Everything that we fear may be coming in terms of religion, science, disease, famine, war, society...it's all been crammedThis book has blown my mind.
Everything that we fear may be coming in terms of religion, science, disease, famine, war, society...it's all been crammed into this novel and has been made to work spectacularly within its labyrinthine story. I literally could NOT put this book down and spent most of last night and today finishing it.
The best part about this book is, because it IS mostly science/medicine-based in plot, the facts regarding brain chemistry are correct. It's so very, very, very refreshing to have a book that involves science that is in the fiction genre that gets its stuff correct. Even if SLP is fiction itself, the rest of it is fact. And that makes for some very terrifying reading, more terrifying than any vampire or werewolf book could conjure in my mind.
Why? Simple. Because all of these things - species jumping, GMOs, martial law - can happen. And may happen within the next ten to fifty years. Huston has masterfully put together all of these pieces that are going on in our world today, tuned them up a notch, and served us chaos on a platter. And it's a wonderful and horrible chaos, one that has most definitely made me think about the 'what ifs' that may occur during my lifetime.
I kind of hope a sequel or companion story is written, because I would love to figure out what happened after the epilogue. Or rather, what happened between the final chapter and the epilogue.
A great way to kick start books that will be published in 2010....more
Bacigalupi won my heart with “Shipbreaker”, but I actually had this book on the shelf not too long before that was released. “Shipbreaker” is for theBacigalupi won my heart with “Shipbreaker”, but I actually had this book on the shelf not too long before that was released. “Shipbreaker” is for the YA market, and is about a post-petrol America, but that’s where the similarities end. “The Windup Girl” is an awful, wonderful future that is SO not for kids, about a new kind of slavery that may await our descendants if we keep going the way we’re going. This book just made me love him even more.
For those not comfortable about human trafficking, you probably shouldn’t read this book. Well, semi-human trafficking. You get what I mean. But even if you’re uneasy, the way Bacigalupi writes it is masterful, and only goes for the jugular with anything that might be considered triggery in the abuse catagory a few times when he could have gone wild with it the entire book. For that I thank him, it made things easier to digest.
This book is far in our future – or is it? Once again, we have a post-petrol world, a world where entire parts of countries and continents are covered by rising seas, and the Thai Kingdom is now the center of the world instead of America with its “generippers” (geneticists who literally rip the genes out of something to create chimera of anything – plants, animals, and now humans for sale) and the calorie companies, the new currency of the future. No longer oil, or dollars, or euro, or yen, but calories, and all the measures thereof. I had to pause at one early point in the book and wiki metric calorie count because I honestly couldn’t keep it straight, but once I did, it was smooth sailing from then on. The currency of the future is in joules, the measure unit of energy provided by calories, and fines are determined by how many you use versus how many you waste (for anti-pollution measures), and power everything from lightbulbs to factories.
Bacigalupi does not make this a beautiful, peaceful future. There is constant tension in the Thai Kingdom between everyone – the foreigners (farang), the Yellow Cards (Malay-Chinese), the gangs, the white shirts (bureaucrats, mostly in the inspector divisions), the market sellers, and the regular Thai people. So much tension that I was kind of on the edge of my seat going “Okay, who’s going to slaughter whom first?” the entire time. When it does happen (and I won’t say how or when), it was kind of a relief, with such a huge buildup. But again, it’s a subtle one, slowly pushing at the boundary of the already stress-taxed people in the book, until literally, all hell breaks loose.
I loved the characters. I want more out of this world, I’ll be frank – but I’m pretty sure we won’t be getting any more from the “Windup” universe. The characters were rich, but I want some kind of prequel telling us about how we got to this point of the calorie companies versus the world, and why everyone hates them (that’s kind of obvious, but still) – but considering what we got, I’m extremely pleased. The arc development of how the characters changed was excellent, and honestly, I couldn’t want more out of a futuristic almost-dystopic book. Seriously. It really is that good.
I could keep gushing on and on about how awesome Bacigalupi’s work is here, but for the sake of brevity, I won’t. Just go out and read it. Even if you’re not a sci-fi fan, go read it. It will teach us about how we can prevent such a future today, and about the basic nature of people (the human animal), period. The human animal. It sent chills up my spine for large portions of the second half of the book, and that’s pretty rare for me.
So, this has made my best of 2010 AND 2011 list, and it’s high up there on both. Congrats, Bacigalupi. Now get back to work on the sequel for “Shipbreaker”, and we’ll call it even.
(posted to goodreads, librarything, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com) ...more
A breath of fresh air that links the worlds of virology, government secrecy, the paranormal, and post-apocalyptic worlds.
