Tag Archives: Teen Adventure

Inside Out – Maria V. Snyder
Book Reviews
April 21, 2010 posted by Katie

Inside Out – Maria V. Snyder

Keep your head down. Don’t get noticed. Or else.

I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A Nobody.

One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it’s all that dangerous – the only neck at risk is my own.

Until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

I should have just said no…

Trella’s life is a never-ending pattern. Work the even shifts, 10 hours on, 10 hours off. Cleaning the air-ducts with her cleaning troll. Turn troll on. Follow troll. Turn troll of, move to the next duct. It’s a life that she has known for years. One that has made her hate the scrubs around her. It’s in the ducts that Trella can get her peace. No one else around, just her and the metal. And when you have a life with no friends, it’s easy to see why Trella chooses the ducts over the taunts and hostile glances of the other scrubs around her. All except one – Cogon. Everyone is friends with Cog, and it’s impossible not to be.

Cog had been looking for Trella. He has a new prophet he wants her to meet. An Upper who did something so wrong that he was cast into the Lower levels to be forgotten. Yet Trella has her suspicions. This Upper knows too much about her, is asking for too much and promising too little. Yet it’s the kind of thing Trella can’t resist. A chance to prove why she is the queen of the pipes. For the prophet claims he has information on the location of Gateway. The portal to Outside. Yet, they are hidden. In his old apartment, which just happens to be in the restricted section of the Uppers. Scrubs aren’t meant to access the Uppers, and Trella is probably the only who has found a way around.

Against her better judgment, Trella goes looking for the prophet’s disks, knowing that if she is caught, she has no hope of ever returning to the Lowers. Yet as she continues to delve further into the secrets of Inside, she realises maybe everything isn’t exactly as they have been told. After a chance meeting with an Upper who doesn’t turn her in, Trella embarks on a path more dangerous than anything she has tried before. Along with Riley, Cog and the prophet, Trella embarks on the path to discovering the true location of Gateway. A location that every scrub has heard of, but few believe exists. Yet there is a cost, more deadly then Trella could ever imagine.

As more and more scrubs and Uppers alike start to become involved, it is only a matter of time before one of them will be gone forever…

Inside Out is the start of a new series from bestselling author Maria V. Snyder. I have been a large fan of Snyder’s work, and was interested to see how Inside Out would live up to her, in my opinion, most well known work, the Study Series. From the first chapter, the writing and perspective of Trella captured me. Trella was a character that was so clearly defined that I knew we were on for an adventure. Trella develops from a girl who doesn’t trust anyone around her, into a young woman who is confidant in what she needs to do to protect those around her. Trella goes through her rough moments, her self doubts and battles her inner demons on why is she helping to do something she swore she didn’t believe in? Yet without the help of Cog and Riley, Trella would not have been able to achieve anything. For Cog teaches her how to see those around her for more than just mindless scrubs, and Riley convinces Trella that not all Uppers are the same, that there are people who she can trust.

The development of the social constructs of Inside is completely thought out and impeccably detailed. Each and every aspect of society is there, rules that must be obeyed or fought against. Social hierarchy, illegal activities and the ever alluring promise of Outside. The world is complete in a way that lets you get completely lost in the actions of Trella and her friends, lets you believe that their situation is possible. Extremely well written in a way that leaves you needing to read the next page, Snyder has constructed a work that I see as the beginning to a new and fantastic series.

Publication date: 2010

Pages: 315

Rating:: ★★★★½

Teaser quote: My heart dropped into my stomach and ran laps. Lieutenant Commander Karla and three Pop Cops followed my supervisor. The LC’s smug expression and the terrified fury on my supervisor’s fact told me all I needed to know.

Without hesitating, I ran.

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Book Club Read
March 18, 2010 posted by Katie

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan


Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god.

I was just a normal guy, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That’s when things really started going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

I first heard mention of the Percy Jackson books since watching the trailer for the recent adaption to screen, and as it is yaReads bookclub choice of the month, I decided to take a look and see what it is all about.

At first glances, Percy is a troubled kid. Constantly getting in trouble as school, unable to pay attention in classes because of his dyslexia, and his only true friend being the class outcast of Grover. With his best subject being Latin, taught by the slightly old Mr Brunner, Percy finds it tough to get a break. And when things start to seem slightly off on a recent school field trip to the museum, Percy starts to think that perhaps something isn’t right. For example, only he seems to remember their old maths teacher, and he seems to be the only one that Mr Brunner is really keen to get the ancient Greek and Roman myths right. Yet the vanishing maths teacher isn’t the only thing that seems to go wrong.

