Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “science fiction”

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #22: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

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I’m sure I’m not the only one whose only previous experience with H.G. Wells was the 2005 War of the Worlds movie starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and the character on Warehouse 13 . While the movie was entertaining, it had the usual Hollywood dramatic scenes with the hero fighting to protect their family, where everything is frantic and full special effects.

With that in mind, I found the audiobook refreshing. It has a much slower start than the movie. The aliens don’t just pop up out of the ground. Strange objects, apparently from Mars, land on the earth and are later reveled to contain aliens – Martians. We don’t know at first if they are friendly or malicious. They construct their tripod killing machines while people watch and wonder.

When the machines are operable, their destruction of humanity and civilization begins. Of course, this is a time before cars, so people are fleeing by foot and horse and buggy and they don’t have access to instant news or telephones like we do which makes for even more confusion. Everyone is on their own.

See the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #15-#18: His Dark Materials, Books 1-4 by Philip Pullman

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A bit of a cheat on this one in my rush to get some more up for the CBR4 deadline. Review combining Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Books 1 thru 4, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass and short story, Lyra’s Oxford is at Loopy Ker’s Life.

loopyker’s #CBR4 Review #11: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games coverI had this review ready to publish last week, but after the recent tragic news about the Newtown shootings in the US I took some time to rethink it. I don’t think that event changes my feelings about about my review below. I feel that despite the violence in the book, The Hunger Games is more relevant to our current-day reality TV and our culture of competition and voyeurism than to school shootings or violence against children specifically. But the media attention around such events has haunting similarities.

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I finally got on the bandwagon and had my first experience with The Hunger Games. I listened to Book 1 as an audiobook. Prior to that I had managed to avoid most of the hype. I didn’t want to ruin it for myself if I ever did read the book or watch the movie. I hadn’t heard of the book until the movie came out, but several friends had, and loved both the books and the movie, so I was curious but the general description of children having to fight to the death just created Lord of the Flies flashbacks, so I wasn’t seriously interested. I absolutely hated Lord of the Flies reading it in class in early high school. I reread it once later to see if I had a different opinion as an adult. I didn’t.

I’m very happy to say that The Hunger Games was a completely different experience. I’m not sure if it was because the viewpoint for The Hunger Games was a girl vs the boys in The Lord of the Flies, or maybe it was because there was a much better back story for the characters leading up to the fighting so that you cared about them a lot more. I have no intention of re-reading The Lord of the Flies for a more direct comparison. Although, now that I’m thinking about it, I think that what stuck with me in The Lord of the Flies was the cruelness of the children, whereas in The Hunger Games is it is the compassionate moments that stay with you afterwards. I much prefer the latter.

The Hunger Games is told from the point of view of a 17 year old girl, Katnis. She has been the head of her family since her father died when she was 11 years old and her mother went into a depression. They live in a poor, post-apocalyptic North American, coal mining community called District 12. Districts 1 thru 12 each specialize in a different industry and are controlled by The Capitol, mainly through keeping them in extreme poverty.

Read the rest of the review at Loopy Ker’s Life

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #87 The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

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We bought this book for our family as soon as it was released this fall, but thanks to a terrible round of Rock/Paper/Scissors, I had to wait until my daughters were done reading it before I could add it to my list.

The Rise of Nine is the third book in the now expanded I am Number Four series.  Perhaps in the void left with the end of the Harry Potter and Twilight Series (both books and movies) the temptation to expand the story and thus the profits was too great to stick to the original trilogy format.

Luckily for readers, the author and alien hiding among us Pittacus Lore tells great stories.  The Rise of Nine is no exception.  The story is gripping, thrilling and rushes the reader towards the ending only to leave them wanting more.

To read my comments about the one flaw that bothered me, check out my BookHoardingDragon blog.

TylerDFC #CBR4 Review 25 #The Giver by #Lois Lowry

In Jonas’ community all choice has been taking away from the citizens. Each year the children achieve a new milestone and new responsibilities until age 12 when they learn what their role in the community will be and start training to that end. Young Jonas is selected to be the community’s new Receiver. That responsibility, and the secrets he learns in this training, force him to confront everything he believes and question everything he has ever known.

The Newberry Award winning young adult book, The Giver, is a very quick read. It is well written and mysterious and does a good job of sucking the reader in to the mysterious world of the story. When Jonas meets the current Receiver, a nameless old man who asks Jonas to call him Giver, he learns that a Receiver is the keeper of the memories of the world. Slowly the Giver transfers his memories to Jonas beginning with a memory of someone sledding down a hill. Jonas experiences these memories as if he is living them and after the memory is complete he is now the sole possessor of the memory. Once the Giver shares the memory with Jonas it is gone from the Giver’s mind. These pleasant experiences soon give way to ones of pain and suffering. It is the Receiver’s burden to keep the memories of the past so that the citizens of the community are unencumbered. Through these memories Jonas sees the hypocrisy of the community and questions if he can go on with the knowledge he has now.

