Science Fiction

Book Review: Dune

Author
Herbert, Frank
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Dune is the first book in a series by Frank Herbert (something I didn't know until after I had started reading). This was a wonderfully imaginative book with interesting characters, conflict, and world building.
You follow Paul as he travels to the planet of Arrakis. You similarly follow those close to him, notably his mother, Jessica, as they all grow accustomed to the unfamiliar landscape and the politics that encompass it.
While the language of the characters originally threw me off, I grew accustomed to it and it helped immerse me in the story and characters. Seeing the dynamics and customs of not only the Atreides family, but also natives of Arrakis, was interesting and better as they intertwined with each other.
Also seeing the various themes of the story was also appealing (thanks English class!) as they intersect with each other in ways I've never seen before.
This is a great book and I recommend it, even if Sci-fi isn't your normal genre.
Reviewer's Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name
Antwaan

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: Dune

Author
Herbert, Frank
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

Dune is a sci-fi series written by Frank Herbert depicting detailed politics with twists and turns. The first one begins with the story of a boy called Paul, the son of a duke. His journey begins on Arrakis, a desert planet filled with a valuable resource called spice. When the duke’s palace is attacked, Paul must flee and find refuge in the desert. This book was entertaining for me, but it goes a little heavy into politics and there are a lot of things you need to pay attention to in order to understand the story. I lost interest in the overall series after the first 4 books as it just gets so weird with mystical stuff in the world. The genre it fits into is not scifi, but a mix between fantasy and scifi.

Reviewer's Name
Ethan

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

Book Review: The Martian

Author
Weir, Andy
Rating
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review

The Martian is a novel by Andy Weir about a lone astronaut trapped on a foreign planet, surviving solely off of his wits and knowledge. Andy Weir's premiere story is a tale of persistence, ingenuity, and the human need to help one another.
Mark Watney is an incredibly charismatic protagonist, and the fact that this is so obvious even without direct dialogue between him and other characters makes Weir's writing even more impressive. The format of the novel is unique, with Watney mostly speaking through logs of his time on Mars, before the perspective switches to his colleagues on Earth in a more common third person perspective. Although this format doesn't sound like it could be exciting, the book can be thrilling at times, as problems continue to stack up, making Watney's return to Earth more unlikely each time.
Overall, The Martian is a gripping story and a treat to adult fans of science fiction.

Reviewer's Name
Locke

Book Review: The Hunger Games

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

Catniss Everdeen is the young girl in District 12 who comes from poverty and hunting. When the Annual Hunger Games start their draft picks, Catniss volunteers as tribute to spare her sister. She has always had talent with a bow and arrow for hunting for food to provide dinner for her family. Catniss uses her skill to win the Hunger Games and eventually eliminate President Snow, the background of the merciless games. I loved the intelligence put into the book of the making of the games. Because of the fighting, there is some violence and gore, but it’s still family-friendly and can be read comfortably. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves quick thinking and thought-out mystery. Hunger Games is intriguing, well-planned, and is an all-time favorite for my family.

Reviewer's Name
Rachel L.

Book Review: Shadow of the Giant

Author
Card, Orson Scott
Rating
4 stars = Really Good
Review

I'm glad Ender Wiggin's crewmates had this side series to explore their identities. While most of these characters were in the background of the Shadow series until now, Shadow of the Giant finally gives them time to shine on their own. After all, after three books focusing on Bean, it's nice to see the geopolitical drama unfold between these young tactical geniuses. I can definitely appreciate the storytelling that fills in the gaps between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead .

With Achilles being killed off in the previous book, Shadow Puppets , the principal antagonist of the series left a vacuum on the world stage that was inevitably going to be filled by Ender's Jeesh. And while these individuals had aged to the point of young adulthood, I can't deny the clever game they played with entire nations so they could position themselves in stations of power. It's entertaining to read about these military and political maneuvers in a fictional context, mostly because things would probably play out similarly in the real world if the situations presented themselves.

Still, Shadow of the Giant needs to include a side-plot with Bean. There's not much to say here other than it was an adequate stringing along that left room to conclude the series in the next two books. That being said, everything else about this series was so well wrapped up by the end of this volume that I'm sure Shadows in Flight won't have the same feel as the previous entries in this series without including Ender's Jeesh and Peter Wiggin's rule as Hegemon. If you want to stop reading the series here, I wouldn't blame you.

A great wrap-up of global affairs with room to continue Bean's story, I give Shadow of the Giant 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.