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 IYou 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!...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.*******["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"]>["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"]>["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"]>...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.***
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 fabricRaise 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....more
A mash-up of "Men In Black" and "Ghostbusters" with a central "McGyver" character. Intriguing premise. The sex scenes were steamy and the humour sometA 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....more
Damn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience woDamn this seductively beautiful book cover. *sigh*
Confused and worried about the yo-yo ratings given this by my friends, I was hoping my experience would fall closer to the positive end of the scale and since I decided to participate in a read-along with THT I gave it my best effort. And a challenging read it was. I dragged myself, kicking and screaming to page 80 whereupon I began the process of DNFing when I realised the griffin, much-loved by many reviewers, had entered the picture. One last chance was given for Stormdancer to win me over. Unnecessary animal cruelty sealed its fate.
The insurmountable problems I experienced while reading Stormdancer:
• Ignorance. I don't enjoy feeling stupid. Too many foreign words were introduced without explanation (some of which were repetitive). Later, I learned there was a GLOSSARY IN THE BACK. Reading the e-ARC, this was a bit of a problem. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out how to find it and refer to it in a timely manner or use Google I continued reading, hoping it wouldn't matter. IT DOES MATTER. DON'T READ THE EBOOK, read a hardcopy. To my dismay I found myself calculating how much Japanese culture, media and language I have consumed (view spoiler)[(I've watched Pokémon TV series and Studio Ghibli movies. Owned a Tamagotchi. Read and enjoyed Battle Royale and watched the movie. I'm aware of things like manga, animé, shibari and hentai.) (hide spoiler)] because I understood just one word: katana. A sword. The rest...who knows what it said or meant because it went right over my head.
• Authenticity was always going to be an issue being that the author is neither Japanese, and as far as I know, didn't spend considerable time in Japan. Artistic license is allowed and I definitely noticed non-Japanese references like the mention of pandas. I can't speak to how authentic Stormdancer is, but having recently read Across the Nightingale Floor, also by a Western author, I'm wary now of authors writing books set within histories and cultures they haven't immersed themselves in and admittedly know little about.
• World-building. Wading through the info-dump, compounded by my ignorance of the language, consisting of detailed stories and myths I couldn't fathom or hope to remember, was nearly impossible to read. Real myths or part of Kristoff's fiction? Important to his story or not? I didn't know. The author certainly succeeded in convincing me I was an alien introduced to an entirely different world.
• Slow pace. Very little happens in the 90 pages I read. I liked three of the scenes: the drunken gambling, the playful puppy and the childhood memory about the heroine's unusual ability to communicate with animals via telepathy. Golden nuggets of awesome in the writing of those scenes lured me into continuing. That, and the Guildsmen reminded me of Hellboy's Karl Ruprecht Kroenen. I'm not sure if that was intended or even an accurate interpretation, its just what I imagined from the description. Anyway, not much else happens between receiving orders from the Shogun to find and retrieve a griffin and actually stumbling upon one.
• Unnecessary animal cruelty. If communicating with the creature was possible, why not give it an ultimatum -i.e. stop thrashing about which will cause us to crash our airship or we'll have to clip your wings, which is it? Such a simple step and one which would've preserved this mythical specimen, perhaps the only one of its kind left, to present to the Shogun in perfect condition. I hardly see the Shogun being able to ride the griffin into battle, as he wished to, now the poor creature's wings have been clipped.
I desperately wanted to like this book for its uniqueness amongst other young adult novels, even adult ones, in not only setting a tale in a non-traditional (i.e. non-Western) place but going back to feudal times, adding steampunk and griffins -a tall order. With such lofty aspirations Stormdancer was either going to be award-winningly brilliant where we'd all be toasting Kristoff's genius, or quietly hoping to forget this overly ambitious experiment. Sadly, I'm in the latter camp. Sorry.
***My thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for the e-Arc in return for an honest review.*** ________________________________
This is some fucked up shit. Misogynistic and necrophilic fucked up shit. With illustrations. My inner feminist is vibrating with rage and is drawingThis is some fucked up shit. Misogynistic and necrophilic fucked up shit. With illustrations. My inner feminist is vibrating with rage and is drawing disturbing comparisons with serial killer Elliot Rodger.
