Posts Tagged ‘review’

An awesome zombie book (and series if you go on to read the following books). I loved, loved, loved this book. I’ve read 22 books so far this year, and I think this one may be my very favorite.

Here’s the summary:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

As for why I liked it so much: it had a great mystery to it, complex characters and deep down was about a girl finding herself in a world of zombies. Mary’s world is very dangerous, and only gets more dangerous as the book goes on. A lot of people die in this book, including some main characters. The zombies are interesting. Mostly they’re your typical moaning dead, shuffling for a taste of human flesh, but Carrie Ryan somehow makes it feel fresh. And there are a couple differences.

More than any other zombie book I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a lot) forest of hands and teeth makes you feel how menacing the zombies are, and it doesn’t have to give them a whole load of new bells and whistles to do so. Again and again it reminds you of the volume of the dead. A person is bitten, they change, then they go on to bite another two or three people. It’s simple math. They never die, but the living do. So you end up with thousands, millions of walking dead, and the living dwindle down in numbers.

I love the world created in these books. I’d never want to live in them, but they seem so rich and interesting. Most of all there’s a constant theme in the books of surviving, of pushing on and living no matter how bad things get. Of having dreams, even in dark times.

Now for the bad. There’s a love triangle. Ick. But this does help the main character grow and learn what she wants in life. She doesn’t want to stick with what she knows, she wants to push herself and explore. Sure, she worries about who she should love, but more and more as the book goes on she looks to bigger issues like how she should live. Plus the zombies don’t let her dwell on her romantic issues too long.

Her major goal is a little strange. She wants to see the ocean. She pushes herself and the others toward this goal. At times this can seem a little stupid. At one point, she’s in a great house safe for the moment with the guy she’s been dreaming of being with forever, but she isn’t happy. She wants to see the ocean. She wants to know more about the dead. In a lot of ways this is a story about a girl’s descent into madness. Things pile up, and she cracks a bit. But she cracks in a cool way, a risk taking way, not a curl in a corner and hide way.

The characters have depth. There’s this one guy who you hate a bit at the beginning because he seems selfish, but then as you read more you see him as a guy who’s human and in love. A guy who makes mistakes. All the characters make mistakes at one point or another. No one is perfect in this book.

The main reason I love this book is harder to explain. There’s something so addictive about reading it. Usually I hop about a little between books, but reading this one I had to make a bee line from this book, to the next and the next. I vacuumed them up. It was difficult to get anything else done. I think it’s knowing they’re never safe. There’s always something else coming around the corner to shake their lives up. And yet they don’t stop living. Sometimes they consider giving up, but the main characters push on and on without stopping.

There’s a scene in the very last book that sums up the whole series. The main character is stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation but she doesn’t give up. She tries, tries, and then tries again. She just keeps moving forward, even with dead on her heels, even when all seems lost. That determination to keep going is what made me love these books so much. It gives me faith in the human race. Some might give up when things get bad. Others go along with the flow and don’t think for themselves. But a few will keep fighting no matter how bad things get. And that is a beautiful message.

Want to check out more reviews on this book? Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3432478-the-forest-of-hands-and-teeth

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There is one word for this book: Awesome.

I’ve read quite a few paranormal romances the past couple of years, but this one ranks right up there with my favorites. I love the world it’s set in. It’s just such an original idea when so many books are variations on the same story. I won’t tell you all of it, that’d be telling, but it’s a different look at angels and demons. I recognize snippets from a few different religions and cultures., but it put them together in an interesting way.

Here’s the summary:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Prague was a great location for this story. The descriptions were rich, but not overused. The writing was great, and I loved how it seemed to be inspired by old fairy and folk tales. Remember those really dark fairy tales you read about mysterious beasts and witches who will give you wishes in exchange for things like hearts and souls? Reading this reminded me of them a lot, particularly old Japanese tales. Only, this story is very much a YA fantasy romance. It’s an interesting mix.

I will warn you about one thing.  When I started the book I thought I’d hate it. The opening was very jarring and difficult to follow. Then a chapter or two in and it really started to flow. I’m not sure if the writing smoothed out, or I needed to get used to the writing style, but it was worth it. So if you experience the same problem stick with it and see if it gets better.

Also there’s not as much going on as I’m used to. A lot of it is stumbling around confused looking for answers. There’s action, and it gets big in places, but there’s also a lot of standing around not doing much. That said, the answers when they’re given are pretty mind-blowing.

