Tag Archives: dystopia

Rise by Anna Carey

In the third and final installment of Anna Carey’s intense Eve Trilogy, we catch up with our heroine as she is plotting to escape the City of Sand (and her father’s control) for good. The rebels are uprising and she wants to be right in the middle, especially after her honey-poo’s untimely demise.

Unfortunately, this much-anticipated number three was more like a Taco Bell number two. I enjoyed the story while it was happening but when I got to the end I was kind of like, “Hm… Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.”  rise

Honestly, I think Carey could’ve just added an extra 50-75 pages each to Eve and Once and just completely skipped this weak last book. I get that the first two were tough acts to follow, cause let’s face it, they were fucking awesome. But, the couple particular plot twists that Carey used were pretty predictable, and frankly kind of annoying.

Also, I didn’t like the fact that her and Charles’ relationship was never resolved AT ALL. I mean, she spent the better part of two books being a total douche-nozzle to him and for what? Nothing! He did nothing but help her and she didn’t even try to get along with him or to at least appreciate him as a friend or a confidant. I didn’t like that.

I also didn’t like that the last page left me feeling SO unfulfilled. It should’ve been the end of one of the final chapters, not the end of the entire trilogy. Like seriously, what the fuck? Are you trying to give me a case of literary blue balls, because you have succeeded, my friend!

3 sore uteruses of 5


Eve and Once by Anna Carey

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Well, well, well… Color me pleasantly surprised. The first two books in Anna Carey’s Eve Trilogy don’t absolutely suck! In fact, they’re actually pretty awesome! I love it when someone gets dystopian fiction right!

Eve exists in a world that has been struck by a deadly plague–in fact, sixteen years ago her own mother succumbed to the virus and as a result she was sent off to an all-girls school/orphanage. Eve excelled at the school and is one day away from giving her graduating class’ valedictorian speech. Of course, this would be the time she learns the truth behind the school’s purpose. Her and her fellow classmate’s are not destined to become the next shining citizens of the City of Sand… Their fate is much more sinister. 

So Eve must escape and, for the first time since childhood, face the devastation that is the outside world. Luckily, a former classmate and a rebellious (and handsome) boy come to her aid. Imagine their collective shock when they learn that Eve’s parentage is not all that it seems. 

This is one of the better page-turner’s I’ve read this year, and you’ll be groaning in disgust along with Eve when you find out what the government has planned for the graduates. It really is weird and gross. 

I also really liked the relationship that formed between her and Caleb–it seemed less like the typical “love at first sight” BS that YA fiction tends to spew, and more like something real that grew over time. The complications that arise in Once are even more entertaining. 

I’ll definitely be following up with this series!

4 vitamins of 5 

once


Pure by Julianna Baggott

Pure Ok, I’m just gonna jump straight to the point. Pure by Julianna Baggott has all the makings of a great dystopian novel. Futuristic, yet devastated civilization. Haughty “better” class. Something terrible that sets the lower class apart from the higher. Missing family members. Love interest.

Booyah.

In this instance, the decimation to society was caused by a global nuclear bombing. No one is clear on how or why, just that billions of people are now dead. Our story takes place in the remains of the United States, near Baltimore. Inside a biosphere-like “Dome” are the Pures. These are the people unaffected by the blasts–no scars, no fusings, no missing limbs. They were “lucky” enough to be in the Dome before the Denotations. Outside are the Wretches. These are the people who survived the bombings and the resulting radiation, but who are deformed because of it. We’re talking people fused together (Groupies), people fused to inanimate objects (whatever they were standing next to/holding at the time of Detonation), and people with terrible mutations.

Pressia is a Wretch–left with no parents and scant memories of the Before–she has scars on her face and a doll’s head fused to her hand. For some reason she can’t yet fathom, she is special to the people inside the Dome. Partridge, on the other hand, is a Pure. Not just any Pure. The only living son of the Pure’s leader. When his father slips and says something that leads Partridge to believe his mother may still be alive somewhere outside the Dome, he can’t take action fast enough.

When these two teenagers from VERY different places meet, it will change everything they thought they knew about themselves and their places in the world.

