Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
Mutation by K. A. Applegate
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
This is not an image of either of the book's covers, however both of them are seriously boring (just substandard art of a person standing), and this is by the same author and came up in the first row of results in my google image search. I would totally read this book!
Book 1: The Earth was destroyed, the last 80 people, the Remnants of humanity, were sent off into space in hibernation/untested tech.
Book 2: They land on what they assume is a planet, though one side is a black and white photo by Ansel Adams, and the other side is a painting by some guy whose name I don't recall. The survivors are rightfully confused by how this is possible.
Book 3: They discover that they're on a ship, a ship called Mother by its alien residents (residents, not crew -- it's a huge ship). The ship's 'setting' (human art used to create the setting) changed to a painting of hell. Demons, people being tortured, stereotypical Satan (red, horns, forked tail). The Remnants have to try to survive.
Books 4 and 5: The setting changes, this time using a painting of the USS Constitution (an old ship, from the time of George Washington) at sea. The Remnants have to survive alien attacks, sea battles with the British navy, etc. Some of the people get "lost at sea" and are assumed to die, but end up in Mother's "basement" where they can see how all these settings are projected up to where the rest of the people are still battling the sea. We get a glimpse of just how advanced this tech is, and tiny hints about Mother's AI that is creating all this.
While the plot is great, the number of non-story issues are growing. As I said in my last reviews of the books in this series, these books are darned short. They very very much feel like chapters, not whole books. Related to that: It's getting annoying how much recapping the author has to do, when it feels like we just read about it in the last chapter.
Unfortunately there's an even bigger issue: I'm afraid poor Mrs. Applegate's editor might have died. The first book was near-perfect in editing, then in the second and third books more and more errors were slipping in. Book four crossed the line into an unacceptable amount of errors, and book five was so bad I nearly stopped reading it. Each page had a number of errors -- it wasn't uncommon for 2-3 periods to be missing per page. Major spacing issues. Typos. Misspellings. It read like a draft instead of a published book. The current book I'm reading, #6, is quite a bit better, so maybe the publisher brought in a new editor. (Book 6 is far from perfect though. This amusing thing appeared in a sentence. "slight[l]y" -- someone's mark to fix the spelling, I guess?)
I've always thought that the Holodeck (of Star Trek) would make a great setting for a book or TV series, since your group of characters could go anywhere, anytime, meet any people. That's essentially what this book has featured, at least thus far. Book 6 is going more into [Spoiler -- so hard to write these reviews without spoiling the series for people.] the ship's AI and the aliens though, which I'm enjoying.
Other than the shortness of the books and the editing issues, I'm really enjoying this series a lot. It's so creative, and it avoids all the things I usually hate about YA books (the kids being perfect at everything/adults being useless or just plain evil, stupid romance/love triangles, etc).