I liked this book from the get go but I was surprised by how much I loved it by the end. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the mysteries in a boI liked this book from the get go but I was surprised by how much I loved it by the end. I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the mysteries in a book but this one managed to surprise me. I enjoyed the characters and anticipate the sequals so I can keep following them, especially the women who manage to be strong, clever and proactive survivalists within the confines of their worlds. What really stands out about this book was the world building. The author has created a full, well rounded universe that is dark and real to encompass her story and it is a doozy. If you like dystopias or science fiction that's gritty and harsh give this series a try. ...more
Variant is well written and exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the end with great characters, good action, brisk pacing, anThe Good:
Variant is well written and exciting and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the end with great characters, good action, brisk pacing, and a perfectly wrought atmosphere.
I think it's greatest strength is the handling of group behaviour and group politics. The "gangs" that have formed at the school are believable both as depictions of how factions can divide and how the individuals within them behave. Everything in this book is twisted by the bizarre circumstances of the school setting and this is most visible in the actions of the characters. Everything is hidden and so everything is scary and unknown. The result is both a logical and chaotic array of human reaction and it is brilliant.
The mysteries of the school kept me guessing until the end and then some. I don't mean that in a good way though. It was great up until I realized this was the first book in a series and does not stand up on its own. It ends abruptly in the middle of the action, which I guess you could call a cliffhanger but usually a book has some sort of standalone plot arc that gets resolved while the overarching plot of the series continues. This book just stops. There are hints at more secrets to come but nothing gets resolved, everything is left to the sequel(s).
Unfortunately there are many little mysteries and even inconsistencies within this book that don't get addressed and the abrupt shift in the stories direction at the end makes me wonder if a sequel will explain them. If these things go unresolved in future books this review will drop to a 2 star because what might be brilliant could also just be crap. This book doesn't tell us, we have to buy the next one.
I'm going to hold out on picking up the sequel until I read a few reviews. The first book having no resolution puts me off so if the next one doesn't dole out some real answers I'll spend my money elsewhere. It's a testament to how much I enjoyed this book that it got away with a non-ending at all. So if you don't mind one book split into many books I highly recommend it. If you like your books to actually end steer clear or wait for the whole series to be published before you start.
Although I was to review this book through the first-reads program my review copy never arrived so this review is from a copy I purchased myself....more
Strength of Stone is like Greg Bear light. It's not as complex or engaging as I've found his other books to be but this by no means means makes it eitStrength of Stone is like Greg Bear light. It's not as complex or engaging as I've found his other books to be but this by no means means makes it either simple or boring. The premise is interesting and there are some really great characters. The protagonist isn't so much any one person though as it is the human drive, especially for survival. Through the course of the book the author vividly communicates loss on a grand scale, enduring human folly, the inexorable passage of time and the loneliness inspired by a future humanity that resembles nothing we currently know or understand. It worked for me even when I found the subject to be disturbing or unpleasant. I recommend it but be prepared for a book that takes the harder, grittier road. ...more