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Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

Arc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman.

December 9, 2019 Comments off

The TollArc of the Scythe bk3: The Toll by Neal Shusterman. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

The third and final book in this trilogy and the big question is “what will become of the world of Scythes, Tonists and Thunderhead after the sinking of the Scythe Headquarters Endura”?

In a nutshell it is knackered. Chaos reigns. Everything is changing.

Firstly Scythedom is divided and Robert Goddard is now self declared Highblade of the Scythes and is determined to unite Scythes and increase their power over both the Thunderhead and the Tonists. Gleaning or killing is increased to alarming proportions and the fairness and equity of the gleaning is now targeted racism. Highblade Goddard blames Rowan or Scythe Lucifer for the destruction of Endura although Rowan and Citra or Scythe Anastasia died together in the sinking of Endura. In this World in which mortality has been conquered does anybody really die permanently?

Secondly Thunderhead, that AI entity that can process 2 billion actions per second, has withdrawn from the World. Everybody is declared “unsavory” and no longer has direct contact with Thunderhead. Day to day operations are still handled by Thunderhead but personal access has ended. The question is does Thunderhead have a plan for humanity or is it going to be left to destroy itself?

Thirdly the Tonists that wacko group of religious followers of the Tone have a living leader, The Toll who is a character you know from the previous two books and he is the only person that Thunderhead will talk directly to. Some Tonists have turned radical or Sibilant and Anarchy reigns as the Tonists search for their identity in this new World.

Fourthly, Scythe Faraday and his assistant in the last book detected a blind spot for Thunderhead in the South Pacific and they go searching, crash land on an island to make some interesting discoveries.

The action is non stop as each of the player groups reacts to the actions of the other. Has Thunderhead given up on humanity? Will the Scythes under Goddard glean humans out of existence? Do the Tonists have the answers? What of Anastasia, Lucifer and Faraday? Is the South Pacific the answer to their problems?

Stunning writing from Shusterman with an ending that will have you gasping. The best series since Hunger Games and will appeal to a similar audience. An interesting angle is added to this series with the character of Jericho and the personalisation of Thunderhead in human form. Can a machine ever understand humans?

Wonderful stuff, I am still buzzing over it.

 

Frankly in Love by David Yoon.

November 19, 2019 Comments off

franklyFrankly in Love by David Yoon. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

I first received this novel for review two months ago and somehow I have sat on it till now. I shouldn’t have. It is absolutely superb. It is about first love, it is about racism and it is about cultural difference in American culture, written in a way that will totally enthrall you.

Frank Li is 18 years old he is by his own words a Korean-American and proud of it. He speaks no Korean and has grown up as an American kid except that he is Asian. His parents are dyed in the wool Koreans who came to America in the 90’s. Their English is halting and they earn a living from a liquor store come grocery in California which they own. They have done very well but stick to their Korean friends and are totally racist in their views especially towards other Asian groups. Its about the human ties that matter.

Previously their only daughter and Frank Li’s sister Hannah, has been disowned by the family because she developed a relationship with a Black American while at college and has since married him. Frank Li is distressed about this as he loved his sister and his parents want him to marry a Korean daughter of one of their friends. Her name is Joy and she has a secret Chinese boyfriend without her parents knowledge. Joy is a joy to read about.

When Frank Li starts a relationship with European American girl, Brit Means that develops into love and hot love at that, Joy and Frank Li start a pretend relationship to hide their real relationships from their parents.

This is a dangerous game and soon it is going to go pear shaped. Find out how and why by reading this very readable novel for yourself. It is compelling reading, superbly told.

In a nut shell the parents have to let go of their racist views and the kids have to learn to be brave in a melting pot that is the American dream. An added bonus is that the multi cultural kids in this book are highly intelligent and the wit and interaction they have both in person and via technology is totally engrossing

Senior secondary and young adult but younger teen readers will thrive on it too. In my top 5 books of the year so far and I pick it will stay there.

The Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman.

October 27, 2019 Comments off

DustThe Book of Dust. vol 2. The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2019.

