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review 2018-11-21 01:25
Profound questions about what makes us human come up in this alternate present-day San Francisco in 'The Waning Age'
The Waning Age - S.E. Grove

It's present-day San Francisco, and ’The Waning Age’ is 10 years old. This means that at that age, it's expected that you will lose your ability to feel emotions. You will lose not only lose the ability to feel sadness, but also joy and everything in between.

 

Natalia Peña is the main character in this engaging novel, written as dated entries in a journal, and she has already waned. But her younger brother Calvino, who she calls Cal, has not, and he doesn't seem to show any signs that he will. Since their mother died tragically they have been living with foster parents, and while they show close bonds, it's only Cal who shows what would be recognizable as normal human responses to events around him, so much so that a company called RealCorp takes Cal to do tests on him to find out why he isn't waning.

 

 

They are also a major manufacturer of ’synaffs’ which are synthetic drops that basically only the wealthy can now afford in order to feel whatever emotion you choose. Ones that are bought on the street could be made of any unknown dangerous harmful chemicals causing the wrong emotional reactions. Most people instead choose to go through their lives feeling nothing, having forgotten what it felt like to have an emotion.

 

At the center of this illuminating book, beyond the fight that Natalia goes through to get her brother back from RealCorp, is a look at what humans are without their ability to feel. The absolute best sci-fi writing can feel so frighteningly real and believable, and this conversation about what humans are without - most importantly - being empathetic towards each other, touches on a nerve.

 

 

As someone who has always been emotional, having dealt with depression and anxiety and being the sort of person who has even lamented about how much easier life would be if I wasn't so empathetic (in contrast to others around me), this was eye-opening.

 

What has supposedly separated us from other beings is our ability to have emotions, to be ’sentient’, so what are we when we can't feel?

This is at the core of the characters in the book called Fish: they make me think of those who can commit baseless crimes without remorse or motive, they're basically psychopaths.

Questions came up in my head about how is this different from the thinking of someone who shows no emotion toward the victim and can commit serial murders.

 

 

What's the difference between thinking and feeling? How do we express emotion without feeling it? How do we have relationships without showing emotions? Is our own society going in the direction of where people aren't able to show or feel emotions? How have technology and social media contributed to this?

 

All of these questions come up and it really had me thinking!

 

I personally feel like one of the most essential problems today is that most people lack the ability to be empathetic towards each other. ’The Waning Age’ really made me sad (*emotion!) at the prospect of emotions disappearing altogether, good and bad, and how that would obliterate compassion completely.

 

Author S.E. Grove has managed to write a YA sci-fi novel that not only recognizes the bond between brother and sister, but she has also done some brilliant world-building, with just the right amount of action, and has brought some big ideas to the table. I will be thinking about this one for a long time, and I have already told a few other sci-fi authors about it.

 

'The Waning Age' is more profound than initial impressions would let on. And I have to say, this would make an excellent movie!

 

RELEASE DATE: February 5th, 2019 (add it to your TBR now!!)

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/40057886-the-waning-age
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review 2018-11-19 20:00
SuperMutant Magic Academy / Jillian Tamaki
SuperMutant Magic Academy - Jillian Tamaki

The New York Times and New Yorker illustrator Jillian Tamaki is best known for co-creating the award-winning young adult graphic novels Skim and This One Summer—moody and atmospheric bestsellers. SuperMutant Magic Academy, which she has been serializing online for the past four years, paints a teenaged world filled with just as much ennui and uncertainty, but also with a sharp dose of humor and irreverence. Tamaki deftly plays superhero and high-school Hollywood tropes against what adolescence is really like: The SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants and witches, but their paranormal abilities take a backseat to everyday teen concerns.

 

My first thought on this is that I am wayyyy too old to truly appreciate this graphic novel! I liked the idea of a school for mutants and witches and I’m pretty sure that this would have totally been my jam when I was in junior high school. Because, let’s face it, we all feel like mutants when we’re in junior high.

It was definitely a creative way to illustrate all the problems that we have at that age: where do we fit in? What are our talents? What will be do after graduation? Or even today after school? Do our marks matter? Does that cute boy/girl know that we exist?

