Category: Dystopian

Jul 24

Just Your Typical Prototype (Prototype by MD Waters)

Contemporary Fiction, Dystopian, Women's Studies 5

Greetings, Bookworms!

If you’re not singing No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” right now based on the title of this post, please, by all means, put it on as background music. Now that I’m done foisting 90s ear worms on you, we can get down to business. Earlier this year I read and really enjoyed Archetype by MD Waters. I was overjoyed when I was offered a complimentary copy of the sequel, Prototype, by the publisher for review consideration. *The manner in which this book was received in no way influences the honesty of the following review.*

PrototypeI can’t really accurately describe much about this book without giving away at least a few spoilers for the preceding novel. I’m going to try REALLY hard to be good, but if you’re really sensitive about such things, maybe come back after you’ve read Archetype just to be on the safe side. SPOILER ALERT! You still here? Excellent. Prototype begins about a year after Archetype‘s close. During the course of Archetype our heroine Emma learns through a series of unfortunate events that she was sold into slavery as a young girl, as fertile women have become an extremely valuable commodity. Her life is not at all what’s been presented to her during her recovery from a mysterious “accident.” Emma is, in fact, not who she thinks she is at all. Well. She is. And she isn’t. It’s COMPLICATED.

Anyhow, not everyone in the world is thrilled with the idea that women be sold as breeding stock, so there’s a big underground resistance operation that occasionally raids the training camps where they keep the girls and generally work to undermine the system. SUBVERT THE PATRIARCHY. Wooo! Emma learned of her own ties to the resistance, but because of REASONS, she chooses to leave on a quest to find her parents. Parents she can’t remember. Who sold her into slavery. Because that makes sense, Emma! Fictional characters can be terribly illogical.

In any case, adventures ensue, battles commence, and love threatens to unravel everything (as love is wont to do.) I liked this book, but some of the characters who were fairly complex in the first book took a decidedly Bond villain turn in this one. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good villain, but it seemed like a bit of a ploy to wrap up some complicated emotional baggage in a neat little bow. (To be clear, I wasn’t bothered by the tidy ending, just the Bond villains. I like my bad guys with layers.) While I didn’t love Prototype as much as Archetype, I thought it was a strong sequel and wrapped up the story in a satisfying manner. If you read and enjoyed ArchetypePrototype will give you the closure you crave.

Alright Bookworms. Time to sound off. Do like neatly packaged book conclusions, or do you prefer something a bit messier and open ended?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 18

The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian

Dystopian 22

Howdy Bookworms,

You know how much I love a good dystopian novels, right? ESPECIALLY when they can stand on their own and not foist a trilogy upon me. (This ended well, PLEASE, don’t trilogy me!) A while back I received an email from Penguin (my favorite publisher, for obvious reasons) offering me a copy of The Office of Mercy by Ariel Djanikian in exchange for an honest review. Despite my love of penguins and Penguin, the receipt of a free book has not compromised my integrity. For real, I’m too honest for my own good.

officeofmercy The Office of Mercy had me hooked pretty fast. It’s an undeniable page turner, that’s for darn sure. Natasha Wiley lives in a settlement known as America-Five. About 300 years before this novel takes place, a great “Storm” destroyed the majority of human life on planet Earth. What remained holed up in these elaborate bunkers and got their science on. Since then they’ve been slowly expanding and figuring out ways to clothe, feed, house, and amuse their population. Oh, and they’ve been growing spare organs and attempting to conquer the aging process. Nobody dies in America-Five.

People do, however, still die on the Outside. Natasha works in what is known as The Office of Mercy, her job being to track tribes of Storm survivors, and if they get too close, to kill them. Compassionately. To end their suffering. It’s all very altruistic.

The vast majority of the citizens in America-Five have drunk the kool-aid. There are a handful of conscientious objectors, and though they’re tolerated, they are NOT popular. It’s hard to work in the room where you release the death weapons and not buy into the philosophy, so Natasha is on board…

Until she goes on her first field mission, and she realizes that the tribes people aren’t exactly what the elders have trained her to believe. That’s when all the interesting stuff starts to happen that I can’t TELL you about because it would be SPOILER-Y and this book is too good for me to ruin for you. Ugh. Scruples.

