In the end, there's hope, love, and what is left of human civilization begins adapting to the new world. All begins anew. The rest are the details ofIn the end, there's hope, love, and what is left of human civilization begins adapting to the new world. All begins anew. The rest are the details of how the survivors along with the Children of Crake get there.
Zeb's pre apocalyptic story is related here, serving to tie up loose ends left over from the two previous books. There's romance, violence, rape, harsh and deadly journeys, as well as a battle with Pigs as allies, humor, dick jokes, and a couple of psychopaths. But the main theme is survival and adaptation. Humanity's ability to go on, live, love, protect, teach, learn. Survive.
The end is neither the garden of Eden found in the God's Gardeners' prophesies nor the utopia planned by the nihilistic Crake. What's man's future? Who knows?
Parallel plotting to Oryx and Crake from a different perspective. This time from a female point of view and two different narrators. Atwood again usesParallel plotting to Oryx and Crake from a different perspective. This time from a female point of view and two different narrators. Atwood again uses the flashback device to complete this side of the story and introduces new characters, mixing with the already introduced Jimmy and Crake.
Slow pacing plagues this second book, as well as long sections of preaching about the evils of consumerism, big corporation control, pharmaceutical companies manipulation and humanity's overconsumption of natural resources. All this in the guise of a "green" cult / religion.
Events do move forward and some answers left dangling in Oryx and Crake are answered. Some characters such as Toby and Zeb, As well as Amanda keep the reader going. Unfortunately there is not much more to be said about Jimmy / Snowman at this point.
The reader is pretty much beat over the head with a hammer with the main themes. Atwood's writing style is accessible, so even though this is a long book with slow sections, it is not a dense read. Quite the opposite.
Going on to find out if Atwood finally addresses the after effects of the apocalypse by reading MaddAddam, the last book of the trilogy. 3.0/5.0...more
3.75 or B- Interesting social sff. Dystopian world as seen from a male perspective. Big pharma, gene tampering, Big Corp, overpopulated, declining ear3.75 or B- Interesting social sff. Dystopian world as seen from a male perspective. Big pharma, gene tampering, Big Corp, overpopulated, declining earth and resources, debauchery and humanity at its worst, all presented on an overblown scale. All of the above leading to a sort of apocalypse and an ambiguous ending.
Main characters are unsympathetic. Crake is portrayed as a narcissistic, Machiavellian genius, Oryx is sly, with a history that could have made an impact, yet in the end her portrayal comes off as vaguely superficial, and Jimmy is the dupe. A grown child who pouts and avoids the truth and responsibility throughout much of his life.
Flashbacks are utilized between present (post apocalyptic state) and past events leading to the inevitable conclusion. Pacing is uneven with long slow sections mixed with action and interesting world building.
I picked up the 2nd book, The Year of The Flood to find out what may or may not happen to the narrator and main character Jimmy/Snowman, and the genetically engineered Children of Crake. ...more
I have so many different editions of The Warrior's apprentice and yet, they've all gone unread. Finally, I listened to the audio book! Why did I wait?I have so many different editions of The Warrior's apprentice and yet, they've all gone unread. Finally, I listened to the audio book! Why did I wait? What a fantastic book. I loved Miles, the humor, plot, characters. Everything. ...more
Written in an episodic style, Becky Chambers' debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an intergalactic journey driven by the characters.Written in an episodic style, Becky Chambers' debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an intergalactic journey driven by the characters. The author focuses on the close-knit crew, the changing relationships between them, and the intimacy of the world they inhabit within their ship, the Wayfarer. Additionally, Chambers highlights how the crew as a whole and each individual crew member is affected by events occurring and reshaping the vibrant, vastly diverse galaxy outside of the small bubble they have created for themselves inside the ship.
The Wayfarer builds man-made wormholes that allow for faster intergalactic travel. It is an ugly old ship pieced together by its techs and fueled by algae grown on the ship. Chambers includes technical details about the ship's function, the ship's AI, and specifically how it goes about creating those wormholes, but it is the Wayfarer's diverse crew and their life experiences that hold the reader's attention.
Led by a pacifist captain, the crew is composed of aliens from different worlds, a sentient AI, and humans from diverse backgrounds -- humans who grew up in an environmentally depleted Earth, others descendants from humans who escaped to Mars, and still others who grew up in space ships. Aliens are the majority and hold the power in the galaxy, and humans, a minority in this world, survived extinction through self-destruction only by shear dumb luck. Chambers builds a whole galaxy through her characters, their different worlds and cultures of origin.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is all about the crew's long journey to a final destination. Once there, everything ends quickly. Although not necessarily a negative factor for this style of science fiction tale, perhaps the plotting could have used a bit more outside conflict, particularly since it is such a long journey to that "small, angry planet." Having said that, the world-building, characters, and relationships make this story shine. The episodic style works in this novel, with each episode/chapter having a beginning and an end, but fitting well with the ongoing story. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling through space with this crew, loving every new discovery about their world along the way....more
I wanted to love this book. The writing style is beautiful and the world-building interesting. Unfortunately, I ended up reading it in fits and startsI wanted to love this book. The writing style is beautiful and the world-building interesting. Unfortunately, I ended up reading it in fits and starts. It just became a tedious, slow, read and I forced myself to finish it. Obviously not for me.
