This was my favourite book of 2008. Hands down. It's an absolutely thrilling read that did something books never do to me... I was unable to read anyt...more
This was my favourite book of 2008. Hands down. It's an absolutely thrilling read that did something books never do to me... I was unable to read anything else for another week following. That's a feat. Truly. Brilliant. Utterly. I wait for more of Peadar with great anticipation.
*upon a re-read in May of 2009, gearing up for my ARC copy of the second book, I find that I had a really emotional reaction to much of this book. It stills blows me away on many levels, and I was glad to revisit it...and the second read made me tear up in different spots than I had in the first read! Wow, this got better upon re-reading it! Whoda thunk.
And now... on to "The Deserter"... with a passion.
(THE FOLLOWING IS MY ORIGINAL REVIEW FROM AMAZON)
"And ten heartbeats past, you grabbed a piece of flesh out of my hands. Didn't you like the taste? Because if you can be a savage, maybe I could be civilized? It's possible, isn't it?"
Stopmouth is a young man in a world where humans live solely by hunting and consuming flesh. He is a hunter blessed with incredible speed, which is the only thing that saves him on a daily basis. Stopmouth, considered stupid by his tribe due to a stutter that impedes his speech, must prove himself constantly in order to survive. In his world when people outlive there usefulness they volunteer for flesh trades between the other beasts, because some beasts prefer their flesh still living. Stopmouth will be encouraged to volunteer if he ever fails.
One day Stopmouth's older brother, Wallbreaker, betrays him on a hunt. Thinking him dead Wallbreaker leaves Stopmouth behind to save his own neck. This cowardly act forms a gap between the two brothers that is only widened further when Wallbreaker takes all the credit for himself and uses that to buy himself a bride; a young woman named Mossheart, who Stopmouth has always had feelings for.
There are other things going on in this world. For one thing, there are people who watch over the tribes. Not gods, surely, but real people, as evidenced when a woman named Indrani falls from the sky. This strange and beautiful woman fuels desires in Stopmouth's heart that Mossheart never did. When Stopmouth breaks his legs and knows that he is on the volunteer list Indrani saves his life by splinting his legs and preventing the elders from taking him. Thus begins a friendship that will blossom throughout the course of the book, even though Stopmouth knows nothing of this strange woman who fell from the sky, or what that even means in the grand scheme of things. And even though his brother has designs to make her his in an endeavor to become the greatest warrior the ancestors have ever boasted.
"Are you truly human?" Stopmouth asked. He hoped she'd open her eyes and look at him. Another part of him wanted her to keep them closed so he could watch her without making her angry.
They stayed closed.
"I'm human," she muttered. "As human as you are, anyway."
"What do you mean?" he asked, puzzled.
She lifted her head. "None of your men have hair on their faces. You live on a diet of pure meat, most of it non-human. Your women never die in childbirth. You rarely get sick, any of you. And all of a sudden I'm the one who's not human?"
O'Guilin's first installment in the trilogy is a marvel. A... Marvel... plain and simple. It's one of those rare books that comes along that has such depth to it that the reader gets instantly overwhelmed and transported. It reminds me of many things that I love... "Watership Down", "Lord of the Flies", "Tarzan"... it echoes many things I adore. It also speaks to me of Frank Frazetta paintings and of a world that blends complicated Ethical dilemmas with a sensuous carnality. Do not belittle O'Guilin's own originality though, because trust me this book oozes original thought and raw, unadulterated talent. O'Guilin has such skill at creating a believable and real world that draws you in. Added to this is O'Guilin's wonderful ability to write such dynamic and interesting characters that the reader actually gives a damn about. This is a rare thing as many writer's don't really seem to be able to pull all of these elements together, particularly with such a concept as O'Guilin has established. This world, in all of it's brutality, is complex and surreal. Watching the humans go out again and again to face their doom inspires the reader and leaves them with an intense empty-stomach feeling with every campaign. I would love to say that it's jaw dropping, but in honour of O'Guilin I would prefer to call it eye popping, and you will just have to trust me on that. Fans of action novels will thrill in the details that O'Guilin shares, because there's enough bloodshed to make any gore enthusiast squirm. But there is a lot of heart and soul to be found in the relationships between the characters that any softhearted reader will find themselves tearing up, as I did. Boys will love it, girls (like me) will love it... It is not for the faint of heart. But it's for readers who like having their hearts stopped.