I loved the ethical conundrums put forth by this book and Natasha’s evolution. Plus, all the science-y stuff was pretty rad. I’m a sucker for rooms full of spare human organs, what can I say? If you like dystopian fiction, I highly recommend The Office of Mercy.

Since America-Five is getting close to providing its citizens with immortality (thanks to spare organs and fancy pants medicine) I got to thinking. Even if you were guaranteed health, safety, and a life free of physical suffering, would you want to live forever? 

*If you choose to make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 06

Archetype by MD Waters

Dystopian, Women's Studies 14

How Goes it Bookworms?

I’m doing just fine myself. You know. Not having been bought, sold, or otherwise manhandled has made my life pretty darn sweet. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of my basic human rights not being violated. I’m not sure what it says about me as a person that I really dig dystopian fiction, because they are all up in the human rights violations. A few weeks ago I received a pitch in my email for a new novel called Archetype by MD Waters. *Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The price of my integrity is significantly higher than the purchase price of a book, my friends.*

archetypeI went into this novel with a boatload of skepticism because it was pitched to fans of The Handmaid’s Tale. I don’t think I put too many authors up on a pedestal, but Margaret Atwood? Yep, she’s on the pedestal next to the bust of Jane Austen, my Alice in Wonderland teapots, and Alfred, my penguin butler. (Alright, I don’t actually own a bust of Jane Austen, but you get my point, right?) It’s awfully bold to compare someone to the likes of Atwood, so my snarky eyebrows were fully engaged.

Emma Burke wakes up in a hospital not having any idea who she is or how she came to be there. She is slowly rehabilitated by a team of doctors and her doting husband Declan. All seems to be going swimmingly, as Emma is falling in love with her husband all over again.

Except for those pesky nightmares. Emma is having freaky specific dreams. Dreams where she’s suspended in a giant vial of fluid. Dreams where she’s having romantic interludes with a handsome stranger on a beach. Dreams where she’s imprisoned in a camp where women are being trained to become wives…

As a bonus, Emma fixatest on Indigo flowers. Apparently "true indigo" doesn't have blue flowers but "false indigo" does. I probably shouldn't be fixating on this detail. (Image Source)

Emma loves her some Indigo flowers. The book just calls it indigo, but the internet says both “true” and “false” indigo flowers exist. I don’t know which the author is talking about, though I THINK it’s this one. I probably shouldn’t be fixating on this detail but since I’m on the subject… The flowers on the cover appear to be dendrobium orchids, not indigo. I’m just saying.  #FlowerNerd (Image Source)

Something stinks in Denmark, and Emma is struggling to figure out what.

Apparently, something has gone wonky with society. Humans, as they are wont to do, have gone and screwed things up. Eeee’rybody wanted to play scientist and design themselves some baby boys, which left a whole lot of boys with no ladies to carry their children.. THEN, because I can only assume Mother Nature was PISSED, the few women remaining start to have severe restrictions in their fertile years. I think your imagination can take you to a place where women have become a rare commodity, and it isn’t pretty.

I can’t say much more without getting into serious spoiler territory, so I’m shutting my pie hole. Suffice it to say that Emma’s journey is WELL worth a read!

Alright Bookworms, let’s talk about comparisons. Do you find it off-putting when a book is described as “for fans of” or do you find it helpful? In this case I actually found it to be useful, so I’m rethinking my rage on the subject. What say you?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will keep every single penny of it for myself because I am SELFISH and that’s LEGAL. Even though I’ve got lady parts I can have my own money!*

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Jan 28

I Don’t Even Want to Go There! (Top Ten Tuesday)

Dystopian, Top Ten Tuesday, Zombies 39

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s Tuesday and the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have a fabulous topic for us today. They’ve asked us to list out societies we’d never want to live in and/or characters we’d never want to trade places with. Dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels are some of my favorite books, so I’m really excited! Let’s get to listing, shall we?

