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All Book Reviews by Genre: Science Fiction

 Adaptation
Lo, Malinda
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Adaptation is a science fiction novel, the plot kept me engaged throughout the whole story and the author did a good job of introducing the characters. I really recommend this book for readers who haven't enjoyed reading science fiction in the past (like me) because this book isn't hard to understand and it is a fairly fast read.

Reviewer's Name: Emma Reeves
Awards:
The Martian
Weir, Andy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Martian was a great book, and I loved it! This book is about a man (Mark) that goes to Mars. when a sand storm hit the HAB hard Mark and his crew decide it is to dangerous to stay or the MAV will tip. When the crew make it to the MAV they realize that mark is not with them. They want to find him but it is just not safe. Mark is stuck on Mars with no means of contacting Earth. Can he survive?

Reviewer's Name: Anneka S.
Wolf by Wolf
Graudin, Ryan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wolf by Wolf takes place in an alternate reality where the United States never fought in World War II, and Hitler was left undefeated. The book focuses on a jewish girl named Yael. She had been experimented on while in a internment camp. As a result of being experimented on she can change her appearance . Years after her escape she plans to kill Hitler. Looking and acting as Adele Wolfe Yael enters a race known as the Axis Tour. The Axis Tour was cross continental motorcycle race, with rough terrain, and many other challenges. Yael hopes to win the Axis Tour and have the chance to dance with Hitler. This dance could be her chance to kill Hitler. Will Yael survive the challenges of the Axis Tour? Will she win the Axis Tour? Most importantly, doe shse kill Hitler? All of these questions are answer in Wolf by Wolf.

I was recommended this book by friends so many times I had to read it. Ryan Graudin developed Yael's background slowly, revealing more about her throughout the book. Just when you think you know Yael you discover more of her past, and learn about a new "wolf". While I did enjoy the slow development of Yael's background I disliked the beginning of the book. The Axis Tour didn't start until until a few chapters into the book. Which made the book boring at first. However once the Axis Tour portion of the book began the plot became more interesting and complex. While the book focuses on Yael I also enjoyed Felix Wolfe, and Luka Lowe. Yael's relationships with both Luka and Felix make the book more realistic and the plot more complicated.Once the book reached its climax I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it ended. If you are interested in a book with a balance of good characters and action this perfect for you. If your read this book I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name: McKenzie W.
Divergent
Roth, Veronica
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Divergent is part of a 3-book series. It's about a 16 year old girl named Beatrice Prior who lives in a Dystopian society. There are five factions, Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, each of which represent and practice one virtue that the government believes to be the causes of war when they are lacking. When each child in the society reaches the age of 16, they must choose one faction to dedicate their lives to. An aptitude test displays to them which faction they would most belong in, however, Beatrice comes out as Divergent, someone who contains the attributes of more than just one faction. Being Divergent is a threat toward the society and the government, and if they find out you're Divergent, you will be killed.

Divergent is a moving story based on the character Beatrice Prior who goes through a series of events that help her to determine who she is and where she belongs. We watch her struggle with insecurity and doubting herself, a common struggle throughout all teenagers, and we see her overcome them. She becomes confident in herself and her decisions, just like we must all learn to do.

This book is honestly one of my favorites. It's packed with action and suspense, while at the same time it inspires and teaches. It's unique and different from other action stories and definitely keeps the reader intrigued. However, I'd recommend it ages 12+. There's a decent amount of violence, some of which might be hard to read for some kids, and a few other scenes and questionable content that might not be age appropriate for children under the age of 12. Overall however, I loved this book and strongly recommend it for teens.

Reviewer's Name: Ella S.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

THIS IS A MUST READ! Suzanne Collins does a fabulous job on bringing this novel to life. It is an easy read for word choice. The main characters are very easy to love. The Hunger Games is the first book to a 3-part series.
I recommend ages 11+ because it is a longer book with more mature events. I really enjoyed this series so I rate it a 4 Star. Team Peeta!

Reviewer's Name: Kaitlyn S
The Book of M
Peng, Shepard
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Book of M is a beautiful dystopian novel about the power and beauty of memories and the pain that comes from losing them.

One day in a market in India, a man loses his shadow for no apparent reason anyone can explain. Shortly after, the man begins forgetting everything he ever knew, but in its place receives a strange and new power. This phenomenon of the lost shadow, soon becoming known as The Forgetting, spreads throughout the world and transform it into a strange dystopian world that is hardly recognizable.

The two main characters, Ory and Max, have escaped The Forgetting so far until one day, Max loses her shadow. Fearing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, she flees across a dark transformed world. All the while holding a tape recorder, on which she records her thoughts and feelings of the journey, and her experience of forgetting. Meanwhile Ory, not wanting to give up the little time they have left, follows her, embarking on a strange journey of his own.

