Monday, March 31, 2008

Breakdown (Remnants, 6) by K.A. Applegate

As Billy continues his mysterious encounter with the ship's powerful core, known as Mother, he begins to form a strange connection with her. Mother has generated the Remants' surroundings and she is lonely after centuries of isolation. But when Mother delves into the depths of Yago's sinister mind, a strange computer-generated battle pits Yago and an army of Civil War soldiers against the Blue Meanies. Will Yago sell the Remnants out to Mother? And when the Baby's true identity is revealed, can the possibility of a new Earth be far off?

My Opinion
It has been a little while since I read #5 in this series, but I was really looking forward to getting back to it.

This book was okay. Not a lot of action. We did get a closer look at the Blue Meanies (Children) who showed up at about the same time that the Remnants were rescued by Mother. We get a better understanding of what Mother is and what is happening.

The Remnants come together to battle the Blue Meanies, but by the end of the book they have again divided into two distinct groups, 2Faces' group and Yago's group.

Looking forward to reading the rest of this series to see how it all comes out.

Maelstrom (Rifters #2) by Peter Watts

From the Publisher
An enormous tidal wave on the West Coast of North America has just killed thousands. Lenie Clarke, in a black wetsuit, walks out of the ocean onto a Pacific Northwest beach filled with the oppressed and drugged homeless of the Asian world who have gotten only this far in their attempt to reach America. Is she a monster or a goddess? One thing is for sure: all hell is breaking loose.This dark, fast-paced, hard SF novel returns to the story begun in Starfish: all human life is threatened by a disease (actually a primeval form of life) from the distant prehuman past. It survived only in the deep ocean rift where Clarke and her companions were stationed before the corporation that employed them tried to sterilize the threat with a secret underwater nuclear strike. But Clarke was far enough away that she was able to survive and tough enough to walk home, three hundred miles across the ocean floor. She arrives carrying with her the potential death of the human race, and possessed by a desire for revenge. Maelstrom is a terrifying explosion of cyberpunk noir by a writer whose narrative, says Robert Sheckley, "drives like a futuristic locomotive."

My Opinion
Like the first book in this series, Starfish, this book was good. It is a very dark look at a future society where energy is a very expensive commodity. Where people are bio engineered for better performance. Where regular citizens are drugged into submission and treated like cattle. Where the Internet has become an alien world where new lifeforms are evolving constantly.

I plan to find and read the next two in this series because it is quite a compelling story. This book was a bit disjointed like the first but I suppose that is this author's style.

Where the first book was more of an introduction to the Rifters, this book was about the Apocalypse. In the form of Lenie Clarke, who is a product of a terrifying future society. It is also an indepth look at this society that is capable of doing the things it has done in the name of survival. A very interesting book that is not great while you are reading it, but gets better the more you read (I know that makes no sense, but that is the best I can do to describe the way I feel about it.)

This is a book that makes you think and keeps you thinking even after you finish it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Starfish (Rifters Trilogy #1) by Peter Watts

From the Publisher
A huge international corporation has developed a power facility at the bottom of the deep San Juan de Fuca Rift in the Pacific Ocean to exploit geothermal power. They have sent a bioengineered crew - people who have been altered to withstand the pressure and breathe the seawater - to live and work in this weird, fertile undersea darkness. Unfortunately, the only people suitable for long-term employment at the bottom of the ocean in these experimental power stations are psychotic, some of them in unpleasant ways. None of the crew will ever be allowed to return to the surface. One of the central questions is how many of them can survive, or will be allowed to survive, long enough to become sane, while worldwide disaster approaches from below.

My Opinion
I am not really sure where to start when it comes to this book. I read it. I enjoyed it, kinda. It is really hard to explain. It is an interesting read, but it almost seems like parts are missing. It does eventually come together at the end and you understand what is going on, but it is a bit of a disjointed journey.