The meathouse is a whorehouse whose 'whores' are dead women, most of whom are former criminals and debtors although some have been kidnapped and killed precisely to be commodified by transforming them into brainless undead prostitutes. Outside of the meathouses, corpses are used as workers directed by handlers (read: puppeteers), similar to what The People do with vampires in Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels series. The entertainment industry is dominated by corpse fights like the gladiators of old, their handlers manipulating them like 3-D real world video game characters.
Greg succumbs to peer pressure by patronising a meathouse where he falls in love with a coprse-whore and thus begins an obsession. The explicit artwork of this graphic novel makes it all the sicker. Necrophilic rape porn imagery is not something I want to see. And the illustrations aren't even good - it's quite grotesque actually, although that may be intentional.
Anyway, Greg decides he deserves better than an undead woman and proceeds to wait for a living, breathing woman. He meets one, he falls in love and she rejects him. He moves to another planet, meets a woman, falls in love, they're happy for a time, then she dumps him for his best friend. From here on out he hates women. Love is a cruel lie. He turns to the occupation he once shunned: gladiator-corpse handler. Turns out he's excellent at bloodily dismantling his opponents from the comfort of his 'throne' as the crowds cheer him on.
I know George R.R. Martin is a man who loves to write controversial storylines. A Song of Fire and Ice gets a pass in my eyes due to historical and cultural accuracy. Meathouse Man, on the other hand, is set in the distant future when man has colonized multiple planets. One would hope such pervasive and socially acceptable misogyny and disrespect for the dead would be but a distant memory by this time.
I'm shocked and disappointed that this is a 2014 Hugo Award Best Graphic Novel Nominee.
*Read for free via the LonCon3 Hugo Voter Pack....more
Man is lured into participating in a super-secret medical trial. Man is unknowingly cloned, pumped with viagra an"You want to film me fucking myself."
Man is lured into participating in a super-secret medical trial. Man is unknowingly cloned, pumped with viagra and anti-anxiety drugs to lower inhibitions, then locked in a room with his clone. What happens next? Bow-chica-wow-wow.
So, is this a form of extreme narcissism? An odd kind of masturbation?
This was no different than getting horny watching gay porn; it was an appreciation for the male form. In this case, mine. And what's wrong with a little bit of self-appreciation?
...who hadn't fantasized about having sex with themselves?
Er, me. Hadn't even crossed my mind. But then, I'm not male.
Flashes of teenaged me straining in autofellatio -inspired yoga, desperately trying to suck my own cock ran through my head.
As far as I know, it isn't possible for women to achieve the same.
"...wouldn't it be more exciting to do something totally unique and impossible without science? For anyone not a twin," he hastily added with no hint of shame.
Is twincest common? Apart from male-female twincest depicted by George R.R. Martin in his A Song of Ice and Fire series and a male-female (who were unknowingly born male-male) in the "Identity" episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (based on the true story of David Reimer), I've not encountered many examples.
Although, I do remember watching one of those weird sex documentaries that featured a pair of female twins that performed live sex shows. And in effort to find them, my Google search brought up this interesting and sort-of relevant Slate article The Sex Lives of Conjoined Twins, and their agony aunt page entitled Brotherly Love.
The clone itself, is not born but made, fully formed from SmartLiquid and is an exact physical and mental, self-aware duplicate including all past memories up to the point of cloning. And are recycled when no longer needed.
"The clones are able to be repurposed, regenerated, and reconfigured for future use . Your model, so to speak, lasts as long as you are here and then as soon as we're done going over your study they are stripped and reset to default, only to eventually be improved and changed into someone else later."
While not made from flesh and blood, the clones appear to be somehow psychologically or computer-programmed:
“So you’re made for sex. Are you permanently hard all the time?” “By default, yes. I can control my erection though to be soft if you wanted.”
For some reason, I had the image of android Data and Lieutenant Natasha Yar from the "The Naked Now" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She asks if he's "fully functional", he is, and he adds "I am programmed in multiple techniques. A broad variety of pleasuring."
"Inside of me is a guideline of sexual instructions that is guaranteed to make my partner orgasm, often several times in a single session. I match my training with your profile and adjust accordingly. Every session is a learning experience." "What about you? Can you get off?" "Of course. I'm just like you, only I can keep on going and going and going with no worry of a refractory period . Anything you tell me to do I do it. If you want cum I can have it for you on command. If you want me to blow you, I'm your man. Anything. You. Want."
