“Hostage” by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith (Book View Cafe, 2015)


The second book in The Change quartet, after Stranger, does a lot of things the second book in the series should: opening the world further, adding some new and interesting characters, and raising the stakes to a whole new level that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.

The sheltered town of Las Anclas is still licking its many wounds from the attack by King Voske of Gold Point. They expect another possible attack but have no idea when, but as Ross Juarez is out on a routine mission with some friends, a team has been sent out by Voske and captures him. He is brought back to Gold Point and shown a world where the changed are respected and at times revered. But this is also a harsh place run by the iron first of Voske; for those who do not follow these ways, they are crushed and ended without question. Las Anclas returns the favor by kidnapping the Voske’s daughter, Kerry, who learns of the very different world and place that is Las Anclas.

Will either side be willing to make an even exchange for the two? Not likely. So the hostage situation will have to be resolved in some other way, that will likely involve bloodshed. But each side has their own people with their own special powers that can be put to use. The final decision will ultimately rest on Kerry’s shoulders: after seeing the good and bad in both Las Anclas and Gold Point, she will have to make her choice and choose a side.

Originally written on March 25th, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Hostage from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Stranger” by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2014)

Stranger
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Welcome to the quaint little town of Las Anclas, located on the edge of nowhere. It’s a frontier town with high surrounding walls and guards constantly watching from above. Interestingly, those guards are all ages from teenagers to adults, and they all look like they know how to handle those weapons they’re carrying.

In this harsh world, places like Las Anclas are necessary refuges. You’re either a normal human or a mutant who is “Changed,” giving you special powers and abilities. There are those who will respect you for being different and others who will despise you, even inside those safe town walls, so watch your back.

Ross Juarez has just escaped death from a bounty hunger and the lethally dangerous crystalline trees and has made it to Las Anclas, seeking refuge. There he will make friends, but also enemies. He is also in possession of a special ancient book written in a language he can’t read.

Stranger is one of the few post-apocalyptic young adult books to earn its place next to Hunger Games. The diversity of the cast make this made-up world a completely believable one. The science fiction elements leave you shivering with fright, but also wanting to understand more. By the end of the book, you’ll be looking for the sequel; fortunately there is one.

Originally written on March 19, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Stranger from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.