logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: didn-t-see-that-coming
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-03-31 22:31
At the Edge of Empire
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire - Daniel Kraus

This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.

The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.

I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.

Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.

I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.

Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.

The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-22 00:27
Fire and Flood
Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott

A lot of people have been saying that this is almost exactly like the Hunger Games, and they're right, because it is. But unlike the Hunger Games, this makes no sense.

Characters:
Tella is a lot of things, but likeable isn't really on that list. She's so incredibly shallow and petty at the most inappropriate of times. Oh, and stupid. She is in the middle of a race to try and save her brother's life and the first thing that comes to mind for her when she meets Harper is how much she hates the girl because she's pretty. Sweetie you are pretty much in a survival show, focus on surviving oh my God. Tella is so focused on how everyone looks, she's so obsessed over it that she feels the need to mention it every few pages, move on! She has absolutely no idea how to survive in the wild, so she should have been dead after the first two days. 

Guy, just like his name, is a bland person. There is nothing about him that makes him stand out against other love interests in young adult novels, absolutely nothing. Hell, there was nothing that made him stand out against any of the other characters in the book. He stands around glaring and giving orders, and he and Tella have some weird romantic thing going on. For some reason they won't talk to each other about it so that they're on the same page because that makes too much sense and we need some angst up in here.

The other characters were also pretty uninteresting to be honest, I should've felt bad for them, or at least empathized with them, but I couldn't because I didn't care, the book didn't make me care. I cared more about the animals than I cared about the minor characters. There was nothing interesting about them, there was nothing that stood out, at all about any of them.

Titus can go rot in hell to be honest, he was garbage, and Tella should've sliced this dude up the first chance she got. He sexually assaults her, and Tella just completely brushes it off, she doesn't show any signs of it affecting her in any way at all, and I just, like no, stop. I have literally no words for how angry I was with how this book dealt with sexual assault.

Premise:
I don't know why anyone is competing in this race, some dude named Santiago messed with the forces of nature and the people working for him were like this is fucked up we should stop, and he was like no. So they decided to set fire to this lab holding all these animals, and Santiago's daughter died in the fire so he created this race to get back at the people who killed his daughter. Even though these people warned him that what they were doing was wrong. One race, fine, I guess I could accept that but who in the fuck was like, "This is brilliant, we should keep doing this," after it was over?

I don't know where any of these races take place, it's so vague about the locations, it just mentions the ecosystems and leaves it at that. And nobody bothers to even wonder where in the world they are. There are people in this race as young as 8, being away from school for 3 MONTHS, and no one has a problem with this? Maybe this is just me, but I'm fairly certain that someone is going to get suspicious when a kid disappears for three months, but that's none of my business.

And if you can pick anyone to compete in the race, please tell me why anyone would pick a goddamn child to compete in something like this?

Anyway
Let's talk about Tella though.

She finds a mysterious box in her room, with a message from someone telling her that they can cure her brother, even though doctors have already told her family that they can't. Who does this message come from? Tella doesn't know, she doesn't care, she just heads on out and does whatever the mysterious device in the box tells her because, fuck logic. How did this box get into her room in the first place? I don't know, and the book doesn't explain.

But anyway, she heads over to some empty museum, which sounds like she's about to get murdered, and finds some eggs, and instead of grabbing one and running, she stands around and looks at the eggs. She just looks at them, forget that it's a race, she's gonna take her time and describe each egg. And I'm somehow supposed to feel sorry for her when some girl nearly scalps her and steals the last egg.

Tella decides to chop off all of her hair because of the incident. She finds herself in a jungle, and it's a good thing that Contenders are allowed to team up because Tella would've been dead within 48 hours if they couldn't.

What about Guy? Guy is perfectly trained to survive in all of these terrains, how, I don't know? The book literally never talks about where he trained to survive in all four ecosystems. Are there any places that teach you hands on training for stuff like this that I don't know about? 

But lucky for Tella, she's able to make it halfway through the race through piggybacking off of everyone else around her.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-07 02:48
The World Forgot
The World Forgot - Isla Neal,Martin Leicht

I'll be honest with you, it's been a while since I read this series so I couldn't remember very well what happened in the last book but I remembered the basic storyline of it all once I started reading the last book.

 

My friend actually asked me what I was reading when she saw this book and I honestly didn't know what to tell her. There's just no way to describe this series to someone. A lot had happened and there was just nothing for me to tell her about this book that would make it seem even slightly normal.

 

And to be honest with you, this book isn't normal and I love that about it.

 

It's so out there that I've never read anything like it, I loved how the authors managed to add in humour to the story despite the fact that the characters weren't in very funny situations. Elvie somehow managed to be sarcastic even when she was seconds away from being dead and I loved that about her.

