Tag Archives: science fiction

Freefall

Freefall Book Cover Freefall
Joshua David Bellin
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
September 26, 2017
368

Cam is eager to leave Earth with the rest of the elite 1% until he connects with one of the 99%, Sofie, and joins her in the fight for Lowerworld rights.

 

Review:

I am definitely in the minority with this, but “Freefall” felt blah to me.  There was a good story and good world-building in there, but it feels like it moved at a snail’s pace getting to anything exciting.  I also felt disconnected from the main characters. This is one of those where I can neither recommend nor not recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, Book 1)

Nyxia Book Cover Nyxia
Scott Reintgen
Young Adult Fiction
Crown Books For Young Readers
2017
384

Emmett accepts an interstellar space contract but learns en route that to win the promised fortune he and nine other recruits face a brutal competition, putting their very humanity at risk.

 

Review:

I’ll say right off the bat that “Nyxia” borrowed quite a few elements from other science-fiction and dystopian works.  That being said, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment.  It was a quick read that left me wanting more.  Emmett is complex, as are the secondary characters, and there are definitely deeper things going on that I want to know about.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for the second book.  The cast of characters is extremely diverse.  This is a good setup to the rest of the trilogy that I can easily recommend to those who enjoy science-fiction or dystopian novels.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Zero Repeat Forever (Nahx Invasions, Book 1)

Zero Repeat Forever Book Cover Zero Repeat Forever
Nahx Invasions, Book 1
G. S. Prendergast
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
August 29, 2017
496

Sixteen year-old Raven, injured and still grieving over her boyfriend's death by the invading Nahx, crosses paths with Eighth, a Nyx warrior who has deserted his unit and abandoned his directives, and as the world falls apart around them, the two learn to trust each other in order to survive.

 

Review:

I really wanted to like “Zero Repeat Forever.”  It has so much that I love: aliens, survivalism, nightmare-inducing scenarios.  Unfortunately, it fell very flat.  The chapters featuring Raven seemed to drag on in an effort to make the “forever” in the title seem literal.  I also did not find her character likable at all.  The only redeeming parts of the book were Eighth and diversity.  I can’t recommend it to even the biggest of alien invasion fans.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drug and Alcohol Use

Omega (Infinity Division, Book 2)

Omega Book Cover Omega
Infinity Division, Book 2
Jus Accardo
Young Adult Fiction
Entangled Teen
August 1, 2017
Paperback
320

One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.

Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission in danger.

But there’s more going on in Ash’s alternate universe than either of them knows: a mysterious project called Omega. A conspiracy spanning multiple Earths and revolving around none other than Ash. Its creators would do anything to keep Omega secret…

Anything.

 

Review:

“Omega” is a fun follow-up to “Infinity.”  It expands nicely upon the science fiction aspect and adds more depth to the original characters.  It also introduced new characters and points-of-view that were entertaining and expanded the universe a great deal.  If you enjoyed “Infinity”,  then you are most likely going to love “Omega.”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium, Book 2)

Enigma Book Cover Enigma
Schrodinger's Consortium, Book 2
Tonya Kuper
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen
July 4, 2017
304

What's worse than having half of your secret race wanting to kill you? Having both sides want to control you. Feeling something for Reid Wentworth is not part of the plan. Josie Harper doesn't have time to think about hot boys when she has to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium. To say her life has changed since discovering she's an Oculus would be the understatement of the century. The Consortium is out to enslave humanity—yeah, they aren't fooling around—and as an Oculus, she's one of the few people capable of altering reality and thwarting them. In the largest Resistance hub in North America, Josie learns she doesn't only have the strongest abilities to Push and Retract reality, she has gifts no other Oculus has. When they get word that the Consortium is flying in a world-renowned tech researcher to their headquarters who may have the knowledge to enslave humans, Josie and Reid assemble a team to intercept the researcher and to bust out Reid's best friend, Santos, who was taken hostage until they get Josie. But the Board won't let them leave. The lines have blurred. The only person Josie can trust is Reid.

 

Review:

After a long wait, it was nice to see what happened to Josie and Reid from “Anomaly.”

Unfortunately, I feel a little let down by the resolution.  We got to meet secondary characters that were important but not very developed, and the ending seemed very rushed.  To be honest, it was confusing to me.  In spite of this, I did enjoy it, but not as much as I hoped.  There seems to be an opening in the ending for possible further adventures, and I think that opening holds promise for more character development and an easier to follow plot.

If you read and liked “Anomaly,” be sure to pick up “Enigma!”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Infinity

Infinity Book Cover Infinity
The Infinity Division, Book 1
Jus Accardo
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen
November 1, 2016
320

There are three things Kori knows for sure about her life: One: Her army general dad is insanely overprotective. Two: The guy he sent to watch her, Cade, is way too good-looking. Three: Everything she knew was a lie. Now there are three things Kori never knew about her life: One: There’s a device that allows her to jump dimensions. Two: Cade’s got a lethal secret. Three: Someone wants her dead.

