Jun 05, 2012
Jun 05, 2012
did not like it
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt
It was possible that Sahalia hadn’t realized she was pretty much sticking her butt in our faces. And maybe she hadn’t known just how sheer that shirt would get.Just by the weakness of the storyline and the nonexistent/unexplained setting alone and the extremely feminine and unconvincingly male narrator, this book is pretty fucking bad and best described as a "clusterfuck." When you add in slut shaming of a 13-year old girl, who almost gets raped because her would-be-rapist thought she was asking for it, that's when I fucking see red. But it's ok when the entire group, which has been slut-shaming her for her provocative dress for the entire fucking book suddenly tell her "it's not your fault you were almost raped."
No, that's not forgivable. It doesn't justify drawing the poor girl as a character to be reviled for the entire fucking book. Fuck that shit.
There is so much female hate in this book. It is a survival scenario in which the competent females in the book are portrayed as maternal nurturers instead of people who can actually hold their own.
Josie was a natural.The girls are meek. They do what they're told. It doesn't fucking matter if they're competent. A girl is going to be a babysitter while the boys take care of business.
“Alex, help Jake. Figure it out. Astrid, keep the little kids out of the way.”The girliest boy in the group, naturally, is relegated to the role of cook, no matter how atrocious he is at it. The leadership roles are taken over by those who happen to have an Y in their chromosome, no matter if they're jealous, drunk, high, or future rapists.
And then there's the slut shaming of the 13-year old girl, Sahalia.
Sahalia is a 13-going on 30-year old, who dresses like a "hooker."
She had on a giant pair of men’s overalls, cut off at the knee. Under them she was wearing very little. A lace bra and matching lace panties. You could see the bra through them because the sides of overalls are totally open. You could also see the lace cutting over her hip. You could almost see where it connected with the thong part in the back.It doesn't matter if the entire world is collapsing.
Sahalia was wearing what I can best describe as a costume. A sexy carpenter costume. Maybe a sexy farmer.Sahalia will always manage to find the skimpiest possible outfit to wear.
Now her behind is facing us, and they are short shorts she is wearing. So we can see … too much. We can see skin under the leg of her shorts. The creamy skin of her inner, inner thigh.Sahalia has an attitude. She doesn't like authority until a guy yells at her and tells her what to do.
“I can carry a stupid sledgehammer,” she sassed.Other girls slut shame her because to them, Sahalia is a little slut who dresses the way she does so she can attract male attention.
“Enough!” Josie said. “We get it, okay? You’re sexy and you want to have sex with these guys. We get it. But, honey, it’s not going to happen because you are thirteen. Thir. Teen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”So it's just the final fucking straw that Sahalia almost gets raped, and her would-be rapist tries to blame her for it.
“She’s crazy, that girl,” Robbie said. “She kept talking about how none of you think she’s a grown-up but how she is, and she wanted to prove it to you, and honestly, I was trying to get her to put back her nightgown on when that other crazy girl came with the gun.”In the end, Sahalia's group believes her and supports her, but that support feels entirely forced when the entire fucking book, they've been criticizing her behavior, her dress, her desperation, and her rampant flirtation.
Fuck that shit.
Now for the actual plot. It's fucking horrible. This book is a YA novel with characters straight out of a Middle Grade book, and that's actually an insult to Middle Grade books because of how fucking poorly-drawn, clichéd, and one-dimensional the characters are.
The Premise: Let's take all the fucking apocalyptic scenarios in the entire fucking world and throw them together. Hail the size of a bucket? Yep!
Hail in all different sizes from little to that-can’t-be-hail was pelting the street.An earthquake? Sure! A foreshock, even!
And here’s the hilarious part—it was a FORESHOCK. Apparently, that’s what happens when you’re about to experience an 8.2. It’s an earthquake so big it sends messengers ahead.A volcano?! Yeah! A superfuckingvolcano that would make Mt. Krakatoa tremble (no pun intended).
The western face of the entire island had exploded with the eruption of the volcano. Five hundred billion tons of rock and lava had avalanched into the ocean.Five hundred billion tons! How the fuck did they measure that, I wonder?
A tsunami? You got it!
The explosion had created a “megatsunami.”A chemical mushroom cloud? Sure, why not!
We have breaking news. There are reports coming in of a leak. A chemical leak. Chemical warfare compounds.And while we're at it, let's just throw in some pseudo-science paranormal shit, too.
“The compounds attack based on blood type. People with blood type A will develop severe blisters on all exposed skin. After prolonged exposure, the internal organs will begin to hemorrhage, leading to organ failure and death.”What the fuck is this? That's just...not plausible at all. Blood types have played a minor role in disease, but it's mostly concerning diseases like malaria and dengue fever...it's not that far in the future. Concerning all the clusterfuck of disasters that have been thrown at us, this seems to be too much of a stretch.
The entire premise is pretty unbelievable, too. It's 2024. Some years in the future. I know we can't prevent volcanic explosions, or earthquakes, but wouldn't we have an inclination if such a massively disastrous event would be happening? In this book, it all happened out of the blue, and everyone is shocked. The background is completely unexplained, and for some reason the government runs the internet airwaves. We have enough trouble getting people to use Microsoft and Apple Cloud technologies, and enough trouble getting all the internet providers to participate. The idea of a state-run internet is completely absurd, so close to the present.
Super Wal-Mart: The kids are trapped in the book's equivalent of a Super Wal-Mart, which is a store in which you can buy baby diapers, drugs, clothing, guns, and tractor parts all in one store. It's massive. It's the size of a football stadium, and really, a bunch of kids can live there in years if electricity holds up. And that's the problem, the power seems to work. The store has everything, and the kids are just a bunch of stupid brats running around inside a store, arguing with each other, getting drunk, and holding largely pointless elections.
“Guys, I am the QB,” he said. “That means quarterback! The quarterback is the guy on the team who calls the shots and makes sure everyone plays their best. And I’m gonna be a great QB for this team. Us. That’s why you should elect me the leader!”Lord of the Flies, this ain't. It's such a juvenile story, slapdashed together, without a sense of urgency and danger, despite the millions and billions of death happening outside.
There is hardly any mourning for the dead, hardly any thoughts to parents and siblings and dead loved ones, or maybe living loved ones who may be suffering. The narrator is only focused on the present, and the present involves romance and sex, the apocalypse is just a convenient event to get close to a crush.
The Characters: Oh, the fucking tropes. The main character is a guy, Dean, but nicknamed "Geraldine" by his bullies. I can see why they did, Dean is one of the most unconvinging male narrators I've ever read, I mean what kind of teenaged boy worries about a CNN reporter's makeup when she's reporting about a volcano destroying the world?
Her eye makeup was all smeared around her eyes and I wondered why nobody fixed her makeup. It was CNN, for God’s sake.There's the jock, Jake. The All-American girl and object of desire, Astrid, bad-boy jock Brayden, boy-scout and survivalist, Niko.
They hunted for their own food and had no electricity and used wild mushrooms for toilet paper. That kind of thing. People called Niko “Brave Hunter ManThe whore, Saharia, the Sainted-Mary Josie, the dull as hell "good guy" main character, Dean, his all-book-smarts and no common sense little brother, Alex, and a bunch of the most unbelievable, annoying little grade school fuckers that I've ever met. I've never been a fan of children in survival scenarios, and this book is no exception.
There's the 7-year old evangelist, Batista, who never, ever stops preaching the word of God.
I had already overheard him reprimand Brayden for cursing (“Taking the Lord’s name in vain is a sin!”), tattle on Chloe for pushing Ulysses (“Shoving is a sin!”), and inform the other little kids that not saying grace before eating was a sin (“Before we eat, God wants us sinners to give thanks!”).5-year old Chloe, who never fucking stops whining.
“Turn it to Tabi-Teens,” Chloe whined. “This is bo-ring!”And 5-year old Max, that fucking Max can recite passages from any fucking conversation he's overheard.
“My mom once took me in the ladies’ room,” Max volunteered. “And there was this lady in there crying and she had a ice cube and she was rubbing it on her eye and she said, ‘If Harry hits me one more time, I don’t know what I’ll do,’ and then this other lady came out of a stall and she said, ‘If Harry hits you one more time, you give him the end of this to suck on!’ And she puts a real, actual gun down on the sink. Made of metal, I am not even kidding. And then my momma turns to me and goes, ‘Tell your daddy to bring you to the men’s room.’”The Romance:
“Oh man, getting laid is so awesome,” Jake said, scratching his head. “It’s just absolutely the best thing ever. Once you get it, all you can think of is getting it again. Sometimes I’m having sex and I’m worried about the next time I’m gonna have sex!”This book reads like a Middle Grade novel, which is why it's so fucking weird when all the sexual content start popping up. There's the episode when Sahalia almost got raped. There's the incident where Astrid takes her top off for a boy. There's all the sexual discussions that would be laughable if it weren't so out of place. And then there's Dean's FEEEEEEEEEELINGS for Astrid. The perfect Astrid. His observations about her are so obsessive and feminine it's like nothing but Astrid exists. Apocalypse? Whatever. Astrid. Kids are freaking out because they were just involved in a bus accident? Astrid's hair!
Astrid looked beautiful talking to them, hearing about their favorite kinds of pizza, with the wind picking up the tendrils of her hair and bringing a flush to her cheeks.He dreams about Astrid in his darkest moments.
What I wanted was Astrid. She looked so good to me I wanted to take her, in a dark and terrible way.He stalked her and watches her while she undressed.
Astrid’s body was so beautiful my throat closed up.She's hurt? Doesn't matter! Still beautiful!
And there she was. So beautiful, laid out on my knees. She had her eyes closed, and for a moment, I just looked at her. Dirty face. Lips drawn together, chapped and rosy. Eyes red rimmed. The rise of her cheekbones. Eyebrows and lashes golden honey–colored. Some brown, dried freckle-dots that could be blood on her jawline.*gag* You expect me to LIKE a main character who stalks his crush, who watches her undressing without her knowledge, who gives little thought to anyone BUT the beauteous Astrid as the world explodes in flames?
Fuck this book. ...more
Notes are private!
May 29, 2014
May 29, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 08, 2014
did not like it
Warning: Long science-related rage rant ahead >_<
Putting my trust in James would make me just as dumb. I couldn’t let him get to me no matter hWarning: Long science-related rage rant ahead >_<
Putting my trust in James would make me just as dumb. I couldn’t let him get to me no matter how amazing his abs were. Still, that sadness in his eyes—Look, you fucking moron, a serial killer could have a sad look in his eyes right before he kills you and mounts you. Hopefully mounting in the taxidermy sense and not the sexual sense, but whatever.
I had hoped that a YA sci-fi written by someone with a Ph.D would make sense. I was tragically wrong.
This is probably one of the most outrageously nonsensical dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting I've ever read. The plot is barely worth mentioning, because it stems from one Too-Stupid-To-Live girl's idiotic inability to keep her fucking mouth shut. The book contains pseudo-science that might be believable to a 6th grader. It throws a bunch of abstract scientific bullshit at you in the hopes that something will eventually stick. The setting just doesn't make any sense on top of the inconsistencies. I will go over the setting in excruciating, profanity-filled details in a bit, but let me give you a taste of why this book is so fucking dumb.
It is 300 years in the future. We have almost no oxygen. The oceans have all boiled away. There is no water; water only exists through an artificial system that gathers up water molecules in the air and condenses it into actual drinking water. Because of this, the main character lives on...
"...one cup of water a day."Let me tell you something. That's bullshit. A human cannot live on one cup of water a day. I don't care if you do nothing in your day but lie in bed, you still need a hell of a lot more water than that. Try 3 liters (or roughly 3 quarts) of water a day. One cup is nothing. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. ONE cup of water (8 ounces) a day doesn't fucking cut it. It's a biological fact.
You lose water through breathing, you lose water through your pores. It's called insensible water loss. You don't necessary see yourself sweating, but rest assured, your pores are constantly breathing water. That's why we wear cotton clothes instead of plastic clothes. Our bodies are constantly losing water and we need to ventilate.
AND YET in the middle of all this water conservation, the people in this book still sweat constantly. Every other chapter is a mention of how someone is drenched in sweat (because Earth's temperature is so hot), and you know, when you're trying to conserve water within your body, you really shouldn't be fucking exercising until you're dripping in sweat.
“Sorry, I thought I’d get a run in before tonight. Did you want to use it?” Although he looked like he’d been running for hours, he barely sounded winded.And I don't know if you've ever ran for 45 minutes at a gym, but one cup of water a day isn't going to fucking cut it, particularly not on a futuristic treadmill.
...forty-five minutes a day on the motion machine.The Summary:
“That’s why he made sure [the guns] wouldn’t work for anyone but me.”This book wouldn't have happened but for Tora's inability to keep her fucking mouth shut.
It is 300 years in the future. The sun's pretty much went boom, or rather, it KEEPS EXPANDING. It's getting bigger and bigger and burning up the Earth. There's no oxygen, no water. And Tora might be...
...the last girl on EarthShe is an orphan, living in a hideout outside of the pod cities. Her father was a brilliant scientist who designed a bunch of dangerous weapons for the government (the Consulate) only to regret it. The thing is that the weapons are pretty much useless because Tora is the only one who can use them. So the future is hopeless, Tora's running out of air, she's thinking of Plan B (killing herself) when a knock on the door comes. It's a baddie, Markus. Markus wants the weapons that her father designed.
Instead of lying to him or telling him the weapons don't work, or SOMETHING, Tora decides to be a motherfucking moron and tell Markus that she's the only one who can use the deadly weapons.
I wanted to kick myself for telling him about being the sole person who could fire them.And now after moping and whining (50% of this book is Tora doing absolutely nothing but moping and whining), Markus has come back. WITH COMPANY.
So Tora hears suspicious noises on her underground bunker's door. Instead of like, fucking shutting herself in like what you should do if you suspect there's an intruder, SHE FUCKING GOES OUTSIDE (into oven-like temperature) TO CHECK!
Something was definitely hitting the door. My heart raced. This could go very badly, but I didn’t make it to seventeen by being an apocawuss. I braced myself, took a deep breath, and pushed the door open.MOTHERFUCKING IDIOT. So now it's a 5 vs one fight, and to make it worse, there's YET another party shooting at them. And NOW instead of running the fuck away back into the house like she should have done in the first fucking place, Tora allows the intruders to break into her bunker for safety.
Markus shrugged and had the nerve to smirk at me. “Guess we’re all on the same side now.”But it's ok, because one of the people trying to kill Tora is James. Dreamy, dreamy James. Who just tried to kill her, but who cares, he's so hot!
His body was solid muscle. Sweat dripped down his face, his chest, his arms … he wasn’t just sort of cute, he was hot.Her stomach goes "fluttering." Her breath catches.
James and Tora get to know each other. She should be angry with him. But the sadness in his eyes...and...
I should be angry with him, yet a small part of me liked the look on his face.They exchange Sad Life Stories (tm) (after he tries to kill her).
“They said that the world didn’t need another worthless child to feed and they shot her, her arms still wrapped around me.”;_;
Tora finds multiple reasons to lift her shirt off for James. Like finding a place to hide a gun.
I turned away and lifted my shirt.And check on the state of her rib injury.
I shifted my satchel over to the other side, and lifted my shirt up a little.And play doctor with each other.
Aside from my panties, the only things under this flimsy excuse of a gown were bandages.Will James and Tora ever find a non-medical excuse to take each other's clothes off?
Both his hands slid down toward my hips and his lips almost touched mine. I was no doctor but this was definitely not part of any medical exam I’d ever seen.Or will Alec, the boy with the puppy, get in the way of their One Twoo Wuv?!
Alec couldn’t die. Somebody as decent as him had to live. He saved the last dog on the planet. Tears welled in my eyes.The Setting: I'm going to try to type this out without laughing. 300 years ago, the sun went boom because an asteroid hit the earth but we deflected it and it hit the sun instead (?! that's a long fucking distance for an asteroid to travel, damn, son!) but the asteroid contained Dark Matter so it made the sun go BOOM and there goes life on Earth as we know it.
Nope. Failed. BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA AHAHAH OH MY DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!
Ok, the "asteroid" was the size of the moon. 300 years ago is OUR PRESENT DAY. You mind telling us how the fuck we got the technology to launch a rocket that could deflect a giant asteroid into the sun? It's a long fucking way. Furthermore, a moon-sized asteroid would probably be predicted like HUNDREDS OF YEARS ahead of time, so why did it suddenly just fucking happen?! Dark matter inside an asteroid? PLEASE! Dark matter is an energy. It's a concept! It's not like a black hole, it doesn't make things explode. Dark matter just a term to explain things that we cannot actually find electromagnetically, like gravity. IT'S NOT GOING TO CAUSE THE SUN TO GO BOOM. NOT LIKE THIS.
An unexpected reaction occurred and the sun kicked into hyperdrive. It began burning hydrogen like crazy, and before anyone could comprehend what had happened, the helium in the core was exhausted.So the sun did went boom, against all fucking odds. And now there's no oxygen on earth (?! OMG THE HEAT TOOK AWAY ALL THE OXYGEN TOO?!) and now there are no water because ALL THE SEAS BOILED AWAY. Fuck evaporation, right? Gee, the water cycle. I WONDER WHERE ALL THE FUCKING WATER MOLECULES WENT WHEN IT EVAPORATED AND DIDN'T GO OFF THE EARTH.
So the earth is hot, and if you go outside, expect to catch fire.
Please don’t let me catch fire.There's no water, but there's a technology designed to harvest motherfucking water molecules from the air. Hmm, WHAT ABOUT THAT WATER CYCLE, HUH?!
When the ponds, lakes, and finally, the oceans had boiled and evaporated, the Consulate scientists came through with technology allowing us to glean the precious water molecules from the atmosphere.And WAR SUCKS, because you can only get enough for one cup of water per person a day. Right. Because the human body can totally live on that.
And now the oceans are gone, the animals and plants are gone, we live on gel foods. There are Pod Houses inside Pod Cities. The United States is now a Sector 5, and we're all ONE BIG HAPPY CONTINENT NOW because the oceans don't exist anymore. We have one common currency. We have one common language (which is English. So sorry, France) but somehow Tora is a rebel because she loves dropping Spanish phrases into her vocabulary.
I was muy caliente, and not in the good way.What do you call a Spanish weabo?
There is hyperdrive speed technology, we can travel to other galaxies, and in fact, we have found a planet that's EXACTLY LIKE OUR OWN. In the solar system Hydrus (Hydro, for water, get it?!?!?!11111). It's exactly like Earth. How very convenient.
Yes, it’s like Earth, minus the astronomical temperatures. Caelia’s sun is where ours was back before the ’roid hit it.” Markus smashed his fist into his palm like I needed a visual. He smirked. “People are already soaking up the rays—right next to the oceans.”But don't get your hopes up, because we don't get to see anything except the inside of a bunker and a very boring ship.
Oh, and The Ultra Secret Weapon? It's powered by some New Agey HUMAN VIBRATIONS stuff. Sorry, but I have to laugh. I know it's possible, but I can't think back to my high school physics class without laughing at the concept of humans vibrating at a frequency to power a weapon.
The Plot: There was essentially no plot. Very little happens in the book besides Tora being a motherfucking idiot and pretending that she's Under The Sea.
I lay down and pretended to be submerged in the cool depths as the waves crashed above me. It was somehow harder to catch my breath down here on the imaginary ocean floor. After another minute, the need for oxygen overwhelmed me. I must have done a better job visualizing than I thought.Or else moping and whining and giving us infodump after infodump on this post-apocalyptic world that doesn't make any fucking sense. The romance is forced, as expected, the writing is underwhelming.
Furthermore: WHY NOT JUST KILL HERSELF?! Sorry, but Tora ALREADY had a plan to kill herself because her world is about to end anyway. So she learns that she is the key to a destructive weapon, nobody can use it but her, and people can use her to destroy people, and her morals won't let her give the weapons away. So why not just kill yourself and save the trouble? Sorry if this sounds callous, but if you're already suicidal and millions of lives could be destroyed by a weapon you can fire, then why not? Ugh.
There's also girl-on-girl hate. There is one other girl in this book, and man, is she portrayed to be a jerk, a slut, a sharp-cheeked, bird-faced bitch who sits on guys' laps and does nothing except make dumb plans that gets overthrown by our beautiful, fantastic Tora.
Skip this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Apr 08, 2014
Apr 09, 2014
Mar 23, 2014
Mar 11, 2013
Apr 25, 2013
did not like it
Get a grip, Jenna, I tell myself furiously. People’s lives depend on you tomorrow, and all you can think about is snogging Max.As a child, I read al
Get a grip, Jenna, I tell myself furiously. People’s lives depend on you tomorrow, and all you can think about is snogging Max.As a child, I read almost the entire Baby Sitter's Club books. Almost 20 years later, I am rather bemused and amused to realize that I've essentially just read another story about babysitting. Sure, the premise is different, there's a dystopian future (and by dystopian, I mean the let's-throw-random-dystopian-element-crap-at-a-wall-and-see-what-sticks), but really, this is a story about a "tough" teenage girl who acts, more or less, as a babysitter to a delicate, fainting, stammering, blushing little boy.
‘Shut up,’ he says. ‘I hate you. I HATE YOU!’Who throws one hell of a tantrum.
You might have noticed I used quotation marks for the word "tough." That's because this girl is a bad-ass, someone who is seriously kick ass. Only she shows no evidence of it in the book. Listen, I don't give a flying fuck if you proclaim yourself to be the biggest, baddest bitch in the whole wide fucking dystopian universe if you don't prove yourself. If you constantly quake in your fucking boots, if you constantly faint, if you're constantly fucking saved by the act of deus ex fucking machina, you ain't shit to me, ok?
If you read nothing else of my review, this is what I want you to know about this book. It is a long fucking book with a long fucking nonsensical plot.
1. The dystopian world is generic dystopian bullshit
2. There is a self-proclaimed tough girl who does nothing to prove it. She takes on three identities in this book. She is Jenna, then "Mia," then "Jessica"
3. There is a horrifying amount of deus ex machina, as in "OH MY GOD WE'RE GOING TO DIE IN 2 SECONDS. Oh wait, we're suddenly saved for some fucking reason!11!! Thank you God, Allah, Oprah, and that one Jewish dude!" kind of crap
4. There's a boy who does absolutely fucking nothing for the plot but look cute
5. There is no relationship building whatsoever
Part I: Jenna Strong
‘What’re you in here for, anyway?’ he mumbles thickly.And she never shows a single moment of remorse.
It is the year 2113 in England, now known as the IRB, or the Independent Republic of Britain. ACID is the police force that reigns supreme. Two years ago, Jenna Strong was a pampered, spoiled girl living in the Upper part of London, the wealthiest parts. She was to be LifePartnered (married) soon, at age 16. She had everything going for her. Until she killed her parents.
Two years later, Jenna is 16, and sentenced to a maximum security prison for their murder. No longer a spoiled, soft girl, Jenna is now pure steel. She has shaved her head, her body is tight with muscles, and she is one bad bitch. Jenna thinks she's going to rot in prison until a riot breaks out, and her friend, Dr. Fisher died saving her. For such a big, bad-ass girl, Jenna faints.
My head lolls to the side and darkness rolls over my vision like a wave.Part II: Mia Richardson:
The face that stares back at me has brown eyes instead of grey. The nose is smaller, the chin rounder. The cheekbones are more pronounced. And all my scars are gone.Well, isn't that just lovely? Jenna is now rescued from prison, AND given an insta-makeover courtesy of plastic surgery within ONE day. She's even got her gorgeous hair back! In ONE day. Only now Jenna isn't Jenna anymore. She's involved in some kind of Super Secret Plan by the people who rescued her, and they won't tell her what.
The only problem is that Jenna Strong is now wanted by ACID for the murder of Dr. Fisher, the person who helped her escape from prison. Falsely implicated for his death, and still wanted for the murder of her parents, Jenna now has to claim a new face, a new identity. Jenna must now become "Mia".
And her life sucks. And her new pretend LifePartner sucks. Until she sees Max Fisher in the news. Max is the son of the late Dr. Fisher, and he, along with everyone, thinks Jenna murdered his dad. But "Mia" can't help but fantasize about him anyway when she sees his picture in the news despite knowing nothing about him.
He’s not handsome, exactly, but he looks friendly and normal and nice; the sort of guy, if you were lucky enough to get Partnered to him, you could imagine curling up with and talking to until the small hours of the morning, and not even noticing what time it was.D'aww, isn't that just fucking cute. Until ever-so-conveniently, Max runs into her, tries to rob her in the world's most pitiful robbery attempt.
‘I – just – needed – some – stuff,’ he chokes.And promptly faints.
As he lurches towards me his eyes roll back in his head and his legs fold underneath him like a puppet that has just had its strings cut.Apparently, Max is an accidental drug addict. He didn't MEAN to become an addict, he was forced to be one (long story). And now "Mia" is his babysitter. Max is useless, because he's a recovering drug addict.
And he doesn't know that "Mia" is really Jenna, the one who killed his dad. Still, she babysits him, they run away together when ACID comes close. "Mia" mothers Max's weak, sickly ass.
He’s fever-hot. Crap. Maybe he hasn’t just got a cold.Only to have him turn completely against her when he discovers her true identity.
‘You lying, murdering bitch.’ His eyes are shining with fury and hate. ‘All this time, I thought you were helping me. I thought you cared. And it was all lies.’So much for being grateful. And when ACID agents catch up to them, it's "Mia's" ass that Max hands them on a platter.
‘You don’t want me!’ he yells. ‘You want her! She’s a murderer!’Ah, young love! Such loyalty!
Part II: Jessica Stone: And now "Mia" is in prison. Falsely accused of yet another crime she hasn't done. But she's not worried about her impending death.
He’ll never know, now, how much I care about him. I want that moment back where he tried to kiss me. And this time, I want to let him, and I want to kiss him back.Also known as: priorities, Y DO U NOT HAZ THEM?!
But she can't help herself. She can't stop thinking about Max! Poor, poor Max! Poor Max who fucking sold her out! She needs to rescue him from prison! But wait! Alas, her fate is not her own. Apparently the people who rescued her in the beginning (remember them? Like 1000 fucking years ago that was) has a Big Secret Plan all along! (where the FUCK were they?!) They are going to overthrow ACID. They're going to bring freeeeeeedom to the whole fucking Former United Kingdom. And they need
Except...what about Max?
So these Secret Super Special Rescuing Agent People have two choices. They can either:
1. Save the world
2. Save Max
OH, GEE. I WONDER WHICH OPTION OUR BRAVE FUCKING
‘So why can’t they rescue Max, then?’
The Setting: Also known as: WUT? Ok, so it's the year 2113. It's like 100 fucking years in the future. And England is pretty fucking unrecognizable. There's random ass bank collapses and shit and 53 fucking years ago, some people decided to take over England and restore morality to allllllllllll the peepz!
So now we have the Independent Republic of Britain. Where girls are forced to get married at 16. Where marriage is no longer known as marriage but as "LifePartnered." Where there are public "LifePartner" ceremonies with big beautiful frilly fucking pricy dresses like a fucking quinceaneara or whatever they call it---party (I took French, not Spanish, ok?!). You have to apply for and get permission to have a child. There are fucking walls everywhere. There are Outer parts of London, Middle parts of London, and Upper parts, for lower, middle, upper classes.
And why do people get to be in Upper levels of London?
‘Because we deserve it,’ Dad told me.Oh. Makes perfect fucking sense -_-
What the fuck?! How did things change so drastically? I mean, what the fuck is with the no-marriage-LifePartner shit, what's with the getting married---oh, excuse me, LifePartnered at 16?! How the FUCK did that come about? I'm not saying that things can't drastically change in 50 years, I mean, look at Afghanistan. Back in the 60s the women in Afghanistan were wearing miniskirts and going to colleges and partying, and look at them now. But there was an actual basis for change, there were explanations, their country turned to ultra-conservative based on their religion. Are you trying to tell me that a Western country would go for that shit without giving me an adequate explanation?!
Mia/Jenna/Jessica: Idiocy. Jenna is sold to us as a tough chick, but whatever, I don't see it. Throughout the book, Jenna is constantly saved by the act of God, or deus ex machina . She gets into a tough spot with an ACID officer. BAM, someone distracts the officer so that she can escape. She almost gets caught by another team of officers. OH WHOOPS THE OFFICERS JUST WALK RIGHT BY HER HIDING SPOT BECAUSE THEY DON'T THINK SHE COULD POSSIBLY HIDE THERE. Oh, they're about to get caught again! BOOM! Strangers to the rescue. Mia's about to die! AAAAAAAAAAH SHIT oh wait no, someone dies to save her life.
Fucking spare me, please.
All Mia does throughout the book is quiver, shake, quake in her pants, and regret not kissing Max. Her acts of heroism occurs so infrequently and when she finally does pull off some shit, it's so fucking improbable that I can't buy it. It's basically: GIRL PULLS OFF IDIOTIC ACT OF HEROISM IN THE NAME OF LOVE. Girl saves the world by accident.
Fuck that shit. ...more
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Apr 07, 2014
Apr 07, 2014
Mar 16, 2014
Oct 30, 2012
Dec 18, 2012
it was ok
“Let me make sure I understand—you want me to lie to my dad, turn my back on my species, my people? Do you really expect me to trust an Ancient over
“Let me make sure I understand—you want me to lie to my dad, turn my back on my species, my people? Do you really expect me to trust an Ancient over my own family?”I have no words.
