There was a lot of hype about this book and after some personal recommendations I decided to get in on reading it. Honestly I had it sitting around the house for a while before I even picked it up but once I did I could hardly put it down and had to stay up very late to finish it a couple nights ago. This book is post apocalyptic and covering all the bases: emp, pandemic, natural disaster, savage looters, formerly ordinary teens becoming capable of hand to hand combat, and aliens. Plus you can throw in some YA stuff like attraction to a boy who is too dreamy to be true and family loyalties.
Cassie believes she may be the only human left on the planet. In just a few short months everything on Earth has changed and most of the population has been obliterated. It all started when an alien spaceship arrived, but refused to communicate. The 1st wave of attack is an electromagnetic pulse (emp). All electrical/technological things immediately are wiped out and stop working. This means planes fall from the sky. The 2nd wave of attack is a tsunami that wipes out all coastal cities. The 3rd wave is an avian born pandemic. The 4th wave is finally some direct alien presence coming in and picking off the remaining humans. These waves are not the bulk of the story, rather they are described by Cassie as a neat summary of events. Cassie is desperate to stay alive, she hopes her little brother is still alive and vows to find him. She finally meets another person and despite everyone’s instincts to not trust anyone she is so pleased to have company (and that of a cute boy, to boot!) and someone who might help her find her little brother.
This was super exciting, fast paced, and full of terrific surprises. The story is not told entirely from Cassie’s point of view-it varies between her and a few other key characters. This totally adds to the suspense as the story is pieced together. Even though I knew certain things were likely suspicious and not quite what they seemed, I couldn’t exactly figure it out until it was told to me, which I liked very much. My only quibbles are… I’m going to need to give some stuff away that is a wonderful surprise, so don’t read below the spoiler alert unless you have already read the book, really don’t mind a surprise being spoiled, or are never going to read it. And I’ll sum up here by saying overall I really liked this, wish it wasn’t a trilogy, but am certainly looking forward to book #2! OK, so stop here if you want to read the book!
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT……
My only quibbles are: if the aliens are so advanced that they’ve long ago left their bodies behind, then why do they need use of the planet Earth at all??? Also, I kind of felt like it was a not-uncommon author cop-out to just say things like “it was an incredible warmth I can’t really describe” when describing the alien mind meld. It was like he backed himself into a corner trying to come up with some amazing alien thing but then couldn’t quite pin it down so went with a “beyond description” description. I hope that book 2 can describe the aliens and their “pure spirit” or mind essence, or whatever it’s called, a bit better. How do they have personalities? Thoughts? Organization? And, again, if they are simply essence then why do they need a planet and to much around with human beings??
I just gave this 4 stars on Goodreads, but I do wish you could give fractions because I’d probably go 4 1/2. I liked this a lot. It was a really great conclusion to a trilogy, had some surprises, action, intrigue, romance, and interesting sci-fi angles. I felt like it was better than the middle installment.
Picking up moments after #2 left off, Amy and Elder are ready to detach the shuttle from the ship Godspeed and land on Centauri-Earth, the habitable planet that has been waiting there for centuries for them. And off they go! And most exciting, you don’t have to wait many pages at all for step 2-defrosting all the frozen people. This means that in this book we get new characters, including Amy’s parents. Conflicts abound between “shipborn” and “earthborn”. Naturally the military frozen people immediately want to take over and as a reader (and presumably the shipborns felt this way, too) it was so frustrating that they didn’t even pause to find out what life was like on Godspeed for centuries. I thought Revis did a good job of portraying all of the wonder and terror that the shipborns felt at a new world, the confusion that the Earthborns felt about the shipborns, and so on. There’s definitely a big mystery going on as Elder and Amy try to figure out what they aren’t being told and what danger they are in from the aliens who already inhabit the planet. The early stages of the book reminded me of The Sparrow, a wonderful science fiction book in which people land on a habitable planet and try to make peace with the culture there. There’s also definitely an Avatar element of big bad corporations and Earth messing up other planets.
I loved all the clues and surprises, the intrigue and how you thought you were solving one aspect of the story but then another appeared. This was suspenseful and I couldn’t put it down!
(My only disappointment is in the cover. They’ve reissued the first and second to match and it definitely looks more sci-fi and battleship-y, but I loved the romantic cover of the first one.)
