The Road is a REAL post apocalyptic story. There is no technology, no government, no help. This isn't like any other book I've ever read. There is jus...moreThe Road is a REAL post apocalyptic story. There is no technology, no government, no help. This isn't like any other book I've ever read. There is just a sense of pure desolation in this book, and everything about it lends to that sense. The writing style, the imagery, and even the minimal cover all support this bleak feeling. But with the father's relentless need to preserve the innocence of his son and to give him as much safety and comfort as possible we gain a message of compassion and no matter how terrible your surroundings, there is some light on the horizon.
There is a strong focus on little details, that some might call filler, but I think add to the overall emphasis on just how little the characters had. Every meal, every piece of clothing, every possession, is meticulously described like rare treasures because they ARE rare treasures. There's a scene where the father finds a can of coke and gives it to his son, who has no idea what it is. While today people gulp down soda without even thinking about it, they treat this can of coke with reverence, because they know they will never find one ever again. I think that shows just how bleak their world is, and how much the father loves his son. He wanted to give his son that rare treat, that moment of pleasure that we take so much for granted.
Overall The Road is a hopeful book where beauty can be found in the most horrific situations through love. While I don't think The Road is for everyone, I encourage you to push yourself if you're having doubts because it is a fantastic book that will stay with you long after the last page. (less)
Catching Fire is the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy that introduces new characters and even deeper conspiracies and conflicts. Katniss...moreCatching Fire is the second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy that introduces new characters and even deeper conspiracies and conflicts. Katniss has more struggles than ever and doesn't know who to trust or what she should to to protect those she loves. In Catching Fire there is a lot of what everyone loved from the first book, The Hunger Games. There is crazy fight scenes, government control and rebellion against it, and angsty love triangles.
Catching Fire is a difficult book to review, and I think this is because it feels like a transition book, not a novel in it's own right. Many of the plot devices seen in The Hunger Games were repeated in Catching Fire. Yes there were different with some of the specifics, (who was involved, how things were set up, ect) but the main events were almost exactly the same. This really bothered me because I think that in a series there should be a large story arc that spans all of the books and ties them together but each individual book should be it's own story with a unique beginning, middle, and end and Catching Fire was lacking that individuality.
I will say that I did enjoy all of the new characters, the arena setup was fantastic and very creative, and I LOVED the ending which was very exciting and did a great job of setting up the final book. I liked learning more about the overall political climate in Panem and the impact that Katniss's actions will have on the future of all of the districts, not just her family and friends. The action sequences were well written and very exciting and I really appreciated that evolution of Katniss's romances.
Overall Catching Fire is a continuation of the story that provides details about the conflicts with the government on a world wide scale but does not stand as it's own distinct novel. Catching Fire is still a very exciting book that continues the story well and should not be missed.(less)
The Hunger Games is a fast paced science fiction adventure that is gruesome, thrilling, and completely consumed my life as I read it. This books had a...moreThe Hunger Games is a fast paced science fiction adventure that is gruesome, thrilling, and completely consumed my life as I read it. This books had a perfect balance of heart pumping action and romantic respites. The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy, and it does a wonderful job of introducing the characters and setting up the overlying conflict while still being a complete story within itself.
I love the idea of people being forced to kill each other in a twisted game exerted by a government's control. The Most Dangerous Game, The Running Man, Battle Royale, and now The Hunger Games present a captivating concept that is both horrifying and inspiring. This concept allows us to examine how people would react when put in this situation; what conventions would fall to the wayside in favor of the animistic need for survival and what heroic and selfless acts would rise to the surface.
I have a lot of love for the protagonist, Katniss. She doesn't whine about all of the awful things that are happening to her, she doesn't spend her time pining over some boy, and she doesn't depend on others to take care of her. She's tough as nails and will do what she has to do to survive. She isn't perfect and she isn't evil either. She has successes and makes mistakes, has moments of selflessness and self-centered greed, and posses astute shrewdness and youthful naivety. All of which endear her to the reader and point toward a well rounded and thought out character.
I really enjoyed the world of Panem. In The Hunger Games we get a sense of how different the quality of life is in each district. People are dying of starvation in District 12, where Katniss lives, and the people of the Capitol live in ridiculous excess. There is already tension and resentment in this first book, and I think Collins does a wonderful job of subtly setting up the circumstances that drive the plots of the following books. I also adore the attention to detail, from describing the thought put in behind Katniss's costumes, the interesting advances in technology, and the fact that orange juice can be a once in a life time treat.
