It was really good. Neville is a very interesting protagonist. You really want to root for him that he will survive. I don't want to spoil you, but thIt was really good. Neville is a very interesting protagonist. You really want to root for him that he will survive. I don't want to spoil you, but the ending will definitely hit you like a one-two punch. I definitely wanted a different one. Nevertheless it was one of the best short stories I have ever read. I finished I am Legend more than a year ago. It had such an effect on my psyche that I had to put the book down. Let me tell you a secret. I am a bit of a whimp when it comes to horror. Yet like the worst masochist, I adore horror. I love being scared and that feeling of unsettledness that settles in your stomach like a heavy meal. Anyway, I felt like I wanted to finish it, because I really liked Matheson's writing. And I paid a lot of money for the book ;) I pulled it out the summer I moved back to TX and read some more. There were some excellently written stories, all deeply disturbing. One of the most effecting is one where a henpecked young woman under her mother's thumb buys a Zuni doll for her boyfriend that her mother has forced her to break up with. The Zuni warrior comes to life and tries to kill her. She manages to survive but her mind is possessed by the Zuni doll and she calls her mother over to visit. The story ends with her jabbing a knife into the floor in the same motion the Zuni doll uses. The end is particularly disconcerting because you know that a horrendous fate awaits her mother.
Another story was a little too unsettling. It's set in the future after wars and people have barely managed to keep a semblance of normal life. A sheltered suburban girl meets a dangerous crowd in college. They go to the city to a club where there is a unique show. A woman who has become effectively a zombie from a drug that she overdosed on. That scene was really hard to read because the horror is knowing that this was a normal girl who was changed by this drug she abused. And the other element of horror rests in the fact that the young, sheltered woman is about to walk down the same path. That was not my favorite story.
Another story features a man who goes to the funeral parlor to plan his wife's service and arrangement. It ends with him going home to kill his wife. Very unsettling. As I have described, some of the stories are quite disturbing, some horrific, and some humorous.
I loved the story in the funeral parlor where a vampire wants a funeral and he invites a host of ghoulish creatures. And the witch and this other character has a fight. Of course the werewolf has to go because he is called by the moon to hunt. It was really funny.
I also loved the one where the guy has been hexed by a witch doctor in Africa and his fiance calls her anthropologist friend who studied witch doctors to save him. It was really really good-my second favorite after I am Legend. I think it be great as a movie short.
Probably the most disturbing story was the one with a man who has anger issues. His anger has possessed his house, for lack of a better description. He is a frustrated writer who cannot write and has allowed bitterness to kill him slowly. Strange things happen to him at home, rungs slip, pencils jab him, he bangs his knee everytime he sits down at the table. His wife has decided to leave him and he cannot ask her to stay, although he loves here. His friend at the university where he works who is a scientist warns him about the house but he doesn't listen. He manages to get fired by yelling at a student and goes home. His wife is there and asks him to tell her to stay, he runs her off, and the house takes his revenge. This story comes across like a Greek tragedy. You can see the path that the character is taking but you are helpless to stop it. This is the side aspect of horror. The horror lies not necessarily in the supernatural elements but the poor choices the characters make.
I can see why Matheson is cited as an influence by Stephen King. He definitely has a feel for the horrific in various forms. ...more
*Ultimately this was a rather unsatisfying read for me. It took me a while to get engaged in the story, and to c3.5/5.0 stars.
Why Not a Higher Rating?
