Rather than reviewing the plot directly, I am going to start with how I came to read it, because it was not on my 'to read' list and the wMesmerising.
Rather than reviewing the plot directly, I am going to start with how I came to read it, because it was not on my 'to read' list and the way I came to read it strongly affected my response to the story.
A work acquaintance is doing an arts degree at a Brisbane university, one day he kept us all amused by discussing this book, he was not discussing the content but the restrictions on it. The book is restricted in Queensland, you can't buy it here. However it is on the required reading list for a subject covering post modern literature, so the lecturer organised for it to by made available through a university shop in New South Wales, over the border, apparently, it is not restricted (Got to love the Australian state system).
In NSW however it proved to be out of print, so the poor students had to rely on the university library editions. As a restricted book, you can't borrow it out of the library or even read it freely in the library, you have to sign it out for restricted amounts of time.
I am impressed that anyone passed the subject - I did not find it fast reading and would have been unlikely to finish it under those conditions.
So when I came across the book on a second hand shelf I bought it and read it cold, knowing no more about it than the above.
I was initially mesmerised by the brand detailing. I now know far more about American branding that I ever thought to, or ever wanted to. I found the long lists of clothes brands mesmerising and the unemotional descriptions of branding and prices deeply disturbing and creepy.
I liked the slow build-up of Bateman's habits and 'personality' -in as much as he ever has one- before his murderous habits come out, the build-up to the crescendo of brutality and graphic violence is clever, I saved it from becoming tedious, as brutality for it's own sake can be.
I did wonder how it was going to end, it did very well and the ending allowed the book to keep the 'mesmerising' comment.
Footnotes: I don't approve of banning books. I do see how the graphic element could have led to it being banned, but given the visual graphics that are permissible in society I think banning books is even more invalid than ever before.
I am glad I read it, as an insight into a specific segment of American consumer mindlessness (not saying it doesn't exits elsewhere, I wouldn't know or care) that I would otherwise never have encountered, but I will probably never re-read it.
I am doubtful on the merits of using intentional and, ultimately, meaningless graphic brutality as a means of becoming a popular author. ...more
The blurb claimed "In his new novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist does for zombies what his previous novel, Let the Right One In, did for vampires."
For onceThe blurb claimed "In his new novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist does for zombies what his previous novel, Let the Right One In, did for vampires."
For once I actually agree with the blurb, I really enjoyed the sparse yet descriptive writing style in 'Let the right one in" and this book is written in the same style.
The central plot element of this novel is the dead, or rather the dead in a specific area, reanimating. However it is far from a typical zombie novel. The hysterical, end of the world scenarios of many other novels are evidently not Linqvist's style. Instead we see this event embedded in an orderly society with all the bureaucratic nightmare and religious confusion that would occur should something like this happen; people at sea, trying to cope with the unaccountable.
The situation is seen through a number of different individuals, each with their own personal, emotional stake in the reanimated dead or the event in general and this brings a great humanity to the story.
For me, there is the added pleasure of reading a book that is supernatural but not American-o-centric. Perhaps Handling the Undead does not give a lot of insight into daily Swedish society, but the 'feeling' of Stockholm as a background gives this novel an extra allure....more
A perfect example of how to write a book in a series yet make it perfectly enjoyable as a stand alone novel!
This is only the second Marcus Didius FalcA perfect example of how to write a book in a series yet make it perfectly enjoyable as a stand alone novel!
This is only the second Marcus Didius Falco novel I have read, fortuitously it is the one following the first I read. A light-hearted crime investigation in ancient Rome, this novel satisfies as a fast paced, humorous story with vivid characters (some quite disreputable), magnificent descriptions of Rome itself (so detailed it becomes a character in it's own right) and dramatic revelations of dastardly plots....more
This book satisfies all the urges of anyone who ever read and loved detective novels; the ruggered antisocial (yet very attractive to women) hero whoThis book satisfies all the urges of anyone who ever read and loved detective novels; the ruggered antisocial (yet very attractive to women) hero who doggedly follows the trail through gritty background. The hero who takes down the bad guys, even though he is kind of a bed guy himself and despite the odds being ever against him.
I have always loved those kind of stories, but this one has been improved with fine, innovative science fiction, spectacular writing, excellent editing and that extra indescribable something that makes a first class author. I'll be reading more, just to make sure he keeps it up!
To be honest, this book kind of blew me away; I have not encountered such amazingly good quality science fiction since I discovered William Gibson and I had started to feel as if I had read so much, for so long, that I had lost the ability to be totally intoxicated with a new story, a new world, a new style of writing.
