This book is, in a word, amazing. In the world that Laure DeStefano has created, genetic engineering has caused every young man and woman to live only...moreThis book is, in a word, amazing. In the world that Laure DeStefano has created, genetic engineering has caused every young man and woman to live only a fraction of what their usual lifespan would be, with men living to the age of twenty-five and women only surviving to twenty before they become violently ill and perish. It is in this setting that the protagonist, sixteen-year-old Rhine, is introduced, being transported in the dark along with a carload of other frightened girls and young women to be sold into marriage. The characters in this story are all SO well written, and I found myself becoming very attached to all of the main characters, even little Cecily, who annoyed me to no end at first.
What makes this book so outstanding, however, is the imagery that is woven throughout this book. The description of the girls being transported in the van reminded me of accounts I'd read of prisoners being taken to concentration camps during the Holocaust, and this connection only served to accentuate the tension and fear for the characters that I felt even from the start of the book. If there's one thing that can really be said about this book, it's that the words paint a vivid portrait in the mind of the world that has been created.
I agree with the suggested age-range of grade 9 and up, with the emphasis being and up. As beautifully well written as Wither is, it does deal with some very mature topics, which may be uncomfortable for late Jr. High/early High School students. There were some moments that I was downright horrified, especially when the age difference between thirteen-year-old Cecily and twenty-one-year-old Linden really struck me.
As much as he was intended to be "the bad guy," I couldn't help starting to like the character of the husband, Linden, since he seemed very genuine and naive...very much a child himself after being sheltered and lied to by his father his whole life. The complexity of his character really helped make me want to continue reading, especially when the story came to disturbing or difficult parts to read.
I really hope that there is a sequel to this book, because it deserves it! (less)
If you like comics or graphic novels, read this book. If you are a Trekkie, read this book. If you want to understand more of the backstory behind the...moreIf you like comics or graphic novels, read this book. If you are a Trekkie, read this book. If you want to understand more of the backstory behind the 2009 Star Trek movie, read this book. If you...well, you get the idea...just read this book!
I hadn't been too much of a Trekkie before I saw the 2009 movie, but then I saw it, and it all went downhill from there. Now my friends have to listen to me spout gibberish about the differences between a class A and a class M planet, among other things. Basically, I'm obsessed. So when I saw this book at a school book fair, I had to buy it. In a series of four comics issues, Star Trek: Countdown bridges the gap between the last time we were in the Trek universe in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the latest movie, following Nero, Spock, and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D until the tales converge and the circle completed in a brilliant arc of storytelling that is truly amazing.
Countdown reads like a good graphic novel, with well placed dialogue and each page complete with full-color illustrations. The art itself is a reason to read this book, with the traditional pen and ink hatch-marks visible and complementing the digitally colorized schemes. This book also explains a lot of things that are mentioned in passing in the movie, which made the reading experience very fun for me. No Star Trek fan can go wrong reading this story, it's fast, fun, and just plain good! (less)
Before I got this audiobook, I didn't usually read too many movie/tv tie-in books, and so when I read this, the floodgates opened. The writing is a bi...moreBefore I got this audiobook, I didn't usually read too many movie/tv tie-in books, and so when I read this, the floodgates opened. The writing is a bit sappy at first, especially when the U.S.S. Kelvin is being attacked by the Narada, but this lessens up into a fun, well-written adaption of the 2009 Star Trek movie. What's really nice about this tie-in is that it gives you a lot more of what the characters were thinking, even when there weren't spoken lines at that moment in the film, and there is a bit more of everyone's backstory included in this written adaption as well. Some moments were even exaggerated or changed a little from the film, this was especially enjoyable when Kirk met Spock (prime) in the cave, after Spock says the infamous "I am, and always will be, your friend." While Kirk's reply was golden onscreen, it's just a good if not better in the book.
I'm not going to lie, the reason I succumbed into getting this audiobook in the first place was because Zachary Quinto narrated it. For those who do not know, or have just had your head stuck in the sand for the past two years, Zachary Quinto played freaking SPOCK in the latest Star Trek movie, and as a audiobook narrator, he delivers! He changed back and forth between the character's inflections and cadences and the baseline narration flawlessly, and perfectly captured the accents and mannerisms of the actors who portrayed the characters in the film.
