This book was interesting. It takes place in 2575 so way in the future and includes a planet invasion and a plague. It was also written in the transcripts of files and emails, so even though it was a long book it was a quick read. It was slow at the beginning and a little hard to get into because of the different way of writing it, but it eventually got good. I was interested for a while, but then it just got confusing again. I also did not enjoy the main character or the way she acted, her character development just stopped making sense. I’m not sure if I would recommend this book, I think if you want a legit sci-fi novel you should read this, but be prepared to focus try to transcript emails and codes.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel story taking place before the events of the hunger games, and is about president Snow before he becomes president. This book was interesting because it shows Snow as a mentor to a tribute from district 12 during the tenth annual hunger games. You also hear a lot about Snow’s internal monologue which can get a little creepy because some of his actions actually make sense despite them being twisted. The book was a lot longer than any of the original hunger games books so it was a little slow which made it boring at times, but it was interesting to see Snow slowly morph into the twisted and feared villain he is later. The love story in the book was also strange because Snow would be the last person you would think of to show compassion and even Suzanne Collins can confirm this throughout his internal monologue. Overall, I think this is a great book to read if you enjoyed the hunger games series and there is a movie adaptation coming out this November which was one of my reasons for reading it.
Reviewer Grade: 8
This book was the absolute perfect ending to the Lunar Chronicles! There was so much action and fairytale elements in the book that were all easy to follow, and fun to read! Marissa Meyer was a genius when she incorporated an adaptation of a sci-fi Snow White, while still be able to keep the story flowing and add growth to the characters. It is important to read the series in order, but Winter was by far my favorite in the series!
Although George Orwell crafted a rather interesting dystopia, the story he built around it largely fell flat. It was apparent throughout the novel that Orwell was more of an essayist than a storyteller; he was more interested in explaining the structure of his setting to his audience rather than showing them how that structure affects the story. 1984 suffers from hundreds of pages of blunt exposition-dumping that disconnects the reader from the characters and plot. While there is significant payoff at the end, the rising action was rather lacking in weight as the main character spends more time describing the logistics of the 1984 world rather than where he fits in it. Some aspects of Orwell's famous dystopian are intriguing, like the use of Newspeak or the new family dynamics, though it is overall disappointing.
Warning: this book contains depictions of rape and violence. If either of these are sensitive topics for you, I would reccomend finding a different book.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is a story about a country that rises after the fall of America. In it, traditional gender roles are enforced by the government. Women are forced into the role of Wives, Marthas (women who clean the house), Aunts (women who are in charge of other women), and Handmaids (women who have sex with men to give them children). Offred has been taken from her husband and child, put into reducation, and forced to be a Handmaid for a commander. She makes her way through the new world while trying to keep fragments of her sanity, individuality, and happiness.
The descriptions in this book are incredible, almost poetic. The charcters in this book are all well defined, and feel like real people. Offred was a standout to me. Though she is the hero in the book, there's an inherent selfishness in her character. She has an affair with a married man. She decides not to help the resistance. She constantly mocks a woman who has been raped. Oftentimes stories will try to make a dystopia seem worse by making their protagonists innocent and pure. By making Offred so flawed, it draws attention to the fact that this treatment is unacceptable no matter who it's being done to.
The worldbuilding of Gilead is haunting. Margret Atwood has said that everything she put in "The Handmaid's Tale" has happened in history somewhere. That's probably part of why this book feels so real. Though it might seem unbelievable that a society could collapse and revert to such archaic values, looking into real life societal collapses makes it seem much more feasible.
I could talk about this book for far longer, but that would be unwise. In summary, "The Handmaid's Tale" is a wonderful, if not unsettling, read. I would reccomend it to fans of speculative fiction, anyone interested in learning about gender equality, and anyone who can handle a thought provoking read. As I said in the beginning though, this book can be upsetting at parts, so judge for yourself if you can handle that.
