I really wanted to like this book, truly and deeply. There has been quite an amount of buzz around it, and I'm a big fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic...moreI really wanted to like this book, truly and deeply. There has been quite an amount of buzz around it, and I'm a big fan of dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. And anybody who can take what really amounts to vampires (here called Virals) and make a literary novel around it, more power to him/her. When I found an ARC at work, I was really excited. I brought it home a few days ago and... UGH. I'm sorry, I tried. I even skimmed through the book to see if it was worth continuing. It wasn't. I respect someone who is willing to write bad things happening to good people--it's what happens in the world, and in fiction it keeps you on your toes. But you have to feel a little bit of hope--even if, were this scenario to be real, there would be none. To continually invest one's self into characters that one way or another meet a sad end taught me by the second third of the book not to care too much about the next round of characters--they no doubt will meet similar sad fates. It's like reading Stephen King without the chance at redemption. I felt this book could've been tightened up by at least 150 pages. Oh--and this is meant to be part of a TRILOGY. This book will be the prefect cup of tea for some--just the length and its absolute bleakness didn't make it for me.
When “Brains” begins, the zombie apocalypse is already underway. It even reaches the door of Jack Barnes, literally, and so when he’s bitten by a zom...more When “Brains” begins, the zombie apocalypse is already underway. It even reaches the door of Jack Barnes, literally, and so when he’s bitten by a zombified neighbor who crashes through the living room window (Barnes is distracted while bickering with his wife), the transformation begins. An English professor at a small college in rural Missouri, Barnes fares better than his mindless cohorts in that he remains sentient, and so he begins to focus on the two goals in his life: find others like him, find Dr. Howard Stein, the creator of the zombie virus, and find brains to eat. (All right, THREE goals.) Barnes can write but can’t speak, hence the book we are now reading. His pop culture and literary references (including, of course, George Romero) keep coming rapid fire, even in his undead state, making this a wry and witty read. At 182 pages, I devoured this book (pardon the pun) in one day. If the squeamish can keep some of the more graphic and disturbing passages out of focus (as a parent, I try not to envision the passages of Barnes and his “super” zombies eating the occasional child), they can even find themselves smiling and feeling some empathy. I can’t wait to see what Becker comes up with next.(less)
An interesting take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"--although I know only vaguely the plot of the original; I haven't read it--and because it's a quick...moreAn interesting take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"--although I know only vaguely the plot of the original; I haven't read it--and because it's a quick read, it manages to pull you in. The characters all have their strengths and faults, and Mullin manages to make you feel for all of them, even the supposed "bad" characters (in Mullin's version, not Shakespeare's). It's not a deep book, but it's a good way to pass the weekend.(less)
Even before I found out that this book was “co-written” by “Million Little Pieces” huckster James Frey, I had a “meh” reaction. But now that I found o...moreEven before I found out that this book was “co-written” by “Million Little Pieces” huckster James Frey, I had a “meh” reaction. But now that I found out that Frey didn’t co-write it, but instead runs a YA fiction sweatshop called Full Fathom Five, I dislike bordering on hate it. Frey preys upon MFA writing graduates and has them crank out books like “I Am Number Four,” takes half if not all the credit, and pays them dirt. For those of you who really liked it, he’s hoping you’ll come back and make him richer, all on the backs of desperate graduates with tons of loan debt to pay off. Even if I thought the book was great—which I never really did, though I wanted to—I wouldn’t now. I thought I’d see the movie, but now I won’t even do that.(less)
Solid steampunk fiction--even better than the first one, in my opinion! My faves are: "Machine Maid" by Margo Lanagan; "The mechanical aviary of Emper...moreSolid steampunk fiction--even better than the first one, in my opinion! My faves are: "Machine Maid" by Margo Lanagan; "The mechanical aviary of Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar" by Shweta Narayan; "A serpent in the gears" by Margaret Ronald; and "The strange case of Mr. Salad Monday" by G. D. Falksen. But it's all solid! A MUST read for any steampunk fan.(less)
I must say, this is the first book in ages I have read in less than 24 hours. (Try 12.) This book is almost like George Clooney's "Solaris," with alie...moreI must say, this is the first book in ages I have read in less than 24 hours. (Try 12.) This book is almost like George Clooney's "Solaris," with alien entities materializing (for the most part) as colonists' deceased loved ones as an attempt at attachment, and the havoc that can wreak on one's psyche. But after reading about the romantic component to all this, I was intrigued. I have a feeling some turned to this book for mostly sci-fi, when the mix is more like 60% scifi/40% romance. At least it doesn't use the same 20-odd euphemisms for sex and body parts that almost all romances do--in fact, if some people hope this might be the scifi equivalent of a good ol' bodice-ripper with graphic sex scenes, they might be a bit disappointed. (There are some sex scenes, but brief and only somewhat graphic.) The guy's not a scoundrel, the gal's not a feisty spitfire who deep-down wants to be dominated by a man. I don't think this is planned as a part of a series; if there were a sequel, it would be interesting to see what other characters would be included.(less)
A novel premise of one girl's story told through audiotapes she has recorded for 13 intended recipients to receive after her suicide. While the indivi...moreA novel premise of one girl's story told through audiotapes she has recorded for 13 intended recipients to receive after her suicide. While the individual events may or may not break someone--and have been trivialized by some reviewers-- their combination, together with Hannah's already fragile emotional state, push her over the edge. There's nothing more horrifying than wishing you could've done things differently to prevent a tragic outcome, though I can picture some of her recipients trying to shrug off the part they played. As an adult it aches to see a teenager feel he/she is so unreachable. Hopefully it'll provide some food for thought about how one's own desires (for sex, for popularity) fulfilled at someone else's expense benefits no one.(less)
Paranormal Overload I picked up “Intertwined” because I heard some buzz around the “Unraveled” release. I liked the initial premise: Aden Stone, a 16-y...moreParanormal Overload I picked up “Intertwined” because I heard some buzz around the “Unraveled” release. I liked the initial premise: Aden Stone, a 16-year old living at a halfway house for troubled boys, is labeled schizophrenic, but in reality, he has four souls trapped inside him, each who provides Aden with a special ability. Eve can make him time travel, Caleb can make him possess another body, Elijah tells the future, and Julian raises the dead. The opening scene has Aden fighting zombies, after he accidentally walks right towards a cemetery and makes them rise from their graves. In the middle of Aden’s battle with the zombies, an unsuspecting girl, Mary Ann Gray, walks by in the distance, and suddenly everything stops: the zombies fall, and for once the voices in his head grow silent. When she’s gone, everything starts up again. When the zombie battle is done, it’s only natural that Aden would want to look for her, though it literally hurts him (what feels like a shockwave when they approach each other, and the voices in his head screaming in pain before falling silent). He has to see if the same effect will happen again, and if so, why that is.
