This is the linking step between tech-as-we-know-it and tech in Snow Crash. And then it becomes an entry in UKlG's Changing Planes and everything is aThis is the linking step between tech-as-we-know-it and tech in Snow Crash. And then it becomes an entry in UKlG's Changing Planes and everything is awesome....more
Blah blah dude beats himself up for not "having" "his" girl blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. However, more good ol' military action than in the main novels or theBlah blah dude beats himself up for not "having" "his" girl blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. However, more good ol' military action than in the main novels or the other interstitials, which I enjoy....more
Ellie is the best narrator possible for this kind of story.
Tense, fast-paced, twisty plot, with a perspective character who seems to be holding it togEllie is the best narrator possible for this kind of story.
Tense, fast-paced, twisty plot, with a perspective character who seems to be holding it together only out of rage - girl can barely bring herself to change clothes, which is something I can empathize with. The story is messy, complex, with an ever-increasing number of variables - there isn't one big reveal, but layer after layer of discoveries, redactions, amendments, inversions, and reattributions, while maintaining plausibility as a 21st century late-capitalism conspiracy thriller....more
A really fascinating collection in terms of weird fiction - Mieville but everyday blue- and white-collar crime, starving artists, slice-of-life sketchA really fascinating collection in terms of weird fiction - Mieville but everyday blue- and white-collar crime, starving artists, slice-of-life sketches. And known aliens/extraterrestrials and extraplanars, with high tech rather than Mieville's living tools. What I'm saying is that Punktown is truly great scenery.
However, I wasn't overly impressed with the content of the stories in that scenery. Several are really good, but several use violence against women as darker-and-grittier color, and it's just... come on, a colony acknowledged to house more human-sentience species than can be encountered in a lifetime, with more sophisticated personal weaponry than can be catalogued, and Thomas still relies on "crime against a woman, must be r+pe." Really?
I'm aware that's a societal indictment, and like I said, the variety of OTHER crimes addressed, from murder to clone legality to union violations to art theft, is broad. The concepts discussed through the stories of these crimes (or, in the bookstore story, just occasions) are fascinating.
I'd like to read more of the Punktown books, but they're not a huge priority....more
Leveled up a bit from the first two. Still pretty much crap. Predictable with unnecessary, but predictable, angst. I like that America gets all politiLeveled up a bit from the first two. Still pretty much crap. Predictable with unnecessary, but predictable, angst. I like that America gets all political and stuff, though.
Also the freaking convenience of a rebellion to MAINTAIN a monarchy... Yeah let's pretend that's how literally anything works, ever....more
One user updated her review of The Selection to posit that the author of these novels is acting as a medium, depicting the US under a Trump presidencyOne user updated her review of The Selection to posit that the author of these novels is acting as a medium, depicting the US under a Trump presidency. It makes sense: a reconfiguration of beauty pageants and reality TV into part of the political process, monopolies on news and entertainment, and truly stupid foreign politics are imaginably Trumpian, and while the first novel alludes to the ridiculousness of its own premise, it just straight-up spells them out here.
In ever-shrinking words in ever-larger type.
Just to make sure that we get the idea.
I GOT IT, CASS.
The first book was excusable because it had no stakes. Oh, sure, the protagonist might get caught and executed for her involvement with love interest #2, but we know she doesn't, because there are another four books in the series. Here, the stakes include domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, horrendous misogyny, physical violence between peers, and dead children.
All of which are somehow used to fuel the protagonist's perpetual yo-yo feelings: it's not even a love triangle, it's a seesaw. At some point, there's some internal monologue along the lines of "[protagonist] was beginning to realize [LI#2] was the steadier choice" and really? From what? Where did that conclusion come from? PLEASE SHOW YOUR WORK.
The worldbuilding also went to hell in a (beautifully trimmed) handbasket and I still have no idea why women's fashion went back to the '50s when Illéa took power aside from, like, the aesthetic preferences of the author. Unjustifiable....more
Probably I am ruined for this series because Ursula K. Le Guin's "Paradises Lost" exists. This is quite a bit more politically and ethically complex tProbably I am ruined for this series because Ursula K. Le Guin's "Paradises Lost" exists. This is quite a bit more politically and ethically complex than I was expecting, except the way that's achieved is a lot of pointless running around and overdramatic ally-trading. Under ordinary circumstances, shrug, that's a plot for you, but Revis mentions through her characters, again and again, how none of this would have happened if people had just been honest with each other from the start, which makes following the side-switching and wait-who's-got-a-gun-to-whose-head-now moments feel pretty futile.
Also, genetics don't do that, but then again neither should standard silica glass function as an energy storage material, so I'll chill out on that front.
The series is satisfying from a plot perspective and I'm glad I finished it....more
Quick, addictive, became surprisingly politically/economically complex in a good way. The perspective character is great and Cass captures many facetsQuick, addictive, became surprisingly politically/economically complex in a good way. The perspective character is great and Cass captures many facets of the weird reality-show-for-patriotism dynamics that (presumably!) exist among three dozen girls....more
I initially gave this five stars because the end made my heart explode, but then I got a good night's sleep and now I am just mad about how illness anI initially gave this five stars because the end made my heart explode, but then I got a good night's sleep and now I am just mad about how illness and recovery are portrayed in the last five percent of the book. Enough to knock off a star. I mean, June's SEVENTEEN, which Lu finally starts hammering on - these poor children - but her decisions don't sit well with me, and Lu doesn't explore any of their fallout from Day's point of view. Lu is so good about showing the nuance any given character's thought process that her not doing so in this particular case leads me to wonder whether she considered that sense of nuance at all. I will fully allow that this is my illness speaking.
