Tag Archives: sci-fi

Light by Michael Grant

CAUTION: May contain spoilers

I need to get this out of the way now: OMG! This book is AMAZING! Michael Grant, you are brilliant and I bow at your feet!  OK…calming down now.

Ever since Michael Grant launched his Gone series I have been wondering how the series would end.  With each book, the situation in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) has got progressively worse.  When you trap a bunch of kids inside a dome (some with super powers), with no adults, limited food, disease, and no idea if or when they’ll ever get out, you know it isn’t going to end well.  After the previous book, Fear, I have to say I had no idea how the series was going to end.  One of the things I love about Michael Grant is that he certainly keeps you on your toes and isn’t afraid to shock you.  He certainly does this in the final book in the Gone series, Light.

All eyes are on Perdido Beach. The barrier wall is now as clear as glass and life in the FAYZ is visible for the entire outside world to see. Life inside the dome remains a constant battle and the Darkness, away from watchful eyes, grows and grows . . . The society that Sam and Astrid have struggled so hard to build is about to be shattered for good. It’s the end of the FAYZ. But who will survive to see the light of day?

Light is everything I hoped it would be and much, much more.  It is a truly EPIC conclusion to the series and the way in which Michael wrapped the series up left me totally satisfied.  I won’t go in to any details because I’d hate to spoil the ending, which fans have been waiting years for.  Michael had me on the edge of my seat and it was nerve-wracking from beginning to end.  I read it over a couple of days and found that I could think of little else but the story.  As soon as I put it down I wanted to know what was happening to the characters.  By the time I’d read the final page, I felt like I was a survivor of the FAYZ who had to adjust to normal life again.  You’ve been with these characters through the whole experience so you really feel like one of them.

Everything that I love about Michael Grant’s books is here in Light.  There is plenty of violence and gore (including some cannibalism), the action is non-stop, the suspense makes you tear out your hair and chew your fingernails, and there are the characters you love (and those you hate) fighting against incredible odds.  There is also plenty of death and destruction, and not all of the main characters survive the ordeal.  I found myself saying ‘Oh no Michael, not them!’ several times during the story.

Out of all the things I love about this series, it’s the characters that have made me keep reading.  Michael has created so many great characters in this series and they get a lot thrown at them.  From the very first book, I’ve wondered who would make it through to the end, and I’m pleased to say that Michael totally surprised me.  It has been really interesting to see how the characters react to different situations, and seeing their true nature shine through.  None of the characters have made it through unscathed and I’ve loved watching their development throughout the series.

Thank you Michael Grant for creating this incredible series and these memorable characters that I’ll never forget.  I absolutely found it worthwhile and I had so much fun getting lost in your crazy world.

Even though this series has ended, we still have much more of Michael Grant to look forward to, with his BZRK series, The Magnificent 12 series (for younger readers), and hopefully more of Eve and Adam (with his incredibly talented wife, Katherine Applegate).

5 out of 5 stars

Win a copy of Light

I have a copy of Light to give away to one lucky Gone fan.  All you have to do is enter your name and email address in the form below and tell me who is your favourite Gone series character.  Competition closes Wednesday 10 April (NZ and Australia only).

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When We Wake book trailer

When We Wake is the fantastic new YA futuristic thriller from New Zealand author, Karen Healey. Cryogenics, questionable morals and ethics, government secrets, and a kick-ass character are only some of the things that make When We Wake stand out.

When We Wake by Karen Healey is available now at libraries and bookshops from Allen and Unwin.

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The Rosie Black Chronicles: Dark Star by Lara Morgan

First there was Genesis, then Equinox, and now there is the dramatic conclusion to The Rosie Black Chronicles, Dark StarLara Morgan grabbed me right from the start of Genesis and I’ve been dying to find out how Rosie’s story will end.  Will she be able to bring down Helios and save her world?

To protect Pip and fulfil her deal with Sulawayo, Rosie Black has joined Helios. But trouble is brewing within the ranks of the powerful organisation a rebellion is rising. Who is part of the rebellion? Who is trying to take full control of Helios? How does the mysterious Dark Star fit into these plans? The stakes are high for Rosie. The survival of Pip and the world as she knows it depends on her. Can Rosie find the truth and save those she loves before it is too late?