Altered carbon is set in a future where humans are implanted (at birth perhaps) with a 'stack' . This apparently serves as a kind of identity print so that a person can be killed, or put into long term storage, or shipped between planets (yes, humans have reached the stars) without ever dying an actual, final death. Ever dying at least, unless someone intentionally fries or smashes the 'stack'.
That is the background for an intricately well evolved social background. Morgan never pushes social issues but the societies he has imagined are incredibly rich, fascinating and viable. They are also understated, as the main focus of this novel is not the social concept; that is a mere background. The main focus' of the book are the adventures of Takashi Kovacs on Earth. He is not from Earth, he has been brought there to investigate a murder, and he has been brought there by the incredibly rich man who was murdered.
Anyone who loves science fiction should love this book, anyone who even thinks they may possibly be interested... read it, just read it! ...more
This was a 'surprise book', I found it in the local second hand bookstore without having heard of it or it's author.
I absolutely loved this story, itThis was a 'surprise book', I found it in the local second hand bookstore without having heard of it or it's author.
I absolutely loved this story, it is a number two but that never mattered, one does get the feeling that some of the characters have stories that we do not know, but that is, really, just like real life where everyone does have a story and we can never know them all.
In The privilege of the sword, Katherine is a competent and level headed young girl growing up in the country as a 'lady' but in constrained financial circumstance. The setting is perhaps regency England or thereabouts but it is written in modern language so non historical readers will enjoy it as much or more as people who do read genuine historical fiction.
Katherine, like every sensible girl of her class, dreams of coming out in a season in The City, of sweeping down a staircase in a velvet cape, having an eligible and wealthy man fall in love with her and making a grand marriage. She is sensible after all, this is the sensible course for girls of her class.
Then her mothers brother the made Duke writes to have her come to the city. The duke has plans for her that are not sensible at all; to make her into a swords woman and dress her like a man.
That is the plot which is really fun, but the best part is the deft beautiful writing, the complexity of the characters, the masterly unfolding of the plots...
It was ok I had just finished a few pretty heavy books and felt in the mood for something light and easy. So this one kind of jumped off the shelf at mIt was ok I had just finished a few pretty heavy books and felt in the mood for something light and easy. So this one kind of jumped off the shelf at me.
It is very much representative of it's genera; I tend to think of them as American Rom-Soup, since they are romance supernatural with the emphasis on the romance and inclined to be sloppy with certain aspects of plot and writing.
Set in 'this' world but with denizens of fairy are here too, where here is America, and the denizens are so thick on the ground one tends to doubt if there are any humans in town untouched by the fairies.
Our hero Callie may be the only chance of stopping the bad guys from closing the last gate to Fairy-land but she is hampered by her powers being undeveloped and even locked down, she must gain control or risk the gate closing forever and most of her friends returning to Fairy-Land. Also there is a evil water sprite to contend with.
That part of the plot was not bad, I quite enjoyed it. The actual plot however was often secondary since way to many of the 339 pages were Callie agonising over her ex boyfriend the Incubus. Does she love him or does she not? Is she even capable of loving at all *key in violins wailing* How come she keeps getting laid by the Incubus in her dreams? This part was ok, though it was repetitive and there was way too much of it. The real thing that annoyed me down from three stars to two was a spoiler:
(view spoiler)[ The Liam/Duncan/Bill plot development was silly and transparent beyond belief. Is there anyone who from the first sentence did not know Duncan was a bad guy? I think not. Callie spilling her guts about every aspect of her personal life in the first minute she meets him is also idiotic; NO ONE does that, especially not someone like Callie who is meant to have trust issues from Liam.
Hands up who did not realise Bill was Liam the second the gnome let him in... No hands up? colour me not surprised. (hide spoiler)]
So, yes, an ok American romance for the uncritical with very sanitized LoCal supernatural background.
The ending nearly downgraded it to a one star. The final line could just as well read "I'm writing another book in this series, please buy it" I HATE this tactic from authors, this is not an ending it is pure professional laziness. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It is a handmade red dress, a dress of glamour with a statement to make, commissioned for a special occasion by Carolyn, who is the person we follow iIt is a handmade red dress, a dress of glamour with a statement to make, commissioned for a special occasion by Carolyn, who is the person we follow in the first chapter. The dress then ravels through other peoples lives, in each one it is part of emotional upheaval, desire, stretching their boundaries.
