Dystopian

Book Review: 1984

Author
Orwell, George
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

1984 is kind of a dystopian novel written in the 1940's about the 1980s. It's not the "Hunger Games" type of novel (which I also don't really like), where a bunch of teenagers overthrow the corrupt government. It's about a middle aged man living in a society where a Stalin-like figure rules. It is kind of a depressing book, and for the most part is kind of slow and uneventful. Overall, while this book makes some interesting points, I don't know if I would recommend it.

Reviewer's Name
Emani

Book Review: The Giver

Author
Lowry, Lois
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Giver is an eloquent novel that contains a meaning that eludes to a greater concept. It contains several twists that are revealed at the end making the book an interesting and exciting read. At the beginning of the novel, you are shown a world of gray and conformity, yet as the story progresses, you are introduced into a world of color and prominence. The characters are what make the book the great piece it is, and the way they are written allows you to relate to each of the characters. Overall an excellent book that I would absolutely read again.

Reviewer's Name
Veronica

Book Review: Animal Farm

Author
Orwell, George
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a novel following a group of farm animals who want to topple their human farmer's regime, creating a society that is perfect for themselves. While Animal Farm starts off a bit ridiculous, using pigs and other farm animals as the main characters of the story, I think that Orwell using farm animals to explain the message of his story was actually very imaginative, and made the story much more intriguing and unique. Since Animal Farm's main theme is about revolution and the obstruction of democracy, I enjoyed analyzing the symbolism that was placed in the novel, seeing the hidden parallels between the farm animals and the historical events that were occurring during that time. I liked being able to link events from the story to real historical events, such as the communist movement, the Soviet Union, and World War 2. Personally, I think that Orwell's technique in linking his novel to these historical events by using only symbolism was very creative and was written in a very thoughtful and intelligent way. Seeing how some of the book events contrasted with historical events was very strange and interesting for me, and it made me wonder how Orwell could have even thought of linking the two subject matters by only using farm animals.
Overall, I would recommend this classic novel to anyone who is open to an interesting and thought-provoking read.

Reviewer's Name
Michelle
Awards

Book Review: Morning Star

Author
Brown, Pierce
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

After a year being tortured by Adrius Augustus, better known as The Jackal, Darrow has escaped capture and resumed his campaign against the tyrannical rule of the Sovereign of the Society. But Darrow isn't the man he was a year ago: he's been broken down, dehumanized, and kept in a dark cell for over a year, and now has more doubts than ever. The people he thought were his best friends betrayed him, and the last time he saw the woman he loves, she was walking away from him after learning the truth about his Carving. While Darrow knows that he is likely the last chance at destroying the Society and bringing peace, his own self-doubts and struggles could be the thing that gets him killed.

Compared to the first two books of the trilogy, this book's plot is slower and admittedly, harder to get through. I did appreciate how there is more of a focus on Darrrow's growth from a teenager to a man, and his overall growth in shifting from fighting for himself to fighting for others and a better world for everyone, not just the Reds. However, the book is lengthy and I felt there was an unnecessary amount of "fluff" and plot points that weren't relevant to the overarching plot of the novel. The ending was nice (if not bittersweet), and I'm content with where each of the characters ended.

Reviewer's Name
Nneoma

Book Review: The House of the Scorpion

Author
Farmer, Nancy
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The House of Scorpion is a book set in the future in a place called Opium with a boy named Mateo who is a clone of a huge drug lord who goes by "El Patron". This book has always been a favorite of mine since I read in 6th grade for the first time, it stuck out to me because the creativity, plot, setting, it is such a fun book to read and the book also has a sequel, so its great that the book continues. There wasn't really a time I disliked the book, it always had my attention, and I think that truly matters when reading a book. I choose this book not only because its a childhood fave but I feel like others might love to read this book as much as I did.

Reviewer's Name
Makaia

Book Review: Thunderhead

Author
Shusterman, Neal
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The sequel to the dystopian novel, Scythe, Thunderhead delves deeper into Citra and Rowan's stories. Citra, now newly ordained Scythe Anastasia, is an up-and-coming junior Scythe, and already has begun to stir the pot in the community. With her unique gleanings, and progressive thoughts and opinions, Citra becomes a highly respected and wise Scythe, a Scythe who even the Thunderhead recognizes of value. Rowan on the other hand, after escaping the Scythedom, becomes the feared Scythe Lucifer, a black-cloaked vigilante Scythe who gleans Scythes that are driven by corruption. An equally as fast-paced and page-turning novel as the first book in the trilogy, Thunderhead was a fantastic installment to the series. I especially loved how this novel dived deeper into the inter-workings of the Thunderhead, and it's thoughts and opinions. I found it to be very interesting to see how an inanimate being like the Thunderhead, could still have morals and a conscience. This book, just like the first book in the Scythe series, was just as beautifully written, and the plot twists continue to be well developed and unexpected. The cliffhanger was also very interesting, and it was enjoyable to see the Thunderhead and it's "character development" that led to said cliffhanger. Overall, this novel was just as good as the first book in the trilogy, and I could not recommend it more.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Michelle

