First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci

First day on earthMal just wants to be as far away from everyone as possible. With unworthy people in his high school, and an “abduction” meeting he goes to frequently, Mal just wants off this planet, literally. Living with an alcoholic mother is tough as Mal struggles with friends, his “abduction”, his father’s absence, and life in general. When he meets a strange individual named, Hooper, “in his meetings”, Mal is literally taken on a ride that might actually make his wish come true.

This book is highly recommended to the audience who like sci-fi mysteries. First Day on Earth expresses deep thought and consideration from a teenage point of view. The main character in this story, Mal, puts out feelings like no other teenager would. He is caught up in situations that other individuals would find pretty ridiculous. All in all, this book is a good read if you’re feeling “out of this world.” First Day on Earth will keep you guessing and questioning about everything that goes down with Mal.

Reviewed by H. Brown

 

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's GameEnder’s Game presents an unusual Sci Fi novel filled with action and suspense, while taking place in the future.  Child genius Ender Wiggins is selected to save the world from invading buggers intent on destroying humanity.  Ender is supposed to command the military using his skills from battle school.  He was the best candidate the school had ever seen, so his listing to command the army was unparalleled.  As time runs out, Ender finds himself choosing to save the world through compassion or with a ruthlessness towards the aliens.

This novel was both entertaining and gripping.  Trying to put this one down was hard because the plot continues to develop around the early life of Ender.  The detail that Card put into this story made it so compelling and made his characters so strong.  It’s easy to understand the plot; it’s simple – an alien species is trying to destroy humanity and earth’s only chance appears to be the underdog.  We’ve seen these story plots before but what separates this one is the pace at which the climax unfolds, and the amount of background information that is relayed throughout the story.

Reviewed by C. Street

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent 2Divergent by Veronica Roth is about a girl named Beatrice who chooses her destiny at age 16. She lives in a futuristic society in Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personality traits. Beatrice has to choose whether to stay with her family or choose another faction and start her new life.

Beatrice is later tested by a woman named Tori to see in which faction she would fit best. It turned out that she had traits of three of the other factions. This makes her Divergent. Tori warned her that being Divergent is dangerous and that she must not tell anyone.

During the choosing ceremony, Beatrice chooses the Dauntless faction which values bravery. Beatrice faces several obstacles, such as jumping on and off a moving train. At the Dauntless headquarters, Beatrice learns to fight and face her fears. She also meets the good looking instructor Four. Beatrice has to prove her worth or else live in poverty for the rest of her life.

Beatrice meets new friends and new enemies. She experiences a powerful sense of freedom. But she has a serious problem to deal with. She finds out that someone is hunting down all the Divergent. Beatrice and her allies try to hide the fact that she is Divergent, but there is no way she can hide forever. When her new faction threatens war on her old faction, Beatrice must choose between saving her family or becoming an official Dauntless member.

I would highly recommend this book for those who like science fiction with some action and romance in it. You will feel like you are there watching Beatrice as she faces her fears and finds her true identity. The author uses great imagery and describes the characters and setting in amazing detail. Her descriptions of the character’s thoughts will seem like it’s real. This book was a good one to read.

Reviewed by S. Orr

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game            The year is 1985.  Orson Scott Card is the writer.  The story of a young boy thrust into deep space to save the human race from hostile aliens, Ender’s Game made a huge splash in the world of science fiction.  Ender is a boy who is essentially controlled by the government.  They can hear his thoughts, and find him at all times. He is asked to go through simulation training of fighting an alien species on a computer-type device.  He eventually becomes the best at this ‘game’ and is asked by the government to become the general of the real, yet virtual army.  The book has a lot of twists and a fantastic plot.  The book won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for 1985 and it went on to change the face of the science fiction world!  It was honestly one of the first novels I have been really enthusiastic about in a long time

While there are already more and more efforts to introduce Ender’s Game to new people, such as putting it on school and military readings lists, I genuinely feel that it is a novel that can be enjoyed by anybody and everybody! The constant themes of leadership, self-actualization, and the ethical issues of war truly pop off the pages, keeping the reader hooked.  The read is fast paced with quite a bit of action.

I would give this book 5 stars.

Reviewed by S. Reed

The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Warlock by Michael Scott

WarlockIn this riveting sequel, life as we know it may be at a risk. Machiavelli and Billy the Kid will follow the plans the Elders have laid before them: they will loose the monsters of Alcatraz on the city of San Francisco, thereby triggering the end of the humani race. A teenage boy Josh Newman has chosen a side, and will not stand with his sister; He will fight the Elders alongside Dr. Dee and the mysterious Virginia Dare.  A familiar group of warriors are sent to Danu Talis, known in humani myth as the lost city of Atlantis, to destroy it so that the modern world can exist. However, things take a turn for the worse when they are captured by vinimas, (flying ships of Danu Talis) and are trapped in a volcano with no escape. It is all up to Sophie Newman and the warriors to defend and save the humani race.