On the possible future of human cloning:
"We're approaching the day when sex-clones become a real thing. That's not saying they aren't feasible today, but with enough time they will be advanced and cheap enough for everyone in the developed world with a desire to fuck a vat-grown-human to have the capability to do so and enjoy it. You can consider this market research."
Creating self-aware human clones with training or programming for the exclusive purpose of becoming sex workers is firmly in the realm of fantasy. Anything or anyone that is self-aware and is selfishly used, and possibly abused, as slaves, will have within them the ability to revolt and start an emancipation revolution, just as clone Somni-451 attempted to do Cloud Atlas.
Overall, the concept here is immensely fascinating. I expected a not-so-well-written, mildly titillating erotica, and while there were a few punctuation errors and word omissions, this didn't impact on my enjoyment of the premise nor the amusing writing style. Honestly, the sex is the least captivating aspect of this sci-fi short.
I'll leave you with a giggle-worthy quote:
Too much porn had skewed my judging of how big cocks were supposed to be. Sucking on this thing would be like taking a thick popsicle down your throat. It was daunting. I suddenly felt a strong sense of compassion and understanding for the women I had been with.
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....more
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. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...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
A tale of two halves. An excellent, attention-grabbing opening which gradually deteriorates into an uninteresting and contrived mess made for skimmingA 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....more
Revived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a druRevived committed suicide early on, but somehow it was saved. It was... Revived. Dun, dun, dun.
The Science. Oh dear god, the science!
"Revive" is a drug which brings the recently dead back to life though it heals no wounds and cures no disease.
Adrenaline, anyone? Has this not been discovered in this world yet? Why yes, it has. Daisy has epi-pens on hand for a deadly allergy. So how is it any different from adrenaline? There's no answer because Revive's discovery was never explained. Nor is the state of any "Revived" individual. Are they the living dead? Still human? Able to reproduce? No idea.
Also: A bus crash with no survivors would mean lots of corpses with fatal injuries. Only those who'd died by passive means, like asphyxiation, might be revivable. (Yet they tried the drug out on a child with a foreign body piercing his brain. *facepalm*) Then again, in this experiment, no other treatment can be performed in addition to Revive's administration. No CPR. This means no circulation of oxygenated blood to the brain, heart and lungs -critical organs this drug needs to work on. So how is it going to get to its target destination from the injection site? No defibrillation to restart the heart. The drug would have to be administered with 5 minutes of flat-lining to avoid risking brain damage or brain death. But it would do no good if Revive can't be transported around the body in order to do its job. Actual revival rate: MINISCULE. Viability of drug (under these conditions): NONE.
In conjunction with other resuscitation methods it would probably act like adrenaline, possibly keeping someone alive long enough for surgery. But for the sake of secrecy and the experiment the success rate of the drug would be so close to zero it wouldn't be worth using.
That CPR trick at the end is: (a) MEDICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. 12 minutes dead (timed anyway, death had to have occurred much earlier - see below) with no intervention? Nothing you can do, they're dead and gone. (b) LOGISTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. (view spoiler)[According to Wikipedia, anaphylaxis can occur 5 to 30 minutes after exposure, and hundreds of bee stings would've accelerated the process. Say it took 10 minutes until death, plus 12 after. Communication boyfriend-friend-agent-aeroplane, finding a suitable place to land, landing and finding/flagging down a car near a small town -30 mins at least. Driving 100mph for 20 miles equals another 12 minutes. (hide spoiler)] Not enough time for help to arrive and still be of any use.
Epic science fail on the science fiction front.
Realistic contemporary YA front Great. There were definitely some perfectly portrayed emotional moments concerning (view spoiler)[The Big C (hide spoiler)]. Even though I guessed correctly about what was up with Audrey it didn't take away the fact that I haven't encountered this issue in paranormal or sci-fi YA before. It was different, new.
Daisy's parental figures, there are three, were all present and/or made an appearance. No disappearing parent syndrome, although caring Mother #1 was replaced by robo-Cassie a.k.a. uncaring Mother #2, or the fem-bot as Daisy calls her. Then there's Mason who I suspected had difficulty staying objective instead of treating his "daughter" like a lab rat, as he should.
Matt, Daisy's love interest, isn't a jerk. Nor is he abusive. He does act out, but he has every reason for doing so, and he apologises for his behaviour. Overall, he's responsible and caring.