I’m going to leave it at that, because to continue is exhausting. This book is chockfull of paranormal, and while it may not be confusing (maybe in spots), it can be overwhelming, and I found myself questioning whether it all really needed to be there. It seemed like the author thought, if a little paranormal’s good, a lot (OK, all of it) is better. Eventually, werewolves, zombies, witches, and more are added to the mix, as all these creatures are drawn to Aden’s summoning powers. I found myself racing to the end—and as a mother, found myself actually near tears at one point later on in the book—but felt dizzy afterwards. There’s love, anger, betrayal: the staples of any romance. I’m still pondering whether to follow up with “Unraveled.” Though there are many loose ends that I’m curious to see resolved, maybe after a few books with simpler plots I can brave the overload again. (less)
Others here have written a synopsis, so I’ll just say I loved the wit and banter Dash and Lily have between each other, and with their family and frie...moreOthers here have written a synopsis, so I’ll just say I loved the wit and banter Dash and Lily have between each other, and with their family and friends, even if it doesn’t sound like a lot of the teens you might know. I felt inspired to read “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” right after this, and I have to admit I like “Dash and Lily” more, perhaps because N&NIP had a speed and intensity to it that at times left me out of breath, from the numerous f-bombs to the machine-gun fire of band names, combined with racing thoughts and urges of the characters that seemed downright bipolar. Because the vehicle in D&LBOD this time is words, not music, it has a different level of energy, although, admittedly, D&L occurs over ten or eleven days, and not just several hours.
I felt the characters in D&L were shown to be complex and layered, with clear foibles as well as admirable strengths. Despite Dash being nicknamed “Snarly” by those he comes across, he’s never unlikeable. Lily’s sweet, but not annoying. And some of the scenes made me laugh out loud. I wouldn’t be surprised if this book starts a trend of red notebooks on shelves in bookstores across the country. (less)
Before you write off Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, due to its romantic-looking cover, read the first chapter. It describes in excruciating detai...moreBefore you write off Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, due to its romantic-looking cover, read the first chapter. It describes in excruciating detail how Amy Martin’s parents, and then Amy herself, are prepared to be cryogenically frozen for their 300-year journey on the spaceship Godspeed, to a newly discovered planet, Centauri-Earth. Ask yourself: could you subject yourself to such a painful and claustrophobic experience to stay with the ones you love? I couldn’t help but stick around to see the results.
On the future Godspeed is Elder, next in line to replace the ship’s tyrannical leader, simply known as Eldest. On a learning assignment, Elder discovers old blueprints revealing a previously unknown lower level of the ship—the cryo level, where Amy and her parents, not to mention hundreds of others, reside.
Here he finds Amy’s cryogenic box, partially removed from its drawer. He is instantly drawn to her pale skin and red hair, features no one else on the ship has, not after so many generations of cross- breeding. Ordered by a superior to put her back in the freezer and put her out of his mind, he later sees her again when someone else removes the box and unplugs her life support.
Someone tried to kill her, and neither Amy—saved from drowning but bereft of her parents, having been woken up fifty years too soon—nor Elder can figure out why. But what they also need to figure out is this: what secrets is Eldest keeping from them, and from everyone else on the ship, and why? And can Elder lead one day without being exactly like Eldest?
I liked the uniqueness of this story, and how it highlighted the challenge of creating harmony within a closed environment. Even if that environment appears to be several square miles, for Amy—and once he learns the reality behind his society, for Elder—it is too small, in more ways than one.
Yes, there is romance, but it’s not overly mushy. You may think you’ve figured out some obvious plot twists early on; what’s pleasantly surprising is realizing later you didn’t even know the half of it. Towards the end, these realizations come faster and faster, like waves onto the shore. A highly enjoyable read and, in my opinion, a great debut from Beth Revis.(less)
I really love the "Across the Universe" series. The only reason I read this book in less than 24 hours is because I couldn't skip work and sleep and r...moreI really love the "Across the Universe" series. The only reason I read this book in less than 24 hours is because I couldn't skip work and sleep and read it in 12. In the first two books, "Across the Universe" and "A Million Suns," Beth has a gift for building up to plot twists that then wash over you in waves. This has a little bit less than that, but if you've made it this far, you love the books like me and forgive it. Some parts I kinda sort of saw coming, but I have respect for authors who allow bad things happen to good characters. At the end she BRINGS IT, and I have great respect for someone who's willing to slam me upside the head in a book. (Sorry for the vagueness; don't want to provide spoilers!) I'm looking forward to whatever series she comes up with next!(less)