*Ultimately this was a rather unsatisfying read for me. It took me a while to get engaged in the story, and to care about the characters. *When that finally happened, then things got rather tragic. I realize that it wasn't Mary's fault, and she showed true heroism, but part of me wanted to blame her for how things unfolded. Probably not fair, but kind of how I felt. *Mary was a bit too wishy-washy for me. She wanted Travis more than anything. No, she wanted to leave to find the ocean. No, she felt really close to Harry. What did she want? Maybe I'm being hard on her, but I just found her frustrating. *The secondary characters seemed kind of one dimensional. The only person I saw clearly was Mary. I don't think that can solely be blamed on the 1st person POV, either. Honestly, Travis came off as wishy-washy, and less than reliable in his affections. He was the man of Mary's dreams, but he wasn't strong enough for her. He knew that though. We don't really find out what makes Travis tick until too late in the story for my tastes. Before that, he was too far in fickle-land for me. Harry had some really good traits, and I would have liked to see more of him in the narrative. I realize that Mary is all about Travis, so I can see why Harry doesn't get much screen time through her eyes, but since they were best friends growing up, I could have done with more filling in of his character. *We are never told some aspects of the setting. I felt there was good detail in some instances, but a decided lack in other ways. *But, I think the number one factor in my rating is the feeling of disatisfaction I had after finishing. I wondered what the point was. That hope means nothing in the end. Sacrifice ultimate counts for absolute zero? Yeah, not my kind of novel theme.
In all fairness, I think Ms. Ryan is a good writer. Her writing has an elegance I appreciated. I couldn't put this book down, although some aspects were a bit off-putting. She does zombies well. The focus on the emotional horror of zombies, and its cost on the hearts and souls of those who face this epidemic, instead of the gross-out factor. I really appreciated that, and I certainly had some hold my breath moments. I think that I would have enjoyed this story more if there was a more focused feel to it, as if the destination I was headed to counted for more than it did. If I feel this way, than I can only imagine how Mary must feel....more
I read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit II read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit I was blown away.
Mr. Grant told me a story that I couldn't put down. From the beginning, my mind was full of questions about how this happened, how the kids would survive, what could prevent the same thing from happening again....So many questions.
Sam is the kind of boy you want to have around when the world goes crazy. He's definitely the reluctant hero type, but usually they come through for you like no other. Because they do what needs to be done, simply because it needs to happen. Not for glory, not for recognition. Sam doesn't want to be 'the guy', but he knows that no one else is going to do it. And when Caine and his posse come down from Coates Academy, taking over and making things mostly worse, someone has to step up to the plate to stop him.
This book is intense, violent, and sometimes sad. Some of these kids die. A lot of them get hurt pretty bad. I'm not a mother yet, but I love kids, and I hate to see them suffering. It was a bit painful to watch. Even harder was seeing the cruelty and potential for evil that some of these children showed. Drake, who is basically Caine's bully boy, is a psychopath. He loves hurting people, and he feels no remorse about doing it. In my mind, I was weighing the options, even thinking that they needed to kill him, because he was like a rabid animal, bent on destruction. I felt horrible doing that, but he's a loose cannon, and he's only going to get worse. I don't think saving this boy is an option.
One of the take home messages of this book is the consequences of a social structure that is pretty familiar to most of us. The dynamic that we see in a group of kids where there are bullies who find the 'weakest' people and torment then, doing everything they can to make life miserable for those kids. And this causes a lot of fallout, because people forget ethics and what's morally right so that they can have peace from the bullies. In essence, they become part of the problem, contributing to a micro-society in which children get hurt because everyone is afraid to speak up and stand up against the bullies and the ones who are 'running things' for their own twisted, self-absorbed reasons. It made me shudder to see what these children did to each other, because they thought it was the easiest option to keep control of things. I'll be honest. I was bullied and picked on big time. It made me hate seeing the so-called 'weak' or 'different' people get targeted and treated that way. I'm no fighter, but I made a promise that I'd stand up for someone who couldn't do that for his or herself. I was glad that the kids like Sam and Edilio (what a sweetheart) were more than willing to do that.
I had some issues with the decisions that were made by the kids. They had no real sanitation rules. They didn't use their resources effectively. They had very poor nutrition, unnecessarily, because there was a supermarket full of healthy things like fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains. They ate mostly junk like candy, ice cream, soda pop, you name it. I guess I was looking at things through 'grown-up' eyes, which did cause me some discomfort. I was glad that they did organize care for the babies and kids too young to watch out for themselves, because Mary and her brother took on that job. I was also glad that Dahra worked as the medical provider. Albert took over the McDonalds and provided food for the community. Even so, I see some problems ahead, unless the kids set up a civic structural system in which every person is accountable (over-thinking this, I know!).
