If you’re a reader like me you’ll begin reading a book without high expectations. It doesn’t matte...moreThis review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
If you’re a reader like me you’ll begin reading a book without high expectations. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the author’s work before, or if you’ve been anticipating the current title’s release. You’ve read enough to know not to judge a book by the author’s previous work, or your previous reading history.
Personally I love to reign in my expectations so when I come across something awesome, the end-result-buzz leaves me cuckoo for hours (I tend to move on quickly). I’ve read Terra Whiteman’s The Antithesis series and loved it though, so trying to reign in expectations for her newest release has been difficult. It is even more difficult when you know there’s going to be tough female characters who can kick butt and you have a thing about armed women walking around in cool worn-out outfits (I’m a sucker for the Resident Evil movies). The cover cemented that image in my head, but knowing Meridian is a dystopian science-fiction based story made my imagination swoon with the possibilities.
My mind is still swooning with the possibilities after finishing the story. Meridian is a great mix of plot and character development. Neither aspect dominates, both work nicely together to further the story and fuel the imagination. What more could you want in a story? For starters you could ask for complex, with equal amounts of negative and positive traits, loveable characters. You could ask for easy to imagine cool gadgets, weapons, and technology even though the story is not in our time. You could ask for enough action scenes to get your blood pumping and to carry the momentum while there’s enough downtime to get to know the characters and give your pulse rate a break. You could probably also ask for adequate amounts of moral and religious conflicts without it becoming a heavy read.
I love these ingredients in stories, especially when the social and political aspects are so thwart with arrogance and control. It’s a great way to mess with characters, giving them opportunity for struggle under their developed hard edges, while giving readers an extra reason to root for whomever they choose. I’m rooting for all the characters myself and I’m not sure why. It might just be because I want positive outcomes, but it could also be how the characters are presented. Terra Whiteman has an excellent way of writing characters to make them robust, their morals are never black and white, and I can’t help wanting to adore all of them. I especially love Mercy and Corvis, but I also loved the characters in the prologue and that’s just the prologue!
I can’t pinpoint anything I disliked about Meridian. Obviously I loved the story and the characters, but it also reminded me of great games I’ve played, awesome movies I’ve watched, and yet it didn’t give the impression of copying any other story. Maybe deep down I really want this story to become a game too so I can play it and have more time with the characters… Instead I’ll settle with re-reading Meridian while I patiently wait for the sequel.(less)
PostApoc is one of those books I finish and discover I’m struck dumb; I have little to no words to share. I blame this reaction on the ending. It’s so, so open-ended, which I love, but I need to know more. More, more, more!
It took me some time to be won over by PostApoc. For the majority of the story I was lost, not irreparably to the story itself, but I was disconnected from the content. Once upon a time I was a music buff, but now struggle to listen to music regularly, and I have experimented in the past, but not with the hard stuff. The main character, Ang, is surrounded by drugs and music. Her environment, her friends, those she clings to out of survival, her modes of survival, are all permeated with drugs and music. Her perspectives for everything, the way she sees herself, the way she sees others, the way she ponders her past and present, and the way she analyses the end of the world are all influenced by her intoxicated state. Ang may have a hangover every now and then, but she is never completely sober and she is never free from being influenced.
Being new to Liz Worth’s work, I’m not sure how much of the prose is her style and how much is Ang’s language. At some point in a story you come to learn there’s a divorce between the two, but there are times when you either can’t find it, or you aren’t sure they’re separate. PostApoc is one where I couldn’t quite distinguish the difference. I know the author has a background in poetry and it’s something else I have considered when it comes to understand the use of language and phrases.
While I can’t help considering the author’s writing background and the utilisation of language, I would prefer to consider the story and prose as a tool for the character to express herself. Basically, she’s messed up so her descriptions are going to confuse me. They confused me all right. They confused me for a good while. I found myself wondering if she was really facing the end of the world or if she was hallucinating. As the story progressed and things got weirder, the oddest thing happened; I had no idea what was going on with the world around her, but I began to understand Ang and the rest of the characters.
PostApoc isn’t like other standard post-apocalyptic tales. The majority of stories will show the time before the end and explain the whys. PostApoc on the other hand is a really small-world story, the perspective is Ang’s and she has no idea what is going on. Everything is falling apart and the story does not begin before the end. There’s rumours about other places, there’s snippets into the downfall of other cities, but the main focus is on Ang and her friends struggling for survival.
