This book(novella) would have gotten a higher rating were it not for its ending. The story follows a man of great faith (as one must be in his world aThis book(novella) would have gotten a higher rating were it not for its ending. The story follows a man of great faith (as one must be in his world and line of work) in an intriguing science fiction world, where the method by which space travel is achieved by the will of chained Gods, held in check by the faithful of a more powerful God.
The theological implications and questions were poignant and clever, as was the way the theology worked. The lead up to the end furthered both these things in wonderful ways, but (view spoiler)[ unfortunately the actual ending was frustrating. To me, there's nothing more annoying than an 'everyone dies' ending (except in horror, where it can be a legitimate ending). For me basically it's like the author took us to the 'blackest moment' for a character, but then, instead of coming up with a solution, a way for the character to get themselves out of trouble they just threw their hands up and went "meh, it's too hard to think of a way for the character to save themself so lets just let 'em die". Hilariously enough he even had to hand a chance to use legitimate dues ex machina - one of the few times where a DEM ending would have been acceptable.
Instead, everyone dies. EVERYONE. Ugh. No hint that one of the freed Gods (who was not hungry like Tephe's ship's god) might have chosen to help the people to safety (perhaps in return for their faith to bolster its power even). Nope. just everyone dies. How unsatisfying.
I did however like the Rook's faith that she could be the 'entrance' for their God in exchange for her wish - that everyone live - and the reversal where the God immediately proved that was bull by attempting to kill Tephe. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
In the cruel continent of Panem, the Capitol enslaves the twelve districts and to keep the slaves in line once a year they perform the hunger games, tIn the cruel continent of Panem, the Capitol enslaves the twelve districts and to keep the slaves in line once a year they perform the hunger games, taking two children for each district and forcing them into gladitorial combat in amazing venues until one survivor emerges. Katniss is almost old enough to no longer be a possible competitor, but when her sister is drawn in the lottery she volunteers to save her sister, knowing she's unlikely to come back and watch her sister grow up.
Let's pause a moment here and think about this one part that baffles me. The capitol keep the districts in line by forcing them to watch them kill their children. How has this NOT sparked an uprising over the last 74 years? No seriously? wouldn't that make you MORe likely to want to rise up and throw off the shackles? But setting that aside let's continue on with my review.
I can't help but wonder if I'd not seen the movie first and thus knew all of the twists and turns if this wouldn't been more of an emotional ride. Because Katniss is a character who tends to keep her emotions stifled and hidden it's hard to feel as much, particularly when you already saw it coming. I really feel like I would have enjoyed the ride much more if I hadn't known (spoiler alert? really, who doesn't know the ending yet?) both Katniss and Peeta would survive.
I love the hidden details the movie missed though, like the fact it's clearly America, and the tongue-less slave who Katniss saw back in the woods years back and *could* have saved(at the stupid risk of her own life though), the Muts (which I noticed suddenly appear in the second part of the last book's movies when previously they weren't mentioned), as well as the deeper insights into the characters.
The Capitol though, I can't help but feel like the capitol is a bit of a straw man. You've got only two modes for citizens of the Capitol - the vapid masses bleating joy over the games and eating up that shit like ice cream and vicious peacemakes/president Snow who wish to squash any hint of rebellion so ruthlessly disguise the shit as ice cream and cram it down the District's throats too. Where are the super intelligent people who make all this technology? Who does the menial labour in the capitol? Surely there's not enough of the Avox in supply to do it all. I get that there probably wasn't much time to really show this, maybe it will appear in later books, but it sort of made me feel like it was just a Roman Empire dressed up to be toppled.
Something I did enjoy (morbidly) was how wonderfully ruthless Collin's was - the end scene, with the final opponent being eaten alive for hours on end - brutal! However I was a little disappointed that Katniss wasn't a bit more involved in the killings herself, I would have preferred more, real life or death struggling.
Katniss' staunched emotions lead her to genuine confusion about her feelings of love - she honestly can't realise she's actually infatuated with either (or both) Gale and Peeta - and I love it, it's different to what I usually see in YA love triangles where it's usually blatantly obvious who the protagonist loves and the other person is just trying to muscle in and failing.
