Book Review & Giveaway: Sylo by D.J. MacHale

Posted 07/02/2013 by alicemarvels in Science Fiction
Book Review: Sylo by D.J. MacHale + Giveaway




Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Page Count: 407


exciting actions scenes; suspenseful mystery; normal guy and girl step up to save their island


HUGE cliffhanger!!!

An action-packed thrill ride that is unsettling but undeniably fun.

I was incredibly excited to read D.J. MacHale’s Sylo after hearing comparisons to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series and Michael Grant’s Gone series, and having just finished the book, I’d say those comparisons are absolutely fitting. These suspenseful, action-packed, slightly unsettling sci-fi books have a certain flavor to them that sets them apart from other YA sci-fi fare. I think it’s because the experience of reading them is similar to the perpetually exciting and confusing experience of watching Lost, a show I loved (and frequently cursed it for its oh so frustrating crypticness).

Tucker Pierce is an average guy. He’s a bench warmer on his high school football team, and he has no great ambitions of leaving his small Maine island home anytime soon, unlike his best friend Quinn, who can’t wait to escape small town island life and do something exciting and important in the world. When a teammate mysteriously dies during a football game, it sets off a terrifying chain of events, and Tucker, Quinn and Tucker’s crush Tori have a chance to step up and do something important in the world, right there on Pemberwick Island, as they work against a hostile invasion by SYLO, a branch of the US Navy.

Sylo, like it’s YA Lost-style companions, has strange sci-fi occurrences that happen on an epic scale, and it has your brain going crazy trying to explain it (government conspiracy? aliens? virtual reality? psychotic fever dream?). You have absolutely NO idea what’s going on, but you’re totally sucked in and desperate for answers. Of course, each tiny answer you do get is like a little plot bomb that sets off ten more questions. There is great character drama that has you rooting ferociously for your favorites, but you know no character is safe, because these bizarre sci-fi happenings are indiscriminately deadly.

Someone should start a book club for these YA sci-fi Lost readalikes (the YA Dharma Initiative?) so readers can trade conspiracy theories and argue over what really happened to characters, and shoot little e-darts at the author’s pictures for killing off our favorite characters and for tormenting us with cruel cliffies.

While I had an incredibly fun time reading this, the cliffie is definitely my biggest complaint about Sylo. There is such a wonderful build up of tension and just when the unsettling atmosphere is at a fever pitch, we are given one whopper of an answer that leaves us questioning absolutely everything. I’m VERY worried about this world now, and I want to know what happens next NOW. The next book, Storm, doesn’t come out until March 2014, so it’s going to be a painful wait.

Overall, Sylo is worth the angst over the ending. I’m highly invested in this world and I’m confident the rest of the series will keep up the action-packed suspense and finally deliver some more answers (this time, without asking ten more questions in the process).


c_syloDoes Tucker Pierce have what it takes to be a hero when the U.S. military quarantines his island?

Fourteen-year-old Tucker Pierce prefers to fly under the radar. He’s used to navigating around summer tourists in his hometown on idyllic Pemberwick Island, Maine. He’s content to sit on the sidelines as a backup player on the high school football team. And though his best friend Quinn tells him to “go for it,” he’s too chicken to ask Tori Sleeper on a date. There’s always tomorrow, he figures. Then Pemberwick Island is invaded by a mysterious branch of the U.S. military called SYLO. And sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for Tucker, because tomorrow may never come.

It’s up to Tucker, Quinn, and Tori to uncover the truth about the singing aircraft that appears only at night—and the stranger named Feit who’s pushing a red crystal he calls the Ruby that brings unique powers to all who take it. Tucker and his friends must rescue not just Pemberwick Island, but the fate of the world—and all before tomorrow is too late.

Goodreads | Indiebound | The Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Book Trailer:

Author Video:


  SYLO Excerpt by Penguin Young Readers Group


We’re offering up a chance to win a galley copy of SYLO, courtesy of Penguin Young Readers. (US only)

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    Oh this sounds like a great read, aside from the cliffhanger. I loved Lost and I know I would enjoy a book with a creepy Lost type feel. I really really hate that it has a whopper of a cliffhanger, though that just ticks me off!


    Dunno about the whole Lost things cos that was just so confusing and irritating


    I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this before! The whole concept sounds so interesting, although I still have yet to see even one episode of Lost lol

    Great review, now I really want to go out and buy it!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland


    Great review! I need to check out more sci-fi. I was never a huge fan, whether it was books or movies or TV but I’ve been watching more sci-fi, so I guess I should finally READ more right? haha Bummer about the cliffie though. those are never fun!