Characters is another problem area. The characters are cool and quirky, but there isn’t much development in secondary characters, or even in some of the bigger ones like Akiva. I liked all the characters, but nothing much changed about them.

The ending: could be better. There’s a big reveal that’s cool, but it’s a lot of talking. Like I said, not much action in this book.

Overall though, I enjoyed it. The world building was my favorite part. It’s worth a read for that alone. The characters are likable, and the plot is pretty good. I think my problem with the plot is it started out so promising, then the action fizzled out.

My recommendation: worth a read. It has its flaws, but it has a lot of good parts too.

Link to more reviews on the book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8490112-daughter-of-smoke-bone

I think my main motivation for reading this book was to feel more in the know whenever I come across a Cujo reference. Plus I am a big fan of Stephen King. I read four of his books last year (including the mammoth ‘It’) and countless short stories, but I think Cujo is my favorite work of his I’ve read. I feel really bad saying that, because he mentions in his book ‘On Writing’ that he was really heavy into drugs while writing it. But no, there’s no getting around it, this is a great book.

For those not in the know, here’s the blurb:

A big, friendly dog chases a rabbit into a hidden underground cave–and stirs a sleeping evil crueler than death itself. A terrified four-year-old boy sees his bedroom closet door swing open untouched by human hands, and screams at the unholy red eyes gleaming in the darkness. The little Maine town of Castle Rock is about to be invaded by the most hideous menace ever to savage the flesh and devour the mind.

There’s something smooth about the writing that made it more enjoyable than his other books (though they’re enjoyable too). I’ve come across some people who hate it. The primary complaints seem to be the sad moment at the end of the book (no spoilers shall be given – go read it if you want to know), and the slow pacing.

To be honest I didn’t mind the slow pacing. There aren’t as many deaths in this book as I’m used to in a Stephen King novel, but the tension before each one is ramped up. This is a book of tension rather than gore and blood splatter (though being Stephen King there is a fair bit of that too). I think I actually preferred the tense approach. It made the book more realistic than some of his others, and thus more terrifying.

And for the sad ending, I have nothing against that. Sometimes books don’t end happy, even when we want them to. It added to the realism as well. That moment will stay with me, and that’s what good books should do.

The most horrifying thing about the book is that there’s no black and white bad guys. In ‘It’ we have ‘It the monster’, in ‘The regulators’ another monster ‘Tak’ and in ‘Cycle of the Werewolf’ we have funnily enough a werewolf. In Cujo there’s no big bad behind all the destruction. There’s just normal people, some nice, some nasty, and a sick dog.

You end up feeling sorry for Cujo, just like you do the other characters. I found it an interesting book. Stephen King reminds us that we don’t need monsters to terrorize us. There are things in the world we live in that are just as scary.

My opinion: If you like Stephen King and don’t mind sad endings then try this out. Just bear in mind that the pace is slower than a usual Stephen King novel. Here’s the link to more reviews on this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11598.Cujo

I think this book gets my vote for creepiest idea I’ve ever read. More than anything that’s because some of the attitudes in the book are very present in today’s society. I’ll let you read the blurb before I carry on:

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Most of the chapters begin with a quote, and a scary amount of them are from recent news headlines. There was a survey not so long ago on british teenagers. News stations picked up the results and spread them everywhere. For a good few months I couldn’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing about the state of british youth. ‘Teenagers are yobs’ the headlines said, and the newscasters went on to say that the survey had found most of british teenagers to have committed an act of violence. I forget the percentage, but it was something huge like 80 or 90 percent of teenagers. The newscasters then went on in dramatic voices discussing how this was a terrible generation, the world was doomed, cheery stuff like that.

Scary stuff huh? Not really. I don’t like accepting facts at face value, so I dug a little deeper. You want to know what the question all those ‘violent’ teenagers had answered yes to? It was this:

Have you ever felt angry after being provoked by someone?

Nothing about violence, just did you feel angry. Really I’ve surprised the percentage isn’t higher. We have some pretty laid back teens that they don’t even feel a little angry after being provoked.

