The Galahad Legacy by Dom Testa
In the distant future, a passing comet has left behind a deadly pollutant in Earth’s atmosphere. Bhaktul’s disease is fatal for all humans, but only takes effect in adulthood. In the search for a cure, one scientist devises an idea to send a group of young people to another planet where they can live free of the deadly disease and allow a future for humanity. Only 251 teenagers are sent in the impressive ship Galahad. Together, these teenagers must survive and thrive in order to reach their destination and keep humanity alive.
Triana Martell has just returned from her trip through a wormhole, and with her an alien representative of the Dollovit. Radiation is destroying the Galahad’s shields, so time is running out to reach their destination of Eos. The Dollovit aliens have offered a rescue and a choice of new homes. But their offer comes with a price.
The Galahad Legacy is the sixth and final book in the Galahad series. (Yes, the cover says #5. It’s a typo.) Testa has taken his readers on a wild ride through space with unique aliens, malicious saboteurs, high tech wonders, and an artificial intelligence with a sense of humor. As it would in high school, relationships have changed and developed in unexpected ways among the teens. Though, in regards to their jobs, the teens have been forced to mature and some have gained wisdom beyond their years. Self-sacrifice is more the norm than Merit’s constant (and annoying) lust for power.
There are numerous plot twists and surprises along the way. And this latest installment is the most exciting yet. Full of adventure, mystery, suspense, teenage angst, and tough choices – The Galahad Legacy is a fantastic conclusion to a series I didn’t want to end. It felt like the adventure was just beginning.
Partials by Dan Wells
After war with the Partials (genetically engineered beings that look like humans) humanity is the endangered species. An engineered virus called RM wiped out most of humanity, and has killed every baby born since the war. Sixteen-year-old Kira is in medical training and is tired of the countless births without one baby that lives. The government is forcing younger and younger young women to get pregnant without hope of saving the babies. Now a violent revolution is looming because of opposition to the pregnancy laws. Kira decides to find a cure to RM using any means necessary, even if it means risking her life to save humanity.
Wells’ dystopian world is dark and seemingly hopeless, with the youngest known person a young teen. Humanity is dying out, no one seems safe from violent revolutionary attacks, the Partials and their goals are still a mystery, and soon Kira will be forced to get pregnant before she even knows what she wants to do with her life. Kira is a very sympathetic character, mature yet knows she isn’t ready for marriage and her own family yet. The setting and subject matter reminds me quite a bit of the Hunger Games. Though, Partials is slower-paced and more dramatic than action-packed.
I was hooked from the start with this surprising new YA debut. First in a trilogy, Partials has a creative hook on the post-apocalyptic setting with the mysterious Partials and the added horror of humanity dying out. Dark, and full of suspense, I loved every minute of this addicting YA novel. Science fiction fans of all ages should enjoy this intense futuristic adventure.
Partials will release from Balzer + Bray (Harper Teen) on February 28, 2012.
Star Trek: The Rings of Time by Greg Cox
In the year 2020, Colonel Shaun Christopher and the crew of the U.S.S. Lewis & Clark embark on humanity’s first journey to Saturn. When they find an unlikely stowaway aboard, their mission is put at risk. But the real danger looms when a mysterious probe appears and heads straight for Saturn. As Shaun investigates the probe too closely, his consciousness is thrown into the future into the body of a legendary captain.
Two hundred and fifty years later, the U.S.S. Enterprise is sent to Klondike VI on a rescue mission. The planet is similar to Saturn, and its rings are decaying – endangering its numerous colonists. Then, an ancient probe arrives, and it’s immediately beamed aboard the Enterprise for study. But as Captain Kirk touches the seemingly dead relic, he suddenly appears to be in the past, floating in space next to the historic U.S.S. Lewis & Clark.
This standalone original Star Trek novel is told through two time periods, back and forth, chapter by chapter. Cox has skillfully written two separate stories that weave together and come to an exciting conclusion. The Enterprise story is set at the end of the television series’ five year mission. Fast-paced and full of mystery and adventure, The Rings of Time was completely engaging. Though not as much time is spent on the Enterprise crew as other novels in the past, I thoroughly enjoyed the Lewis & Clark crew as most of the action came from that timeline. Time travel, body swapping, mind melds, and aliens – this latest Star Trek novel includes just about everything I love most about the series.
The Society of Steam: Falling Machine by Andrew P. Mayer
In an alternate New York in 1880, steam is considered to be the most advanced form of energy. And the superhero team known as the Paragons has a genius inventor as their leader, providing them with the latest developments in steam-powered gadgets. But when Sarah Stanton witnesses the inventor’s murder, she is given a cryptic message for the Paragons. Now Sarah and the mechanical man known as the Automaton will team up to uncover the plot behind the death of her mentor and friend. And worst of all, they suspect a traitor among the superhero team.
Sarah is a sympathetic and likeable young woman. In a time before women have equal rights, she is frustratingly treated like a child and given no room to debate or speak her mind. Similarly, the Automaton is treated like a mindless machine or faulty equipment bent on destruction. Mayer’s characters are fascinating and captivating. His world of steampunk superheroes is imaginative and inspired. I couldn’t get enough of the Automaton and his story.
Packed with plenty of action, suspense, and steam-powered wonders – this series debut is a must-read. Science fiction and fantasy fans alike will enjoy this fun and fast-paced adventure. The plot is fused with mystery and intrigue that kept me guessing, with plenty of twists along the way. Events build to a surprising cliffhanger ending that will leave readers wanting more.
H. G. Wells Classic Collection II
H. G. Wells Classic Collection II is a beautiful hardback omnibus collection of Wells’ four novels: In the Days of the Comet, Men Like Gods, The Sleeper Awakes, and The War in the Air.
From the promotional synopsis:
In the Days of the Comet is a 1906 story in which the vapors of a comet bring about a profound and lasting transformation in the attitudes and perspectives of humankind. The 1923 novel Men Like Gods features a journalist who finds himself in a utopian parallel universe, and as the utopian attitudes begin to have their effect on him, he finds that he and his fellow travelers may be having their own effect upon the utopia. The 1910 dystopian tale The Sleeper Awakes centers on a man who sleeps for 203 years, waking up in a completely transformed London, where he has become the richest man in the world. Lastly, The War in the Air, from 1907, is notable for its prophetic ideas, images, and concepts, in particular the use of the aircraft for the purpose of warfare and the coming of World War I.
This collection is another fantastic gathering of Wells’ science fiction works that fans of the author should enjoy. These are not his most popular works (see Collection I for those), so I wasn’t as familiar with them. In the Days of the Comet and The War in the Air contain more of Wells’ political ideas than the feel of science fiction. Though, Men Like Gods deal with a parallel universe, and The Sleeper Awakes gives a futuristic view of London. Wells’ writing flows well and makes for easy reading for all ages. And of course, his creativity is inspiring whether you’re a science fiction fan or not.
Pure by Julianna Baggott
In the years following the apocalypse, Pressia lives with her grandfather in a former barbershop. Pressia dreams of life before, because her current reality is filled with horrors. During the Detonations, everyone outside of the Dome was either killed or left horribly scarred and mutated, fused with whatever was nearby. Pressia has reached the age where she is required to join the military, but she decides to face the unknown and flee instead. Meanwhile, inside the Dome, people are whole and trained to be the best they can be. Yet Partridge is not happy. He constantly thinks of his mother who was left outside the Dome during the Detonations. And when Partridge receives a clue that his mother may still be alive, he’ll risk the shelter of the Dome for the dangers of the Outside.
Pressia is a sympathetic girl who, despite her creepy disfigurement of a doll fused to her hand, quickly becomes captivating. Partridge is naïve, but it’s easy to get caught up in his story as well. The massive worldbuilding of this dystopian scene is both disturbing and imaginative. The setting is dark and intense. Full of adventure, suspense, mystery, and a bit of romance – Pure is a much darker young adult, dystopia than others. With an incredibly climactic and dramatic escalation of startling events, this original and gritty story has a satisfying ending that will leave readers wanting more.
Tribulations by Ken Shufeldt
Fleeing the destruction of Earth by an asteroid, the remaining survivors are aboard starships searching for a new planet to inhabit. Billy and Linda West are the genius couple responsible for the ships and saving those they could. In attempt to improve their chances, Billy has an idea for light-speed travel. But accident occurs, leaving the Genesis stranded from the rest of the fleet but near a livable planet. But the planet is already inhabited by two kingdoms at odds. The Wests and the rest of the Genesis’ crew must find a way to survive, as history may repeat itself again as a looming meteor is headed for this new planet.
Tribulations is the sequel to Genesis, which I have not read. Thankfully, there is an intro that summarizes everything that happened in Genesis. And I was able to easily catch up. Shufeldt’s dark future follows the remains of humanity on a wagon train to the stars. The Wests are the protagonists of the story, unique human/alien hybrids with special gifts besides their genius intellects.
I was hooked on the story as soon as they landed on the alien planet. The inhabitants are oddly human-like, with cultures that mirror ancient ones from Earth. These fascinating cultures, with little technology and too much superstition, are brutal with a thirst for revenge. And this time, humanity are the alien invaders – albeit somewhat peaceful invaders. The only thing that gave me pause was Shufeldt’s choppy style when it comes to the passing of time. Days, weeks, months, would pass in briefs mentions that didn’t seem to flow very well. Yet it was convenient to move the story along. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this science fiction adventure and found it completely enthralling. Complex and full of adventure, action, and suspense – I will definitely be following this series.
Alienation by Jon S. Lewis
Sixteen-year-old Colt McAlister is joining the CHAOS Military Academy, following in his grandfather’s footsteps and already making a name for himself as a hero for Earth. Colt and his friends Oz and Danielle will be trained to better fight off the looming invasion of the Thule, shapeshifting aliens that are seemingly unstoppable. Unsure who to trust, Colt learns about a secret in his past and a Thule assassin that seems to want Colt dead.
Following the events in Invasion, Colt has learned about a dark conspiracy. He’s also dealing with infatuation for a girl, while dealing with the CHAOS Academy and attacks on his life. But thankfully, the teenage angst takes a backseat to the action and adventure. Lewis’ futuristic world has many fun gadgets, advanced technology, and incredible aliens. Even though the story follows Colt almost exclusively, I would love to see future installments delve more into the Thule and their background and motivations. Right now, they’re still too much of a mystery and just The Big, Evil Aliens.
With plenty of danger, intrigue, and suspense – young science fiction fans should enjoy this fast-paced adventure. Though, reading the first novel, Invasion, is a must to get background on Colt and the Thule. I think I enjoyed Alienation as much as the first, if not more. Non-stop, action-packed thrills and excitement made it impossible to put down. And while there’s a satisfying ending, there is a mild cliffhanger that left me wanting more.