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review 2017-12-08 15:29
An Excess Male / Maggie Shen King
Excess Male, An: A Novel - Maggie Shen King

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son.

Now 40 million of them can't find wives. China’s One Child Policy and its cultural preference for male heirs have created a society overrun by 40 million unmarriageable men. By the year 2030, more than twenty-five percent of men in their late thirties will not have a family of their own. An Excess Male is one such leftover man’s quest for love and family under a State that seeks to glorify its past mistakes and impose order through authoritatian measures, reinvigorated Communist ideals, and social engineering.Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband—the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family—one harboring an illegal spouse—shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything—walls, streetlights, garbage cans—are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

 

I have to hand it to Maggie Shen King—she takes several assumptions and trends, plays them out to their logical conclusion, and makes a dramatic book out of it. Plus I always enjoy speculative fiction that isn’t set in North America!

First, take the Chinese one-child policy. Add to that the preference for having a male child to inherit your goods. Mix in a good dose of authoritarian Communist party, which like most authoritarian regimes is ultra-conservative. This is the world that King introduces us to—where women are so scarce that men compete to be second and third husbands in polyandrous households. We meet Wei-guo, an excess male, who is rather desperate to become someone’s husband and the household that he aspires to join: that of May-ling and her two brother husbands.

Unattached young men are always a dangerous potential source of upheaval in a society, so despite the extreme shortage of women, the Chinese government frowns on single men. Many of these men, like Wei-guo, spend their free time playing war games out in the countryside, something that the government keeps close tabs on, seeing it as a potential challenge to the state instead of a way of venting aggression. Illogically, the government also disapproves of homosexuality, which really they should welcome in their demographic predicament. When the government disapproves of both of these safety values for their society, things are bound to go wrong.

All of these tensions come together to produce a human drama that is well worth your reading time.

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review 2017-12-02 22:52
If only the story could have lived up to that beautiful cover.
The Sandcastle Empire - Kayla Olson

 

Book Title:  The Sandcastle Empire

Author:  Kayla Olson

Narration:  Andi Arndt

Genre:  Dystopian | YA

Setting:  A Mysterious Island

Source:  Audiobook (Library)

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plot:  3.5/5

Main Characters:  3.7/5

Secondary Characters:  3.2/5

The Feels:  3/5

Pacing:  3/5

Addictiveness:  4/5

Theme or Tone:  4/5

Flow (Writing Style):  3.5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:  4/5

Book Cover:  5+/5

Narration:  5/5

Ending:  3.8/5  Cliffhanger:  Nope.

Steam Factor 0-5:  1

Total:  3.5/5 STARS - GRADE=B-

 

 

 

The Sandcastle Empire was both languid and quick moving.  Sort of like everything is draped in a heavy fog.  The writing and Andi Arndt's narration gave most of the book this warm, fluid, and free-flowing feel.  Until an action scene and then I found it difficult to keep up and comprehend the quickness of them.  The dystopian world that this depicts has the potential to be so complex but isn't really fleshed out enough and neither were the characters, unfortunately.  Mostly, it just left me feeling like I wanted more than what I got.

 

I've read that this is being made into a movie…it's possible, with the LOST-like island and its many pitfalls, that it might do well on the screen.

 

Will I read more from this Author This is her debut, I believe, so I might.  Especially, if they have such breathtaking covers…they pull me in every time.

 

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review 2017-11-16 04:27
Brave New World (Audiobook)
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley,Michael York

Brave New Shock Value: the Anti-Utopia

 

So, I read that. Or listened to that. I can see why this was a revolutionary novel when it was written. Huxley set out to write a satire of the utopian novels so popular in his day and wrote a horror story instead. It's certainly imaginative, and not entirely out of left field, unfortunately. It does show its age in some respects, but since this is meant to be uncomfortable, that's not as much of a deterrent as it could be. I'm not really sure what to rate this though, so I'm leaving it unrated.

 

Narration is top-notch though - 5 stars for Michael York.

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review 2017-11-08 02:30
One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns) - Kendare Blake

 

Ugh, original review seems to have been lost to the ether. Thanks a lot, Booklikes :/

 

ANYWAYS.

 

Part of the genius of this series is the brilliantly conflict-rich concept Blake came up with. Three MC with entourages who may also be each other's antagonists. Tension tension tension. Murder plots, romance plots, sisterly love? plots, friendship plots . . . it's no wonder the film crews are circling.

 

Add to that Blake's consistently strong writing, vibrant settings and talent for making deplorable character actions if not relatable, at least comprehensible. Dark magic, poison, not-so-cuddly mascot characters, fierce girls, assassins, elaborate and sometimes deadly fashions . . . a perfect round-up of everything readers adore.

 

Since a lot of the fun of the first book was in being blown away by Blake, like, totally going there with it, and then that killer cliffhanger, this sequel feels somewhat less shocking, more familiar. Entertaining, but not mind-blowing. It sets up a direction, subverts it, twists it, but more or less heads where you'd expect. Solid and entertaining second entry in the series, just filling out the world and characters and moving the plot along. In terms of age rating, there is quite a bit of violence, pretty minimal language, and mostly-offscreen but frankly acknowledged sex. Shouldn't be a problem for older readers, maybe a mild parental guidance alert for youngest teens, mostly on the violence.

 

Excited to see what's coming next (on the page and hopefully on the screen as well!)

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review 2017-11-03 16:02
The Outsider (A Broken World #5) by Dean Murray
The Outsider - Dean Murray The Outsider - Dean Murray
The Outsider sees Skye reunite with Brennan, Jax, and the rest. However, things have changed - not just between Skye and Brennan, but the whole situation. There is a lot that needs to be said before the air can be cleared between them all. Skye still has her own secrets, and now it looks like she is carrying one inside her that no one knew about! Brennan has changed in the time that Skye hasn't been there, he's made decisions that are not easy, and has had to live with the consequences that he has hidden from others, so they don't have to have it on their conscience. Jax has been carrying a lot of the weight and it is starting to wear him down. Add in the fact that Skye is his daughter, and there is a whole minefield between them.
 
I have to say that the flow of this story was better for me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed The Founder, this one I could disappear in. Whether or not it's the relationship that Skye and Brennan have, or that Jax and Brennan have, or Jax and the soldiers, or what, I honestly couldn't say. All I can say is that once I started this book, I was hard-pressed to put it down. The time flew and I was lost once again in this dystopian world, wanting and hoping for Skye to get her HEA.
 
This is a long book that will draw you in, although I would recommend that you read this as a series, otherwise you just won't understand all the nuances that have occurred up to this point. That being said, it doesn't read like a long book. I did not realise how long I'd been reading until I had to put it down! There were no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow, and the characters continue to grow. With their own problems and circumstances, this is an intricate story full of characters to enjoy or despise. Either way, you'll never be bored. Highly recommended by me.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/merissa-reviews/thefoundertheoutsiderabrokenworld45bydeanmurray
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