Not long after I studied the Rwandan genocide at school. There are certain stages a culture must go through before it is able to alienate and kill a group of people like that. Reading through them I found a scary amount could be applied to how society treats teenagers:

1. CLASSIFICATION: Simple categorising: teenagers. We see them as different from other groups.

2. SYMBOLIZATION: We give them names and symbols or distinguish them by dress or color. Such as teens, and some less savory names for teenagers. And I’m sure some people have a mind’s eye picture of what teenagers look like: hoodies or skimpy clothing.

3. DEHUMANIZATION: This is where things like the above study comes in. “They aren’t like us, they’re violent yobs.”

4. ORGANIZATION: Not so much for the killing front, but I’m sure everyone has heard adults group together and talk about the state of todays youth. A television campaign was launched to counteract the negative stereotypes of teenagers when people on several social networking sites grouped together to talk about the ‘teenage problem.’ They described teenagers as ‘animals’ and ‘yobs.’ Some even suggested that they needed to be locked up or killed.

5. POLARIZATION: Extremists drive groups apart by broadcasting hate speech and propaganda. See the above study.

6. PREPARATION: Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Rights are denied, etc. Think about that a moment. When I was a teenager most shops treated me terribly. Employees would serve other people first even if I was in front of them, staff would follow me around, glaring at me as if I was doing something wrong just by existing. Most shops had signs on the windows, and a lot still do a decade later. These signs said ‘no more than one school child at a time,’ and various variations of that. Where have we seen signs like them before? How about the signs around the second world war saying ‘no jews,’ or ‘no colored.’ Mothers used to hurry their children away from me. One of my younger sisters hated going into shops as a teenager because she was shy and the adults were always rude toward her, even shouting when she hadn’t done anything wrong. They would make her cry.

7. EXTERMINATION. We haven’t reached this stage yet. There are news reports of teenagers killed by adults, but none on a genocide scale that I know of.

I’d say we’ve been hovering between stages 3 and 6 the past decade. Sometimes like with the yob incident the whole country seems to jump up to stage 5 and 6. It took a very visible advertising campaign using those same news stations to diffuse that situation. I’ve met quite a few people with stage 6 mindset, but thankfully they seem to be unorganised.

Unwind takes this type of mindset and pushes it further. The premise is that a war between pro lifes and pro choices ended in a truce. Abortion is illegal, but between the ages of 13 and 18 the parents or guardians can sign up their kid to be unwound. When I first started reading it I comforted myself with the idea that something like this could never happen, but I’ve read book two now and the more you read the more realistic it seems to become.

Some people hate teenagers, there’s no denying that. And if this did happen then it would be difficult to undo. In a world where organ transplants are commonplace, and not much can kill you except old age, it would take a lot to go back.

One of the biggest attitudes in the book it ‘someone elses problem.’ While babies can’t be aborted, they can be left on another’s doorstep for them to raise. The attitudes of some of the adults reminded me of stories of jews in world war two. Some viewed runaway unwinds as inhuman, and there is a lot of propaganda to support this. Even the ones that didn’t seem to support unwinding didn’t want to be involved and turned their backs on them. The few that helped did it in secret, and it’s very visible that they are going against the core of society at cost to themselves.

This is one of those books that stays with you, and makes you think differently about the world. Go read it.

And in case you still aren’t convinced, check out more reviews on this book here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/764347.Unwind

This one is another graphic novel, but don’t walk away if that’s not your cup of tea, you might surprise yourself. I’m very picky about which graphic novels I read because I don’t usually enjoy them as much as books. For me reading a graphic novel is like eating desert, it’s fun, but it doesn’t fill you up like books can. This one is worth a try.

And that’s the best thing about this graphic novel, you can try before you buy. Strictly speaking you don’t even need to buy, it depends on how much you want to support the wonderful artist / author Ashley Cope. Ashley very generously puts all her pages for this series (what’s in the book and much more) on a website for everyone to read for free. Here’s the link: http://www.casualvillain.com/Unsounded/

Unsounded is a lot deeper than other graphic novels I’ve come across. The world is rich and the characters are multilayered, and they grow as time goes by. Sette, one of the main characters has come such a long way from her first pages to the latest ones on the website. There are twists and so many things to discover as they go through their journey, and still more mysteries ahead. And the art is amazing!

Here, have a look at the cover as one small example:

Unsounded - Volume 1: The Zombie & The Brat

Nice, right? And believe it or not the art inside is actually better! Ashley draws these vibrant backgrounds, and she has this great skill to make the characters look so expressive. I have no idea how she does that for zombie Duane since his face is covered by that hood so much, but somehow she manages it.

