Dystopian

Book Review: The Hive

Hive Book Cover
Author: 
Lyga, Barry
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

In the near future, an app called BLINQ tracks all social media usage and amalgamates posts from a number of platforms. On BLINQ, you can vote to condemn a person for their social media output – if a person’s condemns to likes ratio gets out of balance, they’ll find themself condemned in real life. For example, a person who ignominiously dumps their partner on Facebook might find themself getting physically dumped in the trash. The punishment is designed to fit the crime. Called the Hive, its something our lead Cassie loved to participate in – until all of a sudden, it wasn’t. After a racy tweet, Cassie finds herself the target of the Hive, but her punishment is more severe than all that have come before it: death.

This was a fast paced, enjoyable dystopia which was a good change of pace from my normal fare of fantasy. I think teens are going to love it. Aside from a few horrendous decisions, our lead Cassie is likable, smart (ostensibly, anyway) and her experiences navigating a new high school will resonate with teens. As Cassie spends most of the book running for her life, it will definitely appeal to thriller fans or those that need their books to be very plot based. I read the book in a day or two even though I had a good idea of how it was going to play out. Little attention is given to the supporting characters, though the book did also present a few chapters from Cassie’s mom’s perspective, which I loved. The authors did a great job portraying a somewhat fraught mother-daughter relationship. There’s though-provoking, if heavy handed, social commentary to be found as well, and I think this book will stick with some readers long after they've turned the last page.

Ultimately, though, the book had what I’m going to call the “Scythe” problem: the premise just wasn’t believable. The Hive was certainly believable – its basically a physical manifestation of the shame that we’re willing to dole out to strangers online (if you’d like a great non-fiction read on the topic, try So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson ). Did I for one second think that the first person to get the death penalty would be a teenage girl who tweeted something offensive? I did not. I had trouble getting over that.

TLDR: If you liked The Maze Runner, Divergent or yes, Scythe, you should definitely check out this thrilling dystopia.
Lots of teens will love this one, but it didn’t do it for me – 2 stars. It was ok.

Thanks to Netgalley and Kids Can Press for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Hive will be released on 03 September but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: The Warehouse

Author: 
Hart, Rob
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Imagine a world where Amazon controls pretty much everything (its really not hard to do, right?). They are the only large employer, and they have managed to put just about every other retail company out of business. Most folks who need employment have to head to their nearest Cloud center (Amazon = Cloud), apply, and hope against hope they are accepted. This is the fate of our two main protagonists, Zinnia and Paxton. Paxton wants more than anything to keep his head down until he can get patent money for his invention, a business that was going well until Cloud forced him out of business. Zinnia’s reasons for working at Cloud are a bit more inspired (it would depend on your perspective) as she’s been hired to try to take Cloud down from the inside. As Paxton and Zinnia are thrown together, both will come to realize that the Cloud was more insidious than they thought and they’ll have to sacrifice more than they’re comfortable with the bring it down.

I read this book right after watching John Oliver’s sendup of this sort of corporate culture and dang, Rob Hart did his research. His version of Amazon matches quite closely with what Oliver presents as the actual version of Amazon. I mean, it’s not great. Its really fascinating to read this near-future take on what Amazon and their ilk could mean for our country and economy as, like I said, this is a future that is really easy to imagine.

The book takes turn between Zinnia, Paxton and Gibson Wells’ (think Jeff Bezos) narratives. The characters are believable and likable enough (save Wells, but that’s obviously intentional) that I was not overly fond of one perspective over the other and never found myself racing through one perspective to get to a different one. Nonetheless, the book ends up being a quick read. It was sort of John Grisham meets Brave New World, and I was not mad about it. It’d make a fantastic movie, and clearly someone agrees with me as the author thanks Ron Howard and Bryan Glazer in his afterword.

If you are looking for a quick summer read that’ll make you think (but not too hard), this dystopian thriller will suit your needs. 4 stars – I really liked it!

