There were parts of this book that had me saying Yes, YES! More! I loved that sexuality was ambi...moreI'm...not sure. More thoughts, later.
There were parts of this book that had me saying Yes, YES! More! I loved that sexuality was ambiguous and no one really cared who you were sleeping with. The main character's mother was in a heterosexual relationship but after her husband died, married a lady. Gotta love that. The love triangle is about a girl and a guy in love with the same guy for once, instead of two guys in love with the same girl.
Art and talking about art and how art is everything when you're an artist. Loved all the descriptions and that art was so important.
I loved that the characters all loved the city. So many dystopias are all about hating where you live, fuck the man, the machine of life will grind you down, etc. But here, even though it was deadly serious, there was also a lot of love and good feelings going around.
On the other hand...
The main character was whiny and privileged and also whiter than everyone else for some reason? Not sure why that was necessary.
The middle part got really boring. There was a lot of running around and introspection and general doldrums. Then (view spoiler)[when the main couple left the city (hide spoiler)], there was actually no purpose at all to that. It didn't accomplish anything except say to me the author was confused and didn't know where to go with her story.
The logic behind the "summer prince." It was pretty ridiculous and the holes in that kind of political system are obvious from a mile away.
It could have been a lot better.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Just look at how amazing that cover is. HOW COULD I SAY NO.
The cover had disappointingly little to do with the book. I want...moreUpon buying:
Just look at how amazing that cover is. HOW COULD I SAY NO.
The cover had disappointingly little to do with the book. I wanted babies in giant test tubes presided over by gigantic happy aliens, ok?
I am torn as to what I should rate this book. I think it's a 3.5 but I'll round up. Parts of the feminism were so ridiculous that after a while I was like God I get it, women's lives suck in your future! Women are considered minors in this crappy future, and can't hold jobs or buy anything without their husband's say so. I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he shot back "Well women basically weren't citizens until the 1800s. They couldn't acquire much wealth or be landowners, they were basically slaves."
Damn, he's totally right. So this book is basically the shitty Dark Ages but in the future. Lots of alien languages are part of this future, coincidentally, but very few actual aliens.
The thesis put forth is basically - language is empowering. Feminism is empowering. What's more empowering than a language meant just for women?
Edit: OH MY GOD IT'S A TRILOGY. Time to acquire. Oh yes, my pretties.(less)
Undeniably bittersweet reaction to this book. A number of reviewers here have said what a hard time they had getting into it, but after a while they w...moreUndeniably bittersweet reaction to this book. A number of reviewers here have said what a hard time they had getting into it, but after a while they were completely sucked in. For me, it was the opposite. I thought the first 50 pages absolutely brilliant and it kept making me want to cry. Somewhere along the line, though, it lost me. I stopped being able to sympathize with Della and started smacking my head saying STOP BEING STUPID.
But it's hard to be smart when there are bombs going off everywhere and you're no longer sure what it is exactly you care for. I get that. Hence bittersweet.
How can we just sit here and let the world set itself on fire? Because we were trained to just let it happen.
The last line in the acknowledgements section by the author made me smile wryly. It's worth it just for that.
All in all, I would recommend it if your political opinions sway slightly towards Green Party. Or if you're not sure if they do, read this book and then decide. Della is mostly caught up in other people's campaigns, anyway.
I also have no idea what the title is supposed to be referring to.(less)
You know how we all thought Wall-E was pretty hamfisted with its environmental message, but the robots were so cute even though they never said ANYTHI...moreYou know how we all thought Wall-E was pretty hamfisted with its environmental message, but the robots were so cute even though they never said ANYTHING except names and so we all liked the movie anyway?
This is like the American Consumerism version of Wall-E, but without the cute robot noises and the love story, but with several more helpings of heavy handedness.
It is told in this "future speak" a la Newspeak from 1984, but oh my god I was so sick of it after 50 pages. When I finished the book this morning I felt like brain cells had committed suicide.
I stumbled across this online novel last month and didn't read anything about it, but just hopped right in. It is available...moreAs seen on Stumptown Books.
I stumbled across this online novel last month and didn't read anything about it, but just hopped right in. It is available for free here, although I recommend transferring it to an e-reader device if you can as it is rather long. You can also support the author through Amazon, which offers both a Kindle and paperback edition.
There is a disclaimer at the top that proclaims: "This online novel contains strong language and extreme depictions of acts of sex and violence. Readers who are sensitive to such things should exercise discretion." I really should have paid more attention to it. This novel begins with an extremely graphic and disturbing sequence, and although it then gets down into the meat of the story, the last chapter brings back all the disgustingness again. All the weird sex and deaths were completely gratuitous, and it colored my enjoyment.
