I would probably give this a 3 but because I couldn't put the book down, I have to give it that extra 1/2 star for a 3.5.
I have been waiting with anti...moreI would probably give this a 3 but because I couldn't put the book down, I have to give it that extra 1/2 star for a 3.5.
I have been waiting with anticipation for this book to finally arrive at the library so maybe my expectations were a little high for this one.
Mangum gives a very unique description and idea of time and of time travel, of the balance that needs to be made with time. I liked the way she described time (view spoiler)[ as a river (hide spoiler)]. It's is a new way of looking at time and I enjoyed that introduction. She also does a seamless job of connecting Dante and Abby Beatrice to classical works such as (view spoiler)[ Dante's Inferno or Charon (hide spoiler)].
While I couldn't stop reading, I did have some unsettling feelings about the story:
1. Abby: Like another reviewer, I had some minor issues with the name; I felt like the name didn't fit very well with her character. I think Mangum might have chosen the name for it's meaning but the name seems too childish for me. I also felt frustrated by Abby's confusion with her boyfriend Jason; (view spoiler)[ Abby begins to sense that she wants more out of her relationship with Jason, but does not act! She allows herself to be acted upon; she waits until Jason breaks up with HER (hide spoiler)]. This initial part of the story just bothered me. I guess I just felt like Abby was just a bit spineless and just didn't want things to change because she wasn't brave enough? She does redeem herself later on with taking more control of her own life so I appreciated that in her character.
2. I couldn't help but notice some similarities between Abby and Dante's relationship with Bella/Edward: Dante is the new mysterious boy in town and they feel this cosmic connection. Maybe I've just ready way too many YA novels that have this premise and it's just really getting old?. For this story, it does work--and really, it's just that I've read too many "similar" relationships. However, Mangum does add a little more to their relationship than just their physical attraction: their connection to the classics and they do talk and get to know each other. But I could have done with a little less of the "oh my gosh you are so hot" descriptions; they just became overwhelming and dull after a while.
3. The scene with Abby and Dave (you'll know which one) was a bit over the top. It didn't seem realistic (in the sense that the consequences for that behavior wasn't realized in the story). I could actually see Dave doing what he did but I think there would be more repercussions for his action. Like maybe Abby or one of the cast member would have told someone in authority...(However, I have to say that if we're talking about "teenagers" here, they really might not have known what to do in that situation or been embarrassed to say anything to anyone so I can also see nothing happening either.) Even so, I had some issues with the way Abby dealt with this; I could tell she was really upset by this and if something like this happened to me as a teenager, I would seriously have had some major trauma and embarrassment.
Overall though, I did enjoy reading it; and it kept me reading late into the night. And I am interested to read more about Abby and Dante's journey in the next part of the series. If you like time-travel and a good Bella/Edward type romance, you might enjoy this one! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Uniquely told and unlike any other premise I've read...and yet, for me, there's something missing...
There's no doubt Anderson...more3 Stars wavering on a 3.5
Uniquely told and unlike any other premise I've read...and yet, for me, there's something missing...
There's no doubt Anderson's first scene pulled me in: no introduction can capture your attention than seeing the main character, Alison, waking up days later, after confessing to a murder she doesn't remember.
As Alison navigates through the psych ward she's been forced to live in by her mother, she uncovers more about her unique abilities with the help of a visiting scientist: Mr. Faraday.
I really admire and appreciate Anderson's description of color, of imagery, of taste, of sound, of feeling that emanated from Alison's abilities. I had never considered before that possibility and yet it's an idea that is possible and even (view spoiler)[ real: according to current studies (hide spoiler)] which makes the idea even more fascinating. It also gives you another layer of sensing things and a multi-sensory way of describing life around you...also evidenced by the chapter headings.
So...what's the issue?
Honestly, I'm not sure: and maybe that's the problem...I feel too lukewarm about the story--not feeling strongly either way. I felt the pacing was a bit too slow for my taste. That even though Alison had these amazing abilities, she seemed too meek? too flat? (although I think that might have been the point as (view spoiler)[ she tries to hide her abilities and not FEEL anything along with her self-deprecating comments and blaming herself (hide spoiler)] which is somewhat resolved and realized toward the end.
Three main issues I had: (view spoiler)[ 1) After EVERYTHING that Alison's mother did to put her daughter where she was, her apology towards the end seemed fake and quickly resolved. After a parent treats you that way for 16 years (AND LOCKING YOU UP IN A MENTAL FACILITY), I would think there would be repercussions and baggage they would still need to work through...and yet Alison QUICKLY forgives and all is merry. That didn't seem realistic to me...UNLESS Alison is hiding this pain-again.
2) The interaction Dr. Minta has with Alison seems a bit unrealistic. When Alison requests to have a keyboard sent to the facility, he responds by suggesting she set it up in his office and he'll bring a guitar to play with her--all which seemed unlikely and unprofessional and unrealistic.
3) Dr. Faraday: Although the reason for his appearance makes sense at the end, it's the connection between him and Alison in the beginning that made me feel a bit awkward? queasy? Faraday does indeed care about Alison, but it's the way Alison seemed swooned by her senses of him in the beginning that compel her feelings and relationship towards him through the story. (hide spoiler)]
I did appreciate though the scientific nature that Anderson introduced us to Alison's condition and the possibility of it's reality. Anderson does an excellent job connecting this phenomenon with possible real life scenarios.
Other members have wondered about the genre of this one; I've wondered whether it matters what it is. Maybe I would have approached it differently? Maybe I wouldn't have had such high expectations of what I thought it would be? In any case, my take on it is that: (view spoiler)[ it is primary science-fiction with elements of paranormal activity (hide spoiler)].
Overall, while the premise was interesting and the science compelling, I expected more action, more heart-beating climatic events, and characters I felt more invested in.
