Alive was my first book to read by Scott Sigler, though he is a great favorite of many of my friends. It was a good starting place for me because it is horror without too much gore, among many other things that I would hate to spoil. (Yes, I will be cutting off many thoughts because of fear of spoiling the book.) I will say that I saw many of the twists in the book coming, though it did not make them any less enjoyable.
I haven't read Lord of the Flies in years, but almost as soon as I started reading Alive, I began seeing similarities between the two. Alive is assuredly a nod to the classic. There are power struggles between characters resulting from a lack of "grown-ups" and in a vacuum where authority figures should be. Those are really the only nods that I'll mention because, as I stated before, spoilers.
The main character, M. Savage or "Em", is a very unreliable narrator, which I happen to love. She doesn't remember who she is, how she got to be where she is at, or where she is, for that matter. Em has some definite emotional issues (rage, namely), and those certainly do not lend to her reliability. I do like her because she tries to do what is right, though it is easy to see that it is a struggle at time. She just wants to keep all of the Birthday Children safe, even when she's getting a little distracted by O'Malley and Bishop. And Spingate. But I digress. It would be easy to judge her, but she's "twelve years old", and I had to cut her some slack.
While Sigler's writing was spot on, I was not a fan of Emma Galvin's narration. There was just something off about the speed or cadence of her voice that was a distraction from the story. I finally remembered the speed settings on my Audible app and zoomed her up to 1.25x. It was better, but still no walk in the park. I feel like I'd still be listening to Alive a month from now if I hadn't sped her up.
Though Alive didn't really have what can be considered romance, there was the beginning of a formation of what could be a love triangle down the road. As much as I hate to say it, I even know whose side I will be on.
I'm looking forward to the second book in this series, and there are quite a few things I'd like to know more about. The only thing I can mention without spoiling anything in the book is that I'd like to know more of an explanation of the symbols on the children's heads. (view spoiler)[Is there some kind of caste system or what?! Can we also please get information about the battles on the ship that left so many dead? And why couldn't they grow more bodies?! Gah! (hide spoiler)] In great detail. Immediately.
If you're not burned out on dystopia, you should go ahead and buy your copy of Alive. (Or you can listen to the serialization of it for free on Scott Sigler's website.
- 4/5 Stars -
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an audio copy of the novel from Audible in exchange for a review. No other favors or money was exchanged. This has in no way affected the of the review. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's not very often that I stay up all night reading a book, but I did for The Scorpion Rules. I think that worked both for and against the novel becaIt's not very often that I stay up all night reading a book, but I did for The Scorpion Rules. I think that worked both for and against the novel because on one hand, there's not much better than reading a dark book (no, I don't mean scary) alone in the dark. On the other hand, I can't quite figure out if the weirdness of the novel was due to my insomnia or if The Scorpion Rules was just a strange book.
The concept of the book is interesting, if nothing else - the children of world leaders are taken and held hostage under the guidance of an AI overlord, Talis. These children are kept safe at Preceptures until they are eighteen, or until their parents or grandparents declare war on another country or region. In that case, the children in question are taken and executed. This is rather efficient as no one can step into any sort of position of major power without them having a child to have held again them.
The main character of The Scorpion Rules is Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy. As the heir to a superpower that holds a great water supply, she knows that she may be put to death as a result of her mother declaring war at any time. Following the death of a schoolmate from a rival confederacy, a new hostage came to the Precepture from the country that formed from the war that killed Greta's friend. The story follows how she deals with him (Elián) and the knowledge that his arrival almost certainly means her death.
The Scorpion Rules started out strongly, allowing me to get attached to the story and characters, but it started going all over the place as it progressed. By the end, I was scratching my head. It wasn't bad, it was just weird. I will say that I didn't call the romance, but I didn't care either. I didn't understand why Greta had to have one.
The Scorpion Rules is a new, fascinating spin on the ol' dystopia, and I recommend it, even if you're tired of the genre. It's no masterpiece, but it's still a good book.
***Per FTC regulations, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel briefly for reviewing purposes from Around the World ARC Tours.***...more
I hate to say this about a book that I enjoyed at the time, but I remembered almost nothing about After the End when I started reading Until the BeI hate to say this about a book that I enjoyed at the time, but I remembered almost nothing about After the End when I started reading Until the Beginning. I recalled the premise, but I couldn't recall the character names or the whole of the situation. And unfortunately for me, Until the Beginning picks up right where book one leaves off.
I even considered DNFing the book because I didn't have time to reread the first book or play catchup. My fortitude paid off when, slowly, I was fed breadcrumbs that brought me back to the story. I may or may not have done some skimming because the alternating point of views were a little jarring, and not too much other than traveling happened in the first half of the book.
I know I say that I don't like a lot of tension in books, but it felt like there wasn't any in Until the Beginning. I don't know if it was my detachment or something in the writing, but I never felt like Juneau or Miles were ever in any danger. The stakes didn't seem that high, but then again, it was a long time before anything really happened other than seeing cars in the distance for so long.
If you haven't read After the End, I would highly recommend reading it and Until the Beginning back to back so you can enjoy the continuous story. I have no doubt that I would haved loved Until the Beginning even a year ago because Juneau's hippy-dippy, Yara-loving, nature-hugging ways were neat and made a lot of sense. Something was just lost for me.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own....more
I really enjoy short story anthologies, but I had no idea what a fucking treat The Thing About Great White Sharks would be. (I'm using coarse language to convey feeling, not my trashiness, by the way.) This is literary fiction just the way I like it - with a little bit of magical realism, a touch of sci-fi, and a mix of something else. It's shocking, horrible, and wonderful, all rolled into one.
My favorite two stories in the collection are "The Thing About Great White Sharks" and "Sheila". "Sheila", the first story in the collection, broke my heart into a million pieces and blew me away. Sheila, the titular character, is John's, the protagonist, Brittany spaniel, who also happens to be a robot. He's had her for 25+ years, bought when his wife was dying, and has become illegal to own because of the Ginger Creek incident. "Sheila" made me stop and consider the way breeds are treated and how responsible pet owners are usually the ones who suffer the most from bans. "The Thing About Great White Sharks" left me wanting more than I got, in the very best way possible. Jennifer, the main character, is a government test subject after an unknown disease causes all living things to attack and try to kill Homo sapiens. She is forced to battle various creatures so the results can be studied as the government searches for a cure. I think we need an entire book about her, mmkay?
I enjoyed most of the stories, but I will say that "What to Expect When You're Expecting an Alien Parasite", "Melville Loves Hawthorne", and "The Other Husband" went right over my head. If there was an underlying theme in any of them, they were beyond me. (I think "What to Expect When You're Expecting an Alien Parasite" may have just been humorous, but I'm making no guesses.) Other than those three, I have no other issues with The Thing About Great White Sharks. It is glorious.
If you're not a reader of short stories, I highly recommend that you start with this one. There is a little bit of something for everyone, and with each story being only a few pages long, The Thing About Great White Sharks is a great book to pick up and set down (good luck with that!) as time allows. I will guarantee that you'll find something you like here. (I bet you're a fan of "Orchids", just you see.)
- 4.5/5 Stars -
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me....more