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Staff Reviews: Science Fiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'The Passage'

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin

★★★★★ Not *just* another zombie-vampire-apocalypse genre novel (but yes, it is also that), "The Passage" tells an epic, century-long tale of the downfall of modern civilization due to a contagion that transforms humans into bloodthirsty, fanged, nigh-indestructible creatures of the night that the author graciously (though conspicuously) tries very hard not...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Dystopian

Cover: 'Spill Zone'

"Spill Zone" by Scott Westerfeld

★★★★★ In the early 70’s the Soviet science fiction authors, Arkady and Boris Sturgatsky, wrote ”Roadside Picnic” about the changes in the environment in places around the world after what is assumed to be an alien visitation. They wrote about a changed world, where artifacts from these locations displayed unusual and bizarre properties and effects, and the ways...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Cat's Cradle'

"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut

★★★★ A young impressionable writer two sets out to interview the children of Felix Hoennikker, a brilliant scientist credited with inventing the atomic bomb. A believer in the Caribbean religion of Bokonon, the writer believes that God, fate and the universe will guide his life, introducing him to the people he is supposed to meet, sending him to the places he...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Satire, Dystopian

Cover: 'The Brahms Deception'

"The Brahms Deception" by Louise Marley

“The Brahms Deception” is a music history meets sci-fi thriller novel. When a musicologist travels back in time to unravel a mystery that has haunted musicians for centuries, her rival must find a way to undo the damage she creates. The book has an unexpected and interesting premise and well-developed -- if slightly stereotypical -- characters. The average...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Music

Cover: 'Crosstalk'

"Crosstalk" by Connie Willis

★★★★★ Briddey Flannigan is thrilled when her boyfriend, Trent, proposes that they both undergo a relatively new and popular surgical procedure that enhances one’s ability to experience a romantic partner’s feelings. Sure, it’s literally brain surgery, but who wouldn’t want to share such an emotionally significant moment as a marriage proposal at a deeper level...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Lock In'

"Lock In" by John Scalzi

★★★★★ It’s twenty-five years since an illness that became known as Haden’s Syndrome swept the world and left 1% of those afflicted in a state known as “lock in.” Those in lock in are aware of the world but unable to move or otherwise respond to their environment without the implantation of neural networks that allow them to connect to a virtual, Haden’s-only...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Stars Above'

"Stars Above" by Marissa Meyer

★★★★ This collection of nine stories takes place in the world of the popular Lunar Chronicles. Most of the stories serve as prequels to the series and provide additional backstories for a number of characters, including Michelle Benoit, a high-school age con-artist Carswell Thorne, and a young Cress. As charming and endearing as these stories are, the biggest...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Their Fractured Light'

"Their Fractured Light" by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ Two years ago, Tarver and Lilac survived the Icarus crash that was planned by LaRoux Industries. One year ago Flynn and Jubilee shared the truth about the corrupt LaRoux Industries with the entire galaxy after an investigation on the planet Verona. In the final installment of the Starbound trilogy, we meet Sofia and Gideon. Sofia is looking to kill Roderick...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Illuminae'

"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

★★★★★ It’s a good thing that seventeen-year-old Kady broke up with her boyfriend that morning. If she hadn’t broken up with Ezra, she wouldn’t have driven to school that day. She and Ezra survived the attack on their tiny plant of Kerenza by BeiTech Industries because they were able to make it to the port and escape with others on three different vessels. Kady is...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'The 5th Wave'

"The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey

★★★★★ Cassie’s world is under assault by alien intruders. It is a world without electricity, which was knocked out by the first wave. The coasts were decimated by tsunamis in the second. Third was a bioweapon in the form of an illness with a 97% kill rate. The fourth wave is Silencers—assassins who exterminate any humans who survived. Cassie is convinced that...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Survival

Cover: 'This Shattered World'

"This Shattered World" by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

★★★★★ Captain Jubilee “Lee” Chase is a soldier serving on the politically volatile planet of Avon and tasked with keeping order and maintaining the current cease fire. Flynn Cormac is a leader within the rebel group, but he would rather negotiate than attempt a violent rebellion. Circumstances bring the formidable Chase and pacifist rebel together, and, despite...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'The Martian'

"The Martian" by Andy Weir

★★★★★ I just had to write a quick review of “The Martian” by Andy Weir after recently seeing that they have made it into a movie to be released soon!  The book has everything that a science fiction reader could ask for. It’s a story of a man getting stranded on Mars, which we all know is not a very human friendly place to be. He must survive for a long...

Audience: Adults, Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Award-Winning, Alex Award Winner

Cover: 'Grasshopper Jungle'

"Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith

★★★★★ Printz winners tend to be edgy and controversial. "Grasshopper Jungle" by Andrew Smith is no different. Set in a small Iowa town, "Grasshopper Jungle," at its simplest is the end of the world as we know it wrapped around a coming of age story, but that description just doesn't do it justice. Austin and his friend Robby break into the local second hand shop...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Award-Winning, Printz Award Winner, Science Fiction, YALSA Top 10

Cover: 'These Broken Stars'

"These Broken Stars" by Amie Kaufman

★★★★★ Tarver is a brave and decorated soldier from a low-class family. Lilac is an intergalactic debutante from the richest of families. These unlikely companions become the lone survivors of a spaceliner crash on an unknown and strange planet. The story follows their journey across this alien landscape trying to survive the landscape and one another. What they...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Cover: 'Lock In'

"Lock In" by John Scalzi

★★★★★ This fast-paced read got me thinking about what would happen if 'The Haden's Disease' actually existed. Haden's is a disease that effected the world population, starting out as a flu, continuing on to meningitis, and finally being "locked in". Only 1% get to the locked in stage, and it sounds just the name suggests. The lucky few that survived the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Goodnight Darth Vader'

"Goodnight Darth Vader" by Jeffrey Brown

★★★ Darth Vader is trying to put his twins Luke and Leia to sleep but they have the usual questions and demands of most kids at bedtime. He tells them rhyming stories about droids, wookies, Han Solo, Boba Fett and other familiar Star Wars characters. While this is not great literature, this cute book will be devoured by Star Wars fans, old and young alike, who...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Picture Book, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Allegiant'

"Allegiant" by Veronica Roth

★★★★★ The intriguing conclusion to the Divergent series, this book will be hard to put down. Tris and Four continue to search for answers and a way to put the pieces of their broken lives back together. What began with a choice that changed their lives forever continues to be a journey of choices and tough lessons in love, courage, truth, and sacrifice.  

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Cover: 'Red Rising'

"Red Rising" by Pierce Brown

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand Reds (the lowest caste of society) who live beneath the surface of Mars, mining for an element that will terraform Mars and make it habitable to the people of Earth. After tragedy strikes, Darrow learns that everything he has ever been told is a lie. Mars has been habitable for hundreds of years and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

Cover: 'The 5th Wave'

"The 5th Wave" by Rick Yancey

★★★★★ In this fast paced teen dystopian novel, aliens have invaded and Cassie, one of earth's last surviving humans, must fight the odds to rescue her little brother, Sam. Cassie has remained on the run, trusting only herself, since her parents were killed, until she meets Evan Walker. The mysterious Evan may be Cassie's only hope for survival, but is he really...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Survival