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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-18 06:21
Review: Alive by Scott Sigler
Alive: Book One of the Generations Trilogy by Scott Sigler (2015-07-14) - Scott Sigler

I cannot begin to tell you how dismayed I am to be giving a book by Scott Sigler just two stars. I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever given one of his books less than four stars. For me, Scott Sigler is an auto-buy, auto-read author. If he puts it into print, I will read it. And every single time, I have loved it. Until this time. When I first heard this book was being published I was a little surprised. Young Adult is not really the Sigler wheelhouse. Dick jokes and very colorful language is part of the writing style, none of which can be in a young adult book. But he’s an extraordinary writer so I didn’t worry about it too much. Surprised but not worried. In hindsight, I should have been worried.

 

Now, in order for me to be intellectually honest, I also have to mildly rebuke the author a little. On the podcast for Alive, and apparently on the book (at least the advance copies), he felt it necessary to add a little notation that said if you’re going to review this book, please don’t post spoilers and ruin it for other people. This shocked me. My jaw literally dropped. Scott Sigler has never been someone that didn’t understand the reader/author line and always been very respectful of any and all feedback. But this was not okay. Once that book is out into the world, you no longer control it as an author and you certainly don’t control the way it is read or reviewed. If someone doesn’t wish to be spoiled, they should probably not read reviews. Or look for ones that specifically state no spoilers. Let’s not repeat this pattern Scott Sigler, it’s not a good look.

 

Alright, all that finished. Consider yourself warned, there be spoilers ahead.

 

***SPOILERS***

 

Let’s talk about the redeeming qualities about this book first, that’s the shorter of my two lists. The premise of this book is very good, it’s intriguing and mysterious and horrifying at time. It was executed badly but the premise was great.

 

Em was a character with a lot of potential. A scared little girl who is thrust into a position of authority when she doesn’t know anything more about the situation than anyone else. Where Em fell short was that she ended up being largely boring. Most of her verbal dialogue and inner dialogue alike are “I’m the leader, I think that person wants to challenge me to be leader but I’M THE LEADER!!” Seriously, she repeats this so many times I was praying someone would actually challenge her leadership so she could stop stressing about it.

 

All of the other characters really don’t matter. Bello is very important to Em for some reason that I never figured out, she didn’t do anything except sit around, look pretty and be boring. O’Malley has some potential to be interesting because I got the sense that he is a secret trouble maker, he always seems like he’s supportive of Em but I think he’s undermining her behind her back. Bishop is scary and violent but, oh, those dreamy eyes and muscles of his. We hear a lot about liquid eyes and taunt muscles and flat stomachs too. Which brings me to my biggest problem with this book:

 

These kids are supposed to be 12 year olds stuck in adult bodies. Why are they all so sexually interested? Kids at 12 have crushes based on who looked at them across the playground, not because they are enthralled with their muscles and boobs. 12 year olds haven’t figured out what boobs are yet. So on one hand you have prepubescent kids acting like 16-17 year old kids, but then also calling these mysterious people who locked them away “grown ups”. I am pretty certain that most kids stop referring to adults as grown ups much earlier than 12 years old. It was very strange.

 

The kids, Em in particular, at times struck me as both a much younger and much older child and it did not make sense. She also seemed very disingenuous as a female character, often times she read like a boy. This could be explained by something I heard the author say in his podcast when he was asked how difficult it was to narrate a 12 year old girl. (Note: while in quotations, this is not a direct quote, but it’s close), “It really wasn’t that hard because the world of Alive is post-gender, post-race, post-everything except the caste system that they don’t even understand yet.”

 

This leads me to a question, if your world is post-gender, why differentiate between girls and boys at all? Presumably the “grown ups” that are cultivating their bodies for their own use don’t need to breed because they can live for millennia, so…why was this important anyway? And why exactly is everyone so obsessed with how attractive the opposite gender is, if it is really irrelevant? It was the strangest remark I’ve ever heard, I listened twice just to be sure I heard it correctly. And I am not sure what this caste system is because we were too busy obsessing over leadership and muscles to explore it at all.

