Category Archives: Dystopian

Gather the Daughters- Jennie Melamed


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

A remote community lives on an island, the only place that is safe after a disaster left the rest of the world as a wastelands. Only the wanderers have seen the wastelands, where they go to forage for supplies, and occasionally save survivors.

There are rules to the island. The men lead, it is the women’s job to keep house and birth children, which they start to do on their first ‘Summer of Fruition’.

But one year a girl, who is soon to become a woman, sees something which starts the girls questioning what they had always been told, and that things had to be the way they are.

Review

I really raced through this book, it reads like a pretty standard dystopian YA novel, but it has some really dark subject matters which are hinted at; rape, domestic violence, paedophillia, murder, anorexia, and persecution. The community follows the laws laid down by the ancestors in ‘Our book’, and in this sense and the way that the community was quite basic and old-fashioned made me think of the Amish (although I wouldn’t expect the Amish to have a community who raped their daughters as a ‘normal’ thing).

Looking back it does seem that that Melamed wanted to add as many issues as she possibly could, but at the time of reading I found that I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next, so I guess that was actually a good thing.

At the beginning I found it a little difficult to define the characters from each other, but as I got to know them better I found them easier to distinguish. I ended up really liking Janey, she was strong, I would call her a role model but I’m not sure she is really a good one, whilst her actions have fairly sound reasoning behind them they aren’t always the best choices, and I can see some parents not wanting their kids to read the books because of it.

Other reviews I’ve read have described ‘Gather the Daughters’ as too depressing. Whilst I don’t think it is too depressing I also would say that if you like to read light and easy books it won’t be for you. Overall though I would recommend it.

4/5

‘Gather the Daughters’ is released on 25/7/17 in hardback and kindle editions and on 5/4/18 in paperback

Pre-order now:

Hardcover (£14.88)

Kindle (£8.49)

Paperback (£8.99)

Other Reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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Filed under Dystopian, Fiction review, YA

Ready Player One- Ernest Cline


Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.

Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

Review

I’d been hearing great things about Ready Player One, reviews that almost made me want to read it, but I didn’t really think it sounded like my type of book, so I didn’t seek it out.

Then I was trying to think of a present for my partner. I’d had a fair amount of success with books which sounded good but a little too fantasy or sci-fi for me, so Ready Player One came to mind.

My partner really enjoyed it, so, when my TBR pile wasn’t looking especially appealing, I decided to borrow it.

Oh how I wish I’d read it sooner. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with sci-fi- which is the main thing that puts me off, but this book definitely fell on the love side of things.

It had everything, action, romance, intrigue. The geek in me loved it. A lot of people say that they liked the nostalgia element, but most of the things based o the past were from the 80s, I was born i 87 so a bit early for me, and I was’t a console player anyway which a lot was based o. Maybe if I was I would have enjoyed it eve more, but as it was I loved it.

5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.84)

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Other reviews:

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Book Journey

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Silly Little Mischief

Ink and Page

Girl Vs Bookshelf

Leeswammes’ Blog

Words For Worms

Nylon Admiral

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review

Wool Series- Hugh Howey


The Wool series consists of 3 books; Wool , Shift and Dust

Synopsis (written by me, because there isn’t just one)

Years in the future a civilization, the only survivors on earth are living in a silo. Outside the air is poison. The Wool series of books looks at how this came to be, and how things started to fall apart.

Review

Note on the review: Because I read Wool, Shift, and Dust one after the other I have decided to review them all in one go rather than as separate books. Because of this I’ve decided to use a sort of key code. Anything in black refers to all the books and isn’t a spoiler. Anything in red refers to Wool, there may be spoilers for Wool but won’t be any spoilers for previous books. Anything in green refers to Shift, it may contain spoilers for Shift or Wool. Anything in purple refers to Dust, it may contain spoilers for any of the three books.

I bought Wool (and later Shift and Dust) for my partner initially. There were quite a few reviews around at the time (I definitely remember that Ellie reviewed Dust) and I thought the books sounded good, but not quite me. These sorts of sci-fi things are more my boyfriend’s taste. However when he enjoyed it I thought I would give it a read too.