 

It moved at a fast pace so there was never a dull moment and I haven't wanted to yell at characters for a very long time. Especially ducky because the boy couldn't stop throwing up for five seconds. I'm amazed he does barf every time he walks. I don't even really know how he made it through the entire book without dying to be honest with you, he always had his head in the toilet I don't know how he did it.

 

My biggest problem with the series was Elvie's dad and the fact that he was really childish for someone that was an adult. But in this book, you really get to see more of his character, you got to see the fatherly side to him and it was really great. He was always so supportive of Elvie and what she wanted to do, he gave her praise where praise was due, he was a really great dad.

 

Elvie grew up so much as a character as well, she still had the special qualities that made her Elvie, but she was more mature now, she checked herself so many times, she realised when she was doing something that she had promised herself never to become and she became the mother that Zee was never to her.

 

So all in all, I liked this book.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-08-14 00:00
Things We Didn't See Coming - Steven Amsterdam


I don't have a particularly good relationship with post-apocalyptic fiction, tending to find it either too far-fetched or, if not far-fetched, too depressing to want to immerse myself in for very long. I was spoiled early by having to read Robert Swindells's relentlessly bleak postnuclear misery-fest Brother in the Land for a school English class, after which I spent much of the next few years lying awake at night worrying that the noise of jumbo jets coming over Gatwick's flight path might in fact be the noise of a nuclear wind rushing towards our house. Thanks Miss Cutler.

Of course it's useful (necessary, even) to be scared by these ideas once or twice – but once you've got to grips with the basic principles, I'm not always sure the lessons learned are worth the emotional trauma involved. Which is what these books try and put you through, because despite the tone of some of my reviews I'm actually not a very critical reader – I tend to be pretty wide-eyed and immersive when it comes to fiction.

More generally, though, I think the genre suffers disproportionately from the prevailing fallacy that tragedy is somehow ‘truer’ than comedy. (Which some critics genuinely believe, not without reason, but which I don't.) This is why for example I am in no great hurry to read The Road, because although I often love Cormac McCarthy's writing style, I think his general philosophy depends on wilfully ignoring huge vistas of human experience and interaction – which is creatively interesting, but when it comes right down to it, no less selective a vision than that of someone like Terry Pratchett.

All of this is my way of saying that I liked Things We Didn't See Coming a lot more than I expected to when a cute sales assistant in a Melbourne branch of Readers flirted me into buying it ‘because the author's a local’. Actually Steven Amsterdam is originally from New York, but Melbourne has been his home for years now: the landscape of this book feels vaguely American, but the language includes some telltale non-US elements (like ‘Mum’). It begins on the eve of the millennium, and disappears off into an alternative present / near-future where society and the environment have broken down.

The book is constructed as a novel-in-short-stories, a format I like anyway and one which works especially well here. In nine standalone chapters, we see our unnamed narrator at different stages in his life, from a ten-year-old boy to a semi-invalid, prematurely-aged wasteland survivor. There is a lot of enjoyable speculation to be had over what must have happened in the long years between chapters, as secondary characters come and go, and as the world around us changes: we see at various times endless rain, urban looting, rural survivalism, drought, plague, even momentary periods of political stability with a decadent ruling class. The prose is sparse, uncomplicated and effective, and a lot of the key developments are unexplained and off-stage.

I like that the geopolitical/environmental speculation is not the main point here. What Amsterdam is really interested in is how interpersonal relationships work, how trust breaks down and whether it can ever be properly built up under extreme circumstances, and how to work out what really matters and strip down your life to just that. There is a nice strain of dark humour running through the book, and although it takes a steady look at the worst aspects of human nature, it doesn't forget the other aspects.

Only one of the stories felt underdeveloped to me; all of them completely held my attention and left me with lots to think about. Recommended for late-night reading under Gatwick flight path.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2012-01-26 16:14
Things We Didn't See Coming by Steven Amsterdam
Things We Didn't See Coming - Steven Amsterdam

Things We Didn’t See Coming is the story of one young boy, 9 years old on the eve of the millennium, and his subsequent journey through a world irrevocably changed by Y2K. As the world falls slowly apart and suffers through drought, flood, fire and disease, he teeters on the fence of petty crime and respectable government employment and experiences all facets of the evolution of human civilization. 

The writing is beautifully stark, poetic and chilling, and the story twists and turns along with his fortunes and falls. This is not a book for the faint-hearted; there are few redeeming moments and little happiness in his journey through his teenage years and adulthood. The characters are flawed, but fit completely in the story – alliances are easily broken and every person is focused on their own and their families survival. 

I enjoyed Things We Didn’t See Coming immensely – Mr. Amsterdam’s writing reminded me of Tim Winton or Ian McEwan and I was more than surprised to learn Things We Didn’t See Coming is his debut novel. I look forward to reading more of his work in the very near future.

Source: www.theaussiezombie.com/2012/01/review-things-we-didnt-see-coming-by.html
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?