Continuing to chip away at my Shelf Control pile. Read this one in a day.
See my Shelf Control post for the summary.
Why I (sort of) recommend it:
So I was quite eager to read this book as it sounded like it was along the same lines as Ready Player One and Silence of the Six, both books I enjoyed immensely. I should have approached with caution though, as Warcross features a female lead and experience has taught me that a female lead in a YA book (regardless of genre) means romance of some sort. I don’t dislike all romantic elements but they have to be well done and not gratuitous as so often happens. I find authors tend to rush any elements of romance and thus it feels forced and thrown together. That’s what happened with Warcross. I liked Emika and Hideo and given time and attention their relationship might have worked for me, but I never understood how an international Japanese billionaire would fall instantly for a street rat nobody from the US. It was never explained. Hideo was known as a very private man and one of the first rules of meeting him was not to ask about his family. Yet in no time at all he’s introducing Emika to his parents and talking about his brother. Lu also did not take the time to establish and build Emika’s connection with her teammates either. They too took instantly to Emika.
The world of the Warcross game was vivid and very enjoyable, and the imminent threat to Hideo kept me reading. I was especially curious about Zero and was sure I knew who he was. Turned out I was wrong but somehow I still think my guy is involved in the conspiracy.
This book should have been told in two or even three novels. There’s enough material there and I would love to have seen the relationships and characters more drawn out and developed. There’s nothing like a slow burn to make the out come far more satisfying.
My final beef with this book is that it ended at 89% on my Kobo. There I am, thinking I still have 10% to read and expecting a wrap up when boom, no ending at all. The final 10% of the “book” is an excerpt from Legend. Why that is needed I don’t know? I felt cheated.
Not sure if I’m going to seek out the second book or not. Seems to be a trend for me with Marie Lu books. I loved Legend but never finished the trilogy and Young Elites has been awaiting me for ages. The sequel to Warcross (Wildcard) comes out soon though, so I may give it a go.
Rating: Three stars
Suitable for teens. I would advise caution as there’s quite a bit of violence and some fade to black sex.
I’m on a roll! This is the Third Read from my Shelf Control pile!
Now I’m wondering how long it’s going to take me to read Warcross. Well I do have the other two books in this series to finish first, so we’ll see.
See my Shelf Control post for the summary.
Why I recommend it:
There were so many things I loved about this book, but most of all I loved Adam, our protagonist and narrator. He’s 17, talented, a bit of a geek, good to his family and totally lovable – not to mention an incredibly bad-ass pilot. When everything run by computers stops working, Adam finds his old clunker of a car to be an invaluable commodity, that and the ultralight aircraft he’d just finished building with his dad. As his community starts to come together to survive, he finds that his skills are in high demand and that he has a knack for observation.
I found the way the situation plays out to be totally believable also. The author talks about rioting and looting, and fighting for resources. Killing becomes inevitable as the animalistic nature of humans takes over and surviva
l of the fittest reigns supreme. I even enjoyed the action sequences and got a very vivid picture of how the scene was playing out. I’ve also learned a lot about The Art of War from, of all places, the old neighbour next door. Herb is Adam’s mysterious neighbour. A dithering old man who becomes the next best thing to Jason Bourne once the computers go down. I’m dying to know his story. And after finishing the book I still don’t know his story, but my curiosity and connection to the characters certainly sent me scurrying for books 2 and 3.
One thing I did find a bit confusing was the locations. I was delighted to find out that Eric Walters was a local boy (local to Southern Ontario), and even more delighted to recognize neighbourhoods and streets from the Greater Toronto area. I could picture Adam landing on the 403 and glimpsing the abandoned buildings of Toronto in the distance. Yet Walters never fully committed to the Toronto location, and I’d love to know why. At one point Adam remarks that his father is half way across the country (in Chicago) so that threw me. I would love to have seen a Canadian setting, if only to see something new; and who knows, maybe non-Canadians would learn something about Canada?
Rating: Four stars
Suitable for teens. I would advise caution as there’s quite a bit of violence and killing, but not gratuitous.
A fascinating question really. With the advancements in genetics it’s only a matter of time I imagine. Clone stories seem to be everywhere over the past couple of years (Orphan Black anyone?) but it’s a haunting story I read a few years ago that really made me think about the evolving definition of humanity.
Like some of my favourite stories recently (Curious Incident, Wonder, Out of Sight) House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer sets out to make you question perception and uses first person point of view to maximum impact. The novel is set in the dystopian world of Opium where we meet Matt, a young clone of the local drug lord who was bred for parts. Matt is treated like an animal with no more rights or feelings than a cow bred for meat. Farmer’s writing is so vivid and we are right there with Matt as he battles for identity and questions who he really is. An unusual take on the traditional Coming of Age story but very effective.
Several of my grade 10 students have read The House of the Scorpian since I added it to their Independent Study List, and it has prompted some great debate and deep thinking in their writing. A good story that gets kids talking is always a good thing in my book 🙂
I have yet to read the sequel, The Lord of Opium, but it’s definitely on the To Be Read list for this year.
Ages: 12 and up Rating: 4.5 stars
The Novice by Taran Matharu
Fletcher has no idea how he ended up in Pelt working as a blacksmith’s apprentice but he loves his adoptive father and life is pretty good despite the war going on around them. A chance meeting leads to the discovery that he has the rare ability to summon demons. Forced to flee the village for a crime he didn’t commit, he travels with his demon, Ignatius to the academy for Summoners where he is taught the ancient art.
Classes are gruelling and the divide between nobles and commoners is trying but Fletcher finds he is unusually gifted and prepares to serve as a Battlemage in the war against the Orcs. Rivalries grow and betrayal is rampant as Fletcher must decide who to trust.
I’ve always enjoyed books with a male lead and Fletcher doesn’t let me down. He’s a well-developed character, heroic yet flawed and I really enjoyed the relationship between him and his demon, Ignatius. Even all the minor characters came from well thought out backgrounds. The plot is nothing new (Hero’s Journey and all that) but for some reason, I didn’t mind. Fletcher was believable and the relationships he formed worked for me.
I have just started the third book in the series and am still enthralled with the world that Matharu has created.
Rating: 4.5 stars Recommended for 11+.
Replica by Jenna Black
I’m not sure how I came to read Replica, but it doesn’t seem to be one that everyone’s talking about (or was talking about) but it should be.
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake lives in a futuristic society where human replication technology is a reality; carefully controlled by its creator, Paxco. Nadia comes from a high-class family and lives a life of privilege, although she’s not too keen on the paparazzi that follows her everywhere; eager for the latest on the fiance of notorious playboy, Nathan Hayes, heir to Paxco.
They’re not in love but they are friends and everyone appears satisfied with their match. That is until Nate is killed and the wrong person was the last to see him alive. When the new Nate wakes up in the replication chambers he is missing a month of memories. Nadia and Nate set out to find the killer and prevent the world from discovering Nate’s secret, a secret that could destroy everything they know.
Replica has riveting characters and an intricate plot. I loved the friendship between Nadia and Nathan and how they looked after each other. The idea of being unable to die is not new but the twist of being born a replica intrigued me. Also, it was interesting to see how the replicas were treated by their society even if they were the elite when they were “alive”. There are two more books in the series. I highly recommend them all but put the first just that bit above the others.
Rating: 5 stars for this part of the series (4 for the others)