Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Here and Now by Anne Brashears

Prenna is from the future, our future, and it was terrible. She and others have come back to try to prevent the plague that has wiped out so many people. There are strict rules about how to behave, but Ethan, a time native, pushes Penna’s boundaries.

“Complacency is dangerous” is this book’s theme. The “it will be fine attitude” we, as “time natives” (or modern day residents,) display about our environment, and the complacency that “the travelers” fall into after coming to our time, because comfort trumps everything.  It’s pretty intense social commentary with a mystery and romance tossed in to keep the reader interested. The ending is in keeping with the theme – sacrifices must be made. So, no HEA for Prenna, but, perhaps one for our world. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

          Maisie wants to live up to her middle name – Danger, so she applies to an astronaut camp featured on the back of a cereal box. To everyone’s surprise – she actually wins the trip. While there she meets Wilder, and other first team members who are needed to save the world.
          Dangerous is not like the other Shannon Hale books at all. This is modern day with science fiction, rather than high fantasy. There is a romance plot that interferes with the story for me. As smart as Maisie is supposed to be, she seems easily manipulated by Wilder. But then she’s been home school and isolated. (I know a lot of home school kids and they’d all see right through Wilder.)

          Dangerous is a one and done that I think some of my students will enjoy.  It’s not the best I’ve read by Shannon Hale, I like the Goose Girl series better, but I’m curious to see if she stays writing contemporary or goes back to fiction.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Steelheart by Brian Sanderson

This is a definite Gateway read for me.  My library’s print copy has been checked out since the beginning of the school year.  I bought myself the Kindle version so I wouldn’t have to compete with the students. 
David’s ability, or lack of ability, to make bad puns made me giggle.  It helped to lighten the rather somber mood that sometimes threatened to take over the story.  The world building is well done and yet there is so much more to come.  There is a lot to see outside of Newcago, in my imagination, and I am intrigued to see what Sanderson shows us next.  As the start of a series, it’s a great one. An ending is there, but the set-up for the sequel is ready.  We’ll be waiting! 

Goodreads summary: Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winner's Curse and The Kiss of Deception

I recently read a couple of books that were very much what I like to choose for myself.  Both are the start of a series and high fantasy. World building happens naturally in both stories, adding to the books rather than taking center stage, which is lovely.  Both feature strong heroines, who want to make their own decisions in world where that is not the norm.  Both had a love triangle of sorts, The girl made up her mind fairly easily, so that angst isn’t too overwhelming for either novel.  Many adventures await us as the series continue.  Now I just have to wait.  

Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski    

Kestral is her father’s daughter and can see things other people miss, She’s perceptive and an
excellent strategist, so when she realizes she’ s been played the sting is especially sharp.  There are many worthy opponents in this story.  Politics, slavery, romance, owning your own destiny are just parts of a larger narrative that captivated me from the beginning.  

I definitely want to see this one the Gateway list.  I can think of several of my students who will love it.  I don’t think most boys would read it just because of the pretty dress on the cover, but if they could get past that, I think they might like it, as Kestral is not super girly.  

Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1
by Mary E. Pearson      

The set up for Kiss begins with a bit of mystery because there are chapters with unnamed characters narrating.  They are just labeled “Prince” and “Assassin,” with us finding out later who is who. I had figured it out, so it wasn’t too hard.  Lia has decided that she doesn't want to marry a prince who would let his "papa arrange a marriage without even showing up." So she runs away before the wedding. The political ramifications were downplayed in this novel, even with Lia being a princess.  She is not interested in doing her duty,and she is feeling pretty selfish.  She quickly gets beyond that, though, so it wasn’t a problem that bothered me.  I liked how she was willing to put aside her princess personae and be a normal person.