Exciting End To The 5th Wave Trilogy.

 

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Book Three in Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series is full of action.  The fast moving story ties up some things while leaving room for readers to speculate what happens next and fan theories to grow.  Cassi, Zombie, Ringer, Megan and Sam are trying to get Evan back.  He has been taken by the human/aliens for reprogramming.  We learn more about the silencers and who they are as the team comes in contact with them.  The book is also largely about the evolution of Ringer as a character.  She has the alien technology in her but she can how use it to help the humans instead of hurt them.  Cassi also has an important role to play in saving what is left of humanity.  The book is very fast paced and exciting. But in the mist of all the action, the characters are still able to reflect on what it means to be alive in this war zone.  The idea is interesting that the aliens might see us as bugs that need to be exterminated.  We do not usually feel bad if we wipe out a colony of ants or cockroaches.  That gave me a lot to think about.  Fans of the first two books will love this.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Cassi says she is having more cravings than a pregnant woman.  If you were a survivor during the apocalypse, what would you crave the most?

Discuss what losing your ABCs would mean.

Discuss the relationship between Cassi and Evan.  How he feeds her when she is hungry but it is very complex.

Discuss this passage, “The world used to contain two Bens, the real Ben who didn’t know I existed, and the imaginary Ben, who feds me popcorn with buttery fingers.  Now there were three.” pp. 33

Discuss this passage, “Our true selves shimmered like a desert mirage forever receding into the distance.” pp. 34.

Discuss what it would mean to destroy culture.

Discuss Ringer’s bombshell.

During the book, did you think aliens were real or are the humans behind this?

What do you think will happen next with the survivors?  Where do they go from here?

Strong New Characters And Plot Twists In Book 2 Of The 5th Wave Series.

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)The book opens with a terrifying scene where the alien’s latest plan catches a group of humans unaware, using the most innocent as a weapon.  Cassie, her brother and her crew have escaped the aliens with the help of Evan Walker.   They are now holed up in an abandoned hotel.  Evan made his escape as well.  But he is found by someone he would rather not see, another alien posing as a human he knows all too well.  Badly injured, he has to get away from Grace, the other alien who suspects he might be a traitor and get back to Cassie.  Evan’s relationship with Grace is one of the more interesting aspects of the book.  They both realized what they really were when they met at a fair.  The two knew what was to come and had a strange sort of relationship which made them both feel less alone.  This middle book in the trilogy examines how love for another can make a person vulnerable. I think this is the main theme of book 2.   We see it over and over again between Teacup, Razor and Ringer, who is a main character in this story.  Ringer is captured and Vosch tries to “change” her to become more like them.  This process is very interesting and is a large chunk of the book.  The element of risk on the alien’s part is another strong theme in the book.  Then a huge plot bomb is dropped that could change everything we know so far.  The Infinite Sea was a very satisfying read.  I can’t wait for the conclusion!

 

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss the opening scene and what that predicts for the rest of the book.

Talk about Zombie and Ringers conversation about things getting back to normal when there is a tardy bell.  pg. 6

Discuss when Ringer says to herself, “I don’t panic.  I don’t bolt like a frightened gazelle.  I am more than the sum of my fear.”  pg. 15

Discuss Evan’s relationship with Grace.  How are they different?  How do they view humanity differently?

Discuss Poundcake’s back story.

How has Sam changed since The 5th Wave?

Discuss Ringer’s transformation and her relationship with Razor.

Discuss this passage about Ringer: “After my father died, I built a fortress safe and strong to last a thousand years.  A mighty stronghold that crumbles with a kiss.” pg. 276

Discuss Vincit qui patitur.

Discuss the riddle of the rocks.

Discuss this passage about love.  Ringer: “Love is the only thing in the universe that’s unpredictable.”  Vosch: “Love’s trajectory is entirely predictable.”

Why do you think Vosch does what he does now that you know the truth about what he really is?