Now for the inevitable comparison to Battle Royale. I watched and loved Battle Royale movie, even went on and purchased the manga adaption which goes into each and every character much more deeply in the 15 volume series(I believe there's a novel too, but I must confess to not having read that yet). There's quite a lot of similarities (with several of the characters being interchangeable (the experienced combateers and the volunteers from district one, Nanahara & Noriko = Katniss & Peeta(though I do love the gender flipping ;p ), aside from the obvious repressive government forcing kids to fight on a televised event), but there's also quite a bit of difference between them too, what with very little mention of the government of deeper reasons why battle royale occurs in BR(in the movie anyway, the manga expands on it more), as compared to the much more blatantly stated HG. I've never been too bugged by similarities though (FFS look at the old 'farm by is a prophecised hero' trope in fantasy - how many of those have I read and still enjoyed?), as long as the story itself diverges from the other clearly, and isn't just a parallel retelling with nothing new.
I still think I might have enjoyed this book more, felt more velocity in it's story if I hadn't seen the movie first - but I guess that's what I get for watching the movie before the book ;p
I recommend this book to pretty much anyone who reads YA and (surprisingly enough) recommend it to people who enjoyed Battle Royale....more
I'm obviously totally biased as the author ;p However, if you like fairy tale worlds, and are looking for a cozy adventure that is longer than a shortI'm obviously totally biased as the author ;p However, if you like fairy tale worlds, and are looking for a cozy adventure that is longer than a short story, but not as time consuming as a novel then this is what you're looking for...more
Agonised by her son's actions, Eva writes letters to her estranged husband explaining to him why their child's murderous rampage was something they shAgonised by her son's actions, Eva writes letters to her estranged husband explaining to him why their child's murderous rampage was something they should have seen a long way off.
The novel is a series of letters, as I mentioned above, where Eva recites anecdotes ranging from before she even fell pregnant with Kevin all the way through to the incident and beyond. The letters aren't quite as dry as a real letter might have been, and at times you almost forget you're reading a letter, until she signs off. The rather anecdotal recitation, though lushly detailed and with interesting content, might be a delivery system some people don't enjoy however. I personally had no such issue though.
The story begins with Eva deciding to have a child for certain reasons (including so if her beloved husband were to die she would have some piece of him, someone to love even after the loss). I've read some people criticising that as a 'bad reason' to have a child and citing it as probably part of what made Kevin the way he is. But how is that any worse than the woman who gets pregnant to try and hook or keep a man, or accidental pregnancies where there was no reason because there was no intent? I doubt anything about her mindset in regards to that affected Kevin.
Her pregnancy is fraught with conflict, and more than just the standard 'what do we name the baby' fights (which I and my husband never got into either time - lucky us ;p ), but she feels like her husband won't let her do anything (I kind of agreed with the 'don't drink' issue Franklin had, but was baffled when he was mad at her for dancing. Dancing, really dude, chill the 'F' out). And after an agonising labour(been there!) Kevin was uninterested in suckling. When reading that bit I thought about how that might have felt for me, as a mother. That rejection. Having only ten months ago had my second child it is all too easy to remember that 'first meeting', and the thought of my baby spurning my milk and me, against their survival instinct, is harrowing.
The drastically different faces Kevin would present to mother and father, even in his infancy was terrifying. I'm sure I'm not the only stay at home parent who has spent a day with a wailing, difficult child, and when their partner comes home suddenly the child is an angel and their partner looks at them like "what you talkin' 'bout Willis?". It's this 'I know them feels' moments that make this book so relatable and so devastating, because while most of us probably have never felt it to the extent Eva did, we've all (mostly) had a few of those experiences so can understand.
And related to that is my fear about this book. Kevin displays several behaviours that can be signs of autism - the rejection of the mother's touch (though the acceptance of the father's kind of disproves that point), the delayed speech but obvious intelligence underneath, the delay in toilet training (though Kevin had motives which don't mesh with ASD), the perfect tonal mimicry with his 'neh-nehneh-neh' speeches, ect. As a mother of an autistic child I've been through most of that, and while it helped me connect to Eva on a much deeper level I can't help but fear some day a woman who has read this book will have a child on the spectrum, see these similarities and perhaps overreact, diagnosing her child as a future mass murderer. I know it's pretty unlikely, but hey, it's just as unlikely a fear as how when I roll up the garage door to put the bins out the night before bin day I worry I'll find a zombie horde approaching - I still have it and logic ain't going to stop me wondering/worrying.
