directed by: Guillermo del Toro

2013’s Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is set in an age where colossal dinosaur-like creatures that bleed a radioactivity neon blue occasionally ascend, one after the other, from a crack in the pacific ocean and wreak havoc on major cities across the globe. To combat these monstrosities, the nations collaborate in building monstrosities of their own—the jaeger—a two-man machine made of metal and brawn. And they get good at winning. But, the rate of kaiju attacks has increased, and the jaeger program, the only viable means of intervention, is in jeopardy, being deemed ineffective. They need funding. But they must prove themselves. So, they need better pilots. And they need Raleigh Becket, former jaeger pilot, who retired after a botched kaiju mission 5 years ago whereby he lost his brother/co-pilot. Raleigh and the jaeger program also have the overwhelming responsibility of safeguarding the world from a race of prehistoric creatures that prove more organized than they initially thought and continue coming.

This movie is memorable, to say the least—rather sci-fi, action, and military purpose done right. It carries trumping themes of responsibility, courage, and sacrifice. It builds important characters by working past events seamlessly into the setting and incorporates captivating but subsidiary romance. There isn’t much whelm around Charlie Hunnam’s lead, Mr. Becket, but other characters certainly make up for it; Idris Elba gives an irrefutable performance as stoic, authoritative, and to be respected Marshal Stacker Pentecost. The movie lasts a steadily paced two hours in which there’s never really a dull moment, and its riveting theme music makes it feel like an abomination to look away from kaiju-jaeger combat.

“Haven’t you heard, Mr. Becket? The world is coming to an end. So, where would you rather die, here… or in a Jaeger?”


Chaya J.

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directed by: James Cameron

5 Stars

The wonderful movie Avatar is a science fiction/action movie that takes place in a world far away from Earth called Pandora in the year of 2154.

Jake Sully, who is a fictional character in the movie Avatar, is a paralyzed Marine veteran. Even though he might be injured, he still has a heart of a warrior. Jake is recruited by the U.S. military to travel light years to Pandora where a rare mineral can be found. That mineral can solve the Earth’s energy crisis. But little did Jake know, the planet Pandora was owned by the Na’vis, who are indigenous species. Jake’s mission was to control and gain access to the Na’vis, who were becoming a big problem in obtaining the ore(mineral). The US military developed an Avatar very identical to the Na’vis. This would help the humans communicate better with them. The United States had a very dangerous plan in mind. They were planning on mining and depleting Pandora’s resources. While Jake was on his entertaining/dangerous journey, he meets a very beautiful Na’vi female, who he eventually falls in love with. Jake Sully faces a hard challenge. He really wants to stay in his avatar form after falling in love but is not sure what to do.

Overall, I would give this movie a 5/5. It has almost everything I wanted. It had action, romantic scenes and it had many themes which I loved. It contained themes such as conflicts between humans and nature etc. I would recommend this movie to ages 12+.

Hasan Q.

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by Becky Chambers

I’m not a fan of science-fiction — I’m not, truly! — but this book… this… it… I have no words.

Do you like to read books with complex word building, amazing writing, adult books, the found family trope, sapphic romance, frickin’ awesome creatures and species, inter-species relationships, that’s a little plot/character driven, and is science fiction and/or space opera?

If yes, to any, read (yes, that’s an order) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

One line summary: Rosemary Harper joins the Wayfarer ship crew just in time for them to go on a big mission of creating a pathway to a neighboring planet.

Review: The world building in this book is insane — absolutely OUT OF THIS WORLD (pun intended). I have never — EVER — read a book with such an interesting world. The world may seem complicated at first — trust me, I get it — but once it clicks, it clicks so, so hard. The book was written in third-person (which I love, always) and it followed the majority of the crew members aboard the ship: Rosemary, Sissix, Kizzy, Jenks, Ashby and Corbin. I was thrust into each of their lives and I can’t say I’m upset about it. The plot, again, was limited and relatively simple so if you’re a huge plot person, you may not like this book — but then again, I thought I was a plot person and yet here I am. The chapters were on the longer side, which I tend to dislike but it was still so wonderfully written and evenly paced. I cannot recommend this book enough. READ IT!
 Final rating: 4.5 / 5 stars


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by Elizabeth Bear

3 Stars

Do you happen to like steampunk or historical science-fiction, murder mysteries, lesbians, sapphic relationships, amazing writing, or Jack the Ripper retellings?

Well, if so, I recommend Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear. Just to be upfront though, there are some racial slurs in the book and Elizabeth Bear is a white woman and it was published in 2015, so that’s something to be aware of.

Now, a really quick summary of the book: Karen Memory is a prostitute working in the late 19th century and like all prostitutes, she tries to live an uneventful life and stay out of trouble. That all changes when two runaway prostitutes from a rival brothel show up on the door steps of Madame Damnable’s bordello. Things only erupt further when a dead woman shows up in their trash. Soon, it becomes a deadly race to find out who is killing women — before they end up dead too.

As mentioned, I found the writing absolutely stunning. I adore writing set in the earlier centuries that was written in modern times and it helps that Elizabeth Bear is a phenomenal world builder. I also enjoyed the characters: Karen was such a unique and refreshing character to read the perspective of and the other characters were equally as interesting. The plot, however, disappointed me. It was very basic and the ending was rushed and frankly a let-down. The murder wasn’t someone whom I expected but it also wasn’t someone who shocked me that much, so that sucked. Taking all those factors into consideration, I rated this book 3 / 5 stars.

Representation: Lesbian main character, Asian, Indian and Black characters, transgender character.
Make sure to look up the trigger warnings!

Jazleen H.

