Hourglass

Last year, at YALLFest 2013, I heard a charming, entertaining author speak*, and I’ve been meaning to pick up her books ever since. That author is Myra McEntire, and I finally made time to dive into Hourglass, her first novel, this weekend. It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into the world created by Ms. McEntire, and I can hardly wait to read more. (There are now three books in the Hourglass series, and I plan to devour the others during my upcoming holiday break. Woohoo!)

*I should also note that Ms. McEntire was so entertaining that I recommended her as a guest author at the annual conference of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Wonder of wonders, she accepted SCASL’s invitation, so I’ll get to see her once again in March!

Emerson Cole is not exactly a typical seventeen-year-old girl. In fact, almost nothing about Emerson is what one would consider “normal.” When her name pops up, “crazy” is the word most often used to describe this troubled girl.

And why is Emerson so troubled? Nothing big, really. She simply sees ghosts of the past nearly everywhere she goes, she’s traumatized by her parents’ deaths, and she’s recently decided to go off her meds because they make everything feel all fuzzy. Emerson has tried nearly everything to help herself cope with the strangeness that is her life, but she’s never really thought about embracing what makes her different. At least, not until Michael enters her life…

Michael Weaver, a guy not much older than Emerson herself, works for an organization known as the Hourglass, and he’s been hired by Emerson’s older brother to help her through some of her issues. What her dear brother doesn’t know, however, is that the mysterious Michael hasn’t come into the picture to make Emerson “normal;” he’s here to show Emerson the true depth of her power.

Soon after meeting Emerson, Michael explains that her encounters with ghosts are much more than what they seem. They are, in fact, ripples in the fabric of time, and Emerson has the unique ability to actually travel to the past, even change things if she wishes to. Michael wants to help her do just that.

Emerson is soon dealing with some fairly unbelievable information, things that make her question everything she thought she knew about herself and the universe. And as if that’s not enough, she’s also confronting some pretty inconvenient feelings for Michael. There’s this weird electrical charge whenever they touch, and their pull toward each other is undeniable, but Michael rebuffs her at every turn. Why? Is it simply because her brother hired Michael to help Emerson? Or are there other things–other people–getting in the way of a possible relationship between Emerson and Michael?

As Emerson learns more about herself, her abilities, her past, Michael, and the secretive Hourglass organization, she comes face-to-face with some truths that are at once horrific and seemingly impossible. Does she really have the power to change her fate and that of those around her, or have other forces already manipulated Emerson’s life and abilities to achieve their own ends?

Well, as they say, time will tell…

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Hourglass really puts a different spin on the whole time travel concept, and it’s one that I think a lot of readers will enjoy. There’s way too much time travel fiction out there that just glosses over the physics behind the concept. This book doesn’t do that. It actually takes a look at things like the space-time continuum and how changing one thing in the past could have devastating consequences in the present and future. The science nerd within me is rejoicing over this…and trying to decipher what the book’s conclusion could mean for time itself.

Aside from all of the time travel stuff, Hourglass has a flawed, totally relatable protagonist. Emerson is far from perfect. She has huge errors in judgement all the time, but I truly believe that her heart is in the right place. She wants to do the right thing, but it’s not always clear how to do that. And when she finds herself floundering, she does what so many YA characters don’t–she talks to the adults in her life, tells them the truth about her situation, and listens to (even if she doesn’t always follow) their advice. Also, she’s like a mini-ninja, so that makes me like her even more.

So, we’ve got time travel, and we’ve got a likable main character. What am I forgetting? Oh yeah! The totally infuriating (in a good way) love story! The push-pull between Emerson and Michael was both wonderful and exasperating. Every time I thought they were about to confess their feelings for each other, I was thrown for a loop. (So was Emerson, by the way.) I didn’t know which way to turn, or even which way I wanted to turn. And when another swoon-worthy guy entered the picture, I was even more confused. Who should Emerson really be with? Should she be with anyone? It’s all very confusing…for both Emerson and the reader. And the book’s resolution, while it does kind of resolve this one big thing, also makes it clear that Emerson’s immediate future will likely be anything but moonlight and roses.

