Tag Archives: adventure

Book Review of Renegades by Thomas Locke

A Recruits Novel

Once again Thomas Locke’s novel entertained on Thomas Lockemultiple levels. He starts right out with a kidnapping, snarling gangsters and rebellious twins at a military academy. From there you know you’re in for an entertaining action adventure. The book begins with two main plot lines in clearly delineated chapters. As with many of Locke’s books, you know they’ll converge so you read on, enjoying the plot set-ups, as you anxiously anticipate their interaction.

The story is heavily testosterone driven with the twins, Sean and Dillon, and the military dudes, Logan and Vance. Female generals’s and a female advocate keeps it modern and adds balance. Although peppered with romance, the romance is a side element to the story, more of an admittance that romance is an element of life than a predominating plot point.

Teleportation and telepathy play a primary role in the main characters. Sean can project his mental vision outward in order to “hunt” for the information he wants, and the twins can both  jump to any location they know. The military team Logan put together, from the ragtag of adepts he assembled from book one, boasts similar powers.

As the second in the Recruits series, Renegades stands on its own nicely. References to the first story provide a little background, but the story doesn’t rely on you having read the first book. Undoubtedly, the first book will prove an equally fun read. I haven’t read it, but expect to enjoy it when I have time.

Thomas Locke’s Social Commentary

As with all good sci-fi the story-line functions as a vehicles for the authors views on life and/or society. Locke writes about things as he would like them to be, in specific, how people get alone, support each other and work together. His views come out in his depiction of interpersonal relationships. Many novels emphasize conflict between characters, in particular within family. Locke depicts the twins, Dillon and Sean, as an examples of how brothers can interact with respect, understanding and support for each other’s individuality.

Military scenes are similar. Interactions among the team Logan put together show how a trusting team can work. It may not be realistic, but that doesn’t distract from the story. In fact it makes it better.

Book Review of Renegades by Thomas LockeRenegades (Recruits) by Thomas Locke
Published by Fleming H. Revell Company on November 7th 2017
Genres: Novella, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Goodreads

Twins Sean and Dillon are using their transit abilities for good--but not everyone sees it that way. Arrested and imprisoned by a clandestine group within the highest reaches of the Human Assembly, Sean and Dillon are forced to choose sides between those who wish to serve and those who seek to rule. At the same time within a distant outpost system, a young soldier is coming into his own. Logan has known since childhood that he possessed a special ability--a distinct form of transiting called ghost-walking. Though ghost-walking has been outlawed for centuries, Logan is secretly drawing together a crew for a risky quest. The fates of these three young men will lead them, along with the entire Assembly, to the brink of destruction in this inventive tale of adventure, honor, and the things worth fighting for.

The Goose Girl, a retelling by Shannon Hale

Redd Becker Book Review

Goose GirlGoose Girl retells the fairy tale of a princess done wrong, who struggles to regain her rightful place on the throne. Her mother, the queen, exiles her daughter to another country in an arranged marriage. This remains one of my least favored plot lines, but this retelling enchanted me.

Hale tells the story in a style I refer to as literary light. Her use of language to create the princess’s world demonstrates empathy with all facets of the story. Scrumptious descriptions of landscapes, ancient cities, village life, woodlands, palaces and markets fill every scene, but the descriptions don’t over power the story or characters.

At a time when movies, TV shows and novels maximize action, conflict, fear and dark imagery, Goose Girl provided relief. Struggles were clear, but not harsh. They entertained without causing angst.

Goose Girl as Fairy Tale and Fantasy

Technically Goose Girl fits the fantasy genre, because the princess possesses the ability to talk to animals and manipulate the wind.  Hale so adeptly integrates these qualities that the magic appears naturally human in the characters.

Subplots lace the main story line and Hale takes care to develop them. Many of her characters grow and change, as they encounter new circumstances. A fun band of helpers who tend animals for the palace gather around the princess.

Wikipedia provides a nice synopsis of the original German fairy tale.

Hale’s rendition of Goose Girl gained much recognition including: A New York Public Library ‘100 Titles for Reading and Sharing’ Book; A Josette Frank Award Winner; A Texas Lone Star Reading List Book; A Utah State Book Award Winner (YA); and A Utah Speculative Fiction Award Winner.

The Goose Girl, a retelling by  Shannon HaleThe Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1) by Shannon Hale
Series: The Books of Bayern #1
on January 1st 1970
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 383
Goodreads

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani's journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

 

The Lightening Thief, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan

Redd Becker Book Review

Rick Riordan booksThe Lightening Thief is the first of Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympian’s series. The stories mix Greek Gods with youths in the modern world. Although I would classify this book a middle grade adventure,  high schoolers enjoy the series as well. As with many Rick Riordan books, the story moves fast with hardly a moment to reflect.

The Lightening Thief starts in New York City, then takes us on an adventure-filled ride across the country. Written in first person, Percy tells how he learned that he is a demigod, then shows us the consequences of his privileged position.

We call this type of book reader’s “candy” in our house, because it doesn’t have much depth, but is entertaining.

Rick Riordan Books

Riordan writes fast moving, action oriented stories that take the reader out of here and now—pure entertainment. He is a prolific writer and can be formulaic, but for the right young reader, he opens the door of imagination and entertainment. Like many of Riordan’s books, The Lightening Thief is easy to read and full of action.

