Tag Archives: dystopian

Review! Dragon’s Green by Scarlett Thomas

29 Nov

Dragon’s Green
By Scarlett Thomas
384 pages – ages 9+
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 30, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Effie Truelove believes in magic, as does her grandfather Griffin (although he refuses to do any magic, let alone teach Effie how to use it). After a mysterious incident leaves Griffin close to death, Effie is given an unusual silver ring and told she must look after her grandfather’s library of rare and powerful books. But then the books fall into the hands of shady scholar Leonard Levar, and Effie is propelled into the most dangerous adventure of her life.
Now, Effie and her friends—nerdy Maximilian, rugby-mad Wolf, helpful Lexy, and eccentric Raven—must discover their true powers if they are to get the books back. And Effie alone will have to travel to the Otherworld, where she will uncover the true meaning of the strange old book called Dragon’s Green…”

What I Thought- This was an utterly fascinating story-line. The world is thrown into a dystopian aftermath after what is called the Worldquake – an earthquake that lasted for seven minutes and somehow destroyed the internet. Electricity still exists, but is limited to only power lights. I absolutely loved being introduced to this setting, and the characters in the book were just as well-developed. While most of the story focuses on Effie, there are chapters featuring the perspectives of the other characters too – this gives us a background of their life and thoughts, which is essential to create characters you empathize with. Thomas narrates the story with a certain style, sort of reminiscent of perhaps A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, if less snarky and sarcastic. The book is slightly dark, but not inappropriate for young readers, and still containing a childlike whimsy – it’s hard to explain, but it’s extremely pleasing for the reader. Imagine a dark world, but still with light. I absolutely loved this foray into children’s literature from Thomas, and I cannot wait to read the next books!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! York by Laura Ruby

30 Oct

York: The Shadow Cipher
By Laura Ruby
496 pages – ages 9+
Published by Walden Pond Press on May 16, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.”

What I Thought- I have a confession to make – at first, I didn’t want to read this book. I think when I got the review request and read the summary, I thought, same old – same old… another 39  Clues want to be. Wow- was I wrong.  Ruby knocks this one out of the park with excellent story-telling and an imaginative plot. I really enjoyed exploring the twists and turns of the novel and the differences between this world and our world. One thing I like is the fact that the Morningstarrs were so advanced for their time that no one was able to even come close to their proficiency and skill – so society was unable to replicate them, and progressed to a semblance of our modern day. All of the little details are so fun to read about, and you get invested in the awesome steampunk society and the idea of the Old York Cipher. Which leads to another point – the book includes information about ciphers and codes, and I found all of that enlightening to read about and also not just a re-tread of stories I already love. The book is told in chapters from each of the three children’s perspectives, with a few added bits from earlier days of New York. Each child has a distinct voice and personality, and it is a complete joy to see all three of them working and growing together. I definitely recommend this book, and I cannot wait to get my hands on book two! This one is getting added to my Erik’s Favs list!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Avians by Timothy Gwyn

11 Oct

Avians
By Timothy Gwyn
316 pages – ages 12+
Published by Five Rivers Publishing on August 1, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Orphans. Runaways. Thieves. The Avians don’t ask questions about a girl’s past. Or her age. They need glider pilots, and the smaller the better.

Raisa is fourteen. Born to a line of powerful silk merchants, her rebellion against an arranged marriage is doomed. The Avians are her only alternative.

Mel is the young servant blamed for Raisa’s disappearance. She meets an Avian recruiter and seizes the chance to spite her employer.

When Mel and Raisa are sworn in with two other girls to form Blackbird squad, their simmering conflict undermines the whole team.

The flying is difficult, the discipline is fierce, and the older pilots don’t even bother to learn their names. The Blackbirds are starting to look like the weakest squad in years.

Then a deadly accident reveals the truth: only the best survive.”

