Sleeping Giants Review

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain NeuvelSleeping Giants
by Sylvain Neuvel (April 2016)

Rose is riding her new bike in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings, in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the bizarre artifact remains a mystery-its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected. But some can never stop searching for answers.

Pin for laterAdd to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Enjoyable
3 Stars - Recommended

Book Review

Whether you love Sleeping Giants or not will come down to how much you enjoy your science fiction filtered through interviews and written artifacts. The interview format makes for a lightning-fast read. The narrative skips from highlight to highlight, allowing a lot of story time to pass quickly. As parts of an alien robot are discovered, assembled and studied, the interviews are used as a Cliff Notes overview of significant events. The style leaves out tedious details and keeps the action moving without too much exposition.

The interview format also creates an emotional distance that keeps Sleeping Giants from being engaging. Every suspenseful moment is diluted by after-the-fact descriptions. Emotions are described (in analytic detail), not experienced. Heard only through their answers, which are often evasive or angry, characters are unsympathetic. The interviews cover complicated relationships between the investigative team, causing some sections to feel like melodramatic accounts of inter-office drama.

Sleeping Giants‘ interview format is both its strength and its weakness, and is likely to provoke polarizing extremes in its readers.

I received an advance copy of Sleeping Giants from the publisher for review.

Recommended for:
* Experimental format: through interviews
* Intriguing alien artifacts
* Interpersonal drama among science and military personnel

If you like Sleeping Giants, check out these book recommendations!

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir

Science fiction and noir have been classic companions since Asimov and Phillip K. Dick, and the combo is still going strong. (Think Blade Runner.) If you’re in the mood for sharp shadows and dark secrets, tag along with a sci fi detective for a tale of mystery and intrigue.

Ten Tales of Science Fiction Noir:

1. Shovel Ready | Adam Sternbergh
2. The City and the City | China Mieville
3. Altered Carbon | Richard K. Morgan
4. The Disappeared | Kristine Kathryn Rusch
5. Caves of Steel | Isaac Asimov
6. Leviathan Wakes | James S.A. Corey
7. Gun, With Occasional Music | Jonathan Lethem
8. The Demolished Man | Alfred Bester
9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Philip K. Dick
10. The Prefect | Alistair Reynolds

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is If you’re in the Mood For.

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Top Ten Canon Couples

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Canon Couples

Alana & Marko, Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan
They fell in love across a battle line, and that brutal war is nothing compared to what they’ll have to do to stay together and raise a forbidden child. They’re fierce, clueless, idealistic, naive and stubborn. I’m rooting for them against all odds.

Patroclus & Achilles, Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
You can’t find a love story more tragic than one out of a Greek epic, and Miller’s prose makes the world of the Iliad come to life. I knew how it would end, and fell in love anyway.

Rachel & Trent, The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison
My favorite series for character development over time, and nowhere is that better illustrated than through the eventual relationship of Rachel & Trent. They start as adversaries, then eventually friends and ultimately lovers. But it’s not hate turn to love. It’s personal growth, through a crazy series of hardships, that changed them both from what they were at the beginning. Their journey made them ready for love, and perfect for each other.

Amaranthe & Sicarius, Emperor’s Edge Series by Lindsay Buroker
Sicarius is a quiet, deadly assassin who everyone fears. Amaranthe is the goofy, slightly obsessive leader who dares to order him around anyway. She teaches him to smile and use his skills for a purpose. He stays at her side no matter what, and gives her the courage to take on the impossible. They’re just adorable.

Xena & Gabrielle, Xena: The Warrior Princess, TV show
They’re strong women in different ways, bring out the best in each other, and stay together to the end. What’s not to love? Plus, it proved awesome women could be surrounded by men without belittling or being threatened by them, and two women could find love without treating every man who came before as a place holder. Waaaay ahead of its time.