This is a superb novel for lovers of fantasy, of philosophy, of mystery, of adventure and those interested in the meaning and origin of life.

It has been ten years since Lyra returned from the land of the dead in The Subtle Knife from the His Dark Materials series. She is 20 and is in a melancholic disposition because she and her daemon Pan have fallen out and there is no trust between them. They are capable of traveling apart from each other and do so regularly. This was once thought impossible but their parting is an essential ingredient in this story. Read it and find out why.

Lyra still uses that mysterious instrument, the alethiometer, to find out information and has started to use a new and radical way of manipulating it. The bankruptcy of her friend’s father who is in the rose trade is a warning of major trouble and the murder of a botanist Rodderick Hassall has the world in an uproar.

Hassall has just returned from the desert of Karamakan in Central Asia where a certain rose can only be grown whose oil has been contaminated with that magical particle Dust from which all life emanates. How? The origin of this rose oil is a building in the middle of the desert that can be entered only by those who can separate from their daemons.

Where has Pan gone? Can he really believe that someone has stolen Lyra’s imagination?

I will leave it at that. Find out for yourself in this novel of nearly 700 pages that is totally compelling. I read it over 6 days reading and savouring about 150 pages per day. It is outstanding and even the deepest philosophical points are made easy to read.

The real skill of the author is to organise the plot so that the connections between the host of characters is made apparent, otherwise it could be confusing.

If you miss this you will kick yourself. Lyra Silvertongue is not only growing up and learns much about herself, she is on the run again in the land of fairies and ghosts, the secret commonwealth.

 

The End and Other Beginnings. Stories from the future by Veronica Roth.

October 22, 2019 Comments off

end beginningsThe End and Other Beginnings. Stories from the future by Veronica Roth. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

There are 6 stories in this collection, all are set in the future, all are about survival in which the characters come to a crisis or turning point in their lives akin to death, then have a renewed assurance and confidence about continuing their lives.

In all stories which are set on an Earth like setting there are alien cultures living in with the native population and the characters have a skill or a talent that can help them in their plight.

They are not simple stories. All have strong development of plot and character from which further stories can be made from the reader thus they are very useful at encouraging writing.

INERTIA has a dying teenage boy linking mentally by medical science with a girl with whom he had a past relationship. They share memories of the earlier relationship of which the other was not fully aware as a way of saying goodbye before death. With a twist.

THE SPINNERS. Has a bounty hunter chasing the killer of her mother. The killer is an alien symbiotic leech that attaches itself to the neck of a human and takes over their mind and body. Stunning ending with a twist.

HEARKEN. A girl with a strong musical talent is to become a Hearker who is able to read the life and death songs of humans based on String Theory. Everybody is living and dying at the same time. A lovely twist to this story too.

VIM AND VIGOR. Is a story of girls who are mad about super heroes. read it to find out what happens.

ARMOURED ONES. is a story of a boy who is considered week by his peers and choses to take on an Armoured beast that is feared by all in order to prove his worth.

THE TRANSFORMATIONIST. looks at religious belief and refusal to defend oneself in an alien culture.

Check these superior stories out, the human problems are so real yet so different. Senior secondary and young adult in appeal.

 

 

 

HERO by Michael Grant.

October 10, 2019 Comments off

heroHERO by Michael Grant. Pub. Electric Monkey, Imprint HarperCollins, 2019.

This work is like a Marvel or XMen comic written as a novel, and that is a good thing because it allows the reader to use his or her own imagination to view what is going on not someone else’s.

It is the third and final part of a spin off series of the GONE series, some of the characters are in there, so is the gore and mind blowing action.

Eight years ago a meteor hit Perdido Beach and everybody disappeared except those that lived within a dome created by an alien virus. The rock that the meteor was made of contained a virus that turned people into monsters.

The dome helped create the Rockborn gang – Dekka, Shade, Cruz, Malik and Armo. They are mutants, have special powers and can morph and demorph into super heroes at will. They kept the world from disintegrating in the last book, live in Las Vegas, and now they have a new challenge.

