All posts filed under: Science Fiction

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles #2)

Character List from The Steampunk Chronicles series: Finley Jayne – a former ladies’ maid whose dual natures of light and darkness battle for dominance. The darkness manifests itself as extraordinary strength, combat abilities and an attraction to danger and the criminal world. Griffin King – an orphaned duke with unlimited financial resources at his disposal. Griffin is the leader of a group of misfits and has the ability to act as a conduit for the Aether. Cordelia, Lady Marsden – Griffin’s aunt, a powerful telepath. Sam Morgan – Griffin’s best friend. He’s incredibly strong and able to heal quickly, in part because he’s part machine. Emily – possibly Finley’s closest friend. She’s an inventor extraordinaire and has a secret crush on one of the boys. Shhh!

Fiendish Schemes by KW Jeter (Infernal Devices #2)

In 1987, K.W. Jeter coined the term “steam-punks” to refer to the cyberpunk variant of literature that he, and others, had begun to write, novels set in an alternate Victorian England with advanced steam technology. Considered one of the founding fathers of steampunk, it is only now that Jeter has returned to the genre, picking up the threads from Infernal Devices. London is a world much-changed since we left George Dower, son of a mad inventor of all things gadgetry. The advent of steam has created a craze for the application of its technology and the aesthetic, a commentary on the vibrant counterculture which has emerged in the twenty-first century. Dower’s financial woes may be solved if he can help a man from his past find and fix one of his father’s technologies, the Vox Universalis. When Dower agrees to help, we are swept into the bizarreness of Jeter’s invention, a world where a lighthouse can uproot itself, specialized brothels cater to London’s steam-obsessed haut monde and sentient Cetaceans are proselytized. Fiendish Schemes is a …

The Elite by Kiera Cass (The Selection #2)

Cover Design: I absolutely adore the crown emblem used in both books’ titles.  It conveys ‘beauty pageant’ and ‘contest’ without saying anything else.  Book covers should tell the story for you before you crack the cover open.  This one tells me that this fiery-haired beauty (who we learn is America Singer) is in a competition where she stands out from the rest. That makes me interested. The dress is fabulous too, oh my gosh yes!  The competition is heating up and with it, the girls get some trial by fire as the rebel groups approach. America Singer is the new girl on fire! Hunger Games fans will understand the comparison, but for those who don’t, here’s it in a nutshell. Both series’ are set in a post-America dystopian society.  Of course, the quashed rebellion in Panem was punished with ‘the hunger games’.  By contrast, in Illea, every generation of Crown Prince is married to one of the people (like the old idea of the Crown marrying the Land) in a Bachelor-like contest called ‘the selection’. …

All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen

Labyrinth basements, talking animals and abandoned automatons are a few of the wonders waiting at Illyria College for the next generation of Her Majesty’s best scientific minds. Illyria’s closed-door policy means that Violet Adams, a promising scientist, cannot set foot inside, until she decides to impersonate her twin brother, Ashton. Hijinks ensue as Ashton and their best friend, Jack Feste, teach Violet how men behave in private and the Duke’s ward, Cecily, falls for Violet’s persona. Rosen’s humorous debut novel recreates Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest in a Victorian setting and offers a lighthearted look at several beloved characters from both plays. The gears, gild and gentrified manners add to the steampunk ambiance as Violet learns to portray a man and discovers her womanhood. Rosen’s work is a gentle commentary on homoeroticism and gender biases against women.

The Selection by Kiera Cass (The Selection #1)

In The Selection we are introduced to America Singer, who comes from a musical family and is in one of the poorest castes imaginable, a Five.  Although America is in love with Aspen Leger, a Six, marrying below your caste as a female is not only frowned upon by society, it dooms you to a poorer, harder life than the one you’ve known growing up. When America is ‘selected’ to be a part of the competition to win the heart of Prince Maxon, it’s the opportunity to lift her family out of poverty forever and lose her only love in the process.  What’s a girl to do? If it sounds at all like this book reads like The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor, you’re right.  Cass has pinpointed her audience and this book does a great job of presenting a modern-day Esther beauty pageant within a science-fiction future.  Cass doesn’t overwhelm us with exposition right away but dishes it out over the course of the book and foreshadows a large conflict still to arise, probably …

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games #3)

What can I say about Mockingjay, the third and last act in the explosive Hunger Games Trilogy … it’s a piece of work. Catching Fire Spoilers!! [spoiler]Katniss and Peeta have survived the Quarter Quell but Peeta is now (essentially) a prisoner of war in the Capitol, tortured and used to talk down Katniss and District 13 from the rebellion that’s  ‘caught on like fire’.[/spoiler] Katniss’ family, including Prim, her mother, and the annoying cat, Buttercup, are safe in District 13. Prim has grown up so fast and is now walking in her mother’s footsteps as a nurse.  Gale is there too and we finally get to see what could happen between him and Katniss if left to themselves. The only hope of saving Peeta from President Snow is to become the mockingjay, placing Katniss in a place where she just might get to engage in real combat, or better yet, become the assassin to kill Snow herself. In doing so, she places herself and the citizens of District 13 at great risk. Also, all the other successfully rescued winners, including Beetee and Finnick, …

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games #2)

During the tour, we are reunited with Effie, Haymitch and Peeta, Cinna and the fabulous fashionistas, and we meet some of the past winners including the cunning Finnick. This year is the 75th annual Hunger Games and as a special treat, the contestants this year will be drawn from each district’s pool of past winners.  In District 12, there is only three living winners: Haymitch, Katniss and Peeta. Katniss will be back in the arena. [spoiler]Katniss resolves that this time, there will be only one winner, Peeta.  It is the only thing she can give him after his unrequited love.  Katniss, who has promised to keep no secrets from Peeta this time round, strikes up a secret bargain with Haymitch to protect Peeta at all costs.[/spoiler] The second and third part of the book deals with the preparation for the Hunger Games as well as the games itself.  Since this year’s games is so different, a new approach is necessary.  Just like sports teams study other team’s behaviors, Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch spend the summer …