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Machine Wars

machine-warsBy: Michael Pryor

Bram was late home from music practice, these things happen but this time something is very wrong when he gets home. This is a moment he has been training for. For some reason a paranoid, super intelligence is out to get him. His mum always said she hoped this would never happen but she made sure he was prepared if it did. Thing is Bram really wasn’t expecting it to be today. The plan calls for Bram to scatter and hide. It sounds so simple but with so much technology around that the intelligence is able to tap into to use to hunt for him, that is no easy task. Bram isn’t alone in this, somehow his best friend gets dragged into his disaster. Also there is one piece of technology left that is on his side, a Roboduck called Bob. This unlikely group have to survive, if they can do that they will be instrumental in saving the world.

A fun roller coaster of a read. The pace of it does not stop. Bram is a bit of a loner, all his moving about has made it difficult for him to make friends. Stella gets through his defences by being herself. She refuses to let herself be boxed into one group, instead she goes out of her way to be friends with everyone. This is beneficial in this situation because she has learnt some neat little bits of information along the way. Bob is such a wonderful addition to the story. He is part comic relief, part necessary associate and a reminder of another robot with self esteem issues from another series of books.

The world Pryor has created seems not too distant from our own in many ways, just with an abundance of technology that we don’t live with.I enjoy the way Pryor has blended together the familiar and the not so familiar to create a place that is very easy to visualise. you can almost hear the machines, (though it’s entirely possible that that is my over active imagination). I also like the way the characters work together, how Stella is an equal partner in their survival. The story touches on some interesting ethical issues around the topic of artificial intelligence, but the ethics don’t bog it down.

Another wonderful read from one of my favourite authors. For ages 10+

Recommended.

Publisher: Random House Australia Children’s Books

Published: 01 April 2014

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Action

ISBN 13: 9780857982766

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of the page.

 

Claws of the Crocodile

I received this from the publisher.

claws-of-the-crocodile

By: Bear Grylls

Mission Survival series bk 5

Beck Granger has been in some tight situations all over the world, on this trip to Australia he has promised his Uncle that he will stay out of trouble. Then somebody lures him away from his uncle with information about the accident that killed his parents. Or at least that is what he thinks he will be getting, rather he finds himself swept up into corporate espionage. He sets out to find an Aboriginal Elder in the outback, who holds information Beck’s parents gave him. To track this man down and survive in the harsh environment Beck will need to use all the skills available to him.

An interesting story that has family, friendship, action and mystery. Beck is a mini Bear, imparting plenty of knowledge about surviving in extreme circumstances, throughout. The other thing this story has that is often missing is a respect for Australia’s natural heritage and those who lived here before Europeans colonised the country. Beck is adventurous, respectful, brave and resourceful, these books are entertaining and maybe a little bit of something educational will be imparted in the process of reading.

Publisher: Red Fox

Published: 01 August 2013

Format: Paperback 272 pages

Categories: Adventure, Action, Environment

ISBN 13: 9781849418423

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

The 5th Wave

I received this book from the publisher

9780141345833By: Rick Yancey

Life was all normal until the day it wasn’t. The first wave took out half a million people, not a very big number in the grand scheme of things. The second wave took out many more and the third took out billions. By then the survivors had no idea who to trust, this was the forth wave.

Cassie is running. Running from those who killed her family, funning from the thing tracking her down. She has no idea how many, if any, humans are left. She can’t trust anyone. Then Evan rescues her and she doesn’t really know if she can trust him. She still has a mission, she promised her little brother, the day they took him away, that she would find him. She is determined not to let him down.

Ben is being trained. Trained to become a killing machine. This does not make him unique many kids are being trained in exactly the same way. They are told this is their best hope for survival. Not every one will make it through the training though, and after the training then what? Just how are kids supposed to defeat an alien race equipped with vastly superior technology? And just what is the fifth wave?

This is a dark, gritty and in moments disturbing story. Cassie is a determined character who is driven to survive and because of the chaos around her doesn’t always make the right decisions. Sometimes she just reacts, and that’s how she gets through. This is not the life she had planned on having. She just wanted to be normal, get through school have a boyfriend. Instead she sleeps with her trusty M16 and has no idea how to trust any more.

