And All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, inAnd All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in the aftermath of an alien occupation of earth. The story is about classes and social work and an individual being more than the generalization of his or her society.
This book was a really great read. I loved having the characters realistically discuss what to do next, seeing the occupation and changes to society take place over time. I always find it frustrating when a novel or a movie establishes some event is taking place (alien invasion, virus release, zombies, etc.) and then jumps ahead some how (character gets injured, usually) without showing the transition. And All the Stars is all about the transition.
But just as much as the actual story, I loved how diverse the characters were. There's a straight boy who doesn't confirm to hetero norms and has a gay best friend who he's super close to and he doesn't mind when people assume they might be a couple. There are people of other religions, people from multiple ethnicities. And even one male who dresses feminine with makeup and traditionally female clothes despite definitely identifying as male.
My only complaint has to do with the end: (view spoiler)[the big final battle is skipped over ala The Hunger Games where Katniss would always wake up later to someone explaining how things finished. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The short stories contained within this collection are incredibly varied in style, substance and quality. And I’d never read anything from any of thesThe short stories contained within this collection are incredibly varied in style, substance and quality. And I’d never read anything from any of these writers (unless we’re counting Charlie Jane Anders’ posts on io9).
There were some stories I was happy that I had read. But there were some that I definitely could have done without, either because I didn’t like the writing style, I didn’t like the characters or I just didn’t care for the plot. But that is the risk you run when you read a collection like this.
There were three incredibly strong pieces in this, two that were interesting but felt very incomplete, and two I may not have even bothered to finish.
Overall, well worth it, especially considering it was free!
Six Months, Three Days An interesting take on what happens if the two people in a relationship both have a sort of ability to see the future and they know that their relationship is going to end poorly. The story is one of free will vs. fate. And while I enjoyed reading it, I had a problem with the dialogue, which I thought was fake sounding.
The Dala Horse I had no idea where this story was going when I started it, and I finished it with a multitude of questions. It was an interesting read, but I felt like so much was not answered.
A Clean Sweep with all the Trimmings I’ll admit that I couldn’t read this at all. I don’t like the style of writing and I didn’t care for the little bit of the story I did read.
Beauty Belongs to the Flowers A long, beautiful story of a cyberpunk Japan. The technology available fascinated me. But more so, I enjoyed the interactions between the people. The youth of Japan, embracing very modern ways, vs. the older generations, who are more respectful and do not approve of the fake worlds people live in as a result of their technology. However, I did not like the very end. It creeped me out, but not in a good way. In a sort of disgusting way.
A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel A look at various alien cultures in the galaxy. These are incredibly creative. However, they are unconnected to one another and read more like the appendix to a really great space opera rather than anything that can stand on its own.
Ragnarok I’ll admit that I have problems with epic poems, but there have been ones I loved in the past. This is not one of them. I had trouble getting into it, and I had trouble paying attention the whole way through.
Hello Moto Another story that seems like a snippet of a larger novel. It very interesting, but overall too short. I would like some more, please. We don’t get enough background of who the women are, but we know that one of them created something that they could use for good, and, as happens, two of them choose to use it selfishly.
Shtetl Easily the best of the bunch. This is the story of a world where Hitler succeeded. The Jews have been wiped out, and the Reich rules the world. Since there are no more Jews, the Reich has chosen to create little villages with actors (like those annoying ones from frontier villages or something), who do not break from their roles while in the village. They live out the lives of Jews while tourists come and gawk at this extinguished people. The actors do their jobs so well, that they have to admit to themselves that there is no longer a difference between the characters they place and the people they are outside of the village....more
Despite being enamored with all of Neil Gaiman’s novels, his short stories usually don’t do it for me for the most part. I read them though, because fDespite being enamored with all of Neil Gaiman’s novels, his short stories usually don’t do it for me for the most part. I read them though, because for every “The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories” there are fantastic ones like “We Can Get Them for You Wholesale” and “Babycakes” and “Troll Bridge,” which are so amazingly well written, tell such whimsical, horrifying and beautiful stories that I firmly believe my children or grandchildren will be reading them in a literature class alongside John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” or Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”...more
I know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of UnearI know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unearthly (which I loved). They aren't normal people or kind to humans or guardian angels or anything like that. These are biblical angels. These are Old Testament/Torah, wrath of god, angels that destroyed cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Susan Ee has legit angel and bible lore (I'm not religious, but I did go to Catholic school) and I was absolutely giddy about that. (Nephilim are referenced correctly! Gabriel is the messenger of God and brings about the beginning of the apocalypse! Uriel has ties to hell!)
The book takes place after cities of the U.S. have already been destroyed when angels came down to Earth to wreak fire and brimstone. In life after modern amenities are gone, people keep one eye on the skies to hide from angels, gangs roam the streets and Penryn (your typical tough female lead, like The Hunger Games' Katniss, Graceling's Katsa or Hollowmen's Remy) watches as her little sister is grabbed by an angel who flies away with her. And the only chance she has of getting Paige back is the injured, wingless angel she finds on the street. Raffe is willing to bring Penryn to the angels only because she has his wings and it's his hope that they can be reattached.