Much of the story reflects Asimov's The Last Question (which I highly recommend and is available for free here), but in a much darker and depressing way. I love Artificial Intelligence stories and the ideas in The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect were not only different and interesting, but had me questioning my own hope for the future. What if an A.I. is capable of creating a perfect Utopia where you can do anything, you never die, but you also never truly live? Is it worth it? I hate having the scales fall from my eyes but this book did a great job of questioning whether an A.I. is a good thing. I just wish it could have been done with less guts, incest, and zombie sex along the way.
I thought about Asimov a lot while reading this book, as it not only reminds me of the short story mentioned above but also echos Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as put forward in I, Robot. I love the Three Laws and love books interpreting them to the best of their ability. In this case however, I felt that the laws were manipulated to create the problem. One of the most brilliant aspects of I, Robot is that at the end the robots have completely taken over but humanity is unaware of it. I found this to be so terrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time. In the case of Metamorphosis, a robot takes over and lords it over humanity every chance it gets. I didn't enjoy this interpretation of the Laws, as humanity being unaware is what makes the whole A.I. taking over thing pack a huge punch. I wanted Prime Intellect (the name of the A.I.) to be...I don't know, MORE. (view spoiler)[Instead it is capable of being caught in a logic loop. With all of humanity riding on your back, the last thing I want is for the computer to get stuck in a logic loop. (hide spoiler)]
Would I recommend it? I would say yes, with a grain of salt. The imagery really is very disturbing. You need to be very aware of that before embarking on this novel. Otherwise, it raised some valid questions and was also well written, in edition to being a self-published work, which I always like to applaud!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'll be the first to admit that I have a really hard time taking books at face value. If all it wants to offer me is a nice...moreAs seen on Stumptown Books.
I'll be the first to admit that I have a really hard time taking books at face value. If all it wants to offer me is a nice, comfortable, sometimes funny read, I am immediately suspicious and wonder what its ulterior motives are. I tried very hard to put that tendency behind me for this book, and, I'm proud to say, that for the most part it worked.
Uglies was an easy breezy read. Indeed, I tore through it in just an afternoon. It was fast paced and kept my interest, and any book that makes me immediately want to pick up the sequels definitely means something to me. Friends have warned me off of trying to finish the series, but I think I am going to try at least one more, just to see what happens. Some of the "plot twists" were seen from a mile away, and the whole idea of the rebels hiding out in the wilderness, leading a life of freedom but hard work, is tired.
Unfortunately, it's setting itself up to be a love triangle, and man do I hate those nowadays. The first love interest is a vapid non-entity, and the jealousy that ensues is cloying and stupid. Hey, let's make some pretend drama! Yeah! Great idea! That will get our readers invested! Needless to say, I wasn't interested in that part of the story, and I doubt that many people were.
The endless repetitions of the words "ugly" and "pretty" got to me. I felt like the author was trying to teach us something, but couldn't quite get there, and ended up becoming bogged down in modern day stereotypes instead.
However, the story was original and fast paced, and I'll let a lot slide for that. If you're interested in a quick and easy dystopian book, this is a good one to grab.(less)
This was a reread for me, having originally read this middle-grade novel in middle school, at precisely the age it was mean...moreAs seen on Stumptown Books.
This was a reread for me, having originally read this middle-grade novel in middle school, at precisely the age it was meant for. I remembered it recently and wanted to give it another shot, having not yet learned the lesson that some things from our childhood are better left to memory.
The opening is the strongest and creepiest part. We discover early on that Eva has had her brain moved from her prepubescent body into that of a young chimp. The sequence of her learning what has happened, and how she deals with it, was shudder inducing. Eva was so strong and able to cope with this horrifying event in her life; I remembered why, in middle school, I thought she was such a strong character. I was able to identify her as an, albeit very strange, heroine. Unfortunately, reading this book through an adult's eyes, I am able to see that Eva was suspiciously accepting of her situation. She reacted maturely to everything that was thrown at her, which made it obvious that an adult male was trying to write a 13 year old girl, and barely succeeding. Her thoughts on politics were too cohesive and she is entirely too adult like, instead of being the angsty teenager we would all be in this situation. Seriously, what happened to her is thoroughly horrifying, she deserved to have some screams and cry alone in the corner time.
Soon we leave the hospital and learn about the state of the world, and although it is a much more depressing view of the near future than I cherish close to my heart, it was also disturbingly accurate in some ways. It was interesting that TV was the medium that had completely taken over society, as there was no internet really.