 

Review:

I loved “Infinity.”  It is a quick read with an interesting premise that still manages to pack in some heartbreak.

All of the character interactions and backstories were amazing, with the premise of inter-dimensional travel making it possible to develop them on many extra levels.  The science was explained just enough to feel plausible without making my eyes glaze over.  I can’t even begin to explain how perfect and psychotic the villain of the story is.  I read it all in one sitting.

“Infinity” is a great read for anyone who enjoys some science fiction mixed with reality and a dose of romance.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Some Bloody Imagery

Illuminae

Illuminae Book Cover Illuminae
The Illuminae Files, Book 1
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Juvenile Fiction
Alfred a Knopf Incorporated
October 20, 2015
608

"The planet Kerenza is attacked, and Kady and Ezra find themselves on a space fleet fleeing the enemy, while their ship's artificial intelligence system and a deadly plague may be the end of them all"--

 

Review:

“Illuminae” is a book like none other I have ever read.  It felt like I was watching a documentary while playing a video game, with the occasional break to notice I was actually reading a book.

I don’t even know how to write about it without spoiling it, because even the format in which the story is told seems like it would be better as a surprise.  There is romance, a lot of humor, some crazy space stuff, a conspiracy, viruses, etc.  If you can think of it, it is probably in the book.

The beginning is a little slow, but once you get used to the unusual format the pace begins to pick up.  By the end it feels like you just started reading.  I really do wish I could say more, but I hate spoiling something so darn fun.  And trust me, if nothing else, this book is fun.

I highly recommend “Illuminae” for upper middle readers and up, especially those with a love of video games (hint: Portal)  and science fiction.  The quick-read format makes it an excellent choice for reluctant readers.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Sexual Situations, Violence, Creepy Stuff

Untaken

Untaken Book Cover Untaken
J.E. Anckorn
Curiosity Quills Press
March 23, 2015
Hardcover
262

It turns out that a real alien invasion is nothing like the Sci-fi shows 14-year-old Gracie loves. Not when it's your own family who are swallowed whole by those big silver ships. Not if it could be you next. In her search for her family, Gracie meets Brandon, a high school dropout who would never have been caught dead hanging out with a dork like Gracie before the world ended. Gracie isn't too crazy about Brandon either, but he has one thing she doesn't: A plan. Brandon's uncle has a cabin up in Maine, and If Gracie and Brandon can survive long enough to get there they can hide out until the Space Men pack up their ships and leave. Until the army guys come to rescue them, says Brandon. Brandon is big into army guys. Gracie has to admit that Brandon's Awesome Plan probably would have worked out great if wasn't for Jake. They found 5-year-old Jake, laying half-dead under the remains of someone's ranch house. He's a good kid, even if he won't-or can't- talk. But Jake has a secret, and when Gracie finds out what it is, the fragile new life they've started to forge looks set to break apart. When the people you've been counting on to put the world back together start hunting you down, alien invaders are the least of your worries.

 

Review:

“Untaken” is a new series that makes me feel as though I were given a gift by being allowed to read and review it.  It puts a new take on the apocalyptic theme of an alien invasion, eventually evolving into dystopian territory.

I am going to say this right now, if you see the word “alien” and think it is not your deal, please reconsider and give it a try.  The plot is one of survival, with the aliens being the catalyst for the events but not the central focus of the story.  The true story is what constitutes humanity and how human humans react when placed under unimaginable circumstances and stress.

The central characters are three children: Gracie, Brandon, and Jake.  Their stories are divided into three parts, with the first devoted to their separate lives before and during the initial catastrophic events.  This format serves for developing their backstories and personalities in an extremely detailed way.  It feels like you know the oldest two, Gracie and Brandon, personally before they even meet.  Jake is more of an enigma, and that is a great feature in the story.

While the first part features a lot of action, the second and third parts are more of a slow burn.  I love slice-of-life stories that take their time in building new worlds, and this is one of the best I have ever read.  The writing is compelling and nearly flawless, leaving the reader to sit back and enjoy the book without the burden of superfluous details and a stuttering plot.  It seems to be the beginning of a series, and I hope that is true.  I really want to see what comes next.

I highly recommend “Untaken” to those who are 12 and up and looking for a promising new series.  If you’re a fan of Mike Mullen’s “Ashfall”, it is something not to be missed.  Warning:  Once you start it, you may not be able to put it down.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence,Mild (Re: Very) Sexual Situations, The Dog Dies (Pardon the spoiler, but that is the one type of spoiler I will always include in the content warnings.)

Seeker

Seeker Book Cover Seeker
Seeker, Book 1
Arwen Elys Dayton
Juvenile Fiction
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
2015
448

Taking her Oath after a lifetime of training to be a Seeker who protects the weak and wronged in a near-future world, Quin is shattered to discover that her family and the boy she loves are not the people she thought they were. Simultaneous eBook.

