Minrs by Kevin Sylvester


3 out of 5 stars.

This review contains spoilers.

Christopher and his family live on the planetoid Perseus as miners. They are part of the Great Mission that sends back valuable and much needed minerals back to a resource strapped Earth. They have just entered a 2 month blackout, during which communications to Earth are cut off, when the mining colony is attacked. All of the adults are killed and Christopher and his friends are forced to flee to the depths of the mines to survive. Christopher’s father has left him a map to locate a beacon that can send a distress signal to earth as soon as the 2 months are up, but Christopher can’t uncode it.

This is a book written in a style appropriate for the given age range of 8-12, but I am not sure the content is something appropriate for that age group. The prose style is a very direct and straightforward, with not many descriptions or introspection into the internal lives of the characters. The novel has a very quick pace, with the majority of the writing being action.

The plot of the novel is closer to something you would find in a book for teens. Adults all get killed, some of Christopher’s friends die, and one boy betrays them to save his father who has been captured. The father is then executed.

As a librarian, I think that all kids should have access to the vast majority of books without censorship, I just don’t know if this book would appeal to 8 and 9 year olds. There is a lot of death that is dealt with very starkly. It is up to the children and their parents to decide what the child is mature enough to handle, but I would be almost tempted to put this in the YA section of the library. It might be an excellent book for teen readers who are struggling.

There was nothing really about this book that struck me as unique besides the setting. The writing was not notable, we do not get to know the characters very well, nor do they jump off the page. I felt that this was a fairly cookie cutter work. Good for people who do not read science fiction, but dull for those that know the genre.



Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

marked in flesh

4 out of 5 stars.

I received an ARC of this book.

This is the fourth in a series I already very much enjoyed, so I was super excited to be able to read this one early.

Anne Bishop’s series “The Others” takes place in a world geographically a lot like ours, but in which humanity uneasily lives alongside the terra indigene, a collection of various mythical creatures who were the land’s original inhabitants. This includes vampires, shape shifters and other creatures older and more powerful than anything else existing. The humans live only in small settlements that are on land temporarily rented to them by the terra indigene and survive by being useful enough to convince the shape shifters and vampires to not eat them. As the series go on, the Humans First movement is stirring up trouble by insisting that humanity deserves more than the Others are willing to give them.

Meg Corbyn is a blood prophet, able to see the future when her skin is cut. At the beginning of the first book she had escaped from a facility where girls like her are kept and their prophecies are sold to those who can pay. She stumbles, disoriented, into the wintery night and ends up on the doorstep of the courtyard, a rare place where the Others try to live alongside humans, an embassy between the worlds. Despite their distrust of humans, the leader of the courtyard, a wolf shapeshifter named Simon, takes Meg in and employs her to work in the mail room. Meg slowly adapts to the courtyard and the friendship of the beings around her, and starts to be a useful liaison between humans and the Others.

In this fourth addition to the series the conflicts between the Other and the Humans First movement are coming to a head. Certain boisterous humans are advocating violence against the Others, forgetting their very precarious position in the world.

The entire series is very well written and the characters are very personable. Meg has to be taught about human behaviour by creatures who do not always understand it themselves, so the books have a good sense of humour. The best thing is probably the mounting tension and sense of urgency the writer is able to convey. The novels pull you in and make it very hard to stop reading. Especially this last book. The entire book reads like a walk home before a storm hits. It is hurried and anxious and makes for a very compelling read.The narrative is a good mix of day to day details and overarching plots and themes so you don’t get bored, but get enough minutiae that things seem real.

I completely enjoy these books. The world is well written and realistic and the action keeps you moving quickly through the text. A definite read for all fantasy fans!




Soundless by Richelle Mead


3 out of 5 stars.

Now that I am finally moved and in my new house, I can start blogging again!

This is a very asian-themed fantasy with a fantastic premise. Fei lives in a mining village cut off from the rest of the world. Everyone in the village is deaf and then they start going blind. Fei occupies a fairly lofty position, an artists who sketches the days events and displays them to the village.

Since the village’s survival depends on their steadily sending ores down in exchange for food, the village is inching closer and closer to disaster. The villagers going blind can no longer dig as much ore, but they cannot survive on much less ore.

When Fei suddenly regains her hearing, she decides she can help her village. She and a young man start the treacherous climb down the mountain to talk to the mysterious people who are their only supply line.

I was very much impressed with such an unusual premise and I liked the exploration of what it would be like to suddenly hear if you never had. Especially if you had lived all of your life in a soundless environment, so no one else you know has any knowledge of sound either. It was an ambitious premise, but did not quite live up to the promise.

The book was very short and did not really explore everything it should have. The plot was a very simplistic one for such a good beginning, and, while the sudden marvel of being able to hear after a lifetime of silence was broached, it was never really fully developed, so it fell a little flat. Fei should have been immobilized with stimulation for days and completely freaked out at suddenly having another sense. Instead she rallies unrealistically quickly and sets out on an adventure, learning to use her hearing almost instantaneously.

I hate to think that my passion for YA lit might be fading, but this one left me feeling pretty unsatisfied. It was formulaic and undefiled and did not really live up to what it potentially could have been. There was the usual romance and the usual adventure and the usual overcoming of obstacles. It fell flat.