Every time I read a hard sci-fi, which is not often mind you, based in space I expect an alienThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour.
Every time I read a hard sci-fi, which is not often mind you, based in space I expect an alien to come out at some point. When I first came across The Martian, knowing it was definitely set in space (going by name and cover), I immediately thought space-based story with possible alien sighting. Then I looked further into the story and realised it had nothing to do with aliens.
This was the decision maker for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good sci-fi with aliens, but how often do you come across one where the protagonist is some poor guy who got stuck in space? I know I’ve never read a space-based sci-fi without at least one alien.
The Martian follows the story of Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars. No one can get to him any time soon, he can’t get anywhere, and there’s no radio contact available. Poor Mark. Naturally, in the back of my mind, there’s the question of whether it will be a boring read. What exactly can Watney get up to, to make a reader want to keep reading?
I surprisingly, to me at least, found the story fascinating and engaging. There’s a whole lot of things Mark Watney can do while stranded on Mars and it came across as very authentic with the amount of detail in relation to his activities. The story is in journal format, at first, and then switches between Watney’s journal, events on Earth and at NASA, events on Hermes (the mission ship), and correspondence between everyone involved.
During Watney’s journal he goes into detail about the whys and the hows, which might sound boring, but it’s infused with the character’s great sense of humour. Mark Watney is now one of my favourite protagonists. He has been added to the list. I found myself laughing, at home and in public, and I’m a hard one to get laughing. I’m not talking about those quiet little laughs you try to keep to yourself either. I’m talking about outbursts that get people to abruptly stare at you in a quizzical sense.
As much as I loved it, sometimes the detail did go over my head. There were times when it was more than my brain could comprehend and other times when I wasn’t in the mood to read it. I still read it though. I wanted to enjoy the protagonist’s humour. I thought the ending was on the preachy side, but that just may have been me. There’s a large focus on the science of the science fiction, but it’s understandable when you realise this marooned character needs to focus on something. His focus, what drives him forward and shuts out denial, affected me to the point where the ending felt jarring to me.
I’m not disappointed in the ending though. Personally I could have gone without the extra reflection, but the rest was great. The whole story was great. I found myself riveted no matter what and by the end of it, even though the situation would be horrendous, I found a small part of myself wishing it had actually taken place. It would be awesome to know a man like Mark Watney is out there after surviving temporary Martian status....more
I’ve read my fair share of young adult fiction over the years, as an adult, and ha**spoiler alert** This review was first published to Bookish Ardour.
I’ve read my fair share of young adult fiction over the years, as an adult, and have to say I love it when I come across an atypical young adult story. Stories can be dressed up with quirky characters and plenty of fanfare, but the basic premise is usually there. Once you read enough you can’t miss it, so when you get to read something with more than quirky characters and fanfare, it’s a treat.
It has been some time since I read Altered and I dove straight into Shattered without re-reading Altered. Unfortunately my memory is not as fantastic as it used to be and my memories of Altered are on the vague side, but after a few chapters I was able to remember the characters and the horrible predicament they had found themselves in.
Judging from memory, I believe the nature Vs. nurture theory I was so in love with Altered is not as present in Shattered, but this is balanced out with a more in-depth view of the characters and the mysteries behind the school itself. I’m left wondering who to root for. It’s not that I don’t want the main characters, the students, to get out and be free from experiments, but I can also understand the ideals expressed by the authority figures.
If there is a villain in this piece then I have no idea who it could be anymore except perhaps mental illness and the disasters brought about by extraordinary talents.
I did have issue with a few expressions and beginnings of scenes. I’m very in-tune with noticing how characters are introduced and I can appreciate the mystery created and detail shared when a character is introduced via their looks and physique, but as long as it is the once. It shouldn’t be needed again, scenes should be begun with introducing the scene rather than the character. I felt the characters were overly introduced after the initial introduction.
I also didn’t understand the need for swimming across the lake when it’s cold, but then I got to thinking. I considered maybe they were so desperate to get away from the school they were willing to risk hypothermia and death. If you were attached to a shock box, threatened with starvation, kept from socialising openly with your friends, and lived with the knowledge of basement level rooms with medical equipment, what would you do? I might not swim across a cold lake, I can’t swim that far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did something as equally dangerous and foolhardy.
Apart from my issues and my confusion over some of the actions of the characters, I just want to know what is going to happen next. I want to know now. I want to know what the point of the school is and why these kids are special. Mostly I really just want to know if Charlie is going to be ok. I believe she is my favourite. Ann and Joseph’s arguing was tiring, but I think Ann has grown on me as well as Toni. Without spoiling it I have to share two words… the ending! Aah! I need to know everything....more
Enmity is a story I’m not quite sure about yet. The prologue caught me up, the plot intrigued mThis review was originally published on Bookish Ardour.
Enmity is a story I’m not quite sure about yet. The prologue caught me up, the plot intrigued me, and the ending left me hanging for more, but I can’t decide if I care.
The prologue is pre-solar flare, told in first person by a character who does not appear later, and sets a great tone for the coming story. It was easy to read, the character was relatable, and you just know the inhabitants of the time are in for a horrible existence.
First person is one of my favourite view points for a story, especially something like Enmity, to be told in. However I do have some issues with first person. In first person it can be difficult to share more details of the story and then the reader is left out of the bigger picture. Another problem with first person is when someone dies, someone being the main character. If a protagonist dies when the story is told in first person, then how are they telling the story? At some point you have to realise they’re telling the story. How can they relate what happened when they’ve died?
