Archenemies

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Renegades. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Archenemies was written by Marissa Meyer and first published in 2018. It is a science fiction novel which tells the continuing story of Nova – a double-agent trying to bring down an established group of superheroes from the inside. The novel forms the second part of the Renegades Trilogy and follows on directly from where Renegades (2017) left off, therefore I would recommend reading the novels in sequence to fully appreciate what’s going on.

Following her battle against the Detonator, Nova Artino has finally secured a position of respect within the ranks of the Renegades. Her secret alter ego – the villain Nightmare – is believed to be dead and she has finally been granted permission to work in the archives of the Renegades headquarters. As soon as she can get her hands on Ace Anarchy’s helmet – the device that he needs to focus his telekinetic powers – she will be able to deliver victory into the hands of the Anarchists.

Adrian Everhart has also finally found a moment of peace. When the Sentinel is believed to have been killed in battle, he is finally granted the opportunity to put his secret vigilante persona to rest and bring his life back to normal. Although he is still desperate to find out who killed his mother, he has now exhausted all of his leads. Perhaps it is time to focus on his team and budding feelings for Nova.

Yet everything changes when the Renegades unveil a new secret weapon. All patrols will soon be equipped with vial of Agent N – a fast-acting drug that has the ability to permanently strip a Prodigy of their powers. Although Nova is horrified at the thought of how this could be abused, she also realises that it could be a way to finally defeat the Renegades forever. Yet, she knows that she must proceed with caution. One of her team mates – Monarch – seems to be growing increasingly suspicious of her…

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Jumper

Jumper was written by Steven Gould and first published in 1992. It is a science fiction story about a teenage boy who discovers that he has the ability to teleport. The novel forms the first part of the Jumper series and is followed by Reflex (2004), Impulse (2013) and Exo (2014), as well as a couple of short-stories that are set in the same universe. The story was also made into a major motion picture in 2008, although this film is only very loosely based on the first novel.

Davy Rice first discovers his power when he is about to receive a beating from his alcoholic father. One second, he is in his home; the next he is in the local library. Through trial and error, he soon discovers that he has the ability to instantly teleport to any place that he has visited before, so long as he can clearly visualise that spot in his mind. The potential of this thrills him. Finally, he has a way to get away from his father and search for his mother, who abandoned him when he was little.

However, Davy soon discovers a major flaw in his plan. As a seventeen-year-old runaway, he has no chance of surviving by himself. He has no money, identification or social security number. Unable to find a job by any legitimate means, he uses his power to its full potential and successfully steals almost a million dollars from a bank.

The money is more than enough for Davy to buy a life for himself, living comfortably and quickly falling in love. However, it also makes him more confident and Davy starts to use his ability to jump more and more. After a horrible crime takes away someone that he cares about, he starts to realise that he could use his power to save lives. However, doing so draws the attention of the NSA. Is there a way that he can continue to help people without being caught or, worse still, becoming a pawn of the American government?

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Arabella of Mars

Arabella of Mars was written by David D Levine and first published in 2016. It is a steampunk science fiction novel, set in an alternate timeline where the secret of interplanetary travel was discovered in late 17th Century. The novel forms the first part of the Adventures of Arabella Ashby series and is followed by Arabella and the Battle for Venus (2017) and Arabella the Traitor of Mars (2018).

The year is 1812 and Arabella lives happily with her family on their Martian plantation. Although her mother worries about her tomboyish behaviour, Arabella loves nothing more that to play hunting games with her brother, Michael, and learn about the tribal Martian culture from her native nanny, Khema. However, when she is injured during a rough game, Arabella’s mother declares this to be the last straw. She will not allow her daughter to grow up as a savage and whisks her away to London, where she can learn to be a lady and find a respectable husband.

However, a few months into their stay on Earth, Arabella receives terrible news. Her father has suddenly died and now Michael has been forced to take over the plantation. The news thrills her despicable cousin, Simon. Desperate for money, he hurries to Mars with the intent of murdering Michael. As the closest male relative, he would surely inherit everything and leave Arabella and her mother destitute.

Arabella disguises herself as a boy and makes her way to the docks, determined to catch Simon before he can depart. When she is too late, she hits upon a risky plan to beat him to the Red Planet. After impressing Prakash Singh, Captain of the Mars Company Airship “Diana”, she accepts a place on his crew as a cabin boy. The Diana is a fast ship and should be able to deliver her to Mars before Simon reaches the plantation. However, her safety depends on her ability to hide her sex for two months on a ship that is entirely crewed by men…

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Beetle Queen

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Beetle Boy. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Beetle Queen (also published under the title Revenge of the Beetle Queen) was written by M.G. Leonard and first published in 2017. It forms the second part of The Battle of the Beetles Trilogy, following Beetle Boy (2016) and preceding Battle of the Beetles (2018). The story picks up a couple of months after the events of the first book and follows the continuing adventures of Darkus Cuttle and his hyper-intelligent rhinoceros beetle, Baxter. Because of this, I would strongly recommend reading the books in sequences to fully appreciate them.