Overall The Hunger Games is a great adventure that takes a harsh look at classism, government control, and the loss of humanity in extreme circumstances. The Hunger Games is a gritty science fiction novel that will grab you by the heart and shake you to the core. (less)
Mockingjay is the thrilling conclusions to The Hunger Games series that is very different from the first two but still a great conclusion to the tril...more Mockingjay is the thrilling conclusions to The Hunger Games series that is very different from the first two but still a great conclusion to the trilogy. There is heart stopping action, terrifying enemies, and an ending that will blow you away.
Ok, first let's talk about what I didn't like about the book. There's really only one point I want to make. I really didn't like Katniss in this book. She is so amazing and strong and resourceful in the first two books and I didn't like how weak she seemed in this one. Seriously, she spent the entire book bleeding or unconscious. I think half of the time she couldn't do anything because she was recovering from some bullet hole. She seemed to allow people to take advantage of her and also was way more dependent on other people telling her what to do. I understand that Katniss is just a kid and I can totally forgive her some of her mental weakness because she was asked to do tremendous things. However I still wanted Katniss to be strong and accept her role as a leader more. I wanted her to truly become the mockingjay, not just in appearance but in her heart as well, and I didn't really get that from her. I thought she tried hard though, and I guess no one's perfect. It's a difficult situation to be in, and I have a lot of difficulty criticizing her because I can empathize with her at the same time.
Now let's talk about my favorite parts (without giving away the ending of course!). I personally loved what happened to Peeta. I think it made his character grow in ways I never saw coming and it kind of broke apart that faithful and perfect exterior he'd had through the first two books. I also like how this changed him for life, and that he never fully recovers. I think it makes him a lot more like Katniss. (Can't say anymore without huge spoilers!)
I also just LOVED the ending. I don't want to give away major plot points, but I loved the brutality and the ambiguity of the ending. You never know exactly who is the enemy and who to trust, and I liked that the ending can cause debate and allow you to draw your own conclusions. If you're looking for a happily ever after, you'll probably be disappointed. But if you're looking for characters that deal with the horrors they've witnessed and committed in the best ways they can, then Mockingjay and the entire series would be perfect.
Overall Mockingjay is a haunting conclusion to the bloody trilogy that isn't afraid to wound it's most loved characters. Instead of creating a fairy tale ending, Mockingjay takes a brutaly honest route and forces the reader to accept that there is some damange that will never heal and that some wounds run too deep. Mockingjay is a chilling and beautiful ending to a chilling and beautiful story. (less)
Well, this is a first. I had to add a new shelf, DNF. I'm one of those people that will force themselves to finish a book even if I'm hating it, but I...moreWell, this is a first. I had to add a new shelf, DNF. I'm one of those people that will force themselves to finish a book even if I'm hating it, but I couldn't get into this book at all. I tried reading it a while ago and couldn't get more than a couple chapters in, so I thought that maybe the audiobook would help me get into the story. Well the audio is pretty terrible, I don't like the the reader's voices.
Basically what I can gleen from this book is Yeerks take over Earth. Read that already in Animorphs.(less)
Feed is a fantastic book about how the American economic and political system would rebound from a viral outbreak that reanimated the dead. It looks...more Feed is a fantastic book about how the American economic and political system would rebound from a viral outbreak that reanimated the dead. It looks at how people would adapt and what would become the highest priority to the government. Feed is an epic first book that I cannot get out of my mind. Even months after reading it I am still mulling over the points of the plot, character motivations, and the emotional roller coaster of a perfectly fashioned ending.
The story follows twins Shaun and Georgia and their friend and tech guru Buffy who work together as bloggers. Georgia is a hard hitting news reporter who is focused on the facts and getting to the bottom of the true story; Shaun is an action packed stunt man who puts himself in danger for his readers entertainment; and Buffy writes romanticized fiction and poetry as well as providing some kick ass security and secret agent spy material. Feed does a wonderful job with the blogging world, fully explaining how the system rose in the wake of the epidemic. It also does a great job with the technology aspects fully describing hidden cameras an microphones as well as virus test apparatuses and procedures which really immerse the reader in the lifestyles in the book.
While there is no major romantic relationship in this book, there is emotion on every page. I became extremely attached to this trio and Grant does this so subtly that at times I was bawling without really knowing how I got there. Feed expertly uses the camaraderie that develops from surviving near death situations, the love that siblings can share, and telling experts from their very different blogs to create characters that leave lasting impressions.
