Monday, September 29, 2014

The Young World by Chris Weitz

Series: The Young World Trilogy (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: post-apocalyptic, survival, viruses, love, adventure

Setting: New York City: Manhattan and Long Island

POV/Tense: 1st person past tense rotating between Jefferson and Donna

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 373 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $19.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.”

My Review:  I like this book so much more than I expected. I loved the character voice/narration, especially Donna’s POV. Jefferson was a good male lead too. The Young World is a dystopian with a simple premise similar to the Gone series by Michael Grant, or Lex Thomas’s Quarantine series, but like the movie Contagion too. No zombies, no adults, no little kids. All that are left are teens and it’s set in New York City.

The characters in the book couldn’t help but compare their situation to books and movies. Donna even said in was like The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. I love this sarcastic, self-aware, and pop-culture dropping stuff. Donna seems so cynical and self deprecating. Jefferson believes in honor, and he’s a bit of an idealist. His father was Japenese and he in Zen Buddist. His father was also apparently very old and more like grand-father age, which I though was a very odd touch. Maybe the author is basing characters off of family members? Jefferson likes to fight with Japanese swords that were a family heirloom. Donna and Jefferson like each other and maybe even love each other. Some romance happens, but there’s a lot of un-sureness between them. Love is had to find in the Pocky, as Donna might say.

Along the lines of interesting characters, the side characters were also very unique and played big roles in the story. There’s Brainbox who’s a mechanical genius, or just a genius in general. There’s Peter who’s gay and African-American. He’s a good friend with Donna. SeeThrough is a Chinese girl who father taught Jefferson martial arts. They meet a guy called Ratso later on and a girl named Kath.

Lots of stuff happens in this book. It’s well plotted and paced. The author writes and directs movies and you can see that influence his story. But he explores the first person perspective, which isn’t something you get in movies science you’re on the outside looking in. I love getting to know a character’s personality. There was action and adventure and fighting. If you like violence in your movies in books, but not so much to it gets boring, then I’d recommend this.

You will like this if you are interested in reading a good dystopian story, or a fan of The Hunger Games, Gone, Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas, No Easy Way Out by Dayna Lorentz, In The After by Demitria Lunetta, or other books about teens surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.

Cover Art Review: I love the title treatment. The characters are on the cover, but not sure who is who. Left to right: Donna (flag), Jeff, SeeThrough, Peter?, Brainbox?.

In My Mailbox 9-29-2014

An ARC I received for review. It's indie and it's set in the Amazon!

Some swag/book stuff I got in the mail. Look! A RING!!! 

I got to meet Rick Yancy on Sept 19. 

The 100 sequel! Can't wait for the show to return.

Library books:

Stuff I got at the YA Lit Conference Fandom Frenzy Day:

(See my post all about the event!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

YA Fandom Frenzy Day at YA Lit Conference

Today we had fun at the Hotel Arista in Naperville, IL. This hotel is less that 2 miles from where I live down RT 59. Anderson's Book Shop were the sponsors of this event. There were about 40 YA authors.

A special early morning appearance by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare:

Author Speed Dating:

Lightning-Round Questions:

Book cover posing? 

Group Photo:

Making up a story as you go: 

Authors doing the funny thank you notes like Jimmy Fallon:

Musical performances from the authors:

Swag, free stuff, and ARCs:
(Except, I bought Iron Trials.)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner

Series: The Mortality Doctrine (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Action-Adventure

Subjects: action, adventure, artificial intelligence, gamers, games, hackers, technology, thriller, video games, virtual reality

Setting: The VirtNet, New York City and Atlanta, Georgia

POV/Tense: Limited 3rd person POV, past tense: Michael

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 328 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Random House: Delacorte Press

Summary/ product description: “From the New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series comes The Rule of Thoughts, the exciting sequel to The Eye of Minds. Fans of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth and The Hunger Games will love the new Mortality Doctrine series.

Michael completed the Path. What he found at the end turned everything he’d ever known about his life—and the world—completely upside down.

He barely survived. But it was the only way VirtNet Security knew to find the cyber-terrorist Kaine—and to make the Sleep safe for gamers once again. And, the truth Michael discovered about Kaine is more complex than they anticipated, and more terrifying than even the worst of their fears.

Kaine is a tangent, a computer program that has become sentient. And Michael’s completing the Path was the first stage in turning Kaine’s master plan, the Mortality Doctrine, into a reality.

