"I will gladly do anything you ask as long as it does not harm humans, animals, or property. I will avoid putting myself in danger unless it is to pr
"I will gladly do anything you ask as long as it does not harm humans, animals, or property. I will avoid putting myself in danger unless it is to protect you or by your command. The Tanaka logo on my wrist is the only physical indication that I am an android and I am required by law to keep it exposed at all times. I am not allowed to handle legal tender or helm a vehicle, so please keep that in mind if you send me out on errands. I am in your hands, now. Please take good care of me."
Meet Ada the android
An emotionally depressed 27-year-old Alex in a future I, Robot society with Batteries Not Included robot elves receives his grandmother's birthday present - a Tanaka X5, the first human-looking andorid. (Anyone else get confused with Jessica Alba's X5 genetically enhanced generation in Dark Angel?). Alex has no intention of keeping his grandmother's hugely expensive gesture, finding her sexual partnership with an X5 a little creepy.
Otto looks remarkably like the Fix-its in Batteries Not Included (1987)
For safety, no android is autonomous. Don't bother asking one for an opinion, they have no preferences. Their default is whatever their owner wishes. At least that's what the public's been told, though recent events in the news seem to contradict this. Alex tries to return his X5 but found his conscience couldn't allow it. Her childlike intellect (they learn through experience) leaves her vulnerable. One friend phrased it as ' . . . like getting a girlfriend and a baby at the same time.' No one would treat a baby as property. Instead Alex saw her potential. Loneliness probably also had a hand in his decision to keep the newly named Ada. After all, what's better than having a friend you know won't betray or leave you.
In order to help Ada, Alex searches for the truth behind the headlines using Prime Wave-X, which is a way to telepathically connect to a virtual reality internet via a brain implant. Can androids be more than what they are? Can they be freed from the shackles of slavery? Ada's eventually unlocked like a mobile phone - a painful and illegal process androids aren't guaranteed to survive, and should the authorities find out, everyone involved would either be decommissioned or imprisoned.
Alex's depression and awkwardness in response to this new responsibility were realistic, although he does come across as monotone and unemotional with his lack of conviction or eagerness about anything in particular, which made it harder to care about him. Strange, because I immediately liked Ada, the one without human feeling.
However, the fantastic detailed worldbuilding and illustrations more than made up for it, in my opinion. The technology involved in Alex's morning routine, the news broadcasts reporting on controversial android stories and the virtual reality internet forums have all inspired me to read the next volume. That being said, I've seen I, Robot at least a dozen times and Alex + Ada is very similar in its philosophy. They share themes of slavery, freedom and what it means to be human.
P.S. Watching TV while in the driving seat has already been done. At least Luna's way looks safer and less illegal....more
Robot Girl is an Afrofuturistic version of Bernard Beckett's Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my aRobot Girl is an Afrofuturistic version of Bernard Beckett's Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my all-time favourite books. It inverts expectations and examines what it means to be human and the value of emotions.
The cover is what drew me in. It's rare to see black characters in sci-fi novels. Knowing it was written by Malorie Blackman was the cherry on top.
*Robot Girl is a dyslexia friendly book first published in Sensational Cyber Stories (1997)....more
Wolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality andWolf seduced me. I freely admit it. I love shifter romances, and although he's not strictly a shifter, Wolf does possess wolf DNA. His personality and romance held all the yumminess required to have me falling head over heels. I didn't care that he and Scarlet technically spent mere hours in each other's company, and this is brought up many times, but they are quality hours. Wolf's behaviour spoke volumes.
My preference for Thorne over Kai is going to bite me in the arse. I'm definitely setting myself up for a fall there. Yeah, Thorne's firmly entrenched as Cinder's sidekick stuck in the friend zone, and he was slow to pick up on clues, but he's a relaxed guy (aren't all good thieves?) taking everything in his stride until the shit hits the fan. He's incredibly loyal, lively, funny and non-judgmental. Cinder's cyborgness didn't faze him, he was curious more than anything - contrasting with the general public's hatred, Cinder's stepmother leading by example.
Kai pales in comparison to Thorne, and he no longer interests me after his initial disgust upon finding out very publicly Cinder's lunar and cyborg status, and despite knowing he had no time to process the shock and ask himself whether it mattered when he took his feelings into account, his immediate reaction was off-putting. The “I don’t see that her being cyborg is relevant” comment came a bit late for me. I can't help but feel Cinder deserves better.
The humans and the lunars are the monsters here. Cyborgs, robots (I love Iko!) and the 'wolves' are the victims and act (or have the potential to act) with more humanity, dignity and grace than their creators.