Overall I did enjoy the series although for all the books I found they started slow and after a while became more interesting. I must admit as well that I found my interest in the series overall wavered with each book, so although I fairly enjoyed Dust, it had significantly less pull than Wool did.


By the end of Wool I was really looking forward to starting Shift and seeing what happened next. My boyfriend warned me I would be somewhat disappointed, and he was right because Shift doesn’t continue on from where Wool left off, instead it jumps back to when the silos were new and gradually moves to the same time but in silo one- head silo- and how the events in Wool effect that silo.

I still enjoyed Shift by the end, it was interesting to see another side. It was also interesting how Jules almost became the enemy. Or I suppose I should say how it didn’t seem like the plans we learnt about in Wool were so bad after all. They seemed somewhat good intentioned.

I sort of wish things had stayed that way, where you can see both sides of the coin, but Dust changed it into bad plans again. I think it would have been more interesting to see Jules and silo one discussing her problems with what they were doing and maybe finding a solution.

Dust’s start was rather disappointing. It didn’t start where Wool had left off but jumped a little further forward, and I think partly because of this things were a little confusing. Jules seemed to know a lot but it was difficult to understand how she knew a lot of it. Of course I could have forgotten what exactly had happened in Wool which may have marred my impression of Shift.

 

Would I recommend the series? I don’t know. A lot of promise seems unfulfilled, but I did enjoy reading them, so maybe

3/5

Buy it:

Wool (from £4.99)
Shift (from £4.99)
Dust (from £4.99)

Other reviews:

Leeswammes’ Blog Wool | Shift

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm Wool | Shift

Quirky Bookworm Wool

The Sleepless Reader Wool

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Seeds of Transition- Carolyn Holland and Kef Hollenbach


Kef Hollenbach, seeds on transition, genesis project, genesis project 1, book, carolyn holland
Disclaimer: I was sent this book free of charge (by the author) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

As the world’s population approaches 10 billion people, and severe weather extremes impact crop and livestock production, the demand for and price of food is rising. The American government, as well as other powerful individuals, find themselves looking for intelligent, albeit unlikely heroes in the world of academia. Jarod Farra, a professor of agriculture at Cornell University, quickly finds himself at the forefront of both his longstanding dreams, and perhaps, some of his worst fears. Out of the turmoil and fear of an impending international food shortage, a range of characters come together to perform an experiment that will forever change the world as we know it, and provide new hope for generations to come.

Review

Seeds of Transition is the first book of The Genesis Project series. It’s set in a future world which could be possible. Because of climate change weather is becoming increasingly severe, and more and more crops are failing causing wide spread food shortages and a rise is food prices. The government in America are trying to come up with a solution, and that’s where the Genesis project come in. A carefully managed farm in a controlled environment, a sort of giant greenhouse with every type of gadgetry you could think of to create the perfect environment to grow plants and support animal life.

When I found out this was the first in series I couldn’t quite get my head around the idea that it could make enough of a plot to be more than one book. At least not without minute detail which might be a bit tedious.

In a way I was right. There was quite a lot more to the plot than the central theme of transforming farming to cope with a new need. There were a fair few little sub-plots which weren’t terribly related. As we saw the Genesis Project through Jarod’s eyes we did see a lot of his life in general, and that would have been unrealistic if it was all about work and nothing more personal. Maybe the personal took up a bit too much of the plot, but at the same time it was a nice plot in itself, and provided some light relief. There was one of these extra plot lines that I didn’t really understand the inclusion of, however, especially as it came at a time when other parts of the plot were really grabbing my attention.

The chapters were split up into two stories (generally speaking) that of the president, and that of Jarod. These two storylines both held my interest pretty well, although Jarod’s storyline was a bit slower starting, but probably overtook the president’s storyline. In a way it was frustrating to finish a chapter and not continue along a storyline I was interested in. Even so I quickly got back into the other storyline. At first however it felt like there were several storylines going on at once which was a little difficult to follow, I found it easier later on when the early storylines melded, having said that one of the original storylines resurfaced (the plot line I spoke of earlier) in a place where it seemed unnecessary, and I had to keep flicking back and forth between the pages to actually get a grip on what had happened.

By the end I was thinking I’d like to know what happened next, and not just because of the cliff hanger at the end, but also because I wanted to know what happened in other plot lines and how the Genesis Project worked.

