Basically a nice little bonus novella type thing for those who have read the books. Includes the novella "Thomas' First Memory of the Flare". Also adv...moreBasically a nice little bonus novella type thing for those who have read the books. Includes the novella "Thomas' First Memory of the Flare". Also advertises for the movie, due out next year.(less)
"Three" is just what I've been waiting for in the realm of the dystopian urban fantasy subgenre of adult literature. It has everything I'v...more4.5/5 stars.
"Three" is just what I've been waiting for in the realm of the dystopian urban fantasy subgenre of adult literature. It has everything I've been craving - biopunk, biohacking, cyberpunk, a bleak post-apocalyptic/dystopian setting, journeys, and more. More than that, it has some of the most awesome fight scenes that I've read within the subgenre in recent memory. If you want something fresh and new and reads like a kick to the face, "Three" is definitely a book you should check out.
Also, did I mention it has zombies? Yes. It has zombies - but like nothing I've ever read. The Weir - electric, cyber-like zombies, who have blue eyes (felt like there was a bit of a "Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones" reference there), and who hunt at night, screaming electronic shrieks to each other in order to catch their prey. This bit really caught my attention, and confirmed to me how skilled Posey is not only in his use of sensory language and imagery (more on that in a bit), but how original his ideas are within this genre. Or rather, how he makes all of the typical parts of this subgenre his own. It blew me away, combined with everything else in this book.
The worldbuilding: mostly using sensory language and imagery, along with his main cast's individual backstories, Posey builds his world very well. While we don't get a good, solid explanation as to why the world itself has ended up the way it's portrayed in this book (general society broken down, people in individual city-states trying to survive the Weir, people born with the automatic ability to access satellites through "pimming", general biohacking called "boosting", and more), we do get hints through the main cast's individual backstories. Like Three himself - his backstory is pivotal to explaining an important chunk of this book, and I won't explain how or why, but it makes it all the more unique. We don't get an explanation of the Falling from his story, either, but it still makes for awesome reading. The sensory language and imagery - there's no doubt that Posey is someone to definitely watch as a rising star with this debut. My favorite parts of the book were with the biohacked people (the man who installed lightbulbs under his skin to light his veins so if you cut him, it made it look as if he bled light was my absolute favorite), but generally, he writes gorgeously in a way that just makes you sigh. There's almost a sense of magical realism there, even though there really isn't in the book as a whole.
There are quite a few tropes that Posey reconstructs in this book to make his own: the lone assassin/protector, the little chosen boy, the journey to a place to either keep him safe or give him power, those that want to stop him. All of these tropes fit in with each other marvelously, and miraculously, the Tolkien-esque journey didn't bother me. There was a lot of walking, but - authors, take note - it was punctuated with a lot of fighting, and a lot of Weir attacks. Now THAT's how you keep things fresh. I loved how Posey was able to viscerally create these attacks out of nowhere, as well as the fight scenes, and the general wrongness that you feel when the Weir are near. Through the attacks and how they react we also find out that the Weir aren't like any kind of zombie that we've seen before - they can be brought back. They're not rotted - it seems like their own electric biology heals them enough to attack people once they "reboot" as Weir - and they don't want your brains, they just want to kill you. I won't say who or how this happens in the book, but it does, and they earn the title of First of the Awakened. I can't wait to find out more about how the Weir came about along with the fall of Society, along with the impotence of the State, and how wonders like the chosen boy came about. Natural evolution, or nurtured biohacking that eventually got passed down along the familial bloodline? We're given both as coy choices as to how this chosen boy has his abilities, but we're not given a solid answer. And usually this would drive me mad, but it just worked. I can't explain it otherwise.
Finally, the characters. Posey builds a very compelling and sympathetic main cast, even with these redesigned tropes. We find out just enough about each character to go on, and eventually through interaction with more of the minor bits of the main cast, we find out more about their individual backstories and how they relate - also known as the relationship web school of worldbuilding. Three, our MC, is sparse and spartan in how he works, moves, and lives, and we're given just as much information as those character traits allow. I rather found this fascinating, the way that the traits of each character tied into how much information/backstory we got from them, and how we had to find out through interaction with other characters, and I found I really liked it. More authors should definitely do it. Also, there's a shout out to "Inception" with the RushRuin group, though I think that RushRuin does a hell of a lot more damage than any of the "Inception" crew could ever have done. I hope we get more on them in the next book, as well.
Final verdict? If you're looking for something deliciously fresh within this subgenre, definitely check out "Three". It's out now from Angry Robot in North America, so give it a read when you get the chance! Definitely one of my favorites of 2013 so far.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)(less)
Wow. If you guys thought the "Chemical Garden" trilogy was good, "Perfect Ruin" will absolutely knock your socks off. DeStefano has improved in her cr...moreWow. If you guys thought the "Chemical Garden" trilogy was good, "Perfect Ruin" will absolutely knock your socks off. DeStefano has improved in her craft so much, it was almost as if it were someone else writing - though it did have her familiar prose landmarks here and there. "Perfect Ruin" is the question of the divide between dystopia and utopia, and whether the two really can be the same thing, or if they're just two sides of the same coin. Can humans as they are now (or at least, by the time Internment exists) really create a fair utopia for all? "Perfect Ruin" delves into these questions and more with a murder mystery and a curiosity that may destroy all of these characters. Absolutely gorgeous, even if you haven't read the previous trilogy, this is one 2013 release that simply cannot be missed.
