Sunday, February 20, 2011

Across the Universe

This is one of those rare books that I'd probably classify as one of the top ten best books I've read this year. That's right. I think I'd definitely put it up there with the likes of "The Book Thief" and "Shiver".

I first learned about this book in a review by old friends of mine, the Lateiner Gang.You can see their review here. They pretty much tell you the whole story without spoiling too much.

When I heard about it, the story kind of reminded me of "Wall*E", only without the robots. Basically, it's a sci-fi story that takes place in the future, with people taking off in a big spaceship to colonize a new planet, which is 300 years away from Earth. Certain people, like scientists, military leaders, important people, get cryogenically frozen. Then you have a couple thousand other people to run the ship and help it reach it's destination. Fast-forward a few centuries, and you have a mystery-murderer unplugging certain frozens, one of them a teenage girl. Why?

The love story is okay. It's the sci-fi stuff that was really amazing. All the people who live on the spaceship, centuries after it launches, evolve into a kind of "mono-ethnic" race. Everyone has roughly the same features and traits, so no one is different. Each person has a mini-communicator embedded inside their ear, so you can talk to anyone you want on the ship with a simple vocal command. (I know someone who'd probably think this was ultra-cool. ^_~)

Amazing story. Really compelling. Will definitely leave you thinking after you've closed the book.

Friday, February 4, 2011


This book was heavily recommended to me by my friend Amy, aka the Simple Little Bookworm (see her review of it here). Since I had read and intensely enjoyed The Book Thief, another novel Amy said I would like, I decided to give "Shiver" a try.

Getting into it, I knew right off the bat that it would remind me a lot of the Twilight Saga, because they were both paranormal teen romance novels. I only hoped that thisstory would be a better one. Trust me. It was. ^_^

Here are the few key differences that makes Shiver the better read:

~There are only werewolves. No vampires whatsoever! This was a very good thing, in my case. (I've been on Team Jacob from the start. ^_~)
~The book is written so that almost every other chapter is narrated either by the human girl, Grace, and the werewolf boy, Sam. Well,most of it is from Grace's view, but at least not all of it, as was Bella's case.
~There aren't any love triangles. So the story is ultra-simple. Grace loves Sam. Sam loves Grace. That's it. It's like what might have happened if Bella had never fallen in love with Edward, only Jacob.

Besides these things, the similarities to Twilight were pretty strong, but this book somehow seemed a lot better written. The characters seemed more like real, multi-dimensional, good-hearted people. The rules of this fictional world (some people can turn into werewolves, but only when the temperature gets cold) were acceptable, with some suspension-of-belief.

Most of all, the 2 lead characters, Grace and Sam, were characters that I truly wanted to see get together. They treated each other like equals, even though one of them obviously had super-natural powers that the other didn't. (This is unlike the relationship inTwilight, where Bella basically treats Edward like a god, and she doesn't understand why he's in love with her, because she has low self-esteem.)

I'm not sure what else I can say without giving away the story, but suffice it to say that I really liked it. I hear that this is only the first book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, though I believe Shiverdoes quite well, even on it's own. (Except the ending felt strangely anti-climactic. O,o) Well, perhaps I'll read the other two in the series,Linger and Forever, when the latter comes out this July.

Thanks, Amy. 2 for 2, you have steered me in the right direction of a good read. What do you have for me next? ^_~