Monday's Muse, 42nd edition.

Current Theme Song (aka what's playing on my ipod right now): Starlight by Muse.

The idea of Monday's Muse is to introduce you to unknown, forgotten, or overlooked fiction that has been lost from regular radar. I am WriterGirl. I am in the business of saving lives, one book at a time.

What I do is go to amazon, narrow it down to a YA field and type in a random word, any word that comes to mind. I then take a sampling of some I have never heard of before, or only vaguely heard of (and hopefully you as well). No infringement is intended for any description I take for the books. It's purely for promotional reasons. I will try and cover as many genres as possible that are fitting for the random word. Simple but it really uncovers some incredible gems. I will be doing this every other Monday. If there are any words you want to prompt me with, go ahead and fire away.

Today's random word:

Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl.

The Federation Anthropological Service would never officially have allowed Elana to be on this mission to the medieval planet Andrecia. If Youngling peoples found out that a supremely advanced and enlightened society like the Federation existed, it would irreparably damage their evolution. Stowing away aboard her father's ship, Elana suddenly becomes the key to a dangerous plan to turn back the invasion of Andrecia by an aggressive, space faring Youngling civilization. How can she possibly help the Andrecians who still believe in magic and superstition, against a force armed with advanced technology, without revealing her alien powers?

Apprentice Medical Officer Jarel wishes that the planet the Imperial Exploration Corps have chosen to colonize didn't have a "humanoid" population already living on it. The invaders don't consider the Andrecians to be human and Jarel has seen the atrocious treatment the natives get from his people. How can he make a difference, when he alone regrets the destruction that is people bring?

Georyn, the youngest son of a poor Andrecian woodcutter, knows only that there is a terrible dragon on the other side of the enchanted forest, and he is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat it. In his mind, Elana is the Enchantress from the Stars who has come to test him, to prove he is worthy of defeating the dragon and its powerful minions. Despite both Elana's and Jarel's inner turmoil, Georyn's burden is by far the heaviest. Ultimately, he must pit his innocent faith in the magic of his Enchantress from the Stars against foes who have come from a world beyond his comprehension.

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gills.

Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure. Two feisty women help Durango lead. Second-in-command Vienne and Durango care more for each other than either wants to admit, although there is little time for romance amid all the flying bullets and detonating bombs. Mimi, the other central woman and Durango's former chief, is now implanted in his brain as an artificial intelligence. The repartee between Durango and Mimi is particularly brilliant, but throughout the novel, the dialogue crackles with expertly delivered sarcastic wit and venom. If intelligent sophomoric humor exists, Gill is the master at creating it. The intriguing dystopian setting is a Mars purposely polluted by immigrants from Earth. Readers will have a hard time turning the pages fast enough as the body count rises to the climactic, satisfying ending, which will leave new fans hopeful for more adventures. --Cindy Dobrez, Booklist.

Beyond the Reflection's Edge by Bryan Davis

Sixteen-year-old Nathan Shepherd has a great life traveling where the careers of his father, an investigator, and mother, a renowned violinist, take him … until his parents are found murdered. Left with only a mirror and notes from his father’s last case, Nathan goes into hiding at the remote country home of Tony, his father’s college buddy, and Tony’s teenage daughter, Kelly. The mysterious mirror must be a clue to what happened to his parents, and when images appear in it—people and things that don’t exist—Nathan and Kelly painstakingly gather evidence. But the killers want the mirror too, and danger threatens the teens at every turn. As it becomes evident that Nathan’s father had stumbled upon dark forces at work in the world, several questions arise. Could it be that the mirror is a portal to a parallel world? Could this technology be used for evil purposes? And could his parents still be alive, trapped in another dimension? Nathan and Kelly struggle to solve the mystery before they too become victims. This chilling, hair-raising adventure is jam-packed with action in a fantastical world where nothing is as it seems, and even mirrors tell lies.

Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel.

This sequel to Airborn (2004) and Skybreaker (2005, both Eos) continues the fabulous adventures of Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries. In classic steampunk fashion, this book blends the best of Victorian society and science fiction. No longer content to be confined to planet Earth, Kate and Matt leap at the opportunity to travel into space when Kate is invited to be a part of the Canadian astralnaut program for her scientific expertise and Matt must undergo rigorous training before he is accepted as a crew member. Unexpected mechanical difficulties, friction among those onboard, sabotage, and encounters with strange alien life-forms test their courage and ingenuity and love for one another. Starclimber is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of a book, full of humor and derring-do and guaranteed to keep readers up long past midnight.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK, School Library Journal.

