Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

Book Review: Armada

Armada
Author: 
Cline, Ernest
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In a science fiction world shown by Ernest Cline, the protagonist, Zack Lightman, seems to have the whole world against him. His Dad has died in a freak accident, his school as well as his social life is miserable, and to make things worse everyone thinks he has gone crazy after breaking under this pressure. Having no interest in the real world, Zack throws himself into the vast world of science fiction and video games. One of his favorite games is a game called “Armada”, which is essentially a flight simulator involving space based combat. Not all is as it seems after a slew of strange missions and movements by the military it may be that this game is all too real. In this amazing work of science fiction by Ernest Cline, the future of Earth’s survival is seen through the eyes of Ernest’s protagonist. I greatly enjoyed this book, mostly due to the nature of the protagonist, Zack Lightman and the light humor played out on more serious concepts. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

Book Review: Prodigy

Prodigy
Author: 
Lu, Marie
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

In the second book in the Legend trilogy, the story begins in a world shattered by an extreme rise in sea level. The protagonists, Day and June have escaped the Republic’s forces and are heading towards Vegas. When they arrive, the dictator of the Republic, the Elector Primo, dies and his heir takes his place. Presented with a mission from a rebel group known as the Patriots, the duo is tasked with assassinating this new leader. June, seeing this new ruler is different, is conflicted by both the world she left behind as a member of the Republic and the world she now knows from her experiences with Day. In this action packed book, Marie Lu explores many concepts that are both relevant to the reader and thought invoking, through the conflicting perspectives presented by her two protagonists. The world put out before this book’s audience gives its characters breath as well as gives the reader a stunning view into a different world. One of my favorite aspects of this book is the dynamic protagonists and the direct look into their development throughout the story. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in a dystopian science fiction story placed in the not so distant future.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

Book Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass
Author: 
Maas, Sarah J.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Throne of Glass is the first of many in the series by Sarah J. Maas. The story follows Celaena Sardothien, a young woman assassin who was imprisoned for a year by the King of Adarlan. The King’s son, having heard of who she is, requests her to become the King’s champion, but first she must compete with all the other assassins and thieves to get the title officially. If she wins, after she serves for 4 years, she will be granted freedom. But there is something more going on when as the competition goes on, bodies start piling up.

The reason I enjoyed this book is it has a very well done mystery aspect to the book along with an immersive fantasy setting with a land of magic, fantastic creatures, and being unpredictable with what’s going to happen next. What I enjoyed the most about the book is the mystery involved because it was the perfect addition to a story that already had my attention. My reasoning for picking the book is the same for why I enjoyed it. I wanted a fantasy book with a story that’d keep me reading and that’s exactly what I got, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best book I’ve read this year, but it did introduce me into the series that keeps getting better as you read it.

While the book itself felt as if it hadn’t been written well in the beginning, the story was entertaining and intriguing enough, that kept me reading through the full book and onto the next in the series.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Gregory B

Book Review: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Author: 
Larsson, Stieg
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Now that I’ve finished the third book in this series, I realize it falls into the “trilogy conundrum” of having a strong, standalone first part, followed by two sequels that rely on each other to finish out the story. Heck, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest should have just been Part 3 of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo since it completed the story arc started back in book one. I had my suspicions this book would continue from the exact moment where The Girl Who Played with Fire ended. After all, there were a ton of loose ends, and the story ended abruptly.

Part of my issue with this book was that it was primarily tasked with tying up all the subplots from the first two books. However, it still felt like it needed to spend time on new storylines that didn’t add much to the overall plot and were only there because the main character wasn’t able to do anything interesting. I also didn’t particularly like how some of these story elements concluded, as they felt unfulfilling (the resolution of the conflict with Lisbeth’s father stands out in particular). Overall, these two qualms made the book drag on longer than I think it should have.

There were still some positive elements in this book, including the trial of Lisbeth Salander. In fact, this coup de grace was by far the most entertaining section of the entire trilogy. I also appreciated the tension created early on when Lisbeth was in the hospital, as well as the action in the Epilogue that tied up the very last loose end of the trilogy. In the end, I still think this trilogy was a good read. It’s just that its final volume
felt a little bloated and distracted at times.

A mostly satisfying conclusion to the original Millennium series, I give The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Red Rising

Red Rising
Author: 
Brown, Pierce
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Red Rising adds maturity and depth to the dystopian novel genre, culminating into something more interesting and deep than the average dystopian series. The plot is set on Mars in a society separated into castes with the lowest of castes being extorted into serving the higher ones. The story is raw, emotional, and overall a worthwhile read. However, at times the plot progresses at a slower pace than desirable and occasionally the main character is rather robotic. Taking this into account the book remains enjoyable and I would recommend it to people looking for more out of the dystopian genre.

