Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger, Tyger
by Kersten Hamilton
ISBN-13: 9-780547-330082
Publication Date: November 15, 2010
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really, really liked it

Teagan Wylltson’s best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures—goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty—are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn’t worried. Her life isn’t in danger. In fact, it’s perfect. She’s on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She’s focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn’s a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he’s crazy or he’s been haunting Abby’s dreams, because he’s talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby’s right. The goblins are coming.

Tyger, Tyger is an engaging and promising start to a new series. You’ll be easily swept away with Teagan, her brother Aiden, and Finn on their adventure to Mag Mell and the fight against the goblins and Sídhe.

Teagan and her family have always been completely oridinary – until they’re not. With the arrival of “cousin” Finn (in name only), Teagan’s eyes are opened to an entirely new world – one where goblins, Sídhe and Irish legends are all too real. As Teagan, Aiden and Finn race against time to retrieve something precious from the goblins, secrets never even imagined are revealed, and Teagan begins to realize that Finn means more to her than she ever wants to admit.

Characterization was wonderful, I was able to really lose myself in Teagan’s voice and family. Teagan is a smart, capable, caring and adventurous girl who, even though her whole life is changing, manages to keep her head in tough situations and look after her family. Aiden, her younger brother, is precocious and creepily smart for his age. Although intelligent, Aiden’s character is kept believably within his age. Finn is the hot, mysterious love interest, and he plays the part well. The romance in the book is kept to a slow, almost non-existant, pace and is background to the adventure. There is enough there to keep the romance readers happy but doesn’t distract from the main storyline at all.

The writing really drew me in to Teagan’s world. Kersten Hamilton has managed to put a unique and intriguing spin on Irish mythology and I loved it. I had a hard time keeping it all straight (who was descended from who and what there ancestors had done, exactly) but the lore was rich, and sprinkled throughout the novel so that the reader isn’t bombarded with a ton of knowledge all at once. Everything flowed seamlessly together, with the action scenes paced very well (and they are total attention grabbers). The main plot was wrapped up nicely, but enough questions were left unanswered that the sequel will by much-anticipated.

Tyger, Tyger is a heartpounding adventure that will leave you searching for goblins out of the corner of your eye, and anxiously waiting for more.

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt at NetGalley for providing me the eGalley of Tyger, Tyger for review.

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This World We Live In
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
ISBN-13: 9-780547-248042
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastophically altering the Earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

Miranda and her two brothers spend their days scavenging for food and household items, while their mother stays at home and desperately tries to hold on to the ordinary activities of their previous life. But they all know that nothing is truly normal in this surreal new world they live in.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

 

The third book in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s apocalyptic series brings us once again to Miranda’s home in Howell, and her journal entries. Miranda’s life has been trucking along since we left her in Life As We Knew It; she, her mother and two brothers (Jon and Matt) recieve food every Monday from the government, make use of the electricity when they have it to wash clothes and bedding, chop wood to keep warm and spend their time cleaning, talking and generally just surviving. Their monotonous days are interuppted when food stops arriving, and then again when Miranda’s father, stepmother and new baby – along with three strangers – arrive at their door. Insert Alex and Julie Morales from The Dead and the Gone. Soon, everything seems to be getting worse, just as Miranda is finding love.

Although it didn’t have the intense feelings of worry, lose and despair that the first two books had, This World We Live In was still an emotional rollercoaster ride. With the influx of people into Miranda’s home, the worries about having enough food is a constant concern (not to mention electricity and heat). There’s flooding from melting snow and rain, ash from volcanoes covering everything and supplies running low. Still, in the midst of all this, Susan Beth Pfeffer manages to tell an incredible story of hope, finding love in the most unexpected places and that family is more than just blood.

The ending was a bit rushed compared to the rest of the story, and even though Miranda can be seen as the main character of the series (seeing as she’s the narrator of two books, so we get to know her better), I feel that Alex came out the worst of them all. He was put through everything bad that he could be put through and still come out sane. I felt more connected to Alex than I did Miranda, and wish we had got some of his POV in this book as well. Alternating chapters would have been nice! In the end, though, it comes down to that gut-wrenching disbelief that anyone could survive what these characters have, and that was there. This World We Live In delivered.

 

Genesis by Bernard Beckett

Genesis
by Bernard Beckett

ISBN-13: 9-780771-011429
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥

2041: First global dust storms
2050: First shot in The Last War fired
2051: The Great Sea Fence completed; The Republic founded
2052: First plague released
2077: The Great War begins

Genesis leads us into a future where ancient – and eternal – philosophical questions have dramatically collided with the march of technology, where just what it means to be human is up for debate, and where the concealed stain of an Original Sin threatens the very existence of a Brave New World.

In the year 2075, the island Republic has emerged from a ruined world. Its citizens are safe but not free. They live in complete isolation from the outside world. Approaching planes are gunned down, refugees shot on sight. Until one man, Adam Forde, rescues a girl from the sea.

Anax sits facing three Examiners and her grueling five-hour examination has just begun. Her special subject: the life of Adam Forde, her long-dead hero. If she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy – the elite institution that runs her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story.

