I'm glad I read this after Scarlet as it details Wolf's origin story - becoming a genetically modified soldier at age 12, brutally graduating to Alpha...moreI'm glad I read this after Scarlet as it details Wolf's origin story - becoming a genetically modified soldier at age 12, brutally graduating to Alpha of his pack 5 years later - all before he meets Little Red Riding Hood aka Scarlet. Sadly, he had to become the thing he wanted to avoid - an animal - in order to prevent being physically transformed into one.
A tale of two halves. An excellent, attention-grabbing opening which gradually deteriorates into an uninteresting and contrived mess made for skimming...moreA tale of two halves. An excellent, attention-grabbing opening which gradually deteriorates into an uninteresting and contrived mess made for skimming.
What I loved:
And invisible to me because it was so remote and small, flying swiftly and steadily towards me across that incredible distance , drawing nearer every minute by so many thousands of miles, came the Thing they were sending us, the Thing that was to bring so much struggle and calamity and death to the earth.
the arrogance of man believing he is alone in the universe
Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level.
realistic emotional responses ranging from terror, panic and post-traumatic stress from witnessing the horrors of war to determined attempts to ignore and deny this frightening new reality
“It’s a movin’,” he said to me as he passed; “a-screwin’, and a-screwin’ out. I don’t like it . I’m a-goin’ ’ome, I am.”
Suddenly , like a thing falling upon me from without, came— fear. With an effort I turned and began a stumbling run through the heather. The fear I felt was no rational fear, but a panic terror not only of the Martians, but of the dusk and stillness all about me. Such an extraordinary effect in unmanning me it had that I ran weeping silently as a child might do.
At times I suffer from the strangest sense of detachment from myself and the world about me; I seem to watch it all from the outside, from somewhere inconceivably remote, out of time, out of space, out of the stress and tragedy of it all.
intimate brushes with death
I staggered through the leaping, hissing water towards the shore. Had my foot stumbled, it would have been the end.
It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire. Then, by the light of their own destruction, I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.
...enormous volume of heavy, inky vapour, coiling and pouring upward in a huge and ebony cumulus cloud, a gaseous hill that sank and spread itself slowly over the surrounding country. And the touch of that vapour, the inhaling of its pungent wisps, was death to all that breathes.
They did not eat, much less digest. Instead, they took the fresh living blood of other creatures, and injected it into their own veins.
The man was running away with the rest, and selling his papers for a shilling each as he ran— a grotesque mingling of profit and panic.
I put out my hand and felt the meat chopper hanging to the wall. In a flash I was after him. I was fierce with fear. Before he was halfway across the kitchen I had overtaken him. With one last touch of humanity I turned the blade back and struck him with the butt. He went headlong forward and lay stretched on the ground. I stumbled over him and stood panting. He lay still.
men clutching at religion
“Why are these things permitted? What sins have we done? The morning service was over, I was walking through the roads to clear my brain for the afternoon, and then— fire, earthquake, death! As if it were Sodom and Gomorrah! All our work undone, all the work— What are these Martians?”
“Be a man!” said I. “You are scared out of your wits! What good is religion if it collapses under calamity? Think of what earthquakes and floods, wars and volcanoes, have done before to men! Did you think God had exempted Weybridge? He is not an insurance agent.”
cold hard comparisons between the relationship between Martians and man and man and the animals
And we men, the creatures who inhabit this earth, must be to them at least as alien and lowly as are the monkeys and lemurs to us.
And before we judge of them too harshly we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races.
“It’s bows and arrows against the lightning, anyhow,” said the artilleryman.
Did they grasp that we in our millions were organised, disciplined, working together? Or did they interpret our spurts of fire, the sudden stinging of our shells, our steady investment of their encampment, as we should the furious unanimity of onslaught in a disturbed hive of bees? Did they dream they might exterminate us?
“This isn’t a war,” said the artilleryman. “It never was a war, any more than there’s war between man and ants.”
the artilleryman's postulating on the post-apocalyptic rebuilding of society
And we form a band— able-bodied, clean-minded men. We’re not going to pick up any rubbish that drifts in. Weaklings go out again.”
