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Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

Monsters of Men – Patrick Ness

Posted by Laura on October 12, 2010

Monsters of Men is the final book in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy.  I think of this as one of those series that runs at a gallop because the action of all the books takes place in a matter of months.  I highly recommend this series to people who like reading action stories that abound with tough decisions.  While it doesn’t play a big part in the storyline, there are some same sex relationships in the trilogy.  As with any series, please start with book one.  And, you many not want to read any more of this post…

At the end of the second book, Todd and Viola captured Mayor Prentiss – or President Prentiss, depending on who is talking.  Now, in Monsters of Men, Todd is guarding the Mayor while Viola is racing to beat Mistress Coyle to the scout ship.  Nothing good would come of the incoming settlers hearing Mistress Coyle’s view of events.

We have two armies clamoring to be the first to tell their story to the new settlers, but they weren’t planning on the third army.  The Spackle, who call themselves the Land, were the original people of the planet and the humans thought that all had been killed except for those they enslaved, and maybe a few stragglers in the countryside.  But, the humans were wrong.  There are thousands of the Land.  Millions of the Land.  And they have new weapons.

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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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Stuck On Earth – David Klass

Posted by Laura on June 7, 2010

In Stuck on Earth by David Klass, Ketchvar III has a job to do.  He needs to decide if the human race is worth saving, or if it should be wiped from the face of Planet Earth so that another race can move in.

In order to make this decision, Ketchvar III leaves his protective shell, revealing his snail like body, and enters the nasal passage of fourteen-year-old Tom Filber.  Tom’s is perhaps not the best body to enter.  His family is having money troubles, his father mostly hides in a room upstairs, his sister is a horrid beast, and his mother likes to scream her head off at everyone.

That brings us to Tom’s school life.  All the kids call Tom “Alien,” and when Ketchvar III hears that for the first time, he thinks that his cover is blown.  This isn’t the case, it is just that Tom is an outcast.

Ketchvar III ends up in the guidance counselor’s office, and she suggests that Tom join a club.  An environmental club.  Will the club make all the difference in the world for Tom and Ketchvar III?  Or will this be the end for humanity on Planet Earth?

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The Ask and the Answer – Patrick Ness

Posted by Laura on January 20, 2010

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. The Ask and the Answer is the second book in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. I blogged about the first book last week – I loved it. I love this one, as well.  My problem is this… How do I tell you about this book without ruining the first book if you have not yet read it? At least you could go and read what I wrote about it. Go ahead – I’ll wait.

So, the last book ends with Todd and Viola (the girl who was in the center of the silence I had mentioned in the previous post)  reaching the city (Haven)  that they were running towards during the whole first book.  The second book deals with what they find in Haven.  It is no longer Haven.

Todd and Viola are separated and neither knows if the other is alive.  Each gets caught up in different sides of a civil war.  Neither knows who to trust.  Each ends up doing things that they don’t want to do.  How do you decide what to do when there seems to be no right answer?  Should you do a terrible deed because at least if you were the one doing it you wouldn’t be as nasty about it as someone else?  Horrible.  I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the next one – which won’t be until September of 2010.

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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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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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Starclimber – Kenneth Oppel

Posted by Laura on March 7, 2009

Join Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries in another high flying adventure – this time the goal is space!

Matt has a summer job piloting an aerotug in Paris where France is building the Celestial Tower – a tower designed to reach all the way to outer space.  And Kate is preparing to present her talk on the aerozoans, the electrifying squid/jellyfish they encountered in Skybreaker.

All is right with the world – except when Matt becomes involved in a terrorist attack on the tower.  And then Kate receives a note from her parents recalling her to Canada for the summer.

Matt would jump at the chance to go to space, but it is likely that only French citizens will be given an opportunity at first.  The adventure really takes off when Matt and Kate are given the opportunity to join Canada’s space program by John McKinnon, the Canadian Minister of Air, and Otto Lunardi, the airship magnate who owned the Aurora (p.39).

Matt enters training to be an astralnaut, but Kate is guaranteed a spot on board the Starclimber as an expert in high-altitude life-forms.  This is the third book featuring Matt and Kate (the first being Airborn), and like the others, is an exciting read full of peril and strange new creatures.   There is a bit of politics and romance, as well.

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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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The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E. Pearson

Posted by Laura on October 27, 2008

Jenna doesn’t remember who she is.  She watches the discs of her life.  Each year, every seemingly significant and insignificant aspect of a life, yet she doesn’t remember any of it.  There had been an accident a year ago.  Two weeks ago she woke up.

She can’t eat normal food yet, she can only drink her nutrients.  She has learned how to smile.  The mechanics of smiling, anyway.  Soon she gets flashes of her memory.  She remembers two friends that she had before, and she wonders where they are.   She remembers details of her life that she shouldn’t be able to remember.  She remembers something that happened to her when she was two years old, and this something was not recorded on the discs of her life.

Before the accident, Jenna’s family had lived in Boston, but when she woke up she, her mother and her grandmother were living in California.  Her dad, a doctor and an inventor of some renown, remained in Boston.   Her mother doesn’t give her a good reason why they had moved.  She doesn’t give Jenna good reasons for many things that are happening.  Shortly, Jenna decides that it is time to go to school, because going to school is normal, even though she doesn’t feel normal.

Read about how far someone can go for love in The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

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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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