I had high expectations for Truth City—mainly because its author, Nick Sapien, is not only a doctor but has also tried his hand at genetic engineering...moreI had high expectations for Truth City—mainly because its author, Nick Sapien, is not only a doctor but has also tried his hand at genetic engineering—an important theme in this novel. I believe Science Fiction built on science fact makes some of the most intriguingly believable novels. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out that way.
What I loved: On top of being a short read, there were some great ideas in Truth City. I particularly liked the evolution of the Truth Machine and how the people were shaped by its introduction into society. I do, however, feel that its very existence is a contradiction, but that’s another story (a very long and boring one).
What I didn’t love: I hate to say it, but I had a lot of problems with Truth City. First off, I didn’t like the main character, Peter Savante, but then I didn’t hate him either. I had this recurring indifference regarding all of the characters in this book. They were bland and each member of this cast bled into the other, making it hard to remember who did what.
Another thing that drove me crazy was reading page after page of text from Peter’s Red Book—the book of secrets about the Truth Machine. This “book within a book” made me want to throw in the towel. Much like a medical journal or technical report, it was boring and has no place in fiction (so says I)—paraphrase that stuff! Give me the run down so I’m not nursing watery eyes and accompanying yawns. Also, winded conversations led by the Antagonist, explaining years of backstory with zero feeling, provides the same effect.
Truth City could’ve used a few more editing eyes on it before it went to print—there are a lot of errors. Not just typos but missing words and inconsistencies. I’m not one to notice these types of editing issues, so if I see them on many pages, there’s definitely a problem. There are also inconsistencies within the storyline—I won’t point them out due to spoilers but some were simply characters flip-flopping, contradicting things that were said earlier.
Overall: Truth City just didn’t work for me. I like the idea of the story but as written, no justice was served. (originally reviewed at EasilyMused.com)(less)
I jumped on Cruise of the Undead as soon as it came in for review for two reasons. The first being zombies—they just happen to be one of my favorite t...moreI jumped on Cruise of the Undead as soon as it came in for review for two reasons. The first being zombies—they just happen to be one of my favorite things. The other reason is because it was listed as Young Adult (YA). Not only am I a voracious reader of YA fiction, but also because I am a bacon-fueled zombie, consuming books by the dozens. I was a little skeptical when I read the cover letter Laura A. Hansen sent in with her submission. She mentioned that this book was “family friendly”. I tried then to wrap my head around that concept, but didn’t waste too much time—I had to read it.
Cruise of the Undead started out so strong and almost perfect for me. The very first sentence set the stage for what I felt was going to be an awesome ride—voiced by a typical, angsty teen tortured by the family vacation. The first chapter set the book up, and for a moment I thought that this “family friendly” book just might be able to cross over into zombie land. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
What I loved: I love the very idea of this book. I can’t think of what would be scarier than floating in the Pacific—completely surrounded by water—in a vessel filled with zombies. There’s so much potential there—nightmare fuel for a lifetime.
Hansen didn’t waste time getting into the thick of it either—another thing I loved. It was a quick, easy read that was somewhat palate clearing since I just came off of a 600 page novel. It was short without being too short and a nice change of pace for me.
What I didn’t love: There were several parts of this book that just didn’t work for me when I viewed it as YA, so I also tried to look at it from a Middle Grade point of view. I’m a reader of both genres, and I wanted to keep an open mind. I do feel like a younger audience would more likely embrace this book—the main character, Charlie, is fifteen, but the other children at the heart of the story are twelve and younger. YA tends to be more complex with dynamic characters and character growth, Cruise of the Undead seemed very light with simple plot lines and dialogue that a younger audience would appreciate.
By Hansen making the book “family friendly”, she left out an important thing–emotion. The children in this book, not only go on multiple zombie-killing sprees, but they don’t bat an eye—they make light conversation or joke. The only person who shows a smidge of emotion is a girl—Charlie’s love interest, Savannah. No one seems scared, and the parents are OK with letting their kids handle the situation—zombie killing. This just isn’t believable, and a bit disturbing—not in a good way. To me, emotionless killing children are way more disturbing than smashing in a thousand zombie heads, spelling your name out in zombie entrails, or even slathering yourself head-to-toe in zombie juice to mingle among other zombies.
Overall: I really wanted to love Cruise of the Undead, but I just couldn’t. I’m not saying I wouldn’t read another zombie book by Laura Hansen, because this one had some brilliant moments, and like I said, there is a lot of potential here. I just hope this review doesn’t discourage her from requesting another review for the next book in this series.
(book originally reviewed at EasilyMused.com)(less)
Moyer Winfield wants more than anything to make his wife, Robyn, happy. All she wants is a baby. Unfortunately, we learn that the Winfields, as well a...moreMoyer Winfield wants more than anything to make his wife, Robyn, happy. All she wants is a baby. Unfortunately, we learn that the Winfields, as well as the rest of Mark Souza’s dystopian world, is infertile. Their only hope for having a child is to pay a small fortune to Hogan-Perko—a company that not only clones children, but seems to have their hands in everything else, too.
I found the future in Robyn’s Egg to be both fascinating and terrifying. The technology that allows the population to be constantly wired in, cloning children and manipulating their DNA, rehabilitation that borders on lobotomy, and big business playing God—are but a few of the themes that piqued my interest.
Even though Mark Souza introduces you to a lot of ideas and technology, it’s not overwhelming. It’s surprisingly easy to read while also bringing human emotion to the surface—you’re always aware of how much Robyn Winfield wants a baby. A lot.
What I loved: This may be mean, but I absolutely loved Robyn’s desperation. She wants a child so bad—you can feel it in your gut. She is so strongly driven by this want that she will do anything to make it a reality. Call me sick if you will, but I love an obsession, and that girl is past the point of no return. It’s so well written that you can’t help but long for that child alongside her.
I also love the literary references. Even though most books are illegal, Moyer is able to block his feed and read whatever he wants, and he has great taste in literature. I’m not surprised that books are illegal in this future of theirs. After all, knowledge is power and Hogan-Perko wants to stay at the top of the food chain.
What I didn’t love: I felt like Robyn stole the show, while Moyer seemed to vanish at times. This may have been intended to further strengthen that obsession or to show Moyer’s drive to make her happy, or it could be that I just related to Robyn more than Moyer. Regardless, this was his story and at times he seemed invisible.
There were a few places I felt the story dragging on—a few scenes could have been shorter, but overall the pace was good and I stayed interested and reading. I’m not sure that the ending really answered all of my questions, but that’s a good thing—it’ll leave me thinking about the story long after I’ve read it.
Overall: I really enjoyed it. The similarities between our world and the one Mark Souza‘s created in Robyn’s Egg are also both fascinating and terrifying—mostly terrifying. I like to think today’s dystopian novels are like tomorrow’s Aesop’s Fables, so let’s play nice, mind our own business, and eat our vegetables.