New Releases 12/28

There aren’t many books released the week after Christmas, but there is one that I’m very excited about: Sapphique, the sequel to Incarceron! You bet I used one of my Christmas gift cards to grab a copy of this today, and I’m SUPER THRILLED to start reading it, because Incarceron was possibly my favorite new series of last year.

If you like dystopia, or fantasy/adventure, or historical fiction, there’s some of each in this book. Incarceron is what I’ve been recommending to people at work who read The Hunger Games series and need something new and just as captivating. Trust me, this is another one of those books that will appeal to just about everybody. Go check it out.

Also, can we talk about the gorgeous, to-die-for cover art for both of these books? It’s so pretty, and I love the juxtaposition of natural and man-made elements on both covers. It’s a nice nod to the way the book features a man-made world meant to appear natural, and a natural world designed to resemble a specific time in history. I love that contrast. Basically, I want to marry the cover art.

Wither

Wither is the first book in the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first read the summary on the back of the book: one generation’s attempts to stop aging have backfired. The First Generation succeeded and will live nearly forever, but their children will not. In any subsequent generations, men only live to age 25, women to 20, before succumbing to an uncurable virus. Teenage girls are kidnapped and sold into polygamous marriages, with the intention of creating enough new children to keep the human race alive and to experiment on, to find a cure.

And this is a YA book? I wondered how this book was going to handle such dark themes, and worried that it was going to turn into one of those bullshit books where the kidnapped victim ends up falling in love with her captor. But I was absolutely wrong. DeStefano has done an amazing job with this book. It’s dark, don’t get me wrong. It’s very dark and does deal with some pretty frightening themes. However, I found myself totally enthralled by this book. Our narrator, Rhine, is separated from her twin brother Rowan when she is kidnapped by men who provide wives to wealthy men. She is then bought and forced into a polygamous marriage along with two other girls. Once married, they live inside a luxurious mansion, where they have everything they could ever want – except their freedom.

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Delirium

I’m calling it now: Delirium will be one of the biggest YA releases of 2011. I raced through this book in about two days and I’m already itching for the second book in the trilogy, but the book was so good that I’ll probably re-read it a couple of times while I wait. If this book doesn’t catch on in a big, Hunger Games-way, I’ll be shocked.

I was a HUGE fan of Lauren Oliver’s first book, Before I Fall, and Delirium doesn’t fall short of expectations. Oliver has captured me with her beautiful writing style in a way few authors have done – she writes so honestly that her characters’ happiness and pain is tangible and utterly real. And she describes the scenery in a way that almost makes it a character in its own right, which really adds to the atmosphere of the book. Where a book like Matched lacked a certain realism, the future Portland, Maine of Delirium feels like a fully fleshed-out world with a history. These are the things that put Oliver’s book solidly above the rest of the dystopian YA fiction pack.

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Taylor Lautner To Star In ‘Incarceron’ Movie

Deadline reports today that the film adaptation of Catherine Fisher’s super mega awesome book Incarceron will feature Twilight star Taylor Lautner as the male lead, Finn.

I have such conflicting feelings about this! I absolutely can’t say enough good things about Incarceron. It was so amazing that even though I read it at the beginning of the year, before this blog existed, I want to re-read it just so I can review it for you. The book alternates between Claudia,whose father is the warden for the prison Incarceron, and Finn, who is inside the prison trying to escape. There’s an amazing mix of science fiction and fantasy elements in the book – it takes place in a technologically advanced future that has been designed to imitate the 17th century, and inside Incarceron is a dark and beautiful fantasy world. The book is totally riveting as Claudia and Finn’s stories become intertwined.

The problem here is that Lautner is definitely not the type of actor I’d imagined in the role of Finn. I think the Twilight books and movies are terrible. But I haven’t really seen Lautner in anything else – I may hate Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight, but I’ve seen them in other films and liked them, so I tend to blame the source material. Incarceron doesn’t have a romantic storyline, and as Finn Lautner would need to be believable as a leader who’s questioning his entire history. So the real question is, can Lautner can shed his hunky werewolf image and prove that he can actually act?

And who will be cast in the role of Claudia?

More From Rae Mariz

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a story now that I jokingly refer to as “Juno set in the semi-post-apocalypse.” It’s about a really smart seventeen-year-old named Starlee Sanders who discovers how much she took people and things for granted after massive rainstorms cripple Seattle’s infrastructure and the survivors mob up to secure resources. The story is basically about figuring out how to move forward after it’s already too late to save the world… but not as dismal as that sounds, I promise.  It doesn’t have a set title yet, but I call it the Mudbook. It’ll come out sometime in 2012.

This is from the Q&A on author Rae Mariz’s website, which I was browsing after writing my review of The Unidentified.

AND THIS BOOK SOUNDS AWESOME, RIGHT? I will be all over this book when it comes out.

The Unidentified

Oh my Google. The Unidentified was a pretty cool book. It takes place in a not-distant future where, because the government has budgeted no money for education, corporations take over schools. “School” is now “the Game”, and you earn Score by playing what seem to be educational video games or hunting down the answer to a physics question you receive on your phone or by creating art or clothes or music that other kids think is cool and that a Sponsor will want to sell. The catch is that if you get chosen by a Sponsor to be a representative for their brand, or if you get a high enough Score, you can win prizes like a college scholarship, so Score is important to poorer kids like Katey Dade (screen name Kid).

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New Releases 12/07

This week there’s a new Vampire Academy book out. The sixth book in the series is called Last Sacrifice. People keep telling me that this series is REALLY GOOD but I’m a little bit afraid of the vampire romance stuff right now (as you can probably tell from my book reviews, I’m not a huge romance fan). Someone tell me if they’re really worth reading?

Also out this week is The Lying Game, a new book by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard. PLL never appealed to me, but this book actually sounds potentially awesome. A set of long-lost twins, one dies, and the other steps into her life to try to catch her killer? YES PLEASE. Maybe it’s just the Sweet Valley High fan in me, wanting to relive those glorious books about scandalous romances and stolen identities and murder… but I will probably read this.