I'm a sucker for big, over the top speculative fiction, but I confess that I've been experiencing some dystopia fatigue. So many of the novels I readI'm a sucker for big, over the top speculative fiction, but I confess that I've been experiencing some dystopia fatigue. So many of the novels I read seemed to follow the same patterns that I was starting to get burned out on the entire genre. Enter Station Eleven, a thoughtful, eloquent, and decidedly grown up dystopian novel. I put off reading it for far too long because the blurb I read indicated that this was a book about a Shakespearean theater troupe wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Ignore that description-- this book is so much more. Station Eleven alternates between the past and the present, and the two stories are linked in a way that you won't fully understand until the very end. This is exactly the book I needed to read to remind me of why I love this genre so much.
Things I loved about Station Eleven: - This is a dystopian novel that is genuinely character-driven. Yes, there was a plague that wiped out most of the human race, but that's not the focus here. It's all about human relationships and how the survivors cope with the reality of their situation. The present day story reminds me of the early issues of The Walking Dead comic series (before it turned into torture porn)-- harsh and unflinching, but not without hope. - "Survival is insufficient." +1 for a Voyager reference, +2 for a Seven of Nine quote. - The significance of the wrist tattoos. - I desperately want Miranda's Station Eleven comic/labor of love to be a real thing that I can actually read.
Things I did not love: - The cult subplot. I feel like the post-apocalyptic religious nut job trope is overplayed, even though it did end up tying into the story in a meaningful way. - I would have liked to see the Arthur-V. connection fleshed out a little more.
If I could give half stars this would be a 4 1/2 star book, but since I can't, I'm making the executive decision to bump it up to 5 stars. If you enjoy literary fiction with a dystopian twist, check this one out-- you won't regret it!...more
A dense but engaging read about the unlikely topic of theodicy, Blameless in Abaddon is equal parts serious theological examination and snarky comedy.A dense but engaging read about the unlikely topic of theodicy, Blameless in Abaddon is equal parts serious theological examination and snarky comedy. In other words, classic Morrow. Blameless in Abaddon is technically a sequel to Towing Jehovah, but it could easily be read independently. I also think it's a much stronger book and wrestles with more interesting issues than its predecessor. Morrow is not religious, and I'm consistently impressed with his ability to address the problems within organized religion in an academically serious (yet occasionally hilarious) way without painting all religious people as unenlightened luddites. His books definitely aren't for everyone, but this liberal Christian enjoys them very much. 4 1/2 stars. ...more
There is nothing subtle about In Persuasion Nation. Saunders writes in-your-face satire that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, and he does iThere is nothing subtle about In Persuasion Nation. Saunders writes in-your-face satire that is equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, and he does it perfectly. Although some stories are much stronger than others (I especially enjoyed "jon" and "brad carrigan, american"), all are worth a read. I would recommend In Persuasion Nation to anyone, but I suspect it will resonate most strongly with my fellow Gen Y-ers. ...more
I loved the premise of this book, and I only wish I loved the actual book half as much. In Uglies, Westerfeld creates a world in which all sixteen yeaI loved the premise of this book, and I only wish I loved the actual book half as much. In Uglies, Westerfeld creates a world in which all sixteen year olds undergo a series of surgical procedures that make them "pretty." The stated purpose of this procedure is to eliminate appearance-based discrimination by making everyone look the same. Like most Uglies, Tally longs for the day when she will become pretty- not only because all Uglies seem to suffer from a special sort of institutionalized self-loathing, but because the Pretties seem so different... so much happier. However, Tally’s friend Shay wants to leave the city and join a small community of runaways living in the wilderness. Why would anyone want to leave the city, you ask? Well, very few people actually know what is involved in turning an Ugly into a Pretty, and as you may have guessed, more is altered than just the Uglies’ physical appearances. In Uglies, Tally finds herself in the middle of an ongoing struggle between the city and the runaways, and she is forced to choose between her friends and her own desire to become a Pretty at any cost.
Again, I really did love the premise of this book. I thought it was a fresh and original twist on the YA dystopian fiction genre, and I was excited to see what Westerfeld would do with it. However, I was incredibly disappointed when I discovered that this fantastic premise was wasted on a very mediocre book. The writing was OK, but Uglies was still a letdown. The characters were mostly unlikeable, especially Tally and Shay. At times, it was a bit heavy-handed, especially when criticizing the Rusties for being stupid tree-killers and what not. The nail in the coffin for me, though, was all the overblown teen melodrama (and this is even more true of the sequels, Pretties and Specials). I’m not trying to insult YA lit here at all- I’ve read lots of teen books that were so well written and had such compelling stories that I never noticed or cared that they were YA- but sadly, this wasn’t one of them.
I’m giving Uglies 3/5 stars because the concept was so good, even though the actual book left much to be desired. I would give the trilogy as a whole 2/5 stars, because the sequels, Pretties and Specials, lacked any of the charm of Uglies. I would recommend this book to teenagers, and only to teenagers. Adults who enjoy YA lit will probably be disappointed....more