Darkus managed to rescue his father from the clutches of the evil Lucretia Cutter, but he knows that the monstrous fashionista is planning something big. The paper reports that she is designing dresses that will be worn by every actress who has been nominated at the Film Awards in LA. Darkus does not know what Cutter will do when all of those cameras are turned on her, but it can’t possibly be good.

However, his snooping is hampered by his father. Bartholomew Cuttle knows how dangerous Cutter can be. She very nearly killed Darkus the last time they met and he doesn’t want to risk losing him. Bartholomew is keen to whisk his son away to live in the countryside but Darkus can’t allow that. He could never run away and leave his new human and beetle friends in danger.

When a close friend is badly injured by Lucretia Cutter and his father vanishes once again, Darkus knows that he has to act. With the help of Uncle Max, Virginia, Bertolt and their best beetle friends, they set off on an epic adventure that takes them from frozen Greenland to the bright lights of Hollywood. They know that they need to act fast. Lucrecia Cutter needs to be stopped before she can move her evil plan into its next stage…

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Thunderhead

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Scythe. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Thunderhead was written by Neal Shusterman and first published in 2018. It follows the continuing story of Citra and Rowan – two youths who live in a world where humans are functionally immortal and the population is controlled by an order who are known as the Scythes. The book forms the second part of the Arc of a Scythe series and follows Scythe (2016). At the time of writing, no further instalments have been announced.

Ever since she passed her trial, Citra has struggled with leaving her past behind. Although she is now a true Scythe, it is hard to think of herself as being Scythe Anastasia rather than the girl that she once was. Her revolutionary gleaning method has also been drawing the attention of her fellows. Her decision of letting her victims choose the terms of their death is unheard of, and the order is divided on whether or not they support this. While Citra is initially unconcerned about their opinions, her view changes when an attempt is made on her life. Someone has noticed how influential Citra is becoming and will stop at nothing to silence her forever.

Meanwhile, Rowan now walks a different path. He has taken Goddard’s ring and now operates from the shadows as Scythe Lucifer. His targets are those Scythes who abuse their power – the ones that kill for sport or deliberately target racial minorities. While the Scythes initially struggle to stop him, matters change when Rowan finds himself captured and at the mercy of a Scythe with a horrifying agenda. His captor is about to put a terrible plan in motion, but first they wish for Rowan to suffer.

It’s clear that the world is in a state of flux and not necessarily for the better. Although the Thunderhead – the AI that controls most of the world – can see the coming storm, it is powerless to directly do anything to stop it. The best it can do is manipulate certain key players into positions where the can make a difference, although in doing so it puts them in grave danger. Meanwhile, Faraday may also have found something that could change the course of history – a legendary city, hidden from both the Thunderhead and Scythes alike. However, travelling there is unspeakably dangerous. One slip up and he will likely find himself permanently dead…

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Satellite

Satellite was written by Nick Lake and first published in 2017. It is a science-fiction novel that focuses on a teenager who was born on a space station as he prepares for his first journey to Earth. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s earlier work to fully appreciate it.

Leo finds it odd that people refer to Earth as being his home. He and his friends – Libra and Orion – have never known anything but the confines of Moon 2. They were born on the space station and have been unable to travel down to Earth as their frail bodies could not withstand the gravitational pull of the planet. However, now that his sixteenth birthday is approaching, everything changes.

Tests have shown that Leo and his friends are now potentially strong enough to survive on Earth. Leo is thrilled by the news. Although he loves his life in space, he’s keen to experience everything that he’s missed out on. He knows that getting used to gravity won’t be easy, but he longs to meet his Grandfather for the first time and help out on his ranch.

However, Leo is not prepared for what lies before him. Earth is not the utopia that he has imagined and he quickly realises that the Company who control Moon 2 have been hiding many things from him. When Leo came down to Earth, he thought he would be free. He soon realises that nothing could be further from the truth…

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Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines was written by Philip Reeve and first published in 2001. It is a dystopian science fiction novel, set in the far future when cities have become mobile. The novel forms the first part of the Mortal Engines Quartet and is followed by Predators Gold (2003), Infernal Devices (2005) and A Darkling Plain (2006). More recently, Reeve has also published a prequel series – titled the Fever Crumb series – and a film adaptation of Mortal Engines is due for release later this year.

Following the Sixty Minute War, the world fell into chaos. Faced with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, most cities were transformed into hulking traction engines in order to protect the people who lived within. Now, they follow the credo of Municipal Darwinism. The successful cities are the ones that hunt and devour others, harvesting them for precious resources and slaves. The weaker cities are quick to fall.

As prey becomes scarce, London is forced to venture out into the dangerous hunting plains. Tom Natsworthy is as excited as anyone when she manages to capture the small mining town of Salthook. It even gives him the opportunity to meet his hero Thaddeus Valentine – head of the Guild of Historians. However, his luck soon turns when Valentine is attacked by one of the citizens of Salthook. Although Tom manages to save Valentine’s life, he learns that he is responsible for the brutal scarring of his would-be assassin’s face. And unfortunately this is a secret that Valentine would prefer to remain hidden.

