Book Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

SUMMARY: Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses--and then training them in the arts of war. The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of war games. Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games. He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet? (adapted from the New York Times)

OPINION: This is a YA classic that I have never been interested in, until Megan declared it a "must read" to me a few weeks ago. It totally involved me in a way I did not expect from a science fiction book. (I keep saying I don't read sci-fi, and then I end up liking the books, so maybe I should just accept that I like to read it!) Sci-fi can always get to the big questions of life because it puts distance between us and our problems through time and technology. This book really deals with issues like globalization, war, race relations, media, and schooling but the sci-fi plot is what kept me reading. Going to Ender's school and playing the war games would be pretty cool, except for the fact that graduation lands you in the middle of a real interstellar war...


Book Review: The Wings of Merlin

The Wings of Merlin by T. A. Barron

SUMMARY: Although Merlin's mastery of his powers continues to grow, he now faces a particularly daunting challenge: Fincayra and the Otherworld will soon come together and Rhita Gawr, warlord of the spirit world, and his evil forces will invade. Merlin's only hope is to get Fincayran creatures and races to put aside their distrust of one another and do battle together. As the fast-paced story winds to a conclusion, Merlin faces his most difficult decision yet. A love of the natural world and sense of spirituality infuse the saga as a whole, and we see Merlin, who has come to understand his dark side as well as his strengths and ideals, finally ready to become the legendary magician and mentor to King Arthur. (excerpted from the Booklist review)

OPINION: This is book 5 in the Lost Years of Merlin series. Megan G. recommended these to me a while ago, and I finally finished the entire series! Even though our discussion of the first book didn't go over too well in book group last month, the series is great independent reading. Some good books just aren't good for discussion! This last book is a wonderful ending, and the whole series does a great job of developing how Merlin could indeed have become the great magician of legend.


Book Review: Shade's Children

Shade's Children by Garth Nix

SUMMARY: In the brutal world of Shade's Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? (from the Amazon.com review)

OPINION: Someone in book group recommended this book to me (sorry, can't remember who), and I was totally into it. I think I might even put it on a future book group voting list. I am not usually a science fiction reader, but this book surprised me. It has a lot of dystopian fantasy elements and tons of action and adventure that kept me reading. We don't have it in our YA section, so make sure to request it from another library and fill out at request slip for our library to buy it!


Book Review: Wrecked

Wrecked by E. R. Frank (NEW!)

SUMMARY: Dear anyone who cared about Cameron, I was the driver of the "other" car. The police and my mother and father and plenty of people are saying that I didn't kill her. But I know I did. That's what her parents must believe. And my brother, Jack. He always sees what's true. I want to tell him how sorry I am about the accident. I want to say a lot of things to him and to everybody. Like how Cameron was smart and beautiful and kind in a way that isn't all that common in high school. Like how much Jack loved her and how sometimes I can hear him crying through the wall at night. I want to say how bad everything can get. In one split second. Upside down and shattered. Just like that. Wrecked. (from the inside flap)

OPINION: By the time you graduate, at least one person in your school will have died in a car accident. But what if you were the driver of the other car? And you still had to go to that high school? And, to compound it all, it was your brother's girlfriend who died? That's the essence of this tragic and painful story about the aftermath of a late night accident. It was hard to read at times because of the heavy feelings it brought out in me, but ultimately I was proud of the characters and pleased with the realistic ending. This book is serious, but definitely worth your time.


Book Review: Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

SUMMARY: When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it--until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

OPINION: This tale of underground adventure is part City of Ember, part Alice in Wonderland, and part Kafka. Trying to keep an eye on his toddler sister, Gregor falls down a vent into a mysterious world under New York City populated by giant rats, huge bugs, and a pale race of humans. It is a really creepy place, from which he cannot escape. This is an epic adventure, with a quest, betrayal, and plenty of battles. And it is only the first in a series called the Underland Chronicles. The fourth book is coming out at the beginning of May, so you have time to read the first three books now! I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series.