Reading List: ‘Ripper’ by Becca C. Smith

Format: Kindle

Ripper is the third book in the Riser Saga  by Becca C. Smith. This young adult sci-fi series centers around a teen girl with a very unusual ability – she can control dead things. The girl, Chelsan, lives in a futuristic world where humans have achieved immortality by way of a drug called age-pro.

I am not generally a reader of Young Adult novels. Actually this series were my first introduction to the world of contemporary Young Adult literature. I checked out the first book in the series, Riser, because I have known Smith since elementary school, but I liked it so much I wanted to keep going with the next one and then this one.

It’ s a different experience reading something written by someone you know. Normally you don’t have shared experiences with the author of the story you are reading. I remember we had shared interest in science fiction. Not a lot of girls were into sci-fi, especially back then, so it was fun to chat with her about those things and now it’s even more fun to what she has turned that interest into.

When I read through the Riser series, which centers around high school students, it’s hard not to think back to that period in my life. It makes me wonder how I might draw from that time period if I were to write about teens and high school.

What I like a lot about about this series is that Chelsan’s possesses a rather unique power. There are so many cool things she can do with it, like control a zombie army or whip dead skin cells into a lethal dust storm.

Seeing what Chelsan does with her abilities make all the books (Riser, Reaper and Ripper) in the series fun to read. Though they are aimed at younger readers they are not for children. I think these books are a great for teens interested in science fiction, particularly teen girls – and I am all for expanding that market.

I like the futuristic setting – these books are set the distant future of 2320, which is a smart move because we won’t catch up to it any time soon. The series touches on some common sci-fi  themes like loss of identity, overpopulation and the moral consequences of technology pushed too far.  For anyone newer to the genre it’s a good way to explore what types of themes appeal to you – there is an array of uptopian/dystopian, techno, paranormal and a touch of fantasy.

As an adult reader, some of the teen language and situations were not to my personal taste, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of this book – or any of the other books in this series.

As of this writing, the first book in the series – Riser – is available for free for Amazon Kindle.

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