The second book in the post-apocalyptic Undying series jumps forward in time to Ren's adolescence. He was born on the first day of the end of the worlThe second book in the post-apocalyptic Undying series jumps forward in time to Ren's adolescence. He was born on the first day of the end of the world. Now he has grown up in a world without civilization or safety. Pursued by people who have died but not died--the moribund--returning as beasts whose only desire is to kill and consume those who still hang onto life. Ren is tired of sitting behind barricades, his community destined to slowly starve to death as food stores near their settlement dwindle. New visitors--who claim to be hunters of the undying, clearing them out of city after city--and sudden tragedy are the sparks that ignite Ren to fly the nest, leaving the safety of his foster-mother Jeanie's side, to finally stand on his own two....more
I listened to this whole series in audio book. This last installment in the series took me so long to finish that my library loan ended while I stillI listened to this whole series in audio book. This last installment in the series took me so long to finish that my library loan ended while I still had about two hours of listening left. It took me about 4.5 months on the waiting list before I got to check out the book again and finish it. Yes, I could have gone to a book store and finished it in a sitting or two. I just didn't care enough (as evidenced by the fact that it took me over 30 days to listen to it in the first place).
In Allegiant, the jig is up. Everyone knows about the world outside their little city, and a secret group of rebels (the Allegiant) want to send an expedition of people outside the walls to fulfill the ultimate purpose of their existence (so they think) and see what they can do to help. Only, what Tris et al discover is that the city was actually a generations-long science experiment to try and remedy genetic mutations misguidedly introduced into humanity centuries earlier. In the outside world, people with genetically mutated genes are like second class citizens. They can't have any but the crappiest jobs, are considered inferior, and are generally shunned. Tris is genetically pure. All her friends are not. And so now they have a new evil government to overthrow.
There are some really good ideas in this book, but the execution was just not there. Tris, the protagonist, was one-note and annoying as usual. The conflicts between her and her boyfriend Four seemed rather silly at times. I feel like Roth tried too hard to have likeable characters that she could then kill off to make her readers sad. And I was dying for the book to be over, once the final scene of conflict was done. Not a great ending to a series that, well, was just okay to start with....more
I looked forward to finding out what kind of illicit tasks Zeb had been busy doing for the Gardeners during Toby's time with them. Instead, we get his whole long family saga and back story with not much there to grab onto and use to sympathize with the characters of Zeb and his brother, unless you happen to have sociopathic parents. I found myself often spacing out during these segments and having to rewind and listen to them a second time.
This final installment of the series also continues to tell the tale of the Crakers, Gardeners, and MaddAddamites after the apocalyptic events of the Waterless Flood. I really enjoyed Toby's interactions with the Crakers and the progression of Blue Beard the young Craker boy. I had hoped that Jimmy's recovery would lead him to become a bigger part of the story again, but no luck. And with no additional explanation provided, I found it rather unbelievable that (view spoiler)[all the human women gave birth to Craker hybrids rather than Amanda having been impregnated by the Painballers (hide spoiler)].
All in all, though, still an enjoyable read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Stranded, the fifth and final installment in the first Silo saga, follows the continued unraveling after Juliette's expulsion from silo #18 -- theThe Stranded, the fifth and final installment in the first Silo saga, follows the continued unraveling after Juliette's expulsion from silo #18 -- the uprising that continues to wrack the silo's core, Lukas's trials as Bernard's new second, and Juliette's own trials in silo #17.
This last book flowed so urgently from the last (as all of them do, really) that I hardly noticed I was on book five. Actually thought I was on book four for half of this one, until I noticed there really wasn't room left for another book. This is a much longer installment--as Howey says, a full book-length as opposed to the short story and novella lengths of the previous ones. I noticed the longer length as I read, but didn't truly feel the length (wouldn't have guessed it was actually novel sized, as I breezed through it), since the story pace keeps right on going.
I did, however, slow down a bit for another reason. It just got so darn depressing (view spoiler)[with everyone dying and all (hide spoiler)]. Things definitely go from bad to worse, for a while, in this final installment, and I began to wonder if anyone was going to make it.