I'm pretty sure that this isA breath of fresh air that links the worlds of virology, government secrecy, the paranormal, and post-apocalyptic worlds.
I'm pretty sure that this is the best new book of 2010 from a (kind of) new author - I was riveted by every page and didn't get bored at any point in the book. The best part is that the author got all of the facts right concerning the USMIL program with virii, and how tests are conducted. SO many books that try to pull all of these genres together get this one wrong; whether it be the USMIL program or the CDC or anything of the like that exists in real life.
What's even more fascinating is that the timeline within the book was never explicitly mentioned in terms of Common Era years - this was only established after the book was published within an interview with the author. There are hints given throughout the book in terms of events that have not happened (so perhaps, maybe we can call this an alternate timeline from 2010 onward) and god willing, won't happen within the US in how they relate to past terrorist events that have happened within the US and its territories. This geopolitical timeline alone is not only vital to the story, but done so well that I didn't even notice until after reading, and reading again. It took me three times to realize how this was mapped out concerning arc timelines alone, and that has to be praised - not because I was confused, but because I was trying to tease out these possible future events.
That said, I can't wait for the sequel, due out in 2012 (how very fitting!). Let's hope that the publisher and author stay on schedule, because I'm so very hungry for more....more
I admit that I haven’t read “Persuasion”, but I’ve read Peterferund’s previous work, and loved it. “For the Darkness” doesn’t disappoint. In a world sI admit that I haven’t read “Persuasion”, but I’ve read Peterferund’s previous work, and loved it. “For the Darkness” doesn’t disappoint. In a world several hundred years after humanity has nearly destroyed itself, a new society has been built by the new nobility, the Luddites, the peasants, the Reduced, and the new middle class, the Posts and it’s absolutely gorgeous. It actually makes me want to read the original if just to compare. All I know is that I absolutely adored this retelling, and when I reached the last page, I wanted to turn back to the first and start all over again.
This is not an easy book to read in the emotional sense – there’s a lot of heartbreak with Elliot and Kai, budding love with the Groves and the other Innovations, and a lot of lack of family love within Elliot’s family (especially with her father and sister). The entire “threatened estate” bit felt a whole lot like something from “Downton Abbey” and I absolutely loved that. I loved Elliot as a heroine even with the lack of love and her emotional issues (and the fact that the entire North estate is now on her shoulders in terms of survival), and Peterferund just really had her character nailed. Elliot felt like a real girl, 100%. Kai was a little less filled out, but I was satisfied with his character construction as well. In fact, with all of the characters, I couldn’t really find anything to really poke at. When it comes down to it, Peterferund knows what she’s doing, and you can tell this one was definitely a labor of love on her part.
Her use of sensory language and imagery was perhaps the most powerful I’ve read from her so far – I loved her “Rampant” series, and that was pretty rich in terms of sensory language, but “For the Darkness” tops it. The Star Cavern, the Cliffs, the terror of the Birthing House…all of it was as if I was really there, next to the characters as the story played out. I could smell the dust of the new racing track, feel the chaffs of wheat, dance with everyone at the Fall Harvest Party. It’s definitely one of the most intense reading experiences of the year in this aspect – in my top ten for sure. Going hand in hand with the sensory language is the worldbuilding – we get a hint of the world before humanity became Reduced, but Peterferund really rebuilds the world into something new and bucolic and even with Elliot’s small rebellions, very bucolic and utterly charming. It felt like a real, full world – and I think that’s more than partially due to how it was written – interchanging POV narration with that of the letters between Kai and Elliot and journal entries from the past. It’s one of the more different approaches to worldbuilding that I’ve seen for this year, and I hope authors take note from her technique.
The rest of the technical details are outstanding – the arcs and sub-arcs were executed beautifully and generally, there’s nothing I can find to really poke or pick at except for the fact that I wish there was a little (but not too much) more of the previous world lurking about in terms of the setting (like ruins or something), but that’s kind of a minor detail in terms of setting. Overall, I was very, very satisfied and pleasantly surprised at how this knocked me off my feet. I read this in one sitting with only a few breaks, and I know I’ll be reading it again. I’m a bit sad this one is a standalone because I got so attached to the world and the characters, but at the same time, I’m glad it’s a standalone because now I can have the mental freedom to wonder what’s going to happen to our heroes next. Final verdict? A definite must-read, as this one’s in my top ten for best of 2012 so far list. “For the Darkness Shows the Stars”is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen on June 12, 2012. You simply cannot miss this one, guys. Highly, highly recommended!