Very early on I figured out one of the 'twists' of the finale (view spoiler)[ that Franklin himself was also killed in Kevin's murder spree - I guessed it before Celia was even mentioned too, I got it in the second or third letter I think - but I think it would have bothered me far more if he HADN'T been killed, the loss of that dramatic resonance would have made the book's end less thrilling, much as I would have liked Franklin to have had his face really rubbed in his wrong-ness for years so he could really stew in his memories and realise what a dick he'd been to Eva(though I strongly doubt any actions taken by either of them would have diverted Kevin from his actions on Thursday). (hide spoiler)]
It might be morbid, but I'm impressed with Kevin's level of planning of his crime, details like (view spoiler)[ using a crossbow instead of gun so gun lobbyists can't try to turn his act around and make it a gun issue, the prozac, the invitations to get his specific targets right where he wanted them.
I was a bit miffed though since the book blurb talked about the 'much-loved teacher who tried to befriend him', yet the character does virtually nothing, except for a quick parent teacher interview, and we don't really hear much more about them or their actions until we're in the kill room. I felt jipped by promises the blurb gave me, and failed miserably on. (hide spoiler)]
I really enjoyed how as I read on I discovered a much deeper relationship between Eva and Kevin than you'd imagine and the first half of the book implies, and how that plays into both of their motives.
All up I found it a quick and enjoyable read, though outside my typical genre preferences.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Now obviously I'm a little biased here, since my own story Charming is included (and most gorgeously illustrated by Katie Wald (Kinsara) - no seriouslNow obviously I'm a little biased here, since my own story Charming is included (and most gorgeously illustrated by Katie Wald (Kinsara) - no seriously, I'm in epic love with her picture of Hannah and James on their way to the Black Forest), but as I always do in anthologies my work is included in, I read the whole thing, mentally remove my story and review the rest of the book as impartially as I can.
I may have teared up a tiny bit when I saw this issue was dedicated to Alan Rickman.
This magazine has a great mix of speculative fiction, with fairy tale reminiscent (no, not Charming, another story less blatantly fairy tale influenced, Destiny), cut throat business-man science fiction, magical boarding school romance, and a bittersweet alternate world fantasy with a very intriguing fuel source, Thurium. There's also some very intriguing poetry with spec-fic themes; I was blown away in particular by AI.
Of course the downside to so many different genres means that less diverse readers may find some of the stories not as much their flavour as others.
Back to the pluses though, every story is illustrated, and quite wonderfully too, by several different artists(same artist within the story, but different stories, different artists). There's also some non-fiction at the end with an interesting interview with David Butler and a review of his latest book The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie: The Kidnap Plot and a quiz to see how 'nerd' you are which gave me giggles a-plenty.
There's also some competition stories at the end. A continuing serial which is written by different authors (entrants read the first part, then write their own next part, send them in and the best one is printed in the next volume and becomes canon; a cool idea), and several flash fiction pieces also selected by competition (most of which had really cool ideas).
All up, as I'm a diverse reader, I loved pretty much everything in here. I recommend this to people who enjoy speculative fiction short stories and love to check out new things, or are looking to try some other flavours within the over-arching genre label of speculative fiction to see if they will enjoy other genres within it as this have a rather nice sampling of a lot of it....more
This guide doesn't waste time telling you how to write fiction in general (if you need help with that there'Short, but chock-full of good information.
This guide doesn't waste time telling you how to write fiction in general (if you need help with that there's a plethora of other books to assist with that) instead it makes you think about how to build the world you need to write your post-apocalyptic fiction. Depending on your own personal writing level and how much of post-apocalyptic genre you've already consumed in your own reading (and watching) you may find some of this information old hat, but there's still plenty of questions it asks you, and they're all things you need to ponder before diving into the wasteland.
At the end there's also a comprehensive list of good books, tv shows, movies and even video games which are well worth reading/watching/playing to help you gain a better understanding of the genre. I loved that video games were included, as they can often be overlooked as a story telling medium (and I need a legitimate excuse to play more ;p )
A very affordable must-have for anyone wanting to write a post-apocalyptic tale - no matter what kind of apocalypse!...more
Quick but comprehensive. This is the guide for the beginners and for those ready to actually commit to publishing now. It guides you through editing,Quick but comprehensive. This is the guide for the beginners and for those ready to actually commit to publishing now. It guides you through editing, covers, formatting, and the actual uploading of the book, then thru some marketing strategies.
