Colson Whitehead was known as a novelist of literary fiction with books like The Intuitionist and John Henry Days. However in 2010 all that faded intoColson Whitehead was known as a novelist of literary fiction with books like The Intuitionist and John Henry Days. However in 2010 all that faded into the background with his new novel Zone One. Whitehead attempts to join the list of literary novelists who take on genre fiction; what Glen Duncan did for werewolves and Justin Cronin did for vampire, when he tries to write a literary zombie novel.
Pandemic has devastated the planet and most of the population is infected by a plague that has turned them into zombies. The uninfected Americans are trying to rebuild civilisation, create order and establish a provisional government. In a settlement of Manhattan, armed forces have successfully regained most of the island. There is a small section known as Zone One that still needs to be reclaimed, and they are working hard to clear it from the dangerous infected.
I picked up this book thinking a literary genre novel would be nice. Zone One is supposed to be about zombies but what I got was a long drawn out stream of conscious about the life of a man named Mark Spitz. This would have been alright if it was executed a little better; tacking the word ‘literary’ on to this novel isn’t an excuse to forgo a plot.
By all accounts this novel could have worked really well, even without a plot. Whitehead had created a decent world with its own idiom and logic; there are even moments of mayhem. The problem was it started as a slow burn and failed to pick up the pace. When it comes to the zombie genre it should be about survival, horror and suspense but all this felt absent from the novel. It tried to go for the slow pace that is found in The Walking Dead, which can allow for self-reflection and character development but forgot to build tension.
The narrator spends so much time on the chronology of Mark Spitz, I often felt like it forgot about the present day situations he was facing. The novel was too heavy on the memories and trying to develop this character, when it should have been adding in a plot. I think the biggest downfall for this novel is the fact it was marketed as a literary zombie novel. If I picked this book up as a retrospective of Mark Spitz’s life; a man who happens to be in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, I might have been more forgiving.
I am reluctant to just point out all the flaws in this novel because in all honesty, the last 50 pages were pretty decent. I went in expecting a zombie novel and that isn’t what I was given. I think in the hands of someone else, a literary zombie novel can be pulled off but this is not a good example. I found myself wanting to skim through the pages just so I could get to the end and move onto something better.
Emily St John Mandel’s new novel Station Eleven begins with a performance of King Lear; everything was going smoothly until the lead actor Arthur LeanEmily St John Mandel’s new novel Station Eleven begins with a performance of King Lear; everything was going smoothly until the lead actor Arthur Leander dies on stage. A new strand of the flu known as the Georgia Flu sweeps the world. It “exploded like a neutron bomb over the surface of the earth” and wiped out 99% of humanity. This all happens in the first 30 pages, the rest of the novel focuses on a group of performers known as The Travelling Symphony, who travel America putting on Shakespeare plays to those surviving colonies.
The post-apocalyptic novel has been a popular topic over the past few years. There are millions of YA novels on the topic and in the world of literary fiction it books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Passage by Justin Cronin and the Maddaddam series by Margaret Atwood dominate. Recently I have read some post-apocalyptic novels that have failed to satisfy me in the way that books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy had in the past. Both California by Edan Lepucki and On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee had potential but just did not get there. Luckily Emily St John Mandel was there to restore my faith in the literary post-apocalyptic genre.
What I look for in a post-apocalyptic can be difficult to pin point. I want a dark but glittering novel that is both intelligent and audacious. It needs to do something that is different so it will be set apart from others. Station Eleven did this for me; this is not a novel about the aftermath of a global pandemic, this is about the power and importance of art. Not so much the survival of art but the importance it plays on a more personal level.
Mandel wrote a roving novel that follows a group of people struggling with life in a desolate time. This is a stylistic and complex novel told in a non-linear way to explore both the present struggles like the rarity of food and water and the disappearance of all technology. This is an exploration into individuals rather than a collective destiny. Each character has their own story to tell and the non-linear format allows their backstory to be told. They are struggling with memories, loss, nostalgia, solitude and yearning from some stability.
Canadian author Emily St John Mandel is one of those authors that receives high praises for her novels but still manages to fly mostly under-the-radar. I hate to use this term, but with all the praise from other authors she comes across as a ‘writer for writers’. Based on my experience of her writing from Station Eleven this a sad situation, her skills deserve to be realised by the reading public.