Levana's left herself deeply vulnerable by genetically engineering Lunars, turning them into 'wolves'. Dispatching Wolf's unit leaves them free for Cinder to use - a dangerous thing to do. You want to deprive your enemy of resources instead of handing them over on a silver platter.
Meyer might be biting off more than she can chew by using multiple POVs because it's going to require exceptional skill to handle and choreograph the 5+ POVs in the following books (Scarlet, Cinder, Wolf, Kai, Levana in addition to new characters). However, Meyer's managed to reel me in after an almost mediocre reaction to the debut with new intense relationships sparking with chemistry, camaraderie and humorous dialogue, not forgetting the torturous emotional turmoil and distinct characters bursting with personality. Scarlet could've easily been reduced to a crappy filler book without these things because on the face of it, plot-wise, not much progression has been made, though I don't feel I've wasted my time - that's a job well done.
The Immortal Rules reinvents the tired vampire genre by adding a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world with zombie-like rabids waiting in the shadows to tThe Immortal Rules reinvents the tired vampire genre by adding a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world with zombie-like rabids waiting in the shadows to tear you to pieces. Kagawa has also brought back the vampires of old as soulless killers who've allowed themselves to lose all semblance of humanity, are allergic to sunlight and can only drink blood. True monsters. None of that sparkly, namby-pamby stuff. This mashup of popular genres works, primarily because the world and plot are complex and the main character isn't stupid or emotionally dense.
Sixty years ago the Red Lung virus wiped out billions of people, reducing the vampires' food source. One master vamp presented himself to the human scientists to help in any way he could, providing them with other vamps as test subjects in order to find a cure. The unfortunate result was rabids -vampires warped by the virus, overcome by their predatory instincts are now violent zombies with only basic intelligence and whose bite spreads the virus further. In repsonse, master vampires created walled off cities which hold the remaining humans like prisoners, forced to work and donate blood to their undead masters and in return they receive food. Unregistered humans who don't wish to live as blood slaves survive by squatting in empty buildings, stealing food, trading on the black market and defending their territory from other groups. A tough life and one that our main character leads.
Everyday was a struggle against starvation for Allie and her small group of Unregistereds, within which were stark contrasts between self-sufficiency and well, the exact opposite. Despite being physically capable Stick is fearful and weak, disgustingly so. He's a parasite feeding off Allie, literally. She goes hungry to feed him, cares for him, fights his battles. Pity and his assumed loyalty seemed to be the only reason he was allowed to mooch. I despised Stick's lack of backbone. Not once did he make an effort to be brave.
As you can tell, Allie has a bit of a soft spot for those in need but she also possesses common sense, she's a survivor -one who tries not to let men distract her or bring her down. There's a goal and she will attain it. By any means necessary. She's not afraid to kill in self-defense but she is afraid of losing compassion, of letting her predatory instincts take over and thereby stripping her of her humanity, her morals. Allie’s adamant she won't become like the vampires she's always despised who treat humans as cattle. She strives to better herself and others in any way she can and hopes to one day have the strength and skill to somehow change the status quo, to perhaps free humans from the stranglehold of vampires. Kanin's philosophy of moderation, and choice and treatment of his victims made him an ideal sire and mentor for Allie. He was brutally honest and practical, teaching her vampire history and how to become a samurai (she's of Japanese descent) with her newly acquired katana.
Allie's journey after she's forced to flee the city is an intriguing one but also mildly worrying when she meets the sickeningly nice human guy with "love interest" tattooed on his forehead. Zeke is part of a small group of travellers seeking the elusive human-run city, Eden. Is it real? Is their leader nuts? Joining them was obviously a bad idea but she was lonely and these people obviously need help hunting food, fighting off rabids and hiding from some vengeful vampire. Keeping her undead status under wraps and her hunger in check she gets to know everyone, feeling especially protective of the children who instantly trust her. When the cat's out of the bag, I loved the fact that Allie doesn't let her injured pride lead to vengeance or abandonment. Luckily for them, she cares for the group from afar which led to some much enjoyed action, death and destruction. The last few pages were full of awesome. A stoic and visually beautiful ending.
I can’t fault the writing style. There were moments when I swore I was watching a movie instead of reading, times like these:
My coat snapped behind me as I flew over the water, and the raiders’ eyes bulged as I soared from one side of the catwalks to the other.
There were also a couple of eerily appropriate Bible verses:
“’Again, I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-and they have no comforter; and power was on the side of their oppressors-and they have no comforter.’”
I suspect Allie will one day provide that comforter.
And there's the better known: “’though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’” A very literal valley of death.