Able-bodied, clean-minded women we want also— mothers and teachers. No lackadaisical ladies—no blasted rolling eyes. We can’t have any weak or silly. Life is real again, and the useless and cumbersome and mischievous have to die. They ought to die. They ought to be willing to die. It’s a sort of disloyalty , after all, to live and taint the race.
actual science in this science fiction
In particular I laid stress on the gravitational difficulty. On the surface of the earth the force of gravity is three times what it is on the surface of Mars. A Martian, therefore, would weigh three times more than on Mars, albeit his muscular strength would be the same. His own body would be a cope of lead to him.
Apparently the vegetable kingdom in Mars, instead of having green for a dominant colour, is of a vivid blood-red tint. At any rate, the seeds which the Martians (intentionally or accidentally) brought with them gave rise in all cases to red-coloured growths. Only that known popularly as the red weed, however, gained any footing in competition with terrestrial forms.
As you can probably tell, all of these things I highlighted with a fervor on my Kindle.
What I didn't appreciate was the contrived and rather dull nature of the latter half of the story, most of which I skimmed. Meeting the artilleryman again miles and days away from where and when they first met - the odds of that are infinitesimal, the aliens abruptly dying from Earth's alien bacteria, the narrator's wife not only surviving but is reunited with her husband. And why was the narrator's brother's point of view given? We never see the brothers together. He's just a stranger to us as the reader.
However, I did raise my eyebrows at these unintentional funnies:
'cockchafer' - apparently this is a beetle but that's not what came to mind when I saw it.
His landlady came to the door, loosely wrapped in dressing gown and shawl; her husband followed ejaculating.
Er, what? That's a bit spicy.
I was initially impressed by this classic. Unfortunately the ending left me disappointed.(less)
I really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was awa...moreI really want to give this 4 stars because my brain switched off and went along for the ride, just enjoying the reading experience. However, I was aware of a couple of points when I felt uncomfortable with what was happening (rape-y), it's pretty much anti-feminist (think: caveman patriarchy) and may be offensive to some, there's insta-love/Stockholm Syndrome, and it wasn't the best story in the world. It's certainly not for everyone. But again, I enjoyed it. I feel slightly guilty for doing so, like I'm betraying my sisters. A guilty pleasure, it is then.(less)
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 and...moreWolf 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.
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 involved...moreThis 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. (less)
Words, words, where are the words? How can I describe this?
Amazing. Awe-inspiring. Heart-achingly beautiful.
The writing, the language, the emotions and imagination -this is a work of pure genius.
I can't tell you how long I've waited to read something so completely original and inspiring.
And it's a self-contained novel. No unanswered questions that won't be satisfied in a sequel due out in a year. Oh, the glee.
It's not possible for me to go in to detail because I would give away too much. You really need to go in blind and discover that R. J. Anderson deserves an award, many awards. And of course, the tools to write yet another piece of art I can admire, clutch tightly in my hands and call it my precious.
Go read this. Beg, borrow or steal it if you have to, it's worth the jail time, I promise. Go now. I'll see you on the other side.(less)
A mash-up of "Men In Black" and "Ghostbusters" with a central "McGyver" character. Intriguing premise. The sex scenes were steamy and the humour somet...moreA mash-up of "Men In Black" and "Ghostbusters" with a central "McGyver" character. Intriguing premise. The sex scenes were steamy and the humour sometimes funny but the writing, in general, needed serious tweaking.
Fugly. That word has been (possibly temporarily) removed from my personal dictionary. "Baby" and "girlfriend" as terms of endearments should be banned. My lovely Kindle can illustrate why:
fugly = 39 mentions (mostly in the second half of the book) -used by Kitty. baby = 22 mentions (as a term of endearment) - used by Martini (love interest) when referring to Kitty. girlfriend = 21 mentions (as a term of endearment) - used by the only gay character when referring to Kitty. Ugh.
Thesaurus. It's there for a reason. Be imaginative when referring to a loved one or, you know, call them by their actual name.
The first 25% was a nightmare to get through as Kitty asked a torrent of questions to establish the world-building and get to know the aliens. It was difficult to keep up, especially since Kitty would make huge "intuitive leaps" when I couldn't figure out where she got the information to make such assumptions. She was also unbelievably arrogant in the way she told the professionals they were doing everything wrong:
"Feel free to tell us what you, having less than two days of this kind of experience, would like the rest of us do. You know, those of us who have spent years, or merely our entire lives in this line of work."