For the majority of Enmity I was wondering about the protagonist in the prologue. Did she die? Did she live? How did she tell her part of the story if she died? What happened to her? My main problem with the prologue, apart from first-person perspective and death, is I was so drawn into her plight I would love to read a story based in pre-solar flare.
The main body of Enmity takes place sixty years later and is told from the view of two protagonists, Hermia and Nate. Sometimes I really dislike a story being told by more than one character, but thankfully this was not one of them. Hermia and Nate take turns, don’t overlap, and are distinguishable. Their separate stories entwine and compliment each other nicely, even when they form bonds with different social circles.
Only certain characters were memorable and fleshed out for me. Some were flat enough to me for me to be surprised when they were mentioned after a while. Characters like Lola and occasionally Georgie, even though she was mentioned more often than Lola, took me by surprise. It was almost as if they disappeared completely, the story had no problem moving on without them, and then they would appear at certain intervals.
There are characters I rather enjoyed, Hermia and Nate are the top two, but I found Rence and Chase interesting. I was also intrigued by the stories preceding the current predicament the teens found themselves in. I’m sure some of it is born from wondering what happened beforehand, but I think the introduction of parents and their machinations involved with the new world order was written in such a way to pique curiosity.
Personally I’m not sure if I’m interested in finding out what happens next. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t feel the characters had great emotional dimension and created enough thrall in my interest, or if it’s the story itself. I found myself being able to forget what was happening when I wasn’t reading, even though I read large chunks of the story at a time. It would take about two-three pages of reading before I could truly pick up where I’d left off. Except, I think the premise itself was curious and I find myself really wanting to know the story behind the story....more
When it comes to reading, on occasion, my mind will let the story completely consume me. With tThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour.
When it comes to reading, on occasion, my mind will let the story completely consume me. With the right story I am compelled to move faster, walk faster, drink faster, or in some cases I will completely stop eating in order for my brain to have a meltdown. When I have a reaction to stories like this, I believe my brain is trying to push my body faster to cope with the speed of which I’m absorbing the story.
I read the majority of All for Owen at the gym (I read when I’m on the treadmill or bike) of all places. Each time I forgot I was at the gym and found myself walking faster in order to keep up with my reading speed. I would end these gym sessions bewildered, bemused, and with a bleary-eyed stare, as my brain attempted to deal with the abrupt pull back into reality.
All for Owen grabbed my attention slowly, but hooked its claws into me by the quarter mark. I found my desire for fitness becoming secondary to why I wanted to go to the gym. I wanted to workout so I could read more and faster!
The concept of the story was absorbing and unexpected. I’ve read my fair share of dystopian stories and after reading the synopsis you have an expectation of what the story will contain. There should always be a spanner thrown into the works of your expectations though. Some stories will lack the spanner, unfortunately, but I don’t believe All for Owen is one of them.
History coming back to bite a civilisation in the arse is a commonality in dystopian stories, but I loved the way it was done in this case. The use of history and fear slowly unravelled to create tantalising ideas of what could come next.
Come the end of the story, I found myself rooting for characters, taken aback by surprises, being aghast at events befalling the characters, and having them etched clearly in my mind. The character reactions to events and to each other were very realistic and I found it very easy to imagine teens responding to such a world filled with such fear, hopelessness, and manipulation.
All for Owen doesn’t have a jarring cliffhanger, the one to make you want to respond by jumping up in agitation, which is preferable to me. Instead, the culmination of all the events in the story itself, coupled with the characters, got under my skin. This is what makes me want to continue with the story; the character growth, the care with which they’ve been created, and the world-building, rather than the story ending at a pivotal moment, is what feeds my curiosity.
I believe All for Owen is readable by teens and adults alike. While it is evident to me the story is geared towards an age demographic, nothing is dumbed down. The story may be easy to absorb, but it’s deeper meanings wrapped up in fast-paced entertainment....more
If you’re a reader like me you’ll begin reading a book without high expectations. It doesn’t matteThis 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....more
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....more
Star Wench is awesome, and fun, and a little disturbing. As a kid I went through a read your own adventure phase and loved them so much that as an aduStar Wench is awesome, and fun, and a little disturbing. As a kid I went through a read your own adventure phase and loved them so much that as an adult I bought several of them. So when I was approached to check out Star Wench, a choose your own death adventure book, I had to check it out.
I’m not disapointed that’s for sure. Unlike the choose your own adventure idea, you pick a page at random instead of any type of choice or linear storyline and every scene leading up to the character’s demise is in one page. I did find it slightly jarring to first begin a page as there wasn’t a set-up to it, I didn’t know how the character got there, or who the character is really, but after a few pages I started to settle into the idea and when you read enough of it the character of Star Wench comes out in the different endings.
I really like how each ‘story’ is in one page and sometimes accompanied by a picture. I love the art work and having the images both enhances the story and adds to the fun. They’re quirky at times, as is the whole concept, and I love quirky. Seeing a scene fill only one page, well with what I’ve read so far, makes me appreciate not only creativity, but the ability to make sure that particular scene fits without coming across as condensed.
What makes it even better though? I got the queen! It didn’t take long either and I think I might just have to go click on some more pages. If you want a fun experience, whether you like sci-fi or not, Star Wench is pretty fun and something different to entertain you....more