Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review - Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Why did I read this book?
This book had been on a list (in my head) of books I’m super interested in, if I ever find them. I had first heard about this book like 5 or 6 years ago, before that other stupid book came out. So no, this has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey (which was awful) and because of when that book came out, it made it nearly impossible to find this book anywhere. I hated that the two were so close in title because they have nothing to do with each other. Well I finally came across this book at Powells in Portland and I’ve only just now gotten around to reading it.

What is it about?
It takes place in a futuristic society of sorts. It’s a society where your standing in the community depends on what colors you can see.  The rules of the society can be quite ridiculous at times but they are usually followed and never questioned. The story follows Eddie as him and his dad head to a new town on the outskirts of society where they are taking on some new temporary jobs. All this is happening at a time right before Eddie is moved into being a productive member of society and marriages are decided. All this is told in a way that makes you think how ridiculous this society is and how they do things just because they are following the rules.

Why you should read it!
The ridiculousness of parts of this story lead to it being a very humorous book. Which I didn’t really expect, and led to a very enjoyable read. Starting the book took me a while to realize how weird it was and what was going on, but once I got into it I always enjoyed reading it. The society truly is ridiculous, but it also pokes fun at how there are ridiculous things in our current society. There wasn’t very much information about how society had gotten to this point, but that would’ve taken away from the ridiculousness of it all. If you like science fiction with a bit of dry humor I highly recommend this book, and give it a chance don’t put it down after 50 pages or so, cause if you do you will be missing out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Audio Book Review - Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Why did I read this book?
One of my partner’s co-workers gave us a bunch of audiobooks on an external hard drive. I had heard of this book as some sort of young adult book. It sounded futuristic/dystopian so of course I thought I’d give it a try. It actually took me two attempts to get into this book. I was listening to the death cure at the same time and was getting the two confused so I stopped this one and started it again a couple months later.


What is it about?
As far as Aria is concerned, her world in her pod is all she knows. They live almost entirely in a virtual world where they can visit all kinds of different pods and experience almost any situation they want. She knows there is an outside world but is only taught to fear it.  When she unexpectedly land in that outside world (without protection from the aether) she is sure she will die immediately. When she doesn’t, she finds there are savages who live on the outside and ends up realizing that she has a common goal with one of them and they embark on a journey together (even though they really don’t like each other).


Why you should read it!
This is, yes, another young adult dystopian start to a trilogy. So if that’s your thing you’ve probably heard of this book. If its not your thing, I can give you a couple reasons why this book is different than other dystopian YA trilogies. This takes place in a far enough future that you don’t hear much about the collapse of the world. It also focuses a lot on the relationships between the characters and not so much a war or the setting (which could be coming in the rest of the trilogy). There is a bit of a fantastical side to this story with some of the characters adapting to the new world and having a heightened senses or other abilities (I wouldn’t consider them powers, but one step above current humans). If any of these sound interesting, I would recommend this book. Although I do have to say the writing felt very YA, and when reading it next to actual adult books the difference was very noticeable, so if that kind of thing bothers you, I’d steer clear.

Book Review - Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel

Why did I read this book?
I had put this book on my christmas list after hearing so much about it on various podcasts and book award lists. And my Grandma gave it to me! I was super excited to read it, but what had me pick it up almost immediately was the fact that it was our book club’s pick for January.

What is it about?
It starts in the near future at a local production of King Lear. That is the first night of a disease outbreak that kills most of civilization. The book jumps forward to years after the disease took over and follows a group who still performs Shakespeare as a traveling symphony. It goes back and forth in time following different characters, storylines, and how they got to where they are now.

Why you should read it!
I loved this book. Yes, it is in my genre of futuristic/world collapsing, but it focuses more on the characters instead of the state of the world. It makes the whole ending of civilization seem very simple (which is quite terrifying) and the survivors stories seem to be believable. But I think my favorite part of the book is how art was woven through it all, from theater, to music, to writing and drawing they all seem to be a common tie throughout. I love that the author portrays art as still being a focus after the world falls apart. Now, I will admit that not everyone in my book club loved it as much as me. They thought it was OK and a bit weird. One of the issues they had was there wasn’t a main character to follow and they kept getting attached to minor characters. And the jumping back and forth in time made things altogether confusing. But, I loved it and think almost anyone should take a chance on it!