Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne

On a world called Gabriel, the descendants of the human colonists live two vastly different lives. The Citizens, small, brown people scavenge the ruins of a destroyed city for ancient artifacts while facing frequent outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever epidemics. The Citizens trade the artifacts for food from the larger, stronger, and healthier, but diverse Curadores who wear isolation suits when leaving their high tech dome. Leica,  an outcast from the Citizens, becomes a concubine in the Dome after meeting a Edison, a Curadore, when she finds a radio that seems to be getting a transmission from Earth while in exile in the desert.

I loved the Hispanic and Korean bits incorporated into the background of the characters. The world building made me think of books such as Dune by Frank Herbert, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.

It has great teen appeal with lots to think about but adults will enjoy it as well. The science fiction aspects make sense (even though not necessarily at first). The genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, technology, and nanotechnology, are integral to the story. The interpersonal relationships, kickass shero, echoes of a fairy tale, social and religious commentary, and political machinations combine to make this a great read.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

In a contemporary country where perfection is paramount, a court of three judges in the Guild decides if people are Flawed and imparts judgement that can result in imprisonment or branding. Giving assistance to anyone judged to be Flawed is considered a major Flaw. When well-liked, attractive, good student, Celestine North, the daughter of a model and a journalist sees a Flawed old man on the bus about to collapse she helps him into a vacant seat for for the Flawless. She is arrested and in a political maelstrom determined to be Flawed starting up an uprising. 

           Celestine is a wonderful character who while always trying to be perfect still discovers there is more to life. The dystopian society is horrifying, reminiscent of Salem during the witch trials. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Ahern in the future.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Georgiana is sent off to boarding school when her latest science experiment, an attempt to make invisible ink to help in the fight against Napoleon, goes awry, burning down her father's stable. Arriving at Miss Stranje's boarding school she finds a torture chamber, which her father hopes will serve to change Georgiana's ways, and a ballroom where several young ladies are tied to chairs. She discovers hidden chambers and passages including one she falls out of and into the arms of Lord Sebastian Wyatt. With threats of assassinations, reinstatement of Napoleon as emperor, and an even bigger war, Georgie's invisible ink formula is needed for covert communications.

Smart girls, brave young men, evil spies, and the manners and mores of Regency England combine to make this a delight. It is a great read for those who love YA novels and romantic adventure
stories set in the Regency era. I loved that Baldwin included an author's note delineating where her historical fiction diverged from the actual historical record.

I read this because I picked up an arc of Refuge for Masterminds and discovered it was the third in the series. Unfortunately my box of treasures shipped home from ALA has never arrived : (    

Published by Tor Teen 2015

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Flying by Carrie Jones

Cheerleader vs. Aliens. Mara is small, ethnic looking, and the flyer for her cheerleading team. She has two best friends, Seppie who is also a cheerleader and Lyle the gorgeous, athletic, nerd next door. When Mara sees her crush seemingly being kidnapped at a game she rushes into the locker room to save him and discovers he is actually an acid spewing alien! Meanwhile both her parents go missing and she and Lyle have to run for their lives.

This is a fun read with great action. Readalikes are Gini Koch's Aliens series and the movie Men in Black.

Published by Tor Teen

Friday, February 10, 2017

The One-Eyed Judge by Michael Ponsor

Judge Posner's second novel featuring western Massachusetts  federal judge David Norcross delves into the trial of an Amherst professor, Sidney Cranmer, who is charged with obtaining and possessing child pornography. Cranmer's scholarly passion is Charles Dodgson, who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland using the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll and was rumored to be a pedophile. Claire Lindemann, Norcross's love interest and a colleague of Cranmer is sure he has been wrongly accused and she works with the professors student intern whose own love life may have a bearing on the case. While the case drags on, David's life is complicated by a family tragedy that brings his two young nieces into his household. 

The great appeal in Posner's legal thrillers is not action but rather the examination of law and how it is administered. His sympathetic characters are thoughtful and examine ethics as well as law but the miscreants are not nearly as well developed. All in all this is an entertaining and thought provoking read.