It’s actually a depressing story. Everything unravels and mutates so fast and disturbingly, it’s a wonder my brain could still grasp the concept of the story. By the end, I found my footing in the prose and, surprisingly to me, came to love it. I find myself wanting to read PostApoc again, but more than that, I want to know what came of Ang and the end of her world.(less)
While The Cause was reminiscent to me of other dystopias, there’s definitely a unique f...moreYou can find this review, along with others, at Bookish Ardour.
While The Cause was reminiscent to me of other dystopias, there’s definitely a unique factor to it. One of the unique factors, a crucial part to the set up of the city, actually made me uncomfortable. This is one of the main pieces from the story I’ve taken away with me. It’s enough to make you cringe when reading it. And not thanks to graphic description, but the insidious nature you know the particular scene is referring to. It makes you question how far humanity, and yourself, would go for what these people are trying to achieve.
The ability to raise questions is only one element of what I feel makes a great story, a story everyone should try reading at least once. It doesn’t matter if you’re blown away by the plot or not, there are those narratives, which will make you think and make you question during and after you’ve finished. They make the reading all the more enjoyable because of that and I think they’re very important stories. The Cause, for me, was one of those stories.
The similarities between The Cause and other dystopias, something that is hard to avoid when you read enough of the genre, is basically setting. If you’ve read a fair amount of dystopia before, how many of them have been set in a city? Plenty have city settings and most of those city based ones have a totalitarian aspect as well.
There are clear signs of control beneath the deluded sense of utopia, but I didn’t get a totalitarian government presence as much as a master of puppets keeping out of the limelight. I wonder if that was more due to the fact of the cause itself, and the main character’s memory recall, being such a large focus of the tale. Whether it was or not, I found it refreshing in a sense. I find manufactured societies are usually heavy on the government, or founding circle, side of things and the conspiracy they create. Granted there is conspiracy in The Cause, and it wouldn’t be dystopia without some degree of it, but I think there’s a nice balance between character discovery and heavy-handed machinations.
I love when a narrative delves into the human make-up, what makes us tick, and how we work when certain traits are repressed. How can it be possible to live in peace when you’re not accepting something for what it is, especially when it’s psychological? You can’t, and this is what the protagonist, Air, discovers when he takes up his job at the firing range.
What I found interesting was how certain actions and events are masked with different names. The firing squad for instance is given the title purging and from there I think the unique genius of The Cause slowly reveals itself to the reader. Everything has a subtle touch to it, but it’s not subtle to the point of missing it if you’re not paying attention. At first so much can be taken at face value with a level of innocence to it that can allow the reader, and the citizens, to gloss over and avoid the nefarious acts beneath if they choose. As you follow Air’s story, the option to avoid what’s going on becomes impossible, and I really enjoyed how the writing gave me the opportunity to have a better understanding of what Air is going through as he is going through it.
When Air began to dream, I was somewhat dubious. Sometimes I think it should be a rule to not have dreams present in stories. Sometimes. There’s always a chance, a huge chance, of messing up the story because dreams don’t usually make sense. Do they? Unless they’re like my weird ones involving shopping for groceries… The point is, most of the time dreams are pointless in stories. If they make sense, how can they be a dream? If a scene doesn’t make sense and is blamed on a dream it’s lame and you’ve probably lost your reader in the process.
So when Air begins to dream, I questioned it at first thanks to those reasonings. The questioning didn’t last long because of what the dreams represented. They not only made sense, but there was a reason for them. I actually appreciated them and the way his lost memories were discovered.
The only problem I had with The Cause is one I’m disappointed with. I found myself not being able to be swept away by it. As badly as I wanted to, and no matter how much I loved aspects of it and it’s creation, I couldn’t get into it. Believe it or not, I’m jealous of those readers who have enjoyed it as much as they have, and I will be reading it again in future because of that. I also think lovers of dystopia should definitely give The Cause a chance regardless of my immersion problems.(less)
Chance Booty is a collection of short stories, which would be a great way for a reader to get a sense of Evgenievich’s writing style, and I found this...moreChance Booty is a collection of short stories, which would be a great way for a reader to get a sense of Evgenievich’s writing style, and I found this selection to be a very entertaining read.