City of Stairs by Bennett was my favorite December 2014 read. The book has much to recommend it. It begins slowly with an investigation into a murderCity of Stairs by Bennett was my favorite December 2014 read. The book has much to recommend it. It begins slowly with an investigation into a murder that has political ramifications affecting two continents -- truthfully for a while I thought the story was going to evolve like other sff/mysteries I read last year. That was not the case.
Instead what develops is rather unique. There are layers and layers to the story -- history of war, the consequences of slavery, censorship and forced acculturation by conquerors, secrets that shatter the characters' views of themselves as well as their homeland's actions, and the hidden secrets of Bulikov, City of Walls. Most Holy Mount. Seat of the World. The City of Stairs. Nothing is as it seems and everything is revealed at the right moment. Bennett digs into some of these layers while only touching on others.
The characters are fantastic, from Shara to Sigrud, Vohannes, and Mulaghesh. This is a conflagration of genres and tropes: dark fantasy with magic, technology, gods and goddesses thrown in for good measure and a fantastic crime mystery at the center of it all. City of Stairs was my last read of 2014 and I don't want to go on without giving it a high recommendation. It was the perfect way to end the year. (September 2014, Broadway Books)...more
This YA science fiction/fantasy novel is set in a great multiverse world where music and musical notes are incorporated as a basis for travel betweenThis YA science fiction/fantasy novel is set in a great multiverse world where music and musical notes are incorporated as a basis for travel between parallel universes. The first book of Ericka O'Rourke's Dissonance series is also heavy on the romance. Expect a few sections with info dump here and there and predictable characterization such as the rebellious, reckless teenager with major authority issues, the love triangle, and the absent, unlikable parents. The characters, with few exceptions, are not immediately likable.
As with other YA romances I have read in the past, I wondered when and why the love happens. There is a disconnect between the sudden crush that turns into a sort of immediate obsession coming from the sixteen-year-old female protagonist, the young male protagonist's lack of awareness of her, and the relationship that develops whereby she is willing to sacrifice it all -- including family, friendships, and world -- for him, while he is willing to sacrifice all for his mother. It comes off desperate and off-balanced to say the least. I don't know how young adults will feel about the romance aspect of this book, but that's how it struck me personally.
Regardless, the premise for the world-building and the overall mystery are both very good, and for those reasons Dissonance was worth a read for me. The story ends satisfactorily, if with a bit of a cliffhanger, ready for book two of the series. ...more
World of Trouble is the conclusion, and the most personal and passionate installment, of Ben H. Winters' pre-apocalyptic mystery trilogy The Last PoliWorld of Trouble is the conclusion, and the most personal and passionate installment, of Ben H. Winters' pre-apocalyptic mystery trilogy The Last Policeman.
"And I won't let go and I can't let go I won't let go and I can't let go I won't let go and I can't let go no more" ---Bob Dylan, "Solid Rock"
There are fourteen days left before Maia, the asteroid known as 2011GV₁, collides with Earth on October 3rd. Chaos and fear reign as some people panic, losing control, while others brace for the worst and hope for the best. Some are barricaded in basements or holes in the ground, last minute suicides abound, and yet others kill and hoard goods in order to survive whatever may come. Money is worthless, but water, food, gasoline, and guns, are priceless.
Detective Hank Palace gave up the relative safety of Police House in Massachusetts to search for his sister Nico. Hank last saw her in July after she saved his life. He can't forgive himself for letting her go with a dangerously radical group and not keeping his promise to keep her safe. Hank's search takes him on a road trip to a deserted police station in Ohio where he finds evidence of a brutal crime and Nico's presence. As the countdown to October 3rd begins, it leaves him little time and desperate to solve one last, very personal, case.
The focus and attention to detail makes World of Trouble an outstanding mystery read. I don't want to spoil the mystery by summarizing the entire story, but I will give you this much, World of Trouble is not a stand alone and it is imperative that Countdown City be read beforehand as details from that novel become key to Hank's search for Nico and to solving a final case filled with twists and unexpected turns. However, as in the first two books of this trilogy, Hank Palace's character is the real draw.
With the imminent destruction of the world at their doorstep, to most friends and the people Hank encounters throughout his investigation, he appears as nothing more than a quixotic character wasting his time. But we all know that Hank cares deeply, and that gathering information, getting the answers, and solving the mystery, also allow him to process fear, grief, loses, brief periods of joy and an acceptance that serves as a respite from the chaos surrounding him.
Winters achieves this marvelous characterization by personalizing Hank's cases throughout the trilogy and tightly weaving them with his well established pre-apocalyptic world building. In a World of Trouble, Winters combines the tight timeline with Hank's strict methodology and his emotional investment in the case to build and maintain a thrum of tension felt throughout the whole installment.
How far would you go to protect a loved one? And how would you choose to spend your last days on Earth? The answers to those questions represent the final central theme for World of Trouble through Hank's search for his sister, and as the end approaches, through his experiences with other characters, and to the fantastic end of this trilogy.
The Last Policeman trilogy is an excellent fusion of science fiction and mystery. Its effectiveness is derived from Ben H. Winters' creation of a pseudo contemporary setting that gives the overall story arc plausibility, and a central character that comes to symbolize human civilization by asking the tough questions even at the end of times. Highly recommended. ...more