Instead of a terrible dystopia like we saw in the previous trilogy, "Perfect Ruin" is the picture of the perfect civilization as DeStefano sees it - all with the deliciously dark lure of "the edge" - literally, the edge of Internment, where you can see down to the ground. Internment floats above it, and though we don't know where we are in our current history as we know it, it's obvious that Interment is far in our future with the small clues DeStefano drops throughout the book, after a catastrophic natural event that heaves a large chunk of ground into the sky - not unlike the real life Second Extinction event that gave us our moon. I loved all of these compact little hints, telling us how old not only the culture of Internment is, but possibly how old Internment itself is. These geographical details really enriched the world, along with the tiny hints of backstory that we know are coming in future books.
The worldbuilding: if you've read the past trilogy, you know that DeStefano is amazing when it comes to worldbuilding. "Perfect Ruin" is no exception, using the relationship web school of worldbuilding this time to link our main cast together, along with linking our main cast through backstory to the murder mystery at hand - an act that is very rare on Internment. Through some big reveals that happen through this relationship web and general backstory hints and tidbits that come tumbling down onto the reader (much like how Internment starts to unravel around our main cast) in delicious, small bites. The sensory imagery and language was glorious, and I wanted to wallow in it. I had to force myself to read slowly, because I just wanted to know the answer, to know the whodunnit. At the end, I'm still not entirely sure we got our answer, but we do get an absolutely explosive climax and resolution that has me salivating heavily for book two.
The characters: even the most minor of the main cast are richly detailed through the relationship web tactic that DeStefano uses to not only construct the world but really weave the tale closely and tightly with backstory, current story, murder mystery, and the allure of the edge to those who want more from the tiny island of Internment than it can give them. Morgan, Lex, Judas, and the rest of the main cast, through their foibles and follies, give us one of the most sympathetic tales I've read in YA that's fantasy in years, no matter how beautiful Internment is, or how unbelievable it may be. Absolutely stellar.
Final verdict? Even if you may not have clicked with her previous trilogy, you guys simply cannot miss "Perfect Ruin". DeStefano has grown so much, and I love it when I can track an author's growth like that. "Perfect Ruin" is out October 1, 2013 from Simon & Schuster FYR in North America, so definitely check it out when you get a chance. It's on my best of 2013 list for a reason.
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, librarything, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)(less)
If you’re hoping for a lot of action in this follow-up to “The Selection”, well, I’m afraid to say you’re going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, “T...more If you’re hoping for a lot of action in this follow-up to “The Selection”, well, I’m afraid to say you’re going to be disappointed. Unfortunately, “The Elite” suffers from a moderate case of middle book syndrome, and feels very much like a placeholder until we get to book three. But there is a lot more worldbuilding that goes on, making this a pretty solid followup to book one. It may not be as exciting as book one, but we do get more information (and more hot love triangle action!) in “The Elite”.
Unfortunately, most of this book is spent with America trying to make a choice: Maxon and being a princess? Or Aspen and going home and being…well, poor? Seriously, guys, this is what about 2/3rds of this book is spent on, and it feels like such a waste. SUCH a waste. I was feeling pretty frustrated with America during all of this time with her almost terminal inability to choose. However, I understand why Cass did this – she was basically giving America options through each guy, revealing slow secrets about Maxon and the Illea monarchy and comparing it to simple Aspen and their life back home. On the spoiler front, I won’t give anything away, but like any good (dystopian) reality dating show, I can happily report that you guys can look forward to at least one catfight, a public punishment, rebel attacks, and some crazy tension between the potential in-laws. I may say “reality dating show” sarcastically, but that’s what it feels like. It’s a strange feeling, viewing this from at least post-two world wars in the future, and yet, one could say a piece of the core of American entertainment still remains with the practice of the Selection each generation. I don’t know whether that’s comforting, or disturbing, since I’m really not much of a reality TV fan.
However, I did really enjoy the worldbuilding that went on here. This is what saved this middle book (in my opinion), and actually made me want to go all in for book three. There’s a lot more backstory as to how the US became Illea, building upon the information we were given in book one about the Third and Fourth World Wars with China, resulting in Illea and New Asia. We get the story as we know it (and as disseminated by the Illea monarchy to the public), and then we get inside information, which kind of blows the lid off of everything – which I can honestly say that I loved. I love secrets like this in a dystopian book (even if it is dystopian chick lit/a guilty pleasure read), and it makes me want to know more. It’s a great hook to get me in for those subsequent books.
For all of America’s vacillating between both boys, we do get some character development. As we get more inside information into the Illea dynasty, we get America’s reaction to it, as well as all of the backlash that comes with it. Which, to be honest, made me like her a bit more. It also paves the way for some of the bigger reveals about the rebels’ plans, more on the rebels themselves, and the climax/resolution of this particular volume. While I still wanted a little more solid character building on the rebels, what I got was satisfactory. I honestly just wish that there’d been more time spent on worldbuilding/character building/backstory and less on ping-ponging back and forth between boys. I feel like there was a lot of potential there with all three of those aforementioned technical areas, and it just wasn’t used, or it was ignored in favor of the love triangle. Which really just lowered my enjoyment of the book.
We do get a little more character development on Maxon, but I still could have used more. And we definitely get more on his parents, which was a bit eye-opening (especially within the last fifty pages). So it’s not like there’s no development there, it just felt neglected, and there was so much there that could have been used to really amp up tensions even more, and keep interest more.
BUT, for all of my whining about it, I’m in for book three, if just to see how everything ends. “The Elite” is out from HarperTeen on April 23, 2013 in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)(less)