Saturday, January 23, 2010

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel

Starclimber, sequel to "Skybreaker," the Times Children's book of the year, seems to be an attempt at an old fashioned sci fi adventure. The plot starts with a big bang, and then Matt Cruse, the intrepid hero, has to undergo gruelling training and disappointment before being picked to be part of Starclimber's crew alongside his photographer girlfriend. They turn out to be right about all sorts of bizarre things, and end up in an awful lot of danger.

I found the characterisation shallow, the plot telegraphic, and much of the sci fi element old and tired . Don't get me wrong, some of it was great, and there were even moments where I thought, gosh if this author can sort himself out he's got real potential. But the end result was disappointment. Maybe my expectations were too high. 

Review by Alicia Ponder

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Brainjack: the next war starts in cyberspace, by Brian Falkner

Sam Wilson, brilliant teenage hacker, is looking for trouble. And trouble is looking for him. He's trying to get into the most carefuly controlled pieces of cyberspace there is - but he has no idea of the danger that he's getting himself into, it's not just that the police might be after him, he's being chased by an agency he can't even comprehend.
Ok, I'm a science fiction buff, so nothing in this book was particularly new, but it didn't seem to matter, it was a great roller-coaster. Lots of fun, lots of danger, and some really nice touches -- it makes me want to read his other book - the tomorrow code - to see if it's half as good as this one.

About the author:  I'm slow on the uptake (my excuse is that the book was published in Aus):  Brian is actually an NZ author -  born and raised in Auckland - which I wont hold against him, and is the author of several aother books besides this and the Tomorrow code (shortlisted for the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children - Young Adults and the Esther Glen Award at the LIANZA Awards). The Flea Thing (shortlisted for the LIANZA Esther Glen Award, 2004), The Real Thing, and The Super Freak (shortlisted, New Zealand Post Book Awards, 2006).

Friday, January 01, 2010

Darke Academy - Secret Lives by Gabriella Poole

What can I say? Darke Academy is a bit of a cross between Harry Potter and Twilight. If you liked those, you'll almost certainly love this - it was fun, and I've not met anybody yet who didn't love it.  Even those completely jaded after Twilight.

Ordinary girl from a tough background wins a scholarship to a school so magnificent she can hardly believe it. All the guys are handsome, all the girls are beautiful and very rich, but the Darke academy has a dark secret, (of course it does,) it's a haven for the chosen "Few" who seem to be able to do whatever they like.

But who are these "Few?" and what will it take to join them? Well, of course you know they're vampires, but Cassie doesn't... and she's the one in danger.

Review by Alicia Ponder


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