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If you’re looking for a riveting YA read, I urge you to give Hourglass a try. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

For more information on Hourglass, its sequels, and Myra McEntire, check out the author’s website, Goodreads, and Twitter. Ms. McEntire is also a contributing author in the holiday anthology My True Love Gave to Me, so you may want to give that fabulous book a read as well!

The Revenge of Seven

Warning! Spoilers ahead! If you’re not totally caught up with the entire I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) series, you might want to go ahead and take care of that. And when I say “totally caught up,” I mean reading the four previous novels as well as all nine short stories. Here’s a reading list to get you started.

In my opinion, it is essential to read the novellas to fully understand what’s happening, particularly in The Fall of Five and The Revenge of Seven. These short stories add so much depth to the story, and they help readers really get to know the motivations that drive certain characters.

There are a few other journal entries and things that you may also want to take a look at. You can see a full list at Goodreads.com. (I plan to explore those as soon as I finish with this post.) For now, though, let’s dive into the fifth novel in the Lorien Legacies saga, The Revenge of Seven.

When last we left the remaining members of the Lorien Garde, things were looking rather bleak. An unexpected betrayal resulted in the death of one of their own. Now, the Garde is scattered and on the run. They don’t know who they can trust or how deep the Mogadorian threat has infiltrated the government, but they know they must fight, or Earth will surely fall to the Mogs.

Four, Sarah, Sam, Malcom, and Adam (a Mogadorian who sympathizes with the Loric cause) escape from the horror that befell them in Chicago and journey to the Mog stronghold in Washington, DC. Their aim is to hit the Mogs where it hurts…and hopefully learn a thing or two that will help them win this war.

Six, Seven (Marina), and Nine are in Florida, and they’ve just endured a shock to their systems. They witnessed the betrayal of Five–a betrayal that resulted in Eight’s death. They’re reeling from what has happened, but they must also prepare for the battle to come…a battle in which the Mog forces are seemingly unbeatable. In their quest to get a jump on the Mogs, however, they’ll receive help from an unlikely ally. This help gives them just enough time to flee the Mogs in Florida and join up with Four and company in their Washington stronghold.

In another turn of events, Ella (also known as Ten) has been captured by the vile Mog leader, Setrákus Ra, a sinister being who is more powerful than anyone she’s ever encountered. Setrákus Ra is bent on the domination of Earth…and he wants Ella by his side when it happens. Why? What’s so special about her? Why would Setrákus Ra want to ally himself with one of the Lorien Garde? Is there anything Ella can do to escape his clutches and warn the other members of the Garde of what is to come?

The Mogadorians are close to a full-scale invasion, and the Lorien Garde and their allies are the only beings capable of stopping them…even though the Garde is severely outnumbered. Is there any way for the Garde to claim victory, or is Setrákus Ra simply too powerful to stop?

The Loric and the Mogadorians are careening toward a war that will envelope the entire planet. Who will win? Who will lose? Well, that’s not entirely clear. One thing is certain, though…something has just been unleashed that could change everything.

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If it’s not already clear, The Revenge of Seven is not the last book in this series. We’ve got one more novel to go (I think) and probably a few more novellas. Unlike The Fall of Five, though, I was at least a little prepared for the cliffhanger at the end of this book. No urges to fling the book across the room.

My mind is spinning from what happened at the end–and the implications for the next book–and I’m pretty sure that the final installment will be more action-packed than anything we’ve seen before. I doubt all of our heroes will survive until the end, but I foresee them doing a lot of damage to the hated Mogs before all is said and done.

A couple of my librarian friends actually judge me a bit for being so into this series, but I really don’t care. (I’ll never apologize for liking a book.) If you’re looking for a series with loads of action, adventure, intrigue, suspense, aliens, government conspiracies, and even a teensy bit of romance, I think you’ll enjoy the Lorien Legacies books as much as I do. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably be just as eager for the final installment as I am. (I just hope we get a somewhat happy ending. These kids have been through enough!)

There’s no word yet on the title or release date for the next book, but I would expect it to be out in late summer of next year. The next series of novellas will come out before then. The ebook version of novella #10, The Fugitive, will be out on December 23rd.

For much more information on this exciting series, go to the I Am Number Four Fans website. You may also want to check out the book trailer for The Revenge of Seven below.