Dark Star is an action-packed, tense, sci-fi thriller and the perfect end to this fantastic trilogy.  Our favourite characters return to help Rosie bring down Helios, and Lara also introduces us to some new characters who have their part to play.  There are plenty of twists and turns in the story as, like Rosie, you’re never sure who to trust (is that person part of the rebellion or is it all an act?).  From the moment you enter the Enclave with Rosie you’re on edge, and as Rosie discovers more information about Helios and her situation gets more desperate you start to turn the pages faster.

One of the things I like the most about the series is that the romance between the characters doesn’t get in the way of the story.  There has always been a thing between Pip and Rosie, and in Equinox (the last book) a relationship developed between Dalton and Rosie, but their relationships don’t take over the story (like many YA series).  In the world that they live in there isn’t really time to stop and stare longingly into each others’ eyes, but their relationships still affect their decisions.  The bonds between them mean that they are willing to sacrifice their own safety (and their life) to help each other escape.  You just hope that they will all make it through and be able to have their romantic moments after they’ve saved the world.

I also love the technology that Lara has created in her future world.  There are medical patches that heal wounds, AI taxi cabs, pulse guns, a portal to transport people onto other planets, and many other fantastic inventions.  A lot of her technology is more advanced versions of what we have today so it’s not hard to imagine a world like Rosie’s.

Lara ended the story perfectly, tying up the loose ends, but also leaving it open so that you can wonder about what might happen next.  If you haven’t read The Rosie Black Chronicles get them from your library or bookshop now.

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Walker Books Australia I have a set of The Rosie Black Chronicles, signed by Lara Morgan, to give away.  You can enter here.

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Win a signed set of The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  Dark Star, the dramatic conclusion to The Rosie Black Chronicles has just been released in Australia and NZ (you can read my review here).

To celebrate the release of Dark Star Walker Books have given me a signed set of The Rosie Black Chronicles to give away.  All you have to do to get in the draw is leave a comment telling me Who is your favourite butt-kicking book character? Competition closes Wednesday 28 November (Australia and NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winner is Christine.

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Love YA sci-fi? Grab The Rosie Black Chronicles

The Rosie Black Chronicles is a fantastic young adult science fiction series, written by Australian author Lara Morgan.  The series is published by Walker Books Australia, who also publish some other exciting science fiction/futuristic books for children and teens, including Brian Falkner’s The Tomorrow Code and Brainjack, and Ambelin Kwaymullina’s The Tribe series. 

The Rosie Black Chronicles is an action-packed, fast-paced series set in the not-too-distant future.  There are corrupt organisations, secret plans, a killer virus, rebellions, space travel, a colony on Mars, a touch of romance, and a butt-kicking main character, Rosie Black.  If you like futuristic stories like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Across the Universe, and Legend then The Rosie Black Chronicles is the perfect series for you.

Last week I received a top-secret package from Helios, the secret organisation from The Rosie Black Chronicles with a flash drive containing information about Rosie Black.  I was told to spread the information, so below you will find links to chapter samplers from each of the three books in the series, character profiles, book trailers and an interview with Lara Morgan.  Feel free to print these off and share with readers far and wide.  Next week I’ll have a special giveaway of a complete set of The Rosie Black Chronicles signed by Lara Morgan, so watch out for this.

Rosie Black Book 1: Genesis Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 2: Equinox Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Book 3: Dark Star Chapter Sampler

Rosie Black Character Profiles

Q&A with Lara Morgan

Rosie Black Mini Poster

For more about Lara Morgan and The Rosie Black Chronicles visit www.rosieblack.com

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Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate have introduced us to characters that we both love and love to hate.  They’ve coauthored over 100 books together, including one of the coolest series of my childhood, Animorphs.  Michael is the author of the fantastic Gone series and BZRK, and Katherine stole our hearts earlier this year when she introduced us to the loveable, One and Only Ivan.  They’ve joined forces once again to bring us creation story like no other, Eve and Adam.

Evening Spiker is recuperating from a freak accident in her mum’s medical facility. She is healing at a remarkable rate, faster than physically possible. As she grows closer to the hot lab assistant Solo, who seems to be hanging around a lot, she realises that things at Spiker Biotech are not quite as they seem. Joining forces, Solo and Eve uncover a secret so huge it could change the world completely. Spiker Biotech is about more than just saving lives. It’s about creating them.