(posted to goodreads, librarything, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)...more
This one really kind of made me have to sit back and think after finishing it. Yeah, it definitely lives up to the hype – “Pure” is a fant4.5/5 stars.
This one really kind of made me have to sit back and think after finishing it. Yeah, it definitely lives up to the hype – “Pure” is a fantastic and awful tale of the fall of modern society, and what seems all too possible. And yeah, it gave me nightmares (that’s when you know a dystopian tale has been done right – it gives you nightmares of these possible futures). Yet at the beginning it dragged a bit, only to really start amping things up at the start of the second third of the book. Regardless of how I personally try to parse it out, “Pure” is definitely one to be on the watch for in 2012 and definitely deserves a place on any TBR shelf for the upcoming new year.
Baggott has totally put a new spin on post-apocalyptic horrors here: imagine having not only nuclear bombs falling on you, but dirty bombs, too — ones that make the wreckage of whatever’s left literally fuse to your body, to your cells, to your DNA. And when you try to remove it, as we see with Pressia’s flashback, you find out that you just can’t without injuring yourself very badly. So not only are you left out of the shiny pretty world of the Dome, where everyone has enough to eat, can become enhanced through “coding” (making you more human than human), and is safe from all of the continuing nuclear fallout from the Detonations continues to happen. And you can’t help anyone else outside of the Dome for fear of being eaten or diseased or whatever propaganda you’ve been fed for your entire life (or since you’ve entered the Dome). It’s a very real and existential sense of horror that I felt when I read this, even during the rather slow first third. And it only keeps increasing throughout the book, snowballing, if you will, once the audience learns more about what really caused the Detonations.
But the last two thirds of the book really make up for the slow first third — really well, if I may say so. Upon Partridge’s escape from the Dome, everything and everyone gets rocketed into action as they either try to help or stop Partridge and Pressia from meeting up. I really loved how Baggott seeded the rest of the book with puzzle pieces that came together very easily and neatly in the last third of the book, only to leave us hanging for the next two books. And while I’m starting to get sick of duologies and trilogies and the like, the “Pure” saga is definitely one of those stories that actually needs three books to tell the entire story. There’s a huge backstory that’s only been partially (a tiny amount, really) revealed, and I have so many questions that I know/hope will be answered in the next two books. The characters are well-rounded and nearly complete, which is pretty awesome considering this is just the first book. She’s set the stage for her arc, and the journey that Pressia, Partridge, and the rest are going to be taking throughout the next two books. It’s hard to successfully set up a first book in a series, and I think Baggott’s definitely done that, and done that well.
I can see why this is not a YA book, and I’m glad. No romance is pushed — only survival. Love comes after. In this world of ash, that’s all can be done. This book is a love song to the hibakusha/survivors of Hiroshima/Nagasaki, as Baggott really talks about in her afterword/acknowledgments. We’ve forgotten these horrors as a planet as a whole, and only just started to remember with the post-Tohoku Earthquake shenanigans at the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. We’re forgetting, and this is dangerous. Baggott’s message is not one with a moral, but a warning: we will repeat the future if we don’t remember the past. And remembering Nagasaki and Hiroshima is a large part of that. Yet she doesn’t forcefully beat us over the head with it, which is much appreciated.
So I think I can safely say that the comparisons to “Hunger Games” and “The Passage” are justified. This one came close to five stars, because it really was that awesomely crafted, but just fell short. Nevertheless, this is a must-read for 2012 (even if you’re not into dystopian stuff, you have to read this!), and I now am pining hard for those next two books.
(posted to librarything, goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
**spoiler alert** If you know me, you know it’s no secret that I love post-apocalyptic sci-fi. And I love zombies (or zombie-like creatures) even more**spoiler alert** If you know me, you know it’s no secret that I love post-apocalyptic sci-fi. And I love zombies (or zombie-like creatures) even more. Throw in some government experimentation and world wars? I’m so down for whatever I’m about to read. And “Aftertime” is no different.
I found that this book was rather slow to start, but that could have been me (my concentration was kind of split at the time, so…). But once it did get started, it got started with a bang and went at a thrillingly fast pace until the end. Time flew and before I knew, the book had ended. It’s like a movie you get caught up in so much that you don’t even notice it was three hours long.
