5 to 1 by Holly Bodger has one of the most unique dystopian storylines I've ever read.
Not too far in the future, there are now five boys for every girl in Koyanagar, a country in India. The boys must undergo physical and mental testing to see who is eligible to get married--and who won't. Those who lose during the testing face an uncertain future, with some of them sent to the wall that surrounds their community.
I loved the way this story was told, alternating between Kiran and Sudasa's points of view. Bodger weaves words together in a poetic, lyrical way that is astounding. This is a quick read that will definitely make readers take notice of this debut author.
I love the idea for this story, really. Think The Selection meets Matched, with a little of The Hunger Games thrown in. I hate to mention those because I loved two of those series, and this wasn't that. One thing that I feel that dystopian books need to show more is the consequences for those who do not follow the ideals the society has set forth. What happens if someone chooses a "loser" or what would happen if a girl doesn't want to get married? Some of this was touched on but I wanted more for the story to be completely believable. Also, even though this story definitely relates to current events, I feel like it's not far enough into the future to be realistic. There are just too many questions about the society and how it functions for me to be all in here.
I wanted more about everything--more reasons for the way Kiran (aka Five) thinks and feels, more about Sudasa, just everything. I didn't feel a great connection with the secondary characters and wish that there had been a bit more with them. I absolutely wanted more swoon, as there was none. And the ending? Yeah, there needed to be more.
Filled with girl power and a powerful message, 5 to 1 by debut author Holly Bodger is a quick read with a fresh spin on dystopian societies that's unique and unexpected....more
MJ and I read this book together and lots of these words are hers ♥
Twelve contemporary authors disassembled and reimagine aspects of twelve timeless stories, ranging from fantasy and science fiction to literary classics. Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt contributed to and edited this compilation of works by such respected and loved authors as Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Carrie Ryan. Even though we each had things we liked (and didn't like), there is truly something here for everyone.
We thought we'd tell you about each of the stories included in Rags & Bones:
That the Machine May Progress Eternally by Carrie Ryan This is a stiflingly claustrophobic other side of The Machine Stops with terrifyingly vivid imagery and a depressing second half. We’re actually a little claustrophobic and couldn’t breathe for the first half of this tale, then were basically nauseated by the utterly depressive state of the character ultimately submitting to The Machine. The line “the weight of the dirt resting between him and the surface” is sort of the moment of transition, when he succumbs to the supposed comfort of The Machine. We can’t say we liked it, but it certainly affected us.
Losing Her Divinity by Garth Nix This story was written as a dramatic monologue with the writer character telling the story of the wayward goddesses in the past as well as what is happening to him in the present. It’s humorous. We found ourselves giggling out loud more than once.
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman We don’t have a lot to say about this other than it’s what you’d expect from a storyteller such as Gaiman on an idea such as this. It’s unique and engaging and almost unrecognizable from the original source--Sleeping Beauty. You can tell he’s held this story inside his head with care until just the right time to tell it.
The Cold Corner by Tim Pratt
“This road trip was supposed to help me settle the question of who I was and what I wanted, but it wasn’t working so far.”
This tale is told in a familiar and contemporary style and timeframe. The tone is sardonic if not blase, but the landscape is lush and lulling, and semi-dreamlike. Also, we felt like we were sitting right next to the main character, Terry, throughout, experiencing it as he was. The conversational narrative made it feel like we were friends having coffee. This is one of our favorites of what we read, simply for what we’ve told you about it so far, but it’s also an interesting angle on the examination of “what might have been.”
Millcara by Holly Black Kind of pretentious and tedious. We love vampire tales, Carmilla included, so we were disappointed by the telling of this side of the tale. Maybe it’s just the tone, but it kind of made our skin crawl.
When First We Were Gods by Rick Yancey This is a future where the elite population of humankind is granted immortality based on a piece of technology called Transfers, which is super freaking creepy body jumping type of stuff. We liked the prose and the cultural references (laughed out loud the Gingrich Memorial Gardens on Moon Base Alpha), though. And it’s a love story!
