Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Book Review

 


Ready Player OneBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 8/16/11 by Crown Publishers

Pages: 374 Price: $26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Review:

Wow, I really enjoyed this book!  Totally surprised me because I ended up DNFing this author’s second book Armada.  That one I found just annoying and a bit boring with all the insider info geared towards gamers.  This book, on the other hand, was a delight and a fun nostalgic trip to all things pop culture from the 80’s, the decade I spent most of my pre-teen and teens in.

I totally agree with another reviewer in that Wil Wheaton made this book for me!  Listening to him narrate this story was such a trip, especially when the story referenced him and anything Trek.  Being that this story is about a group of players searching for the ultimate Easter Egg inside a game to have so much of the story is essentially one giant Easter Egg was amazing. At almost every turn there was some pop reference that made me smile.

But that isn’t all that Ready Player One is about, oh no, there is much more to be had in this tale.  There is also a great social commentary on where our society might be headed if we don’t change our ways.  We get a glimpse at what might await us if we don’t start taking climate change seriously or stop rampant corporate greed.  I also enjoyed the ideas about where technology might be headed that the author proposed.

The last leg of this story focused on a small band of misfits struggling to fit in, in this world.  Outcasts that live their lives mainly online and struggle with social interactions.  Not to mention a budding romance that was beyond sweet.  The characters, like in any epic tale, are true heroes out to fight for the greater good.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.  I’m not sure I would have felt the same way if I had read it myself though.  Wil Wheaton’s inflection and talent as an actor added that something extra that bumped this story up an entire star for me.  So if you have the option I would definitely listen to this one.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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The Space between the Stars by Anne Corlett

Book Review

 


The Space Between the StarsBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic 

Book Series: N/A

Released: 6/13/2017

Pages: 368 Price:$26.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…

Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.

Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…

My Review:

Not quite sure what I was expecting when I requested this book for review but it wasn’t this.  I’ve been on a science fiction kick for a few months now and thought this title sounded interesting. If you are looking for a hard-hitting science fiction thriller this is not the book for you.  If you want a book about the exploration of the human character than this one might be up your alley. This book is more about the human race than it about the solar system, oh sure, there is science involved but the heart of the story is more about internal and societal struggle than anything else.

While reading this book I often wondered just where the author was taking us. There was little set up as to how the human race ended up among the start.  We do get an explanation but not much of one.  Most of the flashbacks were introspective glimpses into the main character’s past.  Her personal struggle and how she ended up so far from home.  The plot quickly forms a small pack of refugees that are trying to make their way back to hopefully more populated parts of space and we eventually do find ourselves back on Earth.

I have to say I didn’t quite expect the book to end the way it did but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It was an interesting journey for these characters and I quite enjoyed tagging along.  I loved how the author shined a light on all aspects of humanity in this book.  The good and the bad.  She made me think about how, much of the time, we are our own worst enemy.  I also tend to agree with her insinuation that even if most of the human race disappeared instantly there would still be those that thought they could tell everyone else what to do.

The author touches on many sensitive topics in this book from government, religion, class warfare, disabilities, and manages to blend them all together in an interesting and thought-provoking story that I thoroughly enjoyed.  This was simply a good book and I can’t wait to introduce it to others.

My Rating:5 Stars

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress

Book Review

 


After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the FallBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Novella, Time Travel

Book Series: N/A

Released: 4/1/2012 by Tachyon Publications

Pages: 189  Price:$14.95 paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

The year is 2035. After ecological disasters nearly destroyed the Earth, 26 survivors—the last of humanity—are trapped by an alien race in a sterile enclosure known as the Shell.

Fifteen-year-old Pete is one of the Six—children who were born deformed or sterile and raised in the Shell. As, one by one, the survivors grow sick and die, Pete and the Six struggle to put aside their anger at the alien Tesslies in order to find the means to rebuild the earth together. Their only hope lies within brief time-portals into the recent past, where they bring back children to replenish their disappearing gene pool.

Meanwhile, in 2013, brilliant mathematician Julie Kahn works with the FBI to solve a series of inexplicable kidnappings. Suddenly her predictive algorithms begin to reveal more than just criminal activity. As she begins to realize her role in the impending catastrophe, simultaneously affecting the Earth and the Shell, Julie closes in on the truth. She and Pete are converging in time upon the future of humanity—a future which might never unfold.

