Tag Archive: dystopia



Second Life (Life First #2)Second Life by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this second book to be slower and not nearly as exciting as the first book. But then how do you compete with emergency skydiving? I tried to be patient realizing we were getting to know other characters better.

Having a disabled person as the main character was a plus. I love it when authors take a chance with something other than perfect people and let us see characters who are different.

Still, the first half of the book took place in two rooms. THAT was boring! Sure we needed to get to know our characters’ thoughts but there had to be another way to do that.

Towards the end, things picked up and felt more like the first book. Knuckle were whitened, nails were bitten. And I was praying that there would be no cliffhanger. And there wasn’t. The book left you in a safe enough place but you knew there was more that needed to be done. Luckily, I had book three lined up and took off with that one!

Something I need to add here is another original idea of these three books is the moral dilemma similar to abortion or capital punishment. What if we were forced to give up our organs to those we match who are dying? This book takes further into what if by being forced we become disabled or otherwise harmed? Who is held responsible? I love books that make you think and this series does do that while presenting well-developed characters and lots of adventure.

Shoot, I just decided that I need to raise this from three to four stars, just due to my own review. I will remember this series long into the future that hopefully doesn’t have the dilemmas presented here.

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The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I hated people assigning books for me to read as a teen, I think this should be one for everyone. It was eerily too close to much that is happening today. Men/young boys need to learn what women think of them. Women need to get stronger and make sure they are holding up half the sky. There is no sense of majority men in politics leaving the other half no representation.

I was fortunate to have a free credit on Audible so I picked up the Special Edition with Claire Danes as narrator and a host of other voices. It certainly made the reading experience come to life, as regrettable a life it was to read about. I did read along on the Kindle version that my husband shared with me. I knew I had to read it before watching the Hulu version.

Many have told me to read this book in the past. I wish I would have gotten around to it before now so that this would be a second reading. It is too heavy, scary to read again so soon. Yet I may have to again before the year is over. I want to make it a part of my being, pull the wisdom down to the cellular level.

After the book, there is another section with a man covering the tapes found by our main character. It is set in the far future and after much study, they are analyzing the tapes and what kind of world the producer of the tapes lived in. I found that part of the writing so different and amazing. The vocabulary so different than the rest of the book. I have read poetry by Margaret Atwood and then this book. So I find it fascinating from a writer’s viewpoint that a person could have such a range in their writing skills.

After that (epilogue?) Ms. Atwood talks about writing the book and how her experiences played a big part in how the story became so real. Again, I was entranced!

Please don’t watch the series before reading this. Though they are doing a nice job, they still aren’t getting the depth of feelings that you get from the book. In fact, the first scene is actually from the end of the book. I found that just wrong. But maybe as time goes on it will make sense why they did that. It certainly is the cautionary tale for all of us who have taken our freedoms (even the ones we haven’t attained yet) for granted.

Please read this book, with the Special Edition Audible if you can.

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Life First (Life First #1)Life First by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally, a book that kept me interested! I don’t know if any of you noticed what I book slump I’ve been in. If you read the blurb: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…, you can see that it contains subject matter that makes us all worry about what extremes could bring about, and how on the other extreme of not allowing for fear of the extremes is also life threatening. (In my attempt to not give spoilers I am creating very bad sentences!) It is something in our current news that keeps everyone upset no matter which side of the fence you stand.

Here the young main character, Kelsey Reed, doesn’t want to give up her kidney. It is the law that you must, in this dystopia, if someone needs your kidney, heck, you have two! you give it up. Otherwise, you are breaking the law and must go to prison and eventually give up all your donatable parts.

We follow this young woman as she learns more about herself and tries to escape her fate.

It is a quick moving story with deep morals to look at. I was so into it that as soon as I got paid I bought the next two books! I can’t wait to continue the series!

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Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Okay. I get it. A ‘person’ with no previous experience in running the farm takes over. The gullible listen because it is a strong voice. Rather charismatic. Lazy farm animals rather than using their brains or researching what it takes to run the farm vote this person in. The person sets up rules and keeps them as long as they apply to his own comfort and then changes them while no one pays attention, deflecting that attention by making folks think they had seen it wrong to begin with.

Yes, I see the appeal. But I am no more impressed with this book that when it was assigned to my Humanities class in High School. Sad that all the things we fought so hard for back then are being taken away by the pigs. Living the story doesn’t increase its appeal. It’s still a male heavy story with nothing but fighting and hatred.