I docked one star off my rating because I was a bit disappointed in the end, in that the event that seems like the main climactic moment actually ends up happening off-stage, where we don't see it. That is, (view spoiler)[when Bernard ends up getting sent out to cleaning instead of Lukas. I would have liked to see that final tussle and then maybe be left wondering who exactly got sent out to cleaning before the narrative switched back to Juliette for the reveal (hide spoiler)]. Having us not see that conflict at all seemed like a bit of a cop-out.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Juliette has been excommunicated from the silo, sent to clean. And her friends in Mechanical now know why. But they can't just sit back and do nothingJuliette has been excommunicated from the silo, sent to clean. And her friends in Mechanical now know why. But they can't just sit back and do nothing while IT pulls the wool over everyone's eyes, justifying their cleanings and outright murder. This is how the uprising begins. And how the uprising ends.
My four, as opposed to five, stars are only because at this point the story breaks off into several different points of view, which I think dilutes the strength of the narrative a bit. (Not that Howey has much choice, since the action is now taking place (view spoiler)[in two different silos (hide spoiler)].)["br"]>["br"]>...more
In the wake of the recent deaths of Sheriff Holston and (view spoiler)[Mayor Jahns (hide spoiler)], Juliette finds herself far from the Mechanical floIn the wake of the recent deaths of Sheriff Holston and (view spoiler)[Mayor Jahns (hide spoiler)], Juliette finds herself far from the Mechanical floors of the down deep that she considers home and trying to get her bearing as she takes over the role of silo sheriff. But she can't get over her curiosity about what led to Holston's death. Or her suspicions over the recent murder that still blankets the silo in a pall of tragedy. Yet asking too many questions is what seems to lead to the inevitability of death by cleaning.
Juliette is a great character. This third story continues the highly enjoyable, tension-filled pace of the previous two in the Wool series. I also have to take a few moments to gush over how much I love Howey's series and story titles. Wool, the title of the series and of the first installment, has several meanings in and of itself. Wool is used for cleaning. It signifies the wool pulled over the eyes of the silo residents--an obscuring of the truth. And yet it is also used to clean the camera lenses, to reveal and expose truth. It also supports the knitting metaphor of the titles of the other installments. And, being a knitter myself, I just love that.["br"]>["br"]>...more
This second installment in the Wool series follows Mayor Jahns, emotionally drained by the recent cleaning of Sheriff Holston, as she and Deputy MarneThis second installment in the Wool series follows Mayor Jahns, emotionally drained by the recent cleaning of Sheriff Holston, as she and Deputy Marnes journey to the down-deep of the silo to find the brilliant young mechanic who they have selected to succeed Holston as sheriff. But Jahns finds her choice for sheriff at odds with the wishes of Bernard, the head of IT. And the conflict leads to much more than she bargained for.
Again, fantastic. Loved the pacing and the slow unfolding reveal and growth of the relationship between Jahns and Marnes (though I can imagine some might find it a bit slow). The ending, again, had the perfect blend of unexpected and dreaded anticipation....more
Wool was a fabulous start to Hugh Howey's riveting Wool series. I can see why it was such a runaway success.
This first installment begins with SherifWool was a fabulous start to Hugh Howey's riveting Wool series. I can see why it was such a runaway success.
This first installment begins with Sheriff Holston's trek up to the top level of the silo--a 100+ floor, self-contained structure buried underground to protect it from the uninhabitable air that now permeates Earth's surface. He is finally ready to declare that he is finished, ready to leave the silo, to clean the camera lenses that allow the silo's only view of the outside and then die out in the poisoned air, just like his wife inexplicably did three years earlier.
Yep. Seriously. Read it.
One sidenote -- Okay, I admit Wool wasn't perfect. In a few places, Howey's prose leave a little smidgen to be desired. For example, the beginning of this first installment takes just a little too long to get started, wallowing in description for several beats too long. He also sometimes relies too heavily on weak verbs. But that's all. Otherwise: fantastic! Surprising! Smart! Unexpected! And this first one (at the moment) is available free on Kindle. And no, I have no connection to the author. :-)...more
Loved this belated second novel in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy. This story follows two different women on their life journeys in Atwood's moraLoved this belated second novel in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam Trilogy. This story follows two different women on their life journeys in Atwood's moral-less, bio-tech crazed future and through their survival of the "waterless flood," (view spoiler)[when Crake's planted virus wipes out most of humanity in a few short days (hide spoiler)]. They both, at times, are members of the radical group called The Gardeners, eating only vegetables, living off of only what they can grow or reuse.