My only problem with this book was a particular scene that took place on the Narada when Kirk and Spock beam onto the ship to rescue Pike and destroy the black hole device. In the film, Spock simply mind melds with a stunned guard to find the location of both, but in this tie-in, he, and I quote, "can't seem to mind meld because Vulcan and Romulan minds are too different." And therefore proceeds to beat the crap out of the Romulan guard until he finds out what he needs to know. What. The. Heck?! Okay, first off, Romulans and Vulcans come from a common ancestry! So don't give me any of this "too different" crap! Secondly, in the original series, Spock mind-melds with pretty much anything that has a face, and some things that don't...including the infamous Horta which a silicon-based life form! Okay, getting off my soap box now...it was just something that annoyed me.
Seriously though, apart from that one tiny thing, this book is A+, and is a great read for any trekkie, or anyone that enjoyed the latest movie. (less)
I've observed that the way of anthologies seems to be that you win some and you lose some, and METAtropolis adheres to that view. In this unique antho...moreI've observed that the way of anthologies seems to be that you win some and you lose some, and METAtropolis adheres to that view. In this unique anthology, all the stories are written in the same, post-oil world, where either you're green, you're stupid, or you're dead. Although all of the stories are connected via world, they have such a range of qualities that I feel that it is only really fair to review each independently of the others.
In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake was certainly the weakest story of the anthology for me, which was unfortunate seeing as it was the longest as well as the first. Basically, a stranger by the name of Tyger Tyger (no joke) enters the secretive tree-hugger city of Cascadia by night, makes a lot of friends, sings a bit, fights, makes out with a few people, and - well, I won't spoil the ending of this story. The pacing just felt too slow, which is especially bad seeing as this was an audiobook, and I had trouble getting emotionally tied in with any of the characters, least of all Tyger Tyger. After just over two hours, I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep listening to this audiobook, but since I'd spent a credit on it at Audible, figured I should probably see how the next short story went.
Stochasti-City by Tobias Buckell was a large improvement over In the Forest of the Night and far better paced. As someone from bike-loving Fort Collins, Colorado, I found a particular delight in the idea that cyclists were the key to shutting down car-riddled Detroit and starting something novel there, right under the authorities noses. This story had a hint of steampunk, a dash of distopia, and a whopping serving of brilliant-character. The narrator was a marked improvement over Night's and overall was more pleasant to listen to. By the time I'd finished this story, I was ready to forgive the previous story's weaknesses and continue on.
The Red in the Sky is Our Blood by Sci-fi superpower Elizabeth Bear was probably the most emotional story in the bunch, and it expanded more into the disfunct society of Detroit of the future. The protagonist Katy is not only running from her Russian Mafia husband, but she is also searching for her daughter step-daughter among a whole bunch of other unfortunate things that she gets involved in. Katy is a character after feminist's hearts: smart, witty, and in need of no man to make her way and survive in the harsh reality that she lives in. Right on.
Utere Nihil non Extra Quiritationem Suis by John Scalzi was the first story in the bunch that made me laugh, I mean, REALLY made me laugh. It gives us another view of life inside a city, this time New St. Louis, and if had to live in either New Detroit or New St. Louis, sign me up for New St. Louis! This story is extremely well written with a good bit of humor interspersed between the view of politics and life in the future, and a protagonist that I really enjoyed. I know that I've been hanging out with tv-tropers for too long, because I couldn't help notice the Chekov's Guns that were cleverly placed in the beginning all going off at the end!
The final story To Hi from Far Celinea by Karl Schroeder was my absolute favorite story of the entire anthology. STEAMPUNK AUGMENTED REALITY!!! That is all I have to say. If you pick up this book for anything, pick it up for this story.
Overall, METAtropolis was a pretty good book, with only the first short story dragging my rating down from 4 stars.
Zombie books aren't exactly my forte, but for some reason I seem to be reading quite a few of them of late. Out of those that I've read, this is certa...moreZombie books aren't exactly my forte, but for some reason I seem to be reading quite a few of them of late. Out of those that I've read, this is certainly one of the best. (Right next to Night of the Living Trekkies, which is my all time favorite zom-romp)
Benny Imura was too young to remember First Night, when the zombification sickness struck, but his zombie-killer older brother Tom does. When Benny starts training as a zombie hunter with Tom, his perception of the world is changed forever as his views about what it means to be human are challenged. Add a crazy girl who's grown up in the wild, a half dozen bounty hunters, and a couple thousand zombies to the mix and you have this stellar novel.
