Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mouse Magic

Mouse Magic
Wizards of Mickey Vol. 1
all-ages graphic novel
unpaged
Los Angeles : Boom! Studios, 2010

Mickey is a sorcerer's apprentice, of course! When his master is off on an errand, he is left in charge of the village's Diamagic - the source of rain needed to grow their crops. Not surprisingly, Mickey goofs up and Peg-Leg Pete steals the Diamagic. Mickey leaves Miceland in shame, determined to regain the crystal that is so important to his neighbors. He stumbles into a competition for sorcerers where the final prize is the entire collection of Diamagics that would make the winner the Sorcerer Supreme over all the land. The only thing standing in Mickey's way is the fact that you have to compete as a team of three and Mickey is all by himself. Enter Donald Duck with pet dragon Fafnir and Goofy to complete the team and call themselves Wizards of Mickey. I am sure you can imagine the bumbling methods they use to compete in the games! An entertaining read for all ages.

Dark Life

Dark Life
by Kat Falls
juvenile science fiction
297 pages
New York : Scholastic Press, 2010

Earthquakes have destroyed much of the land on the Earth's surface. Rising water levels have made much of the remainder unable to support human life. To survive people are crammed into ridiculously tall stacked apartment buildings with no personal space whatsoever. A few have become pioneers and moved to the ocean floor, creating farms and raising fish as livestock. Ty was born deep-sea to a pair of scientist pioneers. He and his younger sister are among the only children thriving in the ocean depths. Ty thinks of nothing more than exploring his environment, doing his chores and looking forward to when he turns eighteen and can stake his own claim on a piece of oceanic real-estate. Then Gemma literally drops into his life. A stubborn Topsider who is searching for her older brother, Gemma yearns for her own space and independence. She just happens to pick a terrible time to visit the deep-sea colony. A group of outlaws is spreading chaos and disorder in their wake as they capture and destroy supply subs and attack helpless homesteaders on the ocean floor. The Topside government is no help and it is up to the pioneers to capture and punish the criminals themselves. Add to all this action the rumors that children born deep-sea have mutant abilities and you have one exciting story! Definitely recommended for kids ten and up, there is some slight violence but nothing graphic. This was a book I could not put down. I was also happy that it actually had an ending. The author could definitely write more, but is not necessary.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Birthmarked

Birthmarked
by Caragh M. O'Brien
young adult fantasy/science fiction
361 pages
New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2010

In the future the Enclave is all-powerful city within the wall. Those who are outside the wall live to serve the Enclave, and wishing they could have the opportunity to live inside. Sixteen-year-old Gaia and her mother are midwives who dutifully serve by turning over a certain quota of newborn babies to the Enclave. Gaia begins to question everything she has been told when her mother and father are arrested and taken within the walls. Gaia has to decide whether or not to flee to save her own life or risk dying by entering the Enclave to rescue her parents.
A fabulous blend of post-apocalyptic science-fiction and a fantasy medieval world. Flawed Gaia is a realistic character with depth and emotion. She acts on impulse and truly follows her heart. Leon is an intriguing male counterpart who has to figure out his own path in life despite his family. An exciting read and a book I actually hope there is a sequel to as I really want to know what happens next.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Epitaph Road

Epitaph Road
by David Patneaude
teen science fiction
266 pages
New York : Egmont USA, 2010

Men are practically extinct and women rule the world. In the year 2097, teenager Kellen Dent is an object of great curiosity as one of the few young men in Seattle. He lives a fairly privileged life as his mother holds a high position in the PAC government that now runs the United States. Yet Kellen yearned to be with his father who lives the life of a loner and fisherman off in the north. When two new girls move into the apartment building, Kellen is forced to open his eyes and re-learn his history lessons. The kids end up in a race against time and another deadly outbreak of the male-killing virus.
As usual I was intrigued by the post-apocalyptic plot. The selective killer-virus was a great way to swing the powers of the world in the opposite direction. However, I felt the characters were a bit shallow and I didn't grow attached to any of them. I would have loved to know more of the history between Kellen's parents in particular. Although not my favorite, it is still a good-read and nice addition to my favorite genre.