Tag Archives: dystopian

Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Please be aware that this review while not containing spoilers for this book, will contain spoilers for the first book Ink and Bone. 

Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone left off and it’s a great sequel! Jess and friends are still reeling from the events of Ink and Bone, their friend Thomas was killed, their other friend and sort of Jess’ girlfriend; Morgan has been imprisoned in the Iron Tower of the Obscurists and Jess no longer knows who he can trust. Especially when a routine training excercise of his company in the High Garda turns sour. 


This book is another teaser at what the library may contain, what secrets are hidden inside its walls and what the people at the helm will do to protect it. It is a story of friendship and relationships that are stronger than those of blood. In a world full of secrets it’s impossible to know who can be trusted and who would just as soon Knife you in the back. It’s down to Jess and his friends to fight the library to the bitter end. 


I love that this series is all about books, it’s such a great concept and it’s easy to see that it’s taken some inspiration for the onslaught of ebook readers on the market today. I find the premise incredibly engaging and interesting, sometimes the second book in a trilogy can read like a ‘filler’ and be a bit flat but that is not the case with this one at all. I can’t wait for Ash and Quill now. 

Mind Games by Teri Terry. Review

I love Teri Terry’s books! Ever since I first read Slated when it won the Rotherham Children’s book awards, around the time I was working at a school library in Rotherham. I followed the trilogy excitedly and when I spotted Mind Games at my local library I didn’t hesitate! 

Mind Games is a book which I devoured in literally a few hours despite its size. 

Luna lives in a world where everyone ‘plugs in’ to virtual reality. Except Luna. There’s something different about Luna but the only one who understands is her grandma and everyone thinks she’s crazy. But Lynda’s smart and she’s drawn the attention of more than one party who want to use Luna’s special talents for their own gain. Her grandmother’s warning to ‘trust no one’ never seemed more important than it does now. 

This book is ‘unputdownable’, it is interesting and for me, a brand new form of dystopian fiction, one I’m keen to explore in the future. 

There’s only one other thing I can say; 
READ IT! 

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Review 

The final book in the Tearling series, The Fate of the Tearling was much anticipated. What would happen to Kelsea? In the last book The Invasion of the Tearling Kelsea had voluntarily given herself up as a prisoner to the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne. 


The Fate of the Tearling picks up here, Kelsea is a prisoner and being taken to a cell in the company of a creepy jailor. Meanwhile The Mace and the rest of the Queen’s guard are trying their best not only to run the Tearling in her absence but also find out a way to get her back. 


The first 85-90% of the novel is amazing. It has the same fast pace as the first two and a fantastic back story equally if not more interesting than the one with Lily. This time it gives the history of the people who first settled in the Tearling town after the crossing. 


It definitely fills in the gaps and history of some of the characters and the motivations for actions, the repercussions of which our favourites can only begin to imagine. 

Unfortunately, the last 10-15% of the book was a disappointment for me. I felt that it was too easy, too simple and overall just a bit devastating. However, it does raise the question. What would you do if you were given that choice? 

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. Review 

Perfect is the follow up novel to Flawed. Cecelia Ahern known for her romantic fiction like Ps I Love You and Love, Rosie, branched out into dystopian YA fiction last year and her debut Flawed was a fantastic book taking something which has been slightly overdone in the genre and putting her own individual mark on it. 

Flawed is the story of Celestine North a teenage girl who considers herself ‘perfect’ in a world where people are branded ‘flawed’ when they are found guilty of one of the seven flawed personality traits. When Celestine helps a dying ‘flawed’ man on a bus her life is thrown upside down and she finds that despite her connections and up to now perfect existence she is now flawed herself. Not only that, she is on the run. 

Perfect picks up where Flawed left off. Celestine is hiding out at her grandfather’s farm, avoiding the whistleblowers who are hunting her on behalf of her ex-boyfriend’s father Judge Crevan. When she meets back up with Carrick her ally from the days she awaited her branding, they embark on a journey to turn over not only their own Flawed status but society itself. 


The story is well written and engaging, Cecelia Ahern has a talent for writing interesting and thought provoking stories in more than one genre, a mean feat for any author. 

Celestine is a girl that anyone young or old can identify with, a reluctant freedom fighter placed on a pedestal at the worst time in her life as she struggles with the transistion from child to adult as well as from ‘perfect’ to ‘flawed’. 


It is these transistions which together create a character you want to cheer on, a character you want to believe in and want to win. One you want justice for. 

Like Orwell, Teri and Collins before her, Cecelia Ahern shows us how society could be if the wrong people got into power. Thought provoking and engaging a recommended read. 

The Power Naomi Alderman Review 

When I first heard about The Power my initial thoughts were FINALLY. Finally someone has written something about women becoming powerful. Women being treated like equals, having rights. An end to the oppression and gender inequality. It seemed like a cross between the Hunger Games and the suffragette movement.
For the first half The Power fulfilled what I had expected. All of a sudden all over the world women were taking back their lives. Child rapists were murdered, sex workers rebelled against their captors and escaped, Saudi Arabia was bedlam as women oppressed for centuries fought back against the men who had controlled them. In the second half however things changed. It happened slowly but I began to feel uncomfortable. These women weren’t using these powers for good. They were using to rape, maim, enslave and destroy. They had turned the world on its head and simply changed the roles. Women now treat men as they have been treating them. Hurrah I hear you shout but no. Its not like that. Feminism and empowerment is not about vengeance and destruction it is about equality for women and men alike. This book is a book about oppression of a sex the only difference being it is men who are oppressed and not women. It is not a nice feeling.