Megan is a teenage transgendered character, something I've never encountered in fiction. She's my first. There were a couple of moments I really felt she was a flamboyantly camp stereotype, most commonly attributed to gay males, but I overlooked this for her valuable insight and understanding.
The only thing I didn't get were the cultural references to music. Way before my time (I'm 25).
The Conspiracy While I anticipated parts of it I wasn't frustrated by its small element of predictability. It was satisfactory.
Readability Despite the science fails, I kept reading. And eagerly, too. That says a heck of a lot. High quality writing, a fast pace and it demonstrated an excellent understanding of difficult emotions, like guilt and grief.
Cringe-worthiness: Some. The ooey-gooey crush developing into a romance, the divulging of dangerous secrets when it wouldn't benefit a certain party, and a little Mary Sue-ness.
Anyone who's seen this movie will know what I mean. Presenting a fake family unit to the outside world, selling the perfect family to the public when in reality none of them are related or romantically involved with each other, and all of them employees of the same organisation. It's all pretend. David Duchovny is Mason, playing the role of Dad, with the same ensuing emotional development of deepening attachment to a character, but in this case, of the father-daughter variety. Fake names, documents, moving house every time the cover's blown, again, all reminiscent of the movie.
The head of the organisation in the book is nicknamed "God" for playing god by resurrecting the dead. His employees are his "Disciples", and Revived children, "Converts". It makes a surreal sort of sense.
Conclusion Usually, failing so completely on the science will earn a book 1, maybe 2 stars, and will be forever consigned to the shit-list shelf. No, 3 stars this time. Even though the romance seemed typically thin at first, it grew into something real, while the emotions of all involved were also authentic. I didn't hate the characters, a common complaint with me. Being a stand alone also helps its case. If I see other works by Patrick in my local library's catalogue, I wouldn't say no to reading them, but I wouldn't trust the science!["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...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.
So I looked this one up online (and read it there for free) as I was struggling with the 13th volume which is a 2014 Hugo finalist for Best Graphic NoSo I looked this one up online (and read it there for free) as I was struggling with the 13th volume which is a 2014 Hugo finalist for Best Graphic Novel, and while this is from only one point of view - Agatha's - it's still a little disjointed and hard to follow. Almost every sentence of dialogue feels like it should end with a exclamation mark. It's high drama, or melodrama. But perhaps that's a mark of the mad science genre - I wouldn't know, I'm new to it.
Agatha is a strong female role model. She doesn't crumple in the face of adversity. I found the worldbuilding a little lacking and many questions are left unanswered by the end of the volume.
The artwork is nice though a little cartoon-y and Agatha's proportions seem a bit ludicrous for a teenager. She'd be more at home as a buxom barmaid wench in a tavern filled with randy vikings.
I love visual steampunk, on TV and in the movies, but can't get into it in novel form so I thought this would be good middle ground. Not this time....more
Robot Girlis an Afrofuturistic version ofBernard Beckett's Genesis for children, populated with a black cast of characters. Genesis is one of my allRobot 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
There's nothing like a bit of necrophilia in the morning.
Our RoboZombies (the zombies are actually referred to as 'steins', as in Frankenstein)don'tThere's nothing like a bit of necrophilia in the morning.
Our RoboZombies (the zombies are actually referred to as 'steins', as in Frankenstein) don't decompose and still retain all of their bodily functions so there are no ball sacks falling off during fellatio or penises detaching mid-coitus (oh look a new dildo!) so my tea and toast stayed happily in my stomach.
Our heroine, Josie, is a newly made RoboZombie sex doll. Her memories have been wiped in favour of rudimentary programming to engineer her to need, and be submissive to, a 'husband'. Her obviously abusive maker had no other use for her than that. Free will is only for the living. She's child-like in her curiosity and discovery of new concepts and sensations, but she's very much able to learn and grow beyond her original programming.
The hero, turned Peeping Tom during recon, is also a RoZo of the soldier / assassin variety with PTSD, employed by a pro-free will organisation. Bane's been working towards earning a memory and programming reset to relieve his mental anguish to become blissfully ignorant of the deeds he's done while his free will was taken from him.
Bane's mission is to retrieve the heroine from her maker by any means necessary before an evil RoZo corporation can swoop in and recover the scientist and his research. As the heroine had been designed to require biofeedback via touch and an electronic mental connection from a husband, the hero has to fill that hole role to prevent her programming from degrading to the point of leaving her a lifeless rotting corpse.