Genesis is such a remarkable story. Written entirely in dialogue and the thoughts of the main character, Anaximander, the novel tells the story of Adam and Art, and the beginning of The Great War.

Anax is sitting an examination to try and get into the Academy. The Examiners ask her questions relating to her topic – the life of Adam Forde. Through the questions and Anax’s answers, the history of the Republic is uncovered (and what happened to the world to make the Republic ‘necessary’), as well as how Adam became such an important historical figure.

Although I came across this book because it was listed as a dystopia – and there are definite elements involved that would classify it as such – I see it as science fiction first and foremost. Adam was instrumental in the development of an AI robot called Art. As Anax’s exam progresses it comes to light that it is Adam’s and Art’s interaction together that threw a wrench into the Republic and changed the course of their history.

There is a huge revelation at the end of the book, one which I confess I did not see coming. I’m a history major, and so I was swept up in the details of the Republic’s society and the psychological aspects of the story. Genesis is a huge look into humanity and society, and it really made me think about what I was reading, and the implications of AI technology. The writing was captivating and the plot was wonderfully done; I recommend this to anyone who likes science fiction, no matter your age.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The Dead and the Gone
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
ISBN-13: 9-780547-258553
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralledd and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

 

I read Life as We Knew It last year and really enjoyed it. The Dead and the Gone is a companion novel, rather than a sequel. It takes place at the same time as Life, but in New York.

The Dead and the Gone was an intense ride. New York was hit very hard when the moon moved closer to Earth – there were massive tidal waves and flooding in the subways. Alex find himself alone with his two sisters. His father is in Puerto Rico, his brother is in the marines and their mother working in Queens. As the months go on with no word from the other members of their family, Alex and his sisters struggle to keep themselves alive. Alex does anything he can to get food, but with sporadic electricity, the dead piling up in the streets, volcanic ash covering the sky and an early, harsh winter, things are incredibly difficult.

I was struck by the harsh reality that Susan Beth Pfeffer created in this novel. There’s death on a massive scale and rioting for food. New York slowly becomes a ghost town as everyone flees the island for safer areas inland, either by their own means or through evactions. As in Life, I was completely drawn in by Pfeffer’s writing and immediate action. There is no shortage of difficult times for Alex, Julie and Bri, but they have small pockets of joy and hope, too. I was crying by the end of the book, though. Pfeffer throws in a situation I was just not expecting, and it made The Dead so much more real and gritty than Life. There were a few instances I felt were quite convenient, and a bit hard to believe, but overall it was a great book.

A sequel to both Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone comes out this month. It will take place back with Miranda, but Alex makes his own appearance. I think it’s going to be quite a novel.

 

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
ISBN – 13: 978-0-152-06154-8

When a meteor hits the mooon and knocks it closer in orbit to the earth, nothing will ever be the same. Worldwide tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that’s just the beginning.

Mirandas disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. In her journal, Miranda records the events of each desperate day, while she and her family struggle to hold on to their most priceless resource – hope.

I really like books written in journal/diary format when they’re done well. Life As We Knew It was done well. Rather than just be wirtten in first person POV and have dates put on the top of chapters, Susan Beth Pfeffer actually wrote the book like journal entries. Days are skipped, dialogue is present but it was believeable that Miranda would have written it from memory, many of the “entries” are short, like there was just nothing to write that day, and one entry even ends abruptly, like the writer had to go do something quickly had didn’t have time to finish.

Throughout the course of the novel, you really feel like you know Miranda, that you’re right there with her going through what she is. Her thoughts and feelings come through loud and clear; her situation is desperate and the writing makes you feel that. I have to admit, near the end of the book one scene had me in tears. Not great sobbing crocodile tears, but just that single one that slips down your cheek when you really feel the characters pain. Or maybe I’m just too emotional, myself. Maybe the books just scared me. Could I do what Miranda’s family has done, if something catastrophic ever happened for real? Would I be able to go without food so that my younger brother could have more? Could I care for three family member deathly sick with the flu all by myself? Would my family even get enough food to last as long as Miranda’s family – but then I realize it wouldn’t matter. My whole province would get wiped away by the tsunami’s. Why do I love post-apocalyptic books so much when they just make me worry? I don’t know, but I do, and I loved this one.

The only reason this books gets four instead of five hearts is because throughout the whole book I kept getting distracted by trying to figure out why things got so bad? How come the power didn’t stay on? Miranda’s town wasn’t hit by floods or earth quakes or volcanos so surely they have their own power plant and don’t rely on some place in New York or where ever. Lack of food I was able to understand; most supermarkets have food shipped in from God knows where so it makes sense that it would run out. The lack of oil, I can understand because that as well comes from outside sources. It was just the electricity that bugged me. But, I don’t know how that works in the States. All I know is that even when a raccoon got stuck in one of the generators at NSPower, power only went out in one part of the city.

Anyway, that was the only thing that I found distracting. I loved the characters, I enjoyed the pacing – not too rushed, not too slow or monotonous – and the concept was brilliant. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic novels, and even to those who don’t. You might just love it.

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