August 16, 2017

The Blade of Shattered Hope by James Dashner

Title:  The Blade of Shattered Hope
Author:  James Dashner
Pages:  507
Genre:  Youth Fantasy
Series:  The 13th Reality, Book 3

Synopsis:  Things have changed for Atticus Higginbottom. After the near catastrophe in the Fourth Reality, Tick’s being homeschooled in the fields of science, trying to master the mysterious Chi’karda. But just as he begins to make progress, Mistress Jane reappears, now hideously scarred and much more powerful. She has tapped into the universe’s darkest secret to create the Blade of Shattered Hope, and in her quest to attain a Utopian Reality for the future of mankind, she’s ready to risk billions of lives—including those of Tick’s parents and sisters—to set her plan in motion. Her vengeance knows no bounds and when rumors begin to circulate about the secret scientific experiments taking place at the Factory, Tick and his friends—Sato, Sofia, and Paul—are faced with their most dangerous task yet. And they must not fail; for if they do, the entire universe could cease to exist.

Review:  There's only one book left in this series.  I'm sad in one way and happy in another.  I'm sad because, really, these books are very good.  I'm a little happy because they take me far too long to get through.  It's not boredom or poor writing.  They just aren't easy for me to read for some reason.

Rating:  6.5 / 10

August 13, 2017

The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner

Title:  The Hunt for Dark Infinity
Author:  James Dashner
Pages:  446
Genre:  Youth Fantasy
Series:  The 13th Reality, Book 2

Synopsis:  It's been a quiet summer for Tick, Paul, and Sofia, but the latest message from Master George changes everything. The Realities are in danger -- and from something more terrible than Mistress Jane and the mutated Chi'karda of the Thirteenth Reality. People from all Realities are unexplainably going insane. Worse, some Realities are fragmenting, disintegrating into nothingness. Master George has learned that Mr. Chu from the Fourth Reality is working on a mysterious new weapon called Dark Infinity. But no one has any idea how to stop the weapon -- or even if it can be stopped.

To make matters worse, Tick and his friends have been kidnapped, forced to wink from Reality to Reality, solving impossible riddles in order to survive the deadly traps surrounding them.

Mistress Jane and Tick find themselves in a race to reach the weapon first -- but who will destroy it and who will become its master?

Review:  This series is really good so far.  It's fairly easy to read, but not exactly a fast read for me.  I have had trouble finishing these books in a timely fashion.

Still, this one was quite scary and the storyline is unique.  I really liked it.

Rating:  7 / 10

August 8, 2017

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

Title:  The Journal of Curious Letters
Author:  James Dashner
Pages:  503
Genre:  Youth Fantasy
Series:  The 13th Reality, Book 1

Synopsis:  What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created -- the life that would've been? What if those new Realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities?

Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is a regular thirteen-year-old boy living a regular life until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox. Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials "M.G.," the letter informs Tick that dangerous -- perhaps even deadly -- events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. M.G. promises to send Tick twelve riddles that will reveal that on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen.

Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends to him? Will he be able to solve the riddles in time? As M.G. warns Tick, very frightening things are coming your way. Will you join Tick and his friends on an amazing journey through the Realities? What will your choice be?

Review:  I love James Dashner.  This book was a lot of fun to read, full of good humor and great storytelling.  I don't love it as much as I did his Maze Runner series, but I do love it so far.  I notice on some sites that this set of books is listed as Young Adult.  I'm sorry, but a boy in middle school is not a young adult.  Not yet anyhow.

The other realities are twisted versions of our own and some of them are quite scary.  It's an original story with original characters.  If you loved Harry Potter, you'll probably love Tick Higginbottom too.

Rating:  7.5 / 10

August 4, 2017

This Alien Shore by C. S. Friedman

Title:  This Alien Shore
Author:  C. S. Friedman
Pages:  564
Genre:  Science Fiction
Series:  Stand Alone

Synopsis:  It is the second age of space colonization. The first age, humanity's initial attempt to people the stars, ended in disaster when it was discovered that Earth's original super-luminal drive did lasting genetic damage to all who used it - permanently mutating Earth's far-flung colonists in mind and body.  Abandoned by their home planet, exiles in alien star systems, these variant humans had no choice but to survive any way they could.

Jamisia has always lived in Shido Habitat, a corporate satellite in Earth's outer orbit. She has no memories of her parents, but has been nurtured by the fatherly care of her tutor. Protected by her biological brain-ware systems, and accompanied by the many voices in her head, she has grown into a resourceful, if unusual, young woman. When Shido is viciously attacked by corporate raiders, Jamisia's tutor risks his life to smuggle her onto a ship bound for the nearest ainniq - the Gueran jump station to the Up-and-Out. But before he dies, he tells her something which rocks the foundation of her world - the raiders were searching for her....

Review:  It's been far too long since I read a book by this author.  I'd forgotten just how good her science fiction is.  This was a wonderful tale, with thrills and chills and plenty of good science fiction.  I really doesn't get much better than this.

Rating:  9.5 / 10
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