Ultraviolet has received some really high ratings which I'm not surprised. It IS an interesting story and many readers have connected with it. But for whatever reason (which I'm still trying to understand) it was more like a lukewarm cup of chocolate than a scalding hot one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
WARNING ALERT. WARNING ALERT. From this point forward, it's not going to be pretty...
Dystopia is probably one of the hardest worlds to build because its entire foundation is based on the assumption of what might be possible. The biggest impact dystopia has on the reader is: Could this really happen?
In Eve, sadly, the answer to that question was "no." As I uncovered more and more to Eve's world, the only words coming to mind were "this doesn't make sense." The logic behind Eve's world is weak, and I couldn't connect our humanity with that of hers.
When Eve is 5 years old, her mother is taken ill with the plague. Eve gets taken to a school for orphans where she is educated. Because most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, the country becomes governed by a "King" (Reminds me of North Korea.) But while Eve has been educating herself on Scott Fitzgerald and Frida Kahlo, its graduates have been taken to serve as baby machines--a fate that also awaits Eve when she graduates.
Here's are my issues with the world building: 1) The timeline: I'm not exactly sure where Goodreads got the 2032 date.* I can't find it anywhere else. But according to my timeline, the year is closer to 2037. (If Eve was taken to the school when she was 5 along with the note from her mother dated 2025, then stayed there 12 years, the date should be closer to 2037.) The date itself isn't really that big of a deal but the timeline of events is. The cover says "16 years after a deadly virus..." So within 16 years, our entire democratic nation has completely crumbled? Sorry, I don't buy that. And who is this Politician/King that has enough military power and resources to control the entire United States...some multi-billionaire with an ego complex? The most I know about him is this:
"The King took over and then you had to make a choice. Follow him or be in the wild alone."
What made the wild so unappealing? Furthermore, what "wild" are we talking about here? Why couldn't you have set up your own community? What resources/power did the King have to force compliance? Let's say that 80% of the current US population (313 million) died off (and 80% is pretty high...I think the Black Plague only hit about 60% in Europe), that would leave us with 62 million people. That's still A LOT of people. So shouldn't there still be groups of resistance, groups of scientists, groups of professors, groups of historians, groups of religion...Would the majority of people really concede to anarchy? Maybe. But--there would have had to be extremeextreme factors to force compliance. Unless the King had something to bargain with, I find it very unbelievable that our entire society would submit. With a smaller population maybe, but if you think about all the logistics that would go into governing a huge land area like ours, it's highly improbable..
Repopulating the Earth:
Stories dealing with re-population
seem a bit eccentric and unrealistic. Personally, I'm not really worried about humans recouping its losses. Humans have experienced several plagues and even genocide that have decimated our numbers, but I don't recall any institutionalized baby factories. Sure it might take hundreds, even thousands of years, to recover our numbers but what's the hurry? Again, if Eve's virus decimated 80% of the world population of about 7 billion, that still leaves about 1.4 billion people (which is just a little less than the total world population of 1.7 billion in 1900.) I'm kind of missing the point here. Again--what's the big rush to repopulate the earth quickly? And would people really jump on the baby band wagon?Also, if you want to get people to "breed," then why not use psychological tactics instead (i.e., speeches on 'it's your duty,' or rewards for birthing more children, etc...)
3) Why educate? Now, let's suppose we DO want to repopulate the earth quickly. Then, why educate the baby makers? According to the King's perspective:
"The King believed the science was the key to repopulating the earth quickly, efficiently, without all the complications of families, marriage, and love. He thought if you were given an education, you would be occupied and content. He thought that if you feared me, you girls would breed willingly without them."
If I needed a baby factory, I wouldn't spend my time educating them on literature or the arts. I would have girls start breeding as soon as they began menstruating. Maybe use them for domestic labor until they were able to breed.
But aside from the technical aspects of the world building, I was also disappointed with:
1) The insta-love between Caleb and Eve: They went from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds; she gets rescued, he teaches her to swim, they can't. live. without. each. other.
2) The helicopter hiding scene: Note to troops: when there's an abandoned helicopter in a middle of a field, you might want to check inside to see if maybe, just maybe that's where the fugitives are hiding...just a thought.
3) Eve's Radio Messages: I get it that maybe Eve didn't understand the danger she was in...but she CHOSE NOT to tell her host about sending out radio messages because "there was too much to tell." Was she so blinded by her love infatuation for Caleb, that she didn't consider the danger? Big mistake Eve.
4) Eve's almost rape scene: This scene came out. of. nowhere. Very uncharacteristic of the perpetrator--especially in light of his prior attitude towards Eve.
This book deals with a lot of holes and missing pieces. The logic is thin and the background research seemed nonexistent. The characters were flat and uninteresting. I had no interest in Eve; in fact, I was more interested in one of the minor characters: Arden (Eve's companion). Many times it seemed like scenes and circumstances were put together only for the purpose for pushing the story along--not because it was integral to the plot. Sadly, this one doesn't make the cut.
OH. BOY. 1.5 Stars. The best way to explain this? Great Take-off, but the flight was rocky, and then a crash and burn landing. I really don't like to...moreOH. BOY. 1.5 Stars. The best way to explain this? Great Take-off, but the flight was rocky, and then a crash and burn landing. I really don't like to be so harsh but by the end, I was just so completely appalled.
The premise was what initially caught my eye: a society plugged into subliminal messages, a rebellion in the midst...hey, it sounded like Matrix, so I gave it a try....
Sadly, the only redeeming quality is that some of Violet's thoughts are pretty sarcastic and funny. Sadly, that's all there was.
