I always enjoy books that make me think about the basic question of what it means to be human. EXPIRATION DAY is definitely one of those books. Set in a not-so-far future, where most humans can’t have children, we get all the classics: can robots be creative? Can they experience emotion? If they’re creative and emotional, are they not as human as homo sapiens? These are all fascinating questions to ponder, and rather than detract from the story, they add to it, giving a somewhat regular “coming of age” story depth and a completely different angle.
Genre: Science Fiction
DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT could have been so good- and it sounded so good, which is why I picked it up. Unfortunately, it felt like the author was trying to shove too many ideas into one book, and ultimately didn’t succeed at making any of them super compelling. Though well-written, it just didn’t offer many opportunities for the reader to really dig into the story, which made it less enjoyable than it could have.
In LAGOON, Nnedi Okorafor poses the question: what if first contact with aliens took place not in New York, London, or Tokyo, but the beach city of Lagos, Nigeria? The answer is something both utterly human and uniquely African. In addition to stunning detail of both city and marine life, Okorafor fills this novel with a dozen points of view, but rather than confusing the narrative, those sections allow the reader to experience all sides of the encounter that leads to some of Nigeria’s darkest days, and to understand why different people react so differently to something ‘alien.’
While I am relatively new to the genres focused on here at All Things Urban Fantasy, I am not new to Ann Brashares. As an avid Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants fan, I was super excited to be able to read Brashares’ most recent book, THE HERE AND NOW.
I knew going in that THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE was probably going to mess with my mind, and in that respect, it didn’t disappoint. Time travel is always going to make for a complex tale that’s going to have you bending your brain around to make sense of who’s where…and when.
Reading JOHN GOLDEN: FREELANCE DEBUGGER was in a way refreshingly different from what I’ve been reading in the urban fantasy genre. The main reason for even picking up this book was to find out how a freelance debugger ‘debugged’ computers of fairies. I was not disappointed. It fuses fantasy with scifi and modern technology,
The first novel in Victoria Scott’s new YA series is CATCHING FIRE, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and The Amazing Race all rolled into one. But imagine if Katniss couldn’t hunt, or Lyra couldn’t communicate with Pantalaimon. Now imagine that they were still determined to do whatever it took to save those they loved and you’ll understand Tella Holloway’s dilemma in FIRE & FLOOD.
While straying toward the science fiction spectrum of speculative fiction, HAMMER OF ANGELS nonetheless is likely to appeal to urban fantasy fans looking to shake up their reading habits. After all, the Shadowstorm series features a ass-kicking heroine with superhuman powers plus a cast of witty supporting characters set in a fictional world mirrored after our own – pretty much like every UF novel, it just so happens this one doesn’t have any magic and takes place in an alternate history where Germany won World War II.
I’m going to be completely honest here and say what we’re all thinking – a comparison to both George Orwell and Suzanne Collins in the same sentence doesn’t exactly make sense, does it? And while I appreciate the publisher’s desire to pull in THE HUNGER GAMES’ audience, if you go into THE OFFICE OF MERCY looking for another Katniss, you’re going to be disappointed. Not because THE OFFICE OF MERCY is in any way inferior to THE HUNGER GAMES, but it’s a totally different type of book – in the same way that Collins and Orwell wrote very different works, even though they may both have books that take place in dystopian environments.
This YA romance is given surprising depth with a background of xenophobia in a world not far removed from ours. At the center of Melissa Landers’ ALIENATED is the sweet and honest love story of Cara Sweeney and Aelyx of the L’eihr, an alien race that offers humanity a cancer cure upon making first contact. The parallels to present-day fears of ‘aliens’ are familiar without being heavy-handed or preachy, and we’re gifted with a protagonist who does not go easily into the role of L’eihr champion, but shows the reader exactly how and why she falls in love with one.