Tag Archive: dystopia



Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an adventure!

Fledgling was the last book I read by Octavia E. Butler. I liked that it had a different take and more diversity than many other ‘vampire’ book. So I wanted to see more by this author.

This book takes the apocalyptic point of view from the beginning of the end. Our main character is the daughter of a preacher. She is black but the color of her skin is not the point. She is a teenager in a protected community that suddenly isn’t. As a teen, she sees things her own way, not like her parents or anyone else. So it is a story of growing up in social, physical, and psychological chaos.

I have to admit to loving the story. I did get tired of the God Seed of her making against the biblical verses of her father. But it was her experience so I accepted it as the character point of view not preaching to the reader. This blended with her bringing together a group of people wandering up the California highway and byways while protecting each other and defending their rights to live in this new world.

Though the story leaves the reader in a safe place, not a cliffhanger, I feel the need to read the next and see what happens now that they have settled. My e-library had this one but not the next so I requested they get it.

It must be nice for black readers to have stories that reflect them. I’m not black but I would love to see diversity more often. As much as I am loving seeing female authors writing strong female characters, let’s see more of the female experience in other races and experiences. Maybe our future generations of people will have books written from all points of view encouraging the reading experience by all society! I’d love to read more about women who are in their sixties and seventies and older! Let’s make sure everyone gets to see the world from characters like them!

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If you read the above you will notice I used the prompt word ‘social’ a couple times. I was going to do two separate posts but computer issues prevented it. So this is a combo of Review and Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere, #1)The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book kept me awake! I couldn’t stop reading. Meg Elison’s writing was engaging; the main character was believable and interesting. The plot was well thought out and much more plausible than zombie-apocalypse. It is a similar idea in that masses get sick and die, but no biters. It just sucks because a lot of people die. Mostly women and newborns. Again, it’s possible.

With that scenario, the story is told in many ways. There is a third-person point of view. Then the main character writes in her journal bringing it to first-person. Thrown in are chapters about other characters or even globally how others are dealing with a new world with very few women. And though I read this Kindle Unlimited version with Whispersynch to the Audible, I found myself READING as much as listening because even the fonts were different and interesting.

But without the narration by Angela Dawe, the book becomes less. Angela’s acting was flawless and added a lot to the story. I think this book is read best the way I did it as all the layers the author intended are there.

Though this was book one and you know there is more, there was no cliffhanger. You reach a natural somewhat comfortable ending. I was just excited to know there was more! I have already downloaded the Audible and Kindle Unlimited of book two. I can hardly wait to get to it!

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Knave of Blades (Tarot Witches: The Raven Knights Saga #1)Knave of Blades by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not since the sixties have I seen such sexy flower power! Sorry, that’s all you get, no spoilers! Just this is mostly Ms. Reine’s usual story with twists and turns in the fantasy world within our own. Familiar places with unfamiliar buildings or beings.

This one is a bit more erotic than most. If that’s a turn off for you, maybe skip and read some of her other books. If not ENJOY!

I like reading about the Tarot Witches, even if this one finds herself in new places with bizarre but fun abilities.

I want to say more but don’t want to ruin the adventure of reading it yourself.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. It comes live to Amazon tomorrow. Hope you get the chance to read it. It is a new series within many series(s) and I think it could be a place to start on Sara’s writing. I still advice starting at the beginning with Six Moon Summer.

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Pulse (Pulse Effex #1)Pulse by L.R. Burkard
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What if a solar EMP hit and all electronics, even in cars and landline phones stopped working and it was in the middle of one of our coldest winters? Good plot premise.

Three teen girls from the same clique at school can’t get to each other or school. Written in their points of view in their journals, first person. And not too much teen romantic angst.

Sounds like my kind of book.

If it had stayed with the above status I would have loved it.

It was a political anti-everyone that isn’t them propaganda. Gun carrying prolifers–only ours, no one else’s counts. Judgemental as all get out.

I believe the best Christians are humble and caring for others. No matter whether they think or look like me or not. ‘We are all made in the image of God.’ ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’ ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The christians in this book represent a lot of people who pick and choose which verses to preach believing it makes them more holy.

Stepping off my soapbox now. There were plenty of different scenarios in how folks are dealing with this new world. In real life right now, we are going through a very cold snowy winter so a lot is believable.

Hunger is the first and biggest problem in this story as there are no stores or ways to get food. As abhorrent as a lot of the book is, the writing is good and I didn’t throw it across the room because there are all kinds of people in this world and this story is from one kind of view.

Which is why I felt shooting that many people, thinking they were in the right and others who were hungry were wrong… was wrong.