Kitty doesn't know the meaning of "tact" and "diplomatic". She had a different perspective on things but she wasn't willing to be even a little polite about it. When she wasn't putting them down she was ogling and drooling over how naturally attractive all of the A-Cs are. I didn't see why she was the only one to come up with all of the brilliant ideas since most of the A-Cs had either lived on this planet for over 40 years or were born on it. You'd think a few of them would've learned what kills slugs or would've heard of Earth's history with religion.
Religion. The A-C's religion changed to reflect Judaism right after Kitty compared it to that when explaining to her parents. And perhaps I'm being oversensitive to these next two issues but Martini says they're all circumcised to appear more human -like being uncircumcised is somehow unnatural. Men are born that way, that's human/natural enough for me.
Martini, the love interest, was hugely annoying to begin with. From the get-go he's overly flirty verging on overbearing with the sexual harassment and proposes to Kitty within minutes, possibly an hour of meeting her. Some of his attraction to Kitty is later explained but Christopher's interest was hard to fathom unless it was due to brotherly rivalry, only it didn't come across that way.
I'm also unhappy with the dog-on-human violence. Duchess, the pitbull, followed Kitty's actions by attacking an unarmed and physically non-threatening male. The dog teared into the guy's groin. He made rape threats but was unable to carry them out as the women surrounding him had confiscated his guns. This upset me. If the dog saw her owner being attacked and it responded on it's own or Kitty called for help then I would've felt differently. Instead Kitty instructed the dog to attack someone who wasn't in a position to hurt anyone. This is a hot topic in the UK and pitbulls are subject to the Dangerous Dogs Act because they're so aggressive, tend to be mishandled and have been responsible for a number of, sometimes fatal, maulings.
Okay, negativity over. The sex scenes were superb. Kitty's upside-down Mission-Impossible pole-dancing move on the rope suspended in mid-air while shooting at the ground was very cool. I liked the A-C male/female dynamic when it came to mating choices. The females were super intelligent scientists interested in high IQs who thought human men like Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates were and I quote "dreamy". They considered their male A-C stock to be morons in comparison. Physical appearance didn't matter to any of the A-Cs, perhaps because they were all 100% gorgeous.
I think this book would make an exciting movie but I'm not sure I would read the sequel unless my local library acquires it.(less)
You must turn off your brain and ask no questions when reading this book. It’s a requirement to enjoy it. I failed miserably. It may be readable but I...moreYou must turn off your brain and ask no questions when reading this book. It’s a requirement to enjoy it. I failed miserably. It may be readable but I Am Number Four is predictable and clichéd with inaccurate and vague descriptions and explanations.
For the most part I Am Number Four is an easy read although the language at times struck me as amateurish and clunky. Perhaps I expected too much after all this is YA but Lorien, it’s inhabitants and culture were too simple or too similar to that of Earth and humans. I was hoping for a bit more alieness than just boy-with-powers and shapeshifting animals. I expected a new spin on this cliché of a story but it was an incompetent rehash of old formulas.
A lot of “how” questions kept popping into my head in relation to unrealistic circumstances. A major one:
From what I understand 19 Loriens made it to Earth. The rest are dead. Those 19 have to repopulate Lorien when the time comes. Henri tries to dissuade John from procreating with humans because he’ll need a Lorien partner to produce pure children.
Erm...are you serious? How would this work? You need many more individuals for a species to prosper. Reproduction would eventually become incestuous with the result of such unions suffering the disorders (deformities + genetic disease + infertility = extinction ) associated with inbreeding due to little genetic diversity in such a small gene pool making it impossible to adapt, evolve and therefore survive and prosper. A tad scientific but this is science fiction, emphasis on the science. I learned the above in high school biology and this is aimed at that age group -I’m just sayin’.
Other “how” questions: --> How could John’s girlfriend, Sarah so easily accept his alien status without much proof? --> How did Mark come by the message that brought him to John’s home and into the fight? --> How did Henri explain what was going on to Mark? --> How did Six survive her many serious wounds? --> How can a book with so many illogical errors not only make it to publication but be turned into a movie when there are so many better ones out there?
