OK, now the series is really starting to take off. The seeds of dissent are planted in Fujimoto as he decides to aid in a young liar's trick on his si...moreOK, now the series is really starting to take off. The seeds of dissent are planted in Fujimoto as he decides to aid in a young liar's trick on his sister -
(view spoiler)[ the sister is blind and her brother wants to donate his corneas after he gets the ikigami, but his sister is tired of his lying and refuses the operation, so they work together to trick her into the operation. Fujimoto is punished for this, but firmly believes he has done the right thing. (hide spoiler)] This is really the first volume that makes me see the series as having a large arc involving Fujimoto and the Government Welfare program.
Interesting that reading the other opinions on this, people think this book is a little weaker than the other two. It was my favorite of the first three and I can't wait to read the next seven. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The second Ikigami book is much better than the first. In the world where Japan has decided to kill 1 out of ever 1000 young adults in order to make p...moreThe second Ikigami book is much better than the first. In the world where Japan has decided to kill 1 out of ever 1000 young adults in order to make people appreciate life and be more productive citizens, a young man has a job to serve death papers (ikigami) to the people slated to die.
Again we have two plot lines of people who are about to die. One is about a young man who has to choose between his girlfriend who just received an ikigami, and a great chance to move up in his job. The second is about a clumsy young man in a nursing home who manages to connect to one of the elderly patients.
We're also getting a closer look at Fujimoto, the young man who delivers the ikigami, and his life.
One thing that's really interesting about this series is we know right away that someone is going to die- there's no question of whether it will happen, or hope that they will beat death somehow. You don't see a lot of stories like this, where the anticipation is whether they will achieve what they need to in the time that they have left. Whether their dying goals are a good thing or not...(less)
The concept is a little flimsy- to make life worth living, 1 out of every 1000 kids have a capsule injected in them in grade school (during vaccinatio...moreThe concept is a little flimsy- to make life worth living, 1 out of every 1000 kids have a capsule injected in them in grade school (during vaccinations, so everyone gets an injection) that will end their life between 18 and 21. 24 hours before they die, they are served an ikigami- death papers - telling them to get their affairs in order. While flimsy (I don't know how this makes everyone happy - it seems like every person 18-24 would develop anxiety disorders) it's still done well enough to be engrossing.
The stories in this book focus mainly on the people who get the ikigami, but all of the stories include a young government worker who has the unenviable job of serving the ikigami, and how this unpleasant job affects his life.
Trigger warning- There is an uncomfortable scene with a young man who was bullied horrifically in the past, including stripped naked and had pictures taken of him, and after he receives his ikigami he goes on a revenge rampage, including raping one of his female tormentors. While that scene was upsetting I still enjoyed the concept of the book enough to move on to the next books.(less)
Was taking to my kid about time travel stories and i kept referring to this one, but realized all I remembered was the mansion where all the versions...moreWas taking to my kid about time travel stories and i kept referring to this one, but realized all I remembered was the mansion where all the versions of Dan went to party. So I picked it up and reread it in a day. It was as good as I remembered. The protagonist, Dan, is a little narcissistic, with a middle class-inspired boredom, but that makes this adventure perfect for him. His uncle leaves him a time traveling belt in his will and dan spends his life wandering the world and all of time. But when he travels through time, he makes another version of himself, and this happens again and again. He becomes his own best friend and travel companion. I'd say more about the one really brilliant thing, but I don't want to spoil. I dinged it a star because the book feels like its half story and half meditating on time travel, or what it means to be the younger version of himself, and then the older version having the same adventure, how he deals with paradoxes, homosexuality and heterosexuality, and more. these ruminations felt a little self indulgent. I'm not saying these are not important things to touch on-they are fascinating-but I began to glaze over as the protag just kept going and going with his thoughts. Still, best time travel book ever. (less)
I honestly don't think you can review this without reading all four books, as Wolfe holds certain facts back (I've been spoiled on some things) that a...moreI honestly don't think you can review this without reading all four books, as Wolfe holds certain facts back (I've been spoiled on some things) that are revealed later. Especially since the book doesn't so much end as stop.