*A word of advice from me: Avoid the movie adaptation of the first book. It doesn’t begin to compare to its source material.*

Published in: on November 7, 2014 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hidden Enemy

Caution! It is absolutely necessary to read all of the I Am Number Four (aka Lorien Legacies) series if you plan to pick up Hidden Enemy, an anthology of novellas 7-9 in The Lost Files. Here’s a handy reading list for those new to the series:

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read through The Fall of Five, turn back now! (Also, I’m not going do much explanation of back story. If you’re not already familiar with the series, you’ll probably be lost.)

If you’ve read my post on The Fall of Five, you probably know I was a tad frustrated with how things ended. If you read the actual book, you likely share my frustration. Well, in Hidden Enemy, we get a little more information on what made Five the person he came to be.

The first story, Five’s Legacy, gives readers a look at Five’s early life. We see him with his ailing Cêpan (guardian/trainer), Rey, as they move from place to place in an effort to stay healthy and evade the Mogadorians. Five is not happy with his life of isolation, and he’s sure the other members of the Loric Garde are together and training without him. His legacies (special powers) haven’t manifested yet, and he’s getting a little tired of waiting. Finally, though, when things seem most hopeless, Five begins seeing evidence that his legacies have arrived. He’s telekinetic, and he can fly. Those powers will serve him well as he tries to make a new start. That new start will, unfortunately, deliver him right into the hands of those that Rey tried so hard to protect him from. Five is insecure and vulnerable, and certain people know just how to take advantage of that. They play on Five’s feelings of powerlessness and promise him a future that looks brighter than anything he could have imagined. The price? He’ll have to turn his back on his own people…

Return to Paradise, the second novella in this book, is told from the perspective of Mark James. You may remember him as the jock who made Four’s life miserable. He was also Sarah’s ex-boyfriend. Well, you may also remember that he had a rather huge change of heart during the battle at the end of I Am Number Four. This story picks up during the aftermath of that battle. Mark can’t really go back to how things were before. He knows too much now. How can he be expected to care about partying when evil aliens are bent on enslaving humans and destroying the planet? He knows more is going on than the public is aware of, and the only person who he can talk to is Sarah, a girl who is still maddeningly hung up on her alien boyfriend, the guy who dragged them into this mess. Mark also does some investigating of his own, and he discovers that the Mogadorian threat goes deeper than he realized. Can he, a mere human, do anything to stop this? And what will happen when Four returns to town and Sarah goes missing? Is there any way Mark can help Sarah and the Lorien cause?

Finally, in Five’s Betrayal, we return to Five’s story. He’s now in the “belly of the beast,” so to speak. He’s becoming more powerful by the day, and he’s earning the notice and respect of the very beings he was always taught to despise. Five is studying war tactics and Mogadorian history, and he knows that the Loric Garde have no chance to best their enemies. His solution? Join the enemy and gain more power than he ever thought possible. The Mogadorians have given Five more attention and freedom than he ever enjoyed as one of the precious Garde, so he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stay in their good graces. Even if that means sacrificing the only friend he has left in the world…

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The highlights of this anthology were, obviously, the first and last novellas. They shed some light on the character of Five and let readers know why he made the decisions he did. I still don’t like Five, though. I think he’s a self-indulgent cry baby. (Maybe I’m being too harsh.) He allowed others to prey on his weakness, and he lost all ability to think for himself. He fell victim to Mogadorian propaganda and didn’t question the line of bull he was being fed. It was all I could do not to scream at him the entire time I was reading his story. (I may be reacting so strongly to this because I read the book during election season. It’s way too easy to see the parallels.)

At any rate, I’m now more than ready to dive into the next full-length novel in this series, The Revenge of Seven. It’s sitting on my coffee table right now, just waiting on me to pick it up. After I finish one more read-in-progress, I’ll journey once more into the fight between the Loriens and the Mogadorians. From what I’ve heard, there will be just one more book after this one, so I’m sure The Revenge of Seven will illicit the same response that The Fall of Five did. I’ll likely want to hurl it across the room at the end. I’ll let you know how it goes.

MILA 2.0

If you enjoy books like I Am Number Four, Mary Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox, or even Cinder by Marissa Meyer, MILA 2.0 might be the book for you.