But maybe everyone should read it. Who knows what might wake up the rest of the animals on this farm. By the way, this was the audio version that I picked up from the OverDrive library. I had hoped that the E-library would have the Kindle version but it was still out. I will take it off HOLD so that it can go to someone else.

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Review:


All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has taken me a long time to read this book. That mostly has to do with the formatting for Kindle/text-to-speech. On almost every page there is a S32 or N33 or words not connected. L ike th at n eeds t o b e f ix ed! By the way, things like f ix get read by text-to-speech as ‘f’ 9.

But I got used to the crazy formatting problems. Most ly. I did have to keep an eye on the text to make sure I understood what was being said. THEN there are several pages of F*ck and Sh*t. I understand that Julie Andrews is a fairly competent cusser along with being a fantastic actress and singer. Since I have my TTS set to be British female who sounds like Julie Andrews, I had to read all those pages to make sure my TTS was really working and not a reincarnation of a bad Mary Poppins. Honestly, that wasn’t needed in the story. Sure the character was angry and in shock but a good writer could have shown it with more class.

This was a good science fiction story. That is why there are three stars and not just one. It was a time travel adventure. And I love the concepts presented, though very slow in the lecture not showing. Still, I forgave that and kept with it. I didn’t like the main character most of the time. I’d give you his name but it changes a lot. Only toward the very end did I feel the character had something redeemable.

Gee, the more I write this the more I feel it should be a two star or less. But I want to encourage the author to clean this up. I am absolutely surprised that this book had as many editors and readers as is indicated in the author’s notes. This coming from a person who cannot edit worth beans. But this story has promise. It could be a fun adventure. But make the main character more real and worthy of the reader’s care. But the subject matter brings the story to–2.5 stars round up.

I picked this copy up from NetGalley. I’m thankful for the opportunity. And I hope others get a chance to read a better copy.

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This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3)This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be my favorite book of the series. I love watching the development of the main character, Miranda. I think the author did a good job giving us a picture of how life could get if anything happened to our neighbor the moon. With tides and volcanic action, the world becomes one that is trying to survive. But with volcanic ash in the sky messing with the weather, and lack of warm sunshine, food, and clean water are a constant struggle to find. Miranda has long since given up on the life of a teen with proms and homework. Now she is just trying to help her family survive.

Though this is my shortest review of the series, you can see what I think of the rest in a bulk review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

I do wish there were more books to this series!

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The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors, #2)The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to follow when I’ve finished #4

******
Okay. Due to what I learned as I wrote the review for #4, this was my least favorite book of the series, with Alex being my least favorite main character. But through his point of view, we learn more about how the world, at least that part of the country is dealing with the problems brought about through the meteor hitting the moon and the changes in gravitational forces on the earth.

Though this book centers on the faith that Alex and his family are devoted to, it was okay as there are a lot of people in the world and how they choose to believe affects how they see the world. But that and the misogynistic viewpoint of this faith and cultural leanings leads us to see a male who feels he must be in charge and has no compunction of hitting his sisters whose only reason to be on this earth was to cook and clean for the male. I just couldn’t abide by how he treated his sisters. I never got to where I liked him much at all. But, it is through his eyes we see what happens to the world as endures more disasters and recovery.

I had to return the Audible version of this book as the narrator’s acting was horrible. The deep gravelly voice didn’t fit the teen, either. I felt my text-to-speech did a better job. I didn’t even attempt to buy the one for #4 for it is the same voice. A younger sounding voice with more pep would have been better.

Even still, this is a great series and I want it to continue from other points of view.

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The Shade of the Moon (The Last Survivors, #4)

Sorry that the following reviews are a little out of order. But maybe you’ll still get the drift.

The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have really enjoyed this series. That said, it is a toss up between #2 and #4 that I disliked the most. It may actually be this one. If there were a less redeemable character, it would be Miranda’s youngest, spoiled rotten brother, Jon. Alex of #2 was nearly as bad. Still thinking Maybe Alex wins as I think beating your sister or anyone else is unacceptable, I don’t care what your religion or culture says. He never redeemed himself in my eyes. I don’t even know what Miranda saw in him. Even if he were the last guy on earth, he wasn’t worth it.

