Science Fiction Reviews

Across the Universe

[openbook booknumber=”9781595143976″][rating:3/5]

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

When young adults leave their hometown and go off to college it can feel like they have left the planet. All of a sudden they are in a whole new town with all new people, there are new rules of engagement and you are suddenly expected to act and think very differently. Worst of all many if not all their friends and family, most importantly the ever-present parents, are now gone and they are on their own. In Beth Revis’ science fiction debut Across the Universe she manages to capture all of this perfectly as we follow Amy and her journey aboard the spaceship Godspeed. Unfortunately it is captured too well and that along with a few other hiccups resulted in this book not turning out as well as I hoped it would.

Let me start this off on a positive note, Revis can write really, really detailed and realistic scenes. The book opens with Amy watching her parents be cryogenically frozen and then experience it herself. I have extreme needle phobia, it took forever to get through those pages. Even people who don’t have needle phobia squirm through that first chapter, it is intense and present and real and that kind of talent in a writer is extremely promising. She captures the small ship, the feeling of being trapped, the abandonment all very well and you experience it along with Amy and that is very powerful.

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After The Snow

[openbook booknumber=”9780312641696″][rating:4/5]

Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.

But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family?

In a post-apocalyptic world, plunged into an ice age after a period of dramatically shifting climate, society is coming unglued. On the outskirts of this society, independent and surviving on their own, lives Willo and his family. They eke out an existence in a world turned cold by hunting, trapping and working what little farm land there is in the very brief spring and summer. Willo has gone half-savage in many ways. He wears the skull of a dog on his head, doesn’t read very much or very well, and spends most of his days out setting traps in the freezing, driving snow with an instinct for hunting honed from growing up in the midst of an ice age. It’s the only world he has ever known.

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Robopocalypse

[openbook booknumber=”9780385533850″][rating:5/5]

In the near future, at a moment no one will notice, all the dazzling technology that runs our world will unite and turn against us. Taking on the persona of a shy human boy, a childlike but massively powerful artificial intelligence known as Archos comes online and assumes control over the global network of machines that regulate everything from transportation to utilities, defense, and communication. In the months leading up to this, sporadic glitches are noticed by a handful of unconnected humans – a single mother disconcerted by her daughter’s menacing “smart” toys, a lonely Japanese bachelor who is victimized by his domestic robot companion, an isolated U.S. soldier who witnesses a “pacification unit” go haywire – but more are unaware of the growing rebellion until it is too late.

When the Robot War ignites – at a moment later known as Zero Hour – humankind will be both decimated and, possibly, for the first time in history, united. Robopocalypse is a brilliantly conceived action-filled epic, a terrifying story with heart-stopping implications for the real technology all around us… and an entertaining and engaging thriller unlike anything else written in years.

At first the idea seemed too far fetched and a little hokey. In the style of 1950’s science fiction the by-line on the back read: “They are in your house. They are in your car. They are in the skies… Now they’re coming for you.” But when I cracked open the cover I was immediately sucked into a post-robopocalyptic world where humans and robots were fighting a final battle to determine who would have dominion over the earth. The story from start to finish was intense, horrifying, and kept me turning pages needing to find out what happened next. Robopocalypse is a thriller that keeps an incredibly tight and fast paced plot while managing to span several human resistance groups around the globe. It also manages to both be bone chillingly horrifying in this fight against impossible odds and yet still display rays of hope in the fight for humanity.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 24

[openbook booknumber=”9781421538129″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Hohenheim finally get his chance to stop the mysterious homunculus “father” who rules over Central City. Will Hohenheim’s surprise be enough to defeat the most powerful homunculus of them all? And when King Bradley makes a triumphant return, will the battle turn in the military’s favor…?

The finale continues in Volume 24 as Hohenheim confronts the dwarf in the flask, now a powerful homunculus striving for more, hoping to end this last battle before it has a chance to truly begin. The surprise Hohenheim has up his sleeve is both awe inspiring amazing and completely heartbreaking. What the dwarf in the flask has up his sleeve though might prove too much for Hohenheim to face alone.

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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 23

[openbook booknumber=”9781421536309″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

As the battle for Central City rages on, Alphonse faces off against Pride and Kimblee with the aid of a Philosopher’s Stone. Can he come up with a plan to take down these two dangerous foes? Meanwhile, Ed and his friends run into Envy below the city. When Roy Mustang learns the truth about Hughes’s murder, will he be consumed by hatred and do the unthinkable…?

Everyone is in the thick of battle now and all of the characters are really showing what they are capable of under pressure. Alphonse has to face a difficult moral decision in his battle against Pride. Various others in this city either face off against the zombie army within or wage an information campaign without to get the people of Central city to understand they are under attack from their own government. But the main focus of this volume is the showdown between Mustang and Hughes’s murderer Envy.

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