 

Review:

It’s difficult to categorize “Seeker” because it spans across a wide range of genres.  There are elements of fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, steampunk, and romance all rolled into a unique and compelling read.

The world building is amazing from the start, setting up what a reader needs to know while also leaving a lot of questions to be answered at later times.  The plot flows at a consistent pace without lagging.  As with the world itself, the backstory is revealed at a slow pace, leaving readers with only the answers they need and the desire to find out more.

The narrative is split between four characters in the rather rare third person limited point-of-view.  It works very well in this situation, and none of the transitions between characters are jarring.  All of them are brought to life in the reader’s mind, full of flaws and individual complexities.  Also, for those who like finding a ship, you will probably find one before chapter 3.

I can’t wait for the second in the series and highly recommend “Seeker” for those who enjoy any of the genres listed above.  Due to subject matter, I think it is most suited for those in the eighth grade and up.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence, Drug and Alcohol Use

Golden Son

Golden Son Book Cover Golden Son
Red Rising, Book 2
Pierce Brown
Fiction
Del Rey
2015-01-06
464

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom. As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. And so Darrow sacrifices himself in the name of the greater good for which Eo, his true love and inspiration, laid down her own life. He becomes a Gold, infiltrating their privileged realm so that he can destroy it from within. A lamb among wolves in a cruel world, Darrow finds friendship, respect, and even love—but also the wrath of powerful rivals. To wage and win the war that will change humankind’s destiny, Darrow must confront the treachery arrayed against him, overcome his all-too-human desire for retribution—and strive not for violent revolt but a hopeful rebirth. Though the road ahead is fraught with danger and deceit, Darrow must choose to follow Eo’s principles of love and justice to free his people. He must live for more. Advance praise for Golden Son “Pierce Brown is a prodigy. As great as the first book of the Red Rising Trilogy is, Golden Son is even better. A wild ride full of suspense, intrigue, and serious ass-kicking bravado, it’s expertly written and emotionally engaging, with top-notch universe-building that begs for further exploration. I want more!”—Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author of Snowblind “The stakes are even higher than they were in Red Rising, and the twists and turns of the story are every bit as exciting. The jaw-dropper of an ending will leave readers hungry for the conclusion to Brown’s wholly original, completely thrilling saga.”—Booklist (starred review) “Dramatic . . . the rare middle book that loses almost no momentum as it sets up the final installment.”—Publishers Weekly “Darrow is an assertive hero. . . . Comparisons to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones series are inevitable, for this tale has elements of both.”—Kirkus Reviews Praise for Pierce Brown’s Red Rising “[A] spectacular adventure . . . one heart-pounding ride . . . Pierce Brown’s dizzyingly good debut novel evokes The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Ender’s Game. . . . [Red Rising] has everything it needs to become meteoric.”—Entertainment Weekly “[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field.”—USA Today “Compulsively readable and exceedingly entertaining . . . [a] must for both fans of classic sci-fi and fervent followers of new school dystopian epics.”—Examiner.com “A story of vengeance, warfare and the quest for power . . . reminiscent of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones.”—Kirkus Reviews “Fast-paced, gripping, well-written—the sort of book you cannot put down.”—Terry Brooks From the Hardcover edition.

 

Review:

The first thought I had when I finished reading “Golden Son” is that there is no way I can wait an entire year to find out what happens next.  My second thought was a mass of self-pity that I have no choice but to wait.  Finally, my third thought was that it was an amazing follow-up to “Red Rising” and was actually even better than the first in the series.

Pierce Brown has built an amazing world and mythology for the Red Rising series.  Everything is fully fleshed out and even when not explicitly written, you can tell he has a backstory in mind for all of the races.  It’s a pleasure whenever you find out more, and at no point does it contradict anything that was previously written.

One of my favorite aspects of the characters in “Golden Son” is that none of them are perfect.  Darrow, the protagonist, is extremely flawed.  No character is good or bad, even those who are the clear villains of the story.  All of the characters from “Red Rising” experienced a great deal of growth in “Golden Son”, with many not taking a route you would expect.  There were some particularly bold moves by the author when it comes to Eo, but I will leave those for the reader to discover on their own.

At no point does the plot lag, and that is saying quite a bit for a novel the length of “Golden Son”.  It is filled with war, adventure, gore, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, and anything else you can fit into a book.  If you are a fan of “Red Rising”, make sure you clear a couple of days on your calendar, because you will not want to put this one down.  If you have never read the first in the series, I highly encourage you to do so and to be certain you have “Golden Son” ready to begin as soon as you finish the last page of “Red Rising”.

In short, I highly recommend “Golden Son”, but do need to caution that it is not for the squeamish.  It is also not a young adult novel, though I saw “Red Rising” categorized in many places as such, so that is something for parents of middle readers to keep in mind.

5 stars all the way.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Content Warning:

I generally only do these for young adult books.  However, this book is extremely violent and gory, and it does have just about every adult theme imaginable.  You have been warned.