Is being Pure really everything?

Baggott did a GREAT job illustrating her ruined earth. You can really see the bomb-riddled world in your mind’s eye, and she created a number of interesting beasts to go along with the atmosphere. I like the social commentary about how looks set us apart from others, and how they’ve always been used to classify someone ugly as “less” than someone attractive. Not to mention a nod to the terror a nuclear war would present–not only the bombing but also the aftermath.

I felt this story was very cinematic. It held a very fast pace throughout, and switched between character perspectives frequently. There’s no room to get bored here. I LOVED the descriptions of the Wretches, and how their various mutations and deformities began to define or symbolize them as a person. How they learned to adapt was incredible.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. A new favorite for sure. Watch out, Hunger Games.

5 birds in your back of 5 7304563548_f9a5656a24_z


Divergent by Veronica Roth

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if people of opposing viewpoints, attitudes, and opinions just completely split away from each other? Well, Veronica Roth introduces us to that idea in Divergent. Her dystopian society is split into five factions:

  • Dauntless– Those who value bravery and fearlessness more than anything else.
  • Erudite– People devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and new technology.
  • Amity– Citizens who seek happiness as their number one priority.
  • Candor– Those that are honest no matter how painful the truth can be.
  • Abnegation– People that view selflessness and sacrifice as the only way to achieve a greater good.

Which one would you belong to?

Which moral is your top priority?

Now what if I told you that you’d be raised in one faction, but on your 16th year you had the choice to change factions. You take a test to help determine your aptitude. But the caveat is, if you change factions–to become who you truly are–you must forsake your family from then on and give up the only life you’ve ever known. Pretty tough choice.

For Beatrice, her time is up. She soon must make the decision that will change her life forever. Will she give up Abnegation and her family? Or will her test results reveal something different?

I absolutely devoured Divergent. Not only do I love a good dystopian society novel, but I like the idea of the different factions. It was easy for me to see where I’d end up. Candor. With the rest of the brutally honest people. Haha. My family would be there too, I’m sure. I know for a fact I’m too chicken shit for Dauntless. There’s no way I’m jumping on and off and moving train every day!

Roth created an interesting world, and Beatrice was an interesting main character. I felt that there were some discrepancies in her character that couldn’t be explained away. How does one raised to be so meek and timid so easily become a fighter? She got to be pretty tough pretty quickly, and although she may have had some innate qualities that would’ve eventually come forward–it all seemed like it happened pretty fast. I just couldn’t quite picture this little mousy blonde girl having this other kick ass side.

But maybe that’s just a flaw on my part.

That being said, I will definitely be continuing the series. I can’t wait to see what happens next, and Divergent was over much too quickly. The fear simulations were really interesting–and totally terrifying to imagine. (Like I said, I’m not Dauntless material…) The bad guys were totally bad and the love interest was… interesting. It’s definitely a new favorite.

For those of you who’ve also read it, how did you feel?

5 ravening dogs of 5

Oh, and if you’d like to take the test to find out which faction you’d be in, click here. 

Let me know your results 😉


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I was able to get my hands on an advance reader’s edition of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and I read it in a few days. The premise was good: dystopian world, teenage girl with the Rogue-like ability to kill with her touch, hot guy, bad guy, new tyrannical form of government, lots of action. So why did I hate it?

*takes deep breath*

First off, it was compared to The Hunger Games because of its suspense and action. Pahah, yeah right. That’s like The Wizards of Waverly Place claiming to be better than Harry Potter. Or an American Idol hopeful claiming to be the next Whitney, Britney, or Mariah. 

Not likely.

Secondly, we already have Rogue from X-Men, and I’m not sure how Mafi got around pretty much plagiarizing the whole idea of the main character, Juliette, having the exact same super powers. The exact same super powers. I mean, yes, it’s an awesome concept, but it’s been done. At least expound upon it or change it in some way–kill with a kiss, can only non-lethally touch members of her own sex, withers plants and food–SOMETHING.