Violet is a rebellious teen in a society controlled by subliminal messages or "brainwashing." She's been matched to a Special Forces Agent named Zenn and soon finds herself arrested, and ends up meets a cell mate named Jag; they escape from prison, and Violet ends up discovering information about her missing father and sister.
The problems I had with the characters and plot? 1. I never really got a clear picture of what this society looks like. First there's the plugging in for your daily messages, but then there are special people in the society who have 'special mental powers' who can direct the brain washing and make you do things, and even control technology; then there's all this special tech equipment, locations of badlands (which are actually good)/goodlands (which are actually bad), Associations, mind rangers, etc...After a while, I had absolutely NO CLUE what we were even talking about anymore. 2. Now, let's just talk about Violet and Jag. Can anyone say dysfunctional? I just don't know if Johnson realizes what a messed-up relationship this is. (view spoiler)[ Supposedly, Violet and Jag are sooooo in love with each other. Fine. If so then what's up with the lying to each other, leaving each other mysteriously, getting so angry that you comment on how 'you're going to kill the other person', and if I'm not mistaken, I think Violet even tries to hit him. (hide spoiler)]. Can we all repeat after me? THIS IS AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. END IT NOW. Can someone please help me understand? In a novel geared toward YA, do we want teenagers to think it's okay to be treated like this.
As much as it's a bummer to read a poorly written story; it's made far worse when it's suggesting that it's okay for dating couples to treat each other abusively without any realistic consequences. Maybe I'm too sensitive? What did you think?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Why does Goodreads just automatically delete your review if you accidentally press a button on your computer? Seriously, fix that. This is my third at...moreWhy does Goodreads just automatically delete your review if you accidentally press a button on your computer? Seriously, fix that. This is my third attempt at writing this and I don't think I have the heart to write it ONE. MORE. TIME. so here's the cliff notes version; maybe that's better so you don't have to hear all my ranting.
First 100 pages: I have no idea what is going on. Apparently, neither does the main character Tom. And apparently, neither the author or the other characters in the story want to tell us what's happening or where Tom has found himself. (I get the whole 'let's leave the reader in suspense' bit but really, the whole book?)
Also, the made-up slang/swear words are just distracting and basically annoying and really don't add much to the dialogue.
Next 200 pages: Okay, some interesting stuff starts to happen: Tom gets locked out in the maze, a mysterious girls shows up, Tom accesses his old memories to solve the riddle of the maze. Issues I have: Why add a girl to the plot when she doesn't really have a strong purpose to the story except the fact that Tom really likes her? Also, telling me that all these guys are really smart is not convincing unless you show me that they are really smart.
Last 100 and so pages: When will it ever end? Let's finish this already. Not a surprise, we find that Tom and company have been put into an experiment chamber in order for the creators to discover which factors/people will help them solve the destruction of the earth. Now, here's the biggest problem that I have with this plot: The boys are supposedly really smart; well, if they were so smart then why couldn't they have solved the maze themselves; why did Tom have to access his 'old memories' in order to solve the riddle. Not very convincing of their intelligence. Also, why did they have to have their memories wiped? What purpose did that have to the story other than mystery?
Basically, I'm just glad it's over. And I can think of plenty of other similar scenarios/books that deliver a much more convincing "POW!" at the end; I'm thinking Hunger Games, Incarceron, Ender's Game...Try those.
Insurgent took me on a roller coaster ride filled with terrifying dips, twisty corners, and an end that left me hanging on for more. Needless to say, I didn't want to get off.
For me, this trilogy has been a study of humanity: what persuades us to survive and how we view human nature. Insurgent is dystopia at its best. At the heart of this story is conflict and turmoil; more specifically, Tris's personal conflicts. As Tris tries to make sense of her decisions and choices from that last scene in Divergent, her sanity and worth are put into question.
In this war among factions is a sixteen-year-old girl who has shot one of her friends dead, watched both parents sacrifice their life for her, and is now expected to survive in world that is crumbling. And she deals with that grief in ways that made me want to scream and pull my hair out...but at the same time, I got it. Because don't we sometimes try to avoid pain with pain? Don't we sometimes just want it to all END? And sometimes don't we punish ourselves from guilt?
The hardest part for me was to watch Tris make decisions that I suspected would turn out badly. I couldn't believe some of the situations she put herself in as punishment or compensation for what happened.
I watched secrets and mistrust tear people apart. I watched betrayal and lies. But I also saw love and forgiveness heal. It was a journey that Tris HAD to take, and it made for a more realistic and deeper character.
I love love love Roth's writing. I fell right in with Tris's emotions. I was kept on my toes the entire time. I couldn't read fast enough. And the haunting surprise at the end?! Why oh why to have to wait another year!!
One of my favorite series. Ever. I hope it's yours too. Plus, Tobias is hot.
At some point in the future, humans colonize the planet Loka. It is here on the continent of Svarga that different caste systems exist with True Human...moreAt some point in the future, humans colonize the planet Loka. It is here on the continent of Svarga that different caste systems exist with True Humans at the top (gestated in the womb) while "Genetically Engineered Non-humans" exist to serve those above them. These GENS are born into tanks and fused with technology, a skill set (sket) and animal DNA.
As best friends Mishalla and Kayla embark on their separate assignments, new information comes to light to either destroy them or set them free.
Sandler's premise of a Genetically altered population of beings is an interesting one: What makes a human, human? Her story telling is creative and the plot moves along at a good pace.
While I enjoyed her story-telling, I felt like her themes and scientific explanations could have been further developed: (view spoiler)[ 1) If GENs are tankborn, do they have belly-buttons? This may seem like a non-point, but if belly buttons are used to nurture in the womb, would tankborns have any? And if they didn't, wouldn't this unique absence definitively identify them? (So there would have been no question later on if a human was true or GEN.) To me, this would have had a stronger impact on my feeling for them as GENs than would "animal DNA."