Brilliant. Utterly. I await the next book in the series with heightened enthusiasm.
"Your blood has come back to me," He whispered, "and so will you."
Bring me more blood, O'Guilin. My soul demands it.
This was a real interesting read. Absorbing and compelling... I'm usually not one for zombie books but a good story will get me every time. And this w...more
This was a real interesting read. Absorbing and compelling... I'm usually not one for zombie books but a good story will get me every time. And this was a great story. Chilling and disturbing, though truth be told I found the religious aspect of the novel much more gripping and terrifying than the zombie attack moments. I couldn't wait to get to the end, to get answers... to learn how this whole world came to be. But unfortunately alot of what went on went unexplained until the next book in the series (spring 2010). This is great that there will be a new book, and within the mythos of the storyline that unexplained plot point works well... But I really wnt to know what happens and I am terribly impatient to wait until next year to find out more! Grrr.
Still, a great start. I will be reading the next one.
... Before you ask, no.. I did not, in fact, just read The Hunger Games for the first time. Bitch please, that was so three years ago. I wanted to rev...more ... Before you ask, no.. I did not, in fact, just read The Hunger Games for the first time. Bitch please, that was so three years ago. I wanted to revisit Suzanne Collins pre-movie release so I reread the book yesterday and today... And it was so worth it.
For the record, this was my original review I wrote the first time I read the book on another forum pre-blog.
* * *
So, everything you hear about this book is true. It's Dystopian, it's affecting, it's really well written. What you don't hear besides the plot and the bloodshed is that Katniss is an amazing character who really comes into her own by the end of the book, even if she is confused and on edge because of the Capitol.
Almost half of this book goes by before any of the Tributes ever set foot in the Arena where their deaths await and still we feel the journey with every poignant step. I think that is the real strength of this book and, in tandem, Collins writing... that she draws the reader in with very thorough exposition and character development so that by the time Katniss sets foot in the ring she is a force to follow. A force.
I lost much sleep to reading The Hunger Games. I've lost even more minutes daydreaming and wondering in between readings. I lost myself totally in this book, and it's been a while since I could call anything engrossing. I cannot wait to lose myself in more of Collins work. She is an author to be reckoned with.
* * *
My new thoughts on rereading this are as follows - Collins peppers the book with foreshadowed moments to hint at the events in the following books. This makes me wonder how much of the sequels were planned when this one went to print. It's not contrived at all, just noticeable in a big way when you have read the three books. I was sobbing at one moment during the reaping where the action hints at a moment in book three that is particularly dispiriting. This book is still very good.
It's interesting to watch this book go from a little known nothing to a blockbuster bestseller. I enjoy watching people come in one day to the store I work at only to return a day or two later to pick up books 2 and 3. The excitement for this film is palpable. I hope it lives up to the hype just like the books have.
Well I just consumed Catching Fire in about...oh... 48 hours...and the only reason it took that long to read it was because I had to work during that...moreWell I just consumed Catching Fire in about...oh... 48 hours...and the only reason it took that long to read it was because I had to work during that time period. What can I say? I blew me away. It exceeded my expectations. It made me drop the book and bite my nails at one point. It made me tear up and made me angry at the same time. It bent all the rules and threw curve balls out of fields I didn't even know existed...
... it destroyed the annoying trend that the middle book of a trilogy sucking!!! That right there should tell you something. It's a middle book and it wasn't awful! Good gods, that's something.
