Review Crew Book Reviews by Genre: Science Fiction

Lord of Light
Zelazny, Roger
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Lord of Light, winner of the 1968 Hugo award for best novel, is a fascinating excursion into a expertly crafted science fiction world involving both Hindu mythology and the struggle to free humanity from the oppressive rule of false gods. This book is exciting as well as thought provoking and an overall interesting read. The characters are well flushed out, the setting is both believable and fantastical, and every instant of the book engaging. For those not familiar with Zelazny's writing style, the book may become confusing at certain points. However, the reader is never lost completely and can easily catch back up with the story. This book is a must read for those interested in the science fiction genre.

Reviewer's Name: Evan
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

In the exciting conclusion to the "Hunger Games" series, "Mockingjay" follows Katniss Everdeen after she defied the Capitol in the Quarter Quell and fled to the underground city of District 13, where she is haunted by the idea of an impeding war and thoughts of her fellow tribute (and now captive of the Capitol) Peeta Mellark. In order to win this war against the Capitol, she must become a symbol of the rebellion -- the Mockingjay -- and unify the districts. Just like the others in the series, this book was phenomenal. I was completely invested in all the characters and had to see their journeys through to the end. The plot twists were even more shocking than ever. I cannot say enough about this series -- it is absolutely amazing. However, there is one thing about this book that made me enjoy it just slightly less than the others in the series. While the writing style of the other two books is relatively straightforward and direct, there were several parts in this book that left me confused, especially during action scenes -- which happened almost too quickly to follow. I didn't always entirely understand Katniss's motives (most particularly at the end) or why certain decisions were made.
This may've been on purpose, since Katniss is disoriented and suffering from mental problems during this time, which distort her sense of reality. Either way, I found it a little difficult to follow. Regardless, this book was amazing. I highly recommend the entire series. It is utterly legendary, and unlike anything I've read before.
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the sequel to "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire" begins with a reeling Katniss Everdeen, having just survived the 74th Hunger Games along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Their survival greatly upset the Capitol, the ruling city of the country of Panem, and now they must deal with the consequences of their rule-bending victory. On their mandatory Victory Tour around the country, Katniss discovers that her actions have sparked the idea of revolution throughout the nation -- a revolution she never intended to start. And everything is about to change with the Quarter Quell -- the 75th Hunger Games -- looming over their heads....

This book was amazing! Having finished the first book (which was also fantastic), I didn't think the sequel could ever surpass the first. But, "Catching Fire" was equal parts surprising and intriguing. I love how the plot has thickened since the end of the first Hunger Games -- and how Katniss and Peeta deal with the consequences of their actions. We get to know more about some of the characters from the first (such as Haymitch and his backstory) and the growing relationship between Katniss and Peeta. The plot twists caught me completely off guard -- and almost every chapter ends with some sort of cliffhanger that makes you want to read even more! The only negative thing I can say about this book is that the beginning is just a little slow -- I think this is for the purpose of showing how Katniss's life has gotten slower (and more painful) since the end of the Games. But, this really shouldn't deter anyone from reading this amazing sequel. The writing is fantastic, the characters are incredibly well-developed, and the plot is epic. Another absolutely phenomenal book from Suzanne Collins!
Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Wade Watts, a high school student like any other, starts his journey off in the slums of a world on the verge of economic and social collapse. In an attempt to escape the seemingly bleak world, many turn to the Oasis, an augmented version of virtual reality where the impossible is possible and people can become something other than what they are in the real world. The creator of the Oasis meets his untimely death due to a terminal illness, and in turn leaves behind his fortune and most prized possession, control of Oasis. The catch is, all you have to do is find his little “Easter Egg” within the vast world of the Oasis by finding keys linked to his favorite pastimes, such as old arcade games. It having been a long time since the announcement of this and now leads found, very few still pursue the egg. Wade Watts is one of them.

After discovering the first key on an online school’s virtual planet, Wade and the many others he meets along the way race to find the egg before the other hunters and the huge corporation, IO; in this science fiction world designed by Ernest Cline. I greatly enjoyed this book due to the vast worlds within his virtual one that he has illustrated for his audience.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Nova, one of the few gifted with powers after their emergence, struggles in the societal aftershock and ruin left behind by the collapse. Now in the place of the governments that once stood, is a new organization, The Renegades, that provides stability and safety through the use of powers.