TTT Don't Go There

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (my review): Hmmmm, let’s think. Why wouldn’t I want to live in a world where women are enslaved and used strictly to breed children? Maybe I picked the husband I wanted and have no desire to be reassigned by a terrifying religious government. Maybe it’s because if I’m going to grow a kid, I’d like to keep it. Maybe it’s because they no longer allow women to read?! Plus, that whole winged hat thing is a bad look for me.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Children fighting to the death. For sport. Even if you don’t get chosen yourself, your kid someday might. Let’s talk about the worst thing ever. I think this is pretty much it.

Try not to cry. I dare you. (Source)

Try not to cry. I dare you. (Source)

3. The Passage by Justin Cronin (my review): I had some serious anxiety reading about the people living in the compound. Nearly 100 years since the vampire apocalypse, this fledgling society lives on a wing and a prayer… And the rapidly deteriorating battery powered lights that keep them from being eaten every night. 

4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (my review): We never find out exactly what happened to the world, but nothing grows, everything is coated in ash, and there are bands of cannibals roaming the countryside. It’s so freaking BLEAK, and I don’t want to go there ever, ever, ever!

5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: How would you like to grow up knowing that you were a clone being used for spare parts? Don’t get too attached to those kidneys now, kids.

6. World War Z by Max Brooks (my review): I had SO MANY NIGHTMARES reading this book. It’s a fantastic look at what would happen to the world during a zombie apocalypse.

7. The Stand by Stephen King (my review): As if surviving the deadliest strain of the flu EVER and trying to find other survivors weren’t enough of a challenge, the friggin devil incarnate is out there causing trouble? Yep, I could live my life without going through THAT madness.

8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (my review): Oh, I won’t lie. There are days when a dose of Soma sounds like a grand idea… But I’m not big on societally mandated orgies. Sorry y’all.

9. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (my review): Nuclear War is THE WORST. I don’t want to live through that.

10. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin: I don’t know what’s the worst thing about living in this world. The brutal “justice” meted out by wicked royals? There’s no telling when winter will end? The friggin zombie things living behind the ice wall? Heck, Martin is so fond of killing off characters I’d probably already be dead. Westeros, I shan’t be visiting!

Alright Bookworms, it’s your turn! What books would you NOT want to be sucked into??? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Your support is appreciated!*

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Jan 09

Solomon The Peacemaker by Hunter Welles

Dystopian, Science 15

Hiya Bookworms,

A few weeks back I ran across a review for a book that piqued my interest. Monika from A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall posted a review of a very cool sounding dystopian book called Solomon the Peacemaker by Hunter Welles. I love a good dystopia, so I made my way over to NetGalley to ask nicely for an advanced copy. *Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wouldn’t dream of lying, for I fear the wrath of the robots…*

solomon the peacemakerThis book is set in the future- the world has been cordoned off into safe zones known as “nodes” for major cities as well as outlying areas of wildness. Robots known as “servods” perform household functions for the majority of families living within nodes. Sadly, none of them have the comedic timing of Rosie from The Jetsons. The peace of society as it is now known rests heavily in the hands of “the Peacemaker.” The Peacemaker is an elaborate computer program designed to predict and diffuse violent conflicts around the world. It also needs to be installed in a human’s head in order to work. Because cyborgs.

We slowly learn these facts through what appear to be psychological or criminal investigative interviews with Vincent Chell. Vincent and his wife Yael were never big fans of the whole robot industry, feelings which led to their involvement with a bizarre cult-like resistance group determined to undermine the Peacemaker. I found this narrative technique intriguing, as Chell’s memories slowly unfolded.

I was riveted by the story, but rather disappointed in the ending. I won’t be a Spoiler-Saurus-Rex, but I was left with some lingering questions… If you have any inclination toward sci/fi and dystopian fiction, I’d recommend you give Solomon the Peacemaker a try.

If you could have a robotic housekeeper, would you? I’d be all over that, because cooking is the worst. I’d get a chef robot. Dangit science, when is somebody going to get me a chef robot?!

*If you choose to make a purchase of Solomon the Peacemaker from a link on this site, I will receive a small commission… Which I intend to invest in the research and development of chef robots.*

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Nov 01

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Dystopian, Young Adult Fiction 33

Howdy, Bookworms!