Here’s the blurb:

Daughter of the Lord of Thieves, Sette Frummagem is on a mission, and she’ll lie, cheat, and steal to make sure it’s a success (she’ll lie, cheat, and steal anyway). Condemned to aid her in her rotten endeavours is a rotten corpse who seems oddly talented with the supernatural, and oddly not laying motionless in the dirt.

The road is long and no one is what they seem. Never trust a thief, and never trust anyone who won’t let you look into their eyes.

It’s funny, tragic, and heart pounding in all the right places. Seriously, this comic has so many feels it’s impossible to accurately describe them all in one short review. Ashley’s world building is immense, and her plotting in well thought through. Reading some of the comments on the site gives you a good picture. You have all these people predicting what’s going to happen next, and because of her awesome foreshadowing some actually get it right.

They discuss little bits of the world introduced through the comic like it’s some kind of religion. And the world is so thought through that you do pick things up, like the rules for prymary, or the caste system. One of the big ongoing mysteries (there are a few, and some wrapped up once you get to the latest pages) is how Duane is present mentally when all the other zombies seem to be more akin to the unthinking things we see on horror movies. We’ve had some clues, and there are several ongoing theories. People reference lines and emphasis that happened in the comic to try to work things out, and this comic is reliable enough that you can do that.

My verdict: go along to the site linked above and try the first few pages. It starts out as an adventure through a strange land with two hilariously incompatible comrades, both with mysteries we get to find out, and from there it gets richer and richer.

If you want to know what other people are saying about this comic follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17372154-unsounded—volume-1

A few months ago I reviewed ‘Anna Dressed in Blood.’ Here’s the review for those that missed it: http://wp.me/p3Wf30-1l

I gave it five stars, it was that good. So of course when I heard about the sequel I had to read that too. Girl of nightmares wasn’t quite as good as the first book, but it was a decent enough book. What I liked about the first book is that Anna is genuinely scary at times. Too many times in paranormal romances the supernatural guy or girl seems like a normal if overdramatic brooding teenager. Anna doesn’t really brood that much, even though she has a lot to brood about: being dead for one thing, being made to pull people apart against her will, and the horrible event that led to her being how she is (revealed in the first book).

My first problem with the second book is that there isn’t much Anna in it. For most of the book she’s only there in bits and pieces. Now this wouldn’t be as much of a issue if our main character Cas had more direction, which leads us to my second problem with the book: Cas wanted to find Anna, sure, but he kind of meandered about for most of the book. He was all angst ridden and not doing much.

I think it would have been better if he’d had more of a journey to go on to get Anna back. Instead most of the book is him being angsty and asking people for clues, them saying ‘there’s no way,’ repeat a few times, and then out of the blue a clue lands in his lap, and he goes on a simple trip and gets his answers without much struggle. It was too easy. There’s some friend issues to deal with as conflict, but it didn’t take my mind off the lack of conflict in his journey to find a way to get Anna back.

Now after he finds his answers he gets conflict in bucketfuls . That’s where things got really interesting. The first chunk of the book wasn’t too bad, but the last chunk was awesome. The conflict was back and it was huge: life or death, and even bigger than that. There’s this heartbreaking decision he has to make near the end that had me on the edge of my seat.

My verdict is if you liked the first one, read the second. It isn’t as interesting, but does get better toward the end. And it has the same lovable characters that made the first book so enjoyable.

In case you want to read more reviews on this book follow the link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12507214-girl-of-nightmares

 

 

Let’s go for a classic this week. Believe it or not, before this year I had yet to read ‘Alice’s adventures in wonderland’ or ‘through the looking glass.’ My experience of these was limited to Disney films and references on movies like the matrix. I know, I’m a heathen.

Most people know the jist of the story even if they haven’t read it, but I’ll add the blurb anyway:

Weary of her storybook, one “without pictures or conversations,” the young and imaginative Alice follows a hasty hare underground–to come face-to-face with some of the strangest adventures and most fantastic characters in all of literature.

The Ugly Duchess, the Mad Hatter, the weeping Mock Turtle, the diabolical Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat–each more eccentric than the last–could only have come from that master of sublime nonsense, Lewis Carroll.