There were only two issues I had with this book, though: the romance with Smoke, and the description of the Beaters and how they came to be at the beginning. With Smoke, it kind of felt like Cass fell for him because he was there. There were plenty of other male characters (even if minor compared to Smoke), both during memories of Before and then the current Aftertime. However forced, it was refreshing to see how Littlefield emphasized the need to feel alive in order to survive after such an apocalyptic event, and to feel that included everything from sex to drugs to homemade alcohol. Sometimes this means wanting to spend all of your day totally drunk, and sometimes this means that you run up in the hills, and sometimes this means that you have sex with men (or women, for that matter) who are there. I also applaud Littlefield creating an addict for a protagonist with all of these temptations that should have gone away after the Siege, but instead only intensified with the need to either remember life or forget near-death. Not many female protagonists in fiction (be it romantic, sci-fi, or other) are this fierce and intense in their poor life choices. Littlefield makes no bones about the fact that Cass screwed up and screwed up big Before, but it led to something amazing in her daughter. Hence, her journey to find her.
The second problem regarding the novel was how it felt that Littlefield did more telling than showing in terms of how the Siege went down. While Cass waking up was a wonderful hook, I felt spoiled in terms of plot of how the Beaters came to be, how the world fell. I feel like some of the explanation could have been split between beginning and middle, or maybe even end in order to even things out. It was a lot to absorb within the first few chapters.
Otherwise? An awesome book. I’m looking forward to the sequel.
Can I just say how much I love Carrie Ryan’s zombie-filled world? I LOVE IT. And she finally granted my wish of having some backstory to the Forest ViCan I just say how much I love Carrie Ryan’s zombie-filled world? I LOVE IT. And she finally granted my wish of having some backstory to the Forest Village before the first book! YAY!
So here with have Sister Tabitha (who makes her appearance in the first book) and her own little backstory – and surprise! One of the reasons she’s so hard on Mary is because she herself was like Mary in that she wanted out of the Village and wanted to go out in the Forest to find freedom, and when she meets the boy on the other side, love. Only to be betrayed by his little Infected brother, of course.
Now, at least, we know where the last entry in the Village Records came from.
Anyway, at 27 pages, this was a delicious bite of what would be a wonderful prequel, if there’s one scheduled or being written. I really hope there is, because I just love this world far too much to give it up for one trilogy and a novella. Ryan’s really sharpened things up in this novella – you can almost smell the dead flesh that’s haunting the forest, hear the wind in the leaves, and feel the rattle of the fence in your bones. The sensory input is stunning, and Ryan’s at her best in this novella (and in the final novel in the trilogy – I have the feeling that both were written at or around the same time due to how well the sensory language has been sharpened from the previous two novels. It’s lush, horrifying, and gorgeous all at the same time. We become Tabitha like we become Mary in the first book, longing for the wild Forest beyond the fence – so surreal that I had to shake myself back to this reality after reading it.
Anyway, I’m not one for novellas, usually – but this one takes the cake. I still demand more, though!
(crossposted to shelfari, librarything, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more
This trilogy, you guys. I've been keeping score since book one, and the way that Aguirre has grown in her writing for YA has grown in such measure thaThis trilogy, you guys. I've been keeping score since book one, and the way that Aguirre has grown in her writing for YA has grown in such measure that I can't even. Really. Seriously. This book is the best possible ending, and yet, the most the most painful, as I've really grown to love Deuce and the boys. In this final book in the "Razorland" trilogy, we see a major tribute paid to the US Civil War, almost re-enacted, and prairie life come back to life in a hell of a future created by humanity itself. If there's a final book in a trilogy you've got to read this year, or better yet, start, it has to be "Horde".
I feel like Aguirre really finally filled out the entire world of "Razorland" - in this future populated by "muties" and humans, both fighting to survive. It finally feels like a very real, very full, very rich world where everyone and everything, even down to the smallest detail and the smallest character, feel 3D. It's taken two books for Aguirre to do that, and though she improved greatly with book two, it's nothing close to how she's improved in all technical areas for book three. Comparing a pond to a sea, basically, is how I'd compare the technical details of books two and three. She's done a lot of research for this book on the US Civil War and has re-enacted it for us (though in which way, I won't say because that'd be a huge spoiler) in such a vivid way that there were times (especially post-battle) where I had to put the book down and breathe, because the details were so gruesome, and yet so true to what we know in the US had happened at the time of our Civil War.
Prairie/frontier life is also re-enacted with brave humans trying to create outposts (the title of the previous book really starts to have meaning in this one), trying to survive in this vicious world filled with the muties, those that we originally thought were just zombies, but in fact are something else entirely. By bringing in all of this actual historical research into this futuristic world, I feel like the worldbuilding for this series just kind of exploded (and in a good way). It felt so lush, so real, and at times, so horrific in the sensory arena of things that I knew that Aguirre had really done her job, and had done it well. We get a lot of backstory as well - what led to the creation of the muties, as well as a rough sketch of how much time has passed since that happened. I was asking for that rough sketch of time since the end of book one, and though I kind of wish we'd gotten it in book two, I'm glad we got it at all.