I can take a guess where things will go from here. (view spoiler)[I expect at some point Kanin and Zeke will meet for the express purpose of sharing knowledge to find a cure to the virus, whether that will be in Eden, I don't know, considering it's a vamp-free zone. I am slightly anxious about the future potential for lovestruck pining but I'm hoping her focus will be on rescuing Kanin before the torture reduces him to a ravening beast. And obviously Allie’s vampire brother will reappear at the most inopportune time. (hide spoiler)] I’m curious enough to find out what happens next to read the sequel.
I frowned, utterly confused. What kind of vampire killed four people, had a cryptic conversation with a street rat, thanked the street rat for talking with him, and then walked off?
'I was dying. I was dying, and this stranger-this vampire- was offering me a way out. Die as a human, or become a bloodsucker.'
‘Will you choose to become a demon with a human face, or will you fight your demon until the end of time, knowing you will forever struggle alone?’
“I’m good to go,” I said, holding my sword. “I don’t have anything except this.” It was kind of sad, really. That I’d lived in a place for seventeen years and had nothing to show for it but a sword and the clothes on my back. And they weren’t even mine.
“And like I said, if the tent falls on you in the middle of the night, don’t panic. You’ll get used to it. No one really worries about keeping things erect around here, and...Wow, that sounded bad.”
‘A large bed sat against the wall beneath a broken window, curtains waving gently in the breeze. On the worm-eaten mattress, two adult skeletons lay side by side, the remains of their clothes rotted away. Between them was a much smaller skeleton, being held in the arms of one of the adults, cradling it to its chest.’
“Allie, you’re a beautiful, exotic-looking vampire girl with a katana. Trust me, if anyone is going to attract attention, it’s not going to be me.”
***My thanks to Harlequin for the ebook via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.***...more
My read for Banned Books Week was certainly apropos. Fahrenheit 451 shows you the results of a book banning society. A scary, ignorant and shallow worMy read for Banned Books Week was certainly apropos. Fahrenheit 451 shows you the results of a book banning society. A scary, ignorant and shallow world where brutality and casual violence are everyday events done in the name of entertainment; a regressive and disabling move in social evolution, handicapping progression by limiting knowledge and encouraging selfishness.
*For some reason the rest of my review won't post properly on Goodreads so you can view it on my blog, at Leafmarks or on Booklikes.
Here are the headings of what I talk about: Premise Predictions come true Bradbury on ebooks Adaptions (Equilibrium) Endings and the downfall of society Why I loved Fahrenheit 451
What I appreciated: Solid writing The political dilemmas A heroine with brains and skills The natural (i.e. unforced) romance It's Firefly/Sereni3.5 stars.
What I appreciated: Solid writing The political dilemmas A heroine with brains and skills The natural (i.e. unforced) romance It's Firefly/Serenity meets I, Robot. I loved both. Great characters (Iko is a very human-like robot with an adorable personality and the stepmother as the villian is someone you can sometimes sympathise with.)
What I didn't like: Did it have to be a retelling of Cinderella? It lends far too much predictability to the story, making certain things too obvious to anyone familiar with the fairy tale. It led me to spot things as early on as 11% in and get frustrated by how slow the heroine gets to the same conclusions I did.
I had to figure out for myself what it meant to be a cyborg through Cinder's experiences but I have no idea if she's "normal" compared to others considering her unique programming and her (view spoiler)[being Lunar (hide spoiler)]. This lack of knowledge also made it difficult for me to understand how human the cyborgs were, despite the law's dim view on the matter.
The cliffhanger. I'm not opposed to it here exactly as it wasn't painful but the ending left me empty and asking "was that it?" And knowing the sequel doesn't just follow Cinder but introduces Scarlet (a.k.a. Little Red Riding Hood), I'm a little wary about how things will progress.
I really wanted this to be a 5-star read and perhaps if Cinder was an all-encompassing stand alone without the Cinderella link (and the associated predictability), it would've been. ...more
Whether you believe climate change is man-made or not is immaterial, the point is it exists inside this book.Dark Life, The Little Mermaid in reverse.
Whether you believe climate change is man-made or not is immaterial, the point is it exists inside this book. Anyway, uniquely set “Under the Sea” in a starkly plausible dystopian future with a plot which delves deeper into this unsettling world. Unfortunately, I could’ve done without the tacked-on romance.
Fish out of water, young Ariel Gemma meets Prince Eric Ty on her mission to find and join her long lost elder brother after they were separated in an orphanage years ago and is rumoured to be working in an underwater settlement. As a Topsider (a land resident) she’s blindly stumbling about unaware of the dangers of travelling alone. Ty becomes her guide as a lifelong subsea resident and as the only teenager in the still growing marine community he’s eager to spend time with someone his own age by showing her around his world.
