The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: dystopian

The Carhullen Army

3/5 stars

While I did like this book I need to begin this review with why it could have been so much more, which will be difficult to explain without spoilers so please, I do my best to not spoil but tread lightly if you are thinking of reading The Carhullan Army.

The most exciting part of the story was skipped over and while I get that the part I am referring to wasn’t necessarily a part of the story was author was telling, it would have added a nice bit of action and closure to what is truly a lovely story about a woman escaping what her life has become to a life that was her choice and not chosen for her.

The woman we know only as Sister decides to leave her husband in her home in war-ravaged Britain, deciding to no longer live under the eye of The Authority and their oppressive regime and mandatory contraceptive devices. She makes her plan and prepares as meticulously as possible for her escape to the all-women commune in Carhullen. This is the story of Sister’s escape, her earning her place with the “unofficial women” to finally doing what needs to be done.

I just wish that “what needs to be done” was a bit more of the story than the author wrote.

All Rights Reserved

4/5 stars

I enjoy dystopian books that take a small nugget of current society like copyright durations being extended indefinitely (thanks, Walt Disney) and frivolous lawsuits and turn them to a chilling story about what could happen if taken to the extreme.

Speth, a fifteen-year-old girl makes a snap decision that rather than pay for her words she speaks, she will remain silent. Her only power in the system set up for failure is to not participate. This causes problems for not only herself but her family as well.

I was hooked on this book from start to finish, the only problem I had is that Spleth seemed to lack any strong emotion one way or another, which seems a little counter-intuitive for a girl so disillusioned by the world that she refuses to speak.

The Last Policeman

4/5 stars

I have to start out by saying I am so happy that even though this book is a part of a trilogy, it doesn’t rely on me reading the next book to get closure of the story. I would feel perfectly comfortably stopping here if I decide to never read another book from The Last Policeman, but I enjoyed the story and the characters enough that I may return to the story again someday.

I love the concept of this story- the idea of a pre-apocalyptic murder mystery gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. This book combined the best elements from these types of books- humanity, fear, a collapse of society, not knowing whodunnit at the end and getting to read about the good guy as he finally puts the pieces together and springs into action. This book even fueled my fire of enjoyment of conspiracy stories.

But I’ve got to say I didn’t really like the main character, Hank Palace. In this first-person narrative, I found myself getting so frustrated with him and decisions. I feel like his heart was in the right place, desperately trying to solve a murder case, but the way he went about it was horrible and did some unredeemable damage to mostly innocent people. His character was well written, though, and that’s why I still enjoyed reading his story.

(I had rated this book three stars until I wrote the second paragraph and the tingles told me to give this book 4 stars instead of just 3.)

The Running Man

5/5 stars

I went in thinking this book would be like The Long Walk by Stephen King (which I also really enjoyed) but I was pleasantly surprised that the books don’t have much in common at all, so don’t start reading this book expecting The Long Walk.

The country is in economic despair with the poor not being able to afford food or medicine and are controlled by “FreeVee” the mandatory to own (but not mandatory to watch… yet) television that airs game shows 24/7 to entertain the masses and keep their attention away from what’s happening outside their own windows- pollution so bad that it’s causing young children to die of lung cancer.

To afford his daughter’s medicine, Ben Richards tries out to be on a game show on FreeVee to win cash. Richards is run through several tests and put into a game show called The Running Man where the objective is to run from the Hunters who are out to kill him. He earns $100 for every hour he survives and a bonus for every officer or Hunter he kills along the way. Meanwhile, viewers can earn money by capturing Richards on video or giving a tip that results in his capture. It’s not an easy game; it’s rigged and no one has ever survived thirty days resulting in the prize of one billion dollars.

The Running Man is a very good book, fast pace and I couldn’t put it down. If I didn’t have to sleep between readings, I would have read the entire book in one sitting.

Landscape With Invisible Hand

3/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I requested this book because I recently read Feed by MT Anderson and I enjoyed it so I thought I should give this book a chance, too. While I didn’t like Landscape with Invisible Hand as much as I did Feed, this book does have its moments.

This book started strong but got a little muddled along the way, as if it didn’t know what kind of book it wanted to be. It was sci-fi that toyed with a romance story that didn’t quite fit comfortably into the overarching storyline. A few things didn’t make sense. This book was also satirical touching on topics such as immigration, socio-economic divide, and it also made fun of the political logic that if poor people are so hungry, they should go get jobs instead of begging for food they didn’t work for.

I know what it’s like to be Adam for a lot of this book; the hardships of being poor and trying your hardest to bring money into your home to feed your family. A father who walks out on you and your family. Hoping for something that will come along and save you financially. I want to talk about the end a bit more since it was so charming for me, but I don’t want to include spoilers so I guess I’ll just stop here.

Overall, a decent book that I mostly enjoyed. I still might try reading more MT Anderson in the future.

The Blackout

1/5 stars

The only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars (it’s truly an amazing story) is because Jean M. Auel overly enjoys writing unnecessary sex scenes, especially when you consider that at least one of said scenes were about mammoths having sex, and our two travelers (Ayla and Jondalar) being intensely turned on by this. Wtf.

HOWEVER, if you skip past the sex scenes this book is beautifully written, incredibly descriptive and educational at points, and the heroine of the novel is absolutely stunning.

The Circle

3/5 stars

Took me forever to get into this book and then it finally became fast paced and interesting. Ended differently than I thought it would (which is a nice change of pace for books like this) but overall the ending left a lot to be desired- so many situations arose that really weren’t integral to the plot or ever touched on again. I was a bit disappointed in the lack of profound thoughts- felt like all of our society’s fears regurgitated into a storyline. Based on my opinion of Fahrenheit 451, I feel like this book is a book that Ray Bradbury would have enjoyed. This book was okay but I would never recommend it to anyone.

I’m hoping the movie cuts out a lot of the bullshit.

Unsouled

3/5 stars

I had a rough time getting through the middle of this book. The beginning was fascinating and the ending was exciting and hopeful but the middle just killed me to get through. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me (I moved while reading this book) but I had trouble. I don’t want this to deter anyone’s decision about picking up this book though, so if you are considering reading the third Unwind book after having enjoyed the first two I really think you should jump right in! However if you, like me, get a third or so through the book and have trouble I would recommend just quitting instead of slogging through because the ending wasn’t anything to write home about.

If I do continue with this series it will be after taking a break.

Unwind

5/5 stars

This is the type of book that I would love made into a movie. It’s very fast-paced and exciting, political and thought-provoking. This book had one of the most horrifying scenes that I have ever read in a book, and I have read all the Dexter books so I think this is quite the compliment.

Unwind is one of the better YA books that I have ever read and I’m surprised that it didn’t get as big as some of the other YA series in the genre have in the past (The Hunger Games, for example).

This book is very well written and I liked the characters and the battles they went through. The ending was satisfying but it still left me wanting more, which usually doesn’t happen for me. There’s many book series that I’ve started and never finished after reading the first book.

I am very impressed by Neal Shusterman and I plan to read more of his books in the future.

After The Apocalypse

2.5/5 stars

I know, I know. I always preface these reviews with “I don’t really like anthologies but–” Well, I decided to give this one a shot and I was very disappointed in most of the stories in this book. I read about two-thirds of the stories and skipped the rest. The ones I read I didn’t really like much. EXCEPT. EXCEPT!! The last story, which is coincidentally where the title from the book came from. The last story is a good one and it gave me such mixed feelings over the mother character when I realized what exactly happened. A very good story, a very poor collection of stories overall.

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