Reviewer's Name: 
Evan T

Book Title: Mockingjay

Mockingjay
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

In the exciting conclusion to the "Hunger Games" series, "Mockingjay" follows Katniss Everdeen after she defied the Capitol in the Quarter Quell and fled to the underground city of District 13, where she is haunted by the idea of an impeding war and thoughts of her fellow tribute (and now captive of the Capitol) Peeta Mellark. In order to win this war against the Capitol, she must become a symbol of the rebellion -- the Mockingjay -- and unify the districts. Just like the others in the series, this book was phenomenal. I was completely invested in all the characters and had to see their journeys through to the end. The plot twists were even more shocking than ever. I cannot say enough about this series -- it is absolutely amazing. However, there is one thing about this book that made me enjoy it just slightly less than the others in the series. While the writing style of the other two books is relatively straightforward and direct, there were several parts in this book that left me confused, especially during action scenes -- which happened almost too quickly to follow. I didn't always entirely understand Katniss's motives (most particularly at the end) or why certain decisions were made.
This may've been on purpose, since Katniss is disoriented and suffering from mental problems during this time, which distort her sense of reality. Either way, I found it a little difficult to follow. Regardless, this book was amazing. I highly recommend the entire series. It is utterly legendary, and unlike anything I've read before.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In the sequel to "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire" begins with a reeling Katniss Everdeen, having just survived the 74th Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Their survival greatly upset the Capitol, the ruling city of the country of Panem, and now they must deal with the consequences of their rule-bending victory. On their mandatory Victory Tour around the country, Katniss discovers that her actions have sparked the idea of revolution throughout the nation -- a revolution she never intended to start. And everything is about to change with the Quarter Quell -- the 75th Hunger Games -- looming over their heads....

This book was amazing! Having finished the first book (which was also fantastic), I didn't think the sequel could ever surpass the first. But, "Catching Fire" was equal parts surprising and intriguing. I love how the plot has thickened since the end of the first Hunger Games -- and how Katniss and Peeta deal with the consequences of their actions. We get to know more about some of the characters from the first (such as Haymitch and his backstory) and the growing relationship between Katniss and Peeta. The plot twists caught me completely off guard -- and almost every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger that makes you want to read even more! The only negative thing I can say about this book is that the beginning is just a little slow -- I think this is for the purpose of showing how Katniss's life has gotten slower (and more painful) since the end of the Games. But, this really shouldn't deter anyone from reading this amazing sequel. The writing is fantastic, the characters are incredibly well-developed, and the plot is epic. Another absolutely phenomenal book from Suzanne Collins!
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: 
Gillian P.

Book Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Author: 
Cline, Ernest
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wade Watts, a high school student like any other, starts his journey off in the slums of a world on the verge of economic and social collapse. In an attempt to escape the seemingly bleak world, many turn to the Oasis, an augmented version of virtual reality where the impossible is possible and people can become something other than what they are in the real world. The creator of the Oasis meets his untimely death due to a terminal illness, and in turn leaves behind his fortune and most prized possession, control of Oasis. The catch is, all you have to do is find his little “Easter Egg” within the vast world of the Oasis by finding keys linked to his favorite pastimes, such as old arcade games. It having been a long time since the announcement of this and now leads found, very few still pursue the egg. Wade Watts is one of them.

After discovering the first key on an online school’s virtual planet, Wade and the many others he meets along the way race to find the egg before the other hunters and the huge corporation, IO; in this science fiction world designed by Ernest Cline. I greatly enjoyed this book due to the vast worlds within his virtual one that he has illustrated for his audience.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

Book Review: Six of Crows

Six of Crows
Author: 
Bardugo, Leigh
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In a town of thieves and murderers, one man is feared as the most brutal, the most wicked, and the most intelligent: Kaz Brekker. Willing to kill as much as he needs to, and able to pick any lock, Kaz is the perfect man for the greatest heist ever: Stealing a hostage from the high security Ice Palace. He gathers a crew to help take on the toughest challenge he’s ever faced. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows follows the viewpoints of a vicious leader, a spider-like assassin, a gunslinger, a disgraced soldier, a heartrending mage, and a runaway rich boy to create a wonderful story where death is around every corner and only the strong survive.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ryan

Book Review: Morning Star

Morning Star
Author: 
Brown, Pierce
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Darrow was captured and his identity revealed, the leader of the Sons of Ares was killed, and now the future of rebellion looks bleak. Darrow, now in a state of grief and failure, his body withering away as he waits for his execution, is rescued and given a second chance to realize Eo’s dream; to topple the corrupt society that stole everything from him. Now the leading force and face of the rebellion, Darrow has many struggles that await him in the final book in the Red Rising Trilogy. I greatly enjoyed this book due to how the many underlying plots are tied off in the end of the series as well as the resolution of each character’s internal struggles. Pierce Brown builds on many previous sub plots that as the reader you might forget, marvelously tying this book in with the rest of the series.

Reviewer's Name: 
Liam G

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