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Archive for the ‘Science Fiction’ Category

Edgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski.

July 10, 2017 Comments off

edgelandEdgeland by Jake Halpen and PeterKujawinski. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

It is said that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Make this book the exception because the cover introduces you to this novel in the best way possible. The sea surging through arches into a chasm. The people in this novel call it The Drain and it is 30 miles wide and 100 miles across.

Where is it going and what mysteries surround it? For the population in this novel the drain is at the core of their hopes and dreams particularly at death. Are they being deceived?

Wren is a lower caste urchin with a strong sense of survival and caring for others. Alec is from a rich family who needs to prove himself to his family. He works for a funeral parlour to assist the bodies of the dead and some of the living  over the edge of the Drain to the afterlife.

Alec and Wren are friends but they are going to find out things that they never thought possible. Their journey in the land of the dead is thought provoking and deep. Look out for the links to this pair of authors first title together the very impressive Nightfall also reviewed on this blog.

Drown the serpent of Fear is a mantra that characterises this novel for Intermediate and high school students. A very good read. The ending will have you on the edge of your seat.

 

Moa by James Davidson

April 4, 2017 Comments off

moaMoa by James Davidson. Pub. Earths End, 2017.

A comic book story in 5 parts concerning two Moa Rangers Possum von Tempsky and Kiwi Pukupuku. Both ride Moas and are sort of watchdogs cum cultural police cum super heroes who wander round NZ’s bush and seashore sorting out the bad dudes including tough looking pigs, stags and lizards. All the local population are kiwis.

Their adventures fringe onto Maori legends including Hatupatu and the Birdwoman and of course Maui. There is a story of the largest Kauri tree that bushmen want to cut down. Everytime they try it is restored again as it is protected by a Mauri stone.

The last story which is not finished is a serial story concerning the theft of Maui’s magic jaw bone by Otto who wants to use it to fish for his own land and conquer the World. You will need to get the next part to find out how it ends.

Comic book illustrations with speech bubbles from the characters. Lots of action and tongue in cheek humour without offending the cultural aspects.

Another example of the changing way Maori legends and culture are proceeding to appeal to modern kids. I like the movement.

 

Horizon. survival is no game. by Scott Westerfeld

February 14, 2017 Comments off

horizonHorizon. survival is no game. by Scott Westerfeld. Pub. Scholastic, 2017.

This can only be the beginning of a new series because the end is inconclusive and elusive to the reader who is kept guessing all the way through the novel.

It is a science fiction/adventure novel with survival a major theme and is aimed at intermediate, junior secondary readers.

The novel begins with an unusual airplane crash by an aircraft en route from USA to Japan. In mid flight over the Arctic the aircraft is sliced through from nose to tail by something weird and crashes in a lush and dangerous jungle. How could this be?

Furthermore during the ripping of the fuselage all 500 adults disappeared leaving behind 8 teenagers and there seemed to have been some sort of electric selection system that decided who survived. Could this be true?

The teenagers wonder where they are. The plants and animals seem to indicate they are on Earth but two moon like lights in the sky suggest another planet. As the teenagers face what has happened to them they find an anti gravity device which allows them to explore the surroundings and they encounter a flesh eating vine and birds with razor sharp beaks that hunt in a flock.

Cool heads are needed to get out of this because if they got there, there has to be a way back. Read it and find out.

Imaginatively written by Scott Westerfeld, this series will be a winner.

Boy X by Dan Smith

December 19, 2016 Comments off

boy-xBoy X by Dan Smith. Pub Chicken House, 2016.

This is an easy to read action/ survival thriller set in a research Lab on an island covered in a deadly jungle.It is aimed at high school students and intermediate aged readers

Ash is about 16 years old and he awakes in a bed in the research laboratory with memories of a man called Thorn having stabbed him in the neck with a needle. He goes looking for his scientist mother and stumbles into a heap of action including a helicopter crash.

He meets Isabel, an Hispanic girl whose father is also a scientist and together they make their way to the laboratory where Ash’s mother and Isabel’s father are sealed in. They learn that both have been injected by a lethal virus called Kronos which has the potential to destroy the World.

Fortunately there is an antidote but some villains have taken both the virus and antidote and fled across the dense jungle to a boat on the other side of the island. Isabel and Ash need to stop the virus from leaving the island and to get back to their mother and father to give them the antidote.

