Review: The Martian

18007564The Martian by Andy Weir

Genres: Science Fiction, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?


Wow, what an exciting read!

I couldn’t put The Martian down. It kept me constantly wondering what would happen next, although by halfway through it got to be rather predictable when something bad was about to occur. Still, I was so looking forward to seeing what the bad thing would be! How grim.

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Review: The Engines of God

337048The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

Series: The Academy
Genre: Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Two hundred years ago, humans made a stunning discovery in the far reaches of the solar system: a huge statue of an alien creature, with an inscription that defied all efforts at translation. Now, as faster-than-light drive opens the stars to exploration, humans are finding other relics of the race they call the Monument-Makers – each different, and each heartbreakingly beautiful. But except for a set of footprints on Jupiter’s moon Iapetus, there is no trace of the enigmatic race that has left them behind. Then a team of scientists working on a dead world discover an ominous new image of the Monument-Makers. Somehow it all fits with other lost civilizations, and possibly with Earth’s own future. And distant past. But Earth itself is on the brink of ecological disaster – there is no time to search for answers. Even to a question that may hold the key to survival for the entire human race… 


The Engines of God is very unique for a Sci-Fi book. The science element is very subtle, mostly limited to the ethical questions raised by the possibility of finding earth-like planets in other systems. Instead it focuses more on the “soft science” of archaeology. This concept of alien archaeology was fascinating to me, and I thought expertly executed.

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Review: The Bone Clocks

51zSxGPo+iL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy/Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life.

For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born.

A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder. 


Okay, let me start by saying that this was a fantastic book, and my 3-star rating reflects more my enjoyment of it than its quality. It has obviously won plenty of awards, and many readers loved it, which is completely justified. It was a GOOD BOOK. It just wasn’t what I was hoping for.

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Review: Foundation

29579Foundation by Isaac Asminov

Series: Foundation
Genre: Science Fiction
Maturity Level: 1
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future — to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire — both scientists and scholars — and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun — or fight them and be destroyed.


Good gravy, Isaac Asminov is a brilliant writer! Foundation is Science Fiction at its best. It wasn’t anything like I expected, however. I guess I was thinking it was going to have more to do with science and technology development rather than a political drama. But hey, a political drama on the edge of the galaxy amid the decline of history’s greatest empire sounds like the only political drama I am interested in!

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Review: The Last Star

51CC+o3cfQL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave
Genres: Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.


Someone on bookstagram last night, not knowing about this looming book review, casually asked “So what did you think?” And I sat there with my fingers hovering over the screen of my phone, stumped. Eventually I wrote, “Undetermined.”

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Review: Zoe’s Tale

2102600Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Series: Old Man’s War
Genres: Science Fiction, Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating: ⋆⋆


How do you tell your part in the biggest tale in history?

I ask because it’s what I have to do. I’m Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old.

Everyone on Earth knows the tale I am part of. But you don’t know my tale: How I did what I did — how I did what I had to do — not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too. All of you. I’m going to tell it to you now, the only way I know how: not straight but true, the whole thing, to try make you feel what I felt: the joy and terror and uncertainty, panic and wonder, despair and hope. Everything that happened, bringing us to Earth, and Earth out of its captivity. All through my eyes.

It’s a story you know. But you don’t know it all.


My dad gave me this book for Christmas, I think because he knows that I think Ender’s Shadow is one of sci-fi literature’s great achievements. But I think that my dad forgot two key things about Ender’s Shadow. 1) Though you CAN enjoy Ender’s Shadow on its own, its true genius is best appreciated after you have already read Ender’s Game. 2) Orson Scott Card is one of a kind.

Zoe’s Tale is similar in that it is based on a series, but told from a different character’s point of view. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Zoe’s Tale reads more like a young adult book than science fiction. The writing is so-so at best, and it’s utterly predictable. The character of Zoe is pretty stock, and all of the sarcasm (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) got pretty redundant by the end of the book. I mean, seriously, did EVERY SINGLE character have to be sarcastic, sassy, and full of attitude? Maybe Scalzi’s original series, Old Man’s War, is better, but based on this book I can definitely say I’m not going to read it.

Review: The Infinite Sea

51MYplUcdEL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

Series: The 5th Wave
Genres: Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.


I was so excited to read this book. I LOVED The 5th Wave, but because this book wasn’t available at my library (and I am poor enough that about 90% of the books I own are gifts that I don’t get to choose) I ended up waiting for almost a year to read it. My expectations were high, but not too high, it is a sequel after all. I was pumped, and I jumped in.

And it let me down. Like YA sequels always seem to do. Continue reading