This is one of the most stunning dystopian fiction novels for young adults that I have ever read.
Set in a country much like Scotland, in a city much like Edinburgh, with a population that are led and infected by the most extreme and cruelest Knoxian ethics and values. This is one of the most cruel yet brilliant novels I have read.
The main character is 17 year old Celestine who is a near perfect teenager, doesn’t rock the boat and goes along with society’s rules wiothout question. Before she was born there was a great recession in which the banks folded, the Government collapsed and the economy ravaged. The nation responded by rooting out all the bad decision makers and every person who made an error of judgement whether it be ethical or otherwise.
People who where judged to have made mistakes were labelled Flawed and were branded on a part of their bodies that reflect the flaw. Daily trials were held presided by three power judges. The events were televised like reality tv and became the source of the nations entertainment and worshiping celebrities but mainly a way of rooting out undesirables. The judges were very powerful and the most powerful was Crevan father of Celestine’s boyfriend Art.
Those who were branded flawed have a terrible life, much worse than under Apartheid and treated as outcasts by those who considered themselves more worthy. Celestine is about to find out what this all means and so are you the reader.
In an incident on a bus Celestine shows humanity towards a Flawed old man. This is illegal and she appears before the court and suffers the most cruel treatment of any character I have read about. It will stun you but you will strongly empathise with Celestine and feel her pain.
The novel not only shows man’s inhumanity to man but it asks the question Can perfection be bred and imperfection bred out? Is anybody perfect? and it shows how power must always be checked.
Beautifully written without a word out of place. It amazed me that Cecelia Ahern wrote it in 6 weeks and then tuned it up. This woman can write. The chapters are short and you can’t stop reading. I read it long into the night and at times had to put it down and walk around while digesting what I was reading. Hell I hope Celestine is alright.
There is going to be a sequel to this novel out in 2017. If there is a 10 out of 10 novel this year this is it.
If you are going to write action science fiction novels make sure the science is believable and the action is necessary and exciting. Well Brian Falkner does all this in the final segment to the recon team Angel series. Not only does he do all that but he does it with a style and wit that will have you applauding his genius.
This is the best action writing that I have read since Joihn Marsden’s Tomorrow when the war began series.
Structured in three parts, each part builds on the other and leads to a hopeful and satisfactory ending.
To recap on the plot. The short, green skinned, forked tongued and sloped headed Bzadians have conquored Australian and much of the World except America and New Zealand. The All Blacks are hard to beat even in the future..
Wars have been fought and the Bzadians held off because of their loathing for cold and water. Now Humans have developed an aircraft (the scream jet) that can fly at mack 7 speed and this threatens to turn the tide of the war. The Recon Angels led by NZ lass Trianne Price accompanied by the Tsar, barnard former turncoat Brogan and insider spy Chisnall are sent on an important mission in an operation that hopefully will turn the war.
The action is brilliant with the dialogue and relationship stuff outstanding. Falkner has a great sense of the absurd and the obvious in dealing with action talk. It made me laugh. his metaphor can be illuminating as when he describes something as “standing out like skid marks on a wedding dress.” Is that good or what?
The best part for me is that the Bzadians are not bad aliens. They have a crime free society. They have a spiritual leader- Azoh and they are neat and tidy. They have their faults and they have developed a bomb -the positronium bomb – that makes nuclear weapons look like firecrackers. The point is will they use it if the chips are really down. More importantly would humans use it in the same position.
An excellent novel for a wide range of age groups from intermediate to young adult. Its depth and its’ humour set this novel aside from most action books. I am sorry to see the end of the series.
This novel took me four days to read and I wished it had taken me longer. When it ended I wanted more and fortunately I am going to get it because it is part 1 of a trilogy that i am sure will set the literary world on fire.
It reads like an historical/ adventure /fantasy but I can assure you it has a lot more depth than that.
The setting is The Tearling a new land that has resulted from a cataclysm in the past and has been settled by a utopian group from America in an event known as The Crossing. The Tearling is bounded by Cadare to the south and the Mordor like Mortmesne to the east. Some past technology has survived but not all, gunpowder for instance is a fringe technology.
The Tearling is ruled by a decadent and corrupt Regent following the murder of the inept Queen Elyssa. Before the queen’s death her daughter was smuggled out to be raised by a couple known as Barty and Carlin. They bring up the very plain girl named Kelsea in an enlightened yet tough environment.
In the mean time The Tearling has been overrun by the cruel and decadent Red Queen from Mortmesne who has left the Regent in charge. The Regent who is Kelsea’s uncle has hunted widely for her without success and now 19 years later it is time for her return.
On a day known to Barty and Carlin the Queen’s Guard led by hard man Carroll and equally hard man Mace arrive to take Kelsea back to the Capital City New London to claim her throne.
The action starts and it will mesmerise you the reader the way it did me.
