Dystopian

Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1)

Ink and Bone

Summary:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn… (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I really liked the idea of this book, but was disappointed in the execution.  At the beginning I found it quite slow and then once the story did get going, there were a lot of “oh how convenient” moments.  Jess is put in an awkward position being at the Library and yet he continually does whatever people tell him to do.  I never got the true sense of what he wants to do at any one point.

Jess finds a romantic interest to add a little more flair about halfway through the book, but it felt forced and never seemed to develop naturally.  It was an insta-love that they then maintain and I just didn’t quite buy it.  I liked the concept and may continue the series because of that enjoyment, but I’m not sure where the story will go.  This novel felt chopped off at the conclusion like the author wasn’t sure where to finish things.  In the end, I think this is a book with fantastic world-building and a great concept, but a so-so story.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 3 stars!

Who should read it? Dystopian young adult fans who find historical twists intriguing.

Want to read the whole series?

  • Tigers in the Cage (The Great Library #0.1)
  • Stormcrow (The Great Library #0.5)
  • Paper and Fire (The Great Library #2)
  • Ash and Quill (The Great Library #3)

Do Androids Dream of Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Sheep.jpg

Summary:

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.  Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This book really sucked me in.  Though I know some folks really dislike the writing style, I found it intriguing and interesting.  You never quite know what is going to be around the corner for the story.  In some ways, I felt like it was reading Heinlein that you just “go with the flow” and the book is only going to get better with re-reading.  It’s particularly interesting to realize that we are almost to the date 2021 (original 1992) that seemed “so far out in the future”.  Fortunately, we’re doing slightly better than estimated! 

With the advancement of technology, the book poses the question of how we interact with it and the definition of “life”.  You could somewhat just read the series on the superficial level and be entertained, but I don’t think the ending would be satisfying.  I will certainly be reading the other books in the series, I was both content with the ending and hankering for more to come.

P.S. I somewhat want an electric toad now…

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Science fiction fans looking for something shorter and particularly intriguing!

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

Summary:

A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title.

In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. “A Clockwork Orange” is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to "redeem" him—the novel asks, "At what cost?"

This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked". (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I know I’m in the minority here, but I really didn’t enjoy this book. Violence typically doesn’t bother me too much in a read, but the descriptions of the enjoyment in this one was a bit much.  Alex could have been redeemable, but he doesn’t quite make it there for me.  The slang (because you have to mention it) was annoying, but wouldn’t have kept me from enjoying the book had I been more into it, however, because I wasn’t particularly enjoying the book it was distracting. 

I know that many folks adore this “classic” and have encouraged me to give it another shot, but it won’t be on my re-read list any time soon.

Note: I read the American version.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 2 stars!

Who should read it? Folks who want to know what all the hype is about and are up for a challenge.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Summary:

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.  (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

I REALLY enjoyed this ready.  Was this the most unique premise?  No.  Did it fall into some stereotypes? Yes.  But overall, I found the read a really enjoyable experience.  I know some folks were disappointed with the way the book unfolded, but when you read it as a young adult book a lot of those annoyances drop away for me.  This is not a science fiction novel on the same level of, say Heinlein, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not a great book in its own right. 

Wade is an imperfect hero who grows and develops through the story and I really enjoyed seeing how he changed.  I also felt that some of the stereotypes fell away or were lessoned as the characters were discovered in real life.  In a sense, the competition forces all of them to become more engaged in the real world and learn how to handle everything associated with it.  You can have an epic video game experience, embrace your nerd-dom AND still have a pretty fantastic life.

Warning: Contains references to violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Science Fiction, 80’s and young adult fans!