Category > Science fiction

Conquest

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Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard, book reviewThe Illyri had been waiting and watching for many years – using the very technology that Earth had created – before they came. They arrived through wormholes that allowed them to travel across vast reaches of space in the blink of an eye, invading and conquering Earth in a matter of mere days. Some of the advanced technology that they brought was to the benefit of humanity, bringing with it more reliable food and energy sources. But they also set themselves up in governance of the planet, taking resources and harvesting young people to fight the Illyri’s wars on other planets they had conquered. Seventeen years after their conquest and humanity is still fighting back against their new rulers, with resistance movements springing up in almost every country across the globe. Some parts of the world prove too hostile for even the Illyri to effectively govern, though: Afghanistan and the Scottish highlands being notable amongst them.

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Kindred

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Kindred, Octavia E. Butler, book reviewDana’s 26th birthday turns out to be the most memorable one of her life. As she and her husband Kevin move into their new apartment, she starts to feel dizzy. Initially thinking it is just due to moving heavy boxes in the heat of a Los Angeles summer, she is soon proved wrong when she falls to her knees…and vanishes in front of Kevin’s eyes. Dana reappears a few seconds later on the other side of the room with a very strange explanation of what happened. She tells of finding herself on a riverbank, with a screaming woman and a young red haired boy drowning in the water in front of her. She pulled the boy out and gave him CPR, but as he started to breathe again, a man with an old-fashioned rifle pointed at her appeared and she found herself back home – with the wet clothes and muddy shoes that seemed to back up her story.


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Hidden

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Hidden, P. C. Cast,  Kristin Cast, book reviewThe popular House of Night series has now reached double figures, with the recent publication of book number ten, Hidden. Written by mother and daughter team, P.C. and Kristen Cast, the series began with 16 year old Zoey Redbird being Marked to become a vampyre. Zoey’s marks were more advanced than usual, and she had extra powers. Now, in Hidden, Zoey continues the struggle against the evil Neferet, having suffered losses but also gained some unexpected allies. Fortunately for Zoey, the truth about Neferet has been exposed, and she has been cast out from the House of Night and shunned by the vampyre High Council, but of course little details like that aren’t going to sway her from her path to world domination…


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Wake

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Wake, Amanda Hocking, book reviewWake is the first novel in Amanda Hocking’s latest series, Watersong. Since I discovered Hocking’s wonderful My Blood Approves series and her Trylle trilogy, she has signed with a publisher, meaning her novels are available in print as well as in Kindle ebook format. I assumed that her writing would be as enjoyable as ever, but there was a thought in the back of my mind wondering whether Wake would measure up to her earlier novels.

Hocking’s stories tend to be about fantasy characters set in our world, and Wake is no different.


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The Immortal Rules

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The Immortal Rules,  Julie Kagawa, book reviewThe Immortal Rules is the first novel in a new series by Julie Kagawa. Her Iron Fey series seems to be quite popular, however I wasn’t that blown away by the first novel and have never got round to continuing with the series. The Immortal Rules was available in the recent Kindle sale, and I decided that I may as well give it a go.

Set in the not-too-distant future, the world is now ruled by vampires. Following a plague which wiped out a lot of the human population, the vampires took control in order to safeguard their food supply from extinction. Outside their heavily guarded cities are rabids, zombie-like creatures who feed on humans.


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The Dog Stars

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The Dog Stars by Peter Heller, book reviewPost-apocalyptic stories are nothing new. They can range from the “cosy catastrophe” (Day of the Triffids) to the action adventure (the Terminator universe) to the soul-crushingly bleak (The Road), but can a tale of the world after the fall of civilisation really be life affirming? Well, that is what Peter Heller’s new book The Dog Stars is billed as: a novel about the end of the world that makes you glad to be alive. The cynic in me raised an eyebrow at this description, but got stuck into reading it nonetheless.

Set in the near future, The Dog Stars shows us a Colorado nine years after an influenza superbug wiped out most of humanity and a lingering blood disease that came in its wake weakened many of those who remain.


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A Storm of Swords

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A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin, book reviewThe third novel in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords continues where A Clash of Kings left off. The saga is set in the medieval world of Westeros, and following the death of King Robert Baratheon in the first novel, the Seven Kingdoms have been at war, with four kings declaring themselves the true king.

The main characters of the series are the Stark family. Robb Stark, the eldest son of Catelyn and Ned, has declared himself King in the North following the execution of his father by Joffrey, Robert’s heir. His brothers and sisters are scattered throughout the Seven Kingdoms, each in danger and fighting their own war.


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A Clash of Kings

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A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of a Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin, book reviewA Clash of Kings is the second novel of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic, A Song of Ice and Fire. The story picks up where the first novel left off, with the Stark family of Winterfell scattered throughout the Seven Kingdoms, all of them in danger and fighting their own war.

The series is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, a fantasy land based in medieval times. The official king is Joffrey, heir to Robert Baratheon, but three others have declared themselves rightful king, one of them Robb Stark, who calls himself King of the North. His younger brothers, Bran and Rickon, remain at Winterfell, but are not as safe as their mother Catelyn hopes.


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Gone

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Gone by Michael Grant, book reviewGone by Michael Grant is the first novel in a series which, like many book series, is named after its first novel. It is a young adult novel, something I wasn’t actually aware of before I read it – although I do read quite a bit of young adult fiction.

One day, in a Californian town called Perdido Beach, everyone aged fifteen and over disappears. There is no warning – they just vanish into thin air. Cars crash, homes are left empty, TV and phones stop working. And the only ones left are those under fourteen. Sam Temple and his friends Quinn and Astrid try to figure out what is happening as they go in search of Astrid’s autistic brother Little Pete.


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Micro

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Micro - Michael Crichton, Richard Preston, book reviewSince my early teens I have been a fan of Michael Crichton – most of my adult reading life. I have always looked forward to his novels, and was deeply saddened to hear of his death in 2008. Yet since then there have been two new Crichton novels published – Pirate Latitudes, discovered completed on his computer after his death, and the recent Micro, which was around a third completed and has been finished by Richard Preston, based on Crichton’s outline and notes.

Prior to his death, Crichton described Micro as “an adventure story like Jurassic Park”. Set in Hawaii, it follows six graduate students as they visit a company called Nanogen which is promising them jobs using advanced technology and research methods.

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Timeline

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Timeline -  Michael Crichton, book review“The purpose of history is to explain the present – to say why the world around us is the way it is. History tells us what is important in our world, and how it came to be.”
Michael Crichton, “Timeline”

Deep in the French countryside around the Dordogne, a group of historians led by Yale University’s Professor Edward Johnson are hard at work excavating the remains of a castle and its associated settlement from the fourteenth century. The work is progressing well, although the project’s sponsors, an American technology company, are pushing for results faster than they satisfactorily supply them.


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Destined

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Destined by P C Cast and Kristin Cast, book reviewDestined is the ninth novel in the popular House of night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast. Set in the present day with vampyres as part of the normal fabric of society, the series follows Zoey Redbird from the day she is Marked to be become a vampyre through the discovery she is to be an important part of the fight against evil, and of course all the events which follow.

In book number eight, Awakened, Zoey recovered from her journey to the Otherworld and yet another innocent character died. Awakened was followed by Dragon’s Oath, a novella, telling the backstory of a House of Night professor, which turns out to be relevant to Destined.


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