Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

Science Fiction, or Sci-Fi for short, means fake science. I’m really starting to like my elementary definitions.

June 1

Comments: 1

Review: The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen

by Ann-Katrina

The Gardener Cover

Title: The Gardener
Author: S. A. Bodeen
ISBN: 978-0312370169
Story Length: 240 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction

Back Cover of The Gardener

Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children’s book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs—genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don’t need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is on the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.

Will Mason be forced to destroy the thing he’s longed for most?

Three Quick Points About The Gardener

  • Point 1: Ample material with which to start a discussion. The book deals quite a bit with the changing global environment and its ramifications for the human race.
  • Point 2: Spotty character development. Mason, as a character, started out well enough, but when Laila was introduced the character development faltered and stalled.
  • Point 3: Plot by numbers. The unfolding plot was too convenient, even for a middle grade read, and a side effect was a problem with consistency. Continue reading »

1 Comment, add yours...

April 5

Comments: 8

Book Notes: The Gardener by S. A. Bodeen

by Ann-Katrina

The Gardener I’m coming upon three quarters of this book and I’m on the fence about it.

On one hand I love the premise and it’s swift. Using recent biological discoveries, Bodeen weaves a conspiracy story around the bioengineering of children who only need sunlight to survive. Despite this scientific angle, which could easily get boring too quickly, the story doesn’t slow down much as Mason takes it upon himself to rescue one of these children and winds up on the run from the people who created her.

On the other there is a plot-by-numbers feel to it and the puppy love Mason has for Laila feels inorganic and wedged into the story. Suspense is feigned; there are tense moments, but it’s easy to predict what will happen next. For instance, when the unnamed girl sees a picture of Dr. Emerson, she immediately recognizes the scientist. When Mason and the girl go to Dr. Emerson’s lecture, surprise surprise, Dr. Emerson takes one look at the unnamed girl and recognizes her. No big deal, until it’s turned into some amazing and earth shattering event. Plus, Mason mentioning how cute Laila (aka the unnamed girl) is every few pages and using it as a way to explain why he’s going to so much trouble for her is clunky. It was already well established in the opening chapters that he has a hero complex and his awe was put on display the first time he laid eyes on her.

The question for me is whether these detriments outweigh the redeeming qualities and so far the answer is no. Right now I’m hovering around a B-/C+ letter grade for this book, but I’m hoping the ending is awesome so I can bump it up to a solid B/B+.

8 Comments, add yours...

March 10

Comments: 22

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

by Ann-Katrina

The Forest of Hands and Teeth Cover

Back Cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

Three Quick Points About The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  • Point 1: Love square surrounded by zombies. You’d think there would be plenty of drama when you have two guys in love with the same girl and another girl being in love with those two guys without throwing zombies into the mix, but you’d be surprised.
  • Point 2: Storytelling lost to the ages. One thread throughout the book was the stories Mary’s mother told her, yet we the readers aren’t told these stories, only their synopses.
  • Point 3: So many unanswered questions. Such is life. You’re presented with a question, but you become sidetracked and you don’t realize you never received an answer until it’s too late.

Continue reading »

22 Comments, add yours...

   
 

© Copyright 2005-2019 Today, I Read…. All Rights Reserved. (Please don't steal.)