Afterland – Lauren Beukes
There’s a virus that is only affecting men. It has killed off most if not nearly all the men in the world. Females aren’t affected but the last surviving men are taken to facilities to be watched over and used as means to continue populating the Earth. Cole and her son Miles are on the run from her son being taken away to become a sperm bank or a stand-in for a stranger’s family to pretend that they have a son. She wants to escape the horror. She dresses him as a young girl and their story is that they are mother and daughter traveling out of the country. Her son doesn’t like this but he saw what the government and certain people are willing to do just to have a male.
This was one wild book that was really different. The world building happened in breadcrumbs along the way and there were a lot of character introductions as well as a story within a story being told. I grabbed this book solely on the premise of the synopsis that caught my attention. The synopsis didn’t disappoint at all. I had found myself eager to read more and more of this speculative fiction. I hardly read speculative fiction these days and I found out why. It takes a lot of time and effort to carefully read to understand that the world is taking place within our world but in a distant future. This is different from dystopian because there are some realistic aspects. I enjoyed this novel and overall loved the writing style. I may find myself looking forward to reading more from this author.
The Infinity Courts – Akemi Dawn Bowman
Young adult, fantasy, death, afterlife, computers, science fiction, fiction.
Nami was ready for her future until she was murdered. She died when the bank robber at the liquor store shot her. She finds herself in Infinity where the mind is alive but her body is dead. The people who greet her tell her about the war against Ophelia who has taken over the Infinity and hates humanity. Nami is the only one to help save them from disaster or their world from actually ending.
This young adult novel was one of the trendy books I saw and was instantly interested. However, the chosen one trope was what got to me but besides that everything else is really good. The storyline and plot goes smoothly. The characters and their interactions with each other were alright but the chosen one trope kept getting more annoying as the characters kept telling Nami she is the chosen one and that she should train for the ultimate fight. I was expecting better for this novel but then again the chosen one trope is heavily in most young adult novels as it is popular among that demographic. It sells right off the shelves.
Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse
Science fiction, fantasy, fiction.
Xiala is a disgraced captain that was about to get punished when she is given a task that guarantees her freedom and a stable job. Escort someone or rather a special passenger. Serapio was blinded by his mother in hopes of her son becoming one of the Gods. Unfortunately what she was doing was abusive to her son and cost her son’s eyesight. He needs to be taken back to his homeland and Xiala must take him there.
This was rather interesting and intriguing. The novel discusses disability as an empowerment for which Serapio has lost his sight and can’t see but his other senses are heightened due to that. Also this novel goes over and discusses a lot of how the indigenous peoples are mistreated and how they are viewed by others. These topics were presented as science fiction and fantasy which is great. There is a lot of lore explained as well as a diversity of different perspectives. The writing was phenomenal and the characters don’t feel artificial. They feel as if I know them personally. I enjoyed this novel a lot and think I might just get the sequel whenever it comes out.
Hella – David Gerrold
Science fiction, terraforming, space travel, politics, agriculture, fiction.
Kyle is neurodivergent and is a part of the colonizers on the new planet Hella. He was given a task to help make videos that will educate the next group of migrant colonizers to understand what it is that the colony does and how it works. Alongside working, Kyle’s life is changing before his eyes and there are secrets that he must keep and he must stay on everyone’s good side if he doesn’t want to become an outcast. Sometimes reality isn’t always what it seems.
This book hardly had much plot for there was a lot of world building and explaining. I love the quality of the world building but the quantity could have been brought down slightly. But understanding that this is science fiction and the main focus is colonizing a different planet does raise a lot of questions such as politics and environment focuses as well as how to raise a colony from a planet without destroying the planet. That I was enjoying and I felt that the main character could have offered his opinion rather than basing it off of what everyone else was thinking.
The writing is excellent however the plot could have been more fleshed out a bit more. The world building took a lot out and was so much for me to understand. It took a good chunk of the book to get to somewhere and I felt the ending was not satisfactory. I do hope that there is a sequel in the works since there was evidence of a lot of hard work going into this novel. I did like this book, don’t get me wrong, the characters and the interactions were excellent as well as how these colonizers interacted with the planet. If one is a science fiction nerd that loves a good book that has a lot of world building, this one is perfect.
