Tag Archives: Sci. Fi.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (review by Catherine H. ’17)

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When the aliens come and the human population is brought to its knees, only a few unlucky people survive. Cassie Sullivan, her brother, and her father were lucky enough to live through the first few waves, but when they are separated, her only mission is to find them. Armed with a gun and her wit, Cassie struggles to stay alive in this apocalyptic world. When she meets the mysterious Evan Walker who offers to help her, she doesn’t know whether or not to trust him. Rick Yancey has imagined a truly terrifying world where the enemy looks human and no one can be trusted. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the action and the plot, the strange love triangle just doesn’t seem to work out so well. Some of it was confusing and not well connected. I would only suggest The 5th Wave to people who are looking for a sci-fi or dystopian read. – Catherine H. ‘17

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Earth Girl by Janet Edwards (review by Monica K. ’14)

Earth Girl (Earth Girl, #1)Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Despite the two star rating, don’t be fooled – Earth Girl features some strong writing, promising world building, and a powerful, independent female lead. The setting has a genuine science fiction feel and is set centuries in the future, long after the first portal and colonization of another planet. In this futuristic society, our protagonist, Jarra, is the one in a thousand born with an immune system unable to handle other planetary atmospheres. As part of an ostracized minority, Jarra decides to get back at society by spending her first year of her history degree in an archaeology course filled with “exos” from offworld planets.

The first half goes from pretty good to stellar (see what I did there?), as Jarra leaves her class in the dust with her history expertise. Unfortunately, the second half stagnates. Descriptions become tediously long, a cringe-worthy decision on the author’s part leaves the last third irritating to read, and in the end the plot fails to move much. However, while I did not like this novel, I still believe that Janet Adams is a promising writer and would recommend Earth Girl to fans of Ender’s Game and the like. – Monica K. ‘14

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UnWholly by Neal Shusterman (review by Catherine H. ’17)

UnWholly (Unwind, #2)UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Connor is now known as E. Robert Mullard and has to run the Graveyard, a haven for AWOL Unwinds. He has less and less time for Risa, and the mysterious company, Proactive Citizenry, eventually takes her away. There, she meets Camus Comprix, a perfect person made entirely from Unwinds, who is struggling to come to terms with what he is. On the other hand, Lev has recovered from his trauma and is now helping to rescue tithes. Neal Shusterman has developed each character in a unique fashion, crafting the story to fit the world he has created. The second installment of the Unwind Dystology, I highly recommend UnWholly to anyone who enjoyed Unwind or likes dystopian novels. – Catherine H. ‘17

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (review by Mr. Silk)

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there was ever a book that defines comedic science fiction, this is it. Based on his own radio scripts (which are also available to read) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the first of six books that tell the story of Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered, somewhat helpless Earthling who gets swept up into a space adventure with his best friend Ford, who happens to be an alien, when the Earth is unceremoniously destroyed. Adams keeps the pace brisk in this short novel, introducing a variety of wacky characters as Arthur and Ford hitchhike across the galaxy. Although the science fiction is much more fiction than science, the dialogue is crisp, and the laugh-out-loud moments are frequent. And, while the rest of the series never captures the brilliance of this first book, you’ll be eager to find out what happens to Arthur’s motley crew – if only to discover why all your friends think the number 42 is so hysterical. – Mr. Silk, Harker teacher

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Ringworld by Larry Niven (review by Meilan S. ’17)

Ringworld (Ringworld #1)Ringworld by Larry Niven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Considered one of the classics of science fiction, Ringworld follows the journey of Louis Wu, an aged explorer bored with life on Earth. On his 200th birthday, an alien named Nessus (whose race has supposedly been extinct for centuries) invites Louis to join an expedition to a new world. After recruiting two other crewmates, Speaker To Animals (a huge, carnivorous cat) and Teela Brown (a young human), the motley group sets out towards a strange, ring-shaped world. Ringworld is science fiction at its best, with an enticing and unusual concept and a richly detailed world. Its three-dimensional characters and constant surprises make Ringworld more than just another exploration story. A twist ending forces readers to reconsider the entire book. Niven is fastidious about tying up loose ends; seemingly inconsequential details often end up being instrumental to the plot. Ringworld’s pace can be slow at times, but for stylist reasons rather than bad writing. All in all, Ringworld is a fantastic read, and well worth the time it takes to track down in a used bookstore (or your local library).