We learn Earth is in a warm stage; icecaps have melted, sea levels have risen and large swathes of low-lying land are underwater. Space is limited. Privacy is a luxury no one can afford until the advent of Liquigen bringing with it the ability to breathe underwater and withstand the pressure, and the development of underwater settlements which farm much needed food for those left on land.
One problem, the prejudiced attitudes towards those who’ve chosen this new lifestyle. Rumours abound about what living down there does to you. People believe prolonged submergence will lead to the development of abnormal abilities and have labelled people with them Dark Life, though no one has actually owned up to having these powers. On top of this, pirates are plaguing supply vessels to and from land putting underwater residents on edge.
The world-building is amazing. The exotic fish, the fear of sharks, the inventive underwater architecture, bubble fences etc. It’s wonderfully imaginative.
I have one bone to pick with Dark Life and it revolves around the topics of gender and romance.
“Ty collected all of it himself.” ~ page 66
The protagonist is male? This gender reveal isn’t intentional. It plays no part in the plot. I had no idea. I assumed Ty was female and we were in for a rare treat. Two girls join up for a death-defying adventure. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ty was originally female and the author was instructed to change that and make him “Kiss the Girl” in order to make this baby more marketable.
Ty didn’t feel male. His interaction with Gemma didn’t say male-female relationship. Some effort was made later to masculinise Ty but I didn’t fully believe it. Ty’s physical description beyond “I sparkle” (don’t worry there’s a perfectly legitimate reason for it -eating lots of luminescent fish) is also lacking.
These “Poor Unfortunate Souls” should not be forced together. They had little chemistry. I didn't like it. They were friends, we didn't need more.
So, terrific worldbuilding, not the best conspiracy plot but it successfully drew us further into this intriguing future scenario. Thin characters. Beyond her mission there isn’t much to Gemma other than her fascination with and envy of Ty’s life compared to her cramped packed-like-sardines love-deprived existence on land. Ty is more fleshed out as a collector of the artifacts he finds, with hopes and dreams.
If Liquigen is invented...Indian Ocean here I come! Warm waters for me. Not Atlantic or Pacific –positively arctic in comparison. Although I am a bit claustrophobic. Hmm. I'll give this series another shot, hoping the characters are better developed with the excellent world-building out of the way....more
This is my third free shorty by Sylvia Day and I'm coming to believe I am a fan. Although not one of her best I still enjoyed this no humans involvedThis is my third free shorty by Sylvia Day and I'm coming to believe I am a fan. Although not one of her best I still enjoyed this no humans involved erotica with plenty of humour. ...more
Super strong opening chapters with a premise similar to TV’s Dollhouse which although interesting, threw up more questions than answers.
Starters shineSuper strong opening chapters with a premise similar to TV’s Dollhouse which although interesting, threw up more questions than answers.
Starters shines the spotlight on a section of society which is sometimes overlooked or given the least respect but which will in future be the most powerful: the old. One day there will be fewer young people to support the ever-increasing number of elderly citizens, and here we can see how things could change in their favour.
Starters are under 19 years of age, those just starting out in life and Enders are the elderly. The generations inbetween have all died after biological warfare prompted the vaccination of the vulnerable –the old and the young, leaving those in the middle to die prolonged and agonizing deaths.
From the technology available I would guess we’re about 50 years in the future in a post-war America. The reasons for the war aren’t given. All we know is that Pacific Rim countries were involved and that America used an EMP weapon on them and they retaliated with a biologically engineered disease –game, set, match.
The age gap creates a huge gulf between the Starters and Enders. Old legislation addressing the increasing aging population means anyone under 19 cannot work and the large numbers of unclaimed minors whose family have died are unable to legitimately provide for themselves. Orphanages are basically workhouses with inmates treated as prisoners; no one wants to end up there. Squatting and thieving is how most get by, dodging the child-catching Marshals whenever possible. Adoption or fostering seems non-existent. Enders don’t care about Starters unless they’re family. I find this surprising because many Enders would’ve lost children, relatives. Some may be the last members of their families. Hasn’t loneliness spurred any to seek adoption?
The story follows Callie, a Starter, who lost her parents to the war. She has no grandparents and is forced to care for her 7-year-old brother by herself with a little help from Michael, a boy who used to live down the street from her pre-war. They’re currently squatting in an abandoned building practically starving. She can’t bear to watch her sick brother lose any more weight so she visits the not so ethical or legal, Prime Destinations, a place which rents out the bodies of teenagers to Enders who pay large sums of money to feel young again. If she does this she’ll have enough cash to pay for a home and medical care for her brother for the next few years.
