This is a filthy book that is disgusted by itself. It depicts a society that has gone off the rails to an almost comical degree, yet which is disturbi...moreThis is a filthy book that is disgusted by itself. It depicts a society that has gone off the rails to an almost comical degree, yet which is disturbingly familiar in many ways, and the protagonist, Spider Jerusalem, is a journalist who is hellbent on revealing to it's inhabitants just how far gone they are.
I know that Warren Ellis has no time for the Bible or Christianity, but in many ways, Jerusalem's rantings are reminiscent of the Old Testament prophets. His disgust for the lies that the people of his society construct to protect themselves from the truth of who and what they are and his shocking imagery are just as much Ezekiel as they are Hunter S. Thompson. Honestly, if Jeremiah were to show up today, I don't know that he would be much more restrained than Ellis' manic protagonist.(less)
This is an excellent young adult book about a girl named Tally in a society where, on their 16th birthday, everyone undergoes plastic surgery to becom...moreThis is an excellent young adult book about a girl named Tally in a society where, on their 16th birthday, everyone undergoes plastic surgery to become "pretty." However, when Tally turns 16, the procedure is withheld from her until she joins the government in helping them locate her friend, who decided she didn't want it and ran away.
The book reminds me in a lot of ways of Z for Zachariah, probably my favorite work of YA fiction. There is a major chunk where Tally is out on her own, in the wild, and the way we are given access to her problem-solving processes is really interesting, as is seeing in her the combined yearning for companionship and fear of who might be out there.
Something else I liked is how the society of the "pretties" is painted in a way that doesn't only condemn them. Sure, they have some pretty serious social flaws, but Tally's thoughts also highlight characteristics like their environmental conscientiousness that show it to be, in some ways, an improvement on our own.
All in all, excellent post-apocalyptic lit, told from one of the "pockets of civilization" that seem to appear throughout such books, but which are rarely explored.
Warning: make sure to have book 2 on hand when you finish book 1.(less)
This was a fabulous read, probably the best book I've read this year. It starts in London, and quickly moves into a London of some alternate plane of...moreThis was a fabulous read, probably the best book I've read this year. It starts in London, and quickly moves into a London of some alternate plane of reality, "London Below," where the people who fall through the cracks land.
Gaiman is a very hit and miss novelist for me. I thought Stardust was OK, Coraline was awesome, and Anansi Boys was disappointing. Neverwhere did not disappoint me though. He writes in a very British, slightly understated, voice, that recalls Austin and Dickens slightly (though to nowhere near the extent that Susanna Clarke does) and populates the book with some of the most wonderful characters I've ever had the pleasure of meeting within a book. London Below also harkens back to the Victorian age in it's atmosphere and appearance. It looks like the setting for the scene A Christmas Carol where Scrooge's bed-curtains are sold off by London's low-lifes.
I won't say it's a profound book, but it's a wonderful story.(less)