Showing posts with label science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space




In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!



Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

Synopsis:
"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

[Review] A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) - Claudia Gray: Dimensional Travel and Parallel Universes





In A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, Marguerite is determined to hunt down Paul Markov, the man that killed her physicist father and subsequently fled into a parallel universe.

What intrigued me: Time travel books are my krypronite. This is only dimensional travel, but well - close enough.

YES to parallel worlds

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU teases with a killer premise. Parallel worlds. Science. Physics. Sci-Fi. Action.
And the strange thing is, it actually delivers. The first page hooked me and I was absolutely invested in the story. The world building is impeccable, the parallel worlds Marguerite and side kick and other love interest Theo travel to are both fascinating and shockingly plausible. 

Yep, this one is one of the dreaded YA read with a love triangle - but hear me out: Gray actually manages to make this one quite endurable because Marguerite never really develops more than brotherly feelings for one of them. I'm not going to tell which one, it would spoil all the fun. The romance we get though, is breathtaking.

Emotional punch to the gut

It's a literal punch to the gut. I was so invested in the romantic storyline that would, and sometimes wouldn't happen, depending on which parallel universe they were in. Gosh. I suffered with Marguerite, I swooned with her, I cried with her.

Gray has this wonderfully easy to read, clean writing style, but whenever we have a romantic scene, she bang out sentences that just make you look up and reevaluate your life. Or start ugly crying. Seriously, if you want swoon and all the feels, this is your pick. For the love of god, I lost my heart in the Russian parallel world. If you've already recognized it, Saint Basil's Cathedral is pictured on the cover. A huge chunk of the novel is spent in Moscow in a wonderfully Romanov-era storyline that WILL murder your feelings. 

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is really a spectacularly written, unpredictable book version of a box of chocolates. From high tech worlds, to regency worlds, to something inbetween, I promise you'll enjoy at least one of the fantastic worlds Claudia Gray has so incredibly carefully crafted. And hey, the time travel plot is also pretty neat. And the love interest.  Dear God, the love interest. Prepare to have your heart broken.

But one thing that I have to remark and that negates a lot of things I enjoyed about this book is that it features dubious consent/rape. And that is not addressed until book three. A character in this has sex with another character that is unable to consent. And this is not okay. And this is not okay if not addressed properly. I loved this book and consider this to be one of my favorites, but I must knock stars off this rating for this horrifying thing.


Rating:

★★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is the parallel world novel that I've been waiting for. If you love a good romance with a side of fast-paced action, pick this gem up.

Trigger warning for dubious consent/rape.



Additional Info

Published: November 4th 2014
Pages: 360
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780062278968

Synopsis:
"Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite's father is murdered, and the killer—her parent's handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected."(Source: Goodreads)

Do you know some good books about parallel worlds?

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Review] Boy-1 - H.S. Tak: DNA manipulation, Clones, and Epidemics





In BOY-1, scientist Jadas finds out that he has been drugged his whole life to hide the fact that he is a clone. When an illness epidemic breaks out, his DNA turns out to be the key to salvation.

What intrigued me: The cover promises pretty, traditional artwork!

Likeable Protagonist

BOY-1 doesn't need much exposition to explain its world. In the not-so-distant future, humans are yet again experimenting with DNA and have made a breakthrough that will change the fate of humanity forever. 
Protagonist Jadas is an incredibly likeable main character, simply because his emotions are perfectly conveyed in the artwork and absolutely understandable, considering the situation he is in. I sympathized with him from the start, even more so because we get little bits of narration from his perspective, which I always appreciate because it adds character depth.

The beginning and world establishing didn't quite manage to convince me, because the whole line of work that Jadas is in is explained way too complicatedly. In reality they don't do more than mess with apes' DNA as a test so they can mess with human DNA later. This explanation doesn't need five confusing pages of illustrations laced with complicated scientific terms that nobody understands.

Art Compliments Narration

As soon as Jadas' secret is revealed, BOY-1 dramatically picks up the pace, jumps in time, throws you from one scenario to the next, and remarkably, I didn't have any problems following the narrative. 

However, this fast-paced-ness is probably BOY-1's biggest flaw. I would have loved to get more scenes with his girlfriend (?) and her child so I could actually understand what their relation is, since she is introduced as a prostitute in the first few pages. I would have loved backstory. I would have loved seeing more of Jadas' life, because like this it just reads like a lightspeed-paced action thriller with a bunch of cliche characters. 

From the annoyed black detective to the Chinese mafia that hardly speaks any English to the Russian pimp - I wish BOY-1 had bothered to create the side characters as carefully as the protagonist.

As for the artwork, I'm absolutely impressed. Nahuelpan took a traditional approach with little to no experimental nuances and the shadowed, angular, blue-toned look is just a feast for the eyes. it absolutely manages to convey the feel of the story and I caught myself just admiring the art every once in a while.




Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

BOY-1 is a fast-paced DNA conspiracy adventure. It reads quick, and you'll soon be longing for more, and I guarantee - the plot twists will catch you off-guard.



Additional Info

Author: H.S. Tak
Artwork: Amancay Nahuelpan
Published: March 8th 2016
Pages: 106
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Genre: Adult / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781631405297

Synopsis:
"In the fast-approaching future, when the drug-addled heir of a genetic-engineering company begins to investigate his company s murky past, he discovers he is the catalyst in a terrifying global event that will transform him and forever alter the course of human evolution."
(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite dystopian comic?
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