For obvious reasons Callie’s reluctant to do this but she has little choice. Unfortunately things don’t go quite to plan, Callie suddenly wakes up in a nightclub instead of the lab and finds out the renter of her body wishes to murder someone. Scared, she pretends she’s her renter to safeguard her payment and attempts to stop her renter from committing this crime which will no doubt lead to her own execution.
Along the way she encounters other renters taking full advantage of their new temporary bodies and think nothing of stealing the lives of the body’s original owners. They take the old adage ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ to heart. These privileged Enders are selfish and greedy. The predatory gleam in the eyes of those at PD were quite creepy, eyeing up the young like they’re cattle for slaughter, salivating at the thought of inhabiting their supple bodies and smooth, wrinkle-free skin. *shudders*
These Enders aren’t your average old people. They live to 200 years old and appear to have no health problems due to advances in medicine, odd because not all Enders are rich and the last time I checked medical care wasn’t free in America so how come none of them appear hampered by age. Sure, some have wrinkles (and others get cosmetic surgery) and watery eyes but no problems running or experiencing a full working life.
Carrie also finds herself spending time with a handsome and rich teen, Blake. Her Prince Charming. Whenever she’s around him the urgency of her predicament, racing-against-time to stop the murder, fades into the background. A day out horse-riding with him and she forgets her responsibilities and starts comparing herself to Cinderella, wondering if the girl from the fairy tale ever considered telling her prince she’s a fraud. I never understood Blake’s appeal considering the over-familiar way he behaves, acting like they’re closer than the strangers they are. And Callie’s ambiguous relationship with Michael –are they more than friends? Even at the end it isn’t clear. Is a love triangle on the horizon?
Reading about how vaccinating the old and young from something so deadly implies this is the wrong course of action generally. Yes, the elderly are an invaluable source of knowledge, wisdom and experience but in a situation where you have limited resources and a serious biological threat, is protecting the weakest to the detriment of the strong really the right decision to make? In this case it left children without parents, manual labour is carried out by those children because the elderly were either too frail or simply felt they were above such work.
The plot is interesting if slightly predictable and the characters are quite thin, I didn't feel particularly attached to any of them. I did have some problems understanding the technology either because we’re given names of something but not what it does or because something we all ready have has been rebranded e.g. Z-mail a.k.a. e-mail, Zing a.k.a. text message –took me a bit to figure that one out. The focus of the book is on the very rich and the very poor Starters but we don't get to see those in the middle, nor do we see any poor Enders. The last page was intriguing but I'm not sure if I'll read the sequel for one reason: the possibility of a love triangle. The rest I believe will be developed and improved upon but I can't abide love triangles.
***Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.***
Firefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to beFirefly with a paranormal twist. Better than Break Out, Deadly Pursuit continues from where BO we left off.
Al, the small teenage boy, turns out to be Alexia High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, the 24 year old woman. Suffocating from boredom and lack of control over her high profile life she escapes, disguises herself as a boy and ends up on the spaceship El Cazador.
Both the Collective (people who've taken the expensive immortality treatment Meridian) and now the Church (believe in immortality of the soul which goes to heaven when they physically die) are chasing the crew for the recapture of Jon the werewolf assassin and the return of the High Priestess.
Despite her deception, the crew immediately defend Alexia. She's one of them and they're not going to hand her over if she doesn't want to go. Jon, on the other hand, is wanted for an unknown reason, pointing to a conspiracy so they're not giving him up after they were hired to risk their lives breaking him out of prison until they get some answers.
Alexia is instantly attracted to Jon. Unfortunately her disguise worked only too well, looking like a scruffy child. Her innocence is compounded by the fact that she's a virgin who's lived a sheltered life, and Jon doesn't do virgins. He's a rough, tough, manly 6ft 4 werewolf to her doll-like 5ft 1. He'd break her. But she knew what she wanted and was determined to experience as much of life as could before she was forced to return to her duty so the predator became the prey. Poor man, he had no chance. At least he has a new pack now i.e. the crew and a buddy in Rico despite him being a vampire.
Similarities to Firefly (Rico is Mal with fangs and a lust for blood) and the introduction of shapeshifters, my favourite supernaturals, meant I quite liked this. However, I'm slightly uncomfortable with how Alexia, seconds after being almost raped and killed on two occasions, jumped her mate-to-be's bones. That struck me as wrong since she was beaten and manhandled. I doubt I'd feel up to it if I was in her shoes.
Tannis is next to be matched up with her crush Callum Meridian, the man who first took the immortality treatment and has been transformed by it. They're hired as his bodyguards in the next book.
***Many thanks to Entangled Publishing for providing the ARC via Netgalley for an honest review.***...more
A post-apocalyptic western with a touch of sci-fi and the paranormal. No speech marks and a writing style that does not include good spelling, punctuaA post-apocalyptic western with a touch of sci-fi and the paranormal. No speech marks and a writing style that does not include good spelling, punctuation or grammar. You might be enticed by the former and horrified by the latter but it’s okay, seriously, don’t be put off by it. I didn’t notice it after the first few pages.
