This is a book I doubt I would pick out without someone pointing it out to me. My book club picked it for October, and as with all my book club books,...moreThis is a book I doubt I would pick out without someone pointing it out to me. My book club picked it for October, and as with all my book club books, I dove right in without reading the synopsis or any reviews. I'm glad that I did, as usual. I really like to be fully surprised with books, even on the most minute details, that can be given away in a synopsis or review. I got through the first chapter and thought that this was going to be a DNF. It did not feel like my kinda book, at all. It felt very contemporary, with characters that I really had no interest in getting to know on an intimate level. I am glad that I stuck it out, however, because the book is actually pretty interesting in both concept and delivery. This book felt very similar to a time travel book, which can confuse the bleep out of me. And it was confusing until I got the hang of the author's delivery. Since it is a book about alternate, or parallel worlds, we obviously jump back and forth between two realities involving the same characters. As with most of these types of stories, the choices of the characters in the earlier year affects the situation of the characters in the later year. It's all very interesting once you wrap your head around it.
Our main character, Abby, is likable but it took me a while. I especially enjoyed the supporting cast. Her best friend, Caitlin, and their best guy friend, Tyler. And of course, the two romantic interests, Josh and Michael. Yes, there are two boys. But you see, they happen in different realities and time periods, so it doesn't feel all that similar to your typical love triangle, even though it kinda is one. All in all, the characters are relatable, down to earth and interesting. I enjoyed Abby's growth throughout the book, because I was uncertain of her in the beginning.
I think the best thing about this book is the focus on how the choices we make can take us down different paths, causing us to blindly steer our way through the muck and mayhem. But in the end, we'll eventually end up where we we're supposed to end up. One of the characters, Dr. Mann, an astrophysicist, makes a comment about this very idea. We can make different choices to try to alter our future, but we end up right where fate wants us. Maybe this is true in real life, and maybe it's not...but I think "keeping your eye on the prize" is a huge motivational force to set goals for yourself and strive towards achieving them.
“We spend so much time worrying about how the future is going to play out, and not nearly enough time admiring the precious perfection of the present.”
This quote also stood out to me. I think we are all so very future focused in this society that we forget to live in the now. On the flip side of that, we get caught up in the minutia of daily life and sometimes forget to LIVE and enjoy life. When I, myself, lose track of this important piece of sanity, I refer to my favorite musical evar, RENT. That musical focuses on the here and now, because tomorrow is uncertain and you might not even wake up to welcome it. I don't mean to get morbid, but you get my drift.
Mary Shelley Black is a 16 year old girl living in the year 1918. She's stuck in between an epic war and an epic pandemic, trying to remain positive and care-free. She is sent to live with her 26 year old aunt due to family issues you will discover. During her time in a new city, Mary Shelley reminisces about Stephen, her first love, who recently enlisted in WWI. During her time with her aunt, many supernatural events occur and Mary Shelley finds herself fighting for her loved ones in ways she never thought possible. She experiences a lot of trauma and heartache, but fights like a cornered cat. And trust me, that is some serious fightin'.
This book was pretty dang fascinating. It started out good and got increasingly more interesting and exciting. The last 100 pages were the best, and the last 50 had me on the edge of my seat! The build-up of tension, mystery and fear is well done. The old early 20th century photographs were a great addition to this book and really helped to set the dark, dreary and ghastly tone of the story. Also, the author's notes at the end of the book let us know that a lot of her story comes from real events and information from 1918. While it is a work of fiction, a lot of the information is based on reality. And that, my bookish folk, is what brings the serious creep factor to this story. There's nothing quite like a whiff of the rotting corpses lining the streets of your neighborhood and horrific dreams of blackbirds pecking out your eyes to put life into perspective. #JustSayin
I had a little bird, Its name was Enza, I opened the window, And in-flew-Enza.
Wars do bad things to a person's psychological health, as does a serious illness. I loved that it was difficult to figure out exactly which character was suffering from psychosis, or if psychosis was even part of the equation at all. We get great and terrible insight into the toll war and disease takes on humanity in 1918. Mary Shelley visits a Red Cross hospital to volunteer with physically damaged war veterans and we get a firsthand look into how the Spanish influenza brutally tortured people before they died. Cat Winters throws us some serious ugly in this novel, and she does not hold back the reality of the events in 1918. It's a great historical account of the era and it really piqued my interest in finding more books set during this time period. That might sound morbid, but I'm a lover of epidemiology, so reading about microscopic killers is fascinating to me.
Isn’t that cover exciting? It really sets the tone for the story, which starts off with a BANG, just like the cover conveys. Raven shows up out of now...moreIsn’t that cover exciting? It really sets the tone for the story, which starts off with a BANG, just like the cover conveys. Raven shows up out of nowhere, literally, and almost gets run over by a Mack truck. She is standing in the rain, bewildered, while the truck skids to a stop. The trucker, Jebbie, gets out and asks if she’s alright. But she isn’t. She is far from O.K., except she just doesn’t remember that yet. You see, Raven has lost all memory of her life previous to this moment. Of course, they come back to her throughout the book as she learns why she is in the year 2013. She’s from the future and has a mission, you see, and she’s been trained to carry it out. Booyah! After some serious action at the start of the book, Raven travels to New Haven, where she settles in to carry out her assassination. She creates an alias, moves in with a college student, and starts learning more about her target.