In many respects this was at least a three star novel, possibly even a four star for some readers. It is very well written, nicely conceived and arranged and the proofing and editing is exceptionally good (thank goodness there are still good editors and proof-readers out there).
The reason I gave it a paltry two stars is a personal thing; I do not often read short stories unless it is a genera I really like (often sci-fi) or stories that are 'fillers' to a series. Charlene Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series is a case in point, the stories are not great but they fill you in on events that happen between the main novels. You read them because you want to know back-story.
In general I find short stories a different reading experience to a novel. Perhaps like a difference in drinking style, a short story is like sipping a drink while a novel is like quaffing or gulping and I guess I am just a natural quaffer. I would very rarely read a short story that was merely a character sketch, however good a character sketch it was.
The Red Dress purports to be a novel. "...cleverly plotted suspense thriller...", "...the complexities of the plot, handling it's development with impeccable timing" claim the cover! In this, I think her publishers do her a major disservice because it fools the browsing reader into thinking it will be a novel whereas it is really only a collection of short stories.
The short stories are good, Harrison has the nice talent of sketching a character fast and well, making you feel you know them and portraying a well fleshed out picture of the stage on which the character acts. The excuse for calling it a novel is that the same red dress appears in each of the four story/chapters. The same dress appears, certainly! However since it appears without any real link between the previous story and the present, without any continuity beyond finding the dress in a op-shop I really do not feel there is any excuse for calling this a continuous story, or a novel. There is no attempt to link the chapters at all except the first and last, a fairly understated, trivial link at best.
So, it does not read like "a tale" or a novel and I do not much care for pure fiction short stories, I read too fast to make them engrossing. I feel cheated by the publicist (Or whoever) who lied to me and called it a novel instead of a compilation of four, pretty good stories. Plus this is the third time in the last year I have been cheated in an identical way - is this the new 'thing' calling short stories novels with no justification? If so stop it, for goodness sake.
Two stars are for the good writing, negative three for the annoying deception.
I have been reading Gibson for a couple of decades now, in that time he has unfailingly satisfied, sometimes prI found this book practically flawless!
I have been reading Gibson for a couple of decades now, in that time he has unfailingly satisfied, sometimes predicting future technology trends, always creating iconic cyberpunk. His books are among the most beloved and re-read on my book shelves with memorable, addictive storylines and fascinatingly miscellaneous characters.
In the early days these mesmerisingly unique stories were written on his typerwritter as he had not got his first computer, even though he was writing iconic cyberpunk and future world web stories. Later his books became more and more modern with tighter plots, more edgy culture and much closer to the edge of modern day, blurring the lines of what is already possible and what is total future fiction, Pattern Reconnection and Idoru were some of this period and I loved them as much as I had loved his early books.
More recently came the Blue Ant books, and they were fascinating and absorbing. All the classic William Gibson elements were there, the characters moved through a world strange to us, yet oddly familiar. I enjoyed them all thoroughly.
Now I have finished his most recent book and in my humble opinion, The Peripheral is probably the best book Gibson has ever written (Not the first time I have thought that on finishing something by this author) it is, once again, edgy and innovative.
The timelines and characters in the early chapters of The Peripheral are presented separately, so by the time the characters converge you have a strong concept of who they are and what they are all about. The characters are flawed and complicated, no immaculate superheroes here, just people coming to the story with the baggage that people do have.
This concept is new to Gibson, I did emphatically NOT see it coming and like many of his books you need to concentrate a LOT in the first few chapters; he does not spoon feed you, you have to understand the slang and concepts by reading it in place, there is no dumbing it down to the lowest common denominator and I LOVE that! Too many good stores are ruined by over-explaining everything.
The intricacy of the plot is superb; aims and goals of the characters concealed from each other and sometimes from us, a medley of events cemented together by the desires and needs of our reluctant heroes and random events that fall into place like a jigsaw as you keep reading.
There is a strong, though very subtle, environmental political warning in there: If we keep brutalising this planet for the sake of a few rich and powerful getting more riches and power then sooner or later, as a civilisation or a species, we will end ourselves, civilisation or planet. We all know this no matter whether we act on it or not. In The peripheral Gibson subtly explores one way in which this could happen, it is not a dramatic doomsday prophecy but it is all the more likely for that and Gibson manages to present it without prophesying at you, which I appreciate. Otherwise, there is not a whole lot I can say about the plot without major spoilers, but if you have any inclination toward sci-fi or cyberpunk you should read it yourself.