In case, I’m losing you and you’re thinking this isn’t for you, it has: Cage-fighting Giant killer worms Strong female characters (Feminists, you will love them) A male love interest with balls, not just empty sacks.
Saba’s voice and personality are unique. She’s a strong woman with flaws. Real flaws. But she’s also extremely loyal and vulnerable. After horsemen attack her family and kidnap her twin brother Lugh 18-year-old Saba cares about nothing and no one but getting him back. She pushes everyone away. She doesn’t have time to make friends or allies - they’re only means to an end. Finding Lugh is everything. Nothing else matters. Or does it?
I was worried about Jack. At first, I thought he was going to be the typical weak YA hero bringing lovey-dovey romance to the book which would’ve been inappropriate but I needn’t have worried. Jack oozes charm and provides light-hearted banter but there are moments when you see his deeper side. He confronts Saba with the truth about herself, forces her to face it, and it hurts. It hurts a lot. He says her 9-year-old sister Emmi would be better off with him than Saba because she cares so little for her and her feelings.
Saba’s never been able to forgive Emmi for killing their mother during childbirth and as a result breaking their father’s heart and robbing him of his sanity. Many times she’s tried to leave Emmi behind with someone she trusts to keep her safe, like she promised her father and brother, during the immensely dangerous journey over wasteland and through barbaric towns but Emmi knows Saba will never return so she always catches up to her. She endures Saba’s mean streak, she stubbornly wants to help find Lugh but she suffers for it. And that’s when Saba starts to realise how badly she’s treated Emmi, when she’s forced to watch someone beat her, unable to protect her, when Jack shows Saba how to patiently interact with Emmi without constantly berating her. Before, Saba only had a twin brother and now she finally has a little sister. It’s heart-warming. I loved it.
Saba gains friends in the Free Hawks, a group of female bandits but she won’t accept their friendship and loyalty. If someone’s going to risk their life, it’s going to be her and her alone. It’s her mission, no one else’s. Even Jack, who you can tell is desperate to get close to Saba is pushed away, often physically. He’s a brave man, chasing a dangerous woman. Saba won’t allow herself feelings for anyone because she’s afraid it will make her weak and distract her from finding Lugh.
Apart from the expert characterisation and development, the writing itself is exemplary. It’s emotive and though some might say it’s sparse on description you still feel the burning hot sun on your skin and know the loneliness of the deadly unending desert. You fear for Saba’s safety, knowing she’s grown up in isolation, and you’re just waiting for something terrible to befall her. It’s intense reading to begin with, building up to something, you just know it but I never found the explosions I was looking forward to; of passion, of realisation, of relief. It didn’t quite happen for me. I think more could've been made of the occasions when lives were in danger and of the grief when they were lost, like it was in the beginning.
And the end left me wanting. Everyone went their separate ways. The characters may have grown but I thought they’d learned that being together as one group meant they were stronger as a whole so I expected them to remain together at least until the fallout of recent events blew over.
As for the plot, saving Lugh involved a deadly superstitious ritual by an insane power-hungry king who rules by doping his police force (the Tonton) with a drug called Chaal, grown by slaves who are also under its influence, and sold to the general public. In small amounts it gets you high –slow and calm, in higher doses it makes you feral, rabid, blood-thirsty.
I didn’t envision the book taking the turns that it did. There were too many convenient coincidences and the need to defeat a crazy dictator, predictable. At times all this felt ludicrous but I tried to keep in mind that there is no “society” now. No infrastructure to speak of. No law and order. It was every man for himself. It was dog eat dog. The survival of the fittest. Any man could build an empire and call himself a king. We’ve regressed back to the times of the Wild West, perhaps even before then. The height of technology is the bow and arrows. Anything more advanced is regarded as “Wrecker tech”. The Wreckers, I’m assuming, is us now. I’m presuming something wiped out much of the world’s population and people left the cities for the country in order survive on the land. I’m got the feeling that this is set in either Australia or the US because of the skyscraper graveyards and the vast deserts.
The paranormal elements are mysterious. You’re not quite sure if they’re real or silly superstition, for instance when Saba’s father reading the future in the stars, or the Heartstone that remains cold until you meet your heart’s desire, when it burns hot. The giant killer worms are mutant creatures evolved from the dumping of illegal chemicals into a mountain lake back in Wrecker times, are mucho scary.
Despite my gripes with this book, I do think it’s worth reading. If you liked Katniss’s strength and survival instinct in The Hunger Games, enjoy the depiction of REAL men and characters that experience tough times and grow from them, then this is for you.