 

 

 

 

New Angel Powers Relvealed In Cynthia Hand’s Exciting Conclusion To The Unearthly Series

Boundless (Unearthly, #3)Clara is now single, yearning for the lost love of Tucker.  She, Christian and Angela are beginning freshman year at Stanford.  She is going to attempt a relationship with Christian.  Angela is acting strange and she comes to realize that Angela is pregnant with the child of the mysterious angel blood she met in Italy.  Clara is having frightening visions of a dark place with Christian and her father, Archangel Michael wants to train her for battle.  All of this has her pretty freaked out.  In this final book of the trilogy, we learn some new tricks that Clara can do with her triplare angel blood powers.  Those powers keep drawing her back to Tucker which is painful for both of them.  At the same time dark forces are closing in on her brother, Jeffery.  But will Clara be strong enough to save him?  And should she risk everything to do so.  I really enjoyed this series.  I love it when Archangel Michael shows up to add an interesting element to the plot line.  I love Clara’s new powers with the ability to cross space and time.  One of my favorite moments is when she sees an earlier version of her mother.  It makes me wonder what my own children would think of an earlier version of me.  The thought is a little scary.  I highly recommend this series to angel fantasy fans.  It is definitely one of the better ones.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Discuss Clara’s relationship with Christian.  Should they be together?

What did you think “The seventh is ours” means?

Discuss Jeffery’s girlfriend.

How do you feel about what happened to Angela?

Do you think Clara should have risked everything to bring her brother back?

When Clara needs to cross over, her strongest link is Tucker’s barn.  What would your link be?

If you could cross over to a time or place, what would it be?

The Sequel I Most Wanted To Read Is Finally Here!

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Laini Taylor’s Days of Blood and StarlightDaughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite books of all time.  Karou and Akiva and separated after the he murdered the chimera who raised her.  She takes on Brimstone’s role as resurrectionist for the chimera army since his death.  She is hiding away in a Kasbah where she spends her days and nights stringing teeth and building new and terrifying bodies to battle the seraphs as they hunt down the tribes in Eretz.  She chooses this location because the Kasbah is near a portal that takes the chimera between worlds.  Karou constantly second guesses herself for bringing the chimera to hide in the human world.  She relives memories of her chimera life as Madrigal, the part gazelle part human creature.  Things become more complicated when her well meaning friends from Prague track her down after a cryptic email.  We learn a lot more about the seraphs and their terrifying empire.  Akiva has special powers that could help him win the war.  Akiva and his siblings are the bastard children of the frightening emperor,  Jerom.  Their lives are worth little for the angels they are fighting for.

The language and descriptive writing is just a beautiful as Daughter of Smoke and Bone.   My favorite moment is when she resurrects one of the chimera who raised her.  That was a particularly beautiful moment.  There is a power shift after this happens.  I love the way she deals with the white wolf in the end.  The struggle between Karou’s feelings for Akiva and her hatred for what he has done is an interesting struggle.  My only criticism is that I wish Taylor would remind us of some of the events that took place in the first book.  It has been a while since I read it and felt lost a few times.  This has been an issue with several YA series I’ve read recently.  The end is very interesting and I can’t wait for the third book!

Some ideas for discussion with teens:

Talk about Karou taking on her new role.

Discuss Karou’s decision to bring chimera into the human world.

Discuss the terrifying new bodies she is building for the army.

Talk about her relationship with the white wolf.

If you were a chimera what would you want to look like?

Discuss the part where Karou brings back a loved one from the past.

Discuss who you would bring back if you could.

Talk about how her relationship changed with Akiva near the end.  What do you think will happen next for them?

Beautiful Angel Imagery In Unearthly Sequel

Book Two of the Unearthly series, Hallowed, deals with the fall out of what happened when Clara didn’t fulfill her purpose.  She is puzzled over what she saw in her vision and how Christian is supposed to play a role in her life.  She is not sorry she saved Tucker, but she is so confused about what to do next.  Her love for Tucker deepens so she pushes away her thoughts of the inevitable.  At the same time her brother, Jeffrey is acting strange and her mother is weakening.  This book takes us deeper into the world of angel bloods.  We find out why Clara is stronger than she first thought when we meet her father.  This book is about sacrifice.  Clara must make painful decisions in this book.  Does she follow her purpose or her heart.  She has free will which is a dangerous thing for an angel with a purpose designed by God.  Cynthia Hand creates characters that are complicated and beautiful.  My favorite part of the angel gathering in the mountains.  The imagery is so beautiful.  I also love the way Hand describes Michael, Clara’s father.  I am eagerly awaiting the next installment which is expected to be published in 2013.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

What would your heaven look like?

Talk about purpose in life.  What does that mean to you?

Why do you think there are so many angel bloods in Clara’s town?

Discuss this passage on page 98.  “Fighting my purpose. Which means I’m going against my design.  The sorrow is mine.”

Talk about the sacrifice she made to let go of Tucker to embrace her destiny with Christian.  What would you have done?

Talk about Angela’s reaction to Clara’s true angel powers.  Have you ever felt jealous like that?