Worth a read although the beginning may be a struggle.

4/5

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The Returned- Jason Mott


the returned, jason mott, book, book cover
Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge by the publishers (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

All over the world, people’s loved ones are returning from the dead.
Exactly as they were before they died.
As if they never left.
As if it’s just another ordinary day.Jacob Hargrave tragically drowned over 40 years ago. Now he’s on his aged parents doorstep, still eight years old; the little boy they knew they d never see again. As the family find themselves at the centre of a community on the brink of collapse, they are forced to navigate a whole new reality and question everything they’ve ever believed.No one knows how or why this mysterious event is happening, whether it s a miracle or a sign of the end.
The only certainty is that their lives will never be the same again.

Review

Note: This book is not the same as French television show The Returned (which was recently popular in the UK) but is being made into a TV show by ABC in America with the name Resurrection. They do both however feature people coming back from the dead.

I first came across The Returned on Leeswammes’ Blog, and to be honest I read the review because I wanted to see if it was the book of the TV show.  Through reading it however I did become interested so decided to see if it was still up on netgalley- and it was (yay!).

The story was rather emotional. Firstly the idea of someone whom you loved coming back to life- and the same happening all over the world. How would you cope after you’d got over that loss? And how would the time in-between (when you have aged, but your loved one has not) effect your relationship? What if your loved one didn’t come back? Would you be questioning why, and wondering if they didn’t want to come back?

Then there was the problem of the suddenly rapidly expanding population. Were ‘the returned’ entitled to help in finding their families? Should their families be obliged to take them in? If they had nowhere to go should they be entitled to homes, and jobs, healthcare? Everywhere arguments are starting, fighting, riots, as people battle about what should be done with the returned. In America (where the majority of the book is situated) the returned are taken to internment camps, but more and more returned are turning up, and resources are stretch to the limit. It’s how you might imagine a refugee camp.

The main bulk of the story rests with Harold and Lucille Hargrave, whose son Jacob returns. Jacob drowned at the age of 8, but Harold and Lucille are now in their 80s. A lot of the story is how they balance their loss of Jacob with him returning, and sees how their relationship with him changes and stays the same.

There’s also a strong political element to the story, to do with how the government and the general population respond.

The chapters are also interspersed with short sections about other people who returned, and their stories.

At times the book is very emotional, it makes you sad, relieved, happy, and sometimes a little angry.

I would recommend reading the author note at the end too where Mott talks about his inspiration. It’s rather heart wrenching.

The Returned is the first in a series, but I really can’t see how it can be a series, it seems like a perfect stand alone book. I suppose if each book followed a different member of the returned?

4/5

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Filed under Contempory, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Sci-Fi

Genus- Jonathan Trigell


Synopsis (from Amazon)

In the Britain of a few tomorrows time, physical perfection is commonplace and self improvement has become an extinct expression: all the qualities men and women could aspire to can be purchased prior to birth.

GENUS is a time of genetic selection and enrichment – life chances come on a sliding scale according to wealth. For some there is no money or choice, and an underclass has evolved; London’s King’s Cross, or The Kross as it is now known, has become a ghetto for the Unimproved. In The Kross, the natural, the dated, the cheap and the dull, live a brittle and unenviable existence. But unrest is growing; tension is mounting and a murderer is abroad in these dark quarters…

Review

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Boy A (which was Trigell’s first novel) so when Genus was sent to for review I thought why not? I’ve not actually read Boy A so I don’t know if it’s worth of the praise it has received but knowing about it probably did heighten my expectations a little when it came to reading Genus.

At first I really can’t say I was much of a fan. The chapters kept jumping from character to character- sometimes with a heading to say which character’s point of view you were seeing, but not always, which made things a little confusing. Plus at first there seemed to be few links between the characters which felt like I was reading lots of little stories based in the same world, this just added to the confusion. However as the story progressed the stories seemed to intertwine which reduced the confusion- in fact by the time all was revealed the only confusion I felt was the confusion I imagine the reader was meant to feel. That is the confusion about the murderer.

