I changed my mind about what to rate this book because the longer I thought about it the more I realized he did right by the story he was really telliI changed my mind about what to rate this book because the longer I thought about it the more I realized he did right by the story he was really telling through the "penis thieves" stories. It seems like he is fixated on this one story and simply mentions briefly other cultural phenomena, but what we really see is how a single syndrome or madness differs across different cultures. It was enough to fill a whole book, the various stories and mentions and investigations of the penis-shrinking or disappearing disorder. If the author had begun to investigate a different issue other than koro, I have no doubt he would have found another book worth of material. The strangest syndrome or disorder could exist in so many different ways with so many different cures that it feels like you're playing cultural telephone depending on even the region of a country.
It speaks to something else I have felt deeply while growing up—cultures are always seen as this vast thing belonging to a country or a "race" of people, when in actuality, it is something that changes from community to community or even from family to family. Culture is not easily defined by size or how strange it really is to the western world.
Culture means something different to everyone. I embrace the culture my family surrounded me with, but I also embrace the culture I grew up in Canada. To family members I am too culturally Canadian or "westernized", but to friends in Canada I am different in good and "bad" ways. It affects yours mannerisms and how you perceive people. Culture is a very complicated part of the psyche and it is no wonder that madness across borders differs (but also within those borders)....more
I took this as an allegorical horror book about addiction and its aftermath. The story had great build up and I think a lot of people dislike the endiI took this as an allegorical horror book about addiction and its aftermath. The story had great build up and I think a lot of people dislike the ending, but the ending is what solidified this idea for me. In this way, Survive the Night is actually quite brilliant, using a common cheesy Japanese horror premise and a familiar setting in the comfort of our homes' sewers and subway systems.
Definitely do not regret reading this at night in a dead silent house....more
I wouldn't call this horror. Not even a little. I have to say I loved the chapter from the rat's perspective. I can get behind that. That being said,I wouldn't call this horror. Not even a little. I have to say I loved the chapter from the rat's perspective. I can get behind that. That being said, of all the perspectives we get to read, we never read the Devil's. And that is what I wanted to know more about. It was already a little confusing why he was taking people. If he was eating them did that make him a cannibal? Why wouldn't he attack the staff? ...more
Well that definitely made me WTF at the end, but still loved the creepy Michael Crichton's Sphere quality of this horror story. (view spoiler)[I bawleWell that definitely made me WTF at the end, but still loved the creepy Michael Crichton's Sphere quality of this horror story. (view spoiler)[I bawled like a baby for LB. (hide spoiler)]...more
Ending was too quickly resolved though the premise and characters were great. The build up was more like the first book of a trilogy pace, which is noEnding was too quickly resolved though the premise and characters were great. The build up was more like the first book of a trilogy pace, which is not true of this book from what I understood from the ending. Writing was great and I loved that Rio was into fixing things and machinery. ...more
This was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had to skim through the bits I found a little too dull, but you know, it is just the beginning. Actual ratiThis was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had to skim through the bits I found a little too dull, but you know, it is just the beginning. Actual rating would be 3.5, but I bumped it up 'cause GR doesn't understand how the world works. And it works in halves....more
I will read this, and probably rant about how much I dislike it. You may ask why I would read something I know I will dislike, but what few people knoI will read this, and probably rant about how much I dislike it. You may ask why I would read something I know I will dislike, but what few people know is that I'm an optimist. Surprise me, unbeloved author. You've surprised me before, after all, but not exactly in the most pleasing of ways.
You may wonder why I haven't given other books the same chance. Well, those authors knew how to keep their foot out of their mouths. There are also two other things I really love: redemption and vengeance. If I can't have one, I will have the other....more
I really wanted to like this, and honestly, sometimes I did.
I love how the author talks about reading with such passion. I love that she mentions TagoI really wanted to like this, and honestly, sometimes I did.
I love how the author talks about reading with such passion. I love that she mentions Tagore and some other great reads. I really love how Indian (but not) Shay is and how pressured Ryan feels; how much he contradicts his own wants for his brother's reputation.
But the stereotypes, my god, they were awful. I mean, sure there's little diversity in this small, white city (I can relate), but is everyone so predictable too?
Lexi has a big butt and is black. I guess that's supposed to be some sort of surprise. Dotty makes the perfect politician parent: absent. And Mike and Drew are those asshole jocks.
Marco is the South American Holden Caulfield, also frustrated by his feelings for some chick he would normally not care for.