Weaving three consecutive time lines to unravel both the mystery of the Earth’s destruction and the key to its salvation, this taut post-apocalyptic thriller offers a topical plot with a satisfying twist.

My Review:

Such an interesting little book.  I recommended this to my library when I noticed we needed a fresh influx of science fiction and am so glad I did.  Upon closer inspection of my Goodreads account, I see that this is the second book I’ve read by this author.  Much of what I thought about her writing of the other story holds true for this one.  This is a smart thought-provoking science fiction story that captures your attention and keeps you turning the page.

The story unfolds in a way I don’t think I’ve encountered before.  We jump back and forth in time around a critical event in human history.  Obviously, something awful has happened to the human race and all that survive are locked inside this shell as someone or something is caring for them in an effort to save the human race from extinction.  As the story progresses we see that the survivors can jump back in time to get supplies and what is essentially new breeding stock.

Of course, it isn’t until the end where we learn what really happen to earth and humanity but the story did leave me with some questions unanswered.  The story was a race to figure out what happen and what will happen to the last timeline and the future of all of the human race.  The characters, while interesting, if not annoying from time to time, were not what kept me in this story.  The mystery and need to know why and how held me to the end.  Having finished it I’m glad I read it.  Not a terribly big surprise as to how it played out but I can see why it is an award-winning story.

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Dark River (Fourth Realm, #2)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Thriller

Book Series: Fourth Realm #2

Released: 7/10/2007 by Doubleday Canada

Pages: 368 Price: $16.00 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this as an audiobook through my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

A brilliant follow-up to the New York Times bestseller, The Traveler, The Dark River follows the Harlequin, Maya, and the Traveler, Gabriel Corrigan, on their search for Gabriel’s lost father.

In his first novel, John Twelve Hawks introduced the world of two brothers, Gabriel and Michael Corrigan, who learned they were Travelers, a line of prophets through history who are able to travel into different realms of consciousness and existence, and Maya, a Harlequin who, like Harlequins before her, pledged to lay down her own life to protect any Traveler.

The Dark River opens following Maya and Gabriel’s narrow escape from his brother, Michael, and the group of powerful men who have been pursuing them. The landscape has shifted: Michael has become part of the group that wants to capture Gabriel, and thanks to advanced surveillance technology there are few places for them to hide. While he is recuperating and staying in the shadows in New York City, a shocking piece of information trickles back to Gabriel concerning his and Michael’s father. A Traveler who was believed to be dead for nearly twenty years, Gabriel hears, may still be alive and trapped somewhere across the globe. Gabriel, Maya, Hollis and Vicki must plan their escape from New York as well as their path to Gabriel’s father, who has the ability to revive the failing Traveler movement. But Michael and his group of Tabula mercenaries are equally motivated to find both Gabriel and their father–for both represent an obstacle to Michael’s unchallenged power.

The Dark River is a scintillating novel that, like The Traveler, is deeply and richly drawn, showcasing a superb and original voice.

My Review:

Took me a bit to get into the second book in the trilogy and I found myself with three days before my due date and most of the book unlistened to. Since someone was waiting for the book and renewing was not an option I found some activities for myself and sat down to listen to the book.  Perhaps a pretty strong indicator that I simply was not as into this book as I was the first.

It isn’t that I’m not interesting in seeing how this story plays out or that I find some of the government control themes this story brings up interesting, it simply feels like this story fell victim to second or middle book syndrome, for me.  I’m glad I stuck it out but much of this book felt slow at times and I was frustrated with some of the plotting.  The end did pick up a bit and I have already checked out the last book to see how everything plays out.

I am struggling a bit to write-up this review there just wasn’t a whole lot I was excited about. The bad guys show up for three main scenes and we jump all over the place in search for the boy’s father.  If not for the interesting twist at the end I might have left this book here, but I got hooked and we will see if things improve in the next book. I hope we get to explore more of the other realms a bit more than we have in book one and two.

My Rating: 3 Stars

2BR02B By Kurt Vonnegut

Book Review

 


2 B R 0 2 BBook Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Classic, Short Story

Book Series: N/A

Released: January 1962

Pages: 28  Price: 99 Cents E-book

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source:I borrowed this book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut is a science fiction story that focuses on a society where individuals have an indefinite lifespan and the population of the United States is limited to forty million.

