Tag Archives: dystopia

Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

marbury lensMarbury Lens was another one of those books that totally reflects my penchant for reading in themes. I was on a mondo-grosso, fairly creepy kick when I read this series a couple weeks ago. Both books in 3 days. I thought they were excellent.

Here’s the skinny: Jack is 16, he lives with his grandparents, and his best friend in the whole world is Conner, a typical seeming teenage athlete (arrogant, sex crazed, etc). After Jack gets drunk at a weekend party he wanders away from the fray and falls asleep on a park bench. Still drunk, he is woken up by a doctor who wants to help him. The man ends up kidnapping and assaulting Jack, and  what’s worse is that no one is looking for him: Jack’s grandparents think he’s with Conner and Conner thinks he’s blowing off steam.

Jack manages to escape the man, and does his best at recovering from the trauma. He and Connor are headed to England to check out a boys school they’re considering attending the following Fall. While Jack is tooling around London waiting for Connor to show up he meets Henry Hewitt in a bar. Henry gives Jack a pair of strange glasses and when he puts them on he’s transported to the strange and terrifying alter-verse, Marbury.

Though the trips to Marbury are terrifying and leave him sick and disoriented in this verse, Jackpassenger can’t stop putting on the glasses. Like a junkie looking for his next fix, Jack becomes completely obsessed with Marbury and has an increasingly difficult time hiding his addiction from Connor. Eventually Jack and Connor make their way to Marbury together and what follows is a faced paced, dark and frightening adventure through the bowels of hell and toward redemption. Can Jack and Connor keep it together in the real world as they face unspeakable danger in Marbury? Can they find salvation after all they have done and everything they have faced?

This series is going to be a thrill ride for anyone who enjoys the dark and edgy, dystopian, or adventure stories. As I mentioned above, these books are intense, violent and gory. I do not recommend these books to any readers who are sensitive to these issues.

Keep reading! Stay uncomfortable!

Ender’s Game


Reader’s Annotation

When third son, Ender Wiggin, is chosen for elite training by the International Fleet it gets away from the torment of his evil older brother Peter, but it doesn’t guarantee his safety. Convinced that Ender is the only one who can rid the universe of Buggers, the alien race that threatens human existence, International Fleet commanders train Ender to become an elite super solider and defend the planet. Can IF control the weapon they’ve created?

Plot Summary

Ender is a third, and in a world where population is stringently controlled being a third is not a compliment. His parents had to get special permits to allow his birth, but that doesn’t give them anymore time to pay attention to him. When Ender gets chosen for training at the elite International Fleet (IF) Battle School in outer space he’s happy to get away from his evil older brother Peter, but leaving is sweet sister Valentine is harder.

The Battle School kids don’t make transition any less difficult. He’s going through grueling physical and mental training, and facing near constant, violent, torment by the likes of Bonzo de Madrid, a big bully who is outraged at Ender’s success in the classroom and in the mock battles between squads. Eventually Ender is forced to fight Bonzo, to the benefit of neither of them. Ender is terrified that he’s becoming as cruel as Peter and falls into a deep depression. Commander Graff promotes Ender to Command School to help distract him from his worries.

Though Command School is little different from Battle School, with mentally and physically exhausting demands, Ender throws himself into his work. He’s completing his trainings fast and with more ingenuity than ever before, wanting to show Commander Graff and his fellows that they can’t break him. Nearly too late Ender realizes that his been a pawn for the IF the whole time and makes a bold move to take control of his life and change the face of the universe.

Critical Evaluation

Author Information 

Orson Scott Card has written a ton of stories in the tradition of Ender’s Game. All told there are twenty stories and novels that make up the series. In addition to writing about Ender, Card also writes modern fantasy, novels inspired by the Bible, poetry, and American frontier fantasy.

He was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona and Utah. An active member of the LDS Church, Card did his mission in Brazil in the 70s. His most recent position is as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. The film version of Ender’s Game is expected to release next year.


Science Fiction, War, Dystopia, Male Lead

Curriculum Ties


Booktalk Ideas

How is Ender like Peter? How is he different?

Reading Level/Interest Age 


Challenge Issues

This is a violent book and that may make some users or their parents uncomfortable. We strongly encourage our users to choose books and items that are appropriate for them. As supporters of the ALA Library Bill of Rights we oppose censorship. We take requests for reconsideration very seriously and reserve the right to make the final decision after board review. Some alternate titles are: Foundation by Isaac Asimov or Spin by Robert Charles Wilson.

Reason for Inclusion

While many young women will enjoy this book I think it will also hold a strong appeal for young men and this collection needs more of that.