Genre: science fiction

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Reign of Shadows: Review

Reign of Shadows: Review

I wonder sometimes if I’m too harsh on a book from the start because an early detail annoys me. Case in point, Reign of Shadows takes place in a world of night, the moon fixed in a perpetual solar eclipse. Why would you name a girl who was born on the night this happens Luna? While the world is plunging into chaos and fear you name a newborn baby after the darkness? I am guessing that it will eventually be revealed that her birth and this eclipse are tied together and Luna has some Very Special Powers indeed. This perpetual eclipse also gave me some questions about how exactly any life is still functioning? I am perfectly willing to buy that this is a fantasy story and that I am supposed to just go with it. Some things, like bats evolving into 4 foot monstrosities in the span of 17… Read more »

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Passenger: Review

Passenger: Review

Time travel! Romance! A hunt for hidden artifacts! Alexandra Bracken’s latest book, Passenger, tells the story of teen violinist Etta Spencer, who is pushed through a wormhole on the night of her debut and ends up on an 18th century ship en route to New York. Etta quickly learns she’s been kidnapped by the head of a family of time-travelers who are holding her mother as hostage and who want her to retrieve something her mother stole many (many, many) years ago that could (literally) change the course of human history. Her mother’s hidden it away in time and left a series of clues only Etta can decipher that send her to different periods of human history. Think of it as “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?” but instead of chasing Carmen Sandiego through history, Etta and her partner are chasing down a priceless, dangerous artifact. To find it, they have to locate… Read more »

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Front Lines: Review

Front Lines: Review

What if the draft had been extended to young women in WWII as well as men? That’s the premise of Michael Grant’s new book, Front Lines, and that’s pretty much all I needed to know before making grabby hands at it at NCTE this year. I saw the cover, saw the tagline – “she’s fighting for her country” – and was like, oh yes, I shall be reading you, book. I mean, I will read alternate histories any day of the week and if they’re alternate histories that focus on women’s experiences, then hell yes, I’m there. And as far as that goes, Front Lines did not disappoint! So Front Lines follows three young women – Rio, Frangie, and Rainy – as they enlist in the army and are shipped overseas. They have different motivations: Rio, a white girl from California, wants to do her part (but is also talked into it… Read more »

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The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

The Scorpion Rules: Review + Erin Bow dinner + giveaway

You get two for the price of one today–Layla has a review of The Scorpion Rules for you, and Wendy has a giveaway + recap of the Erin Bow event she attended awhile back! Review: I enjoyed the hell out of this book. I have been in the middle of a fairly severe reading slump (and am also reading nonstop for my dissertation, so you know, take that into account, too) and The Scorpion Rules is one of the few books that have successfully broken through the haze of grumpiness I’ve been in for the last few months. But The Scorpion Rules really worked for me. From what I can tell, though, it seems like it’s been a fairly divisive read – you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Luckily for me, I am firmly on Team Scorpion Rules (and Team Talis!). If you like dark humor, morally ambiguous AIs,… Read more »

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here: Review

The Rest of Us Just Live Here: Review

It finally happened. A book was special enough, funny enough, heartfelt enough, and just downright good enough to break the spell. My awful slump might be officially over; and it’s all thanks to Patrick Ness’ sly, hilarious, wry, and absolutely on point observations on growing up and what it means to move on. What is this book even about? It’s hard to pigeonhole this one into a genre! It’s sort of fantasy, sort of paranormal, sort of sci-fi…but it’s not really any of those things. There are definite supernatural happenings going on in the background. But this is very purposefully a book that is not about those happenings. The point is that there are regular, ordinary (well,for the most part) citizens who are just trying to continue going about their lives, even in the midst of very obvious supernatural turmoil. This book is about the ordinary people who just keep… Read more »

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Willful Machines: Review

Willful Machines: Review

When I saw Kirkus describe this book as “Gothic, gadget-y, gay” I knew I needed it in my hands as soon as humanly possible. I am happy to say it is all of those wonderful things. And while I didn’t quite love it, I did really, really enjoy this book. There’s so much to like! Yes, there  are wonderfully complex characters, killer robots, and the sweetest M/M romance. The writing beautifully evokes the brooding boarding school setting. This is a near-future sci-fi thriller with a touch of the dystopian. 16 year-old Lee is the closeted son of an ultra-conservative president who is both fiercely anti-gay and anti-robot. It’s unfortunate then, that Lee has a penchant for tinkering with mechanicals, too. The Human Values platform was created in response to an attack by Charlotte, an AI gone rogue, in which  Lee’s mother was murdered. Ever since, Charlotte has been using her… Read more »

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An Inheritance of Ashes

An Inheritance of Ashes

A lone figure ambles its way up the twisted ruins of road to find itself unbidden on the steps of a solitary farmhouse. Is the stranger friend or foe? God or man? For 16 year old Hallie, the questions, and the threat, are all too real. In the desolate ruins of civilization, Hallie and her much older sister Marthe have been clinging to their farm, their world, and trying to hold on to each other, but are failing at both. I really enjoyed this book; more, actually, than I have any book in almost two months (I’ve been in a really terrible slump). It has the isolated, post-apocalyptic farm vibe of The Hallowed Ones, with a touch of The Stand, and more than a touch of The Subtle Knife. Leah Bobet crafts this book out of simply gorgeous prose that is never overwrought. This is a sparse, ruined world and… Read more »

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