This first book in Debra Driza’s thrilling series introduces readers to Mila, a sixteen-year-old girl who has just moved with her mother to Clearwater, Minnesota. A short while ago, Mila’s father was killed, but Mila has only a few, fuzzy memories of the life she once had. Despite this, Mila is trying to make a life for herself in this small town. She’s trying to make friends and fit in, especially with popular girl Kaylee, and she’s even getting to know the new guy at school, Hunter. Everything changes, though, when her friend gets reckless on the road one day, and Mila is sent flying…

The accident should have ended Mila’s life or, at the very least, caused her serious bodily harm. Instead, she barely has a scratch…except for a little problem with her arm. When Mila, Kaylee, and Hunter examine what they expect to be a horrendous wound, however, they see something that none of them expected. Wires, tubes, and a weird, milky fluid are present where there should be muscle, bone, and blood. What is going on, and what could it mean for Mila?

Mila soon discovers a horrifying truth about herself (and the reason why her “memories” are so fuzzy). Her “mom” reveals that Mila isn’t exactly human. She’s an android, created in a lab to be used for military defense. When Mila’s mom, or co-creator, realized just how human Mila was becoming, she stole Mila, a billion dollor government investment, and went on the run. She wiped Mila’s memories of her time in a military compound and implanted new memories of a life growing up as a normal girl. If that’s the truth, though, why is Mila having disturbing flashbacks of white walls, experiments, and torture? Just what was done to her before the grand escape, and what will the powers that created her do to get her back?

Mila and her mom soon figure out that someone is after them, and they’ll do anything to capture Mila, so they go on the run once again. But what will happen when their latest escape plan leads them right back into the vile clutches of those who sought them in the first place? What will become of them? Will Mila accept her android nature and turn away from everything that made her human? Will she have a choice?

When Mila comes face-to-face with her creators and their continued work, she’ll have to rely on both her machine capabilities and human emotions (which some perceive as liabilities) to avoid her termination and her mom’s elimination. Can she pass the horrific tests set before her, or is it already too late? Is anyone willing to help her, or does everyone see her as nothing more than a disposable machine, incapable of real feeling or emotion?

Well, Mila is about to show everyone just what they’ve created, and one thing is certain. Nothing will ever be the same.

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Just like The Adoration of Jenna Fox, I think MILA 2.0 could generate some interesting discussions of bioethics, technology, and how far science should go. I’m a bit of a conspiracy nut, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some government–and I’m not saying which one–was experimenting a bit with android technology or other forms of artificial intelligence. Are these things being used for defense? I don’t know (and a big part of me doesn’t want to), but I’m sure it’s being considered. What implications could this have? Just how “human” would these machines be, and what could that mean for their effectiveness? What should be considered when terminating one of these projects? It’s difficult to wrap my mind around all of it, and books like MILA 2.0 often raise questions that even I had not thought of. I’m hoping others will feel the same.

Deep, ethical questions aside, I think MILA 2.0 is a great example of science fiction for the young adult crowd. Mila is a strong character, coming to terms with her abilities and what she is. She doesn’t, however, let these new, unexpected truths define her. Sure, she’s an android, but her “humanness” is what really makes her special. She uses what others perceive as deficiencies to her advantage, and that often gives her the edge she needs. All readers can learn something from that.

In my opinion, MILA 2.0 is a great addition to middle grade and young adult collections. It’s an electrifying read that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. It’s also, like I mentioned, the first book in a series. The second book, MILA 2.0: Renegade, is now out, and there’s also a prequel novella, The Fire, available as a free ebook download. I’ll get to these as soon as I finish up a few other obligations.

If your interest has been piqued at all, I urge you to give MILA 2.0 a try. For more information, check out the author’s webpage, Twitter, or Facebook. You may also like the trailer below from HarperTeen. (It doesn’t give much away, but it’s worth a look!) Happy reading!

Published in: on May 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm  Comments (1)  
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Sever

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read the first two books in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy (Wither and Fever), do so now! This post will focus on Sever, the third and final book in the series.