Why is the book by Pittacus Lore? It doesn’t make sense. Didn’t he die 10 years ago with the rest of his people? There was something about the elders disappearing during the ultimate battle on Lorien so there’s a small possibility he still lives, however the book is in first person from John’s POV. WTH?!
Small sidenote: I don’t know about other countries but here in the UK “spastically” is controversial and considered highly offensive if not used in a medical context. I was very surprised to see it here but I’ll put it down to cultural difference and move on.
The final battle didn’t interest me. I skimmed. There were moments throughout the book that gripped me. That were exciting. I liked Henri, John and his dog they made a good team but it seems they’re fighting a losing battle. Henri encourages us to have hope even when the task ahead appears impossible but 6 kids with powers versus a whole race –I’m not optimistic. No matter how many abilities these superhero kids develop.
In some ways this reminds me of The Lightning Thief with the godlike powers, beasts and the run-for-your-life theme. That was targeted at 9-12 year olds and I think this should be too. I think they’d have a better time with it than I did.
The movie, released next week, looks spiffy and exciting. Hopefully it will be better than the book it’s based on because this was just terrible.
ETA Mar 2, 2011: The movie changed almost everything I had a problem with in the book. It was also 100x more entertaining so I encourage you all to see the movie and burn the book!(less)
Raise your hand if you iron your underwear? No one? Diana does. She's a little plumper than your average gal so her undies contain little more fabric...moreRaise your hand if you iron your underwear? No one? Diana does. She's a little plumper than your average gal so her undies contain little more fabric to actually wrinkle. Anyway, one day she's ironing away when this suddenly appears in her living room:
It's that bloke off Watchmen , a.k.a. a naked blue man with a huge, er...
His name is Kor'iander. Coriander? No, Kor'iander, or Kor for short. So Coriander turns to Diana in all his blue naked glory and demands her submissiveness, claiming she is his mate and he her "leader", come to collect her and return to his home planet, where incidentally everyone is blue.
I know, I know. Sounds weird and a little silly. I thought so too at first but it's a fun and honest story. It isn't pretending to be a grand, deep and meaningful saga. Coriander was adorable. He completely accepted and loved Diana's curves partly because the sight "A too-slim female is the sign of a poor provider", to Di's astonishment. Diana's refusal to immediately obey and bow to his wishes to mate with him left the poor guy flummoxed. He'd requested a docile partner to bond with when he put in his application to the Oracle and the ancestral spirits, and they're supposed to give you what you want, not what you need, which is what happened here. He was a gentleman, he never forced himself on her. Instead he listened to what she wanted and endeavoured to give it to her. Courtship was, forgive me, an alien concept to him but he gave in to her wishes and made his best effort to comply.
Di is a heroine I can appreciate. After reading many a clueless, too stupid to live lead, this girl, she made a HUGE mistake -a slip of the tongue but immediately afterwards without any prompting she knew she'd done wrong and wished to take it back. She freely admits she deserved a Darwin Award for her recklessness. Much better than blindly stumbling about with no regard for one's own safety and being too dumb to realise it.
However, it wasn't until just before they arrive at Kor's homeworld that this book started to press my "things I really like" buttons. The history of his race, the death of the women and the resulting sterility leading them to seek and take women from other races, mostly Earthlings because they both descend from the same humanoid race but have evolved slightly differently in accordance with their planet's environments. It's actually the suns that turn Kor's people blue, as Di discovers other Earthlings also have a blueish hue to their skins.
The scarceness of women on the planet mean that they're fiercely protected and must abide by certain rules in order to remain safe. Most of these women are from other worlds and are taken, stolen if you will, without their consent. This issue is addressed here. Not all of the women are happy, not all adjust to their new situation or accept their new "husbands" but these women were picked because they had few ties, no boyfriends/girlfriends or real friends and family to speak of, hopefully making it easier for them to embrace a new life where they'll be both loved and cherished.
I'm jealous of the technology mentioned. Housework would be history and I like the idea of having a laugh with my very own Holly (from the brilliant 80s TV show Red Dwarf). In this case his name is Alphie, the talking computer with a sarcastic attitude.
I'm not an alienist. If a blue god appeared before me, he wouldn't have to say a word. I'd jump into his arms and say "When are we leaving?"
Favourite Quotes I'd really like to add some but there are too many to choose from.(less)