Tone wise Genus reminded me quite a lot of Super Sad True Love Story, which wasn’t really a bonus because I had been rather disappointed by that one, so it didn’t really build good associations. There were certain parallels in the novels too. Both set in a dystopian future which have a certain basis in reality that suggests that everything might come true.

Genus definitely has more meat to it though. The future presented is more scary. The idea of being a lower class just because you hadn’t been a designed child. The vicious circle of it all, the Unimproved couldn’t get the good jobs, so they couldn’t pay for their children to be Improved so if they had children they were condemning them to the same fate. The laws that were meant to protect the Unimproved just made it easier to know who was Unimproved and therefore discriminate against them.

We see this future through different eyes. Some Improved, some not. There’s a suggestion that even life for the Improved is not fantastic, but that nobody would want to be Unimproved, if if they were lucky when it came to natural gene selection. Mainly we follow Holman, an Unimproved of the most obvious type. A midget with legs which do not work as they should, and who is old for his age. In ways he is lucky, he has a natural talent for art which may one day get him out of The Kross, born to an Unimproved, but rich and beautiful mother who is happy to support him. But Holman seems entangled in the murders, is he next to go, or could he even be the murderer?

By the end I just wanted to find everything out, but to be honest most of the time I found I just wanted the story to be over already, it was only in about the last 30% of the book that I started actually getting interested, and the last 10% was pretty riveting. If you’re in for the long haul you may enjoy Genus, but I didn’t find the last section really made up for the rest.

3/5

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Super Sad True Love Story- Gary Shteyngart


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

In a very near future a functionally illiterate America is about to collapse. But don’t tell that to poor Lenny Abramov, proud author of what may well be the world’s last diary. Despite his job at an outfit called ‘Post-Human Services’, which attempts to provide immortality for its super-rich clientele, death is clearly stalking this cholesterol-rich morsel of a man. And why shouldn’t it? Lenny’s from a different century. He TOTALLY loves books (or ‘printed, bound media artifacts’ as they’re now known), even though most of his peers find them smelly and annoying. But even more than books, Lenny loves Eunice Park, an impossibly cute and impossibly cruel 24-year-old Korean-American woman who just graduated from Elderbird College with a major in ‘Images’ and a minor in ‘Assertiveness’. When riots break out in New York’s Central Park, the city’s streets are lined with National Guard tanks, and patient Chinese creditors look ready to foreclose on the whole mess, Lenny vows to convince his fickle new love that in a time without standards or stability, there is still value in being a real human being.

Review

I bought this book as a kindle daily deal book. I probably wouldn’t have bought it if it was full price. I was interested enough in the future type idea to get it as an impulse buy, but if it had been full price that would probably have made me less interested- like I didn’t think it would be worth it. I think actually my reservations were correct.

Although I did find some of the ideas about the future interesting, such of the idea of paying for ‘life extension’ (i.e. nano-robots who ‘fix’ you from inside out and make you younger), and everybody’s use of an ‘apparat’ (which is a kind of combined smart phone, facebook, I.D. card type gadget, which knows, and shows others everything about you).  In some ways the future is realistic. The idea of sharing data about yourself isn’t new, neither is the idea of doing everything on your phone. You can find other people where you are on foursquare, facebook and some dating sites. Nano-robots exist and there is an industry made up with making one appear younger and more attractive. Having a credit card isn’t uncommon, and neither is living on credit. Certainly there are certain aspects that were interesting from that point.

The characters however I did not like. I thought Lenny was a bit of an idiot to be frank. He just followed everyone else. He thought he loved Eunice after one night. He kept thinking they were perfect even when they had arguments all the time. I found him rather self-obsessed. Even in terms of that ‘future’ he was a bit dim, he didn’t seem to understand modern language, or his apparat, or even his friends. In fact all that I can say I liked about him is that he actually read real books, in an age where books were seen as a bit disgusting!

Eunice if anything was more self-obsessed, but in her it was more forgivable as it seemed to be a product of her culture. If anything she was more naive than anything else. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling the book.

Certainly I wouldn’t call it a love story. Maybe sad if I imagine a world could be like this.

