The closing book of The Giver quartet is powerful and satisfying, tying together the plots and characters of the previous three books and introducingThe closing book of The Giver quartet is powerful and satisfying, tying together the plots and characters of the previous three books and introducing an unforgettable new character, Claire.
Claire is from the dystopian community of The Giver, having been chosen at a young age to be a Birthmother. But when something goes wrong during the birth, her usefulness in this role is done and she's assigned to a job in the fish hatchery. She never forgets her experience or stops wondering about the baby taken from her, and eventually puts her own life at risk to find what she lost so long ago.
The middle section of Son is lovely and emotional, as we see Claire transform herself in order to gain the strength and perseverance needed to find her missing child. The final section of the book falters a bit, as the plot veers more toward the stuff of fairy tales, but ultimately it provides a strong finish to an important series....more
Book #3 in the Giver quartet is maybe a bit weaker than I expected. The story is set in a charming, happy village, where all people are valued and carBook #3 in the Giver quartet is maybe a bit weaker than I expected. The story is set in a charming, happy village, where all people are valued and cared for. But the mood in the village has been getting darker lately, and the Forest that surrounds them is getting creepy and dangerous. Main character Matty was first introduced in the previous book, and through Matty we see more of Kira from Gathering Blue as well as the Village's Leader, who is quite familiar from The Giver. While I didn't love this one, I'll continue with the 4th book to see how it all wraps up....more
Interesting premise, but I felt this book fell flat in execution. Plus, an ending that's not really an ending -- is there a sequel planned? Otherwise,Interesting premise, but I felt this book fell flat in execution. Plus, an ending that's not really an ending -- is there a sequel planned? Otherwise, the ending may have been intended to be open and ominous, but just felt unfinished to me....more
My end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it series -- about world-wide catastrophe and climate change caused by an asteroid colliding with the moon -- is suddenMy end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it series -- about world-wide catastrophe and climate change caused by an asteroid colliding with the moon -- is suddenly about a dystopia! And that's not at all what I wanted for this series.
The Last Survivor series started out strong, focusing on a family and their survival through horrific conditions, including a world-wide winter, starvation, disease, and every bad natural occurrence you can imagine. In this new book, set four years after the asteroid strike, society has become fractured into enclaves of the privileged ("clavers") and the laborers ("grubs") who serve them. It all felt a bit too much, too soon to me, especially in how very much the clavers seem to have internalized the caste-system and look upon the grubs as sub-human.
I liked the original trilogy very much; I'm not crazy about the new direction the series seems to have taken. It was a quick and compelling read, with plenty of action and drama, but I'm not sure that I'd want to continue past this point.
Note: I received an advance copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
The middle book of a trilogy is never quite as engaging as the first nor as exciting as the last. As the second book in the Birthright series, BecauseThe middle book of a trilogy is never quite as engaging as the first nor as exciting as the last. As the second book in the Birthright series, Because It Is My Blood does a good job of moving the story forward, but didn't quite grab me the way All These Things I've Done managed to do.
Because It Is My Blood continues the story of Anya Balanchine, 17-year-old crime family heiress in a world in which chocolate is outlawed. Anya is a worthy heroine -- smart, protective of her brother and sister, and determined to find a way to fulfill her parents' legacy while creating a new path of her own.
The romance developed in the first book, while still a factor, is mostly in the background in Because It Is My Blood... and that's not a bad thing. I appreciated that Anya makes decisions on her own, and that those decisions are not based on whether they'll suit her boyfriend, but on whether she's doing the right thing for the greatest number of people.
I enjoyed reading about New York in 2083. Gabrielle Zevin has put a fresh spin on the genre of futuristic YA novels, and I'm looking forward to seeing where she goes next with Anya's world....more
The future is here in Dan Simmons's "Flashback", and it's not looking too good. Set some 30 years in the fBleak. Distressing. Depressing. Nightmarish.