If you have not read much William Gibson before, you may be disconcerted at first by the feeling you don't know what is happening. I felt that way too, keep reading, you don't have to understand everything all at once, you don't in real life either. If the slang confuses you, think of the last time you travelled to another country - did you understand every word straight away? This book is a mental journey into a country that William Gibson has created for us, and I for one enjoyed every second of the journey!
This is the first of the KGI series that I really did not care for. I found it hard to get through, I had to resort to skim reading and I often put itThis is the first of the KGI series that I really did not care for. I found it hard to get through, I had to resort to skim reading and I often put it down and went off to do more interesting stuff which is completely different from my experience of all the other ones I have read.
This is Donovan's story and I was looking forward to it because I liked Donovan, the resident geek for the Kelly family (while still being totally he-man hot of course). In this novel he gets together with his partner, Eve. And also with Eve's two siblings, a teenage boy and a baby girl.
Why didn't I like it?
Well: Donovan seems to lose all the individuality of his character in it and just become a cut-out, one dimensional 'Kelly man in love'. A computer geek who never even googles the woman he is fixated on? Highly unbelievable. The Kelly that all the other Kelly's ask to find information on their cases asks the cop to find out about her for him...? Just really not convincing.
Otherwise the book starts out ok, there is stuff happening. Donovan is slowly gaining acceptance as the caution of Eve and her siblings, the caution of people on the run, slowly turns to trust. It's an ok story, nothing to write home about but not actively bad.
Then around page 122, Donovan gets them into his home and everything turns to mush; for one hundred and fifty pages, (give or take a few) NOTHING WHATSOEVER happens! Every page has one of three things: 1) Donovan tells Eve she can trust him and he wants them to be a family. 2)Eve tells people her siblings deserve better. 3) Siblings tell people Eve deserves better. This monotonous repetition is lifted only by visitations from the Kelly clan, the men all come by with food or cook, the women all come by in an homogeneous blob known as 'the wives'. I found it really sad that all those interesting women had become homogeneous, and I found it bewildering that all the men had nothing better to do than drop by with food. Though they are all still totally kick-arse, and running a paramilitary organisation, or so we are told. And, on that; when did KGI go from being a top notch, independent paramilitary unit to being a charity organisation taking care of the downtrodden? The way it is described in this book it comes across as a Salvation army organisation.
After all these pages of repetition comes the finale and it is absurd. Not remotely sensible, believable or readable. I can't discus it without spoilers and it is not worth bothering with to be honest. The climax does include the only smidgeon of action in the entire novel but still I was so disappointed at the ignored opportunities here. Donovan is a geek, there are so many exciting ways to take someone down that way, so many missed chances.
If I am to be honest, I could have still enjoyed the novel even with all the above flaws, because there are some good things in the book; the beginning of Rusty's sub-plot for example- very nice, some good things.
The thing that completely bottomed this book out for me, is a thing that a few other authors, (all American women by coincidence) have also done in series I was otherwise quite enjoying; they go baby mad. After the Storm is full of babies, women pregnant, men holding babies and *ho, ho ho* isn't that funny? No, it isn't, I really don't get it. Why would men holding babies be such a funny big deal?
Men who are into babies seems to be a definite thing for some romance writers, I get there is a demographic for it: A good friend of mine who is a single mum finds men who are nice to their kids sexy.
I am not into kids however, they are just not my thing, the fact that Donovan is so good with the baby girl is not sexy to me, it is mildly creepy. Talking about kids constantly is not sexy, quite the opposite. Men holding babies? No, it is not hot at all.
In short, a novel that is a Love/Lust novel, whose primary theme is men/babies = big yawn from me.
Now, if you like the baby/man demographic you will probably like this book so go ahead ignore my one star rating.
If this is your first KGI novel and you didn't like it for any of the reasons I listed, please don't be put off trying another one because the others are so much better! I was bitterly disappointed by this one, it has not stopped me from going on to When Day Breaks, with is hot, action packed, has a real plot and in short is all the things that this one was not and it has only one single page of babies so far thank F....more
With this book Maya gets back some of the mojo that she so spectacularly lost in the last book of her's I read, the book about Donovan. Whatever it waWith this book Maya gets back some of the mojo that she so spectacularly lost in the last book of her's I read, the book about Donovan. Whatever it was called (Fiasco, maybe?)... No, that's it: After the Storm!
