True confession: I have a journal in which I keep track of the dates I start and finish books, and according to that journal, it has been almost eight...moreTrue confession: I have a journal in which I keep track of the dates I start and finish books, and according to that journal, it has been almost eight years since I read The Keeping Place, the fourth book in Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn series. Wavesong, which is book five, has been out for several years now, but it’s taken me awhile to finally read it, mostly because I had an ambition to reread the first four beforehand, as I had forgotten the majority of what happened in them. I reread the first two, which was helpful, but I balked at the sizes of books three and four and decided that if I insisted on rereading them too, I might never get around to the newer books. I figured the important things would come back to me, or would be explained in the text anyway, and that turned out to be true. There were some things I wish I remembered better, but my confusion was minimal. The map and character list in the front help. Side note: if you, like my best friend, are put off by books that are complex enough to require maps and character lists, this series probably isn’t for you. The flip side, however, is that these books are very rich and the world-building complete and fully-realized. Elspeth is also a fantastic heroine.
One of the best things about futuristic science fiction is that it takes trends that are present in today’s world and forecasts them into the future:...moreOne of the best things about futuristic science fiction is that it takes trends that are present in today’s world and forecasts them into the future: What is the worst place that this trend could go and what are the factors that would occur to get it there? There’s always more to the book than that—a story should always be greater than any one concept or issue—but that’s where it starts.
The Hunger Games takes the schadenfreude of reality television—the entertainment factor of watching other people fall apart, fight each other, struggle for survival, and so on—and takes it to a new level. Every year, two teenagers from each of the twelve districts scattered across what used to be North America are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games: a televised competition sponsored and organized by the government. The twenty-four contestants have to fight each other for survival and the only way to win is to be the last one left alive. Katniss Everdeen is used to hardship and hunger and she’s been hunting illegally for years to keep her family fed, but none of that can prepare her for the fact that the other contestant from District 12 is a boy who once showed her kindness in the darkest, lowest hour of her life, when no one else was willing or able to help her. Now they are forced to be rivals, because only one person can survive the Hunger Games.
At first, I wasn’t sure about the plausibility of the Games. Would the government really start them and keep them up year after year just as a kind of revenge against the Districts for the attempted rebellion that happened generations ago? The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized what the true effect of the Games is. Partly it is entertainment for the citizens of the Capitol who don’t have any tributes of their own in the games, which keeps it all a step removed for them. The Games also create division among the Districts. For the wealthier ones where there’s a good chance of winning, the Games represent more of an opportunity than a form of oppression, and without the help of those districts, what chance do the poorer districts have of winning a rebellion? The Hunger Games quite literally cause the districts to fight against each other instead of against the Capitol. It’s a method of prevention against another rebellion and it seems to be quite effective. The only way to fight back is through unity.
I really liked Epic, but I wasn't sure what to expect from the sequel. I was pleasantly surprised by Saga. Whereas Epic told the story of a society de...moreI really liked Epic, but I wasn't sure what to expect from the sequel. I was pleasantly surprised by Saga. Whereas Epic told the story of a society dependent upon an advanced video game world, Saga tells the story of a society within a very different video game. Saga is a world with a very rigid class system, and Ghost and her friends are at the very bottom rung. They are anarcho-punks, protesting the unjust economic system. When Saga becomes available to the people of New Earth and Erik and his friends join the game, Ghost starts to realize the true nature of her world.
The concept is a fascinating one - imagine discovering that the world you live in is a virtual one, created in a universe outside of your own - and Kostick deals with it very well. The plot moves forward quickly and the characters are all well-developed and interesting. Ghost and her friends are particularly compelling and their camaraderie and relationship dynamics were one of the most interesting aspects for me.(less)
Where do I even start? The fantastic opening sentence, the perfect exposition, the unique premise, the brilliant characters, the constantly moving (an...moreWhere do I even start? The fantastic opening sentence, the perfect exposition, the unique premise, the brilliant characters, the constantly moving (and twisting and turning) plot, the multiple times I found myself in tears (for so many reasons), the massive cliffhanger? I am in awe. This book is gorgeous. And funny and sad and thrilling and fascinating and heartfelt and new. Read it!