Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Recently Read by Nicole*...

The Last Mortal Man by Syne Mitchell. Book One of the Deathless.
Set in the near future, technology has reached its peak with nano-technology, or nanology; tiny machines that convert a living person into a “Deathless,” one whose cellular structure is composed of nanology. Alexa, a one-time assassin, is converted to protect the one person she set out to kill, Lucius Sterling. Over the centuries, a threat appears that can turn the Deathless into ash, reversing the process of the nanology and wiping out whole cities and thousands of lives in mere seconds. Alexa must team up with Jack, the grandson of Lucius who has a severe allergy to nanology, and find a way to stop this process before the entire world is set back to the Stone Age.

This is a brilliant work of science fiction, one that catches even the fantasy-lover’s eye. There was not one point throughout this story where I became bored. Granted, there are a few places where the author could have researched a bit more, but they’re easy to put aside for the sake of the whole story. There is action, ethical dilemmas, and scientific theory in every chapter, right down to the special bond between family. A must read for all science fiction fans.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card.
Ivan is a Russian boy who had to convert to Judaism with his family just to emigrate to America. During the process, he comes across a chasm filled with leaves and a sleeping princess in the center of it all. In his fear and innocence, Ivan runs away. Now an adult, Ivan finds himself back at the chasm, fighting a large bear, and waking Sleeping Beauty with his enchanted kiss. That’s usually where all fairy tales end, but not this one. This book isn’t the fairy tale, it’s the happily ever after; it’s how they get there, hating each other even in their dutiful marriage to save Princess Katerina’s kingdom. It shows how they grow accustomed to each other and fight the witch Baba Yaga, relying on modern tools and ancient magic.

When I first picked up this book, I was a bit skeptical. Orson Scott Card is famous for his science fiction, not fantasy. However, he weaves such a masterful tale full of old Russian fairy tales, folklore, and modern day problems that I was instantly convinced of his skill. There are so many literary references to make any avid reader pick them up and smile. You’ll find yourself coming across a reference and saying, “I read that!” or “I’ve heard of that!” Subtly incorporated into the tale, these references are only noticeable if the referred book had been read, so it makes re-reading this story a new adventure each time.

*Nicole Bartley is a student worker in the IMC and an avid reader. Thank you, Nicole, for contributing to the Recently Read thread! Any other volunteers?


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