ETA: I've just seen "Tremors". Giant killer worms, people, giant killer worms! They will get you in the end. I see where Young got her inspiration. ...more
Barring the first couple of pages I read this from start to finish in one session. It was that compelling. There were a few short pauses when I was woBarring the first couple of pages I read this from start to finish in one session. It was that compelling. There were a few short pauses when I was worried about slushy romantic moments but I needn't have worried.
The heroine was strong, brave and despite what she first thought, selfless. She is by no means perfect, she grows and struggles with her nature and identity throughout as she learns to face both her own and other people's fears.
Ultimately this book can be summed up by the following quote by Tris's mother:
"Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us."
This is a truth that is expertly portrayed by the author. We're a flawed race. We will always want something more. Greed, jealousy, ambition, power -we always want what we don't have, or as Tris muses at one point, those in power and value it above all else will, in order to keep it, hand power to those that don't want it, to protect their own positions and aspirations.
Great book. I highly recommend it.
P.S. I'm an Erudite but not a power-hungry one so don't panic....more
Lessons learned: Never trust history. Never trust doctors. Never trust scientists. Never trust technology. Never trust blanket medication.
Overall my expeLessons learned: Never trust history. Never trust doctors. Never trust scientists. Never trust technology. Never trust blanket medication.
Overall my experience with this book was like meeting and falling in love, being excited and happy, then slowly finding out that he's not perfect. He drinks out of the milk carton, he ignores you in favour of sports events and when you finally get his clothes off he's as smooth as a Ken doll but insists he can still have children. Then finding out he's right he can make babies, just not the same enjoyable way everyone else does, which is confusing and unsatisfying.
If you're going to write science fiction, could you at least research the science? Please, please get your facts right, if you don't then you must sell this as fantasy not SF.
I assumed, not even 50% in, that I was reading unscientific science fiction i.e. fantasy. As far as I was concerned the author had made little attempt to research certain aspects of her story so why was I wasting my time reading it? I was THIS close to giving up. It was almost as disastrous as my experience with the scientifically unsound I am Number Four. Little did I know that if I had given up, I would've missed out on the explanations which magically fixed many of the obstacles that I'd previously believed were unquestionably insurmountable because science told me so, and therefore the cure-all bandage Revis slaps on the problems didn't sit right with me. They were hard to accept in the face of catastrophically fatal situations. There is a lesson in this: if it reads like unintelligent drivel some readers may give up on your work before you make the big reveal that attempts to explain the drivel.
Amy's character is well-drawn and her memories and emotions are brilliantly portrayed. I had some difficulty with Elder's character but his personality was a result of Eldest's manipulation and his awakening is caused by Amy's inquisitiveness and tenaciousness. I was glad he was finally able to see the truth of things.
Harley and his girlfriend were an excellent examples of people not being able to cope under the pressure of living on the claustrophobic ship surrounded by fakery (there is no substitute for the real thing) because despite his mood swings and obsession problem they were both perfectly sane, despite being labelled crazy.
It was completely understandable the almost absurd lengths Eldest went to to impose and maintain the many methods of manipulation in order for everyone to survive. Survival was imperative. Quality of life means nothing in the face of that. Or does it? And that's what this questions.
This society may not believe in any religion as we know it but they do have religion: hope. Hope is their "opium of the masses" (a Marxist philosophy on the merits of religion) which is a method of control. By giving the people hope that their sacrifices will ensure that their children will be the ones to one day see real sky above their heads and feel earth beneath their feet, keeps them going, keeps them working, living, breathing. Without hope what is there?
There are moments, scenes, words of wisdom -that are pure genius and others where I felt baffled, confused and angry when I think I'm reading utter crap. Ideas have been stolen from movies like Serenity (Phydus is Pax) and the less popular Demolition Man (being conscious in cryo) which makes me wonder how much of this book is original. There is no romance despite the cover (Elder is interested in Amy but not vice versa), and we know who the killer is before the search even begins. Bevis gets the human element right but the science and mystery completely wrong. It's a real mixed bag and it's difficult for me to determine my position on this book, positive or negative. A five star beginning graduating to a one star ending?
Timeline of my reading experience (i.e. like status updates)
~ Hooked by page 10 and in love by page 11. I am in love. And I am not a cheap date. But why don't they knock 'em out before starting the freezing process? Much less painful and traumatising. This is not something I'd want to go through.
~ I'd want my extra year on Earth back too, honey, but life ain't fair. Best you learn that now. You chose this, I wouldn't have. Deal with it.
~ Reminded of the movie Demolition Man (and a little of The Matrix) here. They're both conscious during their cryo state. How does she not go crazy?