Overall Feed is a well researched, planned, and executed zombie novel that fully explains the science behind the epidemic while still creating a world where the reader feels true emotional investment with the characters. An instant classic for all fans of the genre.
Sidenote: I also LOVE the pun of the title. Not only is it referencing and blog RSS feed, but it also (obviously) references zombies feeding on brains. Awesome.(less)
The Lost Symbol, the third installment in the Robert Langdon series, is an exciting adventure that combines ancient conspiracy theories and modern esp...moreThe Lost Symbol, the third installment in the Robert Langdon series, is an exciting adventure that combines ancient conspiracy theories and modern espionage, but lacks some of the magic of it's predecessors. The Lost Symbol follows the basic formula as The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons; an evil villain hell bent on awakening some ancient power and bringing about the end of the world and our hero thrust into the fray, frantically trying to beat the clock and solve the puzzles before the villain can achieve their dastardly plan. Brown again uses his knowledge of symbolism, history, and philosophy to weave a fictitious story founded in fact.
I'm not sure where exactly The Lost Symbol missed the mark. I think much of my dislike comes from the naivety of the two main characters. They do things that didn't seem logical, such as agreeing to a meeting without ever confirming with their friend, believing text messages and not actually phone calls, not backing up their life's research, and just the general gullibility of the cast. These people are supposed to be top scientists and scholars, but their lack of common sense made them seem unbelievable and unlikable.
However, my biggest problem is the lack of completion at the end of The Lost Symbol. In all of Brown's previous books, I finished with a sense of knowing. All of the loose ends were tied up, I understood the motivations of the characters and the myths and truths that their believes were based upon. However in The Lost Symbol the main plot concepts were never fully explained. The ending is very anti-climatic, disappointing, and more than a bit confusing.
There were smaller concepts that I found very interesting, in particular the noetic science that Katherine was investigating. I found her story to be a lot more compelling than Roberts. I cared more about her scientific discoveries than his symbollic history.
Overall The Lost Symbol is a good action story that has some very interesting concepts, but misses in the big payoff at the final reveal.(less)
This review will not contain any spoilers for Deadline OR Feed because I could never ruin such an amazing book for you!
OK guys, you know how much I lo...moreThis review will not contain any spoilers for Deadline OR Feed because I could never ruin such an amazing book for you!
OK guys, you know how much I loved Feed. Seriously, Feed is probaby one of my favourite books of all time. I could not put that book down, and I was still thinking about the plot and the characters months after finishing the book. So I think it's pretty obvious I had monstrously huge expectations for Deadline, and while the book was enjoyable, it fell far short of the ridiculously high bar it's predecessor has set.
One of my biggest problems with this "zombie" book was it's distinct LACK of zombies! There's some running away from zombies, but they only actually encounter zombies like, two times. I wanted a little more suspense and action! Lots of Deadline was spent in conversation. The characters spent way too much time talking about what they were going to do, rather than actually doing it. These conversations wouldn't have been too bad, but we switch narrators from Georgia to Shaun, and his inner monologue is very repetitive and gets rather annoying after a while.
I also am missing the love that I had for the supporting characters. I loved Buffy and Mahir in Feed, but I didn't feel the same love for Becks, Alaric, and Maggie. In general I just wasn't nearly as committed to Deadline as I was to Feed, which I think is pretty apparent considering it took me almost 6 months to read!
Deadline is a good follow up, but is missing a lot of the magic of feed, which is one of the best books I've ever read. I'm not as big a fan of Shaun as I was of Georgia, and none of the big plot twists seemed that shocking. I am still very excited for Blackout, and I think it will be awesome based on the ending of Deadline. (less)
The Forest of Hand and Teeth gets one star for the description of the zombies (though not their explanation) and one star for the awesome title. That'...moreThe Forest of Hand and Teeth gets one star for the description of the zombies (though not their explanation) and one star for the awesome title. That's about it for the positive aspects of this book.
There needs to be an explanation for why the zombies exist, and the science has to make sense. I am a stickler about there being science in science fiction and that science is based on fact. If a virus causes the zombies I need to know how the virus is spread, where it originated, if it had an intended purpose or if it was just an accident, how it works in the body, ect. I also need to know how the zombies specifically act in this story. Are they fast or slow? Are they thinking and planning zombies or mindless one? Do they live until their bodies wear out or do they have to feed to survive? I need to understand the cause of the zombies and how they act and why they act the way they do.