Nearly two years ago, I began reading Wither, the first book in The Chemical Garden series, a dystopian trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. From the start, I was mesmerized–and often horrified–by the world presented in this series. Fever, book two, only increased my horror at the world that Rhine, our protagonist, is forced to navigate. And now, I’ve finally made my way to book three, Sever. In this book, Rhine continues on her quest to save herself and those around her, but, as they so often do, circumstances seem to conspire against her.

As Sever begins, Rhine continues to struggle with the experiments Vaughn, her vile father-in-law, has done on her. She is trying to cope with the knowledge that he has killed others before her, and she knows that he’s not done with her.  Rhine is also eager to find her twin brother, Rowan, and get back to Gabriel, the boy she left behind in Manhattan.

With the help of Linden, her former husband, Cecily, her sister wife, and Reed, Vaughn’s estranged brother, Rhine is, at the very least, able to avoid Vaughn’s clutches for a while. Rhine also learns a bit more about her brother’s activities. He believes her to be dead, and he has become the leader of what can only be called a terrorist group. He is blowing up scientific research facilities. He appears to believe that they are wasting their time experimenting on young people and looking for a cure that just doesn’t exist.

(You may recall that young people are doomed to die early in this world. Young men don’t live past age twenty-five, and women die at age twenty. Vaughn, Rhine’s father-in-law and Linden’s father, has become something of a mad scientist in his quest for a cure.)

Everything, though, is not as it seems. Vaughn has far-reaching power that follows Rhine wherever she goes. But Vaughn’s many deceptions will soon be uncovered in a very unlikely place. In Rhine’s quest to find her brother, she returns to the hellacious carnival that was once her prison. Secrets are revealed here that will not only lead Rhine to her brother but may also lead to Vaughn’s undoing.

As Rhine learns more and more about Vaughn’s research, her parents’ work, her brother’s supposed rebellion, and her own place in the world, she realizes that everything is much more complicated than she ever believed. And when she factors in her tumultuous relationships with Linden, Cecily, Rowan, and others around her, Rhine is more befuddled than ever.

How can Rhine hope to make sense of what’s going on around her when she can’t seem to come to terms with what’s happened to her and those she cares about? Lives have been lost and promises broken in this mysterious quest for a cure, but is it worth it? Why is Rhine so important to this search, and, if a cure is found, what then? Is Rhine doomed to be a prisoner forever? Or is there a way out? A way that not even Rhine would dare to dream of?

Questions will be answered and secrets revealed soon, but is anyone prepared for what will be uncovered? Unravel the mystery when you read Sever, the gripping conclusion to The Chemical Garden trilogy.

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Now that I’ve read the entirety of this series, I must confess something. I’m still not quite sure what a chemical garden is. It was sort of explained in Sever but not to my satisfaction. I know it had something to do with the genetic experimentation done by Rhine’s parents, but why were their experiments referred to as a chemical garden? I may have to do my own brand of research to figure this out. (Not a problem, really. I’m a librarian. Research is kind of my thing.)

I do think that the action in Sever was a bit slow at times, but I still found myself enthralled by the story. I do wish, however, that we had seen more of Gabriel and Rhine’s relationship with him. Even with the way the book ended, that story feels kind of unfinished.

When I first started this series, I couldn’t stand the character of Cecily. In Sever, however, she definitely showed an inner strength that most women–never mind fourteen-year-old girls–don’t possess. She survived so much and grew into a young woman with a core of steel. Even Rhine was surprised by how much her sister wife had matured in such a short time. Cecily grew from an annoying little girl into a young woman capable of enduring unimaginable grief and tribulations. Out of all the characters in this series, I think she changed the most. She went from an easily manipulated pawn into a queen taking charge of her own destiny.

If you want a rather disturbing view of what the future could hold, I suggest you give Wither, Fever, and Sever a try. You may like this trilogy; you may not. Every reader has his/her own taste, and that’s okay. (I say this because another blogger called me out for daring to give Fever a positive review. She’s entitled to her opinion, but I stand by my view that this is definitely a series worth reading.) This series does deal with some mature themes, so I would caution you before recommending it to middle grade readers.

If you enjoyed series like Delirium, Matched, or The Selection, then The Chemical Garden may be right up your alley.

For more information on this series or other books by Lauren DeStefano, check out the author’s website, FacebookTumblr, and Twitter. You may also want to take a quick look at the Sever book trailer below. Enjoy!