I'm not sure what else to say, or what to read next. I want the third book. I can't have the third book, not for, at the very least, another year. But I WANT the third book and I'm not going to be happy until I get the third book *stomps foot*. Until this time...next year... I'll be off sulking and pondering what Collins is going to do next. (less)
Let me preface this by admitting one thing. I adore Philip Reeve. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly adore. That said, I felt myself drifting through this...moreLet me preface this by admitting one thing. I adore Philip Reeve. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly adore. That said, I felt myself drifting through this book... reading it because I felt I had to. This may have been timing, I had an ARC copy for review and had to read it when I acquired it. What I would have much rather done with it was wait for the winter months and cozied up on a chair with a hot tea and a blanket and just enjoyed it. Or I needed to, perhaps, have read more than just the first book of the Hungry City Chronicles... that would have been more to my liking. But, like I said, I needed to review it quick. So yeah.
Despite those complaints (which I realize have nothing to do with Philip Reeve or the book) it's still a really fun read. Reeve, as always, is inventive and creative not only with his characters and storylines, but with his usage of dialogue as well (Mathmatically correct planes of cheekbones and shipwrecks of dresses during lovemaking scenes come to mind)... But where Reeve's genius really shines is how out of an existing mythos created for the HCC he has developed a prequel with new characters and little connectivity. The whole book I was wondering how this tied into the events in "Mortal Engines", but they do. And Brilliantly!
*Sigh* It's hard for me to dislike Reeve... frankly I don't think he can write a bad book. The problems I had with this were all my doing. Hopw can you hate it? A young shaven head girl belonging to an order of emotionless engineers, a grasping race of super humans called Scriven, nano-technology, cybernetic technology, children and archaeologists, bigotry, people trying to kill each other for the greater good, hidden pasts and secret memories... Holy Gods, how did I not blow through this in a night? Reeve is everything I love crystalized into purest literary perfection. I don't know how you can like sci fi and not have read him. (less)
Well, that was a thrilling 24 hours of my life. It's hard to review this book without giving away every single thing that was really nifty about it......more
Well, that was a thrilling 24 hours of my life. It's hard to review this book without giving away every single thing that was really nifty about it... so I won't do that. What I will talk about is impressions that I had that I really want to remember for next year when the third book comes out. And go.
First off... the book is not about Mary at all, so get that out of your head. This books is about Mary's daughter, Gabrielle, who was raised in the seaside barricade of Vista where MAry washed up at the end of book one. And she is very much NOT her mother. She lacks her mother's strength and determination of will, her quickening of spirit, her constant faith and curiousity of all the "what ifs?" of the world. Gabry is very much not Mary... so readers and fans have to readjust their thinking to get around this. There's a bit in the book where Mary told her she wanted her to be safe, to grow up safe...but between the barricaded walls of Vista, the constant patrolling, the Recruitors coming to and fro and other such safeguards Gabry not only grows up safe but far too naive and innocent. Is this a flaw? Certainly not...it's just the first thing you have to realize in reading this book. You are NOT reading about strongwilled Mary... you are reading about quiet and fallible Gabry. It's not a bad thing, but if you want to glean some enjoyment out of the very beginning of the book it's best to remember that mantra.
It's also interesting to note that while Ryan does go into how the world reacted when the world became infected she still does not explain how it happened. No one knows how it happened. And for a large period of time there has not been anyone brave or rational enough to seek out the answers...having a horde of Unconsecrated to fight against will also damper the pursuit of truth and knowledge.
This still remains one of the greatest mysteries of this series... how did this happen? Does Ryan even need to explain it? Will that stop me from reading a sequel? Certainly not... Ryan has just cracked open a whole 'nother dimension with the Recruitors and the Soulers and the ominous sounding Dark City... praytell, what are these mysteries of which I speak? Read the book yourself... it's not perfect, but it's not far off. 4 & 1/2 stars and a very satisfied reader. I'll never look at yellow school buses or bridges over ravines the same way again.
I really wanted to like this book. Scratch that, I really wanted to love this book. I wanted this to be the new amazing thing that I could handsell to...moreI really wanted to like this book. Scratch that, I really wanted to love this book. I wanted this to be the new amazing thing that I could handsell to my customers. But it wasn't, I'm afraid. I actually tried to read it twice because I was so hoping for its potential to be realized. But it never did, and here's why.