In 'When day breaks' our KGI leading man is Swanny, and I did not have high hopes for it, partly because of the previous one I read, but also because I did not feel that Swanny was a very significant character in other books I had read. I liked his part in the Plot of Ethan and Shea, (The Darkest Hour) but he was not a very outstanding individual thereafter.
In a way this worked well, I did not have a strong connection to his cause nor a strong vision of his character, so becoming the 'Male KGI male in love' did not bother me. Once again, as in most Maya Banks, all characters other than the lead male (LM) and lead female (LF) are totally peripheral but I was ok with that.
I liked the slightly different plot setting, our LF is a supermodel and most of the novel occurs in Paris, we see nothing significant of Paris in the book, but the time spend on the model set is mildly entertaining (I know less than nothing about the industry I should add).
This book actually has something approaching a mission, and KGI redeems itself slightly from the salvation army like rep it was given in 'After the Storm' as it actually does have a mission other than making cookies and cherishing the most recent LF.
Where it does not rate so high is the repetitiousness of the LF desiring the LM. The LM over and over repeating how LF is out of his class and the over the top, caveman, "protect the female" attitude of the LM.
Nevertheless I did enjoy it a great deal, although, I admit, a bit of skim reading did occur in the repetitious bits.
I quiet liked the ending, obviously we needed a last major event in order to reach the anticipated happy romantic ending - no spoilers there, right?
Now for the spoilers... (view spoiler)[ I did like the fact that the LF was kidnapped from her hotel, I thought it was a bit different from previous KGI's I had read, I thought it was a good solid plot development that allowed the KGI to do something a little bit more with their mission than just babysit.
The facial scarring of the LF was... a trifle predictable perhaps? just a little? But that's ok. I liked the twist of the main 'bad guy' turning out to be a gal' and I thought that the hospital chapters worked ok too. I am a little uncertain about the final chapter, with LF about to return to work after being brought back to the caveman's cave but I can go with it as a happy ending. (hide spoiler)]
So, overall, I enjoyed this one and was pretty happy with the reading experience but it didn't rock my boat the way the earlier ones in KGI did.
I have also scanned some of the other, mostly very negative, reviews readers have written. I don't actually disagree with most of what they are saying; KGI has become very watered down from the tough teams they initially were. The instant romance is unbelievable and it is annoying to have it followed by pages and pages of repetitious filler because the main event was reached too fast. Yes, the virgin thing... is just silly, unlikely and really not hot.
I still quite liked it though.["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
One of KGI's government resources is Resnick; they own him some favours, he owes them a few more, he is a source of information that sometimes they juOne of KGI's government resources is Resnick; they own him some favours, he owes them a few more, he is a source of information that sometimes they just can't get any other way. Resnick want's KGI to keep and eye on a woman, she has a brother, a notorious criminal Resnick and KGI both want him!
We, the readers have already met Sarah, watched as she witnesses a crime her brother commits for her, against someone who harmed her and as she decided to run and hide. Sarah is no criminal and her hiding place is uncovered easily enough, Garrett is dispatched to watch her, gain her trust and wait for her brother to contact her so that they can catch him.
I really enjoyed this novel; I had always quite liked brother Garrett from the KGI 'family' it was good to see him hook up with his woman. Again the premise behind the romance was enjoyable, the sexual tension was strong and well, sexy, there was a strong plot line, with a couple of nice twists and turns to keep the characters guessing.
This book has a good premise and I wanted to like it so I gave it as much leeway as I could but really, I am not even sure that as a novel it deservesThis book has a good premise and I wanted to like it so I gave it as much leeway as I could but really, I am not even sure that as a novel it deserves two stars.
My copy did not tell me it was a #2 but by half way in I strongly suspected it because of a flatness of characters and a lack of world building, well universe building actually.
The world, Avon could have been interesting if we had ever found out more about it than swamps, cloud cover and an army base.
As for the two main characters... Or rather the two characters since no secondary characters ever get any development. Anyway, we are TOLD that Lee is a hard-arse legend in her own military, captain totally absorbed in 'her' troops. We are TOLD that but none of the narrative actually SHOWS us anything of the sort.
Likewise, Flynn, we are TOLD he is in this close knit rebel clan that is more like a family, fighting for each other and their planet. TOLD but none of the narrative ever demonstrates this.
Around the middle I got a bit bored and started skim reading, it is not a short book and it is repetitive. It is all about Lee and Flynn, both of whom keep haring off in an incomprehensibly juvenile way, often into the swamp.