Ben has been at his lowest and is determined to get revenge. He is determined to do what is asked of him. Somewhere in there he remains human and feels a responsibility to the youngest member of his team, Nugget.

This story is compelling. The normality of the characters thrown into this situation is what pulls you in. You think you see where it’s going and it then takes you in another direction. The world is ours but a desolate one. Yancey’s descriptions make it easy to see in your mind just what kind of devastation has happened. You feel for these guys and at no time does the author make it easy for them to make the leap from one place to another. They fight for their goals and that is what makes it so engrossing.

The central characters are surrounded by support characters who add depth and emotion to this story. The layers, moments of just being a teenager or small glimpses of humour make it seem all the more real.

If you are looking for a good read, with an alien or dystopian kind of theme then do yourself a favour and pick this up. Well worth spending some time with.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 07 May 2013

Format: Paperback 388 pages

Categories: Science Fiction, Aliens, Survival, Dystopian

ISBN 13: 9780141345819

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Blood Red Road

By: Moira Young

Saba and her twin live with their father and younger sister Emmi, in an incredibly desolate place. Things are tough. Everything changes for Saba when her brother is kidnapped and their father killed. She is determined to save her brother, no matter what. She leaves everything she knows behind and races across the harsh dustlands, fighting for her very survival, filled with a red hot rage that fills her up and spurs her on. She can’t trust anyone, not even the boy who saves her life, there is something about hime though that draws her. To fulfill her task and rescue her brother, Saba must learn to trust, lead and silence the stirring in her heart.

A civilization destroyed, reduced to scavenging and violence. This is the world Saba draws us into. At first I have to say I found the language style (spelling as spoken) a little difficult to get through but at some point I realised the story had swept me up and sucked me in and I didn’t even notice the laguage anymore.

Saba is an interesting, torn and stubborn character. She is tough, really tough and her journey is engaging. The characters around her are wonderful counterpoints to Saba, equally strong yet able to draw more out of her. Young has painted a harsh, often cruel environment and planted in it tough and ruthless characters. Even their sense of humour is rough, though the playful moments are welcome, timed well in the text and help bring balance into the tense atmosphere. Young has done a great job weaving such characters into this world.

Saba, her friends and the world are tougher, certainly rougher than some of the dystopian worlds that are making appearances in YA fiction and there is something very appealing in its rawness. For a reader willing to embrace it, this book will be a rewarding read. Gritty and enjoyable.

Recommended.

Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books

Published: 02 June 2011

Format: Paperback 544 pages

Categories: Adventure, Dystopia,

ISBN 13: 9781407124254

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia

 

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

Welcome to the Hunger Games – winning will make you famous, losing means certain death. In a post apocalyptic world the districts are controlled by the powers that be through the use of a televised, unscripted event, The Hunger Games. Reality television to control the masses. 12 boys and 12 girls are forced, through a lottery, to enter the arena. Inside there is only one rule – kill or be killed.

When 16 year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her younger sister she assumes she is going to die. But challenging circumstances are a way of life for Katniss, surviving is what she does and there is more going on than Katniss could ever guess at.

A riveting read that pulls you into the dark and layered world of Katniss. This is a fascinating look at playing a game to survive, the cruelty of some and the disassociation of others. Highly recommended, though perhaps for older readers due to the violence of the games and some of the issues it may raise

Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 05 January 2009

Format: Paperback 464 pages

Categories: Adventure, Science Fiction

ISBN 13: 9781407109084

Purchase here

Tomorrow When The War Began

By John Marsden

It’s just like any other day of the holidays when Ellie and her friends say goodbye to their families and head to the hills for a few days camping. They weren’t to know everything was about to change. It starts with the planes, then they find abandoned houses and dead and dying animals. The place they come back to is not the one they left. As they piece together more information they realise they have some big choices to make. Bigger than they ever thought they’d have to. Do they fight? Do they give up? Can they sacrifice everything they have?

A riveting read told from the perspective of Ellie. It is a story that gets you thinking about some of those big questions. These engaging characters are put in a terrible situation but Marsden doesn’t shy away from the sometimes devastating consequences their actions have. He respects his readers ability to think and as a result they are loyal and the series remains popular.

Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks

Published: 01 June 2006

Format: Paperback 277 pages

Categories: Fiction, Adventure, Relationships

ISBN 13: 9780439829106

Purchase here

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