Oh, Cullen Witter, would one please stop talking about oneself in third person?
Where Things Come Back is told mostly from the first person perspectiveOh, Cullen Witter, would one please stop talking about oneself in third person?
Where Things Come Back is told mostly from the first person perspective of the young man, Cullen Witter (well, except for when he often talks about himself in the third person) whose fifteen year old brother disappears. Cullen lives in a small town town that just happens to be obsessed with woodpeckers, specifically the long-presumed extinct Lazarus Woodpecker. Both the town and Cullen Witter develop a strong obsession with the disappearance of the young boy and the possible reappearance of the rare bird.
It also follows a third person narration based around a group of religious characters that may or may not have a relation to Cullen's small town and it's obsessions. The writing is very dry and far from descriptive. It can be rather staccato, especially in the beginning, while it becomes slightly more fluid toward the end. Though it is a quick read, it can be difficult to stay involved.
Strangely, I feel like it was meant as some sort of subliminal messaging for the main character to be called Cullen. Like "Please read my book young girlssss... There is a young man named Cullen. He is very sssssensitive like another certain Cullen, but this one doesn't sssssparkle." The names in general are just ridiculous.
This is getting three stars for the ending and the way everything came together so well. Otherwise, it would have been a two, because it just didn't engage me throughout a large part of the book. The beginning and middle weren't so strong, but the last 40 pages or so made up for it a bit. (view spoiler)[And is it just me, or does the title really give away the ending of the book? (hide spoiler)]
Quite often, the author goes off on tangents about things that don't quite feel related to the important characters or the plot. The book actually felt like being inside someone's head. I know, I know. That's what a book is supposed to feel like, but to actually be inside someone's head wouldn't be as exciting as it sounds. There is a lot of extraneous information in our minds. This book was short but held too much irrelevant information.
One thing I took away from this book was a new favorite word. I love saying asshat. I don't think I had ever used the term in my life before this book. In fact, I've never heard anyone use the word asshat in real life. But now it's kind of growing on me.
I called my dog an asshat the other day... But that's because he sat on my other dog's butt. So it was relevant to the situation. The next day, I called him a furry walking cliche for being interested in a big red fire hydrant. See - that was just a random thought in my brain that you didn't necessarily need to know. It was in no way related to this review, but a perfect example of the deviating anecdotes you'll receive in this book. And they are many.
This book also happens to be another example of writers writing about writers. Oh, what an original concept.
Sometimes it bothers me that writers often write about characters who are also writers. I understand that you write what you know. However, I really feel that unless it is central to the storyline, then it just looks like the author is using a cutout of themselves as a character. Cullen Witter seems like a prime example of this phenomenon and we can all now lovingly refer to him as "Gary Stu".
I'm not saying that it wasn't well done in this case. I enjoyed the injection of book title ideas throughout the chapters and the parallels between his stories and his life. My grip is mainly about the amount of authors who add the title "writer" to their characters unnecessarily.
I am also a writer, but when I'm reading I try my hardest to get into a reader state of mind. A large majority of readers are not writers and might feel somewhat alienated when authors feel the need to constantly include a writer character. Unless I'm looking specifically for that kind of book, I don't necessarily want to read about writers.
Since I can't speak to what annoys other people and I certainly can't pretend to know what non-writers think about characters who are writers, I would like to pose a question: Whether you write or not, does it annoy you when authors so often create characters who are also writers?
Overall, this was a decent debut novel and shows great promise. I definitely enjoyed the few pages near the end that were more descriptive and action based. With such good in depth plot development, I would be interested in reading more from Whaley... Maybe something more crime based or suspenseful? Just a thought.
(Thanks to S&S for allowing me to read this as an ARC!!)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
You can now check out the Partials trailer right HERE on Goodreads!
A Partials-themed Acrostic!
Pregnancy obligations for the young like in Bumped.
AmaYou can now check out the Partials trailer right HERE on Goodreads!
A Partials-themed Acrostic!
Pregnancy obligations for the young like in Bumped.
Amateur military of Falling Skies.
Rioters and mercenaries threaten way of life like in The Survivors.
The MC is a bad-ass female scientist like in Bones
Infertility woes of the women on the Lost island.
Artificially created humans similar to Cylons from Battlestar Galactica.
Lots of myths being busted.
The world has been decimated by an airborne virus that killed 99.9% of the population. The virus was released by beings called Partials, genetically engineered soldiers that look just like us but with 10 times the strength and stamina.