I love lawless end-of-the-world-type societies, so Angelfall hit the mark for me. I like books that are light on the romance, but hint that there is actual build up of a relationship. I just really liked this book. I love underground rebellions (like Neville Longbottom and Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
And I absolutely loved that Penryn's mother is legitimately crazy. She's schizophrenic, sees things, does things that only make sense to her but seem to have no rational reasoning and is just damn fascinating to read about. A woman like that would normally be in the care of professionals. Instead, given the end of the world and everything, she's free to roam the streets and right now the real world looks as horrifying and scary as what she's always pictured in her head. And she is actually more dangerous than most people because of how unpredictable and out of touch with reality she is.
I think the only reason Angelfall didn't get 5 stars from me was because the story is the classic "younger sibling was taken by supernatural creatures and I have to get him/her back with the help of one of these supernatural creatures that I don't trust all that much" (although the end is different (view spoiler)[ when you consider the fact that Paige has been turned into a little monster! I can't wait to see how that plays out (hide spoiler)]). Lastly, it's written in first person POV, and I'm honestly getting so sick of that. There's something about first person POV that I never really liked and the more YA novels I read that are written like that, the less patience I have for it.
Overall, this was an amazing book, a fascinating read and has planted the seeds for a really great series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A remarkable amount of work went into writing this novel so that it really felt like the reader is holding a factual account of events. Grahame-SmithA remarkable amount of work went into writing this novel so that it really felt like the reader is holding a factual account of events. Grahame-Smith cleverly uses quoted passages from Lincoln’s diary, from speeches he gave, from correspondences, etc. The care put into this novel is very much the same work one would put into a biography or a research paper. This impressed me very much.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t quite as silly as one would think (other than the idea that our president was out hunting vampires in his youth). In fact, this novel seamlessly weaves vampires into slavery and the Civil War in a way that is almost realistic. I, of course, am not a history buff and wouldn’t be able to point out any obvious problems.
The vampires here are not Twilight vampires (not that I thought they would be since Lincoln is decapitating them left and right), but neither are they like the vampires from The Passage, which are more uncontrollable animal than human. Instead, they’re more like Anne Rice’s vampires in Interview With the Vampire. There are the good ones like Louis. And then there are the Lestats. Actually, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has a very big resemblance to Interview in that they both start with the vampire contacting a human to basically publish the story.
For me, this book begins to drag when it was light on the vampire hunting and heavy on the politics. But then, I am just not very interested in politics. For others, this will continue to be engaging. Since I wasn’t as interested, there was a lull for me when Lincoln becomes senator, then president and the Civil War begins.
This book was good, not great, and it definitely didn’t live up to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for me. In all fairness though, I liked the original source material for that quite a bit even before the zombies (which I have a particular weakness for) were added....more
The problem with this book, is that it took far too long to get into anything really interesting. Until I got more than halfway through this book I had to deal with characters who are just too witty and have a quip for everything. Also, ALL of the journalists have this sort of demeanor. So while Rick is slightly different from Georgie and Shaun, and Buffy is different from them all, they all have the same sense of humor and respond the same way in situations with annoying and sarcastic comments or a witty rejoinder.
Also, I didn't care for Georgia's first person POV (view spoiler)[although, since it was first person POV, I didn't expect her to die and for the perspective to switch to Shaun (hide spoiler)].
The so-called conspiracy was only sort of interesting. It wasn't a shocker and it wasn't nearly as big as I kind of expected it to be, so overall that was a letdown after the build up for it.
Lastly, and this is just my own annoyance since I am a journalist, at the beginning of the book Georgia says that bloggers became respected during the outbreak because no traditional news media sources wanted to cover it. Really? There's a ZOMBIE OUTBREAK and NO media outlets want to cover it? CNN would be running constant footage from peoples' cell phones. Fox would be speculating on how it was the left's fault. Anderson Cooper would be out in the field. These are 24/7 news channels. OF COURSE they're going to cover this! I just ... it made absolutely no sense. I can understand how she could have argued that traditional media broke down in the face of the outbreak and subsequent years because travel was more difficult, there were quarantine zones, etc, and that led to the rise of blogging as the main form of reporting, but not that the traditional outlets just IGNORED it.
Overall, I don't think I'll be continuing this series. Which is unfortunate, because there are only so many good zombie novels out there. This is not one of them. It's not because the zombies made limited appearances, I didn't care about that, it's that the rest of the story wasn't interesting enough to make up for the lack of zombies.
Oh, and this has no bearing on how I felt about the book, but exactly where was After the End Times getting its revenue from? How were they paying the dozens of people who ran the site and wrote for it? I'm not sure how many people they employed (say 20 admins, tech people and writers?) or how much they paid ($20,000 a year?) but overall that's still a lot of money that the site has to make ($400,000 just to pay salaries, plus overhead (the vans, computer equipment, server space, etc.) and they need to be making let's ballpark $600,000 to break even a year. I'm sure the site rankings play into it somehow, but where is the money coming from? Who is supplying it?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more