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review 2019-01-04 09:56
The Final Six Book of Gone Series Ends With A Bang!
Light - Michael Grant

The final volume of Gone series ends with a bang. Since the beginning of the first book, Light leads to its final showdown between the gaiaphage and the survivors of FAYZ as the children going against the darkness. Its pretty much a straight forward story that leads to a satisfying ending. While many supporting characters died in this volume, the ending matters a lot. Overall, Light ends the series with a bang that fans will be happy with.

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review 2018-12-21 00:01
The Annals of Imperial Rome
The Annals of Imperial Rome - Michael Grant,Tacitus

Augustus might have established the Principate, but it was up to his successors to continue it and prevent Rome from once against descending into civil war.  Tacitus in The Annals of Imperial Rome, the reigns of the Caesars from Tiberius to the death of Nero which would lead to the events in the writer’s The Histories.

 

The work begins with Tacitus reviewing the reign of Augustus and how Tiberius became his successor, over his more popular nephew Germanicus whose side of the family would eventual rule.  Tiberius shrewdly attempts to be modest in claiming the Imperial title, but this hides his dark nature that he developed during his self-imposed exile before becoming Augustus’ heir.  Under Tiberius is when the show trials and political persecutions of leading men that would begin that would become notorious under later Emperors.  The middle and the very end of Tiberius’ reign, all of Gaius (Caligula)’s reign, and the first half of Claudius’ reign have been lost.  Tacitus’ work picks up with how Claudius’ wife Messalina was brought down and his niece Agrippina shrewdly manipulating her way into marriage with her uncle so as to get her son, the future Nero, to become Emperor.  Though the show trials and political persecutions continue, Claudius doesn’t instigate them and attempts to be lenient for those being wrongly convicted.  Yet once Nero becomes an adult and Claudius’ son Britannicus still a child, Claudius’ days are numbered.  Once his great-uncle and adoptive father is dead, Nero assumes the leadership and begins consolidating power including poisoning Britannicus at dinner one night.  Though his mother Agrippina attempts to influence him, Nero humors her while attempting to get rid of her and finally succeeding.  Though taught and tutored by the renowned Seneca, Nero has learned to rule in the guise of Tiberius yet with the ruthlessness of Gaius and soon anyone that offended him or could have been a threat to him or perceived to be by his hangers on.  Though the end of Nero’s reign is missing, the trials and murders of senators were increasing in number to the point that later as mentioned in The Histories they decided to turn on Nero and proclaim Galba.

 

The unfortunate incompleteness of Tacitus’ work does not diminish the great historical account that it presents of early Imperial history as well as his critique of the Roman aristocracy during the reigns of Augustus’ Julio-Claudian successors.  Though we know his opinions of Tiberius and Nero the best since their reigns survived the best, Tacitus critiques of those family members that did not rule were highly invaluable especially all those who in the writer’s opinion might have been more fitting successors to Augustus if not fpr political intrigue or bad luck.  If there is a complaint with this book it is with a decision by translator Michael Grant decision to use modern military terminology in reference to Roman’s military was it, but his decision to use Roman numerals to help identify different historical actors who had the same name—a very common Roman practice—without a doubt help keep things straight.  The biggest complaint that I had with Tacitus’ other works, which I had from Oxford World Classics, were non-existent with Penguin Classics and thus I encourage others towards that particular publisher.

 

The Annals of Imperial Rome is Tacitus’ finest work, showing the corruption of absolute power and how many choose to allow it overcome them instead of standing up to it.  Although probably (at least) one-third of the work is missing, the portions we have covers how a politically stable Rome begins to slowly unravel through ever increasing fear of the most powerful man in the Empire.  The end result of this is chronicles in Tacitus’ previous work.

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review 2018-09-27 17:15
Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Eve and Adam - Michael Grant,Katherine Applegate

In the beginning, there was an apple –

And then there was a car crash, a horrible injury, and a hospital. But before Evening Spiker's head clears a strange boy named Solo is rushing her to her mother's research facility. There, under the best care available, Eve is left alone to heal.

Just when Eve thinks she will die – not from her injuries, but from boredom―her mother gives her a special project: Create the perfect boy.

Using an amazingly detailed simulation, Eve starts building a boy from the ground up. Eve is creating Adam. And he will be just perfect . . . won't he?

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Husband and wife Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate team up to write this YA sci-fi tech-y novel combining computer programming with DNA experiments gone rogue. 

 

Evening "Eve" Spiker survives a San Francisco streetcar crash... just barely. Eve is pulled from the crash site and is whisked away to Spiker Pharmaceuticals, her mother's research facility. Though Eve lives, she suffers a ruptured spleen, a severed leg and the necessary removal of a rib. She eventually heals physically but emotionally struggles to cope with her altered body. Eve's mother gives her project: using a DNA simulation program designed by Spiker Pharm, Eve is asked to create the perfect guy, literally. Part of what makes this ultimately largely bland sci-fi story worth reading is the characterization of Eve's ice queen mother. She comes off cold a lot of the time, but there's enough here to have the reader wondering sometimes, DOES she actually have good intentions toward her daughter? Or is Eve simply another worker bee to her? There are elements here that are similar to J.A. Souders' Elysium Chronicles series (but IMO Souders is the stronger writer).