It's important to note that Bane doesn't rape Josie, the very thought disgusts him. Josie's personality, that of a 'virtual child', also unnerves him so he's very careful about how he handles her, leaving Josie to decide what she wants.
I'm riding the line between love and hate, hiding in the no-man's-land of meh. Predictable paranormal romance that isn't too cheesy, worldbuilding and character development of the supporting cast is lacking, but it possesses an interesting, and I suppose plausible, possibility of cyborg RoboZombies in the future. I'd still take Langlais's cyborgs over Harris's though.
But all idealism faded if exposed to enough reality.
In this installment we discover the consequences of the unsupervised actions of the autopilot versions of Paul and Dallas in Bermuda before their bodies/psyches were reintegrated, making for hilarious reading. I can say 'hilarious' since it turned out all right in the end. Dallas and Paul are so sweet together. The former worrying over his subconscious greed, the latter trying to figure out if they'd hooked up, and them both obsessing over each other.
You know, I had to up the star rating on the last one to 5 stars because it was so awesome. I find it so hard to discern "I love it, I love it!" and "I love it!", a frequent problem I have with books by JCP.
Man, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg justMan, this book has qualities I wish Cinder had. Not that Cinder was bad, I just found it difficult to fully understand what it meant to be cyborg just from Cinder's (likely abnormal) experiences. Not so here. You see I'm fairly new to the concept so I needed it spelled out for me. I get it now. The idea of cyborgs is an intriguing one with many areas to debate and explore. The history and creation of Langlais's half man, half machines struggling to recover their human sides were interesting. I'm glad this isn't a stand alone.
Joe a.k.a. X109GI, is mentally halfway between Seth (very human) and Solus (very robotic) and has managed to recover a small part of his humanity that's until he meets his woman who teaches him jealousy and love. Chloe is a human bereft of life, safety and happiness until she meets Joe.
Chloe's reactions towards the end aroused strong emotion. I felt so sorry for her and completely understood her pain and confusion. But way to get mad! Her homicidal rage certainly rebutted any suspicions she was weak. However, if I understood this correctly there were some continuity issues (view spoiler)[regarding Chloe knowing of being abused and raped on multiple occasions before the memories were forced on her and she remembered it all (hide spoiler)]. Still, I quite I enjoyed this novella.
Solus's book is up next -Yes! (His name sounds like "soulless", does it not? How apt.) Take that, 'cyborg snob'. You will succumb to faulty programming lowly human emotion.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Refreshingly nerdy. This is The Big Bang Theory crossed with Bones (TV series based on Reich’s books). Nerdilicious.
Reichs does not talk down to herRefreshingly nerdy. This is The Big Bang Theory crossed with Bones (TV series based on Reich’s books). Nerdilicious.
Reichs does not talk down to her audience. This book is all about science and technology and the era of the digital age. The author is a real-life respected scientist so happily, for once, I can say that the science is real and the leaps made into the unknown/paranormal seem plausible. This is authentic science fiction. Take that, I Am Number Four!
Although slow to start, 14-year-old Tory’s alpha personality is established straight away. She’s a mature girl who knows what she wants. Reich’s writing style was punchy, concise and intriguing. Yes, the beginning was heavy with description which is par for the course when it comes to world-building but once that was out of the way it was action, action, action.
Although I predicted small parts of the story, there were still red herrings which diverted me. Often in YA the obvious is the answer and I’m pleased Reich’s didn’t go that route. Not everyone and everything is what they seem. Real mystery.
The main characters are intelligent sponges, soaking up information wherever they find it. Knowledge is valued and utilised at every opportunity, and I appreciated every bit of it. Tory, into natural and biological science; Shelton, the geeky-looking mechanic and general gadget master; Ben, the athletic strong silent type; and Hiram (or Hi), the overweight guy with a penchant for sarcasm and probably the weakest, physically and mentally – are all valued members of a tight knit team. They are real friends who do not judge each other over every little thing: they listen, contribute and help each other whenever they can. Despite being forged by necessity living on a tiny island together and forced to go to school with rich kids, they have strong and lasting bonds, not superficial alliances in the petty games of teenage wars.
I enjoyed the contrasting elements of rich vs poor, brains vs popularity, adults vs teens, and the demonstration of those who cling on to their social group at the exclusion and ridicule of others are ignorant and small-minded. And that some things are more important than money and social class, like say, morals and ethics.
