Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Science Fiction

The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
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
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
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
Awards:
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
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
Scythe
Shusterman, Neal
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
The Ruin of Kings
Lyons, Jenn
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
Awards:
Dune
Herbert, Frank
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
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Adams, Douglas
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
School's Out -- Forever
Patterson, James
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:
The Angel Experiment
Patterson, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is an amazing young-adult science-fiction series which follows the journey of six individuals who were given wings and other bird-like abilities by a genetics experiment. In the first novel, The Angel Experiment, the six have escaped the laboratory where they were held prisoner and are trying to remain free while being hunted by human-wolf hybrids that the experimenters have also sent to hunt them. I enjoyed the complexity of The Angel Experiment and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed movies like Wolverine.
Grade: 11.

Reviewer's Name: Harrison
1984
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

1984 by George Orwell is a phenomenal piece of dystopian literature that comments on the role of government and what freedom really is. The book follows the story of a lower ranking party member named Winston Smith who begins to defy the ideals of Ingsoc or "English Socialism" and the thought police. 1984 imagines what the world would have been like if the Axis powers in World War II had won/ if the war had never ended. I highly suggest this book be read along with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley because the juxtaposition between the two is fascinating. I recommend any reader who enjoys dystopian, philosophical, political, historical, or science fiction to read this book as it encapsulates all of those genres.

Reviewer's Name: Rowan K.
Awards:
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds
Sanderson, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I devoured this book (a set of three novellas) in three days and really enjoyed it. Brandon Sanderson is such a creative author, and here's yet another book of his that doesn't fail to impress. It tells the story of Stephen Leeds, who creates hallucinatory "aspects" with certain specialties to help him compartmentalize his knowledge to learn things and master abilities. He uses their help to solve mysteries as a way to give himself a purpose. Stephen's cases were intriguing to follow, and his aspects were really fun characters to get to know and get invested in. Stephen himself felt rather flat at the beginning, but as I read further, I realized that was an intentional decision. Because of his aspects, his personality is contained in all of them, so without them, he's sort of empty. It was awesome to watch him grow in this.

The only reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5 is because, as a set of novellas, the first two don't relate very much to the third, or to each other. I wish he had found a way to tie the cases into the finale more than he did. Otherwise, a great read, especially for a quiet weekend at home. I would definitely recommend!
Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Ender's Game
Card, Orson Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I've read this book so many times, and I always love it. It tells the story of the child prodigy Ender Wiggin, who starts the book at only six years old. In a dystopian world that's in the midst of a war with the alien Buggers, Ender and other highly gifted children are taken to Battle School to prepare them to fight in the Third Invasion, when Earth plans to invade the Buggers and hopefully beat them once and for all. Ender is smart, creative, and compassionate, while also sometimes being cruel in moments he needs to protect himself. He's such a well-developed and dynamic character, and I can always find myself relating to him, whether it's as a gifted child, as he questions who he is, as he grows up, or as he misses home and the way things used to be. It's easy to feel for him, from outrage at the officers to treating him unfairly to warmth in your heart when he builds relationships despite his forced isolation. He faces the trials of Battle School, but he also faces the trials of childhood and growing up. The book tackles themes of lies, control, isolation, free will, family, childhood, compassion, enemies, and prejudice in ways that are always very well-done. It balances action and shocking twists with character development and philosophy into a narrative that flows beautifully and keeps you engrossed from the first page to the last. Everything about it is exceptional, and I don't think I could ever get tired of it. I would recommend to anyone, any gender, any age, because it is certainly very near the top of the best books I've ever read.
(note: there is a small amount of language)

Reviewer grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Elanor
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Cinder by Marissa Meyer follows Cinder, a cyborg in New Beijing. Cinder is a mechanic in the futuristic city of New Beijing. She lives with her adopted mother Lihn Adri and her two adopted sisters Peony and Peral. One day, while she is in the market square, the Prince Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth, comes to visit her about his droid. The droid Nainsi had key information about the lost princess, Selene, of Luna. With the new disease Letumosis spreading rapidly around the globe, a cure needs to be found immediately.