Eve and Adam is an exciting, futuristic thriller, and one hell of a cool book!  Take some ordinary teenagers, throw in a billion-dollar biopharmaceuticals company, genetic engineering, morally corrupt scientists and some sexual tension, and you have Eve and Adam.  Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate sure know how to write and they suck you in from the very first sentence.  This has to be one of the best first sentences ever – ‘I am thinking of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognizable, wet and red.’

The narration of the story alternates between Eve (Evening or E.V. to her friends), the daughter of Terra Spiker (head of Spiker Biopharmaceuticals) and Solo who is Terra’s ward.  After her accident, Terra gives Eve the task of designing the perfect boy, using special software that her company has developed.  After some initial skepticism Eve takes to the task and it takes her mind off her injuries, but it’s not long before she starts to wonder why her leg doesn’t hurt and there are no scars.  Solo is a mysterious character and you wonder what his motives are.  He seems to be sneaking around looking for something in particular, and puts on an act to make himself seem dumber than he actually is.  When he finds what he has been searching for it’s shocking and neither him or Eve are quite prepared for the trouble that follows.  Into this mix comes Adam, Eve’s perfect boy.  I love the way that Eve describes him when she first sees him in person,

“He’s the most beautiful male I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  Anywhere.  George Clooney and Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake and all of them, all of them, would be cast as Adam’s less attractive best friend.”

The story is so gripping that I read it in one day.  The end left me wondering whether Eve and Adam is the start of a new series or whether it is a stand alone novel.  I felt like there were a few unanswered questions so this may not be the last we see of Eve, Adam, Aislin and Solo.

5 out of 5 stars

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Starters by Lissa Price

Imagine a world that is populated only by the very young and the very old.  Everyone in between has been killed by biological warfare because they weren’t vaccinated.  Children and teenagers who don’t have living relatives survive day by day, living in abandoned buildings and scrounging for food.  There is one company who offers a way out of poverty for teenagers who are willing to rent out their bodies to the elderly, who just want to feel young again.  This is the situation that Callie finds herself in when we first meet her in Lissa Price’s amazing debut novel, Starters.

16-year-old Callie lost her parents when the ‘genocide spore’ wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first – the very young and very old. She and her little brother must go on the run, living as squatters, fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes in the form of the Body Bank run by a mysterious figure, known only as The Old Man. The Body Bank allows teenagers to rent out their bodies to ‘Enders’ – the elderly members of society – who want to be young again. But Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party in her body. She intends to commit murder.

I absolutely loved this book!  Starters really stands out among all the other young adult science fiction/dystopian books being published at the moment.  It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time and Lissa Price was constantly surprising me.  There were so many twists and turns that I gave up on trying to figure out what would happen next.  Callie is an intelligent, kick-butt female character that is always putting the safety and health of her brother over her own life.  The reason she first goes to the body bank is to get the money she needs to make a good life for her brother, and she is constantly thinking about him and doing everything she can to make sure he’s safe.  I liked that the story is told in first person from Callie’s point of view as it helps you understand her motives and you really feel the punch to the gut when she uncovers the truth.  I loved the character of the Old Man because there is so much mystery surrounding him.  He always seems to be just out of reach and you don’t really know who he is or what part he plays.  I can’t wait to find out more about him in the next book.

Lissa Price is an extremely talented author and definitely one to keep an eye on.  The sequel to Starters, called Enders, is due out in December 2012 so I’m glad I don’t have to wait long to read the next part of the story.

5 out of 5

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172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

One thing I really love about the Young Adult books that are being published at the moment is the amount of great science fiction stories.  Whether it’s the paranormal, like Andrew Hammond’s CRYPT series and Will Hill’s Department 19 or set in outer space, like Beth Revis’ Across the Universe and Philip Webb’s Six Days, these stories grab me and don’t let me go until the very last page.  Johan Harstad’s new book, 172 Hours on the Moon is one of these stories.

Set in 2019, it’s the story of 3 lucky teenagers who are chosen from millions of others around the world to be the first teenagers to travel to the moon.  A worldwide lottery is announced to find the 3 teenagers and it’s Mia from Norway, Antoine from France, and Midori from Japan who are chosen for this once in a lifetime experience.  In the first few chapters we find out who they are and what their life is like in their countries.  Each of them want to escape their lives and the moon mission gives them that chance.  They know that once they return from the moon, they will live very different lives.  Before they leave for their training, each of them experience some strange events that make them questions whether they should be going to the moon.  After their weeks of training they say goodbye to their families and leave for the moon.  You know that things are going to go wrong and sure enough, they do.  From the moment they land on the moon a series of strange events occur, and soon they find themselves fighting for their lives, millions of miles from home.

