I was up all night reading this one, in spite of the fact that I knew better. I'd heard several people say it was that good, and they were right. It'sI was up all night reading this one, in spite of the fact that I knew better. I'd heard several people say it was that good, and they were right. It's not for the squeamish, though; the violence, while necessary to the story, is occasionaly brutally graphic.
In this apocalyptic distopia, 16-year-old Katniss supports her widowed mother and younger sister in the grinding poverty of District 12 in Panem, an area formerly known at Appalachia. Panem is ruled by the despotic Capitol (located in what was formerly called the Rocky Mountains), and to humiliate and control their districts, the Capital conducts what are called the Hunger Games, where each of the 12 districts picks out 2 teenagers, one boy and one girl, either by lottery or by volunteering. These 24 teenagers are then set in an artificial wilderness, and required to battle each other to the death on national television, where the districts are required to watch. The winner (literally the last one standing) will bring glory and other material benefits to his/her district, and be supported in comfort for the rest of his/her life. District 12 has not won in over 30 years.
When Katniss's little sister, Prim, is chosen during her very first time in the lottery, Katniss steps up to take Prim's place, to the horror of her family and her 18-year-old friend and hunting partner, Gale, who also supports his widowed mother and younger siblings. Katniss is dismayed when she recognizes her male counterpart, Peeta, as a boy who'd literally saved her entire family's life a few years earlier with a well-timed act of generosity. The two of them are then introduced to such unimaginable luxuries as trains and showers, as much food as they can eat, and warm beds to sleep in. They are briefly trained and interviewed for the curious (or stoic?) masses, before being set loose to fight or starve in front of the cameras. But Katniss has grown up watching the Games; she knows what to do and how to survive, and with her indomitable spirit, she quickly becomes a contender in her own right.
This is going to be the first of a trilogy, I heard, and I'm glad, because there's a LOT of loose ends. I think Katniss is going to find life as a Hunger Games survivor almost worse than dying would have been. After all, one of the duties of the winner is to train up their district's future Hunger Games candidates; little wonder that Katniss's trainer is an unapologetic alcoholic, after years of ferrying dozens of kids to their death. Not to mention that her defiance at the end has severely pissed off the rulers of the Capitol. And what's Gale going to say now, after watching her and Peeta in the games? How are these brutal games to be stopped? And what's with that red-headed girl? With the way Katniss kept remembering her, you can tell she's going to be a part of future books....more
Jenna Fox wakes up a year after being in a nearly-fatal car accident, with no memories of her former life. As she struggles to regain her life and memJenna Fox wakes up a year after being in a nearly-fatal car accident, with no memories of her former life. As she struggles to regain her life and memories, she realizes there's something about that accident that her parents and grandmother aren't telling her. The occasional memory she recovers only create increasingly urgent questions about what has been going on in the year that she lost.
I will only say that I completely did not expect the twist this book took. That alone bumped it up to 4 stars....more
Not Gould's best book; it drags a little, and I don't think he does an very good job of explaining the mythology and tradition built up around the "heNot Gould's best book; it drags a little, and I don't think he does an very good job of explaining the mythology and tradition built up around the "helms", so that the reader is even more in the dark than the characters in the beginning. It all comes out in the end, but I can see where a lot of readers wouldn't get that far....more
In the barn of the farm Charlie inherited from his uncle, he finds a portal to a parallel world, one untouched by the ravages of man, and he and a smaIn the barn of the farm Charlie inherited from his uncle, he finds a portal to a parallel world, one untouched by the ravages of man, and he and a small group of friends set out to explore this new world while simultaneously hiding it from those who would misuse it.
A little more technical detail in places than I'd prefer, but Gould does like to plot out exactly how one might accomplish a task like this. Gould also seems to have a thing for casting rogue government/military units as his bogeymen; maybe they just make convenient targets, but he's done this now in Jumper, Blind Wave, and Wildside....more
Two empires meet on a deserted world... Sharona is an emerging techno-culture that relies heavily on wide-spread psychic "talents". Arcana is a "swordTwo empires meet on a deserted world... Sharona is an emerging techno-culture that relies heavily on wide-spread psychic "talents". Arcana is a "sword-and-sorcery" culture that relies heavily on widespread magical "gifts". The tragic meeting of an Arcanian exploratory platoon with a Sharonian civilian survey team sets off a long-burning fuse which is leading to war. So are the spell-casting Arcanians, backed by dragon cavalry, ready for the machine-gun toting Sharonians, backed by ground artillery?
OK, this book is 800 pages of prologue, which seems a bit excessive to me, but for some reason, I stuck with it. I just wanted to find out what happened to the main characters, but so many other characters kept getting in the way; they kept introducing new people right to the final chapters, which I found extremely frustrating. It was also aggravating to have to figure out which world the narrative was taking place in every time the narration picked up after a logical break. But Weber has a knack for drawing up a completely believable socio-political scene, as fear, xenophobia, incompetence, and personal/political/military ambition start to triumph over calm, clear thinking. I found that I couldn't just leave it, though I did have to take frequent breaks to digest it.
The war is starting in the next book, but I'm tired of prologue here; if they don't do something with the plot, I might just give up on it....more
Can't even remember now how I got sucked into this space opera; maybe I wouldn't even have bothered if I'd realized it's going to be six books long! (Can't even remember now how I got sucked into this space opera; maybe I wouldn't even have bothered if I'd realized it's going to be six books long! (Thought it would just be a trilogy when I started the first one...)
John Geary is rescued from 100 years of cryo-freeze in an escape pod to find that the war, which was starting back when his ship was destroyed, is still going on, and that he has been memorialized as a legendary hero in the interim. Through mischance and a fluke of seniority, he then finds himself in charge of this lost fleet, which is cut off deep inside enemy territory. By this third book, there are also strong indications that an alien presence is possibly manipulating both of the the combatting empires, and prolonging the war.
I found this book particularly frustrating, since it ends at such a climatic moment, and the next one's not out until June.
Very Horatio Hornblower-ish - hey, I can make up words if I want! If you like this, try the "Midshipman's Hope" series by David Feintuch. They felt very similar to me....more
I read this for my book club; one of my favorite book club reads ever. Oh, boy, does it jerk your heart around, and makes the realities of slavery allI read this for my book club; one of my favorite book club reads ever. Oh, boy, does it jerk your heart around, and makes the realities of slavery all the more real, and horrible, from an (OK, relatively) modern woman's perspective....more
This is the book that started me reading Dorothy Sayers, when the author said he modeled his couple on Lord Peter Wimsey. Their back-and-forth was a lThis is the book that started me reading Dorothy Sayers, when the author said he modeled his couple on Lord Peter Wimsey. Their back-and-forth was a lot of fun, and when he proposed (in front of her mother!) I was in giggle fits....more
Went out and bought it ASAP this morning. Read it in less than a day. Loved it. But I was pretty sure that would happen.
This book really puts you in WWent out and bought it ASAP this morning. Read it in less than a day. Loved it. But I was pretty sure that would happen.
This book really puts you in Wanderer's head, alongside Melanie. I somehow always thought I'd be rooting for Melanie after I first read the description of this book; after all, Melanie's the human who's been enslaved by the body-snatcher against her will. But it's hard to deny that humans have the capacity to do some inhumane things. Wanderer's people have fixed that, but at what price to both races?
I ended up rooting for both Wanderer and Melanie. Melanie is a rather suspicious, prickly, slightly selfish person, having been in hiding and on the run for most of her mature life. Wanderer, by contrast, is compassionate, caring, and selfless. They are each opposite ends of the spectrum, and it's interesting to see them move from enemies, to unwilling allies, to friends; by the end, it's easy to see that they've each rubbed off a bit on the other, as Melanie gains some compassion and maturity, while Wanderer learns how to stand up for herself and take what she wants. I think the story's as much about the two of them learning to live and work together as it is about the romantic havoc created by both of them living in the same body.
I'm glad Stephenie's working on a sequel. There's more story that can be told, although this one wrapped up up in a pretty good spot. I'm going to have to go re-read this now; I always end up having to back up and re-live her books, to pick up the stuff I missed as I raced through it the first time....more
I don't buy books unless they're worth it, and I bought this one. Oh, the nostalgia... Why do books you read as a kid tend to mean so much more than bI don't buy books unless they're worth it, and I bought this one. Oh, the nostalgia... Why do books you read as a kid tend to mean so much more than books you read later?...more