3/5

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Mockingjay- Suzanne Collins


Image from Amazon

Mockingjay is the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire first.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The final book in the ground-breaking HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’ worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12
Review
Note: I’m about 99% sure that I can’t write this review spoiler free, so I’m not going to try. I will however block out spoilers in my usual fashion. However I won’t be blanking out spoilers from the previous 2 books.
I’m sad to see this story end.  I must admit I would have been perfectly happy with just the first book and I’m still not 100% sure it had to be a series, however I enjoyed the second book much more than I had anticipated and was eager to read this one.
It’s much more of a war type novel than the previous two, I guess though the other two books contain some sense of rebellion they weren’t as geared towards rebellion as this one was- and that was something I expected after how Catching Fire ended.  In some ways it made me like it less. It felt so much more, I don’t know, planned, I guess. In The Hunger Games Katniss was just going with the flow really, following her heart if you want. In this she seemed less in control in a way, more manipulated. I didn’t really like how there was something a bit wrong about how she thought she was being independent. I guess by he end she did though and it shocked me. [highlight for spoiler] I never ever expected for her to shoot Coin, but I understood it. Really the only thing good about Coin is that she wasn’t Snow. She seemed to be just as power hungry. She was willing to sacrifice Katniss so she would win power. She even wanted to do what Snow did, use the Hunger Games to show how powerful she was. Maybe only once but if anyone in the capital is innocent surely it’s the kids? I was surprised Katniss voted for it though, I mean she knew what it does to people, she’d let more people go through that?
4.5/5
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1Q84 (Book 1)- Haruki Murakami


Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Murakami Reading Challenge 2012

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.

Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a stand-still, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

Review

I read this book as part of the longer book which holds books 1 and 2. I had always intended to write a review at the end of book one then continue on to book to immediately, however just book 1 has taken me the whole of the year so far (alongside my kindle books, and with a break for Catching Fire) so I really feel I need a break. It’s not that I haven’t liked 1Q84 so far exactly, but I have struggled some what. The story seems to be going quite slowly, although it’s become more interesting in the last 100 pages or so.

The book is split into chapters from Aomame and chapters from Tengo, one from Aomame, one from Tengo, then switching back. At first I found Aomame’s story the most interesting, although I loved Tengo as a character, I can certainly see why he is so popular! Gradually though I became just as interested in each storyline. In fact Murakami seemed to have a tendency to finish the chapter just as it was starting to interest me- which was a little annoying because it made me just want to skip to their next chapter. It was interesting as well how he built in areas of the two storylines which fitted together but only really mentioned them briefly. It made me want to read more to find out exactly how the two stories linked together, and just work out the general puzzles of Murakami’s normal oddities. Having said that the oddities were few and far between in comparison to other Murakami books. Not really sure how I feel about this though as the oddities did seem to be building as the links became more frequent.

Overall. Well, book 1 was a bit like an introduction. I didn’t feel like much happened despite it being almost 400 pages long- however things were introduced which I think will be important later on, and it very much opened up avenues for the other 2 books. I’m still going to have a break in case I find book 2 hard going but I am certainly not going to give up

3/4

Reviews of 1Q84 from other challenge participants:

Sam Still Reading

Tony’s Reading List

The Akamai Reader

Buy it:

Hardback- Books 1 & 2 (£12.00)

Kindle: Books 1 & 2 (£9.59)

Paperback: Books 1-3 (£13.00)

Paperback: Books 1 & 2: pre-order (£8.09)

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Catching Fire- Suzanne Collins


Image from Amazon

Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. Read my review of the first book here

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The second book in the ground-breaking HUNGER GAMES trilogy. After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to their district, hoping for a peaceful future. But their victory has caused rebellion to break out … and the Capitol has decided tat someone must pay. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol’s Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless they can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. Then comes the cruelest twist: the contestants for the next Hunger Games are announced, and Katniss and Peeta are forced into the arena once more.
Review
For some reason I appear to have low expectations of these books. For the first one it sort of made sense, but I really liked that one so surely that should give me high expectations of this one. I guess I thought the whole going back in the arena thing would be a bit much of a stretch, sort of trying to keep the story going past where it should end (which is something I dislike because it just feels like they are trying to get more money out of you). Actually though I was happy to find myself proven wrong (again). In some ways I even enjoyed this one more than the last. It had a bit of a puzzle to it and more story lines to follow. Still can’t say I really like Katniss though.
5/5
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The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