What I Thought- This was an extremely well-written dystopian book. The book takes place on a planet (Celadon) that was inhabited after humans left Earth. It is quite fascinating. The character of Raisa is very well-developed, with aspects that both make you love her and hate her – she’s a brat, but she’s the main character, so it creates an awesome conflict. It also makes it really amazing when she starts to go through changes as a character. I also really enjoyed Chief Corvid, the leader of the entire Avian fleet – the book shows her struggles as commander, with making tough decisions and being moral support for the Avians, quite well, in a touching manner. The book is clean, with no content for kids, but I do think the book is better for an older audience, because the style of the book just lends itself to a more mature reading. For example, there is not much humor – the story’s tone reflects the dystopian feel of the book. Gwyn is able to write in a way that doesn’t make a book dark or light, but just perfect for upper middle-grade readers wanting a more serious book. I really like that. I cannot wait to read the second book when it comes out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Foundry’s Edge by Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

16 May

oreThe Foundry’s Edge

Series: The First Book of Ore

By Cam Baity & Benny Zelkowicz

448 pages – ages 11+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 15, 2014

Synopsis- Phoebe Plumm was waiting for her dad to come back home. He was gone, probably on a work trip, but for around three months – his longest yet. One day, Phoebe’s dad is suddenly home, and they need to leave – immediately. Only, they don’t make it away in time. The two of them are captured by identical robot men. Only their housekeeper’s son, Micah, sees this happen, and he decides to rescue them. Phoebe escapes on her own, and ends up meeting up with Micah. They try to find Dr. Plumm, Phoebe’s dad, but end up in a fascinating world, where everything is made of metal, and it seems like the machines there may actually be alive!

What I Thought- This was an exciting book! I enjoyed the world that Phoebe and Micah discovered, along with the secrets they uncovered about the company her dad worked for. The book was an interesting dystopian story, and I enjoyed reading about it. The coauthors worked well together, creating memorable characters in a realistic setting. Micah was a fun character, and you can see him grow from a mean-spirited, selfish person into a mature(-ish) person. Phoebe was a brat (a good-natured one, but still pretty naive) in the beginning, and she really evened out as the story went on. The dystopian world spun by the authors was fascinating and one that the reader can loose him/herself in. One downside- there was some minor language (cussing) throughout the book that didn’t need to be there. At 448 pages the authors give kids a full story that will keep them wrapped up until the last sentence. I cannot wait to read the Second Book of Ore!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

13 Year old This Kid Erik will no longer be reviewing books.

28 Dec

Dear blog readers, it is with a sad heart that I announce today that 13-year-old Erik will no longer be reviewing books.

Why? – you ask (well maybe you didn’t but I am going to tell you)

Because…

As of Christmas Eve, I am now 14!

cake-308576_1280

As my first official review as a 14-year-old, I give you…

 

Keeper-Sep-2015-rev-front-cover-697x1024Keeper

Series: Seed Savers #4

By S. Smith

209 pages – ages 9+

Published by Sandra L. Smith on November 17th, 2015

Synopsis- Keeper is the fourth book in the Seed Savers series. The series starts off in a world where government controlled food processing in the law and it is illegal to grow your own food. The story centers on siblings Clare and Dante and their friend Lily who all seek ways to learn about growing their own food and trying to save a mislead world. Lily had found her dad, who just so happened to be the leader of the Seed Savers Resistance. They were hiding in the Smoky Mountains, waiting to be able to visit Seed Savers Headquarters. Clare and Dante are finishing up their training in Canada and plan on returning to their mother. With GRIM at the verge of falling, and Seed Savers getting into government positions, it looks like the US may be heading for a change. But when someone starts leaking federal information, the citizens start rioting, and it looks as if all of the work of the Seed Savers is for naught.

What I Thought-  The next book in the Seed Savers series is here! It is a well-written story, and one I whole-heartedly recommend. Just one thing I would like to say – the first chapter of the book was somewhat confusing, as it didn’t refresh the previous book much, but I think the reader can catch on and enjoy the story. From the end of book 3 and into book 4, there is a lot of tension building, and Ms. Smith does a great job of escalating the story while keeping it believable. I like the fact that the characters (and the reader by extension) are uncovering/figuring out the conspiracy as the story goes along. This keeps you involved in the story. Ms. Smith has a great writing style that has a way of making it all seem real and possible. Plus it ties into some of the things going on in the world today, which kind of makes it a bit frightening.  The different perspectives of Lily, Clare (and Rose) in the story make it an interesting read and lets you see a bigger picture (but not all of it, of course). The plot was compelling, and rather unique. The US is almost having a revolution over government control of food supplies – very cool and pretty scary!

fivebooks

I give this book five out of five bookworms.