Although Tom survives, he finds himself ejected from London in the company of the assassin – Hester Shaw – a bitter young woman who thinks of nothing more than her revenge. As the two search for a way back into the city, they learn a horrifying secret. The Lord Mayor of London has gotten his hands on an ancient weapon and soon plans to unleash it on the world…

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The Supervillain and Me

The Supervillain and Me was written in 2018 and is Danielle Banas’s debut novel. It is a science-fiction romance about a girl who slowly starts to fall for a notorious villain when she is asked to help prove his innocence. The novel forms the first part of the Morriston Superheroes series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

Morriston City has never been safest of places. Despite the fact that it boasts two active Supers – Red Comet and Fish Boy – its crime rate is so bad that it’s unsafe for any ordinary person to walk the streets without carrying a taser. As the daughter of the mayor and sister of Red Comet, Abby knows this only too well. Her family are so busy trying to make the city a safer place that they don’t seem to spend much time together anymore.

Things get worse still when a new Super appears and burns down the mayor’s office. Dubbed the Iron Phantom by the press, he proves keen to use his powers to cause as much damage as possible. However, Abby isn’t sure quite what to make of this. Before he was revealed to be a villain, the Iron Phantom saved her life and he certainly didn’t strike her as a bad person.

It’s not long before the Iron Phantom shows up in her bedroom and begs her for help. He has reason to believe that the mayor’s office is planning to implant microchips in the general public and he needs to find out why. He also swears to Abby that he is innocent of his crimes and that someone is trying to frame him. Slowly, Abby is drawn into the conspiracy but she can’t help but worry if she is doing the right thing. How can she trust someone if she does not even know who they are, and what would her brother do if he learned that she was helping his arch nemesis?

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Animorphs 54

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49 | 50-53

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

Wow. It feels weird to say this after two years but I am finally at the end of my retrospective look at K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series. The series in question ran from 1996 to 2001 and consisted of fifty-four main novels and eight specials. It was also a massive part of my childhood and a source of huge nostalgia for me. For the purpose of this review, I’m only going to be looking at the final novel – The Beginning (2001). Please note that this post will contain massive spoilers for the entire series. You have been warned.

The end has finally come. Visser One has been defeated and the Animorphs have control of the Pool Ship. However, the battle is not over yet. Tom’s rebel band of Yeerks has taken the Blade Ship. The Animorphs have no chance of out-manoeuvring them and their weapons have been drained. Their only hope lies in the Rachel, who has stowed away as a flea on Tom’s head. With the future of the human race hanging the balance, Jake gives the one command he has always feared. He orders Rachel to stop his brother by whatever means necessary.

Rachel’s actions are enough to end the war, allowing the Animorphs to create a hasty agreement with the Andalites and save the Earth. However, it all comes at a terrible price. Not all of them came away from the Pool Ship unharmed. While some of Animorphs use their skills and fame to thrive in the years following the war, others sink further into despair. Jake, in particular, is unable to come to terms with the decisions that he was forced to make in the heat of battle. In some ways, he worries that he was as bad as Visser One.

Yet, even though the Yeerks have been defeated, danger still lurks at the edge of space. An entity that calls itself the One has begun to move, capturing any ship that it encounters and assimilating its crew into a greater whole. When Ax becomes a victim of the creature, the Andalite’s turn to the remaining Animorphs for assistance. However, are the Animorphs prepared relinquish their safety and head into battle once again?

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Animorphs 50-53

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

If this is the first of my retrospective posts that you have seen; welcome. This is where I’ve been gradually taking a look back at one of my childhood obsessions – K.A. Applegate’s epic Animorphs series. This science fiction series ran for fifty-four books (as well as a bunch of specials) and was published between 1996 and 2001. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be looking at books fifty through fifty-three only – The Ultimate, The Absolute, The Sacrifice and The Answer. Oh, and there will be spoilers

The end that the Animorphs feared has finally come. The Yeerks have discovered their identities and forced them into hiding. Although most of the Animorphs managed to at least save their parents, Jake was not so lucky. Now he struggles with his depression, knowing that his mum and dad could well be Controllers. To make matters worse, Visser One has declared open warfare. There is no hiding now. The Yeerks seem to have won.

Yet the Animorphs will not accept defeat so easily. There is now no time to play fair. Jake and the others know that the only way that they can win is to take risks and do things that they previously would never have dreamed of. They share the morphing technology with others to bolster their ranks, make contact with politicians and members of the military, and even launch a final attempt to destroy the Yeerk Pool beneath the city.

Finally, they find themselves in a unique position to mount an attack on the most valuable ship in the Yeerk armada – the Pool Ship. With the help of unexpected allies, they launch a full-scale assault on the vessel. Their victory could very well save the human race. However, Jake knows that there is a good chance that, this time, they may not all make it out alive…

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