The characters: we finally get that nasty love triangle with Deuce, Fade, and Stalker more or less resolved for good here, though it's extremely painful to read, as I've gotten pretty attached to all of these characters and their feels (though not the love triangle itself). We also get more time with Tegan (yay!) and she really becomes part of the main cast, at last, in this final book. I love how these characters, true to life, are living in horrid conditions, but just refuse to give up. They make decisions that show that this not only is a coming of age trilogy, but also shows them willing to sacrifice everything in order for the rest of humanity to live. They really kind of become adults here, through the most brutal ways possible, but also the most satisfying ways. If humanity has been thrown back to mid 19th century technology and living conditions in this book, then the way that Aguirre carried out how she was going to execute (pardon the pun) the rest of this book was extremely appropriate when it came to the characters and how/when they were considered adults as well.
Just a warning: if you've been reading the trilogy like I have, you will cry. Maja from the Nocturnal Library said I'd cry in her shelf description on GR. And I was like "Nope. Not gonna happen, self." But I did. And it was ugly crying too, not gonna lie.
Final verdict? An absolutely amazing finish to a fun series, and one that will definitely leave a mark on you long after you've finished the final page. "Horde" is out October 29, 2013 from Macmillan Children's in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance! Definitely makes the best of 2013 list. And be sure to check back on the blog in October for a guest post from Aguirre on the blog tour!
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)...more
Guys, this book is awesome. I don't think I can gush enough over it. A strong heroine, a post-apocalyptic setting, the question of whether technologyGuys, this book is awesome. I don't think I can gush enough over it. A strong heroine, a post-apocalyptic setting, the question of whether technology really is good for us, and awesome superpowers? I'm in love with "Under the Never Sky". Rossi has created one of the most original worlds I've read this year, and this is definitely on my best of 2012 list. I literally could not put this one down.
First: the plot. Yeah, I know everyone's tired of dystopia and post-apocalypse worlds (present party included), but Rossi definitely made this one her own. What would it be like to live in a hole in the ground, but be forever connected to the past and your friends via the souped-up internets? But also, how would that affect your body and the body of humans at large? I love how Rossi made a very real science question that's recently come to the forefront about technology and our current use of it as part of her futuristic world. The sub-plot and arc with Aria trying to find her mother and what her mother knew totally worked, and not just that, but worked smoothly. It all fell together with no jerky areas that snapped me out of this world, nothing that shocked me back to reality because there was a bad transition between or questionable construction of said arcs.
Second: the characters. Yeah, boy saves girl. We're getting tired of that one too, though we never seem to as a culture. However, again, Rossi twists it up with the unknown, a savage, the outsider - a very Jungian take on our future selves if we don't hide in our holes in the ground. I loved Perry because he was so reluctant, and the relationship that so achingly bloomed slowly between them. It wasn't an insta-romance, or lust at first sight, or any case of Twilight Syndrome that seems rampant within YA right now. Perry feels very much like a real boy - his character feels so full that I could practically smell him. Rossi did that with all of her characters, and not only is that hard to do, but it's hard to do well. And she did it.
Third: This is a world where more can happen. It looks like this might be a series (not sure if it will be), but if it is, I'm cool with that. There's so much potential in the Death Shop, and within Reverie to be explored, and that kind of world-building gets me ridiculously excited. Yet Rossi wrote the ending where if it was left as a standalone, I'd also be totally fine with that. There's enough room to imagine what comes next yet with a story so full and finished that I'm not panting creepily for more. That seems rare in anything right now, and Rossi hit the nail right on the head.
Fourth: The science. What will happen if we relegate ourselves to the online world only, even (and especially) in the event of a natural disaster so bad that we literally have to go underground to keep living? And how will that affect our bodies after so many years of doing that underground? Rossi puts some very interesting science into the mix and it all seems very plausible as current scientists in real life are asking the same question - what will happen to our brains if just left to virtual and not real sensory input? I love how Rossi answers this question because it seems like such a real answer.
Basically, this is a must-read for 2012, and already on my best of 2012 so far list. Even if you're sick of dystopia/apocalptic settings, this is definitely something you should dip into. It has something for everyone. "Under the Never Sky" hits shelves on January 3, 2012 in North America (other places, check your local bookstore). Please do yourself (and Rossi) a solid by checking it out. It's really that good.
(posted to librarything, goodreads, shelfari, and witchoftheatregoing.wordpress.com)...more