The Girl Who Could Move Shit With Her Mind – Jackson Ford
Science fiction, mystery, thriller, fiction.
Teagan has telekinetic powers and she is the only one to have them. Due to this, she is working for the government as a trade off from having doctors and scientists cut her open to do testing to see about her powers. Until someone was found dead in a particular way that makes her look like the murderer. She has only twenty four hours before clearing her own name. If she doesn’t find the murderer she will be trialed and sent to a lab facility. She would be erased from any records. Someone else in town has the same powers as she does. She hunts them down to confront them and bring them to light of justice.
I got this mostly because of the title and the synopsis. This was utterly weird and I couldn’t believe that this book is hardly popular yet there are sequels so someone had to be reading it. I found myself laughing throughout this and intrigued with her perspective. I found myself reading this to the point where I lost track of time. I had such a fun time reading this novel and I might end up getting the sequels as well. This novel will take readers on a mystery thriller with a lot of science fiction involved. I also love where the novel takes place, which is Los Angeles. The descriptions of certain places, especially Skid Row, are vivid and really authentic. Other places described are rather realistic. The author must have been from Los Angeles to know the ultra specific areas and how they look. I enjoyed that in this book. I can’t wait to read more. I highly recommend this novel.
Scythe – Neal Shusterman
Death, reaping, young adult, fantasy, science fiction, dystopian, fiction.
Citra and Rowan are chosen as Scythe apprentices to practice the art of reaping. Since the world is nearly perfect where death is not as easy to happen, someone has to reap to keep the population in check. Faraday chooses Citra and Rowan to train even though they do not want to become the reaper of death. He increases intensity and importance by forcing them to make the ultimate decision. Who gets to become the reaper while the other has to be reaped by the new reaper.
I loved the idea of reaping in this dystopia but I found this too predictable. I loved the writing and world building. The characters are really diverse and each person of the novel has such a rich character development. I know this is a series but I do not wish to continue the series. Maybe down the line I might change my mind. I mostly got this book because I recalled reading one of Shusterman’s books before. I read one of his children series that was really well written and I loved those books. The author writes phenomenally and I would recommend any of his works. Expect uniqueness and intensity with the works.
Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
Science fiction, abilities, love, dictatorship, soldiers, young adult, fiction.
Juliette has a condition where she touches someone or someone touches her, they experience immense pain and suffering. Her parents decided to surrender her to a mental health institute where she is left to rot. She counts the days until she is given a roommate who doesn’t understand why she’s so distant. She remembers him, he was Adam, a fellow teen who also had family troubles. A few days later, she is taken out and into a new facility and meets Warner who wants her to use her power to hurt the world just as the world had hurt her. She refuses until Warner gives her a trial she must complete. Adam tells her that he knew of her all along and wanted to rescue her. She faces a decision and knows the clear path of what she must do.
I had read this as I recall in middle school. I decided to buy the book to reread it since my old copy was not salvageable. This book really blew my mind in ways I can’t comprehend. There were dystopian elements and a lot of mental health awareness. We follow the character into a positive development. She refuses to become a weapon for evil because she knows her powers are too dangerous. Even though the world had hurt her and she was given an option to pay back with revenge she refused. I loved the main character and the potential love interest Adam. Just Warner creeped me out a lot. I love the author. She writes beautifully and has a unique style of storytelling that is unlike any other. I do recommend this novel. This is a one sitting type of reading and there is a series that I might continue to read in the foreseeable future.
Ready Player Two– Ernest Cline
Science fiction, Fiction.
Wade and his friends become the new owners of Oasis and GSS enterprises. In secret, a new technology was revealed to Wade, the ONI headset. This headset allowed users to safely experience all their senses during their duration of time on OASIS. Anything was possible. Wade and his friends, minus Artemis, agree to make this into an affordable device, a new riddle appears as well. It takes a rogue version of Anorak to make the high Five must retrieve what was said in the riddle.
I really loved this novel and I think I liked this more than the first because there was a slow build up. However, it was not boring build up either. The twist should have been predictable for Wade, but some characters are just oblivious at times. I would have liked this novel to be longer but unfortunately it would not have fit the plot purpose. The writing was fantastic, and all the references was so incredible. If you are a Prince lover, you would appreciate some of this book for sure. The ending however feels like there might be a third book in this series. Secretly I am hoping for another book in the series because I do not feel that the ending was justified and was too much of a cliff hanger. I do recommend reading the first book then this book as well. This was worth the wait.
Eona – Alison Goodman
Dragon, magic, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
After nearly escaping, Eona and others are on the run and must find a safe place to regroup and formulate a plan. One of the plans is to find Prince Kygo and take back the kingdom from Lord Sethlon. Eona is facing the loss of nearly all the Dragoneyes and the sadness all the other Dragons are feeling. She must set that feeling aside to figure out how to find the Prince first then later worry about how to use and wield her Dragoneye powers. As they travel, they learn of Eona’s immense power that is hardly controlled. She learns of her ancestry and connections to the Mirror Dragon. When they reached a small tavern, they make rest there. The next day, they find Kygo fighting men and it takes all Eona’s will to stop him from fighting. When he loses the murderous rage, he regains conscious and they all are grateful for his recovery from the madness. He begins to learn about Eona and appoints her as his advisor. Both Eona and Kygo together and one of the things that is needed to be taken care of is rescuing Lord Ido to help Eona be trained to master the dragons in the meantime. This means returning to the Palace. This becomes a rescue mission and what they did not expect that this would mean war. That they would have to fight for the Palace and for Prince Kygo to claim the throne that is rightfully his.
I had mentioned in my last blog, one I had done for Eon, that I had to go find this in the garage of my parents due to the wanting to read this duology. I had learned the term duology while researching terms for how to label a two-book series. Anyways, I loved this sequel because it had the fire and passion that was left as a cliff hanger in the previous book. Eona learning of her ancestry was a vital and important character development for this book. She discovers herself and how important she is to Prince Kygo. That drives her passion and will to fight. I love Eona because she is so strong willed and knows of her weaknesses but does not let that get in the way at all. This novel was so beautifully written and presented, just as the first one. I could not put this book down at all. I do recommend hunting this duology down and read them. I always am recommending novels and this one is no exception because I had read this once before and rereading this one put me through nostalgia once more.
Eon – Alison Goodman
Dragon, magic, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, fiction.
Eon is training to become the new Rat Dragoneye. The only danger is that Eon is a girl named Eona disguised as a crippled boy. She can sense Dragon power and her only chance is to be disguised as a crippled boy. Unfortunately, women are not allowed the ability to wield Dragoneye powers. Once the ceremony begins, she tries her hardest to get accepted by the Rat Dragon. When she was not accepted by the Rat Dragon, she finds herself meeting and accepting the lost Mirror Dragon. No one has heard from the Mirror Dragon in centuries. She confides in Lady Dela of her situation, and Lady Dela tells her to follow what she finds right. Eon must continue the disguise even though her dragon is a female and requires female energy. Lord Ido plans to expose her truth and attempt to take over the kingdom that is rightfully is not his. It belongs to Prince Kygo, who Eona, sworn to his mother to protect and befriend Kygo. Kygo knows of this and made Eona swear only of mutual survival only and Eona agrees. When the King dies, chaos ensues, forcing all to scramble. Lord Ido nearly killed all the Dragoneyes for their power except for Eona. Lord Sethlon has overthrown the kingdom in the disappearance of Prince Kygo. Eona must make a life altering decision to fight for what is right and for her life.
I had read this book in middle school and loved this so much. This novel is underappreciated and does not seem to be noticed. It has a feeling of Mulan but with more magical lore that adds to the sense of danger that Eona faces. The discovery of finding out the missing dragon was a female one and the sense of female empowerment from that fuels Eona’s passion for fighting for the right is amazingly everything I could ever hope for in the novel or any novel in general. I had to go through my parents’ garage to find this hidden treasure to reread because it was hard to find, in my opinion, but I rather had my original copy I had. I really enjoyed this novel when I first read it and I enjoyed it more when I reread the novel just to get more familiar with the book a bit more because it had been years since I’ve read it. I do recommend the novel to all audiences, not just young adults.