A fight to the death – on live TV. The game show where you kill or die, and where the winner’s prize is survival. In District 12, where Katniss Everdeen lives, life is harsh and brutal, ruled from afar by the all-powerful leaders of the Capitol. The climax of each year is the savage Hunger Games – where twelve boys and twelve girls from each District face each other in a murderous showdown. When sixteen-year-old Katniss is chosen to represent her district in the Games, everyone thinks it’s a death sentence. Only one person can survive the horrors of the arena. But plucky Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature…

<br<

Review
So basically I was resisting reading this for ages because I thought it just sounded like s sanitized version of Battle Royale. Which is a stupid reason not to read it really seeing as I have only ever seen the film of Battle Royale and it was too gory for me, why would I not prefer a sanitized version? Maybe there is just a part of me who thought I would find the book easier, after all that is what I found with The Beach, I could read the book but couldn’t watch the film. And while Battle Royale was too gory for me I could appreciate it was a good film, so maybe I just didn’t want a dumbed down version? I don’t know, I’m just stubborn, and I don’t like reading popular things for some reason (unless I read them before they become popular, that’s ok).
Anyway I am waffling. I was actually pleasantly surprised by The Hunger Games. It took a little while for me to properly get into it although it was easy reading so I didn’t get through the less interesting chunk at the beginning. I found the book generally well paced and it contained enough twists to keep me on my toes. There was plenty of action  to keep me reading and wanting to know what happened next. but enough calmer times to be able to reflect on what was going on and to stop the book seeming too plot driven.
I am unsure about reading the next book. Based on the blurb it sounds a bit like a sequel for the sake of writing a sequel, although The Hunger Games was open ended enough to allow a sequel (or not).
I must admit though I do want to read Battle Royale now, even if just to see how similar the two books really are.
5/5
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Filed under Dystopian, Fiction review, YA

The Unit- Ninni Holmqvist


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?

THE UNIT is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the “dispensable” ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the “necessary” ones. Ninni Holmqvist has created a debut novel of humor, sorrow, and rage about love, the close bonds of friendship, and about a cynical, utilitarian way of thinking disguised as care.

Review

I think I’m going to find it difficult to say much about this book without spoilers, but I shall try my best.

The premise of this book was pretty great but it was somewhat let down by the characters. I just didn’t feel attached to the at all. I felt sympathy for them but in the same sort of way as you may feel sorry for someone who is on the news. You can imagine what it could be like if it happened to you but you have no real attachment to the person it is happening to which lessens your reaction.

There was only one point when I really felt an emotional attachment, when they tried to tale something away from Dorrit (I won’t say more to save from spoilers). I don’t think this was because I felt I knew Dorrit though so much as because it seemed like a more plausible situation.

3/5

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Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.

Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane – a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it’s love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey . . .

If George Orwell had tripped over a paint pot or Douglas Adams favoured colour swatches instead of towels . . . neither of them would have come up with anything as eccentrically brilliant as Shades of Grey.

Review

I will happily call myself a Jasper Fforde fan. I love the Thursday Next series and really like the nursery crimes series, when I heard Fforde had a new series coming out I was really excited but managed to hold myself off from actually buying it until it came out in paperback.I had heard that Shades of Grey was different from anything else by Jasper Fforde so was a little concerned that I might not like it. Initially I did find things a little confusing, probably because the world that Shades of Grey is set it is so similar but so different from our own, but after a while I began to understand a little more and as the story got going I began to get gripped by it, finding it difficult to put down.I would still say I prefer the Thursday Next novels because they’re a bit easier to get your head around but there are also things that I prefered about Shades of Grey. Overall I found the character’s more engaging. I especially liked Jane- she was so strong and didn’t care about what others thought of her so long as she was doing what she thought was right. I think she could quite easily be seen as a bit of a feminist icon. I liked Violet too because she was so beautifully horrible and manipulative, in some ways she was quite similar to Jane but she directed that energy in different ways. It was more serious than Thursday Next to in that it looked at issues we have in our world but from a different angle, I liked that because I like books that make you think, but it still had the familiar Jasper Fforde humour so wasn’t depressing,

I can’t wait for the next in the series.

5/5



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Filed under Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction review, Sci-Fi