The novel swivels back and forth, every other chapter, between his journey and hers. Max’s chapters to me were the most poignant, the most powerful. The recordings of her experiences on her journey, and the emotions she experiences as she fights against this inevitable loss, and slowly forgets everything, made me want to mourn with her for all she was losing. The emotions portrayed by Max’s character came across so real and raw, and anyone dealing with someone who is suffering from Alzheimer’s will be able to sympathize with this very real portrayal of what it’s like for them to forget everything about who they are. This novel is a tear jerker for sure!

Meanwhile Ory’s desperate attempt to find the woman he loves, is a testament to his hope in their survival and his belief in renewal, both for his wife, and I think on a deeper level, the world that was ravaged by the Forgetting. However, as his journey progresses, he is confronted with the reality of this new and dangerous world, and as he begins to adapt to this new world, he realizes that nothing will ever be the same again.

Filled with beautiful prose, strong character development, and peppered with details of a classic dystopian novel, this novel is a testament to the dystopian genre. Peng Shepherd does so much more than just tell a classic dystopian story, though. While it has all the classic elements of dystopian story, her portrayal of Max’s character almost made the novel read like a memoir but feel like a psychological thriller. Yet the existence of magic, and the way it shaped much of the spine of the story, took her novel into the realm of magical realism. The portrayal of war and action took her novel into the realm of an adventure story. Yet the stories focus on the female main character of Max, took the story into the realm of woman’s fiction. However, Max’s musing on her loving relationship with Ory, made the story delve into the realm of a romance. Taking her readers across a large geographic space, different cultures, different people, and different genres, she attempts and succeeds in a telling an ambitious and complicated story that seeks to display the power of the human spirit and ask what it is, to be human.

This story is beautiful, poignant, powerful, dark, filled with adventure, romance, and magic. The long story short, it has something for everyone. This book comes out June 5 but you can put it on your holds list today! If you haven't, please do! You won’t regret it!

Thank you to William Morrow a imprint of Harper Collins Publishers for an ARC of this beautiful novel in exchange for an honest review!

Reviewer's Name: Tawnie
A War of Gifts
Card, Orson Scott
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Side stories are a somewhat odd occurrence in the literary world. They’re essentially like the “deleted scenes” from movies: they don’t add to the plot, even if they are interesting by themselves. A War of Gifts is a side story to Ender’s Game that finds the reader back at the battle school during Ender Wiggin’s training period. While Ender’s Game is a tight piece of science fiction, with no room for a Santa Claus sub-plot, A War of Gifts does require some knowledge of the source material in order to understand this sub-plot.

I am always in awe of Orson Scott Card’s ability to take some of the most basic ideas and make them the most profound, most philosophically-intriguing debates. In the case of A War of Gifts, we have a fundamentalist Christian who was taught that the more commercial aspects of Christmas (like Santa Claus, for instance) are pure evil. Butting up against this characters’ beliefs are a few homesick recruits who unwittingly bring his ire upon them for celebrating a holiday in a way that might be construed as “religious.” The conflict comes in defining the activities that do or do not abide by the school’s “no religion” policy.

The debates of both sides are so well-described and thoroughly thought out that such a silly conflict suddenly becomes a multi-faceted problem with no easy solution. The reader also gets to see an Ender Wiggin who certainly has hints of his piercing personality that becomes present in the subsequent installments in the series. The specifics of A War of Gifts don’t lend themselves to being included in Ender’s Game, but it’s a delightful visit back to the world created therein. For fans of the series, they won’t be disappointed. For people who haven’t read the original story, A War of Gifts might be best saved for later.

An engaging side-story in the world of Ender’s Game, I give A War of Gifts 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
The Shadow Rising
Jordan, Robert
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