They have 24 hours to do so. The countdown is on, the psychopathic Thorn is after them, and the jungle has terrors of its own. Not only that, Ash has developed heightened senses and can see, hear and smell things miles away. He is also stronger, heals quickly and can move like a vampire.

Read the rest and find out what happens. It is thrilling.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

December 13, 2016 Comments off

flora-banksThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr. Pub. Penguin Books, 2016.

This superb young adult novel about awakening is one that you will never forget.

The novel begins with a letter to Flora from her mother. It tells Flora she is 17 years old and that when she was ten she had a tumour taken from her brain and with it the memory of everything that has happened since. It also says she has a friend Paige and that she (Flora) will always live with her parents who will care for her and keep her safe.

Is this true?

At a party everything that Flora has known is dramatically changed when Paige’s boyfriend Drake, a total scoundrel, kisses her in a way that she remembers and can never forget. Like Sleeping Beauty she awakens to a confused  life she never knew and with a memory that gives her hope and life.

Flora lives from day to day by writing important things on her arms and in a book, but this is sorely tested when her parents leave  for Paris to look after an older brother that Flora never knew existed.

Flora comes off her medication and embarks on a journey to the North Pole to find the boy who kissed her, in the hope that he will spark further memories. The adventure is stunning and Flora meets some wonderful people during the journey while  discovering everything she has been told is not as it seems. Be Brave Flora.

The best novel I have read this year. Superbly structured in three parts and narrated by Flora in a manner that reflects her medical condition.

The ending is hopeful and tells much about the human condition. Unforgettable and believable. Due for release 3 January 2017

Lonesome. When You Go by Saradha Koirala.

July 11, 2016 Comments off

lonesomeLonesome. When You Go by Saradha Koirala.. Pub. Makaro press, 2016.

Thoroughly enjoyed this novel about rock bands, music, school and teenage angst. It was like, and I quote from the author, opening a hot meat pie and having all the meatiness flood out at you.

The main character and narrator is Paige, a cool bass player for a school Indie band called Vox Pop.The band aspire to win the Rockfest competition for high school bands, they think they are pretty good but life does not go smooth for them. They have musical differences and personal differences and of course problems about school and in their family life.

Paige has a best friend Lily who is flighty, another friend Molly who has an eating disorder and a sister Rose who has relationship problems but is a really good older sister.

The bass players role in any band is to keep a steady rhythm and Paige does this in spite of the chaos all around her. Two male band members have a thing about Paige and she doesn’t know it. Cool chicks never do.

The drama derives from the Rockfest competition, will they won’t they, then the ultimate crisis when a band member has to be replaced on the eve of the final.

Musos will love this book and it will fill a gap in many school collections.

Structured in day by day accounts during all 4 school terms and in the first term of the following year. Well written, witty, perceptive and real. As Bob Dylan once wrote “get sick get well, hang around the ink well”.

5th Wave Bk 3: The Last Star by Rick Yancey.

June 28, 2016 Comments off

Last Star5th Wave Bk 3: The Last Star by Rick Yancey. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2016.

The final exciting action packed novel of the 5th Wave Series for teenagers and young adults.

The series that began with the intrusion of a pregnant woman by a shadow from an owl which turned out to be a 10,000 year old alien without a body continues with 99.9% of humans slaughtered by the aliens. Now remains the moping up operations, the 5th Wave, with humans containing the alien presence killing everyone they meet. In fact everybody is killing everybody.

The world  the survivors live in is violent, and death is always a heart beat away It is easier to kill a person than it is to tie your shoe laces and the only hope for humans is that they live long enough for their deaths to matter. There is a teddybear in the story to remind us that we reading about human beings.

Cassie, Ben now called Zombie, Ringer, Nugget, Sam and Megan plus the turncoat alien in human form Evan Walker exist and battle in the last 4 days of Earth. At the end of 4 days the huge alien mothrship that sits in all it’s greenery in the skies will unleash bombs on every city left on Earth to complete the elimination of humans.

Read this and find out if it all occurs. Is there any hope? Will all of the characters whose agonies we live through survive? Masterly written by Rick Yancey with a sense of humour that is bizarre but a believable.

You will not put this down once you start.