This is your typical teenaged-heroine-saves-the-world book that really doesn't have anything new to add the standard range of YA tropes:
- The main character is really smart (but makes tremendously dumb choices)
- Her love interest is a stalker (but it's ok, because he's just protecting her while she's taking off her clothes)
- There's no point in kicking some ass when you have a boy there to protect you (even if you're more than capable of doing it)
- The human race is full of assholes
- There's going to be a love
- Evolution doesn't work, because futuristic humans are really, really stupid
- Aliens are horrifying dumb despite their supposed age, technology, and sagacity
For example, this is how they disguise themselves:
“But they aren’t like us. If you look closely you can see their skin is neither white nor brown, neither light nor dark. See,” she says, tapping the screen, “it’s almost golden."According to that definition, I'm pretty sure 90% of my Goodreads friends are aliens. Oh, but they have swirly blue/green eyes. WHY NOT JUST UN-SWIRLY THEM THEN? They can make themselves look human but they can't get fucking normal eyes? Maaaaan.
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to think. All I know is that I’m in trouble, maybe even we’re in trouble, yet all I can think about is the way he just said my name. Ari. He says it like I’m more than just a girl who everyone recognizes but no one sees.Ladies and gentlemen, meet Ari Alexander. One day, she will be your military leader.
Lock your doors. Hide your children. Fear for your lives.
Let's start at the beginning. It's the year 2140, World War IV has passed, and humans are pretty much fucked because everything went BOOM during a nuclear war (always the nuclear war. Always). Thanks to radiation and shit, the earth is pretty much a wasteland; Mother Nature doesn't really have much in her womb anymore. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN. Enter the aliens, or, as we call them, Ancients. The Earth's remaining population is suffering from all sorts of evils like famine, disease, and Justin Bieber (there's one in every generation); instead of letting us rot in our own shit, the Awesome Ancients decide to help us out! They're gonna fix the earth, make it so that we can plant again, give us time and space to grow and rebuild. All we have to do is let them go on top of us for a few hours a night.
Get your mind out of the gutter, it's just a simple exchange of bodily fluids, ok?
OK, LET ME REPHRASE THAT. They're sucking out our antibodies. There's nothing sexual about it. But MAN, their bodily fluids taste awesome!
A single drop of liquid hits my lip, and reflexively I lick it away. My taste buds explode with flavor. A perfect mixture of sweet and sour, warm and cold.ALIEN SEMEN, YUM! I'm just kidding. Really.
Ok, time to get back on track.
Ari Alexander is 17. She is going to be a Commander (military-type thingy) when she grows up. It's a position that will pass onto her through the current Commander, her father. Ari has been raised her entire life to be a fierce combatant, a future leader, one who will serve and protect her country.
And she totally sells out to the aliens in about 5 minutes. One night, Ari couldn't find the Patch that'll make her unconscious before the aliens go on top of her, and as a result, she remains awake. She sees the Alien, only...she knows this alien. He (it?) goes to her school.
It—he—hovers above me as light as air. A bright glow encircles him. His eyes are closed. A sweet smile rests on his perfect face.Jackson goes to her school. This isn't good, BECAUSE THAT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. There are rules about this, the aliens are not supposed to be on Earth without permission. They're sure as fuck not supposed to be in school with her.
This is a HUGE security breach. Ari should notify her dad, the Commander, who will then notify the Prime Minister, who will notify the world's leaders, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. But Jackson's not a bad person (or so he says). He's just trying to prevent war from happening between humans and aliens. In order to do that, he needs to enlist Ari's aid.
What is Ari going to do? Is she going to tell her dad, the experienced military man? Or is she going to take the word of someone who's lied to her all along?
And is she going to be able to save two entire species while falling in love? ;_;?
"Did you completely allow your feelings to overcome your logic?”The Aliens: Also known as: DUMBASSES.
Ok, as I mentioned above, the humans and aliens are at war. Secretly. Neither side knows that the other side is planning to annihilate each other, except for Jackson and Ari, who are trying to be the middleman (it took me awhile to figure out, this book made it really, really confusing). Apparently, the aliens need Earth because it has water, and they need human antibodies in order to go down to Earth and get water, with the caveat that one day they will Coexist with us on earth.
Uh, so why not just kill us earlier, and be done with it. Seriously, why the fuck not?
I don’t know if Jackson overestimates the Ancients or underestimates us, but I do know they have abilities and advanced technology far beyond anything we’ve even considered.The aliens SAVED humans when we were falling apart, why not just, you know, take our antibodies and then KILL EVERYONE. Easier, right? You can't tell me that these aliens developed all this technology, all this intelligence, all these skills while being completely peaceful people. And now they're apparently willing to kill the people of Earth in 2140 because we're rebelling, so why not just save the trouble and kill us off while we were at our weakest? What's the fucking point of allowing us to rebuild and improve our technology, give us back our food, clean our water, etc? You don't want your food putting up a fight, man.
Dumb fucking aliens.
The Humans: Also known as: THE OTHER DUMBASSES. It's 2140. There's hardly any food, you have to eat food pills instead. An actual meal can cost a normal person a month's salary. Yet we've got advanced technology so that we can aspire to Bite The Hands That Feed Us. We don't have countries anymore, we have continents, and a Presidential position for each of the continents. African President, European President, Asian President, etc (no idea how that happened). Forget about States in the US, those are, like, poof!
And apparently we've regressed (somehow) to a hereditary system. We have three major sectors, the Chemists, the Parliament, the Engineers (no idea how that got established), basically the people who make shit, the people who rule over shit, and the people who protect the people who rule over shit. Leadership positions, such as the President and the Commander are hereditary, meaning they're passed on from parent to child (irregardless of sex). Ok, that kinda works, except for...
The Australian Trinity has since been dissolved, thanks to the last leader being unable to have children to continue the legacy of the founding Australian leader.What. The. Fuck?
Are you telling me that we're so fucking stupid in the future that YOU CAN'T JUST ELECT ANOTHER PRESIDENT? Hell, they did it in Medieval times? A king dies without children, EVERYONE FIGHTS FOR THE FUCKING THRONE (so sorry, Joffrey). And a thousand years in the future, WE'RE LETTING AN ENTIRE CONTINENT PRETTY MUCH GO TO PICES BECAUSE WE CAN'T SIMPLY ELECT AN HEIR?
I have no words for this stupidity. PEOPLE OF THE FUTURE, YOU FAIL ME.
Trust a Pretty Face:
"I know you don’t trust me, and I don’t blame you, but at least wait until I can explain.” He bends down in front of me so we’re eye to eye. “Can I count on you to keep this a secret? Just please—”For someone who's been spoonfed military strategy and combat skills with a tough-as-nails dad her entire fucking life, Ari is a fucking moron. Why the fuck does she trust Jackson 5 minutes after she discovers that he's an alien who's been hiding under her nose?! Her dad is the military expert, where's the loyalty? Where's the family trust? Why the fuck are you choosing to believe in someone who's supposed to be your potential enemy, the source of much fear and suspicion? Someone from a species you're been scared of your whole life? Don't be a fucking idiot. In the real world, would you trust a spy? Someone from an enemy nation? Someone you KNOW is capable of killing the entire human race, if not just you? No!
The Characters: Are without character. Really, they're so fucking bland. Jackson's kind of an asshole, except he's not really. He uses his "I'M AN ALIEN" excuse to be in her room all. the. fucking. time. He's kind of a playboy, but not really. He's kind of nice, but not really. Ari is kind of kick-ass, except she falls in love a lot, and then she keeps having these awkward moments with Jackson when they're supposed to be having secret spy meetings. I can't even find much to mock about them because they're both just so insufferably fucking dull.
The Romance: *takes a deep breath* Ari is engaged to Lawrence, who likes Ari a lot, but might have a crush on Gretchen, who's Ari's best friend, who can't really help the way she feels, but Ari is secretly in love with Jackson, who is supposed to be dating MacKenzie, who has loved him but he doesn't return her feelings.
That's a mouthful. I can't even mock the romance because, once again, it is so DULL, like the characters. There's no spark whatsoever. There's a halfhearted hint of a love triangle between Ari and Jackson and Lawrence but I don't give a flying fuck because they were so boring. Honestly, there's more chemistry between me and the 70-year old retiree who hogged my machine at the gym today.
Overall: A book with a questionable settings, really boring characters, and an action-packed second half that somehow manages to bore me out of my mind. ...more
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Apr 26, 2014
Apr 27, 2014
Mar 11, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
it was ok
The man I shot was named Jason Earhart, dean of the math department. But then, he was only a body.
The man I shot was named Jason Earhart, dean of the math department. But then, he was only a body.I'm sorry, am I supposed to like you?. This is a book about the nature of good and evil, and it completely failed to convince me that any of the criminals within this book deserved a second chance at life. I am not pro-death penalty by any means. This book just failed to be convincing on the grounds of speculative fiction.
This book tries to present the premise that a criminal may be granted a new lease on life if their minds, their genetic makeup is pure. That despite their murderous crime, they could still be goooooooooood inside.
This book is an inconsistent, flashback-filled mess, with an unreliable first-person narrator. We are told that Evalyn is a murderer, and yet there's no attempt at building sympathy for her whatsoever. She shows no remorse; all we got is a self-pity-party, there was nary a mention of the people whom she was purported to have killed. How am I supposed to care about her? There's plenty of guts and blood, but it was purely gratuitous. I was gnawing on a small pork hock while reading a scene where a girl's head exploded, spraying bloody brain matter all over the fucking place without feeling a twinge of nausea. The violence is there only for shock value, because I didn't give a damn about any of the characters and I didn't care whether they lived or got gutted or died. There was no emotion to any of the deaths within this book.
What's the saying, "Do the crime, do the time?" Yeah. It may not be perfect, but our current justice system mostly works. So what the fuck is with this new Compass Room shit? I don't get it! What's the fucking point?!
It's not just the premise, the characters and how they're presented completely failed to back up the idea of inner goodness vs. "evil" acts. I feel that a person should be judged by their actions, not their thoughts. We all have a darkness within us. It's up to us to suppress that evil. This book completely failed to convince me on the concept of the Compass Room, and it didn't convince me that the criminals and killers within deserve to live through the experience.
Fifteen years ago, government scientists manufactured an accurate test for morality—an obstacle course, where the simulations within proved whether a candidate was good or evil. It was named a Compass Room.Evalyn is a mass murderer.
The footage of my crime rolls. Crying families outside Roosevelt College. Students and professors wailing, screaming. FBI, police, bomb squad.She is one of eight who has killed 56 people at her college. She got caught, and now she is most likely going to die.
But not through the death penalty.
She has chosen the trials of the Compass Room. The Compass Room is a technology developed to determine the true morality within a person. It is a moral obstacle course, and it will kill those who are truly evil.
After the law passed, engineers updated the Rooms to kill the wicked. They became the most accurate form of the death penalty ever created.It's not entirely clear how the Compass Room ("CR") works, but Evalyn is one of 10 criminals, all of them murderers, who will enter the CR to be tried. 10 will go in, statistics say that an average of 2.5 will make it out. The guys, girls, all in their teens through their 20s, are all multiple murderers. They are hoping for a chance to prove that their minds are good, that they deserve to live.
They enter the CR, and it's not as they expected. For one thing, it's not a room. It's a vast expanse of space that changes, that moves them from one "Testing" environment in different scenarios. From a plush mountain resort with top-shelf liquors to a wilderness where they have to scrounge for food. The only thing that remains consistent is the nightmares---or rather, the "Tests" that pop up to evaluate their goodness.
She creeps to me, shoulders erect. Her head hangs at an angle, stringy blonde hair falling limply around her shoulders, eyes sunken in their sockets.And the tests can be deadly. There is no trial by jury here. One wrong motion means death.
Clasping her hands on either side of his head, she twists, elbows swinging as she snaps his neck in half.Except when it doesn't. Because it seems that the morality in this book is pretty relative.
Casey hacks and hacks, blood splattering across his face and clothes as he rips the knife away. He doesn’t stop, not when his dad has to be dead—again—his back nothing more than ripped denim and mangled pockets of swelling blood.Aaaand that's pretty much it. They find food. They fall in love. They survive. They make friends. They're all criminals, some of whom are intrinsically good inside? Whatever. I don't care.
Fifteen years ago, government scientists manufactured an accurate test for morality—an obstacle course, where the simulations within proved whether a candidate was good or evil. It was named a Compass Room.Look, I don't give a flying fuck if your DNA is made up of flowers petals and a sprinkling of unicorn dust. If you raped my sister, if you killed my family. If you tortured and killed numerous people, I want you to rot in prison. I don't give a fuck if you're internally good if you've killed someone, intentionally or not. That's why we have a multi-layered justice system. You get tried by a jury of your peers, depending on the severity of your crime.
Involuntary manslaughter and negligence is judged and sentenced differently from murder. That's why you have different charges when a person gets tried for a crime. That's why after you get sentenced, there's yet another system of appeals in place. Your sentence will depend on the severity of your crime. There's a difference between killing someone by accident and getting a few years in prison, versus willfully committing multiple murders. THE JUSTICE SYSTEM! IT WORKS!
So why this book? What's the point, really? Especially when you can kill again and again and not get punished for it in the Compass Room? This book tries to tell us that murder is relative, that murder is ok if it's justified.
But it doesn't exactly work that way. Morals are not relative. You have to have some sort of absolute standard. Murder has to be wrong. Rape has to be wrong. Some things have to remain absolute. If morals are relative, can you give me an argument, that, well, there are some cases in which it's acceptable to rape a child? No. This book plays on the idea that morals are relative, and it doesn't work.
Furthermore, the "tests" in the Compass Room are just unconvincing. Different scenarios are presented, if you pass, you get to live, if you fail, you don't. But for some reason, some people can fucking kill and still be able to get away with it. What the hell?! I don't care if you killed someone who bullied you, that person may be a motherfucking asshat, but you are not judge, jury, and executioner. Someone doesn't deserve to die just because they are a jerk!
The concept of the Compass Room is just vague. The science is almost completely unexplained, and the reasoning behind the use of the Compass room just doesn't make any fucking sense. Yeah, it's supposed to save money, but how exactly does it fucking save money when there's only 10 people allowed inside at a time for a period of 30 fucking days. Why, if we have such advanced technology to manipulate the brain to create mass hallucinations, do we not just run a fucking simulation with one person strapped to a chair? Simple! Gah!
“I bet you’re enjoying this, dying just like her. Like you think you’re some fucking martyr,” he spits.Evalyn is a oh boo fucking hoo poor poor me type of girl. She is a mass murderer. Throughout the book, we know that she's a killer, but we just don't know how.
But here's the thing, throughout the book, she never shows a single fucking sign of remorse. Not once did she ever feel sorry for all the people she has killed. Not once did she think about the countless lives she has destroyed, the countless numbers of wives, daughters, husbands, sons, friends whose lives she has devastated by her acts of murder. She only feels sorry for herself, and the fact that she could not help save the life of her friend, Meghan.
I was the one who kept proving myself to be a killer over and over in the Compass Room.And she's another reason why the Compass Room is so unconvincing.
“Of course you wanted to kill him. We all did.”So why is she still alive?! Clearly, the Compass Room has failed -.-
Final Comments: The writing runs purple prosy at times despite the complete lack of emotion in the book.
The Compass Room is pregnant with sin. Not the ghost of our crimes, but real, pungent sin.And is just plain bad in some parts.
He doesn’t look at peace, more like a baby. A frightened baby.The romance is stupid, but it doesn't bother me, despite the fact that this is a New Adult and the love interest is an honest-to-goodness killer. The flashbacks are completely useless, and serves only to frustrate me, because they contribute so little to the plot besides telling us about Evalyn's perfect life in college, with her wonderful (and completely forgotten) ex-bf Liam "Last Year." ...more
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Apr 04, 2014
Apr 05, 2014
Mar 02, 2014
Feb 06, 2014
Feb 06, 2014
He sighs and slows to a stop. “There are a lot of things about the world we live in that you don’t understand. Things you’ll find out in time.”This
He sighs and slows to a stop. “There are a lot of things about the world we live in that you don’t understand. Things you’ll find out in time.”This is such a strange book. I didn't hate it, but it was just too much, too confusing. This book is like a strange mixture of Gone Girl and The Handmaid's Tale.
For me, this book was so anachronistic. I liked it, and I didn't like it. It was somewhat original while being completely predictable. There was nothing outrageously terrible in this book. There's a love triangle that didn't bother me at all because for the latter 50% of the book, I was like...dafuq am I reading? D:? The last half of the book was a journey into what-the-actual-fucks-ville.
I'm just so utterly confused. This book reads like a contemporary but it turned out to be a dystopian. It started off fantastically. The first 25% held my attention rapt. But sadly, this book didn't live up to its initial promise.
It's a little difficult for me to express my exact feelings on it, so allow me to describe it to you through the use of Digimon.
It starts off interestingly enough. There's an egg! You don't know what it holds! Oh, the possibilities!
The egg is cracking open!! Oh, it's so interesting! How neat! You, the reader, are intrigued. However will it evolve next?!
AND WE'RE ON A MOTHERFUCKING HORSE! YEAH! YEAH! This is going to be a hell of a ride. It's hard to believe that this thing hatched from just a tiny little egg, right?
Wait. What the actual FUCK?! How the hell did we get from a horse to...THIS?!
The Summary: Emma doesn't remember anything. She has been in an accident. Nobody will tell her what happened. She has to relearn everything. Her handsome husband tells her what she needs to know. Emma repeats and believes what she is told. Declan, her husband, is so kind, so loving. She just wants to please him.
“You are my husband, Declan Burke. I am your wife, Emma. We were married in a small ceremony with only our closest friends atop our mountain.”Emma is attracted to her husband, but Declan is strangely reluctant to touch her. He rejects her advances. Emma feels safe in his embrace.
His arms wrap around tight and hold me as if I would run away and he could not bear it. But I will not. Not ever. I want to be with him always.Emma undergoes tests after tests. She doesn't feel like a patient so much as a lab rat. She absolutely hates these tests. Emma has nightmares, she has flashbacks, in which she is someone else. After these nightmares, doctors try to question her about them. Emma always lies; there's a voice inside her head that tells her not to trust these people. This voice is called "her," "she." Emma and her mind are at war.
I told you to lie, She says coolly. You don’t understand yet, but you will.Her days are a litany of tests, medication; for some reason, the doctors feel that Emma needs to be restrained.
When I look down, I find I am bound to the table by Velcro straps. Instinctively, I jerk and the bindings burn and pinch my wrists.Nobody will tell her what happened. What is this accident? Why did Emma lose her memories?
Very soon, we realize that something's rotten. Something's not right. This is not our world, as we know it. There is strange technology.
Those take you out of the building, She tells me. Probably to other floors, too. They’re teleportation units. Teleport. Teleporting. Teleportation. You know, teleporters.Stranger still than the existence of teleporters is the slow buildup of knowledge that something is deeply wrong with this world.
I recognize the acronym from one of my earlier dreams with Toni. “WTC?”There are so many questions here. There are no easy answers. Who is Emma? What is her husband hiding from her? Who is the mysterious people who appears in her dreams? Why is she in danger?
“You know what I am talking about. Why do you insist on keeping my past a secret from me? If you are trying to protect me, stop. I do not need your protection. I need the truth before this gets any worse."The Setting: This is a rather unconvincing dystopian setting. There is absolutely no info-dumping at all, but it doesn't feel entirely convincing. It started off feeling like a contemporary, but we're slowly given the buildup that this world is not what it should be. Slowly, we uncover the details. It's intriguing, it is. Here we are, presumably in the future. We have teleportation technology, we have huge-ass television screens...and we have an issue with female infertility?
“The women who are fertile these days,” he continues while he stands and moves to one of his bookcases, “are only fertile into their late twenties, early thirties at most. It isn’t disease or genetics, just the unfortunate way things have progressed.”This world is extremely vague, and I don't quite understand it. The background is pure telling, not showing. We're expected to believe that this happened, that that happened, without much of an explanation. Part of the frustration comes from the narrator, because of her amnesia, and her innocence and placidity and acceptance of everything as fact.
The world itself is very two-dimensional. We have vague laws tossed out without much of a backdrop.
He slaps his hands to his knees and stands. “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice. Birth control is illegal. Abortion is illegal, with a very severe punishment. Emma, pregnancy is not a choice. I’m sorry.”We have inconsistencies in technology and medical advancements. Her finger is healed with lasers...
A couple of nurses arrive, take our vitals, and clean up our scrapes and cuts. One uses some kind of laser to heal my knuckle.While there's still trouble with using blood thinners to fix a hemorrage. We have teleportation technologies, but we're still using phones and tablets and 21st century technology. I mean, these days we're starting to have Google Glass, and etc., don't you think in a future where we can teleport around, telephones would be obsolete?
The Characters: I had a lot of sympathy for Emma in the beginning, because she is so innocent, so trusting, so naive. My sympathy for her had severely diminished before the first half of the book is through. Emma makes everything feel underwhelming. She just doesn't feel like a real person with human emotions, to me. Emma ended the novel like she started, a pretty doll, slightly beaten up.
The Plot: I have a problem with the flashbacks. We are pelted in every single chapter with memories, flashbacks. I get that these are important, but it felt like I was reading two separate books at the same time, without knowing what exactly was going on in either. There was no infodumping regarding the world, but there was a massive amount of infodumping regarding the characters in the flashbacks and dreams.
The story itself became intriguing, to uh-oh, we're not in Kansas anymore, and then quickly turned into a clusterfuck of tremendous proportions. The book completely lost me around the 50% mark.
The Romance: Very unbelievable, since from the very beginning, we are set up to hate and distrust one of the love interests. I didn't have a problem with the romance because it was unconvincing, it had no subtlety. It, like the book itself, is completely predictable. A good love triangle works because the emotions are convincing, the characters are likeable, and the reader is caught holding his or her breath to see who will emerge the victor. There was no question as to who would win in this book, it was that obvious. ...more
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Feb 24, 2014
Feb 25, 2014
Feb 23, 2014
Jun 03, 2014
Jun 03, 2014
did not like it
"I see more in you than you’ll ever know. You’re so special, so extraordinary."LIES! LIES!
This is the worst dystopian book I have read this year. It
"I see more in you than you’ll ever know. You’re so special, so extraordinary."LIES! LIES!
This is the worst dystopian book I have read this year. It's not even the so-bad-it's-good type of book, because I feel like I lost IQ points reading this. It is not just some elements, it's the entire book. I hardly know where to start because this book was so terribly written. This is the Advance Review Copy, and I can only pray that the book gets severely edited before it is published.
The plot can only be described as "deranged." The setting and background are generic and nonexistent. The entire book is filled with deus ex fucking machina. Despite the fact that there's a countdown until the day you die, there is no sense of urgency in the book. There is no characterization for the main characters, there is no depth to any of the characters, adults are portrayed as one-dimensional idiots or as severe masterminds who just really, really need a kid to school them on how to do things.
And the villains? They say things like this:
“We’ll catch you, you stupid girl! You will die! Painfully and slowly!”My main complaint is the plot. It is ludicrously bad. There is no sense in the pacing. A good chunk of the book is devoted to absolutely nothing, while what should have been a core element of the plot was executed and completed in about 15% of the book. The plot meanders. It focuses on irrelevant things, and completely skips over the essential bits.
The Summary: This is the end of the world, as we know it.
And man, is it boring.
Sia has 15 days to live. It's not just her, it's everyone in the "sector," a grayscale planned community surrounded by walls. For some fucking reason, the government had decided that worthless people (those deemed to be noncontributors) are going to be abolished. Specially selected people are going to be airlifted into a blissful compound known as the New World. But for the rest of the unfortunates not good enough to make it? It's death by cyborg.
He told me that those who aren’t chosen will be slaughtered by an army.Sia only has 15 days to live, and so she's pretty limited to what she can do with her time. On her list:
4. Kiss a boy and fall in love.As Justin Bieber says, "never say never."
Next thing you know, she meets a mysterious boy. Who's a liar with a gun. And he makes her feel all fluttery inside when he winks.
Wow.OH CRAP, RIGHT. We're in a dystopian novel, guys! We should probably move along with the...plot?
Apparently, the boy (whose name is Mace, as in the stuff girls carry around in their purse who spray into would-be-thief/rapist/stalkers' eyes) is interested in her. O_ô He hands her a note, a cryptic note.
I saw something in you. Something more than I see in most. At 9am, meet me where you fell the first time we met. I will explain more when I see you.Sia breaks her promise to her father and sneaks away to meet Mace, because it's so completely safe to meet a strange gun-toting guy who lies about his name all alone, if he happens to be cute.
It turns out that, ah ha! Mace isn't just interested in Sia for her body! He wants something from Sia, Mace thinks she's capable of helping his Secret Army. Sia is just fucking offended because he's not interested in her.
I thought he liked me. I thought he’d asked me to meet him because he liked me and wanted to get to know me. But now it seems as though I’m only here because he wants me to fight with some group he’s involved in.Apparently, the people in their sector aren't going to take the cyborg invasion lying down! They're going to start an army (with 24 people. Yes, I'm dead serious.). This grand army is going to train, they're going to work out, they're going to get into fantastic physical shape in order to BEAT THE CYBORGS!!!!!!!
Naturally, there's not a whole lot of time left! The cyborg army is going to invade and tear them apart in less than 2 weeks!!! They have to make excellent use of every moment of their time to prepare themselves for the invasion. They have to do things like...visit a flower field. Wait, what?
The land is made up of only lush, green grass and red, yellow, and white flowers.Let's try this again. Time is of the essence, so they must...have a romantic swim in the lake. Um.
Mace holds my arm and spins me around so that we are face-to-face. My hands are still looped around his neck, my fingers brushing against the bottom of his hair. We’re inches apart.NEVER MIND. They have to learn how to be deadly killers! Yes, that's it!
“What are you trying to do?” Cass says. “Kill her with kisses?”Amidst all this snuggling, embracing, and kissing, Sia is actually trying to save the world. You see, she met someone, a girl named Lilly. Lilly was originally picked to go to the New World, but she refuses. Why?
“Because it’s an evil place, run by evil people,” she spits.It's evil. Not sure why the New World is evil, but you know, we just have to take the random-ass word of a random-ass stranger in order for something to be true.
Since it is so hard to be selected, Sia must surely have so much trouble infiltrating the New World.
I clear my throat. “My name is Lilly Tanner,” I say. “There has been a mistake. My family is in the New World, and I’ve been left behind in the sector.” Lilly’s eyes fill up and I look away from her.Maybe not.
There's a secret place in the secret New World where all the secrets are held. It must be so hard to find the Chamber of Secrets (so sorry, Harry Potter).
I find a small separate room, deep in the lab, where the cyborgs are tested. Right where Finn said it would be. The door is locked: Restricted Access printed in bold type and underlined on the door.
Will Sia be able to defeat the bad guys, the father and son duo of...
“I’m Cain, Damien’s son.”No points for originality in naming.
Will Sia be able to stop cat-fighting with the "tough" bitch in time to save the world?
Cass snarls and clears the distance between us in two quick steps. I duck as she lashes out at my face and my hands connect with her middle. I push her backward, but she doesn’t go far. Her face is red and she’s panting. Her hands whip out for my face again and I jump to the side. She screeches with frustration.The Background of the Setting: Generalized nonspecific dystopian nonsense. The setting is initially lazily built, told through an internalized story.
I think about what they’ll teach in history classes in the New World when all of this is over. I’m guessing they’ll start where we do—climate change and the reduction of the population and extinction of most of the world’s species. Then they’ll discuss how the people were spread out on what was left of the planet. And then how the sectors came about, to round everyone up and create communities where people could stay together, stay safe.The thing is that it just doesn't make any fucking sense. That is the limit of this book's backstory. Generalized war, disasters, blah blah blah. We don't know how many people are left in the world. We don't know how many sectors there are (and surely there must be so many since there are only 416 people in Sia's sector). The past is poorly built, the government completely unexplained, the system of the "Sectors" is merely limited to the fact that walls were built to protect people (or to keep people from getting out. Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN!). Why would people accept this?! How did people react?! How did this all happen in the first place in, presumably, 'Murica?! Wars? Tell me more. Climate catastrophes? Bullshit, unless this is in year 3000, and we don't know what the fuck year this is. This book is so utterly vague.
The Book's Current Setting: Clumsily built and full of holes. It doesn't make any sense. For one thing, it was mentioned that the population was decimated, ok. So where's all the food coming from? And why are there packaged cereal? Why are there snack bars? Where's all this very 21st century junk food coming from if there aren't many left to create them? Why, if there is such a food shortage, are we not devoting ourselves to farming instead of manufacturing processed food-like-things?
Why, if there's a food shortage and the world is ending in 15 days, are there STILL FOOD in the food store? Let me tell you something about human psychology, people freak the fuck out when something major happens. They stock up on food. They riot. They will kill each other for the last can of beans on the shelves. When the world is going to end in 15 days and people are rioting for food, I don't expect there to be still food on the shelves. Specifically, I don't expect Sia to be able to go around grabbing stuff and able to fill an entire fucking shopping cart in a largely-empty food warehouse.
I run up and down the aisles, grabbing at anything, hardly glancing at what I am picking up. The shopping cart gets heavier and harder to push and I decide I’m done.And especially not when two people were fighting over a box of cereal in the next aisle when there are better pickings elsewhere.
Where are all the fucking riots? You remember that picture I posted up above? Of the gray planned urban development? That's it. The community is THAT nice and calm. When there's going to be a fucking death call in your community, you bet your ass people are going to freak the fuck out. There are no mentions of people besides, you know, when they actually need to be there for the one sole riot. The book is all Sia, Sia, Sia. The community, the people, how they are reacting to all this, is hardly worth the breath, and they are not mentioned at all. There is no realism in this book's community and psychology.
Why is the government (what government?) so insistent upon killing people off when the entire fucking world has been decimated?
The authorities murdered many of the citizens in the walled sectors, cutting the population down even more.It's crazy! And the book actually SAYS it's crazy, but then there's just no explanation for it, so that rather defeats the purpose, doesn't it?