The futuristic retelling of the classic tale Cinderella was truly amazing. There were lots of hints at the original story that were incorporated into the plot consistently. Marissa Meyer even includes the ball at the end of the book with her own twist on the tale. All in all, the book was truly amazing and very engaging.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book The Maze Runner by James Dashner follows Thomas. Thomas awakens in a box remembering nothing but his name. Before he knows it, other teenagers, all boys, open the box and greet them. He soon finds out that they have been living in the place they call the Glade for about two years. Not one of them remembers anything but their name. Every day, a few chosen go out into the endless maze and run it trying to figure a way out. However, in the evening, the gate closes, and if you don’t make it back in time, the Grievers that only come out at night in the maze will eat you alive.

James Dashner engages the reader in the first few chapters of the book and the characters are relatable and funny. He takes his first three books in the series and connects them very well. Fair warning, if you chose to read this series, the third book, The Death Cure, is very sad, but all in all, I would totally recommend reading the series.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
The Selection
Cass, Kiera
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book The Selection by Keira Cass follows the protagonist America Singer. As Prince Maxon of Illea comes of age to pick a wife, all the eligible girls of the Kingdom submit a form to the palace. Then Prince Maxon chooses 32 of the thousands upon thousands of girls to come to the palace and meet with him. Their society is ranked by numbers, one being royal and eight being the untouchables. America is a five, part of the entertaining class, and Maxon has taken interest in her.

The Selection is a very sweet love story that quickly turns more and more enticing as the book progresses. It gives the reader a feel of a utopian future and a medieval past. Each of her characters has a different past and personality giving the book a lot of different perspectives. All in all, the book is very sweet and an amazing read.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
Darkest Minds
Bracken, Alexandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken follows the protagonist Ruby. When the disease the IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration) plagued the United States, rarely any of the children survived. If they did survive, they develop superpowers. There are five levels of power that they can develop. Green gives the person enhanced intelligence, Blue is telekinesis, Yellow is electrokinesis, Orange is telepathic mind control and Red is pyrokinesis. If they show signs of having one of these powers they are shipped off to a containment camp until they are able to find a cure for the disease.

Alexandra Bracken creates characters that are funny and relatable. She also places the story in real towns around the United States that you can look up to help imagine the places where the story is set. I had a very fun time doing this and would recommend doing this as you read the book.

Reviewer's Name: Natalie
The Martian
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read the Martian because I love space. I love that Andy Weir tried to be really realistic with this novel. Even though nobody has been to Mars yet, his story of how they got there is pretty realistic. Also, I enjoyed Mark’s sense of humor in the book! If you like space, this book is for you! I would highly recommend this book, it’s a really good read.
grade: 11th

Reviewer's Name: Emani
The Martian
Weir, Andy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Martian, by Andy Weir, is a near-future realistic fiction novel. The base plot is Mark Watney, a botanist, is a part of the Ares 3 Mission, the NASA Mars Program. During an emergency take off, Mark is inadvertently left behind and assumed dead. However, this is not the case. Now Mark must find a way to survive alone on Mars, a planet trying to constantly kill him. Will he survive and make it back home? Read to find out. Even if you have seen the movie, read the book. The movie is very good at staying true to the book, but the book will still blow you away. *There is some adult language, so I would recommend this book for teens and adults.*

Reviewer's Name: Torin
1984
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

1984 by George Orwell is about a London where thought, speech, press is no longer free because it is all controlled by Big Brother and his Party. Every movement, gestor, spoke word is closely monitored by telescreens, hidden microphones, and cameras then reported to the Party. If you are found guilty of action or thought against the Party, you disappear. The Party controls everything. The protagonist, Winston Smith, a Party member who doubts the Party. The author does a fantastic job describing a place without freedom and the anxiety of living in it. Orwell makes the world come to life and makes you feel like it could happen. Personally, I feel like I could connect to the protagonist and the world. This book was quite unpredictable but easy to follow. All in all, It's a fantastic read, and I would recommend it with a 5 out of 5 stars.
Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Lucia S.
Awards:
The Wild Robot
Brown, Peter
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Wild Robot is about a robot who is stranded on an island after a hurricane wiped out the boat that was bringing 500 robots to work. At first, the robot is viewed as a monster and is avoided. As she continues to try and figure out how to survive on the island, the robot accidently squishes a family of geese, but one baby goose survives. Realizing that the robot squished the baby's family, she adopts the baby so that he can survive. Because she had no idea how to take care of a goose, she asks for help. All of the animals pitch in to help and throughout the journey, the animals realize that she is not a monster and the become friends.
I loved this book. It drew me in within the first 2 chapters. It did get a little boring in some parts, but other than that it was an awesome book. I would rate it about a 9/10.

Reviewer's Name: Mackenzie

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