The Partials have let the few remaining humans live in peace as long as they don't cross the border into Partials territory. Every female of age is required to be pregnant as often and as soon as possible. The current reigning government, the Senate, figures that if the citizens have enough babies, some of them will eventually be born with a natural immunity to the airborne virus that fills the air around them and decimates their newborn population. After a decade of births, this still has not happened. Every baby dies within mere hours.
Our main character, Kira, has this brilliant idea that the scientists should focus on discovering how the immunity really works and figure out why the remaining adults and the Partials are immune.
And now for an intermission of Lyndsey Thoughts: Me: Wait a tic - Kira thinks of this?! No one else in a decade, not even the Senate, has thought of that? Other Me: Duh, Lyndsey. She's the main character. Of course, she thought of it! Me: Right. I guess she's pretty smart then. Other Me: Also, the Senate is full of bozos. Me: Okay, thanks for clearing that up, Self.
In order to investigate the Partials immunity, they need to find one that will help them and the chances of that are pretty much zero. So they have get a hold of one somehow. Here's where it gets interesting! Veddy, veddy interesting!!
The Enevitable BSG Comparison
At first, I expected to be comparing this to Battlestar Galactic as I read. And sure, the storyline and background of the two share a lot of similarities, but Partials and BSG are two completely different beasts. I was completely caught up in the science and the questions of this book. Battlestar Galactica is so epicly character based, and I can't imagine it any other way. Characterization was not a strong point of Partials. I never heavily connected to the characters, but I was SO captivated by their surroundings and their story.
The tone of this book felt more like a science-based procedural crime show set in a post-apocalyptic world populated by cyborgs and a few remaining humans. This is Battlestar Galactica if Battlestar Galatica had been written by the writers of Bones.
Characterization and Romance
The weak link in Partial's chain was it's characterization. It's written in third person and I found it difficult to truly hear the voices of the characters. In fact, the only one I ever emotional connected to was the one that wasn't even human: the Partial that we meet later on, Samm. But considering that I am actually a cylon, you could say we share a certain kinship and all.
The Senate, Kira's arch nemesis, is full of people who are delusional and one-dimensional, seeming to be so set in their ways that they don't care if it destroys them.
Romance does not play much of a part AT ALL in this novel. It's an extra, meandering about in the background, sipping it's vente chai soy latte and speaking in a fake British accent. In fact, I couldn't have been less interested in the so-called "romantic" storyline between Kira and Marcus. But even so, this book and it's story managed to transcend it's characters.
Does this put the SCI in SCI-FI?
This is pretty hard science fiction... for YA. Don't get me wrong, I've definitely seen harder.
Did you know that robots now play ping pong? And have ROCK HARD ABS?! Humina humina.
But that's usually in adult fiction, so this is a welcome move into the realm of young adult novels. Partials is an excellent choice for fans of "sciencey" science fiction. (That's me!) Kira spends time actually asking questions and analyzing data. And I loved every minute of it. Amazingly and most importantly, I felt like I understood it all.
I don't really know anything about how viruses work. But when reading this book, I am operating on the assumption that the author writing about viruses knows at least more than I do. That being said, I felt Dan Wells did an amazing job at breaking down the science, especially toward the end.
I had a lot of questions while reading. Why do the babies get sick only after they are born? If the virus is airborne, why couldn't the babies survive in a filtered clean room? Conveniently enough, Kira had a lot of the same questions and managed to answer many of my concerns.
I've recently come to the realization that my obsession with literature stems from a quest for knowledge. I constantly feel the need to learn and grow and change. To see and imagine new things. I feel like this is one of those novels. One of those novels that attempts to push thinking forward, that focuses on the questions of life, as opposed to the problems in it.
Many post-apocalyptic novels are problem based, not question based. They encounter a problem and they push through. In Partials, Kira encounters a question and she answers it. A problem is just something that you have to work through and solve. You either solve it or you don't. A question is something that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. Questions are often accompanied by their own problems, however. This is a story about solutions. Solutions to the questions asked and to the problems that come along with it.
The mark of a great science fiction author is having the ability to make the reader believe that they are a freaking rocket scientist. Or in the case of this book... A virologist. Write it so well that the reader is sciencing that science right along with the main characters. Dan Wells certainly excelled at doing just that.