But numbers aren’t their concern—quality is. The New World wants to start afresh: rebuild the world and do it better. They want to start again, take control, and make this world the very best that it can be.Not even the New World makes sense. They want useful people, productive people. People like...musicians.
"We were chosen,” she says, like it’s nothing. It means a lot to be chosen. It means you’re worth something. “My mom and dad are musicians. They’re really talented. My two younger sisters play, too.”With all due respect to musicians out there, sorry, but you guys are really useless when it comes to rebuilding a new world. This New World needs useful people, valuable people like scientists, engineers. Why the fuck did the New World choose MUSICIANS over DOCTORS?
Sia: No personality, no realism, no development. Sia never felt like a real character. Her development is nonexistent because she's able to pull unicorns and rainbows out of her ass any time she needs to. Which is to say, Sia is capable of nothing initially, but she becomes instantly perfect when the situation calls for it. Sia has never fought a day in her life, but the first day of training, she automatically proves herself a Mary Sue when she kicks the tough girl's ass.
I’m pitted against Cass. She’s fierce and never slows. I jump left and right, dodge her, and avoid what would have been some pretty nasty blows. I even get one in myself, winding her. I try not to smile when she doubles over, clutching her stomach.Sia is hated by evil Cass for no reason at all that I can see except to elicit sympathy for poor, sweet Sia.Sia has no emotion, even when her mother dies at the beginning of the story. Sia tells us that she screamed endlessly for her. That's it. No emotion, no pain, no true sense of grief.
Whenever Sia is in trouble, magical dragons and rainbows will appear to save her ass. If there is a riot, a boy will appear to save her.
I nod. “Thanks. For helping me, I mean. I don’t know what would have happened to me if you hadn’t been there.”Even out of nowhere, in the strange New World, ANOTHER boy appears out of thin air to rescue her. Why? She's special. Amazing.
He eases me back, feels for my face in the dark again, and brushes tangled hair out of my eyes. His touch is so gentle, so careful. “Would you like to go home instead?” he whispers.Deus ex fucking machina is the plot of this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Mar 25, 2014
Jan 11, 2014
Dec 19, 2013
Dec 19, 2013
did not like it
Do you hate having a brain? Do you find that the act of thinking is just so difficult? I mean, fuck analytical processes, really. Well, ladies and gen
Do you hate having a brain? Do you find that the act of thinking is just so difficult? I mean, fuck analytical processes, really. Well, ladies and gentlemen, step right up. Leave your better judgments at the door. Wave a fond farewell to your brain's cerebral cortex. Kiss your rationality and common sense goodbye. Engage your suspension of disbelief, because man oh man, this book is just for you!
No imagination. No creativity. No rationality.
Without a doubt, this is the worst book about aliens and intergalactic travel I have ever read. If you mashed YA dystopia and sci-fi together with a rotten banana and some liver and fed it to a hyena, the hyena would eat it, regurgitate it, then cackle uncontrollably for around 20 minutes afterward. This book is not so much a sci-fi as it is the glorification of the most wonderful, smartest, most perfectest girl in the whole fucking universe ever and how her sheer fucking brilliance saves the fate of humanity in a way that I can't understand myself, except to say that she does it brilliantly because the book tells me so. Somehow.
The most powerful figure on the ship trusts our main character, Hope. She's got a posse of boys who pretty much bend to her beck and will. Female friends? Merely bodies to fluff up the book. Fuck girl friends, really. Who needs girls when you've got one bad, bad, naughty dickschnozzle who's secretly in love with you---but man, does he not show it! I mean, there's teasing a girl you like in 3rd grade, and then there's calling her a bitch.
“You shut your stupid mouth! Stupid bitch who believes these things are our friends! Do you feel friendly now?”There's another boy who loves you and wants to marry you, and yet another one who is permanently friendzoned. It's raining men!
Oh, and adults? They're fucking dumb. For a girl who's so utterly perfect, Hope hasn't got a lot of respect for the wisdom of the elderly, instead constantly calling them "old-erly," Hope's attitude constantly belittles adults who are, naturally, not so wise as the brilliant kids.
Seriously, the elderly that had made it onto the ships had gotten crankier and ruder than I’d ever known them to be on Earth. Like there was some unspoken agreement between all of them that this was all our fault, the young people were to blame, that they deserved better in their twilight years. Lectures from some grouchy, pissed off old-erly hunched over on a cane were not uncommon. ‘Respect your Elders,’ they said. Like they wanted to teach us, to impart their wisdom before it was too late. But in my book it already was too late.This book is juvenile. It is simplistic. It is devoid of imagination and creativity. The writing is sophomoric, filled with errors in punctuation and grammar, like the use of "you're" instead of "your" in the possessive form. The dialogue is childish, filled with exclamation mark that leaned towards histrionics instead of implying drama. Were it not for occasional sprinklings of profanity and some very slightly sexual scenes, this book could easily be a grade school book. But then again, saying this book is grade-school quality might be an insult to some grade school books because there are quite a few exemplary children's books that contains the complexities and the plot and the character development that this book utterly lacked.
Summary: The premise is simple enough, and the book blurb summarized it quite well. Earth is destroyed, the demise happened around 2058. It is some 15-20 years after. There are less than 100,000 survivors on Earth, and 5,000 of those survivors are on a spaceship, the Reflection. They are off on a 5-year voyage to a planet they have called Haven. They land only to encounter a seemingly hostile alien species, on this planet, the humans ARE the aliens. The "aliens" are called "Locals," by the humans, and the Locals have selected 10 of each age group, children, adolescents, adults, elderly (or rather, "old-erly," fuck you, Hope). Hope is one of the adolescents chosen by the Locals, she and her group are put through some tests, used more or less as lab rats by the Locals under certain conditions. And somehow or another, Hope and her brilliant fucking brain turns out to be..."the human race’s last chance for survival."
The premise is simple enough, so what went wrong? Oh, my. Where do I start?
The World Building: Pitiful. Laughable.
1. The naming of children - "Weeks got his name from parents who’d given in to the doomsday thinking on Earth, near the end. Some of the kids had names like his now. Days, Weeks, Hours. People named their kid after the amount of time they thought they had left."
As a result, we have some utterly ludicrous names. Because 90% of parents will want to give their children fucking ludicrous names like Pilgrim, Legacy, Chance, Marseille, Cairo. I'm just glad we didn't actually encounter anyone named Seconds. There's nary a normal name in the book.
2. The demise of Earth - Incredibly vague. Your usual formulaic shit without much sense or explanation. I am so sick of this eco-disaster bullshit. It makes no sense, it is sensationalistic without an iota of truth, and it is even more incredible given the fact that this book takes place so close to the near future.
Most of the Gov officials had died in the cataclysmic failure of Earth that had come suddenly after twelve years on the precipice.Oh, cataclysmic failure. That's sooooooo fucking detailed. Oh wait, there are floods. There are Tsunamis (which, for some fucking reason is capitalized like that in the book. Editor, where are you?) There are volcanic eruptions, lava flows that kill people.
Are you fucking kidding me? Where did all this come from? Did the world fucking implode between the years 2014 and 2058? If so, could we get some fucking explanation besides, "well, the world collapsed?" Tsunamis don't happen out of nowhere. Volcanic eruptions don't happen out of nowhere. How did the remaining people survive? The portrayal of the destruction of earth is poorly portrayed, without an ounce of ingenuity.
3. What fucking spaceship? - Along with an extremely vague past, we have an extremely vague present. If you're going to put humans, and not just one human, five thousand humans on a spaceship in the year 2070 or so, you better give me a good fucking explanation. There was none. Technology? Fuck that shit, because apparently when you are writing to a YA audience, there's no need for an iota of veracity and explanation because your audience is too dumb to care about that, right? Fuck that, seriously.
There is no mention of the development of space technology in the years between 2014 and the book's present. There is no mention of the advances made before we put one man in a spaceship to the point where we can take 5000 people on a journey taking five years to a distant planet.
Was there warp speed? Are we traveling at the speed of light? How distant is the planet? How big is the spaceship? How did that many people survive on that spaceship for all those years? Speaking of which...
4. Fuck Rationing on the Spaceship, Because We Have Motherfucking Cheetos and Chips! Ahoy: Seriously, they have "cheese puffs" and packaged chocolate chip cookies. What, man? What? Are you fucking serious? There is no food manufacturing technology on board, and all we're told is that they have enough food on board for 5000 people to last 5 years. THAT'S A LOT OF FOOD. THAT'S A LONG FUCKING TIME. Was there no greenhouses? Don't we have better use of room on board a motherfucking spaceship than to use it as fucking storage space? I find that absolutely idiotic.
There is an explanation for why the spaceship doesn't need ration. It's fucking stupid.
Rationing had never been necessary because more ships were built and stocked than had actually taken off.WHAT? Ok, let's get one thing straight. When you are up in the motherfucking air, space and weight is of the essence. That's why you get charged so fucking much for carrying on additional bags during flight. It doesn't fucking matter that you have a lot of food on earth left over from other spaceships so that you can overstock yourself. The issue is capacity on board a fucking spaceship. It doesn't make any sense!
5. The Fairy Fucking Fantasy of a Foreign Planet: Hostile space?! Not fucking likely. It's a gloriously Earth-like environment, with twinkling multi-colored stars and a Northern Lights-like sky!?
there were beautiful green, yellow and pink dancing lights waving across the sky and illuminating the land below. It looked like the northern lights back home, but it was everywhere.Fuck you! And news flash, Hope. You lived in fucking Reno, Nevada. There ain't no Northern Lights to be seen there!
Let's get one thing straight. This planet ain't nowhere near our galaxy, since scientists have found no Earth-like environment anywhere near us with our current technology now. Any other galaxies are thousands of lights years ago, so this planet better be fucking far. So how did they get there so fast? Gasp!
There is a complete oversimplification of alien life. Everything is so fucking convenient. There are edible fruits, which are Earth-like but of course, slightly different for vanity's fucking sake. There is water. There is a similar gravitational pull (my assumption, because the book didn't fucking mention anything about it). There are already-grown crops on the planet, ready to be harvested, since aliens plant crop circles on Earth they surely must plant crops on their planet, right? How fucking dumb do you think we are?
Straight lines, different patches, like a quilt.And there are edible animals! Let's just call the animal Steves! Eat the Steves! Eat all of them!
Almost immediately we discovered that our landing site was a nesting spot for animals about the size of a pig, with mud-colored shells, hard as diamond. The kid got to be the first to name something in our new world, and he called them Steves.6. The Oversimplification of Alien Life: Is it just me, or is it really lacking in imagination to make an alien world so completely similar to our own. It is such an over-assumption and a superimposition of our own beliefs towards something of which we do not know. This book is essentially assuming that a distant planet is almost identical to Earth in biology. It has similar crops, similar animals, that are digestible to human beings. There are aliens, but they come straight out of Area 51's little (or rather, large) gray men. Elongated gray men with large heads. There's just no imagination there. They bleed, but they're aaaaaaaliens because they bleed blue. It is a stupid assumption to assume that aliens look like anything we are familiar to, that their method of living is similar to ours, that they are out of a fucking Hollywood movie. This book is so lacking in creativity that it is incredible.
The Mary Sue: Hope is beautiful, well, she's not beautiful, but she supposes that she could be considered good looking. But it's not important, anyway. Really, it's not important.
I supposed I was pretty-ish. Somehow, I’d grown into a girl that some boys might like to look at. But it didn’t matter.Hope is extremely tough, she survived a trek ON FOOT of roughly 150 miles in a country supposedly devastated by fires and volcanoes. At the age of 13. But there's no explanation of how she actually accomplished it.
Hope is so popular, she doesn't even know it.
“Oh, everyone knows me?” I asked, not understanding.Hope is a natural leader, someone with charisma so well-disguised I never would have realized.
People looked at me first. Everyone assumed I was a leader so I went with it.Hope is so fucking special, even the Chief of the spaceship wants her opinion as to what to do regarding life or death situations regarding the new planet. The Chief brings in a few other teenagers, too, but ultimately, it is always Hope to whom the Chief turns for advice. Hope tells the Chief what to do. Adults are fucking idiots who can do nothing without the superiority of Hope.
I whispered into Chief’s ear. “Let Legacy out, bring him to the depository. Resume removal of the weapons.”If she does something wrong, the Chief covers for her. Hope never gets into trouble.
“This girl is providing intel to the creatures after all! Behind your back, Chief!”Hope is so amazing.
“Chance said you were amazing."Yep. He's not the only one who thinks Hope is amazing.
Legacy paused. "The truth is I think you’re amazing."So brilliant. So strong.
“You’re so strong, Hope. How can you be that strong?”Her every intuition is correct. Her spider senses tingle as she looks into an alien's eyes.
I searched its eyes and I thought maybe I saw sadness.Women's intuition ain't got nothing on fucking Hope. Sure, the aliens torture them, they play games with the humans, they almost killed them. But Hope's got feeeeeeelings, man. There's really a kind heart underneath all of the aliens' cruelty. She knows it. How?
I had no answer. We weren’t their enemy. Each session seemed so different, I couldn’t explain it.She doesn't know. She can't explain it. But she can fucking FEEL IT.
Don't take this book with a grain of salt, take it with an entire jar. You might be killed by sodium poisoning, but that might be preferable to reading some parts of this book. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 11, 2014
Jan 12, 2014
Jan 02, 2014
Jun 10, 2014
Jun 10, 2014
it was ok
I had a nagging sense of familiarity while reading this book, and it wasn't until the end that I finally realized what it was. This book reminded me o I had a nagging sense of familiarity while reading this book, and it wasn't until the end that I finally realized what it was. This book reminded me of The Bone Season, and if you know me and my history with that book...it's not a good thing. This was such a disappointment to me, because this had been one of my most eagerly anticipated books for 2014.
It is an overhyped book that underdelivered. It was technically perfect while being completely devoid of emotion, with a convoluted, action-packed plot that made largely no sense. The world building is chock full of strange terminology (minus the glossary), and the world itself is without much context, without much sense. The characters are forgettable, they are merely generically likeable and utterly lacking in personality. It is heavy on a completely unnecessary romance, with a tremendous amount of insta-love. And most importantly, however action-packed it was, I just found myself completely, utterly bored.
I wanted to DNF this book at 25%. I trudged on. I wanted to DNF at 75%. I forced myself on. And honestly, I could have DNFed this at 95% because this book just bored me to all hell, and I did not give a single fuck about any of the characters. The book was so incredibly long and dull that I did not really care about what happened in the end.
Here are some of my problems with this book
The Overly Complicated Plot: It is never, ever a good thing when halfway through the book, I have to go look back at the summary because I wasn't sure what I was reading. Judge my intelligence how you will, but I found this book to be a tremendous confusion-packed mess. Very, very briefly, it goes something like this: We have Meadow, a girl, who lives on a steamboat with her dad and siblings. We have Zephyr, an orphan boy who lives with flelow orphans, picking up bodies. For some reason, there are a whole lot of bodies to be picked up. There's a lot of people just dying, and it's no big deal at all. Meadow is trying to get a job. She gets it by killing a girl (and the job is never, ever mentioned again). People kill each other. Again, nobody cares. Zephyr acts really tragic, he speaks mysteriously about his "secret." We have no idea what the secret is. He dreams of a "moonlit girl" with silvery blonde hair (who is *gasp* Meadow). They run into each other several times, purely out of coincidence. They fall in love. They go chill on a boardwalk (because what else are you supposed to do when you're not picking up the corpses on the street).
Zephyr whispers sweet nothings into Meadow's ears. He tries to kill her.
Yeah. And then there's all this running away and lots of killing and lots of blood and lots of conspiracies.
And we're not even 33% into the book yet. Forget the killings in the book, I was about to be killed by boredom. I don't even fucking know what a Murder Complex is until around 50% into the book. The summary lies. Big time.
The Romance: I understand teenaged hormones, I understand attraction, and I don't throw the word insta-love around unless I feel strongly that it exists: this book is so utterly, completely packed with insta-love and unnecessary romance.
My breath sort of stops, right there in my lungs.There is a time and place for love, and it is not in a dystopia, and the words "I LOVE YOU" should not be uttered when you've seen the person all of a few hours, when the book is not even 33% finished.
I should be mad. I should be angry and embarrassed.Take Zephyr. The insta-love is strong with him. He dreams of a girl...
The stars are out tonight. But the stars aren’t what I want to see right now."Moonlit girl." "Silvery-blonde" girl. Moonlit girl. MOONLIT GIRL. It is repeated so many times throughout the book that I was sick of it, and I was sick of Zephyr. For fuck's sakes, you have more things to worry about than a girl who appears in your dreams.
"...maybe there’s a chance she’s been dreaming of me, too."Meadow is no better, for all her claims of being a tough killer.
He is beautiful. Shaggy brown hair sweeps across his face, and I am shocked at how bad I want to touch it.She shouldn't be thinking this while she's watching the guy BLEED TO DEATH.
It is the kind of love that I, with my practical mind, hates the most. Zephyr's love for Meadow is that of infatuation, that of predestination, that of fate. I don't believe in fated love. I believe that love should be based on friendship, trust, it should be worked on, it should be earned. Zephyr's instantaneous love for Meadow is so completely impractical, so completely unbelievable, so utterly girlish in terms of a serious, blood-filled novel such as this. This book aims to be Nikita, if so, it should really just leave out the sudden, inexplicable romance that truly plays no role in the plot at all.
The Big Event: This is not a spoiler, just something that happened in the past that led up to this future. Let's say that you are a researcher at a lab. You just discovered a new drug. Do you get it onto the market right away? No. Fuck no. We have a fucking thing called the Food and Drug Administration. It takes 5-30 years to get a drug onto the market. You need fucking drug trials. You need fucking human trials. You need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is completely safe for human consumption. You don't fucking get approval from the government to pump it through the water system right away for the consumption of some 300-million odd Americans. Americans would never fucking go for that shit. Hell, we have enough complaints about the current water supply being infused with fluoride for the good of our teeth. Fuck that shit. There's a thing called the Drug Approval Process and it doesn't get anywhere as convenient as tings happened in this book. Look it up.
The World Building and Terminology: The Dark Times. The Silent Hour. Nanites. Pins. Leeches. Fluxing this, Chumhead that. The Catalogue Dome. Creds. The Initiative. The Plague. The Pulse. Wards. Placement Tests. My head was spinning. It's not even strange terminogy, but it makes no sense out of context, and there is very little context. You know sometimes in college, you have a brain fart and accidentally wander into a huge lecture hall that's not your own (ok, maybe just me) and you're sitting there sweating buckets, wondering why the fuck nothing makes sense? That's how I felt about this book. I was completely immersed into a well-built world that has very little background.
Ok, so we're in the future, there was an event called a pre-Fall that was never really explained. People are dying. Again, no explanation at all for quite some time. The word Murder Complex isn't even mentioned until we're considerably 25% into the book, and even then, it took a whole lot more book space until we find out what it was, and I was completely lost and all the cares I had for this book had flown out the window by the time I got to this point. There are no food. There is a ruling Initiative. There are tons of orphans. There are gangs. And it's not even 20 years into the future.
WAIT, WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Seriously, the world is well built, but there was so very little explanation for the current society, and the past, and the explanation of the past that I found this version of dystopia to be completely forgettable. There was an absolute lack of historical context that would only bypass the most forgiving of readers.
The Confusion: This book is so action-packed that I had trouble keeping track of where they are, and when they are. I just don't know where things are taking place. Zephyr and Meadow are talking, where are they? Fucked if I know. The setting is poorly built in this matter because I just can't get a clear idea of where things are and what is happening.
The Characters: Are inconsistent, are forgettable, and make choices that make no sense at all. Meadow can't make up her mind who she wants to be. She is supposed to be a killer, and we see that. She kills. I admire that. But then she goes around and falls in love and starts kissing a boy seconds before he tries to kill her. And then she gets mad at him, and then forgives him, and then can't make up her mind whether or not she should kiss him or kill him? Fuck that. Her father trained her to be a killer, and Meadow knows that in order for her to survive, she must be a killer. It makes no sense that she is so utterly wishy-washy in her actions, in her choices.
I honestly had a tough time telling which chapters were Zephyr's and which chapters were Meadow's, towards the end of the first half of the book, because their voices blended together and they felt like a single entity instead of one. I think it's more of the fact that Zephyr's voice felt effeminate, and he is such an utterly pale character that I can't be bothered remembering him.
Other characters in the book are completely nonsensical in their decisions. Take Meadow's take-no-prisoner father. He's been training his children to survive since they were small, understandable, but it doesn't really fucking make sense to tell his kids to do something that almost got them killed NUMEROUS times, in fact, they were seconds away from death as children. There are surely better ways of training your children and not lose them in the attempt. I really can't find any liking for the characters in this book.
Convenient Events: I don't want to say deus ex machina, but there you have it. There are WAY too many convenient coincidences in this book. Accidentally climb onto a yacht only to overhear something important? Accidentally discovering the importance of one's mother? Accidentally discovering MORE SHIT? OH, WE JUST HAPPENED TO FIND A CRATE OF WEAPONS. No. No. No. After the 5th such discovery, I just wanted to scream out in frustration.
Boredom: Ok, this is just entirely subjective, but there we have it. I was bored as fuck, and this book was a tremendously long waste of my time.
Overall: a terrible disappointment. Don't buy the hype.
This book was provided to me as an Advance Reader Copy. Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley and is subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 29, 2013
Dec 30, 2013
Dec 21, 2013
Jul 08, 2014
Jul 17, 2014
did not like it
What does [that lady] see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being
What does [that lady] see when she looks in the mirror? Kelsea wondered. How could a woman who looked so old still place so much importance on being attractive? Kelsea saw now that there was something far worse than being ugly: being ugly and thinking you were beautiful.Because how DARE anyone ugly have confidence in themselves.
When I die, I want inscribed on my gravestone "She Read The Queen of the Tearling." Call me unambitious, but that shall be counted among my proudest accomplishments, because never have I ever read a more painfully long, worthless book.
The copywriter who wrote this book's summary compares it to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones; they have clearly read neither. They compared to the world-building to that of The Hunger Games. They compared the characters to that of Game of Thrones.
Are you fucking kidding me?
A thousand monkeys typing on a thousand typewriters could write a book that is more similar to those works than anything this book has to offer.
This was also the most intensely painful reading experience I have ever had due to the sheer length of the book, aggravated by the fact that the book just dragged on and on and on without a point. This is the book that doesn't end. A good 30% of the book is devoted to traveling. Not since The Hobbit have I been so fucking bored out of my mind. Bilbo Baggins could have gone there and back again, and then make another round around Middle Earth, and sure, why not---take a few years to flutter around Rivendell chilling with the elves in the time it took this book to go anywhere.
The Summary: Kelsea Raleigh is the new Queen of the Tearling. Her mother, the late Queen Elyssa has died, and it is time for Kelsea to claim the throne. She travels to the new kingdom. She's traveling. She's on a horse. They're slowly making their way to the castle. Slooooooooowly.
Meanwhile, the Red Queen of Mortmesne is wonder where the fuck Kelsea is. She's spent the last 19 years searching for her. Seriously, where the fuck is the girl? Oh, well, the Red Queen will think about that later. Time to fuck some slaves! OH YEAH. GIVE IT TO ME, BABY.
Kelsea's still traveling. Man, her new guards are really, really good looking. Oh, shit, she's kidnapped. But not really, because the kidnappers pretty much let Kelsea wander free.
Oh, whew. She's free. Back to traveling! Whooo! OH YAY, WE'RE AT THE CASTLE. Kelsea makes some fucking stupid decisions and pretty much dooms her country within hours of reaching her new castle.
Meanwhile, Javel, the guard, is telling his story, his sad story of how his wife was lost to him.
Kelsea's throned queen! YAY! She spends a lot of time talking to her advisors. She almost gets killed (several times).
Meanwhile, the priest, Father Tyler, is really, really upset at how his life gets flipped turned upside down.
The Red Queen of Montmesne is fucking more slaves. Where is that dratted Kelsea.
Kelsea thinks she is very plain. She should go on a diet. But no, she shouldn't, because she's plain anyway, and who cares about appearances, anyway. Man, Kelsea wishes she were pretty. As pretty as her maidservant, the one whose beauty is so valued that she got enslaved and raped for it.
Meanwhile, Javel is still doing shit. Talking to people. Getting roped into some random-ass plans.
Father Tyler is still moping around.
The Red Queen's pissed off. That fucking Kelsea. Why does she keep eluding my grasp. And by grasp, the Red Queen means her minion's grasps, since the Red Queen is just too important to do anything about hunting Kelsea herself. Magic, pfft. Ugh, whatever. Let's get ourselves a 7-year old little boy and BLEEP him in the BLEEP BLEEP. That is so not legal.
Javel's still talking somehow.
Kelsea's still talking to people. It sure would be nice if she were pretty. But really, Kelsea doesn't have time to think about that right now. There are more important things at hand. Like insulting a woman in front of the Royal Court.
Fuck, they're traveling AGAIN?!
765. Mother. Fucking. Pages.
The Setting: IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY MOTHERFUCKING SENSE. I started this book thinking it was a medieval fantasy. It wasn't. It has an old-world feel. It's not. Women are in long dresses. We are riding horses. We're using hawks to hunt. There are kings and queens and magic and castles. What you you mean it's not in the past? What do you mean it's not a fantasy.
THIS IS THE FUTURE? THIS IS A DYSTOPIA? WE USED TO BE THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? WHAT HAPPENED?
I seriously do not fucking understand this setting. First off, it is fucking lazy, because the retelling of the history is told by mouth, AS A STORY.
“Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called the Tearling. It was founded by a man named William Tear, a utopian who dreamed of a land of plenty for all. But ironically, the Tearling was a kingdom of scarce resources, for the British and Americans had not been fortunate in their choice of landing place."British. American. This is the motherfucking future, people. How the fuck did we get here? And more importantly. WHERE ARE WE?
Why are all technologies lost? We supposedly got to this place in an event called The Crossing. Where is this place? Are we even on Earth? Why are there so few survivors? This land is called New Europe. We have a town called New London. Did it actually pop up out of the ocean? Why was the old world destroyed? Why did we have to seek refuge in New Europe? Are we so fucking inconsistent that in all the hundreds of fucking years in which we've settled here that we have lost all the motherfucking techologies of today's time in the future. So much that we don't even have the technology for motherfucking PRINTING PRESSES? We have geneticists. But we don't have the technology to buy books.
And why are books rare? Because we motherfucking burned them for fuel when we got here. Despite the motherfucking forests of oaks that surrounds this new land, they fucking burned BOOKS for fuel.
That was what had happened to most of the books that originally came over in the British-American Crossing: the desperate had burned them for fuel or warmth.There are no doctors. There are, like, 2 doctors in the whole of fucking New London. New civilizations have come up with technology, they've been so much more innovative than this. The Medieval Ages were more advanced than the Tearling, because they don't know how to fucking make gunpowder or cannons.
Seriously. You expect us to retain absolutely fucking NOTHING of the knowledge that we have gained for all these years? Did you choose the motherfucking dumbest pieces of shits to carry over to the New World? Why didn't you choose important people, like scientists, botanists, doctors, instead of a bunch of fucking feeblewitted morons who don't know how to carry over fucking technology from the old world when you crossed over to the new. Who fucking BURN BOOKS FOR FUEL DESPITE BEING SURROUNDED BY TREES.
Fucking dystopian fail.
The Writing: Not since Charles Dickens have I read such verbosity. There is a reason why this book is so long. It is packed to the brim with the most long-winded, irrelevant description of every fucking thing in the world.
Introspection? Sure. This book has it aplenty. Let's describe every single fucking thought that Kelsea has ever fucking had in her head. Kelsea thinks. A lot. Some relevant things. Mostly very, very, very idiotic things that make no fucking different whether they were omitted or not.
Red hair was a recessive gene, and in the three centuries since the Crossing, it had bred slowly and steadily out of the population. Carlin had told Kelsea that some women, and even some men, liked to dye their hair red, since the rare commodity was always valuable. But after about an hour of sneaking looks at the guard, Kelsea became certain that she was looking at a true head of red hair. No dye was that good.Her dreams? Kelsea thinks about them. Her opinions about the men? Sure, let's have it. Kelsea's insecurity? Sure, let's have several fucking paragraphs on it. Man, her food just tastes fucking terrible tonight. Let's describe her thoughts on the venison in excruciating detail.
Dinner was venison, stringy and only barely edible after roasting over the fire. The deer must have been very old. Kelsea had seen only a few birds and squirrels on their ride through the Reddick, though the greenery was very lush; there could be no lack of water. Kelsea wanted to ask the men about the lack of animals, but she worried that it would be taken as a complaint about the meal.Man, it's a motherfucking long journey. After all, the traveling alone takes about 30% of the book. LET'S JUST DESCRIBE EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DETAIL ON IT. The houses are built with bricks. LET'S DESCRIBE THE FUCKING BRICKS IN DETAIL.
To the east, Kelsea spotted what must be the house of a noble: a high tower made of red brick. Real brick! Tearling brick was a notoriously poor building material compared to Mortmesne’s, which was made with better mortar and commanded at least a pound per kilo. Carlin had an oven made of real bricks, built for her by Barty, and Kelsea had wondered more than once whether Barty had bought the bricks off the black market from Mortmesne.DETAILS! DETAILS! DETAILS! We are fucking drowning in details. The clothes of the noblemen! Let's decribe them! One of the ladies wear a hat in the shape of a fish! Let's mention that. And while we're at it, let's make fun of her for it! WILL IT EVER STOP?!
