science fiction

Dawn of the Flame Sea: a false start

18743286Dawn of the Flame Sea by Jean Johnson
Berkley Publishing Group: April 19, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Source: Free from publisher

False start; Did not finish
(No suitcases)

Recently I read two other novels by Jean Johnson. The first one, The Terrans, I loved. The second, V’Dan, I did not enjoy as much. It spent too much time telling about the cultural differences and not enough time showing the characters’ dispositions, relationships, and growth.

This, my third attempt, resembled the second experience more than the first. At its opening, it felt very Stargate the movie. Several beings enter a desert cave through a magical portal from a foreign world. Difference: these are not human, but magic-wielding fae. (more…)

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Delivering the News During an Alien Invasion: “Paper Girls”

28204534Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang, & Matthew Wilson
Image Comic: April 5, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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I snapped up Paper Girls solely because I’ve really enjoyed Vaughn’s Saga graphic novel series. I knew absolutely nothing about Paper Girls when I jumped in, but this retro read was a lot of fun.

Paper Girls features four young women who deliver papers in a suburban neighbourhood. They are the first female delivery girls. Because these ladies are harassed on their beat, they team up to get their job done and on the night in question some strange happenings occur, including an alien invasion. (more…)

Questioning Humanity in “Company Town”

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Company Town by Madeline Ashby
Angry Robot: May 17, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

Outstanding Adventure!
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Company Town is a science fiction novel that checks all my boxes: great characters, a compelling plot, and complex ideas that aren’t bogged down by didacticism and explanations.

Hwa is a young woman living on an oil rig. On this self-contained ecosystem Hwa stands out. Hwa is one of the very few who does not have any augmentations that enhance her humanity. Hwa can’t fix herself with tech. As a result, Hwa constantly strives to be work harder than anyone else, a skill that lends itself well to her job: bodyguard to the prostitutes that work the rig. Hwa is dedicated to her job; however, when the Lynch corporation takes over the rig, the man in charge offers Hwa a new job as the bodyguard to Joel, the son and heir to the head of the Lynch empire. Why would a seemingly all-powerful corporate bigwig want Hwa, who cannot afford the most basic of upgrades, as bodyguard to his son? What does Hwa have that other bodyguards do not? Well, with technology comes certain vulnerabilities: (more…)

Space Adventure Goes Sideways in “Starflight”

21793182Starflight by Melissa Landers
Disney-Hyperion: February 2, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free from publisher

Beach Vacation
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Space adventure? Count me in!

When I heard about Melissa Lander’s Starflight I was pretty darn excited. I am a huge fan of anything set in space and if there isn’t an over abundance of science-y things, that makes things even better (for me, at least). Facts matter not! Starflight was a fun, space-set adventure, perfect for readers looking for something fast-paced and entertaining.

Solara Brooks is a young woman with a past. She’s branded as a criminal and because of that she can’t get a job. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Solara indentures herself to former classmate, Doran Spaulding, so that she can get passage aboard a ship. Doran had made Solara’s high school life…not pleasant and doesn’t do much better now that she’s working for him (and I do mean that she works, she’s doing his laundry, fetching his meals etc. I thought the whole servant thing would be more problematic than it was). Of course, the tide turns when Doran’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit and now has to rely on the very woman that he’d rather ignore. Space adventure gone sideways.
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‘The Terrans’ was so much better

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V’Dan, by Jean Johnson
Publication: Ace, December 29, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Free from publisher

The view was nice, but the food was bad
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After I fell in love with The Terrans (see exactly how much in my review), I expected to adore V’Dan. Unfortunately, everything I ignored in The Terrans was emphasized in its sequel, and everything I loved so much took a back seat to the main elements (those things  I ignored).

V’Dan continues the story of the interaction between two human civilizations: the Terrans, or the futuristic us, and the V’Dan, a civilization that grew up in a distant universe after they left Earth millennia ago in a time of disaster. This time, the group of mixed V’Dan and Terrans, the individuals who made first contact, have traveled from the Terran homeworld to the V’Dan homeworld, where they embark on diplomatic, political, and interpersonal ventures.

(more…)

Spacey Adventure Ends on a Lackluster Note: “Their Fractured Light”

13138736Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Disney-Hyperion: December 1, 2015 
Genre: Science Fiction; Romance; Young Adult
Review Source: Free from library.

Liked the place, but the food was bad.
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Their Fractured Light is the third and final book in Kaufman and Spooner’s spacey Starbound trilogy. I’ve enjoyed both These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, but I have to admit to feeling a bit let down by Their Fractured Light.