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks.

All is well on the spaceship Plexus. Decades into a journey that has left earth far behind, the couple thousand residents live a life of insulated security. Their social interactions are sensitive and enlightened, their meals prepared instantaneously, and a serene aura of peace makes their slow search for an inhabitable planet a tranquil one. But what’s that up ahead? A radiation field? Soon after the ship passes through, 17-year-old Cheney finds himself in the middle—literally—of a nightmare. (Warning: somewhat of a first-act spoiler ahead.) With shocking rapidity, the ship begins turning into a biologic organism: the walls become muscle, cables become veins, and simple devices like transport vehicles become equivalent to cellular defenders out to devour viruses—and the viruses are the humans. An unbelievably tense first half plateaus after a time, but that hardly diminishes the gooey, sticky, mucus-covered fun. Jinks’ well-thought-out environs and rational characters help ground this otherwise out-of-control interstellar thriller. --Daniel Kraus, Booklist.

The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

As young Bart Steele stood looking over the Lhari spaceport, he heard a gong sound, touching off an explosion of warning bells. He looked up. A starship was arriving. Bart ran down the ramp, thinking: I wonder if Dad will know me after five years. He searched through the crowd, looking in vain for his father's tall figure. Suddenly he spotted a fat little man coming toward him with his arms outstretched. "Hello, son," the man said loudly, grasping Bart's arms. "Well, boy, you've sure grown. But you're not too grown-up to give your old Dad a hug, are you?" Bart started to pull away and stammer that the man had made a mistake, but the man pulled him roughly into his arms. "Bart, listen to me," the stranger whispered. "Call me Dad, good and loud, if you want to live. Because, believe me, your life is in danger - right now!"

The Softwire : Virus on Orbis 1 by PJ Haarsma.

Like the other 198 parentless children on the spaceship Renaissance, 12-year-old Johnny Turnbull (JT) and his seven-year-old sister are headed to Orbis, a multicultural world made up of four rings orbiting a wormhole. Upon landing, the children are shocked to learn that they must work as slaves for Star Wars-like aliens to repay their passage. When it is discovered that JT is a softwire, a being able to communicate telepathically with computers, the boy, both feared and coveted by different factions, becomes the prime suspect when the computer that runs the operations on Orbis 1 malfunctions. It's obvious that this is the first book in a series, but Haarsma fills it with exotic aliens, dangerous situations, and fast-paced adventure. Younger sf fans will happily hang in with JT as he tries to stay alive and keep Orbis from being conquered from within, and they'll look forward to other volumes in the Softwire series. --Diana Herald, Booklist.

Alien Invasion and Other Inconveniences by Brian Yansky.

Jesse is in history class when a formidable, efficient race of aliens quietly takes over the earth in less time than it takes him to brush his teeth. Most humans simply fall asleep and never wake up. In moments, everyone Jesse knows and loves is gone, and he finds that he is now a slave to an inept alien leader. On the bright side, Jesse discovers he’s developing telepathic powers, and he’s not the only one. Soon he’s forging new friendships and feeling unexpectedly hopeful. When a mysterious girl appears in his dreams, talking about escaping, Jesse begins to think the aliens may not be invincible after all. But if Jesse and his friends succeed, is there anywhere left to go? Brian Yansky offers a funny, grim novel packed with everything boys and sci-fi fans love: aliens, humor, action, and a healthy dose of triumph.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis.

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It's been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He's finally free to enact his vision - no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that's growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.


Meg said...

Skybreaker is a great book. I love the series!

And I am so excited to read "A Million Suns!"

Thanks for sharing!

Charlotte said...

What a nice list--at least the ones I've read. Someday, I've promised myself a bazillion times, I will read Enchantres from the Stars....

Heather Zundel said...

Meg - Hey! You just listed two of my favorites. Though Airborn will always hold a special place in my heart.

Charlotte - You MUST read Enchantress of the Stars. It's one of the best combination of sci-fi and fantasy blended together that I've encountered. There's a sequel that's supposedly "darker" that I'm trying to track down...