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Jarrett J. Krosoczka

3.5 Stars

Image result for L'Académie Jedi: Le directeur contre-attaque

Both as a French as an English book, I believe that this series overall has been very successful, until the original writer, Jeffrey Brown, left the trilogy as it was. So Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the author of Lunch Lady, took over and extended the trilogy with a brand new main character, Victor Starspeeder. The Principal Strikes Back describes Victor’s final year at the Jedi Academy, and it is one he will never forget.  

As anyone would presume, Jarrett’s extension to the series wouldn’t be as successful as the original trilogy that Brown began, but this book does do the series justice. I would personally recommend the English version of this book to younger people as the vocabulary would be lacking, whereas the French variant would be directed towards seventh to tenth-grade students. 

The story does get a bit stale at the midpoint, but I do think that it is very deserving as the sixth book in the series and the final year for Victor Starspeeder. The characters are mostly unique, but I would’ve liked to have seen more character development for Elara Ayres and Artémis Oophanoe. They didn’t have too much of an impact in this book in comparison to A New Class, the fourth book in the series. 

All in all, Le directeur contre-attaque is a little disappointing, but also what we expect when we think about how any series, whether it’s a movie, a show, or in this case, a book, will most likely get boring and stale as we approach the double-digits. 

Alec T.

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By Brandon Sanderson

Image result for starsight by brandon sanderson

In this sequel to Skyward, Brandon Sanderson takes readers on an unforgettable space adventure.

Spensa has made it. Like her father before, Spensa has become a pilot. Also like her father, Spensa can hear the stars. When she travels beyond the protection of her planet, Spensa discovers that her ability is stronger, and more real then she first realized.

Now, she must find herself amongst a galaxy she has never explored. And learn that the stars do not always have the answers.

Brandon Sanderson has created a flawless sequel to Skyward. A truly gripping and suspenseful novel, readers will not want to put it down. Recommended to readers who like space operas and a plot driven book.

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Aurora Rising

By: Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Image result for aurora rising

Get ready for a spaceship ride of a lifetime! Together, in Aurora Rising, Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman set the scene for an epic space adventure.

In the year 2380, the cadets at Aurora Academy are trained, pushed hard and expected to achieve greatness. Nothing less is expected of Tyler Jones and the crew he decides to choose on draft day. However, on the day of the draft, Tyler makes a decision that will change the course of his life, and of his career. This decision: rescusing a girl named Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, and she’s hundreds of years old. Now, Tyler is stuck with the dregs of Aurora Academy, the cadets no other team wanted. Tyler’s biggest problem is wrangling his team and forcing them to get along, until they realize that something much bigger is brewing in space. There is a war approaching and the answer may lie with Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, and once she joins their crew, everything changes. Can the crew find a way to overcome their differences? Together they must discover the secrets of the universe and unearth secrets bigger than any black hole.

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Brandon Sanderson

Imagine a planet where its inhabitants live in constant fear of attack. Imagine the attacks are issued by an alien race, whose motive is to destroy human kind. This is Spensa’s world, and in her people’s fight against the Krell, their only defense are fighter pilots.

All Spensa ever dreamed of was becoming a pilot, to follow in her Father’s footsteps and help defeat the Krell. Throughout the novel, Spensa must defend her Father’s legacy as a deserter from his pilot team and fight for her chance to fly. Filled with action, suspense and swift dialogue, Sanderson’s Skyward takes readers on an adventure through the skies and does not let them go until the very last page.

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Veronica Roth

Allegiant is the final instalment in Veronica Roth’s captivating Divergent Trilogy. After the fall of vicious Jeanine Matthews and the release of the Edith Prior video, a new sense of panic has reined over the city. Evelyn and her band of Factionless are taking over and destroying the faction system. Through all these events the video of her ancestor is haunting Tris, and to uncover the truth she will have to venture far beyond the walls of their city. As Tris, Tobias, and their friends escape outside the walls of their city, they are faced with uncharted dangers. The new world outside isn’t any better and what they find out once they got there was better left unfound. Tris’s connection to her mother is stronger than ever while her search for answers leads her to find some shocking truths. Tobias’s world shits as he meets others in the new world. They all struggle to find out the truths the outside world is hiding in order to save a future that might already have no hope. Tris must define sacrifice in her own terms and figure out what love truly means to her.

This novel is the perfect finale for this dystopian series. It will shock you with a new twist around every corner and exciting action in every chapter. You will instantly be submerged in this exhilarating trilogy and make Tris’s journey your own. With true to life emotions filling this book, you will feel for the characters and support them all the way through until the end. Veronica Roth captivates the readers as she invites them to enter the world of the Divergent. -Anaya M.

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Marie Lu

Emika Chen lives in a futuristic world where almost everyone, young or old, is obsessed with one game, Warcoss. To most people, Warcoss is more than just a game, it’s a way to escape their problems and be submerged into a virtual world to forget about everything. Some even spend more time playing Warcoss than doing other things. However, Emika does not play Warcoss; instead, as a bounty hunter, she uses Warcoss to track players who bet on the game illegally in exchange for money.

When the international Warcoss games begin Emika accidentally glitches herself inside while trying to earn a bit of extra money. This catches the attention of Warcoss creator Hideo Tanka and he flies her in to Tokyo for a job proposal. He wants to hire her to participate in the games as an undercover bounty hunter, in order to catch a mysterious figure that has been causing trouble in Warcoss. Along the way, Emika meets people who try to help her and befriend her and others that work to slow her down.

I really enjoyed this book because despite being science fiction the writing style and characters were really realistic in the way they were described and their personalities. The book is filled with many surprises and unexpected twists and turns, just when you think things will go a certain way something unanticipated happens. After reading this book, I would definitely recommend it to other people, not only teens because I believe it would appeal to others too. -Yara M.

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