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Category Archives: Sci-Fi

Horizon

Title: Horizon
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Horizon
Recommended for: 5rd – 8th
Pages: 241 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WESTERFELD, S.

Summary: When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue. Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before — from razor-beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive.

My Thoughts:  This is another series like 39 Clues and Spirit Animals that Scholastic is putting out.  There will be a different author for each book in the series as well as an online game.  This being the first book it was laying the ground work and getting you to know the characters a little.  I am definitely intrigued as to what is going to happen next.  I would have liked to get to know more about all the survivors.  There is some details about background information on a few of the characters, but some are still an unknown.  I am hoping that as the series goes on we will get more information.  I feel kids that liked 39 Clues and Spirit Animals will enjoy this series.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries, Sci-Fi

 

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Going Wild

going-wildTitle: Going Wild
Author: Lisa McMann
Series: Going Wild
Recommended for: 3rd-7th Grade
Pages: 375 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION MCMANN
Synopsis: Charlie Wilde knew her life would change forever when her family moved from the city of Chicago to the suburbs of Arizona…and that was before she found the bracelet. After putting it on, she notices odd things start to happen. Suddenly Charlie seems to have the speed of a cheetah and the strength of an elephant—and that’s just the beginning. She would be thrilled about her transformation if she had any idea how to use the device or control her amazing powers. So Charlie is forced to put her trust in new friends to help her uncover the surprising truth behind the mysterious bracelet.

This was a fun book, lots of action.  I really liked Charlie the main character, she was someone you could connect with.  Charlie and her family has just moved to Arizona and so you see how they struggle to get settled in their new jobs and schools.  It is hard for Charlie and her brother to adjust to a new school as well as Dad not being a stay-at-home dad anymore.  Then Charlie stumbles on a package that is addressed to Charlie Wilde.  The package held a bracelet and an note saying, ” You know what to do.”  Charlie puts it on and then strange things happen.  She is able to run really fast at times or is really strong.  She finds out there are five powers connected to the bracelet.  Charlie and her new friends try to figure out the bracelet, while someone is searching for the bracelet.  Some of the things Charlies does gets noticed.  This does end with a cliff hanger.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Juv, Sci-Fi

 

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Time Traveling with a Hamster

timetravelwithahamsterTitle: Time Traveling with a Hamster
Author: Ross Welford
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 4th-7th grade
Pages: 426
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WELFORD 
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine and travels back to 1984 with his pet hamster to prevent the go-kart accident that killed his father.

This was an ok story.  My son and I expected more action.  His dad has been dead a few years now, his mum has remarried and they have moved to a new house. On Al’s 12th birthday his Mum  gives him a  letter from his dad.  Al’s dad has tasked him with going back in time to stop the go-kart accident that is the cause of his early death.  That sounds great and all, but there is a lot of talking about feelings and what should he do.  Even when there was action, there is still a lot of just trying to decide what to do.  Most of the book is Al deciding what he should do.  He ends up messing up the past and then having to try to fix it.  I also thought the hamster would be more than a thought, since it was mentioned it in the title.  My son didn’t finish the book because he lost interest in the book, to much time dwelling on what to do.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Adventure, Juv, Sci-Fi

 

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Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle

 

Title: Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle
Author: N.D. Wilson
Series: Outlaws of Time
Recommended for: Tweens and up, especially those who’ve read Percy Jackson/Harry Potter and want more, but any who love action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi, or are at least willing to try it. Also Firefly Fankids.
Pages: 329
Call Number/Link: J FIC WILSON

Synopsis: “Misfit twelve-year-old Sam Miracle’s life is made up of dreams, dreams where he’s a courageous, legendary hero instead of a foster kid with two bad arms that can barely move. Sometimes these dreams feel so real, they seem like forgotten memories. And sometimes they make him believe that his arms might come alive again. But Sam is about to discover that the world he knows and the world he imagines are separated by only one thing: time. And that separation is only an illusion. The laws of time can be bent and shifted by people with special magic that allows them to travel through the past, present, and future. But not all of these “time walkers” can be trusted. One is out to protect Sam so that he can accept his greatest destiny, and another is out to kill him so that a prophecy will never be fulfilled. However, it’s an adventurous girl named Glory and two peculiar snakes who show Sam the way through the dark paths of yesterday to help him make sure there will be a tomorrow for every last person on earth.” — Amazon.com

My Review:

Hold onto your hats! This book picked me up and spun me around and dropped me into a world of Old West gunfights; time travel; mysterious magic; and more until I didn’t quite know which way was up (in a good way). The adventures are exciting and the story is excellent. While there is a fair bit of violence, it is at the service of the story–that is, it is NOT violence for violence’s sake, and its costs and effects are clearly shown–and the story would probably not be a problem for an average reader.
Time travel, although a very tricky thing to write, is handled well here, too; I have no idea if it jives at all with the laws of physics, but I was able to follow the line of logic without too much trouble, and don’t think it would confuse readers who are used to fantasy or science fiction. As for the characters, the heroes and villains are all very well and clearly drawn without veering into stereotypes (although I think the author let himself have quite a lot of fun with the villains.) The ending, while fairly satisfying, requires a sequel. No ifs, ands, or buts about it; we have to know what happens next!

Highly recommended.

 

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The Relic of Perilous Falls

Title: The Relic of Perilous Falls
Author: Raymond Arroyo
Series: Will Wilder
Recommended for: Adventure-loving children who want more Harry Potter, or who have read everything Rick Riordan’s ever written. Grades 4 and up.
Pages: 318
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION ARROYO, R.

Synopsis: 

Will Wilder seems to be a rather ordinary boy—albeit one clever enough to make his own catapult—until a series of odd events leads to the unleashing of an ancient evil, and the discovery that even the most ordinary of people can hide extraordinary powers.

Will is a believable hero: a typical boy, with common flaws and strengths. He is, to put it mildly, pig-headed and stubborn, and easily swayed by argument; he does, however, have a good heart, and is certainly not lazy or ill-intentioned.

I liked the pace of the adventures, and the cliff-hanger chapters kept my interest. However, the writing did feel a bit clunky at times, as though the author hadn’t yet grown comfortable with this genre. As sequels come, however, I’m sure the lumps and bumps will get smoothed out, and the children clamoring for “SOMETHING ELSE” after Percy Jackson or Harry Potter simply won’t notice or care in this case.

It is a bit dark at times, and might be a bit much for very sensitive readers (crocodile monsters and narrow escapes abound,) but in this battle of Good and Evil, the light always triumphs, and there is nothing a Harry Potter or Percy Jackson fan won’t be able to handle.

We’ll see where this goes; I’d like to see who’s running the show, and leading the good guys, for starters! By the end of the first book, we know who’s in charge of the bad guys, but we’ve only been introduced to individual members of the good, and not much has been revealed about the Brethren.

 
 

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Cleopatra in space

Cleopatra in space
Cleopatra in Space

Cleopatra in Space

Title: Cleopatra in space
Author: Mike Maihack
Series: Cleopatra in space
Recommended for: 3-7th Grade
Pages: 168
Call Number/Link:  GN J CLEOPATRA V. 1
Synopsis: When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo’s style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she’s going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

Review: Cleopatra in space is a happy meaI, it is a sausage pizza, an IKEA LACK table, it is an old familiar movie you run across on cable and stop to watch. It is a bog-standard “chosen one” plot featuring a plucky heroine, a mixed bag of competent sidekicks, an exasperated non-human mentor, and a hint of an overarching dark secret by the “good guys” leaders. Cleopatra in Space not a great book, but it is an effective one.

This review may well sounds like I am disrespecting CiS, but the thing is, this is a well-made book. It features the exact mixture of adventure and daring do that a child would enjoy. It features a female PoC as a lead and has a few more books in the series to come. As a graphic novel the complexity is decently easy with wonderful illustrations.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Sci-Fi

 

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Space Case

Space Case
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Space Case by Stuart Gibbs

Title: Space case
Author: Stuart Gibbs
Series: Moon Base Alpha
Recommended for: Grades 3-8
Pages: 337
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION GIBBS, S.
Synopsis: It’s a murder mystery on the moon. Twelve-year-old Dashiell Gibson is living on the moon and bored out of his mind. Kids aren’t allowed on the lunar surface, meaning they’re trapped insid. Then Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead. Dash senses there’s foul play afoot, but no one believes him. Dr. Holtz was on the verge of an important new discovery, and it’s a secret that could change everything for the Moonies;a secret someone just might kill to keep…
Review: Stuart Gibbs comes out strong in this classic locked-room inspired tale of mystery. Plenty of suspects, plus a colorful science fiction setting make this book a strong recommend. The book has an excellent sense of pacing and a good humor, even in light of the death being the centerpiece of the book. The ending was a little telegraphed, if one reads mysteries, but should be enough of a surprise to newer readers, not gorged on classic mystery tropes. The ending also added a world shaking premise changer, which should be interesting to see developed in a later novel.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries, Sci-Fi

 

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