 

While we’re on the subject of gender in characters, what the fuck was with dressing 12 year olds in too-small, too-tight, busting-at-the-seams Catholic schoolkids outfits? And everyone was so completely hot? Are we really sexualizing 12 year old children? I found that to be one of the more disturbing aspects of the whole book. My brain just kept screaming “Stop it! These are children! Literally prepubescent children!”

 

I will walk away from that for awhile and move on to tropes. This book has all of them. Smoldering eyes, liquid eyes, scintillating muscles, flat firm stomachs, boobs popping out of shirts, wistful glances across fields of flowers. There was so much purple prose I was inspired to quote from Willy Wonka. Sigler, you’re turning violet Sigler!

 

Lastly, the plot. It was boring. 70% of the book was walking, arguing about leadership, gazing longingly at each other, and occasionally doing something they think is a bad idea (I shouldn’t look in that room, oh I did anyway, OMG that’s awful I shouldn’t have looked!) Then when we finally started getting answers I was presented with Brewer the Cheshire Cat who I thought was supposed to be the bad guy, but apparently isn’t. But if he is a good guy, then why the hell was he talking in so many circles. I also lost my mind when Brewer gave them a lecture about “why tell you when I can show you, that’s so much better”….and then proceed to TELL them for about 6 pages everything that was going on. That was followed with 10 more pages of the actual bad guy, Matilda, once again telling them everything they need to know about what’s going on. I thought showing was better? I could almost hear the author over my shoulder whispering in my ear, “Are you so super surprised? You never saw it coming did you?” Honestly, no I didn’t see it coming but it also wasn’t that great either. My final feelings once I turned the last page were a big, whomp whomp.

 

Unfortunately, this trilogy will tie directly into the larger Siglerverse very heavily, I can see that, so I have to read the next two. I really don’t want to, but I will. Maybe it gets better, if not, I’ll let you know.

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review 2019-09-12 04:17
Book Review: Earthcore by Scott Sigler
Earthcore - Scott Sigler

Earthcore by Scott Sigler

Published: May 20, 2017 by Empty Set Entertainment

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Deep below a desolate Utah mountain lies the largest platinum deposit ever discovered. A billion-dollar find, it waits for any company that can drill a world’s record, three-mile-deep mine shaft. EarthCore is the company with the technology, the resources and the guts to go after the mother lode. Young executive Connell Kirkland is the company’s driving force, pushing himself and those around him to uncover the massive treasure. But at three miles below the surface, where the rocks are so hot they burn bare skin, something has been waiting for centuries. Waiting …and guarding. Kirkland and EarthCore are about to find out first-hand why this treasure has never been unearthed.

 

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

 

Review:

Just a small disclaimer, I LOVE Scott Sigler. Like really love Scott Sigler. I’ve read everything he’s ever produced and enjoyed almost all of it. When Earthcore was first released all the way back in 2005ish I was skeptical, it was okay but I didn’t think that it was his best work. Now, all these years later, he rewrote the entire thing and re-released it. And WOW! It is so fantastic. The writing structure is a lot cleaner and the characters are a lot more fleshed out. In the first reading I didn’t really care about many of the characters because they didn’t strike me as real people but they did this time.

 

Connell Kirkland is a tragic figure, I found myself rooting for him, cursing him, and crying for him throughout the course of the book. A few of the side characters didn’t do much for me, like Veronica. I thought she was a whiny bitch and needed to go away. I wish we had seen more of Sonny but the story largely demanded his absence so I understand it.

The premise of this is an interesting one. A mining company stumbles on a lot more than they bargained for and aren’t sure what it is until it’s too late. Could it be claimjumpers trying to steal their find? Other miners that beat them to it? A lost tribe that has lived underground for a few thousand years? Or is it sabotage? Unfortunately for almost all the characters, it’s much much too late before they figure it out.

 

While I was listening to the audiobook, I found that the narrator distracted me a little for the first few chapters and I was skeptical that I would continue. But I stuck through it and was rewarded, he got a lot better and it was much more enjoyable.