In penning this brilliant burlesque of children’s literature, Carroll has written a farcical satire of rigid Victorian society, an arresting parody of the fears, anxieties, and complexities of growing up.

Carroll was one of the few adult writers to successfully enter the children’s world of make-believe: where the impossible becomes possible, the unreal–real, and where the height of adventure is limited only by the depths of imagination.

I loved it. I didn’t give it five stars, but I think that’s mostly because I expected too much. I also didn’t like the looking glass as much as wonderland. I’d give five stars to wonderland, and looking glass would just scrape four.

This book doesn’t make much sense, but it does have its own logic that you only really understand if you drop all your own logic and just go with it. Understand?

All those rumors about Caroll doing LSD make a lot of sense reading this. As a writer it felt like I was reading something that had been written so fast it was just a stream of consciousness. I’ve always been a slow writer (sigh), but if I suddenly started writing really really fast whilst being half asleep I imagine my writing would start to look a little like these stories.

Wonderland has a different feel reading it to looking glass. I liked both of them, but it felt like wonderland had been written by a writer who threw all the rules out the window and just said ‘heck, I’m going to have fun with this.’ It doesn’t make sense, but because of that it makes its own peculiar brand of sense.

Looking glass felt like Caroll decided he was going to replicate what he did with wonderland but was at points in the story hit with the crippling need to make it good, and make it make sense. It didn’t feel to me as much of a stream of consciousness, and it wasn’t as fun.

Overall I’ say try it. Give it a good go by pushing everything you know about everything out of the window, try to go along with it without applying logic. You may like it, you may not. I liked it, but my mom hates it because it doesn’t make sense, and my sister hates it because she finds Alice too opinionated. Whereas I liked that about Alice because it made her more unique and I liked her ‘muchness.’

For more reviews on this book check out: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24213.Alice_s_Adventures_in_Wonderland_Through_the_Looking_Glass

After hearing about this book so many times I decided to give it a go. I do love fiction with people with any kind of super power (BIG fan of x-men as a kid – and as an adult too). I don’t know why, but I went into this thinking that it would be a difficult read (maybe the cover struck me with literary vibes?) It was actually an easy read, quite slow, but accessible enough.

At first I didn’t like the main character. He struck me as spoiled. The book opens with him deliberately trying to get fired from work because he doesn’t want to work there, but also doesn’t want to work anywhere else either. Maybe because I spent so many years struggling to get work, this rubbed me the wrong way.

After the tragedy mentioned in the blurb I liked him a little more. He has some teenage rebellion things going on before all this, but on the whole he’s a good kid. He loves his family, and when he’s feeling hurt he doesn’t take it out on other people. He is a bit undefined though. He does have a personality, but it doesn’t jump off the page.

Here’s the blurb:

A horrific family tragedy sends Jacob 16 to a remote island off Wales, to the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, where he finds unusual old photographs. The children, one his grandfather, were more than peculiar, perhaps dangerous, quarantined for good reason – and maybe still alive.

Goodreads has mixed reviews. Some people loved it, others hated it. One of the most common criticisms is that it feels disjointed. I admit I picked up on that vibe. The first half is very different to the second half. We spend the first half wondering about the mystery of Jacob’s grandfather’s past, and then the mystery is reveals quite easily and from then on it’s a different book.

I liked both halves of the book, so I didn’t mind this disjointed nature. A bit more of a fight to find out about the house’s past would have been nice, but I was intrigued enough by all the cool ideas afterward to distract me from any disappointment. I did find it slow to start, and there were a lot of characters in the second half to keep track of. Part of me did like all the characters though. It was a bit like the reason why I love parts of the x-men films set at the school. You have all these really neat characters in the background, and it makes it very interesting. You do want to know more about them, but just the fact that they’re there makes things pop out at you much more vividly.

There was something very different about this book from other books I’ve read. I can’t quite put my finger on what, or whether it’s a good or a bad thing. The last half was kind of like watching an old television show. There was a nolgastic feel to it, like I was watching a show I’d enjoyed as a kid. That may just be my odd mind though.

My verdict: not without its flaws, but worth a read. This book has something that I found addictive. The last scene really makes me want to read the next book and see what happens next for these guys.

