Thera Ballard is an orphan, her elderly aunt can't handle her so she drops her off at Rock Point, a home for unwanted girls. Thera Ballard is a drug uThera Ballard is an orphan, her elderly aunt can't handle her so she drops her off at Rock Point, a home for unwanted girls. Thera Ballard is a drug user, a thief, and a bully. Thera Ballard is a liar, she tells anyone who will listen that her mother killed her father with an ax, or was it father killed the mother? Thera Ballard is really just a girl, like any other girl her age, trying to find out where she fits in. But then, Thera Ballard wants more than anything to be a warrior so she can slay the Minotaur and win acclaim and fortune.
The Minotaur, besides being a creature out of Greek legend, is a very real fear in Thera's hometown. She is an actual monster, confined to a maze high up in the cliffs on the outskirts of town. They send her human tribute and pray she never escapes. Thera embarks on a quest to slay the Minotaur and in the process she finds herself.
This was a difficult review to write. I enjoyed the underlying story, but found it difficult to connect with the characters. Perhaps this is because instead of an angsty teen I'm a middle-aged woman. I'm sure that the intended audience, a young female who is still fresh to feelings of love and loss, who thinks that one day she will save the world will find it more amenable. More often than not I'd stop and think "now why would she do that, it's so stupid" and have to put myself into the character's shoes to realize that she wouldn't know any better. I'm not the right audience for this book. Having said all of that, the writing was clean and crisp, with excellent descriptions. Technically everything is in the right place, and the flow and pace of the story moves along well. It's my fault I didn't enjoy it more than I did. ...more
New Review 10/17/15 The author completely rewrote this book based on reader feedback. I was invited to read and review the rewrite by their publicist.
INew Review 10/17/15 The author completely rewrote this book based on reader feedback. I was invited to read and review the rewrite by their publicist.
I was very taken by the concept of a post-apocalyptic novel based on an alternate reality in which all the bees die, leaving the plants unable to pollinate which in turn die, killing the animals and leaving the humans with nothing. A reality that is completely unlike my own. All without zombies. I didn't like the way the author originally realized the concept because the protagonist Kenders was almost entirely passive. She had one idea in her head, nothing could disabuse her of it, but other than that she didn't do anything.
In the rewrite, Kenders comes into her own. She's no longer passive and simply waiting for something, anything to happen, she's out there striving towards her goal of discovering the truth.
I now love this book. Kenders is transformed into a punk-rock animal rights activist. She had a life before she met Andrew, which means that her entire existence wasn't predicated solely on her love interest. That's an important message.
When Andrew dies, she refuses to believe that he is dead. He comes to visit her in the virtual reality world of Nirvana. As a master programmer, he could easily have inserted code before his death, yet there's something that keeps her believing that it's him and not just a simulacrum.
As the novel unfolds the reader joins Kenders in her quest to find out the truth behind Andrew's fate. Is he dead? Or is he hiding in Nirvana? I had to keep reading to find out, and can't wait for the next book in the series to learn more.
We still aren't told what happened or why the bees and everything else died or why technology hadn't advanced to a point where the humans could have stopped it from happening. But, now we're given hints and a potential villain. The world building has truly come together. I applaud the author for listening to their readers and offering us something more.
Original Review 08/29/15: In a world where all the bees die, so too do the plants, and the animals that depend on them. And the humans are left with little to build on. This is how the world that we know it ends in Nirvana. What a great concept. Unfortunately, that's as good as it gets. Even though we learn how it ultimately happened, by that time we just don't care.
Protagonist Larissa Kenders refuses to mourn the death of her husband Andrew, instead steadfastly choosing to believe that he is still alive and out there somewhere. He was involved in a series of secret missions that took him into danger and never returned from his final foray. Despite a prolonged search, no sign of his body was ever located. Kenders uses virtual reality as an escape and meeting Andrew there fosters her belief that he's not dead.
This could have been so interesting, but there was little to no character development. Kenders is very one-sided and she never grabbed me or reeled me in. I found it very hard to care what happened to her, or even care if her belief in Andrew was true....more
Like some other reviews I've read Un Lun Dun reminded me a little bit of Neverwhere. The major similarity is the alternate London of the setting. TherLike some other reviews I've read Un Lun Dun reminded me a little bit of Neverwhere. The major similarity is the alternate London of the setting. There are "scary" characters and situations in both. However, Un Lun Dun reminds me more of The Phantom Tollbooth which was one of my absolute favorite books as a youngster. I appreciated that Mieville wrote about a sassy female heroine, it's always nice to find female characters that aren't sitting around waiting for a man to come to their rescue. There are enough princess phenomenon books already written for this age group. Definitely humorous, the book is filled with puns. My only complaint is that some of the characters were a bit flat, but that might be because there are so many.
This book added a little to the back story of the series. The premise is still interesting but unbelievable. The third book in the series is waiting fThis book added a little to the back story of the series. The premise is still interesting but unbelievable. The third book in the series is waiting for me at the library, I'm curious to see what the author comes up with for an ending....more
I liked the concept more than the execution. The actuality of this story would be impossible but if you can suspend belief it's a very interesting ideI liked the concept more than the execution. The actuality of this story would be impossible but if you can suspend belief it's a very interesting idea. However, like other reviewers have suggested, why the protagonist would continue to place himself in danger every single minute of his life is hard to ignore. It's not going to stop me from reading the rest of the series. ...more