I am glad I picked up this novel; I was a little hesitant but I had heard so much about Emily St John Mandel that I just had to find out for myself. To begin with the story of Shakespearian actors was what made this different but I soon found the haunting and complex plot full of subtleties that worked in the books favour. I am still hesitant of all the new post-apocalyptic novels to come but now I know not to overlook Emily St John Mandel in the future.
Cal and Frida is living in the middle of the 21st century, however it wasn’t the future we expected. Cities have crumbled, the internet has died and tCal and Frida is living in the middle of the 21st century, however it wasn’t the future we expected. Cities have crumbled, the internet has died and technology is worthless. Leaving city life behind, they now have to live in the wilderness, struggling to survive. Isolation and hardship are all new experiences; they live in fear of an uncertain future. A future that now consists of giving birth and raising a child in this post-apocalyptic world.
The post-apocalyptic back drop has been hugely popular lately and it isn’t just young adult fiction. Many literary fiction authors have tried their hand at the genre, giving them a unique world to explore real life issues. I’m thinking of great books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, The Passage by Justin Cronin and the Maddaddam series by Margaret Atwood. Edan Lepucki’s California sets out to join the ranks of the great with this overly ambitious first novel.
I will be honest, the only reason I picked up California was because of the promotion that appeared on The Colbert Report a while ago. The novel had enough to peak my interest but I had great difficulty getting a copy where I lived. Ironically I finally settled on getting the book through Audible to listen to. The premise of the novel was great; the idea of a world returning to the dark ages offered some interesting ideas. While we are never sure, the novel does allude to global warming as the underlining cause of this post-apocalyptic world.
I expected this novel to be the slow burn that The Road provided, building the characters and struggle while exploring the intended themes. However, I think this book burned a little too slowly, the flame went out halfway through and it turned into more of a chore to get through. Sure, the notions of communities, eco-terrorism and climate change were explored but for me it felt like I was being beaten over my head every chance they got. The book wanted to show off how smart and witty it was but, like many things that try to do this, the delivery never matched the intent.
California moved so slowly that as a reader, I was trapped in the wilderness of nothingness and I didn’t think I could escape. This was a real pity, everything seemed to start off so well; there was a plot arc and themes all set up and ready for execution. Somewhere on the way I feel like the author got a little lost and the readers were just following to her struggle to get back on track. I might come down hard on this novel; it isn’t too bad, there is a lot of potential and could have been a great book. For me it just didn’t work and wasn’t paced properly, I’m sure some people enjoyed it.
A man-made plague has swept across the earth and wiped out most of humanity. Few survived, along with the Crakers (a new bio-engineered species). TherA man-made plague has swept across the earth and wiped out most of humanity. Few survived, along with the Crakers (a new bio-engineered species). There may not be much hope for humans to survive but the Crakers have a chance. Toby and Zeb tell the story of just what happens next, in the conclusion of this great epic post-apocalyptic trilogy.
This is the final instalment in the Maddaddam story; a trilogy that I binge read over the past few months. Just a quick recap; Oryx and Crake tell the story of these two as well as Snowman, the destruction of the world and the creation of the Crakers. At the same time The Year of the Flood tells the story of Toby and The Gardeners (a religious cult). Those two books run in parallel and lead us to Maddaddam, where the two stories meet.
I’m not too sure how I feel about the final novel in this trilogy. On one hand this is a rather upbeat finale that ties everything up into a nice little bow and on the other, I much prefer bleak and I feel this novel was unnecessary. Not to say it was bad but both Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood worked well as standalone novels, they both interconnect but you could probably read one or the other without confusion. When it comes to Maddaddam you really do need to have read the first two books, there is a “previously on the Maddaddam trilogy” moment at the start of the book but this is a novel to fill in the gaps. I don’t mind gaps, I like leaving questions unanswered but I can understand why Margret Atwood would choose to wrap things up.
Maddaddam is a novel about renewal Oryx and Crake focuses on the destructive nature of science, and The Year of the Flood looked at religious fanaticism; I’m a little surprised this book was more positive. Atwood writes really thought provoking novels and Maddaddam is no different, though this does feel more optimistic. This novel focuses heavily on science and politics, two of Margret Atwood’s favourite topics and she does leave the reader with plenty to think about.
One thing I found in this novel that surprised me was the dark humour; I don’t remember Oryx and Crake or The Year of the Flood being this funny. The dark post-apocalyptic themes were evident within this book, I was just thrown by the outlook and ending; it felt almost joyous. In the end it did wrap up the series in a nice way, despite my feelings toward this novel, it was a great read and the whole series is worth checking out.
