First up, #1 New York Time Bestseller Divergent from HarperCollins and Skulk from Strange Chemistry. Skulk attempts to capitalize on the catching quality that the fiery logo in the sky communicates on Divergent. Unfortunately, the silhouettes running in the Subway tunnel doesn’t seem to be nearly as epic feeling as the Big City skyline of the bestselling inspiration. I’m reminded more than anything of the movie poster for 1988′s The Rescue.… Read the rest
Posts Tagged: Strange Chemistry
When I was little I remember sitting at my father’s feet as he played the guitar. He could play lots of classical pieces, but my favorite was when he would slowly piece together something we had just heard, a TV theme song or a recent radio hit. It, quiet literally, was magic. One day I went upstairs and picked up the flute that I hated to play, just to see if I could do it. If I could take my favorite song and somehow channel it through to the instrument with no guide, with no notes, just me. It took a long time, but eventually I did it. The next day I tried another one, and another, desperate to channel whatever it was I was doing.… Read the rest
I’ve read more young adult this year than ever before and by and large it’s been a tremendous decision. I continue to be impressed with the quality of character and story, demonstrating why the genre(?) continues to garner attentions from readers of all ages. I would note Angry Robot imprint, Strange Chemistry has been the source of the vast majority of my young adult reading, and T.L. Costa’s Playing Tyler is another example.
Tyler MacCandless has a nasty case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He can only seem to focus when he’s playing video games or in the sky with his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor, Rick. His mom checked out after his dad was killed in an auto wreck, and his brother, who survived the crash, is institutionalized after extensive drug abuse. The only things he wants are his brother to get better, and to join the air force. Just when it seems like his life is falling apart, Rick asks him to test a video game.… Read the rest
In an effort to “catch up”, I’ve compressed several books into a single post. I hope this will be the last of my omnibus reviewing.
The Kassa Gambit by M.C. Planck – Held back by an ending that doesn’t quite capitalize on the exceptional beginnings, Kassa Gambit remains a very entertaining debut effort. It works best as a narrative of distrust between the two central characters, dealing with one another disingenuously and often convincing themselves of their own paranoia. When the story moves beyond that interplay the plot doesn’t hold up that well, but it’s really not any less fun for it.
Nexus by Ramaz Naam – It’s pretty clear that Naam is attempting to blow his readers’ minds with his idea for nano-virus telepathy. I won’t argue, it is a pretty cool idea, but beyond first blush when it gets into the actual telling of a story, Nexus ends up reading an awful lot like a half dozen other Angry Robot science fiction books I’ve read over the last couple years.… Read the rest
I’ve fallen behind a bit in my reviewing, with some ten books read as yet unreviewed. In an effort to catch up, I’m going to do write three short reviews here. It isn’t just a matter of catching up, the truth is books don’t always have a thousand word review in them, and who would want to read a thousand words about everything I read?
Armor by John Steakley
Steakley’s classic often stands in the shadow of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War. It’s true that all three feature power armor and have military forces gallivanting across the galaxy killing wacky aliens, but Armor is an all together different kind of novel. That fact is not clear at first, featuring Felix, an Earth soldier encased in special body armor designed to fight an insectoid alien horde. This part of the novel is much like the Heinlein and Haldeman novels, describing the horrors of war from an ‘in the thick of it’ point of view.… Read the rest
How much of a novel’s success or failure is predicated on its voice? I would argue there’s a compelling case to be made that it’s a primary one. The problem is that voice is an extremely subjective measurement defined in semantics. I ask the question because Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse is written in a voice that I couldn’t stand. Unfortunately, it’s not the only thing about the novel I didn’t like.
Assassin’s Curse is the story of Ananna, a teenager daughter of a pirate captain who runs from marriage with an allied clan. She wants what every pirate wants — her own ship. Her escape, while easy, has an unfortunate side effect when her scorned fiance’s father sends an assassin after her. In the process of being assassinated, Ananna triggers a curse that binds her to Naji, her former assassin and now begrudging protector.
Thus, the story is centered around breaking that curse, freeing Ananna to resume her pursuit of her own ship and Naji to continue being an assassin for hire.… Read the rest