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Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (review by Ravi B. ’14)

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell creates a universe in which multiple characters from various past and future settings fight against repression. The book follows an unconventional narrative construct with six story lines, beginning with an American notary in the 19th century and ending with a child in a post-apocalyptic future. The stories are initially told in chronological order, but each, except for the last, is interrupted at a critical moment. Following the last story, the book continues in reverse chronological order. I found Mitchell’s technique gave me a greater sense of closure and empathy for the characters as I finished the book. Although the book is especially challenging to start because each ending of a chapter feels somewhat intrusive, completing the novel was rewarding. Additionally, one of the stories is a hilarious relief from the rest of the novel. Someone who enjoys sci-fi fantasy and dystopian novels will find this to be refreshing change of pace. – Ravi B. ‘14

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Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (review by Elisabeth S. ’16)

Snow CrashSnow Crash by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a novel that practically invented its own genre, Stephenson brings to life the engaging, fast-paced Metaverse, Hiro Protagonist’s virtual reality. The world-building is top-notch, set in some pocket of a distant time ahead that remains unstilted — unlike dystopian classics such as Brave New World. Snow Crash is refreshingly free of cloying allegory or philosophy, which seem to accompany any novel set in the future nowadays. It teems with energy that casts a vice-like hold on readers and refuses to let go. Hiro and YT (Yours Truly) make brilliant, edgy and flawed protagonists that truly have no parallel. Recommended to budding science fiction or cyberpunk fans. And – if you are already a hardcore fan of either but still haven’t read this — where on earth have you been? – Elisabeth S. ‘16

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Requiem by Lauren Oliver (review by Karen T. ’16)

Requiem (Delirium, #3)Requiem by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a world where love is a disease that must be treated and eliminated, Lena Tiddle has joined the rebellion against the cure and its advocates. As regulators begin encroaching into the abandoned wasteland where the rebellion is sheltered, Lena and the other Invalids trek across the Wilds gathering supporters and converts alike in preparation for their retaliation. While the premise to Lauren Oliver’s Requiem is promising, the plot is slow to start and descends into the typical cliched love triangle that plagues many young adult novels. Additionally, the narration is split between two separate viewpoints that both break up the story line and confuse the reader. However, the buildup to the ultimate conflict and the dénouement are redeeming aspects of this novel. As the story line relies heavily on elements from the first books in the trilogy, only readers who have read Delirium and Pandemonium will fully enjoy Requiem. – Karen T. ‘16

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Everlost by Neal Shusterman (review by Kai A. ’17)

Everlost (Skinjacker, #1)Everlost by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Those who don’t reach the light at the end of the tunnel wind up in the world between the living and dead: Everlost. Though it is possible to join the light, Mary Hightower wants everybody, living or half-dead, to spend eternity in Everlost, forever repeating the same actions, and she will destroy all of the living to accomplish this. It is up to a group of friends to save both worlds. Their amazing talents display Shusterman’s ingenuity and creativity, but they also intrigue the reader, encouraging them to ponder what comes after life. Shusterman incorporates common superstition with the phenomena of his world to introduce interactions between the world of the living and dead, the concepts which make this first in a trilogy so interesting. Additionally, the characters have a deep, unique personalities that, combined, drive the plot to its satisfying conclusion. All readers, from the philosophical to the adventurous, will be drawn into this stunning tale of determination, sacrifice, wit, love, and deception. – Kai A. ‘17

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The Host by Stephenie Meyer (review by Naomi M. ’16)

The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earth has been invaded by aliens. Rather, it is less of an invasion than an occupation. These particular aliens, called souls, survive by attaching themselves to a host, and controlling the body. Melanie Strider is a part of the human resistance, along with her younger brother Max and boyfriend Jared. They’re on their way to meet up with a larger group of humans in a secret camp in the desert when Melanie is captured and given a soul. This soul, named Wanderer, and Melanie become friends, and together they escape and set out for the camp. Because it is believed that a human could not survive with a soul, their welcome is tepid. Eventually, the humans accept Wanderer. Stephenie Meyer has done a wonderful job illustrating the intricacies of friendship, love, acceptance, and what it means to be human. Both Melanie and Wanderer are opposite, yet both strong, well-written characters. The Host is a wonderful novel for anyone who enjoys action, romance, and science fiction. – Naomi M. ‘16

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