Rave Reviews Log: Science Fiction

June 16, 2007

Johnny and the Bomb

By Terry Pratchett
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Pratchett finishes his Johnny Maxwell trilogy with this time traveling entry. Quite by accident, Johnny and his friends discover that the shopping cart Mrs. Tachyon (who makes appearances in the other books) pushes around town is a time machine. Johnny had been doing a school project on the bombing of Paradise Street during World War II and realizes that perhaps he can stop the disaster from happening if he can go back in time to that period. Johnny and his friends Kirsty, Yo-less, Wobbler and Bigmac do quite a bit of bopping through time and space, sometimes even running into friends and relatives at different points in time. Can Johnny learn to manipulate time well enough to prevent the bombing of Paradise Street? It isn't as straightforward as one might think as Johnny learns about parallel universes and the inevitability of certain events, but it is a completely enjoyable adventure just the same. Because when you understand that Time isn't a when, it is a place, all sorts of possibilities open up. Another winner from Pratchett.

A Darkling Plain

By Philip Reeve
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Reeve finishes his stupendous Hungry City Chronicles with a bang. While Naga's wife, Oenone, tries to achieve peace between the traction cities and the Green Storm, others seek to keep the war going. After learning the horrible things Hester had done, Tom Natsworthy and his daughter Wren are traveling the bird roads again as traders without her. Whe Tom sees a woman he remembers from the long doomed London, he and Wren discover that there are survivors in the wreck who have built a new town with new technology. But tractionist Wolf Kobold also finds out and is determined to take the new technology for himself. Hester and her tame stalker, Mr. Grike, meanwhile, rescue Theo and Oenone and try to reunite her with the Green Storm and her husband. Poor little lost boy Fishcake resurrects the Stalker Fang, who has her own plans for ending the war. All the characters are driven to accomplish either ending or continuing the war, but for different reasons. There are reunions, betrayals, acts of bravery, acts of greed, lives saved and lives lost. But there is always hope, friendship and love as well. Readers of this series will be immediately swept back into the story and will eagerly thumb their way through the adventures of our heroes to the bitter (and not-so-bitter) endings they face. Thumbs up for an absorbing scifi series!

June 08, 2007

The Seer

By David Stahler, Jr.
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

This is the second book in the Truesight trilogy. We pick up the story with Jacob traveling the plains toward the city of Melville. Jacob used to live in the community of Harmony, where all the residents are blind and embrace blindness as a way of life. But when Jacob suddenly starts to be able to see, he finds that the comfortable community he has always known is full of corruption and secrets. When his secret is revealed, Jacob is forced to leave the community. But as he runs in fear from his home, he feels comfort in following behind Delaney, the talented musical apprentice who used to work under his mother. The high councilor told them she was dead, but now Jacob believes she is still out there, a runaway headed for the city. Jacob is picked up by an ex-mercenary named Xander, who takes him in and who, Jacob discovers, also helped Delaney. When they go to visit Delaney in Melville, they find she is being hailed as a new musical star and a virtual prisoner of the company who took her in. Jacob's continuing nightmares about Delaney make him realize he needs to be the one to rescue her from her situation. As Jacob and Xander lay plans to spring Delaney, Jacob becomes aware that his nightmares may actually mean more than he realized. Will Jacob be able to rescue Delaney? What do his nightmares really mean? And what is Jacob's destiny? This is a great adventure science fiction story, with a boy growing into his strength in a world that he realizes is in shades of gray, not black and white like he always believed. A third installment to the series is in the works.