Last month I read Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I, along with thousands of other greedy readers, waited in anticipation for the final installment of the series, Allegiant to be released. I’ve been toying with the idea of how to put this review together while still avoiding spoilers, so I’m going to do my best. I will not be spoiling this book specifically, but if you haven’t read the other books, there may be some spoilage. Soooo- here’s  a weak little SPOILER ALERT just in case.

allegiant-book-cover-high-resI was so excited when this book was released. I absolutely loved Roth’s initial tales of a dystopian Chicago ruled by factions, each faction valuing one personality trait above all else. I mean, I just HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen with the factions and Tris and Four and their luuuurve. So I started reading. Things started a little slow, but I had high hopes they’d pick up once the CONSPIRACIES were uncovered.

The conspiracies were actually fairly satisfying. What wasn’t satisfying was Roth getting heavy handed with the moral lessons. I am ALL ABOUT equality and diversity and all that good stuff, but you know how grouchy I get when I feel like I’m being preached to. LUCKILY, though she walked the line very closely, Roth didn’t QUITE go into full preach. That’s good, because I didn’t want to have to throw a temper tantrum.

Tris and Four and their little tumultuous romance kept on keeping on. At one point, Tris had this great epiphany about her relationship with Four. She realized that when you’re in love, you have to choose each other every day. At this point I had to remind myself that Tris is only supposed to be 16. She obviously hadn’t attending 8 zillion weddings with her husband as videographer, so she wouldn’t know that her little speech sounded just like this cheesy poem about marriage we used to hear ALL THE TIME.  (It’s right up there with First Corinthians and anybody quoting Wuthering Heights on their wedding programs on the list of Things That Annoy Katie.)

There’s a huge thing that happens at the end of the book that has a lot of readers freaking the frick out. Now, I don’t always NEED a perfectly happy ending. I mean, I LIKE a happy ending, but I can be satisfied with a well done sad ending. I just… I’m confused about how I feel about this whole darn book. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t love it either. I so badly wanted to love it. It felt rushed, and now I feel confused. This is me right now:

feelings

(Source)

Have any of you Bookworms been left confused or bereft by the conclusion of a series? Disappointed? Heartbroken? I don’t know what my feelings are doing, help me out here!

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Divergent, Insurgent, or Allegiant by Veronica Roth (or all three) please consider using these links. I’m an affiliate with Book Depository and make a teensy weensy commission if you make a purchase. We all know the proceeds are going to be used to feed my book addiction… Enablers :). 

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Oct 14

The Passage by Justin Cronin: A Fellowship of the Worms Spooktacular

Book Club, Dystopian, Frightening, Vampires 27

smarty mcwordypantsSalutations, Bookworms!

The Fellowship of the Worms is back in session. Our book club choice this month was The Passage by Justin Cronin, and an excellently creepy selection for October (if I do say so myself.) WARNING: We will be discussing the WHOLE book. This will no doubt include SPOILERS. If you did not read the book and would like to participate, pick up a copy of The Passage and give it a read. This post will be here waiting for you when you finish. Now that the particulars are out of the way, I’ll remind you of the premise here. I’ll pose questions in bold and answer them in regular type.  If you don’t want your opinions influenced by my rantings, stick to the bold first. Feel free to answer them in the comments, or if you’re so inclined, leave a comment linking to your review of The Passage on your own blog! I fully encourage shameless self promotion, so if you’ve reviewed this don’t hesitate to get your link on.

1. Did anybody else find the beginning section of this book a little hard to follow/get invested in? The book begins a few years in the future- not far enough for flying cars and robot housekeepers, but not exactly in the now. There’s some kind of super secret research going on to create a virus that will turn people into evil monster weapons. The US government is monkeying around with and they’re looking for subjects. They decide to work with death row inmates until someone gets a bee in his bonnet and wants to recruit an abandoned child. Because that’s not completely horrendous or anything. The whole plot I totally got. What I couldn’t keep straight were the 8 zillion FBI/CIA/Mad Scientist guys that were working on the project. So many last names floating around! I seriously could have used a flowchart explaining the chain of command. Seriously. That’s an idea for the next release- add it in as a little bonus. The readers will love you for it. It did take me quite a bit longer than I’d anticipated to really get invested in the book, so that was a bit of a bummer. Once it picked up speed though? Holy heck I couldn’t put it down!