Riordan uses mythology from European lore as a springboard for his stories. This provides a fun framework, although the references shouldn’t be interpreted as true to the myths, .

If your child enjoys reading The Lightening Thief, check out this list of Rick Riordan books.

For those interested in writing:  I think of Rick Riordan stories as full of action and conflicts, so when researching various ways writers handle ‘fight scenes’ I pulled out his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series as a reference. The fight scenes I found were so much shallower than I remembered. For wonderfully colorful fight scenes check out Brian Jacques’ Redwall series and Tad William’s science fiction books.

The Lightening Thief, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick RiordanThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
Published by Disney Hyperion Books on March 1st 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 377
Goodreads

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Redd Becker Book Review

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1) byI thought The Young Elites was going to be a typical rags to riches adventure, with a prince challenged to take his rightful place on the throne. Although it is a story of both a prince and princess vying for power, I was pleasantly surprised.

The protagonist, Adelina, was not the good girl I expected and yet my empathy was with her all the way. The circumstances of her love interest was more convoluted and obscured then expected.

Lu writes in third person close. Most chapters are in the protagonist’s POV, which helps to build empathy toward her, however, the perspective changes in some chapter provided information and subplots from various angles.

Snippets of literature from their world start each chapter. These provide insights to their world’s culture and an idea of where the chapter is heading. I liked the snippets better than similar headings in some stories.

The Young Elites’ Plot

Children altered by a sickness leaves them with physical defects and sometimes special powers. The king of Kenettra persecutes those effected, the malfettos. His queen decides to take over the throne and kill them. Adelina’s brother, Enzo, the rightful heir to the throne has been exiled as a malfetto. He enlists other malfettos to form the Young Elites in order to overthrow the throne and take his place as the rightful heir.

Adelina’s powers are slow to show, but when she kills her cruel father she is enlisted by Enzo, who saves her from death and enlists her help. Complications arise when Adelina’s sister is taken by the Queens’s assistant as hostage.

For those who like to write: The Young Elites is a wonderful example of subplots, over subplots.

You may want to check out Marie Lu’s final book in this series, The Midnight Star. Or another review of the popular Young Elite’s series at ReadLove.

The Young Elites by Marie LuThe Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1) by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #1
on October 7th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 355
Goodreads

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

 

Rebel, Reboot #2 by Amy Tintera; a scifi action adventure

Redd Becker Book Review

Rebel (Reboot, #2)

Tintera writes a griping science fiction action story placed in a dystopian future world. From the start, each scene creates tension and puts the reader on edge. Layer upon layer of subplot intertwine as characters appear. Conflict builds as each character moves toward their goal. 

Rebel is the second book in Tintera’s Reboot series.  As in Reboot, people who die come back to life. In rebirth they are stronger, faster and can quickly regenerate themselves when hurt. Their ability to feel emotions, however, comes under questioned. Normal humans fear them, so the reboots are imprisoned and used as slaves.

Characters in Rebel, Reboot #2

When Callum 22 and Wren 178 escape from the Austin HARC detention facility, they free other reboots and find a reboot reservation where they hope to live in peace. To their surprise, the reservation of Reboots are planning a revolt and revenge on humans that neither Callum or Wren believe is good.

Tintera invests in character development. Two protagonists tell the story from  first person perspective providing empathy to their journey. And true to science fiction the story brings up questions of the ethics of technological manipulations to human lives.

Check out Amy Tintera’s book trailer.

Rebel, Reboot #2 by Amy Tintera; a scifi action adventureRebel (Reboot, #2) by Amy Tintera
Series: Reboot #2
Published by HarperTeen on May 13th 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 340
Goodreads

Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.
Now that they've both escaped, they're ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.
With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there's only one option left...
It's time for Reboots to become rebels.

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

Redd Becker Book Review

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

Ear, Eye and Arm is Tendai’s coming-of-age story. He leaves home with his younger siblings as a boy and returns a man. Nancy Farmer writes each adventure the children encounter deftly while spicing them with basic human foibles. Issues woven between the lines include: greed, power, laziness, unrestrained talk, retardation, childhood innocence.

Farmer writes in a more literary style than many books these days, but this tale was engaging. Encounters with interesting characters and compelling situations kept me reading.

Farmer created a science fiction alternate-history in Zimbabwe. It’s a future of robots and mutated humans. When three children of a high-level law enforcement official run away from home for a day’s adventure, they fall into the clutches of kidnappers. They escape only to begin a journey filled with many harrowing situations. While the children grapple with the underbelly of their city, their parents and three detectives (Eye, Ear and Arm) attempt to find them. The children’s adventures cover the gamut from: scavenging among ancient trash fields where the poor mine plastic, to helping out at ‘Resthaven”s back to nature enclave, to relaxing at a children’s boarding home, but at a price. 

Nancy Farmer Awards

Farmer gains recognition through her acclaimed awards: Newberry Honor Book, Golden Kite Honor Book and Parent’s Choice Book. There must be more.

My Rating four-stars

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy FarmerThe Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
Published by Firebird on January 14th 2002
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Adventure
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Tendai, his little sister and their younger brother escape from their splendid home to explore their dangerous city. Tendai is motivated by wanting to earn a scouting badge, and he desperately wants to prove himself, as their overprotective father has always placed tight restrictions on what the siblings can and can't do.