April 1, 2012

The Reading Files - Dystopia

Yet another week of dystopian reading. Plus one book for review. It's funny, really, but despite my efforts those TBR piles don't seem to get any smaller *sigh*. Seriously! It's almost scary! And there's not even an IMM coming up today!!!

Lifegame (Alison Allen-Gray)
Source: bought used
Genre: Dystopia

Fella and Grebe have grown up on an island, believing that the world beyond its shores is toxic and that the islanders are the lucky survivors of a cataclysmic disaster. And then Fella, an orphan, discovers a diary, hidden fifteen years ago by his mother - a woman who seemingly came from the Outside, from a world not run by the Officiate. This revelation seems incredible, but it gives the two friends hope that they can escape the brutality of their lives. Yet when, after a gripping chase, they manage to get off the island, what they discover is a shock. Not only is the Outside alien and frightening, it forces them to understand the appalling truth about where they have come from, and why they were there. An up-to-the-minute thriller about what makes us who we are.

Title & Cover: While it does make sense regarding the plot elements the result leaves me a little underwhelmed.
Story: Imagine the movie The Island in a teenage version. This is it.
Narrative: A plain yet totally engrossing style!
Characters: Likable though Fella and Grebe could have used a bit more depth.
Thoughts: If it weren't for the fact that this book is one huge deja-vu I'd say it's a great read, but as things are it has too much of a copy-cat feel to it. Not to say it's bad, because it's not, just the wrong side of unique. And a big yay to the fact that it's not all lovey-dovey!

Furnace Lockdown (Alexander Gordon Smith)
#1 Escape from Furnace
Source: bought used
Genre: YA Dystopia / Horror

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries.
Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.
Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape. But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace’s deeper, darker purpose, Alex’s actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that’s hidden from the eyes of the world.

Title & Cover: Argh! There's another cover version with a man wearing an old fashioned gas mask and that one is awesome!
Story: In a time when even kids can be sentenced to life Alex finds himself framed for a murder he didn't commit.
Narrative: Gripping it will keep you on your toes throughout!
Characters: Well drawn and believable!
Thoughts: This is an amazing thrill ride. If you love action packed books with a high creepiness factor, this one's for you. On the downside, there is not even a hint of explanation of what's going on (or why, for that matter) which sadly reduces this to a break-out-of-prison story without much substance.

Numbers (Rachel Ward)
#1 Numbers
Source: bought used
Genre: YA Paranormal

Since her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else's, a number pops into her head - the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn. Waiting for the London Eye, she sees everyone in the queue has the same number - something terrible is going to happen.

Title & Cover: Good one! Love how numbers are "hidden" in the letters.
Story: Jem can see when people will die just by looking them in the eyes and whatever she does she can't stop it from happening. Or is she even the reason why people have to die?
Narrative: I totally love the writing style which is absolutely perfect for Jem's POV.
Characters: In one word? Real. How often can you say that about characters?
Thoughts: This was one of those books I thought I could give a try when I randomly filled up my basket at Awesomebooks last year. Boy am I glad I picked this one! Absolutely amazing and one of my fav reads so far this year!

The Deepest Sense (Constance Classens)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Non Fiction / Culture / History

From the softest caress to the harshest blow, touch lies at the heart of our experience of the world. Now, for the first time, this deepest of senses is the subject of an extensive historical exploration. The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch fleshes out our understanding of the past with explorations of lived experiences of embodiment from the Middle Ages to modernity. This intimate and sensuous approach to history makes it possible to foreground the tactile foundations of Western culture--the ways in which feelings shaped society.
Constance Classen explores a variety of tactile realms including the feel of the medieval city; the tactile appeal of relics; the social histories of pain, pleasure, and affection; the bonds of touch between humans and animals; the strenuous excitement of sports such as wrestling and jousting; and the sensuous attractions of consumer culture. She delves into a range of vital issues, from the uses--and prohibitions--of touch in social interaction to the disciplining of the body by the modern state, from the changing feel of the urban landscape to the technologization of touch in modernity.
Through poignant descriptions of the healing power of a medieval king's hand or the grueling conditions of a nineteenth-century prison, we find that history, far from being a dry and lifeless subject, touches us to the quick.

Title & Cover: Love how the cover is both subdued and expressive!
Story: The meaning of touch in our Western culture, with an emphasis on the Middle Ages the reader experiences history from a tactile perspective.
Narrative: Captivating!
Characters: Hands and skin touching to heal, to stroke, to experience.
Thoughts: What an intriguing book! While there was a heavy focus on times long gone, and not so much the present, this is an amazing journey through history and how the sense of touch shaped our society.

1 comment:

  1. I daren't even think how much my TBR has grown. Numbers sounds promising!