I started this book with a straight face. Twenty five percent in, I was pursing my lips in question. Fifty percent in, I was nodding my head in agreement. Seventy five percent in, I was grinning with excitement. At the end, I was passed out from exhaustion and amazement.
The story moves along consistently, but not at a breakneck pace either. It has quite a bit of action and a constant crawl of information.
Partials is a dense post-apocalyptic delicious dessert, swirled with dystopian undertones, and topped off with dark military themes. Who wouldn't want a piece of that?
Well, what do you know? There's actually a BOOK for that!
I worry that it may have a hard time finding an audience as a young adult book because it is so heavily grounded in science. Sci-fi in YA excites me, and this book was a great start to what is hopefully a new trend in the young adult world.
The story is not character or romance based, but it is high in concept, plot and science. It is also not a standalone as I previously assumed, seeing as it ends on a semi-cliffhanger. It is questioning, yet not too philosophical. Light cerebral sci-fi.
If you're looking at experimenting with science fiction (And, come on, science fiction and experimentation go GREAT together!), Partials would be an excellent place to start....more
So I'm taking a short departure from my evil ADD reviews infused with countless images and my odd sense of humor to take an in depth look at this thisSo I'm taking a short departure from my evil ADD reviews infused with countless images and my odd sense of humor to take an in depth look at this this breathtaking book.
Books are about one of two things for me. Escapism or experiencing. I either want a book to make me close my eyes and completely take me out of this world OR open my eyes and force me to see things in a different light, think about and savor every second of this life. If it doesn't do at least one of those, it isn't doing it's job.
This book is certainly an "escapism" novel. It is the ADD reader's Lord of the Rings. My attention span would not allow me to finish those, and although this one is massive, Brandon Sanderson made it easy to get into.
I noticed quite a few parallels to Star Wars in this epic fantasy novel.
Which is hardly surprising considering that Star Wars is itself basically epic fantasy. But no, you say, Star Wars is science fiction. Nope - It may be a space opera but it is not science fiction. There is pretty much zero science actually in the movies. If you want to get super technical, based on the expanded universe, it could at best be called "science fantasy". However, the overall structure of the films is based upon classic myth, or more specifically The Hero's Journey.
This book could also potentially be called science fantasy, because it incorporates the use of metals that are "burned" by people to create certain special abilities by the users. There are sciences within the book devoted to the study of using these metals and they are used to explain the exisistance of magic and magical abilities, as opposed to much of fantasy that doesn't explain where the power comes from. Like in Star Wars, where the technicalities behind "using the Force" are never explained.
Here are the comparisons I was able to pick out: (Any of your own observations are encouraged in the comments!)
Luke Skywalker/Vin - Our hero and lead character. A young orphaned girl who has SUPER RARE latent supernatural abilities and discovers her father is a high ranking official of the evil Final "Empire". She also has a brother. (Wait. If she is Luke, would that make her brother Princess Leia?) She eventually ends up saving the world from the Empire.
Yoda/Kelsier - The help and inspiration. Powerful strongman who has supernatural abilities as well. Vin's mentor and one of the absolute best characters in the book. Also, has a strange and ghastly double.
The Emporer/The Lord Ruler - The Ultimate Evil. A godlike figure who rules the Empire. None have been able to defy or defeat him. Also, may have some connection to the Wicked Witch of the West. (view spoiler)[I'm melting, I'm melting! Really it was that easy?! (hide spoiler)]
C-3PO/Sazed - Emasculated sidekick and seemingly endless well of information.
The Merry Band of Rebels/Merry Band of Thieves - Group of people who have banded together to defy the Empire. Pretty self explanatory.
Darth Vader/A Certain Unnamed Steel Inquisitor - Originally a good guy, turned evil, eventually helps aid in the destruction of the The Ultimate Evil.
This book was very high fantasy mixed with a dash of political intrigue, assassinations, adventure and, of course, magic. I usually don't read modern high fantasy (I generally prefer the urban genre) because of it's copycat tendencies. This one was exceedingly original. It's easy to overlook the Star Wars comparison, because the setting and the "feel" of the story is so different.
Absolutely outstanding world-building. The world and the magic system were the best thing about the story. Very in depth. I liked that Sanderson includes a source for their power; they actually need something to use up. They burn different types of metals in their system and consume concentrated metals to replenish themselves. Although it sounds like it'd be harmful, in the context of the book, it works. And it is explained in great detail.