The Year of the Flood follows the lives of two characters, Toby and Ren. Toby is a young woman who lost her family and the corporations are to blame.The Year of the Flood follows the lives of two characters, Toby and Ren. Toby is a young woman who lost her family and the corporations are to blame. She is forced work in a burger chain you would never want to eat at, that was until she met the Gardeners. Ren grows up working in a sex club called Scales and Tails. She previously dated Jimmy (Snowman) and found herself locked in bio-containment when the pandemic happened.
This is the second book in the Maddaddam trilogy and happens simultaneously to Oryx and Crake (for the most part). While book one jumped between the dystopian corporations-controlled world and after the pandemic, The Year of the Flood is more linear and set mainly in the pre-apocalyptic world. While it isn’t really necessary to read Oryx and Crake first, I think the majority of the world building was done in the first book leaving this one more open to focus on the characters and plot.
I will admit I loved the way Oryx and Crake portrayed the corporations dystopian world I love so much but I think The Year of the Flood was overall a better novel. I liked the characters more and the portrayal of a religious cult was fascinating. Margret Atwood seems to draw a lot on personal religious experiences and then build on that to create this cult. I’ve been in plenty of churches, have met many religious fanatics and it really feels like Atwood has too.
She even took the religious element one step further by adding 14 hymns; even during her book promotions and on the audio book they have performances of these hymns. I think Atwood managed to balance religious fanaticism and hostile corporation practises just right in the novel. Both never felt overpowering and allowed for character and plot development to take the foreground.
The more I read of Atwood the more I am in awe of her brilliance. I remember reading The Handmaids Tale and never really thought too much of it but now I that I know her style and the messages she wants to get across, I feel like I should try that book again. There are some other Atwood books I want to try as well so they might have to come first.
I’m entrenched in the Maddaddam world and looking forward to reading the final novel in the trilogy. Luckily I have the book on my shelf waiting and I probably read it soon. I don’t normally read a series (or the same author) so close together but I was sucked in and needed more from this world. Fans of both post apocalyptic and dystopian novels should check out the Maddaddam trilogy, there are some interesting themes through the first two books and I’m sure it will continue in book three.
The 1st Wave took out half a million people. The 2nd Wave put that number to shame. The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks… four billion deadThe 1st Wave took out half a million people. The 2nd Wave put that number to shame. The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks… four billion dead. In the 4th Wave, you can’t trust that people are still people. And the 5th Wave? No one knows. But it’s coming.
The aliens have landed; with each wave there are less saviours. Cassie is on the run, not just from the visitors but from everyone else as well. The 4th wave has destroyed all trust and the only people she knows she can trust were her Father and brother. That was until she met Evan Walker.
I’ve said it before; I’ve never really gotten into the whole Young Adult craze; but I keep trying. Alien invasion, I might try some of that. The 5th Wave is your typical run of the mill Young Adult post apocalyptic novel, but the whole time I spent reading this I wondered if this book was written for young adults. This leads me to question if any of the more recent books are written for teenagers. In this growing genre it seems that the average age of a YA reader is not a teenager.
Skynet, X-Wings, Close Encounters, they are all references I don’t expect young adults to make. I do hope they know what Star Wars and Star Trek are or even who Terminator and Darth Vader are, but sometimes I wonder about that too. This feels like they are trying to go for the nostalgic readers much like Ready Player One did but I’m not sure it worked as well here.
This was a really quick read for me, I think I knocked it out in a few hours, so I don’t want to criticise the entertainment factor but there was a lot in the book that I just didn’t like. Children being trained up in combat? Sure, the kids today wouldn’t have read Enders Game but if you are catering for the nostalgic reader try not hiding the fact that you are pretty much stealing huge ideas from other books. I know Hunger Games was a big hit and it is pretty awesome to have a kick ass heroine but I felt like Cassie was too much of a Katniss photocopy and there wasn’t much that was original about her. While we are at it, please stop with the love triangles, it’s very rare to find one that is done in an interesting and unique way; why are they in every YA book?
To me the characters in this book were very underdeveloped, Cassie in particular which is annoying when she is the main protagonist. I liked Evan in parts but I did think that some depth to all the characters would have helped boost my enjoyment. Then there is the plot; it was predictable and never surprising. Entertaining, yes, but there has to be something more to a book, I want to be both entertained and left with thoughts of the book rolling around in my head for days afterwards.
