Book – At first glance, Vox‘s cover appears simplistic and unassuming – but this, dear reader, we would be wrong to presume.
Vox takes place in contemporary America and follows Dr. Jean McCellan, an acclaimed scientist and feminist. She, along with all women, must adhere to a strictly-enforced 100-word per day government decree or suffer punitive electric shocks if she goes over the allotment. In no small part due to the “Pure Movement,” women are not permitted to work outside of the home, nor girls taught to read or write. The author’s readable prose presents us with a thriller into which we are intimately drawn and a world which Dalcher deftly navigates.
Good Morning America lists Vox as one of their “Best books to bring to the beach this summer.” Wow…how shall I put this, uh – no. While Vox is significantly less voluminous than Margaret Atwood’s hefty The Handmaid’s Tale and is provocative and worthwhile reading on Fall, Spring, or Winter day, but one for a hot, forgettable, summer’s day? Not on your life.
Book – A thrilling fantasy novel set in a dystopian society where the outbreak of disease is wiping out the population, and the remaining are left starving. The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. The Reestablishment promises to fix the crumbling society but the threat of war lingers in the air for any who attempt to rebel against the powerful organization. In this mess of a world, we meet Juliette. Juliette was taken from her home and imprisoned by the Reestablishment. Juliette has a gift, or rather a curse. Her touch can kill. The last time she reached a hand out to someone, he died. She’s never experienced the comfort of being embraced in her mother’s arms, never known the love of family, a friend, anyone. The Reestablishment wants to use her as a weapon, but Juliette swears she will never hurt another person. But Juliette must make a decision on which side to stand on–to be a weapon with the Reestablishment, or a warrior fighting for the rebels.
A blend of romance, fantasy, and rebellion, I highly enjoyed this series. Juliette’s gift is so interesting to learn about. Initially, we meet her as a prisoner who would rather die than hurt another person through her touch. As the series unfolds, Juliette’s inner struggles lead her on a path she never expected. I could never decide if I actually like the main character through her development across the series, though nonetheless enjoyed the story as a whole. It reminded me of the X-men movies, which are definitely worth a watch. There are currently three books in the series, and author Tahere Mafi promises three more, the first to arrive in March 2018.
Book – Lauren has hyperempathy, a disorder born from a drug her mother took while she was pregnant; it means that Lauren feels other people’s pain like it’s her own. When she was a kid, her brothers would cut themselves to watch her bleed. It’s a tough disorder to live with in a world like hers, where everyone lives close to the edge all the time. Her dad tells stories about the good old days, when his professor’s salary was enough to live well, when people didn’t live in walled neighborhoods just to keep the looters out, when you could buy your food at the grocery store instead of growing and trading for what you need to survive – but Lauren knows better than to listen too close to those stories, because she’s pretty sure it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Which means that when, one day, it does, she’s one of the only people from her old neighborhood who’s prepared for what comes next.
This is one of those books that people have been telling me to read for years, and I only just got around to it. It’s a classic of science fiction, and for good reason: Lauren is one of the most real characters I’ve ever seen. She’s afraid, she’s hurt, she’s brave, she’s stubborn, she’s uncertain, she’s a leader not because she knows better than anyone else but because she’s thoughtful, and has thought about things that most people are too afraid to consider. This is a quieter dystopia than most of the current run of dystopian fiction. There’s no Hunger Games here, just people fighting for their own survival. But it’s even more inspiring because of that, because while we can’t all be Katniss, it’s much easier to imagine ourselves being Lauren — someone who, when faced with the loss of everything she’s ever known and loved, does her best to help others build a future.
Book–Mare Barrow lives in a world in which your status in life is determined by the color of blood that flows through your veins. If you have Red blood then you are poor and you are forced to fight the Silver’s battles. If you have Silver blood, it means you were born with different gifts (aka super powers) like telepathy and fire. Mare and her family are Reds and struggle everyday to survive. As all of Mare’s older brothers are sent off to fight, Mare supports her family by stealing from the wealthy.
Everything changes after she accepts a job working at the royal palace. During a major dinner, a freak accident causes Mare to revel powers she did not know she even had, after all Reds do not have powers. The royal court, in order to safe face, take her, claim her as the lost princess, and betroth her to Prince Maven. Mare is unable to do anything if she wishes to keep her family and herself safe. So she does what they ask while learning to master her powers and secretly work with the Scarlet Guard, who are preparing to take down the Silvers.
Red Queen is an amazing ride. There is romance, mystery, adventure, action, powers, and more. The sequel, Glass Sword, just came out and the last book in the series will be out next year! It is a must-read for any lover of young adult literature. You will not regret it.