Archive for November, 2013

Love, Lies and Lizzie

Rosie Rushton

Love, Lies and LizzieWhen Mrs. Bennet inherits enough money to move into the kind of village she has always dreamed of, her daughters find themselves swept up in a glamorous life of partying and country pursuits. However, Lizzie and her sisters soon discover the truth.

I was having a go at reading some Jane Austen books and my librarian said that if I was into those then I might be into this book. It was based on ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen so I thought I should give it a try. So I did. Here goes, so Mrs Bennet and Mr Bennet have 5 daughters (I know! 5!) Jane, Lizzie, Meredith, Katy and Lydia. They move to a posh village with massive fancy houses. Lizzie likes the new house because she can have her own room. Anyway her family get invited to a party to meet some of the people in the village. Lizzie meets Charlie and Caroline Bingley and Charlie’s best friend James Darcy. James has a hate for Lizzie because he grew up in a posh all-boys school and Lizzie says how amazing her State school was. She was showing off and he hated it.

On the other hand though Jane had her eye on Charlie and Charlie quite liked her back. While all this was happening ( it’s a bit hard to follow, can you see why?) Lydia had ran off to a Club with another boy called Danny who was also at the party …and breathe… ok, so all the others went off to find Lydia and Katy (who was a suck up to her twin and liked to follow her around) and when they were at the Club Lizzie overheard James saying to Charlie that he didn’t like her and Lizzie left the Club in anger and everyone had to follow, it annoyed everyone as they didn’t want to go.

Sound familiar to all you Jane Austen lovers out there?

Find out about thrills, spills, make ups, break ups and luuuuurve!

Verdict: Very good book, for ages about 12-16 and girls (or boys who like romance)

Reviewed by Daisy (12)

Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Publication Date: January 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 208
Genre: Retelling
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (12)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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“d-mat”

We are delighted to welcome Sean Williams, author of Twinmaker, as he shares some of his thoughts on matter transmitters. Beam us up Sean!

imageA near-future thriller that fans of the GONE series and Doctor Who will love
Clair is pretty sure the offer in the ‘Improvement’ meme is just another viral spam, though Libby is determined to give it a try.
But what starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when her friend vanishes.
In her search for answers, Clair seeks out Jesse – a boy whose alternative lifestyle might help to uncover the truth.
What they don’t anticipate is intervention from the mysterious contact known only as Q, and being caught up in a conspiracy that will change everything.

Here’s a quick quiz.

Imagine a machine that can move you from place to place. Not a plane or a car, but a booth you step into. You tell the machine where you want to go. It takes you there. To you, it seems like no time at all has passed. To everyone else, maybe a minute or two. When the booth at the other end opens you see Stonehenge or your best friend’s house or anywhere else on Earth. Anywhere with a booth.

Would you do it?

Me, I wouldn’t even think about. I live in Adelaide, South Australia. I love it here, but it’s a looooong way from anywhere. At the moment this goes live, I’m in a hotel in Brighton on the other side of the world. It’s taken me over a day’s worth of taxis, airplanes and trains to get here. If I could skip all that in favour of just stepping into a booth (a bit like a TARDIS) and giving it directions, I would do it in a flash. Literally a flash–of electrons and photons rushing along a cable at the speed of light.

Before you decide, let me tell you how this machine works. Let’s call it “d-mat”, for starters. When a d-mat booth closes its doors and the machines start working, what it does is scan you from head to toe, outside in. To do that it uses something a lot like lasers. When it’s finished, there’s nothing of you left–not physically, anyway. That’s all been burned away. But you’ve been scanned right down to the tiniest detail, so “you” now “exist” as a pattern in computer memory. That pattern can be sent anywhere–and sent it is, to the place you want to be.

There, it all runs in reverse. Lasers in the other booth spin and weave an exact copy of you, molecule by molecule–and suddenly, as though by magic, you are back. Most importantly, you are alive. You feel the same as you did back in the first booth. You’re completely unaware of the lasers or the pattern or the cables. You’re just you, in a different place.

Let me ask you the question again. Now you know about the lasers (which really, when you think about it, destroyed you in the first booth) and the fact that what you will be a copy at the other end (not the original you, not one speck) would you do it?

Lots of people wouldn’t. There are so many questions. How can you be sure you’ll be exactly the same? What happens if something goes wrong–the power is cut or your pattern is lost or it’s changed somehow? What if there’s some special part of you–a “soul” or whatever you like to call it–that isn’t copied? Will you only think you’re alive at the other end, but actually you’ll be some kind of hollow zombie?