2) There are several references to "animal DNA" but it was not clarified or discussed in depth except to say Dolphin DNA helps to nurture, etc...(which I wonder where they got that from anyways). If the "animal DNA" is a marker to their non-human status, then I want to know why truehumans discriminate against it. If the GENs exhibited some animal feature in their physical appearance, it would compel me more to believe on their discrimination. Or was it just the idea of them being more animalistic.
3) The origin of their society seemed too simplified: one group had money to build the ships (so they became trueborns), another group built it (so they become the demis), etc...HOWEVER, what compelled them to build a ship anyways? Was the planet EARTH dying? Was this just an exploration/colonization journey?
4) Along those same lines, why the segregation in skin color? Did all the separate groups come from a specific continent on earth? Did they come from America? Africa? Asia? If they did, what was the reason? Were all the rich people on earth of dark descent? All the poor of lighter descent? Why?
5) In the end, when you discover who Kayla really is, I think that's just an easy-out to what the theme of the story is about. If we're supposed to feel sympathy for GENs (and discover what makes you human), what does it mean that she's technically not really one? All of my feelings are now null because she wasn't really a GEN in the first place? Let me feel and connect with one who REALLY IS. (hide spoiler)]
Of course, there are many topics to discuss in comparing our OWN society's distinction of class and color and stereotypes but to me, it felt like reading a history book than feeling it. Too many themes interwoven that I felt lost and had a hard time focusing on what the author was trying to convey.
Overall, somewhat entertaining; I think some details are missing and provide some holes to what could be more of a fulfilling story. It's a bit predictable. And while there were some gut-wrenching moments, I wanted to feel more for the GENs. The idea is unique and multiculturalism is great to see in a book, but I would have liked it flushed out further.
Personally, The House of the Scorpion By Nancy Farmer was a much more compelling read that also had genetic cloning and multiculturalism.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
After reading the sequel, I have to say that for me, this series is about right there in the middle: It's okay, and there are some entertaining charac...moreAfter reading the sequel, I have to say that for me, this series is about right there in the middle: It's okay, and there are some entertaining characters (Zo and Valerie) and climatic scenes but overall, I wish it could have been better.
The plot was interesting and what happens to Dante as he goes through the door is unexpected. (And it was a nice change to see Abby as the heroine instead of reading about another male saving her and everyone else.)
When Zo returns to the river, he makes changes to Abby's life that we see unfold in the story. I really enjoyed seeing the changes but I wished Mangum had added more details about what Zo did to initiate the change. Mangum was able to capture Zo's devious character in this one and I could really feel that Zo was a psychopath. Valerie's mental instability also really drew me in on this one; Mangum was able to SHOW ME how her mind has been taken over by her experience at the bank in HGD. V also makes an appearance, and his loyalty comes into question: (view spoiler)[ Is he still working for Zo or does he want to help Abby? (hide spoiler)]. We also learn more about V's relationship with Valerie and I have to say, I felt more about their relationship than of Abby and Dante.
The end was a bit predictable (only because you already know that she will (view spoiler)[ have to go through the door and go back in time...Mangum foreshadowed this in the prologue of HGD (hide spoiler)]. And I am interested to find out how Abby will return her timeline back to "normal."
But with Abby, I'm still not sure how I feel about her; I don't feel that invested. Her determination is admirable but sometimes I feel she should be wiser about the things she says and does.
For example (I ried to keep the spoilers vague but enter at your own risk): 1. During a confrontation with Zo, she blames him for causing Jason to break up with her and for preventing any "unseen possibilities" with him. Shouldn't Abby be over Jason already? She's now with the love of her life Dante so why does she keep returning to this subject? Wasn't it a good thing that Jason broke up with her? She wasn't even that happy with him so why the obsession with the break-up? I don't get it.
2. I quickly came to understand how volatile Zo's presence is to the erosion of the bank/river. SEVERAL times during the story, there is the constant reminder that "names" are important and that Zo is listening. So if it became clear to me so quickly, why does Abby completely IGNORE that warning?! And in the end, it's actually (view spoiler)[ Abby that causes Zo to appear at the door just as she is about to enter (hide spoiler)].
3. When present-day events begin to change, I'm not convinced with the way Abby responds to it. When changes first begin to occur, I understand her panic, and she does try to "go with the flow" in making the best of the situation. But it was when (view spoiler)[ Hannah disappears that she lashes out at her mom for not knowing who Hannah is and for "turning 'Hannah's' room into a guest room". (hide spoiler)]. Now, I know Abby's in shock but by now she's had so many experiences with life changing that doesn't she realize she can't be angry or upset with (view spoiler)[ her mom for Hannah's disappearance (hide spoiler)]?
Overall, it's an entertaining read...just as long as you don't think about it TOO much...and just take it for what it is. There are a few areas that still just don't make any sense to me like (view spoiler)[ how printed photographs (and not digital one) can fix someone in time (hide spoiler)] And sadly, I just don't feel that much for Abby and Dante's relationship or even Abby for that matter. And honestly, I'm not that compelled to read the 3rd one even though I am determined to finish the series. I just wish there was something more to their relationship, and I can't seem to point my finger to what is missing...Anyone?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I almost didn't make it to the end. Half-way through, I almost tossed it aside. Half-way through, I had to tell myself to just keep on going and finis...moreI almost didn't make it to the end. Half-way through, I almost tossed it aside. Half-way through, I had to tell myself to just keep on going and finish. To tell you the truth, it lulled me to sleep a couple of times.
It wasn't that the writing was dull, it was just a slow...long...trek to uncover the truth behind Rose's sleep.
