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)
I love epistolary style novels. I think the style gives the reader a more in-depth view of the cha...moreThis review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
I love epistolary style novels. I think the style gives the reader a more in-depth view of the character and creates an intimate atmosphere you don’t usually get in a third person narrative. Arabelle’s Shadows is told in epistolary format with the character logging her experiences of present time cut with flashbacks of her past.
I was taken with Arabelle straight away and I believe it is due to the format of writing. The character speaks to you and, much like a real diary, shares her fears, woes, and jubilations in a way only a real life conversation can. When you’re editing and pay attention to how people speak you begin to notice just how many words people use. We all do it. Some of us ramble on far more and take what feels like an eternity to others to get to the point. Others get straight to the heart of the matter with clipped sentences. Most of us are somewhere in-between, speaking with a healthy dose of ramble and short and sweet sentences.
Arabelle’s Shadows is in-between and at first it’s appealing, having the ability to grab you with the emotion and struggle the story contains, but after a while I found her manner of speaking too drawn out for reading. Epistolary can be a great format to tell a story with but, as with any narrative, it can be hard to focus when the characters tend to speak in a common real life way.
I believe this to be one reason why it took me longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows than it would have taken to read other novels. I needed a break from the style of writing, but when I would pick the story up again I found myself wanting to keep reading. There’s a clash of a need to have a break and a need to keep going. Fortunately the need to keep reading won out.
I’m not unfamiliar with battling depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. Naturally when I first heard about Arabelle’s Shadows I was intrigued and was currently seeking help for my own issues. Between then and now I have made progress and turned my negativity into positive thinking. The course of my life affects how I view this story. I don’t think I would have been able to read it six months ago. Now I can look back I don’t think it would have been healthy for me to do so, but I haven’t forgotten how it felt to be overtaken by your negative side. I believe this to be the other reason for why I took longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows.
Personally I couldn’t help but feel empathy for Arabelle. I wanted her to succeed, but not in a monetary way, in an emotional and self-respective way. My heart ached for her when she was at her lowest and I felt a sense of joy when she had moments of peace and strength. I’m not sure if this is only because of my past history with mental illness and having toxic people in my life, but I would like to think Arabelle’s Shadows would get under the skin of those who have not struggled so in their lives.(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)