This book is spellbinding and unforgettable. Readers will grasp the edge of their seat while they read as they go on an amazing journey. Each page is filled with remarkable characters and storylines. Three plots are merged into one, making a fantastic tale.  For those whom enjoy captivating fantasies, this book is highly recommended.

Reviewed by C. Gorm

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

After Eve is seriously injured when she is hit by a trolley, she is transferred to her mother’s biomedical facility to recover.  To stave off boredom as she recuperates, Eve begins testing a bioengineering program designed to use DNA coding to create a virtual, perfect man.  Terra Spiker has little time for her daughter, so she allows the son of her former and now deceased partners to visit with Eve.  The relationship between Eve and Solo is strained and awkward, as he is determined to gather evidence in the hopes of destroying Terra Spiker and her company.  But when Solo steps up and helps Eve deliver her best friend from a messy situation, she begins to see him in a new light and questions her mother’s involvement in the use of unethical biogenetics. 

Eve & Adam is as entertaining, as it is thought-provoking.  Told in the alternating voices of Eve and Solo, each character has a distinct, believable voice.  The characters struggle with questions of ethics, perfection, relationships, and loyalty as the story moves to an action-packed climax. Although there is some violence and references to drugs and sex, it is not excessive. Grant is sure to score another hit with this series opener.

BZRK By Michael Grant

In the not too distant future a secret war is being fought over the right to determine one’s own free will.  The wealthy Armstrong twins believe it is their duty to create happiness through the manipulation of the human brain via the use of nanotechnology.  To succeed they need only to rewire the brains of the world’s top politicians.  The opposition is a group of teenage hackers that call themselves BZRK, because failure will doom them to life of madness.

True to Grant’s style in the Gone series, this sci-fi thriller is a dark, violent, no holds barred free for all.  The players in this war are highly immoral and leave readers wondering if there are any good guys.  The description of the war in the macro level is extremely violent, while it is dripping with disgusting details of what the human body looks like at the nano level. Although I did not really enjoy this book, readers interested in the techy (if in this case highly fantastical) sciences and gruesome details will enjoy this fast-paced, sometimes confusing ride.

Invisible Sun By David Macinnis Gill

Jake Durango has nothing to lose.  His imprisoned father is now dead, his crew of mercenaries has been disbanded or killed, and his reputation ruined.  With his lieutenant and girlfriend, Vienne at his side, he hopes to find the evidence that will clear his father’s name.  As a mercenary, Durango is accustomed to dirty, dangerous jobs.  But this job may be more than he bargained for as he fights to save Vienne as he races across a corrupt and violent Mars.

Fast-paced action, adventure, romance, humor – this science fiction thriller has it all.  Reluctant readers will find this story hard to put down as the action begins on page one and never stops.  Readers will have to suspend belief, as in true action hero style, Durango is able to continue fighting despite a concussion and broken bones.  The story line is difficult to follow at times as little background information is provided in deference to the action sequences. However, this title is a satisfying, attention-grabbing read that will leave readers anticipating the next installment.

Ashfall By Mike Mullin

Fifteen-year-old Alex is excited by the prospect of having the house to himself, while his parents take a weekend trip to Illinois.  But after the unexpected eruption of a supervolcano in Yellowstone destroys his home, Alex wants nothing more than to find his family.  He sets out on foot determined to travel cross country through an alien landscape cast into perpetual darkness and covered in layers of ash.  He quickly learns that resources are scarce, trust is a luxury, and it only takes a few really tough days to go from a boy to being a man.   

          Ashfall is an exciting, suspenseful, and realistic novel. This visceral, edge of your seat read is impossible to set aside. Alex is a likable character with whom readers will identify and root for as he deals with horrifying, life-threatening situations. Mullin has done a superb job with this debut novel.  He has done his research and added notes about the science and probability of a supervolcano eruption.  A recommended read for more mature audiences as the violence can be quite graphic.

I really enjoyed this novel and look forward tothe sequel in the Fall of 2012.

 

The door in the Lake by Nancy Butts

Joseph Finney disapeared from a tent in a national forest and mysteriously reappeared two years later. He can’t remember what happened to him the night he disapeared, but even more incredible is that he does not look any older than when he went missing. Chronologically fourteen, Joey doesn’t look any older than twelve or even feel any older than twelve. Joey battles a strange physical conditions: a persistent runny nose that the doctor says is leaking brain fluid, a ringing in his ears that turns into a voice calling him to the door in the lake, and periodic seizures during  which he seems to remember being sucked into a vortex of light at the campground where he had disapeared. 

 Joey later turns to two college students who contact him via internet to suggest that he may have been kidnapped by aliens. He doesn’t want to accept their explanation, but as his physical condition deteriorates, there seems to be no choice but to return to the lake where he had disapeared  and confront  what happened that night he went missing.