Finished the trilogy and there were a lot of things I didn’t like about it but two days later the world and its people are still stuck in my head and maybe that’s the truest test of worldbuilding.

This book, instead of taking a wholly different perspective from the others the way that The Year of the Flood did, carries on from where Year of the Flood left off. More details of what happened to the world are revealed and characters that were previously not mentioned much are centered on but I really just wanted the story from Crake’s perspective.

The one character that I liked in Year of the Flood became pretty annoying in this book and I was left disliking or not caring about them.

The best thing about this book was that it delivered with the good ending the whole story deserved.

The best thing about this book was that it delivered with the good ending the whole story deserved.

Review: The Giver

The Giver
The Giver by Lois Lowry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Re-reading this children’s book was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. I plan on reading the rest of the series since I never read further than this first and most famous book.

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Review: The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood
The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Margaret Atwood ladies and gentlemen, giving women nightmares since the eighties. [Applause]

This second book in the Maddaddam trilogy delves into the “pleb lands” where it seems that anything goes as long as it’s making somebody money. This is not the world of Jimmy and Crake but the world of Toby and Ren, two women who survive such horrific treatment by everyone that the weird hippy cult they live in really does seem great. While moving through the story I thought the way Toby did – this stuff is stupid and crazy but I’ll go with it. But if I lived in that world I would have loved to be in that cult. I skipped over most of the preaching and singing though. I felt like it added very little to the narrative and was a sort of atmosphere-creating tool instead of a plot-moving one. Once you read one sermon and song you’ve basically got the gist of all of them.

The first half of the book was so slow-going that I almost quit on it but the second half was exciting, horrifying, and well, so dystopian. I liked Toby and understood her but Ren I struggled with. I dislike her in a mildly irritated way. She’s a stupid girl. I see her as typical white trash. A grown woman who hasn’t matured since she was twelve and is still hanging on to feelings for a shitty boyfriend she had as a teen. I’ve suffered from long-lasting heartache as much as the next homo sapien but not over someone who was clearly just an asshole. Alright, so I don’t need to relate to a character to enjoy reading about them. Why was I having such a problem with Ren’s story line? I think there were a handful of factors. Her part of the story is told in first person which makes me feel like I’m reading a whiney teenager’s diary full of angst. Toby’s story is in third person and despite her doubts about herself, or maybe because of them, she exudes maturity and strength. Toby matured and developed while Ren remains a child to the end. And because Ren is basically stupid I feel like she has very little substance. She’s barely a character because she mostly just gets swept along. When she does make choices they are very unwise and emotional ones. Toby gets swept along but is observant, speaks up for herself, thinks things through. This makes Toby seem solid and real while Ren is a puff of air.

This wasn’t a bad book and since I’ve read two of the series and sort of gotten used to living in the flow of this story I’m going to read the last book. I hope it isn’t as slow as this one sometimes was but even if it is I feel it will be worth my time.

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Review: Seveneves

Seveneves
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this hard-scifi story. It was long but action packed. Full review to come.

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Review: Dawn of the Algorithm

Dawn of the Algorithm
Dawn of the Algorithm by Yann Rousselot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is poetry for you, science fiction nerd. Yeah you. You get positively giddy over cheesy old tv shows, zombie viruses, androids, the strangest of strange aliens from outer space, unstoppable monsters, and the best movie tropes about the end of the world. Rousselot doesn’t just wax nostalgic. His poems are creative in their own right, fun, sometimes a little disturbing.

I very rarely read poetry of any kind but when I saw this book I just felt like I was the author’s audience. I was certainly right. The poems offer the reader variety and originality and at other times a platter of familiar scifi worlds from pop culture. I find myself wanting to hand this book to fellow scifi fans and say hey, read this! It’s hilarious, it’s weird, it reminds me of you.

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Review: Girl in the Dark: A Memoir

Girl in the Dark: A Memoir
Girl in the Dark: A Memoir by Anna Lyndsey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I share an automatic kinship with the author of this book because I’m also a person who is so ill (and invisibly so) that I’m confined to my house, leaving my bedroom usually once a day. I deal with chronic pain, grief, boredom, epic frustration … on and on. At every turn while reading this book my heart wrenched because I had experienced the same things. Her condition and mine are very different and very much alike at the same time. I even retreat to books and puzzles for comfort. I can only read on an ereader or with audiobooks. My social life has all but disappeared. I envy Anna her “phone friends” although I do have one internet friend. I don’t know what I’d do without the internet for company.

I could go on for quite a long while comparing her experiences with mine but what I really want to drive home with this review is that this woman’s account of her experiences are extremely, painfully accurate. These are the experiences of not just people with diseases so strange that they baffle the mind. They are the experiences of hundreds of thousands of disabled people around the world.

So if you read this book, pay attention to the details and don’t shelter your mind from her realities. One day you will meet someone with a disability and because you put yourself in this woman’s shoes for as long as it takes to read a short book, you will make that person’s world a little better by offering a more complete understanding.

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Review: Oryx and Crake

Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unexpectedly transgressive. Not something I necessarily like or dislike in a story but it was certainly very fitting in Atwood’s very dystopic world.

This book was good but didn’t resonate with me in any profound way. I was distracted by some dated elements like the CD ROMs and by a few tropes that I wish hadn’t been there. (The evil/mad scientist thing annoys me.)

The world is so detailed and yet leaves you wondering about so much that I want to pick up the next book in the trilogy. But will it also leave me hanging. I’m betting on the answer to that being yes.

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