Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel

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“I hate this world. People are small. They’re ignorant, and they’re happy to stay that way. They make an effort to. They’ll spend time and energy finding ways not to learn things just to feel comfortable with their beliefs.”

The third novel in the Themis Files trilogy, Only Human picks up ten years after the events of Waking Gods, and brings the series to a conclusion. In the first novel, Sleeping Giants we learned of Rose discovering a giant metal hand as a child, which over the years led to more discoveries of metal parts that eventually resulted in the assembly of a giant robot. As an adult, Dr. Rose Franklin was a key figure in bringing the robot to life, and along with linguist, Vincent Couture, pilot, Kara Resnik, and an unnamed, mysterious interviewer, she helped protect Earth from an alien invasion in Waking Gods.  Now, after ten years on an alien planet, she returns to a home in chaos. While attempting to make sense of what has occurred, she must also figure out a way forward.  Continue reading “Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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“Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest.”

Ready Player One has been a very popular science-fiction book for a few years now, and one I have wanted to read simply because of all the hype surrounding it. Now that the movie version is being released I had to give it a read before seeing it on the big screen.

It is set in the year 2044, at a point where civilization has greatly deteriorated and the majority of people spend their time plugged into a virtual reality system called the OASIS. With many individuals and families living in poverty, the OASIS provides an escape and an opportunity to create a vastly different reality. When one of the original creators of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind a challenge in the form of a contest, with the winner receiving his vast fortune. A high school senior, Wade Watts, has dedicated his time to studying everything there is to know about the reclusive OASIS creator and consuming all his favourite games, movies, music, and tv shows, all of which are very 1980’s themed. The race truly begins when Wade does the seemingly impossible and solves the first clue. Soon, he is not only focused on the contest but also survival as there is an organization that will do anything to win the prize and take control of the OASIS. Continue reading “Ready Player One by Ernest Cline”

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

BLOG“But they don’t tell you the pain comes with you. They don’t tell you that hurt travels at light-speed too.”

Emmett is among a group of young people recruited for a space mission by the mysterious Babel Corporation. The reason behind his recruitment is unknown to him, but the one thing he knows for sure is that it is an offer he cannot refuse. The dollar amount offered along with added benefits would change not only his life but the lives of his family and those he treasures most. With this in mind he sets out into the unknown, and soon discovers that it is not as easy as signing on the dotted line. Instead he will have to compete against the other recruits and fight for his spot. Those successful in securing a spot will travel to a hidden planet, which is only known to Babel, and mine a substance called Nyxia. But soon it becomes apparent that there is more happening than they have been led to believe.

“Wanting something and actually making it happen are two different things.”

This is the first book in a new YA science-fiction trilogy (The Nyxia Triad). The plot is interesting, the pacing is on point, and I couldn’t help but be completely drawn into the story. There is plenty of action and competition as the training of the young recruits progresses and interesting dynamics arise. The only thing that really fell short for me was the tiny bit of romance involved, which felt awkward and didn’t really click for me. I would have liked to know more about the hidden planet and its inhabitants, but that is sure to follow in the next release. Nyxia is an entertaining read and a great setup for what looks to be a very compelling series. I look forward to the next part of the adventure.

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

IMG_4487“I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while.”

Waking Gods is the second novel in the Themis Files series, and a follow-up to the popular, Sleeping Giants. Rose Franklin discovered a giant metal hand when she was a child, and dedicated her scientific career to uncovering the mystery of what she found that day. With answers, come even more questions. Now, the world is under a massive invasion and the question of why it is happening must be solved in order to discover a solution.

Sleeping Giants was a big surprise for me, and a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I wasn’t sure what to expect from its follow-up, or how it could maintain the qualities that made Sleeping Giants such a page-turning read. The great thing is that it absolutely does. Waking Gods has all the intrigue, profound questions, and sarcastic humour of its predecessor that had me completely swept up in the story and eager to see what would come next. The characters we came to know are back, and we get to see what their lives are like now, as a new threat takes hold. It is told in the same format, through interviews and journal entries, which is done very well and moves the story forward at a great pace. Waking Gods is a truly great sequel and a novel that does not disappoint.

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

blog“There’s no such thing as the life you’re supposed to have.” 

What if all the visions of the future that were imagined as far back as the 1950’s, were in fact incredibly accurate? Well, that is the version of 2016 that Tom knows. A reality where seemingly the wildest of dreams for the future have been realized.

“In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.”

When Tom makes an impulsive and reckless decision, he steers the course of history in a radically different direction, and he himself ends up in the 2016 world that is familiar to us. The lack of progress and achievement is shocking to him and the consequences of his actions weigh heavily on his shoulders. However, this new timeline also has a version of his life that may be a considerable improvement. So, should he try to fix his mistake and restore the reality he erased, or should he stay and live this new version of his life? But not everything is as simple as it seems, and Tom’s search for answers leads him on a journey that may have yet more unforeseen consequences.

All Our Wrong Todays is a highly enjoyable science-fiction novel that is humorous and thought-provoking. Told through a first-person perspective, it takes us through Tom’s recounting of events before and after he, you know, altered reality. Tom is certainly no hero, in fact, he is quite ordinary and very much flawed. His voice is endearing, self-deprecating, and at times provides one-liners that, to me, are laugh out loud funny (no easy feat when it comes to books). Particularly interesting is how Tom develops as a character, especially when faced with his alternate self. While at times I did find descriptions to be a little to descriptive with regards to the science and mechanics of it all, and certain passages a tad bit long-winded, I could’t help but enjoy this wonderful and creative story. There is action, intrigue, compelling characters, and a surprising amount of depth. If this is a genre you like to reach for, then All Our Wrong Todays is definitely worth a read.

*E-copy provided by NetGalley for an unbiased review. Publication date: February 7, 2017.