One would begin to think that, this being the fourth very long book in a series that is known for it's long books, that the books would start to drop off a bit. But no, they seem to just get better! The Shadow Rising is the fourth book in the Wheel of Time series, and it's bigger, longer, and more actionier than ever. The book has two main side-plots within it. The first revolves around Perrin going back to the Two Rivers to help his people fend off the Trollocs and Whitecloaks that are becoming more dangerous, and the second revolves around Rand going into the Waste to unite the Aiel, fulfilling another piece of the prophecy. There are also side-plots with Elayne, Nynaeve, and Egwene and the Black Sisters, and those are equally as good. There is more characters development here that there has been in a book yet, especially around Mat, Elayne, Nynaeve and Egwene, and the book is very good for it. The battle sequences are just as good as before, and the magic is top-notch. The book is quite long, though, and it can get quite boring sometimes, so do be warned. All in all though, this is a very, very good addition to the Wheel of Time series. Recommend to: fans of fantasy, WoT lovers.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
The Dragon Reborn
Jordan, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Wheel of Time is an incredible series with incredible novels within them. The Dragon Reborn, the third book, continues this trend of epicness, and while it sin't as good as the Great Hunt, it is certainly an extremely good book and a great addition to the series. The plot revolves around Rand al'Thor, one of the main protagonists, going to the Stone of Tear to claim Callandor, or the Sword that Cannot be Touched in order to fulfill the next part of the Prophecy of the Dragon that will lead to him ultimately destroying the Dark One. The book has it all: plenty of action, magic, romance, and fantasy to keep you entertained throughout. One thing that I really liked about this book was the further development of Mat Cauthon as a character, and I really began to like him a lot more in this book, and he is a very likable and well rounded character. The third main character, Perrin Aybara, does begin to drop off a bit, but I still find him an enjoyable character. One main issue with this book is the fact that this book didn't really need it's own book; if this book and The Great Hunt were combined into one book, I think that it may have been better like that. Still, I can't really complain since this series is just so good! Recommended for: fantasy lovers, people who like really long, epic series.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
The Great Hunt
Jordan, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Eye of the World can be considered a masterpiece in it's own right, and was an incredible introduction into this sprawling universe of the Wheel of Time series. The second book, however, the Great Hunt, improves upon the first book in almost every aspect. Gone are the chapters that go nowhere and the filler sections. The action also really begins to ramp up in this second installment, something that was sorely lacking throughout the first book up until the very end. The plot in this book revolves around the search for the Great Hunt of the Horn, something that was mentioned very frequently in the first book (one side note that I would like to add is the amount of foreshadowing in this series--things from book one are mentioned all the way in book 14! It is just incredible). The Horn is aid to be able to bring dead heroes and soldiers back to life. The good guys want it for their own use, and the bad guys want it too. There are also some side-plots that don't pertain to the Hunt itself, but I can't complain about that since they are so engrossing in their own right. Again, I would recommend this series to fantasy lovers of people who like long, epic book series.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
The Eye of the World
Jordan, Robert
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the most celebrated fantasy book series of all time, The Wheel of Time series has been critically acclaimed, and the first book, The Eye of the World, is no exception to the praise. The book itself is about the journey of a small group of villagers that must try to destroy Ba'alzamon, the Dark One, who threatens to rule time itself. Firstly, Jordan's world building is impeccable. His attention to detail is accurate, his characters are unique, the world he creates feels alive, and the magic system he creates is one of the best ever put to paper. While the book is very similar to the Lord of the Rings in it's overall themes, the book brings a multitude of creative ideas to the table and carves out it's own very special and individualistic space in the fantasy genre. I would highly recommend this book, and series, to anyone who is a fan of high fantasy, or for anyone who is simply looking for a great series to keep themselves occupied with.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
The One
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This book was so good, I had such a good time reading it and would definitely read it again. The One is my favorite out of all the other books.
Getting to the end of America's romance was amazing, America is so relatable and is a great character to follow through the series. Although these books are more romantic there are still many parts where I was so excited that I couldn't stay in my seat. I'm so glad that I read this series and took part in America's journey through The Selection. I highly recommend reading this series because I loved it so much that I would easily read it again and have just as much fun as I did reading it the first time.

Reviewer's Name: Tierney B
The Elite
Cass, Kiera
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love this series! Each book gets better and better as it goes on.
Although this one might not be my favorite out of all the series, it still is an amazing book. I loved every bit of it. If you read the first book you already know that there are some scenes that are more for teens and not kids, but only a few. Overall this book was so much fun to read and go through everything with the characters.

Reviewer's Name: Tierney B
Waste of Space
Gibbs, Stuart
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This is a fantasy book. Dash again has to solve another crimal mystery. Someone has posion Lar but who? At the end he finds an space scerte. Can he put all the pieces together.

Reviewer's Name: Ayden
The Clockwork Dynasty
Wilson, Daniel H.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

f there's anything Daniel H. Wilson is good at, it's writing about robots. In his latest book, The Clockwork Dynasty, he takes a steampunk approach by setting the book, not in the future, but in the present and distant past. Returning to the origins of robots via the automatons created for the entertainment of the wealthy and royal, Wilson has crafted another workable piece of fiction centered on robots. Unfortunately, as is the case with some of this other writing, I didn't like a few of his stylistic choices.

The Clockwork Dynasty jumps back and forth between flashbacks and "present era" actions, which can sometimes be distracting, especially if one of the storylines is particularly interesting at the time. I almost wonder if there could have been a better way to focus on the action in the present and to reveal the details of the past in more of a "show" instead of the "tell" provided via flashbacks. Additionally, I get why some of the violence was present in this book, but it (along with the few moments of obscenity or sex) seemed a little unnecessary.