Thanks to Crown and Netgalley for the free eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. The Warehouse will be release on 20 August, and you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic book that most people have heard the title of. With a similar style to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, Fahrenheit 451 takes the reader into a future where books are outlawed and the people of this alternate future are basically mindless robots. The people of this future have an intake of mindless media that even surpasses that of us currently. The main character is a firefighter but different from what we are used to. These firefighters fight with fire, burning houses and books if they are found since they are against the law. But soon after meeting a girl who does not conform to this society’s media consumption, the main character begins to rebel and go against the norm. Fahrenheit 451 is a spooky prediction of what the future will hold and after reading it, I can already see us as a society heading on this path. A truly incredible read, Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that cannot be missed.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K

Book Review: Hunger

Hunger
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Michael Grant has written another thriller with Hunger. Continuing the story of Gone, everyone is still trapped inside of the FAYZ. However, a new enemy has filled the minds of every person: hunger. As they search for a solution to their hunger, Sam, Astrid, and the others must still resist Caine and the rest of his crew as well as a powerful being known as the Darkness.
Michael Grant keeps you in suspense throughout the entire novel and will leave you hungry for more. I highly recommend this book for any high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: Gone

Gone
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Michael Grant has renewed a classic for the next generation of readers. Gone has a very similar structure to Lord of the Flies but has enhanced the story in many ways. Gone presents added science fiction elements to the story that will draw in many readers and provides conflict that will force you to keep reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, some readers may find some elements of the story slightly disturbing. Therefore, I recommend this book for high school aged readers and up.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

16 year old Katniss Everdeen has had to fend for her mom and sister, Primrose Everdeen ever since her father died in a mining accident when she was 12. She has had to learn to hunt to keep her family alive with the bow and arrows that her father made before he died. It is the Reaping, and Katniss knows she is in danger of being reaped because of her extra names in the Reaping. After her father died she was forced to sign up for more food so that she and her family could live and she will pay the price now. It is Primrose's first reaping now that she is 12, and against all odds she is reaped. But Katniss volunteers so she won't have to go the the Hunger Games were a male and female tribute for each of the 12 districts are forced into an arena to kill each other in tell one lone victor remains. But when it is time for a boy to be reaped, he has a connection to Katniss' life. His name is Peeta Mellark a boy who worked in the bakery in District 12. As they get to know each other and prepare for the games they start working together so maybe one of them can survive the games.

Reviewer's Name: 
Natalie M.

Book Review: Gone

Gone
Author: 
Grant, Michael
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Gone, by Michael Grant is a fast paced dystopian sci-fi story about a small town in California by the name of Perdido Beach . The plot quickly pulls you in, leaving you emotionally invested in the characters. Personally, the second I was finished, I was onto the next book! The main character is a young boy named Sam Temple. After all of the people aged 15+ vanish, the remaining teens and children look up to him as their leader, even though he constantly tries to deny the huge responsibility. After a gang of bullies start to take over the town and kill and mutilate the people who won't bow down to them, he takes a stand to protect the rest of the innocents. Gone is the first in a series of five books. I would recommend this book, and by extension series, to anyone that enjoys superpowers, violence, and heartbreaking sacrifices.

Reviewer's Name: 
Emily G.

Book Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Author: 
Collins, Suzanne
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Katniss, a teen girl who's dad died in a mining accident, left her to fend or her mother and little sister Primrose. She hunts and trades for her family with her friend Gale she met soon after the mining accident happened. The annual "Reaping" was a turn of events in the story and essentially what it is, is a night once a year where one girl and one boy aging from 12-18 from every 12 districts are chosen by chance to participate in "The Hunger Games." The Hunger Games is where all 24 children are forced to fight to the death in an arena and there is only one winner.

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaylee W.

Book Review: Matched

Matched
Author: 
Condie, Allyson
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is truly amazing! It leaves you wondering what will happen next, to where you cannot put the book down! This is the first book of a trilogy by Ally Condie, all of which are fantastic. I usually don't like reading but I checked this out, and could not put it down! I read it in a week or so because it was so enthralling. I would recommend this book to anyone! It's futuristic, comical, dramatic, and romantic all at the same time.

Reviewer's Name: 
Ashlynn B.

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Guy Montag, a fireman who lives in the future where all books are banned, is required to burn them all. Guy then meets a strange girl who explains how books aren't so bad. He begins to spend more time with her and as more fire calls end up worse and worse, his point of view on books is eventually changed. Guy becomes a rebel to the fire company, as he tries to stand up to what is right. He later meets with an ex-professor who helps him generate a plan. Will he succeed? Read this book to find out. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read about an alternate point of view on the future and readers who like technology as well as robots.

Reviewer's Name: 
Miles

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