172 Hours on the Moon had me hooked from the blurb ‘Three of them will go on the trip of a lifetime.  Only one will come back.’  Johan’s story was originally published in his native Norwegian and Tara F. Chace has translated it well, capturing the fear and claustrophobia of the moon perfectly.  You know as soon as you start the story that everything is going to go horribly wrong, but you have to find out how and why.  The suspense keeps you reading and I found it really difficult to put the book down even to make a cup of tea.  The teenage characters were very real and I was really hoping they’d make it home (even though I just knew they wouldn’t).  I loved the way the author held back certain details about the true nature of the mission and revealed these slowly throughout the story.  One of the adult characters would reveal some details, but wouldn’t tell the teenagers the whole truth, which makes you keep reading to find out the truth.  Johan ends the story with a punch to your guts and leaves you catching your breath, marveling at the story you’ve just read.

4 out of 5 stars

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Meet the Apocalypsies #3: Leah Bobet

Today I’m joined by debut author and member of the Apocalypsies, Leah Bobet.  Leah is the author of Above, an amazing new Young Adult urban fantasy novel.  Leah drinks tea, wears feathers in her hair, and plants gardens in back alleys. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.   Here’s the blurb for Above:

Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee’s wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above–like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe’s history and the shadows’ attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home–not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.

Now it’s over to Leah to tell us about her writing and Above.  Thanks Leah for your wonderful post.

My writerbrain’s a bit like a game of Katamari Damacy; I read and putter and roll the little ball around, picking up things, and eventually it gets big enough that I become a star have something to write. Here are a few of the things it picked up:

The first was a detail, actually, from an essay I was reading for a third-year philosophy course: where the author described having to stand in his underwear in an examination room under bright lights because his doctors were using the diagnosis of his disability to teach student doctors. I can actually viscerally remember leaning back on my (crappy student) couch when I read it: all this emotion, shame and display and anger, bleeds right through the page. It hit me right between the eyes, and I knew I had to use it for something, somewhere.

The second thing was, well, picking a fight. I used to watch the Ron Perlman Beauty and the Beast TV show back when I was a kid, and I used to watch Futurama, and I have this pickily annoying practical streak that used to do things like correct people when they had song lyrics wrong. So part of my head, for a long time, has been going but it wouldn’t be like that! You get this whole Secret Society of Mutants Living Underground thing, suspicious and insular and ready to set you on fire and hiding in life-and-death ways, but nobody ever talks about how they got that way or the long-term emotional consequences of being locked up down there with the same five people all the time. They live underground in sewers or the like, but they’re always these suspiciously comfortable, all-the-amenities, Hollywood kinds of sewers, not what you’d actually get if a half-dozen people with various mental and physical issues went down into the actual sewer and tried to rough out something to live in. In real life, it’d probably be cold. You’d spend all your time figuring out how to get enough water, power, and canned food to just survive. So, says I, picking a fight with a whole bunch of books and movies, all happy with how smart I was. I’ll show them what it’s really like.

The third thing? A question I’ve been picking at for years, and still haven’t found a great answer to: When someone you care about is in trouble, when do you work like hell to save them, to try to pull them out of the hole they’re falling into – and when do you realize they’re just going to pull you in after them, and let go, and walk away?

I still have no idea about that: Where the line is between being right and safe, and wrong and cruel, or the other way around, lies. But I had enough to say about it, trying to find that line, that a whole book came out: about a boy who grew up underground and a girl who can turn into a bee.

ABOVE (Arthur A. Levine Books, April 2012)

http://www.leahbobet.com

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Slide Book Trailer

Slide by Jill Hathaway is about a girl who can ‘slide’ into other peoples bodies for a brief time.  She has narcolepsy and when she passes out she slides into other people’s heads and ends up seeing through their eyes.  Then, one day she finds herself in the head of a killer, who is standing over the body of one of the girls from her school.  I’m only 50 pages in and the story’s already gripped me.

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