Some of the information is quite basic, and anyone who has been researching self publishing will know quite a bit of this already, but it's a great, quick read, thick with good information....more
After loving the first book so much I'm disappointed by this one. It wasn't awful, i still read it and found some enjoyment in t, but where the firstAfter loving the first book so much I'm disappointed by this one. It wasn't awful, i still read it and found some enjoyment in t, but where the first book was only the tiniest fraction off being a five star, this book barely gets the three.
The story seemed devoid of direction. She was diverted too easily from her initial task of delivering scroll for Halverik and while it was briefly addressed it was done so only much much later in the book and not to my satisfaction. There was no real or on-going threat to her life until the very end of the book, so I didn't have that 'what'll happen next, will she make it through' kind of feeling. In fact until (view spoiler)[ the capture by the dark elves and their very cool and sneaky attempt to turn her to Achrya was the only time I thought there was any real threat to Paks. When the snow cat attacked it was obvious the animal ring was going to fix everything (though later repercussions of this fight were quite clever) and while maybe I should have believed the danger in the abandoned Elven Hall, I just didn't feel it. The village troubles in Brewer's Bridge were probably the least interesting part, because they really didn't seem equipped or even willing to hurt her. (hide spoiler)]
I think the lack of continuing friends like Saban might also have something to do with my dislike of this book. Paks is on her own predominantly, and while that means she is in a more vulnerable position and doesn't have any orders to guide her, the lack of a good companion bugged me slightly. (view spoiler)[ not to mention everyone dying, it got a bit predictable. (hide spoiler)]
I did like the fact she had to think and learn more in this, she was easily guided off track and had to learn not to fall for that sort of shit. But then she does exactly that by (view spoiler)[joining the Girdsmen. Obviously I don't think the Girdsmen are 'bad' but she basically just kept doing what people told her too, even when it led her into bad situations. Not to mention their passive aggressive conversion of her. "Oh, you want to train here but aren't a girdsman? sure, come along - though we will try to convert you of course", 3 weeks later "WTF? Why aren't you a girdsman yet, even though no one seems to have talked to you about it AT ALL, well lets just lose our shit at you, not tell you want the problem is and leave you wounded when we could totally heal you". I can see why the Duke is no big fan of Girdsmen if that's how they operate. (hide spoiler)]
While this problem is exclusive to the audiobook version I'm still going to mention it. While the narrator does an overall good job the Elves voices sounded really weird. They were supposed to be musical, but weren't really. It was a bit weird and interfered with my imagining of some of the elves. Particularly when later elves turned out to talk exactly the same as the half elf Macenion.
Speaking of Macenion! That guy deserves the reward for most annoying character. He very nearly ruined every scene he was in as soon as he had led Paks away from the caravan. Sure you weren't supposed to like him, but was he supposed to be 'ants under my skin' annoying?
The ending was BLEARG. It was not an ending. (view spoiler)[The author took Paks to her darkest moment, good stuff there - it really was the worst thing possible for Paks as a character, so magnificent as far as that goes - but then we wallowed in it. We spent a long time following useless, frightened Paks and to be honest it got boring very very quickly. And it kept going. And going. And going. Worst of all though, she didn't come out of it. In the book's climax the writer typically takes you and the protagonist to the 'darkest moment' then the character breaks through and triumphs. Apparently not in this book. The book ended while Paks was stuck in the darkest moment. I know it's a middle book, so not everything must be resolved, but something should be, and it felt like nothing was to me. (hide spoiler)]
After all this ranting you probably think I hated the book, but no, it wasn't hate worthy, it was just a lower quality than it's predecessor. I still like Paks, though I must say in this book she seemed like a boat with no tiller.
I've noticed a lot of late, that I'll love book one, dislike book two, but enjoy book three and onward(the Ex-Heroes series by Peter Clines is a magnificent and recently-read example for me), so I'm keen to read the final volume and hopefully it will redeem the series. I don't know what it is about second books sucking. I'll have to keep an eye out for it in my own writing ;p
I recommend this book for anyone who liked the first and wants to know the end of the story. You'll have to read it to get to the final volume after all.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more