Sirocco by Margaret Stohl This tale takes place on a modern-day film production set and follows the story of The Castle of Otranto, which is considered to be the first Gothic novel. We liked the life imitating art aspect and really liked Theo. The end was a little unexpected, but we liked this one--it made us laugh and swoon a little bit, too.
Awakened by Melissa Marr A truly refreshing tale, we loved Marr's retelling of Kate Chopin's The Awakening. Even though she completely changed the characters and their motivations, the feelings were all there.
I want passion, true love with a man some day in the distant future who is so overcome with love that he'll accept me for who and what I am. I want a man who did not trap me, who will not keep me in a cage. There is no happiness inside a cage, no matter how gilded.
The subject matter is definitely not for everyone--the main character, Eden, is literally held captive, but we really loved the way this one turned out.
New Chicago by Kelley Armstrong Set in futuresque New Chicago, this retelling of The Monkey's Paw has a dystopian, post-apocalyptic spin on it. It stays pretty true to the story, but we found ourselves empathizing a little more with the main characters this time around.
The Soul Collector by Kami Garcia This was an interesting twist on Rumpelstiltskin told in a modern-day drug-and-prostitution-fueled setting. We liked the exchanges the Soul Collector made with the main character, Petra, but ultimately didn't like how far it deviated from the true story in the end.
Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy by Saladin Ahmed This retelling of The Faerie Queen was almost lyrical and quite poetic. The ending was perfect, but we didn't particularly like this one.
Uncaged by Gene Wolfe We weren't familiar with the story that inspired this retelling, The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban. This story was okay. We didn't empathize or feel a connection with any of the characters.
Twelve tales, ranging from fantasy to sci-fi to just plain out there, Rags & Bones has something that will appeal to every reader whether they love retellings, creepy tales, or just good story-telling in general....more
I really liked this book and can't wait for more. That's the first thing I need to tell you. The second: It's only 99 cents!!! How is this possible? If you're reading this review after the price is 99 cents, buy it anyway because it's that good.
The story starts off right in the middle of the action. Lexi Hamilton is running, knowing the consequences of what will happen if she gets caught. Citizens accused of crimes are labeled Sinners and imprisoned without trial and without being able to defend themselves at all. Their prison, the Hole, is like a small city/slum, surrounded completely by 20-ft cement walls rife with crime and corruption and squalor. After being caught, Lexi is immediately transported to the Hole, where she is branded with a band of color around her neck according to her sin: Blue for Lust.
I don't even know what I can tell you about this story without giving anything away, so I will just say that it is unlike anything I've ever read. It was authentic and had what a good dystopian book should have--consequences that show why the society functions the way it does. Citizens are constantly reminded of what will happen to those who don't follow the rules, whether it's a public execution or beating or seeing them dragged off to the Hole.
One of the things that I liked the most about this book was the characters. I really liked Lexi and her spirit. There were times that I thought she was a little unrealistic in her expectations of what was going on around her, but it definitely made sense for her character. She was young and privileged before being imprisoned, so her occasional naivete totally was perfect for her character. I loved Cole, who was the guard assigned to her protection. He's strong and manly and was pretty swoony, too.
"Tell me this is real. Please tell me you really want me because..."
He brings me back down, unties my ponytail, and runs his hands through my hair, rolling me back over and pressing his pelvis into mine. I open my eyes and he's staring at me with so much passion. A tear runs down my face and he wipes it away with his thumb.
"Babe, let's take it slow. I don't want to move too fast... I don't just want to make love. I want to make our love last."
There were parts of it that were downright gross--maggots and blood and just ewww. There are also some really graphic issues, like attempted rape and child molestation and prostitution, so if those are sensitive topics for you, you might not want to read this story.
There were a few problems for me, like insta-relationships and how the characters didn't hold true throughout. I think a good editor would have caught these inconsistencies. With that being said, the entire storyline made sense and was exciting, and I can't wait to read more.