The middle of the book lost its way, and I was actually growing bored, even though the book is so short. I didn't like it all the way up until the very end, when the last page was actually quite a good pay off.
The bottom line is, if you are interested in young adult dystopias, this would probably prove an interesting read for you. Having been published in the late 80s, as opposed to the last decade, proves that our fear of where we are headed has changed drastically.(less)
This is going to end up being one of those books I force on all my friends, insisting that they read it immediately. I loved it and can't wait for mor...moreThis is going to end up being one of those books I force on all my friends, insisting that they read it immediately. I loved it and can't wait for more.
Hugh Howey has announced over on his blog that his self-published book Wool has been acquired by Fox! I couldn't be happier for him, and I am so excited for the future of this promising author. How crazy to have something explode so quickly like Wool has!
Update October 29, 2012:
Wool has been spotted at Powell's Books in Portland!
I was bleary-eyed and walking towards the coffee shop when lo! what should I spot on the new release shelf but the Wool Omnibus. I gasped and ran over to it and fondled it affectionately. The person shelving close by gave me a weird look and stepped away.
Nobody gets between me and my Wool.
Another update! October 30, 2012:
Guess what book is totally on the Goodreads choice for best sci-fi novel?
I cast my vote so fast I didn't even see what else was on there.
Quite the addition to the Wool universe! I was unable to put it down. Once again Mr. Howey d...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Quite the addition to the Wool universe! I was unable to put it down. Once again Mr. Howey draws us in with lifelike characters that emotionally resonate, like this story has already happened and he's just explaining it to us. It's an amazing gift to make the future seem so close. It's gripping and fast paced, but still manages to retain the same poignancy we all loved in the Wool series.
We begin in 2049, following around Congressman Donald Keene as he is given a project to design a skyscraper...underground. How exceedingly strange! If only Congressman Keene had been blessed with the omniscience we now possess. His thoughts about the design made it much easier for me to picture the silo as it was meant to be imagined, like how seeing something through an outsider's eyes allows you to appreciate it all the more. The people who lived in Silo 18 never thought the stairs odd because they've been walking up and down them their entire lives. I cracked a smile when Donald said, "What, no elevator? Are you crazy?" I agree Donald! Had you only known what they were planning...
The second half of the story takes place in the year 2110, in Silo 1, following around a fellow named Troy. As far as I can tell he is like a Mayor from any of the other silos: only nominally in charge. I loved getting to know the inner workings of the, up until now, rather sinister Silo 1. Troy's misadventures just broke my heart, especially as we near the ending and realize what is going on. Once again the last few lines have assured that I will be picking up more of the series.
Mr. Howey, I've decided, is absolutely amazing at the small things. I am now convinced this is why his characters feel so alive, because we all have weird quirks or trains of thought, and unless your character does too, why should we believe in them? He describes a game of Solitaire exactly how I've always thought about it but could never put into words. He explains the brushing of a paper medical gown against the skin, and I can feel it because I've had one on too. It is therefore all the more blissfully agonizing as we lose the characters that have come to mean something to us.
But, but!, something was missing. I had a really hard time putting my finger on it at first, because if I wanted to keep reading, and it kept me up late because I really wanted to finish it, shouldn't it get 5 stars? The little things is what made this story so imminently readable, but the big, overarching story is what made it lacking. The explanation of the apocalypse just didn't hold together for me, and now I'm starting to question whether I just dislike dystopias as a whole. In Wool 5 we learn that we were the ones to do it, to push the big red button, and this is where we learn why. The reasoning was rather baffling to me. A dystopia means, at its base, that somewhere along the line mankind failed. Oh we definitely failed here, but I felt it was unbelievable. The plan must have been far reaching for it to go off without a hitch, and all the higher ups were ok with this? No one wanted to stop it? Zuh?
That bugged me, yes, but you know what? It doesn't matter. I loved this story, I love the Wool universe, I will read anything Hugh Howey publishes.(less)
Isn't that the nicest summary for a novel you've ever read? Hugh Howey...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Actual rating - 4.5/5
Isn't that the nicest summary for a novel you've ever read? Hugh Howey is basically awesome.
Wool 5? Also awesome! What an emotional ending to a great story. It is quite a bit longer than any of the others, but I still managed to read it in just two sittings. It's impossible to put down!
Once again we're following multiple narrators, and I enjoyed every storyline, but especially everything in Silo 17. I went through the entire range of emotions here. I laughed, I cried, I literally stopped breathing for about a minute and took one great big gulp of air when I realized what I was doing. I've always been pretty leery of deep water (ok, terrified) and here it is very dark, deep, and lonely water and oh MAN was that a rough chapter for me to read. When was the last time a story made me stop breathing from anxiety!? I don't know, but this one was pretty awesome.