But the language, oh the language. That’s what absolutely destroyed it for me. It was the most overly-done, laughablely dramatic inner monologue that I have literally ever read. Some of the sentences were actually painful, they were so bad. Cringe-worthy is the only way to describe it. I don’t know what Mafi’s editor was thinking, but creating meaningful metaphors and similes clearly slipped their mind. Here’s a gem. She talking about a teenage mother at the grocery store:

“Her legs were standing crossed at the ankles, her child was on a leash she thought he thought was a backpack. She thought he was too dumb/too young/too immature to understand that the rope tying him to her wrist was a device designed to trap him in her uninterested circle of self-sympathy. She’s too young to have a kid, to have these responsibilities, to be buried by a child who has needs that don’t accomodate her own. Her life is so incredibly unbearable so immensely multifaceted too glamorous for the leashed legacy of her loins to understand.

Did you catch that last sentence? The leashed legacy of her loins. It just makes me shudder every time. This is an example of trying way way way too hard at it’s finest. It’s a kid on a leash for crissakes. And no, that’s not a typo. There are about a hundred commas missing from that paragraph. It kills me a little inside, it really does.

And that’s not all. Painfully over-extended sentences like this spatter every single page like gravel in a scraped knee. Murdering minutes = spending time. Breaking knee caps = feeling weak. Deep blue pools I’m drowning in = eyes. Every fist in the world has decided to punch me in the stomach = I am upset. My heart is an exploding water balloon in my chest = my heart is racing.

The list goes on. And on. And on.

I was literally just flipped through random pages to find those.

The first half is excruciating, and the second half is bearable. Bearable, not great. Not good. Bearable. And it clearly leaves an opening for sequel, which I will be glad to pass on.

If only this book sucked the life out of me while I was reading it, I would have been spared the unendurable agony of 340 pages of my time wasted.


The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson

So… regardless of the fact that I’m an adult, I just want to clear things up by saying that I’m not a “grown up.” I still like to live in the world of make-believe sometimes.

I guess you could say I’m a dreamer.

It is refreshing to pick up a book and read a fantastical story that takes place in a land unfettered by grown up worries–money problems, relationship problems, stuck in traffic, addicted to drugs, etc… (Why is being a grown up so damn negative?) In fact, some of the best stories that have ever been told are written for children. Look at Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (to name a very few.)

The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson is no different. While I’m not necessarily comparing it to the greats listed above, I will definitely say it’s new fare in the way of children’s literature. It takes place in a city called the Addition, and life is similar to our world, yet also very futuristic. Children aren’t jet-packing to school, but car horns have been replaced by Honk Ads, so irritated drivers spout product placements instead of beeps. Kids have cameras to watch them while they sleep.  They are being monitored (by both their parents and the government) at all times via tracking cell phones that live update their actions. That means no hiddren report cards, no sneaking off to be alone with friends, no ever being completely alone. PERIOD.

So imagine young heroine Henrietta Gad-fly’s surprise when she discovers a secret attic in her old decrepit house that seems to defy time and space and allows her to be alone for the first time in her young life. Imagine her surprise to find a wounded wild house cat in said attic.

Not to mention learning that her only friends have been experiencing the same “headaches” that she has.

Or the fact that they are being stalked by an unknown monstrous entity named “The Wikkeling.”

I enjoyed this book. It’s rare that I read a book with pictures, but the illustrations by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini are silhouette in nature and definitely add to the integrity of the story.  I liked that Henrietta’s character was made out to be ugly and unpopular from the beginning, and the way Arntson pointed out that this was not going to change. It’s going against the typical notion that a girl must become beautiful and popular in order to live a good life and become a good person. Beautiful and good are not always synonymous, ladies. (Remember the Veelas from Harry Potter??) Conversely, although I liked how Henrietta’s character was shaped, I never felt particularly connected to her or her friends.

Above all, though, my favorite part was the obvious (to adult eyes) parallel to how our world is now and what it could easily become. All the constant worrying, materialism, discarding of the “out of date,” and technological upgrades make us lose sight of that which is truly important.  Al (Henrietta’s adopted grandpa) is a prime example of a juxtaposition of the old world and the new. Definitely food for thought…

3.5 of 5 stars