I loved the relationship between Astrid and Sam. They had an innocent love but also a strong friendship and support system in which they watched out for each other and did what they could to help everyone through this situation. Astrid was the brain, very smart, but also very kind. She had to take care of her younger brother, who was autistic, and extremely gifted with powers. I'll get to the powers part later. Give me a minute. Not an easy task for a young girl, but she did it. I was rooting for things to work out for these two!
Another character who turned out to be a favorite was Lana. Lana is in a very bad position when the 'event' happens--the one in which all the people over fourteen disappear. She ends up getting horribly injured and is about to die, when her power to heal manifests. Oh, I was on the edge of my seat, seeing her stranded, wounded very badly, with only her dog to protect her from the wild animals in the desert. I was so glad that she was able to get out of that situation. Of course, she ends up in a worse situation that ties in with the kids in town, and in a big way, as this book culminates. It might seem like a deus ex-machina to have a character who can heal even the most grievous wounds, but I was glad that she did have the power. These kids have a lot stacked up against them already. They need all the advantages they can get.
Now, lets talk about the power. Some of the kids, Sam included, have supernatural abilities that start manifesting. I thought this part was very cool. How Caine approaches this, with his evil little posse' made my hair stand on end. I can't even conceive of children being as cruel as that lot were. The powers end up playing a pivotal role in this story, and I am sure that this will continue to be a very strong element in the forthcoming books. I liked the "X-Men" sort of element it brought to the story, and how kids that were often bullied and felt useless, got to play important roles in the fight against Caine and his Posse' of Evil.
I wanted to give the author a nod of thanks for making the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) a multicultural environment, with children of all races. Everyone is important, and it was nice to see that there was a rainbow represented here. That speaks highly to me!
If you're an adult and you don't think you could enjoy young adult books, this is one I'd recommend. If you're like me, you will be riveted to this exciting story. It has a lot to offer as far as entertainment, but also stimulates the brain, as you are confronted with this bad situation that this young kids have to face. I cannot stop reading these books. I'm way too invested now!...more
The Supernaturalist is intriguing dystopian science fiction that would appeal to a younger reader or even older readers who aren't looking for a storyThe Supernaturalist is intriguing dystopian science fiction that would appeal to a younger reader or even older readers who aren't looking for a story that's highly sophisticated. Overall, I liked it, although I was dissatisfied with some elements.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (one of my actor crushes) narrates this book very capably, using diverse accents for the characters. I am glad I chose to listen to this even though I have a paper copy. I liked hearing it, which stimulated my imagination in a way that I don't think reading would have done. I have an issue with science fiction in that I can't visualize technical things very well. In the auditory form, I found it a little easier to conceptualize the content.
The story is interesting. Cosmo Hill, young orphan who grew up in a group home that was nothing if not rampant neglect, victimization and abuse, has a near death experience, and he starts to see creatures that seem to sap the life force from people. He also comes into contact with a group who works to kill these creatures, which they have called 'parasites.' Throw in a deeper conspiracy and other elements from your standard dystopian world and you have a pretty good science fiction novel.
However, I found the end unsatisfying. I think that the twist that Colfer gives us in the story called for a richer ending than the one we got. I also think more thought could have gone into the world-building and the story plotting as far as the science fiction elements. It felt a bit superficial. On the other hand, I will say that Colfer is excellent at writing tense action scenes and his fast-paced writing style keeps a reader's interest.
The characters could have been better developed. I liked the secondary characters of Mona, Stefan and Ditto, but I wanted more from them. I feel as though their characterization barely scratched the surface. I realize that I'm being a bit hard on this book. Probably because I am huge fan of this author's Artemis Fowl books and I've read dystopian teen young adult books this year that went deeper in a way that was more satisfying.
Overall rating: 3.25/5.0 stars.