Before them was a time when groups of “villains” reigned over the weak, Nova was a member one of the most powerful groups referred to as the Anarchists. Now she attempts to infiltrate the Renegades to help bring back the waning power of the Anarchists, and along the way meets many who teach her just how vast the moral grey area is.

I enjoyed this book, given its science fiction/dystopian world that Marissa Meyers gives to her audience and the surprises that might come from just turning a page.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Morning Star
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Darrow was captured and his identity revealed, the leader of the Sons of Ares was killed, and now the future of rebellion looks bleak. Darrow, now in a state of grief and failure, his body withering away as he waits for his execution, is rescued and given a second chance to realize Eo’s dream; to topple the corrupt society that stole everything from him. Now the leading force and face of the rebellion, Darrow has many struggles that await him in the final book in the Red Rising Trilogy. I greatly enjoyed this book due to how the many underlying plots are tied off in the end of the series as well as the resolution of each character’s internal struggles. Pierce Brown builds on many previous sub plots that as the reader you might forget, marvelously tying this book in with the rest of the series.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Golden Son
Brown, Pierce
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Darrow, having rose through the ranks of the Golds at the academy, becomes a member of the house of Mars. Having made enemies at the Academy, Darrow must prove his worth at the the Naval Institute; to attain a fleet for his house and in the future, the rebellion. Faced by his many adversaries, Darrow gets caught up in a civil war between the Gold’s houses. Darrow leads his audience through the corrupted society, with a view both from the bottom of society and the top, all the while exploring the concepts of grief, hatred, and what it means to fully understand your enemy. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction and stories on societal struggles. I enjoyed the world Peirce Brown created in this series as well as the dynamic characters and their internal struggles.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
Red Rising
Brown, Pierce
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Review: Darrow, a lowly “Red” , the bottom rung of the hierarchical ladder in a society divided by “Colors”, mines Helium 3 far below the surface of Mars. This mining community is where he and his family have worked for generations, under the duress and harsh conditions that come with living underground in the mines. The Reds are always told that they will one day be able to return to the surface once they mine enough of the Helium 3, which is vital to the terraforming efforts. This lie shatters when one day he loses everything he loves to this society and learns the truth, that a vast civilization sits atop these mines; a civilization run by the cruel tyranny of the top class, the Golds. In this amazing work of science fiction, Darrow infiltrates the Golds in an attempt to bring down this rotting society that stole so much from him. During this journey, Pierce Brown brings you along with his protagonist, identifying many moral concepts, as he illustrates a living, breathing world within this complex story of a growing revolution. I really enjoyed this book, I felt that the book created an alternate world for its audience to get lost in; the world and how the author portrays it is something I look at when looking for a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Liam G
The Unwanteds
McMann, Lisa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In the town of Quil, there is an odd tradition. On kids’ thirteenth birthdays, they participate in the purge, where the government judges kids by their creativity and separates them into three groups. The Wanteds get to stay in Quil to train to be warriors. The Necessaries also stay, but only to do farm work. The last group is the Unwanteds--the group of kids who have shown too much creativity. They are sentenced to death.

When Alex Stowe's thirteenth birthday comes up, he isn't excited. He already knows that he will be an Unwanted because of all his infractions. When the purge comes and he is sentenced to death, he thinks it is his death date. But, when he gets to the lake of boiling oil, the place where the Unwanteds are sent to be killed, a strange man comes and offers them a second chance.

Instead of punishing the Unwanteds, he wants to bring them into the magical world of Artime, harness their creativity, and use it to give them magic. But if Artime is discovered by Quil, it might ruin Artime forever. Can Alex help save Artime or will it be discovered and destroyed?

I originally got this book from finishing the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Challenge. I don't usually read or enjoy fantasy books, but I loved this one. I really enjoyed the concept of the story and loved all of the creative characters. It was also cool how they not only got to learn magic but also got to create new spells. This is the first book in a series of seven. I can't wait to read the rest of them.

Reviewer's Name: Ben C
Awards:
I Am Number Four
Lore, Pittacus
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I am Number Four is one of the best books I have ever read. An alien race, known as the Loriens, send nine children along with their guardians to Earth to save their kind. The Loriens have been invaded by the evil Magadorians and their only hope are these nine children. The Loriens have special powers and magic associated with them, yet look like humans. I am Number Four follows the journey of the fourth Lorien child sent to Earth and his thrilling quest to stay hidden and alive. This novel blends science fiction, action, and romance in a fantastic roller coaster that will have you on the edge of your seat and will pull at your heartstrings. While it contains violence, I recommend this book to anyone, but especially middle and high schoolers.

