would come for him again.  Marcus vows to wage war on any government who thinks they can take away the rights of its citizens in the name of security.

This story asks the reader to think about what he or she would do in some difficult situations that are only slightly exaggerated.  The book portrays this world of suspicion and doubt in a way that anyone could see it actually happening.  The question is what would you do if you felt your rights were being stripped illegally?  Marcus’s story encourages communication and discussion about government control and inalienable rights.  Students who like espionage novels will like the technology and creative plans Marcus uses in order to try and reveal the truth.  Highly recommended.


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