For me it felt like Rick Yancey read all the popular dystopian/post apocalyptic young adult novels then went and watched all those 1980 Science Fiction movies from his childhood and just mashed them all together. Taking his favourite parts from each plot and using it in his own piece and guess what? It’s a triology.
I was entertained, I was nostalgic and it was a fun book to read but now that I’ve had a little vent, I can say I really want something different from this genre. Alien Invasion, yes this is something I don’t think has been done, unless you count The Host (which I don’t). I do like that this novel is a little dark and raw but it really held back in my opinion.
There isn’t enough nostalgia for my taste and the language, sexual references and violence make me wonder just how old you need to be for YA? 15? I’m sure kids will think this is just as fun as sneaking into watch a movie for over 18 year olds but to call this the “Young Adult novel of the year” I feel maybe stretching it a little too far. But what do I know; I’m just that crazy bitter old man that reviews books on the Internet.
There are not more no super villains for these Crusaders for justice but a zombie apocalypse has given them a new challenge. Hulled up in a film studiThere are not more no super villains for these Crusaders for justice but a zombie apocalypse has given them a new challenge. Hulled up in a film studio-turned-fortress, the Mount, these heroes do their best just to survive in a world overwhelmed but these hungry corpses. While the ex-humans walk the streets night and day these superheroes can no longer call themselves heroes, they are fighting to survive like everyone else; they are Ex-Heroes.
This book has been a little bit of a success story as of late, Peter Clines published the first two books of this trilogy with a tiny little publisher known as Permuted Press. But it was not until one of the editors of Ready Player One got sick of Goodreads recommending him this series did things change. After finally caving and reading Ex-Heroes this editor loved the book so much that he went out and acquired the series for Crown Publishing group. Now this book seems to pop up everywhere, and the new buzz has really brought new life into this book.
I really like the concept of superheroes in a zombie apocalypse; they are no longer heroes, they have to fight for survival just like everyone else. Yet there is a part of them that wants to still protect the innocent and they do try. There is this whole inner turmoil coming out in these ex-heroes that I love, this is the end of the world and while they want to be heroes again they need to think about their own lives as well. The conflict within themselves is what drew me to this novel the most.
Sure, there are other wonderful zombie apocalypse elements within the book, it is jammed pack with action and yet there is a story arc that feels very much like a super villain’s rise to power which I think will develop over the next few books too. Also you will find a heap of nerd references in Ex-Heroes; not really to the same extent to Ready Player One but they are there and for a nerd like me they are always fun to discover.
Ex-Heroes feels like an attempt to try something new in the Zombie Apocalypse genre. Blending his love for Superheroes and Zombies, Peter Clines has produced this wonderful action-packed adventure that is worth checking out. I’m interested to see where the next couple of books take us and wish Clines best of luck for the future success of this series.
In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men anIn a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo. Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies. To live, you must follow the rules. But some don’t. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism. Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside. Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last
Hugh Howey’s independently released smash hit series Wool has been picked up and released as a novel. While Wool is more of an omnibus of the first five novellas, Simon and Schuster (in the US) and Random house here have been promoting it as a novel. While each novella does shift perspective, the questions at the end is what drives you to keep reading and that is what makes this a great novel. You find yourself with more questions than answers and you just need to dive into the next part in the hopes that you will have some of those questions answered, but knowing you’ll end up with more questions.
Hugh Howey has masterfully created this world built on lies and as you follow the characters you can’t help but wonder what the real truth is. Living in these huge 200 plus level underground silos, cut off from what may or may not exist outside, some lies need to be told to keep the peace. But what lie can really lead to peace? Aren’t all lies destructive by nature?
Wool is an exciting take on the dystopian/post apocalyptic genre and while there is something very familiar with this book, it also feels very fresh. The world is governed by fear and if you don’t obey you get sent outside to clean. Only problem with that is you’ll never survive the toxic air out there and this control leads to a totalitarian reign in this dystopian world. The antagonists of the silo turn out to be the IT department, because knowledge is power and this power struggle between this department and the rest of the silo is done really well.