On a family holiday with his mum, things start to turn horrible. Being chased by a creature that shouldn’t exist, Percy must reach the sanctuary of a summer camp that even his mother doesn’t seem to know much about. When Percy arrives, he beings to discover exactly why he seems different.

For Percy is the son of a god. His is a half-blood, but just exactly who his father is, no one seems to know. At a summer camp that involves daily activities of sword fighting and learning Ancient Greek, Percy finally has a place where he belongs, a place with kids just like him. That is, until he attracts the attention of the one person you really shouldn’t disrupt.

Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt – and demands that it must be returned before the summer solstice in ten days time. Accompanied by two friends, Percy begins the journey of a lifetime. One that could decide if he lives or dies. And with nearly every god and creature in the universe out to get you, locating one bolt of lightning is a lot harder than it looks.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is the first in a series of novels by Rick Riordan. I had high expectations of this novel, hearing a lot about it from friends and seeing great reviews. However, the biggest let of the novel was plot. To me, it didn’t move with any form of flowing pace, and lacked development. It was one action seen after the next. Just as you thought nothing more could happen to them, another obstacle was thrown in their way. I understand that it was a ‘quest’ novel, but I would have liked to see some more non-action development of plot – some working out of clues and a plan to get from A to B instead of running headlong at everything that came.

That being said, I did find the characters extremely enjoyable to read about. Highlights for me were both Annabeth and Grover. Both characters where strong and unique, helping Percy on his quest and helping him to grow as a person. In particular, I hope we see a lot more of Grover in future novels, he was a personal favourite.

If you’re a fan of action and mythology, that I can say that Percy Jackson will be something that you will enjoy.

Published date: 2005

Pages: 374

Rating:: ★★★½☆

Teaser quote: He pulled a pen from his coat pocket and handed it to me. It was an ordinary disposable ballpoint, black ink, removable cap. Probably cost thirty cents.

‘Gee,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’

‘Percy, that’s a gift from your father. I’ve kept it for years not knowing you were who I was waiting for. But the prophecy is clear to me now. You are the one.’

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey
Book Reviews
February 20, 2010 posted by Katie

Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue – Hugh Howey

When Molly gets kicked out of the Naval Academy, she loses more than just another home, she loses the only two things that truly matter: flying in space and her training partner, Cloe. A dull future seems to await, until a marvellous discovery changes everything.

Her father’s old starship, missing for a decade, turns up halfway across the galaxy. Its retrieval launches Molly and Cole on the adventure of a lifetime, one that will have lasting consequences for themselves and billions of others.

What starts off as a simple quest to reconnect with her past, ends up forging a new future. And the forgotten family she hoped to uncover becomes one she never foresaw: a band of alien misfits and runaways – the crew of the starship Parsona.

Ever looked up into the sky at night and imagined yourself flying around the stars off on some other-worldly adventure? Well, this is Molly’s reality. Or will be. Molly is a navy cadet. And don’t be fooled into thinking the Navy is what we understand the Navy to be. Yes they drive ships, but not the standard H.M.A.S. vessels of today’s waters. Molly and her fellow classmates are learning to pilot starships. Sure they are still in training but running a full visual simulator is darn close to the real thing, right down to the G-force experienced.

But in a standard-procedure simulator test, something seems to go wrong. For Molly and her pilot Cole fail and fail miserably. And as much as they try to convince their superiors otherwise, no-one believes them. For Molly and Cole’s simulator was tampered with. Every procedure runs fine, except the ability to arm and fire weapons. Without weapons, they have almost a no-chance at survival. Cole suspects sabotage. With both of them for examination, it will be Molly that the blame is laid at. Particular since Cole was technically ‘killed’ early into the simulator run and it is so much easier to blame the girl.

For Molly, this means expulsion. No more training, and no more hope of becoming a Naval officer. Resigned to a life at a normal high school, everything suddenly seems less for Molly. If loss of her only home, her connection to her past and her best friend that she can’t stop thinking about wasn’t enough, Molly is an outcast in her new school, merely because she is different. That is, until she gets an opportunity of a lifetime. Her father’s ship has been found. And as the legal owner, Molly is the only one who can go and collect it.

