The Darkest Minds
The United States has recently fallen victim to Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegenation, IAAN, a disease that targets children between ages 8 and 13. Those that haven’t died have been left with psychic abilities and are now considered dangerous to be around. In order to protect the country, the government has created camps to rehabilitate the survivors. When Ruby turned 10 she was sent to Thurmond Camp where she has spent the last 6 years being “rehabilitated” and trying to hide her abilities. Everything changes when a rebel group breaks Ruby out of Thurmond when they learn that she is really an Orange. Once out of Thurmond, Ruby does not know who to trust and sneaks away from the rebel group and meets up with a group of runaways from another camp. Together they begin looking for the legendary Slip Kid who may have the answers to their problems and be able to keep them safe.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read this book but the premise looked interesting. A disease that kills off so many of the country’s young population and leaves the survivors with unnatural abilities sounds plausible in a not too distant future. I liked that the kids all had different abilities but they were focused into 5 main categories. There was no sugar-coating in this book and violence and death were very real. I hate to compare it to The Hunger Games but it was very similar in that there is so much violence and even though the characters cling to a small bit of hope, there does not seem to be a happy ending in sight.
Ruby started off as a timid character because she was so afraid of her abilities but she learned to trust herself and become more confident. Lee was a great love interest. He is kind, loyal, and protective and never gave up on what he believed. I really liked Chubs, he was brutally honest and a little standoffish but he grew into a great character by the end and I really started to understand feel for him.
One of my big issues with dystopian novels is the world building but Bracken did a really good job building Ruby’s world. We learn what was the cause of the problems, IAAN, and what happened to get them where they were then, the government setting up camps for the surviving children to “rehabilitate” them. Overall this book was very good. It was interesting and definitely action packed however, because of all the violence, this book is not suitable for all readers.
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Tory Brennan, the fourteen-year-old grand-niece of famed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, has arrived in South Carolina to live with her father. A father she’s just met. Tory never knew her father until after her mother’s death. Kit didn’t even know he had a child until Tory arrived on his doorstep. But here she is.
Just like her famous aunt, Tory has a brain for science and a nose for mystery.
Exploring the grounds of a top secret medical experiment lab on the island, Tory and her three friends stumble onto Coop, one of the wolf-dog pups, caged for what looks like an experiment. Designated as having a type of parvo virus, the kids free the pup and flee. Haven’t they seen any of those end of the world virus movies? It always begins with the well-intentioned release of some infected animal. That’s not the case this time, but what Tory unleashes will definitely have consequences.
I don’t want to give away any more of the plot, but I will tell you Virals is a fast-paced thrill ride of a book. Mystery, science fiction, action…this one has it all. You’ll be on the edge of your seat, flying through the super short chapters. I began reading and looked up to find myself on page 200! No need to worry if you’re not familiar with Kathy Reichs’ other books. Virals is a strong stand alone novel. Fans of forensic mysteries, the Bones series and James Pattersons’ work are in for a treat. I welcome Tory Brennan and the rest of the Virals to the shelves with resounding applause. Look for the second book in the series, Seizure.
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Sapphire Blue (Ruby Red Trilogy #2)
Gwen learned that she was the last time traveler in the Circle of Twelve in the first book of this series, Ruby Red. In Sapphire Blue, she continues to travel in the past to discover why Lucy and Paul stole the second Chronograph while also trying to figure out what all the prophecies about the Circle mean and if Gideon really does love her.
The entertaining Gwen is back with a new ghostly friend, a gargoyle/demon named Xemerius, who helps her keep tabs on Gideon and the Guardians. While the Guardians are doing their best to keep Gwen in the dark as to the inner workings of their society, Gwen takes matters into her own hands and together she, her friend Lesley, and Xemerius further their research about the Guardians and Count Saint-Germain. The book only covers a few days in our time, but Gwen elapses and travels to different time periods during these days. I loved when Gwen traveled back to attend the soiree, although she had some lessons in proper soiree behavior from Charlotte and her teacher, Gwen stayed true to herself and gave a wonderful performance at the party. Gwen also meets her great-grandfather during one of her elapses which brings about some new questions. And of course we have Gideon, the oh so perfect love interest who is so sweet and charming towards Gwen one minute and a complete jerk the next. It’s hard to decided if I want him and Gwen to be together with everything he does and yet by the epilogue I was back on his side.
I thought the book was pretty fast-paced and enjoyable but as with the first book it was a little confusing to follow the interactions and characters, especially Count Saint-Germain and the Guardians, and there are lots of questions that still need to be answered. We still don’t know what will happen once all 12 time travelers are read into the chronograph or why Lucy and Paul stole the chronograph. And what is Gwen’s role in all of this? This book does end in a cliffhanger which is annoying since the third book will not be out in english for a while.
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February 13, 2013
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Scarlet picks up right where Cinder ended, Cinder is currently in prison but Dr. Erland has just left her with new prosthetics and a lot of new information. Cinder has just been told that not only is she Lunar, but she is the missing Princess Selene of Lunar. Dr. Erland has given her two tasks; escape from the prison and then join him in Africa. In true Cinder fashion, she escapes from prison but she picks up another prisoner on her way, “Captain” Carswell Thorne. Together they manage to reach Thorne’s stolen spaceship and leave New Beijing. We also get introduced to a couple other new characters, Scarlet Benoit, who is looking for her grandmother, and Wolf, the mysterious street fighter that is helping Scarlet get her grandmother back. This book alternates between Cinder and Thorne’s escape, Scarlet and Wolf’s quest and Kai’s dealings with the ever persistent Queen Levana.
Cinder is just as great as before but she really has trouble accepting her true identity. Once she escapes prison, she heads to France to find Michelle Benoit who may have the answers to Cinder’s past. Cinder is also equipped with a brand new cyborg hand which has cool new features like tranquilizer darts and she is not afraid to use them! I really liked the comedic Thorne, when he first meets Cinder he explains how he started a soap protest in prison because the soap was too drying for his skin! He brings a great sense of humor to the plot. Scarlet and Wolf were also great characters, Scarlet is very strong and a fighter. She will not let anything stop her from finding her grandmother. Wolf is very animalistic and mysterious but he also has a gentle side that he shows especially when he is with Scarlet. There were times when I wanted to hate him but I couldn’t.
Just like in Cinder, this book follows a quick pace with lots of action. There are the elements of the traditional fairytale but Meyer still manages to add her own twist to them to make the story great. The only thing I did not like was the ending! Warning, there is a major cliffhanger that will leave you wanting the next book now!
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