Posts tagged futuristic

Starters

What If Your Mind & Body Were No Longer Your Own?

Starters by Lissa Price (book one in Starters series)

Review based on an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)

In a dystopian world in which only the very old and very young have survived, sixteen-year-old Callie is trying to make it on the streets while taking care of her sick younger brother. After the Spore Wars tore the country apart–only the weakest members of society, old and young, received the limited vaccine and survived–there was a strong division between rich and poor. Starters (the young) have virtually no rights, while Enders (adults age sixty through their hundreds) control all. Callie is an unclaimed Starter, legally unable to take a job and with no surviving parents or grandparents as guardian, giving her and her brother little choice but to squat in abandoned buildings to avoid being rounded up and sent to a terrible institutions.

When Callie hears of a company willing to pay Starters under the table, she ends up at Prime Destinations where, with the technology of a neurochip, Elders can “rent” the bodies of Starters for recreation and be young again. Creepy? Yes. Easy money? So it seems. But when Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the middle of a rental–in her own body but with the belongings and credentials of a wealthy Ender–she discovers that she has been rented for a malicious, illegal purpose, and the high-suspense race to the truth begins. (more…)

The Death Cure (book three)

Author Spotlight: Interview with James Dashner (Part II)

PART II of our interview with James Dashner, bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy and the 13th Reality books, as well as the upcoming Maze Runner prequel and a new series in progress!

Check out PART I of the interview here.

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PART II – Interview with James Dashner

Jenny: Okay, sorry—back on topic! The Flare: did you base that on any historically known disease or academics, outbreaks, or was it just the worst thing you could think of?

In the end they made me do some research to make sure it fit, but really my initial idea […] I just have this fascination with insanity. Humans are powerful beings; we can do incredible, amazing, terrifying things, and if you take away your sanity and your conscience and your ability to choose right and wrong, I can’t think of anything more terrifying. So really, I wanted a disease that didn’t turn people into zombies back from the dead or anything like that, just made people utterly insane. I think that elicits some zombie-like behavior, but anything else that happens to them like sores, injuries, or ravenous hunger to eat other people, anything like that is an after effect. The only thing the Flare does to them is drive them completely insane, and I just thought it was a cool concept.

Ruby: Okay, on to my favorite subject: every teen series has a love triangle. With the introduction of Brenda in the second book, had you intended to start a love triangle between Thomas, Brenda, and Theresa?

I can honestly say no. I still don’t think there’s a true love triangle in the series. I wanted another main female character, and Brenda was one of the characters that grew more important than I originally thought. It kind of ties in to what I said earlier about how Thomas and Theresa can never be the same again. In most love triangles, it seems like you meet both of them—both of the girls or both of the guys—from the beginning or relatively soon, and I’m not a big romance guy, but it sure seems like usually they end up with the first one. It seems like they fall in love with someone and then someone else comes in the picture but then they go back to the first one. Is that true?

Ruby: I think 95% of the time it’s true, but when I was reading your books what was rare for me is the fact that it’s a guy and two girls, ‘cause in all teen books it’s a girl and two guys. It’s like, oh for cryin’ out loud! [Laughter]

[Laughs] And I thought this story was so dark and so quickly paced that are you really going to pause and go watch the sunset with someone you love? I mean, there really is no room for romance in this.

Ruby: Well maybe love triangle is the wrong phrase, but there’s some kind of tension between the three of them.

It’s definitely a triangle of some sort. And I don’t think Brenda and Theresa ever like each other, they never get to know each other. Thomas, I think, doesn’t have time to think of romance, but he is number one devastated and hurt by what Theresa does to him. He thinks about it a lot, and he does just naturally form a bond with Brenda. I think when you go through something terrifying with someone you probably do have a bond, and I think Brenda slowly gains his trust and loyalty throughout book three. It was never really intended as a Team Brenda or Team Theresa type thing.

Ruby: Yeah, that’s not how I read it either. I had an intense dislike for Brenda when she was first introduced. I was like, “Who is this person who’s all over the place? I want Theresa back!” And then the betrayal happened, and that was really shocking to me because I’m a romantic at heart, and I thought there would be no happy ending for them!

The way it all ends is really the only way I feel like it could end. This won’t spoil anything, but I feel like there was only one way for Theresa to feel redeemed. She is a tormented soul from even before the Maze Runner. She believed in what WICKED was doing much more than Thomas did. […] It’s like I said, the line between good and evil in this series…  that doesn’t make her worse than Thomas. If you could save billions of people by doing [the trials], can you really fault someone for thinking that it’s right? I don’t know. I wanted it to be complicated. (more…)

Author James Dashner

Author Spotlight: Interview with James Dashner (Part I)

Drum roll, please… The long-awaited interview with The Maze Runner‘s bestselling author, James Dashner, is here! We talked about Dashner back in October about his Maze Runner trilogy, including the final book The Death Cure and the upcoming prequel, as well as movies, favorite kids’ books, Dashner’s take on Harry Potter, and a handful of nerdy stuff. In fact, since our interview with him lasted over an hour, it’s so long we’ve broken it into two big posts. We’re huge fans of The Maze Runner trilogy, so this was pretty exciting (we’ll post a review at some point too). Ruby and I had a ball chatting with him, and we’re grateful that we were given the opportunity to pick his brain!

