See How They Run

seehowtheyrunby Ally Carter
First sentence: “I don’t know where I am.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Others in the series: All Fall Down
Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s some deaths, off screen, some mild swearing, and a lot of intense moments. It’s in the YA (grades 6-8) section of the bookstore.

Spoilers for the first book, obviously.

The last thing Grace remembers was finding out that she killed her mother (by accident, but still), and then her grandfather’s chief of staff shot the Adrian prime minister (who is currently in a coma). What she’s being told, however is that the prime minister had a devastating heart attack, so Grace is still questioning her sanity. That and said chief of staff happens to be part of a secret 300-year-old organization of librarians who also happen to be assassins. Oh, and Grace’s mother was part of that society as well.

To make things worse, her brother Jamie shows up with a friend in tow, and after a party on a nearby island, said friend turns up… dead. The person being targeted is the son of the Russian ambassador (obviously) and Grace’s almost love-interest, Alexei. And Grace is determined to prove what she knows: Alexei’s innocent.

While this is a darker turn for Carter, it’s still very much her fun, engaging writing. I adored the chemistry between the characters (though I ship Grace and Noah, but that’s just me. I need more Noah in these books.), and the twists and turns kept me turning pages. While it was predictable at times (yeah, I figured something bad would happen to the new guy who just showed up and was a bit of a jerk) I never felt bored by it at all. I loved the intrigue, the history and mythology Carter is weaving around her invented country.

That said, I did want more of the assassin-librarian group, and Grace and her PTSD were often annoying. But, I was able to look past the second one, especially as the book wore on and Grace became less fraught with emotion and more invested in proving Alexei’s innocence.

In short, it’s a good, solid series and I’m curious to see where it goes from here.

MiNRS

minrsby Kevin Sylvester
First sentence: “The Earth blinked, and was gone.”
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There’s a lot of death, some of it a little graphic, especially in the beginning. I’d give it to an advanced 4th grader and up, as long as they were okay with the violence.

It’s a future where the people of the world were going to die from an asteroid hit, until a brilliant scientist, Harold Melman, figures out how to nudge it away. And then, the ice melts and they discover that there’s a ton of resources — ones that the Earth is running out of — to be had. So, Melman Mining Corp sends families up to inhabit the asteroid, to mine the minerals and ore, and ship it back to earth.

Fast forward several years later. A Blackout is coming — the asteroid and the Earth will be on opposite sides of the sun and there won’t be any communication possible. And in the middle of this, the mining colony is attacked. Brutally bombed. Everyone killed except for Christopher Nichols and a few other kids. No one (read: the bombers) knows they’re alive. And so, they not only have to figure out how to stop those responsible for the bombs, but keep themselves alive. (In more ways than one.)

This was a trip and a half. It’s a good adventure novel: figuring out how to survive in the mines, the internal conflict between those who just want to survive and those who want to attack, and the inevitable betrayal. It’s a unique premise (for the most part; I have read other kill all the adults and make the kids survive books this year) with the future and science. And even with the love triangle (of sorts), it was a good science fiction book.

My only real complaint is that I was hoping for a stand-alone, and while the conflict mostly resolves, there’s a pretty big cliff hanger that sets up at least a sequel. Other than that, though, it’s spot on.

(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I’ve been asked to make sure y’all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)