2. What did you think of the vampires? How did they live up to your horrific expectations? What about the psychic/telepathic/dream stuff? I hate to be a giant comparison drawer, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s how I roll. The vampires in this book reminded me of those in I Am Legend. Then all the dream stuff (not to mention the journeying) made me think of The StandThe Vampires themselves were spectacularly scary. The shark teeth? Creepy. The super speed and strength? Creepy. The psychic connection to their minions and the ability to give nightmares to the living? Creepy, creepy, creepy!

Creepy!

Creepy!

3. Was anybody else jarred by the time jump and the introduction of the colony? Were you able to connect with the colony character as well as you connected with characters from the first portion of the book? Yeah, I so did not see that coming. We just jumped forward in time a hundred years? It didn’t take long for me to become completely invested in the colony and its characters, but I’ve got to admit the pacing seemed a little weird. I kept expecting the time to shift again. I suppose it did to a certain extent- there were some passages with headings labeled a thousand years in the future, but they didn’t introduce any new characters or situations. The odd timeline is my only major complaint with the book, though, so I’m not too terribly upset.

4. How about that Amy? What did you make of her character? Even though she and Lacey had the same version of the virus, Amy still seems to be “special.” What do you make of this? I am so confused by this! Yes, Amy seemed “special” even before she was exposed to the virus, but so did Lacey. Lacey seemed to have some psychic stuff going on back at the convent and in her childhood. What makes Amy so different than Lacey, despite having the same strain of virus, has me completely baffled. Did I miss something? Did anybody else get a good feel for just why Amy is so different? 

5. Were you engaged enough in The Passage to move on and read The TwelveWhat did you make of the fact that Sara’s journal was located in the aftermath of the “massacre?” Are you holding out hope that Sara and the gang survived and that we’ll see them in the sequel or have you given them up for dead? I am TOTALLY invested enough to check out The Twelve. What is killing me is that the final installment of the trilogy is not yet available. Gaaaah! I need to start waiting until things are FINISHED before I start them. I am absolutely holding out hope that Sara and Hollis and Theo and Maus and the baby make it out alive, dangit. I will be too devastated if it is otherwise!

All in all, I thought The Passage was pretty awesome, and a perfect October read. How about you, Bookworms? What did you think? Tell us about it! And be sure to join us next month as we tackle Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Sometimes I just don’t want to read things alone, okay? We’ll be talking about Rebecca on Monday, November 18th!

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Oct 08

Top Ten Tuesday: Best and Worst Series Enders

Children's Fiction, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fantasy, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction 51

Happy Tuesday Bookworms!

Anybody else noticed that series are ALL THE RAGE these days? It seems like nobody feels like writing a stand alone book anymore… Or something. I’m a pretty big fan of series on the whole. Sometimes though, the last book in the series is truly a make or break moment. Today, the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish have asked us to list out our favorite and not so favorite series enders. Are you ready?!

toptentuesday

My Favorites:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. I don’t know if I can properly describe the level of satisfaction I felt during that epilogue. It ended beautifully, and as desperately as I want more and more and more Harry Potter, I am pleased with the way things wrapped up.

2. MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. I loved everything about this series. I loved the weird names for gene spliced animals, the screwy scary fast food joints, the trippy cults- everything. I waited a good 4 years for the final book and I was NOT disappointed. That Atwood. She knows what she’s doing.

margaret-atwood-dystopic-trilogy

3. The Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. This ending wasn’t perfect because I wasn’t crazy about some of Katniss’s decisions. However, I liked that Collins emphasized the psychological implications of the horrors the characters endured. Plus, I’m a sucker for a “happy as circumstances will allow” ending.

4Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris. This was the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. The series ran out of steam and started getting pretty random somewhere around book 7, so my expectations for the series wrap up weren’t too high. However, I was quite pleased because I’d been rooting for one particular romance since book one and it totally happened. Yay for that!

