Science Fiction

Book Review: Shadow Puppets

Shadow Puppets
Author: 
Card, Orson Scott
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

It’s odd for me to read the third book in a series and be confronted with
problems that I usually see by the fourth book. So far, I’ve been on board
with the whole Shadow series as it focuses on an interesting character in the
form of Bean. For two books, I’ve read about Bean’s survival, made all
the more thrilling by the antagonist Achilles. Of course, during Ender’s
Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon , the series picked up plenty of side
stories and sub-plots. This is what ruined Shadow Puppets for me: the focus
wasn’t on Bean and Achilles, but rather on advancing the story of all these
sub-plots.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Shadow Puppets has a lot of interesting events.
It’s just that it was so entertaining to read about Achilles in the
previous books, and he’s relegated to a bookending motif for this book. We
don’t get to see him directly interact with others, instead of having the
main characters always wondering how he’ll react to their attempts to trap
him. This kind of “telling” instead of “showing” really rubbed me the
wrong way and made the climax of this story (let alone the first three books)
feel quite anticlimactic.

I do appreciate some of what Card does with these well-rounded characters,
and I want to see what happens next with a world in such turmoil and
turnover. And yet, with how unfocused this book was, I don’t know if I want
to get my hopes up for the next books in this series. After all, the central
conflict of the previous two books is now behind Bean, which makes me wonder
what could replace such a heart-pounding game of cat-and-mouse. There are
plot threads to follow into the next book, but I could probably predict what
happens just based on the foreshadowing contained in this book.

An unfocused and slightly anticlimactic conclusion to one of the best
antagonists, I give Shadow Puppets 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Reviews: The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate
Author: 
Jemisin, N. K.
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I’ll admit that reading The Fifth Season had a bit of a learning curve for
the Broken Earth series. Not only did I have to learn about the vastly
powerful magic system based on rocks (and other rock forms), but I had to get
used to a second-person point of view (POV). Jumping between timelines with
similar characters who had different names was a bit confusing, but I was
able to figure it out by the end. Fast forward to the sequel, The Obelisk
Gate, and most of my qualms with the first book were smoothed over or solved
outright.

One of the things I enjoyed about The Obelisk Gate was the increase in the
scale of the magic system. Including the moon in these calculations makes
perfect sense considering the nature of the orogeny magic. I also appreciated
how the story seemed to focus on a single POV, which made for a more intimate
experience as we followed only one or two individuals instead of four. Now
that I was used to the second-person writing style and the character it
described, it didn’t bother me as much as when I read The Fifth Season.

While The Fifth Season set up the world-building for this trilogy, The
Obelisk Gate’s only weakness is that it finally set up the climactic plot
for the third book. Sure, there was plenty of character development and
intriguing twists in the plot in The Obelisk Gate, but they all seemed to be
hinting at something much more significant that wouldn’t take place in this
book. I do appreciate an excellent three-act structure, so this slight
weakness can be seen as merely an artifact of the second book in a trilogy.
In fact, because it was more focused, I liked this book more than its
predecessor. After all, it’s a strong concept with solid execution.

A focusing and foreshadowing of the Broken Earth series, I give The Obelisk
Gate 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin W.

Book Review: Resurgence

Book Review: Resurgence
Author: 
Aubin, Jerry
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Jerry Aubin finishes the Ship Series in spectacular fashion. In Resurgence, Aubin ties up the series beautifully and answers all of the questions that have kept readers fascinated from the very beginning. Zax must finally face what he started and defeat the true enemy of the ship, Alpha. Resurgence will keep you on your toes with its whirlwind plot that will captivate you from the start. Like all of its predecessors, Resurgence does not disappoint with its plot twists and adventures. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

Book Review: The Towering Sky

Book Review: The Towering Sky
Author: 
McGee, Katharine
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

"The Towering Sky" by Katherine McGee tells the story of five teenagers in 2119. Living in a futuristic Manhattan tower in which your floor displays your power, a mystery/romance story is bred. This book was perfectly okay. The writing wasn't half bad, and the characters ,well half-baked, were not unrealistic or arrogant. However, as reading this book, the third and final of a series, without reading the first two, was extremely confusing. At first I had not realized that this book was part of a trilogy, and thought the writing was purposefully confusing. Though I don't know if this book would make more sense after reading the first two, the pacing was quite fast, though the plot moved slow, which created a strange vibe while reading. In general, I would not recommend this book. However, if you have read the first two and liked them, go ahead and give it a go.

