Book Review: Chimera

review-cover-chimeraTitle: Chimera [Universe Eventual 1]

Author: N.J. Tanger

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopian

Rating: 5 Stars

AmazonButtonGoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

On the verge of extinction, the Stephen’s Point colony must take desperate measures to save themselves. Without communication or resupply from Earth for the last fifteen years, the colony has but one chance to survive: restore the ancient starship Chimera and train a young crew to pilot her. The fate of the entire colony rests on the shoulders of a pair of misfits: Theo Puck, a sixteen-year-old hacker with a gift for speaking to machines, and fifteen-year-old Selena Samuelson, a brash but talented pilot with a dark secret in her past.

To Theo, the Mandate to crew the Chimera seems like a game—one he isn’t invited to play. A brutal murder changes everything. Left with no choice, Theo has to complete the Selection training and make it aboard the Chimera or face terrible consequences.

Selena wants to do what she does best—fly. Piloting her father’s ore trawler is the only life she’s known before a horrifying accident strands her aboard the Hydra, the station responsible for rebuilding the Chimera. Forced into the Mandate testing against her will, Selena encounters an unexpected ally, forever changing the way she sees the Chimera and herself.

Forced to make brutal choices in order to survive, Theo and Selena’s fates intertwine. But behind the scenes, someone else sets into motion events that could destroy everything they’re fighting to protect.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Science Fiction isn’t generally my favorite genre. I tend to get lost in the technobabble of the fictional science. I’ll admit, going into Chimera by N.J. Tanger, I was a little lost. I didn’t sink into the story right away—it didn’t last long, though. By the end of the first chapter, I was engrossed in the story.

The characters were unique and full of depth. They led very different lives from one another, and they each had separate motivations for wanting to get on board the Chimera. They felt more like real people than characters. Though I have the feeling that the author hasn’t even barely begun to scratch the surface of the plot behind this series, the book was filled with suspense, mystery, action and adventure. The world building, like the characters, was intricate and well fleshed out.

Honestly, other than the short period of time where I sat back and wondered at the complexity of the book sitting before me, I have nothing to complain about. There were no obvious technical problems with the narrative. The characters were logical and well-dialogued. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. If you’re looking for a solid start to a brand new science fiction series, I’d highly recommend that you check this out. I can’t wait to get a hold of the rest of the series.

Book Review: Across The Universe

cover-acrosstheuniverseTitle: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

buy4._V192207739_

goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

Description/Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have to admit, posting a 3-star review for this book, I feel a bit like I’m going against the grain. Everywhere I look I see rave reviews for Across the Universe, even from my fellow bloggers… but I stand by 3 stars. The book was okay, but it wasn’t anything special. From the very beginning the plot (teenager wakes up from cryo-sleep early, on board a spaceship overrun by the managerial crew who’ve taken over) was a familiar one. In fact, one of my favorite science fiction books from when I was still in grade-school started off the same way (wayyy back in the 80’s)… kid wakes up from cryo-sleep early.  I wasn’t surprised or enthralled.

For the most part, the story kept me reading, partly due to the fun of reminiscing over a familiar plot from my childhood, but despite the many assurances I had from other reviewers… the book wasn’t thrilling or suspenseful. I had the bad-guy picked out the first time they mentioned him. This wasn’t a great mystery. The characters had an inkling of depth, but I feel as though more could have been done with them. It almost felt as if something were missing. I’d have liked to hear more about Kaleigh and what happened to her, or even the full story behind why the Eldest tried to have Orion killed, but neither were fully explained. The author spent more time on The Season than the back-stories of the characters, which was a shame. I inwardly cringed when the season came up.  Now, understand that I’m not some great prude.  I read a LOT of romance novels and erotica–it’s somewhat my forte–but in a book labeled as YA, I couldn’t help but think “and how old do these YA need to be?” while the characters proceeded to join ship-wide orgies, and the main character nearly being raped.

I honestly don’t think the season had any direct relationship to the plot in any way… other than being a moment were the author tried to say “look here! i’m so clever! look at my world building!” Some of the world building was interesting. I really liked the beginning when Amy was being put into cryo-sleep. It was nice to see a book where the realities of how embarrassing and uncomfortable the whole situation was wasn’t glossed over. I also liked the (cliche) idea of how the crew took over the ship… but that’s where the fun ends. It’s all been done before, and in some cases, better. Even the romance was lack-luster… if you can even call it a romance. Elder had a teenage crush on Amy even before he met her, but Amy never seemed to respond to his affections (or anyone else’s) and then it just… faded away. The author stopped talking about the romance at some point, and it became background noise.

In the end, I did enjoy the book, but I wish the author had spent more time developing the story. It’s a fun read, but it lacks depth… to the characters, the plot, the romance… everything.