I really liked this a lot. It didn’t feel like most of the science fiction type books I’ve read in the past few years, but was distinctly more X-files-y (if I may make that be an adjective.) I did mention this in my post-apocalyptic survival post, but it’s not a post-apocalyptic book. Reese and her debate team partner (who she has a big crush on), David, are in Arizona about to fly home when all air traffic is halted due to a bunch of simultaneous fatal crashes, all caused by entire flocks of birds. It’s so bizarre that public response is immediately panicky-there are fears of terrorism and various conspiracy theories. Reese and David and their teacher rent a car and try to drive home, though there is chaos on the country’s roads. In a dark stretch of highway near the famed Area 51, they have an accident after a bird flies at them. They wake up one month later in a top-secret military medical facility. They have healed from their wounds quite rapidly, suspiciously rapidly…. They are told that they were privy to medical advancements not available to the public yet. After a few more days they are sent home. Reese wants life to return to normal, but it doesn’t. Weird things start happening. I loved it that she happened to have a conspiracy theorist friend who was right on board with the strange and mysterious happenings. This was exciting and bizarre and a kind of science fiction I enjoy. I look forward to #2!
First of two, but I was delighted that it seemed like a standalone book-that the story is resolved, and then almost tacked on the stuff to show that the fight is not yet over.
For a post-apocalyptic story I thought the apocalyptic event was very believable-there was a war and the pacific countries attacked us with “spore wars”—missiles that launched spores of a deadly disease. It touches you and you’re dead in a week. Apparently the country was somewhat prepared with a vaccine-one which was given to young people and the elderly first. As a result everyone between 20 and 60 died. The government stepped in and claimed the “unclaimed minors”-those whose parents and died and they didn’t have grandparents to take them in. The unclaimed minors get sent to horrible work farm/institutions, where many of them don’t survive. Many unclaimed minors try to stay in hiding and not get caught by the marshals-they live on the streets and squat in buildings. Callie is one and she is doing her best to protect her sickly 7 year old brother, along with her friend Michael’s help. When Callie hears about a way to make tons of money, she decides to risk it. The “it” is allowing her body to be used by an Elderly (oh, and old people live to about 200 years old). The slick person at Prime persuades her that it’s as easy as falling asleep. And the first two times it is. But the third time she wakes up in her own body while the Elderly is inhabiting it. She soon finds out that Prime is evil and a horrible plot is afoot.
This was a great adventure. The futuristic details were completely reasonable and believable, and while this seemed like a plot I’ve read/watched before, it was still thoroughly enjoyable. I read this entire book (save the final 20 pages) on our trip to Cape Cod. What a delight to be able to read in the car on car trips once again! Up until now it seemed like the kids needed too much entertaining, but now they are totally caught up in a book on tape, and Paul likes to drive, which leaves me to happily read chapter after chapter.
I really liked Across the Universe, so this was pretty eagerly anticipated. It picks up just three months later and in that three months since Elder has become the leader of the ship Godspeed and taken all its residents off of Phydus (the drug that kept them docile and hardworking) things have not gone so well. Having their own minds and emotions means people are discovering their own power and not so eager to blindly follow a leader. For the first time there is violence, injury, and even death. And in terms of the ship itself things are going poorly too-the food supply is running low and things are not functioning properly. And then there’s Amy-the prematurely defrosted teenager from Sol-Earth. There are two main stories going on in this second book. There’s the trouble with the residents of Godspeed and the brewing rebellion and then there’s Amy’s mystery. It turns out that Orion (the troublemaker from book one, now frozen) has left her a series of clues she must track down. A lot of the book is spent reading about how there’s a big secret and and in fact, there are actually two big secrets. I read this really quickly because I couldn’t wait to find out what they were, but I’ll admit that I wish I’d found out even sooner. I think that’s the trouble sometimes with the second book in a trilogy. There’s going to be some resolution, but mostly more buildup to the finale in book 3. And I am super excited for book 3, which apparently is not coming out until next January. Regarding the uprising of the residents I found it surprising (and maybe unlikely) that it didn’t occur to Elder right away to offer a new form of leadership and government. And if it didn’t occur to him then surely Amy, from Earth, would have clued him in that he needed to have a new form of governent that allowed the “Feeders” a voice.
Whatever quibbles I have with that I did like this and really liked just thinking about this future world and self contained life and the voyage to a possibly new world. I thought a lot about The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell, which is a simply amazing book blending space travel, new worlds, science, and religion. This does not compare, but both do tell stories about brave (?) pioneers. It also made me think a little bit about that new tv show that I gave up on, the one where they escape earth by traveling back in time and living amongst dinosaurs. What must that be like to colonize a planet where no humans are? A classic sci-fi story that is endlessly interesting.