In order for a new birth to take place, someone else must die. The suspense builds as two parents wait for someone to dial 2 B R 0 2 B, which is the telephone number to dial for an assisted suicide with the Federal Bureau of Termination.

My Review:

Was looking for a new audiobook to listen to and came across this one that I added to my wish list sometime last year.  Couldn’t remember what it was about so I decided to pop over to Goodreads for a reminder.  Seeing that it was only 28 pages long I decided to borrow and read it this afternoon as I am currently not feeling well.  This was an interesting little story that I did not realize was written so long ago, the topic is still relevant to modern society after all.

Quite strange, a little dark, and a tad simplistic if you ask me.  Not quite sure if the author is trying to mock the extreme government control he saw coming or mock those that see the great danger of overpopulating the planet.  Then again he might have been nothing but sincere and wanted to warn people of what might come if the human race does not change our ways.  Some of the off-putting tones might simply be the fact that it was written in a different era….

Anyway, if you can’t tell I am unsure how I feel about this one, but that just might be because my stomach hurts.  It was interesting like I said, short so no matter your stance on topics like abortion, death, over-population you this story won’t be with you long. It will remind you what we are doing to our one and only planet though and what our freedom to over-reproduce might cost us in the end.  Dark read for a dark mood.

My Rating: 3 Stars

The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks

Book Review

 


The Traveler (Fourth Realm, #1)Book Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Dystopian, Fantasy, Audiobook

Book Series: Fourth Realm #1

Released: 7/18/2006 by Vintage

Pages:  464 Price: $15.95 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

In London, Maya, a young woman trained to fight by her powerful father, uses the latest technology to elude detection when walking past the thousands of surveillance cameras that watch the city. In New York, a secret shadow organization uses a victim’s own GPS to hunt him down and kill him. In Los Angeles, Gabriel, a motorcycle messenger with a haunted past, takes pains to live “off the grid” – free of credit cards and government IDs. Welcome to the world of The Traveler – a world frighteningly like our own.In this compelling novel, Maya fights to save Gabriel, the only man who can stand against the forces that attempt to monitor and control society. From the back streets of Prague to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, The Travelerportrays an epic struggle between tyranny and freedom. Not since 1984 have readers witnessed a Big Brother so terrifying in its implications and in a story that so closely reflects our lives.

My Review:

With the populous, anti-establishment mood of the country, this book was a fitting for not only my current mood but the climate in which I find myself living in.  This work of fiction was written in 2006,  a couple of years before the great crash in the last years of the Bush Presidency and before Obama took office.  Having just woken up to the systematic corruption of both political parties so much of what this book talks about, albeit fictionally, rings true to the society we now find ourselves living in.  A world where we are controlled and manipulated all to wring the highest profit for those that control all branches of government with their donations.

Okay, all of that aside, this was a thrill ride of a story that felt like a cross between The Matrix, The Da Vinci Code, and a James Bond film.  You get rich characters, secret societies, conspiracy theories, action, and a little mysticism to boot. Spanning Europe and the United States we follow the main characters Maya, Gabriel, and Micheal as they are thrust into this secret world going on around them as they discover plots and corruption as they race to protect Gabriel and Micheal who might be the last Travelers in existence and seek vengeance for those that they have lost.

I’m glad I listened to this one for the introduction and ending interview with the author which I found just as interesting as the story itself.  Granted I think the ploy of writing this under a pen name is just that a ploy to attract attention, I have to say it worked on me.  It added to the mystery and cloak and dagger feel of this story.  Convincing me to take a moment and actually think about the themes talked about in this work of fiction and wonder what might actually apply to the world we now live in.  Sadly I think many of those themes are probably pretty applicable and it makes me want to fight the system.

Bottom line this was a good book with an entertaining story that might make you think a bit afterward.  Even if you don’t buy into the conspiracy theory aspect it is still a good listen, especially if you like books by Dan Brown or David Baldacci or even the dystopian genre with a bit of the supernatural thrown in.  I eagerly await the next title in this trilogy that I have put on hold with my library.  I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

Book Review

 

The City of MirrorsBook Genre: Paranormal, Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, Science Fiction

Book Series: Book three in The Passage Trilogy

Released: May 24, 2016 by Ballantine Books

Pages: 598 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley and a signed ARC at BEA for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

“The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?”