Sanderson has great pacing and knows how to create tension without constant action. When the action scenes do happen, they are exciting and so well explained. You can't help but feel like you're watching a movie. Or TV show in my case since this was broken up over the course of a month.
This is certainly a character and plot driven novel. It thrives on throwing challenge after challenge at the large group of central characters and seeing how they manage to work around each one. The action really picks up in last part of the novel, as the female lead begins to come into her own with her new-found abilities. There isn't a lot of romance in this one either. It plays more of a side role to the central story, so it was actually a nice break from the purely romance driven novels of late.
It's a very long book but not long-winded like the Lord of the Rings. This is really not something you can inhale in one setting, and if you can or did - let me know because I will bow down to you and call you "Lord Ruler".
This book has an excellent resolution, though I'm sure there are many questions that still need to be answered. I would venture to say that it can be read as a standalone.
Overall, an excellent novel. But I can't say for sure whether or not this is the kind of book that will stay with me. It hasn't lingered much in my head since I finished it.
Although I would like to read the sequels, I don't feel that oh-my-god-I-have-to-go-out-and-get-the-next-book-RIGHT-now kind of feeling (which as much as I complain about, I actually love having). But I probably will get around to them eventually....more
YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my highYOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good."
Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.
This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.
I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully.
From the start, the author manages to articulate so many of the things I have thought about but have never been able to find a way to put into words. Even in the first few chapters I found myself having to stop just to quietly consider the words of Mr Orwell.
For instance, he talks about how the act of writing itself is a type of time travel. It is communicating with the future. I write these words now, but others may not discover them for hours, weeks, or even years. For me, it is one time. For you the reader, it is an entirely different one.
Just the thought that reading and writing could one day be outlawed just shivers my timbers. I related to Winston so much in that way. I would have found a way to read or write.
The politics and psychology of this novel run deep. The society in the book has no written laws, but many acts are punishable by death. The slogan of the Party (War is Peace...) is entirely convoluted. Individuality is frowned upon and could lead to being labeled a traitor to the Party.
I also remember always wondering why the title was 1984. I was familiar with the concept of Big Brother and wondered why that wasn't the name of the book. In the story, they don't actually know what year it is because so much of the past has been erased by the Ministry of Truth. It could very easily have been 1981. I think that makes the title more powerful. Something as simple as the year or date is unknown to these people. They have to believe it is whatever day that they are told it is. They don't have the right to keep track. Knowledge is powerful. Knowledge is necessary. But according to Big Brother. Ignorance is strength.
1984 is written in past tense and has long paragraphs of exposition, recounting events, and explaining the society. These are usually things that distance me from a book and from the characters, but Orwell managed to keep me fully enthralled. He frequently talks in circles and ideas are often repeated but it is still intriguing, none the less. I must admit that I zoned out a bit while Winston was reading from The Book, but I was very fascinated by the culture.
Sometimes it seems as though the only way to really experience a characters emotions is through first person. This is not the case with this book, as it is written in third person; yet, I never failed to be encompassed in Winston's feelings. George manages to ensure that the reader never feels disconnected from the events that are unfolding around them, with the exception of the beginning when Winston is just starting to become awakened. I developed a strong attachment to Winston and thrived on living inside his mind. I became a member of the Thought Police, hearing everything, feeling everything and last but not least, (what the Thought Police are not allowed to do) questioning everything.
I wasn't expecting a love story in this book, but the relationship between Julia and Winston was truly profound. I enjoyed it even more than I would have expected and thought the moments between them were beautiful. I wasn't sure whether he was going to eventually betray Julia to the Party or not, but I certainly teared up often when it came to their relationship.
George has an uncanny ability to get to the base of the human psyche, at times suggesting that we need to be at war for many different reasons, whether it's at war with ourselves or with others. That is one thing I have never understood: why humans feel the need to destroy and control each other.
It seems that the main and recurring message in this book is about censorship and brainwashing. One, censorship, is limited and little exposure to ideas of the world; the other, brainwashing, is forced and too much exposure to a certain ideas. Both can be extremely dangerous.
Inside the ministry of Truth, he demonstrates the dangers of censorship by showing how the Party has completely rewritten the past by forging and abolishing documents and physical evidence. We also spend quite a bit of time with Winston in the Ministry of Love, where the brainwashing takes place. Those who commit thoughtcrime are tortured until they grow to love and obey Big Brother and serve only the interests of the Party.
