Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Etherworld by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Series: Elusion (bk. 2, final book)

Genera(s): Dystopia Sci-fi

Subjects: virtual reality, technology, near-future, thriller, adventure

Setting: Detroit, Michigan and a virtual world called Elusion

POV/Tense: 1st person POV: Reagan Welch

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 338 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover 

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “In this sequel to Elusion, three teens fight a virtual reality program that threatens to destroy their minds. Dangerous secrets and lies add up to a thrilling futuristic fantasy with an Inception-inspired twist.

Elusion was hailed as an exciting leap in technology—until users began to disappear amid rumors of addiction. Regan’s search for the truth led her and her new love interest, Josh, to Etherworld. Etherworld is a dimension hidden deep beyond Elusion's firewall, where players can hide, and ultimately fight back. Regan's father and others are here working to destroy Etherworld, but the longer they stay the less likely they'll be able to return to the real world alive.

Escape means attacking Elusion from within the program. It's dangerous and it’s a puzzle. And even if they manage it, how will they be able to stop Orexis from distributing Elusion to the masses when the people who run it are corrupt?”

My Review:  Ether World is the sequel-finale to Elusion. It’s still from Reagan’s POV and centers around a plot to destroy Elusion and save people who have been trapped there. Reagan has found her dad trapped in Elusion, also and he and a group of young people are in a place called the Ether World.

The Ether World is a less developed part to Elusion that has low stimulus. Elusion itself is about excitement and having great experiences. It uses a drug called trypnosis to but the user into a hypnotized state so the virtual reality of Elusion feels more real. It’s a really interesting concept, different from other virtual reality books like Eye of Minds by James Dashner or Insignia by S.J. Kincaid. This virtual reality in less developed and focuses more on landscapes called “Escapes” and not really about gaming.

Also, outside of Elusion, this book is set in Michigan. Detroit, about 50 years in the future in a world in which Florapetro (some kind of synthetic oil) pollutes the skies around cities and people have to wear O2 oxygen masks to protect their lungs when they’re outside. There’s acid rain that actually burns somewhat and the sky’s not often blue. Elusion becomes a way to escape this miserable polluted world, and the day-to-day jobs and hardships. But is only being used so far in 3 cities: Detroit, LA, and Miami. 

This book had far less romance that I expected. I didn’t mind it. I like that it was more on the sci-fi adventure side of things this times. There was plenty of character interaction and confrontation and funny dialogue. Reagan seemed less quirky than in the previous book. I wonder if it’s because there’s two authors and maybe one wrote this book in a slightly different style than the other. Either way, this was a fun sequel and it’s too bad it had to end at two books. Duologies seem to be popular now. If you haven’t read Elusion or Ether World, then give it a try if you like sci-fi books about technology and virtual reality.

Cover Art Review: I love the colors and details. I just wish it was metallic like the previous book’s cover.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Tether by Anna Jarzab

Series: Many-Worlds Series (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: parallel universes, parallel worlds, royalty, princes and princesses

Setting: Hyde Park in Chicago, Illinois, Aurora (a parallel world, not Aurora, IL), New York City (in this book known as Columbia City)

POV/Tense: 1st person POV (Sasha), 3rd person POV interludes of Thomas, Selene, and Juliana, and in past tense

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 305 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Random House: Delacorte Press

Summary/ product description: “Tether, the sequel to Tandem, continues the captivating tale of rebellion and romance that spans parallel worlds.

Everything repeats.

Sasha expected things to go back to normal once she got back on Earth. But now that she knows parallel worlds are real, and that an alternate version of herself exists in a world called Aurora, her old life no longer seems to make sense . . . and her heart breaks daily for Thomas, the boy she left behind. Troubled by mysterious, often terrifying visions and the echoes of a self she was just beginning to discover, Sasha makes the difficult decision to journey once more through the tandem.

Thomas is waiting for her on the other side, and so is strange, otherworldly Selene, Sasha’s analog from a third universe. Sasha, Selene, and their other analog, Juliana, have a joint destiny, and a new remarkable power, one that could mean salvation for Selene’s dying planet. With Thomas’s help, Sasha and Selene search for the missing Juliana. But even if they can locate her, is Sasha willing to turn her back on love to pursue a fate she’s not sure she believes in?”

My Review:  I enjoyed this book almost as much as the first book, Tandem. I’ve been anticipating this sequel for so long. Tether is a great sequel and it takes us deeper into the world of Aurora and we also discover another analogue or version of Sasha named Selene. Sasha is from Chicago. She was pulled into Aurora by a boy named Thomas who happens to be the analogue of a classmate named Grant. Sasha was forced to pretend to by Princess Juliana, her analogue. Now Juliana is missing again. Sasha goes back to Aurora because she misses Thomas and meets Selene. Selene’s from a world, Taiga, that was hit by an asteroid a hundred years ago.