Talk about the loss of Clara’s mother.  Have you experienced anything like that?

What would you do if you had wings?  Where would you fly?

Non Stop Action In Exciting Final Firelight Book!

Hidden is the final book in the Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy.  The action begins right away.  Jacinda is placing herself as bait inside the frightening ENKROS stronghold.  She allowed herself to be captured to rescue Miram.  In this book we get an idea who these people are.  They are cruel scientists who cut up the Draki, not realizing they are part human.  The Draki stay in their dragon form while in captivity, not willing to give away their greatest secret.  There Jacinda has to hold on until Will and Cassian can rescue her.  There is also the mystery of what happened to her father.  She hopes her captivity may give her some answers.  This book is full of action from start to finish.  When they escape from the ENKROS stronghold they are being tracked and have to use all of their powerful skills to evade and fight back against hunters.  Jacinda is dealing with deep emotions.  She still loves Will but has stronger feelings for Cassian now that they are bonded. She feels everything he feels. They discover the ENKROS have a prisoner who is the last of his pride, a terrifying Draki that could be just as dangerous for them as the ENKROS.  I flew through this book.  The action made this such a quick and satisfying read.  The idea of the human/dragon hybrid characters is fascinating.  I love the moments when they manifest and take flight with their strong leathery wings.  Jordan does a great job developing characters that I cared about.  Hidden will be available in September.

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

What would you do with Jacinda’s fire power or Tamra’s shading power.

If you were Miram, would you understand why Jacinda choose Will over Cassian?

Discuss how Jacinda can still have feelings for Cassian when she loves Will.

Who would you choose, Will or Cassian?

Discuss the gray dragon and what happened when he finally was able to de-manifest.

What do you think ultimately happened to Jacinda’s father?

Why do you think Jable killed Miram?

Talk about how the Pride might be different with a council leader instead of a single leader.

Why do you think the Pride ultimately accepted Will?

Talk about how Will is not entirely human and what that could mean for his future.

What do you think the Draki look like?  Could you draw one?

Delicious New Series Is Hard To Put Down!

Illumiate is Amiee Agresti’s first novel for teens.  I hope she continues to write for them because this book was an absolute pleasure to read.  Haven Terra is tapped to do an internship under the toast of Chicago, the young, beautiful and highly successful Aurelia Brown.  She is the owner of the Lexington Hotel which is restored and about to open to much fanfare.  The Lexington Hotel was the notorious home of Al Capone.  Haven and her best friend Dante and another classmate named Lance move into the hotel.  The employees are unnaturally beautiful and part of an exclusive club called “The Outfit” after Capone’s gang.  The three figure out quickly there is something off about the whole thing.  The members of “The Outfit” do not seem entirely human.  When the photos Haven takes of the staff start changing, strange and scary things start to happen.  The spirit of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is very much alive in this book.  Having a book club or class read the two books together would be a rich experience.  Haven discovers a mysterious blank book with her name on it.  When an unknown person or spirit starts writing to her in the book, her adventure truly begins and turns into an intense battle between good and evil.  Haven is not your average teen.  She was found in a puddle of mud as a five year old without any memories.  She is also marked with strange scars on her shoulder blades and her chest.  Aurelia and the very handsome Lucien keep telling her she is special, but Haven can’t figure out why.  Agresti is brilliant at world building.   She describes this hotel with its deep underground nightclub and tunnels with great detail.  I felt like I was there experiencing this rich, luxurious hotel.  I even felt a little claustrophobic when she described Haven’s hotel room in the basement.  The underground “Alcatraz” dining room was particularly fun to read about.  The characters were multidimensional and believable.  Watching both Lance and Lucien evolve as characters was fascinating.  I highly recommend this book and cannot wait for the next installment!

Some ideas for discussing with teens:

Talk about why people are attracted to danger.

Why do you think Haven was chosen for this assignment?

Who do you think gave Haven the mysterious book?

Talk about how the members of the outfit seem beautiful but without personality.  Why would someone want to be part of that group?  Would you want to be part of that group?

Talk about Haven’s attraction to Lucien.

What do you think of Aurelia?  Would you want to work for her?

What did you think was behind the door that was as hot as a stove?

The one who wrote in the book kept the instructions vague.  Do you think that helped or hurt Haven?

Discuss Al Capone history and the history of the Lexington Hotel.

What is it about Haven that made her stronger than Lucien and Aurelia?

How did your thoughts about Dante and Lance change throughout the book?

Have the group study the painting, “La Jeune Martyre” and discuss.