Found in a futuristic anti-aging tube in the basement of a wealthy condominium, Rose awakens after more than 60 years asleep. She finds herself suddenly thrust into the public eye as THE HEIR to a powerful interplanetary company. But as she tries to make sense of the present, there are still some unexplained memories in her past she must confront.
Rose is one of those characters that you have to look beyond the surface to see the complexities beneath. Initially, I found her to be quite plain and spineless. Sorry for the pun, but really, she's a fish out of water. Here she is 60 years later, a complete stranger in a new world, and not a single complaint or peep is heard. I wasn't sure where this story was going...because, like I said, I was just trudging along...
But by the end, everything made sense, and it took that long, slow climb to finally reveal WHO Rose truly is, was, and will become.
It's a story of a broken soul who eventually finds herself. Unlike the fairy tale (Sleeping Beauty) and refreshingly so, (view spoiler)[ the story does not have the typical "HAPPILY EVER AFTER ENDING," and the PRINCE doesn't sweep her away to happiness (hide spoiler)] But it does however give a deep and thought provoking look into the life of a scared little girl (view spoiler)[ abused by her parents (hide spoiler)] who has the will to LIVE ON.
My only challenges to the story are: 1. I wanted a more "futuristic" quality to it: more unique technology and less forced slang. 2. Some scenes seemed unrealistic: (view spoiler)[ when she gets her fingers burned at the end, she's still able to draw? (hide spoiler)] 3. And while the ending provided resolution, it was still (view spoiler)[ sad. But that's not really a criticism and more of me just wanting a "happy ending." (hide spoiler)]:) 4. The addition of the (view spoiler)[ missing brother and sister (hide spoiler)] seemed a out of place and unnecessary.
But overall, after I closed the book, its story still haunted me into the next day...and that's always a good thing. Hope you enjoy it too!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Review: Sadly, I have no happy words on how to "start" this...
I went into Starters thinking it would be like a YA version of Grisham's The Firm but with a sci-fi twist to it. Maybe that was my first problem...
****Spoilers were included to make sense of the review.*********
The World: For a story that's supposed to take place in the future, it felt very bland and unimaginative. Most of the futuristic technology was similar to what we have today except for its name: text = zing, taser = zip taser, helicopter = heli, answering service = voiceZing, a large cookie = supertruffle, starters = young citizens, enders = old citizens. So why not just set the story in current time instead of trying to fake another world?
The Vaccine: Callie's parents are dead when "Spores" are sent to Los Angeles from an attacking nation. What the situation was, I'm not told except that it set the stage for those not vaccinated to die. Now I'm assuming these spores are some kind of biological warfare agent, maybe a virus or bacteria...But according to Price's FAQs, these spores are NOT viruses. So. Then...uh... what are they? If they are not viruses, then what kind of vaccine were the scientists creating? Price compares this vaccine to a flu vaccine that's given to the young, old, and infirm. But here's the thing I don't get: if the government knew that our immunity system could not defeat these "spores" (like a typical flu) then why would it even matter who they gave it to? Anyone non-vaccinated dies from exposure to the spore; it doesn't matter who they are. So looking at it in a purely LOGICAL sense, wouldn't you want to keep the middle-aged and younger generation alive to populate humanity and contribute to society? Why keep the OLDER generation-even if "modern medicine" could help them live to be two-hundred? AND if "modern medicine" could keep the old alive and well-functioning, then why would they need to rent a "younger body?"
Callie's Parents: Of course, Callie's parents didn't get the vaccine (since they are in the middle age group: 20-60). Also her dad did not want to use his "position" to acquire it. This made no sense to me at all: you're telling me that her dad would rather put his ethics before the welfare of his children? He KNOWS that if he and his wife are gone, Callie and her brother would be left on the streets (according to the rules of the government). Sorry, but I don't buy it: first, a parent would do anything to live and protect his/her children. second, you're telling me that the government did away with estate planning as well?
A poor choice of character: Callie She could've been such a great character. In the beginning, she's in a difficult situation and makes the choice to become a DONOR (a rented body for the Elders to use) to earn money to take care of her brother. But after she went to the Body Bank, I think her brain got switched because she acts so confusing. Through a malfunction to her brain chip she discovers (view spoiler)[that her renter wants to assassinate the Senator to prevent him from making a deal with Prime Destinations that will allow renters to permanently occupy donors. (hide spoiler)]
First, she doesn't want to be involved in killing anyone but then later on, she has a change of heart, and decides she can kill. What!!!??? And then there's the romance insta-love with the Senator's grandson Blake who she keeps thinking about. Which is somewhat understandable since she misses this fancy lifestyle but then later on she finds out he was actually a rented body occupied by the evil mastermind (Old Man) of Prime Destinations. And what do you think she thinks about that?
"I wasn't going to let the Old Man win. I wasn't going to let him strip away my sweet memories of the time with the boy I had thought was Blake.(But those memories weren't even about Blake, it was about the Old Man!!!!)
His touch transported me back to the times we'd spent together in his car. I'd missed all this so much.
It wasn't the Blake I knew. But it looked like him; it felt like him."(But again, it's NOT! Are you infatuated with his looks because obviously it WASN'T him in this body! Arghhhhh!!!!)
Then when she gets caught and sent to a prison/institution, she tries to prevent a girl from going to Prime Destinations WITHOUT telling her it's because they will do awful things.
"You're going to go with him [them], aren't you? I can't talk you out of it?(Of course you can't talk her out of it because you haven't said ANYTHING! Why would anyone believe you if you don't tell them the reason!!!!)
Oh, and then that poor girl DIES so Callie can escape. Now why would any girl that you've only known for a few days DIE for you?
