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Search tags: its-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know
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text 2014-12-16 23:23
It's The End Of The World As We Know It: 2015 edition
The Last Policeman - Ben H. Winters
The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

I think that overall, I've had a good reading year. Not great. But good.

 

I have really steered away from dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels this year because, hello, I am totally over zombies. I'm also over YA dystopians that are basically just misogyny masquerading as world-building. 

 

So, my list of great dystopians is pretty narrow, indeed.

 

First off, I really enjoyed Ben Winter's whole Last Policeman trilogy. Part detective novel, part social commentary, part it's the end of the world as we know it, all fantastic. Rather than being post-apocalyptic, technically, this is pre-apocalyptic. There is an asteroid bearing down on earth, nothing can be done to stop it, and we watch as civilization collapses. Winters does a brilliant job of thinking through the possibilities, and Hank, the main character who just can't give up his heroism in spite of the fact that most of the rest of the world already has, is worthy of admiration without being unrealistically perfect.

 

Second, The Girl With All The Gifts. Technically, this is a zombie novel, but it takes the genre and turns it on its head. Told from the perspective of a child, Melanie, it is a brilliant riff on the impermanence of humanity. We are a but a flyspeck on the history of the world, and shouldn't forget it.

 

Finally, Station Eleven, which I just finished, is so gorgeously written that it is easy to forget that it happens after the end of the world as we know it. There are aspects of the book that are hard to swallow, and the author uses coincidence with great intentionality. Intersecting character arcs are beautifully constructed, but it is the words that are breathtaking.

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review 2014-02-06 07:45
Audiobook Review - Archetype by M.D. Waters
Archetype - M.D. Waters

Archetype is a mix of several genres- sci-fi, dystopian, mystery, and most of all suspense. Nail biting, fist clenching, teeth grinding suspense. This author certainly draws it out too. Hints and clues and secrets, all of the answers so tantalizingly close but didn't quite get there until I was ready to chuck my Nook out a window. I'm so glad I didn't because the answers were well worth waiting for! Wow, what a twisty, turny, mind bending story! 

Emma, the main character, wakes up one day in a hospital with absolutely no memories of who she or anyone else is. Declan is the man who says he is her husband, and he certainly behaves like he is, always treating her with care and kindness. While her days are spent getting reacquainted with her husband, her nights are often interrupted by nightmares of war and other disturbing images. She wonders if these are memories, and if so, they certainly don't fit what she's been told by her husband and doctor. Emma doesn't know who to trust, she's not even sure she can trust her own mind or the flashes of memories that she gets from time to time, or the voice in her head that warns her not to tell anyone anything. 

From the beginning, I was very quickly hooked. Emma's voice is compelling, drawing the reader in so that I was as frustrated and confused as she was trying to figure out what was going on and why. Not to mention wondering how this dystopic society came to be. It was interesting learning things alongside Emma because since she remembered barely anything, not a lot of explanation was given for what brought the world to this point. That was one of the only negatives for me. I am left with so many unanswered questions! 

It's easy to sympathize with Emma's character while at the same time become so frustrated with some of the decisions she makes. As far as romance, I'm not sure I would call it insta-love considering the situation, it was a bit uncomfortable since the whole time she (and I) had misgivings about whether or not Declan was genuine. Also, he was quite creepy, controlling, and stalkerish. And there is a bit of a love triangle, but it's quite twisted as well, so it's not the average love triangle that annoys me so much. The plot reminded me of a cross between Before I Go to Sleep and The Program but with much more suspense! 

The secondary characters were very much in the background and it was more about Emma's thoughts about them and interaction with them than finding out enough about them to get a good grasp of who they are. But even though I would have liked more details with the characters and the world, I can't say that I'm at all disappointed with the book. 

The audio narration by Khristine Hvam was well done. I admit, I was so immersed in the story, that I didn't pay close attention to how the narrator sounded, but I guess the fact that I was able to lose myself so completely says that the narration was solid. 

I cannot wait until the next book in the series, Prototype, is available! This is a series I will DEFINITELY be continuing. The ending of Archetype wasn't exactly a cliffhanger, but I am still left wanting much more. I would highly recommend this to fans of sci-fi, suspense, and futuristic reads.

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