One of my other qualms with this book was with the audiobook itself. Since the individuals reading each of the sections were different between the past and the present, it did help to know where I was in the story. However, the male voice of the past was a little quieter than the female voice of the present. This meant I turned up the volume each time the story was in a flashback, only to scramble to turn it down when the timeframe switched. Some volume leveling would have made this book a little less difficult to listen to, is all I'm saying.

A steampunk story by the modern master of robot stories, I give The Clockwork Dynasty 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
Awards:
More Happy Than Not
More Happy Than Not
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"More Happy Than Not" is a great LGBT youth novel chronicling a single summer of Aaron, a kid growing up in a poor neighborhood in New York. He struggles with his dad's recent suicide, his own attempt to do the same, and his one-bedroom apartment, but he's coping with the help of his lifelong friends and his amazing girlfriend, Genevieve. One day, Aaron meets Thomas, the interesting but directionless kid next door. They quickly grow to be best friends while watching movies on Thomas' roof and scoffing at those who choose procedures with Leteo, the revolutionary brain surgery which buries painful memories for those who can't deal with their past. But as the book goes on, Aaron's relationship with Geneveive and his friends becomes strained and his attitude towards Leteo becomes less scornful. This book is packed with twists and is a great choice for young readers and for fans of "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind".

Reviewer's Name: Mckenna R.
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Renegades by Marissa Meyer is an average, but fun book about superheroes. The plot centers around Nova who has to join a team of superheroes to spy on them while secretly being a villain. Since I’ve seen a lot of superhero movies, I thought that this book was pretty cliche. I could figure out every twist before I read about it happening. I also thought that the pacing of this book was weird. Some scenes that were unimportant to the plot seemed to drag on while other important scenes went by way too fast. This might have been intentional, but I don't see the point of it. I thought that this book was average. It was an extremely forgetful book, which was very disappointing because I love some of Marissa Meyer’s previous books. One thing I did like about this book was the depiction of anarchy which is very rare, especially in young adult books. I don't think that this would be a good book to read if you have seen a lot of superhero movies since it uses a lot of cliches from that genre. However, if you are interested in science fiction, I would recommend this book.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Scarlet
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the thrilling sequel to Cinder. Scarlet is a continuation of Cinder’s story while retelling another fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. Generally, I feel like the sequels are never as good as the original, but that was not the case for this book. Scarlet was definitely my favorite book in the entire series (besides Winter). I fell completely in love with the new characters (especially Scarlet). Marissa Meyer has a talent for creating likable and relatable characters. She also has a talent for describing the setting. Cinder took place in Beijing while Scarlet took place in France. Meyer illustrated France just as vividly as she illustrated Beijing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction or anyone who enjoyed Cinder.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Cinder
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a fast-paced and action-packed book that you can't put down. The book is a futuristic and dystopian retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. This is definitely one of my favorite books. You won't find another science fiction book with as many interesting and diverse female characters. The book has a very exciting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. In addition to that, Cinder has many amazing characters. I couldn't pick my favorite one. All of the characters are lovable and distinct. Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the setting. I loved Meyer’s vision of what the future would look like. She described the setting perfectly. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science fiction or fantasy genres.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Ganymede
Priest, Cherie
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Now that I’ve read the first three books in the Clockwork Century series, any hope I had of some cohesive narrative is essentially gone. While following a new character for each book helps to provide a different setting of the steampunk alternate universe, when I know these characters won’t matter outside their own books, I kind of stop caring about them. Even previous heroines are relegated to cameo and minor character status as the persistent series of somewhat pointless events drags on. And don’t even get me started on the zombies, which are a distraction to any actual story in my opinion.

I think the main problem I have with these books is the fact that things happen without much lead-up or foreshadowing. Sure, there are some fascinating factors involved with making a submarine work in the Civil War era, but the resulting battle and conclusion went exactly as I expected them to. This isn’t foreshadowing as much as it is conforming to clichés. There doesn’t seem to be much at stake in any of the character arcs, which is made all the more prevalent by the relatively uninteresting characters themselves. Some have distinguishable quirks, but they all feel flat in a world that could be that much more interesting.

As for the “twist” near the end involving one of the characters, I feel it was poorly executed, let alone unnecessary. Considering the medical techniques at the time, even in an alternate universe, the individual in question probably didn’t have the necessary “assets” to convincingly pull this deception off. If anything, it was only hidden via clothing, but since there were no hints or foreshadowing about this surprisingly minor character, I had no way to even know if anything was off to begin with. I can believe that some of them might exist in that timeframe, but it just felt like a cheap add-in for the sake of “inclusion.”

Another steampunk book in a series that isn’t going anywhere, I give Ganymede 2.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin

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