Tag Archive: dystopia



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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Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu


Prodigy (Legend, #2)Prodigy by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have never read a series of books so out of order as I have had to with this series. It was too expensive to buy each of the three books so I consulted the library. They had the large print hardback book and the CDs to listen to available right away. They didn’t have the first book and the second was already borrowed. So I read/heard book three first. I was very impressed with the author that the story line and characters held together without the background of the first two books. Soon the second book became available in only the OverDrive (audio) version. So I took my chances.

Once again, I am impressed with how well the story holds together even reading it so out of order. As with book three the narrators: Mariel Stern (June), Steven Kaplan (Day) keep the story moving from within the characters’ points of view. Though the ending of book two felt like the narrators were hitting their stride, the beginning felt a little unrehearsed. Still, I think this is a great way to tell a story from the male and female viewpoints. I think it makes the book more accessible to both genders. That’s my guess. I wonder how males react to this way of telling a story. Both June and Day are fearless and human and show they deeply care for each other and their people. Both are trying to make a dystopian world a little more livable for all. I imagine that the audio versions of this story add so many more layers of believability to the story.

This was the first book I have had to rely strictly on the audio version. There was no Kindle or tree-book available to read along on. With my ADD that made it hard to stay within the story. But I limited my visual stimuli to crocheting a mundane pattern or closing my eyes. I think if I had a car, this would be a great ride along story. It isn’t so exciting as to make the drive dangerous, but it keeps your attention.

Now that I know how the story ends, and how the middle is told, I will have to read the first part. I found I had one credit on Audible so as to ‘buy’ book one. Once my finances are better I will grab the Kindle version to go with it. I may eventually reread the story in the right order to see how much different it comes across. I highly recommend these books for young adults and older. The romance isn’t horrible sticky. Rather it adds another layer of depth to the story. Enjoy!

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Review: Champion by Marie Lu


ChampionChampion by Marie Lu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Five stars! And that’s with me starting to read it on book three! I never do that. I like to start at the beginning and read a long series to the end. Starting in the middle or later can be chancy at best. But there was no choice. I saw such high ratings and I think a GoodReads friend recommended it. So I jumped over to Amazon. WAY too expensive for me right now. So I went over to my library website to see if they had it. The had the regular version of book two and this third book. BUT with this large print book I was able to land the audio-CDs. How lucky was that?

Let me take a moment out for a font complaint. Why is it that large print versions don’t give spaces between lines? Even with the larger font I still couldn’t read it straight through. I needed to use my trusty dusty bookmark to keep track, like a first grader! Old eyes, what can I say?

What kept me going, though, was the audio version. The voices of June and Day were read by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan respectively. They were wonderful narrators! I must make sure when I finally get this series for myself that I get the Audible Whispersync with the Kindle version.

I must marvel at the writing of Marie Lu. That I can come into the story this late in the game and not feel lost is to her credit. Sure, I felt like I was missing a little background on how it all started and how relationships grew, or didn’t, but I felt I already knew, somehow. There wasn’t a lot of background descriptors dragging the story out, so I assume Ms. Lu snuck it all in there somehow. Magic!

And I am surprised that coming out of the book I have a hunger to read the entire series, real soon! I put all the books on all my wishlists. Just reading a book three should have had me feel I was finished, ya know?

Oh, and if you read this one, have some Kleenex on hand near the end. It’s not horrid, but I haven’t cried like that near the end of a book for a long time. But that shows the amount of truth that this story held for me. No, I am far from being a teen–65, but I could still relate to all that was going on with these characters.

Oh, and this is the first book in a long time that felt that either guys or girls could read it with equal fervor. Each chapter is either June or Day (Daniel) and both are tough but caring human beings.

As I have said before, where were authors like Marie Lu when I was a teen? This book kept my interest from beginning to end. And I think that if you are unlucky enough to not get the first two books you can start here and still have an active adventure!

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The Exemeus (The Exemeus, #1)The Exemeus by Folami Morris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this e-book about two years ago from BookRooster.com I’m glad I finally gave it a shot. This was a fun ride.

It starts in a dystopian future when a nerd, forever the recipient of the wedgies and other tricks of the bullies. It doesn’t take long to like this kid. In spite of himself, he is a smart yet patient young man.

Without going into spoilers… hmmm…how to do this? Well, he ends up with a journal that his mother kept back in our days. Through this and a few other happenings, we see how much he is like his mother and we watched his magic bloom.

Well, that didn’t give anything away, but it doesn’t seem all that exciting. But it was! I really loved the characters, even the bad guys. They were all well fleshed out. The plot was an interesting take on the dried up meme of dystopia.

When I get new books that aren’t from Amazon I usually download them to my Moon Reader Pro where I can read along with text-to-speech. That way I don’t need a light like I do for my older generation Kindles. MRP is backlit like the Kindle app on my Tablet or on the Fire. It was a very fast read. I was sucked in right from the beginning and didn’t want to let it go until the end. Sleep and other needs got in the way of the read.

There is to be a book two. I can’t wait to read it. I didn’t feel this book left me with a cliffhanger. We know how THOSE bug me! I guess the only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because there were places that I felt there were holes in the story, that things had been left out with little segue between parts. I managed to pick up the threads but felt unnerved by how it was done.

By the way, It is now $.99 on Amazon for the Kindle version. Not bad for a great bit of entertainment!

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