This is the sequel to Dewes' "The Last Watch". This book unfortunately no longer has the same antagonist. That conflict was resolved in the first book, so my favorite part of the last book is no longer a factor. This is not, however, the reason that I only gave this book a 4/5. I did not enjoy the content overload provided in "The Exiled Fleet". I enjoyed the increase in character development, but it lead to simply too much information. This also led to situations that only felt like they were there to develop one character before being cast aside. An example would be the airlock situation between Rake and Snyder. It felt really good to conclude the relationship between Cavalon and Snyder, but I wish there was more with Snyder before the entire book shoved more information and content about the next biggest thing. The content overload was my least favorite part of this book. My favorite part was, ironically, the character development. Rake dealing with trauma over Griffith, Cavalon's relationship with his grandfather, and the surge of sudden Jackin development. It's difficult to explain how my least and most favorite parts of "The Exiled Fleet" were the same, but it makes sense when the book is read.
Reviewer Grade: 11
A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was a funny but interesting book. The book is about aliens destroying Earth to make way for an intergalactic bypass, and it follows a few characters trying to survive the universe that they've been put into. There were also many comedic moments, including strange things that the characters need in order to survive and be safe out in the galaxy, such as a towel, which is really important. The only thing I didn't really like about this book was that it was really difficult to understand at times. There were lots of confusing moments and new things just kept coming. But at the end of the book most of it started to make sense. Overall I thought this book was a great read if you like humor and are interested in space.
Reviewer Grade: 8
The second book in the Initiation series, we get to see more of the world. As the characters move farther out, they see that the leaders of New America have lied about the state of the world. As the protagonists go on through their journey, they start to uncover more and more secrets that New America has decided to bury. Though they are not left alone on their quest as New America has left them with four highly trained soldiers, supposedly to defend them from any danger. Tensions continue to grow between the Guardians and Draydens group, and both sides start to grapple for control, eventually splitting off. Both sides become contenders to finish the pursuit for supplies and tell their side first to New America.
This is Dewes' fantastic debut novel about space, politics, and unknowable existence-ending eternal temporal torment. In fact, that last detail is my favorite part about the book. Not only is it an extremely interesting and unique concept for an antagonist, it is also a great antagonist. It is something that can be understood by the reader, but can't reasonably be understood by the reader. It in itself is a paradox that works as possibly my favorite antagonist this year. Again, it is simply the greatest unique idea I have read in a long time. I picked this book because I also loved Dewes' novel "Rubicon", so I looked for more books by the author. I honestly can't pinpoint a criticism that I have with this book. This book had just enough surprises where I was absolutely entertained, but I could still keep track of what was happening and which characters stood for what. I could relate to Adequin in her feeling of being inadequate (and actually being inadequate) for her assigned position. This book is a strong contender for being the greatest book that I have read this year.
Reviewer Grade: 11
One of the best original sci-fi movies to come out in the last decade, in my opinion, was Snowpiercer (2013). The story originated as a 1982 French graphic novel under the name of Le Transperceneige. While I haven't read the original source material, I decided that a prequel graphic novel was probably pretty safe to read. I figured the events leading up to the world ending and a perpetual train being launched wouldn't spoil anything for me (I also haven't seen the TV show either).
While it's only a scant 90 pages, part 1 of this prequel trilogy, Extinction, had nothing I didn't already know in it. Most of the plotlines in this book were fairly generic end-of-the-world-type stories. Each one obviously would lead to the last of humanity boarding this infinitely running train, which was no surprise. It probably didn't help that there weren't that many distinct characters to latch onto in this book to make it more relatable. I understand that it's laying the groundwork for the next two books, but it almost felt that this part of the prequel series was unnecessary.
Perhaps I'm more inclined to cleaner art in graphic novels I like to read. This book had a rough, almost sketch-like style I found to be unpolished. Maybe that was the feeling the illustrator was going for, but some scenes were hard to parse visually because of how dark and thick the lines were. Granted, I still want to go back and read the original graphic novel to see if the style fits better for the actual post-apocalyptic story. However, for this "real world" setting, the art style feels too heavy even for a pre-apocalypse story.
A somewhat unnecessary story with a heavy visual style, I give Snowpiercer - The Prequel Part 1: Extinction 3.0 stars out of 5.