I wish, wish, wish that it had ended with a Day-perspective chapter for symmetry's sake. And also because I love Day so hard. He's such a great character. I wanted his thoughts on Antarctica.
Meanwhile, in actual literary criticism, I think this is the most solid dystopia series I've read aimed at YA readers, in terms of acknowledging how world politics work and actually addressing the entire world, as opposed to how messed up North America is twenty minutes (or, in this case, one hundred years, give or take) into the future. And acknowledging political corruption, and the critiques inherent in the setup of the other societies we're shown throughout the series. June's perspective as a member of the elite isn't just "she's rich and he's poor;" it shows her learning that aristocracy is about controlling the 90% of the population that is permitted ownership of, maybe, 10% of a given society's resources. Day's perspective as a homeless child and teenager challenges June's understanding of the status quo, and Day's elevation to elite treatment, as distinct from elite status, highlights how class differences are used to dehumanize giant swaths of the populace. His experiences among, but not as part of, the elite show him (and thus the reader) how little the ruling methodology actually matters, as long as it is run by capitalist interests.
**spoiler alert** Points for: setting in dystopian North America but addressing how the rest of the world is doing (notably, better), having ANOTHER d**spoiler alert** Points for: setting in dystopian North America but addressing how the rest of the world is doing (notably, better), having ANOTHER dystopia on The Other Side of the Wall, contrasting authoritarian dictatorships with corporate/capitalist oligarchies, everyone being mixed-race, and gay relationships or attractions not being demonized (yes, Metias's romance is doomed, but because of the prohibition on relationships with subordinates, not because of gender; a Patriot boy flirts outright with Day and Day's reaction isn't UH EXCUSE ME I'M STR8 it's just "wow this person is more blatant than anyone else who's ever hit on me").
Points against: why are there 20-year-olds going after June do not TOUCH HER you GROSS MEN she is FIFTEEN; blond hair and blue eyes are both recessives so why would a mixed-race asian/latinx family have platinum hair, especially CURLY platinum hair; the gay relationships are still doomed
Neutral: This is solid. I see some reviews saying the love dodecagons are unnecessary and contrived, but I think it's a nice reminder that every major player in here is freaking fifteen or younger (or SHAMEFULLY older; I'm somewhat mad at Lu about that, regarding Thomas and Anden acting on their attraction to FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD JUNE my precious baby). In addition to living in terrible authoritarian land of the class differentials, their hormones are going nuts and everyone thinks everyone else is cute. The 20-year-olds have no excuse and should be executed, in my opinion, but June being attracted to people and Day being confused about Tess is realistic.
I also very much like the way that Lu differentiates her style depending on the narrator. June is hyperaware of her surroundings and extraordinarily precise in her language, even when in breakdown mode; it reflects both her intelligence and her history with trauma. Day is more of a classical "prodigy" in how he picks up knowledge of how to mess with systems and how to use his body and brain in the total absence of non-experiential training, and his syntax reflects both his casual facade (slang slangy slang, delicious sensible linguistic-drift slang!) and his constant learned awareness.
Also, that freaking ending. That FREAKING ending. My heart. Babies. Precious delicate babies....more
This is very different from most McKinley, most like Sunshine and not even in the vicinity of Deerskin or her other myth/fairy tale retellings. It hasThis is very different from most McKinley, most like Sunshine and not even in the vicinity of Deerskin or her other myth/fairy tale retellings. It has the same infectious enthusiastic (kind of self-absorbed, kind of self-aware of self-absorption) teenager narration as Dragonhaven, with as much in-medias-res "wait what are half the words you're using?" confusion. Similar to "First Flight" in Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits, too.
But oh my god is it fun. Maggie, the narrator, is magnificent, and the descriptions in the novel of grief and families and teenagerhood are so spot-on, for me. McKinley also has her glorious non-descriptive method of describing indescribables, what would be eldritch horrors in less friendly novels but are instead just... other. She still manages to evoke them completely, in the same way that Diane Duane does when describing an extradimensional being that, regardless of number of perceived legs or accuracy of projection into a three-dimensional plane, is with you in your fight, against whatever it is, and no matter how little you'd have in common regarding diet or day-to-day culture you know that you have its back and it has yours.
My point being - this is (what seems like) (possibly because I've read McKinley's books wildly out of publication order) a departure from her stories set in typical low- or no-tech magical-oddness-taken-for-granted societies, but it's a great one. As a YA novel it's beautiful in showing friendship and diversity, and the subcommentary on security theater is delightfully nasty. I love Jill and Taks and Mongo and Hix and how Maggie refers to a group of three humans, seven dogs, and a murderous Maine Coon as "eleven people."...more
I wanted more character-scale closure than this provided but as it is, the explanation of how a closed-system civiliAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
I wanted more character-scale closure than this provided but as it is, the explanation of how a closed-system civilization came to be, and the explanation of how it began to end, is a complete narrative arc and everything I needed from this series. Howey is frighteningly skilled and I want to read everything else he's written right now, immediately....more
Similar to the HEX series by Rhiannon Lassiter, but with more philosophy. I loved this series, honestly. And I like that this didn't tie up the endingSimilar to the HEX series by Rhiannon Lassiter, but with more philosophy. I loved this series, honestly. And I like that this didn't tie up the ending so neatly....more
I can't tell what genre this is and I love it. The atmosphere is incredible. In terms of mood, it feels similar, almost, to House of Stairs and a MievI can't tell what genre this is and I love it. The atmosphere is incredible. In terms of mood, it feels similar, almost, to House of Stairs and a Mieville short story. Can't wait to read the next....more