Published in: on April 11, 2014 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Giver

I know it’s shocking to some that I’ve only just read The Giver. This book won the Newbery Award in 1994, and here I am reading it twenty years later. I don’t know why I waited so long to read this book (especially since my mom gave me an autographed copy a couple of years ago), but I do know what spurred me to read it now…the movie. In case you weren’t aware, a movie adaptation of The Giver is due to be released this August, and with names like Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges attached to the film, I know I’ll have to see that move…but that means becoming familiar with the book first.

I knew going in that The Giver was considered one of the first examples of YA dystopian lit, and I was aware that the book had received loads of challenges over the years. (You’d think that would have made me pick up the book much faster.) I guess this weekend, I was in the mood for something like this, so I finally delved into this seemingly idyllic world created by Lois Lowry. As we’ve all learned, though, perfection has a price, and things aren’t always as ideal as they seem once a person discovers what’s being hidden from them…

Imagine a life free from choice. Everything is decided for you: what you’ll study, what you’ll do with your free time, what you’ll eat, who your parents are, your future career. Everything. This is the only world that Jonas has ever known. This is a world free from pain, war, poverty, and suffering. Every day is the same, there are rules governing everything, and everyone knows their place in the community.

Very soon, Jonas will be assured of his place. Like every other child before him, when Jonas turns twelve, he receives his Assignment. This Assignment is Jonas’ career path, chosen by the Elders who have been watching over him since birth. Jonas is unsure of what his Assignment will be, but nothing could have prepared him for the decision that is made. He is to be the next Receiver, the only person in the community to hold all of the memories of the past. And his training with the Giver–the man Jonas will eventually replace–will begin immediately.

Jonas is nervous about his training, but he soon forms a bond with the Giver. Yes, there are moments of intense pain in his training–as is expected when painful memories are transferred from one person to another–but Jonas also experiences joy. He sees colors for the first time. He feels the warmth of sunshine and the tickle of snowflakes on his skin, things that have been removed from society in favor of sameness and control.

As his training intensifies and Jonas learns more about the past–and the present–Jonas begins to question the societal bounds that define his community. He goes to the Giver with his questions, and Jonas learns that he is not the only one with doubts…or the belief that things could one day be different. But what can be done when only two people, Jonas and the Giver, know the truth of the world? Could drastic actions lead to change? Jonas will soon answer those questions for himself…

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I’m sure the recap above in no way adequately captures The Giver. This is a powerful book that has been discussed for years, and, although I’m late to the party, I wanted to express what I got from this book and how it made me feel.

I think it’s all-too-easy to see the community in this world come to fruition. All you have to do is drive around a bit, find a neighborhood with a bunch of beige McMansions, and you can see that “sameness” is kind of glorified. Look around. Most people want to be like those around them. Being different, in many cases, is seen as bad, and those of us (yes, us) who don’t fit into a neat little mold are ostracized.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I have high hopes that the movie adaptation will live up to my expectations. (With Jeff Bridges playing the part of the Giver, we’re already off to a good start!) Check out IMDB for more information on the movie and its exceptional cast.

There are three more novels loosely tied to The Giver: A Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son. I don’t know much about these books, but I plan to learn more soon. Hopefully, it won’t take me quite so long to get around to reading these!

Published in: on January 21, 2014 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ender’s Game

Time for the nerd-shaming to begin. Yes, I waited until I was 34 years old to read Ender’s Game. I don’t know what took me so long, but the movie adaptation pushed this book to the top of my reading list. I finished the book yesterday evening, and I hope to see the movie over my upcoming Thanksgiving break. (I would see it this weekend, but Catching Fire and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary are kind of taking precedence!)

I don’t know that I can say anything about Ender’s Game that hasn’t already been said. It was nerve-wracking, anxiety-inducing, horrifying, and, loathe as I am to admit it, highly entertaining. It’s hard for me to imagine a child going through so much and still retaining even a smidgen of humanity…but Ender managed it somehow. This child, who essentially became a soldier at the age of six, endured torture from other children and the adults around him. Did the adults–leaders in the world’s military–have reason to put Ender through horrors that would break grown men? Sure. But do those reasons, however noble, excuse the torture of a young boy? I’m not so sure about that. Do the ends justify the means? That’s a question that has puzzled people for centuries.