It started out...ok... Alternating stories between a young man named Finn and a girl named Claudia both imprisoned in very different worlds. Claudia is a priviledged daughter of the Warden of a living prison called Incarceron who is awaiting her fate of a loveless marriage to the Queen's obnoxious son. Finn is actually a prisoner of Incarceron who doesn't remember his past beyond 3 years and wants to get outside. By chance they both acquire this crystal key that allows them to communicate with each other... and that's about where I jumped ship.
Like I said, it was ok, but at this point I was 250+ pages into the story and I was so confused about everything beyond these basic plot points...which I could have gleaned from reading the back cover. I don't know why I was so confused, but like I said I tried twice to read this and I gave it my best bookseller's effort before I realized that I really was not absorbing about 90% of what I was reading. Fisher's writing in this is a little nebulous and vague and the jumping around so often makes it hard to follow. I'm sure she's trying to build a mystery, but after 250 pages I should have some idea of what is going on.
Sigh. I tried, I really tried. I think some people may adore this, and I am reluctant to tell people don't do it because it is really a fascinating concept overall... but I just can't do it. This may be my best rating I have ever given to a "I can't do it anymore" book, so I guess there's that. But really, there was nothing making me turn the page anymore. I give up. (less)
It took me two years after the release date to pick up Michael Grant’s Gone. It took me all of 36 hours to devour it. I’ve had customers telling me ho...more It took me two years after the release date to pick up Michael Grant’s Gone. It took me all of 36 hours to devour it. I’ve had customers telling me how amazing it is, and it is just that. Amazing.
Sam Temple is sitting in class one day when his teacher disappears. Some investigation proves that all adults have vanished… gone… and what remains are children younger than 15. Chaos descends and no one knows what to do. A few people step up to run things but ultimately it’s still a society run by children. Children who do not know (or shouldn’t know) how to act as adults.
The story mainly revolves around several main characters and different plots to make up the whole story. Many of these characters have unique abilities that set them apart from the children, and there are many theories about these children, as well as about the disappearance of the adults themselves. Is it God? Is it Aliens? The local power plant? What is causing this bizarre effect? And what should the kids nearing the age of 15 expect from the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone)?
This book is amazing, as I have said before. Dark and creepy and thoroughly successful at being disturbing. Let me get this straight, I am a huge fan of dark. What Grant has written in Gone nearly had me shutting the book and putting it aside. That dark. That disturbing. But I picked it up after a few minutes to keep going. That compelling. However, I was close to giving up if one more person got a baseball bat to the head. *Shudder*
The book had me at hello and at goodbye. I am feverish to pick up Hunger as well as the newly released Lies. It’s a clear win for the book – 5 out of 5 stars. Loved it. Want more. Getting more now.
Wow. Michael Grant knows how to write cliffhangers. And how!
For a bit I drifted through Hunger thinking I didn’t care for it as much as Gone. There’s...more Wow. Michael Grant knows how to write cliffhangers. And how!
For a bit I drifted through Hunger thinking I didn’t care for it as much as Gone. There’s a lot going on, but ultimately it is a sequel book. Sequels are almost always not as good as the first book. The mystery is gone and the plot is already understood and the world is already built. Sequels are usually less impressive.
What Grant does in Hunger is right around the “middle book sucking” scenario. He creates more mystery, more intrigue, more “What the hell is going on?!” moments. He creates more to the world, and that is impressive on its very own.
It’s three months after the events in Gone. Sam has been dubbed the leader of the FAYZ kids, a task he is not up to performing. Kids come to him for every little problem under the sun, people want him to fix everything at a moment’s notice. People expect him to be a parent. Sam wears under the demand and begins to show signs of intense stress. Meanwhile Caine and Co. languish at the Coates academy, starving and craving blood. Oh, and there’s no food left, and killer worms, and a monster growing in a cave. Joy.