(Please forgive the posting delay: life got busy, but a big reason was that we were sworn to secrecy about The Maze Runner prequel, The Kill Order, that’s being released August 14, 2012!)

One word of warning: while there are no big spoilers involving book three in this interview, readers who haven’t read The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials yet might want to step carefully. Check it out and ENJOY!

If you’ve already finished Part I, read Part II here.

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Jenny: First off, congratulations on completing the trilogy! How does it feel to be done?

It feels bittersweet. There’s some sadness for it to be over, but I’m also just so thrilled that people finally get to read some of these scenes that have been in my head for so long and to see how it ends. The fact that we’re probably going to do a prequel now [The Kill Order] has got me really even more excited, because to me the prequel becomes the most exciting [book] once you know how it all ends, and I just think it’ll be very interesting to go back and see firsthand the stuff that happened before The Maze Runner. So it’s sort of a mixed bag of feelings, I guess, but mostly excitement.

Jenny: As far as these books go, did you plan a three-book series?

I envisioned it as a trilogy.

Ruby: In your books there’s a trend throughout the whole series in which Thomas always gets singled out and separated from the rest of the group. Is there a reason behind that for his development as a character or for the story as a whole?

I’ll say this: I think even from The Maze Runner we know that Thomas and Theresa are special. They were singled out to be more involved than everyone else in the stuff that happened before the maze and leading up to the maze. Throughout the process they are looking for what is called a “final candidate”. To me the whole concept of the “final candidate” shows that there is a side of WICKED [that doesn’t] want to be completely cruel and evil; they’re at least trying to narrow [the candidates] down to one person for what [WICKED] wants to do in the end. But in my mind, WICKED had always thought that Thomas and Theresa—and then in group B, their two counterparts—would probably [be the final candidate], and so they did plan some of the trials and variables to single them out, to capture some of their patterns, to try to finalize what they’re doing. I just thought Thomas was special and predicted to be what they would need. Probably one of my favorite things in The Scorch Trials is when [Thomas] gets shot with the gun. That was not something WICKED foresaw, and they were not willing to let Thomas die, so they broke against their normal protocol and swooped in to try to save him. (more…)

Crossed

Guest Review: Marin

Crossed by Ally Condie (Book 2 Matched Trilogy)

(Review based on Advanced Reader Copy)

In the sequel to Matched, star-crossed lovers, Cassia and Ky, escape the stringent rules of the Society intending to live happily ever after, but life in the outside world isn’t what they expected and perilous adventures await.

In Matched, Ky and Cassia risk life and limb escaping the vigilant and watchful eyes of the Society to find each other. They weren’t supposed to fall in love, but now that they have Cassia is forced to come to the realization that the Society’s true aims are not as benign as they appear. Two perilous escapes and long treks across dangerous wilderness with strangers find these young lovers back together and searching for the rebels.

The alternating points of view allow the reader to learn more about the motivations of Cassia and Ky. However, this narrative choice also occasionally interrupts the flow, leaving the reader with a choppy story. Crossed is not a strong stand-alone story because there isn’t much information about what exactly the Society is and why Cassia wants to join the rebellion. However, this action-packed adventure introduces new characters and enticing possibilities for the conclusion in the final book of the trilogy.

Crossed will be released on November 1st, 2011.

-Marin

Ages 12+

ISBN: 9780525423652

Also available as an eBook.

Wither

So Little Time in a Dystopian World

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (Book One in the Chemical Garden Trilogy)

Several generations ago, the human race was genetically perfected: genes were cleared of tendencies to cancer, viruses, disease. But something went horribly wrong, and all subsequent generations have stunted lifelines, girls living until age twenty and boys living until age twenty-five. The short lifelines of all those who aren’t “first generation” means a stagnation of humanity, and the divide between rich and poor grows ever deeper as the remaining dystopian world is filled with orphans, crime, and fear. Some search for a cure to this terrible genetic curse. Others despair that one cannot be found.

Sixteen-year-old Rhine and her twin brother, Rowan, are children of first generation parents who died in a terrorist attack at the genetics lab where they worked to find a cure. Left alone, Rhine and her brother maintain their home and find what work they can. And then, one day, Rhine is stolen away by Gatherers, men who make a living kidnapping and selling young women as wives to wealthy men, a means of forced procreation.

Scared and bitter, Rhine is sold to Linden, her twenty-one-year-old husband, along with two new sister wives, Cecily–age thirteen–and Jenna–age eighteen. (They are the lucky ones: the rejected girls were shot and left on the side of the road.) While Cecily, who grew up in an orphanage, is giddy to love her new husband and plush, comfortable lifestyle, Jenna and Rhine are miserable and seething, though only Rhine is determined to escape. Her only solace, besides the library, is a servant of the house, Gabriel, and a friendship between them blossoms into something unnamed and forbidden. (more…)

Enclave

A Post-Apocalyptic Read for “Hunger Games” Fans

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

The only life Deuce has ever known is in the enclave, one of many underground villages where those who survived the apocalypse now dwell. Lives are shorter now–a person is lucky to reach twenty years–and if a “Brat” makes it to age fifteen, they undergo a naming ceremony and join their chosen job. Deuce, a newly named huntress, has trained for her position for years and desires to serve her people as best she can, both providing food and protecting her home from the mutant and cannibalistic “Freaks” who lurk in the broken-down tunnels.