People criticize Neal Stephenson as ending books abruptly, no, THIS book ends abruptly, in the middle of a physical altercation.
I'm finding reading the book on an academic level- ie, trying to see what I can learn from it and trying to figure out Wolfe's puzzles- is easier than trying to enjoy it. I miss a lot of the allegory, and Severian drives me crazy. But I continue with the Claw, next, while mournfully looking at the half-finished GRRM book on my nightstand...
Three stars for story, five for the deep, literary puzzle, so a total of four stars. (less)
I read this book for a specific purpose for school, and I got what I needed to out of it. I was reading for the religious and dystopian aspects. I was...moreI read this book for a specific purpose for school, and I got what I needed to out of it. I was reading for the religious and dystopian aspects. I was horrified with how ... real it all seemed. No big bad nuclear war/earthquake/alien invasion caused the downfall of society, just little bits of chaos chipping away here and there. It seemed very possible.
I didn't quite buy how utterly untrusting everyone was being in the latter half of the book (no spoilers) and how people saw the creation of a group, or a community, as entirely alien. It seems to be human nature to try to group together for safety. Sure, those communities may fight, but it seemed the people who banded together during The Stand made more sense than the "every woman for herself" kind of mentality here.
This reminds me of the recent revelation of the classic "fight or flight" instinct. People realized they had only studied males to get this instinctual reaction. When they studied females, it seemed the instinct was to gather together in a small, tight group. This book, although from the POV of a woman (girl), feels very masculine in that aspect.
It was powerful and amazingly written - Butler truly left us too early! - but I won't be reading the sequel. I've read about it and it seems it's much more brutal than this one, and this one wasn't easy. (less)
I am a couple hours into the audiobook, and annoyed that Ish is kind of a dick. I understand the book will reflect the thinking of the time, but that...moreI am a couple hours into the audiobook, and annoyed that Ish is kind of a dick. I understand the book will reflect the thinking of the time, but that doesn't make me enjoy the sexist writing any more (this is why I have trouble with classic SF). beyond that, Ish doesn't seem to really mourn the world, he keeps a detached and scholarly view of everything. he abandons a drunk because he doesn't want a companion of that ilk, then feels little remorse when he finds the man dead of alcohol poisoning. I hope this is a story of his discovery of his own humanity...(less)
I'm about halfway through, but I don't know if I'm going to finish. the protagonist is supremely whiny and prefers to fret inside her own head instead...moreI'm about halfway through, but I don't know if I'm going to finish. the protagonist is supremely whiny and prefers to fret inside her own head instead of actually talking about things with people. I'd prefer much less narrative and more dialog. I like the worldbuilding but Mary is really annoying.
ok. I finished it. Mary remains annoying. everyone else in the book remains annoying. weeks and months pass without anyone saying the important things. everyone does unspeakably mean things for unknown reasons. her brother kicks her to the sisterhood. Henry leaves her to rot in the sisterhood for months. Travis ignores her while apprently madly in love with her. the entire society is built on having as many babies as possible, and yet a girl can't enter a betrothal more than once- if you can't get a husband, you gotta be a nun. the sexist society was infuriating and seemingly without cause (ie why did modern society move so far backward?)
we are *told* that Henry and Travis love Mary, and that she loves Travis, but we are never shown why. this makes all of the angst and longing ring untrue.
a friend coined the term "schadenfreading" being the book you can't stand but have to finish anyway. I finished this one, but I can't say I liked it.(less)
I enjoyed this, but not QUITE as much as Leviathan. I think I truly love being on Leviathan and the description of the beastie, while moving into Ista...moreI enjoyed this, but not QUITE as much as Leviathan. I think I truly love being on Leviathan and the description of the beastie, while moving into Istanbul broke my interest. However I did love the additions of Eddie Malone, and Bovril was so damn clever. "Mr. Sharp."
Still looking forward to book 3, definitely. (less)