I wanted to read this after I read such a great review at The Hub. The general premise of this book reminds me a great deal of Wall-E. There is a gigantic spaceship housing thousands of people that has been traveling for many years. In Wall-e the ship is simply out in space until Earth is habitable again. In Across the Universe the ship has a destination-a new planet that scientists have deemed habitable. However it will take a three hundred years to get to. Therefore all the people who are necessary to get things going on the planet-top military strategists, genius genome splicers, brilliant scientists, etc. have been cryogenically frozen and will be awoken when the ship arrives, ready to colonize the planet and cope with whatever is already there. Along with the brilliant minds is teenager Amy. She has chosen to be frozen along with her mom and dad. Unfortunately for Amy she is unfrozen 50 years to soon. The first thing you and she realize is that now, even if she waits 50 years, she’ll be older than her parents are when she next sees them. Which is weird. Also, it will be boring waiting on a ship for 50 years. Also, things are crazy on the ship. How crazy? Well, about what you might expect when thousands of people are put on a spaceship and it is expected that generations of them will live and die on that same ship. Think about that. That means they are living simply for the purpose of keeping the ship going. That means that if generations of people live and die there they will have developed their own culture and history relevant to the ship. That means that everything we and Amy know will have become simply legend. Things like the Sun.
The great mystery is who woke up Amy and why? The story is told quite a bit from the point of view of Elder, the next in line leader of the ship’s people. He begins to question things he has always accepted. Why are all the creative people considered mentally ill? Why is everyone so docile? From Amy’s perspective she can see all these things immediately, but not so Elder. There were definitely some cliches, and I kept shouting in my head “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!!!!!!”, but overall I really loved this. I get such an education from novels. For example, should I ever awake someplace where everyone acts strange….don’t drink the water.
I was delighted to learn that a sequel is coming out soon!
Gosh, it’s been like three weeks since I read this (yes, I’m in the terrible habit of reading madly, getting a pile up of five to seven books to write about and having lost my momentum for comments on the book and, in some cases, have trouble remembering details!)…So, sequel to Leviathan, cannot wait for the third book that will conclude the trilogy. Am convinced he’s titling these Leviathan, Behemoth, and Goliath as a comment on the size of the books–it’s not that they are so long, but the shape of the book is a bit awkward (too narrow!) and I swear the pages are made of some kind of super heavy lead lined paper.
The story picks up shortly after Leviathan ended, with the great airship Leviathan headed to the Ottoman empire, carrying the Austrian Prince Alek, Deryn, the extraordinary midshipman who is actually a girl in disguise, the mysterious eggs about to hatch, and the Darwinist lady who started this mission on Churchill’s request. The country they land in is fascinating-a melting pot of cultures and religions, as well as a place that is not quite Clanker and not quite Darwinists. However, the Germans are doing their best to take over. Secret missions abound, Deryn’s leadership is tested, allies and enemies are made.
I thought this was a very exciting center of a trilogy. The danger the face is definitely real and the adventure is tempered with some funny bits (Deryn and Alek clearly have feelings for each other, but don’t quite know what to make of it since she is still in disguise.) Like in the first book there was a very helpful afterward explaining fact and fiction. I can’t wait for the conclusion! (But will have to wait a long time-not out until September!!)
The good thing about being slow about reading hot new books is that by the time you get around to them there is already a sequel waiting for you. So I finished this last night and can start the sequel the minute Paul brings it home from work. Westerfeld is a bit of a darling of ya lit (author of Pretties, Uglies) and this steampunk novel has been hugely popular. Although I wouldn’t say I’m a steampunk fan, not having read much of it, I do think I like it very much. I adored Airborne, with it’s blend of science, fantasy, Victorian type trappings, but modern day things too.
This is an alternate history of the start of World War I, set in a world where there are Darwinists and Clankers. Darwinists (Britain) have taken Darwin’s findings (in this story he also discovers DNA) and used it to create fabricated beasties–creatures created from hundreds of different animal forms to make combination animal/machine type things. Pretty difficult to explain, and I was delighted there were illustrations in this novel because I’m not sure I could fully envision a flying ship that is a living breathing whale, but people are inside it and there are some engines and things, too. It was super fascinating and really detailed and fully imagined. Clankers (Austria-Hungary, Germany) abhor man’s messing with nature and revere machinery instead. They’ve created Stormwalkers, which are totally the machines in Star Wars ( At-At.)
The two main characters in the book are the son of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Alek, and Deryn, a girl disguised as a boy so that she can join the Air Service. The story alternates between the two and their two very different worlds. Alek is on the run as the hidden heir to an empire, Deryn is committed to being in the Air Service. Both are horrified by the countries coming to war and also by what they believe about the other side. It’s no surprise that they end up meeting and then the story continues with them together as allies.
