Posts Tagged ‘azla’


October 28th, 2007

I will be speaking at this year’s AZ librarian conference. Attend the session “Set your library on fire!” to hear about next year’s hot new books.

(And for more references to conflagrations.)

What, are you brain-missing?

October 28th, 2007

I must admit that part of why I’m kicking this feed is to boost my facerank.

Extras...dreadfully mysterious!

Extras by Scott Westerfeld is the fourth book of the Uglies/Pretties/Specials trilogy (yes, very Hitchhiker’s Guide in that regard). This is one of those books, though, that I waited for the release date like it was a summer blockbuster. I can tell you that I was more satisfied with the book than Transformers/Die Hard 4, but in both cases the hot product suffers from mega-expectations.

The book takes place after the events of the first three books (makes sense) but follows a different character, Aya, on a different continent. Each book in the series tackles a key social issue that teens face. Issues like betraying your friends to be pretty, parent-child expectations, and an environmentally insatiable lifestyle are all laid out in an easy to understand format alongside hoverboard fight scenes and hot air balloon bungeeing.

In Extras, Aya’s society has money. No longer can you get your clothing for free from the wall. The governing board, however, does not want anyone to starve like in the Rusties days, so they set up a system where you can requisition the cooler items based on one of two factors: merit and facerank.

Merits are earned by doctors, teachers, (even lawyers), and anyone who serves the greater community. This takes effort. You have to do homework/babysit kids and that takes time. Facerank, on the other hand, can happen overnight. Think about some of those celebrities who fight custody battles on the E! network or hide their baby girl for months only to end up making her a BabyGAP model.

Aya is ranked 400,000+ in her society (that’s bad). Her brother Hiro is approaching 1,000 (that’s good). Hiro is an experienced kicker (blogger) and Aya wants to gain fame like her older brother. She finds the Sly Girls, a group of teens who want to avoid public scrutiny to enjoy their favorite hobby: surfing on top of 300 mph maglev trains.

Aya has other plans. She’s going to kick a feed so big that everyone will know her name. What she doesn’t realize is that by following danger some of it is going to follow her. “What would you do for fame?”-type thing.

As I’ve talked with students and staff (and after reading it myself), here’s what I’ve heard:

The Nervous-making:

  1. Tally’s not a main character. Students grow to associate with her and just like in the Shadow Children series, it’s tough to build new connections.
  2. It’s more sci-fi. Things get strange as Aya follows the Sly Girls on an Earth-changing discovery.
  3. If you don’t know Japanese culture, some of the jokes/references are lost. Some of the kids get manga-eyes surges, soccer no longer exists – only giant robot suits that fire foam darts

The Kick:

  1. There’s still lots of action, and not all of it revolves around crash bracelets (a complaint I had about Pretties and Specials).
  2. Tally does show up, and she’s not happy.
  3. If you are familiar with the annoying side of myspace and YouTube (people who vlog what their cats ate, users who spam for friends), your annoyances are vindicated.