Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Book Reviews
April 27, 2014 posted by Emma

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) – Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

 

I picked up The  Bone Season originally because I’d been hearing some good things about it on Tumblr and Goodreads, and wanted to give it a try. Plus that cover is absolutely gorgeous and so intriguing!

The Bone Season is about a girl named Paige, who’s a rare type of clairvoyant in an alternate version of London where voyants are not only despised, but hunted down. She works for a “gang” of secret voyants, doing whatever tasks they ask of her, and manages to stay under the radar. Until one day she’s captured and is transported to a part of the country that she didn’t even know existed. It’s a place where voyants are valued as soldiers, and although she’s little more than a prisoner, at least she’s safe. But things aren’t what they seem, especially with her Rephaite keeper, and Paige soon finds herself in even more danger than she started.

There were parts of this book that I absolutely loved and then parts of it that I wasn’t overly impressed with. I can’t say this one blew me away, but it was definitely an enjoyable read!

For starters, the plot is incredibly unique and keeps you on your toes. The whole concept of the voyants in an alternate London was fascinating, as well as the fact that our heroine was a criminal who could watch her own back. The beginning was a little slow for me, but once Paige was captured and brought to the Rephaite city, things picked up. I loved learning about their secret society, and I loved learning about the Rephaim themselves. The whole thing was just really inventive and different from anything I’ve ever read!

The characters were a little less spectacular. Paige was a decent heroine, but I never was really able to connect with her. She seemed a little cold and distant at times, and all I wanted was to feel a little emotion from her, but it never really happened. Some people will definitely love her, but she wasn’t really my cup of tea. As for Warden, I felt similarly about him. He was mysterious and dangerous, but that’s all he ever was for me. We learned his backstory, but I felt that I never really got to know HIM, if you know what I mean. He seemed kind of flat and just…there.

While this book probably won’t go down as one of my favorites, it’s worth reading just for the world building and fast-paced plot! It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, that’s for sure.

Pages: 466

Date Published: August 20, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Every Day by David Levithan
Book Reviews
August 15, 2012 posted by Nikki

Every Day by David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

A has occupied the bodies of a lot of different people: boys, girls, gay, straight, transgendered, diseased, addicted, afflicted, depressed – you name it, he’s experienced it. He’s careful not to do anything too out of character, and he’s even more careful about doing things that might potentially mess up the body’s life (once they get it back). He’s just going through the motions…

Then, in a cruel twist of fate, A wakes up in the body of Justin. Upon initial assessments, A figures Justin is a bit of a douche, and settles into the routine of going about Justin’s day. Then he meets Rhiannon – Justin’s girlfriend – and his stay-out-of-it approach takes an instant nose-dive. A is drawn to Rhiannon in a way that he’s never been drawn to anyone, ever. Which is bad. Very, very bad.

Unable to help himself, A maneuvers himself into Rhiannon’s life, her head, and her heart. And honestly, that’s just all kinds of bad, because really, what kind of life can he give her? Different body every day, different location every day.

Then he meets someone who tells him he can make his situation more permanent. Could this mean he could have the life he’s always wanted? Could he have Rhiannon, every day, in the same body? He’s determined to find the answer.

So what did I love about this book? How about EVERYTHING! Everyone who knows my literary taste buds knows I have always loved and adored everything David Levithan has ever done, but this, well, this takes it to a whole new level. Every Day was utterly unputdownable. I loved everything about A. I loved how believable Rhiannon’s character was. I loved that she believed A so implicitly. I loved the depressed girl, the fat boy, and the kid he left Rhiannon with. I got to the end and screamed, ‘NO’ really loudly because I didn’t want it to end. Especially not there, where it did. I loved how flawless David Levithan’s prose was, how perfect and effortless it was to read. I loved the pace – it was perfect. I loved the cover (who wouldn’t?!). I loved Justin for doing the right thing in the one single moment he needed to. I loved the ending, but I hated it at the same time. It left me wanting more, needing more, CRAVING more.

Every Day satisfied every single one of my literary needs. It’s romantic, intelligent, exceptionally creative, and just perfect in every way.

It doesn’t get much better than this, folks. Every Day is the real deal.

Pages: 322

Publication date: 12 August, 2012

Publisher: Alfred. A. Knopf

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote: “I wake up and I’m not four hours away from her, or one hour, or even fifteen minutes. No, I wake up in her house. In her room. In her body.”

Interview with Myra McEntire
Author Interviews
March 12, 2011 posted by Kiona

Interview with Myra McEntire

Myra McEntire is the debut author of Hourglass, which will be available in May. Without spoiling anything, Myra took the time to answer a few questions and open up about what went into writing Hourglass.

