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Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

A twenty-story-tall metallic figure appeared in the middle of Regent’s Park this morning. – Opening sentence Waking Gods is the second book in The Themis Files; the sequel to Sleeping Giants (one of my top reads of 2016). As a fan of science-fiction, I LOVED Sleeping Giants – but I think I loved Waking Gods even more! The second book is much darker, in a way that I wasn’t quite expecting, but it worked really well and was the right direction for book #2. Waking Gods is written in the same style as Sleeping Giants, through a series of interviews, news reports and journal entries. It’s an unorthodox style that Neuvel pulls off really well, and it in no way hinders the reader experience. While Sleeping Giants set the scene and gave us a lot of background information, Waking Gods needed no introduction and jumped straight into the action. This made Waking…

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. – Opening sentence Snow Crash was recommended to me by my boyfriend, after we both read and loved Ready Player One. Published in 1992, Snow Crash is a highly complex novel, covering an array of themes including history, religion, linguists, computer science and philosophy. It wasn’t a particularly easy read in places, but the picture it paints in your mind is full of vivid character and energy. Snow Crash is set in a not-too-distant-future of America, one where the no governing laws exist (because the government holds no more power) and the land is owned and ruled by franchises, corporations and the Mafia. Technology has advanced, and the Metaverse has been created; a life-like online simulation where people can use avatars to escape from reality. Teenagers use if for partying and dates, businessman use it for long-distance meetings, and Hiro…

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

It was my eleventh birthday. – Opening sentence I have always been a fan of science-fiction, so when I heard about Sleeping Giants I instantly knew it would be something I’d like. I mean, a story about giant robots? It reminded of The Iron Giant, one of my favourite childhood stories, and after I saw the BEAUTIFUL cover art I was sold (literally – I bought a special-edition signed copy from Goldsboro Books the next day). And what can I say? The beginning of the story is science-fiction at its best; a young girl falling into the giant, metal hand of a dismembered robotic hand. How effing cool is that? Years later, that same young girl becomes the lead scientist of a project to uncover the mysteries behind this bizarre find, uncovering more alien artifacts until they piece together an ancient, all-powerful alien robot. But where did it come from? Why was it abandoned,…

The Circle by Dave Eggers

My God, Mae thought. – Opening sentence Set in the not-too-distant future, The Circle follows the story of Mae – a young girl who works at the most powerful and influential company in the world. That company is known by billions as the Circle. Imagine Facebook, Google and Apple combining to become one internet power-house. That’s the Circle (although Eggers claims they’re NOT the inspiration behind the book). Originating as a social media platform, the Circle is now at the fore-front of technology, with billions of users around the world. User’s profiles are now linked with their emails, banking and purchasing, resulting in one transparent online identity. Sound familiar? But with a bottomless pit of money at their disposal, and the minds of hundreds of creatives coming up with a variety of never-ending ideas, the Circle is developing new technologies and programmes without pausing for thought. Suddenly the globe is covered…

The Humans by Matt Haig

I know that some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. – Opening sentence Narrated by an unnamed alien author, The Humans is a story about an alien race intervening and prohibiting human advancement. It’s also so much more than that. The Humans starts with Andrew Martin, an alien from another planet who is sent to Earth with a mission. Andrew Martin is not the alien’s name, but the name of the human he is impersonating. However, for the purpose of this review I will refer to him as ‘Andrew’. Where ‘Andrew’ comes from there are no names; there is no identity; no individual. There is also no pain and no death. ‘Andrew’s race live in symbiosis with technology and mathematics, leaving a world based on logic, with no wars and no emotions. You can image how terrified…

The Martian by Andy Wier

I first heard about The Martian from my brother, who, sharing my enthusiasm for science-fiction, recommend that I add it to my wishlist (which I did). However, after hearing that The Martian was being adapted into a film, and being released this year, I made an effort to bump it up the list and read it. (I HATE seeing the film before reading the book; it ruins the whole experience for me. Once you’ve seen an actor portray a character, you can never imagine that character being anything different.) So while my boyfriend was sitting in the cinema last week watching the biggest science-fiction film since Intersteller (with STRICT instructions to not give away any spoilers when he returned), I was sitting on my sofa with a peppermint tea and my nose between the pages of Andy Weir’s The Martian. What I immediately loved about this book was the opening line. There’s no long-winded…

All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

My brother gave me All You Need is Kill as a Christmas present, and I was immediately intrigued and excited to read it. I knew the book had recently been made into a film starring Tom Cruise, so knew that it was an action/sci-fi (one of my favourite genres). The film, which I have not seen, has been renamed Edge of Tomorrow, and after reading the book I’ve realised that’s not all they have changed. All You Need is Kill is written by a Japanese author, and is set in a future version of Japan. The main character of the book is – you guessed it – Japanese. Tom Cruise, who portrays this character in the film, is definitely not Japanese! This has made me extremely weary about watching the film, because when a film adaptation of a good book changes dramatically, it really does disappoint me (If I do watch the…

Transition by Iain Banks

Transition is only the second book by Iain Banks that I have read, the first being The Wasp Factory (one of my favourite reads) back when I was a teenager. As Bank’s final book before his death last year, Transition received a lot of media attention and was described as a cross between Banks and Iain M. Banks (the name he used for his Sci-Fi works). As The Wasp Factory was my first introduction to Banks – as well the first book Banks published – I thought it would be fitting and rather poetic to read Transition as well. The story is narrated through a handful of mysterious characters, who’s identities are slowly revealed as the story develops. I don’t mind this style of writing – but I think it has to be done with cleverness and precision. For me, Banks does well to attract initial attention and pull you in…

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I read this book in less than 8 hours, from cover to cover. Okay, so that might have had something to do that I was stuck inside all on my own for the day – but it’s also an amazingly good book! It’s all about an online virtual reality game, which has taken over the way the world is seen and used. Set in the future, the world has crumbled into decline, with the ‘global energy crisis’ and the biggest recession in human history. As such, people spend all their free time logged into the OASIS, which provides a realistic escape from reality, enabling the user to become whoever they possibly want. The creator of this game, James Halliday, is the richest man on the planet. When he dies, he leaves a hidden easter egg in the OASIS, and whoever first finds that easter egg will inherit his entire fortune.…

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