I deal with 5-11 year olds all the time, and I can’t imagine any of them being strong enough to deal with what Ender faced. They would be crying for their mommies within seconds. (So would I, come to think of it.) And I definitely wouldn’t want to imagine any of my elementary school kids as military leaders. (How scary is that?! The fate of the world in the hands of a 3rd grader!)

This is not a children’s book, despite the main character being a child. Ender’s Game is, simply put, science fiction at its best. Everyone who considers herself/himself a fan of science fiction should read this book (if they haven’t already). Hopefully, my fellow nerds haven’t waited as long as I have to become engrossed in this amazing story! I look forward to seeing the movie, and I hope it lives up to its awe-inspiring source material.

Published in: on November 18, 2013 at 10:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Secret Histories

If, like me, you’re a fan of The Lorien Legacies series (I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, and The Rise of Nine), you’re probably eagerly anticipating the next book, The Fall of Five (due out in just two weeks). Luckily, I had a little something to tide me over.

Last month, I read The Legacies, three novellas from The Lost Files. These stories delved deeper into the backgrounds of Six, Nine, and, in a round-about way, the first three members of the Lorien Garde. About an hour ago, I finished reading the second volume from The Lost Files, Secret Histories. These three novellas, like those in the previous volume, add a bit more depth to the entire series.

Two of the novellas in Secret Histories, in my opinion, should have been partnered with the last novella from The Legacies, The Fallen Legacies.  That story introduced us to a young Mogadorian, Adam, who was beginning to question everything he’d ever been taught. His story picks up in the first novella from Secret Histories, The Search for Sam. (Spoiler: Sam does make a brief appearance in this story.) Adam’s journey continues even further in the last novella in this volume, The Forgotten Ones. Basically, this young Mog has switched sides and is fighting on the side of the Garde…but how does he do that when he’s a wanted man among his own people, and it’s unlikely that any of the Garde will trust him?

I think it will be interesting to see how Adam’s story will play out in The Fall of Five, especially considering how he changed–both physically and mentally–throughout The Lost Files.

The novella sandwiched between Adam’s stories in this book, The Last Days of Lorien, follows a young Sandor on his home planet of Lorien. (You may recall that Sandor is Nine’s Cepan. Well, he didn’t start out that way.) As a young man, it seems that Sandor was a bit of a troublemaker who didn’t really buy into all of the doom-and-gloom prophecies that told of the end of Lorien. (Yeah…he was kind of wrong about that.)  Sandor’s shenanigans, however, may have landed him in the one place that could–in the end–save his life and ensure the future of his entire race.  Just how did Sandor, a kid too daring for his own good, end up as a guide to one of the precious Lorien Garde? All is revealed in this fascinating story.

After reading the six novellas in The Lost Files, I’m even more eager to read The Fall of Five. Is it necessary to read all of these stories to keep up with what’s happening in the next book? Honestly, I don’t know. I do hope that Adam plays an important role in what’s to come. If that’s the case, then it would definitely help to know more about him. Do with that what you will.

Published in: on August 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Legacies

I’ve been on an I Am Number Four kick recently, and last night I finished reading The Lost Files: The Legacies. This is a collection of three novellas that definitely gives the reader a deeper understanding of the series as a whole.

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The first two novellas tell all about how Six and Nine grew up and developed their Legacies. After reading The Rise of Nine, I really appreciated learning more about Nine, especially since he was kind of a butt-head most of the time.  Now, at least, I understand why he was such a butt-head.

It was the third story, though, The Fallen Legacies, that really took hold of me. This story is told from the point of view of Adam, a Mogadorian teen, who was present when One, Two, and Three were killed. It’s so cool to see into the mind of the “enemy,” and this story has some pretty interesting implications for the final book in the Lorien Legacies. (Hint: Not all Mogs are mindless killing machines.)

I’m going to take a little break from this series for now, but I can almost guarantee that I’ll be returning to it soon…as soon as I pick up a print copy of The Lost Files: The Secret Histories, which should be out on July 23rd! (The ebook versions of the three novellas in this volume are already out, but I did the math, and the print version is actually less expensive than purchasing each of the stories separately. What can I say? I’m cheap!)

