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
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
Welcome to Ixion. A place of constant darkness, the Ever Dark. It is a bazaar of the bizarre. On this strange island, everything is a party. Modesty is a sin.
Ixion is like Party Zion. You know that scene in Matrix Reloaded with the rave where everyone is going crazy and dancing up on each other. That is how Ixion is ALL the time. But instead of Machines lurking outside the walls, there are the Night Creatures.
After her brother runs away to Ixion, a distraught and lonely Retra follows him there in the hopes of bringing him back home. She gets way more than she bargained for in this bizarre land and discovers a world full of things unknown to her. A place of gratification and self-absorption with a war brewing in the dark. A place that can change her. She will become someone else and she will call herself: Naif.
The island of Ixion exists purely for pleasure and purely for young. Anyone considered an "over-ager" mysteriously disappears, unless they are first taken by Ruzalia the pirate. Rumor has it that she uses the over-agers as slaves or pets. Since no one knows what happens to those that disappear, some would rather risk slavery to Ruzalia than the possibility of disappearing off the island into oblivion or death. In her case, Retra would rather risk the unknown than live without her brother. She would possibly even risk death, because she can't bear the thought of life without him.
This book got me thinking a lot about human motivation. Why we do a lot of the things we do. Because don't many of the things we do come down to what we feel is the "better case scenario". There's even a game we invented called "would you rather." Who ever picks the option that sounds the worst to them?
Is that why war exists? Some feel the better option is to attack others, rather than risk being attacked themselves. Things may be said like: "Get them before they get us." "Their sinful ways will be the death of us." "It's you or me, buddy." We see this kind of reasoning a lot. In movies, books, and even in reality. Defending yourself isn't wrong but there is a thin line between defense and offensive defense. In adventure or sci-fi fiction particulary, it isn't often that a true line of communication is opened. War just seems to break out. It makes me wonder how often "talking it out" is overlooked in the real world.
In this world that we live in, ruled by information and communication, where no one is left unspoken for, where open mindedness is encouraged - why does war still exist?
I think true dystopia raises questions about human nature.
Dystopia should have a life all it's own. A life that thrives on our our fears, skitters away from our comforts, draws questions from our concerns. Burn Bright does just that. A few examples:
"Is it the rules and restrainsts in your life that have made you self-sacrificing? Is guilt the foundation of your kindness?"
"They're passionate in their beliefs" "They are misled - as passion most often is. Beware it, baby bat. Beware the foolishness of passion."
This book is unlike the new wave of artificial dystopias that plague the YA shelves. This is infused with passion for the story and the author seems to have a great love for the characters. The prose is vague and haunting, with scant background information.
The beginning requires a difficult adjustment period from the reader. I feel like we are so used to "instant gratification" that we struggle when things aren't easy to understand. This is not a book to be read lightly. You can't skim this. Bits of information are worked in so scarcely that you will feel lost if you try to read it quickly.
Burn Bright contains unusual dialogue and things are often mentioned without being fully explained. You are left somewhat to your own devices a lot of the time, but I find myself okay with that. Sometimes, it's a necessity for me because I find myself to easily bored if I understand and know everything right away.
Marianne's imagery was so different from what I'm used to with YA and strangely vivid for such a dark world. The descriptions are not all too well defined and the reader is required to make their own assumptions about the details of the world and their surroundings, but I actually enjoyed that part of it and found it to be very Hitchcockian. Sometimes, less is more. More exciting, at least.
This world is fully immersive, but not for everyone. It's eerie and untraditional. You are required to see things in different shades of darkness, multiple shades of gray. I tend to like things that are a bit off the edge, those things that lie in the dark of the deep end.
If you have a similar craving for something different, then you just might love this the way I did....more
We're Space Bandits! Here we come... We're coming for ya. Space Bandits! Here we come... We're taking ya higher.
I think that's high enough, crazy. Why don't you come back down now?
Why you might be interested:
It takes cues from Battlestar Galactica - large cast of interesting characters and similar wardrobe (gold flight suits for pilots, tank tops with cargo pants, etc...)
Uses similar tech and future speak from Grimspace - using technology to interface with nature, and in this case, linking to the human mind or biological environments.
It's reminiscent of Mass Effect - with it's names, tone and setting.
Has the feel of Firefly - a cast of outcasts, scouring the universe looking for shady investments.
An element of Ender's Game - an anti-gravity battle game.... For adults!
Song of Scarabaeus is hard science fiction romance. You're probably thinking, "Oooooh yeah." But when I say "hard", I'm talking about the technology. Get your minds out of that sex gutter!!
There is a lot of technical language. However, this book actually has a strong urban fantasy vibe, with the exception of having sci-fi jargon, instead of paranormal slang. It can be confusing at times, but no more complex than the most in-depth urban fantasies. It's just a different type of language that can take some adjustment if you aren't a sci-fi reader.
Our heroine, Edie, is a cross between River from Firefly and Jax from Grimpsace.