(view spoiler)[ There are a lot of things that are meant to be twists, but which are too obvious to be anything but annoying. The one I disliked most was that in chapter 14 Lee is 'meant' to have shot dozens of Flynn's family thus providing the 'forbidden fruit' element of the rather numbing romance. Obviously she didn't shoot them and that would have been immediately proven if someone had checked her clip. 11 long, long chapters later, her ex-captain gets her to check. Really? This woman is meant to be trained military? Let alone any good at her job...? (hide spoiler)]
Midway some ex-military dude and his fiancée called Lilac come into it, and that was when I became sure This shattered World was a # in a series and these were previous main characters. It also signalled a bit of an improvement in the novel as some plot that was not Lee/Flynn emerged.
The plot conclusion was pretty good and the story was tied up well. Hurray for authors who write good endings!
Overall though except for the concept and the ending I really can't recommend it except to really young, really easily pleased readers. It is very long, very little happens for the number of pages you have to plough through to get to the plot. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a brilliantly descriptive fictionalised version of Alexander the great's childhood and teen years, his early battles right up to the point hiThis was a brilliantly descriptive fictionalised version of Alexander the great's childhood and teen years, his early battles right up to the point his father dies.
As the author tells us, there was not a lot of information about Alexander's early years so what there was she used (to great effect) but a lot was fiction. It is very well written convincing fiction, the narrative takes you to the era very enjoyably.
I would thoroughly recommend it to people who like historical writing and I will try very hard to find the next book in this series.
Apparently written in the 60's I did not find it at all dated; some novels from the 60-70's have so obviously been written in that era that it is impossible to ignore. Fire from Heaven could have been written yesterday it feels ageless.
The only criticisms I would have for this book: 1) While the intrigues, the journeys and the politics are all covered extensively, the battles, which lets face it were pretty major, are not extensively covered. The battles are described vividly but not at any length, the victory celebrations are normally given as much page time. I find this sad as I like reading about battles, especially the ones with good strategy. Other people may find this a positive however.
2) The names! oh gods the names! All the unpronounceable, unremembered names meant that I was not always sure which 'P' character I was reading about. The Author tried her best, but I always have problems with Greek names.
Don't let either of those criticisms put you off however! Totally worth reading....more
If I had discovered this book when I was a teenager I would have been completely enraptured and loved it to bits (literally, many of the books I lovedIf I had discovered this book when I was a teenager I would have been completely enraptured and loved it to bits (literally, many of the books I loved as a teen are disintegrating). As it is I did quite enjoy it but being no longer a teenager and having read a LOT of sci-fi I was not over the moon.
Elysia awakes a clone in the laboratories of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. The world has been crushed by 'The water wars' which are coying mentioned but about which we never find out that much. Everything about Demesne is bio-engineered for perfection. Even the air and ocean induce euphoric highs and physical healing. The clones are made from people who have died and whose souls are somehow removed (we never find out much about this), since they are not human the clones are basically slaves, though to be emotionless, soulless and without any rights. They are also killed when they have outlived their use.
Elysia of course proves the exception to the rule and then she finds she is not the only exception...
This novel incorporates some good social questions and concepts, ethics, human rights, environment fragilities and the abuses that come with overprivlages. In all these things it is a pretty good YA read. As it is an American novel a big plot element is how naughty-evil-nasty drugs are, but that is Americans, consistently naive and predictable, you just have to yawn and shrug.
The beginning and most of the novel are beautifully descriptive of the island paradise, the people who inhabit it and the tensions and fashions of the place. This part is a lot of fun to read and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
The last part of the novel did lose my attention a bit and the major plot twist at the end was not enough to make me go out and look for the next one. The twist was good, I was just losing sympathy with the characters and the romance a little by then. Also I really, really hate books that finish with a blatant introduction to the next book in the series. I don't even like chapters that end with cliff hangers; an end should be an end dammit! This book had an end to the story arc, but then wrecked it by introducing the cliff hanger for the next # in the series.
Other stuff I noticed and quite liked: many similarities in the novel to lots of my favourite sci-fi books and films; The Island (Film) had a strong presence as did I Robot, Logans run (Film and Book), Blade Runner and Do androids dream of Electronic Sheep, many more.
It reminded me a fair bit of one of my favourite books about cloning, though that book is considerably more mature.
So, should you read it? If you like fantasy sci-fi with your YA I think probably yes as it is a pleasant read. If you are looking for a fantasy sci-fi for your YA yes, though it might appeal to girls more than boys, the romance is pretty teen girl and there is a fair bit of it.
I might even read more in the series myself if I come across them....more