June 18, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Paradox

Paradox By A.J. Paquette
Available June 25 from Random House BFYR
Review copy

Have I mentioned how much I love that the new YA trend is standalone science fiction?  It bears repeating.  And I doubly couldn't resist PARADOX when the Rockstar Book Tours sign-up showed up in my email, because Shai-Hulud is on the cover and you do not mess around with sandworms.

clickthrough to see schedule
Blog tour schedule
PARADOX is lean and mean, clocking in at 240 pages.  There were times when I could've used more, especially in the latter parts of the novel.  But I liked that A. J. Paquette didn't add a lot of padding.  What's left is the essential parts of Ana's story.  Ana wakes up on Paradox with surgical retrograde amnesia and a note telling her to experience, discover, and survive.  It's a pretty confusing way to wake up.

Ana quickly discovers she's not alone on the planet.  There's another boy, Todd, who also has amnesia.  There's also a giant carnivorous worm.  One of these discoveries is more pleasant than the other.  Soon, it's a hostile race across the planet to the safety of the colony.  But nothing is as it first appears, as Ana is assaulted by strange memories and observes some rather odd happenings.

Despite having no memory, Ana manages to carry the story well with her character.  She's independent, tough, and clever.  She doesn't have great social skills, but that's not hurting her too much on a far-off planet.  It was fun to discover Paradox's secrets with Ana, no matter that some of them weren't hard to see coming.

I also liked the subtle but present diversity in PARADOX.  Ana has tan skin, and when she discovers her last name, it is pretty clear that she's Hispanic.  A character who shows up later is obviously Asian.  And I love that between Todd and Ana, Todd is the scientist and Ana is the warrior.  There's no explicit discussion of any of this, because it isn't important to the story.  It's just there.

PARADOX blends adventure and horror with its science fiction trappings.  I'm not entirely convinced that the plot hangs together, but I'm fascinated by the ideas it explores.  Memory and disease are linked in a way that reminds me of the original usage of meme.  I do think it would've worked better if Paquette played up the horror elements more, but she keeps PARADOX friendly to younger readers.  I do think PARADOX would be a good stepping stone into classic sci-fi like the Four Lords of the Diamond series by Jack Chalker.

Ana only knows her name because of the tag she finds pinned to her jumpsuit. Waking in the featureless compartment of a rocket ship, she opens the hatch to discover that she has landed on a barren alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and to survive, no doubt with help from the wicked-looking knives she carries on her belt. But to what purpose?

Meeting up with three other teens--one boy seems strangely familiar--Ana treks across the inhospitable landscape, occasionally encountering odd twists of light that carry glimpses of people back on Earth. They're working on some sort of problem, and the situation is critical. What is the connection between Ana's mission on this planet and the crisis back on Earth, and how is she supposed to figure out the answer when she can't remember anything?

The PARADOX cover link is an affiliate link, as always.

A.J. Paquette has been writing stories since early childhood. She and her sister would spend hours creating masterpieces of stapled paper and handwritten words, complete with pen-and-ink covers and boxed illustrations.

The road to publication was long and winding, peppered with many small successes including: a variety of national magazine publications, being a 2005 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award honoree, and receiving the 2008 SCBWI’s Susan Landers Glass Scholarship Award, for the book that would later become Nowhere Girl. Her first picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published in 2009. 

She now lives with her husband and two daughters in the Boston area, where she continues to write books for children and young adults. She is also an agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. 



Three lucky commentors will win an ARC of PARADOX.  Go to every stop for more chances to win!  Giveaway is US/Canada only and you must be 13 or older to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That sounds really good! It's nice to see more sci fi. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. I knew you'd be into it, fellow sci fi fan.

  2. The story sounds okay, something I'd be interested in but not compelled to read, but that disappeared when you spoke of the subtly. I love that method of making books diverse so I'm all for reading this book now.

  3. Sounds like an intriguing novel. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and it's a stand-alone? Even better.

    1. I think the standalone is making a comeback!

  4. I'm usually up for ya/mg sci-fi, especially if it's character-driven, and stand-alone is even better.

    1. Yay! Another standalone ya/mg sci-fi fan! We're secretly legion.


Thanks for commenting! To reduce spam I moderate all posts older than 14 days.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...