Posts Tagged With: Sci-fi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles 1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
ISBN: 978-0141340135
Publisher: Puffin
No. of pages: 400

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

Review:
A cyborg Cinderella? Count me in! This is one of the most innovative twists on the Cinderella story I’ve encountered so far. I was intrigued by the cover when I saw it on a blog and reading the reviews confirmed it as something that would most likely appeal to me – it certainly lived up to its promise!

I absolutely loved the character of Cinder – her mix of cool machine and emotional person made for a great combination and she was both believable and sympathetic.

The setting could have been anywhere, if I’m brutally honest, as there was very little in the way of actual description or mention of traditions in New Beijing that might link it to old Beijing, but I get the feeling it’s a set up for the rest of the series, so I’m more than willing to let that slide ni the hopes that it’s developed further in the subsequent novels. I’ll certainly be looking out for the next book when it’s published.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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Foundation by Isaac Asimov

The Empire is falling. For 12,000 years, it has ruled over countless worlds, but now it is about to collapse. Hari Seldon has found a way to shorten the darkness that will result. He assembles a group of scientists and sequesters them on a lonely planet at the edge of the galaxy, purportedly to create and maintain an encyclopedia of all the knowledge in the universe. He calls this sanctuary The Foundation. However, in the years after he dies, his followers come to realize that there was more to his plan…

It feels odd writing a review of a book that probably everyone in the reading world has already read – how have I lived 32 years without reading it myself? Thank heavens I’ve corrected this gigantic flaw in my reading history….

I was interested to see how a sci-fi novel written over 50 years ago would stand up in the face of modern scientific advances. I mean, we all know how dorky the original Star Wars movies look now that their special effects are years out of date. (Ducking from the inevitable protests of fans – I can’t help it, they look goofy.) To me, Foundation felt like it could be a completely modern novel. Asimov was able to project far enough into the future that we haven’t caught up to him yet. The book seemed almost to be more a collection of short stories about the same idea than an actual novel – each section jumped so far into the future that most of the characters had already died. I am interested to read more books in the series to see Asimov fleshes out the different eras of the Foundation that he introduced in this book. I enjoyed it enough to want to read more, but I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite reads for the year. Perhaps that’s the problem with Great Works of Fiction – they never quite seem to live up to the hype.

Finished: 7/19/08
Source: Franklin Avenue Library
Rating: 6/10

Reviewed by Elizabeth

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The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery’s master, the sinister Dr. Moreau a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments with truly horrific results.

Review:
Like Frankenstein almost 80 years before, The Island of Dr Moreau features a man of science playing God and finding that his creations do not act as he would prefer. The themes of human nature, law, religion and society are expertly mixed against the backdrop of a mysterious Pacific island.

Of course, in recent years, many of the issues faced by Moreau have come to the fore in the media, as the advancement of genetics and cloning have begged the question of whether it is ever right for Man to play God, and just how far is too far? There is also the question of forcing a belief system on another set of “people” – deifying ones-self in order to be protected from one’s own creations – and the degradation of said creations when they are left to their own devices.

Wells has chosen a heady blend of science and nature to portray just how easily mankind can go astray – and one has to wonder if his ideas are not already becoming a reality – which makes for tense and exciting reading. It’s not a particularly long story and it runs at breakneck speed from beginning to end, hurtling the reader into the action and offering no respite until the tale is told.

If you fancy trying a bit of classic sci-fi, this is definitely one to try!

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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