Not So Favorites:

5. Son by Lois Lowry. Okay, so The Giver is one of the most amazing books since ever. It’s complete awesomeness. The rest of the series, however? It’s a little odd and a tiny bit preachy. The final installment, Son, spent an inordinate amount of time discussing climbing a cliff and a really bizarre supernatural twist. It was okay, but I think The Giver would have been better off with an epilogue than an additional 3 books.

son

6. The Death Cure by James Dashner. I started out loving The Maze Runner books and they progressively got less awesome. I mean, the ending was okay, but it felt like a cop out. Like Dashner couldn’t come up with a really supremely awesome ending and just sort of threw one in? Eh. Just not fantastic.

7. Reached by Ally Condie. I should start this out by saying that this book was by far my favorite in the Matched trilogy. I was actually very pleased with the direction the series went in the end, but GAH. The series as a whole was just such a disappointment for me. Love triangle. Bits and pieces of other dysopias all over the place. Just… No.

Jury is Out

(These series are not yet finished, but I’m invested, so….)

8. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It’s highly unlikely that I WON’T love the final installment of the Outlander series, aside from the fact that I’ll be a big ridiculous crybaby because it’s over…

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth. I’m pretty stoked for the upcoming release of Allegiant. It will totally make or break the series for me. It’s due out Oct 22. Very excited!

Divergent hc c(2)

10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I can’t say that I think these are the greatest books ever, but I have enjoyed the novelty of Cinder and Scarlet so far. I love fractured fairy tales- it’s okay that they’re predictable, they’re FAIRY TALES. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, in spite of the occasional cheesiness.

What about you, Bookworms? Got a series ender that you loved and/or hated?! Tell us about it!

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Oct 07

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

Dystopian, Frightening, Psychological, Supernatural, Zombies 24

Muahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa Dear Bookworms!

I’m busting out my evil laugh to celebrate the fact that it’s October and I’m reading some scary books. Remember this summer when I went to BlogHer? One of the keynote speakers was Gale Ann Hurd- the executive producer of the greatest show currently on television, The Walking DeadSt. Martin’s Press was another of the BlogHer sponsors and they hooked up the attendees with a copy of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga. FULL DISCLOSURE: I got this book for free. At BlogHer. Like I already told you. FULLER DISCLOSURE: I saw a Rick Grimes costume at a Halloween store today. I was sorely tempted.  

IMG_9261

If you’re not into zombies, you probably wouldn’t like The Walking Dead in any permutation: the comics, show, or novelization. If you do happen to be into zombies, you probably already watch The Walking Dead and YOU, my friends, are in for a treat. (New season starts October 13. Holla!) I’ve been holding onto this book since July because I wanted to read it in an appropriately spooky season. Now is the time!

Alright Walking Dead-heads. You know how The Governor was a super crazy bad guy? Ever wonder how he got that way? This book! It TELLS YOU! It starts at the beginning of the zombie apocalypse with Phillip Blake, his daughter Penny, his two high school chums, and his younger brother Brian. Their ragtag band is sweeping across Georgia, bashing zombie heads, and searching for a safe haven. Bashing zombie heads is not a clean business, so I’ll warn you that the language gets pretty gruesome. Blood and guts and gore. You know the drill. As we all know, it doesn’t take long after the dead begin to rise for the living to turn on one another. Plus, you know, living under the extreme stress of watching one’s friends and neighbors turn into blood thirsty un-dead monsters takes a toll on one’s psyche.

All in all, I found this book enjoyable. However. It’s clearly meant to be a companion to the show. From a narrative standpoint it could certainly stand alone, but I don’t think I’d have liked it as much if I weren’t already a fan of the show. I recommend this for all Walking Dead-heads for while the show is on hiatus. There’s a trilogy afoot, I might have to grab the next novel when I’m having my mid-winter withdrawals.

So Bookworms, tell me. Do you do anything to get yourself in the Halloween spirit? We haven’t yet watched Hocus Pocus or any of our Roseanne Halloween collection this year, but we DID watch Warm Bodies this weekend (which was oddly charming.) Scary movies, scary shows, zombies, witches, goblins! Let’s talk about them!

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Sep 24

Banned Books Week 2013: Top Ten Tuesday Goes Rogue!

Banned Books, Classics, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Memoirs, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction 49

Howdy Bookworms!