By the end I was just so frustrated that no one noticed a dramatic decrease in (view spoiler)[mall population (THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE) (hide spoiler)] and that this is actually supposed to be a series. Seriously?
I predict a really botched up operation to save the people in the mall. Lots of people die and it kind of ends up like the FAYZ in Michael Grant's Gone series. People become rabid, die some more and our favourite main characters survive, link up and end up with each other when they get out.
I will likely not continue with this series. It took me forever just to get through this one. I don't think I could read even more about nothing happening.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Do not expect partial spoilers; there are entirely too many.
Sentence: I sentence Dan Wells to continuing his young adult series without dumbing it dowDo not expect partial spoilers; there are entirely too many.
Sentence: I sentence Dan Wells to continuing his young adult series without dumbing it down.
Review: If Michael Crichton had ever written teen, post-apocalyptic (note: previously listed as dystopian, but it's definitely not) fiction crossed over with the themes of Battlestar Galactica; this would be it.
Dan Wells' Partials is intelligent and well-solidified in fact (if based on genetics, virology and issues regarding cloning for military purposes) and some imaginative variations on fact. Much like Crichton, this story started off slow with introductions to characters and the world post-RM virus. For some, it may even be a little boring, but is certainly worth pulling through and understanding.
The characters are agreeable in that they have their own personalities, rather than sharing various character traits that so many authors make the mistake of. Marcus is the funny one and very realistic in his decisions; even hesitant to help his girlfriend, Kira. Kira is quick to anger and super defensive. She has a definite sense of right and wrong and is willing to die for her friends. Isolde is clearly the drunk, lecherous one (she sounds familiar...) and Haru is the cocky jerk that is sometimes agreeable. I could go on and on about Gianna (most definitely a woman with a voice) or Xochi (wannabe-punk with enough attitude to knock down a mountain), but I'm sure my point is very clear. These characters are really well-developed simply by their actions or how they say things.
(view spoiler)[It leaves me feeling like I really know each character, in reality (and let me tell you, if I met this Samm character for realsies, I would probably maul his attractive ass).
The initial story is very much like Wither by Lauren Destefano, except the plot is more convoluted, with branching side stories to be resolved (Isolde's pregnancy; Kira's true nature; the nanny's disappearance; the truth behind the Trust; the disagreement between the Partials; etc.) and has less of the lovey-dovey romance in a sick, sad world. Sure, there are couples, but Kira's love for Marcus isn't enough to make her stay behind, get married and pregnant. There is so much more to her than that; she needs to know herself (who she is/what she is) and how to restore some semblance of security of a future to her people.
Here are the issues I had with Partials, whether legit or just weird quirks of my geekiness:
1. What the hell is up with their names? Can they get anymore influenced by nerdiness? Firstly, I can't stop thinking about Kira from Death Note every time the main character is mentioned by name. And then Haru reminds me of Haru from Fruits Basket (especially when he's being an asshole). These are both anime/manga, by the way, for those who are not incredibly well-versed in popular anime.
And then there is Madison (Mads), who is basically Kira's sister/best-friend, much like Sakura and Tomoyo (known as Madison in the English version) from Card Captor Sakura. Tomoyo/Madison also bears an eerie resemblance to Mads in her role as wardrobe specialist (Kira mentions this really early on).
And there's Samm. I was already convinced this story is like a weird, less prophecy-version of Battlestar Galactica, but then Samm showed up and then I expected Cylon warfare and infiltration. Because come on, are you not expecting Mr. Samuel T. Anders (in all his yummy, Cylon goodness) to be lying in Kira's lab, naked?!
What else was a weird name? Marcus, but I suppose it was not impossible to come back into use, in the future. Oh, I know, how about Arwen? If that does not scream G-E-E-K, then nothing does.
2. Why is Long Island the only place with survivors? Why wouldn't there be people with immunity to the RM virus in other parts of the world? Hell, if everybody caught wind of it early enough, especially when all these people started dying, Madagascar (or some other islands) could have cut off flights, etc. and survived.
3. Doctors at 16? Holy pre-mature job placements, Batman. I understand the Hope Act reducing the age of mandatory insemination/impregnation to 18 (and then 16), but there are literally children midwifing it up and researching the RM virus. Their frontal lobes aren't even fully developed for critical thinking, what the cuss. Desperate times?
