This story takes place in a world where insurance companies employ dispatchers to help prevent the costly premature death that failed surgery often presents. They’re present during surgery and if the patient is on the edge of death they are there to zap them with a lethal dosage of premature death. They the person usually awakens naked and good as new in their home rather than dead and buried and saddling their families with grief and lots of expenses.
See in this world if you die naturally you’re gone for good but if it’s accidental or due to murder you typically come back. Why? Who knows. No one knows! You just have to go with it. You’ll drive yourself crazy waiting for answers if you’re a questioning type like me.
Of course with this type of scenario certain reckless morons do stupid reckless things like cutting off each other’s arms for fun or joining a fight to the almost death club. Thus the shadier dispatchers step up to earn a little side cash to fix the mess and keep it quiet. Who can blame a guy for wanting to make a few extra bucks? But this type of work comes back to haunt our main character when a former colleague goes missing.
A mystery ensues and this is where my tired brain started to shut off and daydream about chocolate cupcakes and my next book. Needless to say, it wasn’t able to fully engage me after the enthralling beginning but that may be my fault. I went into this one blind and vaguely remembering that I read somewhere online that Scalzi was a funny writer. Or maybe I've mixed him up with someone else? I didn’t find this one funny but it may be an anomaly or I may have no sense of humor. Either way, it just okay in the end.
If you have the chance and inclination, check out the audio version narrated by Zachary Quinto. He does a fine, fine job with the material.
*Enters room filled with cobwebs and dust*
Uh... hello? Is anyone still here? *Coughs from ball of dust*
Phew! It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and read anything. Life has not been kind to me. The beginning of 2018 was so peaceful and productive... for about two weeks. Then Hell came and slapped me in the face and I've been trying to get back on my feet ever since. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. However, I am back and I am ready to tackle my TBR head-on! With that said, I was able to read a short story which I enjoyed quite a bit.
Now, seeing as how it's been a while since I've read anything, I decided starting off with a short story to ease me back into reading was a good move to make. And I was right. I read Burning Girls from Tor.com and it was such a harrowing read. It follows a Jewish girl's life living in Poland where she faces discrimination from the Cossacks and how magic can be a double-edge sword for the young witch. This short story covers so many topics. From Jewish tradition to history to even mythology. I was intrigued by the story from the very start.
Schanoes's writing style is very crisp. Since her main character is rather blunt and cold-hearted, her writing showed that very same bluntness without ever becoming bland. She has an incredibly flowing writing style and I really am interested in reading more of her works in the future.
As for her characters, I felt that a lot of them didn't have enough time to develop into fully fledged beings. I suppose that's what happens sometimes with short stories. Her main character, Deborah, was the only one that actually showed any type of growth. Although she is someone I consider to be highly unlikeable, she does learn to empathize a little with those around her and learns not to judge as harshly as she did at the beginning of the story. Shayna, Deborah's sister, throughout most of the story acted like a petulant child, which annoyed me greatly. I did, however, enjoyed her transformation towards the end of it. Still, I wish I got to know these characters a bit more before reading the end of the story.
Speaking of the ending, wow. That was well done and fit well with the rest of the story. I liked how it grabs you and reminds you of the harshness of reality. Life is rough and you don't always get what you hoped for no matter how hard you try... and that sucks. Man, this story made me feel so many emotions!
In short, read this story. It's really good. I did have my problems with some of the characters but I did enjoy the magical and fairy tale elements. If you love learning about Jewish culture, fairy tales, and a bit of history, read this story. It's quite the harrowing, dark read, but a good one nonetheless.
This book was dripping in sadness and grief. It didn’t make me weepy or a sobbing mess but I did read it with a constant pain in my chest almost the entire time. First it was for Rocky and then it was for Lloyd and later it was for the both of them! I wasn’t quite expecting to have this reaction but dog books can do that to me.
Things start out on a sad note when the author throws you headfirst into the life and grief of Rocky who has recently lost her husband to a heart attack far too early. It’s sad and her recollections of her beloved Bob are often quite funny which makes the grief hit you all that much harder. Unable to stick around in the house where she and Bob shared a life, she decides to leave her career and her life completely behind and hops a ferry in Portland, Maine and heads to Peaks Island to mourn. She reinvents herself on the island and impulsively becomes the new Animal Control Warden.
I’ve been to Peaks and it is a little slice of yesterday and I enjoyed reading about life on the island and the descriptions almost make you feel like you are there. The rest of the book follows Rocky through her grieving process as she meets new people and becomes invested in the life of an injured stray dog with sad eyes she names Lloyd. You can guess what happens between Rocky and Lloyd, right? But all doesn’t go smoothly nor does it go sweetly. Lloyd has a history that Rocky is soon sorry she’s delved into. There’s a little mystery and a lot of quirky character building. It’s a little slow here and there and took me longer to finish than it should have but I’m not sorry I read it. If you’re a dog lover you might want to put this on your list.
“He is dog. His life is ocean, stick, ball, sand, grass, ride in the truck, sleep by the bed, look deep into the eyes of humans, lure them outdoors, greet them with a burst of joy when they come home, love them. Fill this brief life with more. “
This is one of those books with a trillion reviews so I am going to use this to my advantage and let my laziness take over and be super brief.
Unsub was pretty good but I didn’t fall in love with it like many a reader before me has. To get truly wowed over I suggest you read The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker after this one (not before, definitely not before). The Fourth Monkey features the POV of the serial killer and it is truly chilling. It’s also very dark and demented. I loved that book but this “review” is about Unsub so enough about that.
I liked Unsub well enough, thus the 3 ½ stars but, I don’t know, it seemed a little too clean for my taste. Almost like one of those semi-gritty serial killer shows on network tv. Maybe I read too much horror and perhaps that’s the reason but the kills didn’t hit hard enough and so much of it felt a little too familiar to me. I wanted something from the killer’s perspective but I never got it.
I wasn’t particularly emotionally invested in the characters either which is a bit of a shame. I liked them well enough but something was missing to make me FEEL and I just can’t explain it. I liked Caitlin, her boyfriend and her broken father but I didn’t feel any emotional pull towards them. With that said, there were several imaginative and creepy scenes that were set by the killer (bee! crows!) but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more of that. It also ends with a cliffhanger that wasn’t very shocking to me but it didn’t piss me off so there is that because I typically despise cliffhangers. If you enjoy audio I would most definitely go with that option because the audio narrated by Hillary Huber works well with the action packed plot. Had I read this in paper I might’ve put it down and left it there for several months.