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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Posted by nancydpl on October 2, 2010

June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, setting into motion a chain of events that ultimately leads to World War I. You know, the war between the Darwinists and the Clankers. That’s not the history you know? Welcome to Leviathan, an alternate history by Scott Westerfeld (author of Uglies, etc.). In this world, one side has “fabricated animals,” made by mixing strands of DNA to come up with something entirely new. Like message lizards, which are like voice recorders on sticky little feet, or an airship that’s mostly a gigantic airborn whale. The other side (the Clankers) finds this meddling in biology to be abhorrent and relies on machinery, but it’s pretty cool machinery. Think big tank-like vehicles on legs that can walk and run.

The story alternates between Midshipman Dylan Sharp (sshhh….”he’s” really a girl, disguising herself in order to be in the British Air Service) and Prince Aleksandar, son of the assassinated archduke, who’s just trying to escape Austria without being killed himself. They finally meet in Switzerland but being in a neutral country doesn’t mean they’re out of danger. Can these two trust each other enough to save the lives of the airship crew and Alek’s companions?

If you loved Airborn, if you like alternate history, if you like steampunk, then this is the book for you! The sequel, Behemoth, is out next week. I can’t wait to read it!

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Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

Posted by Laura on August 25, 2010

Mockingjay is book three in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  If you have not read the second book, stop reading this post and pick up a copy because what I write in the next paragraph will spoil book 2, Catching Fire.  If you haven’t yet read the first book, The Hunger Games, I can forgive you, but you really need to remedy the situation and start with book one.  The trilogy is complete so there is no reason to delay.  And stop reading this post.

When we last left Katniss she was badly injured flying in a hovercraft away from the Hunger Games where she, Beetee and Finnick had just been snatched from the arena.  Peeta, lovely Peeta, was left behind.  District 12 had been destroyed, but Gale, Prim and Katniss’s mother survived.

Mockingjay opens with Katniss standing in the ruins of District 12, looking at the horrible toll the rebellion has already taken.  Buildings destroyed, bodies decaying, sculls covered in ash.  The Victor’s Village is untouched.

The survivors of District 12 now live in District 13, because, yes there are still people in District 13.  They live underground and their leader, Coin, has a plan that is already in motion to crush the power of the Capitol and bring down President Snow.  Katniss is part of that plan, but she needs to decide if she is willing to pick up the mantle of being the Mockingjay, the symbol of resiliency, survival and independent thought that the Capitol was certain had been crushed out of the Districts.

If she agrees she will be on camera, in a suit designed by Cinna, in a production that is out of her control, speaking words that are not her own, sent to battles but told not to participate.  According to Katniss, the wrong person was saved from the arena.  They should have saved Peeta.

But, what of Peeta?  President Snow has plans for him.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

Posted by Laura on January 11, 2010

New World is a planet colonized a time back.  There were other people, of a sort, living on the planet when the settlers arrived.  Then there was war and the other people, the Spackle, were killed, but not before they released a toxin that gave animals the ability to talk,  killed all the women and made the thoughts of men be heard by all.  All thoughts.  All the Noise.

Todd is 30 days away from becoming a man when the novel begins, which means that he has lived 13 years and 12 months.  He is the last boy in Prentisstown, the last boy on New World,  and there won’t be any more.  There can’t be, of course.  All the women are dead.  And the only people left are the people in Prentisstown.   At least that is what Todd has known his whole life.

He and his dog, Manchee, were out picking apples in the swamp one day when they came across quiet.  Silence.  A void in the Noise.  Todd and Manchee have never, but never heard quiet.  And at the center of that quiet is a girl.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is book 1 in the Chaos Walking trilogy.   Todd, Manchee and the girl are shortly running for their lives.  And running to warn others (yes – there are others) that the army that is Prentisstown is coming.  This novel is fast paced, heart wrenching, at times funny and when I got to the last page I put my head down and groaned.  What a way to end a book.  Bring on book two!

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Fire – Kristin Cashore

Posted by Laura on November 23, 2009

There is trouble in the Dells. The last king had been controlled by the human monster, Cansrel, and between the two of them they made a mess of the kingdom. Now there are factions who want to take the kingdom away from young King Nash and war is on the horizon.

Monsters are terribly beautiful.  They are shaped like any other animal of their species, but they come in vibrant colors.  Monsters stun their prey with their beauty, and then take over their minds, making the prey that much easier to catch.

Fire, Cansrel’s daughter,  is the last human monster.  She is beautiful beyond words with hair the color of fire.  Her appearance instills great passion in all who see her.  Non human monsters want nothing more than to consume her and humans either love her or hate her.

King Nash sends for Fire so that she might interrogate strangers, assassins and supposed supporters to find out who the enemy is, what they are planning, and how to keep the country from falling apart.  But, Fire is not like her father.  She hated what Cansrel did with his power and she is afraid that if she uses her power, she will become like him.

But, first she has to get to King City.  Imagine how hard that is when there are monster raptors dropping upon her from above, because they really, really want to eat her.  Then there are the humans in the army surrounding her who really, really love her, or really, really hate her.  (Imagine the love to be like that seen at a rock concert.  Uncontrolled hysteria.  Not everyone is effected that way, but enough are to become a problem.)  It is a good thing that she has a guard of 20 people who know how to control their own minds.

Fire by Kristin Cashore is a companion novel to Graceling (a 2009 Teens’ Top Ten winner). You can read either one first.  But, I expect that if you read one, you will really, really want to read the other.