The future is here in Dan Simmons's "Flashback", and it's not looking too good. Set some 30 years in the future, "Flashback" is a murder mystery/thriller set in a United States that's gone to hell. Society has fallen apart at the seams, the US is bankrupt and beholden to Japan, the Global Caliphate is slowly but surely taking over most of the world, violence is rampant, and Americans have fallen under the thrall of flashback, an addictive drug that enables its users to relive their pasts in perfect detail, in nice increments of 30-minutes, an hour, or more -- at least until their money, their bodies, or their brains give out.
Former police detective Nick Bottom is a pathetic flashback addict, spending every available moment reliving his marriage to his deceased wife. When he is hired by a billionaire Japanese businessman to investigate his son's unsolved murder, Nick is brought into a web of intrigue from which he has practically no chance of emerging unscathed -- or alive.
The mystery at the heart of "Flashback" is multi-layered and compelling, but that's only part of the reason to read this book. As in the best of dystopian novels, "Flashback" is so incredibly disturbing in its portrait of the future of America because it's all too plausible. The author does a great job of laying out all the steps and missteps that take the country and the world from our own present day to the nightmare of the future.
I actually had to put the book down and walk away several times when I encountered certain scenarios that were just too painful or upsetting to absorb, which is something that doesn't usually happen to me when I read fiction. The crime and its subsequent investigation which drives the plotline are only part of the reason to read "Flashback". What made it un-put-down-able for me was the horror of the society that, unfortunately, didn't feel like a science fiction creation to me.
If you're looking for pretty and happy, this is not the book for you. Not an easy read, but certainly rewarding....more
Another day, another dystopia. "Awaken" has an interesting premise: Set in 2060, it chronicles a peaceful society in which education is free and availAnother day, another dystopia. "Awaken" has an interesting premise: Set in 2060, it chronicles a peaceful society in which education is free and available to all via Digital School. Students attend DS in the comfort and safety of their own homes, and make hundreds of new "friends" daily via online chats, social networking sites, and other forms of technology. Life is completely plugged in and completely remote.
Like so many YA novels with a dystopian theme, "Awaken" follows a predictable path. Our heroine is blissfully going along with her life, when her eyes are opened by the appearance of a mysterious (and -- of course -- gorgeous) young man. Slowly but surely, the facade of a perfect society is stripped away to reveal the false assurances and corruption underneath.
"Awaken" is not a bad book, and in fact parts are quite good. However, the menaces are not quite menacing enough, the controlled society isn't quite controlled enough, and the conflicts and resolutions just weren't quite convincing.
According to her bio, the author is a teacher, and unfortunately,the book does come across as heavily preachy/teachy at times. Yes, we know it's bad to never interact on a personal level, to rely solely on technology to communicate, and to be blind to the world around us because we're too busy gazing at our various screens. In reading "Awaken," it all felt a bit too obvious. I prefer my fiction with an edge of subtlety; anvils over the head are not required....more
Allegra Goodman's first novel for young adults is an occasionally inventive take on a post-global-warming society, where being Inaccurate and UnacceptAllegra Goodman's first novel for young adults is an occasionally inventive take on a post-global-warming society, where being Inaccurate and Unacceptable are big no-nos. "The Other Side of the Island" has plenty of original elements, but overall feels reminiscent of any number of YA books about totalitarian societies. Recommended, but not necessarily all that new or different. ...more
At some point, I'll take the time to write a real review. Meanwhile, does "wow" suffice? "Catching Fire" is a stunning follow-up to "The Hunger Games"At some point, I'll take the time to write a real review. Meanwhile, does "wow" suffice? "Catching Fire" is a stunning follow-up to "The Hunger Games". I just finished "Catching Fire" about two minutes ago, and it left me panting for the next (and final) book in the trilogy... which unfortunately will be probably a long time coming. While a bit slow to start, "Catching Fire" really... um... catches fire by its midpoint and keeps burning -- hot and fast -- until the powerful conclusion. Highly recommended, but read "The Hunger Games" first. Suzanne Collins really knows how to create tension and build a strong plot, and at this point I'd read whatever she has to offer. ...more