Category Archives: Science Fiction

Cinder – Review

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Title: Cinder 

Author: Marissa Meyer

This is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series and tells the story of Cinder, a talented mechanic and cyborg who lives and works in New Beijing with her stepmom, who never wanted her. When Prince Kai enters her life asking for help repairing an android, her life is turned upside down. Soon after his visit, her sister becomes sick and Cinder is “volunteered” to help find a cure, a quest that leads to the discovery of Cinder’s true identity. For her own safety, though, she cannot tell anyone, including Kai.

The story is a unique take on the classic Cinderella fairytale and is full of romance and humor as Cinder tries to save her sister and her home while coming to terms with who she really is.

-Marisa, grade 12

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Once Was a Time – Review

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Title: Once Was a Time

Author: Leila Salesonce

It’s 1940 in Britain, and ten-year-old Kitty and Lottie are best friends. Kitty is somewhat smothered by her protective parents, and Lottie is left to her own devices after her mother leaves. Her scientist father is consumed by his work for the government, and he pays no attention to his children at home – not that he’s ever home in the first place. So the girls have each other, and as far as they’re concerned, that’s perfect. But the Germans are after Lottie’s father’s project, which has to do with time travel, and through a terrible twist of fate Lottie winds up in Wisconsin in 2013 – leaving Kitty behind.

Lottie is stranded and alone, and over the next several years she manages to make a new life with her foster family in small-town America, but her one goal in life is to return to Kitty.

The book is roughly divided into three sections: Before, in 1940s England, where the stage is set.  Then there’s Lottie’s immediate arrival in Wisconsin and getting her settled. And finally, the story picks up again as she is finishing up high school.

I was a little confused when I started reading and the girls were ten because I know (and love) Leila Sales as a YA author. I suppose this is technically a middle grade novel; however, there’s nothing to say older kids wouldn’t enjoy the story, particularly since Lottie grows up over the course of the book.

There’s an old-fashioned feel to the story – time travel! orphans having adventures! – but there are contemporary issues too, most notably Lottie’s detour into Mean Girl land and a potential romance. The main theme, though, is love and the power of friendship. Lottie never stops looking for a way back to her best friend, and if someone was crying by the end of the book, well, I guess my allergies were just terrible that day…..

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

 

 

A Confusion of Princes – Review

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Title: A Confusion of Princes

Author: Garth Nix

Khemri is a prince of the realm, and he’s destined to be the next emperor – or so he thinks. Being a prince turns out to be not quite as exciting as it sounds, because there are millions of princes out there. All of them are enhanced with Bitek, Mektek, and Psitek, and all of them are vying to become the next emperor. As soon as Khemri comes of age, he is tossed out of the little oasis of calm where he’s been coddled and looked after all his life.  Now it’s on to the real world, where it’s kill or be killed – again and again.

A Confusion of Princes is pretty hardcore science fiction. We jump in to the story midstream, never really learning how this world came to be and how all the technologies work. Having said that, if you’re willing to go with the flow, it’s an excellent ride. There’s lots of action, a bit of a coming-of-age story as Khemri sheds his views of privilege and entitlement (sometimes quite painfully), and the world Garth Nix has created is pretty darn amazing.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

The Future of Us – Review

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Title: The Future of Us

Authors: Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

It’s 1996 and Emma has just gotten a computer. When she dials into the Internet, she finds a funny website called Facebook that has all sorts of  information about her life – 15 years in the future!

In alternating chapters, Emma and her neighbor/best friend Josh try to figure out how the different choices they make right now affect the outcome of their lives in the future.

This is thoughtful and often funny, although I have to say that it didn’t leave a huge impression on me. The nineties nostalgia is a fun bonus for someone (like me) who was alive then. I’ve categorized it as both realistic and science fiction, which seems pretty contradictory, but I can’t figure out how else to describe it.

-Lisa, Teen Librarian

A Long, Long Sleep – Review

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Title: A Long, Long Sleep

Author: Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has just been awakened by a kiss. It’s been 62 years since she went into stasis, and the world has changed around her. Her parents are long gone, as is the boy who was her best friend and her true love. Now Rose is the sole heir to an interplanetary empire, and the people around her think she’s either a freak or a threat. Trying to find her place in this strange new world, Rose is drawn to Bren, the boy who kissed her awake, and Otto, a blue-skinned alien hybrid “created” by her family’s company. Rose’s efforts to assimilate into her new surrounding are quickly complicated when she becomes the target of an assassin. Who wants her dead, and why are they so desperate to kill her?

I love when authors put their own spin on fairy tales, and this first novel is a science-fiction take on Sleeping Beauty.  (If you didn’t know, “Fitz” means “son of” or “child of,” and “roy” means “king,” so clearly Rosalinda Fitzroy is a princess!) There are so many neat things going on in the book, from what the future looks like, to Rose and her new relationships, to the mystery surrounding her parents and the killer who wants her dead. I haven’t seen anything about this being part of a series, but there are a few possible threads that could be picked up in future books, and I for one would love to read them.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Hourglass – Review

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Title: Hourglass

Author: Myra McEntire

After Emerson’s parents died, she went a little crazy – mental hospital crazy. That was a few years ago. Now she’s living with her older brother and his wife, and she’s hopeful that her life can get back to normal – except for all the ghosts she sees.

Hourglass combines the paranormal with some science fiction/X-men stuff, and plenty of humor, action, and romance, too.  The sequel, Timepiece, just came out.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Legend – Review

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Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Are you experiencing Hunger Games withdrawal? Pick up Legend and you may get some relief. Chapters alternate between Day, a criminal with a price on his head, and June, the prodigy soldier tasked with tracking him down. Where are they? Los Angeles, the capital of the Republic of America, in 2130 AD.

Legend is the first in a trilogy, and the nonstop action, suspense, and touch of romance will have you anxiously awaiting the next installment. (Prodigy comes out in January 2013.)

Fun fact: the author was a video game designer before she started writing full-time.

And finally, here’s the trailer for Legend.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian