Monday, January 31, 2011

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld Simon 978-1416971757
is the follow up to Leviathan and is the third book in a planned trilogy. Behemoth is set in an alternate history of World War I where the allied powers (or Darwinists) all use genetically engineered beasts as weapons, and the axis powers (or Clankers) use gigantic robot like machines as weapons. The story is a continuation of the tale of Alek, who is a fugitive Clanker prince, the son of the recently assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, and Deryn, a girl passing as a boy so she can get into the British Air Service. In this tale the two of them have landed in Istanbul, still a neutral power, and are helping in a mission to keep the Ottoman Empire neutral. The Clankers are just about to push the Ottomans onto their side when Deryn is sent on an ill-fated mission, and Alek is captured by revolutionaries. Will the two of them succeed in keeping the Ottomans neutral? Will Alek discover that Deryn is a girl? Read this book and find out! But then you'll be biting your fingernails waiting for the final book in the trilogy, Goliath, to come out in September 2011. This book is highly recommended and is one of the most exciting Steampunk books I have read. If you loved this series you'll want to try some other Steampunk series like Airborn or The Golden Compass

Review by Niki Roohi, Librarian at Goldenview MS

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Dutton

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Dutton 978-0525423270
This is the story of Anna, who is sent to Paris to spend her senior year at boarding school. She hates the idea of leaving all her friends in Atlanta, but her famous author father (think Nicholas Sparks) thinks it would be good for her (and his reputation) if she went abroad. Anna is welcomed into the small, elite school by a few interesting characters, notably Etienne St. Clair. St. Clair is half-French, half-American, raised in England (read: sexy English accent)--and taken. Anna and St. Clair become fast friends, but throughout the whole year his girlfriend comes between them. Will things ever change? There are many romantic books in middle school libraries, but this is a full-blown, mushy romance. If you're looking for a good diversion and a quick pick-me-up that you won't feel guilty about (because it is well written!), then try this one!

Review by Niki Roohi, Librarian Goldenview MS

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks Harcourt

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks Harcourt 978-0152066093
Are you tired of the same old same old vampire story? Good looking immortals with super powers? Then how about a book where the vampires are all sickly and afraid to leave their houses? That's what this one is about! And they would all stay inside and wallow in their misery forever if one of their own hadn't turned up staked to death. Now they have to leave their comfort zone and find out who the killer is, with no super powers except the ability to see in the dark! Can they survive the blinding lights and the run in with an illegal werewolf fighting ring? Check it out and find out!

Review by Niki Roohi, Librarian Goldenview MS

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

Black Hole Sun is a dystopian novel set on a future Mars - Durango and his crew of Regulators have taken the job of protecting a mining outpost from the cannibalistic Draeu. Lots of action for the military Sci-Fi fans. I found the main story engaging and it moved forward well.

The back story was not so well developed. Maybe it is my lens as an adult reader but there are too many things hinted at that aren't developed or that are developed in such a piecemeal fashion I just didn't think the world building was where it should be. Why are Durango and Vienne disgraced - what lead up to that? What did his father do to get driven out as leader of Mars? Why is that important to the story? Why is it important that his artificial intelligence (Mimi) was once his squad leader? Is he the only one with this artificial intelligence? If they designed the Big Daddies from a native life form - why do they believe that all the native life forms (Chigoes) are all gone? Why is it important to the story that they aren't.....

Ok, maybe I am over analyzing this but I read A LOT of Sci-Fi and I really want my world building to be consistent and hold to the rules that author sets up. I think my problem here is that Gills doesn't really set up enough of the rules clearly enough for me to grab onto. If he wanted to tell the story of the small band of Regulators fighting the hordes of the Draeu then that is a great story - and he does that really well. He only gets part way there with the back story

Ann Morgester, Library Curriculum Coordinator

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Girl In the Arena by Lise Haines

Girl in the arena : a novel containing intense prolonged sequences of disaster and peril by Haines, Lise - Bloomsbury Press, c2009

This was an interesting alternative history book. In this world things are very similar to our world. There is Cable TV, McDonalds, School and Gladiatorial Games (instead of WWF or WWE wrestling) In these games, people die as they battle each other with real weapons in front of thousands of screaming fans. The main character's stepfather is killed during a match and as part of the "Glad Culture" she is to marry the winner (did I mention she is 16 or so?) Her younger brother has special needs, her mother is so depressed she is unable to help and so she decides that she would rather fight him in the Arena than marry him. This book held my attention although the differences in the worlds is slight but I was somewhat put off by the rather out of context twist at the end. Recommended for anyone who likes Hunger Games

Review by Ann Morgester Library Curriculum Coordinator Anchorage School District