 

So Eve jumps into developing this mythical perfect guy from the ground up. Once she has a prototype together she gives him the name Adam. In the background is Solo, mostly an office go-fer, dishing out coffee / donuts / bagels to the Spiker scientists, but he also finds opportunities to move under the radar and hack into computer files to see what secret projects Spiker Pharm has going on. What he discovers conjurs up some Dr. Moreau style freakishness. Solo's voice gets a bit over the top skater boi at times (I kept picturing the kid from A Goofy Movie lol).

 

"There is no always," I (Adam) say. "Nothing persists forever."

 "Nothingness persists," she says. She is testing me.

"No. So long as anything exists, nothingness is impossible. In fact, it's nothingness that cannot persist. Nothingness gives way to somethingness. The nothingness that preceded the Big Bang Theory was obliterated. Nothing became something."

 The woman nods. "Good. You've absorbed data well. Your intelligence is obviously fully functional. You sound like a college freshman taking his first philosophy course too seriously, but that's good. Eve will like that."

"I would still like to know how I came to be," I say. 

 "Consider it a mystery," Terra Spiker says. "Like the Big Bang Theory. One second there is nothing, and the next there is a universe."

 

It seems like the intent here was to go for a YA sci-fi thriller of sorts, but really it just ends up being kind of silly, especially in the beginning. The characters struggle to have a believeable voice --- they're meant to be teens (if I'm not mistaken) yet the "voice" of these characters runs the range from middle grade to teen up to late 20s. It's weird. Also, if this is meant to be YA, there are a number of references here that I doubt many teen readers here will identify with, such as Solo using the screen name Snake Plissken. And that conversation when the mother has the line, "Mixing home and work is like mixing single malt and sprite." I mean, as an adult liquor aficionado, I can appreciate that line, but how many teens are going to get the joke there, honestly? Again, it's just another layer of odd in a book that's marketed toward a teen crowd. But then again, maybe it's like when you watch Disney or Pixar movies as an adult and catch jokes you know there's no way the little ones in the crowd are going to understand. Maybe Applegate and Grant are playing the other side of the coin as well, knowing that a large percentage of readers in the YA market are actually full blown adults. Either way, doesn't change the fact that the writing as a whole was pretty muddled and weak... but still entertaining at points.

 

 

Yeah, it does get pretty good, comparatively, about 3/4 of the way through. Fun reading in parts, but largely forgettable after awhile... but I did find the closing moment a cute, comical one. 

 

 

---------

 

EXTRAS

 

Check out the book trailer for Eve and Adam that kinda looks like a Navy Recruitment ad ... or maybe an Olay Regenesist commercial LOL 

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review 2018-09-22 05:48
When The Dark Comes, The Battle for Perdido Beach Begins...
Fear (The Gone Series) - Michael Grant

Series can be difficult to write for an author and of course, for me, I have never read any books beyond a trilogy as I prefer it to be short and sweet. Gone series by Michael Granthad surprise me in some - good flow of science-fiction, unraveling plots and twist and characters you understand them and seeing them change as the book series progress. This is the fifth in the 6 book series and Fear has reach its level of not just a good read but one I never thought I want to finish the series to know what happens next.

 

The FAYZ is going dark, literally. As dark shapes slowly covers the dome and the children of Perdido Beach panic in fear of what will happen when they are in the dark, Sam has to face his greatest fear - the dark. As others make decisions of what they need to do, the gaiaphage is making a move - one that involves Diana's baby. With the dark covering the dome, and the world outside of the dome are going to discover if the parents of the children of Perdido Beach will be able to see their children again, one thing is for certain - the battle has just begun.

 

Although I took too long to read this (since June, I have no excuse for this late reading and its entirely my fault not making the time for), Fear is the too good to be true not making it into an adaptation, one worthy as a TV series. There's just so much to go for (horror, action, romance, suspense) even though, yes the book is graphic in its violence description and really not for the weak stomach, Fear to me is like the ending of Empire Strikes Back. Overall, I just can't wait to read the next one and hopefully, buckle up my reading habit.

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review 2018-06-14 03:45
Nightmares, Deaths and Insects
Plague (The Gone Series) - Michael Grant

Plague is a much better 3rd sequel compare to Lies and in many ways, one that surprises me how much better in terms of where this is going. After the events in Lies, the kids in Perdido Beach is left with so much doubt and destroyed confidence towards those they can rely on. Sam is self-pitying, Astrid learns a truth about herself, Albert became a self-centered business man, Quinn found his calling and the rest is just as it is, with Caine and his crew living up on the high-end of comfort on an island they took over. When Drake escape, a new disease is getting rampant - a flu spread like wild fire that kills from inside out and... a new army of insects that is almost unkillable, not even Sam's powers can burn them. With the gaiaphage influencing its power all over the FAYZ, the end maybe near... and only Pete Ellison may be the answer to all the troubles everyone in the FAYZ is facing... if only he knew what he is doing.

 

The fourth book of the Gone series picks up its pacing with more action, suspense and thrills. Yes, for a young adult book, the content description can be a little over when it comes to gore but this has been one that really lives up to its title that promises a science-fiction fantasy series that works. I am looking forward to the last two and hopefully, Fear will lead the way to a finale that is satisfying. (yes, I took too long for this one too)

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