4. The Oldies seem anti-children for wanting more children. They keep ranting about what was and what they lost and how plague-babies aren't any good and cannot understand. These "plague-babies" are their future, so why even bother complaining? In fact, if a baby lived past the three day mark, would it be like a hate-love thing for the older folks?
5. As soon as the Partials claimed Kira was a Partial, I was like "WHAT?! HALF-BREED?" So I feel like she should consider the possibility of being a combo of human and Partial. Seriously, what's the big deal? (hide spoiler)]
NOTE: I have read the original Masque of the Red Death by Poe. I suggest others do as well, before continuing with this story. It should be availableNOTE: I have read the original Masque of the Red Death by Poe. I suggest others do as well, before continuing with this story. It should be available online for free. Because of the amount of books I have, I figured it would be somewhere in my stash, and sure enough I found a compendium of Poe's stories and poetry.
Also, there are spoilers. Only spoilers.
Sentence: I sentence Bethany Griffin to a life free of masks, disease, and choppy settings/scene flow.
Review: I read this book in less than two hours. I devoured this book faster than the Red Death devours a human body. There was no time for pus or bruising, I was on top of this one second and ripping it apart the next.
Yes, I adore this book, even if I only gave it four stars (it did not WOW me, but it made me relatively happy I still bother to read teen).
The Debauchery district/club that Araby frequents is a reminder, to those who have read Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe, of the atmosphere and aesthetics of the seven rooms at Prince Prospero's masquerade. Unlike Poe's work, Griffin introduces several dark characters in this already dark setting.
Araby, the reader's heroine, is addicted to the release of Oblivion (a drug that reminds me of a combo of opium and heroin) and freedom from nightmares or reminders of her twin brother's demise.
Enter April, Araby's hilarious, superficial but life-saving best friend. (view spoiler)[When April goes missing (briefly), Elliot scoops up Araby on his dark horse and convinces her to help bring some hope and light to such a bleak, downtrodden world (through rebellion). This is where I found myself at a crossroads of love and distaste. On the one hand, Araby gives the blueprints of the masks to Elliot without a frakking fuss. How could she trust him? How is she not freaking out about having little time to make a copy? How can she betray her father? But then I realized she trusts April and April trusts Elliot. And then I realized she blames herself for pretty much everything that goes wrong, so it's her twisted way of doing something right. And then I realized, goddamn it, I'd probably do the same thing, with the same coasting and emotionless attitude as her. Even her father, later, acknowledges that he is not sure whether what she did was right or wrong. Afterall, how can there be right and wrong in a world so warped that morals are reversed and being bad is pretty much good?
And then she trusts Will (the one very light thing in this shadowy and dank city), who I immediately fell for after reading about him and the kids. It's pretty much a girl trap right there. How could you not love an older sibling raising these two young kids; risking his life to give them the best?
But even trusting him is a mistake and I'm frustrated with myself more than with Will; mostly because Elliot was right the entire time about trusting no one, not even him. (hide spoiler)]
The reason I had to describe all of that above is because this is what it was like, reading this novel. All these surprises and traps that I wasn't prepared for and ended up loving, despite the frustrations and mistakes.
But, as hard as it is to believe, my favourite part of Griffin's story was not the hint of steampunk; or the death and despair; or the nod to Poe; or even the atmospheric familiarity to that of the French Revolution. It was Araby's odd connection to April. (view spoiler)[April, the funny, not-as-superficial-as-I-thought, infected best friend. I may not love April, but goddamn it I love that Araby and April put each other's lives above that of the men they are connected to. Maybe it's just me, but it's hard to find teen fiction where the friend does not betray the protagonist or, worse, become a bench warmer and basically watch their friend get screwed over. It's fucking refreshing. It's not all about Araby's love interests and how she will possibly be confused later that she clearly likes both Elliot and Will, but about saving the person she loves most. (hide spoiler)] And she loves April.
But seriously, she is lacking major emotions throughout the entire book, especially for being a first person perspective. I would be freaking the fuck out.
Finally, the settings and flow from scene to scene were very choppy. It's basically the only reason I was confused during this entire ordeal of a story. Sometimes I wasn't even sure who was saying what since Araby never seemed to reveal much of her mind to the reader to begin with; I couldn't gauge what she knew about her father's work, the Red Death or even what she absorbed about pther people. But I'd like to associate this lack of flow in scenes to her brain being addled by drugs or even the confused fast pace of it all being so because of the presence of a contagion that could wipe out the entire human race. There is bound to be some crazy flow, right?