No, really. She can.
She was taken from her family by a corporation at a young age to train her "special" abilities. She is able to interact with technology through wires embedded in her fingertips and an implant in her brain, and she can control the electrical impulses to certain types of tech with her brain, telling it what and what not to do.
Almost 20 percent into the book, we start to get Edie's back story. The lengthy wait actually felt very refreshing as I am not really a fan of prologues and immediate infodumps. I need some Gorram ACTION!! Thank the Lords of Cobol, that's what happened in this book.
The love interest, Finn, is the kind of man who says very little with his mouth, but says all kinds of naughty things with his eyes. This particular book is lighter on the romance and allows the relationship to develop slowly and naturally. Definitely not a quickie space romp.
As you might have seen from my one(view spoiler)[What can I say? I've been a slacker. (hide spoiler)] status update: Haller is a prick! He makes me so angry. So angry that I want to smother him in the goo from the inside of a frakkin Cadbury egg. Wait - that doesn't sound like much of a punishment. Submerge him in it! No, maybe not that either. Damn. Sorry, I can't stop thinking about Cadbury eggs. Oh!! I could convince that lion that dresses up like the Cadbury bunny to go all RAWR on him. Yeah, let's go with that.
Now I'm not sure if I'm reaching here, but the author seems to throw in quite a few science fiction homages. Like the section of space called the "Fringe". Or the character Rackham, possibly named for Mazer from Ender's Game.
Did I mention that this book is about SPACE BANDITS? Space bandits who plan to steal terraforming technology that helped create an entire world. It is one hell of a whirlwind train job. Except, this time the train is a planet. A living breathing freaking planet, that doesn't NOT want to be taken advantage of.
If you need a little more persuasion, I guess I'll allow you to check out the Book Trailer. Or read the excerpt on Amazon. The first part of the book is great, but it gets waaaay better.
It was a Eco-rad fighting, nodespace jumping, wet tech hacking, biocyph stealing, hanging from the vines and getting fighting against the vines type of good time. See, the language easily becomes second nature once you get used to it. Now, I have a ton of new words from more fantastical worlds in my encyclopedia de brain.
In case you couldn't tell, I LOVED this book. I am about to internally combust from the excitement that this series could be epic. But I will refrain, since that sounds rather uncomfortable.
Onto the next!!["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"]>["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
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.["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
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
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
I really didn't care for this book. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE the author.
The Author's Note at the end of the book completely won me over. I can't express hI really didn't care for this book. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE the author.
The Author's Note at the end of the book completely won me over. I can't express how much I adore the fact that she is advocating for the sciences. Though the so-called "science" in this book is complete bullhonky, her note inspiring readers to explore the grand world of physics really made me happy. So for that - much love!
So I did not read the summary or any reviews about this book before I started, and I'm so glad that didn't. Had I known beforehand that this book was about dark matter, I would have been beyond stoked to read it and would have been sorely, sorely disappointed.
As someone who has read quite a lot about physics, I was practically banging my head against the wall in regards to the science in this book. The fact that a young adult book features the concept of dark matter thrills me beyond belief, but I can't help but feel let down by the way it was used in the story. It felt like an add-on. It seemed like an invented fantasy land that had dark matter thrown in to "explain" the alternate dimension. Kind of like how George Lucas decided to throw midichlorians into Star Wars as some sort of attempt at explaining the Force with science. A lame attempt at science does not science fiction make. Just admit that the story is fantasy and that the science doesn't really work. There's nothing wrong with that.
Maybe my expectations for the science in my science fiction are just too high.
This is a huge book, and almost nothing happens until maybe halfway through. Honestly, I was about to put down the book for good when the magic words "dark matter" caught my attention. I just had to keep going in the hopes that the book would do justice to one of my favorite scientific phenomenons. I'm sad to say that I don't believe it did.
But still, kudos for the love of science. And if this book gets young people interested in the sciences and inspires them to pursue knowledge, then it's definitely worth a read!
But anywho - if you don't plan on reading the book or are just curious about the science involved, here is a SPOILER FILLED run-down (seriously guys, this is like hella major spoils so don't click if you plan to read the book): (view spoiler)[There is a world made of dark matter called Darkside. There are people made of dark matter called Darklings. A select few can cross over to the regular world. These dark matter people lost the part of their brain that allows them to make music so they have to breed with normal people to gain back their music making ability. But now, these half-breed-music-makers (called Experimentals) threaten the existence of the dark matter world so now all the half-breeds must be assassinated and guess what? Our main character just so happens to be a dark matter half-breed. And her love interest happens to be an assassin. They fall into true love! Oh and she has to avoid the dark matter world and the other assassins, but (shocker!) if she touches her love interest, they are instantly transported to the dark matter world against their will. Oh and when she goes there, she destroys the fabric of their dark matter universe. But wait! There's more - she can heal the dark matter with her magical music making ability. Super special chosen one FTW! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more