Friday, July 31, 2015

Inhuman by Kat Falls

Series: Fetch (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: mutants, animals, viruses, survival, adventure

Setting: Davenport, Iowa; Moline, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, past tense: Delaney Park McEvoy

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 375 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and soon in Paperback

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary/ product description: “In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.”

My Review:  Inhuman was as amazing as I expected, but I didn’t expect it to be set in the state I live, Illinois. I didn’t know Kat Falls was from Illinois. I met her at the YA lit conference I Naperville last year and got my copy of Inhuman signed and I finally just read it. Inhuman is unlike and dystopian book I’ve read. Sure, it’s got a virus, but this virus turns people into animal instead of zombies. It causes people to mutate and become “manimals” and later, ferals.

I had thought that Lane’s love interest would be a wild animal-boy, but that wasn’t the case. At least not yet.  Lane ends up having to go to the Feral Zone to find her father who turns out to be a “fetch” (a person who brings requested items over the wall). What he does is illegal and the only way to wipe his record is to do a fetch for an official. Lane runs into some issues. She meets a young line guard named Everson, and a hunter named Rafe. Lane wants someone to take her to Moline because her father may be there. Some romance happens, as well as funny bickering between Lane, Rafe and Everson.

The story reminds me of Madman’s Daughter by Meagan Shepherd, which is a retelling of the Island of Dr. Moreau. The story seems very Dr. Moreau like, but set in post-pandemic Iowa and Illinois. There are the manimals and feral, but there are also mongrel. The mongrels are animals (not humans turned animals) that have multiple species DNA. They are chimeras. There are mole-chimps (chimpacabras) and piranha bats (weevlings), and hyena-boars. Creepy freaky creature that I have a hard time picturing. If this was a movie, then the CQI folks would have a heck of a challenge (and the make-up people too).

The setting of this book makes some familiar to me feel unfamiliar in a good way. Living in Illinois, there is a lot of rural prairie areas, which the author mentioned. Also, part of the story in set in Chicago, in Lincoln Park zoo, which I’ve been to multiple times. The zoo becomes a place for the ferals and mongrels. I recommend this book to fans of the Madman’s Daughter series, the Feral series by Cynthia Leitich Smith, and other books about werewolves, were-people, animal people and mutants.

Cover Art Review: Very cool post-apocalyptic city-scape. The gold color fit. The wall is perfect for the story.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Deceptive by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Series: Illusive (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Near-Future/Dystopian Sci-fi/Thriller

Subjects: crime, criminals, thieves, abilities, superpowers, government agencies

Setting: Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, New Jersey

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, present tense, rotating between Ciere, Devon and Daniel

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 420 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “Don't miss this thrilling, high-stakes sequel to Illusive.

You don’t belong with us. These are the words that echo through the minds of all immune Americans—those suffering the so-called adverse effects of an experimental vaccine, including perfect recall, body manipulation, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind-control, and the ability to change one’s appearance at will.

When immune individuals begin to disappear—in great numbers, but seemingly at random—fear and tension mount, and unrest begins to brew across the country. Through separate channels, super-powered teenagers Ciere, Daniel, and Devon find themselves on the case; super criminals and government agents working side-by-side. It’s an effort that will ultimately define them all—for better or for worse.”

My Review:  Deceptive is a good sequel, but not a perfect sequel. It’s not as good as the first book. Maybe I didn’t enjoy it as much because I couldn’t remember certain things from the first book. I kind of good Devon and Daniel mixed up and didn’t know who’s Ciere’s love interest was, or if there was one. It took a while to get into the story. What I loved about the previous book (the awesome super powers) was less prominent. It’s still an interesting story, but just not as exciting.

I love the world building and the different abilities. There’s only seven different possibly powers for an immune to have: perfect recall, body manipulation, telepathy, precognition, levitation, mind-control, and illusions. There’s no other abilities. Ciere is an illusionist, Devon an eidos/perfect recall, and Alan is too. Daniel is an eludure, and can hear thing (preminitions/intuition). Alan and Ciere have a little romance, but most of the book lack romance. It’s mostly a sci-fi crime thriller.

You may enjoy the Illusive series if you enjoy books about super powered teens or supervillains like: Steelheart by Brander Sanderson, Black Out by Robison Wells, Transparent by Natalie Whipple, V is for Villan by Peter Moore, Powerless by Tera Lynn Child and Tracy Deebs, The Curse Workers Series (White Cat) by Holly Black, The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney, Mind Games by Kiersten White, or books about thieves like The Heist Society by Ally Carter. Also, if you liked X-men and other superhero comics and movies and TV.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover more than the 1st book’s. The colors are interesting. It’s a gradient overlay. The title looks like sky-scrapers and Ciere is standing on it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Series: Corpus (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: experiments, scientists, islands, mystery

Setting: On an island in the south Pacific, called Skin Island, near Guam

POV/Tense: 3rd person POV: Sophie, Jim, and Lux

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 360 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover/Paperback

Publisher: Penguin: Razorbill

Summary/ product description: “On Skin Island, even the laws of creation can be broken.

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives--and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus's dangerous research.

Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.”

My Review: This book, Vitro, take place at the same time as or a few days before the event of Origin, but on an island in the South Pacific rather than the Amazon Rainforest. It’s yet another unique sci-fi story that deals with the morality of science. It’s not about cloning like I first thought. It’s about in-vitro fertilization and a chip that can control these Vitros. The chips cause them to imprint on the first person they see when they are born/awaken.

Sophie came to Skin Island (a fictional island near Guam) because of an email sent by her mother. She’s taken there by Jim, a childhood friend who’s now a pilot and flies tourists. What’s happening on Skin Island is not what Sophie first believed. She see Lux, her secret twin who’s a Vitro. And she is mistaken for her. Jim thinks Lux is Sophie and rescues her and thing keep getting worse, more crazy and complicated.

This book is actually kind of fun too. It’s funny and light, though the horrible science it deals with is not. There’s romance and humor, and a lot of science. It definitely keeps in tone with Origin, but it’s written in 3rd person POV, rotating between Sophie, Jim and Lux. Origin was 1st person POV, and only Pia. The only character that is in both books is Strauss. Victoria Strauss is a nasty lady who’s a big part of Corpus, a scientific research organization with projects all over the world. She cares more about profit than anything and inherited the job from her father. She’s seems like Divergent’s Jeanine from Erudite.

I’d recommend this book to fans of Unremembered, Maximum Ride, Altered by Jennifer Rush, The Rules by Stacy Kade and other books with genetic engineering and mad science. Also, if you like tropical island settings like in Forsaken by Lisa M. Stasse, or Catching Fire, then you’ll love this.

Cover Art Review: I love the cover. The test tube with the island is a very cool illustration. Almost minimal.

Here's the paperback cover. Not as cool.