A common theme occurred to me throughout the book, although it wasn't necessarily referenced consistently. The good of the many is more important than the good of the one. There are so many variables when it comes to this statement and for the most part it seems natural to say, "Of course, the many is more important than the one", but when inside Winston's head, all that I began to care about was his well-being and not if he was able to help disband or conquer the Party and Big Brother. I just wanted him to be at peace.
Whether or not the good of all is more important than that of the one, I can't answer. I think most people feel their own happiness is more important than the rest of the world's, and maybe that's part of the problem but it's also human nature. I only wish we could all accept one other regardless of belief and culture and not try to force ways of life onto other people. Maybe I'm naive for thinking that way, but so be it.
I almost don't know what to think about this book. I'm not even sure my brain still works, or if it ever worked right at all. This book has a way of making you think you know exactly what you believe about everything and then turning you completely upside down and making you question whether or not you believe anything at all about anything. It's the strangest thing. Hmmm. Doublethink? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Everything about this book is captivating. It's groundbreaking yet at the same time, purely classic. Ahead of its time, yet timeless. From Big Brother to the Thought Police, I was hooked and wanted to know more about it all.
Basically, I think everyone should read 1984 at some point. You really have to be in the mood to work at reading it, though. But it's all worth it in the end. It's absolutely incredible and I loved it. I don't re-read many books but this will definitely be one of them. It is a hard read, but more importantly, it is a MUST read....more
The hottest novella from Carina Press today is Baaaaadlands. This book has everything: technology a la steampunk, airship battles, a strangely named hThe hottest novella from Carina Press today is Baaaaadlands. This book has everything: technology a la steampunk, airship battles, a strangely named heroine, and "hafnawawo".
What's "hafnawawo" - you ask?
Well, the thing every good action flick needs (or at least, usually seems to have). Half naked warrior women!!
The badlands are a desolate land of crime and fighting. Criminals are sent north away from the populated areas. A tribe of warrior women patrol the borders, fighting off the criminals to keep them from crossing back over.
The queen of the tribe is murdered, Ever (our main character) is tasked with finding the princess to assume the queen's duties. Right at the start of her quest, she is injured and picked up by an airship.
Onboard the Dark Hawk, she manages to catch the eye of the men. It wasn't a difficult task considering she was half naked at the time she boarded, since the warrior women usually fight in various stages of undress.
Seriously though. What women, in their right mind, would want to fight battles half-naked, with their goods hanging out...
Well, there's Xena and Gabrielle:
And of course, the girl contestants of survivor:
But why actually fight naked when you could get the same effect with these Boob Scarves?
Anyway - an exciting airship battle ensues, with Ever manning the military turret. After taking down the enemy for them, she enlists the crew of the Dark Hawk to help on her mission.
I am absolutely fascinated by the way the author set the mood of the book. I saw everything so clearly in my mind. Our heroine, Ever (yes, I'll get to the name in a minute) and her comrades are the female version of Spartans. The bleak setting blends flawlessly into the background against the stark contrast of gore, creating a 300-esque vibe in the beginning.
I would love to see more of the world in Badlands. Most of this novella took place onboard the airship, instead of on the battle grounds of the women.
As pretty as the name Ever is, it can also cause confusion. It can easily be mistaken for the word "even" at the beginning of a sentence or as part of the sentence instead of as a name. It certainly took some getting used too.
The one big gripe that I have is over the perspective. Clarity on this subject isn't exactly the authors strong point. Because of the way that some sentences are phrased, it came across at times as "head-jumping" and I was left wondering who's perspective we were supposed to be getting.
Fav quote: He laughed, and the sound touched her in places far more intimate than her ears.
Decent romance, sexual tension, and love scenes. There is a love triangle. (No way!) Great battles. Not too shabby writing. The thing I liked is that it didn't feel like a "romance" novel right from the first word, as so many do.
Overall, this was a very good short novel. The steam technology wasn't all that present but it was obviously being used as a backdrop. Beautifully toned and shows great PROMISE, but I wouldn't call this great just yet.
A strong 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
I'm very interested to see more from this author and even more in this world. A full length novel with more based in the tribe of women would be very intriguing.
Oh and I almost ignored another tribe of women who fight half naked!
Can't forget the girls of "Jersey Shore."
(I received this as a review copy from Netgalley. Thanks Netgalley and Carina Press!)...more