Thursday, February 26, 2015

City 1 by Gregg Rosenblum

Series: Revolution 19 (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-Fi

Subjects: robots, survival, adventure, post-apocalyptic, rebellions

Setting: Massachusetts or New York, about 50-75 years in the future

POV/Tense: 3rd person, past tense. Rotating between Nick, Kevin and Cassie

Age/Grade Level: Teen 13+

Length: 279 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover  

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen and Alloy Entertainment

Summary/ product description: “In the explosive conclusion to the thrilling Revolution 19 series, the time has come to win the cities back from the bots—or die trying.

After finally reuniting at a rebel camp, siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are willing to do anything to stay together—and free their parents from bot rule. But the leader of the rebel camp has her own ideas. Cruel and determined, General Clay won’t let anything stand in the way of her plan to destroy the robots and all the brainwashed humans. This means their parents’ lives are at stake, but Nick, Kevin, and Cass can’t desert the rebels when they’re so close to freedom. How far will they go to save the world they believe in?

Created in conjunction with Alloy Entertainment; Howard Gordon, the showrunner of 24 and Showtime’s Emmy Award– and Golden Globe–winning Homeland; and James Wong, the executive producer of American Horror Story; City 1 is the gripping finale to the exhilarating Revolution 19 series.”

My Review:  This is the 3rd and final book in the Revolution 19 series about a post-robot-apocalypse society. This series has not resembled Terminator or even I, Robot in the least. It’s written for teens and feel like it’s specifically for those 13 to 15, maybe younger even because the lower reading level. It’s an okay series overall, but it’s not exciting as I had hoped. All the books are pretty short, which is fine, but I feel like not much happens in then, so there’s not much to review.

I did enjoy some of the humor between characters. The dialogue was probably the best part of the book. The third person narration was dull, though. Some of the character relationships developed or were tested. Kevin learns about his and Nick’s grandfather, the designer of the bots. Cass and Farryn become a couple. Nick and Erica still like each other.

The rebels have issues with betrayal and want to kill Erica, but Nick want to use her to help. Kevin makes camo-suits, and decided to use one to enter the city unseen. Nick, Erica, and Cass also go into the city. They all have their own mission. The rebels are taking down the bots inside this city at the same time. Cass want to save her biological parents, who are brainwashed, so she goes to their building and convinces them to leave. Kevin is caught in the city and taken to meet someone important. Nick helps the rebels in their fight.

The different kinds of robots were interesting. The cities that robots put brainwashed people in seemed interesting, but kind of illogical. If robots are logical being and they want to be rid of humans, then why put them in cities? My only guess is that they need human creativity and engineering. I recommend this if you liked BZRK by Michael Grant, Cinder, or any other books that feature either robots or nano-bots. If you’re looking for teen Terminator, this is not it.

Cover Art Review: Cover similar to previous book. Not much to say.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Series: The Red Queen Trilogy (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Subjects: abilities, superpowers, supernatural, magic, war, rebellions

Setting: Norta (the northeastern U.S.) A summer palace near what once was Boston, Massachusetts (Though they never mention it). The mention Delphie, which is likely Philadelphia. The Whitefire palace in either in New York City or D.C.

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Mare Barrow

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 383 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.”

My Review:  Red Queen was something I wanted to read completely based on the cover and all the buzz. I didn’t know what I was going to get when I started reading it. I expected fantasy, maybe a unique fantasy. I did not expect this to be dystopian also. It’s set in the future, over 320 years.

Society is separated by the color of their blood. Silver bloods are powerful, and red bloods are the workers. There’s plenty of technology and magic mixed in with the unique world building. I’m 90 percent certain that this is set in the USA near what once was Boston, Massachusetts (Though they never mention it). The also mention Delphie, which is likely Philadelphia. The Whitefire palace in either in New York City or D.C. I’m not sure. Much like in the Hunger Games, you just have to guess for yourself.

The main characters are unique in many ways. Mare, our narrator, is a thief and doesn’t have many other skills. She kind of falls into a situation that leads to her discovering her lightning powers. It may be kind of clichĂ©, but it’s well executed. There are the two princes: Cal and Mavin. Cal’s into honor and Mavin is resentful of his father. Marrow is forced to become Mavin’s fiancĂ© because her unfortunate circumstances of discovering her powers. The romance is not very prominent in this story. She does kiss Cal, but never get romantic with Mavin. There’s no love triangle.