The characters are just fantastic in this book, from Sheriff Holston who was likable but all of sudden volunteered to do the cleaning at the start of the book, to his replacement Jules, the strong minded female lead, and all the other characters on the way. I’m reminded of Game of Thrones in the way that you can never really get too attached because you never know who while be cleaning next. Even the minor characters have a sense of complexity that is often missed with other authors. This eye for detail and passion for a fast paced adventure with brilliantly flawed characters is what really makes Hugh Howey so successful.
I’m impressed with the huge success of this self published author and having read this, I now know why it works. The blend of questions with the fast pace and wonderful characters means this author is on track to become a masterful story teller. Wool really does live up to the hype and I hope you get a chance to read it soon. I’m torn between buying the kindle versions of the prequel, Shift, or to wait for the novel. I know if I buy each novella individually it will be torture waiting for my questions to be answered but I really want to go back to that world and see what Hugh Howey does with it.
Jimmy was a member of a scientific elite, living in isolation, suffering through bitter loneliness. Then an unnamed apocalypse came along, now he is kJimmy was a member of a scientific elite, living in isolation, suffering through bitter loneliness. Then an unnamed apocalypse came along, now he is known as Snowman and he may be one of the few survivors. This post-apocalyptic hermit resides near; what he refers to as Crakers—strange human-like creatures. In flashbacks the story develops, the Crakers, Wolvogs, Pigoons and Rakunks are assorted life forms that are the products of genetic engineering.
Oryx and Crake are the symbols of a fractured society, which Jimmy was once a part of. This is where trying to explain this novel can get complex. There are two different worlds within this book the post-apocalyptic world but then there are the flashbacks. The dystopian world was far more interesting for me. Much like Super Sad True Love Story. this is a dystopian world that I can see coming, corporation’s rule the world and pornography has become mainstream. It is normal to watch live executions and surgeries, nudie news (apparently watching the news when they are fully clothed is just weird), even child pornography.
I love novels that deal with the dangers of corporations having too much power; Super Sad True Love Story is a prime example of it (I should re-read that novel) and Oryx and Crake is another example of this (need more examples). Science and marketing techniques leave the public as powerless consumers and there is nothing to stop the unprecedented corporate greed.
Genetic engineering is a slippery slope; I seem to find myself attracted to novels that deal with science going too far. Oryx and Crake is a great example of this; Crake is a scientist working in the biotech project that created the Crakers. Genetic engineering progress continued to advance and eventually lead to a complex and sinister project called Paradice, but when that collapsed it caused this global devastation.
Oryx was a girl Jimmy and Crake found on a child pornography site that eventually was hired by Crake as a prostitute and to teach the Crakers. Oryx obviously had a difficult past, and Oryx and Crake attempts to deal with this issue as well. This is not an easy issue to deal with, the majority of the world would say they are against child pornography and yet it continues to happen and we see no signs of it ever being truly dealt with. Margaret Atwood doesn’t have a problem with trying to deal with difficult issues and this novel has plenty to say.
Moving away from the dystopian world and into the post-apocalyptic one, we have a whole new set of themes and issues. While this is a direct result of the corporate destruction, now we have to deal with survival. The Crakers are like little helpless children that Snowman tries to help; so now we have parental responsibilities as a major theme as well as our social responsibilities. He also has to protect them from the Wolvogs, Pigoons, Rakunks and whatever might disrupt their civilisation.
This is the second Margaret Atwood novel I’ve read and I’m starting to see a familiar theme coming through in her novels. I believe she wants the reader to have a look at civilisation and what we are doing that is beneficial or harmful. I’m sure the rest of the Maddadam trilogy will deal with this; I’m not sure if all her books have a similar theme but I suspect they might.
I love a novel that tells a great story but is also loaded with different themes and symbolism. I feel so fulfilled reading a book like Oryx and Crake and spending time digesting the words and examining what Atwood wants to tell us. I was meaning to read this novel for so long and now I’m left with intense desire to read the next two in the series. Thanks you Bloomsbury Australia for pressuring me into reading this book, I have no regrets.
On the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 14 March 2003 and in a time of uncertainty and financial crisis, a wave of energy has fallen over America. TheOn the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 14 March 2003 and in a time of uncertainty and financial crisis, a wave of energy has fallen over America. The United States as we know it is gone. The soldiers are left to fight a war without command, the line of succession go so far back that it falls to the governments in Pearl Harbor, Guantánamo Bay, and a very isolated corner of the north east. What will the world be like now the last superpower has disappeared?