    I haven’t heard of this one before but I am definitely intrigues now after reading how much you loved it but gah a cliffie? I hate those! Oh how these authors love to torture us!


    I have never heard of this one. It sounds like a great book with nice characters and action-packed plot but cliffhanger! Why? I mean I think people realized that they’re not that cool anymore. Great review! 🙂



    Okay, with that out of the way, this sounds so up my alley. I love that it’s “normal” people who’re stepping up when necessary.


    “Of course, each tiny answer you do get is like a little plot bomb that sets off ten more questions.”

    LOVE that description! I know exactly what you mean and how you almost dread getting answers for all the new questions they’ll inspire. This book sounds really great aside from the cliffhanger ending (boo!), and I love a book that gets people talking and theorizing on what everything could mean. So much fun:)


    You’ve definitely caught my attention when you mentioned Lost! Although, a cliffhanger does make me wary as then I’m always dying to get my hands on the next book. I hope you can manage the long wait until March 2014 without going too crazy.

    Great review! 🙂


    Gah, are there actually people out there that enjoy cliffhangers? I mean I get that it’s a marketing ploy to get us to read the next book but half the time I never end up picking up the book, or at the very least I end up waiting until the next installment is closer to being released. This one really does sound like a lot of fun and I am interested in checking this out… so maybe early next year. 😀 Great review!


    Loving the sound of this one until… cliffie?! I hate cliffies so much! I think I’ll wait until the second book is out before I read this one. I have just become to hate cliffies more than I did before! Still putting this one on the wishlist. Love sci-fi.


    OMG..your book club idea had me rolling! I have this book and keep meaning to start it..LOL Now that I know about the huge cliff I may hold off and read it right before the release of book two! Wonderful, funny, informative review!


    I’m a little on the fence for this one, because I’ve been seeing so many mixed reviews lately! You make Sylo sound SO intriguing, though. I absolutely love stories where you don’t know what’s going on, but where the author still has your full attention. Glad you enjoyed it, though the cliffie would be a bit of a problem… Great review. 🙂


    Sounds fantastic! I’m a patient person – sometimes – so the cliffhanger’s not to much of an issue…although that usually means I put of picking up the first book until I hear the second’s about to appear. Maybe I’m not so patient 🙂


    Ohhh, I LOVE Lost!! I know exactly what you mean by loving that perpetually excited and confused feeling. I had heard absolutely nothing about this one before, but you’ve definitely convinced me that this is something I would love. A book club may be in order for discussing the theories for this one!


    The action sounds great, but the cliffie sounds uber!


    You’ve completely convinced me! And single-handedly too. 😉 I love the sound of this book, especially the thought of not fully knowing what is going on most of the time. That approach can sometimes be very frustrating, but it sounds like it works well for a book like this. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers though, so I’ll have to make myself wait a little while before diving into this. Great review! 🙂


    Cliffhanger at the end and the second book won’t come out till March 2014? That’s quite a torture 🙁 I like the sound of this one – action-packed suspense is something that I always crave. Thanks for sharing.


    I wasn’t going to read this book, but your review totally convinced me, Lauren. It sounds like it such an intense and action-packed read. Plus, it’s sci-fi, one of my favorite genres. I have to admit that I’m scared by the cliffhanger by the way you described. I think I’m going to just wait for the next book to come out before picking this one out. I’m not the most patient reader and I’ll probably want to throw away my reader in a rage.
    Anyways, lovely review, Lauren!


    Ah, the insane cliffie. I have heard good things about this book and after reading this, it makes me wish I’d stood in his line at ALA!


    I swear, I think ‘YOLO’ every time I see this cover. 😀 Shame on me for not reading The Mae Runner or Gone yet! Ugh, I’ll just add this one to that list on need-to-read.


    I am so excited I won, thank you so much Lauren!!


    I’m waiting on this one because of the cliffhanger, but it DOES sound pretty awesome. The Lost like connection you bring out is interesting, I wonder if people are still looking for similar story lines. If there was a pick up of those sci-fi stories after the series. Sounds like it. Just as Fairytales are HUGE now and there’s even Once Upon A Time. Books/TV/Movies all seem to play off of each other. But that’s a different discussion. Anyway, I like that the hero is average and that he lives in Maine and that it’s the type of story that makes you want to keep reading, reading to find out what’s going on.


    Since I didn’t experience Lost, I need to experience this to have lived. I bumped it up on my pile. It sounds…new…it’s not the word, but I’ll stick with it.


    i think u need to do another video to be moreespesifike

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