The Guards: Not since Monty Python and the Holy Grail have there ever been such irreverent, incompetent fucking royal guards. They are the most fucking pathetic examples of soldiers I have ever fucking encountered. This is Kelsea. She is one of the last of her royal line. Her life is priceless. She is supposed to be guarded by 9 men. 9 men who are motherfucking blundering assholes because they cannot do anything right.
While they are traveling, the men get drunk and sing bawdy songs instead of securing her guard. They are completely fucking shocked that later on in the journey, they are captured.
While they are traveling, they are caught AGAIN off their guard. Kelsea is forced to flee for her life.
At the castle, while they are supposed to be watching her back. Kelsea gets stabbed---in the back.
...a bolt of pain arrowed all the way down to her toes.Later on, in the bath, Kelsea gets cornered by an assassin! She's almost fucking killed again.
WHERE ARE THE FUCKING NITWITS GUARDING HER?!
Guards?! Guards?! They are supposed to be subservient. They are supposed to be respectful. They are supposed to be odebient. They are not supposed to talk back to her. Oh, sure, they SAY they're not going to talk back to her.
He stared at her without expression. “I say nothing, Lady. That’s why I’m a Queen’s Guard.”But words mean fucking nothing. Because whatever Mace (real name Lazarus, head of Kelsea's guard) is, it's not fucking subservient. He talks down to her, as if she were an incompetent little girl (well, she is, but she is still the fucking queen). He talks back to her. He disagrees with her. When she's gravely injured, Mace nudges her by poking at her with his foot. Is this the behavior of a guard towards his queen? I don't think so.
Mace’s boot landed in the small of her back, and Kelsea bit her tongue against a scream.Kelsea: Incompetent nitwit. A heroine who is so astoundingly stupid and unprepared by her fucking mentors that she is unworthy of governing anything but a toy kingdom made of Legos.
I hope Kelsea steps on the pieces. I hope they hurt badly. I hope our aspiring queen is in pain for the torment and the headache and the hangover I experienced while reading this book about one of the most insipid heroine to ever litter the precious pages of a book.
She constantly complains about how plain she is.
But her face was as round and ruddy as a tomato, and—there was no other word for it—plain.She has the most fucking idiotic thoughts about everything and everything. No subject is too minor for her notice. The rug? Oh, it's probably made of deer hide. Spare me.
She is not a fucking queen. Her guardians are incompetent, because she has been so completely fucking sheltered from the world that she doesn't understand anything, but she still knows things. Somehow. She has never seen alcohol, yet she knows what alcohol smells like. She knows what alcoholism looks like when she sees it in a man. And she revels in being drunk, cause it's just like in a book, y'all!
Kelsea woke with an aching head and a parched mouth, but it wasn’t until breakfast that she realized it was her first hangover. Despite the discomfort, she was charmed to experience something that she’d only read about in a book. An upset stomach was a small price to pay for fiction made real.She cares SO MUCH for the fate of her people. Kelsea is so incredibly hurt that her people are being sent as slaves to Mortmesne---250 a month---that she is willing to renege on the treaty between their countries. Within hours of her arrival to the capital, Kelsea makes a heroic gesture that completely endangers the peace of two nations. She stops the shipment of slaves. She was warned. She didn't listen. She risks the lives of the entire nation for the sake of a few.
“Lady, the Mort Treaty is specific. There is no appeals process, no outside arbiter. If a single shipment fails to arrive in Demesne on time, the Mort Queen has the right to invade this country and wreak terror. I lived through the last Mort invasion, Lady, and I assure you, Mhurn wasn’t exaggerating the carnage. Before you take action, consider the consequences.”Despite being plain, Kelsea is terribly judgmental of looks. She criticizes an old, ugly woman for daring to look beautiful. She is envious of another woman's beauty, despite the fact that that woman's beauty got her raped.
Kelsea complains a lot about the extravagances at court. The pointless waste of money. So much that she is willing to waste her valuable men's time and her own resources into traveling 2 weeks to get her books from her old home. And right away. It must be done right away.
The Fetch: A criminal. The projected love interest. A Robin Hood? Not quite. You see, Robin Hood steals from the rich and actually DISTRIBUTES it to the poor. The Fetch? Nah.
“Well, he’s a hero to the common people, Lady. Every piece of rich man’s fortune lost endears him to the poor.”So, um. Exactly HOW is he the hero of the common people?
Naturally, she should turn him in. Kelsea is the queen, she should set an example to her people. Put criminals where they belong.
Kelsea took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t betray him for any number of pounds.”Emma, Emma Watson. I heard that you have signed up for this project. I adore you. You are brilliant. You are gorgeous. You are a goddess, and you have won my heart ever since you stepped onto the screens of Harry Potter, with your disapproving frown and your frizzy hair, far more beautiful than Hermione Watson could ever be. But I adored you then, I love you now, and I hope for your sake that the movie adaptation exceeds every aspect of the book, because the book itself has almost no substance to offer.
I can't even hate this book because it tries so hard. It is the equivalent of having your 6-year old niece draw a picture of you. Sure, you look like a motherfucking moose with butterfly wings for some fucking reason, but hey, it's an A for effort, right?
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected galley proof subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 21, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
Dec 19, 2013
Jan 01, 2013
Oct 29, 2013
did not like it
"We need to learn again of the hunger for Tylenols that poisoned our minds; the thirst for Cokes that weakened our bodies; the greed for MasterCards
"We need to learn again of the hunger for Tylenols that poisoned our minds; the thirst for Cokes that weakened our bodies; the greed for MasterCards that toppled our rulers. All this evil spawned from the worship of the false god Apple...”Um, excuse me? For fans of Game of Thrones? The Hunger Games? Not fucking likely. This is more like the result of feeding a copy of The Hunger Games through an industrial-sized paper shredder and mixing up the remnants with the stinking, rotting entrails of a long-deceased direwolf.
...ok, maybe not those. But one of their bigger, more threatening, less cute relatives.
The setting can only be described generously as mediocre. The heroine is a piece of fluff, so insignicant and insipid that I can't even hate her. Her internal monologue is an endless litany of anemic observations and internal monologue full of mind-boggling monotony. "I'm a Maiden! A Maiden must do this! A Maiden must do that! Woe is me! I'm a Testor! I'm such a bad Maiden!" Lol bitch plz. There is nothing about Eva that makes her a credible character, much less one capable of fulfilling the Testing process. She is untrained. She radiates wussiness. There is nothing about Eva that indicates toughness, ability, capability, and I am simply aghast at how easily she fulfils her tasks in this book.
Eva is determined. It means nothing. I'm determined to be the next Prime Minister of England (because Tom Hiddleston). I am very determined. And guess what? It means jack shit. Determination is nothing if you don't have the strength and the skills to back it up, and Eva has NOTHING with which to back up her determination to complete the Testing in memory of her brother.
And while we're counting down the crap, naturally, there's a love triangle between a dark native boy of a low social class and a perfect, high-society golden Guardian boy that goes fucking nowhere. You'll find out in the sequel!
I'm a pessimist. Some of you may secretly suspect that I'm a evil evil wicked terrible hate-filled person with blackness in her heart who thinks the majority of the people on this earth are a complete waste of air. You would be correct. With that said, I grudgingly concede the fact that humans in general are pretty fucking smart, which makes the entire premise of this stupid book absurd beyond belief. I'm a Buddhist. We believe in reincarnation. If I were destined to be reincarnated into a society such as this, I'd ask the gods to just fucking terminate my soul already. I don't want to live in a society and inhabit a body that could be so fucking gullible.
Summary: It's 200-ish years in the future? The polar caps melted, and the world is doom, doom, doomed, washed out in a ginormous flood. Billions of people have died; our current society would call it a tragedy beyond belief, a disaster, a horror unimaginable.
This moronic excuse society calls it "The Great Healing." They call themselves the people of the Aerie. I call them the New Taliban (explanation later). All remnants of modernity (our current society) is banned; Apple (the brand) is feared, reviled beyond belief as the instigator and root of all that is sinful, depraved, evil.
Viable land is only available in the North, where our current society is settled. Every 10 years, a new leader, a Chief Archon is selected to be the leader of their people through a process called Testing, and through the writing of an exemplary Chronicle. Eva and Eamon are twins; she is a Maiden, he is a Guardian, who has been training to be a Testor his entire life only to die several months before the actual Testing starts. Eva decides to perform the test in his place, despite a lifetime spent being a proper young Maiden, despite having undergone little training, despite her role she has been preparing for her entire life, as a "pretty, slender, and demure Maiden."
The Testing process can only be described as half-assed. It's a two-parter, composed of riding a sled through to the next part as fast as possible, which doesn't really seem to matter at all in the run of things because the speed doesn't seem to make a whit of a difference as long as you get to the next fucking part of the Test, and an excavation of an icy chasm in order to find a Relic. The entire thing is more luck than skill; if you happen to find a good Relic, you're golden, if not, you're shit out of luck.
Let's make this clear: the leader of the society is chosen based on the value of the Relic he or she happens to dig up. Eva's valuable contribution to society, her immensely prized Relic, the one that gets her so much praise and laudation is...
I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING
After a half-hearted testing process and the writing of a Chronicle that can only be charitably described as the type of fanfiction I wrote when I was 12, Eva succeeds far beyond her imagination. Along the way, there's some whisperings of doubts about society that's more of an afterthought than anything else. That's it. Until the sequel (no, thank you). There is no intrigue. There is little action. There is no danger. There is nothing in here remotely evocating anything similar to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones and I fucking hate books and premises that make these incredbily grandiose claims that invoke those famous books in vain.
The Setting: Fucking cheap. Bloody cheap. A well-done setting is woven into the fabrics of the story, it does not rely on a fucking TIMELINE at the beginning of the book to describe the history of the dystopian society. It does not rely on a fucking textbook recitation and monotonous incantation of text in order to tell the reader about the past.
I raise my eyes and lift my hands toward the heavens, as my father asks the Four Sacred Questions for the Feast of the Testing.It is utterly devoid of creativity, and I hate, hate, hate the use of rote "lessons" within the book to teach us about a society's past.
There is so much wrong with this book, and much of it has to do with the terrible, cheap world building. I said cheap, and I mean it. I have said it so many times in so many failed dystopian novels. The very backbone of a good dystopian novel is a credible premise, a credible society; this book fails on every single point. From a credible background to a plausible post-apocalyptic society to the setup of that society, nothing makes any bloody sense. This book doesn't build a dystopian society from the ground up, it starts with the idea of what it wants the society to be, and twists facts and events of the past around to fit its needs.
The current society is 200-something years in the future, and according to the timeline, a new religion was established some 10 years after the devastating events of the Flood. The fuck? Seriously? 10 YEARS? It takes a hell of a lot more than that to erase the memories of people, to instill within them the fact that this and that is evil, it takes hundreds of years, it takes the collective belief of everyone, I refuse to believe that the survivors are brainwashed so much that a whole new lexicon of gods and new definitions of good and evil can be established within that short of a time.
The dystopian society within the book is just terribly built. I don't even know how many fucking people there are remaining in this society. There are no customs, there are no descriptions, there is no mention of what their structure is besides that of the top people. We don't know how society works. We don't know how they live their life, day by day. We know they have a greenhouse where they grow food, but that's pretty much it. I don't know what the buildings look like, I don't know how society works, I don't know any fucking thing about this society besides the fact that it's unfair and I'm supposed to hate it because Eamon's journal mentions something vague about its falseness.
It's the fucking frozen Arctic. Right now, with all our current technology, humans still don't settle there. You know why? IT'S ONE OF THE HARSHEST TERRAIN ON EARTH. People don't settle there for a reason, few do, like the Inuits. It's a hard fucking life. You have to work your fucking ass off, hunting and gathering. If a new society fucking settles there in the future, I want to see some viable proof that their society can exist. As far as I can tell, the people in this book pulled their survival skills right out of a polar bear's ass. You see, they have ruuuuuuuules. It's the fucking New Taliban. Girls are called Maidens. They have RULES imposed on them, they have to be modest, short dresses are a no-no, if they could wear it (which they can't, cause...well, the Arctic, bitches), ever try to wear a fucking miniskirt in cold weather? If I had balls, they'd be frozen off by now and I'd be female by process of frosty castration. But yeah, this society concerns itself with stupid shitty little details like that INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON SURVIVAL.
Come, Mr. Taliban, gather me some bullshit: Mirrors? Banned! Vanity is bad!!! Tylenol? How about Tyle-no! (That's paracetamol for you UK peepz) Apple is the literal root of evil because these fucking morons think that Apple is the cause for society's downfall, and any mention of The Ebiiiiiil God Apple gets you a clutching of pearls and some swooning.
Girls and women are treated like we're fucking pussies, man. Let's get one thing straight, when you need to survive, all thoughts of gender inequalities go out the fucking window. You would think in the harsh Arctic, women would be treated equally because you would need all women to work as hard as men to gather resources, food, supplies, right? It was that way in the American West, farmers and their wives worked side by side to survive.
BZZZZZZ. WRONG. This book says "fuck you" to that concept of gender equality. Instead, it has established a rigid, structured society where women are weak, wilted, fainting fucking flowery fairies. Here are some of those fucking gems for you, according to the Bible-like rule of books, the Lex:
"The Lex clearly states that a wife follows her husband’s commands."I don't bloody think so. This society wouldn't last a day in Canada, much less the Arctic.
Stop it with the whole ice cap melting thing already, YA dystopia: Cause it ain't happening. Five minutes of research will tell you this. All that will happen when the ice caps melt is that society will have to move further inland. It's not going to be like fucking Waterworld. Billions of people are not going to die from floods, let me ease your mind on that. No worries, because we'll die of starvation, war, and disease first.
Yeah. I know humans are terrible. I know we're destroying the planet, but we didn't get this way by being fucking idiots in the past several thousand years, so don't try to sell this book's sorry ass bullshit excuse of a society on me.
Humans are some puny-ass fucking creatures with neither extra horns nor legs or bulked up strength; pitch us against a hippo or a ginormous predator and chances are in favor of the thing with teeth and horns and a lot of fucking anger at the tasty snack that has invaded its personal space. But goddamn it, we have a huge brain capable of a tremendous amount of intellect, capable of higher thinking and analytical skills (even if such capacities go completely unused in some people. I don't want to name names, but their names rhyme with Lardashian). It's worked out so well that in nary a few thousand years, we've gone from Yabba-Dabba-Dooing cavemen to being on the verge of destroying entire ecosystems and bringing forth another Ice Age before it's due to naturally happen. So don't sell me on the idiotic premise of this book.
I can't help but feel like this book would have been better if it were rebranded and resold as a satire. Maybe it is a satire. Maybe I'm wrong all along. ...more
Notes are private!
Dec 12, 2013
Dec 13, 2013
Dec 12, 2013
Mar 18, 2014
Mar 18, 2014
did not like it
Actual rating: 1.5
Even though I have way more important things to be concerned with than a kiss, that moment is replaying itself over and over againActual rating: 1.5
Even though I have way more important things to be concerned with than a kiss, that moment is replaying itself over and over again in my thoughts.Oh, for fuck's sakes, girl. Get your head together.
This was not an outrageously terrible book, but it was completely insipid. At no point in the book did I ever find the main character to be anything other than incompetent and unreasonable. The plot leaves much to be desired, mainly because the main character's actions and thoughts make little sense, the main character has these wild suspicions, and naturally, the book is written in a way to make the events unfold to her advantage, but to the reader, it is completely improbable.
The main character is a girl who is helpless, who gets pulled in easily, who believes in mad conspiracy theories. Regan is a girl who would overthrow a lifetime of friendship and the bonds of family for a handsome stranger. Needless to say, there is insta-love and a love triangle, the most clichéd one in the world, between a handsome, golden-haired best friend and a dark, mysterious stranger whom she is determined to trust against all reason.
Is world building completely optional in YA dystopia these days? Whatever happened to weaving together an interesting, plausible background? You can't just throw terms at me and expect me to know what it is. You can't just tell me that this is how the futuristic US is without telling me how we got to this point. Where's the context?! The "hacking" is completely fucking dumb. The "future" is completely unexplained.
The rest of my fellow travelers are all someplace else—a world with no pain, no concerns, and no stress; an enchanting, make-believe world that exists solely in their minds.The drug of the future is not cocaine, it's not heroin, it's not methamphetamine. It is Elusion. Elusion is a technology invented by Regan Welch's late father, a technology that transports the user to a virtual world, free of pain, full of bliss. Serotonin levels in the brain are enhanced. It creates a feeling of euphoria in an enchantingly beautiful world, all within one's mind. It can create numerous scenarios, from a Thai resort paradise, to outer space.
The planets, moons, and stars—is completely astounding. Luminous yellows, greens, and reds come together like large blotches of oil paint mixing together on a blue-black canvas. Pinpricks of glowing white light are scattered everywhere.It is beautiful...and it is highly addictive.
Regan's childhood best friend, Patrick, is now in charge of developing the technology, and he is now prepared to launch the Elusion app to the entire United States. Not everyone is happy about this. There are rumors of its dangers, an outspoken vlogger has long spouted conspiracy theories about Elusion.
“She said that there’s an object or something inside the program that’s threatening users’ lives.”And this vlogger is not alone. At a party, Regan meets a tall, handsome stranger.
His sandy-colored hair is cut close to his scalp, making his cheekbones stand out as much as his amber-tinted eyes.Josh isn't a stranger to Patrick. They clearly have a bad history together, Josh claims that Patrick is up to something bad. Patrick says Regan can't trust Josh. It's their words against each other.
Something strange is going on with Elusion technology, no doubt about that, and Patrick wants Regan to keep quiet about it until he figures it out.
And don’t tell anyone what happened until I figure things out—not even your mom. You have to promise me.”Josh thinks Patrick is hiding a secret that could help him find his sister. He wants to know the secret.
[Josh] exhales and says, “Tell me everything.”Who can Regan trust?!11!?!one! Is it her best friend, the one with whom she shared entire life, an entire childhood?
When Patrick and I were in elementary school, my father used to spoil us with treats from Mo’s every Friday. After our hands became sticky with frosting or glaze, Patrick would chase me around my house, trying to tickle me.Or will she trust the handsome stranger, the one who almost killed a man?!
“He hit a guy and got sent to military school. I know. He told me.”Hit a guy. Killed someone. Same thing, really. The two words are like right next to each other on the keyboard.
What Setting?: There is absolutely no background in this book. The book takes place in Detroit. For those of you not living in the US, Detroit is like the toilet seat of America. It is a horribly broken city. It is filled with slums, gangs, there is a lot of racial tension. There are skyscrapers, yeah, but what you don't see is that most of the skyscrapers and business buildings are abandoned. The city is bankrupt. It currently looks like this.
So how the fuck did we get from that, to...this.
I gaze through the slight film of mildew covering the glass surface, looking out at Detroit’s industrial skyline on the other side of the channel. I can actually make out all the architectural details of the high-rises—the antiquated neo-Gothic and art deco designs mixed in with more modern cylinder-style layouts; the narrow spires and old Corinthian columns and pilasters.This book takes place in the future. We don't know how far in the future. We don't know how we got here. We don't know what the fuck Florapetro is. Florapetro. Florapetro. Florapetro. The word is constantly mentioned throughout the book, yet there's not an entirely clear explanation to what it actually is. I'm tempted to think it's some kind of biofuel based on how it was presented, but dude, if you're going to constantly refer to something polluting the air and powering cars, I'd like a little fucking background. We have acid rain. The air quality is so bad that people are forced to wear O2 masks whenever they're outside.
It’s a negative ten, which means this area is a currently a red zone, so O2 shields are highly recommended.HOW DID IT GET TO THIS POINT, WILL SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME SOME FUCKING BACKGROUND?
The H4X0RS: The futuristic technology is just implausible. So let's see, we have the Elusion technology broadcasted through a visor, which plugs into your brain waves and stimulates your brain chemistry so that you can be wholly immersed into a virtual world...and we still have some ancient-ass computing technology without much explanation on how it's updated? Motherboards, servers, firewalls. Awesome, but we have all that right NOW.
This book's technology is completely unimpressive. For one thing, people still watch movies through AVI files and music through WAVs. That's fine, these technology are like paper. They're essential. What should have made them realistic and feel believable in a futuristic setting such as this needs work. It's like paper, we will always use paper to write on, but 1000 years ago, did we have ballpoint pens with which to write on them? No! Give me some technology update. Make up something! Don't give me some ancient technology and expect me to believe that it's the future!
Oh, and a firewall? It's an actual fucking wall. That eats people.
I watch, helpless, frozen in place as he is taken away from me, sucked into the fuzzy gray wall as though he is being eaten alive by an insidious monster.Hacking? Oh my god. This is the TV version of hacking. The completely unrealistic version of hacking when a few fucking commands of code will get you into a top-secret security system.
-Icon is up.* because 1337 sp34k totally works for HACKING. I don't think so...
Regan: Regan isn't the type of person I want to be a friend, or a family member. For one thing, she has no fucking loyalty. She is fuckle as fuck. She is the type of person who will allow herself to be won over by a pretty face, by the flutterings of her own heart. This is insta-love at its mindless, between Regan and Josh.
I have the exact same stunned yet overstimulated feeling I had after the demonstration at Orexis yesterday. My fingers are hot and tingling, like I just burned them on a boiling kettle. I’m standing here, staring at him again, wondering why I find it so hard to say something, or even move.Unlike the mysterious Josh, Regan has known Patrick her entire life. They grew up together, Patrick was her father's protegé. They have laughed together, they've shared secrets. They are best friends. Regan starts feelings...suspicious towards Patrick, and from then on, it's all downhill. Everything Patrick does is interpreted to be a sign of DOOM, no matter how innocuous. She is determined to find faults with everything Patrick does, she never listens to her instincts about him.
But I plant my feet firmly on the floor, refusing to give in to these feelings of doubt. As much as I care about Patrick I simply don’t think I can trust him to tell me what’s going on.Whereas the beloved Josh, the stranger whom she barely knows, is to be trusted against all reason. His word is her command.
Josh reaches into his pocket and pulls out his tab, holding it firmly in his hand and gazing at me as if he’s standing by for an order. “I think I could track one down in a few hours.”She goes against her own instincts. Everything Josh does is interpreted in a good light. Nothing seems suspicious, Josh can explain away anything, and Regan will buy his word.
“He’s using your father’s computer.” Josh finishes my sentence, his eyes brightening. “A three-panel quantum with touch recognition. Am I right?”Josh could be a killer. Regan refuses to believe it.
He pushes up his sleeves, and I take a nice, long look at his toned forearms and large hands. I see what he’s getting at, but again, it’s hard to picture Josh as a threat, even after what he’s told me about his past.Regan is absolutely determined to paint Patrick in a bad light and I just can't see it. I can't see the evidence to distrust Patrick. Patrick's explanations make perfect sense to me, and yet Regan sees it as an attempt of his to turn her against Josh.
“Yeah, like the second he feels I’m not taking him seriously, he goes and befriends you. Don’t you think that’s a little suspicious?”Everything Patrick does is viewed as a "blatant manipulation." Uh, not to me.
Regan's priorities are just fucked up. She and Josh mess up a mission because they kissed, and Regan is more concerned about his feelings towards the kiss than the fact that their mission failed.
The message of this book: it's fine to trust a stranger if he's good-looking.
Best of all, I have someone by my side. Someone who I really want to trust—and who looks amazing in a thick winter coat....more
Notes are private!
Mar 30, 2014
Mar 30, 2014
Nov 25, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
Sep 17, 2013
did not like it
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but so
This book is plagued with so many problems, I hardly know where to begin. Ms. de la Cruz is an extremely prolific author, and a successful one, but sometimes I think that there is a problem with quantity over quality.
This book was such an utter mess. The plot is barely held together by the weakest of smear from a grade-school quality glue stick. The world building is slapdash, haphazard, nonsensical, inconsistent. The characters are devoid of personality and emotion.
There are pirates, small child-size ice men "smallmen," sylphs, drau, drakon (dragons), zombies (called "thrillers," after the Michael Jackson song *facepalm*), banshee-like "wailers," "mages," "warlocks." Pretty much the only things missing in this mishmash mess of a quasi-dystopian, pseudo-sci-fi, fucked-up fantasy are vampires, werewolves, and unicorns.
Contrary to popular beliefs, I don't enjoy giving out 1-star-ratings. I absolutely hate writing reviews for books to which I give a "1," because generally, it means there are so many problems that I hardly know where to start. It's hard for me to gather my thoughts and write a coherent review with everything that I find to be lacking. It's a strain on my nerves, it's stressful, and it pisses me off to have to revisit a book that I do not enjoy. I don't give a book a 1-star unless I feel it's truly deserved, and I feel that this book is worthy of my low rating (or unworthy, if you would).
Summary: The world is covered in ice after some random events (the Great Wars, the Black Flood, the Big Freeze). Las Vegas is now one of the last cities left standing. Food is scarce, water is a delicacy. There are creatures of magic that emerged after the ice came. There are child soldiers. Adults are as rare as unicorns because they're all dead. Anyone who lives to be 30 is considered ancient.
Natasha Kestal (Nat) is a 16-year old girl, working as a blackjack dealer. Ryan Wesson (Wes) is a "runner," a mercenary, a wizened old ex-Marine Sergeant at the ripe old age of---wait for it---16. He runs a sought-after mercenary team, composed of a pair of teenaged brothers (Zedric and Daran), Shakes, a "scruffy, goateed beanpole of a soldier," and an idiot kid of 13, Farouk. The KONY of the future.
Natalie randomly acquires a jewel which supposedly contains a map (HOW?!) to the fabled Blue. "Blue" is supposed to be a land where the water is not poisoned, where the sun still shines. She enlists Wes' aid, despite having no reason to trust him, and off they go, across the icy land and uh...sea.
Inconsistent world building: Absolutely terrible. It is vague, it is inconsistent, it simply makes no sense. I don't even know where to start, because this new icy dystopian world is so poorly built. The background is unbelievably vague. There are wars, there are flooding, there's freezing. No details whatsoever. Everything comes out of fucking nowhere. Las Vegas stands, most other cities have failed. Somehow, California and New York have been washed away, yet the team is able to visit Korea Town...in formerly Los Angeles, California.
There's a horrifying lack of resources. Citizens can't even afford water. Water is a luxury. People drink a mixture called "Nutri" instead. Think of it as Ensure, for the people. It's probably better than Soylent, but not by much. In the middle of all this shortage, in the middle of a fucking frozen wasteland, somehow people still manage to find the time to fucking gamble. In the middle of a starvation crisis, people still have the emergy and power and resource to breed organic cows and Wagyu to feed the privileged few. And it is a FEW, because the vast majority of the people are so fucking poor and deprived that they have to depend on the government for the very basic of food. Which is again, barely food. Think of it as a mixture of chemicals and nutrients, the very basics of what is necessary for the human body to survive. And we have fucking 5-star restaurants catering to the few.
In the past, salt was as expensive as gold. Apparently, it once again becomes a valuable commodity in the future, because in this book, salt (sea salt: fleur de sel) is as rare as diamonds. The fact that the human body requires salt to live? Please, minor details, right? A handful of salt is almost enough to buy a fucking ship.
“This is the real treasure.” Nat placed a small velvet pouch on the table. She pulled the string and showed him what was inside: tiny crystals that sparkled in the light, bright as diamonds.I should start stockpiling salt. Or not, since I probably have enough in my pantry right now to buy all of California and probably some parts of Canada. Actually, most of Canada.
Practically everyone are children. Teenagers. With the world-weary air of ones decades older. Wes' crew, consisting of the various teenagers, have the air of either battle-worn soldiers from WWII and talk like they're in the Italian Mafia of the 1920s. They call Wes "boss."
We are extremely short of resources, yet we have the power and the fuel to have drag races in the streets of Las Vegas. And they travel across the frozen wasteland on a Hummer. Where the fuck are those gas stations, right? OH, THEY DON'T EXIST. Hmm...Hummers of the future must run on fucking air.
A few kids in a truck manage to beat down 4 heavily armored tanks.
For some fucking reason, magical creatures just emerge right the fuck out of nowhere after the ice come. Magical children with light-colored eyes are born. They have the power to make illusions, to mind control.
Zilch. Zero. No explanation whatsoever. In the middle of our adventure, random ass magical creatures appear out of nowhere to interrupt things. We get zombie attacks. We get polar bear attacks. We get wailers. We get dragons. The use of magical beings is just ludicrous. They're a plot device to make things more interesting. The magical aspects of this story never feel like they belong in the book.
Despite the fact that all the kids are somehow workers or soldiers or homeless or mercenaries, Nat has attended school. She's learned about Chernobyl. I don't know how they manage to be in school, or where they find the time, because the world is run by children.
Wes is uneducated. He can't read. But in the next paragraph, he reads the name of an author right off a book Nat is reading. And he's able to identify a label written in French for some reason.
And speaking of reading, the written English language hardly exists anymore, there is only "Textlish".
The latest RBEs, or “Reading-Based Entertainment,” were all composed in textlish, but Nat couldn’t quite get excited by a story called XLNT <3 LULZ.People actually SPEAK textlish.
The slavers’ language sounded brutal to her ear, a corruption, all consonants and no vowels. Then she realized they were actually speaking textlish, a language that was only designed to be written, not spokenAnd rest assured, you will be happy to know there is a thriving industry of pop music, even in the dystopian future when everyone is poor and hungry as fuck. Gooooooo Britney!
Inconsistent plot, inconsistent characters, inconsistent romance: I usually go into details, with very specific supporting examples, but I'm just all worn out by now. I don't have the energy for a detailed analysis of their inconsistencies. Here is a rough version. Nat is stupid as fuck. She meets Wes for the first time in a situation when they both believe the other is tricking them. Then she decides to entrust her life to a bunch of mercenaries to travel across the country to some mythical land despite not knowing them at all, despite their initially distrustful encounter.