Without Warning is the first book in the disappearance series by John Birmingham and is an alternate history/political thriller/action novel that tries to look at what the world would be like if America just disappears. But does it work? For me, I think the book just follows all the clichés found in a thriller and while it tries to do something completely different. The blending of Alternative history just never seemed to work.
Don’t get me wrong; I think John Birmingham is a great writer with some interesting ideas, but I guess mainstream novels don’t work for me. While I do try, and have, enjoyed novels like this. I tend to think there is something missing. The book felt very Americanised, even trying to imitate people like Tom Clancy and if you are into that type of book, I’m sure you would enjoy Without Warning.
I tried really hard to get into this novel, but with so main false starts and the forcing myself to finish this novel, I just never enjoyed it. I was tempted not to review this novel because I’m not sure if I have anything constructive to say, but in the interest of showing my full reading journey I forced myself.
Without Warning did have a lot of pop culture references which I do enjoy and the idea of losing the last super power was well thought out, but in the end this just wasn’t a book for me. I remember reading Tom Clancy when I was a young and enjoying it but I don’t think I would now. Maybe this is a book for a younger me and for people that just want pure escapism into a world of action....more
Cloud Atlas is a really hard book to review; it starts off as a Journal circa 1850 documenting a voyage home from the Chatham Islands, then it’s a serCloud Atlas is a really hard book to review; it starts off as a Journal circa 1850 documenting a voyage home from the Chatham Islands, then it’s a series of letters from a 1930’s English musician to a Belgium composer, then a journalist from 1975 investigating for a novel that will blow the whistle on a new nuclear power plant , a 21st century publisher is fleeing from gangsters in a movie dramatization, a dystopian future story told from genetically-engineered clone’s perspective and finally the post-apocalyptic future where technology is all whipped out. Confusing? Well this book does all come together in to make Cloud Atlas a truly interesting book to read but I don’t think it worked as intended.
I think author David Mitchell is too clever for his own good in this book. The stories do all come together and he really shows off by writing each section in the best genre style to suit what is happening but he is just doing too much in this book. I feel like I’m just starting to get invested in the story of one protagonist and then Mitchell jumps to the next one without any sense of resolution. Sure he does return to each story a second time around but by then I feel like it’s too late for me.
David Mitchell really flexes his literary muscles in the book and he is a wonderful write but there is so much happening in this book and I never felt like he achieve what he was hoping for. I’m not sure cutting from six to three or four story arcs would have helped the book but it might have helped the reader become more invested. I particularly liked the thriller style of the investigative journalist and that gangster story line of the publisher but when their story is just getting exciting it’s all over and we have to move on to the next one.
Cloud Atlas is an interesting, clever book but this doesn’t make it a good book; I enjoyed parts of it and other parts infuriated me. I will say I’m glad to have read it before the movie adaptation is released but it’s not something I ever want to revisit again. I get that he is trying to do a novel about evolution or reincarnation; as each protagonist bares the same birth mark but that element of the book never really went anywhere. I know some people really love this book but I felt like it was too much of a show off. I’d like to read a David Mitchell book where he sticks to one genre instead of all of them. ...more
I know everyone seems to be reading this novel and I try not to follow the crowd, but this book sounded too good to pass up. The Age of Miracle tellsI know everyone seems to be reading this novel and I try not to follow the crowd, but this book sounded too good to pass up. The Age of Miracle tells the story of eleven year old Julia and her experience in a drastic change to the world that could be the start of the apocalypse. The world is slowing down and the days are getting longer, first be a few minutes and then by hours. Julia is trying to recount the events of this difficult time; both the end of the world and being a teenager.
This is a wonderful blend of a coming of age story with a back drop of a speculative novel. Amongst the chaos and people not knowing what to do, you have a Julia talking about her journey into adulthood. But does it work? Personally I would have liked to know more about the world slowing and the speculative fiction elements, but I think the blend between young adult and genre fiction was masterfully done.
My biggest problem with this book and it’s one of my literary bête noires in post apocalypse and dystopian fiction is that Karen Thompson Walker writes this book in first person past tense. Which gives me a sense of knowing what will happen in the end and there is no way to build tension. But this is only a minor issue in a book like this because this more a beautiful novel of self discovery and growing up.
Karen Thompson Walker’s writes with such elegance and beauty that I was surprised to find this was a debut novel. Her skill of mixing YA with Speculative fiction and then making it into something that I would consider literature was just done brilliantly. She has such skill of not over shadowing the coming of age elements with the chaos of the world around her. I was surprised at how fast I read this book, I was fully immersed in this book and the beauty of what I was reading I was a little sad to see it end.
