Review: 2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide

2015 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide
2015 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide by Marilag Angway

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like most anthologies, this one is a mixed bag–there are always some stories you’ll like better than others–but overall I am happy to give it 5 stars! It deserves the high rating for the sheer volume and breadth of ideas, settings, styles, and young protagonists who fill its pages. This anthology does a wonderful job of living up to its aspiration to make science fiction more accessible, diverse, and representative for all young readers. If you have a young reader (or are an older one) with a keen appreciation for the sense of wonder in science fiction, you should definitely check out this book! Looking forward to next year’s volume already.

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Audiobook Giveaway ~ One’s Aspect to the Sun

OATTS cover-smI’m happy to announce that I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway for THREE audiobook codes for One’s Aspect to the Sun. The sequel is due out later this year, so if you win, you’ll have lots of time to listen to the first one before the second arrives!

As usual with Rafflecopter, there are several ways you can enter, and some things you can do every day to increase your chance of winning! The contest will run for one week, until April 21st.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Station Eleven

Station Eleven
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book–but it’s amusing that at one point I observed to my daughter, “I like this book, but the author tends to get too ‘literary’ at times, and I get impatient with that.” Because, of course, I thought it was more a science fiction book and not a “literary” book when I picked it out of the audiobook lineup at my library and started listening, when the truth is that it’s a “literary” book with science fiction/dystopic tropes. (Not that I’m all that keen on the word “literary” as an identifier, but it seems to be the one that we’re stuck with.)

However, I think this goes to show that such distinctions are real. What I meant when I made that remark to my daughter was that there was, for my taste, too much introspection, too much thinking, too much considering the weight of everything by the characters. When the active story flagged too long for these things, that’s when I got impatient. Now, there are many flashbacks and time-jumps in this story, and I’m not necessarily talking about those. I’m talking about the places where the forward motion of the story is trumped by other things–such as characters lingering long and in detail over memories, conversations, relationships, interactions, and objects.

I like the fact that this novel has made me think about this distinction. It’s not that I’m against introspection and consideration of things that are fraught with meaning in a story. It’s just that I want those things that are fraught with meaning to also move the story along. Meaning alone is not enough for me. I want meaning and I want movement, and it’s the balance between those two things that contribute to the success of a book for me.

That said, the author does a decent job in her foray into the speculative elements of the book, and has created some intriguing characters. I’d recommend it if you are interested in seeing a generally well-done blending of literary and commercial genres, and if you like a well-thought-out disaster/aftermath story. The active storyline is worth tolerating some of the slower parts.

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Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my. What can I say about this book that five stars doesn’t already say? It was, indeed, amazing. Stiefvater is a genius of description in my estimation–meaning not that she writes a lot of long descriptive passages, but that she is incredibly skilled at choosing just the right few words or imagery to make you see or feel the moment in the book *precisely*.

The story is compelling; the characters believable, real, and engaging; and the writing superb. I really can’t say more than that. I cannot wait to get the next book and dive in.

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