Fantasy Book Review: The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy

The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull

Jason and Rachel were not born in Lyrian. They did not grow up in Lyrian. But after all of the battles and losses, the triumphs and adventures, and most of all, the friendships forged in this fantastical world, Lyrian has become home to them in a way they never could have imagined.

And so, armed now with the prophecy of a dying oracle, they have gone on their separate quests—each surrounded by brave and powerful allies—knowing that the chance for success is slim. But Jason and Rachel are ready at last to become the heroes Lyrian needs, no matter the cost.

After a prophecy foretold that the only way to defeat the evil emperor was to embark on separate quests, Jason and Rachel and their friends are divided once again. Their quests seem insurmountable, yet everyone is willing to sacrifice everything to make Lyrian free again.

This is the final installment in the Beyonders trilogy. Their adventures this time are quite a bit darker and somber. There is still some humor, thanks to Jason’s personality. And the sense of wonder and excitement is just as intense and full of suspenseful. This epic fantasy saga concludes in a satisfying way as the events build to a big show down. Readers of all ages should enjoy this eventful, and often surprising, trilogy. And each installment is better than the one before. Mull is one of my top favorite children’s book authors – from the exceptional Fablehaven series to the Candy Shop Wars, his stories are always a must-read for me.

SciFi Book Review: Glitch

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Seventeen-year-old Zoel (Zoe) is living in a Community where everyone is Linked by computer ports in their brains. Chips are implanted to repress all emotion, so everyone can focus on logic and community. All anomalies are supposed to be reported to the authorities. But when Zoe starts to glitch, the feelings and sensations are so new and exciting there’s no way she can go back to being an emotionless zombie. But even more surprising, her glitch has given her a telekinetic power. And she’s not alone.

Zoe and the other teens that are glitching have X-Men-like powers that make for some exciting reading. She gets in the middle of a tense love triangle involving her friend Max who can change his appearance and Adrien who has visions of possible futures – specifically one involving Zoe. It’s clear right away who Zoe will choose, as the other gets so jealous and selfish he becomes over-the-top villainous. People like him are the reason the V-chip was created. It’s an interesting premise that Anastasiu has developed – a dystopian world where humanity has become fueled by logic alone. Spock from Star Trek, anyone? But the V-chip isn’t a choice, and Zoe soon views it as slavery.

I was hooked from the start with the intense suspense and danger of being caught, and Zoe is a likeable heroine who puts other above her own wellbeing. This science fiction thriller is geared towards young adults, but older adults who enjoyed Hunger Games, Matched, or Insurgent should check this out as well. Glitch is a fast-paced, dystopian adventure that was entirely riveting, surprising, and unpredictable. This is has certainly made my list of favorites of the year. First in a new trilogy, this impressive debut is off to a promising start.

Glitch releases from St. Martin’s Griffin on August 7, 2012.

SciFi Blu-Ray Giveaway: Spawn

Courtesy of Warner Brothers, I have a copy of Spawn Blu-ray Edition for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 17. I’ll draw a name on August 18, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

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SciFi Blu-Ray Reviews: Frequency and Outland

First time on Blu-ray – get Coma, Outland, Altered States, Brainstorm, The Astronaut’s Wife, Frequency, and Spawn: Director’s Cut on July 20th!

Frequency Blu-ray Edition

Official Synopsis:
A phenomenon allows police officer John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) to save the life of his long-dead father (Dennis Quaid). But changing the past leads to a string of brutal, serial homicides. Now, they both must race across time to stop the killer.

Caviezel and Quaid star in this fantastic 2000 scifi flick. The story is unique and inspired. John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel) begins to communicate with his deceased father (Dennis Quaid) in the past via an old radio as the northern lights seem to be affecting the instrument. But as Caviezel begins sharing with his father, the past begins to change. And a serial killer that was once stopped is now on the loose again. Full of heart-wrenching drama, suspense, and danger – this is a must for any scifi fan’s movie library. I previously owned the DVD, and the blu-ray edition is quite a bit clearer and sharper.

Outland Blu-ray Edition

Official Synopsis:
A federal marshal on an outer-space mining colony uncovers deadly secrets, triggering a showdown. Oscar(R) winner Sean Connery lays down the law in Peter Hyams’ sci-fi sizzler.

This 1981 scifi thriller is obviously outdated with its early 80’s technology and cheesy special effects. But the story and drama is still intense and suspenseful. Connery plays a marshal new to the mining colony where he’s completely on his own against a powerful and corrupt corporation. Despite the story lags and slow start (with way too much reading about the details of the colony), this was still a fun and exciting film that fans of retro scifi will enjoy now on blu-ray.

Book Giveaway and Spotlight: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

Courtesy of Pocket Books, I have a copy of The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper (on sale July 31st) for one (1) lucky winner!

Set in the world of Half Moon Hollow, made famous in Molly’s Nice Girls Don’t… series, this stand-alone comedic novel features a daytime vampire concierge who helps the undead take care of errands and appointments during sunlight hours. Iris Scanlon’s only rule: relationships are for business, not pleasure. But when she finds newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, her quiet life gets turned upside down. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire?

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 27. I’ll draw a name on July 28, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

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SciFi Book Review: Changeling

Changeling by Kelly Meding

Dahlia “Ember” Perkins is the new Meta (superhuman) on the team and has the ability to absorb and manipulate fire. The super-heroes-for-hire have done everything they can to welcome and accept Ember into their group, but she still feels like she doesn’t fit in. The Metas are called in to help local police with a bizarre murder where only the victim’s skin is left behind. And when clues lead to an old case of Ember’s, she soon finds herself the target of a killer.

This is the sequel to last year’s Trance. While Trance felt more like a super hero/super villain showdown, Changeling feels more like a mystery/paranormal cop show. While still in the same series, the point of view shifts to another team member as well. Meding has done a great job with character development. No shallow cardboard cut outs here. And I was surprised that the drama was just as interesting as the action-packed adventure scenes. This fantastic sequel is packed with suspense, thrills and plenty of surprises. Urban fantasy, scifi, and super hero fans alike will enjoy this dark, intense series.

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