Sci-Fi/Dystopia Fluff: What could have been an interesting premise (old people renting bodies from the young) was so poorly executed with weak details, unimaginative descriptions of sci/fi elements, and a senseless dystopic world. All this fluff didn't impact the plot of the story. It could have easily evolved the same way if Callie was orphaned by some other means, living on the streets without a war. It didn't add anything to the story. It was a confusing and left me irritated and frustrated.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm almost tempted to take my Enclave review from over a year ago, change a few points and call it done. I'm overdue in library fines...and it's basically identical to how I feel about Outpost (just add the romance part.)
What this means is that what I thought about Aguirre's writing in Enclave is pretty much the same here...and I'm not yet sure if that's a good thing or not.
On the one hand, I very much enjoyed the background and thought process that went into the world of Outpost. Deuce has found herself in Salvation (a town based on fundamentalist/religious doctrine) and must figure out her role in it. The world building in Outpost is one of Aguirre's strengths in this series. She really tries to have you imagine what the world might look like if it went apocalyptic: there was the gang and underground life of Gotham, evidenced in Enclave and now in Outpost, another scene of life in a separate and guarded town much further away. Could this happen in reality? I think so. So in that regard, what Deuce tries to make sense of is real: how she was raised in her former life and what she is being taught now.
On the other hand, this would have made a much greater impression on me if there was more of a character focus. While the plot flowed smoothly (albeit slooowwwlly...), I didn't feel as connected to Deuce as I would have liked. And it really bothered me that I didn't; she's a strong fighter, loyal, and has a no-nonsense kind of attitude so why didn't I...like her? And then it hit me...she's a little too perfect. I'm not saying that she didn't make some really big mistakes in the story because she did, it's just that...as a character, she feels too flat, too good, too one-dimensional, too heroic. Sometimes I felt like Deuce's thought process was too mature:
"Whether there was any truth to it or not, I accepted that flaw in human nature. Topside or down below, they always needed someone to blame..."
"...it broke my heart into a thousand pieces. But it wasn't time to be angry; I couldn't focus on how his behavior made me feel. I had to recall that self-doubt sliced at him like hidden knives."
I'm not saying it isn't a good idea to go through this type of thought process because it is, but sometimes it felt like I was listening to a therapist talk--not a 16 year old girl. Granted I haven't lived Deuce's life but all this self-regulating-I-know-everything behavior just doesn't fit right.
Because the focus of the story presents society in an emerging new world, I understand why Aguirre's writing is so plot-driven. I do think there could have been more "show-not-tell" scenes that might have picked up the pacing of the story. Outpost seemed to go on and on without much happening (at least to me) until close to the end. (Then my heart started pounding. Finally!) I guess for an apocalyptic world, I tend to expect more edge-of-my-seat reading.
However, I do find the concept of the story fascinating and can make for some enlightening discussion material. And it's really because of that, that I give this 3.5/4 stars. I do think Aguirre has very nice descriptive writing. But what I am most happy about was the romance between Deuce and Fade! Sheesh, I'm such a sucker for romance. I do look forward to Horde(Book #3) but I might not be as fanatical about it as some other reads.(less)
Meyer definitely changes things up with this sci-fi spin of the traditional Cinderella story. While there were elements of the original story (the "ev...moreMeyer definitely changes things up with this sci-fi spin of the traditional Cinderella story. While there were elements of the original story (the "evil" stepmother, the mean stepsister, servitude, a royal ball, a prince), thankfully, there were also some new ideas: a loving stepsister, a plague, a Cyborg foot instead of a glass slipper ;). So really, Meyer deserves a round of applause for making Cinder less than traditional.
Unfortunately, while the concept was intriguing, the execution needed a little help:
Cinder: As a cyborg, Cinder is part human/part machine and according to society, is seemingly less than "human." But while there were scenes and details that depicted discrimination towards Cyborgs (mostly only to her), I just plain couldn't relate. For me, I never felt like Cinder was less human...which stems greatly from the fact that in our present society, we don't look at humans who have mechanical parts (metal arms/legs, plastic heart valves, electronic pace makers) as less than human; in fact, we graciously praise those scientist for making it possible for these humans to live. Now, if Cinder's society is an extension of the human condition, then--based on what we know today--why would I consider Cyborgs inhuman? What made her society view them as such?
Since Cinder's character as a cyborg was such a key part to the story, this depiction of her made it extremely hard for me to understand WHY certain characters treated her as such. For me, Meyer, needed to expand on what I already feel today and change it so I can relate to her character's behavior.
New Beijing: Again, Kudos to Meyer for adding a little multiculturalism. However, the setting of New Beijing needs something more than a booth of buns and Asian-type references and names. What makes Beijing, NEW Beijing? And why Beijing? (In my mind, I kept envisioning Hong Kong--with it's bright lights of skyscrapers and electronics.) So, again Why Beijing? Who are the people living there? Why is there an emperor? Describe to me the smells, the food...give me a little background so I know where I am!
Lunar: As the story progresses, we are introduced to a competing society to earth: the people of Lunar who (you guessed it) live on. the. moon. While the introduction of another colony is intriguing, there wasn't much background to their existence except that they were an advanced human race that lives on the moon and can manipulate bio-electric energy to make you do what they want. And maybe I'm being a little picky here but...how do they live on the moon? Do they live in space stations? Is there gravity/air? The reason I ask is because in a later scene when pictures are taken of them, they appear to be STANDING STILL (not floating) on the moon without any helmets. ???!!!??? Also, why is Lunar and Earth at war with each other??!
I think the main interest of this story is it's adaptation to the traditional tale. Otherwise, the story line is predictable within the first few chapters, the introduction of lies that induce conflict is getting tiresome to see in story after story, and the lack of empathy for the mc makes this book lacking.