The Twelve have been destroyed and the hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew and daring to dream of a hopeful future.

But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy – humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.

My Review:

As I sit here and collect my thoughts about this long-awaited finale to a journey started back in 2010 I’m not entirely sure how to put into words what I think.  Lets start with what drew me into this story.  My name is Amy and I live in Iowa and I work in library and love vampire stories (granted most of the time mine are love interests not monsters out to destroy the human race) and  I learned of this new vampire book where a girl named Amy from nowhere is destined to save the world.  I was so in.  I really enjoyed the first book, sure it was long and I was put out a bit from the cliffhanger, but I waited and two years later the second book came out.  This one took a bit for me to get into because it was such a shift, we had all new people and it wasn’t so much a continuation as a look at another area of the country along the same timeline.  Eventually the book picked up, the parts set in Iowa City helped a lot here, and the two timelines combined and the battle was on.  If I had stopped before the last section or two of that book I would have been totally satisfied and able to walk away, but I read that second blasted cliffhanger and needed to know how this ended up.  Dammit.  Then there was the wait, four years this time and when I finally got my hands on this beautiful book, after having met the author (who is super sweet btw) I was ready for some closure.  I was ready to learn how Amy saved the world.

Looking at the grand picture I have to say I am totally satisfied with how this trilogy ends, it was beautiful and bittersweet, everything I had hoped for.  Mr. Cronin did an excellent job of wrapping up loose ends, still wonder what happen to the folks near Iowa City, but we got so much closure that I, like Amy, am at peace.  If you didn’t care for book two I would urge you to give this one a try.  I was pulled in from the beginning and only found one tedious part where we learned Zero’s back story.  Not that I don’t think it wasn’t important, but it was so freaking detailed and long…  Being there was a six-year span from the first book to the last I gave up trying to place where everyone was from and who was related to whom.  I just went with the flow and figured it would all come to me.  Now I’m sure some was still lost in that aspect, but I don’t think it hurt the story.  The plot and storytelling made up for any holes in my memory.

As I sit here and digest this tale it is growing on me, I am even going to bump up my initial star rating by one.  This is an epic story that is rich in detail and spans a thousand years.  I do believe that it is the longest time span I have read to date.  It was so worth it though, we get to witness so much over those years.  There are moments of such beauty and sadness to be found in this story I will take it with me always.  This is one of those tales that changes how you look at society, on family, and makes you hope for something better.  Hope that what traverses on these pages does not end up a reality.  Not us becoming vampires, but the destruction and possible extinction of the human race.  Because that is possible.  This book gives me hope that even if things seem at their worst and society is crumbling around us that we will survive as a species.  That there will be people who still have honor and step up to do what needs to be done.  Of course there will be those that prey upon others, but in the end we could all come together and realize we are not all that different, we are all human and simply want to survive.

Some of what I really loved about this book were the answers we are finally given.  We learn about what happen in the rest of the world, something I had been wondering about since book one.  We also learn what truly caused the epidemic, something that surprised me.  We get to follow Amy through her complete lifespan, and we get to learn a bit of the world after all the virals are gone.  We also get a glimpse of how America recovers from its infestation of humans and returns to a state of beauty.

I’m glad I stuck this one out, it was worth the effort and I was honored to read something that is a beautiful contribution to the literary world.  I hope you give this trilogy a try.  It is long, but it is finished now.  Pick it up and read about Amy a girl from nowhere who saves the world.

My Rating: 5 Stars

The Bees by Laline Paull

The Bees

Links to Goodread’s page.

Stand Alone: Released 5/6/14

I borrowed an audio version of this book from my library saving me $ 59.99 (audio price)

Author Site

Book Synopsis:

The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture where only the queen may breed and deformity means death.

Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive where work and sacrifice are the highest virtues and worship of the beloved Queen the only religion. But Flora is not like other bees. With circumstances threatening the hive’s survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen’s inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all—daring to challenge the Queen’s fertility—enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society—and lead her to unthinkable deeds.

Thrilling, suspenseful and spectacularly imaginative, The Bees gives us a dazzling young heroine and will change forever the way you look at the world outside your window.

My Review:

I spent much of the week planting my garden so I thought this book would be an appropriate selection to listen to while I worked.  The book was read by Orlagh Cassidy who did an excellent job of making each character sound distinctive and brought to life with their own personality.

The book itself was one that I toyed with reading for some time now.  I was intrigued by its premise, but never really excited to pick it up and start.  Once I saw it was available through the library in audio I decided to give it a try with my limited options offered to me at the time.  In the end I think the audio format was a good decision for this story for I think I might have not stuck it out with this one either.

The story is kind of strange and probably not everyone’s cup of tea as it is told from the perspective of a bee in an anthropomorphic society that, to me, must resemble what life would be like inside a cult.  We follow the heroine, Flora from birth to death as she works her way through this twisted bee society.  I’m not sure how much this is based upon real bee life, but this book definitely made me want to learn more about bees.

For the most part there was a bit of eye rolling on my part, but the story was interesting to see how this society functioned.  Besides the cult like aspect there is a strong dystopian element to the story and we also get to watch Flora challenge her place in this world and move through the ranks and shake things up a bit.

Much of the story was a bit on the boring side for me not being interested in motherhood and all, hence my probably DNF it if I had attempted the print version, but in audio format the narrator helped to keep my interest.  I did see the end coming about half-way through the book, but it was still one of my favorite parts of the story.  There was also a fairly satisfying scene for the feminist inside me when the hive dealt with the male bees close to the onset of winter.  Kinda gruesome but one of the better part in my opinion.  I found myself rooting for Flora, even though I didn’t think much of her for much of the book. The other character I also enjoyed the one male bee, I forget his name, that kept interacting with Flora throughout the story. I was quite happy for him in the end.

It was an interesting story, I’m still not real excited about it, but I’m glad I read it.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to know what it might be to live inside a cult.   A bit too much religion in the story for me, even if it was bee religion…  I did appreciate how the author brought to the forefront of how we humans are negatively affecting bees through our technology and destruction of the environment. Being the narrator was so interesting I would also recommend this one to those who enjoy listening to their books.

 

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

Melancholy by Charlotte McConaghy

Melancholy: Book Two of The Cure (Omnibus Edition)

Links to book’s Goodreads page.

#2 The Cure series (Omnibus Edition): Releases June 11, 2015

I received this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Here in the west they know a lot about hope. They know how to ration it just as they do with food and water.
Josephine is at last free of the blood moon. But in a desperate rush to find help for a comatose Luke, she discovers the strange and dangerous world of the resistance, and it is unlike any world Josi has known.
In the west they believe in fury – they cultivate and encourage it. The unruly people of the resistance know that to survive means to fight. But can they fight the inevitable cure for sadness that rushes steadily closer?
In the action-packed sequel to Fury, everything Josi believes about herself will be challenged. Haunted by atrocities and betrayals, she must find the strength to trust again, and decide how far she is willing to go to fight the inevitable.
At times both brutal and sweet, Melancholy is the story of second chances and finding love in a ruined world.

My Review:

I absolutely loved Fury, book one in this series, and was so excited when I stumbled across book two being offered over at Net Galley that I instantly put in a request despite the several other reviews I had waiting.  Melancholy is a great second book, and while my affections for this one have not diminished, the pacing was a bit off in the first half and is reflected in my star count. There are still the great questions about society vs government and control vs freedom that are being explored in the second book.  It too is not just a thrilling ride, but a study of human nature and what is lost when we give up a part of what makes us human.

Book two picks up shortly after we left off in Fury, and in this book we get to explore the resistance to the domineering and controlling society Josi and Luke fled.  There is a new third narrator, who is both horrifying and mesmerizing at the same time.  I’m still processing how I feel about her, but man she was interesting to be in the head of for those few brief sections.  This book has more supporting characters and we soon have a band of heroes that I became quite attached to.  Of course being a dystopian novel not everyone makes it and that attachment lead to some heartbreaking moments, but also some touching ones as well.

