Thursday, January 8, 2009

what would have happened if...?

Because I always have so many books I want to read, I have reluctantly started reading two books at once--one book I carry in my purse, the other book is on my bedside table. The two books I'm reading now are turning out to be very similar: they are both a revision of history as we know it. Both books are really gripping, very enjoyable reads and very intense.

The explosionist by Jenny Davidson is set in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late 1930s. Europe is completely reorganized due to the fact that Napoleon won at Waterloo. England is a dangerous wasteland, to be avoided at all costs. The Scandinavian countries have formed a Hanseatic League which is currently allied with Scotland. The heroine is Sophie, a fifteen year old student living with her great-aunt, the founder of a program called IRYLNS (pronounced "irons") which produces the perfect secretary/assistant. Training with IRYLNS is considered to be a high status future for a young woman. Sophie has become involved in the murder of a medium who warned Sophie of a frightening event in her future. There are so many convolutions and secrets in this book--I'm worn out trying to keep up! A big thumbs up on the first 200 pages of the book though.

I absolutely loved, loved, loved the Gregor the Overlander books by Suzanne Collins and have had huge success recommending them to reluctant boy readers. Her new series has just begun and it couldn't be more different! The Hunger Games is set in a future America, completely changed since the South won the Civil War, lost their power and destroyed the states completely. The country (now known as Panem) is now organized into 12 districts, ruled by the Capitol. The Hunger Games is a fight to the death, with a male and female representative from each district, televised to inspire the people. I've only read 25 pages or so but I am liking it (though I am a little concerned about all the 3rd and 4th grade boys who loved Gregor who will want to read this intense and, I think, disturbing novel).

A past read of the same genre is The year of the hangman by Gary Blackwood, the story of what happened to America when they lost the American Revolution. Read it, it is really good.

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