Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Mindwar Trilogy by Andrew Klavan (Book Review)

The Story: A wildly creative terrorist has created a virtual reality realm that will allow him to hack into any computer system in the world. He plans to use this power to destroy the United States. To combat this threat, the American government recruits a crippled teenage boy who has a talent for winning video games. The boy must be hooked up to a machine that will allow him to enter the virtual reality realm and try to destroy it. Yet anything that happens in the realm will happen to his body--including death.

My Thoughts: I’ve enjoyed several of Andrew Klavan’s previous YA novels, particularly Nightmare City and the Homelanders series. The Mindwar trilogy is comprised of Mindwar, Hostage Run, and Game Over. Some trilogies have a weak middle book or third book, but that isn’t the case with the Mindwar trilogy. All three books are well-written, with plenty of action, good characterizations, and memorable fantastical imagery in the virtual reality realm.

I believe that the trilogy marks the first time Klavan has written science fiction, but he does a pretty good job at making the technology believable. The specific rules of the virtual reality realm are occasionally ambiguous, which sometimes robs certain scenes of their suspense, since at any moment an unknown element of the realm might provide the hero with assistance. Overall, however, the realm is a fascinating place, and the trilogy that is set in it is well worth reading for sci-fi and action fans of all ages.

Content Overview: Mild violence.

You might also be interested in my reviews of Nightmare City and the Homelanders series.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Free on Kindle Unlimited: A Great Sci-Fi Series

One of my favorite science fiction authors, J. Grace Pennington, has just released the newest volume of her YA sci-fi series Firmament. Reversal Zone is book four in the series. Firmament, like Star Trek, follows the adventures of the crew of a starship, but from the perspective of a starship nurse instead of the captain.

Although I’ll be ordering a paperback of Reversal Zone since I prefer print books, I thought I’d mention that the whole Firmament series is free to read digitally on Kindle Unlimited. Anyone who has Kindle Unlimited and likes sci-fi should definitely give Firmament a try. The series is best read from the beginning, though any of the books can also be read on its own.