|Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano|
Dark Eden, by Chris Beckett
Dark Eden demonstrates the irony that change is needed to survive, but change is destructive to survival. It’s not just a book about changing the world. It’s also about how the world changes the individual. The main characters in the book, especially John Redlantern and his lover Tina Spiketree, develop into strikingly different people as they adapt to the changing world. Innocence is replaced with deviousness. Ivory towers collapse, covering all bystanders with dust and grime. This is a story of identity.
I want to give a good review for this book with so much Meaning. I mean, it should have been good. It had Meaning. But a great book has both Meaning and an ability to fascinate even if you don’t see the Meaning. Dark Eden did not. In Dark Eden, the story was lost in the darkness because you were blinded by the bright, shiny Meaning. It was too slow, the hero wasn’t even likable if you considered him an anti-hero, and it was thoroughly uncaptivating. I totally understand why it won the Arthur C Clark award and why it comes so highly recommended. Beckett’s world was unique – colorful and dark at the same time. The setting was unsettling and realistic within the boundaries of science fiction. The lingual drift was a nice, realistic touch. But most of all, the book was slow and Meaningful.
|3.5 snowflakes for unique world building and Meaning|
As an afterthought – I would like to post this Twitter conversation:
The Fox Inheritance, by Mary E. Pearson
Written by Mary E. Pearson, Narrated by Matthew Brown
Reason for Reading: It’s the second book in the Jenna Fox Chronicles.
After 260-years of purgatory, Locke Jenkins awakens with a body that seems familiar – yet somehow changed. His friend, Kara, who died in the car crash that killed Locke, also has a achingly similar body…but her mind isn’t quite right. Locke and Kara soon learn that their minds had been downloaded and saved centuries ago by the father of Jenna Fox – another victim of the fatal crash. Although Jenna had been given a new life right away, the copies of Locke’s and Kara’s minds had collected digital dust until Dr. Gatsbro brought the teens back to life in this brave new world. But Dr. Gatsbro’s motives are not altruistic. Locke and Kara make a desperate attempt to escape the doctor’s nefariousness clutches…and are jettisoned into the foreign world of the future. But can Locke keep Kara from making a terrible mistake?
When I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox years ago I really liked it, but as I was reading The Fox Inheritance, I realized that I remembered almost nothing of the first book (perhaps it wasn’t so great after all?). I had to rely on spoiler reviews of the first book, and on the hints-of-what-came-before in the second book to remember. This made the first part of the book rather confusing. I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with The Adoration of Jenna Fox before starting The Fox Inheritance. Although I enjoyed this book, I wasn’t as impressed as I had been after reading the first in the trilogy. The Fox Inheritance had some world-building and good characters. It brought some interesting moral issues to the table: Is it ethical to bring someone back to life after they’re dead – and risk changes? Is it ethical to use a sentient being that of human-creation for our own purposes, or do they deserve civil rights? These are intriguing questions, but they’ve been explored in many other books/movies. So, in the end, I liked this book. It was a fun read. I’ll probably pick up the third book when it comes out. But I would have been perfectly happy if this trilogy had stayed as ONE standalone book. And I’m pretty sure I’ll forget the plot of this book within a few weeks.
Skios, by Michael Frayn
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
2012 Book 82: Divergent, by Veronica Roth (6/2/2012)
Reason for Reading: Curiosity
My Review 5/5 stars
The future Chicago has 5 factions of people, each representing a moral value: Amity, Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, and Abnegation. At the age of 16, Beatrice Prior and all her classmates must choose which faction to join. Beatrice struggles with the choice—does she follow her desires or does she choose to stay with her family? I was deeply impressed by this book. This isn’t ANY YA-dystopia-with-strong-female-lead. This is an amazing coming-of-age story that explores the meanings of morals, identity, and courage. Furthermore, Roth has managed to create a female lead who is strong while still leaving her human AND keeping her morals intact. Beatrice is an admirable and courageous young woman, despite her youthful identity crisis. Roth has also written a suspenseful and intriguing tale—I read the book in one sitting because I simply didn’t want to stop. The action is exciting without being gore-spittingly violent. Sure, there’s violence…there has to be for the plot to work. But Roth describes the scenes so well that people can imagine as much (or as little) gore as they wish. Gore is not inserted for its shock value. Divergent is exciting enough that all action-lovers should be thrilled, and the people who appreciate a more deeply meaningful story will be satisfied. I can’t wait to read the next!
PS FYI I’m comparing it to The Hunger Games, which I found to be tastelessly violent with a rather unlikeable main character. But that’s just me! 🙂