Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: SYLO - D.J. MacHale

D.J. MacHale
Series: The SYLO Chronicles, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Apocalyptic, Action, Mystery, Science Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: OK
On Goodreads

When looking through the author signings for Book Expo America, I stumbled upon SYLO and thought it sounded interesting. So, naturally, I went to the signing and got a copy.

SYLO follows Tucker Pierce, a high school freshman living in a small town on Pemberwick Island. At the beginning of SYLO, Tucker is warming the bench at a football game when one of the players, Marty Wiggins, mysteriously drops dead at the end of the game.
“It was the night of the death.
The first death.
And it was only the beginning.”
Creepy, right? So, at that point I was pretty interested in finding out how all this foreshadowing was going to turn out, especially after a special branch of the Navy called SYLO invades Pemberwick Island and shuts off all connection to the outside world. Of course, things only get weirder from there. As much as I was interested in finding out what was happening on Pemberwick Island, I found that SYLO dragged a lot for me. Yes, I wanted to know about SYLO and the battles in the sky. Yes, I wanted to know what Tucker and his friends were going to do to get off Pemberwick Island.

What I didn’t care about was all of the action chases and explosions. The funniest thing about it is that if you asked me in the beginning of the book, I would have told you that there was not enough elaboration on the sky battles, but nearing the end of the book, there was just too much. The entire second to last chapter is just explosions and turn this way, turn that way. That chapter almost made me abandon SYLO when I had less than 50 pages left. Of course, maybe I’m wrong about the explosions being in excess. I suppose some people would like that sort of thing. Besides excess, I found it a bit pedantic and mechanical, focusing a lot on directions and how the ships and planes worked rather than aesthetics of the action. There were a lot of very specific terms thrown out there that seemed unnecessary.

As for the characters, none of them really stood out to me as wonderful characters, but they didn’t bother me either. I enjoyed watching Tucker grow from lacking confidence and always playing it safe to a boy with confidence who takes risks. The only thing that notably bothered me about Tucker was that sometimes his narration didn’t match his character. I just don’t see Tucker Pierce using “for” as a conjunction. Just, no.

What I very much liked seeing was Tucker interact with Tori.

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Yea… I ship that.

In the end, I was mildly annoyed. When SYLO ended, I felt like I knew very little more than I had 300 pages prior. The whole book, Tucker and his friends don’t know what’s going on, and guess what – at the end, they still don’t really know what’s going on. They know what’s not going on, but they don’t exactly know anything about SYLO or what is going on with Pemberwick Island’s quarantine.

Overall, I enjoyed parts of SYLO, but some of it moved really slow for me and made me generally less enthusiastic about the book. The story wasn’t bad, by any means – I certainly enjoyed it enough to read book two, Storm, when it comes out – I just didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped to and it wasn’t one of my favorite books I’ve read as of late. However, I would definitely recommend this to people who like science fiction and a lot of action.

- Kiersten

What would you do if your town was invaded by SYLO personnel?
Let us know in the comments!

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