I think this could make a pretty good movie. I'd definitely watch it!...more
Z for Zachariah was a very suspenseful book. From the moment I started it, I had a knot in my stomach. For most of my life, I lived with my fear of nuZ for Zachariah was a very suspenseful book. From the moment I started it, I had a knot in my stomach. For most of my life, I lived with my fear of nuclear war and its aftermath. As a child of the 80s, I remember that Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. Were the Soviets going to push the button, or the Americans? Either way, we'd both lose. I remember everyone in school was watching "The Day After Tomorrow," and I was afraid to watch it, but I heard all the ugly details. I inadvertently watched the other nuclear war movie, "Testament," and I still remember how utterly hopeless and depressing it was. I didn't want to die slowly and painfully from radiation poison, nor did I want to be instantly incinerated in the first blast, or have to survive a nuclear winter. It was a very ugly thought that I've tried to push way to the back of my mind. Well, this book brought it all back for me. So, I could deeply sympathize with Ann, the protagonist of this story.
And it turns out that her worst threat is not the aftermath of the nuclear war. It's the fact that the only other apparent survivor of the holocaust is dangerously insane. Ann showed a lot of fortitude and intelligence, in my opinion. I didn't really consider her overly naive, considering she grew up in a sheltered world. I think she did an admirable job of keeping herself alive. How on earth could she be prepared to do deal with a crazy man who decided that everything left in the world belonged to him, and was not hesitant about using violence or ugly methods to make sure it remained in his possession? It was a tough road to travel for this young woman. She had a choice to let this man succumb to radiation poisoning, or to nurse him through it, even knowing he was possibly a murderer. She did what she thought was right, although that action contributed to the destruction of her small, safe world. I appreciate the ethical dilemma that the author presents in this story. Do we abandon all the qualities that make humanity worthwhile, because the civilized world as we know it has gone away? Should we embrace violence as the best solution, because it's the most expedient one? These are all very pertinent issues to Ann in this book, and I had to work through them as I read.
I was literally on the edge of my seat, as I saw how things were unfolding. I felt a rage at Mr. Loomis, who came to Ann's valley, availed himself of her generosity and good heart, and decided that he was entitled to all of it, and he could take control of everything. Oh, I definitely understand that battle that Ann faced. People controlling others is a real problem for me. I felt her pain as she decided that she would have to leave everything was familiar and she'd worked hard for, because she refused to be enslaved to another person, not for any reason.
I found Z for Zachariah to be a powerful read. It did resonate with me, and that wasn't always a comfortable feeling. The issues of isolation, fear for the future, defining who one is when the world is no longer the same, and having control of one's life and destiny were very well-handled here. I think Ann could be a metaphor for any young woman who is facing choices in her life that will define her present and future. I would recommend this book to young adults and to adults, because it has a very timely message, and it was good, albeit nerve-racking at times, entertainment. Also, readers who enjoy stories in which the characters have to use their wits and energies (physical and mental) to survive on the land, and in a hostile environment, will enjoy this story. I'm very glad I got the opportunity to read Z for Zachariah....more
My friend recommended this comic to me. I got so sucked in. I hated the idea that all the men in the world could die off. And men probably would thinkMy friend recommended this comic to me. I got so sucked in. I hated the idea that all the men in the world could die off. And men probably would think that Yorick has it made as the last man. Not so much....more
I can't imagine how hard it was to write a novel about kids being forced to kill each other. Probably much harder than it was to read it. After all, iI can't imagine how hard it was to write a novel about kids being forced to kill each other. Probably much harder than it was to read it. After all, in my limited viewpoint as a person who also writes (although unpublished), I really dislike hurting my beloved, lifelike characters, and much less killing them, or having them do terrible things, unless they are supposed to because they are evil.
But Ms. Collins had to take kids between the ages of 12-16 and force them to deliberately harm each other.
It's a journey into a world in which a whole society plans events and festivities around such barbarism. It's not the Roman Empire. It's a dark future in which North America has become a much smaller continent called Panem. The society is a dystopic one in which the resources are not so much limited as restricted and deliberately kept from those regions whose denizens participated in a rebellion over 40 years ago. Their punishment is to have twenty-four of their children, two from each District, selected in a process called the Reaping. Those who are chosen must go and fight in the Hunger Games. If you've seen Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, then the phrase "two men enter, one man leaves" sort of gives you the idea. Except in this case, it's twenty-four kids enter, and one leaves.