Reviewer's Name: John B
Clockwork Angel
Clare, Cassandra
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Clockwork Angel follows Tessa Gray, a 16 year old girl from America, on her journey to England to meet her brother, where she is subsequently kidnapped by the Dark Sisters. This is her introduction to the Shadow World, a world where vampires, werewolves, warlocks, faeries, and Shadowhunters live just out of sight of mundanes, who are people without a magical background. It takes place in Victorian England, where Tessa meets a variety of interesting people. These people include the vampire Camille Belcourt, the warlock Magnus Bane, and many Shadowhunters such as Will and Jem. There are battles, escapes, and a pinch of romance. Recommended for ages 14 and up. I have read this book many times, and it is only the beginning of a much bigger universe.
Discovery lies behind every turn of the page. I love this book because of my connection with Tessa, whose love for books connects so deeply with my own.

Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Settare R
At the Mountains of Madness
Lovecraft, H. P.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

H.P. Lovecraft is commonly known as one of the titans of horror, one of the pioneers of the genre who influenced people such as Stephen King, and has even inspired several video games, such as Bloodborne. At the Mountains of Madness is considered Lovecraft's magnum opus, his best work to date. It is a novella telling the story of a small group of geologists, aviators, and explorers who travel to Antarctica in search of unique rock specimens. While there, however, they encounter several horrors, including unearthing ancient specimens known as Old Ones, a decadent, purely weird city built by the Old Ones themselves, and even giant albino penguins. This novella is truly horrifying, as the suspense Lovecraft is able to build through usage of the setting is gripping. If one is looking to begin reading Lovecraft books, this one is a great entry point, as it introduces the reader to the Old Ones, the Necronomicon, and even Cthulhu himself. I would recommend to anyone who loves horror novels, or anyone who wants to read Lovecraft.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Animal Farm
Orwell, George
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell is about a seemingly normal farm that turns against their farmer. The animals take over the farm with the help of their leaders who are pigs. After all the humans are gone from the farm they continue under the rule of the pigs and create a system of rules to follow as a guideline for their new life. Everything goes well until one of the pigs, Napoleon, uses the dogs he trained to remove the other leader, Snowball, from the animal farm. With Snowball gone Napoleon takes complete control of the farm. He alters the rules made by Snowball, abuses his power, and makes poor decisions that negatively affect the other animals. One of their rules/guidelines was that humans were evil and not to be associated with.

Napoleon breaks that rule many times starting with making a trade of wood with another farm run by a farmer. They get scammed from the exchange with the human, but that doesn't stop Napoleon from dealing with humans. He goes to the extent of not telling the fellow animals the truth and putting all pigs above everyone else. From there things get progressively worse until Napoleon eventually befriends the humans along with the other pigs. They become so much like the humans that it gets to the point that the pigs are basically humans.

I would recommend the book. "Animal Farm" is interesting and in my opinion is in a sense satire, so I really enjoyed it. I read this book because I was planning on reading 1984 by the same author for a BTS theory and wanted to read other books by George Orwell. I kind of could relate to some of the animals because when they disagreed with Napoleon they brought up good points, but no one listened to them. The ending is very surprising and the book isn't predictable.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
The Never War
MacHale, D.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Never War, by D. J. MacHale, is the third book in the Pendragon series. The series take place in a dystopian universe where multiple "territories" exist. This time, Bobby Pendragon, the main protagonist, is forced to set out to "First Earth" to protect New York City during the year 1937. The book's setting is amazing and cleverly crafted, as always, and the plot is intruiguing as well. The characters are also well developed and their identities start to mature after the first two books. The antagonist Saint Dane is also fascinating as his entire identity is shrouded in mystery.