This book is not only about killing zombies, it's a story about a teen finding his place in the world, the relationship between estranged brothers, the power of friendship, the nature of humanity...but don't worry, there's still plenty of zombie smashing for those that are drawn to this book by the topic. I really enjoyed Rot and Ruin and found myself reading it far too late in the night to be healthy for my sleep-deprived mind. If all zombie books were like this one, I'd read the genre much more often!(less)
I usually have a hard time when reading books that are told from the point of view of someone that has autism, and this one was no exception. Why do I...moreI usually have a hard time when reading books that are told from the point of view of someone that has autism, and this one was no exception. Why do I have a hard time? Probably because there are so many things in the characters that I see in myself, or how I used to be. I have aspergers, a form of autism, and while I am pretty much normal now, it took years and years for me to grow to where I am. I mention this so that when I say that Christopher truly delves into the heart of a kid that sees the world through a different lens, you can tell I mean it.
Wow, what a beautiful book. What a sad book. What a book. (less)
Brightly Woven is, to quote one of my friends, "like Howl's Moving Castle...but better!" I couldn't say it better myself. This book is freaking amazin...moreBrightly Woven is, to quote one of my friends, "like Howl's Moving Castle...but better!" I couldn't say it better myself. This book is freaking amazing and MUST BE READ!!! (less)
First off, I must comment on the absolutely gorgeous cover illustration. As an art student studying to be an illustrator someday, I do have a bit of...moreFirst off, I must comment on the absolutely gorgeous cover illustration. As an art student studying to be an illustrator someday, I do have a bit of a pet peeve over the photoshopped teen covers that are currently saturating the market (Seriously, if I see one more book that uses the red/white/black photoshop motif in its cover, I'll scream.), but A Crack in the Sky has a beautiful, painterly cover that perfectly illustrates a moment in the book and the light used is absolutely amazing. Seriously, this is how a cover should be done!!!
Now to the story: I thought that the description of Wall-E meets the Giver is a pretty accurate description, with an emphasis on the Wall-E part. Except in this story, humanity didn't leave the earth to become obese vegetables being fed by a giant corporation that took care of everything. Instead, they moved inside domed cities to become enslaved to media while a giant corporation took care of everything. While the story is sort of slow to move along at first, the characters are well developed and the world building is absolutely fantastic.
It's impossible to read A Crack in the Sky without noticing some statements about society as it is today. The influences of global warming are part of the whole problem that cause the retreat to the idealistic domes, and the over-saturation of media is illustrated to an even greater extent with the "clouds" in the "sky" of the dome being eye-catching ads that no one can take their eye off of.
the one thing that I want to know, however, is...where can I get the cover of this book as a poster? (less)
I've found that when it comes to Orson Scott Card's writing and I, it's a bit of a love/hate relationship. I find myself, over and over, coming back t...moreI've found that when it comes to Orson Scott Card's writing and I, it's a bit of a love/hate relationship. I find myself, over and over, coming back to his books because of the crazy ideas that they embody, but then at some point or another just want him to skip the pages of pondering a character does before acting on something. Really Ram, did you really need to spend so long debating in a circular manner with the expendables? In the case of Pathfinder, the story was very enjoyable, and I loved how the two stories that were running parallel for the majority of the book were woven together at the end, even if I was able to predict how it was going to happen several chapters ahead.
Something I don't understand is why there are so many narrators, since they just take turns reading sections of the book. This is something that I've noticed in other audiobooks of Card's stories, such as Speaker for the Dead, but unfortunately had forgotten before I got this off audible.com. For the most part, I didn't notice when one voice gave way to another...but there was one change around chapter 17-18 that absolutely took me out of the story, it was so drastic. Suddenly, characters like Loaf and Umbo were being portrayed with totally different inflections and voices that it took me a long time to settle into the new narrator and fall back into the story.
This is a good read for any sci-fi fan, or anyone that's into time travel or fantasy in general.
The book did have some funny parts, but overall it just made me question the opposite gender even more. My gosh, do adolescent boys really think like...moreThe book did have some funny parts, but overall it just made me question the opposite gender even more. My gosh, do adolescent boys really think like that? Ugh. (less)
**spoiler alert** What I learned: 1. Clowns are freaky (already knew that), the bad guy CAN actually win (spoiler there), and 3. Sports suck
To someone...more**spoiler alert** What I learned: 1. Clowns are freaky (already knew that), the bad guy CAN actually win (spoiler there), and 3. Sports suck
To someone with no idea what the book is about, think Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The main character is thrown into a sort of tournament against his will, he tries to get others on his side during said tournament, and has to participate in a ton of horrible (to me at least) tasks to progress in hopes to be the ultimate champion and bring the place back to its former glory.
This book was strange, jumped around more then I do in a conversation at lunch, and was filled with a techies dream...in other words, it was awesome....moreThis book was strange, jumped around more then I do in a conversation at lunch, and was filled with a techies dream...in other words, it was awesome. I say read, but be sure you've read the other books in the series, otherwise you'll get lost pretty darn fast.(less)