The royal family wants to hide the red with silver power that she should not have. Mare decides that she can take this opportunity to help the Scarlet Guard in their rebellion to make reds equal to silvers. Power is a dangerous game, as the tagline says, and Mare must play the game from within the court. The plot is very linear with not flashbacks. It’s written in present tense and has a nice flow. It never slows down.

MINOR SPOILER: Mare’s Ability

I really enjoyed this book, and all the amazing world building. It’s just the kind of book I look for. Crossing generas and cool characters with powers. I think the author’s choice to give the main character electric powers is interesting and unique. I can’t think of any other main characters from books with this power. Mostly just books about characters with enhanced senses/strength, telepathy, telekinesis or illusions. It’s nice to see something different. Mare is like Static Shock (if you recall that superhero cartoon). She can zap you, but she’s still learning. At the beginning of the book, I though she was going to be a whisperer/telepath. She discovers her powers circa page 60, so it’s not really a spoiler. Just know that this is awesome.


I recommend Red Queen to fans of the following types of books. Books about rebellions, dystopian or otherwise: The Young Elites or Legend by Marie Lu, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Pawn by Aimee Carter, Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Dystopian books with fantasy elements: The Selection by Kiera Cass, Crewel by Gennifer Albin, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, Defiance by C.J. Redwine. Books in which superpowers/magic powers play a big role: Glitch by Heather Anastasiu, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Illusive by Emily Lloyd Jones, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson, Blackout by Robsion Wells, Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (also has character with lightning powers). Unique fantasy books: Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch, Shadow and Bone by Leugh Bardugo, Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Cover Art Review: This cover is designed by Sarah Kaufman, a designer at HarperCollins. Michael Frost made the illustration. I love the simple photo illustration of the upside-down crown dripping blood. The cover is a larger size and it’s metallic and the background mimics white/silver silk. The crown and title is embossed. I badly wanted to buy this book, but got it from the library already. The end pages in the book have illustrations. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman’s Daughter (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Gothic Horror/Historical Fiction/Sci-fi

Subjects: retellings, experiments, scientists, love, death

Setting: An estate in the Scottish Moors

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Juliet Moreau

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 388 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover 

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Balzer & Bray

Summary/ product description: “After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.”

My Review:  As I’ve said before, this is the only Historical Fiction series I have enjoyed, and the only hist fic series I had read to completion. These books are dark, gothic tales with a mix of horror and sci-fi. They are very different from most Hist Fic YA out there that usually fall into two categories: Steam Punk/Hist Fantasy and Realistic. These books have mystery and romance and horrifying acts of science.

A Cold Legacy is the third and final book in the Madman’s Daughter trilogy. All the books are retelling of classics that have Doctor in the title. This one is the retelling of Dr. Frankenstein. The first book was a retelling of the Island or Dr. Moreau and the second was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Retellings are wonderful because they take elements from stories you already know about and change them or twist them in some way. I personally have not read any of the books that these books are based off of, but I’ve seen some movies.

Set with a backdrop of the Scottish moors, a cold legacy is especially creepy. It’s winter in the book. Likely February. There’s misty fog and storms, but no snow. The setting becomes a character itself. There’s characters from the previous book and new characters. There are many twists and unexpected ones at that. I was caught by surprise by some of the events. One near then end didn’t surprise me so much, but it wasn’t fixed the way I thought it would be.

Without spoiling the book, I can tell you that Juliet learn about the secrets of Dr. Frankenstein from Elizabeth and she tries to revive someone. Lucy becomes less of an airhead and more determined and important. Juliet and Montgomery plan to have a wedding at the mansion. There is no long triangle issue at all here. Juliet helps Lucy find a way to rid Edward of the Beast since Lucy and Edward love each other, and the Beast is still obsessed with Juliet. Stuff happens in this book. The climax is epic and the story isn’t open ended, but I would like to read an enovella from a different character’s POV. I can’t wait to read Megan’s next series, The Cage. If she can make Hist Fic interesting to me, then I’m sure her regular sci-fi will be just as awesome.

Cover Art Review: Interesting landscape image. The girl is wearing a red bow on her dress like the previous books. The cover when printed looks too dark compared to the image online.

~Haley G

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