How does it feel to publish your first novel? Is the publishing process everything you expected?

There are SO MANY feelings. There’s excitement and fear and that swoony first crush feeling – and anxiety and elation and worry. It’s so cliche, but roller coaster sums it up!
How did you come up with the idea for Hourglass?

I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment it became what it is, but it truly evolved as I wrote. Every time I sat down to write was an adventure, and because there were no expectations and I was writing for myself, I was willing to go along for the ride. I think that’s really important as a writer – following the story and the people in it.
I must say, too, that some of it was a conscious choice to avoid mimicking anything I’d seen before.
There are a lot of scientific explanations in Hourglass. Did you have to do a lot of research or did you get to make some of it up?

I did a TON of research. I can honestly say that everything in HOURGLASS is based on scientific theory, although some of it might be wacky scientific theory (and generally that’s where my imagination showed up and took over).
If you could have any one of the abilities you wrote about, which would it be?

The ability I’d want from this world hasn’t been introduced yet. Muahahahahaha.

Emerson is a very sarcastic and witty person. Are you or is someone you know that sarcastic?

I know no one that remotely resembles that description. And my edit button is perfectly intact, thank you very much. *wonders if you know I’m lying* *is thrilled that she could be considered witty*
What’s your favorite part of Hourglass?

When the glass falls through the piano. That’s when I knew I couldn’t walk away from the story.
Do you have any plans for a potential sequel?

I am actually working on it right now! Egmont bought two books when they bought HOURGLASS. I will also say that I have at least one more after that, possibly two, living in my head. We’ll see how it all goes! Cross your fingers!

Hourglass will be released on May 24, 2011. Myra McEntire can be found blogging at Writing Finally.

Read Kiona’s review of Hourglass.

Hourglass – Myra McEntire
Book Reviews
February 27, 2011 posted by Kiona

Hourglass – Myra McEntire

Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange thing s- dead things – swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She’s tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing’s worked.

So when Emerson’s well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to give it one last try.

Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He’s barely older than she is, he listens like no one she’s ever met before, and he doesn’t make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of the Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future – and her very life.

This book blew me away – probably because I wasn’t expecting to fall so thoroughly in love with it. I went in thinking it was a ghost story, due to the summary on the back cover, but I was completely wrong. It’s a fantastic blend of paranormal and science fiction, at times reminding me of elements of Harry Potter and X-Men, both of which I love. Hourglass has so many great twists, some I saw coming and some that completely blind-sided me in the best possible way. This excellently crafted book is well-organized and completely absorbing, one of those I-really-shouldn’t-stay-up-until-2-because-I-have-class-in-the-morning-but-I-can’t-stop books.

But let me backtrack for a minute. Hourglass tells the story of Emerson Cole, a teenage girl who began seeing what she believes to be ghosts shortly before her parents died in a horrific accident. Since then, Emerson has spent her time at mental institutions and boarding school. But when her scholarship is pulled, she is forced to move back home with her brother and his wife. She has only one friend at home, Lily, who has stuck by Emerson throughout her entire ordeal. And then Emerson meets Michael – the handsome consultant her brother has hired – and he turns her world upside down.

The first thing I like about Hourglass was that Emerson confides in her brother and he actively tries to help her. There are so many books where the protagonist feels like they have to hide their “dark secret” because no one could ever possibly understand them. I just want to shake those protagonists and tell them to give their friends and family a little more credit. Of course, Emerson does spend some time in an asylum, but that’s realistic; she’s able to handle that and come out even stronger. Her brother, Thomas, is a wonderful character. He looks out for Emerson, doesn’t think she’s crazy, and continuously tries to help her. He’s also the perfect mix of cool-older-brother and authoritarian. I love his relationship with Emerson and even his rules regarding Michael. It’s easy to see how much he cares about his sister and how seriously he takes her predicament.

Emerson. One of my favorite protagonists. First of all, she has a great name (and I’m not just saying that because I go to Emerson College). She is one of the most three-dimensional characters I’ve seen in awhile. Her biting sarcasm is consistently hilarious; she can take care of herself, due to martial arts lessons; she doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do and only opens up to those she truly trusts; she gets jealous easily, is willing to put others before herself, and occasionally breaks all the rules. She has such a traumatic past and though she certainly draws strength from it, her past is also a source of pain and confusion; she hasn’t completely healed. In fact, by the end of the book she’s even further from healing than the beginning, which just allows the possibility for more growth.