Our heroine, Katniss Everdeen, grows up to the age of 16 in this world. She has been taking care of her family since she was 11, hunting illegally in the forests beyond the fence around District 12, bringing back fresh meat and wild plants to feed her young sister and mother. Her heart has become hard so she can survive. But when the day comes of the Reaping, and her young sister Prim's name is called, she volunteers to go to the games in her place, almost unprecedented. Most people know that they won't return, especially the poorly-trained and outfitted tributes from District 12. But her sister is not going to face the sure death that awaits her in the Games. Not when she can.
The other tribute from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son. A boy who did a life-saving act of kindness to Katniss several years before, one she can never forget. She doesn't like him for that reason, also because he reminds her of what she doesn't have, as essentially a townie, when her family lives on the fringes, the offspring of a deceased miner. However, they will have to form an alliance dreamed up by their sponsor, Haymitch, who won the Games many years before. He's a drunk, but he is going to do what he can to keep at least one of them alive in the Games.
I wasn't looking forward to reading this. I don't care for dystopian fiction. And the thought of kids killing each other, well it doesn't work for me. However, I decided to give this a read and bought the book a few years ago. Managed to put it off until now. When the Action Heroines group on Goodreads selected it as a group read this month, the choice was made. I started it, and was crying, not too far into the book (made even more painful by the fact that I have a nasty cold right now with a bad sore throat). I was sucked in.
I love a tough, survivor heroine, and Katniss is definitely that. Not only a survivor, but a girl who made sacrifices for her family. She's without a doubt, a very well-developed character. I like the fact that Collins takes the effort to describe Katniss' thought processes so well in this book, her woodcraft, her no-nonsense approach to life. How she suppresses those soft emotions that would have been a liability to her in her present situation. But deep down, how Katniss has the potential for love, and she does love. When Katniss bonds with another tribute, a young girl named Rue, who reminds her of Primrose, I could literally hear and feel my heart breaking. We all know how this ends. And Katniss best of all. But that doesn't mean you can stop feeling emotions, even when the brutal reality of your existence and forced choices seem to dictate otherwise.
That's part of what makes this a difficult story. The fact that kids are forced into a world in which they starve to death, not because there is nothing to eat, but because someone feels that they shouldn't have the basic things like a full belly and a safe life, for political reasons. That's going on today in this world. It should break a person's heart, and it does. Is this so very out there, when in real life, there are child soldiers in the world right now? I know I'm going towards "Soapbox" territory, so I'll stop myself. Yeah, I guess that's the point. Why should I keep my blindfold on to these horrors and immerse myself in safe, happy tales all the time? And forget that events like this do happen (maybe not in this obvious, fictional landscape kind of way), but in a way that is lot less showcased, and much more brutal.
I admit I liked the role reversal here. Peeta, the boy is more emotional, more approachable, more in need of protection. And Katniss is tougher, more armored, the protector. That doesn't hold true across the map, for Peeta shows depths that surprise Katniss and the reader. And likewise, Katniss has her moments when she doesn't have it all figured out.
Since this is first person, we don't get to find out how the grown-ups feel about this travesty. But I can surmise that people like Haymitch, Cinna, even Effie feel their share of anguish for the roles they play every year, as they watch twenty-four more children go off, most of them to their deaths, even if it's well-hidden.
It's a mad world, and all this comes together in this story to propel me through a gamut of emotions, most of them uncomfortable. I could almost identify with the kids, that horror of knowing, "This is it." The Games are real. I was there with them, and I wasn't spared the realness. I guess that's another reason to respect this work, that the author doesn't soften such a terrible concept. She doesn't allow you to settle into a false sense of security that it will be alright. That would only be a form of contempt in my mind. If you're going to go there, then bring it. And she does.
My final verdict: The Hunger Games is tough reading. But it's complex and powerful, and completely involving. I couldn't stop reading this until I was done.