Darrow & Mustang, Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
NO BOOK 3 SPOILERS PLEASE!
He’s a damaged protagonist who needs her reminders to treat the people around him with kindness. She’s a privileged member of a brutal society blinded to some aspects of that society. They’re capable of violence and betrayal, and will break your heart again and again. But they complement each other so well that it makes me want for it to all work out in the end. (No guarantees.)

Lucius & Narcissa, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
My love of this canon couple is based on fanfiction and art as much as on JKR’s books, but whatever. Slytherin love all the way.

Finnikin & Evanjalin, Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
These two come together as refugees cast out of their kingdom, and have to reclaim a home for their people. But it’s seeing how they change and grow stronger together afterwards when they thought the hardships would be over that makes them one of my top canon couples.

Jamie & Claire, Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon (& TV show)
Theirs is a real marriage, with moments of doubt, fear and violent disagreement. They function as equals, in a time when that would be shocking, and their relationship is a constant series of negotiations and rebalancing. For all its swoon-worthy origins, I’ve never seen a more realistic portrayal of marriage over the whole series.

Vin & Elend, The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
Vin grows from a paranoid street kid to a confident warrior, and Elend from a political theory geek to a wise leader. They see potential in each other long before anyone else, and bond for who they are on the inside.

What I learned:
I like my ships:
* Partnerships between equals
* Long-term relationships > Happily ever afters
* Series couples > Standalone romances
* Fantasy > Science Fiction
* Books > Television

The Fantasy > SciFi preference is mostly a side effect of reading more long series in fantasy. My science fiction picks are usually standalones, and less likely to contain a pairing at all.

Who are your favorite canon couples?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie Valentine’s Day list.

Heart Goes Last Review

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret AtwoodThe Heart Goes Last
by Margaret Atwood (2015)

Living in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are desperate. When they see an advertisement for Consilience, a social experiment offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. In return for suburban paradise, all they have to do is give up their freedom every second month and swap their home for a prison cell.

Add The Heart Goes Last to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Not Recommended
2 Stars - Not Recommended

Book Review

If you haven’t read Margaret Atwood before, The Heart Goes Last is not the place to start. As in her more famous works, Handmaid’s Tale and The MaddAdam Trilogy, Atwood takes on themes of violence against women, consumerism, and the dysnfunctionality of modern life, and explores them in a dystopian setting.

Unfortunately, the way they’re presented here feels hackneyed and uninteresting. The prose shows little glimmer of beauty to make up for the bleak, violent world. The second half of Heart Goes Last is a parade of sexual dysfunctions and bedroom melodrama. Sometimes, it’s funny, in a laugh-at-reality-television-and-feel-guilty sort of way. But there are better books to spend time with.

Verdict: go read Atwood’s MaddAdam series instead.

Recommended for:
* hardcore Margaret Atwood fans
* gender issues in dystopia
* bleakly funny dysfunctions

For more (better) dystopias, check out these book recommendations!

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If you like 5th Wave – 10 Tales of Alien Invasion

If you like 5th Wave - Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens. Young adult book recommendations from Come Hither Books

As 5th Wave hits theaters, it’s the perfect time to stay up late with an action-packed story of alien invasion and conspiracy. Each of these young adult stories features aliens on Earth. Whether they are friend or foe, strangers or the boy next door, you can’t miss with one of these great science fiction stories.

If you like 5th Wave, try one of these extraterrestrial tales today.

Ten Tales of Alien Invasion for Teens:

1. We Are the Ants | Shaun David Hutchinson
2. Illuminae | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
3. In the After | Demitria Lunetta
4. Ender’s Game | Orson Scott Card
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness
6. Shade’s Children | Garth Nix
7. Midnight City | J. Barton Mitchell
8. Rush | Eve Silver
9. Assault | Brian Falkner
10. I Am Number Four | Pittacus Lore

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie topic.

If you like The Martian…

If you like The Martian

The Martian by Andy WeirThe Martian arrives in theaters October 3. If you haven’t yet read the book by Andy Weir, it’s a don’t miss read. It’s a strong scifi story with realistic science and an awesome main character, plus a high stakes story of survival on Mars that you can’t put down.