I love the whole science fiction aspect of this book. The idea behind the Hourglass is so innovative and I was dying to know what it was from the beginning. Each character – especially members of the Hourglass – is fleshed out and serves a purpose. Myra McEntire is clearly a master at weaving intricate plots. She includes all the elements of great story-telling, including realistic characters with depth, witty dialogue, suspense, foreshadowing, and sizzling romance. Emerson’s emotions are so strongly conveyed that I felt them right along with her: her suspicion regarding Michael, confusion over Kaleb, anger at Ava, and love for Thomas and Dru. I like that Emerson doesn’t trust people easily. She has no reason to. So when certain characters finally gain Emerson’s trust, they also gained mine, which means I was just as shocked as Emerson by some of the final twists of Hourglass.

This book literally has everything and I really hope I won’t have to wait forever for a sequel. The ending is left open and there are so many questions I still have about this world and the characters. Hourglass is sure to be a hit in the YA scene and I look forward to seeing it receive the recognition it deserves.

Pages: 397
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating : ★★★★½

Teaser Quote: I’ve never touched alcohol – doesn’t mix too well with pharmaceuticals – but I knew at that moment what it must feel like to be drunk. Everything in my world shifted, and I knew I would trade every breath I’d ever taken for more of him. In a heartbeat.

The Tomorrow Code – Brian Falkner
Book Reviews
November 13, 2009 posted by Katie

The Tomorrow Code – Brian Falkner

“It happened before. Burnt Mountain, Alaska. Novosibirsk, Siberia. Now it’s about to happen to a thriving city. Crack the code…or tomorrow is history…”

Auckland, New Zealand. A city with a population of 1.3 million. 25th December. Already, 50 000 people have just vanished into a mystery white fog. They were never seen again. Their town was surrounded by white fog which defied gravity and wind, with whispers of ‘snowmen’ coming from the very few survivors. No one who goes in, comes out. No electrical transmissions can find their way through the storm, and nothing New Zealand authorities do can seem to stop the fog.

Imagine that you’re the only one who knew this was about to happen. Imagine that you’re the only one who has a chance of stopping it from happening again. Imagine that you had discovered a way to receive messages from the future and no one would believe you. Imagine that the fate of the civilization of the world could rest on how quick you can crack the code. Everything is stacked against you, you’re a teenager still in school, not old enough to be considered seriously, you have a mother that is only interested in the next episode of her favorite soap opera on TV and every minute that goes past is another death that could have been prevented.

This is Tane and Rebecca’s reality. Months earlier, Tane and Rebecca discovered a way to read messages that were transmitted through time. Messages coded and hidden in gamma ray bursts that are recorded by high-tech NASA space equipment, only you invented and discovered the program to read these messages. The messages that are decoded spell out a bleak future for live on earth. Receiving instructions from their future selves, Tane and Rebecca face a race against the clock to try and get the New Zealand and International military and bio-medical forces to listen to them. Every instruction that they have followed from these coded messages has been correct. From winning the lottery as a test, to breaking into NASA’s top-secret internet files, each step brings you closer to either saving humanity, or watching it descend further into chaos and destruction. Whispers of the Chimera Project that must be stopped, cryptic instructions for a device to send information to the future and juggling sudden millionaire status are just some of the issues that Tane and Rebecca have to deal with on a daily basis.

And this is only the beginning.

The Tomorrow Code is Brian Falkner’s first young adult novel, with three children’s novels being published prior to this. The style of writing and the way in with Falkner deals with some difficult concepts is remarkable. When talking about science, quantum foam and biology, it is easy to get lost in the technical terms, yet Falkner allows the reader to sympathise with either of the two main characters. Rebecca is the brains, the science and math whiz who more often than not is the one talking and explaining the technical jargon while Tane is the creative soul and often, like me, doesn’t have a clue what Rebecca is saying, yet somehow works it out in more simple and creative terms. Rather than subtracting from the plot, this actually adds to the sense of urgency and mystery of the novel. In all, I liked this novel, it captured my interest from the beginning and it was an easy read that I didn’t have to struggle through. The characters were interesting, plot well developed and style captivating from the first page to the end.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

A Chaos Walking Novel: The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness
Book Reviews
July 7, 2009 posted by Nikki

A Chaos Walking Novel: The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness

“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”
A voice –
In the darkness –
Everything is shadows and blur and it feels like the world’s spinning and my blood is too hot and my brain is clogged and I can’t think and it’s dark –
I blink again.
Wait –
No,
wait
Just now, just
now we were in the square –
Just now she was in my arms –
She was
dying in my arms –
“Where is she?” I spit into the dark, tasting my blood, my voice croaking, my Noise rising like a sudden hurricane, high and red and furious. “
WHERE IS SHE?”

This is how the second novel in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Ask and the Answer, begins. My heart was thumping as I read every single word. Every single freaking word, and it did not stop thumping until the end, some 519 pages later. Even then, I had to take a walk around the block just to calm myself down.