This was a fabulous adventure story (also, although the author takes liberties with facts it did actually help me understand the origins of WWI a bit-there is a good afterword where he explains what is fact and what is fiction in his story) and I cannot wait to read the next installment!
This was the big winner of the Printz award this year and I was quite surprised to discover I had a copy on my shelf. I honestly had no idea what this book was about and the cover and title were not drawing me in. Then I opened the flap and read the blurb and realized this was right up my alley. Set in the undetermined future (where they refer to our current time as the “Accelerated Age”) the polar ice caps have melted, the seas have risen, and there are ancient cities (New Orleans) completely underwater. Nailer lives on the beach and spends his days crawling through the ductwork of old wrecked oil tankers scavenging the copper wire in them. It’s a horrible life and in general life appears to be a horrible post-apocalyptic mess. His father is a murderous evil being, half-men (scientifically created creatures made from man, tiger, and dog) are wild and murderous, too, children are worked to death, and so on. After you read a while you come to realize that the whole world is not like this-it’s just the slummy jungle workers who have such a horrible life. The “Swanks”-rich folk, have fast ships, nice clothes, jewels, and the like. When a swank’s ship wrecks near Nailer he sees the possibility of an escape from his life.
This was a fantastic adventure, and Nailer’s moral dilemmas in a world that doesn’t seem to have morality left in it, pull you in. Yet when I read this here’s what I kept thinking about: one of the things I hated in The Road was the pure evil that seemed to be in the post apocalypic world. Mad Max-y is how I think of it, and I really don’t care for it. And in this book, too, there are characters (Nailer’s father) that just seem to be pure evil-no moral, no ethics, no empathy, and they almost gleefully murder and maim in the most casual way (or take pleasure in it.) I think what I don’t like about that is that I wonder about the author who thinks that up, as well as the widespreadness of it. Do people truly believe that Man’s true self is like that? That if the infrastructure of civilization breaks down that will be the default? I simply don’t. The only thing I can possibly conceive is if someone saw something that drove them mad. Nailer’s father is on some sort of super drugs most of the time, but you still believe that at his core this evil person is who he is, it’s not just the drugs.
I just find it interesting that so many authors have these characters because I don’t believe you would create them without believing in the possibility that they could exist. And tied in to that, curiously, is a conversation I had with my friend about The Forgotten Garden. We were remarking about how awful some of the characters were, just very cruel and cavalierly ruining lives. She said that one of her book group friends thought that because life was so much harder then (Victorian London), that it was such a struggle to have basic necessities of life like food and shelter, that the people were harder. I thought right away of these post apocalypic stories because I feel like that rationale suggests that when life is hard your humanity and ethics fly out the window. Which is, at its core, the struggle faced by Nailer in Ship Breaker, and it’s all wrapped up in a good adventurous package.
[This book comes out in July 2010]Half Bonobo ape-half human. Who could resist a book with that premise? The book opens and immediately has a fast paced adventure scenario-in the Congo jungle a woman awakes, hears the milita coming, and must flee. She has spent years in the jungle researching and studying the Bonobos and now must get up and run. On the way she stops (well, it is a two day walk from her own hut) at the one other scientist’s hut and finds him dead. She had heard he had a daughter and finds the daughter alive and flees the country with her. That girl is Lucy and it turns out that her scientist father created her with his own sperm used to artificially inseminate a female Bonobo ape.
With any story like this, be it book or movie, you know it is going to come down to the big federal government trying to capture the innocent gentle (think of ET). This had the frightening contemporary angle of the Patriot Act thrown in. The other theme is, of course, the two sides of the individual-her animal side vs. her human side (think Eva by Peter Dickinson). In this story Lucy’s two sides are not so much at war, as complementary. Bonobo apes are something like 98% identical to human beings, and Lucy was highly educated by her father. So while she is super strong and has amazing instincts, she is very much a smart teenage girl, too.
Jenny, the scientist, and Lucy love each other and attempt to have a normal life outside of the jungle. They are soon like mother and daughter. Lucy connects with another person as well, Amanda, and they are soon best friends.I read this pretty quickly-it was extremely engaging and fast paced and seemed to cover a lot (and a fairly long span of time.) One of the things I really liked about it was when Lucy talked about “The Stream”, which is how animals communicate. Even outside of the jungle she can be in the stream and communicate with pretty much any animal. This would certainly make a good movie and I’d be surprised if it wasn’t optioned for one already (although it was a good book it felt very much like a movie in many ways.)