Another asteroid with the same virus is orbiting the Earth and is projected to hit New York. They Nuke the thing but large rocks and dust still crash into the city. Those hit by the dust are isolated, taken out into the country and slaughtered at the behest of the Federal Government in case they turn into monsters like Perdido. This clashes with the will of New York City.

Four people allegedly survive and one is newly infected Bob Markovic whose invisibility is covered with stinging bees and insects. A new kind of monster. As a human he was a capitalist whose philosophy is “morality and profit do not walk hand in hand”. See how he handles being a monster.

The Rockborn gang are brought in to sort it out and they are having doubts as to who they really are and what type of world are they living in. Are they living in an AI sim as comic book super heroes or is it the real world?

Check it out for yourself. I thought it was brilliant but not for everybody. The gore and the action hits you in waves.

Secondary and young adult but adults who like horror and sci/fi will devour it. Superbly written in short chapters to keep you up with the pace.

American Royals by Katharine McGee.

September 16, 2019 Comments off

royalsAmerican Royals by Katharine McGee. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2019.

I have always liked Romance as a genre and if you are going to read romance then read the best. This is the best. At times the romantic scenarios and the dialogue between the characters is electrifying. It is positively sizzling.

America has a Royal family descended the same way that British Royalty has but from George Washington. If Brexit doesn’t work out for Britain I would recommend that they sell their Royal family to the Americans. They need it.

Now George 1V is on the throne and for the first time the heir is female, Princess Beatrice who is 18 years. She has a sister and brother two years younger and they are twins, Samantha and Jeff.

Jeff is a bit of a playboy, Samantha feels she is not important compared to big sister Beatrice but she has a commoner friend, Nina. Beatrice is perfect and knows she has a role to play as heiress to the throne but she has feelings. She is escorted everywhere by her bodyguard Connor who is a square jawed hunk of manhood.

Onto the scene comes Teddy, a well connected aristocrat as smooth as a baby’s bottom but a cad underneath. Put all these characters together and you have romantic intrigue hotter than a pepper sprout. Then there is Daphne -find out for yourself.

The plot also has many links with the reality of Royalty in UK and elsewhere. There is an Aunt Margaret whose relationship to a fighter pilot was stopped from on high and Charles “liege man” speech to his mother, is reiterated by Teddy.

Brilliantly told in short chapters from each of the female characters in sequence and as bestselling author Sara Shepard wrote “Completely addictive”.

I loved it, you will too. For high school and young adults but intermediate girls will fight you for it. Boys should read it too, it is superb. Better still American Royals 2 is out next year. I can’t wait. Excellent cover design.

And the Ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. Illus. Rovina Cai.

September 9, 2019 Comments off

ocean skyAnd the ocean Was our Sky by Patrick Ness. illus. Rovina Cai. Pub. Walker books, 2019.

Nietzsche once said “if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss stares into you”. So it is with this outstanding novel about the worlds of whales and men, each with a determination to kill the other.

This book is from the whales’ point of view as they hunt a devil ship with a white hull called the Toby Wick. For the whale, gazing into the abyss is the reverse of man. They do so when they breach the surface and encounter the sky.

The whale society is as sophisticated as our own and they want to hunt us in the same way as humans hunt the whales. Captain Alexander leads a pod with apprentices whose mission is to chase a prophecy that says a show down with the devil in the form of Toby Wick is inevitable. Read it and see if it is.

Just as Ishmael narrates Moby Dick, apprentice whale, Bathsheba, under the command of Capt. Alexander narrates this stunning novel. The pod discovers a wrecked ship on the surface with a human barely alive on board but carrying a medallion in his hand that is interpreted by the whales as foreshadowing a clash with the devil, Toby Wick.

Bathsheba captures the man for the pod and encloses him in an air bubble so that he can survive in their world. This relationship is to question the whole way in which whales and men relate to each other, but will it stop a catastrophic ending?

This novel is one of the reasons that I stay with children and young adult literature. The illustrations of Rovina Cai are off this planet, depicting the world of the whales in their grey/blue world, but increasingly red mingles, then dominates.

Don’t miss this outstanding work for high school , young adult and adult. The best of the year, bloody brilliant in fact.