Thursday, August 18, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth has given us a future Chicago where people have been divided into five factions.  They are Abnegation (the selfless),  Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite ( the intelligent).  Each year the 16 year-olds are given aptitudes tests and then attend a choosing ceremony where they either stay in their home faction or choose to join another.  Beatrice was born Abnegation but chooses Dauntless.  She also learns that she is divergent and later struggles to figure out exactly what that means.  Meanwhile in Dauntless she and the new initiates are put through three stages of training in which survival is not the only outcome needed.  You also need to be in the top ten otherwise you are kicked out and become factionless.

Beatrice, now Tris in Dauntless is small but due to the training becomes strong.  Physically and mentally.  She also becomes close with one of the trainers and their relationship slowly becomes romantic.  The story twists and turns.

Staying up late to finish this book was not a smart thing for me to do.  I thought about it all night whether I was dreaming or awake.  I even woke up thinking about it.  Divergent will be compared to many books.  It starts off like The Giver by Lois Lowry and parts of it are similar to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (receiving jobs in the former and survival in the latter) but Divergent is so much more.  It is a little more violent than I expected but I stuck with with it and loved it and of course I am now anxiously awaiting book 2.  Recommended for science fiction fans and those who enjoy dystopia books.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

A Long, Long Sleep
Marketing copy book description :      "Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically-induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose—hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire—is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes—or be left without any future at all."
     A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan is an incredible, frightening, disturbing, riveting, and hard to put down book.  As I read it I realized how confused I was and even stopped a few times to discuss it and other science fiction with my twenty two year-old son.  He reminded me that dystopian literature is science fiction but it is usually a commentary on our current society or current state of politics.  While I'm not sure if this was a dystopia, his comment  helped me understand a bit more but truthfully the further into the book I went the more I understood. 
     A Long, Long Sleep is unlike any book I've read in recent memory. While not about vampires, witches or angels there is a different force at work and we can only hope that Sheehan's vision of the future is just that, a vision and not a prediction.   While Rose starts off as weak and demure her power and intelligence grows faster than her weakened body can heal.  Sadly she was treated horribly her whole life by her parents and told that she was not smart, not nice and not able to run the company that would one day be hers.  The way they treated her, verbally and by putting her in stasis is cruel and unjust and I can only hope they suffered.  But I digress.
     Rose is smart.  Brilliant actually.  And Sheehan has created some other characters that will resonate with readers too.  Otto, an alien/human, can't verbalize what he is thinking but communicates by speaking in another's head and by (what we call) IMing or chatting on line.  Brendan, the boy who finds Rose and awakens her and protects her is a dreamboat.  Xavier, the love of Rose's life is hard to figure out considering how Rose flits in and out of his life due to stasis but their love was deep and sincere.  Their story is told in bits and pieces and seems impossible at first (some of my confusion) but becomes clearer. The landscape Sheehan lays out is mesmerizing as are the modes of transportation, the advanced technology and of course the idea of stasis.
     While I was lying in bed reading I was tempted to close up the book and save if for the next day.  Boom.  Major twist.  Had to keep reading until I finished! I do have questions though but I won't ask them until the  fall when everyone I recommend this book to will have read it and we can sit down and discuss it.  Recommended for fans of sci-fi although there is enough romance to keep newbies to the genre interested.  Fans of paranormal fantasy will also be drawn to it.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Candlewick Press via Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always a Witch
     Starting off just about where Once a Witch ends (click here for my review) Tamsin and her family are preparing for her sister Rowena's wedding. It is advisable to read that book first although it's not absolutely necessary.  After a visit from a stranger with a bizarre talent, new words in the "book," and a conversation with her grandmother, Tamsin heads back to 1887.  This time she travels without Gabriel, her sort of boyfriend.  She needs to warn the Greene family about the
plans of the vicious and damaging Knight clan without endangering Gabriel.  Tamsin also knows that there is a decision to be made that will have lasting repercussions for her and her family.
     Tamsin once again proves her strength, intelligence and bravery.  Jessica, Cook,  and Isobel are intriguing characters in the enchanting setting of
New York in 1887.  Gabriel is an important part of the story and I for one can never get enough of him.  This is an easy reading paranormal adventure and romance that teens will devour.  McCullough has written a quickly paced page turning book that is hard to put down.  While the ending was satisfactory, I wouldn't mind hearing more about Gabriel and Tamsin and their life together.
     Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley.