DystopiaTag Archives

Eve by Anna Carey

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Reason for Reading:
  • The world has been wiped out by a deadly virus? Sure – I’m in!

I recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose—and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust . . . and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.


My Review:

Okay – I don’t know about you, but if my world were falling to pieces, the last thing I’d want to do is get all cuddly with some guy.  Eve, apparently, does not share that sentiment.

As I read this book all I could think about was just how selfish this girl is.  She leaves people being like crazy, she thinks only of herself and when disasters happen she doesn’t even give those injured or killed by them the courtesy of mourning them.  Yes, I understand the need to keep a story going but.. seriously?  There’s some really hardcore stuff happening in this book and it’s just glossed over – and if there’s something I really don’t like, it’s characters being created just to be killed off.

I wish I could say glowing things about Eve, because the premise was interesting and I was really looking forward to it, but all this book is is a teenage love story with a dystopian/apocolyptic sheer covering over it.

 

Check out these reviews!

Candace’s Book Blog

Tankborn by Karen Sandler

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Reason for Reading:
  • The cover, and the fact that I’m totally into dystopian literature right now.

I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

Best friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated when the time comes for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. High-status trueborns and working-class lowborns, born naturally of a mother, are free to choose their own lives. But GENs are gestated in a tank, sequestered in slums, and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.

When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds a host of secrets and surprises—not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul’s great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. With the help of an intriguing lowborn boy, Mishalla begins to suspect that something horrible is happening to them.

After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan with their new friends to save the children who are disappearing. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, one that may reveal secrets no one is ready to face.

My Review:

I have to admit to being a little intimidated when it comes to writing this review – because I feel like I cannot do this book justice.  I haven’t felt that way since I read The Hunger Games, y’all.  Tankborn is just that damn good, but it’s good in a totally different way.

First, let me just say that I’m loving the emergence of ethnicity into the dystopian genre.  Kayla is different from other characters I’ve read, but not noticeably different – just its there and you can bask in its total awesomeness.  Then there’s the concept – children being created for.. what again?  Strange computers resetting minds?  Foster families?  What is going on?!  It was just so much amazing fun that my mind couldn’t grasp it fully and I kept going back to re-read and put the book down in amazement as the story progressed.

Yes, the story is that good.

If you, like me, are picky about which dystopia genre books you want to rave about to other people, if you are tired of the genre being saturated by lackluster books following a clear-cut formula, then pick up Tankborn.  This is not one that will disappoint you.

Check out these reviews!

Books to the Sky

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
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Reason for Reading:
  • I’ve seen quite a bit of buzz about this one and, as I’ve been into these type of books lately, I decided to give it a go.

I  recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

My Review:

One thing I really struggle with when it comes to futuristic novels is an overabundance of new slang words.  Unfortunately, the overabundance of those words in Bumped colored my impression of that book.

So the story seems interesting – what would it be like if only teenagers could get pregnant?  All those qualms, all the stereotypes, all the apprehension, the worry, the fear about teenage pregnancies would be down the drain? or not?

While I think Megan McCafferty did an interesting job exploring both sides of the equation, the secular and the religious reasons behind each side,  it was lost beneath all of the ads, the jingles, the strange devices and.. I don’t know, it’s so overwhelming.   I recently returned from a trip to NYC and this book reminded me very much of the sensation overload I got in the city.

In fact, this book reminded me very much of my thoughts on the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.  If you enjoyed that series, this book may be right up your alley.

Check out these review(s):

Book Love Blog

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Over the next few weeks I’ll be reading the nominees for the 2010 Nebula Awards. While I won’t get to every book, I do plan on reading those novels listed and those listed for the Andre Norton award as well.
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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • This title is one of the awards for best novel in the 2010 Andre Norton Awards

Summary from GoodReads:

Set initially in a future shanty town in America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she’ll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.

My Review:

This is the kind of young adult book that I can fall in love with.  Just a touch of romance, high seas adventures, action, hard decisions to be made, a fascinating world and a main character filled with flaws and strengths.

Last year I attempted to read another book by Bacigalupi and was unable to get past the first 50 pages so I admit to having some worry when it came to Ship Breaker.  However, that gorgeous cover and the summary kept calling to me and when I saw it was up for The Andre Norton award that sealed the deal.

Ship Breaker is set in a sort of futuristic Gulf Coast.  New Orleans has been wiped out more than one time and Nailer, the main focus, is a boy on a crew in charge of scavenging items like copper wire from ship wrecks that show up on the coast.  It’s a hard life and one that is about to change the day a “swank” washes up in her ship-wrecked clipper.

Like most fantasy or sci-fi books it took a few pages for me to get used to the lingo and the setting, but once I did I was hooked and couldn’t put the book down.  Hours later I finished it and breathed a sigh of happiness – because this was the kind of ending I could get behind and my imagination went crazy with the possibilities.

This is a very good choice for the award and now I can’t wait to read the other selections!

Check out these review(s):

Laura’s Review Bookshelf

The Book Smugglers

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • I’ve been a fan of Maria V. Snyder since reading her Poison Study series.
I recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

Keep Your Head Down.

Don’t Get Noticed.

Or Else.

I’m Trella. I’m a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I’ve got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

My Review:

One thing I love about Maria V. Snyder is I can always count on her to give me a nice, strong female protagonist. I wasn’t disappointed with Inside Out as a result.

Although part of the story reminded me a bit of Uglies by Scott Westerfield (especially the beginning) it quickly veered away into a story of secrets and uprising against the unfair.  Mix in a bit of mystery and you have the makings for a heart-pounding thrilling tale.

Although I loved this book for it’s own reasons, it isn’t by any means, perfect. One of the surprise “twists” could be seen coming from a mile away and there were a few parts in the book that just seemed to be a bit too neatly handled – everything falling into place a bit too easily. But overall I was very pleased with Inside Out and will happily recommend it to any fans of dystopia.

Check out these review(s):

I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read

 

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Summary from GoodReads:

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he’s going to have to run…

My Review:

My first thought when I put this book down was…

Are you kidding me?!

I now understand why one book blogger states that she is an “evangelist” for this book.  This book, this.. amazing book, it had me in tears, it had me choked up, it had me laughing, it had me angry and it had me completely tied around it’s figurative finger.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is one seriously intense book – do not pick it up until you have the time ready, because you will not want to put it down until you’ve turned the last page.  And even then – you’ll be wishing you did the smart thing and had the next book ready.

There is so much I love about this book.  I loved Todd, his innocence, his struggle and his instinct for survival and protection in a world that did not foster one of those feelings.  I loved Viola’s intelligence and her empathy for Todd and for others.  I loved how human she is, how, in spite of all the odds against her she still takes the time to grieve and to feel for her own losses but never lets it get in the way of what needs to be done.

And then there’s Manchee.  Manchee is Todd’s dog, the dog he never wanted – and much like the famous dog of Disney fame, Manchee thinks a dog’s joyous, loyal thoughts.  Everything from Squirrel! to Ow, Todd? (the question mark killed me – it’s so .. doggie), Manchee endears himself to the reader and .. man, I can’t talk about him without crying.  What kind of book does this to a reader?!

Most of all though, this book goes to show just how powerful writing in the first person can be.  Because not only do we hear Todd’s thoughts, but so does everyone else.  The others surrounding him hear what we think is narrative, but it’s really Todd’s thoughts.  We hear words how he says them, we hear his lack of education, we are there in his mind, dealing with the fear and the confusion and the never-ending run from everything that is evil.

This is a book I’ll be recommending eagerly to every teenager in my life.  Fantastic story, great characters and a style of writing I can only stand in awe of.  Well done, Patrick Ness, well done.

Check out these review(s):

Good Books and Good Wine

Hey Lady

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • Yet another case where the cover strikes again.
  • Big, big fan of dystopia – that’s one thing this year has done to me.
I  also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

My Review (Spoiler-Free):

2010 introduced me to the world of dystopia.  I’ve read everything from George Orwell’s 1984 to books still due to come out, such as Lauren Oliver’s Delirium.  There have been some good, and some not-so-good (although both listed were fantastic!) and Wither is another book to add to that good list.

Books with such mortal characters, the “ticking time tomb” talked about in the summary of this book, have a way of weaseling in and getting a grip on the reader before he or she knows what’s happened.  That’s what Wither did to me – just a few pages in and I was walking around the house with my nose buried in the book, unable to put it down.  I devoured this book and I’m hungry for the next one – unfortunately I have a while to wait for it.

I do have some small complaints – things that bugged me about the relationship between Rhine and a few people in their lives, things that, if Rhine’s story hadn’t been as powerful as it was, wouldn’t hold up.  But Lauren DeStefano did a remarkable job of giving Rhine her voice and of manipulating her readers emotions with the turmoil in this story.

2011 is shaping up to be quite the year for dystopian fiction and I’m quite looking forward to it.  Wither is a great contribution to the list!

Check out these review(s):

Chick Loves Lit

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • I loved The Maze Runner and couldn’t wait to see what happens in Book 2.
  • I’ve become a huge fan of dystopia and science fiction and can’t get enough of them lately!
I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

The Maze was only the beginning…

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety… until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated–and with it, order–and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim… and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder–does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

My Review (Spoiler free!):

After reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner earlier this year, it was inevitable that I would hurry to pick up The Scorch Trials.  Before doing so, however, I refreshed my memory with another read-through of The Maze Runner… and I think I liked it even more the second time around.

With The Scorch Trials I found it easier to adapt to the world and the “variables” being thrown at Thomas and his crew, mostly because of how The Maze Runner had prepared me for them.  Dashner does a fantastic job of building the tension and then, just when it gets to the breaking point, throwing in something so random, so out of the blue, that the tension subsides and starts to build in another, different way.

What makes The Scorch Trials so different from The Maze Runner is – now that the kids know who WICKED is, they have a bit more knowledge of what is going on – but that still doesn’t mean that this book will make complete sense to you, as it doesn’t to them.  And that is what makes the book so much fun.

There is plenty of action, plenty of excitement and I grew even more attached to these characters, these teenagers struggling in a world where hope seems so dead.

I cannot wait to get my hands on the last book in this trilogy and next year cannot come soon enough.  I haven’t felt this much anticipation for a book since Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – and while the books are somewhat similar, I really appreciate the teamwork Dashner has chosen to implement in The Maze Runner trilogy and think he’s doing a fantastic job of telling his story.

Check out these review(s):

Good Books and Good Wine

The Neverending Shelf

1984 by George Orwell

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Reason(s) for Reading:
  • This was October’s Read-Along book.
  • I’ve heard people talking about it, but had absolutely no idea what the fuss was about.
I also recommend:

Summary from GoodReads:

Portrays a terrifying vision of life in the future when a totalitarian government, considered a “Negative Utopia,” watches over all citizens and directs all activities, becoming more powerful as time goes by.

My Review:

It’s always a bit daunting to me to write a review of a “classic” book.  I mean, a simple google search will provide all sorts of information and scholarly thoughts about the story held in the pages of 1984.

So instead of trying to explore the deeper meaning, let me talk about the things that really hit me hard.

- I had no idea that Big Brother came from this book.  I’ve grown up hearing the term bandied about, but never really understood where it came from and what it referred to.  I know now, and it frightens me.

- I think the most potent part of the book was, for me, the end of Part One.  When Winston opens a note passed to him and reads what is written there, I felt as it my heart skipped a beat because, of all the possibilities, that was one I was not expecting.

- What was most frightening to me was, as I was reading Goldstein’s writings held within the book, I found myself understanding why things were the way they were.  Things began to make sense – this in a book that made no sense to me when I first started it.

- All my dystopian reading I think prepared me for this book.  If I had read it a few years ago, I might not have appreciated it as much as I appreciate it now.  I totally get that there are those out there who didn’t like it, but I really enjoyed the stimulation to think it provided me.

Have you read it? What did you think?

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Chrisbookarama

A Bookshelf Monstrosity

Bear