Again, I do applaud Meyer's sci-fi adaption and the bionic parts that make up Cinder, and the writing is decent (considering that it's in 3rd person--which I don't favor) so overall, I would give this 3.5 STARS. Interesting and somewhat enjoyable to read (if you can ignore the predictability)...I think I will read the next installment to see if there's improvement to the character/plot but it was still somewhat of a disappointment to me.(less)
To be perfectly honest, it is a different book from Revis but the initial chapters did remind me a...moreWhy do I feel like I'm reading Across the Universe?
To be perfectly honest, it is a different book from Revis but the initial chapters did remind me a lot of Across the Universe: there's a ship in the middle of space with problems and racing to colonize a new earth.
Other than that, the story takes a much different turn. Waverly and the entire ship of girls are kidnapped by their sister ship in order to populate their race. With the adults mostly dead and unconscious on the original attacked ship, the entire group of boys left behind must decide how to rescue the girls and survive among themselves. Meanwhile Waverly must decide what it will take to escape.
In a story like this one where the perspectives switch from the two main characters: Waverly and Kieran, a 1st person POV would have added more depth to the story and helped me internalize the character's emotions and behavior. With 3rd person, I felt so disconnected from the characters...but I also wonder if it's because the characters just had too many negative traits that I never knew which character I was routing for; I actually liked some of the minor characters more as they didn't seem to have so many internal conflicts.
Initially, I thought Waverly was a pretty strong character but in the very last chapter, I have no idea what to think of her. Also, the numerous lies and secrets were just too much for me to handle. By the end, I felt like they all needed to attend group therapy.
The plot was interesting (kidnapped girls, engine failure, mutiny) but again it was really my lack of connecting with any one character that makes this story lacking.
Also, the plot takes a real odd twist toward the end with the introduction of (view spoiler)[ God's voice/words to Kieran (hide spoiler)]. The problem to me was not that (view spoiler)[ God is speaking to him, although I do wonder if it is indeed God or Kieran's imagination (hide spoiler)], it is the fact that it comes OUT OF NOWHERE; I never felt like Kieran was a spiritual person and then all of a sudden this happens. It would seem more plausible if Kieran showed signs of spirituality prior to that.
And lastly, I have absolutely no idea what the title means or refers to.
2.5 STARS for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Are all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may have...moreAre all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may have been more impressed by a story of (view spoiler)[harvesting organs from human clones (hide spoiler)]. Granted this one was about 1 individual being cloned multiple times...but, wait...wasn't that like The House of the Scorpion?
But--as the character Abby would so often point out: there are pros and cons to everything so here's my list for Replication:
Pros: 1) I felt like I really knew Martyr; As a clone, we learn of his perceptions and views while living on the farm and then see his lack of knowledge of the "real world" when he escapes. What he thinks about colors, sky, clothing. What he calls a "dog" or a "house." It makes me think about when and what we learn about the world. 2) Abby's train of thought and sarcasm were funny. 3) Williamson did a good job of balancing the themes of Christianity in a Sci-fi novel. I didn't feel like she trying to preach to me. It just felt like a story about a girl who just happens to believe in God. There are definite Christian principles in the novel such as prayer, creation, and the Bible which may be a little overwhelming if you are not interested in those topics. 4)A discussion guide was included! Yay!
Cons: 1) I had hoped for a more interesting concept/plot line and the story was fairly predictable--which is probably why I wasn't on the edge of my seat and began to get a little bored closer to the end. (But if you haven't read many human cloning stories, you may enjoy this one.) 2) Some answers weren't good enough for me. Why do clones need to be educated if the doctors are just going to take out their body parts? Just to keep them civilized? What if you just kept them in a vegetative state?
Even with 2 strikes against it, I think it's well worth the read and would make for an enlightening book club discussion.
Check out this review and more on my blog at: Zombie Mommies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simpl...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplistic and the reader falls asleep; too complex and the reader is left in the dust wondering what just happened. Unfortunately, The Obsidian Blade falls into the latter category.
I should have known from the first chapter that I was heading into a bad mix of Star Trek vs The Twilight Zone. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both. I'm just not sure they work well together...well, at least in this setting.
At the start, we are given a brief historical account of the Klaatu Disks (or time portals) invented by one discorporeal being in the postdigital age but made by Boggsian corporeals. Is your head spinning yet? It took me a few minutes to come to grips but I had to put that aside because then comes Tucker and his Reverend dad who finds themselves drawn to these time portals. And well...the adventure confusion begins.
From there, we discover that the Reverend has lost his faith and his wife is slowly heading into mental instability as a result of playing Sudoku. (Beware all you Sudoku fans!) The Reverend wants to cure his wife and disappears into the disks. But Tucker suspects this and eventually follows them.
In his journey, he meets such bizarre beings as futuristic autistic medical attendants (medicants) who use you in their product assembly line, futuristic priests who sacrifice pure girls to the disks, the last day of earth with a single mysterious woman who has secrets, a retelling of the crucifix of Jesus (who instead of dying and returning to earth, actually got delivered to the medicants: repaired and returned in 3 days), discovers that the Reverend got "cured" of his belief in God, references to the Digital plague, maggot disk eaters, and then being reintroduced to the Reverend as now Father September who will somehow return every one to a state of grace (from technology).
Wait a minute, I was under the impression I was going to read a time travel novel. Instead, the time traveling aspect is just a set up for introducing new bizarre circumstances. From what I can gather, the point of the story is about how we eventually become corrupt from technology...but why all the religious references? Is there a subtext I'm not understanding here. It's just all too complex and unrealistic; is there such a thing as unrealistic science fiction?
Sadly, I felt like I was reading a foreign language. I didn't feel anything for the characters and the story was just bizarre. Then a few days ago I was watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and ironically discovered that the main character is named Klaatu... coincidence? Why name the disks after one of the most popular sci-fi characters? I'm not sure, but I'm already too confused to think about it any further.
