March 18, 2012

The Reading Files - Here's to a dystopian future

It's been living in dystopian worlds for me those past two weeks. Actually that's not quite true. I did top it off with some good old fashioned mystery.

Delirium (Lauren Oliver)
#1 Delirium
Source: gift
Genre: YA Dystopia

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Title & Cover: Absolutely gorgeous!
Story: Love is a disease, yet some would rather be "sick" than "safe". Sprinkled with quotes from The Book of Shhh.
Narrative: Emotionally gripping yet awfully slow during the first half of the book.
Characters: Lenas might not be perfect, but very relateable in her thoughts and actions.
Thoughts: Once again one of those books people either love or hate. Obviously certain themes will repeat themselves in the recent flood of dystopian, but for me this is one of the better as far as plot and execution goes. No happy ending, yet one filled with hope.

Partials (Dan Wells)
#1 Partials
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic / Dystopia

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question--one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

Title & Cover: Love the mood it conveys! Good one!
Story: There are Humans and there are Partials. Whether they want it or not, their fate is inevitably connected, and one cannot survive without the other.
Narrative: Fast paced adventure!
Characters: Kids acting like grown ups, but yay, no love triangle!
Thoughts: Now this is a novel which is "only" good as a book, but would make for great movie material. And maybe it's just me, but despite the neat little twists and turns, the story has been a bit too foreseeable for me.

Glow (Amy Kathleen Ryan)
#1 Sky Chasers
Source: Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Science Fiction / Dystopia

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them ...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
Glow is the most riveting series debut since The Hunger Games, and promises to thrill and challenge readers of all ages.

Title & Cover: As much as it looks pretty, it doesn't really relate to the story.
Story: Two spaceships on their way to New Earth and infertility on one ship makes the crew take drastic measures, taking all the girls to safe their own future.
Narrative: For this being YA the writing is really poor. Maybe ok for ten year olds, but that age is in stark conflict to the theme in the book.
Characters: One of those tragedies of not being able to connect with any of the main characters - I seriously started hating them for their actions and/or stupidity.
Thoughts: Oh my, where to begin? So yes, the premise is great yet I think that the book should have been aimed at a far more mature audience with its theme (sexual/ reproduction) and been presented in a much more elaborate way instead of this "kiddie style" narrative.

The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Omnibus 1 (Charlaine Harris)
#1-4 Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
Source: bought used
Genre: Mystery

THE AURORA TEAGARDEN MYSTERIES: An omnibus edition of Roe Teagarden's adventures! Aurora Teagarden loves reading about famous murderers - until she finds herself investigating a real-life killing spree! The first four novels in the Aurora Teagarden mysteries series. Lawrenceton, Georgia, may be a growing suburb of Atlanta, but it's still a small town at heart. Librarian Aurora Teagarden - Roe - grew up there, and she reckons she knows everything about her fellow townsfolk, including which ones share her interest in the darker side of human nature.
This omnibus edition contains four novels:

Real Murders: Though a small town at heart, Lawrenceton, Georgia, has its dark side-and crime buffs. One of whom is librarian Aurora "Roe" Teagarden, a member of the Real Murders Club, which meets once a month to analyze famous cases. It's a harmless pastime-until the night she finds a member killed in a manner that eerily resembles the crime the club was about to discuss. And as other brutal "copycat" killings follow, Roe will have to uncover the person behind the terrifying game, one that casts all the members of Real Murders, herself included, as prime suspects-or potential victims.
A Bone to Pick: Aurora "Roe" Teagarden's fortunes change when a deceased acquaintance names her as heir to a rather substantial estate, including money, jewelry, and a house complete with a skull hidden in a window seat. Roe concludes that the elderly women has purposely left her a murder to solve. So she must identify the victim and figure out which one of her new, ordinary-seeming neighbors is a murderer- without putting herself in deadly danger.
Three Bedrooms, One Corpse: Deciding if she wants to go into real estate becomes a life-or-death choice for Aurora "Roe" Teagarden. A naked corpse is discovered at her first house showing. And when a second body is found in another house for sale, it becomes obvious that there is a very cool killer at large in Lawrenceton, one who knows a great deal about real estate-and maybe too much about Roe.
The Julius House: Love at first sight turns into newlywed bliss for former librarian Aurora Teagarden— until violence cuts the honeymoon short.
Wealthy businessman Martin Bartell gives Roe exactly what she wants for their wedding: Julius House. But both the house and Martin come with murky pasts. And when Roe is attacked by an ax-wielding maniac, she realizes that the secrets inside her four walls—and her brand-new marriage—could destroy her.

Title & Cover: Skull and cat!? What's up with that? Just because it goes with the genre? Oh, come on! And yes, I know, there is a cat playing a part and then of course the thing with the skull ... but still, the cover is so cliched.
Story: Murder victims turn up around every corner but never in a forced way just to give our heroine something to do. Perfect balance of mystery and Aurora's personal life.
Narrative: Both gripping and fun!
Characters: Gotta love the quirky librarian! Not all that happy with her taste in men though.
Thoughts: I haven't read any of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but when it comes to cozy mysteries Charlaine sure is on top of my list!

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