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsHard science fiction with a whole lot of science fact. Disaster strikes a manned Mars mission and one astronaut is left for dead. Except Mark Watney isn’t dead. Alone, with only what remains of the failed expedition site and supplies, he must find a way to survive.

Mark’s character voice is strong enough to get across scientific rules and space program procedures in a way that’s both warm and engaging. The action is believable, and the science stays in service of the plot. And according to friends who would know the difference, the science is correct.

My result: Recommended
4 Stars - Recommended

But if you’ve already read The Martian, there’s no reason to stop there. Here are eight stellar space stories to enjoy.

If it’s the real science and perils of space travel that get your pulse pounding, check out these true stories about real life astronauts. It’s nonfiction every bit as exciting as the big screen. In Apollo 13, a 1970 moon mission goes disastrously wrong, and it will take extraordinary measures to bring the astronauts home safe. You can learn more about the people who brave the heavens in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff. Find out what life is like in zero G, and how you can find out right here on earth, in Packing for Mars. (And don’t miss the movies. Both Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff have excellent film versions.)

If you like the Martian - real science and space exploration

Or, if you want more science fiction with your space travel, check out these great scifi stories. Each story starts with realistic space technology and takes it to a science fiction extreme. Start with Red Mars, first in a trilogy chronicling the terraforming and settlement of Mars. Then take a movie break with Interstellar, Gravity, or 2001: A Space Odyssey.

When you’re ready for another weighty tome, try Neal Stephenson’s SevenEves. Humanity takes to orbit to survive, as Earth dies in a hail of meteors. By the time humans can return home, both the planet and the human race will look very different.

If you like the Martian, try these science fiction titles

You will love any of these space adventures, from nonfiction to science fiction. If you like The Martian, there’s a whole galaxy of adventure waiting for you.

Top 5 Science Fiction Releases – September 2015

Top Five Science Fiction Releases for September 2015

September promises some great scifi novels. Here are the top five new and recent science fiction books for adults this September. Don’t miss these great new releases!

Add Zer0es to Goodreads or see more reviewsZer0es by Chuck WendigZer0es – Chuck Wendig
Five hackers are detained by the U.S. government and forced to work as white-hat hackers to avoid federal prison. At a secret complex, the “Zeroes” will spend the next year as an elite cyber-espionage team. But the Zeroes uncover secrets to make the most dedicated conspiracy theorist’s head spin. Soon they’re not just serving time, they’re trying the ultimate hack: burrowing deep into the U.S. government from the inside, and hoping they’ll get out alive.
By the author of the Miriam Black series

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsThe Drafter by Kim HarrisonThe Drafter – Kim Harrison
Detroit 2030. Double-crossed by the person she loved and betrayed by the covert government organization that trained her, Peri Reed is a renegade. She is a drafter, with a skill for altering time, yet destined to forget both the history she changed and the history she rewrote. When Peri discovers her name on a list of corrupt operatives, she joins forces with a rogue soldier to piece together the truth about her final task.
By the author of the Hollows series!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsSupersymmetry by David WaltonSupersymmetry – David Walton
Ryan Oronzi has developed a technology that makes soldiers nearly invincible. But the technology gives power to a quantum creature known as the varcolac, which begins to manipulate Dr. Oronzi and make him a pawn in its bid to control the world. The only people with a hope of defeating the varcolac are two young women, but defeating it may mean losing themselves.

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsLast Exodus by Paul TassiLast Exodus – Paul Tassi
The Earth lies in ruins after an extraterrestrial invasion, the land devastated by a war with no winners. The only people left alive have done horrific things to survive. Like Lucas. The search for his family is the one thing that drives him to outlive his dying planet. Instead, he finds hope: a working ship buried in a crater wall. To fly it, Lucas must join forces with an alien scientist and a merciless raider. They must find common ground, or die on a ruined Earth. Debut author!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsLuna: New Moon by Ian McDonaldLuna: New Moon – Ian McDonald
As the leader of the Moon’s newest corporation, Adriana Corta has wrested control of the Helium-3 industry from Mackenzie Metal and earned her family’s new status. She’s made many enemies. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her enemies, and from each other.
Luna: New Moon comes out September 22 from Tor Books.

