Science Fiction

Book Review: Scarlet

Scarlet
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

I continue to be impressed with Marissa Meyer's ability to weave a compelling narrative based on common fairy tale themes but set in a sci-fi framework. A continuation of the story that started in Cinder , Scarlet felt a little distracted as it added in elements from "Little Red Riding Hood" and split its time between the new characters—mainly Scarlet and Thorne—and advancing the plot of Cinder to its next logical step. As long as you realize this series centers around Cinder and her rise to the Lunar throne, this book should provide some great entertainment.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most about this book was how it seamlessly integrated with the lore already established in the previous volume while also being true to its source. Nothing strays too far from the themes of wolves/werewolves, so it's a bit of an obvious connection to make in a series that's titled the Lunar Chronicles. Still, the thought put into constructing a plausible plot from the pieces of a short fairy tale is something that must be applauded. Even so, Scarlet does have some weaknesses that have carried over from its predecessor.

The charm of the characters in this series comes from how realistic they seem. Granted, most of the characters are teenage girls, so there are many quirks that are amusing at first but become irritating over time. In particular, Scarlet seems quite stupid. Her logic is clearly flawed, and it's obvious to the reader that she's going about things all wrong for far too long until she finally "gets it." And—of course—she's going to be attracted to the "Wolf." The other new character, Thorne, seemed underdeveloped as well, but I'm sure we'll see more of him soon.

A somewhat distracted but still excellent follow-up to Cinder, I give Scarlet 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner
Author: 
Dashner, James
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The young adult book genre for the most part fells boring and stale to me. However, there was one book that I found to be great, and a real page turner, it was called Maze Runner. The book took me two days to finish, because it was such a page turner. The characters are great, the mystery is intriguing, and the drama is fun to read about. This book is one of my favorites and is a must read for everyone.

Reviewer's Name: 
McKinley

Book Review: Renegades

Renegades
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Renegades is an action-packed, intriguing, forbidden romance-filled story. Unlike classic "hero vs. villain" stories, this story shows the ups and downs of both sides, and makes you question who the real villains are and what makes someone a real hero. The dual main character style from both Nova and Adrian's point of view adds a real depth and feeling to the book. It was easy to tell each point of view, and they collided and cooperated with each other, showing the inner workings and feelings of both characters and what they were faced with. The duality not only allows you to get to know each character better, but also lets you see the world from both different points of view, the Renegades, and the Anarchists. Nova and Adrian were both likable and understandable. From Nova's want for vengeance, and Adrian's want for justice, you get to see and experience the choices they make, the sacrifices required, and the unknowing relationship and connection between the two as they pursue their desires. Paired with the amazing setting of a futuristic utopia yet broken society, the flow and purpose of the story is just fantastic.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: Unwind

Unwind
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: Scythe

Scythe
Author: 
Shusterman, Neal
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Scythe is the first book of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, that follows dual main characters Rowan and Citra. Set in the far-future, natural death has been practically eliminated thanks to technology and the "Thunderhead," and only those dubbed "scythes," which are basically reapers, can truly kill someone. This book set up the perfect utopian world, whilst being filled with joy and sorrow. Throughout the book you learn about the interactions and struggles of characters that aren't so different from today's people. The flow was fantastic, always making you want to know more and making the jump between character perspectives really work. The inclusion of 'scythe journals' in between the chapters adds a personable feature and gives an insight into the lives of characters that while they may not be specific to the story, and important to the context and groundwork. Every character that was introduced felt so human and real and makes you wonder what it would be to live in their world. The two main characters felt like they were connected in a deep and important way, yet they also felt so different and so alive that the dual-lead works. From the world to the characters, this book will have you wanting to know more, and wondering about life in an era without true death.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evelyn

Book Review: The Ruin of Kings

The Ruin of Kings
Author: 
Lyons, Jenn
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons is an amazingly crafted fantasy story following a young boy named Kihrin as he discovers the secrets of a world filled with gods, demons, dragons, and mages. However, Kihrin finds that his past will come back to haunt him, and he must survive with the help of anyone who will accept him. Including, but not limited to, gods, dragons, and deposed kings. The plot twists and amazing scenery make this book amazing. I enjoyed reading it very much, and would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: Dune

Dune
Author: 
Herbert, Frank
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of the most iconic science fiction novels of all time. Featuring an imaginative universe filled with strange aliens and even stranger planets, Dune provides a sense of adventure and wonder to every reader. It follows the story of a young noble as the Emperor gives his family control over the planet responsible for generating the most valuable resource in the universe, spice. But this advantageous appointment is not without its risk, and soon rival houses come to try and take control of the planet. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys any kind of science fiction, and it is a must read for every Star Trek and Star Wars nerd out there.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison

Book Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: 
Adams, Douglas
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I'll be honest. The main reason I picked up this book was because I kept hearing people talk about how 42 is the meaning of life and I had no idea what they meant. I also read it because I'm generally a big fan of science fiction, but it was mostly to understand the 42 reference. Despite my less-than-admirable intentions, though, I massively enjoyed it. The author is very creative and the writing itself is well-crafted, but, at the same time, the book doesn't take itself too seriously. It's hilarious. From the "42 is the meaning of life" idea that everyone talks about to the name "Slartibartfast," this book made me laugh out loud several times, which isn'ta common occurrence when I'm reading. I also read it as an audiobook, and Stephen Fry as the narrator makes it that much better. My only complaint about it is that the ending was a bit abrupt, but that's what sequels are for, so all in all, I would highly recommend.

Review grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Elanor

Book Review: School's Out -- Forever

School's Out -- Forever
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

After the amazing complexity of The Angel Experiment, James Patterson’s School’s Out-Forever, is a slightly less-complex sequel in which the teens must navigate the muddy waters of public school while trying to stay out of the grasp of their previous captors. It features one large new addition to the story, an imposter among the group. Who could this imposter be? What is their purpose? There is only one way to find out, read the book. I enjoyed this book less than The Angel Experiment, primarily because it can get confusing at times in its complexity, but I would still recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book.
Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: 
Harrison
Awards: 

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