Tag Archives: Spaaaaace

Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (Review by Varun F. ’24)

Starsight (Skyward, #2)Starsight by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Starsight, by Brandon Sanderson, is the sequel to the incredibly popular young adult science fiction novel Skyward. Starsight expands on the universal adventures of pilot Spensa and her journeys to protect her home planet, Detritus. Although Skyward was an engaging and overall exciting read, Starsight falls short.

Starting with the positives: Brandon Sanderson does not lose his direct writing style and stunning visual imagery of action scenes and new environments that Spensa finds herself in. Spensa’s character remains intriguing, and M-Bot and Spensa’s interactions are still hilarious.

I found Starsight’s plot to be overly complex, with many new characters that aren’t explored fully. While reading the book, I found myself flipping back and forth through the pages to remind myself of who each of the characters were and what they looked like. Unlike that of Skyward, the plot of Starsight feels half-baked, and the ending is anticlimactic and mainly serves to introduce a cliff-hanger for Sanderson’s next novel in this series, Cytonic.

While I certainly enjoyed parts of this novel, I found myself confused about the tangled plot and excess of characters for the most part and was disappointed by the ending.

View all my reviews —Review by Varun F. ’24

Nemesis (review by Sofie K ’20)

Nemesis (Project Nemesis, #1)Nemesis by Brendan Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every two years, Min dies.

It’s always the same man, time and time again. He appears sometime on her birthday, kills her, then she wakes up the next day as if nothing happened. She doesn’t know why, or what Noah, subjectively the town’s most attractive (and rich) boy, has to do with it, but it happens. On top of it all, a giant asteroid called the Anvil is threatening to destroy Earth… in like a week.

I really wanted to like this book. I hadn’t seen this premise too often before in books, so it seemed that it would live up to the hype. But it just didn’t make sense. The twists came out of nowhere (they were barely hinted at), so they felt super jarring, and the storyline with the asteroid seemed really separated from the plot. When Reichs tried to tie it all together at the end, it just felt really forced. It’s overall not a terrible plot, it just seemed disappointing compared to what it could have been.

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The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (review by Anya W. ’20)

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five PartsThe Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Five Parts by Douglas Adams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On a rather boring Thursday, a rather boring (but mostly harmless) planet known as Earth is demolished by a Vogon construction crew to clear room for a new hyperspace overpass, along with most of its inhabitants, who rather unfortunately had yet to invent a method of faster than light travel and therefore had neglected to see the clearly posted notice in Alpha Centauri. Ford Prefect, writer for a new edition of the “Hitch Hiker’s Guide” and alien who’s been stranded on Earth for the past decade-and-a-half is not content with vaporization. He takes up his usual pastime, Hitchhiking, bringing along one Arthur Dent, a boring, regular, specimen of humanity if there ever was one, who also happens to be a very good friend.

One of the landmark novels of science fiction and a great influencer of pop culture, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a must read. Adams writes a ridiculous romp through worlds and galaxies on an unimaginable scale, and mixes ridiculousness with unspeakable horrors in just the right proportion to make his book a comedy instead of a textbook. One of the great advantages of science fiction and fantasy novels is the ability to wave away plot holes with “magic” or “science,” but the methods Adams uses to rationalize his fantastical universe are so creative that they hardly deserve the title of Applied Phlebotinum. – Anya W. ’20

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (review by Sofie K. ’20)

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After the hype and attention that Veronica Roth’s Divergent series received, I was very excited to hear about a second series in the works.

Cyra and Akos, like many YA novel characters, are two sides of the same coin. Separated by social class and the races of their people, the two meet when Akos and his brother are captured by the royal Shotet fleet, and delivered right to Cyra’s doorstep. Though Cyra is the sister of the tyrant that rules the Shotet people, she rebels against her family out of love for this new stranger. As if the plot wasn’t cliche enough, every person on this planet has a special power, or currentgift. Cyra has the power to cause excruciating pain to anyone she touches, which her brother exploits to get information. Akos, on the other hand, has to power to cancel out anyone else’s currentgift through contact. The characters conveniently balance each other out, obviously created for one another.

While the book’s concept was quite unique, the characters had little to no originality. Cyra and Akos reminded me of a reversed version of Tris and Four; it felt like I was reading the Divergent series all over again. Hopefully, the second book will give the characters their own personalities and develop their stories more. – Sofie K. ’20

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2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke (review by Connie M. ’17)

2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1)2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

2001: A Space Odyssey depicts the first encounters of humankind with alien intelligence. This story has become one of the most well known sci-fi tales and is written by one of the greats. The story begins as a series of seemingly unconnected accounts, but gathers speed by the time we reach the halfway point. The second half of the novel blazes by in a suspense-filled whirlwind. The last 30 pages of the book holds perhaps as much action as the rest of the book put together, culminating in a thought-provoking and poetic ending. Clarke writes without extravagant vocabulary yet manages to vividly depict the beauty of space. While 2001 has little humor and no romance and thus may not appeal to everyone, it is a must read for any true science fiction lover and contains much food for thought for any reader. – Connie M. ’17

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The Martian by Andy Weir (review by Connie M. ’17)

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Looking through Goodreads for a sci-fi book, I found that The Martian was voted the top sci-fi book for 2014, and decided to give it a try. Well, I certainly did not regret that decision.
The Martian was, yes, filled with highly technical scientific explanations. This, however, only added to the legitimacy of the story. But above all, The Martian is one of the most engrossing novels I have ever read. Not only was a stellar sense of humor imbued into multiple characters (I literally laughed out loud multiple times), but as the hero encountered challenge after challenge, I was so terrified of what might happen next. I could only pause my reading when the challenge was resolved. This was partly because of how realistic the story was. All challenges seemed completely plausible, and all solutions made complete sense and I was completely drawn into the story.
The Martian is a must read for any sci-fi fan and a wonderful experience for any reader.” -Connie M. ’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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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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How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown (review by Allison W. ’16)

How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It ComingHow I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming Mike Brown discusses his search for new planets which ultimately led to the decision that Pluto should not be considered a planet. Although the book does discuss some astronomy, it focuses on the process of scientific discovery and what Brown did on his path to discover the dwarf planet Eris. Starting with his bet that someone would find a new planet within five years, he discusses not only his work but also his home life with an infant daughter. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming is a humorous book which should appeal to anyone who wants to know why Pluto is not a planet. -Allison W. ’16

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The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (review by Evani R. ’17)

The Martian ChroniclesThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of connected short stories about man and Martians. Bradbury paints a picture of a Mars ruined by human colonists. Although no one character travels the entire length of the book, the eerie, fascinating stories have imaginative settings. Stories are suspenseful and tackle human topics of jealousy, selfishness, racism, and actual events of the past. Throughout the book, we find out that the four expeditions for human occupation are due to the imminent atomic war on Earth. Bradbury writes his tales with lyrical beauty that culminate in an unforgettable ending . The Martian Chronicles is a great collection for both science fiction fans as well as general readers. – Evani R. ‘17

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