I’m so glad I brought home Lies with me this evening. I will have need of it. A whole book of cliffhangers? Joy.
It's been about three years, but I finally decided to finish reading the Gone books by Michael Grant. It's a great series in a sinking, ruinous, destr...more It's been about three years, but I finally decided to finish reading the Gone books by Michael Grant. It's a great series in a sinking, ruinous, destructive sort of way. I read the first three in a week and decided to wait to read the latter three until they were all out (or I had ARCs). This week finally allotted the proper "mood" I needed to be in for the books.
For those of you who haven't read the books I will say this - Grant's imagination is massive. And disturbing. And horrifying. These are billed as Science Fiction/Dystopia... but they are Horror in the truest sense of the word. Don't let the covers fool you, there is nothing hopeful or light about these books. If you decide to read them you are embarking on a heart shattering, emotional roller coaster. I put down the book several times during the read. They are not something you can plow through.
* Spoilers for those who have not read Gone, Hunger, and Lies. *
In Plague, the fourth book, a new series of problems haunts the kids of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). They have overcome starvation and they have overcome disloyalty but a new challenge has yet to be faced - pandemic. Kids are coming down with a flu that is so severe their necks snap from coughing... or they spray bits of lungs all over each other. In tandem another horror occurs - insects growing inside the skin that must burrow their way out of the occupant. Sam and Astrid and the council have had their problems running the FAYZ but this is a doozy by even their standards. Will they have to rely upon old enemies to resolve the plague?
As with the other Gone books there are many characters to follow; many tributary plot lines. These books are a beautiful blend of action, tension, and complicated moralities. It's easy to see that lines would get skewed when you are in an environment where no one over the age of 15 exists... and there's no power... and the food supply is running down... and the medical treatment is sub-par... and everyone is angry with one another. New moralities must be birthed and with these new problems and with that come new neurosis. And there were some good ones in this book. Wow. I don't know if it's because I waited three years or if this book is just... wow. There are amazing character development moments in this book, and I can't wait to see where it's going.
Well, that makes book number 50 in my goal of 100 for the year. Go me!
Lies by Michael Grant is not my favourite of the series. It’s still a strong rea...more Well, that makes book number 50 in my goal of 100 for the year. Go me!
Lies by Michael Grant is not my favourite of the series. It’s still a strong read because the over looming premise is fantastic. However, Lies falls short of perfect and floats somewhere in the “middle book” realm. Allow me to explain.
It’s now 7 months after the initial events in Gone, which left an entire town of kids under the age of 15 adultless. At first several people stepped up to try to run the town and create a society which made sense – Sam was the all-powerful go-to guy, Astrid was the brains, Mary took care of the babies, Albert made sure everyone was fed, etc. etc. Cut to 7 months later and everyone is showing signs of strain. Mary’s eating disorder and depression has been discovered and is now being monitored. Sam has been halved of his influence within the society and is sitting on a council of 7 people (Astrid, John, Albert, Sam, Howard, Edilio, and Dekka). Albert is the only one who seems to not only have himself together but is actually flourishing under the new regime called the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone).
But things are wearing at the edges. Sam feels powerless to accomplish anything. The recent actions of the so-called Human Crew are making things unpleasant for the Freaks (anyone with inhuman abilities caused by radiation mutations). In the old days Sam would have vigilantied his way about putting a stop to every awful thing that threatened the FAYZ. But now the council hems and haws and gets nothing accomplished, forcing Sam to figuratively sit on his hands. And there is still the threat of Caine and the Coates Academy kids, even though they are starving to death and resorting to other means of acquiring protein.
Overall, not my favourite in the series, as I have said before. The ending is a touch goofy and it feels forced. I found out this is the third of 6 planned books. I think that is largely the reason; this is a middle book (again, as stated early). It’s a bridge book spanning between two great plot lines and character arcs. I hope that means the next one will be better. I grew weary of reading this one, even though I will give it 4 of 5 stars. It just wasn’t as sharp as the first two.
Looking forward to Plague next year when it is released. Until then, I’m off to something non-Grant written.