Book Review: Scythe

Author
Shusterman, Neal
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

It's hard to express how beautifully written this book is. A novel that follows a dystopian plotline where the world has found a way to eliminate all diseases and achieve immortality, from start to finish, Shusterman keeps you hooked. We meet two teenagers, Rowan and Citra, both of whom are selected to become "Scythes," people whose jobs are to randomly kill, keeping the population under control. While the plot sounds intriguing, the way Shusterman tells the story makes it even more so. The extensively detailed world-building that was created in this story was beautiful and made the novel seem thought-provokingly realistic. I couldn't wrap my head around on how the author could think up of such creative details, such as the rules all Scythes must follow, and the premise of "splatting" and "gleaning." While the novel is supposed to be fantasy, it's written in a way that seems all too realistic. The way Shusterman writes makes all of his characters come to life, and the small details he injects into characters makes them seem shiveringly human. While reading, I completely could understand each and every character (even the minor ones) and their actions. Every single character in this novel is written in a completely realistic way-- fatal flaws and all.
The plot twists also completely awed me. Scythe is one of those novels that sprinkle in tiny minor hints that may seem insignificant at first, but come together to form a huge, whopping plot twist. I can honestly say that before actually reading the twists, I would have never guessed any of them. The plot also flowed very naturally, so much so that all the twists included all seemed to be important, and not just stuck in for shock factor. Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the journal entries written before/after each chapter, and when reading them, I was awed at the depth and meaning included in them. It's pretty rare for a book to make you think so hard, but this book was one that made me contemplate many, many things. I would recommend this book for anyone, and although it's listed as Teen Fiction or YA, I believe that due to the very meaningful way this story is written, anyone can read this novel, also including the next two books included in the trilogy.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Michelle

Book Review: The Hunger Games

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

The Hunger Games is a thrilling novel that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I read it. It is a dystopian fiction novel with lots of action aspects as well. I chose this book because I heard many great things about it, and I absolutely loved it!
In the setting of The Hunger Games, there are 12 Districts that the people live in. Many years before the story takes place, there were 13 Districts. However, there was a rebellion against the government, and the Districts lost and the 13th District perished. The government holds annual Hunger Games to remind the citizens what happened during the rebellion. The Hunger Games takes two kids from each District and force them to compete in a fight to the death match in an arena. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute when her little sister’s name is drawn during the Choosing Ceremony. During the Hunger Games, she makes friends and enemies, and learns some of the schemes behind the government.

This novel was so entertaining and I was hoping that it would never end. I think people who like action and dystopian novels would like this book, and if they don’t mind some violence.

Reviewer Grade: 8.

Reviewer's Name
Beatriz

Book Review: Golden Son

Author
Brown, Pierce
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

The second book in the Red Rising trilogy, Golden Son continues Darrow's quest to tear apart the Society from within. After having succeeded at the Institute, Darrow is now serving as a lancer in the House of Augustus. A Peerless Scarred of the Academy, his goal is to kill off the Bellona family before they kill him, and overthrow ArchGovernor Augustus of Mars. However, when a mishap throws his plan into jeopardy, Darrow finds himself leading a civil war among the Golds. While he's one step closer to overthrowing the tyrannical rule of the Golds, is at worth it at the cost of losing his friends, love, and loyalty?

Just like the first book, I couldn't set this one down once I started reading it! It's action packed and kept me on my toes the entire time, and the sci-fi elements were fantastical and literally out of this world. I like reading about Darrow's growth and how he's come to trust and see friendship in the Golds, and that while he's still fighting for the same purpose, he's opened his heart to the possibility of reforming the Golds rather than destroying them. Overall, the book is a great reference to power struggles and the inequity of class divisions. I loved all the allusions to Greek mythology, and the philosophical quotes and pieces. I can't wait to read book three and see Darrow's dream finally come true!

Reviewer's Name
Nneoma

Book Review: The Selection

Author
Cass, Kiera
Rating
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review

The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.The Selection by Kiera Cass is a teen-romance novel, following protagonist America Singer. America, along with 34 other girls is chosen to compete in The Selection. The Selection is a chance for these girls, coming from all sorts of social classes to seize a position in royalty. But for Prince Maxon, The Selection is a chance for him to find true love. We join America and the other girls as they journey to the royal palace to meet the Prince and compete for a chance to become future Queen of the kingdom of Ilea.
When I was reading The Selection, it reminded me a lot of the premise of The Bachelor. 35 girls all competing for the hand of a handsome prince? Sounds pretty much like the plot of a reality TV show to me!
And just like a reality TV show, I found myself completely hooked on this series. There was drama, romance, friendships, and even a hint of politics in this first book of the series. And even though some parts of the novel felt very cheesy and overdone, I couldn't help but want more. The Selection is the sort of book that you pick up for some lighthearted fun, just as you would binge a trashy reality TV show. While I definitely wouldn't recommend The Selection if you want something deeply moving, I'd make sure to give it a try if you're looking for something easy and fun to read to get you out of a reading slump.

Reviewer's Name
Michelle