Perhaps I have an exceptionally dirty mind, something I have been accused of once or twice, or maybe the author has a sense of humour but names like Cummings Point and Hyman's Seafood had me in fits of laughter.
Also, the number of crimes committed in the book is ludicrous. These teens are criminal geniuses when it comes to B&E and theft. Luckily they’re on the side of good. If evil, they’d be unstoppable. At times, I did find their simplicity and ease with which they committed their criminal acts a little unbelievable but I shrugged and moved on.
I am curious by a few things. What’s behind the animosity between Ben and Jason? Will they become rivals for Tory’s attention/affection? Oh yes, I forgot: there is little romance here, perhaps a crush or two but nothing more. In YA these days, this is rare but very welcome when the plot isn’t contingent upon it.
There is a self-contained story, no cliffhangers, and a reminder that not all teens are vapid, immature airheads who can’t survive without conforming, not to mention needing an I-can’t-live-without-you romantic love interest hanging in the balance. Some can be witty with talent and a bright future. People I’d like to know.
This is not perfect. It was slow to start, I’m not strongly attached to the characters and the story does feel a little far-fetched at times but I was entertained and impressed by the science and the forthright nature of Tory and her merry men.
Virals engages the brain. It is nerd candy. And I need more....more
Love the cover of this edition but when I opened it up to the first page, my heart dropped. The small font combined with almost non-existent line spacLove the cover of this edition but when I opened it up to the first page, my heart dropped. The small font combined with almost non-existent line spacing made this reader-unfriendly. The words looked like they'd been desperately crammed on to the page and though environmentally friendly, using fewer pages, it's not something I'd expect from well-established publishers. It made this book seem almost never-ending considering the total number of pages.
Anyway, on to the actual story. This one was "love at first sight" and not the normal kind either, this was insta-love. I swear, if Lily's father and associates hadn't been in the room when Lily and Ryland met, they'd have been trying to get busy through the bars of his cell. No getting to know one another, no slow build up, just bang instant life-long partners.
Despite this unusual lack of romance considering the genre, the science behind these Ghostwalkers was intriguing and perhaps may even explain why there was no courting period: apparently it's possible Lily's father scientifically-engineered the incredibly strong attraction between his daughter and the Captain. Kind of scary to have no choice in the matter, huh?
That's the kind of man her father is, or was. The things he did in the name of his research, his selfish curiosity, were terrifying. He gave no thought to morals or ethics. That's not to say he did these things to be malicious, to take pleasure in others' pain, he only cared about results. If he had to bully a child, cause her pain, to get what he needed, it didn't matter to him. This made him by far the most interesting character and to see his past revealed to Lily, who was horrified but continued to love him in spite of his inhumane deeds.
I'll be continuing the series but hopefully we'll see more romance in the next one....more
My first thought upon finishing was "Wow, that was damn good!".
Silent Blade may fall into the romance category but it is far from soppy. It's futuristMy first thought upon finishing was "Wow, that was damn good!".
Silent Blade may fall into the romance category but it is far from soppy. It's futuristic revenge against a man who devastated a young girl and her family in the name of his "freedom".
For a short story the characters were remarkably complex and well fleshed out. The power plays and the tippings of the balance of power between Celino and Meli were brilliantly done. In a futuristic world of mafia-style families and assassinations galore Meli manages to exact her revenge and have a happy ever after.
After reading and loving the Kate Daniels series this was another fantastic offering from Ilona Andrews....more
I'm a fan of the author's UF Guild Hunter books and wanted to see what her futuristic PNR series was like so I read this. It was brilliant. I loved itI'm a fan of the author's UF Guild Hunter books and wanted to see what her futuristic PNR series was like so I read this. It was brilliant. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it! The only thing I could criticise was the ending. I thought there would be a big fight scene with casualties on both sides but this wasn't enough to stop me from giving it 5 stars, the detailed world and variety of characters were too good to give it anything less! Please don't be put off by the US covers, it's not as cheesy as it looks. ...more
Awaken Me Darkly is set in the future when different species of aliens are openly living amongst humans. Mia is part of a law enforcement group that sAwaken Me Darkly is set in the future when different species of aliens are openly living amongst humans. Mia is part of a law enforcement group that specifically deal with alien-related crime. She hunts down the criminals and if she finds them guilty, they are executed. There is no trial.