Having been a good while since I read the last book I struggle with how I felt about Josi in the beginning.  She just didn’t seem like the same heroine that I fell for in book one.  Luke spent most of those sections comatose, but after he rejoins the story we get a chance to know him better than we did in the last story.  While Fury focused more on setting up the world and Josi’s past, this book focuses on building the relationship between Luke and Josi.  Such a juicy love story this angle of the plot is!  I really enjoyed watching them come together, they compliment it other so nicely.  We also get to watch as Josi decides and sorts out who she really is and what she wants.  She is now free of the nightmare of the blood moon and has reached freedom with Luke.  But has she?

Most of this book is set in the West among the resistance, but we quickly learn that this other society in this world in not much different from the one they were fleeing.  We get to see how twisted and power-hungry people can become when the world has collapse.    It is almost as if Josi and Luke trade one prison for another.  With no place that is truly free, it pushes them to step up and demand change.  It pushed them to find the strength to fight back start working to build the world they want and deserve.

The writing is quite good, just a little slow in the beginning, plenty of action and intrigue and Ms. McConaghy does an excellent job of not giving everything away at once.  We are again left with a freaking cliffhanger, but I am most definitely hooked!  I need to know what happens next and I have such hope that Ms. McConaghy will do right by these characters and deliver us a satisfying end.  I can’t wait to see how things play out and to learn what happen to several key players and see other to get what’s coming to them!

My Rating: 4 Stars

 

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles

Published May 1950

I borrowed an audio book version from my library saving me $14.99

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

My Review:

I’ve recently decided to give audio books a try.  It is getting warmer and I want to spend more time working outside in the garden and I thought it would a great way to get two things done at once.  I could keep up with my reading and get the chores I’ve been neglecting done as well.  After searching through the library’s online catalog I decided to go with this title for my first venture into the audio book format.  On that front I did enjoy the book. As with e-books, it is simply a matter of adjusting to another way of consuming a story.  Stephen Hoye read the version of this book that I listened to and I think he did a fine job.  I can see why people follow different narrators around from title to title,  when you find one that works for you, you want to stick with them.   I still felt like I was missing parts of the story as I listened.  I don’t think I retain or imagine the plot as much as if I had read the book myself.  My mind would focus on what I was doing and I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the story anymore. I do think I will give more audio books a try though, just pick ones where I’m okay with missing bits and pieces.

Now to the review of the story itself…  As the book started off I often wondered just what the hell had I gotten myself into.  If I had been reading I might have DNF the title.  I tried to keep in mind this was published in 1950, but that wasn’t easy at times.  The book is made up of loosely connected short stories told in chronological order of human’s man’s colonization of the planet Mars.  For me the book failed on the science fiction front, as little science actually made it into the story…  The book works better if classified as dystopian, it is more a cautionary tale of where society was headed at the time if government and people do not change.  If I look at it from that aspect, it did have some interesting observations and commentary on human society and nature.  Once I got used to how Mr. Bradbury wanted to teach his lesson I found myself captivated with the point he was trying to get across.

For much of the story I wanted to give it three or even four stars, but once I finished…I just couldn’t.  Let me tell you why.  Women.  Simply how they were portrayed in this story was appalling.  Mr. Bradbury is a man of his time, and apparently they were all sexist bastards that couldn’t ever picture a time when women would be nothing more than pampered pets to be coddled as children and have no place in society outside of the home.  Shame on you Mr. Bradbury.  You write this social commentary scolding society for its ills and you leave out half the population! Now I kept trying to tell myself he that maybe he is also making a point on how the role of women is silly and derogatory, but one of the stories near the end crushed that idea.  When he told us about the one man and one woman who are left behind, find each other and the man would rather spend the rest of his time alone and hiding from her because she is fat.  Well he sealed his fate for me.  Two stars it is.  Now I am still intrigued  by his book and writing, and I want to try his most famous work, Fahrenheit 451.  For this book though I am disappointed and expected something better.

I’m glad I listened to it though, there are some important ideas in here, even if he failed in his portrayal of women.  I especially loved the short story dealing with censorship and how many of the people making decisions upon what is acceptable for society’s consumption have never even seen or read the work they are trying to eradicate.   They rely upon the opinions of others rather than making up their own damn mind.  Seems to me I made a similar point just last week…  That short story is what convinced me to give this author another shot.  I hope I’m not as disappointed in the next book as I was with this one. I just felt The Martian Chronicles was a missed opportunity for commentary on gender equality.

My Rating: 2 Stars