Category Archives: Dystopian

Renaissance by Heather Sunseri

With a cure invented and a vaccine being manufactured, the citizens of New Caelum are on the edge of being able to move out of the city and into the rest of the country if they want. But then Governor Jackson, dictator of six outlying settlements, threatens President Layne to get back something he says is his that she has. A new threat appears when they discover the Governor is training attack dogs and making them sick with a disease similar to Bad Sam, making living weapons of mass destruction. West and Cricket must work together if they want all the remaining citizens of the United States to go back to how it was before Bad Sam appeared, and especially if they want their own happily ever after.

Renaissance, the third book in the Emerge series, is just as good as the first two. There’s lots of action in this one and a nice amount of romance, too. Once again, I could barely put the book down and finished it in one day. (I think my husband was relieved when I finished it because I always had my nose in a book – or Kindle – as I read them. The only other serieses I have consumed so fast and had so much trouble putting down every book were The Hunger Games and The 100.) I loved the ending. It was perfect. I very highly recommend this book and the whole Emerge series!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 109
Pages Read in 2016: 29,085
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Uprising by Heather Sunseri

Cricket is back in the Boone Blackston settlement knowing her immunity has waned and she has been once again exposed to Bad Sam. The people of New Caelum are getting more restless wanting to leave the city and the people of the outlying settlements are angry that New Caelum purposefully sent Bad Sam into their communities. The vice president has been removed and West has taken his place at his mother’s side, but things still are not quite right. Knowing Cricket has two options to treat her potential case of Bad Sam, one that could save her and one that could kill her, West must find her and bring her back to the city once again to save her life, all the while struggling to calm the people inside his city and out.

Picking up where the first left off, this second book of the Emerge series is another well done, exciting book. Once again, I read it in one day (during the day instead of the middle of the night this time), only putting it down when I had to (since things like feeding and educating my kids do take priority over reading for pleasure). The struggle within Cricket between her brain and her heart is very realistic and well written. I highly recommend Uprising to young adult and dystopian fans (but definitely read Emerge first!).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 108
Pages Read in 2016: 28,801
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Emerge by Heather Sunseri

Six years ago a disease nicknamed Bad Sam wiped out 99% of the population. It was highly contagious and killed swiftly… except for Christina Black. Somehow Christina, age 12, survived. And now Bad Sam is back and killing people in the “safe” city of New Caelum. When the president’s daughter, Willow, comes down with the disease, the president sends her son, West, on a mission to a nearby settlement to find Christina so they can use her antibodies to make a cure. He finds her rather easily, but there’s a complication: The Scouts sent out at the same time to the various settlements were all infected with Bad Sam. West must convince Cricket (Christina) to join him in New Caelum, a place to which she never wants to return, and at the same time unravel corruption in the city that may go all the way to the top.

Emerge was an excellent book. There was a lot of adventure, a little bit of a mystery, and a touch of romance all mixed together. It was so good, I literally could not put it down. I made the mistake of beginning to read it a little after 9 one night. Just before 5 in the morning I finished it. This is something that almost never happens with me. I can barely keep my eyes open reading at night and am usually sound asleep by 10. But this book was one of the few that kept me wide awake until the end. I very highly recommend reading Emerge to anyone who likes young adult and dystopian novels!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 105
Pages Read in 2016: 28,274
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Son by Lois Lowry

When something goes wrong when Claire, a birthmother, delivers her first product, she is quickly discharged from the birth center and transferred to the fish hatchery. She develops a relationship with one of the nursery workers and so is able to get to know her son without anyone realizing who she is. The day Jonas escapes with Gabriel, Claire leaves the community as well. She is shipwrecked in a little village where it is nearly impossible to ever leave for no other reason than geography. But try to leave and find her son she must. Claire finds someone who can take her to Gabe, but he requires a trade that Claire does not quite understand the consequences of when she makes it.

Son, the final book in the Giver Quartet, is divided into three part. The first part is set back in the community at the time of Gabriel’s birth several months before Jonas was selected as Receiver. The second part is set in a village where the only ways out are the sea or a cliff. The third part is set in the village where Jonas and Gabriel ended up when the escaped from the community. While the book sometimes drags (particularly in the second third), it is enjoyable and ties up everything from the other three books very nicely. I highly recommend it to all who have read and enjoyed the first three of the quartet.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 117
Pages Read in 2015: 34,592
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Messenger by Lois Lowry

Matty, now old enough to be a two-syllable, is enjoying life in Village with Kira’s blind father, Seer. He’s become a good boy, no longer stealing and lying and has discovered he has the power to heal. Village is changing around him, though. Some of the villagers are uniting to keep out the strangers they used to welcome with open arms and Forest is thickening and becoming dangerous.

This third book of the Giver quartet brings the return of Jonas, the young but wise Leader of Village. I couldn’t put it down and since it is pretty short, I read it in one sitting. I highly recommend Messenger. It brings together The Giver and Gathering Blue and adds to the story.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 115
Pages Read in 2015: 33,014
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Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

After being orphaned, Kira is assigned to restore The Singer’s robe. She becomes friends with Thomas the Carver and Jo, the future Singer, two other orphans who also must work for the Council. They live in luxury while the rest of the villagers, including Kira’s little friend Matt, eke out a not-so-great existence. As time goes on Kira begins to suspect, and then know, that things aren’t quite what they seem.

I absolutely could not put Gathering Blue down. It totally forced me to stay up way past my bedtime and then even after I was finished reading it, I still couldn’t sleep since I kept thinking about what had happened in the book. I was vaguely disturbed, but also excited to see where the next book would go (it took a lot of willpower to not immediately start reading Messenger!). It was a little weird to read since it’s the second book of the Giver Quartet and Jonas and Gabriel are not in this one. I highly recommend Gathering Blue. It is truly excellent.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 114
Pages Read in 2015: 32,845
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The Kill Order by James Dashner

Thirteen years before Thomas entered the Maze, small settlements of survivors of the sun flares were attacked with darts shot from bergs. Those darts contained a virus that was supposed kill half the population quickly. Instead, it mutated into the terrible disease that became known as the Flare. Mark, Trina, Lana, and Alec come across a little girl named Deedee who was hit by a dart, but did not get sick (Teresa, presumably, though that fact is not revealed in the book). It’s a race against time, the Flare, and Cranks to get her to safe people she can help.

Of the four books in the Maze Runner series, The Kill Order was my least favorite. It was by far the most violent. Chapters would go by where nothing happened but gory descriptions of the behavior and fights of the Cranks. It was not fun to read. I did enjoy the story of what happened starting with the Sun Flares told through Mark’s dreams. The violence could have been toned down dramatically, however.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 91
Pages Read in 2015: 26,654
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