I really enjoyed the alternate-history, dystopian-like world building. It is really interesting have Aurora is both similar and different from Earth. Aurora is a world in which the aurora is visible everywhere in the night sky. There was a second revolution against the British and the United States or America instead became the United Commonwealth of Columbia. New York City is now Columbia City and Chicago is the Tattered City. There are no presidents, only the king. It’s kind of like The Selection in that way. I love that this book is set in Chicago mostly, even if it’s alternate-Chicago (Tattered City, and in Taiga it’s New Athens). I’m from Chicagoland, so I’m always happy to read books set here.

There’s a good amount of romance in this book. Thomas is very charming and also a great leader and supportive. Sasha’s is very independent, strong-willed and stubborn, as are her analogues. But Thomas sees something unique in her that he prefers over the others. Juliana is a bit spoiled since she’s the princess, but she starting to see that her country has problems. Selene seems fearless and doesn’t understand why Aurora is so different. She’s never seen or heard of some of the worlds or technology there. Aurora is much more similar to Earth than to Taiga. This book  mainly focuses on Aurora, but Selene wants Juliana and Sasha to help save Taiga, so I think the next book will but focused on that world. Also something cool and magical happens that involves discovering an ability.

The narration switches between Sasha’s 1st person POV, Thomas’s 3rd person POV, and Selene and Juliana’s 3rd person POV in italic. I like how the chapter headers change depending on the perspective. If it says Chapter at the top, it’s Sasha. If there’s falling dots, it’s her analogues. 5 stars for Thomas. The pagination on the side also indicates perspective. Circle for Sasha, star for Juliana, crescent moon for Selene, arrow for Thomas. I love it when the book design is creative inside as well as the outside. I love a pretty cover, and pretty pages are awesome too (as long as they are readable).

Cover Art Review: I love this cover just as much as the first book’s. I think the bird is a sparrow and the stars and face inside it represent Juliana. The first book was a starling which represents Sasha.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Push by Eve Silver

Series: The Game Trilogy (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Sci-fi Thriller/Romance

Subjects: action, adventure, aliens, extraterrestrials, fighting, games, survival

Setting: Rochester, New York

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Miki Jones

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 341 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and soon in Paperback

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “It’s either break the rules or die.

Miki Jones lives her life by her own strict set of rules, to keep control, to keep the gray fog of grief at bay. Then she’s pulled into the Game, where she—and her team—will die unless she follows a new set of rules: those set by the mysterious Committee.

But rules don’t mean answers, and without answers, it’s hard to trust. People are dying. The rules are unraveling. And Miki knows she’s being watched, uncertain if it’s the Drau or someone—something—else. Forced to make impossible choices and battling to save those she loves, Miki begins to see the Committee in a glaring new light.

And then the Game crosses a new boundary, pushes harder into Miki’s and her friends’ lives, and there’s nothing in the rules that can save them now.

Push is the sequel Rush fans will be screaming for.”

My Review:  Push was a great sequel to Rush. I enjoyed plunging back into the world of The Game. The characters are awesome. The aliens are creepy and mysterious. There’s a lot of mystery and things yet to be revealed. I still enjoyed Rush better than Push, but that’s because it was the introduction.

I love Jackson. He’s one of my favorite love interests/lead guys. Our narrator, Miki, is awesome too. She’s always trying to be in control and strong for all the troubles in her life. She’s worried about her dad’s drinking problem and her own panic attacks. Plus, Miki knows kendo. She’s awesome with a sword.

Carly is Miki’s best friend. Miki feels like they might be growing apart, mostly because Miki’s been occupied with the Game and lying to Carly, but in this but they come back together. Miki even buys cupcakes, and eats one despite her beliefs on healthy eating. I love when friendship plays a big role in books. Romance is great, but characters that you would want as your friend are even better.

I kind of wish more happened in this book, though. I loved in for the characters and the sci-fi, but the plot didn’t really speed up till the end. There are a lot of side issues beside the Game. Realistic teen issue, like alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety. Honesty was also important. Miki hated how Jackson wasn’t telling her what Committee had told him.

It’s hard to compare this book to other books out there. If you have not read Rush or Push, then just know that it’s about fighting aliens, but it’s not dystopian. It’s set in contemporary Rochester, New York and the characters are pulled into a “game” or a mission in another plane/dimension and they have to kill the Drau aliens. It’s pretty hard to explain, so if that sound cool, then read it.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover so much. The letters are like glass, but in bright neon colors. It’s just amazing and metallic. I totally bought these books for their covers.