And a seemingly straightforward mission is the start of a whole new adventure that even Molly couldn’t begin to fathom…

Molly Fyde and the Parson Rescue is debut novel from Hugh Howey and the first in the Molly Fyde series. The thing that grabbed me from the first page of this novel was the believability in writing and character. The plot just flowed effortlessly, from describing the complexities of hyperspace, simulation flying and other world social structure to the simple dialogue between two best friends struggling to find what they mean to each other. There aren’t many authors who can get you completely lost in a story, but Howey was one of them. For me, I just wanted to know what would happen next, what the next twist in the story would be. As a credit to the author, I never saw the ending that was coming. It makes you easily want to read the next book in the series as soon as you can.

The characters of Molly and Cole were another highlight to the novel. Reading from Molly’s point of view as she struggled through countless personal and emotional challenges left me caring about what happened to her. The history and connection between Molly and Cole as a pair was believable, and the tension that built up added to the story, instead of taking away from it as so many teen-romances can be known to do. That being said, Molly does have her fair share of moments where I just wanted to knock some sense into her and tell her to get over the small dramatics that really seemed unnecessary.

All in all though, a highly engaging read that I would recommend for anyone who is or was a fan of space adventure.

Pages: 258

Publication Date: 2009

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: By the time they arrived at the Palan system, he must’ve had eighteen hours of uninterrupted rest. No bathroom breaks. No food. No flirting. Molly couldn’t understand how he contained himself. Even from the last.

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan
Book Reviews
February 12, 2010 posted by Katie

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan

New friends. Old enemies. Who can you trust?

Alone for the first time in her life, Wynter Moorehawke travels unprotected in bandit-infested mountains, searching for missing Prince Alberon.

But every tyrant and bully who has ever threatened the kingdom is gathering to Alberon’s table, and the forest is alive with spies and wolves. Within these crowded shadows, Wynter remains determined to find the Rebel Prince and heal the rift that has come between King and Heir….

Abandoning her father in the time of his greatest need, Wynter is alone. Completely and utterly alone in an unknown forest, with unknown enemies all around her, Wynter is trying to find her way to Alberon, the rebellious son and heir to the throne. Needing to dodge all manner of bandits and rebel enemy groups, Wynter almost doesn’t make it. Threatened with rape by a bandit who has tracked her, Wynter uses all her skill to get away, only to be tracked by a different group of rebel outcasts. That is, until she is saved but the most random of luck.

For who should she run into but Razi and Christopher who are on the same mission she is?

For they have deceived the King into believing that they were on their way to separate parts of the country – Christopher to return home and Razi to study medicine. Yet neither of them are where they are meant to be, and Razi’s decoy was discovered beaten beyond recognition. With the whole kingdom believing that he is dead, Razi is free to move around freely for the first time in years.

Razi and Christopher would both like to see Wynter return to the castle – especially once they learn that her father has finally succumbed to his illness and has passed onto the next life. But Wynter won’t have a bar of it, and since she is the only one with the knowledge of the exact location of Alberon camp, Razi and Christopher have no choice but to let her accompany them.

As they once again begin the perilous trek to find Alberon, the growing attraction between Christopher and Wynter is clear to all that see them, even if they seem hesitant to admit it to themselves. And a trip wouldn’t be a true adventure without a few more complications. Camped in their way, and their best chance to find Alberon is the bear-tribe of the Merron people – Christopher’s adopted culture.

When one of noble lady’s take a fancy to Razi, it seems that everything is going to be easy than they expect. That is…if they survive the visit to the Merron people. When the customs and language of the People are so different to anything Razi and Wynter have experienced before, there is only so much that can happen before tempers start to fray and lives hang in the balance.

For every step that Razi, Christopher and Wynter take could be leading them closer to a path that doesn’t leave them alive…

The Crowded Shadows is the second novel in Irish author Celine Kiernan’s Moorehawke Trilogy, and delivers a continuation of the characters, story and settings that I fell in love with in the first novel. The characters once again develop at a completely believable rate that as a reader I could identify with – the trials that Christopher and Wynter go through together and separately and the reactions and behavior that Razi displays at different points of the novel enriched the story to a point that I couldn’t put it down.

As we discover more history behind Razi, Christopher and Wynter, the complexities that Kiernan wove into the first novel, built upon and I suspect continue to develop in the final novel, play out in the actions and personalities of each character – we find out why Razi has a temper, how Christopher lost his fingers and Wynter’s true name.

