Tag Archives: science fiction

More Than This by Patrick Ness

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Patrick Ness.  He’s one of my favourite authors and I love everything he writes, whether it’s for adults or teens.  It’s been a particularly good year for fans of Patrick this year, as he’s published two books, one for adults, called The Crane Wife and a Young Adult book called More Than This.  The thought of a new Patrick Ness book always gets me excited, because I never know quite what to expect.  When Patrick revealed the details about More Than This, he gave just enough to whet reader’s appetites but left you with a huge sense of mystery.  When I picked up my copy of the book, Patrick hooked me in straight away and it haunted me right until the end.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.

More Than This is a tense, suspense-filled read that haunts you, so that every waking minute you are thinking about the story and trying to figure out what’s happening.  It’s one of those stories that is very difficult to explain to people without ruining the story for everyone.  I haven’t felt so obsessed with a book in a long time, wanting to just loose myself in the story and help Seth reveal the mystery of the world in which he finds himself.  Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s happening, the story takes a completely different turn.

Patrick Ness is brilliant at creating suspense (fans of his Chaos Walking Trilogy are familiar with this) and there are plenty of cliff-hangar endings in More Than This. There were so many times that I finished a chapter and had to immediately go onto the next to find out what happened.  I’m sure there were times when my colleagues wondered where I had disappeared to.  There were a couple of times where I cursed Patrick Ness out loud.  He really knows how to keep you addicted to a story!

Like his other books, Patrick has created very real characters who you feel for and are rooting for.  You follow Seth’s journey to find out what has happened to him, while at the same time, putting together the pieces of his life and discovering what led him here in the first place.

One of my favourite things about More Than This is the ending, which leaves the story open, but left me totally satisfied.

I can’t recommend Patrick Ness’ books highly enough and More Than This is one of his best.  He just keeps getting better and better.  Grab a copy of More Than This now. You won’t regret it!

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Cover reveal – Shattered by Teri Terry

Shattered_cvr

Kyla’s memory was erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

After the shocking events of SLATED and FRACTURED, we return to Kyla’s oppressive world as she tries to make sense of her lfe and everything around her.

I’m very pleased to reveal the cover for the final book in Teri Terry’s Slated trilogy, Shattered. I loved the first two books in the trilogy and I’m really looking forward to finding out how it all ends.  You can read my review of Slated here on the blog.

Shattered is due for release in the UK in March 2014, so we should get it in NZ around the same time.

 

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Silver book trailer

Who will turn silver next?

When a boy is bitten by a strange silver beetle, he becomes the first victim of a mysterious infection. But this is no ordinary virus. It turns flesh into metal, and pupils into machines.

As the virus spreads and more terrifying, blood-thirsty machines appear, a small group manage to barricade themselves inside the school. Can they keep the machines at bay long enough for help to arrive? Is help even coming?

Meanwhile the virus is spreading and its victims are changing… evolving… becoming stronger… The world as our heroes know it is turning silver. Will any of them survive?

Silver is the latest book from Chris Wooding.  I read about this book a few months ago on Vincent Ripley’s wonderful blog mrripleysenchantedbooks.blogspot.co.uk.  It sounds awesome (and perfect for Michael Grant fans) so I can’t wait to read it.

Silver by Chris Wooding is available now in NZ from Scholastic NZ.

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The Originals by Cat Patrick

Cat Patrick’s books are nothing but original.  The best way I would describe her books are teen romance with a science fiction twist.  Forgotten is about a girl whose short-term memory is erased each night and she can only “remember” events from her future.  She falls in love and has to write notes at night to remind her about her boyfriend in the morning.  Revived is about a girl who was one of the first subjects in a covert programme that tests a drug called Revive. She has died and been Revived five times, but in order to live a normal life and have relationships, she has to escape from the programme.  Cat’s latest book, The Originals, is equally as original and gripping.

OriginalsTo the outside world, Elizabeth Best is a model student. She’s a cheerleader, gets straight As and holds down an after-school job. But what the outside world doesn’t know is that Elizabeth Best is actually three girls. Lizzie, Betsey and Ella are no ordinary triplets. Born as part of an illegal cloning program, the girls were forced into hiding when the program was uncovered. To avoid being taken away, the girls have lived as one girl ever since. Living a third of a life can suck. Imagine having to consult your sisters before choosing your clothes, or hairstyle, or boyfriend. So when Lizzie is forbidden from seeing Sean, the amazing guy from her English class, she and her sisters decide they’ve had enough. But for a chance at a full life, they’ll have to risk everything they know.