Overall, the book is a great adventure novel and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in books like the Harry Potter series.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Frankenstein
Shelly, Mary Wollstonecraft
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The classic tale of mystery and horror is also one that is an extremely entertaining read. While it may not be the scariest novel ever, the mere ideas that it presents are certain to make one a bit uneasy. The plot is iconic: Victor Frankenstein, aspiring philosopher and scientist, creates a horrifying monster out of dead bodies and reanimates it from the dead. The monster then goes on a murderous rampage after being rejected by his very creator. The novel is very good, and the message it presents, of not overreaching for knowledge, is a timeless one. The only downside to this icon of horror is that some chapters tend to drag, and have little purpose. However, this is not a huge detriment since the rest of the novel is so entertaining. I would recommend to thriller or horror enthusiasts.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Awards:
The Last Star
Yancey, Rick
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Last Star by Rick Yancey was an enthralling close to The 5th Wave trilogy that left me in a trance of teardrops and the grip of a smile. Throughout the series, a group of survivors varying in age and personality banded together while a cruel species from another planet seized the Earth in determination
for solitude-- without care to the danger of the human life that already inhabited the planet. The book follows the minds, attitudes, and decisions of several characters, including Cassie Sullivan, her little brother, and her high school crush, along with other rogues that had survived the inhumane attacks of the inhuman. It was a race to get to the next page as the question of survival blared atop the ink and paper and as hate and wrongdoing and abandonment bloomed within the dying fields of love and innocence and hope. I thoroughly enjoyed this story because of how unfathomable yet relatable it was; the idea of aliens attacking Earth is very far from reality, but the way humans responded to the intruders in The Last Star was raw and familiar. I picked this book up because I had previously read the first two books of the series (The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea) and appreciated the storyline of the movie, "The 5th Wave". The Last Star was at no point predictable; there were plot twists tucked into the spaces between chapters. Along with this, Rick Yancey's poetic script was remarkable throughout the story because of his beautiful descriptions of the action that allowed a new depth to be reached within the intricate plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who seeks adventure from the confines of a bedroom, as well as the understanding of the crude emotion that helps us to grow not as persons but as a people.

Reviewer's Name: Anya G.
The Hunger Games
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

In "The Hunger Games", sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her young sister's place in the cruel Hunger Games, an annual televised competition where children fight to the death until one remains. Although I'd watched all the movie adaptations before reading this book, I was still completely hooked. Everything about this book is absolutely fantastic -- the characters, the plot, the writing. The characters are complex and complicated, blurring the line between good and evil -- Katniss, in many ways, makes a phenomenal anti-hero. The plot moves quickly -- every chapter leaves on a cliffhanger, making it impossible to put the book down. The writing is succinct and gripping. The only criticism I could think of is that the beginning is a little slow, but it picks up very quickly from there. Everyone should read this book -- it's possibly one of the greatest books I've ever read. "The Hunger Games" is simply amazing.

Reviewer's Name: Gillian P.
The Quillan Games
MacHale, D.J.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Quillan Games, by D.J. MacHale, is a phenomenal read, as are all of the other Pendragon books. The Quillan Games is the seventh book in the Pendragon series, and I would recommend starting from book one if you want to fully understand what's going on. The overall story and plot are intricate but well demonstrated with subtle but important details. Both the story and plot are also elegantly woven with the theme of identity. Throughout all of this, Bobby and most of the characters are developed in a way where they also faced with this theme of identity, and adopt it as they progress through the story. The overall dystopian universe created in this book is also fascinating. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone with a bit of time on their hands, as the series incorporates many elements that will keep you hooked for hours. Gr.9.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
The Giver
Lowry, Lois
2 stars = Meh
Review:

In the story "The Giver", the main character Jonas lives in what he thinks to be an utopia until he receives knowledge that only him and another person in the community hold. With this knowledge he realizes that his community lacks so much that things must change. Jonas decides to rebel against the guidelines with the other person in the community that holds the information he does which is The Giver. Jonas leaves the community by simply walking out of the borderlines and as a result the community receives the change Jonas and The Giver wanted. The book does end on a cliffhanger, which I did not like and what happens to Jonas and his escape partner is not definite. I read this book because it was what we were reading for the unit at my school in advanced language arts. I did not like the book. I didn't like the characters or the setting. "The Giver" is in a genre of books that I do not usually read and I think that is why I was not fond of it. The characters are not relatable in my opinion but to other people they might be. The plot of "The Giver" was disappointing. In general I just really didn't care for the book, but it wasn't the worst book I have read this year.

Reviewer's Name: Oriana O.
Renegades
Meyer, Marissa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The first book in the series from the author of the popular Cinder series. Renegade takes place in a futuristic world where some humans have gained superpowers. The story takes as on a journey through two different perspectives. Nova is known as a villain to other people, but to Nova the only bad guys are the heroes. Adrian lives in the shadow of his hero fathers and believes villains must be put in their place. The two meet both using secrete identity's and both heir worlds are changed forever.

Reviewer's Name: Amelia W.

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