Either with a death ray (or plasma beam, in this case) or just some boot scootin’ ass kickin’, Raven is the sort of chic you want on your side in a fight. She’s tough, inside and out, and has some hardcore life experiences in the future to back up her bad assery in the now. That doesn’t mean Raven is only a lean, mean killing machine. She has a heart, and she has a brain, too. Smart enough to figure out assassination might not be the right course of action, Raven digs in deep and does some hands-on investigation with her target. Let’s just say that things get…complicated.
Raven was an exciting character. She had all the right strengths and flaws. It was great to learn about her memories right along with her. As she pieced her future life together, she grew into a great character. I was impressed with her character growth and I enjoyed watching her bloom like a deadly Venus fly trap. There were other notable characters, as well. You can always count on Jeff to give us at least one character that will bring the snort-laughs. Raven’s short run-in with trucker Jebbie was quite comical. He’s an older man, on the heavy side, with a Country twang and a good heart. His phrasing had me giggling profusely. “Devil’s Dingleberries” has to be my favorite.
Jeff’s take on time travel makes sense in my head. Time travel can be ridiculously confusing for me, especially in book-form. However, the explanations given by characters and situations work. I also love his take on the Time Nomad, which is a pretty interesting concept in this world. When you interfere with the past, which changes the future, you sometimes screw yourself right out of a, well, existence. Except you still exist, only to walk through time like a nomad. And your future you exists, as well, but in that new future you’ve created, that you cannot be a part of. Of course, there’s more to it than that, but it’s a neat concept.
Did I mention I enjoyed this book? Well, if you didn’t gather that by now, then I’m sending Raven after you. Watch yo back, sucka!(less)
I received this book via Scholastic and it immediately peaked my interest. The premise is so interesting, and I definitely enjoy a good dystopian sett...moreI received this book via Scholastic and it immediately peaked my interest. The premise is so interesting, and I definitely enjoy a good dystopian setting. This disease called Ferae has ravaged the eastern part of the country and a massive wall was erected to keep the western population safe. Ferae causes mutation in humans, mutations with animalistic side effects. Bottom line, you don't want to catch Ferae, which is a blood born disease. A scientist is working hard to find a cure, since it is a man-made issue, but can man save himself?
The last half of the book is nothing like the first. Our main character, Lane, is also a very different character by the end of the book. Lane is on a very personal mission on the wrong side of the wall, and we all know how emotion can affect your thoughts and actions in the heat of the moment. I enjoyed her growth and believed her intensity and fear regarding her situation.
There is a love triangle. It doesn't bother me so much, but I'm just letting you know. The two guys were both great, and I adore them both for very different reasons. Rafe, the wild man that Lane meets when she ventures beyond the wall, is a sarcastic, fierce young man who makes a living off bringing down Ferals. He's a stark contrast to Everson, the Line Guard that keeps the wall safe from Ferals who may try and breach the wall. Everson appears more calm and calculating, with a tad more tact and softness.
The world building was super cool. It didn't start out extremely interesting, but as the plot builds, so does the setting and characters. The outside world is super dangerous as Lane quickly learns. She is a very trusting young girl and has a huge, compassionate heart. These traits aren't necessarily beneficial in this world, and Lane has to learn to listen to her instincts more. The setting at the end of the book was so rocksauce! It felt like a twisted Alice In Wonderland, with some equally twisted characters and situations. My kinda book, indeed.(less)
In Time was a nice addition to The Darkest Minds universe, which was a treat in the YA Fantasy world. The Darkest Minds was exciting and interesting,...moreIn Time was a nice addition to The Darkest Minds universe, which was a treat in the YA Fantasy world. The Darkest Minds was exciting and interesting, with incredible characters and an ugly plot. The characters are ones that will stay with you after the book is closed, and a few reenter our lives briefly during In Time.
This novella is not happy times. We get a glimpse of life outside the concentration camps from the perspective of a young adult. Gabe is an average young man who is struggling to survive the post-Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration U.S. and the resulting “abnormal” children it produced. Gabe leaves home, which is not saying much, in search of a good future for himself. He decides to become a skip tracer, a group of adults who seek out children that have escaped the concentration camps. They bring them back to the government for $10K a pop, and that’s a nice living in this new nation. Unfortunately, Gabe must bag and tag a child first before he is given access to all the nifty skip tracer gadgets and intel.
Gabe gets lucky, in more ways than I can describe, when he comes across a group of kids who are fleeing some skip tracers. After some risky maneuvering and near-death moments, Gabe flees the scene with a small girl who doesn’t speak. From this point on, Gabe’s world is changed, in a big way. I loved Gabe’s development throughout the story. His realization about who he really is was a beautiful thing, and I enjoyed watching his transformation.
This is definitely a separate story from The Darkest Minds, but there are still connections to the characters we love. One connection, in particular, had me gasp. I remember holding my hand to my chest and screaming OMG! It was so satisfying to feel that character, even though they were not a part of this story.(less)