It is set in an undetermined future. The world is not a good place, but the book never really explains why or how it is what it is. The story centers on a group of 'Rifters' who are human beings who have been changed/enhanced to be able to survive life at the bottom of the deep ocean. This is where they live and tend to some sort of deep sea energy collectors. This is another thing that is a bit hazy and not well explained in the book. The reasons that they are chosen for this assignment are suggested. They are all psychotic in some ways. Coming from abusive homes, or abusers themselves. It seems that it is all an experiment, but again not sure what the idea is behind it.

The story then seems to take a bit of a turn when the Rifters start changing and adapting to life in the ocean. It then becomes apparent that these changes may be a result of some sort of dormant life form that is a danger to the human race. The bacterial parasitic lifeform takes up residence in the humans and seems to be such a threat to the human race that destruction seems to be the only option.

All in all a strange story, but interesting enough to keep reading. The next book's back cover leads me to believe that it will take up right where this one lets off, but looks more interesting as it seems to deal with an form of apocalypse that the world faces due to the attempted destruction of this bacteria.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sex & the Immortal Bad Boy by Stephanie Rowe

(Immortally Sexy, Book 4)

Paige Darlington has a problem. See, she's the former apprentice to Satan's right hand, Becka Gibbs. As a result, she's got this pretty much all consuming need to be bad... not her fault, right? Well, that will be a small comfort when she loses all human emotions, including the ability to love and care about those who matter to her.

To keep his brother alive, Jed Buchanan works for Satan Jr., the heir to hell and the most evil being in existence. Jed has been forced to do a lot of unsavory things during his time on the "job" and his latest assignment - killing Becka Gibbs - isn't pleasant either. It only gets more complicated when he arrives at Becka's apartment, and inadvertently attacks Paige, a beautiful, sexy demon who decides that saving his black soul will be just the thing to keep her own from rotting.

But can the Devil's minion and the Devil's assassin possibly find true love?

My Opinion
Well I can't say enough how much I love this series of books by Stephanie Rowe. They are so much fun to read.

This one is about Paige Darlington who we met in the last book. She is the newly formed, bubbly, Rivka that managed to escape from her bondage to Satan. Unfortunately she soon discovers that she was used as a new secret weapon and she is destined to become Satan's ultimate killing machine. A wraith whose touch kills anything living and is destined to destroy the world. Being the bubbly, optimistic person that she is she soon discovers someone who does not die from her touch, Jed, a shadow warrior who is under contract to Satan Jr.

Paige hires Jed to be her bodyguard and protect her from her inner Wraith, while allowing her to touch him whenever she wants, since she craves human contact and kills anyone else that she touches.

As Jed & Paige work on trying to save her soul, as well as Jed's brother, and the world, we watch the relationship bloom.

As with all of Rowe's books in this series, it is fun to read about the adventures of old favorites as well as new characters.

I already know who the next book will be about and I can not wait!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Autumn Castle by Kim Wilkins

From the Publisher
Christine Starlight lives with her lover, Jude, in a hip artists' colony in modern-day Berlin. Haunted by a troubled past, she is shocked when her missing childhood friend, May, suddenly reappears. Abducted as a young girl, May now presides over a magical, mythical kingdom where a witch lives in a well, a shape-shifting wolf is her trusted counselor, and fate hangs on the fall of an autumn leaf. But as Christine becomes enamored of this beautiful undying land, May falls dangerously in love with Jude. And as their mortal and immortal worlds collide, the women attract a danger born of both realms -- a ruthless killer who knows that Christine can enter another dimension, a place where innocents are ripe for the taking…

My Opinion
What a fantastic story!

Christine lives with Jude in modern day Germany. Christine has lived a tragic life, losing her famous parents in a horrific car accident when she was younger, leaving her with a back injury that causes excruciating pain every moment of her life. One day she accidentally slams her injured back into the corner of the kitchen table causing so much pain that she is rendered unconscious. She wakes seconds later in a wondrous land where she feels no pain. Thinking that she is unconscious and dreaming, she explores this new world only to encounter Queen Mayfridh, the Queen of the Faeries, who also happens to be a girl that Christine once knew in real life.

