Women are awesome in The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


An illness hits earth, and 99% of men die. And 99.8% of women die. The remainder of humanity wander and scrounge from the earth, women enslaved and objectified. And endangered – if any of them become pregnant they and their babies die. An ex-midwife is one of the few to survive, and soon finds her mission; to travel in disguise helping the women she meets as much as she can; distributing advice, medicine and contraceptives as she falls in and out with various peoples trying to make a life.

So, here we are again. Most humans have died from a disease. I’m sure I’ve read at least two of these recently in the last couple of years. This one appealed to me because of the midwife: a profession that after having my baby I greatly admire. And it was interesting

Ferocious and fast paced but a bit claustrophobic – Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Book Reviews, teen book reviews, Uncategorized


Darrow, once a Red destined for a life mining Mars now transformed by rebels Sons of Ares into a ruling gold beat the training school in the last book, and is now in the middle of Gold society. But plots and factions stir constantly, and Darrow soon finds himself losing – until he wrests power and influence through unconventional methods. With enemies, schemes, greed and jealousy on every side Darrow feels he can trust no one and continues his campaign of violence, facing the monarch and everyone in his lonely quest for justice.

Oh my goodness! I’ve been waiting to read this ever since I finished Red Rising (my teenage sister read it too – here’s her review). And what a whirlwind it was! I can’t believe how much action and drama was packed into just one book! Though this is very much the same as the first instalment, I felt a bit that the reflection and character development was tacked onto the very full plot, which basically had a LOT of ground to cover. I came out at the end feeling as though I’d been on a really intense rollercoaster and needed a bit of time to settle. But it’s exciting, compelling and a worthy next step along the road for our hero.

Marvellous imagining and characters in Peter Dickinson’s The Changes Trilogy

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, teen book reviews, Uncategorized

  

No one talks about The Changes. And, since them, no one likes machines. Girls have to wear skirts. Witches must be burned. And anyone who thinks differently has quickly left for France. Nicky was left by her parents, and joins a group of unaffected Sikhs to help them work out how to live in this new world. Madge and her cousin Jonathan find a not-quite-dead witch, and rescue him on an adventure in a forbidden tug boat, and finally Geoffrey, a weather maker, finding himself in the point of being drowned, sets off on a quest with sister Sally to find the source of The Changes once and for all.

I really liked this trilogy! It’s an old one, and has all the elements of great kids adventures stories. Good kids against misguided adults, characters with skills, terrible danger and lots of action. Each book was about one of the three characters, and though they were barely connected at all put together they gave a good triptych of The Changes.

A symphonic dystopian luxury of a novel – The Chimes by Anna Smaill (out this week!)

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, literary london, London, Recommended

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How did you arrive in London? This question haunts Simon as he remembers snippets, through catches of songs and the old Burberry coat he got from somewhere. As he befriends Lucien, he gradually starts to grasp onto his history in this world where music is meaning, text or meaning is blasphony and what they discover changes everything. He and Lucien must seek to understand the system that traps people in their present moment.

Oh my! I loved this book. I really loved it. From it’s arrival as a beautiful hardback with a stunning cover to finishing the last page and wishing I could go on reading it was a complete pleasure. Original ideas, lovely prose and a wonderful flow to the story that actually felt like music.

Danger, secrets, drama and danger in Ironheart, a good old adventure from Allan Bouroughs

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, London, teen book reviews

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India Bentley is fighting for her family’s survival in dystopian London, but when a stranger and her android appear with questions about her missing father’s mission she is drawn into a race to find the legendary Ironheart in frozen Siberia. With a cast of step-mothers, pirates, androids, killers, baddies, traitors and more she discovers the secrets of the world, her family and herself as she goes.

This book was crazy. But, I think, good crazy! After all these miserable dystopias this was a bit silly fast moving, packed full of adventure, magic, mystery, technology, danger and a lot of fun. I think I would have loved this when I was younger, and I really enjoyed it now too!

The impulsive teen main character trope: illustrated in Captive by Aimee Carter

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, teen book reviews, Writing Thoughts

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Lila Hart is really Kitty Doe. She was somehow persuaded it was for the good of the resistance for her to impersonate the niece of the President, and does so begrudgingly, pretending to be engaged to the bossy Knox and longing for her loving boyfriend Benjy. But her impulsive decisions and confusion over who to trust lead to an attempt to escape – but she is caught sent to the mysterious Elsewhere, where again she finds herself torn between fleeing for her freedom or fighting for her country.

The set up was good here. Why is she impersonating someone? What secrets does this strange society hold? Is Knox really on her side? What has happened to make society like this? Will Kitty be able to keep up the pretence? Why did the real Lila go into hiding? The story was gripping and pacy… but ultimately let down by the characters.

Boggling mystery, technology and secrets in The Forever Watch by David Ramirez

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Writing Thoughts

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Massive spaceship Noah is making it’s way with the remnants of humanity from the ruined earth towards Canaan. But after breeding duty, what should have been several painless months knocked out cold, Hana is left with a sense of loss, which together with her huge mistrustful boyfriend Barrens who has come across bodies disgustingly savaged persuades her to dig behind the surface of the society she has lived in her whole life. The secrets they uncover change everything and throw the Noah into chaos.

There was so much to this book. It took twists and turns that I totally didn’t expect, and thinking back on it is quite difficult. Where to start? It was longer, more complex and less comprehensible than I thought it would be. I was interested but not drawn into the world, wanted to learn the secrets but wasn’t that fussed when I did and wanted to get alongside the characters but felt held at a distance.

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey – yet another teen dystopia. But actually it’s good!

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, teen book reviews, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts

 

Throughout history twelve families have trained their children to be players in Endgame. And when meteors hit the earth, twelve teenagers across the world know that it’s time, leave their homes and congregate. They think the rules are simple: the tribe of the last one alive gets to live on. A strange alien being sets their first task – to find the earth key. Unlikely alliances, brutal torture and metaphysical speculation take place across the world as the players race for survival.

Gosh I’ve read about a lot of dystopias recently. Red Rising, Station Eleven, The Forever Watch (review coming soon), Frozen (not reviewing, didn’t like it). And I’m going to see The Hunger Games last night. But hey, though I was a bit tired of the genre by now, this was a pretty good one!

What if flu wiped out 99% of the population? Station Eleven by Emily Mandel explores…

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, Recommended, Uncategorized, Writing Thoughts

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Just after the death of famous actor Arthur Leander the Georgia Flu rushes around the globe, killing 99% of the population. The news of his death spreads to his ex-wives and oldest friend Clark as the Flu spreads. After holing up with supplies in his brother’s apartment Jeevan heads out into the world, witnessing the unravelling of the world he has always lived in. Years later, Kirsten who saw Leander die travels with the Travelling Symphony putting on Shakespeare plays and concerts in the settlements that have started, carrying with her a comic book he gave to her. And in this new world a mysterious and ruthless prophet has appeared…

This book was intriguing and thought-provoking and gripping, a great combination. I like to think of books like this as what if? books, where we are invited into a world not totally different to ours but with one drastic diversion. It gets you thinking, wondering and questioning the current world as well as taking an interesting journey into the alternate one. Emily Mandel performs this what if? admirably, interestingly and cleverly.