Nat's reaction to Wes is so dumb. The second time she meets him, she didn't know "whether she wanted to slap him or kiss him." That just makes no fucking sense to me whatsoever, given the context. Natalie's powers are so completely out of nowhere, so completely random, I don't even know what to make of them. She can move objects. She can make a gust of wind blow. She can push people back. Like everything else in the book, there is just no explanation given for any power of hers.
For a hardened ex-Marine, Wes is really, really soft. His thoughts run along the line of "I shouldn't trust her. But she's so pretty. I need to get the map from her. But she's so lovely! I need to get my team fed and safe. But Nat's hair is so soft!" Literally. He cannot stop thinking about how pretty pretty pretty Nat is.
Despite the fact that the fabled "Anaximander's Map," and the land of the Blue is the driving point of the book and our characters' mission, it plays a surprisingly tiny role in the book overall. Besides a few mention of "WE WANT TO GO TO THE BLUE," the map is not explained at all, and HOW it came to be in Natalie's hands is just so completely random that I cannot believe it. Nat literally has it handed to her.
I'm just so tired of this book, and I don't want to continue writing this review. Screw this book. I wish I could have my 2 hours back. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 07, 2013
Nov 12, 2013
Nov 07, 2013
Feb 04, 2014
Feb 04, 2014
it was ok
“How long do you think you can live like this? How long can you dance and twirl in pretty dresses knowing that people are starving and dying?”
“How long do you think you can live like this? How long can you dance and twirl in pretty dresses knowing that people are starving and dying?”This book was not terrible, but the main character is frilly, the plot itself is fluffy, and the overall attitude of the book feels contrived and insincere.
It's like...Ivanka Trump. Daughter of millionaire/billionaire (depending on how the market is performing) Donald Trump. A nice enough woman, for sure, but it doesn't feel completely sincere when she talks about caring about the underprivileged, poor classes who can barely put food on their plate. This book is inoffensive, but the underlying plot of a wealthy debutante caring about the destitute lower class feels extremely artificial and completely secondary to the emotional flutterings of Madeleine's heart.
The romance...I don't even know how to describe it. It's not a love triangle so much as it is a love...um. Square? Dodecahedron?
I don't know if there is a geometric shape adequate for describing the mess of a romance within this book. Let's just say B likes A, E likes A, F likes A, but B is dating C. C is dating B, but might be involved with X. I can probably draw a shape out of that entire mess of a relationship, but it's close to midnight, and I can't be fucked to think mathematically.
Fucking achy breaky heart, man.
The Summary: In a nutshell, it is the story of a poor-little-rich-girl in the dystopian United States, circa 2300 A.D., who just wants to have her cake and eat it, too.
Madeline Landry is the 1%.
She is the heir to her family, one of the gentry, one of the wealthiest in what's left of the United States after the war. Others lead a life of abject poverty, Madeleine spends her days reading, learning, attending balls, tea parties, and preparing for her debut in society, after which she will find a rich husband and take over the Landry family business. It will be a life of gentle luxury.
She doesn't want it. Madeleine wants to go to university, a pathway that's not open to her because she is the sole heir to her family. Her is a life of duty and privilege, as her father points out to her.
“Do you not see that you will be the mistress of this house and of your marriage? That whoever you marry will be eternally grateful to you for your condescension in letting him live in your house? You will join the ranks of the Uprisen, Madeline, and your children will bear the Landry look, not that of your husband’s. I am not condemning you to a life of vassalage, but a life of leadership."Madeleine doesn't see it that way, but she doesn't have much of a choice.
At a ball, Madeleine's friend Cara is attacked in a garden, she accuses a Rootless man, the lowest caste in society, of attacking her. The Rootless have always been persecuted in the new United States, and this has increased further scrunity upon them.
At the same ball, Madeleine meets David Dana. A wealthy young heir from a prestigious family, he is seen as a prized catch for Madeleine. David and Madeleine instantly connect. Despite her best intentions, Madeleine finds herself falling for him.
Whatever wall I had been holding against him fell away, but I steeled myself against that smile, against that warm hand, against the flight of fancy on the velvet grass. I refused to be the kind of star-crossed girl who falls in love with the eager knight.David, however, is not quite so pure with his intentions towards her.
One day, Madeleine finds herself
The Rootless are tired of being powerless, they want a rebellion. Amidst her balls and tea parties, Madeleine finds herself involved with their cause.
The Plot: Completely underwhelming. The main story got lost between all the society gossip
“I have heard they are combining his going-away ball with Cara’s debut.” The bitterness in her voice was unmistakable.Not to mention all the afternoon teas. The dinner parties. The balls. All the extravagances of the upper crust.
The dessert table was crowned with a giant spun sugar swan, sitting serenely in a lake of taro ice cream, kept cold and solid by a hidden nuclear-powered freezer underneath the tablecloth. Waiters circled the room with aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres. A few hours from now, their trays would be loaded with cigars, cigarettes, and sake.Madeleine's involvement in this "resistance," seems forced, and the resistance plot seems completely secondary to the twists within Madeleine's heart.
The Setting: Piss poor. Incredibly indredulous.
1. The War With China - WHAT? This book feeds on our currentfear that Big Bad China is going to invade us, and it did so in a manner that's just vague as all fuck. China attacked the US. The end. That's pretty much it. There are no details. War with China, war among ourselves, some vague-ass shit about shortage of resources and some recycled old tripe about OH FLOODING IN THE COASTAL REGIONS and OH SHIT CLIMATE CHANGE THE ICE AGE IS ALMOST HERE OH MOTHER OF GOD JESUS CHRIST IN HEAVEN SAVE US ALL.
That's it. Nothing resembling verisimilitude.
2. DEBUTANTES AND DRESSES, OH MY! I can't really say I understand this dystopian world. It is around the year 2300, 200 years ago, there was a big war in which China and its allies attacked the United States. Supposedly, the boundaries between the rich and the poor were erased
The rich and the poor temporarily forgot their fight with each other and united to defend themselves....Leaving...an even bigger delineation between classes? WHAT?
The boundaries of race and gender and religion fell away as class became the most important delineator in society.I can't say I completely understand how the fuck this works, mainly because it's the United States. One of the American ideal is the rejection of a rigid class structure, that of nobility, that of lords and ladies and kinds, that's one of the reason why we rejected England's class structure. SO WHY THE FUCK DID WE GO BACK TO IT?!
It's the fucking future, we have a shortage in resource, and all of a sudden, we have the Gentry. A group of more or less, ultra-rich nobility who have the time and resources to devote to having debutante balls for their sons and daughters. They do absolutely nothing to maintain that wealth, none of the people in the book have actual jobs. They rely solely on the labor of the lower classes, specifically The Rootless.
3. Nuclear WHAT?: This world of the future rely on nuclear technology. I can't understand it, and it is fucking dumb. Madeleine's family got rich through the invention of a box of nuclear technology that requires extensive maintenance. Electricity and solar power is hardly used.
Strange to think that two or three hundred years ago, people still burned coal and gas for electricity, and that it took something as cataclysmic as the Eastern invasion and the ensuing treaty barring carbon emissions and oil trading to spark the new technology.The hallmark of the upper class is the use of nuclear technology. I don't fucking get it.
Power generation quickly became the delineator of class. Wind power, with its industrial nature, took root among the poor, with homemade turbines decorating every tiny house, factory, and small farm. The middle class favored solar power because it was easy to maintain, reliable, and more discreet than the noisy turbines. The nuclear charge—portable and immensely powerful—became the favorite of the rich, but the raw materials needed to produce it was rare, and by ten or fifteen years after the Last War, the gentry alone could afford to purchase the charges.Forgive me if I'm nitpicky, but what the FUCK is wrong with electricty? It is more or less clean, a hell of a lot cleaner than nuclear energy. It can be generated through STEAM, it can be generated through water turbines. SO WHY THE FUCK DO WE NEED FUCKING NUCLEAR ENERGY.
4. A CASTE SYSTEM!: Especially when said nuclear technology comes at the cost of an entire group of people. The Rootless. You know how in India they have a caste called the Untouchables, for people who are so low in society, society ignores them, shuns then and pretend they don't exist, they're lower than dirty? That is the Rootless.
They are responsible for taking care of these nuclear boxes. They suffer for it. They have no power, they suffer tremendous amount of injustice. They lack food, they lack water. They are the lowest of the low in terms of castes. And they are responsible for the most powerful technology upon which the rich are dependent.
As the caste in charge of handling the nuclear material that powered our lives, they were both vital to the gentry way of life and an ever-present liability.As the caste in charge of handling the nuclear material that powered our lives, they were both vital to the gentry way of life and an ever-present liability.
The point in the book is that the Rootless are trying to rebel. I know how they can successfully rebel. They maintain all the nuclear boxes. By simply striking and refusing to work on these nuclear boxes, they will be immediately successful because nobody else will do the fucking job.
Jesus fucking Christ. The entire book is devoted to this when the rebellion could have been THAT simple.
The Romance: My fucking head. So Madeleine likes David.
Our eyes met across the room, and I shivered, because suddenly not caring about David Dana seemed unimportant---impossible. I wanted to go talk to him. I wanted to touch him. I wanted to dance with him in the cloud of smoke and music.Only David has feelings for Cara.
My stomach churned every time he pulled her closer, his hand so low on her waist that his fingertips brushed her bustle. Once, a slender lock of hair fell into her face and he reached to tuck it behind her ear.David flaunts his relationship with Cara in front of Madeleine's face.
David reached up to touch Cara’s face, his hand moving her hair back. His fingers brushed her cheek in a gesture so tender and comforting that everything in me boiled in a furious black vacuum.Only Madeleine can't stop caring about him. She talks big, really big. It's like she almost means it.
“You’ve treated me like I don’t matter, like I’m perfectly willing to have my feelings trampled on a ballroom floor while you pursue whomever you please. Let me tell you one thing, David Dana, it won’t happen again. I won’t watch you kiss Cara and then saunter back to me with more flirting and more lies. I’m done hoping for something you are clearly too selfish to give.”Only she doesn't.
I want him to go.Meanwhile, there's a handsome stranger. A jovial young man with hair like fire. One who thinks Madeleine deserves more than the life of a pampered princess.
The man turned and looked at me. “In my part of town, women are equals. We don’t put them on pedestals, and we don’t make them do our laundry or wash our dishes. We think of them as partners. Not princesses.”And still another, a handsome young officer with eyes only for Madeleine.
I could feel him looking at me. Was he thinking about marriage? With me? I examined my cards to avoid looking at him. That was impossible. We had only just met.Whomever will Madeleine fucking choose? The asshat who spurns her? The wonderful young man who adores her?
You know who she picks. ...more
Notes are private!
Feb 08, 2014
Feb 10, 2014
Nov 03, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
Dec 26, 2013
did not like it
This is a cheap designer knockoff of the X-Men series, with none of the complexity, none of the compelling social issues, and a completely preposterou
This is a cheap designer knockoff of the X-Men series, with none of the complexity, none of the compelling social issues, and a completely preposterous faux-dystopian world. Instead of the jaw-dropping skills of the X-Men, we have a completely lackluster cast of so-called mutants with the combined powers of lulling me the fuck to sleep. There is rampant girl-on-girl hate and passive-aggressive criticism on provovative dress. There is a special, special girl.
“You’re so much more extraordinary than you give yourself credit for. And I’m not just talking about your mind. Your body too.”There is thinly veiled slut-shaming, even to one's supposedly beloved little sister.
Shaming your 13-year old baby sister for the way she dresses? For her beauty? For the fact that she attracts men? How fucking vile can you get?
Micah gives her a smile and Dyl returns the favor. Like a prize racehorse, she’s even showing teeth in perfect, pearly order. She’s passing with flying colors.Beauty is not a fucking sin. It is not evil to be lovely.
Beauty. Dyl’s worth is no longer in her looks, it’s in this strand of hair. And I’ll use my own, plain, unspectacular self to help her.It is not immoral to attract attention. Beauty should not be looked upon as a curse, a scarlet letter, a girl is not shameful because of her looks. A girl should not be ashamed for the fact that she attracts the attention of others. What I hate about this book is that the fact that beauty is looked down as almost impure. Ugliness, plainness is seen as a virtue within its book, at the price of demeaning the other female characters who happen to be beautiful. The main character, Zelia, constantly highlights her own ordinariness, her own plainness, her own diminutive stature, which is more boyish than Venus de Milo, as the virtuous Puritan ideal---with the underlying, unsaid message that it is better to be righteous and homely than beautiful and innately slutty.
I’m a total embarrassment. My refusal to wear makeup, nice shoes, or tight clothes. My penchant for getting excited over CellTech News, my favorite holo channel. My endless nagging about her flashy dresses and too-shiny lipstick.Sluttiness is, of course, defined by the way you dress. A girl and another girl cannot exist in the same space without cat fighting. Fuck that shit. Seriously, fuck that shit.
I point to myself and silently mouth the words What did I do? to Wilbert.A beautiful girl cannot open her mouth without uttering something completely and unnecessarily sexual and provocative.Fuck slut shaming. I mean, really. You cannot judge a person by the way they look. You cannot judge a girl by the way she dresses.
I’m not shocked by the fact she’s wearing the latest fashion from Hookers-R-Us. It’s her face.Screw anyone who thinks a girl is a bitch, is a slut, is a fucking whore because she dresses provocatively. I live in Southern California. I wear short shorts like they are going out of fashion. I wear the tiniest of miniskirts. I wear crop tops. I'm also college-educated. I'm also fucking smart. I'm also fucking well-read and you better believe that it pisses the bloody hell out of me to read snide comments coming from a book's female narrator on the appearance of a possible female friend, making everything she does sexual.
Vera is on my floor, staring at her crotch.Making everything she wears sexual. And making judgments on---my fucking god---her own BABY SISTER.
There is a baffling romance that comes out of the blue, and a bewildering attempt at a love triangle that has Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops shaking their heads, simultaneously saying "Get the hell out of my face."
There will always be people who choose to dismiss the significance of comics as an art form. There will always be those who will laugh at what they see as a juvenile form of books, they will say that comics are devoid of complexity. They are wrong. The X-Men series addresses so many issues superbly, among them, the moral, social, and ethical implications of the existence of mutants among mankind, the difficulties of growing up as a mutant. This book almost completely ignores the multiple ramifications of the existence of mutants, instead choosing to focus on the yawn-inducing adventures of a TSTL, vapid, judgmental girl.
Summary: Zelia and her younger sister, Dylia, live with their widowed father in a baffling futuristic version of the US that makes absolutely no sense. Zelia had a conditon at birth, known as Ondine's Curse. She cannot breathe subconsciously. She has to make an effort at it. Zelia has to consciously remember how to breathe. In. Out. In. Out.
There is a medical device that Zelia can wear that aids her in breathing. Zelia doesn't fucking wear it most of the time because it makes her feel uncomfortable. You know what also feels uncomfortable? The lack of oxygen to your fucking brain, you dumb twit.
In this version of the future, they have automated cars. Magpods. You can program it. It will drives for you. Zelia take her family out for a drive. She drives manually, because fuck techology, she's fucking hipster like that. She gets into a car accident. Her father dies. Her family falls apart. Zelia and her sister are now subject to the foster system.
Only it doesn't quite work that way. Instead of being assigned to a family, the sisters undergo a Testing. The social worker, Micah, assigned to her case know her and her very very illegal younger sister's bra sizes. Not fucking creepy at all. The next thing you know, Dylia is kidnapped, and the system is telling Zelia that she does not have a sister, that her sister is not registered in the system, that her sister does not exist. Zelia herself gets assigned a foster mom who's Professor X's cousin's sister's half sister twice removed, for all of her effectiveness. She takes Zelia to the Carus House, a home for foster children, where they meet a bunch of mutants who are roughly as threatening as my stuffed spider.
(His name's Webby. He's a really cute stuffed spider)
There's a boy with two heads, a watered-down version of Beast. There's a girl, a really gorgeous girl named Vera, with the body of a Victoria's Secret Model and the sexual thirst of a 14-year old boy left rampant in the Playboy mansion.
She does something with plants. Like grow them or something. So useful. SO USEFUL.
There's a really, really nice boy with 4 arms. That's pretty much all he has. There's a motherfucking douchewaffle named Cy whose only known skill is to regenerate his body so fucking fast that he can have different full body tattoos eeeeeeevery fucking day!
The tattoos. No wonder they keep changing. His body must metabolize the ink so fast that he gets a clean slate every day.Now I ain't saying he's an asshat, but...
Cy’s not done. He spits on the floor again. “She’s damaged goods.”Weeeeeeell. Maybe he's got different sides to his personality. Maybe he has a heightened appreciation for art.
It’s a painting of a dismembered hand, fingers stretching to extremes, but cut off at the wrist, leaning against the wall. The one next to it shows a long bone, still smeared with blood, floating in the same pale blue void the hand is in.Oh, no, that's not creepy at all. I would never dream of imagining that someone with an obsession for excessive piercings, a love of bloody art, and an appreciation for self-mutilation might hurt me in the least. Totally innocent. The fact that Cy has paintings of gore and blood and dismemberment doesn't mean that he's not a secretly sensitive soul at heart. He's sooooooooo not a psychopath or anything.
*singsong* Guess who's the projected love interest!!!!! ^_^ Fucking please.
Zelia is determined to find out what happens to her sister. It's the most fun investigation ever because Zelia gets to go fucking clubbing in the slaughterhouse district, man! Then later on, she gets to drive a Porsche. Then later on she gets to make out with the yummy Cy, and yummy?! I mean yummy! I mean his eyes, his eyes!
It warms his slate eyes just a touch, like cold butter that softens after landing on warm toast.One glance into those deadly attractive eyes and Zelia is toast. ^_^
Oh, Zelia has a sister who's disappeared. Right.
The Setting: The mutants do not play a credible role in the book. Their banishment from the society is not a imminent threat, it doesn't feel real. There is no danger. There is social isolation, not ostracization, because there is almost no example of ostracization in the book regarding the treatment of mutants besides hearsay.
The world building is fucking lazy and completely devoid of imagination and sense. Tell me if this makes any damn sense to you. The United States no longer exists. States have seceded. SERIOUSLY? Let's get one thing straight. It's not fucking easy to secede. Here's an imagined map of what would happen if states had been successful in seceding. The point is that it's fucking incredible, guys. Even more so is the fact that states are combined. We have Neia (Nebraska and Iowa), Okks, Ilmo, Alms. Alaska is its own country, having seceded 4 years ago.
Some States have their own dress codes. Their own DRESS CODES. Some states have mandatory uniforms for men and women.
Seriously, do you? Do you think that in a country where even a school uniform becomes a controversial issue, that somehow magically in the future, we become fucking robots who would agree to a Moral Code and the wearing of adult uniforms? Do you fucking believe that marriage will be abolished, replaced by a term called "legal fusion" when the institution of marriage has been in existence for, I don't know. Like all of humanity? Do you really think our morals, our beliefs, our willingness to lie down and take governmental control on all fucking fours is credible? Really? Do you? If you don't have a problem with the willing suspension of disbelief in order to mindlessly accept a convoluted dystopian future, this book is for you. I cannot accept this.
This futuristic US does not have blue sky. We have no sunshine. We have no skies, because it is all covered up by something called an "agriplane." Because, surely, there is no fucking farmland to be had in the futuristic Kansas and Nebraska, also known as America's Heartland, the main manufacturing and farming region in the United States, at all.
Totally believable. I don't fucking think so.
The Romance: Cy fucking hates Zelia. He belittles her. He calls her names. She faints. He kisses her. She faints into his arms (AGAIN!). They play tonsil hockey.
“Oh, you know. After you passed out, Cy knocked us out of the way to give you mouth-to-mouth. He freaking French-kissed you all the way home, in the name of saving your life. What a goddamned romantic. I had no idea he had it in him.”Out of fucking nowhere, they fall in love.
Boyfriend is too limited a term for what Cy has become to me. Water? Oxygen? That might do.WHAT? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?! And that fucking love triangle. So weak it's not even funny. It shouldn't have existed. Like this book.
I rev the engine afresh, and the char thrusts ahead with a roar. The speed is therapeutic, but does nothing to erase the memory of two very different kisses....more
Notes are private!
Jan 05, 2014
Jan 06, 2014
Oct 19, 2013
Jan 28, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
it was ok
"I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS DIFFERENT."I groaned out loud as I read the very first sentence of the narrative.
Davy is the picture perfect spoiled, pampere
"I ALWAYS KNEW I WAS DIFFERENT."I groaned out loud as I read the very first sentence of the narrative.
Davy is the picture perfect spoiled, pampered princess who is firmly ensconced in her fluffy, warm cocoon of a life. It took no less than the jaws of life to knock her off the fucking pedestal on which she has planted her throne.
This book suffers from two main things: one of the most unconvincing premises I have ever read in a book that aspires to be a dystopia, and a heroine with whom I found hard so sympathize due to her own overwhelming insistence that she is special. This book completely fails at explaining Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, which is completely ludicrous since it is the very backbone of the book, and the heroine is the most annoyingly perfect I have ever read. Boy slove her. Girls want to be her. She is wealthy. She is adored by family, friends, a miniture pillar of the community. Early acceptance to Juilliard? Boom. Perfect boyfriend? Boom.
I hate perfection. I completely loathe perfection. I cannot relate to perfection. If I wanted perfection, I would gaze upon Tom Hiddleson's face for eternity. I do not want to read about a perfect character. I do not want to hear a character emphasize, for the umpteenth time, that she is different, that she is special. We are all fucking special, get over it. This book is about DNA and how certain indications within a person's DNA foretells a person's homocidal tendencies.
Special, huh? Special DNA, eh?
Are you fucking kidding me?!
Anyone with the slightest piss of knowledge of DNA knows that DNA is what makes us unique. Unless you an identical twin, you are different. You are born different. There is nobody like you, like me, like your cousin's sister's best friend's ex-boyfriend. We are all fucking special, get the fuck over yourself. I do not want to hear it out of a character's mouth, and I particularly I do not want to keep hearing about it over and over and over and OVER as I read the damn book.
The sad part about this is that this is not even a terrible book, it was just mediocre. It underperformed. It did not live up to its potential. It had so much promise, especially in the character development, but overall, the character almost ruined it for me.
The Special Snowflake: I found it immensely hard to sympathize with our main character due to her tendency to label herself as a special snowflake. Davy, our heroine, is so perfect!
So utterly special, and damned if she doesn't remind us of its every opportunity she has. From the very first statement, she tells us that she is one in a million. She is singular. The very first sentence of the book's first person narrative is of Davy telling us how utterly different, how completely unique she is. Davy is fucking perfection in the form of a 17-year old wealthy, blonde, child prodigy.
I hate perfection. I want character. I want imperfection. I want anger, I want a heroine who is not merely book-smart, I want a character who thinks. I don't want a character who clings onto the vestige of her perfection the way a sorority girl clutches at her very last pair of Ugg boots at a clearance sale.
How is Davy special? Well, she has been distinguished almost since birth. A musical prodigy.
When I was three years old, I sat down at the piano and played Chopin. I don’t know where I heard it. I just knew how to place my fingers on the keys...how to make them move. Like one knows how to walk, it was just something I knew. Something I did.Ok. I can accept that. But wait, that's not all! She can also sing like a motherfucking lark.
All my life I heard words like gifted. Extraordinary. Blessed. When everyone discovered I possessed a voice to rival my skills with an instrument, I was called a “prodigy.”Yawn. Ok, so she's musically talented. That's still acceptable. WAIT, THAT'S NOT ALL? She's also brilliant.
"And as if being a music prodigy isn’t enough, when you were four years old you walked into my room and finished the puzzle that had been kicking my ass for the past week.”Everyone knows she's special. From her parents.
“They know you’re special. That’s why they chose you. You’re not like the others—”To the people who recruit her to train her to be in charge of killers. Out of all the people with the killer gene in the United States, Davy is chosen, one of only 10 girls, to lead. Why? Why Davy? What distinguishes her from the rest?
You have the breeding the other girls lack. Gentility, if you will...it’s important that you don’t lose that here. We’re going to train you to be tough...a skilled fighter.Wait, what? WHAT? BREEDING? Her BREEDING? How the FUCK is that going to help her when she's dealing with a bunch of potential killers?! Oh, wait. She wasn't selected only for her breeding and gentility, whew. Davy's other immense talent which is going to help her when she's facing down a ton of kids who want to rip her throat out is going to be...her singing? Get the fuck out of here.
Mitchell cocks his head. “Why Davy?”Are you fucking kidding me?!
In the words of her own teammate...
The girl who beat up Skinny snorts and mutters beneath her breath, “A freakin’ Mary Poppins. Maybe she’ll sing for us.”Bravo. Bravo.
But wait, that's not all! She's also got the perfect boyfriend, the one who chose her above all other girls.
...every girl at school trips over herself when he bestows that smile on them.But wait, that's not all! She's also got the perfect
The girls flank [Sean], talking, moving their hands animatedly with every word. They remind me of butterflies ready to launch into air. They’re so obvious in their attempts to impress this boy.Always. Always. There are ALWAYS a million girls flocking and desiring the boys who fall for her, and inevitably, the boys are drawn to her like iron to a magnet.
Denial, It's Not Just A River In Egypt: Ok, so Davy's special, smart, beautiful, innately magnetic. That's annoying, yes, but that's not enough to make me hate her. What makes me dislike her is her insistence on emphasizing that she is different. The rules do not apply to her.
Davy is branded as having the Homicidal Tendencies Syndrome. She's aghast. It must be wrong. She is perfect. It cannot happen to her.
I press a hand to my chest. “I’ll never accept it.”I understand that she needs to cling onto this belief, but she is so resistant to change and she is so unadaptable, that I could not like her. She is snobby. She thinks only of herself. She thinks of herself as the one sole exception, the one mistake in the testing. She hates the other kids who have similarly been labeled with HTC. She is accepting of this syndrome in others, but not within herself. It does not occur to her that others feel this way about themselves, too. She is closed-minded. Davy is selfish, she is incapable of thinking of anyone beyond herself.
I’m different. The exception. It’s arrogant thinking, but all I can cling to.To her credit, Davy does grow up, but it is too little, too late, and it feels forced, like a politician deliberately trying to brand themselves down to relate to normal Average Joe.
The Setting: Is best summed up in one single gif.
Since the beginning of time, society have tried to identify criminals before they commit a crime. They have tried to predict the type of people who are more likely to be violent, killers, thieves. From phrenology to racism, these attempts have never been proven. DNA testing only goes so far. In order for me to buy this book's premise, the book had to have done a very good job of explaining how this whole Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS). It didn't.
I don't know how HTS was diagnosed. I don't know what in a human's DNA pinpoints this tendency. This book is as vaguely pseudo-science as they come. I don't know how society accepts the imprisonment and stigmatization of this syndrome in the future---and it is a near future---2021. HTS is in a person's DNA, so did all the murder and crimes in the past come from people who have had this syndrome? Nope. Book doesn't say. If it was a sudden onset, how was it explained, since this cannot be a mutation, happening so close to the future. How did all this state and federal legislation come in place? What about the societal impacts? Why were not more people outraged by the labeling and the imprisonment of their loved ones---and they are loved ones. Even current criminals have family, friends. In 2021, people who have never committed a crime gets labeled and suddenly everyone is OK with them being tossed into a facility and tattooed to indicate their capability for violence?
Fucking bullshit, that's what it is. The snippets of interviews and legislation and news in front of every chapters do absolutely nothing to make the scenario more convincing.
2021. If the book didn't mention the actual year, I would have no idea that it took place any time beyond 2014. There is no mention of clothes, there is no mention of technology. With the very, very rapid onset of technological changes, I expect to hear some sort of inventive science that would give me a good idea of a futuristic setting. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It could as easily have taken place tomorrow.
The Romance: The saving grace of this book. You will likely never hear me say that again. I found the romance convincing, and the love story mostly believable. The only character in this book that I liked is the love interest. He is complicated. He has had a tough-luck life. He is relatable, he is sympathetic. He is someone Davy should aspire to be.
A nothing who showed up here today when I needed someone most.Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final edition. ...more
Notes are private!
Jan 22, 2014
Aug 23, 2013
Nov 26, 2013
Nov 26, 2013
"But if you’re careful—if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then? Your pawn becomes a quee
"But if you’re careful—if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then? Your pawn becomes a queen.”I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. If you had asked me what I was going to give this book after the first few chapters, without question, I would have said "1." Therefore, it was with a considerable amount of surprise that I found myself enjoying the rest of the book as much as I did. This does not mean that the rest of the book was perfect, far from it, but the majority of the book was exceedingly better than the half-assed beginning that made me want to slap some fucking sense into our main character, Kitty Doe.
The book suffered from two main faults: a vague dystopian future without much of a past, and a main character who started off as a moron who then grew into a character so exceedingly perfect that I could not find her character credible. Were it not for the excellent writing and the side characters, this book would have garnered a lower rating from me. I would not be so critical of the vague dystopian setting if not for the fact that the plot hinges around that setting and the civil unrest resultant upon it. As such, the setting and premise failed for me. The most enjoyable part about this book was the portrayal of the side characters. I liked that their characters were not black and white, I liked that they are human, they make choices that are imperfect, but realistic, and I liked that they have a considerable amount of depth. The supporting cast are certainly better, more credible characters than our main character and narrator herself.
Summary: Kitty Doe has just turned 17 years old, and she is determined to die. These days, we would call it "suicide by cop." That morning, she took a test to determine her future, she lives in a futuristic America that ranks its citizens based on their intelligence, and Kitty has only received a III. With that rank, she will not be allowed to live past 40 years, and she is destined to be a laborer, a sewage worker. Rather than accept her fate, she chooses to die. Kitty steals a forbidden fruit, an orange, intending to be shot on the spot by Shields---armed guards who protect the peace. Kitty changes her mind at the last minute, and decides to choose a life of prostitution rather than work as a sewage worker, no matter how much her loving boyfriend, Benjy (a sweetheart of a boy), tries to change her mind.
At the brothel, Kitty's virginity is auctioned off, and she is "won" with an astounding sum of 30,000 gold---the highest anyone has ever received. It turns out that the man who bought her is the country's Prime Minister, Daxton Hart. She is given the opportunity to become a VII, the highest rank in society, if she agrees to play a role. Kitty is to become Daxton's recently killed (or murdered) niece, Lila Hart. But it's not as simple as becoming another person. Lila was not simply a pampered politician princess, she is an outspoken, activist, protesting against what she felt was the wrongs of her family's rule. Before she died, Lila wanted the past back, she wants the Ranking system abolished, she wants equality for America's citizens. Kitty has to become Lila, and play a role as a pawn within the twisted politics of the Hart family.
The Setting & Plot: The setting can only be described as shoddy. Let's get one thing straight: if you're going to write a novel based on a dystopian setting, it better be well-described, because it sets the tone for the rest of the book. This book failed in that standard.
“It’s frightening how much things change in seventy-one years.”It is 71 years since America, as we know it, has disintegrated. Kitty is a poor narrator in that she knows, or is willing to tell us, almost nothing about the past. When Kitty got the chance at gaining more knowledge to Lila's cause while playing Lila, she did not take advantage of the situation to learn any more about the supposed society that she is supposed to be trying to save. All we know of the past is that America ran out of resources. Riots broke out. Some people were killed. Food was scarce. Society disintegrated.
...that's it? Are you serious? I don't buy it one bit. For one thing, America is fucking overfed, we have natural resources and viable farmlands up the fucking yin-yang. Ever taken a look at the heartlands of America? Those middle states? Yeah. Chock full of farmlands and major farming corporations just planting corn and shit all over the damn place. Corn is king. We can manufacture pretty much anything out of it. We can pretty much keep American fed on manufactured food alone. It may not be a nutritious state of living, but corn will keep us, and the pigs, fed. High Fructose Corn Syrup will keep America fat and happy until an asteroid crashes into us. Civil unrest? Maybe. A shortage of food? No fucking way. I don't buy that.
And the vast, vast changes in society that happened smack out of fucking nowhere? No. We are supposed to believe that in the middle of all this unrest, one man stepped up, mobilized the masses, and told them "WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A SOCIETY WHERE THE ELITES GET ALL THE MONEY AND STATUS AND RESOURCES" and the rest of America nods and says "Yes. Please, sir, may I have some more?" Fucking no. It is simplistic, this future is credible only if you don't want to think about what you're reading. I have higher standards for my so-called dystopian novels than that. Historically, when civil unrest occurs, it is the lower classes who are rising up. They are not saying, yes, we are rebelling so that others can be put on a pedestal while we, the laborers, the working class, the poor, the numerous, will swallow our craptastic place in society and do nothing about it.
We are given the fact that the US is ruled by 12 Ministers of the Union, and above them, with the Prime Minister in charge. It is more or less a dictatorship. Nobody questions the ruling family, the Hart. They are in power permanently, regardless of some attempts at a rebellion by a "terrorist" group called the Blackcoats. There is no history of how this came to be.
There are 7 classes in society. The lowest are Is and IIs, they are useless, and they are sent off to a mysterious place called "Elsewhere," presumably to meet with a bullet in their head. The highest are the Vs and VIs, VIIs are only given to the ruling family. Kitty never questions the ranking system until she scores a III on her ranking test.
It was there to give us what we deserved so we could make the most of our natural abilities. The smartest members of society could help people in ways that IIs and IIIs couldn’t, so they earned more. It was fair, and without the test, someone who had grown up in a disadvantaged family might never have their talents recognized.The US of the future is poorly depicted outside of the ranking system. We don't know what kind of food there is, if there is supposed to be a shortage. We know there are numerous poor, we see almost nothing of them through Kitty's eyes. We know almost nothing besides the supposed terrible injustice of the ranking system of the future.
The plot is well-done. It is fast-paced, it makes sense most of the time, but it is plagued with unnecessary holes the likes of which one single stupid action could have eliminated a countless amount of headache within the plot.
The Characters: Kitty is the weakest character in the book, in terms of believability. Her actions are completely stupid initially, but she grew to accept her fate. I am not criticizing the fact that she chooses to become a prostitute, I am criticizing her dubious choice of a very disturbing career (because really, few sex workers do it for the joy of the job). Being a laborer is a tough job, but an honest day's work, and I seriously question her choice in choosing one occupation over the other. I have no problem at all with prostitution, I just question her choices. Furthermore, she gapes at being forced to marry a boy (Knox, a really nice boy, actually) whereas she hardly blinks at giving her virginity over the the highest bidder.
Kitty's character is supremely inconsistent. She is supposed to be smart, though dyslexic, which makes it difficult for her to learn written things. Given her learning disabilities and her lack of skills, it completely makes no sense to me that she plays the role of very upper-class, highly educated Lila almost flawlessly. Kitty becomes too perfect to be true, she is too damned adaptable to be real. It is the equivalent of a My Fair Lady transformation, complete with accent and education and attitude, within the span of two weeks. She also becomes a spectacular orator, giving a rousing speech to a crowd of 20,000 people without any trouble. I don't fucking buy it.
Without a doubt, the best characters in the book are the side cast. I absolutely loved the boys in this book. There is a mild romance within this book, and an almost-love-triangle, but it didn't bother me. The guys in this book are so freaking fantastic, and I loved them both.
We have the wonderful Benjy, Kitty's so very loyal boyfriend, who will stick with her through thick and thin, who doesn't care about the fact that Kitty is a lowly III.
“I’m never better off without you,” he said. “We’re in this together. I love you, and that’s never going to change, all right? I’m yours no matter what your rank is. You could be a I, and I would go Elsewhere just to find you.”And we have the wonderful Knox, Lila's fiancé, who becomes Kitty's reluctant ally, who does more for her than I would have done.
The "bad guys" are wonderfully written. They have depths, they are not purely black and white in their evilness, and I found them believable and sympathetic.
I loved her, but I have a duty to my country. We all do. And I will not allow us to return to that dark time. My grandson will not go through what I did. No one ever will again.Overall: a well-written book that is enjoyable if you overlook the extremely vague and inconsistent world building and mildly annoying main character. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 27, 2013
Dec 02, 2013
Aug 22, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
really liked it
I'm still reeling from my marathon reading session of this book. A spaceship traveling to another planet? Always an interesting concept, but I've had I'm still reeling from my marathon reading session of this book. A spaceship traveling to another planet? Always an interesting concept, but I've had one previous encounter with this premise through a series that shall remain unnamed, and it didn't end well. This book turned my brain upside down, set my head spinning, so on and so forth. Nothing was what I expected from the very first page. I loved this book.
A Jewish spaceship traveling to another planet. What. The. Hell.
That was my initial reaction. Um...what? Seriously? Skepticism: level 10. At that point, I didn't know what to expect. Ultimately, this idea was so incredibly well executed, and what an utterly unique concept it turned out to be.
To put it lightly, I'm not a religious person. At all. I am the first to go off on an expletive-filled rage about how much I do not appreciate religion being forced down my throat. Leave your religiosity out of my fun reading experience, please. This book is not preachy, it is not religious; it is based on a secular Jewish society traveling towards another planet on a spaceship. The society is based on Jewish cultures and values, but it is never overtly religious. I was never offended, I never felt uncomfortable, I never felt this book was preachy in any way. There is a correct way to incorporate religion and its corresponding culture into a book without being offensive, without sounding like a sermon: this book exemplifies how it should be done.
The world building and background building is extraordinary. I am highly critical of YA dystopian/sci-fi because so often, there are so many gaping plot holes. There are few such in this book. The history of how the Earth came to be endangered and everyone came to be on a spaceship was adequately explained, and there is actually a reason for the Jewish culture of the spaceship. Up to this book, the spaceship Asherah has been in space for 500 years, traveling towards their destination, the planet Zehava. The background of the spaceship, its history, its culture, its survival, are all very well described and revealed gradually and reasonably throughout the book. I am impatient, I like knowing things so that I know the context of things. This book did not spoon-feed me the details, but the revelations always came at a reasonable, relevant pace that satisfied even me.
The history and background is so wonderfully, realistically built; I cannot say I have a single complaint or question about it at all. The spaceship's weather and internal environment is controlled, and seasons come and pass as the Council sees fit. Each family has one child, a male, and a female, hatched from artificial wombs, genetically chosen and bred for strength. Citizens are assigned jobs, they can be leaders, or specialists, or laborers; there is a very clear distinction of class. At the age of sixteen, they can also get married; here's the interesting thing, the male or the female can make a marriage proposal, there are no specific gender roles. There's also diversity in this book, (not too much, since it is a Jewish spaceship, and well, do you know of any Jewish Asians besides Grey's Anatomy's Christina Yang?) but rest assured, you will be pleased with the diverse and complex cast within this small community.
The characters are amazing. You think you know your characters, you think you know how people behave? You think you know who is good, who is bad? Think again. Everyone is so wonderfully complex, so brilliantly real.
My first impression of our main character, Terra, was not a positive one. She was 12 years old, angry and full of grief from her mother's recent death. Her heightened emotions at the time was also combined with adolescent angst and irrational dislike, and I thought she suffered from the dreaded "Special Snowflake" syndrome at first. She was also so determined to love the useless art of, well...art (and she's not particularly good at it, either); Terra wanted to be an artist despite knowing that the spaceship colony's survival is based on practical skills, and not purely ornamental ones. I grew out of my dislike of her very quickly. Terra is not a special snowflake; she is not perfect, she is not beautiful, but she is a survivor, and she is persistent. She is willing to do what is expected of her by her family and by society, even if it is not her choice. She never acts like a martyr, but she is determined, and Terra does what needs to be done.
Terra may be in danger, she is involved in a mystery, but she never acts beyond what is reasonable. I would say that Terra's actions were, for a good chunk of the story---passive. This is not bad. Terra was raised to be a good girl, an obedient one, and good girls do not go pursuing trouble when they see it. She is pulled into the situation, and she does what is needed of her; she does not go seeking out danger for the thrill of it. Her actions are never extraneous.
Terra's relationship with her family is so heartbreaking. Her father is...difficult. Anyone who has had an alcoholic parent or knows of someone who suffers from the double whammy of grief and alcoholism knows what a horror it must be like. Terra lives on eggshells. She is afraid of saying the wrong things, doing the wrong things, yet she can't help herself at times; such is the landmine of an adolescent mind, speaking before thinking. They have such a complicated relationship, between his rages and his gentle moments...it is a complex, tangled mess, and utterly wrenching to observe.
"Silence grew between us, intercepted only by the sounds of the celebrations that raged across the observation deck, and the bustle of the hatchery beyond—the shouts of the workers, the cries of new children. I didn’t look my father in the eye as he stared at me, but I didn’t move, either. I couldn’t speak or breathe. I didn’t want to risk inciting his wrath even further."Her relationship with her father naturally translates to Terra's insecurities when the time comes for her to pursue her own relationships as she matures. This book is not overwhelmingly romantic at all. It is incredibly realistic in portraying the intricacies of teenage relationships: the fear, the lust, the awkwardness, the earnestness, the hesitancy...all are well-portrayed. There is nothing predictable about the relationships within this book, and Terra's feelings and doubts are so sadly understandable, given her own family. I loved the portrayal of romance, it is believable and completely acceptable within the context of this story.
"I should have just accepted it—believed him, believed that it would all be okay. But I couldn’t. I’d spent my whole childhood trying to tiptoe around my father, afraid to even breathe wrong. I didn’t want to spend my marriage like that too."The other characters are equally well-woven; I loved Terra's interactions and relationships with each. I also found Terra's relationship with her best friend, Rachel, refreshing. It shouldn't be, but it is. Unfortunately, a lot of books tend to underplay or slut-shame the beautiful best friend to highlight the "good" in the main character; this book does not do that. Rachel and Terra do not have a perfect relationship, but they are supportive of each other, and they clearly love and care for each other. There are jealousies, there is anger, but it is nothing overdone, and their relationship feels very realistic and by no means idealized.
If I have one complaint about this book, it is that there are too many twists. I like having a little bit of predictability, and this book just took me for a headspin. I didn't see anything coming at all. I loved it, but at the same time, I wish things were a little bit less complex. Some things stretched my boundaries of belief...like Terra's dreams, but those are small complaints in the very enjoyable grand scale of this book.
That ending. Fuck that cliffhanger, man. I can't wait to read the next book. ...more
Notes are private!
Aug 20, 2013
Aug 21, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
it was ok
In short: the publisher's overblown hype set this book up for judgment and failure, but the book itself provided the rope.
I hate hype. The thing about In short: the publisher's overblown hype set this book up for judgment and failure, but the book itself provided the rope.
I hate hype. The thing about hype is that it---unfairly, at times---sets the bar up so high that there is really nowhere to go but down. This is true especially in the case of such a young author. You throw in the name Bloomsbury, and the "seven book series" bit, and the J.K. Rowling comparison surely comes. It certainly sets standards extremely high, unrealistically high, that inevitably one is disappointed with anything less. And this book, while technically acceptable, is in no way comparable to the enjoyment I had from reading the first of the Harry Potter series.
Granted, the premise is not the same, the audience is not the same. One fact remains: my enjoyment of the book is just not there. Take away the hype, take away the expectations, and I am only left mildly impressed at this freshman effort of a book.
It is an overly ambitious infodump. It was difficult to read. I sludged through this as I would a school textbook: it was just not an enjoyable book at all, for me. Action and information takes priority over a a sensible plot and character development. The addition of a massive cast serves to only disguise the fact that the plot is a hot mess. This is not science fiction. It is fantasy, it is paranormal, there is nothing remotely resembling science in here for a book that purportedly takes place in the future.
The premise: This is Gameboard of the Gods, with a glossary. I oftentimes joke that in sci-fi, there really needs to be a glossary because oftentimes the terms and concepts are neither well-explained enough, nor are they explained in a timely manner. Well, ta da! I got my wish...and I wish I hadn't. It is really bad when there is a glossary of this length. It is not a good sign when within the first 20 pages, I am confused out of my mind, and have to read the book on two mediums, my reader and a netbook, just so I could have two versions of it open so I could constantly (and I mean constantly) refer back to the glossary. It is one thing to create a new world, it is another to immerse the reader so that they feel like they're drowning, holding onto the fucking glossary as a flotation device. It took me a long, long time to read the initial chapters, because I kept having to look things up and then memorize what they actually are. And there are. So. Many. Terms.
It took me awhile to realize that this is an alternate universe of the UK; I didn't know this was so until it was mentioned that Oxford (a not-so-subtle-reference to the author's pedigreed university) was destroyed in the year 1859. Oh. That answers a lot of questions, like why the fuck is the UK, not even half a century from now, so goddamned different. Why are there oxygen bars?! Isn't oxygen kind of required for living? Etc. Alternate London. Well, that was easy.
The world building is at simultaneously overly detailed and extremely vague. Very, very, very specific information is given only when it pleases the author to do so. There is a lot of information (information is the word of the day, in the context of this book) given to us when it's convenient for the author to do so. People with clairvoyance are feared and hated and hunted down---the reasons is never explained clearly enough for my satisfaction. There is little history, little background, little explanation to why things are this way or that, nothing to make us feel like this could be an actual world.
As quickly as we are dumped into this setting from a 50-foot plank, we're immediately plunked into yet another underground world. An secret world set in an alternate universe. It's so very Inception, is it not? We've got clairvoyants, seers, etc., in one world, and we're dumped into Sheol I, in which there are Emims and Rephaites, and there's more info-dumping on them. God save us all.
The characters: The characters and the setting are gloriously sterile. They left me emotionless. You could easily kill any of the main characters off 90% through and I wouldn't even blink, much less shed a microscopic tear. The book didn't give any of the characters personality or character development until the author suddenly remembers, oh, I should probably insert _____ poignant moment in here at _____ appropriate time.
Paige Mahoney is our special snowflake of the day. She is the daughter of an eminent scientist within the Scion scientific research division, and has had a very privileged life due to her father's status and importance. She doesn't want it.
I’d always hated school: the uniform, the dogma. Leaving was the high point of my formative years.I always hate it when characters act stupidly contrary like this. Guess what, Paige? It's life. You are not special. School is expected, as are following the rules. Nobody likes it, but we do it because it's the mature thing to do. Making a character a special snowflake is a surefire way to guarantee that I will not like her. Paige just doesn't feel like she belongs in the average life. She's meant for something more. So instead of settling into a mundane life like the rest of us (and therefore saving me from having to read this book), Paige joins the clairvoyant version of the Mafia.
For a book that is told from a first-person narrative, I got no sense of Paige's personality or any sort of complexity or development as the book progresses. Her narrative is comprised of more action than thoughts. Take away the plot, and you are left with a book of YA PNR tropes and clichés. The jealous queen bee, the darkly mysterious guy, the girl with special powers.
There is a very large cast of characters about whom I could not care less. Short of a few main characters, the rest of the cast are largely extraneous and utterly forgettable.
The romance: utterly forced. Utterly unnecessary. Not well-built at all. Came out of nowhere. To summarize: Paige gets rescued/captured by the Rephaim as she is about to die (so terribly convenient), and is told that she is part of Bone Season XX---which starts...NOW!(Again, so terribly convenient). The Rephaite captures people and save them for every 10 years to compete in this special contest to see who gets to be their special servants, a red-jacket (as opposed to the regular servants, who are just performers---harlies). Shock of all shocks, Paige notices one particular Rephaite, a very-super-extra-good-looking one (among the merely really-good-looking ones).
One of the Rephaim was looking at me.Shockingly, he picks Paige to be his Special Girl. She gets to be his servant! She's soooooooooooo special, because guess what?
“You have attracted the attention of the blood-consort: Arcturus, Warden of the Mesarthim. He has decided to be your keeper.”Fuck me. Facepalming so hard.
Their romance is forced and stretched. It is a prison-guard/mentor type of a relationship, only...not, because clearly, certainly the author is setting us up for romance somewhere along the way. The "like,", the love, the gradual building up of the relationship never felt realistic, it never felt natural; when it finally came, it just left me utterly cold and disbelieving.
The writing is technically well-done, the action scenes are acceptable, but is entirely too dependent on the use of Deus ex Machina as a plot device. The plot is a mess. It is peppered through with flashbacks that tried to give me insight into Paige's character, and while that worked somewhat, it just took too long to get to the point, and I felt the majority of the flashbacks...as with the book...were largely useless and noncontributing to the book in general.
Undoubtedly, this book has a lot of fans already, based on the huge numbers of glowing reviews. I, for one, remain highly skeptical. If this is indeed to be a 7-book series, I'm not sure where it will lead, but I know will not follow.
The ending is meant to leave us wanting more...but I'd rather spend my summer at the Dursleys. ...more
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Aug 22, 2013
Aug 27, 2013
Aug 20, 2013
Apr 15, 2014
Apr 15, 2014
it was ok
**Spoilers for book 2, minor spoilers for book 3**
“Say you love me, vampire girl,” he whispered, his voice low and husky. “Tell me...that this is for**Spoilers for book 2, minor spoilers for book 3**
“Say you love me, vampire girl,” he whispered, his voice low and husky. “Tell me...that this is forever.”That sad, sad moment when your favorite YA vampire series turns into a soap opera.
This book broke my heart in a way that hasn't happened since Ginny x Harry. I absolutely loved the previous books in this series, despite the main character's (Allie) tendency to be extremely emo and Harry-Potter-Order-of-the-Phoenix angsty. In previous books, I made excuses for her emotions, her feels, her constant need to hang onto her humanity in the face of her darker nature of the vampiric beast within in the hopes that she will eventually mature and embrace her darkness. I gave Allie credit for her weakness throughout this series, in the hopes that finally she will grow the fuck up and get her priorities straight.
It didn't happen. Quite the opposite.
Allie is more whiny than ever. Zeke is an emo pussy beyond redemption. The only saving grace to this book was the glorious motherfucker that is Jackal (LET ME LOVE YOU). Let me tell you how much I love Jackal. I don't just love him. I want to marry him. I want to grovel at his feet. I want to get down on my knees and worship him. I want to get down on my knees, and, well, let's not go into explicit details, now. ANYWAY. *ahem*
I alternated between pain and pleasure in this book. Pain because of Allie. Pleasure whenever Jackal opened his mouth to rip Allie a new one.
What hurts about this book is that Kagawa KNEW that Allie and Zeke are weak characters. She deliberately wrote her that way, because everything Jackal said about Allie rings so true. Jackal is Allie's biggest critic, and he absolutely confronted Allie on all her emotional lovey dovey bullshit.
“Puppy, I am getting so tired of listening to you whine about this,” he snarled at Zeke. “This isn’t rocket science. If you don’t want to be a monster, don’t be a bloody monster! Be an uptight stick in the mud like Kanin. Be a self-righteous bleeding heart like Allison. Or you can stop agonizing about it and be a fucking monster."See? Jackal represented the POV that I feel a lot of readers can understand. Kagawa made Allie to be a weak character, an unreasonable one, a stubborn one, and while I respect her choice as the writer to create her character in this way, I cannot love Allie knowing her incredible faults.
The Plot: Zeke is dead. Or he's supposed to be. Allie is trying not to think about him. Allie, Jackal, and Kanin are on their way through the devastation that is the US trying to track down the brilliant genius, Sarren, who seeks to kill every living and undead creature left in the world.
Here's essentially how the book goes:
Allie: I WILL NOT THINK ABOUT ZEKE *breaks down into tears 5 minutes later* I WILL BE A BIG BAD ASS KILLER AND AVENGE MY LOVER'S DEATH. *breaks down again*
Jackal: LOL YOU ARE SO DUMB, FACE YOUR NATURE. BE LIKE ME! RAAAAWR!
Allie: SHUT UP. You are SUCH a jerk.
Jackal: And you want rainbows and unicorns and flowers, face the fucking truth.
Kanin: Children, stop that. We are trying to save the world.
Jackal: NEENER NEENER NEENER. Omg stop crying. Want some cheese to go with your whine, sister?
Allie: I swear to god if I hear another word out of you, I will take your balls and shove them so far up your anal sphinc...
Kanin: CHILDREN, PLEASE. We're under attack by an army of rabids!
Jackal and Allie: *DIIIIIIIIIIIIIE RABIDS*
Kanin: The most important thing to do now is to be smart. Stay together...
Allie: Ok, daddy. OOH, SARREN! *runs away*
Allie: OMG ZEKE. I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD.
Allie: THIS IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE BUT WHO CARES <333333
Zeke: *stabs Allie*
Allie: ?_? D:
Zeke: >:D DIE BITCH! SARREN TURNED ME AND I WILL KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!! I AM EVIL NOW! I WILL SING THE EVIL SONG! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS!
Allie: ;_; But I love you. I WILL KILL YOU. OR KISS YOU. The words are right next to each other on the keyboard.
Zeke: I AM SAVED BY YOUR LOVE.
Kanin: What the heck? ?_?
Jackal: You can't be fucking serious
Kanin: That's pretty cute, kids. I'm so happy that you're back together, but really, we're trying to find Sarren here, can we focus on the mission?
Jackal: For fuck's sakes, get your fucking priorities straight.
Allie: <3 u Zeke!
Zeke: ;_; I'm a demon now. I'M A MONSTER. I HATE MYSELF.
Allie: <333333 I DON'T CARE. YOU'RE MY ZEEEEEEEEEKE <33333 You will always be good and wonderful despite the fact that you have a blood bond with the evil vampire master Sarren! I hope. And if I hope for something hard enough, it must be true!!!!11!111
Kanin: We're trying to save the world here. Children?
Jackal: GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELF, ZEKE AND ALLIE. WE'RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKING BATTLE. THERE ARE CORPSES ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE.
Allie: Blood is red, and red is the official color of Valentine's Day, so it just makes the situation more romantic, you asshole. Go away so Zeke and I can love each other.
Kanin: Children? Children? Are you even listening to me?
Zeke: I'm evil ;_;
Allie: No, you're not, honeypie baby booboo
Zeke: I'm evil ;_;
Allie: No, you're not, sugarpunkins
Zeke: I'm evil ;_;
Allie: No, you're not, sweetsugarlips
Zeke: Kill me.
Allie: I'll kiss you instead, does that work?
Zeke: Yes :D But I'm evil ;_;
Kanin: I molest bunnies. I kill kittens. An UFO has abducted me. IS ANYONE LISTENING TO ME ANYMORE?
Allie and Zeke: *stares into each other's eyes* Yes, daddy.
Jackal: *STABBY STABBY STABBY*
Kanin: Ok, the important thing is to stay together. No heroics. We do this as a team.
Allie: *sees Sarren* DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEE MOTHERFUCKER
Kanin: Why do I even bother?
Sarren: MWAHAHAHAHA. I will destroy the world. I WILL KILL EVERYONE!
Sarren: After I make this long-ass speech about how much they suck compared to my evil genius.
“Two lives for the rest of the world?” he continued. “Are you willing to sacrifice everything to save one and destroy another?”Allie needs to get her fucking priorities straight. I remained angry at Allie throughout the book because she was such an immature, madly romantic, wildly emotional and angsty character. She has her eyes on the prize: the prize being Zeke. The rest of the world? The fate of the world? Fuck them. All she cares about is Zeke.
Let's focus on one scene specifically. Allie has found out that Zeke has been turned by Sarren into a vampire. Zeke is now evil, he retains little memories of her. Allie wants to go back for Zeke. It is a bad decision to make, and Kanin wants to get the facts straight before Allie makes her choice.
“I want you to understand exactly what you are deciding, right now. If we return to the city for Jackal and Ezekiel, Sarren could reach Eden, complete whatever he is planning, and unleash a virus that could destroy everything. And if that happens, everything we’ve done here will be for nothing. Do you understand that?”It's pretty fucking clear. If Allie goes back, she risks endangering everything they've been fighting for. They are the last people who stand a chance at stopping Sarren. Without them, there is no hope. The fate of vampires and that of the surviving human rests on them. If they fail, the results are disastrous.
“I just want you to understand the potential consequences of tonight,” he went on. “If we are killed, if we cannot get to Sarren in time, everything could die. It will be like it was sixty years ago. You aren’t old enough to remember the days Before, but when Red Lung was at its peak, the entire world was madness and chaos. And when the rabids appeared, it became hell on earth.”Kanin makes it perfectly clear. It's up to them.
“It is...a very heavy weight to carry, Allison, the damnation of a world. I want you to be very certain, before we go any further. Is it worth it? Is he worth it?”And Allie's choice?
I already knew my answer. It was selfish, it was unreasonable, and I knew it was the wrong choice. But I looked up at Kanin, into his impassive face, and whispered, “Yes.”I am fucking DONE with Allie.
Zeke: Excuse me while I get out the world's smallest violin for Zeke.
*Khanh starts playing while Zeke sings his song of emo*
“I’m a demon, and the sooner I take myself out of this world, the better.”*While Zeke was crying, Khanh slowly switched her instrument to a cello. Khanh stops playing and bashes Zeke on the head with it*
Jackal: I wanted to pump my fist in triumph every time Jackal spoke. His is the voice of destructive reason, and my god, I love him so much I could die. He gives it to Allie straight every time she's in one of her fluffy frilly lovey dovey self-pitying moods. When Allie and Zeke are having one of their Loving Moments in the middle of a fucking battlefield...
“Still incredible, vampire girl,” he whispered, sounding almost like himself again. “Dangerous, beautiful and unstoppable. You haven’t changed.”Jackal interrupts them to tell them to get their heads out of their asses and get back into the fucking moment.
“Oh, isn’t that sweet,” came Jackal’s loud, mocking voice before I could reply. “Let’s make goo-goo eyes at each other in the middle of a stinking corpse field, how very romantic.”I felt like Jackal was saying everything I was thinking. Every time Zeke or Allie have one of their nauseatingly self-pitying moments, Jackal is there to mock them to their face.
“Aw, isn’t that sweet.” And Jackal sauntered into view, smirk firmly in place. “But don’t wait around on my account. It’s not like I can’t wait for yet another riveting night of listening to you people whine at each other. Oh, woe is me, I’m a vampire. I’m a horrible monster who eats babies and murders bunnies, boo hoo hoo.”I would be ever so happy if Jackal had his own spinoff. ...more
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Apr 16, 2014
Apr 17, 2014
Aug 18, 2013
Aug 24, 2004
Nov 30, 2004
Actual rating: 3.5
"I guess there was a war going on somewhere in the world that night but it wasn’t one that could touch us."Recommended with some r Actual rating: 3.5
"I guess there was a war going on somewhere in the world that night but it wasn’t one that could touch us."Recommended with some reservations.
I read this book on accident. By "accident," I don't mean I mistakenly read a book instead when I thought I had been playing Plants vs. Zombies 2
I thought this was going to be a book based on a WWII evacuation. I clearly didn't read the word "MANHATTAN" in the freaking first sentence of the summary, nor did I see the "SCI-FI" tag, because I sometimes have an annoying tendency to read only what I want to see. Still, the premise is an interesting one, so I continued with the book. It didn't sound so bad at all, really, quite solidly in my forte when I think about it. A war, survival, love, maturity...all up my forte. Cousinly love? Whatever, I've got no problems with that in fiction, as long as it's believably built. Hell, I've read my fair share of worst incestuous relationships. This book just might turn out awesomely after all, despite not being what I initially signed up for.
This was a short book, but within the first 25 pages, I was sure I would give this book a 2. Things improved, but it took a good 50% of the book for me to begin enjoying it.