But still, that shit be fucking whack. She was coasting through it all like shit wasn't going down.
Can't wait for the fucking masquerade of death.["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
**spoiler alert** Sentence: I sentence Jeyn Roberts to a long, unhollow life, feeling the ocean (but still creating chilling scenarios like in this no**spoiler alert** Sentence: I sentence Jeyn Roberts to a long, unhollow life, feeling the ocean (but still creating chilling scenarios like in this novel).
Review: There was something about this book, from start to finish, that filled in my void for a good read. It was short, sweet, dark and horrifying. I absolutely loved Roberts' style. As always, with changing perspectives, I found I had favourites. I was always itching to read about Mason, Aries and "Nothing", which strongly hints at being Daniel's perspective.
The worldwide chaos, but not really knowing what is happening is also appealing. I mean, hello, earthquake and then people freak out and start psychotically killing other people; there really isn't time to consider China, or India or Australia. It stays local and close to heart (local being North America), because this isn't exactly post-apocalyptic. It's more like whatever is going to destroy civilization (such as evil filling in the hollow parts of people's souls/brains) is ongoing. It's not a fast one-day process. And it's a game.
I appreciate that the author avoided explaining (to death) what is happening to the majority of people. Mason is at risk of the dark inside him and Daniel is more than on the edge of it all (and we do get a brief look into it), but it is terrifying because for some people this glimpse of darkness is familiar. It's not evil, really, as Daniel is aware. Some people have become blind with rage, hate and the violence; almost zombie-like in nature, but not dead. Others retain full-functioning and are as clever as they were before the change, but have let animalistic instincts and the dark take over their actions.
It's almost a cautionary tale of human nature and that with all that lightness we bring to the world, there's always the potential to do awful things. There are examples of it in our society today, with murderers, the war-hungry, and even in our ability to turn a blind eye to those that need help. But it should be clear that the potential is in all of us.
From her witty language ("My name is Aries, but I'm a Gemini.") to her dark prose ("We forget how truly fragile we are. Skin. We do so much to it. Burn it. Tattoo it. Rub chemicals into its surface. Sometimes we scrape it, pierce it, poke holes through its softness. Skin holds us together. It keeps the blood inside. Without it, we die. When the knife slashed through her skin, she gave a look to suggest she couldn't believe I'd hurt her. ...She thought she'd live forever."); Jeyn Roberts has got this riveting horror-thing down.
Afterall, there is nothing worse than being scared of yourself....more
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a science-fiction or steampunk novel following the story of Anderson Lake, a "Calorie Man." The planet is in aThe Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi is a science-fiction or steampunk novel following the story of Anderson Lake, a "Calorie Man." The planet is in a state of disarray, where food we take for granted today, have gone extinct. This is a result of genetically engineered diseases, which mutate faster than vaccinations are created, infecting crops (and people). The value of calories are equivalent to currency and corporations have a hand in mostly genetics (reminds me of Repo! The Genetic Opera), especially to manipulate them into a food capable of resisting diseases. Lake is a genetic engineer who works for one of these Midwestern calorie companies, and his research has landed him in Thailand, which seems even more chaotic than the rest of the planet due to the staggering caste system and dissatisfaction with society.
The windups are a lower-level caste group, because they are genetically engineered with superior traits to humans (hearing, eyesight, beauty, etc.)—basically treated like trash. Lake is intrigued by Emiko, a windup from Japan who is rather resistant to authority and smart-mouthed, despite her precarious situation (sex slave). And their adventure takes off from there.
This story is great because it manages to take different points of view and shape the story with ease. The build up is intense and full of action, easily keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. The story itself seems incredible and yet so familiar and possible, especially with a near wipe-out of an entire species of banana (see Panama disease and Gros Michel). The idea of a planet torn by science is also not a new idea, but definitely one people like to read and talk about. It's also a very easy world to picture, especially because of the effortless way Bacigalupi sets the scene.
Unfortunately, while this story is fascinating, it is also lacking. There was a lot of build up and potential, but things were never properly fleshed out, such as the fate of the New People, and a proper idea of the Green Headbands (he mentions really enticing tidbits and then cuts himself off). And honestly, the story doesn't quite pick up steam until almost halfway through, and even then the ending is a little deflated (unless this will have a sequel).
The Windup Girl is on its way to predicting the future of agricultural profit and genetic manipulation/biotech today (see Monsanto monocultures and patent rights)....more