Their Fractured Light picks up soon after the events in This Shattered World; however, readers are now following two new characters Sofia Quinn, teen con artist, and Gideon Marchant, computer hacker extraordinaire. Like the characters in the previous books, Sofia and Gideon are both fighting against LaRoux Industries. LaRoux Industries has a dastardly plan and both Sofia and Gideon are fighting back unbeknownst to the other. This is the big tension between Gideon and Sofia; neither know that they are essentially on the same side. Secrets. Unnecessarily complicating teen lives since forever. (more…)

The Book Adventures Weekly, Issue 45

A skeleton was recently found under a tree, after a storm blew the tree over. I can’t wait to read more about this archaeological find.

I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Sure, it repeated all the plot elements and tropes of the earlier movies (father-son opposition, hidden Luke Skywalker, future Jedi knight living a hard existence on a desert planet who discovers the Force on a mission to save the republic, giant metal orb that destroys planets…). The young hero, a woman called Rey, was the best hero I’ve seen in theaters in ages. No adjustments were made to her character or the plot because of her sex. She didn’t have to be rescued; she rescued others. She could have been a man, except she was a woman. A fierce, independent, compassionate, strong, determined, hero.

Anyway, Vanity Fair interviewed J.J. Abrams about the movie.

A few weeks ago, I posted about ways to read DRM-Free. One way I didn’t really talk about? Reading public domain works. That is, reading books that are no longer covered by copyright, and are freely available to the public.

The Public Domain Review lists all the authors that will entered the public domain on January 1st.

The Victorian serial novel returns, mashed up with app technology. They’re calling it “appointment reading.”

Book Riot has created a new Read Harder challenge for 2016.

In the art world, an expert discovered the real-life location of Vermeer’s painting “The Little Street.”

And for a little bit of humor on this Monday morning after a long weekend, try to sympathize with this poor raccoon who accidentally dissolved their candy in a stream.

Adventuring Year in Review: 2015

As 2015 wraps up, its time for the Adventurers to reflect on what we loved most this year. This is always a tough post to write because how do you pick your favourites? We can only presume this is like picking your favourite child: sacrilegious! Yet, we push forward since, heck, it’s fun to revisit the ones we enjoyed the most.

Jaclyn’s Favourite Adventures

11890816This year’s been a bit unusual for me. I switched jobs and ended up commuting over an hour each way to work every day. Every. Single. Day. Obviously this dramatically changed my reading habits. I wasn’t able to read as much and I discovered a love for the audiobook (a format that I never thought I would actually embrace). And despite my newfound love for audiobooks, it turns out it’s a format that I found extremely hard to review; it’s hard to refer back to the book when you don’t have it physically in front of you. That being said, Lyndsay Faye’s The Gods of Gotham is my favourite audiobook that I’ve listened to this year. Followed very closely by Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. Both have outstanding narrators, which I have learned is rather important when you’re listening to someone for over an hour. (more…)

Book Adventures Weekly, Issue 42

Welcome to the new week! Without further ado…

Six Harvard professors gush about their favorite things, including the Gutenberg Bible and a book given to David Carrasco by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Bookish wrapping papers for holiday gifts.

This little Irish island elects its own king. The story reminds me a bit of Juliet Marillier’s novels about prehistoric Ireland.

Readers’ Choice: Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2015, from Tor. I’ve read one of them – at least seven are on my to-read list.

Stonehenge’s bluestones came from… Wales?

 

And, from the long-lost Department of Random, Wildlife Conservation Division:

How floating nests may help save pelicans. Is this solution applicable to polar bears?

And, Jane Goodall takes Republicans to task for their efforts to sabotage the Paris climate change talks. The article goes into detail about Republican vs. Democratic positions on climate change, and the likely outcomes of such efforts.

“Not Really An Ending” in “Ancillary Mercy”

23533039Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Orbit: October 6, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction
Review Source: Free from library.

I’d go there again!
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I had Ancillary Mercy sitting on my shelf for over a month before I actually picked it up to read. Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because reading it means that Leckie’s fantastic trilogy is at an end.

Ancillary Mercy fantastically wraps up the story arc established in the first two books while also leaving readers frustratingly unsatisfied, after all, “Every ending is an arbitrary one. Every ending is, from another angle, not really an ending” (p. 316). And that contradictory ending, which is is both satisfactory and unsatisfactory, pretty much sums up what I have enjoyed about Leckie’s trilogy: she makes me think. Whether I’m thinking about the nature of language, or the nature of personhood, or the concept of citizenship, or the host of other compelling subjects tackled, I’m always deeply engrossed in this world and the cerebral nature of it. (more…)