The stories are, to a certain extent, connected in some way. We’re introduced to a character early on with the beginning of Archie’s story, and while we are able to read other stories and come across different characters, we can also follow Archie’s journey till the very end of these tales.
I enjoyed Archie’s narrative being in the background and interwoven in the additional tales, as much as I enjoyed the variety in genres. There are dystopian tales, space based science fiction tales, less fantastical settings with a bizarro element, tales that touch on mental illness, homelessness, Western society’s inability to accept death, suicide, and more, all with Evgenievich’s probing psychological style to possibly make you squirm, think, nod your head in agreement, and question.
Altered has the running theme of nurture vs. nature, a subject of which I’ve always been interested in, and it’s one of the elements that attracted me...moreAltered has the running theme of nurture vs. nature, a subject of which I’ve always been interested in, and it’s one of the elements that attracted me to the story. I also found the environment issue was an aspect to make me question allegiance to characters and certain groups; who undoubtedly are the bad guys and good guys? I enjoyed this idea because so often in fiction, unlike the real world, there is a clear division between whom you should be cheering for and while you begin with an obvious side here, that question of nurture vs. nature can throw you off by showing there are alternative sides to everyone. In Altered the focus on an alternative side is more about the students rather than the apparent villains, something of which is less common than the other way around, nonetheless I found it refreshing being able to read a story where the ‘good’ characters are not completely spotless themselves.
Of course the school is a horrible place in many ways, but at the same time I was pondering if these teachers had a point in how they delivered their ultimatums to their students. On the other hand all the students are given choices on how to behave, but the methods of punishment are downright unsettling. I was left asking myself the question; have these kids gone too far or were their actions justifiable?
The concept, granted a harsh reality for the characters, is an excellent way to make the reader question what is right, what is wrong, and to show each decision incurs a consequence whether it is good or bad. These are all ethics everyone, young adults especially, should be taught to question and realise yet there’s a certain age group I would say Altered is marketed towards and it is not of the younger side of adolescence.
The age of the characters in Altered is what surprised me the most, I’m not sure what to make of it as yet, but their ages were not apparent to me in the beginning. It probably doesn’t help that I’m not completely familiar with the American school system either, what age is allotted to freshmen, juniors, and seniors for instance, but I was still surprised when their ages were specifically mentioned later in the story. I don’t feel this is because of the language content, which is on the high side (one reason why I would recommend it for an older audience), but more because of their emotional maturity and behaviour. I’ve read a lot of YA over the last few years, most of it written by adults, and I believe the students reactions may be fitting to reality compared to assumptions about innocence adults eventually create for youth in their own minds.
As for the writing itself, there is a lot of dialogue in Altered with the majority of the story, plot twists and motives, being delivered in this way. Personally I don’t have a problem with this technique to help further a plot, especially if the dialogue gives the reader a chance to learn more about the characters, and when done right I find it can quicken the pace.
I know technically this isn’t my first angel themed novel seeing as I’ve already read Mercy and Exile by Rebecca Lim, but unlike that series that read...moreI know technically this isn’t my first angel themed novel seeing as I’ve already read Mercy and Exile by Rebecca Lim, but unlike that series that reads more like an internal psychological struggle, Angelfall is a post-apocalyptic story with quite a few angel appearances. I feel like this has been the first true angel themed story I’ve read in this new angel loving wave and I have to say, as far as angel themed stories go, this one is a great one to start with.
I really enjoyed it, not only for the whole post-apocalyptic theme, but because it’s not battering you with religion and the angels are on the sinister side. They’re invaders, akin to aliens invading humanity, and it’s similar to reading a story set in a war torn, post-apocalyptic setting, but this time with the bad guys being able to fly.
I also love that whilst there is a bit of admiration for aesthetics towards the main angel in this story, Penryn isn’t all doe-eyed and stupid over him. She realises he isn’t human, even when she has her moments of weakness when it comes to his beauty, and she still sees him as her enemy. Her main focus, to the end, is truly rescuing her sister and survival. Yet with that as her main focus, there is still a tantalising touch of romance to it, but not enough to distract her from her course or to overly complicate things more than they already are.