Tag Archives: mutations

The Rule of Claw & City of Screams by John Brindley

The Rule of Claw and City of Screams drew me in because honestly, who doesn’t want to read about scarily intelligent raptors? Visions of Jurassic Park flitted through me as I pulled them off the shelf. I am all about some scary dinosaurs!

Unfortunately, this duo didn’t really live up to my expectations. Instead of RAWRRAWRAHHHHMYLEGSOMGIAMDYINGGGGG (I like I was hoping for) it was all about mutation, extinction, and evolution. Picture 11

TROC followed the teen Ash, leader of her little band of surfer kids. They are what appear to be the only human survivors, well… anywhere. They’ve been on their own for eight years, kept “safe” by some chicken wire fence and KEEP OUT signs. That is, until Ash is kidnapped by vicious raptors and learns that they are more civilized than she ever thought possible. Things are changing on her island and its up to her to help her friends survive. Then the futuristic “Adults” show up and piss on everything.

COS takes place several generations after TROC. The ancestors of Ash’s clan have evolved and mutated over time into Ground “Agles” and Air Agles. Ground Agles are stout and hobbit-like and Air Agles are like angels. Except with flesh-colored bat-like wings, not pretty feathered ones. Phoenix longs to be an agile Air Agle instead of a heavy, stumpy Ground Agle. Especially since the boy she loves is a creature of the air. The raptors and the Agles have maintained a shaky truce for many years, but after a gruesome incident that Phoenix is responsible for… all bets are off. And then the now VERY CHANGED Adults show up and once again piss on everything.

I did enjoy these books because they were full of social commentary. Not all of the raptors were bad, some were endearingly human. I LOVED Little Three. So cute. But because they were human-like, they had a very flawed society. Ash and her clan were very Lord of the Flies-esque. In fact, this series is a mix of Lord of the Flies and Jurassic Park, with a pinch of Star Wars thrown in for good measure. An odd combo, to be sure but the world building was good. Brindley also stirred religious zealots (worshippers of Lord Genome) into the mix–underlining the point that not everything Adults do in the name of God is innately virtuous.

*slow clap*

imagesHowever, I did wish that the chapters were longer. Each one was only 1-3 pages and the constant POV changes could be irritating at times. Ash’s clan also had their own little weird language and that was off-putting. I guess that’s what sixteen year olds would sound like if they’d been abandoned at eight and left to their own devices, but still. The names were kind of cringe-worthy too. Lord Genome made me smirk but Professor Helix (a scientist that studied–you guessed it!–DNA)… That’s just dumb. Then generations down the line, when the Agles and Rodents were named Phoenix, Sapphire, Ha Ha…. Why?? Why were they named that?? If you’d been on an island for so long that you weren’t even human any more, how would you know what a Phoenix was? Or a Sapphire? What are you guys anyway, strippers? All that was missing was a character named Cinnabuns or some shit.

I give four stars for creativity, but I’m taking one away for cheese factor. “City of Screams” was a VAST exaggeration.

3 flesh-eating plants of 5

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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