~ Jarred by the second POV, Amy is more than enough for me. I like her. I like her a lot. I want her to live. So why does she never get her blood back during reanimation? She's literally blue-blooded now. She IS a freak!
~ Frexing? Brilly? Chutz? Are there only three new words in 250 years? That's unrealistic. Language in the 1760s was different to today. The author probably should've left these out instead of calling attention to it.
~ Why do they repeatedly say the generational Elder between Elder Jnr and Eldest is dead? He's obviously not. And he's probably the killer.
~ I've noticed a small thing and it's got me thinking about the science in this science fiction. The plague killed off many, decreasing the on-board free-range population to the 700s -this is where I couldn't help but question the MVP (minimum viable population). Taking into consideration the 100 frozen battery humans, I do a quick Google search and the result is not good. Extinction, a foregone conclusion. In theory you need more than 3,000 individuals for a species to survive. So why read the rest? Because I'm in lurve and this will be amazing. Nothing will spoil this. Nothing!
~ I like fresh air. *opens window*
~ That old man. He's going to heaven sooner than he thinks, isn't he? I just know it. Well, that solves the pensions crisis.
~ Um, if incest is an issue with such a small population, why is everyone indiscriminately bonking? Be ready for the possibility of birth defects in the next generation. Also, why are those in their twenties the only ones to go through their Season? Shouldn't everyone older as well as the supposed crazies plus Amy, Elder, Eldest, Doc etc. be bonking their brains out?
~ Halfway in and we've turned away from a possible romance as advertised on the cover and we're ignoring Elder's boner around Amy's red hair. No, now we're solving a murder. Whaaaaat? Elder is all talk. I thought he was going to use that boner to show Eldest who's boss. Er, that didn't come out right. I meant, he was going defy Eldest by making love to that (girl with the) beautiful red hair and then usurp/depose Eldest. Oh, and quietly but quickly solve the whodunnit. Elder is a disappointing hero.
~ I liked my priorities. Why aren't my priorities Amy's priorities. Look, love, you've been frozen for centuries, without boys, there's a cute muscley one in front of you, you have hormones, go get 'im!
~ She refuses to listen. We must find clues to who likes to unplug frozen people. Yawn. We, the reader, all ready know who it is, why bother? There is no mystery to solve for us but we have to watch and wait for the characters slowly put things together. Tedious.
~ Let's get rid of the Hitler-worshipping Nazi instead, shall we? Anything but crime-solving. Anything! A threesome with Harley? It promises to be colourful and sticky. Well, more sticky. No? *whines*
~ CSI:Godspeed is on the job!
~ Those fingerprints tell me the Eldest/Elders are (view spoiler)[clones. I wonder how this came to be and how they're brought to term if they have no mothers. (hide spoiler)]
~ Soon there'll be no frozens left to help colonise Centauri. This ship is doomed.
~ Dragggggging. Not much happening.
*flips to the back*
Oh, a map. I didn't know there was one.
*reads the last 40 pages*
That's it?! That's how it ends?! But...but that was too easy. No mystery to it, and I was right all along. No surprises, no realisation that they're on a failed mission.
Amy should've stayed on Earth, run the New York marathon and married Jason. That was obviously her heart's desire. Her father knew that, it's a shame she didn't. Mind you, it wasn't fair of him to give her the choice at the last minute. She made a decision under pressure and panic had her following her parents.
*back to reading, well, skimming...*
~ Attempted rape. I thought Elder said there was no crime now. Hormones are no excuse.
'And I know without being told that she killed herself. And I totally understand why.' Me too. I don't envy their lives.
~ Incest and MVP problem solved but not in a way I completely accept although I'm feeling very wary of medicine and scientists right now.
~ (view spoiler)[They’ve been travelling for more than 300 years. The Plague –suicide, murder, riots, chaos. A never-ending journey. 250 years behind schedule. (hide spoiler)]I was right, they are doomed!
”People will survive anything for their children.”
p336 ~ The seasons, the generations and other methods of manipulation all make more sense now.
“We’re just pawns. A means to an end. Toys you manufacture to keep playing your game.”
~ SERENITY! – A big whopping dose of the movie, Serenity. Pax = Phydus. No reavers but the other effect of the Pax in varying doses is exactly the same as Phydus. (view spoiler)[Small doses = calm, large does = death) (hide spoiler)]
~ Recycling. They recycle EVERYTHING. People are treated like things. *gulp*
‘[...] I realize the simple truth is that power isn’t control at all-power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to stand on their own.' p344.
I've read the end so...THE END.
*******I apologise for the extra long review but it was the only way to illustrate my frustrations.*******...more