The premise is interesting and fans of post-apocalyptic fiction will enjoy it. The Giver is the first novel in a loosely connected series. I haven’t read the other 3 books yet but I plan to even if for no other reason than the ending leaves everything hanging and nothing answered.

Fofo’s #CBR4 Reivew #43: The Evolutionary Void by Peter F. Hamilton

Target: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Evolutionary Void

Profile: Science Fiction, Space Opera, Science Fantasy

Okay, I’m not sure if I wasn’t paying attention to book two, but The Evolutionary Voiddefinitely jumped the tracks a bit and careened off into the nebulous science fantasy genre.  Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with science fantasy, but the effect is sort of like going to a Star Trek convention, passing out on the last day and waking up to the cosplay contest of an anime con.  Not unpleasant per se, but definitely disconcerting.

Where book two, The Temporal Void, was mostly about the events within the Void, and by extension Edeard’s story, book three takes us back outside to resolve the ongoing problem of the Living Dream pilgrimage.  The majority of the narrative is spent picking up plot threads from the first book that were left withering to make room for the copious number of dream chapters in book two.  I should note that I started Evolutionary Void almost two full years after reading the first two books, and spent a substantial amount of time trying to remember who the hell everyone was with mixed success.  Most of the protagonist groups have finally aligned against the forces of the Living Dream or the Accelerator Faction, but haven’t necessarily teamed up.  All that aligning means less in the way of Ludlum-esque chases and more pseudo-scientific technobabble along with a fair portion of posthumanist philosophy.

Read the rest of the review…

Read Fofo’s reviews of the Void Trilogy

pyrajane’s review #48: Switch by Carol Snow

Are you in the mood for some light paranormal YA?  Switch is one of those couch reads that you can breeze through quickly on some lazy day.  It’s not the kind of book that stays with you, but it’s an interesting premise.

Switch over to my blog for more.  (Get it?  Switch???  I’m clever!)

Fofo’s #CBR4 Review #42: Metaplanetary by Tony Daniel

Target: Tony Daniel’s Metaplanetary

Profile: Science Fiction, Science Fantasy

Metaplanetary and I have a bit of an odd history.  I picked up a copy of the paperback in a tiny bookstore in Acadia National Park back in 2002.  After reading the whole thing in basically two days, I desperately wanted to find the sequel, with the rear cover promised had come out already.  Of course it hadn’t and it would be another there years before Superluminal would see the light of day, and in the meantime I forgot about the whole thing.  Going back toMetaplanetary hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations, but the book is still a solid piece of soft science fiction/science fantasy with one of the most interesting core concepts I’ve come across.

Metaplanetary attempts to be told as a pseudo-scholarly war record assembled by an off-screen narrator.  The chapters progress through the events leading up to a war between the Inner and Outer solar system regions, with each chapter containing the personal recollections of various involved individuals.  These narratives are punctuated by scholarly documents attributed to various in-universe authors, describing the history, politics and technology of the setting.

Read the rest of the review…

Malin’s #CBR4 Reviews # 94-99: I’m nearly done with a double Cannonball, you guys!

So in the middle of October, I once again took part in the 24-hour Read-a-thon, and I’ve obviously been reading (and re-reading) books since then, but I’ve been falling behind on my blogging. So here’s a big catch-up post, and hopefully, within the week, I will have read and blogged a double Cannonball. I only set out to do a single one this year, and as a result, it seems that completing twice the amount became less of a chore.

94. A Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’Engle. I suspect I would have loved this more when I was younger. 4 stars.

95. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. The first book I’ve read of hers. It won’t be the last. 4 stars.

96. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I know it’s been reviewed so well, so many times on here, and I have no idea why I didn’t pick it up before. 5 stars. By far the funniest book I read this year.

97. A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long. Yet another historical romance,  surprising no one, I’m sure. “The one with the hot vicar” as Mrs. Julien dubbed it. 4 stars.

98. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Unquestionably one of the most anticipated books of the year for me, this turned out to be something completely different from what I’d expected. 4 stars.

99. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. So is it wrong that I was more charmed by the film? The 14-year-olds I teach, love it, though. 3.5 stars.

 

Caitlin’s CBR4 #38: Pure by Julianna Baggott

This is such a strange book, a story of the aftermath of a huge explosion. Some people were inside the Dome when it occured, they are the Pures. Those outside of the Dome were warped and mangled, fused to objects or other people. It’s an adventure story in a horrible wasteland. I liked it when I read it, but I kept thinking about it long after I finished. Oddly, I ended up liking it more as I thought about it.

You can read my review here.

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