More like 1.5 stars, but I couldn't quite go the full one star.
I read this simply because I love the TV series and wanted to see what the book was likMore like 1.5 stars, but I couldn't quite go the full one star.
I read this simply because I love the TV series and wanted to see what the book was like, and to be fair, Lina warned me of how garbage this was. And maaaaaaannnnn, it sucked.
Too much romance, very little world building, useless plots (Glass? Who the hell care about Glass??), useless characters, and if Bellamy could stop comparing Earth to girls in weird ways (the breeze is like a girl's perfume when she stands close to you but won't look at you? WHAT??), that would be nice.
Also, Wells is the worst. I'm glad they changed that up in the series....more
I’m sort of a sucker for apocalyptic stories (right long with dystopian stories), so I grabbed Monument 14Originally posted at The Wandering Fangirl.
I’m sort of a sucker for apocalyptic stories (right long with dystopian stories), so I grabbed Monument 14 the moment I saw it at the library. It seemed so promising: fourteen kids stuck together and trying to survive in a Walmart-like super store as the world crumbles around them. That story never goes well, does it?
The plot certainly starts off with a bang — or a few hundred of them, as a school bus carrying our hero and other characters is caught in the midst of a huge hailstorm. A kick-ass bus driver rams her bus straight into the super store and saves as many kids as she can (which is, unfortunately, only the fourteen in our title). From those opening moments on I was totally engrossed with the plot as it unfolded – for better or for worse.
Mostly for so-so.
The first person narrative focuses on Dean, one of the older teens as he tries to work through the insanity: a shell-shocked class mate, a crush, his little brother, a bunch of kids who are barely eight years old, and yeah, the apocalypse going on outside. Things go as smoothly as they can make it, but things continue to fall apart, and eventually the kids have to barricade themselves from the outside world. This is when it’s all supposed to get interesting, but it doesn’t quite get there.
There’s a sort of fantasy in living in a super store like these kids do. You’ve got everything you could need to ride out the apocalypse, but the store only seemed to serve as a sort of constant deus ex machina for the kids. Need to make food? There are microwaves! Need to seal off every window and door? Tarp and duct tape and nail guns and comforters! Need beds? Air mattresses, of course. Entertainment? Just head on down the next aisle! It was fun, but after a while it started to drag, and the relationships the kids develop and work through just weren’t enough to pick up the slack.
The only characters I really remember are Dean himself, who didn’t seem to have much of a personality beyond scared (and horny) teenage boy, his little brother the oh-so-helpful tech genius, and the boy scout leader type whose name I don’t even remember. The ups and downs the group experience didn’t mean a single thing to me, and I got tired of the drama after a while. I wasn’t truly moved until the very ending, and even that was so obviously manufactured to move me that I rolled my eyes even as I was tearing up. (Just a teeny tiny bit.)
The Immortal Rules is everything I wanted and didn’t get out of Julie Kagawa’s popular Iron Fey series.
In a post-apocalyptic, vampire-ruled future, we’re introduced to Allison Sekemoto, a human fighting to survive in a city where starving is just as popular a death as being drained by a vampire. She’s incredibly fierce and strong from the word go, willing to do anything to keep herself and her crew alive. Which leads to a decision that gets them all killed (bad luck there, girl), and while Allie is on death’s doorstep, a vampire offers to help her by turning her. Though she hates vampires, she fears death even more, and accepts.
I knew from the very moment she admitted she’d rather be a thing she hated than face her fear of death that I would love Allie. While she’s very strong and incredibly principled, she still has a vulnerability to her that’s easy to relate to, and she doesn’t overdo the “I’m a vampire, woe is me” angst too much. Julie Kagawa struck the perfect balance here.
Also perfect is the pacing and action. While we do spend time with Allie as she learns what being a vampire entails, everything still moves at a whip crack pace; the seeds of vampire politics are sown, and when she’s suddenly thrust out on her own into the unforgiving world at large, it makes sense. From there it’s scene after scene where everything’s always moving at the perfect pace — slow enough for characterization and tension build up, but fast enough that you’re never bored and keep the pages turning.
The secondary characters were drawn nicely, though some more than others. Zeke turns out to be a wonderful romantic foil for Allie, though he did seem a little too perfect at times. Jeb, the leader of the wandering humans Zeke belongs to, is just as strong a presence as Allie is. Also great is Allie’s sire, Kanin, who leaves a strong impression with what page time he has. The rest of the characters sort of blend together, apart from the one catty girl who hates Allie just because she’s in love with Zeke, too. It’s the one aspect of the novel I hated, simply because it didn’t need to be there.
All in all, The Immortal Rules is an explosive start to a vampire series, with a main character who holds a ton of promise. Everyone should check this one out....more
Though labeled as the sequel to 2010′s Ship Breaker, The Drowned Cities is more a novel that takes place in the same universe as the first, and includes one of the minor characters from Ship Breaker to great effect.
The Drowned Cities is not an easy novel to stomach. It’s a story of war, and what that does to a world, from the top of society all the way down. We follow the story of Mahlia, a girl who’s seen the worst of war in the past, and her friend Mouse, a young boy who gets caught in the great war machine. Then there’s Tool, a genetically created half-man, half-animal that somehow has broken free of his training. Between the three characters, there isn’t much to the ravages of war that isn’t touched.
Mahlia is an incredibly strong character, someone who is hard to stomach but easy to root for. She knows what it means to be an outcast, to survive on the outskirts and in the middle of a war when she needs to. Scrappy, independent, hard, she forges her way through the drowned cities of a future war-torn America to save her friend. Mouse is a little harder to take as a character, and it’s the sympathy of his storyline that got to me. He gets caught up in the war, becomes a soldier boy, and watching his initiation and bonding with his fellow boy soldiers is painful. And it’s real.
Then there’s Tool. Tool, who is such a great force that he overshadows Mahlia and Mouse. He’s got such an amazing presence that it’s hard to pay attention to anything else. Mahlia has her moments to shine beside Tool, but he’s the real star of the novel, in my eyes. He embodies the questions of genetic manipulation, of what it means to have humanity, what it means to be free of your own accord. The fact that he’s a terrifying killer on top of it all seems to be just another aspect of Tool’s personality, which is something I have to applaud Bacigalupi for. He’s created a character so realized, you can’t help but cheer him on and be repulsed by him at the same time.
The Drowned Cities explores what it means to be human, and what horrible things we can do to ourselves and to others if we keep going down the route we are. It’s such a great, great read....more