What would I do if I lived through the situation our main characters were in? Is there a way as we prepare for such as this that we try to share our abundance. As we prepare we have to remember that our case of food is kept in our car or home and the catastrophe is an earthquake, volcano, or fire and that case of food is destroyed. When we are prepared but but end up the hungry ones, how would we like to be treated? I have rarely missed a meal. I can’t imagine being that cold, tired, and hungry.

Regardless of politics, I’m glad I read it. I won’t bother with the rest of the series. There are a lot better sci-fi’s to see the post-apocalypse through a more open-minded prep and love.

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The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son loaned me his copy of the paper book. He knew I was into The Walking Dead television show.

Zombies are dumb and they barely shuffle along. I am not into zombies or horror in the way that tries to scare you, tries to make you jump, tries to get your heart beating faster, tries to make you cling to the person next to you. (Okay, that last one can be fun, but I don’t need that kind of encouragement!)

What I am into, with all science fiction and fantasy, is how we can be better as humans, how to improve our lives in general and individually. How we could ruin our lives if we don’t listen to sci-fi/fantasy warnings as a society and as science itself.

So for me, The Walking Dead is the best example of what we all need to see. First of all the diversity of people in the books and show are realistic. There are as many men as there are women. There are all kinds of people. And though the story has a man as the main character, Kirkman makes sure that all the people are still fighting old fights as they get together or find themselves alone. One of the first scenes at the camp are women doing laundry. These issues get drawn and challenge themselves. As the women are taught to help keep the camp safe they see they can all take turns taking care of their own clothes and hygiene. Children will have to be taken care of by everyone as they are the future. Thereby those in camp teach each other what they know so all jobs are interchangeable.

In the television show, we’ve seen Maggie and Michone taking over as the heads of their communities. Of course, this is only book number one. So it is still about Rick. I think Robert Kirkman tried to make sure anyone, male or female, could relate to Rick, waking in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse.

Introduced in this first book is how hard it is to get everyone on the same page. Is it better to stay and hope help comes? Or is it better to go and find a safer place and assume help is ourselves? Robert shows us how the lowly pizza delivery guy is the one to save the life of the so-called hero. That’s putting to the world that the idea that all people have worth and all could be the hero we need. Respect in The Walking Dead is the lesson we have to learn before some survival drama comes into our lives as a whole.

As for the difference between the books and the show, I think I like the show better so far, but as I move into the next book I will want to keep revising that. Comic books are different than non-illustrated books in that the emotions can be drawn on. But these can be misinterpreted. If this were a purely written book, we might have gone into Rick’s mind to hear his thinking about his wife being with his best friend.

The comparison is like oranges and apples. The fruit is there to glean the same intentions, the textures differ. By the way, I love the artwork. And as I’m finishing my NaNoWriMo today or tomorrow, I’m wondering how fun it might be to try and make it into a comic book/graphic novel.

I hope my review may change the minds about this story. It isn’t a zombie story. It’s a people story.

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Planet Urth Boxed Set (Planet Urth, #1-3)Planet Urth Boxed Set by Jennifer Martucci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A while back my friend. Margaret McGaffey Fisk recommended this book on her website (https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/?s=urth). I was intrigued. I looked on Amazon and it seemed that between my husband’s and my joined content we had downloaded this story many times as a boxed set and separately. So I decided to read the boxed set. And guess what? I liked it a lot!

My inner teen was happy to have a book dedicated to young people, especially a strong female teen. The book was imaginative and fast moving. I had a hard time getting to sleep as I didn’t want to leave the characters out there in possible danger.

My only problem with the writing is how repetitive it was. Aspects are repeated ad nauseum. Maybe if I were to read the books slowly, getting only moments to read, it would help remind me of the important points, but I found it distracting. I know the big sister, Avery, cares deeply for her little sister, June, and must try to protect her. Oh, and the lust Avery feels for the first guy she meets and then the second guy she meets, in spite of the dangers, and the angst that goes with adolescence is just annoying.

Overall, though, I did love the story and want to read the next in the series. Maybe you will love it even more!

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The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has been weeks since I finished ‘reading’ this book. I couldn’t decide how I felt about it. I think it is somewhere between hating it and being okay with it.

Kate Reading was the narrator. I nearly returned the Audible version. The voice seemed all wrong for the alien. And all wrong for the strong host.

The story did start to get interesting about halfway in. We finally meet the human tribe hiding from the aliens. I liked some of them. But the narrator’s voice seemed wrong for these characters, too. It amazes me that I stuck with this book in spite of how I felt listening to it every night.

The ending was a surprise for me and satisfying. I know a lot of people loved this story. The writing was good. But it didn’t do much for me.

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19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of this book. It was required reading in high school (about 1967). I remember it being very scary and prayed it would never happen. As the actual year of 1984 flew by many of us began to relax. Maybe the science fictional prophecy was far from ever happening.

