Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Review: Jenna Fox Chronicles

Jenna Fox

The Jenna Fox Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Disclaimer:  This is going to be a review of the overall trilogy

There are three books in the Jenna Fox Chronicles:  The Adoration of Jenna Fox, The Fox Inheritance, and Fox Forever.

Here is the summary for The Adoration of Jenna Fox by

“Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn’t remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?”

So what has happened to Jenna that put her in the coma?  Her parents have moved in the year she was in a coma across the country, but why? That is the mystery which Jenna tries to solve.

I’m not going to give summaries for the other two books in the trilogy, because they will give away the mystery in the first book.  I will say they are set in the future after America has had a war separating the country and robots are common (from taxi drivers to maids in a house).

Here’s why I love these books:  It makes us think about medical ethics.  More than that it asks us what makes us human?  Can robots develop feelings and thoughts of their own?  Can they dream of freedom?  Dream of becoming more?  I love the concept of robots wanting more.  While this is not a new concept (iRobot for example), it is something I enjoy thinking about.  These books also explore how the world changes.  Places change, they grow different through the years; some buildings are put up while others are knocked down.  The Jenna Fox Chronicles reminds us the world will change in good ways, but also bad ways.  While the world changes and moves forward there are things which remain the same; some things are timeless.

I think these are great questions, and you will think about them long after you finish the book.  Is it my flesh and blood which makes me human, or is it the fact that I can think, feel, and dream that truly makes me, me? That makes me human?  Who decides how far science should go to save a life?  Who decides what the standard for being human is?

I will also mention how eerie it is to hear Jenna describe what it felt like to be in a coma.  While we ultimately learn the circumstances of her comma, it is interesting to consider what it must be like for the mind to be trapped liked that.


Zombies, Oh My: Shadows

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

This is the sequel to Ashes.  If you haven’t read Ashes yet, then I suggest you check out my review here instead of reading this review.  This review will probably spoil Ashes, since it is hard to talk about this book without mentioning events from the first.

Shadows picks up right where Ashes left off.  At the end of Ashes Alex has escaped Rule, only to land in danger, Chris was knocked unconscious, and we had no idea what happened to Tom.  We are thrown right back into the action.  I have to admit I was confused at first because it had been so long since I’d read Ashes.  However, after a discussion with the YA librarian where I work, and some further reading, everything I was confused about cleared up.

Also of interest in Shadows is how the Changed are evolving, getting smarter, working together more.  There are a lot of questions surrounding the Changed, and we still are unsure if those who haven’t Changed are safe from it.  Also, like many dystopian novels, we see the breakdown of humanity and how some people are even worse than the monsters.

Shadows is a fast-paced, page turner.  The chapters jump from character to character, and end in cliff hangers.  You want to know what happens to Alex but the next chapter is about Chris so you keep reading in order to get back to Alex, only to end the chapter wanting to know what happens to Chris.  So you just keep reading rather than going to sleep like you were supposed to hours ago.

If you haven’t started reading this trilogy yet, then I recommend you do! I’m know I’m looking forward to book three in the trilogy!

Zombies, Oh My! The First Days a Review

The First Days (As the World Dies Trilogy) by Rhiannon Frater

Edited with PicMonkey

Yes, another zombie apocalypse book J Although this book is geared towards adults and is not YA, teens looking for more zombie options may enjoy this.

Here’s what it’s about:  Katie and Jenni meet when Katie is fleeing from the zombies through Jenni’s neighborhood.  Katie saves Jenni from her zombified family and they flee across Texas.  The pair goes in search of Jenni’s son, who is camping for a school field trip, and along the way they make friends and find safety in a fortified town.

What I thought: I love that the protagonists are female.  They are also strong and resourceful.  They do what needs to be done, which includes shooting and mowing over zombies with their car.  This leads me to say: have no fear there is plenty of blood in this zombie novel.  What is also interesting is the fact that Katie is a gay and Jenni is a battered wife.  Since Katie is gay, anti-gay sentiments come in to play when they are in the town.  Some of the reactions to one of her actions (I don’t want to give anything away) make you wonder if it’s because she is a lesbian.  Would they have been as mad if she was straight or if she was a man? The fact Jenni is a battered wife gives her character interesting layers.  Jenni quickly becomes attached to Katie and many of her actions stem from how her former life molded her.  With all that said I have to admit, after a while Jenni’s character started getting to me, she could be very annoying at times.

Like many dystopian novels, First Days touches on what it means to be human and how people may start acting during an end of the world situation.  You love the people who choose to band together and fight to protect one another, but you’re reminded there are those who will only care for themselves.  It also touches on whether or not you can save everyone, or if it is better not to help those who will potentially put you in danger later.

As for the other characters in the story I did find I became attached to certain characters.  One thing to note though is that Frater is not afraid to kill people off, so beware!

What I found really interesting about this book was that it was originally self-published.  Frater would publish mini chapters online.  Her online installments were so popular with her readers she decided to self-publish.  Later she received offers from publishers, and hence the copy I own from Tor.  I found this information fascinating because it answered a question I had while reading the book.  I found that at times I felt as though the book was written in short installments because you would be reminded of things you had not read long enough ago to have forgotten.  However since her original readers were getting short installments (with who knows what kind of timeline it was posted online) this made perfect sense.  Just beware it feels a little choppy because of this fact.

I plan on reading book two, Fighting to Survive, soon.