Today is Tuesday and you know how much I love lists. I normally link up with the fantastic ladies at The Broke and the Bookish and participate in their weekly topics, but this week I’m going rogue. In honor of Banned Books Week, I’ve decided to forgo The Broke and Bookish topic this week (although they’re talking about sequels, so I encourage you to take a trip over there and check it out!) Instead, I’m going to continue my celebration of Banned Books Week and list some of my favorite banned books! Ready?!

toptentuesday

1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. This book has been challenged for its realistic depictions of slavery and the South during the Civil War. There are absolutely elements in this book I can see making people uncomfortable- the attitudes of the characters toward black people are ugly to say the least. HOWEVER, I think it’s important to preserve that history. Understanding how such a hideous institution could have ever been considered acceptable is critical to keeping it from happening again. Sweeping an embarrassing past under the rug doesn’t do anything for anyone. PLUS, this book tells an amazing story. It would be tragic to lose that!

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Ironic much? The book about the dangers of burning books is banned? Apparently at some point a school in California took offense with the language and issued a version to their students with all the “hells” and “damns” blocked out. Because, really?

3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book is often challenged for a myriad of reasons. Profanity, race depiction, and homosexuality only scratch the surface. Whatever, Book Banners. The Color Purple is all kinds of awesome whether you like it or not!

The color purple is totally a metaphor. It's not like they talk about purple stuff all the time. So, if you're just like a purple enthusiast? This might disappoint you.

The color purple is totally a metaphor. It’s not like they talk about purple stuff all the time. So, if you’re just like a purple enthusiast? This might disappoint you.

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The objections to Brave New World are fairly predictable. I mean, okay, so there might be rampant drug usage, casual sex, and the occasional orgy. The thing is, none of those activities are made to sound appealing in the slightest. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale. It’s the stuff dystopian nightmares are made of.

5. Forever by Judy Blume. Oh Judy Blume. How do I love thee? I’ve written before about my unabashed adoration for Are You There God? It’s Me Margaretbut Forever has had it’s share of challenges, too. It’s not surprising, really, this book is about teenagers who have S-E-X. Facts are facts, though. The average person loses his or her virginity at 17. It’s not realistic to pretend that teens in all their hormone riddled glory are all going to remain abstinent. It’s also silly to assume that every kid who reads this sort of book is going to go out and find someone to get naked with. What I love about Forever is that it’s a very realistic story of first love. They talk about the scary stuff- STDs, birth control, emotional investment. It also depicts heartbreak. Honestly, I think this book is more likely to talk teens OUT of having sex than it is to talk them INTO it. 

forever

6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. On the off chance you didn’t read my rant on the subject yesterday, please go have a look. Click here!

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry. Seriously, what is there to object to in this one? For heaven’s sake, they all take pills so there’s no sex, no sexual desires, no random make-out sessions- nada. It’s set in a dystopian society in which things are so tightly controlled that even color is forbidden. It’s like Pleasantville. It’s a fabulous book (better than all its sequels) and its a great challenging read for the middle school set.

8. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Yes, yes. Sexual assault, casual profanity, alcoholism. I know. But really, it’s all about overcoming adversity. It has the added benefit of convincing teenagers that they don’t have it so bad. This realization may be fleeting and replaced quickly by more pressing teenage concerns, but learning to think about things from someone else’s perspective is a part of growing up. If a book can help with that? Heck yes, kids should be reading it!

glass castle

9. 1984 by George Orwell. Whaaat? A totalitarian dystopian society raising a ruckus? Why that’s unheard of! Kidding, of course. This book touches on issues of privacy, censorship, sexual repression… It’s sort of the opposite of Brave New World, but terrifying in its own way. I can see why it might freak people out, but censoring a book about censorship? Bad form!

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Huck and Jim’s trick down the mighty Mississippi has landed on the banned books list a time or three. Critics cite racist overtones and language as their major objections. Language complaints cause would-be readers to miss out on one of the greatest classics in American literature, and that would be a travesty. Long live Huck Finn!

Have any of your favorites ended up on a banned list? Any of your beloved tomes being challenged? Tell me about it, Bookworms. Let’s get our rebellion on!

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