I liked the way the women's journeys reflected each other--(view spoiler)[their at times orphan-less states, how they each had to compromise their morals in order to survive in a rough world that valued shallow pleasures (hide spoiler)]. Yet, though their hardships were similar, their personalities and the way those hardships shaped them were so different. With Oryx and Crake not fresh in my mind, I enjoyed the mystery of wondering when and how Crake and Jimmy would make appearances in this story. I didn't even remember their names, which made my realization quite delayed but all the more satisfying and exciting when it came.
For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won't say more. Other than that I raced through the last few hundred pages and absolutely can't wait to read the next one, MaddAddam.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This independently published, breakout success story of a series is one of the best I've read in a while. The Wool Omnibus contains the first five WooThis independently published, breakout success story of a series is one of the best I've read in a while. The Wool Omnibus contains the first five Wool stories, making up the first Silo saga. Check out my reviews here:
Oryx and Crake follows Snowman, once known as Jimmy, after the destruction of the world as he once knew it. The world's population is gone--dead. SnowOryx and Crake follows Snowman, once known as Jimmy, after the destruction of the world as he once knew it. The world's population is gone--dead. Snowman wears a sheet and sleeps in a tree to protect against being eaten by wolvogs or pigoons. He is also protector and guide to the Crakers, the (view spoiler)[genetically modified (hide spoiler)] next evolution of mankind.
Jimmy's world was one dominated by science. Only the most brilliant minds lived in the protected and isolated compounds of the R&D companies, where they developed the GMO crops that fed the masses, or livestock that grew spare organs for transplant patients, or techniques for replacing aging skin with new. New, lab-created viruses were a constant threat, edible livestock was growing scarcer every year, and gene-splicing was something people did for fun. Jimmy was a word person, but his best friend Crake was perhaps the most brilliant scientific mind of his generation. They both came from families where one parent had defected against the decaying ethics of the time, the unregulated science that was turning their world into something resembling a circus freak show. But Jimmy didn't realize how much their parents' defections had impacted Crake until it was far too late.
Oryx and Crake deftly weaves two worlds together, that of a post-apocalyptic future and then the dystopian world that was its ruin. Atwood builds these worlds through fabulous prose and exceptional story-telling. There was definitely a higher emotional impact on my first read-through, in print. On my second read-through, I still remembered quite vividly how it all ends, so there wasn't that amazing feeling of revelation the second time around. However, still so so so enjoyed it. This is such a great example of what a dystopian/post-apocalyptic book can be.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The post-apocalyptic society of Divergent is made up of five factions that promote five different virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace/friThe post-apocalyptic society of Divergent is made up of five factions that promote five different virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace/friendship), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intelligence/learning). Divergent follows Beatrice "Tris" Prior, a sixteen-year-old raised in the faction of Abnegation, who has come of age and must choose the faction that she will now join and devote the rest of her life to. Before the choosing, all take an aptitude test to help them determine which faction they are best suited for. Only, Tris's test comes back as inconclusive. When she chooses Dauntless instead of Abnegation as her new faction, she faces challenges she never expected and the potential to be forever factionless if she fails Dauntless's highly competitive initiation process. She also learns that her inconclusive aptitude results are as dangerous to her as any of the new challenges she now faces.
The beginning of Divergent was okay if a bit slow. The second quarter was rather off-putting, with the brutality of the Dauntless initiation process (initiates beating each other senseless, etc.). At that point, I definitely had no intention of reading the next book after I was done with this one. However, it did pick up and much improve in the second half. I found myself really enjoying the storyline and the characters at that point and definitely do intend to pick up the next book when I get the chance....more
Rescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against PRescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against Panem while others try to define it for her.
I was very pleased with Collins' conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy. Mockingjay brought back the strongly sympathetic writing of the first book--the end, in particular, bringing me to tears. Leading up to Mockingjay, I was quite worried about how Collins would reconcile the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (mostly because I rooted for Gale but was sure she would end up with Peeta). Despite my rooting for the underdog, I was absolutely satisfied with the way Collins wrapped up this tricky plot....more