Mia is a no-nonsense kick-ass alien hunter, she's had a tough life growing up. Her mother left after she was born, her two brothers were murdered and her father stopped loving her and turned abusive when her first brother died when she was just 5 years old. She has no room in her life for love but she cares deeply for her team of very loyal hunters. She is very physical with her emotions, if you upset her she lets you know right away with a punch or a slap to the face - as Kyrin notes “Can you not go one day without using your fists?” which lets you know just how often she gets upset!
Mia encounters Kyrin when she begins investigating a serial killer who is murdering human men and displaying them in public. Kyrin is the obvious suspect he had contact with all of the victims before they died but it isn't as simple as that. Mia is drawn to him, she can sense him, his energy - she's human she shouldn't be able to do that. She fights her attraction to him in order to remain cold impartial but he shows her that he isn't responsible for the murders, that there is a whole lot more to the story than just these murders. He shines a light on her personal life, her very being and reveals that she has a connection to the real murderer.
My only real complaint about this book is the lack of background. Being the first book I expected there to be more information about the different species of aliens, a little more on the supporting characters, even Kyrian and Lilla. I also wanted to follow Mia as she looked for the children, a loose end that was never addressed. I understand the next few books follow different couples so I guess that we will not find out what happened to the children.
I never would have read this type of book if it hadn't been for a group challenge. I'm glad I did. I had read the authors first book in the Lords of the Underworld series which I enjoyed so I naturally picked this book to fit the alien category of the challenge. I'm not sure whether I'll continue reading the series now that I know this story will not be continued but it was an enjoyable read....more
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
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
Okay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the inOkay, perhaps I'm overly sensitive but this should've been novel-sized instead of a novella. Maybe then I would've enjoyed this more because 1) the insta-love I couldn't accept especially since 2) the female protagonist had in the past been raped on a daily basis for over a year, ten years before she tangos with the man, the first she'd come close to since then, she would fall for. Although it was approached in a considerate way I was still uncomfortable and not quite believing she would so easily trust any man after her experience chained to a bed in a brothel despite being drugged most of the time. ...more
As a lover of Snyder's Study series I thought I'd instantly take to this one with the same kind of enthusiasm, and although I didn't that's not to sayAs a lover of Snyder's Study series I thought I'd instantly take to this one with the same kind of enthusiasm, and although I didn't that's not to say that I didn't like it.
It's not a wholly original story which it needs to be to really stand out amongst the flooded dystopian genre but it has the standard brave and rebellious protagonist who becomes a symbol of hope for both her fellow Scrubs and the Uppers, who risks her life as well as others' to achieve an almost unattainable goal. She experiences love, loss, pain and joy along the way. I will add here that there is violence -torture though it's not described in too much detail.
There were some truly dull parts which I skimmed and skipped. I grew tired of the way in which time was recorded and eventually gave up on trying to figure how old everyone was and how much time had passed.
However, the thing that kept me reading were Riley's stuffed toy family (I know that sounds weird but you'll understand once you've read it) and how they were referred to in the rest of the book. It added some much needed warmth and light relief to a serious and sometimes boring book. Outside In is the next book and my curiosity will no doubt have me seeking it out upon its release....more
Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.
Firstly, I owe aHoly fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.
Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey's review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn't matter if you think this sort of thing isn't for you, or if you're disillusioned with the genre.
At the very least this book will make you THINK. Think about the state of humanity, its limitations and where it is heading. Think about the pursuit of happiness, our curiosity, our technological advances. If the world ended as we know it tomorrow and we had a chance to start again from scratch, could we truly create a utopian society? Could we succeed in creating something we could be proud of? Or are we a doomed species hopelessly cursed to repeat the same mistakes?
Brain power is needed to read this, especially for the Third Hour chapter because damn if that wasn't a mind-bending philosophical debate regarding what it is to be human. I had to take a break to recharge the old batteries and when I returned to it...the jaw dropped and I had to re-read a paragraph because OH...MY...GOD I did not see That coming, That was a game changer, It brought a whole new meaning to what I had read.
Genesis is a small book, an expensive one, so expensive I decided to borrow it from the library but I must have a copy. It's absolutely worth the money. This book may be less than 200 pages but you could write a dissertation on it. Seriously.
Don't read up on this book, don't research it, just find a copy and read the hell out of it. Go in blind and discover for yourself the reason why I have given this the highest possible rating....more