The novel has several different narrators. There is Roxy the crime boss’s daughter from London, Allie an orphan from Jackson, Tunde a Nigerian journalist and an female American mayor looking to rise in the political race. Its a definite skill of this author to be able to change the readers views halfway through the novel, discovering that the characters they originally empathised with they now abhor and vice-versa.

This novel offers an interesting perspective on what the world would be like should women become tyrannical. My only criticism would be that the novel could have been longer. It was relatively short for its genre and I felt that it left me with a feeling of dissatisfaction as it answered no questions nor provided any information about what might happen next.

Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Queen of the Tearling has been on my to read list for a while now. I finally got to read it this week and boy was it worth the wait.

The premise of Queen of the Tearling is one of the most interesting takes on Dystopian fiction that I have come across (coming hot off the back of The Last Relicuin this was some mean feat!). The story focuses around Kelsea Raleigh Glynn Princess of the Tearling, who on her 19th birthday is collected by the Queens guard and taken to New London where she will take her rightful place on the phone folllowing her Mother’s death 16 years before. Things are not easy for Kelsea though, for one she doesn’t even look like a princess, she is plain and overweight and has been shielded by her guardian’s who swore an oath to not tell her anything about the Tearling a country she is now expected to rule.

The idea behind the Tearling is that in modern day William Tearling made a crossing from America to bring a new land taking the best and most well developed medical and technology equipment with him unfortunately they sank on the ship and now the Tearling is a place which has been thrown back to the dark ages poor and depraved and full of corruption.

It was this idea which I liked the most about Queen of the Tearling. Most dystopian novels while very good look more towards a futuristic society where technology is advanced and political control is stronger than ever. The beauty of novels like Queen of the Tearling is that they look at a futuristic society which instead of going forwards have gone backwards. The character of Kelsea is also refreshing, while the novel draws on elements from fairy tales: The princess living in a cottage with foster parents in the forest awaiting her time to return to her Kingdom or rather Queendom in this case! But Kelsea is not the average Princess as aforemetioned she is strong, can fight with her knife, well educated, plain and well built due to her love of food, she has no intention of waiting for her handsome prince to rescue her and nor would he want to.

Erika writes with skill, I have seen other reviewers rating this novel down on the basis that some things are unrealistic such as Kelsea’s shock and fascination with a red headed guard. For me though this just added to the authenticity, in the modern world where we know that people with the redhead gene are dying out why would it not be reasonable for it to be a rare and valued thing in a futuristic world? Not only that but Kelsea has lived a sheltered life, protected, away from civilisation and would have no reason to have seen anyone with red hair before.

If you like Dystopia, Fantasy and Historical Fiction and are looking for a combination of all 3. Or if you’re looking for a novel with adventure, magic, history, futuristic society, a female heroine and danger at every turn then this is the novel for you.

 

Sequel review to follow shortly!

 

 

 

Review: The Last Relicuin by Hargus Montgomery

The Last Relicuin is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I was lucky enough to receive a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis appealed to me because I love dystopian fiction.

At first I actually thought it was YA particularly as when I first started reading the story was focused on Alex Kane a young man trying to make a decision about where to go to college, as the son of the poweful Senator Kane Alex is encouraged (or forced) to achieve great things as is expected of him.

It is the 22nd Century and the whole world has been ravaged by dangerous airbone disease and the majority of the population have moved well above the old cities into glass enclosures. Everything is virtual, from school to sex and people use holograms to visit each other all to protect themselves from coming into contact with other people and potential disease. History is preserved by the Federal Musuem Academy who train willing students to live in the real life museums where authenticity is key. Senator Kane, Alex’s father though is determined to shut the museums down.

The Last Relicuin is very in depth and full of interesting details about the museums. Although the story starts off belonging to Alex it swiftly moves to other characters and the story begins to build. I don’t (as usual) want to give spoilers about the storyline and plot so I’ll try not to say any more beyond Alex’s beginnings.

What I loved most about The Last Relicuin was the beauty of the different historical periods, unlike your standard dystopian novel this one is not just based on the new cities built above the old ones. The reader instead visits a 1950s American farming town full of corn chewing farmers in their trucks growing apples for cider, 12th Century France full of castles, knights, crusades and sword fights, tiny islands where the people live in tents and the women sit outside making clothes and blankets and finally a freezing winter in a territory inhabited by Native Americans.

 

The Last Relicuin is without doubt an adult novel, along side history and dystopia it features violence, drugs and sex. It explores politics in a time where you can’t even kiss your own wife (and don’t want to). It looks at extra marital affairs and relationships not just of the romance variety but between friends, colleagues, strangers and people who need handling with a little more care.

 

I can’t express how fantastic this novel really is. I’ll definitely be reading more books by this author.