However, this novel does have a slight filler feel to it, with a lot of character development but not much plot advancement, at times hardly seeming to move. As the only drawback to this brilliant work, The Crowded Shadows was an enchanting read that has me wanting the final book in the series now.

Pages: 510

Publication date: Ireland 2009, Australia 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Snatching her to him suddenly, he held her against his chest, his scarred hand covering her eyes as though he wanted to hide her…

Eldest: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini
Book Reviews
December 9, 2009 posted by Katie

Eldest: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini

Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns.

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall – one that puts Eragon in even graver danger…

The rebel freedom fighters, the Varden, has just won their first confrontation with Galbatorix’s army, Eragon has defeated the Shade Durza with the help of Saphira and Arya earning him a new name – Eragon Shadeslayer. Murtagh has finally gained the trust of the Varden and Hrothgar, king of the Dwarves. Yet as everything seems to be looking positive for a while, the Varden are given a final blow. Ajihad, leader of the Varden, is betrayed by two of his closest advisors, and is killed on the very day the Varden are celebrating. A day of victory becomes a day of mourning. Along with this, Murtagh is kidnapped and clouded by a spell, making it impossible for Eragon to know if he is alive or dead. With the leadership of the Varden and their magicians in doubt, Eragon finds himself being wormed deeper into politics of the rebel army. Forced by the new leader to sear fealty to them and not the Varden, Eragon is beginning to gather more oaths then he is able to bear.

The Varden decided to move. Heading to near-by Surda to start their campaign against King Galbatorix, there is limited time for Eragon to learn what he needs to know, and the place he needs to learn it, is on the opposite side of the Empire. In the ancient city of the elves, Eragon receives instruction from a surprising teacher, being schooled in the finer points of magic, the ancient language and swordsmanship, yet even under the most careful tutorage, an old injury is holding Eragon back. As Eragon struggles with his new education, people in his past being to capture the attention of the Empire.

Roran, Eragon’s cousin, is faced with the tough decision that will define the rest of his life – to stay and Carvahall and fight a lost battle, or to move the whole town and to seek help in Surda, where members of Carvahall have only heard whisper’s of the legendary Varden. It is a decision that will cost Roran in more ways than one.

Eldest is the second instalment in Christopher Paolini’s the Inheritance Cycle, and starts right where Eragon left off. In Eldest we are now following three different points of view and three separate storylines, as Paolini introduces even further complications and obstacles in the path of all characters in the plot. We have Eragon and the elves, Roran and the people of Carvahall and Nasuada and the Varden. With three distinct and different series of events, it is easy to get lost in story, and Paolini’s handle on the multiple viewpoints rarely left me struggling for understanding.

Eragon’s character continues to develop, and in Eldest we glimpse many of Eragon’s future problems and being to get a grasp on the extreme and vast differences between the three cultures. Eragon’s attempt at trying to master these three cultures sometimes gets him into a spot of bother, and it is these moments of insecurity and failure that allowed me to connect with Eragon on a personal level – they are mistakes that I would have done in his place. The relationship between Eragon and Arya develops to a new level, and while I feel I know where this will end up, it seems that there will be some twists and turns to see it arrive in that place.

We are re-introduced to Roran, and he, along with the Carvahall villager’s, plays a much larger role in this novel than in Eragon. Roran, for me, lacked as a character. He seemed to be driven by one singular thought, and lacked reason or compassion for people around him. That being said, it was these characteristics that drove his plot and story, I just found his point of view difficult and trying to read from.

Eldest is filled with a lot more darkness and evil than seen in Eragon, slowing highlighting the true horror of Galbatorix’s reign on Alegaesia. Captivating from the shock beginning to the even more shocking ending, Eldest is the must read sequel for fans of Eragon. A truly compelling page-turner that had me reading from the first page, to the last.

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Monsters of Men: A Chaos Walking Novel
News
December 5, 2009 posted by Nikki

Monsters of Men: A Chaos Walking Novel

The third novel in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Men, has an official cover! Take a look:

On his blog, Patrick had this to say about the cover:

“Like the others, this just gives a slight impression.  The book itself will be black and the white printing will be on clear acetate sleeve like The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, with the Noise stretching all over the spine and the back, too.  Wait ’til you see it for real, it’s awesome.

The US cover is also underway, and I’ll debut that as soon as I can (it’s looking pretty great, too).”

At yaReads, we’re very excited about the release of this book. So what do you think? Love, or hate?