Her first day on the job provides a sharp new look at life as her hunting partner, a dark and brooding outsider named Fade (who becomes a romantic interest as the plot thickens), shows her the horrors and violence beyond the enclave. As Deuce learns more about her society–elders kill the innocent to survive, and information that threatens stability is withheld–tension builds until she and Fade are suddenly exiled to Above where it is rumored that survival is impossible. Afraid but stubborn, Deuce and her partner rise to the surface to find a broken and perilous city, though very different from what they had come to expect. A continuing journey takes them across new lands and constantly changing dangers as they search for a place Fade’s father knew, safety in “the north”. (more…)

Subject Seven

The Hulk Meets Jekyll and Hyde

Subject Seven by James A. Moore

Subject Seven is a creation of science. In a mysterious compound controlled by a group called Janus, Seven has endured horrific tests to see how his body and mind responds. At the age of ten his rage has hit the breaking point, and he escapes, killing and maiming everyone in his path.

Five years later, Seven is on the hunt to find answers. He wants to be freed from the prison of his Other. The Other is his normal teenage half, the half who was allowed to live a life of ease and love. Seven has learned how to control the change from himself to his Other, and with this knowledge and freedom he learns there are others like him that were not destroyed. Considered failures by Janus, four Subjects survived and were secretly given up for adoption.

Seven, now calling himself Joe Bronx, gathers the others to reveal what has been causing their blackouts. The truth is that they were created to be the perfect military sleeper assassins—housed in the bodies of teenagers and awakened upon command. Awakened, they morph into another person altogether, a definite Jekyll and Hyde scenario. The Jekyll persona is full of rage, almost unchecked violence, and glee at finally being free. They are ready to find a way to banish their Others. (more…)

X-Isle

Fighting to Survive in a Flooded World

X Isle by Steve Augarde

In the not-so-distant future, climate change has taken over and the earth has been submerged, oceans covering the majority of land on Earth. The survivors are few and struggling, trying to live with limited resources and virtually no technology. There is one beacon of hope: Eck’s Island. Jokingly renamed X Isle, it is a place where a select few–young boys only–are taken to work and, as payment, are properly fed and cared for by the divers and salvagers who hire them.

When Baz is selected to board the Eck brothers’ boat, it seems like a dream come true. Along with Ray, another recruit, Baz excitedly awaits their arrival, only to realize that their paradise is tainted, not the safe haven they were promised. Clustered in disgusting conditions and forced to work on little food at exhaustive tasks, they take physical and mental abuse daily from their so-called saviors. Baz and Ray protect one another as best they can, and soon they bond with the other boys, trying to survive the brutal labor and the crazy sermons of “Preacher John,” the Eck’s father and manager of the salvage operation they run. As tempers rise and Preacher John’s religious declarations of the apocalypse escalate, the boys realize they’re in a dangerous game of survival, and they must plot a way to either escape or be the last ones standing. (more…)

Matched

Yet Another (Good!) Dystopian Romance

Matched by Ally Condie

What if everything you knew was chosen for you–food, clothing, music, career, even a spouse?

Cassia is an ordinary girl living an everyday life in the Society, a “perfect” community run through predetermination. Everything is determined by Society Officials based on statistics and probability. Efficiency and equality are the goals, and choice has been taken out of almost every equation. It is the path humanity has taken for the sake of safety, as the border wars outside Society’s limits clearly show, and Cassia has no qualms with the choices made for her. Until, that is, the night of her Match Banquet…

When Cassia catches a glitch in her Match microchip and sees the face of not one but two possible romantic matches, she knows something must be wrong. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and the questions start to grow. As her perfect image of the Society starts to fracture, Cassia discovers the beauty and strength in forbidden knowledge and the ability to choose, and her small internal struggle to remain balanced becomes an overwhelming external need to live her own life.

When you mix ideas and images from a bunch of classic dystopian and “perfect society” novels like Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury), The Giver (Lowry), and 1984 (Orwell)–and then throw in some contemporary favorites like Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series–it’s hard not to have a hit. Throw in a love triangle to rival Katniss, Peeta, and Gale from The Hunger Games and you’ve got a bestseller on your hands (see the NYTimes list). It’s a solid and enjoyable page-turner, and as only the first in a trilogy, it should go far by publishing standards. Definitely recommended for fans of today’s futuristic, dystopian sub-genre, especially with the promise of more action and star-crossed romance to come!

The sequel, Crossed,  is set to be published on November 1, 2011.

Age 12+

Copyright November 2010

ISBN: 9780525423645

Available as an eBook

Image from www.penguingroup.com

 

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