You can read my reviews of books 1-3 HERE, HERE and HERE.

Review! The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2) by S.S. Taylor

28 Nov

exped2The Secret of King Triton’s Lair (The Expeditioners Book 2)

By S.S. Taylor

Illustrated by Katherine Roy

320 pages – ages 9+
Published by McSweeney’s McMullens on September 23, 2014

 

Synopsis- After their escapades in Drowned Man’s Canyon (see my review HERE), Kit, Zander, M.K. West (and Sukey) are back in another adventure! When Kit’s supposedly dead father gives him clues that lead to an island in the North Carribean, Kit finds the perfect excuse to go there – via an expedition request! After the Drowned Man’s Canyon fiasco, the Wests joined the Academy for the Exploratory Sciences (a school for expeditioners). The Academy has a yearly program that allows the students to make a request to go on an expedition of their choice. But when their rival at the Academy, Lazlo Nackley, steals their idea, he is one of the ones to get chosen, and becomes head of the operation. It all starts to go downhill when Lazlo’s evil, controlling father comes along as a chaperone (the nice teacher that is supervising them can’t come because he is seasick and wouldn’t have been able to help).  The Wests (and Sukey) know that they have a hard journey coming on, but there is much more they aren’t expecting.

What I liked- This was a marvelous sequel to the first book. It has all of the steampunk-y, futuristic-ness that I came to love in the first book. It explains some more about how the world got into its “current” state, with all of the dystopian-ness of it. The new adventure that the West’s go through was cool and exciting, and they really make use of their surrounding events perfectly. I think that they go to the Bermuda Triangle (although it is called something different, in this world-frame), and visit a mysterious island in it. The setting is a fascinating place, and plays an important part in the series. The characters get stuck on a deserted island, full of unknown animals, and the island isn’t charted as existing. Like the first book, the book jacket is reversible, and has a blueprint-y feel to them, as it shows a machine from the book. This is a great adventure story that a lot of kids will like. I really like this series, and I can’t wait for the next one to come out!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! The Scavengers By Michael Perry

19 Nov

thescavengersScavengers

By Michael Perry

336 pages – ages 8+
Published by HarperCollins on September 2, 2014

 

SUMMARY – Maggie was an OutBubbler. She and her family live outside the “Bubble-cities” that most people choose live under. The bubble-cities were cities that are under bubble-like domes that “protect” the inhabitants from danger. The OutBubblers live out of the cities and fend for themselves, with no electricity, guns, or other things like it.  When Maggie’s family disappears and her house is ransacked, she and her little brother find refuge with their neighbors, Arlinda and Toad Hopper. Maggie soon finds out that her father had things he was doing with the government, and that he had deserted, and the government wanted him back. What will Maggie do?

WHAT I THOUGHT – This was a really cool book. The dystopian factor was cool, but also slightly creepy. I would like to know more about the back-story about the bubble-cities and how they came to be. Toad Hopper, Maggie’s neighbor, is a cool guy. He is sometimes hard to understand, because he uses tons of word-play and pig latin in what he says (for example: Nule Rumber Half A Dancing Skirt) – but it is also kind of fun to decode what he’s trying to say. Maggie is a great female character that you come to care for. She is brave and spunky at the same time. The setting is important to the story. Fortunately for the reader, Mr. Perry is a great story-teller and he vividly described the world. The world really makes it hard for the OutBubblers to live, but it makes it more worthwhile when they succeed. The way the land is described makes me think of a barren wasteland outside of the bubble-cities (besides huge government-run fields of genetically-modified corn). The story-telling in the book is really, really good.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms.fivebooks

%d bloggers like this: