Posts Tagged ‘Science Fiction’

It is really hard to write a review on a book that already has so many excellent reviews previously penned about it by hundreds of fantastic reviewers around the world. So for Nexus, since I’m so far delayed in writing this, I’m going to try and make this review a bit more personal. I actually had some fears walking into reading this book after finding out some information about  author, Ramez Naam. Just take a look at his “about” page, HERE.  The man is scary brilliant, and it made me think twice about how Nexus sounded from the write up:

“In the near future, the experimental nano-drug Nexus can link humans together, mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it.

When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage – for there is far more at stake than anyone realizes.”

So back to my original point, if you haven’t bought this book maybe you are a bit intimidated by it, I know I was. I wasn’t sure if everything would simply fly over the top of my head and leave me staring there asking myself what the hell just happened.

In truth it’s really not that difficult to follow at all and the writing all the way through the plot is fantastic. So if you were worried about this being some bizarre techno-babble-heresy-thriller, you don’t have to worry anymore.

My second fear? I was worried that since this book was so “Far-future and Technologically based” that it would be somewhat dull and action-less. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Start to finish Nexus is a thrill ride taking our main character Kade into one unforgettable scene after another. Kade has a freaking Bruce Lee combat application that he can access at anytime and that is low grade stuff compared to some of the others.

Naam plays havoc with every character in this mind turning book, burning their lives down from the inside out. Very few books would I wish to see turn into a film adaptation but I think Nexus could rock the big screen and have a similar feel to the recent blockbuster Inception. If you are still on the edge about what I would consider a fantastic, action-packed psychological thrill ride of what might possibly be the not-so-distant future, then nothing I or anyone else can say will change your mind.

Nexus By Ramez Naam 9 out of 10 Liams, read it and witness a glimpse of what might be.

Tons of thanks as always to Angry Robot Publishing and Darren Turpin for feeding my AR Book addiction and providing me with this review copy.

Ah! A boy, his robot, and flying taxis – what’s not to love? The adventures of Zak Corbin: Master of Machines, by Tony Russo, begins fast and furiously with an epic robotic battle. Russo tosses a sprinkling of mystery into the battle, just enough to get us turning the pages to know more.

Under the devious guidance of his imprisoned uncle, the feared Dr. Elias Corbin, fifteen (and three-fourths) years old Zak Corbin and two good friends build a Corbin robot. When Zak’s robot, Pogo, mistakenly follows an errant command to set Dr. Corbin free, unstoppable gears are set in motion that will steamroll the world of Zak, his friends and New Futura itself. Along the way, the trio learns about friendship, confidence, and responsibility.

Zak struggles with everything that the typical teenager goes through – frustration with his parents, self-doubt, young love. We feel his nervousness as he and friends bring their robot to school for the first time. We applaud when the robot does well and shrink in our skin right along with Zak as the robot fails. Russo manages to plush out a young teen (perhaps based on his son, “the original Zak”) that seems real and human. Albeit, Zak does appear a bit over-achieving and a bit of the over-the-top young genius to be able to construct such advanced robots, even with the help of his illustrious uncle. However, I guess we could all aspire to possess such intelligence!

The robots are oversized, elite, and scrumptious. I want one! As each robot stomps and battles through New Futura, we feel the ground shake and hear the artillery whistle and explode.

Zak Corbin: Master of the Machines is an exciting, fast-paced action/adventure tale that is perfect for a quick read. Young adults would especially love it and identify with our hero, Zak, and his friends. 8 out of 10 stars.

 

 

 

 

 

          Seven Wonders is brilliant. Yes, brilliant. Each new scene brings about something that made me want to stand up and shout BRILLIANT! – like that idiotic Guinness commercial. Mishaps with new found powers like X-ray vision and dribbles of information about a super villain known as “Red Tape”, who wrecks bureaucratic havoc, left me smiling from ear to ear. The small plot blurb on Angry Robot’s  web page doesn’t do this book justice. There is so much more to Seven Wonders than a simple turf war between the superheroes and the new kid on the block, so much I didn’t think was even possible to fit inside the pages of one book. This was one of two books I was highly anticipating reading and so I set the bar pretty high. All I can say is that Seven Wonders went way beyond my wildest expectations.

The ease in which Adam Christopher switches from the mind of one character to another is uncanny. I’m not sure what it is exactly about Seven Wonders that captivated me so completely, whether it was the realism or the young child in me that wishes superheroes do exist. But it’s been a long time since I enjoyed taking my sweet time and digging into the story as much as I did with this.  The novel reads like a cinematic masterpiece flashing before your unblinking eyes, lest you miss a single moment of this superhero charged saga. The only way to describe Seven Wonders is by imagining the best superhero movie you can possibly fathom, times that by twenty and then let the story play out in high definition 3D inside your dazzled mind.

Peeking around at other review sites, The Founding Fields and Book Snobbery, I echo the sentiment with how spectacular this book truly is. I hate jumping on band wagons but it’s simply impossible not to be onboard this roller coaster that only goes skyward without stopping from start to finish.

I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read any of Adam’s previous work and I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for a copy of Empire State. This is going to be one those books you proudly display on the top of your bookshelf and show off to all your friends or inform them of how stupid they are for not reading it already. If you miss out on ordering the limited edition signed hardcover you’ll be kicking yourself square in the face later. I feel like I’m tripping over my own feet but I can’t find enough wonderful things to say about this book, no, not a book, but a piece of superhero history in the making. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a rising trend in superhero novels after this one hits the market. 9 out of 10 Liams for the best cover to cover book I’ve read this year. I expect it to be up for some awards shortly.

You can find Adam’s blog HERE.

Many Thanks to Angry Robot Publishing for providing me with this eARC.

I’ll be anxiously waiting for a contender to try and knock this one out of my top spot for novel of the year.

 

If authors of outstanding novels could be compared to baseball players mashing mind-blowing homeruns, then Madeline Ashby would test positive for a high dosage of synthetic steroids and robot growth hormone.  A captivating conglomeration of Stephen Spielberg’s A.I., a little mix of I, Robot, and even The Matrix seem to infiltrate their way into vN, Ashby’s first novel with Angry Robot Publishing.

A “young” von Neumann (vN) robot named Amy, lives in a healthy, happy, family environment with her human dad and robot mom but all that changes in a blink of an eye when granny decides to show up. After wholly devouring her grandmother, Amy unknowingly is infected with her crazed grandmother stuck inside her. Suddenly, innocent Amy isn’t so innocent after all and “… the failsafe that stops all robots from harming humans has failed..,” which makes Amy target number one in literally everyone’s eyes. Thrust together with an unscrupulous vN known as Javier, Amy is forcefully shoved down into the rabbit hole and has little hope of coming out unscathed.

Swivels and pivots in the story keep readers on their toes till the very end and even then there is no guessing in which direction this book could end. Though not my normal read, the ideologies for both the vN robots and the organic humans were played out admirably and realistically with varying and conflicting viewpoints.

The technique for authors known as world building can make or break a book. Another book reviewer, Shadowhawk, touches on the vital importance of the creation of a rich world in his review of The Hammer and The Blade by Paul Kemp. Ashby mirrors her very own creation, Amy, within her games she plays in the book, both of them designing vivid and fantastical creations down to the most miniscule detail with this under-appreciated skill which sometimes defines the difference between a good author and great author.  The garbage dump, the destroyed city of Cascadia, and the fabled vN safe-haven of Mecha are all beautifully designed places within an extremely developed world.

The underlying tones of pedophilia and vN abuse by their organic creators play a crucial role behind otherwise ulterior motives. Also, the fact that a  “global mega-church named New Eden Ministries, Inc,” was the prime investor for creating the von Neumann-type robots in an attempt to give companions to those left behind after the Rapture makes me smile inside at its paradox.

The writer inside me wishes the ending of this wonderful novel would have traversed across different paths, but in its conclusion Ashby had another, more astonishing finish you won’t see coming. It was close to a perfect 5 out of 5, but I found a few actions from my favorite character, Javier, to be contradictory to his current set path in life. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 Liams.

Here is the link to learn more about Madeline Ashby and her book, vN – The First Machine Dynasty.

(vN Robot Liam is trying to eat some synthetic keyboard food)