Leviathan Wakes Review

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. CoreyLeviathan Wakes (2011)
Expanse #1
by James S.A. Corey

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from Saturn’s rings to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew find a derelict ship, they find a secret they never wanted. Someone is willing to kill to cover up the truth, and war is brewing.

Detective Miller is looking for a missing girl. When the trail leads to Holden’s mystery ship, he realizes the girl may be the key to everything. Holden and Miller must thread the needle between Earth’s government, Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations. The odds are against them, but one small ship could change the fate of the universe.

Pin for laterAdd Leviathan Wakes to Goodreads or see more reviewsMy result: Highly Recommended
5 Stars - Highly Recommended

Book Review

Leviathan Wakes is the perfect blend of science fiction, mystery, and horror. It starts out noir in a world of teeming spaceports and isolated outposts, then takes a turn into Lovecraftian horror as the plot races forward. The mystery delivers an obsessed detective on the trail of the case he can’t forget, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. The horror elements come late, but are chilling enough to satisfy.

Holden and Miller are viewpoint characters with polar opposite beliefs and conflicting morals. Their actions spring naturally from what they believe, and drive the plot. Rarely have I seen differing beliefs shown so clearly, with neither side cast as fully right or wrong.

If you love cross-genre reads or complex characters in conflict, you’ll love Leviathan Wakes. (And if you like to read the book before the TV show, The Expanse is coming to SyFy this December. Here’s hoping they get the balance right.)

Recommended for:
* Science fiction fans with a love of cross-genre elements
* Mystery or horror fans looking for something different
* Well-developed characters with complex moral beliefs

If you like Leviathan Wakes, check out these book recommendations!

Top 5 YA Science Fiction & Fantasy Releases – September 2015

Top 5 YA Picks - Science Fiction & Fantasy for September 2015

September promises some great YA genre novels. Here are the top five new and upcoming Science Fiction and Fantasy novels for young adults. The list includes fantasy, science fiction and dystopian reads. Don’t miss these great YA new releases!

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? What if you’re Mikey? He just wants to graduate, go to prom and maybe work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone blows up the high school. Again. Sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here comes out October 6 from Harper Teen.
By the author of the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsSix of Crows by Leigh BardugoSix of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
In Ketterdam, anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
Six of Crows comes out September 29 from Henry Holt.
By the author of the Grisha Trilogy

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsCourt of Fives by Kate ElliottCourt of Fives – Kate Elliott
Jessamy acts like an upper-class Patron and dreams of the freedom of the Commoners. Away from her family, she trains for the Fives, an athletic competition that offers glory to the best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos. When Kal’s powerful uncle threatens to tear her family apart, she’ll risk royal vengeance to save them.
Court of Fives is out now from Little Brown Books.
YA debut by the author of the Spiritwalker trilogy

Add to Goodreads or see more reviewsZeroes by Scott WesterfeldZeroes – Scott Westerfeld
Ethan has a way with words. But he’s not just a smooth talker. He says things he doesn’t consciously know. Now, the voice has lied and Ethan’s in trouble. He needs help from the last people who would want to help – his former friends, the self-named “zeros” who possess the same double-edged abilities.
Zeroes comes out September 29 from Simon Pulse.
By the author of Uglies and Leviathan

Add Lizard Radio to Goodreads or see more reviewsLizard Radio by Pat SchmatzLizard Radio – Pat Schmatz
Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by a nonconformist, she’s surrounded by uncertainty. What is she? Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Strange events at CropCamp raise questions Kivali has never had to consider. She has Lizard Radio, a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. Will it be enough?
Lizard Radio comes out September 8 from Candlewick Press.
By the author of Bluefish