Published in: on July 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Rise of Nine

Danger, Danger! This post will focus on The Rise of Nine, the third book of the Lorien Legacies. If you haven’t already read the first two books, I Am Number Four and The Power of Six, please do so posthaste! These books are pretty cool (much better than the horrid movie adaptation of the first book). Action-packed doesn’t even begin to cover it!

I started my journey with the Lorien Legacies series in 2010. Now, three years later, I’ve finally found time to read the third book, The Rise of Nine. This book came out last summer, and I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to get to it, but I’m glad I finally fit it into my reading schedule. (To be honest, the movie adaptation of I Am Number Four also put a sour taste in my mouth, and it’s been difficult to get into the rest of the series because of that. I hope Hollywood leaves the rest of this series alone!) It took me a little while to get into this third installment because it had been so long since I read the second, The Power of Six. Eventually, though, I was drawn back into the world of the Garde of Lorien and their quest to battle the evil Mogadorians and their leader, Setrákus Ra.

The Rise of Nine takes place immediately following the events of the second book, so it might behoove you to read the last couple of chapters of The Power of Six before starting book three. Like The Power of Six, this third installment is told in alternating viewpoints. Readers are privy to the thoughts of Four, Six, and Seven (better known as Marina). Each character’s “voice” is presented in a different font, so it’s fairly easy to identify who is “speaking.”

Six has finally found two other members of the Lorien Garde, so what’s next? How can she find the other members of the Garde, reunite with Four, and somehow defeat the Mogadorians and save both Earth and her home planet of Lorien? Well, it won’t be easy, and dangers are abundant, but Six is a fighter, and she’s determined to do everything possible to complete her mission. Luckily, she won’t have to face what’s ahead alone. She’s found Seven (Marina) and the unexpected Ten (Ella) in a Spanish convent, and they will join Six in her search for the other Garde members. First stop? India, where there have been reports of mysterious occurrences than can only come from one of them. Have they finally located one of their own? If so, what next? If not, what are they walking into?

Four, also known as John, has escaped a Mogadorian stronghold with another of the Garde, Nine, but he had to leave his best friend behind. Four is determined to mount some kind of rescue, but he must put those plans on hold for a while. He and Nine must work together–which is not exactly easy–to fight Mogs and their surprising allies, hide from enemies when they can, try to find the remaining Garde members, and train to destroy Setrákus Ra. Through everything, though, Four thinks about saving Sam, his best friend, and Sarah, the girl he still loves despite the knowledge that she may have betrayed him.

As the Garde members travel closer to each other, they’re also traveling closer to what may be their ultimate destruction. None of them truly realizes just how strong Setrákus Ra really is or what he is capable of. And when they discover just who is working alongside the Mogs, their journeys become even more perilous.

The Garde is stronger when united, but will their combined strength be enough to defeat their most dangerous and powerful enemy? What sacrifices will be made in the quest to save both Earth and Lorien, and what will the Garde discover about themselves and their abilities along the way? The road ahead is not an easy one, and the Lorien Garde will have to use every weapon at their disposal to get out of this one alive. The question is…will it be enough?

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To say that I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. While I was reading, I felt like an explosion-filled action movie was playing in my head. (This went well with the nearly constant thunderstorms and fireworks that have been going on around me lately.) I’m so captivated by this series that I plan to spend the rest of the day reading The Lost Files. (I’ve already read Six’s Legacy, but I’m eager to read the others:  Nine’s Legacy, The Fallen Legacies, and a few others. There are even more on the way! Check out Goodreads for a full list.) I probably won’t post about these, but I’ll most likely put my reaction on Knight Reader’s Facebook page.

The fourth and final (?) book of the Lorien Legacies will be out in less than two months. The Fall of Five (rather ominous title, no?) is supposed to be out on August 27th. Hopefully, I will be well past my back-to-school, Mortal-Instruments-movie-fog by then, and I’ll be able to dive into this book immediately. In the meantime, though, I can read The Lost Files and stay updated through the series website, http://iamnumberfourfans.com/. Join me, won’t you?

Published in: on July 7, 2013 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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