Really enjoyed this dystopian novel about a future world in which we've made the earth mostly uninhabitable and society is divided into three segmentsReally enjoyed this dystopian novel about a future world in which we've made the earth mostly uninhabitable and society is divided into three segments - the extremely wealthy Charters, production settlements that provide resources for the Charters, and the Counties where the desperate masses subsist.
When not told directly from the perspective of the main character, Fan, the story was narrated by the collective voice of the production settlement B-More (formerly Baltimore). While I was intrigued with this technique and enjoyed it initially, it got old and I quickly tired of the chapters told by the B-More narrators which tended to focus not so much on what was going on in B-More, but lofty observations about life and storytelling that felt overdone.
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone, especially if you enjoy books like the MadAddam series and The Heart Goes Last (which this book actually reminded me of a lot). ...more
Such an excellent book. Story of the Biafran War from three very different character perspectives. Such great writing and characters. Very powerful anSuch an excellent book. Story of the Biafran War from three very different character perspectives. Such great writing and characters. Very powerful and sometimes painful, but always a compelling story. I liked how the story bounced back and forth to pre-conflict and mid-conflict plotlines - it somehow brought some levity and made for a jarring and refreshing contrast. I'd recommend this book to anyone!...more
This book was good but it should have been great. I loved the story of the friendship between the four main characters and the very real character devThis book was good but it should have been great. I loved the story of the friendship between the four main characters and the very real character development. It was also a great depiction of the effects of childhood abuse and its lasting and seemingly irrational, hard to understand effects on survivors. The writing was superb and the story unfolded in a very well-crafted manner. For all these reasons, when I was halfway through with this book I was convinced it would be one of my top ten all-time faves. But around halfway through this book, three flaws with this book began to decrease my enjoyment of the book.
First, after an introductory chapter for each of the four friends, the book begins to focus in on Jude and to a lesser extent Willem. I think the story would have been richer had the other two primary characters not faded into the background as the story progressed. It began to feel monotonous and not as vibrant as it could have been had we continued to have narration from all the main characters.
Second, the book could have used some serious editing - it really began to feel repetitive toward the end. Reading about Jude's inner torment, inability to allow others in, and self-harm was fascinating the first chapter it arose, still interesting the next time I read about it, but eventually began to feel really redundant and unnecessary. How many times can you read about one person's despondence? I literally felt like I was rereading certain passages over and over - hearing about Jude's horrible inner torment just got a little boring after a while.
Third, and somewhat relatedly, the book eventually felt a little overly sadistic. The book really lingered over gory details, whether about Jude's childhood physical/sexual abuse, his cutting as an adult, his physical abuse as an adult, etc. - it just started to feel like too much and was a bit fatiguing for the reader without really adding much to the story.
That said, the compelling story, excellent writing, and well-developed and authentic-feeling characters still made this book a wonderful read that I would highly recommend. ...more
I enjoyed this book immensely. It was such a simple and beautifully written story. Simple, clean, direct prose. It dealt with issues of race and classI enjoyed this book immensely. It was such a simple and beautifully written story. Simple, clean, direct prose. It dealt with issues of race and class in a way that feels just as relevant today as it must have in 1948. It handled themes of justice, forgiveness, finding goodness in life even in times of despair, humanity, and family in a raw, insanely powerful way (I admit to sobbing at several points in the story).
While I enjoyed the entire book, it really started to pick up for me about half way through, and by the end, I was dreading it coming to an end - stick with it if you find it a bit try in the beginning. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. A good mix of an exciting plot and interesting character development made it a page turner for me. I got a bit annoyed atI really enjoyed this book. A good mix of an exciting plot and interesting character development made it a page turner for me. I got a bit annoyed at point with the author's tendency to wax philosophical, but other than that I found it quite enjoyable. Not too heavy, not too light. Definitely not a top 10, or even a top 25 book, but I would not hesitate to recommend it to others. ...more