Illuminae and a Letter

illuminaeletterA Reading Update:

Last night (or rather very early this morning, as my child doesn’t understand or appreciate sleep), I finished up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I was intrigued by this book when I saw it in the library because instead of standard prose, the book is written in a series of documents, transcripts, and instant messages. I was also intrigued because I enjoyed Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s novel These Broken Stars. I had high hopes for the novel, and while I might have been a little bored during the pre-middle-ish part of the book, I was hooked at the end and felt very invested in the characters and the plot. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed the These Broken Stars series, Under the Never Sky series, and Across the Universe series. So, Young Adult science-fiction readers!    

The book takes place in the future, where a company has an illegal mining facility in space. When a rival company finds out about it, they decide to launch an attack on the facility and the civilians. After a bloody battle between warships, several spaceships are able to flee with refugees. This is just the beginning of the story though. The main aircraft is equipped with an operating system that was injured during the attack and has gone a bit crazy. In fact, it launches an attack on one of the airships it is supposed to be protecting when it learns that there is a deadly virus infecting everyone on the ship. Some people from the ship survive, but that means they also carry the virus. Now, the people aboard the spacecraft have to deal with an enemy aircraft looking to kill them, as well as a virus that turns people into psychotic murderers, and an operating system that can destroy them at any minute. Meanwhile, readers follow the story of two teens who had just broken up at the start of the story. Needless to say, the traumatic events that occur pull them back together.

While I really liked the last 50 pages of the novel, I didn’t love it enough to rush out and get the second book in the series, Gemina. Then again, I might be tempted to read it if I happen to catch it at the library or find it on sale! I did, however, like Illuminae more than Across the Universe.

Be warned: if you read Illuminae as a Kindle ebook, you will miss out on several pages of the story. The pages aren’t missing, but the teeny, tiny text and artwork on a few of the documents are too small to view. Increasing the text size did not help and I could not zoom in to the images either.  

A Writing Update:

Yesterday, I finally wrote a letter that I had been drafting in my head for weeks. Now, I just have to put it in an envelope and mail it! We’ll see how long it takes me to do that. For now anyway, it feels good to have the words on the page. Isn’t it a relief to get the thoughts out of your head, sometimes?

Current Read: Across the Universe

imageWould you willingly press pause on your life in order to be frozen and re-awoken three hundred years later? If so, you might think twice about it once you read Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

Goodreads Book Blurb:

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. image

So far, I’m enjoying the book, but it does keep reminding me of other science-fiction books and shows (Ender in Exile, These Broken Stars, Ray Bradbury’s short stories, The Giver, to name a few). Despite this, it’s fresh enough to keep me interested. One of the reasons for this is the author’s use of short chapters that switch between two characters. You want to find out what happens to the character next, but you’re interrupted by a chapter about another character, so you have to just keep reading. The beginning of the book was gripping and had my stomach on edge as the author described how to cryogenically freeze people. The pain the characters felt was palpable and I’m appreciating the author’s ability to describe the setting and events using all of the senses.

My hopes for the rest of the book are that it continues to surprise me, despite its sci-fi tropes, and that the characters will be people I care about and root for.

What are you currently reading?

A Wrap-Up of Recent Reads #2

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thegood

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card:

This sci-fi classic has been on my TBR pile for a long time. I knew that many people were required to read Ender’s Game in school, but I apparently didn’t end up in that class! When the movie version came out in November of 2013, I decided I wanted to read the book before I saw the film. I finally got around to borrowing the book from my local library this summer and was pleasantly surprised by it.

In case you weren’t required to read this book in school either, Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel that follows the life of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Ender is an exceptionally smart and articulate six-year-old. He is recruited by the International Fleet (IF), an organization that protects Earth from their enemy: the buggers. Many, many years ago, the buggers (giant insect-like creatures) attacked Earth. Humanity was saved due to the quick thinking of a commander. The IF is now looking for a commander who can save the Earth from a future attack by the buggers. They recruit, train, and test young children in a battle school in the attempts of locating a great commander. Ender Wiggin is their last hope. Ender’s cunning and quick problem solving abilities set him apart from the other students and he quickly rises through the ranks.

This was the first book I ever selected from the science fiction section of the library, and I was skeptical about it at first. I thought the book was going to be slow moving and too “spacey” for my tastes. However, I enjoyed the novel and am eager to read the next book in Ender’s story: Speaker for the Dead. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available the last time I was at my library, but I’ll work on tracking down a copy! Ender’s character was dynamic and unusual. He was a child, but was wise beyond his years. The novel also had other characters who were interesting and diverse. The diversity surprised me, considering the novel was published in 1985 (although, some people may see this diversity as mere stereotypes). I can see why English teachers might want to use this novel in their classrooms. There’s a lot of action, suspense, and plot twists. It’s a book I think boys would actually enjoy because it’s not sappy or romantic. Overall, Ender’s Game was worth the wait for me.

Have you read Ender’s Game? What did you think of it? Should I bother with the film version?

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:

Last year, I listened to an audio book by Stephanie Perkins called Lola and the Boy Next Door. When I first started listening to the book, I thought, “Goodness, this is cheesy!” But as I continued listening to the story, I began to enjoy it more and more. When I saw bloggers praising another book by Stephanie Perkins called Anna and the French Kiss, I decided to check this Young Adult novel out. While this book also had a cheese-factor to it, I have to admit that I really enjoyed it!

The book’s main character is a high school senior named Anna. Anna’s father has decided to send her off to a boarding school in Paris to impress his friends. At first, Anna is not happy about this decision. Luckily, shortly after settling into her new room, Anna makes friends with the girl across the hall. Anna now has friends to eat with and sit with in class, but she doesn’t make an effort to explore the city of Paris. Her friends take it upon themselves to introduce her to the city—especially a super-cute boy with a British accent named Etienne St. Clair. Anna quickly finds herself drawn to St. Clair, but she puts up a wall since he has a girlfriend. Anna and St. Clair’s friendship hovers and sometimes tips over the line into something more, but St. Clair always returns to his girlfriend. Anna learns a lot about friendship and being true to herself.

For me, the cheese-factor was the premise of an American girl being sent to this idealistic boarding school in Paris where she falls in love with a cute boy with an accent. I mean, that’s like every girl’s fantasy, isn’t it?! The book was pretty much a romantic-comedy movie. However, despite the cheesy premise….I loved it! It was just so darn cute. I got sucked into the book and Anna and St. Clair’s evolving relationship. If you’re looking for a cutesy, girly, easy read, this is the book for you!

What books have you read lately?