I can’t recommend this book enough, Julia was a wonderful protagonist and her journey was delightful. The Age of Miracle doesn’t give you any answers but cleverly revels what is going on without forcing anything on the reader. It’s a fascination novel with really needs to be experienced firsthand. Sure the science of the slowing would be interesting to read about but it would never work in a book like this. I must admit I look forward to see what Karen Thompson Walker does next and would be interested to find a book similar to this gem. ...more
I recently read The Passage this year so I was lucky I didn’t have to wait as long as everyone else for book two; The Twelve. I was privileged to winI recently read The Passage this year so I was lucky I didn’t have to wait as long as everyone else for book two; The Twelve. I was privileged to win an advanced review copy so I need to be careful in reviewing this book without any spoilers. As many people would already know The Twelve continues on with the epic tale that The Passage built. This time we have a whole lot of new characters to read about as they struggle to survive in this nightmarish world of virals.
One of my biggest issues with The Passage is the same issue I’ve had with this book; which is the fact that I really struggled to keep the characters in order. Granted all the characters had a wonderful amount of depth to them but because there are so many characters, it sometimes becomes a struggle keeping up with them. I had to write a list of each character and a bit of information about them just to refer back to and remember key aspects of their story arcs. While in The Twelve the characters seem to travel more as a big group so I didn’t feel like I needed a map and little figures to move around like a war map just to keep track of everyone.
I love the post apocalyptic world the Justin Cronin has created and I found so much joy in returning to the world. He has created this wonderful world full of great characters, tension and action. But he has written these books in such literary way, which sets it apart from most Post-Apocalyptic survival novels. Although these books are bricks and too heavy to hold; they are still well worth reading.
I’m a little worried that I now have to wait till 2014 for the final book in the trilogy, The City of Mirrors. Fans of The Passage, you are in for a treat with The Twelve; just for the joy of going back to the world and continuing the story but also because there are new characters to meet. While I think this book will stand out as a standalone read, I highly recommend you start this book from the beginning. But maybe wait till 2014 so you don’t have to suffer with waiting two years for the next instalment. I hope I haven’t given anything away about the plot away, but if you have read this book already I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
The Dog Stars is really a stylised book full of interesting characters and quirks. Peter Heller's novel is a story of a pilot Hig’s who has survived aThe Dog Stars is really a stylised book full of interesting characters and quirks. Peter Heller's novel is a story of a pilot Hig’s who has survived a pandemic flu that has killed off most of the world’s population. He’s lot his wife and is living in a hangar of an abandoned airfield with his dog and his only neighbour is a misanthrope. He is now living in a world filled with loss, what will he risk to rediscover himself and reconnect with other survivors? Will he go against all odds just to make a connection?
This book has an interesting blend of literary fiction and dystopian adventure, it reminds me a little of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in that aspect. The characters are great in the book, with their flaws and interesting personalities. I think Peter Haller did a great job with the characters. The book at times tends to be dark and gritty which works well with the sense of the end of the world and the violence that would assume such an event. But then at times the book seems over descriptive and sometimes feels too flowery and nice which never really seemed to match this dystopian novel.
There are so many great elements in this book but there are other aspects of the book that didn’t work for me. My main problem with the narrative; it felt almost experimental, trying to do something that didn’t quite work for this style of book. It is written in a first person perspective but also written in a past tense, so you have a feeling that everything will be ok and no sense of tension throughout the novel. At times the sentence feels broken and disjointed, I’m not sure if this is an attempt to show that the narrator is unreliable but I don’t think it worked too well in this kind of novel.