These are all creepy thoughts.

Me, I probably still would do it. After all, the way we get around today might seem a bit mad to someone not born in our time. We drive or fly in metal boxes with huge tanks full of explosive material over long distances, narrowly avoiding other such boxes full of other people. The slightest collision could see us all killed. We spend huge amounts of money on these boxes, and spend lots of time and even more money looking after them. In return they pump horrible fumes into the air that threaten to make us sick or even ruin the planet as a whole. Wouldn’t we be better off witouth all that, in exchange for a small amount of risk?

Also, the thought of not existing for a minute or so, between being scanned and being rebuilt–is that any different from going under an anaesthetic or being knocked out? Or even going to sleep at night? One moment we’re fully conscious, the next we’re not there at all. We always come back.

One of the amazing things about people is that we think we’re the same person we were when we were much younger, even though we looked and acted very differently, even though most of the cells in our bodies now didn’t exist back then. Why does the thought of being altered in even a tiny way by such a machine give us the heebie-jeebies?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this quiz. But it’s something to think about. Hopefully not late at night when you’re trying to sleep. (You WILL come back. I promise.) Philosophers have been using ideas like d-mat for decades to try to nut out who we are and how we feel about being who we are. I like to do the same thing, but with chase scenes and kissing.

Guest post by Sean Williams

image#1 New York Times bestselling Sean Williams lives with his family in Adelaide, South Australia. He’s written some books–thirty-nine at last count–including the Philip K. Dick-nominated Saturn Returns, several Star Wars novels and the Troubletwister series with Garth Nix. Twinmaker is the first in a new YA SF series that takes his love affair with the matter transmitter to a whole new level.

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Allegiant

Veronica Roth

imageWhat if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Warning contains spoilers for Divergent and Insurgent

I was soooo excited to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant to review, I had read the previous two books and, like many others, was waiting for this to come out. I devoured this in about three days, which with two young children at home is probably the fastest I have read anything recently! And is testament to the fact that I only put it down with great reluctance!

The action begins exactly from where we left it as Tris has survived and shown everyone the video that reveals startling information about the history of their city and way of life. As their world is falling part around them Tris, Tobias and their friends try to figure out what to believe, who to trust and what to do next. The faction system has fallen apart but there are those who want to return to it, others are glad to see the back of it, but the most pressing question is what is outside the fence that meant their city was constructed in the first place.

Although the continuing story of what is happening inside the city is interesting it is the story of what is outside that is predominantly the focus of this tale. As you would expect Tris and Tobias, with a few other notable characters are the first to get out and find out what is going on. What is revealed is certainly not what I expected, although I have to admit that I am not to sure what that would have been anyway!

Without wanting to totally give away the twists and turns of the plot they find a society dividing genetics into people who are deemed ok and those who are not. Chicago has been part of an experiment to fix genetically damaged people. Of course this raises hundreds of ethical questions and our characters have to come to terms with these new ideas quite quickly, and decide how they feel about the world outside and what has happened to them and their own universe.

The issues introduce plenty of friction and Tris and Tobias’ already strained relationship is put further to the test. This time the story is not solely told by Tris, Tobias gets to have his say too. At times I found the switching back and forth irritating as I would forget who was talking and have to go back and check, but on the whole I| liked hearing from both of them. It was interesting to see how Tobias sees Tris as opposed to her own views on herself! I did wonder though if this dual narrative is one of the reasons I felt the novel lacked the depth of the first two.

There is so much to find out about the outside and in the back story and I definitely still have questions that weren’t answered. Having had the first two books to get to know the characters and the faction system the same amount of time (or pages?) could easily have been given to the outside world. I would have enjoyed getting to know the characters there more and having a chance to get deeper into their situations and the whole motivation behind the project, as well as see them maybe learn a few lessons from the questioning of our main characters.

That said there is plenty to get your teeth to and the plot still has some twists and turns to keep you guessing as we would expect from Veronica. The ending is a little controversial, but for me it worked well and felt fitting to the overall story, as well as being quite refreshing, I think Veronica was brave to do this!

So despite feeling slightly unsatisfied that I didn’t get more of everything in this novel I still thoroughly enjoyed the ride and would still recommend it as a good rounding off to the trilogy.

Verdict: I only wish it could have been a quartet!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: November 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 526
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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