Thursday, 20 December 2012

Busy Busy - reviews of Beta and Chasers

After a massively busy term where I have been working full-time and studying for my second masters degree, I have decided to take up blogging again!
I will try harder next term to keep up. In the mean time, here are a couple of reviews I wrote for Netgalley before these books were published and have forgotten to post...

Beta is a solid example of teenage distopian sci-fi. It is about Elysia, a clone living on the luxurious island of Demesne and purchased as a companion for the children of a wealthy family. She is one of the first teenage clones, a "beta" version. The clones are slaves, supposedly without any feelings or emotions of their own. The story follows Elysia as she learns more about the world around her, discovering she does have feelings, developing the obligatory love triangle and trying to hide the fact that she is not what she is supposed to be. 
I enjoyed reading Beta, it was a very pacy read with interesting, if not original, ideas. It was a bit teenage distopian fiction 101 - I felt somehow as if I had read it all before. I would recommend it to lovers of The Hunger Games or the Insurgent series. 
 Book: Beta
Author: Rachel Cohn
 Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Score: 7.5/10 

Chasers was an interesting one. It is a good concept - 4 16 year olds find themselves the lone survivors of a zombie apocalypse in New York and have to work out how to survive and find any other survivors whilst struggling with moral dilemmas that the new world brings up. The language was simple and it was very easy to read - I found myself thinking of some of the weaker readers in my library who might enjoy it. I liked it, I am fascinated by abandoned cities and post-apocalyptic survival stuff, so I really enjoyed Phelan's descriptions of the city and the kids' survival methods. The sense of tension is also nicely maintained throughout.
I did find, however, that it wasn't entirely clear in some places what was going on - I felt like links between events and the relationships between the 4 main characters weren't described in adequate detail. This does begin to make sense towards the end of the book, but it is a bit off-putting whilst you are reading.
Not a lot actually happens during the book, but it is quite short so that is not as noticeable as it might be. I have to say that I really didn't like the ending, and although it makes more sense of the rest of the book I felt like it also almost ruined it.
Overall, a good read for those who enjoy the genre with some interesting ideas. Would recommend it to weaker readers.
Book: The Chasers
Author: James Phelan
Publisher: Kensington
Score: 6.5/10

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