For those that have read the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, you’ll be well aware that readers were left dangling in the midst of one hell of a cliffhanger ending. Fortunately, this installment picks up right where that one left off, only now our two protagonists are no longer together. Todd has no idea where Viola is, or even if she’s alive. But the Mayor (actually, that’s Mr President to you now, thank you very much) promises Todd she’s alive and that he’ll get to see her soon. Todd has nothing else to go off and has to believe what he’s being told. He just has to. The thought of Viola not being alive any more is just too much to contemplate. He tried to save her; he tried with everything he had. What if it wasn’t enough?

I know what you’re thinking. If Viola isn’t with Todd, how are we supposed to know what happened to her? Fear not, special readers, as Patrick Ness is the God of all Gods right now and he definitely factored that in. Viola fans will be super pleased to hear that she has her own point of view in this installment, which means – obviously – that she’s alive. But she doesn’t know where Todd is, either, doesn’t know if Todd is even still alive. The President has her being held ‘captive’ and wont tell her a thing. The President is no fool, and he knows better than anyone that keeping Viola and Todd apart is imperative if he wants to see out his plans successfully.

Can you imagine what would happen if they were ever reunited, what they could achieve as a team? Would it be their connection be as strong as it was before? Would they still need each other so desperately? Maybe you’ll find out, but then again, maybe you wont…

Todd grows a whole freaking lot in this novel. He displays the maturity and strength of character of someone much older than just thirteen. In fact, at times, I found it hard to believe (in an astoundingly impressed way) that someone of his age would know so much, would have the emotional capacity to feel the way he does. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Todd – even if he is only thirteen years old.

I adored reading Viola’s point of view, as well. Readers are afforded the privilege of stepping inside her mind and witnessing first hand how she thinks – and honestly, I can see now why Todd likes her so much. She’s a fierce, strong girl with a remarkable capacity for compassion. She’s a fantastic heroine, and a great role model for young girls everywhere.

The Ask and the Answer is completely unputdownable. I read the entire 519 pages in one sitting, not even stopping to go to the loo. This is one series I know I’ll read over and over again in the years to come.

Rating:: ★★★★★

Uglies Movie
News
June 21, 2009 posted by Nikki

Uglies Movie

Fans of the popular Scott Westerfeld book, Uglies, may have heard that the book is being made into a movie. Westerfeld updated his blog recently with some exciting news for his fans regarding movie progress:

Uglies is currently optioned to be a movie, or possibly a series of movies if the first one does well. To “option” a book is Hollywood-speak for buying the exclusive right to make a movie based on it. But the buyers don’t have to make a movie. Most options never go anywhere, in fact. But it certainly means that these producers are interested.

(What happens if this group doesn’t make the film(s)? In a couple of years I have the right option the book to someone else. In other words, options have time limits.)

Where are we now? Well, there’s no script, director, or actors lined up yet. So be patient and stop asking me about casting! If there are open auditions, you’ll see it here first.

So this phone call was mostly us getting to know each other and talking about what makes Uglies special to us. Most of the conversation was me talking, which was interesting. Sometimes Hollywood folks seem compelled to tell me all about my books. But these folks listened. And when I told them about , they were my previous post, dying to shoot over and read your comments. So keep them coming!

Here are some of the things I told them:

Most of you guys want unknown actors for Tally and Shay, but maybe someone famous for Dr. Cable. The producers get that, and they also understand how important casting is, given that you could break the whole theme of the film by putting the World’s Most Beautiful Actress in the starring role.

I also told them how important setting is to you guys. How the world-building, tech hoverboards, etc., have to be real. This movie should look good, and more importantly, it should look right. Excellently, it turns out that one of the producers has read Bogus to Bubbly. She also sends it along to the screenwriters they’ve been approaching. That is a Good Thing.

I told them you guys want a faithful adaptation, and they said definitely, because, as one of them put it, “The book is a movie already.” In other words, the story doesn’t have to get completely reshaped to fit the screen. (I doubt there will be any of this putting-all-three-books-into-one-movie crap.)

So what are the chances of the movie happening soon? Well, movies cost tens of millions of dollars, and nothing that requires that much money plus human creativity is ever easy to predict. But the producers did say that there’s lots of support for this project at their studio, where certain execs have been known to speak in bubble-talk. This seems like a very good sign to me.

Anyway, that’s everything I know. Watch this space for further developments. So you can stop asking me about casting calls. Seriously.

(Oh, and if you’re one of the producers reading this, don’t worry, I won’t blog every darn thing you say to me. It’s just that a lot of fans have been asking about this for a long time, and I figured it was time to give them a major update. Normally I am a master of discretion, and will only twitter what you say to me.)

To read his blog, click here