The Dog Stars is a remarkably unique novel and there are some great aspects of this novel to sink your teeth into. It was a captivating and enjoyable ride; even if I had issues with the narrative and at times felt bored with the story. The characters in the novel were definitely the highlight of this book but the adventure was helped move the plot along. Personally if I compare this book with Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, I would recommend it over The Dog Stars, but this doesn’t mean you should overlook this novel....more
This book has been recommended to me over and over and over again, but I can’t really see why. There are things I do like about the book but there areThis book has been recommended to me over and over and over again, but I can’t really see why. There are things I do like about the book but there are also a lot I didn’t like. My main issue with this book is I think Stephen King was trying way too hard to write a metaphor and that didn’t really help this book tell a decent story. I’ve been lucky to read a decent western style book recently in The Sisters Brothers, so I think that this book feel really short when comparing the two. The writing style of this book was one of the things I really did enjoy, King’s prose were bleak and matched the book style perfectly, I was just never sucked in completely....more
The future looks really bleak, and it’s up to one girl; Kira to save it. Mankind is going extinct as a result of the Judgement Day Partials war; an aiThe future looks really bleak, and it’s up to one girl; Kira to save it. Mankind is going extinct as a result of the Judgement Day Partials war; an airborne virus is killing all new born babies. The governments solution; every woman over 18 16 must keep getting pregnant (naturally or artificially) in order for further testing to find the solution. 16 year old researcher Kira is determined to find the answer to the virus and save mankind; her quest leads her to turn to the Partials (genetically modified humans and mankinds greatest enemy) in the hopes to find the solution. This leaves Kira in a tricky situation; will she side with the government, the rebellion or the Partials?
This novel is pretty interesting; I like the story and I’m interested to see where it will lead in the future. While this is typically a YA novel as appose to a post-apocalyptic thrillers means the writing, violence and complexity of this book feels like it has been dumbed down; to an extent that sometimes is not very enjoyable. I really enjoy Dan Wells as a writer but I would like to see him move away from young adult fiction and do something darker, disturbing and more complex. I feel like he has it in him but due to the limitations of YA he holds back a lot. I would love to give this a 4 out of 5 but I can’t, it’s a 3 and a half star novel....more
While i did enjoy this book, I did take issues with some of it. For starters Manchee was really annoying and while dogs do act that way (apart from taWhile i did enjoy this book, I did take issues with some of it. For starters Manchee was really annoying and while dogs do act that way (apart from talking) i think the dog did throw the story off a little for me. Also censorship did get on my nerves, I don’t like it, never have never will; I know that it was bec ause it was a YA book and he didn’t want to expose the readers to that, but there is probably a better way to express frustrasion and anger without pretending to curse.
Apart from those issues, the book does a great job of progressing the story and held my interest all the way till the end. Its a great YA novel, but be warned cliffhanger at the end will make you want to read the next one pretty much straight away....more
Wow, this was different to the movies claiming to be based on this book; what happened? No zombie apocalypse like I was expecting instead we have vampWow, this was different to the movies claiming to be based on this book; what happened? No zombie apocalypse like I was expecting instead we have vampires. I went in expecting one thing and ended up enjoying something completely different....more
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and considering The Twelve is only months away, I figure now was a good time to read it. The PassaI’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time and considering The Twelve is only months away, I figure now was a good time to read it. The Passage is set in the not too distant future; a highly contagious virus has infected the greater masses turning them into vampire-like creatures. This not your typical post-apocalyptic novel; The Passage follows the events for ninety years, starting with the outbreak and patient zero till the colonies of humans attempt to live in a world filled with these creatures.
I went into this novel expecting a post-apocalyptic vampire novel but I was presently surprised with this book. It was pure joy reading something so literary spanning from the apocalypse to the fight for human survival. I’m finding it really difficult to review this book, because I was impressed with it but I need to try and be a little critical because over all I don’t think I could rate the book more than 4 stars.
To begin with this book has so many characters, I was often lost with what was happening with all the characters, I had to keep a note pad and write down little things to remember just to keep my head straight. Simple things like ‘Amy; main protagonist, infected with a form of the virus which has made her immune.’ This has distracted me from fully enjoying this book, but when I had my head straight was all the vital characters, I was able to relax and enjoy the ride this novel took me on. I also felt this book may have been far too long, but on reflection I can’t really think of anything that I would take out. It wasn’t repetitive and all the plot points just helped flesh out and make the characters interesting and three dimensional. I love how Justin Cronin gives you a story for each character but never really influences the reader to whether or not you like the character. In the end this just make different people like different characters and the writers influences never seen to be a part to the decision making progress.
This is a beautifully written character driven story of survival and humanity. I find myself remembering what it was like reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy; another post-apocalyptic novel that I would also consider literary. The joys of reading something so wonderful and still feel like you are reading genre fiction; it’s a great feeling. Please, don’t be put off but the size of this book, it’s a wonderful read. Having finished the book, my biggest problem is that book two; The Twelve doesn’t come out to October and the final book in the trilogy; The City of Mirrors isn’t set for release till 2014. ...more