The Originals is a genre-bending novel that draws you into the lives of three very different girls who share one life.  Romance, science fiction, mystery, suspense, secrets and lies are all mashed-up in this very cool story.  One of the things I like the most about Cat Patrick’s books is that she keeps surprising me.  Just when you think she couldn’t possibly top her previous book, she does.  I love the way that Cat weaves science fiction into her stories and it’s this element that really draws me to her stories.

Cat’s characters are always memorable and this is certainly the case with the Best girls.  The story is narrated by Lizzie so you get to know her the most and get inside her head, but Cat really fleshes out the characters of Betsey and Ella too.  Through Lizzie you get a sense of how frustrating, confusing, and unfair it is to live a third of your life.  You are stuck taking the same subjects (even if you’re no good at them), if you’ve got the first or second part of the day you can never go out at night, and if two of you like two different guys you all have to decide which one you’ll date.

I’m not a huge teen romance reader but one thing I really like about Cat’s books is that the love interest isn’t some super hot guy that drips testosterone.  Sean in The Originals, much like Luke in Forgotten and Matt in Revived, is an average guy who is intelligent, talented and caring.   As a teenage guy reading this book I would have found Sean alot easier to live up to than many other males in teen fiction.

If you haven’t discovered Cat Patrick you don’t know what you’re missing.  Read The Originals and you’ll be hooked.

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YA Sci-fi Giveaway

Like many of you, I can’t go walk past a bookshop without going inside to have a look.  Often I emerge minutes (or hours) later with books that I don’t have the money for or time to read, but I now have new worlds to explore and friends to make. While walking past a chain bookstore this morning I noticed their sale table had some awesome books on it for a fraction of their normal cost so I grabbed some to give away here on the blog.

YA prize

I have 2 sets to give away of:

  • Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
  • This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
  • Flip by Martyn Bedford

All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Friday 10 May (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Lynley and Annie.

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The 5th Wave book trailer

There has certainly been a lot of hype around The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  The teasers haven’t mentioned very much about what the story is about but it sounds intriguing.

The 5th Wave is due out in May from Penguin Books NZ.

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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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Win When We Wake signed by Karen Healey

Last Friday we were lucky enough to host Karen Healey in Christchurch as part of NZ Book Month.  Karen talked about her latest book, When We Wake, and the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ stories that inspired her.  Karen is a great speaker, as well as an amazing writer, so it was a thoroughly entertaining hour.  You can read my review of When We Wake here on the blog.

I have a copy of When We Wake, signed by Karen Healey, to give away.  To get into the draw just enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Monday 8 April (NZ and Australia only).

Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner is Rachel Crewe.

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When We Wake by Karen Healey

What do you think the world would be like if you fell asleep right now and woke up in 100 years time?  Would the world be incredibly technologically advanced or would it be ravaged by an apocalyptic event?  Would people be more tolerant of differences in race, ethnicity and sexuality? Karen Healey shows us her version of a future in earth in her latest book, When We Wake, about the first person to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 – she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies – and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first person to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity – though all she wants is to rebuild some semblance of a normal life … including spending as much time as possible with musically gifted Abdi, even if he does seem to hate the sight of her. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

When We Wake has everything a great science fiction story should have – mystery, action, actual science, a future world, cool technology, and a main character who you route for right from the start.  Karen keeps you guessing and her writing is fast-paced so you want to keep reading so you can find out how it ends.

It’s a sign of a great character when you connect with them as soon as they start talking.  Karen hooked me in from the first paragraph and I wanted to know everything about Teegan and the insane situation that she finds herself in.  You empathise with her because you know how strange and difficult it would be to adapt to a different world. The more you find out about her and the sort of person she is, the more I liked her.  She’s the sort of person who won’t be pushed around and told what to do.  Even though she’s told by the army and various religious groups that her life doesn’t belong to her she does everything to prove them wrong.  She’s not concerned about making a spectacle, even when she’s being broadcast to millions of people around the world.  Other people try to force their morals and ethics on to Teegan, but she has her own strong opinions and no one is going to change those.

One of the things that really stood out for me in When We Wake was the way that Karen brought the future society’s moral and ethical views into the story.  Many science fiction stories (especially for teens) don’t delve into these aspects of future worlds so it made Karen’s feel fresh and different.  Through Teegan you see how the future society’s views of religion, ethnicity, and sexuality have changed, and how, even with massive climate change, people still aren’t looking after the planet.  Like today’s society, many of the people in charge of this future earth have questionable morals and ethics, and it’s these that shape the story.

5 out of 5 stars

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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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