There needs to be an explanation for the way society deals with the virus. How do they adapt and what strategies have they developed to protect themselves from the zombies? If there is a government still in place, why does it work, why do the citizens live the way they do, and what are the motivations of the governments decisions? The heroes/heroines need to be smart. They need to have an understanding of their enemy and survival needs to be their main focus. They have to be imaginative, determined, and ready to fight. That's the only way to survive a zombie apocalypse.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth had none of these elements. There was no explanation for the existence of zombies, just that they existed. There seemed to be some knowledge hidden by the "government" of the village, but it was never revealed even though there were many opportunities for the main character to do some sleuthing. There was almost no history about the zombie outbreak and how the village came to exist. I got absolutely no understanding about how the zombies worked and how to best defeat them.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth was way too focused on the completely illogical romantic drama. If the villagers believed that they were the last of humanity in the entire world, why would they force women into becoming nuns? Shouldn't every viable womb be used to keep the population up? I can understand forcing teens to marry in order for this to happen, but if a girl cannot find a match when she is 16 it made no sense for her to be forced into a life of celibacy. Polygamy would have been a more logical system. The particulars of Mary's relationship were also similarly mind boggling. The teens involved inflicted a lot of unnecessary stress upon themselves. They should have all just gotten together and talked about it. A round table would have saved them all a LOT of problems.
I also really hated the attitude taken towards the zombies. There seemed to be absolutely no protection and preparation beyond a few vaulted platforms and a chain link fence. And where did all of the technology go? This book read more like historical fiction than science fiction. If it were me, people would be training every day in combat and survival skills, and they would all have the knowledge about zombies that was available.
I'm surprised that these people lasted as long as they did because there was no preparation for a breach in their defenses. They always seemed to be taken by surprise by a zombie attack, even though they had weeks to prepare. The characters needed to get their priorities straight.
Overall I think this author had too many ideas and couldn't wrap them up. None of my questions were answered or even hinted at having answers and it felt like the author cared more about the love story than the survival story. The Forest of Hands and Teeth focused too much on creating a complicated love square and didn't focus on the more pressing issue at hand, the fact that zombies were trying to eat some brains. The zombies seemed like an afterthought added in to make a romance story more marketable. (less)
Uglies is the first book in a science fiction series that makes some not-too-subtle comments on societies views on beauty, the environment, and gover...more Uglies is the first book in a science fiction series that makes some not-too-subtle comments on societies views on beauty, the environment, and government mind control. Uglies is a warning that getting what you want might not be all it's cracked up to be, and that people need to be more conscious of their decision making as independent beings, not drones who will follow the crowd.
The main character in Uglies seems very one dimensional to me, but I think this might be more of the culture in which she was raised. Her main focus throughout half of this book was to become pretty, no matter the cost. However, some of her actions contradicted this way of thinking. She is willing to betray close friends and condemn them to prison or perhaps death, but she also breaks rules and does a lot of silly things that could put her chances of having the surgery in jeopardy. Why would she take any risks if being pretty was so important to her? I also did not like her supposed "best friend" Shay. If Tally cared so much about her, why would she be willing to betray her? Also if Shay liked Tally so much, why wouldn't she have tried harder to convince Tally to follow if she truly believed in what she said she did? The minor characters, such as David's parents, were much more interesting and I found myself wishing for more back story to how this society even came to exist.
There were also some glaring plot holes. Tally watches old black and white movies, but has no idea what train tracks are, thinks the name "David" is unusual, and she had no idea what magazines were. This I found confusing and could have easily been fixed by having Tally watch movies made in her time. I also thought the whole idea of the society was a bit ridiculous. It made no sense that once a person becomes pretty they get to go party hard all day and have absolutely no responsibilities. How do they prepare for the jobs they take when they reach middle age? The set up of the entire society seems forced.
There were parts of this book that I really did enjoy. I loved all of the technology and reading about how society has advanced and adapted. There is a real focus on renewable resources such as solar power that I found interesting. I also liked the language of the book. There were some really fun slang words like "bubbly" to express something that is fun and interesting (I have read in other review that people found this really annoying but I think it adds to the mindless nature of the pretties). There was some very interesting contrast between those who accept the pretty lifestyle and those who reject it. I also really enjoyed all of the sweet hoverboarding and the technology behind how the machine works.
Overall Uglies is the first book in a series that has an intention to comment on society's values under the guise of a science fiction thriller, but falls somewhat short of the mark. This series seems to make a stronger argument for the "bad" lifestyle, missing the author's objective. I will be interested to see if this theme develops more strongly in the later books of the series or continues to fall apart.(less)