It opens up with a gut wrenching action scene and it doesn't let up from there. We get more trickles of information about the silos, and their history, and Lukas asks some pretty ballsy questions. I liked Lukas a lot more in this volume actually. The love story became a lot more plausible for me. It was so obviously infatuation in the beginning and then once he is able to continue talking to Juliette he's like "Wait...she's not perfect." But of course I rooted for the guy the whole time.
Honestly the only thing I didn't like much was the ending. It just kind of...happened. I was fine with that for the other installations, but this time, I knew there wasn't a sequel just waiting for me to click over to it. Mr. Howey states very clearly however that he is writing more stories for us and I can't wait to get my hands on them! Overall, I would give the Wool omnibus a solid 4/5. It's not perfect but it's damn good.
The Wool series has guaranteed that I will read anything Hugh Howey publishes from here on out. Congratulations on an amazing series!(less)
Immediately upon finishing it: PURE UNADULTERATED CAPSLOCK AWESOME.
A day later: What amazing characterization. Mr. Howey kills off characters in every story but I never feel like I'm at a loss when he introduces a new one. They immediately fit into the silo society I've come to know, stepping into place because they had always been there, we just didn't know their names. This is the first story with multiple narrators, so it jumps around for each chapter, but he makes it all fit together wonderfully. I loved the addition of Solo, and I hope to see more of him.
I don't want to spoil it but this book is seriously what nightmares are made of. It is terrifying. Not like I was going to go to bed and stop reading, no sir, but after imagining myself in just such a situation, I was practically hyperventilating with worry over the main character.
Great characters, great story, action, and suspense. What more could you want in a 160 page book?!
Awesome addition to the Wool series. I was able to take a break and read some other books in between Wool 1-3 but not this time. There's not a huge cliffhanger, but I immediately picked up Wool 5 and started reading, I simply had to know what happened. (less)
Now this gets back into what I loved about Wool 1. We start off knowing how it is going to e...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Now this gets back into what I loved about Wool 1. We start off knowing how it is going to end, and just like in the first book, I simply had to know what was going to happen. We learn more about the insidious IT department after a whirlwind investigation that leaves us with another cleaning imminent. The last line has assured that I will be a FAN4LYFE and I can hardly wait to pick up Wool 4 to see what happens. Don't stop after Wool 2 (which I didn't like too much), this one is way better!
Am I the only one that finds the cover for this one totally creepy? The proportions are all off and it looks like the guy is gonna come get me if I look in a mirror in the dark or something.
P.S. I totally didn't get that the titles were knitting references. I fail at being a hipster. :((less)
Wool 2 wasn't nearly as compelling or as interesting as Wool 1. My first issue stems from a...moreThis review is also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
Wool 2 wasn't nearly as compelling or as interesting as Wool 1. My first issue stems from a lack of proper imagery. The two characters are walking downstairs for basically the entire novelization - I believe it is 144 floors or so that they walk down. And this takes them two days. Two days?! If I'm picturing this wrong I would love to know, but 144 flights of stairs simply do not take that long to walk down, even if you are past your prime like both of the main characters here are. The climb back up takes another three or four days. So that's a week to go up and down 144 flights...I was baffled and it colored my enjoyment of the whole story as it just doesn't make sense.
Besides that, the story is just pretty boring. It's more about going up and down stairs than it is about anything interesting. I am still intrigued as to where the omnibus is going to go and obviously you can't skip this story, but this was not a good addition, especially after how amazing Wool 1 was.
Addendum - April 16, 2012
I discovered that each floor is 33 feet high, after a correspondence with Mr. Howey and some mentions in a later book, First Shift - Legacy. I also discovered I was picturing it wrong, because I couldn't get the office building stairway out of my head. So when he mentioned a "landing" I was picturing it like this:
Pretty creepy actually
While it should have been more like this:
I just couldn't wrap my head around the stairs being a spiral, I really wanted them to be flights for some reason. Although I still think two days to go down is ridiculous!(less)
This book will own you! Just buy the omnibus and save yourself a couple bucks, because you will...moreThis review also available on my blog, Stumptown Books.
This book will own you! Just buy the omnibus and save yourself a couple bucks, because you will want to read more. I sat down to read this first one, just 60 pages long, and didn't get up until it was finished. At first the story was hard to follow, as you're plopped down in the middle of a world and have to play catch up for the majority of the novella. It all comes together very quickly though and I was hard pressed not to cry at the end. This is a great, quick, (and cheap!) Dystopian read. Highly recommended to anyone. (less)