The problem is the narrator, Elizabeth (known throughout this book as Daisy). She is a 15 year old originally from Manhattan, and my first impression of her was not good. She was a little bitch. I hated her for most of the book. Her narrative was what gave me so much trouble; she is so selfish, so self-centered, so utterly self-absorbed. I didn't like her, I didn't trust her, and to me, she was an unreliable narrator because her view of the world is so skewed...as in completely focused upon ME ME ME.
"No matter how much you put on a sad expression and talked about how awful it was that all those people were killed and what about democracy and the Future of Our Great Nation the fact that none of us kids said out loud was that WE DIDN’T REALLY CARE. Most of the people who got killed were either old like our parents so they’d had good lives already, or people who worked in banks and were pretty boring anyway, or other people we didn’t know."Daisy is spoiled and a pain in the ass. Her mother died giving birth to her, and in essence, Daisy thinks of herself as a murderer, having killed someone as she draws her first breath. Her father remarried a woman named Davina...and Jesus, how Daisy hates Davina.
"...Davina the Diabolical, who sucked my father’s soul out through his you know what and then got herself knocked up with the devil’s spawn which, when it pops out, Leah and I are going to call Damian even if it’s a girl."Her pettiness and attitude towards her mother is not uncommon, but Daisy's hatred is so spiteful and bitter and over the top that I can't help but hate her for it. Daisy yammers on for a considerable amount of time about how she hates Davina...but it's never made completely clear WHY we should hate Davina so much besides for the very fact that she happened to be the woman who married her father.
Oh, and apparently Daisy's got an eating disorder. How did she become this way?
"I really tried to explain about at first not wanting to get poisoned by my stepmother and how much it annoyed her and how after a while I discovered I liked the feeling of being hungry and the fact that it drove everyone stark raving mad and cost my father a fortune in shrinks and also it was something I was good at."Yeah...she's not the most likeable character. Her first-person narrative style also drove me crazy. The story is written almost from a stream of consciousness style, and it really annoyed me. Added to my dislike of the main character, and I was not a happy reader for the first half of the book. I just wanted to yell at Daisy "What? Are you too fucking good to use quotation marks for speech like everyone else?"
Little bitch. I seriously hated Daisy.
She is a really, really self-centered narrator. There is a war going on, she doesn't seem to care. Daisy seems more concerned about her own problems and her *womp womp* sad poor-little-rich-girl life than anyone else around her, even when a bomb goes off in London and the world descends into chaos. For the first half of the book, her descriptions of the war and its devastation are described coldly, impersonally, there is no sense of danger, of mortality, of impending doom. Daisy is so detached from it all, in her own egotistical little mind.
"That was a bomb that went off in the middle of a big train station in London the day after Aunt Penn went to Oslo and something like seven or seventy thousand people got killed.Everything from the war is described similarly in this impersonal, disinterested manner. It frustrated me to no ends. Daisy does grow up, she does mature...she does wake up from her ostrich-in-the-sand status when things literally hit close to home, and her character grows in complexity, although so gradually that I hardly noticed it happening myself. I actually enjoyed the subtlety of her character development.
I did not like the other characters in this book. I didn't feel like anyone else besides Daisy had a personality besides herself, most likely because Daisy's personality is so obnoxious that it overpowers everything surrounding it. Piper is the perfect princess, Isaac is the autistic twin, Osbert is the pompous prick of an older brother, Edmond is the *clutches pearl* cousinly love interest...and he is just dull.
I have nothing against incest in fiction, I really don't. Cousin-cousin relationships are even less shocking, but there is a way of building up these sorts of relationships to make them believable and I just did not buy the concept of Daisy & Edmond in this book. Edmond is just...weird. He's a short little 14-year old who was smoking a cigarette when they first met, and he seems to be able to read Daisy's mind. Edmond was such a creepy character for me, and their interactions were so limited so that when they began a physical relationship, I was utterly astounded at how fast and how wrong it felt. It's not the nature of the cousin/cousin relationship that bothers me, it's the implausibility of it.
My favorite part about the book---when it FINALLY came---was the survival aspect. Without the knowledge that this book is set in present-time, this book could easily have been set in the 1940s, there is a timelessness in how it feels, but that's perhaps intrinsic in a story of this nature. Working for the war effort, struggling to find resources, banding together to help one another, facing the immediate danger from home, as well as from the enemy. All these, I reveled in. The latter half of the book was far superior to the first even if I was disappointed by the book overall. ...more
Notes are private!
Aug 17, 2013
Aug 18, 2013
Aug 17, 2013
Sep 03, 2013
Sep 03, 2013
did not like it
A terrifying plan began to take shape, and his chest tightened in fear as he realized what he would have to do. But Wells knew there was no other way
A terrifying plan began to take shape, and his chest tightened in fear as he realized what he would have to do. But Wells knew there was no other way. To save the girl he loved, he’d have to endanger the entire human race.
FUCK YOU, WELLS. There is another way. You stop being a selfish motherfucker whose brain is located in your fucking penis.
This book is not a dystopian novel of a spaceship society. It's not a post-apocalyptic tale of survival. It's not about the nitty gritty of life within a group of the only humans left in the universe. It's a teenaged romance, where the characters' intelligence ranges anywhere from 5-9 on the 1-10 scale of idiocy. Whose life, whose society, whose spaceship colony has been endangered by a boy whose thought process first filters through his dick.
The world building is piss poor and vague, and more of a scenic backdrop to the overwhelming romance-centric plot instead of being the focal point. If you are a reader who prefers their reads to be overwhelmingly romantic to the exclusion of an actual plot: this book is for you.
Summary: We're on a spaceship. It's at least 300 years in the future (not quite sure what happened, nuclear stuff, things went boom? BAM, we're on a
Remember the whole "the planet might be deadly" thing? It's still in the air. Who cares?! Our intrepid boy, Wells Jaha, decides to sacrifice himself by committing a stupid and senseless crime in order to become a criminal and get shipped off to earth---potentially sentencing himself to death so he can be with his ONE TWOO WUV. Her name is Clarke. Wells' dad is surprisingly chill about sending his only son off to his death.
One of the narrators (Glass, yes, her name is Glass) is not even on the damn ship headed to Earth. I guess she's a part of the 100, but her part of the novel involves going shopping for clothes to wear to the comet viewing and mourning the loss of her relationship with her ex, Luke, and driving everyone fucking nuts by not letting anyone know until the very end why the fuck she, a Phoenician socialite (because socialites are so very important on a spaceship that's the last bastion of humanity), wound up becoming a prisoner in the first place. And when we're finally told the reason, I just wanted to slap the girl upon the head, because I have a lot of sympathy in me, but stupidity doesn't deserve it.
We also get to hear the stories from the POV of Bellamy, Wells, and Clarke as they go to Planet Earth and fall in love. Who will Clarke choose? Will it be dreamy dark, orphaned bad boy Bellamy? Will it be her gorgeous, wealthy, Judas of a knight in shining armor, who's actually not a knight in shining armor after all, but more of a sad, lost puppy who follows Clarke around with his tail (and his brains) between his legs.
He wasn’t the brave knight who’d come to rescue the princess. He was the reason she’d been locked away in the dungeon.Will they get to observe the sunset on earth? Will they get to hear the lovely, joyful sound of a bird singing and marvel at its musicality? Will they share the first kiss on Earth in over 300 years?
Wait a minute. They're supposed to be trying to SURVIVE on a potentially hazardous nuclear-damaged planet.
Get out of here. No, really. Get out of here. This isn't the book you want if you want a realistic survival tale.
The Setting: The crucial part to every dystopian novel is the setting, the history, the background. This book takes that concept and tells it, "Fuck you, rationality, you have no place here. I will do whatever the fuck I want and what I want is to completely ignore the background except for the very barest of details because I want this to be a love story overall, and the background is just going to get in the way of the romance."
Truly, this book is just so vague and inconsistent in the development of a believable, compelling setting. The spaceship itself is so completely poorly defined. The ship itself is barely mentioned in any detail. We know there are three colonies on board, Phoenix, Walden, Arcadia. We don't know how many citizens there are. We can't see the sun and the sunset even though we can see the comet and stars from on board. We don't know how the three separate colonies are sectored up, we don't know how they're sectored up, we don't know their history, or how they became that way. We don't know where the spaceship is orbiting, besides the fact that it takes about 30 minutes to get from the ship to Earth. For some reason, some sectors have more water and resources than others.
There's no background. There is no society. There is no culture.
For a futuristic society, there is a surprising lack of diversity. Two of the main characters (both girls) have reddish-blonde hair.
There's a lack of resource, and because of it, people are killed. So, so many people are killed. Most of them teenagers. The premise is that teenage delinquents are captured for the smallest of infractions---stealing food, for example, and sent to prison, called Confinement. There they stay until they're 18, where they get a Retrial, which is an absolute joke, because everyone knows that nobody ever, ever gets a Pardon. If you are less than 18, you get sent to prison until you're 18. Then you die. Which doesn't really make any sense when the government of the ship could just sentence the kids to death right away as soon as they're convicted, so save money, resources. And forget about committing a crime over the age of 18. You just get executed right away once you are convicted.
SO. MANY. PEOPLE. ARE. KILLED. It makes no fucking sense. You are also sentenced to die if you have more than one child, under a vague "Gaia Doctrine." It's a wonder there are any people left on the spaceship at all. There is a surprising amount of hatred and resentment between the Waldens and the Phoenicians, which would have been more compelling if shit was actually EXPLAINED.
There is absolutely nothing about the spaceship that's anything beyond an idea of a vaguely futuristic concept. The lack of background is utterly laughable if it wasn't so depressingly superficial.
As for the Earth. Do I really need to explain the preposterousness of it all? We don't even know how the Earth was destroyed, except for some vague notion of a nuclear winter and a war that made the earth go boom. There was some enigmatic concept of an event called the "Pre-Cataclysm," which was, once again, NEVER EXPLAINED IN DETAIL. There was something referred to as "the burning of North America," and that's pretty much all you get on that. Radiation? What radiation. There's an instance of a two-headed deer. Let's just pretend that nuclear fallout is limited to one weird animal and everything is all safe again after a few centuries. Never mind radioactive traces in water and everything, which could last for thousands of years. Science? Fuck that shit. It's all about the romance.
The Romance: Utterly ludicrous. There's 100 kids on board the spaceship sent to earth. They're all kids. They're from 12-18 years old. Some are petty thieves, some aren't criminals at all, some are murderers. Instead of some fucked-up, panedemonic Lord of the Flies situation, we have a few hotheads among a bunch of largely calm kids who just let a rational guy whose father is the Chancellor take over.
Am I supposed to believe that?
And in the midst of romance, there's survival. Wait a minute, that sounds wrong. It's supposed to be, in the midst of survival, there's a romance? No. I said it right the first time. The romance is so incredibly fucking overwhelming. There is a love triangle.
He grabbed on to a branch for balance, gasping as he tried to force air into his lungs. The girl he’d risked his life to protect wasn’t just kissing someone else—she was kissing the hothead who may have gotten his father killed.There are observations of "Oh, she's sooooooooo pretty." "Look at how the sunlight hits her hair!" in the middle of trying to salvage what's left of the medicine on board the ship. Fuck you! This is supposed to be a dystopian tale! But no! One of the characters---the tough boy, Bellamy---even romanticizes the bags under Clarke's eyes GAG.
He cocked his head to the side and surveyed Clarke quizzically. The skin under her eyes was bruised with exhaustion, but the purple shadows just made them look greener.Like, what the fuck? And screw the medicine. SCREW THE MEDICINE. Survival is useless if you can't have the one you love!
He didn’t care whether they’d found the missing medicine. There was no drug strong enough to repair a broken heart.So you'd just let a poor girl die because you're too heartbroken, you selfish prick?
God! There is so much idiocy in the name of love in this book From endangering the entire ship to potentially save a girl to potentially killing yourself so you can be with her to ignoring all common sense. And the girl left on board the spaceship is no better. Her name is Glass (lol wtf, Glass?), she escaped. Instead of running to her mother to say goodbye, Glass goes to see her ex-boyfriend. Glass claims to be "desperate to see her mother," but there's no proof of it because despite the fact that she might be recaptured at any fucking moment, she takes that ONE opportunity to see her ex. Glass is not as sharp as, well...glass.
Glass is in fucking Confinement. She has been for six months. She knows she's going to die. If I knew I were going to die, I'd be thinking of my own mortality, not spending all that time mooning over a boy. As an example of how idiotic Glass's thought process goes, this is what she thinks upon seeing Luke again: "Being Luke’s ex-girlfriend somehow felt odder than being an escaped convict."
This book is too heavy on the romance, to the detriment of the plot. The remnants of the book is rendered utterly unsalvageable by the farcical actions of the main characters. I didn't have any trouble distinguishing between the four narrators, despite the fact that they are overwhelmingly similar in their idiocy. Not recommended, unless you want love shoved down your throat. ...more
Notes are private!
Nov 14, 2013
Jul 30, 2013
Apr 24, 2012
Apr 24, 2012
Notes are private!
Jul 29, 2013
Jun 21, 2013
Jul 13, 2013
it was ok
Actual rating: 1.5
Recommended: for people with Botox injections, specifically on their forehead and around their naso-labial lines. I wish I could hav Actual rating: 1.5
Recommended: for people with Botox injections, specifically on their forehead and around their naso-labial lines. I wish I could have sent the publisher a bill for such treatments before I started reading this book, because now I fear I have prematurely permanent creases on my face from hours of going "whaaaaaa?"
In some writing classes, the professor might assign certain exercises to get the creative juices flowing. One such exercise would be to throw random subjects and phrases into a hat, have the students draw several topics from it, and build a story around it. That's the best way I can describe this book, because much of it made about as much sense and ultimately left me slack-jawed with wonderment because shit was so random. This is not going to be one of my better reviews, this is going to be a confusing, muddled mess of a write-up because I absolutely cannot sort out the mess that is this book so that I can formulate a decently coherent and organized criticism. I'm going to be rambling and ranting all over the damn place.
I make notes when I read; I write down confusing terms, significant passages, important characters, etc. I had 5 solid pages of notes written down for this book by the time I hit the halfway point because there was so much terminology and new concepts thrown at me. As I grew frustrated with the lack of plot progression and comprehension, I stopped reading to reread my notes, then realized that I still can't understand a damn thing...because not even my notes made sense. Then I just gave up taking notes altogether, gritted my teeth, and finished off this book the way one would quickly swallow a tablespoon of Robitussin. It had to be done, but it sure as hell was unpleasant. This book has been the most frustrating one I can remember reading in terms of readability; as for enjoyment, just forget it. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who will find the premise of this book fascinating, the writing spectacular, the characters intriguing. I'm just not one of them.
Usually dystopian books are written around a message, a theme. Something simple, like "it's wrong to play god," "zombies are people, too," "don't eat tapeworms, they'll take over your head." I think this book was trying to send a lot of messages about society in general, about technology, about the destruction of giving too much information and too much power to the wrong person or machine. It's an ambitious endeavor but it didn't work for me. The messages and themes, if any were intended, were absolutely lost in translation because of how poorly written and constructed this book was, overall.
Tibetan monks in saffron robes
MUTHA (Molecular Universal Tertiary Hyperspatial Analogicon)
An evil, beautiful, ice-cold blonde ex-military mercenary and/or conglomerate
D.E.T.H. Inc. (Devastation Engineering & Tactical Havoc)
Hermes Manufacturing Industries
A black poncho-wearing assassin girl of "sixteen summers" of the mystical, fierce Hakkadun, some branch of a New Zealand Maori tribe
The Last Generation
Like the sound of that? You might find it intriguing. You might be more wrong than you ever have been in your life. You know what this book needs? A freaking glossary. Don't get me wrong, I love world building, I love figuring things out for myself, I appreciate the fact that the author trusts in my intelligence enough to not spoon-feed me information, and instead glean out information on my own as the book progresses. This sort of gradual world building, vocabulary-building, lingo-creation works in some books, it did not here. I found myself absolutely confused because the terminology is shot out of nowhere, without clues as to what they were. The problem, of sorts, is the narrator. Sam is a smart guy, he's very knowledgeable about the secrecy of all these corporations and their secret projects, due to his scientist parents and their work as researchers within Hermes Industries. He may understand them. He may know what a probe, what the effects of C.L. Primos entails, who Chen and Shanti Ghara is, how the Four Collapses of society happened, but you know what? Like a know-it-all, self-absorbed teenager that he is, Sam is very stringent with his information, and by the time events and history are halfheartedly explained to us, I had already lost my patience with this book about 150 pages ago.
The setting is the future United States. The skies are not blue anymore, but yellow. There are no stars visible in the sky. There are privileged people living in the big cities, but those are rare. It seems that the people living in the cities lead much of the same lifestyle that we do now, but the atmosphere and environment is not well-described enough for me to get an actual sense of what it is like. All I know from the book is that the cities are clean, bright, and must be self-sustaining. People not so privileged live on the outskirts of town, they are the poor, miserable Outsiders just trying to subsist. Even worse off are people living in the completely uncivilized Wilds. There are scavengers and Rovers driving around terrorizing, raping, pillaging (surprising that they drive, since gas is a rarity. Sam can barely find the gas to power his stupid little muscle car). For some reason, despite the lack of resources, and the Wild West atmosphere, there are still convenience stores lying around...it's not a huge detail, but one of the niggling details that bothered me about the setting of this book.
The main plotline in the book is that of Sam trying to discover who and what he is, and find out the great mystery of MUTHA. That's the short summary, for me to actually sum up all the events and places and things that actually happened to get to that final mission would be to get from A to Z, with stops at B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, etc. along the way. And not necessarily in that order. The events in this book do not flow, they do not make sense, the writing is lacking in quality, and the plot is all over the place. As an example of the stellar quality of the writing, let me present you with an actual analogy used in the book: his attitude is so stiff, it could have been a metal bar.
The characters are haphazard and inconsistent. Sam frustrated me to no end, the book is narrated not in first person, but from his point of view, and I hated it. His common sense and decision-making process is flawed, his thought processes may make sense to him and to the author, who knows his character inside and out, but for me, I could not get into his head and foresee what the fuck he was going to do next at all. If you like a guessing game, be my guest, but I like a little bit of rationality from my characters, and Sam just didn't cut it for me.
His behavior aside, the things that happen to him are too coincidental to be believable. More than once, he gets into impossible and improbably situations, and almost every time, it feels like deus ex machina is used. For those unfamiliar with the term, here is the Wikipedia definition:
"a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object."
Sam gets into convenient situations that move the plot along too easily to be believable. There's a degree of suspension of disbelief, and mine was exhausted very early on in the book. Take this example, Sam encounters a dying old man in a random alley in a city where he just entered the previous day, only to have the man hand him the device that's the key to what he's been searching for in his quest to find the truth about MUTHA. This happens very early on in the book, and is not a spoiler, by the way. The events in this book are simply implausible.
For example: the Paradigm Device. In the hands of the monks. In TIBET. From San Francisco.
Sam is also contrary in his actions vs. actual thoughts; in short, he's fairly stupid at times. He's supposed to be savvy, intelligent, knowledgeable. You might buy it, considering he's been on his own for a long time, and alone in the dangerous Wilds of the future dystopian United States, no less. His actions during the length of the book do not reinforce his alleged street-smarts at all. He trusts people again and again whom he inwardly feels he shouldn't...it's like, someone who says, oh, I know I shouldn't go back to my abusive boyfriend because I know he'll hurt me again, but I'll do it anyway. That's a rather reprehensible comparison, to be honest, I don't mean to make light of domestic abuse at all, but Sam's decision to trust certain people, despite fully knowing better, is so utterly ridiculous.
The romance...I was wrong to think there wouldn't be romance. It's almost insta-love as Sam is super-impressed with the ninja-girl stalking out of the shadows to kick a bunch of grown men's asses (I'm not kidding here). He, again, implausibly runs into Alma again and again, and moons over her in the most idiotic way. The romance feels completely forced on us, and is completely unnecessary as far as the plot goes.
I would say you can skip the first half of this book, and you would not miss much. I wish I did, the plot really did not pick up until the second half, and it would have saved me a lot of frustration and confusion from the random tossing-about of terminology that never got fully explained until much later on in the book. I also felt the cast of characters was unnecessarily large, and that's not usually a cause for complaint for me, but I felt the majority of the characters presented didn't contribute anything significant to the plot, and are therefore unworthy of the amount of memory space they took up in my brain during the arduous task of reading this book.
Actually, I could say the same about the entire book. It's not worth the amount of information it's taking up in my head.
An ARC of this book was provided to me by Netgalley. ...more
Notes are private!
Jul 24, 2013
Jul 30, 2013
Jul 24, 2013
Jan 01, 2013
Jul 23, 2013
did not like it
Clearly, the copywriter didn't read the actual book before writing this sentence, taken from the book's summary: "Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a har Clearly, the copywriter didn't read the actual book before writing this sentence, taken from the book's summary: "Gritty and grabbing, Velvet is a harrowing, emotionally charged novel for fans of Carrie Ryan and The Walking Dead."
Putting aside the fact that book isn't CALLED Velvet, it is because this book was nothing of the sort. I've read Carrie Ryan, I've watched The Walking Dead. There is no comparison. The Walking Dead was pretty boring for me, personally, but still manages to be exponentially more exciting than this book ever was.
There was no point in this book. There was no purpose, there was essentially no plot. This book could be titled "Proper Caretaking of your Zombie" and be a much more accurate representation of the book and its contents (or rather, lack of content).
This is a zombie book, but not a zombie book. The "Contaminated" or "Connies" in this book are still alive, they shamble, they moan, they're dangerous, but they are not undead. Still, for the sake of keeping the terminology short, we will call these things "zombies."
Maybe there really was an underlying message in this book. Awhile ago, I facetiously mentioned that most books have themes, something like "Zombies are people too." I was kidding. This book wasn't. If there was an underlying theme to this book at all, I would say that was it. And to be honest, this book wasn't too convincing, if that's what it was trying to prove. One speshul snowflake of a zombie does not convince me of the humanity of the Contaminated as a whole.
The book summary pretty much says all I care to say about the plot, but I take exception to this line. "But the danger isn't over. It's beginning all over again." What danger? There is no danger. This entire book is about Velvet's hard-knock life (and it really is a hard life) taking care of her baby sister and going to her job as a caretaker at an assisted living facility and taking care of her mom. And bitching and moaning and hating everyone and everything and acting like an absolute idiot in the meantime. But the book is nothing gritty, nothing harrowing, nothing exciting in the least. It is about a girl taking care of a zombie who's pretty much an old person in behavior and health. There is a lot of discrimination. There's a lot of annoying, unrealistic people (one of whom is the main character herself).
"How could I have been so stupid?" is a phrase you should get used to hearing, because it's what the main character constantly asks herself throughout this book. And sadly, you will always agree.
There is no danger, there is no intrigue, there is a half-assed attempt at a government conspiracy that just doesn't even try to make itself into a subplot.
Here is my list of complaints:
1. Prions: This current disease that created the epidemic is caused by proteins within a diet drink from a NutriSystem-type program, called ThinPro. There's a snarky commentary on people wanting to be thin, and how it's a Hollywood Disease, but I won't go into a rage over that when it's such a minor annoyance over everything else in the book. I'm not an expert on prions, but I do know how they work, and using them in this book is just foolish. If you're going to make up a disease to explain zombies, don't go into real science when you don't know how that science works realistically.
This is why it doesn't work as the premise of the breakout in this book. Fine, they're spread through proteins, that's accurate, so...contaminated protein drinks, sure. But the incubation period for these kinds of diseases, like the most commonly-known one, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (also known as mad cow disease) take a hell of a lot longer than a few years to propagate. Prions generally have a ridiculously long incubation period, up to 30 years in some cases. Such a large, overwhelming outbreak affecting this many, in such a SHORT span of time between ingestion of drink and onset of symptoms, causing hysteria and violence? Implausible.
Secondly, do you know what prions DO within the brain? They cause holes. Actual holes. Irreversible holes within your head. In case you missed that part, let me repeat it. IRREVERSIBLE. A person does not get better, holes in brains do not magically heal. Prions cause spongiform encephalopathy meaning holes in brain. It's cute that Velvet's mom regains her verbal skills and stuff, but that shit doesn't happen. All prion diseases are fatal. Once degeneration sets in, it sets in fast, and there is absolutely no recovery.
And particularly when said zombie has been lobotomized to be calmer and more manageable through the use of an actual fucking ice pick through the brain.
2. The dialogue: it is stilted, unnatural. People use phrases like "You...little...what a little...!'" The adults to whom Velvet talks seem to be unable to do so without insulting her, often in unrealistic ways and using unbelievable and unnatural dialogue. Nobody I know would ever talk in the way people do in this book.
"'She might! She just might! Oh, heavens, oh, mercy, she could do that!' Mrs. Wentling clutches the throat of her coat around her thick neck. 'Oh!'"
3. Velvet's character: Our first-person narrator is a thoroughly unpleasant character. I have to feel sorry for her, she's had a really hard life with both parents losot to the Contamination, but her attitude is so incredibly bitchy and disagreeable. She snarks about people's appearance, their thinness (there is a lot of thinly-veiled body shaming in this book), their age, their ugliness, their clothes. Their attitude, their sexuality; more than once, she calls girls "skanks." I call her a bitch.
Velvet acts stupidly, she behaves contrary to how she should. She's not a child, she's had to be an adult in order to raise her sister and claim custody of her sister for the past two years, but I find her behavior in this book so contrary as to make me question how she could have managed to survive for that long. She is willful, she insists on doing foolish things because they make sense to her, because she believes things will turn out differently for her than it does for other people. She removes the safety restraints to a zombie despite knowing better. My mom is different than other zombies because SHE'S MY MOM. No, honey, it doesn't work that way.
4. Velvet's lack of consideration for the living: She is more concerned about her zombie of a mother and taking care of it than she is worried about her own life and that of her sister. Her mother, the zombie, has been caught; there's not even proof that she is conscious or aware of anything. Her mother, for all intents and purposes, acts like a mindless, unthinking zombie. Velvet is more concerned about taking care of that zombie, about keeping it with her and Opal, than about keeping a roof over their heads, having food in their stomach.
You see, there's a lot of prejudice against the lobotomized zombies. They may seem safe, but there are a lot of people who don't believe they are. The zombies aren't allowed on buses, at the discretion of the driver, despite policies passed by the government to protect them, people still believe what they want to believe: that they're unsafe, volatile creatures. Which isn't too far of a stretch; it hasn't been too long since the outbreak, and there hasn't been too much research done on the lobotomized creatures. So when Velvet brings her mom home, their landlord could kick them out.
Here's where I get angry. Instead of worrying about her sister and their lives, Velvet is willing to endanger everything to keep their zombie mother with them. She risks losing her sister to the state, she risks losing government food and cash aids to support her and her sister, she risks losing her home, she risks losing her job, she risks her sister's elementary education. All for the sake of one zombie, who is essentially mentally...gone.
5. The romance: utterly forced, and utterly on the rebound. Velvet was dating her steady boyfriend of years up, and a few days after meeting him, she insta-loves Dillon. The perfect Dillon. He is completely, utterly without flaw. He is generous, he has a bright, shiny smile (not kidding), he is good with her sister, he gives her money, he is understanding of her mother, he accepts her everything! Gag.
6. Opal: Velvet's 10 year old sister. Who acts more like a spoiled 5-year old than one who has grown to be mature, considering all the crap she's been through. She whines, she screams, she throws tantrums in the middle of the street, she refuses to do her homework, she doesn't like school, she dances in place when she needs to go pee...
7. The half-assed government conspiracy: This doesn't even deserve a mention, since it's a poorly contrived subplot that reappears every hundred page or so, to be forgotten about completely. There's some vague thing, message, whatever, about government media control and manipulation, and it doesn't merit another mention until it's brought up again at the end seemingly as a hook for the sequel.
Which I will not read. Never ever ever. ...more
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Jul 31, 2013
Aug 02, 2013
Jul 22, 2013
Aug 27, 2013
Aug 27, 2013
it was ok
You have to be a certain type of reader in order to enjoy Francesca Lia Block's works. She writes beautifully, I will say that, but her stories requir You have to be a certain type of reader in order to enjoy Francesca Lia Block's works. She writes beautifully, I will say that, but her stories require a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the extraordinary, a completely dismissal of rationality and sense...and in that sense, this book did not appeal to me. It is lovely, it is magical, it is abstract and surreal...but the experience of reading Love in the Time of Global Warming just gave me an overwhelming headache. I would say this book is best accompanied with a lot of psychotropic drugs. Maybe a few magical brownies. Or perhaps an entire pan.
I am not a artful reader, which is why I struggle so much with speculative fiction. I do not merely accept things. I need rationality, I need things to make sense. A dreamlike, surreal scene does nothing for me besides making me want to rip out my hair by its roots (and I have been known to do that, it's a wonder I am not entirely bald by now). I need an explanation, I cannot accept things just because the book says so. If you are a reader with a similar mindset, this book is not for you. So many strange things happen in this book that we are just expected to accept, that just happens because of---magic! No. That doesn't cut it for me.
I don't even know what genre this book falls into. It is half-hearted at anything it attempts. It's a half-assed attempt at an apocalyptic novel. It's a nod and a wink at the Odyssey. It is a partial attempt at science fiction that doesn't even try to make sense.
Let's go back to the beginning, to the premise of the book. A grand, apocalyptic event has occurred. The Earth Shaker. It's some earthquake-thing that is left deliberately very, very vague because our heroine, Penelope (Pen) has conveniently lost her memory of the event. Afterwards, she hides out in her home, her father, mother, little brother, all lost to god-knows-where. When her home is threatened by a group of interlopers, a kind stranger within their group (deux ex fucking machina, man, there's so much of it in this fucking book) helps her out by giving her his well-fueled car and a mysterious map with a highlighted path to Las Vegas.