I can still relate to some of it—don’t we all still feel like mutants some days? But those days are fewer and farther between the older that I get. I know that I can support myself and run my life successfully on the majority of days. If I could talk to my teenage self that would be my message: you’re going to be okay. Loosen up and enjoy things more. Too bad that wisdom only comes to us once we’re short on the energy to appreciate it fully.

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review 2018-11-18 05:51
Hearts Unbroken - Cynthia Leitich Smith

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) as well as from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. Yes, I ended up with two ARCs because I had sent a review request to the publisher (which they granted) and had entered to win the book on LibraryThing (and ended up winning a copy).


I was so excited to read this book because I have read very few books about the Native American experience and wanted to learn more.

 

 

I loved the premise of the book and the message behind it. Native Americans and their experiences are always swept under the rug when it comes to racial inequality, so it is important to have books like this out there. I learned a lot from this. For example, L. Frank Baum’s racist attitudes towards Native Americans. I never knew that because it never gets mentioned.

 

I also liked how the author incorporated some Mvskoke words into the story. It was a nice touch.

 

However, the book’s execution was a bit lackluster. To me it just seemed like there was a lot going on. Not only was there a lot about racism but there were also a little bit of slut shaming and bullying thrown in the mix too. This was all on top of a romance story too. I wished the book would just focus on one main issue, instead of trying to throw it all in. It would have had more focus and been more impactful that way.

 

Overall, the book had a powerful message despite a few flaws in the execution.

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review 2018-11-17 20:13
Full disclosure: I don't necessarily know Mary Shelly's story of Frankenstein, I only know of movies and such depicting it. Also, I'm not a fan of the Classics...
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Kiersten White

 

๏ ๏ ๏  Book Blurb ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 
Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the year's pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
 
 
 
 

๏ ๏ ๏  My Review ๏ ๏ ๏

 

 

 

This is not a terrible story, or badly written...I just don't think it was my kind of story.  I couldn't connect with the characters or the story itself...but I know that others have.  It felt overwhelmingly depressing and it switched timelines constantly and I never knew where or what time we were in.  The latter could have been due to listening on audio, with not enough quiet space between each time period to differentiate between them.  Overall, I couldn't keep myself engaged in the story.  The only part I actually liked was the last 45 minutes of the story.

๏ ๏ ๏  MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏ 

 

☆3.2☆STARS - GRADE=C

 
 
 
 

๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏ 

 

Plot⇝ 2.8/5
Main Charactes⇝3.2/5
Secondary Characters⇝3/5
The Feels⇝ 2.5/5
Pacing⇝ 2.8/5
Addictiveness⇝2.3/5
Theme or Tone⇝3.5/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝3/5 
Backdrop (World Building)⇝3.8/5
Originality⇝4/5
Ending⇝ 4/5 Cliffhanger⇝ Nope. 
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝I love it! I wish I loved the story as much...
Narration⇝ Katherine McEwan, not too bad...
Setting⇝ Somewhere gloomy...or England
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏
Goodreads
Amazon
Booklikes
 

 
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review 2018-11-14 02:52
Swashbuckling Adventure with an Enchanting Twist
Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller

 

 

Audience: Young Adult

Format: Audiobook

 

We're outnumbered. Outgunned. Seven of my men lie dead on their backs. Two more jumped overboard as soon as they saw the black flag of the Night Farer on the horizon.

 

- opening paragraph

 

Seventeen-year-old Alosa is not only the daughter of the Pirate King, but also a captain of her own ship, and a powerful fighter with more than a few tricks up her sleeve. She allows herself to be captured in order to complete a mission for her father - to find one-third of an ancient map which leads to a legendary treasure.

 

Alosa is a strong, smart, fierce fighter, and she has a secret which can bend any man to her will. I like her character, but she seems a bit cocky at times and I couldn't figure out why (until the reveal). I love that Riden (the first mate of the pirates who unwittingly take Alosa prisoner) is clever enough to see through most of Alosa's tricks. Their rivalry makes it impossible for them to even imagine liking each other, but they can't deny they are both clever and strong-willed.

 

Alosa is easy to root for. Her relationship with Riden sometimes seems a certain disaster and other times seems meant to be. This book is well-written, exciting, and filled with action and unexpected twists. Even during the last battle, things happen that you won't see coming.

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a high seas adventure with a strong female lead - young adults and adults too.

 

 

 

 

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