 

I will stop before I am tempted to spoil the whole thing, all I will say is that it’s time to prepare. Prepare for Mount Fitzroy.

 
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review 2017-07-24 00:00
Earthcore
Earthcore - Scott Sigler Earthcore is an interesting, much more foul-mouthed take on Journey to the Center of the Earth in my opinion. Except, in Sigler's version, it's not dinosaurs you come across, but something much more shiny and squishy. Once things get rolling (it takes a while), it's an action-packed adventure. There's one flight from danger after another, and several surprises await you.

And that's about all that I can say that's nice about Earthcore .

One of the things that annoyed me about Earthcore was the sob-story given to the human villain. I see this a lot in books, and I just don't understand it. Am I supposed to feel sorry for the character because s/he had a bad life growing up? Because I don't. I had a rough life growing up myself and I didn't grow up to be a bad person. I grew up still understanding the differences between right and wrong. Making the choice to be a good person. The villain is the villain. They chose to do the wrong things, and, especially when they're geniuses, they do it with full understanding that what they're doing is wrong. I don't care about their life growing up, and telling me about it in some effort to flesh them out only serves to annoy me and detract from the story.

And Scott Sigler does the sob-story not once but twice in Earthcore .  I could almost understand it for the guy, because of the whole 'redeem during the course of the story' factor but the true 'villain'? No. That character is pretty much an evil archetype and trying to redeem them at all was just a waste of page space. Apparently Earthcore started as a much shorter book that was expanded on recently to please the fans. I can't help but think I probably would have preferred it in it's shorter form.

Unfortunately, a trend within Earthcore was that few of the characters were likable. If you spend half the book being annoyed by the mere presence of certain characters on the page, it inevitably detracts from your overall enjoyment.  The only character I actually liked in the whole book was the prospector who finds the platinum to begin with. Well, I liked Sanjay as well, but he was a very minor character. Towards the end of the book, the main scientist, Angus, grated on my nerves so badly that simply listening to the book made me want to reach through my phone and smack the crap out of him. The only way I was able to force myself to go on was to tell myself that he had to die a very horrible death very soon, right?

I like most of Sigler's work that I've read/listened to. Infected was a fantastic audio experience that he narrated himself. However, Earthcore just wasn't something I dug, pardon the pun. In fact, by the end of the book, I truly disliked the book. Ray Porter is the only thing that kept me listening to the audio book at all. The plot had a few definite interesting twists to it, but not enough to save me from wanting to chuck it through the nearest window. 

Can't recommend it, but I know I seem to be in the minority with that opinion, so take my review with a grain of salt. 
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review 2017-07-05 00:00
Earthcore
Earthcore - Scott Sigler 4.5 stars - Listened to audio
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review 2016-11-11 15:56
Contagious (book #2)
Contagious - Scott Sigler

They’re back and they’re more determined to set up a base in the U.S but time is running out. This series takes right off where Infected left off with Perry hearing the triangles conversing; only something is different this time. The chatter is different this time and there is one voice which is dominating the conversation. Perry doesn’t want to confront this voice and the feeling is mutual as Chelsea is told to stay away from this powerful force who is trying to track her down. This is not the only struggle as there is a fight between saving the lives of the individuals who are infected and trying to preserve the modified triangles emerging out on infected individuals, around the country.   They can’t save both. Just how is this new strain of the virus being passed and how can they stop the bodies from piling up? With a young child leading the group, they seem to be winning this assault on the U.S., as Margaret and her team run from city to city, always one step behind.

 

Just like Infected, Scott Sigler produced a novel that had me racing through the paging just wondering if Margaret and her team were ever going to get the upper hand on the virus which was plaguing the country.   I felt that this novel was not as gory or shocking as the first novel in the series but it was more scientific and technical in explaining what was occurring. Margaret tried to take charge of the situation yet the virus had the upper hand. I enjoyed the tension, the excitement of the novel and having the return of some the same characters from Infected.  You could read this as a standalone novel as the author provides a brief intro of book one at the beginning but to get the full effect, I suggest reading the first book in the series.

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