The Mortality Doctrine will populate Earth entirely with human bodies harboring tangent minds. Any gamer who sinks into the VirtNet risks coming out with a tangent intelligence in control of their body.

And the takeover has already begun.”

My Review:  This is such a creative and interesting dystopian series. The fist book blew my mind. This one continued from where it left off. It makes you question reality. Michael was a Tangent. An AI in Lifeblood Deep and he never knew it. Now he’s been downloaded into a real body and experiencing real life for the first time, but it’s not all that different. He has to find his friends in the real world so they can go to VNS and stop the Tangent called Kaine. When he meets Sarah for real, some bad stuff happens and they have to leave and find Bryson. When the threesome and together, even more trouble happens. Michael, who’s in the body of a boy named Jackson, has a warrant out for his arrest because they think he’s a cyberterrorist.

I love all the games and worlds of the VirtNet. I’m not a gamer, but I love the idea of being whisked away into a different world, even if it’s only virtual. People can change their appearance and do cool stuff they couldn’t do in real life. Also, Michael and his friends know how to hack the VirtNet, which is illegal, but useful. This book is all action and adventure. Lots of stuff happens. So much happened that I cannot even remember what else I wanted to say. Just know that it’s a great sequel. Not as good as the first book because that one blew my mind, but still awesome.

I definitely enjoy this series more than the Maze Runner series. There’s a lot more tech stuff. I noticed how in the book The Kill Order, which is the Maze Runner prequel, VirtNet and NetTabs and whatnot are mentioned too. So, is Eye of Minds on the same time line as The Maze Runner? Is this the pre-flare world? If so, then I wonder if the 3rd book will end with the VirtNet being destroyed by the solar flare. James Dashner, you are one devious world-builder and plotter. I’m onto you!

I recommend this to fans of James Dashner. Also people who enjoyed these books: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, and Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Fans of the Matrix movies, and Transendence and any sci-fi movie about technology will enjoy this. If this series even became a movie I’m sure it would be even more epic than the Maze Runner.

Cover Art Review: Good illustration but the title is less interesting looking this time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Domination by Jon S. Lewis

Series: The C.H.A.O.S. Trilogy (bk.3 )

Genera(s): Sci-fi/Adventure

Subjects: aliens, action, genetic modification, government agencies, friendship

Setting: A school, Washington D.C., an alien world

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, limited: Colt McAlister

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 266 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover or Paperback

List Price: $14.99/$9.99

Publisher: Thomas Nelson (the Christian Imprint of HarperCollins)

Summary/ product description: “THEIR GOAL IS SIMPLE: TOTAL DOMINATION.
With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.
And now their invasion of Earth has begun.
Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.
A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.
Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.”

My Review:  Out of all the books in this series, this is the one I enjoyed the most. For some reason I didn’t like the second book. It just didn’t hold my interest. The first book was pretty good, but this finale was great. The characters were fun. It was very much like a comic book or cartoon, like Ben 10. Fighting aliens, and super hero stuff. I would definitely recommend this to teens who like movies like Men in Black or Mavel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The author actually wrote for Marvel Comics.

Even though this book is published by a Christian imprint of Harper Collins, it’s not preachy. There’s a few religious things mentioned, like Colt repeating a bible quote. The book is basically a lot of sci-fi action. There’s a theme of friendship and working together. There’s a lot of meaningful stuff, but it’s mostly fun. I’d even recommend this to middle school age, maybe ages 10 and up, because it doesn’t contain swearing.

I found it interesting how the Thule blood affected Colt. His eyes turned gold and he got busts of anger, and his skin couldn’t be penetrated. He fought Thule and felt like a freak for the changes he was going through. I wish there was a part in which he became a monster and then reverted back, but that never happened sadly.

My favorite thing about this book was the part where Colt had to put on a show to revive the Phantom Flyer. It reminded me of Captain America when Steve would perform for the soldiers and the people during WWII. I loved how pop culture was mentioned. Like Lady Gaga, Scarlett Johansen and Robert Downing Jr. Even though this is more like a parallel world to ours, it had contemporary pop culture.

It was a pretty fast read. Easy reading level. Fun and light. I recommend getting the trilogy for your teen or yourself, especially if you are a fan of superhero movies and Marvel. Or just love books with aliens.

Cover Art Review: The cover is pretty good for the subject, but it would be cool if the characters were fighting aliens on it.