Jon, on the other hand, saw the error of the ways taught to him. I would have hoped he wouldn’t have internalized that bigotted manner of his new society since his parents had worked so hard to get him to what they considered a safe place. But in the end, I began to be okay with him.

I would have much preferred the story just be about the females. Or just Miranda. She was a normal teen in the first book, but through it all, she grew to be selfless and caring.

Oh, a word of the narration. I loved the voice on #1 and #3. She could act out all the characters with distinction and humor. ButI didn’t buy for this book because I hated the voice on #2. I love a good deep voice. My dad had a bass voice and was a great speaker and reader (and wonderful singer) so it isn’t the depth of the voice. But it didn’t fit for the teen Alex. I rarely return Audibles but I did that one. I preferred my text-to-speech to the actor who emoted so seldom. I didn’t even attempt to buy the one for this #4 book.

Okay. It looks like all I had to say here were complaints. That’s not true. I LOVED the series even the books I didn’t like. I love seeing characters grow. I love watching people survive through the seemingly impossible circumstances. I am sorry to write this possible last review. There are more stories in this one story that I would love to see. It almost seems there should be an in between book just after #3. I would love to see the trek that took Miranda’s family to what they thought would be a sanctuary. I’d like to see one from Mom and Dad’s point of view. I’d like to see a book about the reparations as the country and world heal. Maybe one that includes letters from others on the other side of the world. Still, this fourth book didn’t leave one on a cliff of any kind, it just ended too soon and maybe too pat. I’m sad to see this story end. If you like sci-fi especially dystopian/post-apocalyptic nature, you will love this series.

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Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every now and then a person needs a good disaster movie or book. I’ve yet to figure out why. I think it is watching how predictable those in charge cause even more problems and how the human spirit can rise to the occasion in spite of everything. By the way, this one doesn’t have zombies. Imagine that!

I bought this Kindle book and its Audible companion quite a few years ago and just forgot about it. I don’t know what brought it to mind now, but I am glad I found it again.

Not only is the story engaging from the very beginning, Emily Bauer’s narration keeps it all alive. I love that this particular disaster stays rather calm in the crises as the mother tries to get her family prepared and she fiercely protects them.

The story starts with a family that is probably as familiar as our own, divorce included. It shows how love is still there even where the living together failed. And the children of this break up are not less well off, just different.

As the world becomes spread out because of the lack of working communication devices, the daughter keeps her diary going. It is through her communications with herself that we learn the story of life after the meteor hit the moon and causes tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanos and more. The global mess becomes personal as this teen tries to adjust from boys and kisses and proms to washing the laundry by hand and staving off hunger.

I highly recommend this book. There was a lot to learn here for all of us.

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Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am SO impressed with this series! Especially since I had to read it backward. For the most part, I read it on my local library’s Kindle and listened to the library Overdrive version. This last book, book one, I actually had had the chance to buy the Audible version. I figured I will eventually buy all of this series (Kindle and Audible) so that someday I would read it in the correct order. If it is good and held together reading it the way I did, imagine how good it is reading it the right way!

Spoilers are hard to avoid as I write this. In fact, I thought by knowing what was to come I wouldn’t be able to continue. Then something happened between Metais and Day. Something seemed off as I remembered what was to happen in book two. Luckily, by the end of book one that issue revealed itself properly. Everything else held together very well. Again, I am so impressed with the world, characters and story that Marie Lu (author) built.

In this first book, you get to see how June and Day meet and start falling for each other. I had wondered about that. You get to see how Day meets Tess. You actually meet Day’s family. You meet all the people who play crucial roles later in the series and now you know why (if you read it back to front, that is).

Yesterday, I saw that Legend is on sale on Amazon. It is $3.00. If you can, I suggest you buy it. If I had more than a dollar to my name, I would buy it now. Alas, that will have to wait.

Now a comment on the narration by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan who play June and Day respectfully. I don’t know if this is their first narration gig or if they were finding their voices to these characters, but this one felt like they were new. Especially, Mariel Stern, whose voice appeared higher and a little crackly in comparison to the later books. Maybe she was attempting to sound younger? And, of course, if they recorded them in order that would still be the case, right? But as this story continues both voices become stronger and true to the characters. I was often in a situation where wearing headphones and listening were impossible and I had to read the book strictly by sight, and there were times my eyes were tired and I just listened, either and both methods hold up and maintain a fantastic story. An author who writes very well, combined with narrators who read very well, makes a wonderful experience, even in a dystopian world.

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