Many people have recommended this book again what with rumors of Newspeak/Fake News. The book shows that anyone can be convinced of anything given the right set of circumstances. I believe that to be true, which is why I don’t believe that torture would ever bring out the truth. Many are in jails because the good cop/bad cop or other tricks of coercion have brought the suspect to admit to something they never did do. Much of the book shows how this can happen.

Regardless of which side of the political system you may stand, this set of possibilities should shout at you. You should feel free to tell your truth without worry of being tortured or demeaned in any way. After all your set of circumstances have brought you to your belief. But on the same line, we should have respect for another point of view, even if it seems crazy. If you stop that truth from coming out, you may miss a grain of truth you may need to learn to live more openly.

I relate that to the lowly dandelion and my mother. My mother was anemic and had very bad health in general. But when I was young I would see her out in the lawn digging out the dandelions and tossing them away. Knowing what we know about that so-called weed, this could have been the medicine my mother could have ingested and become much healthier, regardless of the ungroomed lawn. What gems or weeds of health are we missing by calling each other names and not learning someone else’s truth?

On another level… As scary as the world of ‘1984’ is, the misogyny of past sci-fi and fantasy is very clear here. I didn’t notice this when I was a teen. Almost all the books I read were male-heavy. I remember asking about it only once. The answer was we had to have these books because boys have a hard time learning to and then liking reading. Having watched my brothers with that very problem I didn’t think about it again. I had trouble with reading but found ways to get around the problems and I LOVED reading. (Still do.)

In this book the main character’s wife won’t give him a divorce, they had infertility problems. He gets the wet dream fantasy fulfilled in a woman who gives without requiring anything from him, not even or especially not wanting love. Finally, there is the woman out in the yard who sings with clothespins in her mouth and he finds her big hips sexually appealing though in another segment he is reminded how like his mother she is. So beyond sex and birth, it seems this generation of sci-fi writers seemed to have nothing to do with women. That should have been our biggest warning! Of all that happened to this character!!!!! I find myself feeling foolish that it took me until my 60s to figure out how little part women play in most men’s lives. I have a friend that tried to tell me this when I was still into makeup and clothes–and making my own babies. But it is because I decided to make my reading diet be mostly female writers with female main characters, and not in the romantic chic-lit stuff. More along the lines of Bechdel. (Google her) This is also how I choose to watch TV/Movies. Women have to hold up half of the sky of whatever I read or watch. Equally important. That was not the case in this book. And years ago I might not have noticed. Now I am nearly blinded by it. So if you haven’t seen it as strong as I have, try my ‘diet’. Give it a year or so. I especially challenge male to try this. When you notice the lack of human equality in reading or what you watch maybe you will be part of the change? Maybe if women hold their own in a story like ‘1984’ we may find ways to avoid that crazy kind of life.

Do read this. No matter which side of the fence, or gender, there are weeds of health here we all need!

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Hold Back the StarsHold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t like romance, well, maybe the occasional You Got Mail or Nottinghill, but mostly I find them boring. I DO love me some space, dystopia, futuristic sci-fi. This book has all four elements. Within the science fiction setting there just happens to be a love story. It was fun!

Spoilers are threatening to spill out of me as I write this and seem to be overwhelming my brain. I seem not to be able to give more of my opinion without them and I refuse to put them here.

I might like to read this again. I can think, if the author would like the suggestion, of a way to make a book two, or at least an alternative ending. As it is I think she did put in two different endings.

If any of my friends read this, and I hope they do, I hope we can have a bit of a discussion about the endings.

This story will stay with me for a while. Think of Gravity the movie mixed with a strange dystopic earth threatened by meteors. SO GOOD!

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The ShipThe Ship by Antonia Honeywell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great idea for a story. Irritating main character.

I was lucky to get this book free from NetGalley. Thank you! It was well worth the read.

London is now part of a dystopian world and survival seems near impossible for this family, even though it is a well to do family. Must really suck for those with less.

But the spoiled daughter of these particular parents has no clue what is happening in the real world outside her house. They have tried to spare their child the worst of it. That seems a big mistake as this poor girl just doesn’t know how to live once she isn’t in her sheltered life.

Father, in hopes of saving many people, has obtained a ship. Eventually, the small family must join the rest of the people he has attempted to save.

The process of the story before the ship is interesting. But gets quite exciting when they move aboard. I don’t want to put in any spoilers so I won’t tell you any more of the plot. But I would assume one could call this a coming of age for this main character–I hope so. I didn’t see enough growth in her by the end of the book to make me want to read anymore. She moans, complains and mourns the whole book. Yet her father and everyone onboard try their best to help her.

Maybe it is because I am not the target audience for this book, but I do love a good dystopia, and those elements are there. Maybe resolve is coming as this was only book one. I might want to read the next. Not sure if I want to put up with the brat anymore.

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