Disclaimer: It was hard to convey my overall views on this book. I feel like this review is very much a 'I can't put my fingers on what was wrong' typDisclaimer: It was hard to convey my overall views on this book. I feel like this review is very much a 'I can't put my fingers on what was wrong' type of review, so I apologize if it seems rather chaotic.
Incarceron is a book with some interesting ideas, and some intensely visual imagery. Catherine Fisher put some imagination into crafting this story, and I tip my hat to the author for that. However, my overall feeling after finishing it is disappointment. Unfortunately, there were aspects that worked for me, but as a whole creation, I wasn't impressed.
One could argue that the disconnect might be due to having listened to this on audio, but I don't think that is the cause. I liked the narrator, and this would have been a more pleasant listening experience if everything had made more sense and tied together more fluidly.
My biggest issue: I felt that the ideas didn't come together coherently. I continued to listen, hoping that I would gain that clarity I was seeking. Sadly, further listening didn't correct this deficit, and I gained little to no further evolution in my understanding. Unfortunately, my interest level suffered as a result.
I never realized the author's end-goal here. I realize this is a series, but I am a big believer that books in a series should end in such a way that they are self-contained, even if one doesn't continue the series. I hate that emotional blackmail of a cliffhanger ending or feeling I need to 'read more' to get that total picture. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I think Fisher is a good writer when it comes to imagery and ideas. But the overall plotting and story-structure of this novel was weak, in my opinion. Perhaps I am being too harsh, but this is my overall perception. Expectations are a powerful thing. For me, at least, they can make or break a book. I found myself wanting more than I was getting from this story because of the interesting ideas stimulating my imagination to believe in its potential. That was an emotional failing for this book. On an analytical level, I felt as though my thought processes were pulled in too many directions, like a flow chart that goes all wonky and it never gets to the final destination. Instead, I was on a wild goose chase to find out the overall point of the story.
Other Things I Want to Touch On: 1)I really liked the concept of the self-aware prison that had developed its own ecosystem and many generations of inhabitants. The idea of the prison recycling its inhabitants and using inorganic components when necessary was rather twisted, but it makes sense. The prison(as a 'great experiment') microcosm does shine light on the inherent flaws of any so-called utopian ideal, which I believe is doomed to fail, due to the flawed aspects of human nature. 2)I liked the idea of the lost prince who finds himself living as a pauper, with a secret destiny that calls him to something bigger. 3)There are mystical aspects with the legendary Sapphique, who is the only person who has successfully escaped the prison. But I was left with a big question mark that felt like a set-up for the next book. As I said, that is a Major pet peeve of mine. 4)The concept that a futuristic group of peoples might reject the ideals of scientific progress and retreat to the classic/archaic modes of living--that gave me something to think about, and I felt it was pretty clever. 5)I loved Claudia's relationship with her teacher, Jared. Jared is probably one of my favorite characters, in fact. Their relationship was a substitute father/daughter bond teamed with a level of deep friendship and mutual respect. This was one of the most well-developed relationships in the book, and part of why I would give this book three stars rather than 2.75 stars, which I was leaning toward doing. On the downside, I wanted to know what his chronic illness was. That lack of explanation really nagged at me as I read about his symptoms/suffering. 6)I liked Attia a lot. She was feisty, resourceful, and loyal. She turned out to be a lot more complex character than I expected. I would have liked her as a romantic interest for someone, be it Finn, Keiro, or even Jared (since I get the feeling he's not that much older than Claudia. Maybe ten years or so). 5)Finn and Claudia were okay. I agree with my GRs friend Zeek in that they never really touched me. Claudia fell flat as a character, and Finn needed more fleshing out. I was okay with the romantic possibilities between them, but I probably needed more romantic tension if that was the author's goal to develop their relationship in this direction. 6)Keiro was annoying and unlikable for most of this book. The reveal about his anxieties and self-doubt didn't endear him to me, because it was came too late and too abruptly. His motivations didn't speak to me at all. He seemed like a shallow, self-serving bully who only cared about two things: 1) Himself and 2) Finn. I do think he cared about Finn, and that was his saving grace in my mind.