Pen's trip to her eventual destination is a present-day version of Homer's Odyssey. It is so weird. It is so dreamlike. People, places, events appear so completely out of nowhere. Her journey is fraught with strange, nonsensical detours, and Pen's behavior leans towards the verge of TSTL behavior at times. The world as she knows it is destroyed, split in pieces, in ashes! Now would be a great time to visit the Los Angeles County Museum.
I saw crushed cars stacked on top of one another and the street in front of my house split in two, exposing the innards of the earth. Nothing grew and not a soul roamed. The trees had fallen and the ground was barren of any life, the world as far as I could see, deserted.A most excellent time for a side trip to places she's visited as a child with her beloved mother. Like fucking really, Pen?
Pen runs into some of the strangest people (and creatures ever). They are straight out of the Odyssey---the modern equivalent of them, that is, and they make no goddamn sense! And Pen just ACCEPTS all these strange people, all these strange events without question, I just cannot comprehend it. She meets Hex, a stranger with whom she falls in love and bonds (and gets hopelessly high) over Lotus Juice over at the Culver Hotel.
The doors are all open and people are inside sleeping or hooking up, survivors like us. Broken bottles and clothing litter the hallways. A girl is crunched up into a ball, hugging her knees and whistling, pointing at the blank wall. Another is crushing red flowers so the juice drips into her mouth; some spills down her neck in rivulets.Did I say things make no sense? Because things make no sense.
They eventually leave, and meet other versions of Odyssey characters, like Circe---who's actually a washed up soap-opera star who fucks young boys for fun. And feeds them cakes.
They encounter Giants. Literal Giants. Who are supposed to be the fucked-up scientific anomaly of a madman.
They gather up still more beautiful young creatures like Ash and Ez, both of whom are gorgeous, both of whom have Tragic Pasts, and both of whom end up accompanying them on their journey. Which still makes no sense.
I have a problem with how the gay characters are used in the book . Let me get one thing straight: I have no problems with transgendered/lesbian/gay/bisexuality of any kind. I support gay marriage, I support equality, and I wish there were more gay characters that are well-represented in literature.
With that said, the characters in this book are not real people. They are archetypes. They are all troubled. They are all special in their own way. They do not act, they do not feel like normal human beings. I get the overwhelming impression that all the characters in this book are there to send a message, and that is all. None of the characters in this book felt like human beings to me. They are artful, they are highly stylized. They are all visually beautifully, stunningly modelesque. They are not real. Which is typical of all of the author's characters from the majority of her books, really.
Take the love interest, Dex:
Hex tells me that back Then, when he was twelve, he started drinking and using, doing whatever it took to get his supply. “Good times.” At thirteen he was a full-blown addict and it got worse when he started DJing five years later because he could get into all the clubs and everyone was always giving him free alcohol and drugs. “I was like this mini–pill machine, downing them with whiskey. Could drink a dude twice my size under the table.”The side characters have equally implausible stories. They are tragic, Ez and Ash and Dex are meant to send a message, and I feel strongly that gay characters should not just be there for the point of sending a fucking message. They are people. They are not social commentaries.
As I said, you have to be a fan of her writing and her characterization...and I am not, however much I have tried to be. ...more
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Sep 19, 2013
Sep 22, 2013
Jul 21, 2013
Sep 05, 2013
Sep 05, 2013
did not like it
The key to making a believable dystopian world is giving it some basis in reality. No matter how strange, how new, how incredible this imagined world The key to making a believable dystopian world is giving it some basis in reality. No matter how strange, how new, how incredible this imagined world it, is has to be at the very least, credible, and I felt that the city of Neo-Babel in this book was poorly executed and depicted.
This book was plagued with problems, along with the mess of the a dystopian city that is Neo-Babel, we have an unbelievable system of "Elites" soldiers all of whom are young, ranging from ~10 to a their early 20s, which begs the question of "where the fuck are the adult Elites?", we have two main characters who are completely lacking in any personality. We have a romance that is completely emotionless. We have a plot that is confusing as hell, and actually, we have a book that is more action than plot.
The writing is dry, emotionless, at best. The dialogue is overdramatic, unbelievable, unnatural. The villains are one-dimensional. Side characters have their own plot, and I find myself utterly unintrigued. This was not a long book. It was not a complicated book. The writing is solidly middle grade, and yet it was so difficult for me to read because the book simply did not hold my attention for all the reasons I listed above.
Neo Babel is a city in the future. After some vague catastrophic event called the Great Fall, it somehow survives from the ashes of other destroyed nations, and...that's it. Neo-Babel, yeah! Our main character is Silver, a Chinese girl in Neo-Babel, supposedly discriminated against because of her ethnicity, despite her status as an "Elite," so chosen to be an elite soldier because of her superior DNA. Well, this 15-year old Elite soldier is on the assignment of her life, to be on guard for the president during his speech to the city. Silver fucks up majorly. She drank too much sake at a party the night before, oversleeps, and almost misses her job. And that's not the worst of it.
Silver swung back behind the parapet, stifling a gasp. Oh gods, oh gods! she thought desperately. An assassin, here in my lookout zone, and I was late, and I didn’t find him, and now he’s got a gun pointed at Tanaka!Right off the bat, the president dies (good fucking job, Silver), and Silver seeks to cover her ass. Out of nowhere, her parents disappear, and instead of waiting for an investigation like any normal person would do, Silver and her best friend, a boy named Butterfly (he's got wings), decide to throw their entire bright, promising, brilliant future as Elites away to go wander off to god knows where in order to search for them. Along the way, they meet some really annoying kids, who in turn get embroiled in their own little side plots, which are of no interest to me whatsoever. It all leads up to some kind of a grand conspiracy which was contrived, largely unintriguing, and left me utterly bored.
The Setting: Vague and nonsensical. Neo-Babel is formed after the Great Fall, after the planes fell from the sky (caused by the Chinese), nuclear wars, sea-level rises. It is a "miracle city" built somewhere in Eastern Europe. Citizens are planted with a chip that tracks them at birth; there are many who rebel against such a practice, they establish anti-birthchip groups. The citizens are Mainlanders (white people?), citizens of the Red Nations (Asians?), and Afrikans (obviously, Africans). There are also Japaneans, New Indians...it's a mishmash of cultures...but for some reason, people really hate the "Reds." "Red" is the derogatory name used to call a person of Chinese ethnic origin, which really makes no sense to me because the Asians seem to be lumped together into the Red nation, so why is "Red" a derogatory term when it depicts an entire mishmash of nationalities?
There's supposedly a lot of discrimination and "racial tension" in Neo-Babel. I don't feel it. I don't see it. If it exists, it exists outside of Silver's radar, since as far as I can see, Silver is the only one that directly suffers from outright racial discrimination. She's called "Red" a lot by some disgruntled colleagues, they try to get her hackles up and insult her based on her race and culture...
‘What are your gods going to do?’ Ember laughed, her bright green eyes flashing. ‘They’re a useless bunch – I don’t know why you Reds bother. Kitchen god going to come at me with some spaghetti? Monkey god getting ready to swing down from the heavens and shove a banana in my face?’Yes, it's a serious, serious problem. I do not take racial discrimination lightly at all, I'm Asian myself. I'd be fucking pissed at any signs of discrimination of such...but really, there was minimal evidence of any racial tension in the book. There was more of a social and economic disparity in the book than anything else, and the reason given for the supposed hatred of the Chinese people were so vague and nonsensical that I can't buy into it. The Red made the planes fall from the sky? Um, ok, that's really bad. But guess what? The book mentions that other countries used nuclear weapons, bioweapons. In short, every single country did all they could do destroy each other---so why this singleminded supposed hatred towards the Chinese? I don't get it. That fact, along with other aspects of the world-building and what exists outside Neo-Babel, was completely insufficient to give this book's setting any credibility.
Like the fact that DNA was used to prove that Chinese people were inferior in intelligence? Really? It's the future, they've got technology up the yin-yang despite the destruction of the world, I mean, they can engineer wings onto a boy...and DNA is used to prove mental inferiority? Nuh uh. You have to do better than that.
The Plot: Largely nonsensical, moving in irrational and confusing directions, and too filled with action to the detriment of an actual plot. Plagued with interruptions by side characters who are more annoying than intriguing, and helped along by a great deal of coincidences. Meeting your family members (who were supposed to have died 10 years ago) about 5 minutes after you leave the city is not a coincidence, it's nothing short of a miracle, ok? I'd have to be an idiot to buy into that.
The Characters: I don't even have much to say about the characters. Silver and Butterfly are dry to the point of dullness. They have zero personality, they have zero character. I don't know what drives them. I don't know what makes them laugh. They are overdramatic, and I see more of their actions than I feel their emotions and see into their hearts. I would call them robots, but that would be an insult to robots, because with the myriad of technology these days, our robots are increasingly showing signs of intelligence and evolution, and they may eventually evolve to have more complexity and depth than the yawnfest paper dolls that are Butterfly and Silver.
The villains are one-dimensional, without any visible motivation or drive. They're just bad for the sake of being bad. They're bitchy to Silver for the sake of pure bitchiness. Ember (the beautiful nemesis) slaps, punches, threatens to cut Silver, calls her a Red...etc, was pure genericness. Despite a weak attempt at redeeming her and giving her a motive, I don't even know why the main baddies in the book act the way they do.
The Romance: It's supposed to be a friends-turned-lover romance, but it is so out of place and comes so out of nowhere that I just can't see it happening. Their interactions are more of the "I need help!" "I will come save you, my beautiful, brave damsel!" sort than anything hinting of romance until someone comes the fuck out of nowhere and declares their love. There's a somewhat-nude scene in the book that I think was intended to be sexy, but it's a 16 year old guy with butterfly wings with wet drops of water on his body cupping his crotch...and it's about as titillating to me as watching two unicorns frolic in a meadow.
Not recommended. ...more
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Oct 19, 2013
Oct 24, 2013
Jul 20, 2013
Jan 28, 2014
Jan 28, 2014
it was ok
Actual rating: 2.5
“Darrow. Come here. Come.” He grabs my shoulder and pulls me in. “Others may have failed. But you’ll be different, Darrow. I feelActual rating: 2.5
“Darrow. Come here. Come.” He grabs my shoulder and pulls me in. “Others may have failed. But you’ll be different, Darrow. I feel it in my bones.”I'm sorry, was I supposed to feel something?
I suppose boredom is a feeling. Not a single tear was shed. Not for a single instance was a single emotion heightened. It was by no means a bad book, but the message got lost in the telling, and there is just. So. Much. Telling. The writing is fantastic, but the plot just didn't work for me. I was bored out of my mind for much of the book.
This book tries to be grand. It tries really, really hard to make a lofty, awe-inspiring political message. It read like a rousing Communist propaganda, the sort that would get a crowd of common men fired up, ready to launch an uprising to bring down the almighty ruling class that has long oppressed them.
Wait, this book is trying to make a political message? Something about freeing the oppressed? What the fuck? No. It is a story about how Darrow is better than everyone else at everything because he is The One. His life is saved by the act of God, or shall I say, the act of deus ex fucking machina every single fucking time.
It wants to be the story of a common laborer, a sheep, one who is content with his hard-working life, who is proud of the products of his toil because it supposedly means something. Darrow is the Everyman, the ordinary worker, the common man to whom we all can relate! Not.
If Darrow were a female, I would not hesitate for one millisecond to slap a "Mary Sue" label on him. He is bloodydamn perfect. An Everyman, he is not. The common man, he is not. Average, he is most definitely not. Fine, Darrow is meant to be perfect because he's the SYMBOL OF HIS PEOPLE. He's so fucking special. He was plucked from the mires of obscurity to save his people.
His perfection raises a lot of question, and this book left me largely unsatisfied.
Darrow: The main character is Darrow, and he is so perfect as to be improbable, unrealistic, and completely unbelievable.
He is a 16-year old worker. He toils. A life of hardship is all he has ever known. He is a Red, the lowest social class, the dregs of society. He is an uneducated minor, and a miner (I make no apologies for the pun, I've been waiting to ues that one for ages). As the mad scientist who has been told to turn Darrow into a Gold says...
"Say we make his body perfect, there’s still one problem: we cannot make him smarter. One cannot make a mouse a lion.”That's right. Darrow is not stupid, but he is uneducated. He has not had the privilege of a life's worth of highly selective education. His body is hard, strong, but unhoned in war.
And he dares compete against the Golds, the highest echelon of Society. The strongest, the most powerful, the most intelligent.
Only Darrow dares. And he succeeds beyond anyone's wildest imagination. He is so fucking perfect, and I hate him for it. Despite a complete lack of education, he is brilliant. Just fucking brilliant.
I don’t know the math, but I know the pattern. I solve it and four more puzzles, then it changes once more in my hands, becoming a circle. Mickey’s eyes widen. I complete the circle’s puzzles and then toss him back the device. He stares at my hands while working his own twelve fingers.He succeeds at everything. Lack of knowledge? Fuck that shit, just drink a fucking INTELLIGENCE TONIC AND BOOM! INSTANT GENIUS.
Before I sleep, I drink a tonic laden with processing enhancers and speed-listen to The Colors, The Iliad, Ulysses, Metamorphosis, the Theban plays, The Draconic Labels, and restricted works like The Count of Monte Cristo, Lord of the Flies, Lady Casterly’s Penance, 1984, and The Great Gatsby. I wake knowing three thousand years of literature and legal code and history.Where was that stuff when I was cramming for my finals in school? :|
Which begs the question, if Darrow can be artificially enhanced like that, why hasn't everyone else? What makes Darrow so special that his artificial physical and mental enhancements haven't been used to make the actual Golds better than they are?
It doesn't work.
The Plot: It just plods on, and on, and on. There was not a whole lot of bad in this book except for the fact that the message got lost along the way, and it was so incredibly boring. My friends promised me it would get better at the 15% mark. They promised me it would get better at the 30% mark. I just kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and things never really inproved. The first 15% of the book had my head spinning as we are introduced to the immensely boring and confusing world building. The next 20% was better, because hey! Darrow got ripped apart and put back together. The rest of the book was like, The Hunger Games in that you pitch a ton of elite students together in to a Lord of the Flies scenario until one emerges, victorious.
Maybe. The message got somewhat lost in between the whole "Hunger Game" survival scenario at a leadership training school, the Insitute.
My name, three bars beside it now, floats nearer the Primus hand.There's the hardship of survival, the fight to be the victor...the, um, battle against pimples?
People remain hungry because we’ve yet to build a fire in the castle, and hygiene is quickly forgotten when two of our girls are snatched up by Ceres horsemen as they bathe in the river just beneath our gate. The Golds are confused when even their fine pores begin clogging and they gain pimples.Seriously, I can't even tell you what the latter 25% of the book was about because it was such a confusing, boring mess.
The Setting: I thought this was well done, despite the massive amount of infodumping without definition. If you want sci-fi, you got it. The reader is instantly immersed into the world on Mars, the underground, the mining world.
There is a tremendous amount of terms that the reader doesn't know at first. The good is that the book doesn't try to spoon-feed its readers. The bad is that OH MY GOD SO MANY TERMS WHAT THE HELL DOES IT ALL MEAN?! The first 10% of the book had my head in a tailspin.
Frysuit, helldiver, Tinpots, clawDrill, scanCrew, headTalk, randomlyCapitalizedWords, etc. It was tremendously confusing.
The good is that the setting is eventually explained. The system of castes on Mars based on colors is explained, and about damn time, too.
The Gray soldiers prowl the cities ensuring order, ensuring obedience to the hierarchy. The Whites arbitrate their justice and push their philosophy. Pinks pleasure and serve in highColor homes. Silvers count and manipulate currency and logistics. Yellows study the medicines and sciences. Greens develop technology. Blues navigate the stars. Coppers run the bureaucracy. Every Color has a purpose. Every Color props up the Golds.The technology is slowly revealed to us. The reader has to WORK in order to understand the setting. I like that the background of the book is incorporated into the story, there is no stupid "Once Upon a Time blah blah blah" shit type of dystopian background building here.
The fact that the book takes such an easy view of randomly killing off its elite citizens was well-explained, too. I usually take offense at random killing of your best and brightest, but I have to admit that this book gave me an adequate explanation.
“And you may think it a waste of good Golds, but you’re an idiot if you think fifty children make a dent in our numbers. There are more than one million Golds on Mars. More than one hundred million in the Solar System. Not all get to be Peerless Scarred, though, eh?Darrow's Physical Transformation: My Fair Lady to the fucking EXTREME, man. Darrow is a Red. He is trying to be a Gold, in order to achieve that, he has to undergo a very far-out sci-fi transformation process. Bones are rebuilt. Skin is peeled off. Synapses are formed. There is a TON of blood and pain. It is fucking awesome.
The agony is beyond language or comprehension. I watch videos of it afterwards to distract me from the residual pain. He uses a vibroScalpel to slice the flesh of my thigh down the middle. He parts my muscle and skin with clamps to expose the bones of my legs. Then he peels off layers of the bone with a bonepeeler and paints new layers with his improved-bone recipe.The Political Message: This is meant to be a political parable, and it does it quite well. I could select one of a thousand sentences in this book and plaster it onto a Communist propaganda where it would fit in place perfectly. The political message in this book is loud, clear, and well done. I said this was a rousing book, and it was. The message of inequality is so clear here. The struggles of the Reds are well-depicted. You can clearly see the injustice, the betrayal, the deceit, and I understand the hunger that Darrow felt and his desperation to make things right for his people.
“This is our bloodydamn planet.”An ambitious book, and one that many of my friends have loved.
It just didn't do the job for me. ...more
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Jan 14, 2014
Feb 05, 2014
Jul 19, 2013
Jun 02, 2013
Jun 04, 2013
"'How can you say you want to run? They took your mother. They took your life. They took your choices away. How can you just run when you have every c "'How can you say you want to run? They took your mother. They took your life. They took your choices away. How can you just run when you have every cause to turn around and fight back?'"
This was a quick, mostly enjoyable vampire dystopian novella. It is far from perfect; I had numerous questions as I read through it, and there were plenty of errors. This novella could have benefited a great deal if it had an editor (or one that's better at doing his or her job). The problem here is one from which many books of its ilk suffers: IT'S A NOVELLA.
It is an ambitious premise. It would be an ambitious full-length book. The author said, in the preface, that this novella was originally published before, and was even shorter before she fleshed it out. My mind boggles. Seriously. I can imagine a book with this premise as a full-length, 300-page novel, with fleshed-out characters and a well-built setting. It certainly has a lot of promise from what I've read. And what I've read was not satisfying; this little book was around 70 pages (text size: extra-small!) on my ebook device.
Wha...what? 70 pages to build a new dystopian world, to explain how said world came about, to create compelling characters and backgrounds? A novella? No. It doesn't cut it. At all.
Before I go further off-topic ranting on the awfulness of the novella and how it should be restricted to, say, books 1.5 or 2.7 in a series, let's get back to the story itself.
Meridian Six is the name given to our main character, a 23-year old human girl whose actual human-given name is Carmina Sargosa. Before the Blood Wars, she led a life with her mother; after the wars, she was captured by the vampiric Troika, and used as propaganda, since her mother was the famous rebel, Alexis Sargosa. Carmina suffered tremendously under the Troika, and her reputation is left in shreds among the surviving human rebels. She has no one to turn to, she is of no use to the vampires besides her role as a poster-child for human obedience, and the rebels hate her because of her image. They despise her; to them, she is a pampered, spoiled, well-fed sycophant, living well against their hardship and suffering.
"'While you were sucking the Troika's cocks, my daughter was murdered and hung to bleed out from the window of our apartment building to serve as a warning to the other vampires who were considering mating with humans.'"
Despite what the rebels believed, Carmina's life inside the Troika, as their toy, was nothing but pure torture.
"In exchange for my services to the Troika's propaganda machine, I was passed around like a trophy among the highest level vampires. It was something of a badge of honor to vein fuck Alexis Sargosa's daughter."
The Troika tortured her physically and mentally, anything from benignly making her clean their houses to putting a gun to her head just to smell her fear. Finally, they put her through one final act of invasion that she could no longer withstand, and thus, she formulates a flimsy, idiotic plan to run away. My sympathy for Carmina is real, but it doesn't diminish the fact that she's a moron. I have to give credit where it's due, and so I will say that it's probably not out of character that she acts the way she does. She's had no formal education besides what little her more benevolent vampire masters choose to give her, and everything she has is given by them. Therefore, I suppose it's not really her fault that she decides to try and outrun a squad of Troika police in a green silk dress and high heels. And I suppose I can forgive her for not having the slightest bit of a clue what to do once she escapes.
Ok, maybe not.
First things first, let's get back to the world at hand here. This is not our United States; the US is now split into 3 parts, and New York is now Nachtstadt (apparently, vampires speak German?). There has been a Blood War. There are fucking vampires living on the planet, outnumbering humans. What little bunches of rebels there are exist on the edge of nothing. It is a hard life to be a rebel. It is a hard life to be a human, because as a human, you are either a) confined to a labor camp or b) hooked up and drained for your blood à la Daybreakers style, which, as you can imagine, diminishes your lifespan pretty quickly. Everything is run by the Troika. Before the war, they bought out all the media companies, so all they had to do to immobilize humans and take over was flip a few switches and kill off the phones, internet, TVs. That's actually really effective, now that I think about it. Props to the evil vampiric masterminds, yo.
So, in the midst of all this, humans are all but extinct and there are pretty much none living on the fringes. So where in the actual fuck would our intrepid heroine go once she's escaped? Once she's actually revealed the Troika's plot? Yeah. To say that Carmina doesn't really think things through is understating it. Sure, she'll escape in her silk dress and high heels, meet the rebels (who hate her from reputation), tell them of the plans, and then go on her merry way.
"'None of this has anything to do with me. I just want to move on and try to cobble a life together...I didn't escape the Troika only to get involved in some scheme that would put me back into their crosshairs.'"
Um, yeah. Tough shit, you walked right into it, sister. A little foresight wouldn't hurt, for future reference. You don't go into a mob of angry rebels after being the poster child for human obedience and expect to walk away scot-free after you've seen their secret lair.
My complaints about Carmina aside, she does manage to grow up somewhat throughout the novella. The rebels themselves are not likeable characters, but they're not intended to be likeable characters. They're tough as rocks. They've had horrible things happen to them. In some cases, they've had their entire families killed. We don't learn too much of them, but from what I've read, Dare, Icarus, and Saga all have backgrounds that can easily be built-up to fully sympathetic and complex characters IF THIS WAS AN ACTUAL BOOK.
I was left with too many questions for this book to fully work for me. Who are the Troika? We know they're vampires, but how are they different from the other vampires from before the Blood War? We know of the Blood War, how did vampires come into our knowledge and live alongside us before that? Why are certain blood types more valuable than others? Why and how did they use Meridian Six as propaganda? What do vampires look like? From what I read in this book, they either look normal or have fangs that make them look like "saber-toothed tigers." How are they able to reproduce with humans? Why are some vampires able to go around in the sun like Dare did? Why are some vampires alongside humans? And so on and so forth. Too many questions, too few answers. It's a decent little book, but it leaves me unsatisfied and frustrated.
Oh, I forgot to add one element which greatly pleased me. NO UNNECESSARY ROMANCE IS FORCED UPON US. Hallelujah! ...more
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Jul 19, 2013
Jul 20, 2013
Jul 18, 2013
Sep 01, 2013
Sep 26, 2013
it was ok
In my youth, I have read and loved all of Robin McKinley's fantasies. Therefore, it is with a considerable amount of disappointment that I have to adm In my youth, I have read and loved all of Robin McKinley's fantasies. Therefore, it is with a considerable amount of disappointment that I have to admit that I wish she had stuck to that genre after reading this book. Shadows provided me with little enjoyment. This could be considered fantasy, but it is a convoluted sort of fantasy that makes little or no sense. The world building is confusing. The lingo is nonsensical. I desperately wished for a glossary, footnotes, anything to help me with the piss-poor pseudo-dystopian/semi-coherent alternate universe, whatever this book is.
There is magic within this book, but the experience of reading this book is not magical. It is a rambling stream of consciousness with a mess of an insta-love and an insinuated love triangle, narrated by a tedious, unlikeable, annoying teenaged girl.
The summary is deceptively simple, but the execution of it is convoluted, confounding. Maggie lives in Newworld with her widowed mother and younger brother, Ran. It is a pretty ordinary existence, she goes to high school and hangs out with her best friends, Taks and Jill, she volunteers at the local pet shelter---until a major disturbance comes into her life in the form of a deceptively ordinary stepfather. Maggie hates her stepfather, Val, but her hatred goes beyond the usually reasons; Val is creepy. There are shadows surrounding him.
I was watching the shadows on the wall behind Val’s chair. They were too lively and there were way too many of them. One or another of them always seemed about to turn into something I could recognize—a Komodo dragon or an alligator or a ninety-tentacled space alien.They snake around him, they surround him, they're twisty, tentacled, sinister shadow creatures. And only Maggie can see them. Maggie tries to hide her disgust and hatred of Val, for her mother's sake, she even grits her teeth and doesn't speak a word about it (really, who would believe her?). Until one day, the shadows get to be more than she can handle. Maggie snaps.
I’d had it. I’d had it.Who is Val? What is he? Who is Casimir, the strange, beautiful foreign boy who is oddly fascinated by Maggie? What does Maggie's heritage got to do with all this forbidden magic?
The setting: The world building is alternately overwhelming, and utterly lacking. There are so many terms thrown at us. There are new lingos; dreeping, flastic, bugsuck, whizztizz. And then there are the foreign terms. Mgdada, chabaled, nazok, gruuaa, guldagi.
There is Oldworld, Newworld, Southworld, Midworld, Farworld, with few explanations for their existence. Oh, and then there's Japan and England and Scotland and other countries of the world, which still exists, for some fucking reason and I'm not quite sure where they fit into the scheme of Oldworld, Newworld, etc.
There is NIDL. There are silverbugs, which are supposed to be avoided at all cost, but it is never entirely explained as to what the fuck they are and particularly why they're so dangerous.
There is gene-chopping to cut out the magical genes within a family without a compelling reason as to why magic is forbidden, as to why it is so utterly condemned and dangerous. I never got a clear sense of any sort of rhyme or reason for anything that goes on in this spastic fantasy/sci-fi crossbred world. There is the watchguard. There is neutralization. There is physwiz. There is NIDL. There the overwatch. There are countries like Ukovia, Orzastan. Lest you get the sense that this is indeed a magical world, it is not. Newworld is bland. Boring. Mechanical. There is nothing compelling about the world in which this book is set. I really could have used a glossary, because this book's narrator does a piss poor job of explaining what the actual fuck is going on.
The plot: I hate to sound like a broken record here, but it cannot be helped. Confusing is the word of the day. The plot and the world building is the worst part of this book. This book's plot is so utterly disjointed. The summary made the plot compelling, it is not. The only thing it does well is in the depiction of the horror and tension that builds up while Maggie tries to come to terms with the shadows surrounding her stepfather. Everything else is so dull. It is a story about a girl who deals with shadows and the potential presence of forbidden magic in her life, while dealing with an insta-love, and a potential love triangle for her newly hot best friend. There's some stuff about going on a rescue mission, about discovering one's heritage, but honestly, the book completely lost me far before that point.
The narrative: First person POV, the prose is more or less stream-of-consciousness, and coming from an angry, sullen, somewhat rebellious 17 year old girl, it is really fucking annoying at times. Take this paragraph, from the first chapter of the book:
He was short and hairy and didn’t know how to wear Newworld clothes and spoke with a funny accent and used a lot of really dreeping words that nobody in Newworld had used in two hundred years. Have you ever heard anyone say “ablutions?” I didn’t think so. He looked like the kind of creepazoid you’d cross the street to avoid walking past too close to. And this guy who looks like a homeless crazydumb who’s about to start shouting about the evil magician who planted electrodes in his brain stands there smiling gently at my mother...and she laughs and puts her arm through his because she loves him. Uggh.Maggie's narration is erratic. She is not entirely focused. She goes off her train of thought often, she goes off on tangents, and I could barely tolerate her as a narrator. I felt sympathy for her towards the beginning of the story, but Maggie grated on my nerves so much that she becomes almost intolerable throughout the story.
She's also got this little habit of dropping Japanese phrases into her narration. Shimatta. Kuso. Baka. Sumimasen. Domo arigato gozaimasu. Maggie's usage of random Japanese words in her everyday vocabulary stemmed from her grade-school self's need to annoy the fuck out of her quiet half-Japanese best friend, Taks; unfortunately, that habit lasted far beyond her childhood, to continue on the tradition of annoying others, namely, readers such as myself.
The characters: Underwhelming. Maggie is a ball of energy, she is erratic, she almost feels spastic at times, but I didn't get much personality out of her besides that. The rest of the characters are unremarkable, inoffensive, but completely tedious.
The romance: Why? WHY?! I know the romance is a broken record complaint from me, but there really was no point at all to the romance in this story. It turned Maggie from an ordinary girl into a special snowflake when the mysterious, starkly foreign boy falls in love with her and her special snowflakeness. It was so completely out of nowhere, it added nothing to the already uncompelling plot besides to further aggravate my nerves.
I always thought that “my heart turned over” was just a phrase.And then the stupid love triangle thing with the best friend who got hot overnight. So predictable.
I had way, way too much to think about...and Casimir’s face started drifting across my mind’s eye and that made my heart beat even faster than thinking about Val’s shadows did.Right. Then stop fantasizing about his naked ass.
Despite its claims, there is nothing that feels magical, nothing fantastic about reading this book. Please read one of Robin McKinley's older works; they are superior to this terrible novel. ...more
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Nov 03, 2013
Jul 10, 2013