This trip to Faerie land begins an adventure for both Christine and May that is wondrous, heartbreaking, horrifying and life altering.

I totally enjoyed this book. The characters were fantastic and the storyline was wonderful. I guessed at the ending early on, but was still thrilled with the adventure that lead there.

I have a couple more of Kim Wilkins books on my TBR mountain and plan to pull them out and read them soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Soul to Take by C. N. Bean

From the Publisher
A tough Midwest homicide detective is assigned to her most bizarre case yet--the grotesque murders of young boys at the hands of a brutal serial killer. But when the trail shockingly leads to the most unexpected of places, she finds her own son may be next on the killer's list! This is the first novel in a new suspense series featuring a female homicide detective.

My Opinion
I was completely prepared to write a review of this book saying that it was not so great, I did not like the author's writing style, and I was not sure what compelled me to keep reading. But then I came to the end of the book and will have to say that the author redeemed himself a little bit. The ending was totally unexpected and really way out of left field. I don't know if that made it better or worse but at least I can say that I did not see it coming. I still did not care a lot for the author's writing style. The characters are not really well developed and the author has an annoying habit of adding unnecessary details that really have nothing to do with the story and seem to be just used as filler. I finished the book, but won't actively look for any more books by this author. I may read one if I happen upon it, but it was only so-so for me.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

From the Publisher
Fields of white opium poppies stretch away over the hills, and uniformed workers bend over the rows, harvesting the juice. This is the empire of Matteo Alacran, a feudal drug lord in the country of Opium, which lies between the United States and Aztlan, formerly Mexico. Field work, or any menial tasks, are done by "eejits," humans in whose brains computer chips have been installed to insure docility. Alacran, or El Patron, has lived 140 years with the help of transplants from a series of clones, a common practice among rich men in this world. The intelligence of clones is usually destroyed at birth, but Matt, the latest of Alacran's doubles, has been spared because he belongs to El Patron. He grows up in the family's mansion, alternately caged and despised as an animal and pampered and educated as El Patron's favorite. Gradually he realizes the fate that is in store for him, and with the help of Tam Lin, his bluff and kind Scottish bodyguard, he escapes to Aztlan. There he and other "lost children" are trapped in a more subtle kind of slavery before Matt can return to Opium to take his rightful place and transform his country.

My Opinion
What an excellent book. This should be a must read for all high school students as it tackles some very interesting and scary ethics questions that our society could be facing one day soon.

We meet Matt who lives in a small house on the outskirts of Poppy fields owned by the biggest drug lord around. We soon discover that this story takes place about 100 years in our future and that Matt is a clone. In a world where medical breakthroughs have allowed people to live into their hundreds with the harvesting of clones for spare body parts, we meet one of these 'creatures'. Matt is a special case though as he is the clone of the richest and most powerful man in the world and thus was saved from a procedure that all other clones have done to them, when they are 'harvested'. Their brains are destroyed so that they have no intelligence. But Matt is raised like most other children by a servant who treats him like her own son.

Matt does not know that he is a clone until one day when he is 6 years old and some children wander up to the little shack where Matt has been hidden away and raised. It is with interaction with these children that Matt soon learns what he is. We then follow Matt through the next 8 years of his life as he faces many difficult times and tries to come to terms with his own existence. With the love of the woman who has raised him, a bodyguard given to him by the man that had him created him, and one of the young girls that first saw him in that shack, Matt grows to be a very intelligent and talented young man.

The book touches upon some very real and scary subjects such as cloning, longevity through the use of clones, slavery, and abuse. It even touches on some problems that we face in the world now days, like illegal immigrants.

It is quite a scary picture of what our world could one day face as a reality, but it is also the story of love and how it can triumph over evil.

I totally enjoyed this book and recommend it to all!