Overall, I can't really cheer for this book. It left me feeling rather flat and ambivalent, with an "If Only" feeling. Sometimes you want more than a book can deliver. Such was the case here.
Will I read the next book? I'm not in a hurry to do so. If it shows up at my library on audio, perhaps.
For this pleasure reader, there wasn't much pleasure in reading this book. Even still, I was compelled and drawn in. Octavia Butler was a very good wrFor this pleasure reader, there wasn't much pleasure in reading this book. Even still, I was compelled and drawn in. Octavia Butler was a very good writer, and I am glad I did get a chance to finally read one of her books. The narrator, the actress Lynne Thigpen, did an incredible job. Now, when I think of Lauren, I will picture her voice, feminine but strong and rich. I also liked the way she varied her voice to reflect the different characters speaking.
Lauren was a protagonist that rubbed me the wrong way at times (as she did those who knew her in this book). And yet, her strength and the powerful humanity of her won me over. I love reading about strong women, and that is definitely Lauren. For her young age, what she accomplished, despite the odds, must be recognized. She is a true leader, and she is the kind you want to follow, because they ask no more of you than they demand of themselves. I loved the way she brought a small group of survivors together, empowering them, and encouraging them to protect each other and themselves.
The world was bleak, depressing, disturbing, disheartening. Any joy was fleeting, any laughs and 'happy' moments as I listened were greatly appreciated. Hearing of the atrocities that were normal in this post-apocalyptic California setting was not an easy thing for me. At times, I had to remind myself that it wasn't truly the reality (although the way thing are going, this story seems like prophecy). When I got out of my car, I had to pull back out of this book and get back to my normal reality. And I am grateful that this was just a book, even though my senses didn't seem to accept that at times. This book has a powerful message in it that is very timely. The society that we know and love is on the brink, and if we don't stand up, we might find ourselves working as wage slaves, having police and government who hurt us more than they protect us. Politics are not something I go on about in reviews, but this is something that struck me as real about this story, so I have to talk about that in this review. This scary message definitely gets me thinking, and hoping that the United States doesn't end up like this. Not destroyed by some catastrophic event that you might usually find precipitating societal collapse, but chipped away and slowly eroded into a horrible future like a nightmarish dream. More scary because it is so very plausible.
I have to say that I liked that Lauren founded a spiritual movement that kept her small band of compadres together. But, on the other hand, I deeply disagreed with the mantra that "God is change." I was taught (and believe) that God is the same today, yesterday, and forever. My mind and heart won't accept that God is malleable and that we shape God. I can understand that Lauren is about empowering and allowing oneself to be shaped, and to shape back by the forces around them; to survive no matter what, to grow stronger. I just don't think that we have to make God into some concept that is far from the truth to feel strong. In my mind, what I believe is that God is our rock--although we are buffeted by the harsh things we suffer, we can stand on His never-changing promises. Anyway, I don't mean to preach in this review, I am just saying what I feel about the Earthseed religion that Lauren founded. If I was in this story, I would be on board with her mission of creating a home and a community, but I could never accept her concept of God as change. I am glad that she found strength in it and was able to inspire her friends and companions though.
One other thing that I liked about this story is that more than half of the main characters are non-Causcasian. Not that I don't like reading about white characters. I am totally fine reading about any character of any ethnicity. However, it is good to see a main character who is black, who embodies many traits that I love and respect in a protagonist. To see people of color finding their way through some horrible circumstances, seeing the strength from within that compels them forward. Diversity is important to me, and I loved that Lauren's band was diverse, ethnically. And for all their diversity, they were a found family, helping, standing for and with each other, protecting their unit against all threats.
This is not the kind of book I will read often, because I like to read stories that take my mind off the ugliness of life, and that empower me by giving me hope and enjoyment. There is both empowerment, and a tentative hope in this story. But it's a long, hard journey to reap the harvest of those kernels, those small seeds, in my consciousness. Ms. Butler did such a good job of sowing that seed in the tough, unfertile ground of this story, and for that I commend her.
When I eat my Wheaties, I will try more of her stories....more