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Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

Posted by Laura on September 14, 2009

Catching Fire, book two in The Hunger Games trilogy, is as exciting as the first.

It is almost half a year since Katniss and Peeta survived the Hunger Games.   They live in separate homes in Victor’s Village, near Haymitch, and Katniss’ mom and sister live with her.  Once each month for the winning year each family in District 12 receives food on Parcel Day as part of the award for having sent the winning child (or children in this case) to the Hunger Games.

At the start of the novel, Katniss and Peeta are preparing to go on the Victory Tour with stops in each district and the Capitol.    This tradition keeps the horror of the Games alive.  The winners have to make a public appearance and the family members of the dead tributes are placed on a special platform so that they have to look into the face of the winner(s), the person who may have killed their child.   This is also the time for the winner(s) to thank the dead tributes for any alliances that assisted them, and the people of the district if they sent any gifts during the game.

After hunting and visiting Haymitch and Peeta, Katniss walks into her home and finds President Snow waiting for her.   He informs her that her method of keeping both of them alive at the end of the Games has been interpreted as an act of defiance in the Districts.   If during the Victory Tour, she and Peeta can’t convince everyone that their love is true and stop the idea of rebellion, their families and their own lives are at risk.

On top of all this is the forthcoming Quarter Quell – the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games.  Every 25 years a more spectacular Games is devised.  And this year’s is a doozy.

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Graceling – Kristin Cashore

Posted by Laura on January 29, 2009

Some people born in Katsa’s world are Graced, which means that they have one extreme skill.  Some are Graced with swimming, running or tabulating.  Katsa is Graced with killing, and this makes her a useful weapon for her king.

The Graced have eyes of two different colors; Katsa’s are blue and green. This marking makes the Graced near impossible to hide, and Katsa’s deeds are well known and far told.

We meet Katsa when she is tired of being the king’s dog, of being ordered about and used as a threat against innocent people.  She, with the help of others, created the Council, a secret organization of spies and sympathizers from across the Seven Kingdoms that worked in secret to thwart the actions of bad rulers against those they should have been protecting.

Why would an elderly prince of a peaceful land be kidnapped and held in a dungeon of another kingdom?  As far as Katsa is concerned, there can be no good reason for it, and so he must be freed.  Welcome to page 1.  Expect hand to hand combat and arrow play.  Knives, swords, whatever.  Katsa can use them all.  But, things are not always as  first they appear to be.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is fantastic. According to her blog a prequel, called Fire, will be published in October 2009, and she is at work on a third in the series.  I am excited.

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The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Posted by Laura on January 15, 2009

Imagine yourself standing in a crowd of twelve to 18 year-olds. In front of you is a stage with three chairs and two large glass balls filled with slips of paper. Each slip has a name written on it. One ball is for the girls, the other for the boys. Two will be chosen to go to the Capital of Panem and compete in The Hunger Games.

Each district of the Panem has a reaping.  Twenty-four contestants will compete.  The winner will be rewarded with a life of ease.  The winner’s district will be given extra grain, oil and sugar until the next reaping day.

Don’t worry about the twenty-three other contestants. They will be killed in the games. And everyone will see it live on TV.

Sixteen year-old Katniss Everdeen’s name is on twenty slips of paper.  Prim, her beloved twelve year-old sister, has her name on one.  What can Katniss do other than volunteer when the name Primrose Everdeen is pulled from the ball?

The Hunger Games is powerful.  And everyone is watching.

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Firestorm – David Klass

Posted by Laura on June 19, 2008

Jack was raised not to be the best.  He is a fantastic athlete, but his dad always encouraged him to let the other boy win.  He is the smartest person in his school, but his girlfriend gets the best grades.  Jack is not to stand out.  And then, one day he does.

What is he supposed to do when his dad tells him he is not his father and his mom is not his mother?  And what about these people who are chasing them?  Who are trying to kill them?  And where did Dad learn to drive like a maniac?  He runs.  Meets people.  People say “you are our beacon of hope.”  What?

Who can he trust?  Why can he hear the thoughts of the large not-dog dog?  All he wanted was to win the game and go all the way with his girlfriend.  Now he is running for his life.  Now he is running to save the planet?   Firestorm: the caretaker trilogy, book 1 is an adventure novel over land and sea.  Can he save himself and the planet before the Turning Point?

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Pirates! – Celia Rees

Posted by Laura on June 13, 2008

Nancy’s father owns a fleet of cargo ships and is a wealthy merchant. When a storm destroys much of his fleet he makes a deal that will save his fortune. Nancy is part of this deal, and shortly she is on a ship that has set sail for Jamaica where she learns what fate her father has set up for her.

I bet you can guess part of what happens next from the title. Pirates!: the true and remarkable adventures of Minerva Sharpe and Nancy Kington, female pirates is an adventurous read. Nancy gets separated from everyone she loves and makes a new friend, who turns out to be much more than a friend. Sometimes you don’t just let things happen to you. You stand up and do for yourself.

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I’d tell you I love you, but then I’d have to kill you – Ally Carter

Posted by Laura on February 25, 2008

Here is another spy novel: I’d tell you I love you, but then I’d have to kill you. The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a snooty school for rich girls. Or, at least, that is what it looks like for the people who live in Roseville, Virginia, where the Academy is located. Inside the walls, geniuses are taught advanced encryption, fourteen languages, and covert operations.

Cammie is a pavement artist. You would never know she is there. But on her first covert operations she was spotted and approached by a boy. Is he a spy sent to infiltrate the academy through her? There is only one way to find out…

Cross my heart and hope to spy is the second book in the series.

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