Book Review: River of Teeth

Book: River of Teeth

Author: Sarah Gailey

Genre: sci-fi / alternate history

Rating: 4/5

What it’s about: In the early 1900s the United States Congress briefly considered importing hippos into the American South– this is the story of what might’ve happened if they followed through. Houndstooth is a hopper–basically a cowboy with a hippo–who, along with his merry band of friends and criminals, is planning an operation to take on a notorious gangster and hopefully get some revenge in the process. But with dangerous feral hippos prowling the swamps of the Mississippi, associates with old grudges and uncertain motives, and a whole lot of explosives there’s no way things can go that smoothly.

Continue reading

Book Review: Annihilation

Book Review: Annihilation | rachelbrittain.comBook: Annihilation

Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Genre: sci-fi

Rating: 4/5

What it’s about: A biologist, a surveyor, a psychologist, and an anthropologist set out on a mission to explore a mysterious region known as “Area X.” It may sound like the beginning of a joke, but in Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation the situation is real and all too dangerous. Faced with improbable situations and under the influence of hypnosis, the four women are aware that all is not as it seems. But as things progress and unease gives way to violence, the biologist begins to unravel the terrible secrets of Area X– or, at least, as much as any of it can be unraveled.

Continue reading

Book Review: Invictus

Book Review: Invictus | rachelbrittain.comBook: Invictus

Author: Ryan Graudin

Genre: YA / sci-fi

Rating: 4.5/5

What it’s about: Farway Gaius McCarthy is a boy out of time–literally. He’s the son of a 24th century time traveler and a Roman gladiator, born in the Grid, the timeless space used to travel between eras. All he’s ever wanted is to become a time traveler like his mother… but when his final exam is tampered with, he’s forced to settle for a different way of exploring history: as a thief snatching valuables from the moment of disasters where they’ll never be missed. But a run-of-the-mill heist on the sinking Titanic changes everything. A girl steals the goods before he can get to them and then insists on joining his team. But why–and what she isn’t telling them–could change the course of time forever.

Continue reading

Book Review: False Hearts

Book: False Hearts

Author: Laura Lam

Genre: Sci-fi

Rating: 4/5

What it’s about: Tila and Taema never realized just how unusual they were until they escaped the Hearth. At sixteen, dying of heart failure, the conjoined twins raised in an anti-technology religious cult escaped to have life saving surgery. Surgery that separated them and gave them mechanical hearts. San Francisco is entirely unlike the world they knew, but it’s not without it’s own dangers. In a future where civilian murder is almost unheard of, Tila becomes the first person arrested for murder in decades. But Taema isn’t convinced she did it. With her sister in jail and awaiting trial, Taema agrees to go undercover with the Ratel–a notorious organized crime syndicate–to help clear her sister’s name. Danger, drug-altering dreamscapes, and surprising connections to the cult they so long ago escaped await her as she goes undercover. The real question is if she’ll be able to come out of it–and if she does, will she ever be the same?

Continue reading

Book Review: Warcross

Book: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: ya / science fiction

Rating: 5/5

What it’s about: Emika Chen is a bounty hunter living paycheck to paycheck. She tracks down people who’ve placed bets on the popular virtual reality game Warcross, and if she doesn’t catch a break soon she may be living on the streets. But then Emika accidentally hacks herself into the opening games of the international Warcross tournament. Next thing she knows, she on a plane to Tokyo by personal invitation of Hideo Tanaka, the elusive creative of Warcross himself. He wants her help to find a hacker messing with the Warcross code…but doing so puts her in the crosshairs and leads her to a plot that may destabilize the very foundations of Warcross and the world that is so obsessed with it.

Continue reading

Book Review: Artemis

Book Review: Artemis | rachelbrittain.com

Book: Artemis

Author: Andy Weir

Genre: science fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

What it’s about: Jazz Bashara is a smuggler, using her connections to bring in contraband like cigars and pure ethanol to the lunar city of Artemis. But when she’s offered a job with a payout too good to refuse, she suddenly finds herself in way over her head. With the EVA guild on her tail, threats of deportation, a murderer on the loose–and after her–, and a conspiracy with the potential to topple the entire city, Jazz has to figure out some way to save it.

Continue reading

Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit

Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit | rachelbrittain.comBook: A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)

Author: Becky Chambers

Genre: science fiction

Rating: 5/5

What it’s about: When Lovey’s programming was corrupted, the factory version of the AI known as Lovelace replaced her. The problem is Lovey’s plans to (illegally) obtain a nonorganic human-like body and pass as a sapient was already in progress when Lovelace came on the scene– which means Lovelace now finds herself in a body instead of a ship, trying to pass for human in a universe which views AIs as things. With the help of her friends Pepper and Blue, she finds a new home on Port Corial. It’s all very confusing and complicated for Lovelace (who renames herself Sidra), all the more so because her programming mandates that she cannot lie. And it’s difficult to understand why the former version of herself could’ve ever wanted this when most sapients–even her new  friend Tak–have trouble viewing her as anything other than her programming.

Told in alternating chapters between the present, where Sidra (with the help of Pepper, Blue, and her new friend Tak) struggles to come to terms with having a physical body and autonomy for the first time, and the past, where a young Pepper (then Jane 23) recently escaped from the factory where she was made and learns to survive in a world (and universe) she knows almost nothing about with the help of an AI named Owl.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Book Review: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

source: amazon.com

Book: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Author: Becky Chambers

Genre: sci-fi

Rating: 5/5

What it’s about: Rosemary Harper is the newest member of the Wayfarer, an interspecies ship that specializes in hyperspace tunneling. She joins Sissix, the reptilian pilot, Dr. Chef, one of the last of his species and the ship’s chef and doctor, Kizzy and Jenks, the mechtechs, Corbin, the disagreeable algae grower, Ohan, the navigator, Lovey, the ship’s AI, and Ashby, the captain. Together, that motley bunch makes up the Wayfarer crew. They’re all in for a long mission after being offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to create a tunnel to the home planet of the newest members of the GC. But even though the crewmembers are all seasoned spacers, none of them are used to long hauls like this one, and as they travel closer and closer to Hedra Ka, the dangers of the mission begin to outweigh the odds that they’ll live to see payment.

Continue reading

If You Like This, Read That: The Matrix, Gravity, and Star Wars

Sometimes you see a movie that you never want to end, and when the credits start rolling you’re left with a craving for more of that action and adventure. Fortunately, a great book is always there waiting to get you through your post-movie sadness. Here are three great sci fi books to read if you’re not ready for the space-filled adventures to end.

If You Like This, Read That

source: giphy.com

Continue reading

Book Review: Nyxia (ARC)

Book: Nyxia

Author: Scott Reintgen

Genre: sci-fi / ya

Rating: 2/5

What it’s about: Emmett is one of ten teenagers chosen to compete for the honor (and unimaginable riches) of traveling to the newly discovered Earth-like planet, Eden, courtesy of Babel Communications. The catch? Well, there are a lot of them. Like the fact that their year-long trip will really be a competition to determine which of the ten participants will qualify for the task. And the fact that the planet is inhabited by dangerous aliens called “Adamites.” And the fact that people keep getting hurt in the competition. And the fact that Babel Communications  is definitely not telling them everything. With any luck, Emmett and the others will survive long enough to find out what it is they’re hiding, and whether those secrets are worth fighting–and maybe dying–for.

Continue reading