The Captain’s Log – scythe (Neal Shusterman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  This cover and its title drew me in:

Isn’t that gorgeous?  So of course I had to know what it was about.  Turns out that Earth, with the help of a super computer, has no natural death, hunger, disease, war, etc.  But because the population still needs to be controlled, there are human scythes whose job it is to choose who will die.- within certain rules and parameters of course.

The story concerns Citra and Rowan, two teens, who are chosen to be trained as apprentice scythes.  Neither of them wants the job but both say yes for assorted reasons.  The catch is that only one of them will be chosen to advance as a scythe.  But each apprentice has to decide if they truly want the job as well as try to pass the appropriate tests..

The world and characters that the author set up were extremely interesting.  I liked the various scythes and how each chooses to approach the work.  I love the weird super computer.  I enjoyed both Citra and Rowan’s stories.  I thought the introduction to both of those characters as well as to their master scythe were especially well done and engaging.  There are a lot of lovely details that made this version of Earth come alive for me.

The flaw in the reading was in the plot.  The first half flew by and then the story seemed to stagnate.  The middle was kinda boring and there were some plot twists that I did not like at all.  But I kept reading because I loved the overall world set-up and wanted to know how it ended.  And I highly enjoyed how the author chose to conclude this first book.  I am not sure what will happen in the second book but I do believe I will read it.

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Neal Shusterman – Author

To buy the book go to:

scythe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

The Captain’s Log – above world AND mirage (Jenn Reese)

Ahoy there mateys!  I read these books back to back so you get two book reviews in one!

above world and mirage (Jenn Reese)

I first learned about this author by reading her adult book, jade tiger, and decided to see what else she had written.  These are the first two books in the Above World series.  In a world where humans have combined with biotech to survive, two friends Aluna and Hoku, leave their underwater city to try to save their community.  In doing so they meet allies from the Above World in a war that encompasses them all.

The first book is not as fun in my mind as the second one.  Unlike the rather plausible narrative of the second book, the first book was full of fortuitous meetings.  Character A meets character B on a page by accident and happens to help them in some fashion.  Oh look in the next chapter character A is in deathly trouble!  Character B swoops to the rescue out of the blue!  Lucky they met isn’t it?  Rinse and repeat.  Also book one had so many locales and introductions to the various Above World peoples.  I get why we meet them.  I just wish it didn’t feel so forced.

Book two was much better.  There was basically one main setting and a second smaller one.  The new characters’ introductions feel much more natural.  The storyline seems a lot better organized.  Some of the plot twists were just plain entertaining.  One of the main things I loved about this series is that it has a relationship of a boy and girl who remain just friends.  Their friendship is steady, loving, and enjoyable.  Platonic love and companionship stay constant.  It was lovely.  Not to say that each party does not have love interests of their own in the books but it was a nice change from the recent books that I have read that not everyone is in love with the main character.

I did enjoy the different cultures mentioned though I would have liked a little more detail in that regard.  The tech possibilities also could have been a little more detailed.  I think the author gets away with the tech in the long run though because it is in a world where tech is dying or is misunderstood.  The books had both strong female and male characters.  Even though I liked these books, I am not sure if I will go out of my way to read the third.  Have any of you read it and if so should I go for it?

Side Note: I did not censor the mermaid photo used above.  I found it that way.  Funny no?

Here is what Amazon has to say about book one:

A suspenseful sci-fi escapade plucks two children out of the ocean for a thrilling adventure.

Thirteen-year-old Aluna has lived her entire life under the ocean with the Coral Kampii in the City of Shifting Tides. But after centuries spent hidden from the Above World, her colony’s survival is at risk. The Kampii’s breathing necklaces are failing, but the elders are unwilling to venture above water to seek answers. Only headstrong Aluna and her friend Hoku are stubborn and bold enough to face the terrors of land to search for way to save their people. But can Aluna’s fierce determination and fighting skills and Hoku’s tech-savvy keep them safe? Set in a world where overcrowding has led humans to adapt — growing tails to live under the ocean or wings to live on mountains — here is a ride through a future where greed and cruelty have gone unchecked, but the loyalty of friends remains true.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Jenn Reese – Author

To buy these books visit:

above world – Book

mirage – Book

The Captain’s Log – burning midnight (Will McIntosh)

Ahoy there me mateys!

burning midnight (Will McIntosh)

So, I first heard about this author when I read his book love minus eighty, which you should read if you haven’t. This novel is the author’s first foray into young adult novels. This one is a sci-fi novel set in a time extremely similar to the present with a twist. The twist is that there are mysterious colored spheres that if used will enhance traits like singing ability or ability to sleep.

The novel was a quick read for me. I loved the two main sphere hunters, Sully and Hunter. Sully is a good chap who is caring, a good friend, and enterprising. Hunter is my favorite type of girl – badass yet with a softer side. Their relationship, while predictable, was sweet.

I loved the entire idea of the different spheres, their abilities, the sphere market, the colors, etc. That part of the story made me happy. And I loved about the first 2/3 of the plot. I have to admit that overall I did not love the rest. I certainly enjoyed some of it but the bad guy in the book and the overall resolution of the plot just didn’t do it for me. Unlike his others novels, this ending seemed rushed and too simple. I am not sure if it was just because it’s his first young adult novel or what. But this is certainly not my favorite novel of his. Liked it though.  Definitely worth reading.

Amazon has this to say about the novel:

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.
 
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent.

No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

To visit the author’s website and blog go to:

Will McIntosh – Author

To buy this book visit:

burning midnight – Book