Sadly, a recommendation I can't make to anyone. If anyone has suggestions on a true time traveling novel, please let me know.(less)
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way thr...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way through and I already had a lingering suspicion of who the culprit might be. There were also a few unrealistic moments. For instance, when the target is finally revealed, I kept wondering why they didn't just google "Ortolan & video game," a hundred pages ago instead of just "Ortolan." Which by the way is evidenced when Nick says, "We should have done more research...Then we would have found him a lot earlier." Yes, my thoughts exactly. I also didn't feel that much for any of the characters: an eyeroll every once in a while and an exasperated sigh. The pacing was also somewhat slow for a thriller and quite honestly, I felt like it was consuming up too many hours of my time. And when a book makes you wonder if "it is ever going to end?"...well, that's not a good sign.
HOWEVER, I really did like the writing style. And while I wasn't impressed by the plot, I was impressed by the way the characters became totally consumed by the game. I'm not a gamer myself so I can't fully understand the draw...but I've always wondered what keeps them hooked. As the story switches back and forth from the gaming world and the real one, I began to get a better feel for what keeps them going. There's the secrecy of the game and its rewards. Once Nick gets his hands on Erebos, he becomes completely consumed by it: just one more level...just one more reward... My favorite parts were when Nick must accomplish a task in "real life" in order to obtain a reward in the game: Nick acts nearly psychotic and desperate.
AND I did appreciate the fact that the story is more multicultural than most high school settings. Erebos takes place in London, and I expected a completely homogeneous group of people, so I was pleasantly surprised to read references to descriptions and names from different races. It made London feel so real!
But towards the end, I just wanted the story to be over. The romance with Nick and Emily was too forced...like the author just had to make it work. The pacing was too slow for me, and I expected more plot twists, more suspense. Also, I'm a bit surprised that Nick's parents never mention a word to him about Erebos. It is an interesting read but not as entertaining as I would have liked. I would have to recommend this as a "Maybe" read.(less)
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outsi...moreAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outside the entire world is broken. The "weeping sickness" is only kept at bay through porcelain masks (I can't help but imagine "Darth Vader" type coverings), worn only by the wealthy and prestigious. Araby's father is the inventor of these masks and as Araby's world begins to crumble by those that seek power, she must decide who or what she's capable of fighting for.
Based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same title, Griffin took an idea and grew it into a fascinating and complex story. This is one of the very few, if only, steampunk stories I've ever really held onto. Carriages that run on steam; new inventions with a feel of the 19th century. The world is spot on for gothic dystopia: dark, dreary, foggy...so Edgar Allen-painted with so much imagery and feeling that I could clearly picture the devastation and turmoil.
Also, try saying debauchery without getting the chills.
But what really struck me were the characters. Talk about complex. To explain, let me refer to a post I came across by Laurie Halse Anderson in which she discusses characters who have dimension and depth. Masque of the Red Death is a perfect example of those characters. Araby, Will, and Elliott all behave both admirably and despicably. Which if done poorly can make a reader go crazy but here Griffin balances their character traits so that you realize no one is absolutely good or absolutely evil. Mind you, there were some parts that made me go "huh?" but for the most part, it kept me on my toes. At times I couldn't help but wonder if given the choice, what I would decide.
My only discontent or puzzlement I have with the story is that the "Red Death" is not introduced into the plot until much later. I was a bit confused because I thought the masks were to prevent the "Red Death." I'm not so much bothered that it stopped me from enjoying the story but I think it would be an interesting idea to discuss.
If you are in the mood for a dark and captivating story, check this one out. I definitely think it's one to put on your to-reads shelf.(less)
Oh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was th...moreOh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was this Q & A post that compelled me to check out his book in the first place. (He also makes some pretty insightful comments on author-reviewer relationships.)
So you see...I was so ready to love this.
It really pains me to say I don't. Right off the bat, I knew I was heading into rocky territory. The first few scenes didn't fit very well with what I expected of an amnesiac: a girl finds herself without any memory and she calmly tells a mall cop "Hello. I lost my memory. I was wondering if you could help." If I was in her shoes, I think I would probably appear frantic, confused, and more anxious about what was happening to me. Haven't you ever walked somewhere, like to the pantry to get something but then when you get there, you've forgotten why you were there in the first place? Well, sadly that happens to me ALOT. And I always feel out of sorts afterwards trying to remember. So it made me think: what if you lost ALL your memories? Wouldn't you feel a little more...unrestrained? Wouldn't you be scared? And in Miranda's case, wouldn't you expect her to manifest those fear waves immediately?
Then later on, I felt that some parts of the story seemed off: when Miranda meets Peter, it feels weird that there is so much drama and mystery of how he knows her. Why was he acting as if it was some kind of game to him? And if you just met a stranger, would you eat his mango chicken? uh. gross. And for someone who is supposedly a top notch weapon, why does Miranda make so many mistakes--like forgetting to grab the gun when she fights Grace? I also completely missed the point of Miranda feeling like kissing these 2 boys all the time; she kisses one and then she immediately wants to kiss the other. If I had a better sense of her, I think I would have understood her motivations better. But the part that bothered me the most was that the Roses were created to cause destruction--just because. Very little light is shed on the creator's motivation for making them--aside from them being "mad scientists." I think that's an easy explanation but not a compelling one; I wished there was more background to the story to make it believable.
I do think the concept for the story is interesting: teenagers used as weapons, with amnesia as a side effect, and I admire Krokos's challenge for writing a female perspective. It seems like it's received good reviews so you might like it. But for me, I found the story to be choppy and flat in places. I would have appreciated more character development in such a plot-driven story. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the characters and plot by by the last 1/3 of the book, skimming and skipping to the end. (less)