Reviewer's Name: 
Anna C.

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451
Author: 
Bradbury, Ray
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a fireman, Guy Montag, who lives in a dystopian society. His job as a fireman is to locate all books around the city and burn them. Books are banned from any individual and is considered to be an inferior type of entertainment in comparison television, which are more supported by the public. As Montag continues to burn more books throughout his job over time, he deals with a variety of external factors that changes his brainwashed and disillusioned perspective to considering books and their significance to society. Being a firemen in this dystopian society, Montag must deal with a plethora of barriers that are blocking his way before he can truly understand the importance of books and to keep them.

Fahrenheit 451 is an intriguing book that takes a different approach in a dystopian society. Instead of implementing a militaristic and governmental style, Bradbury uses firemen which encapsulates a unique and captivating plot line. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates a story that everyone can enjoy, especially for those who enjoy reading dystopian novels. Bradbury effectively relates character development of Montag to the series of events that occurs. This coherent relationship that virtually happens side-by-side further produces a sense of immersion for the reader.

Personally, I enjoyed Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 novel. It is considered to be one of his best, and most iconic books that he has written to date. I highly recommend any average reader to consider reading Fahrenheit 451. The book is not too long, but it will still produce an immense amount of quality and satisfaction in the end.

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T.

Book Review: Rendezvous

Book Review: Rendezvous
Author: 
Aubin, Jerry
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Ship Series continues to be phenomenal in Rendezvous. Rendezvous not only continues the thrilling adventures of Zax after twelve years after being Culled, but also continues to develop the story of Adan and his creation of his massive spaceship to save humanity. Aubin adds a whole new level to the depth of the Ship Series with his exploration of the Ship's history while still staying true to the original story. Full of plot twists, Rendezvous will leave you fascinated and reaching for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

Book Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: 
Patterson, James
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Maximum Ride is probably one of the most interesting and exciting books I have ever read. The novel starts with a group of children living in a house on their own, the one who watches out for the younger children is sixteen year old, Maximum Ride (Max). The children are not like other normal kids though; they can all fly. When the kids were younger they were all kidnapped by scientists and were experimented on. While they were experimented on they were given genetically attached wings. The children all escaped with the strength they all had together but now the scientists want them back. They can fly and they are stronger than most humans and they each have
individual powers unique to only them and they are not easy to find. The scientist also created what Max and the other children call “Erasers”, which are genetically mutated humans half wolf, half human with the sole purpose of finding the missing flying children. The novel follows Max and the children on their journey to freedom. I honestly think that there is something for everyone to enjoy in this book: romance, science fiction, action and adventure. I love this book and would highly recommend reading it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Madison S.

Book Review: Homeward

Book Review: Homeward
Author: 
Aubin, Jerry
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Jerry Aubin continues The Ship Series with another phenomenal sci-fi novel. Homeward has the same energy and intensity as its two predecessors and continues Zax's thrilling adventures. In Homeward, life becomes much more complicated for Zax and he is once again faced with difficult moral challenges. Full of fascinating new twists and turns, Homeward will keep you on your feet. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

Book Review: Revolution

Book Review: Revolution
Author: 
Aubin, Jerry
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Aubin's continuation of the ship series is just as brilliant as the first. Now that Zax has revealed his discovery of an unknown spacecraft from Earth, everything has changed. The ship has erupted into full-blown revolution and Zax is once again faced with a moral dilemma. Revolution is another thrilling sci-fi adventure that is just as action-packed as Landfall. I could not put this book down and was completely enthralled by Aubin's futuristic society. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

Book Review: Landfall

Book Review: Landfall
Author: 
Aubin, Jerry
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

I loved this book. Jerry Aubin has written a sci-fi masterpiece that is the perfect combination of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and Star Trek. Landfall follows the life of Zax, a fifteen-year-old cadet on a ship with the last human survivors 5,000 years in the future. Landfall is full of non-stop action and is an absolute page-turner. I couldn't put this book down and neither will you. I highly recommend this book for any middle or high school aged reader who loves a wonderful sci-fi adventure.

Reviewer's Name: 
John B.

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