Kelsea is a brilliant character. She is straightforward, decisive, tough, human and aware of her destiny and what she must do. As she and her Guard travel though The Tearling she sees the enormity of the task ahead of her but first she must assert herself as Queen and prove her worth to the Guard and to the people.
One of the central themes of this novel is leadership. What does it take to get people to follow you and attract loyalty. Other themes are the gap between rich and poor, corruption, the place of the church and religion and the deviance of human behaviour.
Kelsea and her main man Mace plus a host of astonishingly real characters drive you through this outstanding novel which at times will shock and horrify the reader. But you are on Kelsea’s side all the way.
Senior secondary and young adult. I can’t wait to read the next one.
An excellent easy to read futuristic fantasy for intermediate and junior high school students from a writer that I have just caught up with.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Artificial Intelligence machines took over the Internet and controlled the World. Not in the manner of The Terminator but by using any householod machine that has a chip to help it operate. Yes your fridge, your kettle your photocopier anything could become your enemy.
Teenager Bram’s mum is a brilliant scientist working with AI. A rogue AI called Ahriman escapes into the Internet and causes a computer and robot rebellion. Ahriman and whoever or whatever controls him/she/it has death squads operating and has control of many City Authorities.
Bram’s mum foresaw that this might happen and Bram and his family practiced emergency procedures to counter a rogue AI. Bram goes home to find his house explode in front him and learns that the police and a host of Killbots are after him. He goes to an emergency cache to find money and a highly developed robo AI hidden in a familiar childhood cuddly duck. He becomes RoboDuck.
While on the run Bram meets a school friend 14 year old Stella and with RoboDuck they go on the run and try to fight the evilf Ahriman and his robot army. Nothing is safe and they have to avoid anything connected to the Internet like cell phones and CCTV cameras. They are doing well until drones take over. Read it and find out what happens.
Humerous and technically believable. You will have fun with this novel.
If you have read the brilliant Starters by the same author reviewed elsewhere on this blog then you must read Enders.
The world has had the Spore Wars and few working class people have survived because they couldn’t afford the vaccine to make them resistant. These people are the Starters of which Callie is one.
Enders could afford the vaccine, they are rich, powerful and now very old, most over 100 years.
In the first novel Starters, Callie volunteered for a mind/body swap for a heap of money with an Ender called Helena. Helena committed murder while using Callie’s body, died herself and left half of her considerable estate to Callie.
The organisation that supplied the mind/body swap is now destroyed and the Old Man who ran the organisation is out there still creating havoc.
All the Starters that allowed their bodies to be used in the mind/body swap had a chip inserted in the back of their necks and the Old Man still has access to them and is using it in a disturbing manner.
Callie and the Old Man’s son, Hyden, unite to destroy the Old Man’s power.
Interesting technological science fiction for high school students. Many twists and turns with Callie learning not even to trust her own judgement. Where will it all end?. Another class the Middles is revealed perhaps one more book. I will read it.
I found this novel for tenagers fascinating to read but difficult to hold in my head. I was never sure where I was in the story as nothing that happens is what it seems. It is like that old Patrick McGoohan TV series of the 1960’s called The Prisoner. I never knew what was happening in that either.
In a dystopian world where the Reckoning has occurred people are under strict control by a Government that does not tolerate difference. Chief Administrator and total monster Neville Rose would have that it is for the common good but all dictators say this.
Ashala leads a group of children mostly who are well different. They are The Tribe and they live in harmony with the animals in Firstwood. Ember can change memories, Georgie can predict the future and Ashala can be menacing when she sleepwalks in dreamtime.
Ashala escapes the city with a boy called Jazz who flees into the grasslands which are ruled by mind talking Saurs. Ashala is betrayed by an old Tribe member Justin Connor and taken in for interrogation by Neville Rose.
From this point on nothing is as it seems. It is a little like Aboriginal Dreamtime and legend and the mind control of Orwell’s 1984.
Give it a try. Sophisticated readers of fiction will get a lot out of this novel.
Starters by Lissa Price. Pub. Random House, 2012.
The very rich are also very old, most older than 120 years and they are known as Enders.
An organisation called Prime Destinations promises the Enders young bodies to fulfill their fantasies and be young again. We all know that youth is wasted on the young and here is an opportunity to help the old live again.
This is done by paying the young very handsomely to loan their bodies to the Enders while their minds are shut down. The Enders can use the young body as though it was their own.
Sixteen year old Callie is a Starter and this is too much to turn down as she is sick of scrounging on the streets and her 7 year old brother is sickly. She signs on for three donors and the first two are of short duration and she comes out fine.
On her third donor Callie wakes up in the middle of it all with a gun in her hand. Is she to commit murder?Are there political implications in all of this? Is it safe?
Read this amazing novel to find out. It is thrilling ,brilliantly conceived and a cut above recent science fiction for young adults.
The ending is superb and the sequel called Enders is due in December 2012. I will be reading it.