For more reviews on this book see this link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9460487-miss-peregrine-s-home-for-peculiar-children

A graphic novel about world war two with mice as Jews and cats as Germans. Sounds a little out there, right? Not so much. I found it to be one of the most poignant  and realistic books on the holocaust I’ve read since Schindler’s Ark. The story goes back and forth between the author: Art, showing his difficult relationship with his father, and his father’s youth as a Jew in war-time Poland.

It’s heart breaking and funny too. You get a real sense that his father is just telling it like it is. We get to hear about the good parts, but also the bad too. While I loved Schindler’s Ark, it followed so many people that it could only add the extremes (not a bad thing – just a different type of book), but in Maus you get a real sense of Vladek’s life. Most of all you get a real sense of how different things were during the war. Morality was different back then, people had to do things to survive, and because of that you couldn’t trust many people.

Reading the graphic novel, you feel the atmosphere of the place. The art work does a good job of emphasising the story, and sometimes making it so much more powerful by showing it as it is with little comment. There are moments that will stay with me forever, and the idea that this actually happened is overwhelming.

There are two books: Maus 1 and Maus 2. Maus 2 wraps up the storyline nicely, while Maus 1 ends on a ‘to be continued’ note. Being graphic novels they were a short read. I spent a lot of time going back to absorb the artwork and memorable lines, and I still made it through each in a few hours with distractions included in that time.

I’d say that if you are half as interested in world war two as I am then Maus is a must read. It (a little ironically since the characters are shown as animals) puts a human face on the war. I’ve read a lot of facts and figures about world war two, and even some biographies, but this connected me to that place and time almost like I was there with them.

Best of all the people in this book are not heroes. Some do heroic things, but when people do you feel scared for them because the book puts you solidly in a time where heroic acts often killed you. Most are just people trying to survive and trying to help their families survive. This is what made the book so much more realistic than others I’ve read. This is the life of a typical Jew in world war two Poland, who by wits and more often pure luck made it through something that killed so many just like him.

Maus emphasises that the killings were random. The Nazis wanted all Jews dead, and if Vladek or his wife Anja had worse luck then they could have easily ended up dead.

In case you want to read further reviews on this book, here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15196.Maus_I_

So, as a big fan of apocalyptic and dystopian books I came across the description for ‘The 5th Wave’ and had to try it out. It’s also got over four stars on goodreads which is a bonus in my book. I’ve found that most of the time ratings averages on goodreads are pretty spot on. I don’t think I’ve found anything over four stars on there that I ended up hating.

Here’s the description:

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Looks pretty promising, right? I liked Ender’s Game, and I’m part way through The Passage right now, and while it’s not my favorite read so far, it’s got a lot going for it. And cool point: aliens. I’ve been reading quite a bit of vampires this year, so a change is nice.

Let’s go over why I didn’t give it five stars. The main character seems kind of flat to me. Now, I get that she’s in shock for most of the book, but I was still expecting a little more spark. Some warning when the author is about to change POVs would be nice. I got confused a couple times, and this wasn’t helped by most of the characters sounding similar to each other. There’s the next point:  POV characters sounded very much the same except the five year old.

I didn’t like the structure of the beginning of the book. The author opened it at a good place, sticking us right in the middle of a critical choice in the main character’s life, but then delved into a lot of infodump and back story to get us caught up. I’m in two minds about this. First the disconnected nature fit in with the main character’s fractured mindset. But on the other side of things it was a lot of infodump and I wonder whether there was another way for the author to introduce that information.

Now, in Angelfall for example (a similar book), there wasn’t as much infodump in the beginning and action started right away. The 5th Wave was a slow start, but it did start moving in the end. It was a slower book, more about the tension than anything else. We did get some action near the end though.

Good points: nice twist. I did see it coming from very early on, but that’s not a bad thing. It did seem very obvious, but then again I’m pretty good at guessing what’s going to happen. I annoy the heck out of my sister when I’m watching movies with her. Not a fan of spoilers that one. I was hoping for a second more unexpected twist, but no luck.

Though the characters were a bit flat, some did have interesting quirks. There’s this guy who is terrible at lurking – she always finds him out. When you learn more about his background that doesn’t make sense, but it was cute at the time.

The idea itself was pretty cool and it was an easy read. I’d say, don’t expect to be totally wowed by the book, just enjoy it as a simple read and you should like it just fine. And as always, in case you want to read more reviews about it, here’s the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16101128-the-5th-wave