Book Review – ‘The Ask and the Answer’ (#2 Chaos Walking) by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the long-winded Answer….

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 553

We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her – But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men…

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…

Picking up where ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ left off, we jump right into the action with Todd and Viola. Their dual points of view take our intrepid teens in two different directions as they struggle to get back to each other and prevent the planet they are on from imploding political tensions.

There didn’t feel like a lot happened in this instalment… and it definitely suffered that second book syndrome.

The Ask and The Answer’ almost put me into a book slump; it was very boring and long, the story took forever to get anywhere, and all the interesting bits happened in the last few chapters. I think because we delve into political movements and differing factions led by flawed and self-righteous people, there is a lot less science fiction and so much more posturing and maneuvering. The character development did not seem to grow our two main protagonists Todd and Viola too much apart from making them suffer inordinate amounts of pain, treachery, and heartache to shape them into possible leaders. It didn’t feel justified to me – and certainly not over 500 pages of it. We see both Todd and Viola challenge the system, and those in power, but we did not see them learn much from it. They spend their time reacting and surviving. I would have appreciated either of them having frank discussions on how to overcome, strategize, or even some psychological insight into those in power to better equip them in the battles to come. Instead they are tossed about like pawns on a chess board always a few steps behind.

I had pretty much the same opinion of all the characters at the start of the novel as I did at the end. And there is so much senseless death and destruction. The same about the plot too. We see something major happen in the beginning chapters and the book concludes with the groups still in much the same positions, and a few small victories for our protagonists. So ‘The Ask and the Answer’ left me frustrated because there didn’t feel like the characters or the story have changed or evolved much from start to finish – and this is one of the longer novels I’ve read of late. So much time invested for little return.

Patrick Ness has a lovely writing style. The use of dialect to distinguish between the two narratives for our protagonists make it instant and easy to recognise whose voice is whose. You get an instant picture of the setting of each scene, and the use of font and format for the mental projection of thought (Noise) of the males is unique… but all this goes up against unending violence, subjugation, and long monotonous monologues. I honestly felt like the whole novel is one big manexplanation.

I really wanted to love ‘The Ask and the Answer.’ I really did. It has all the trappings of a story that completely takes me over, but it didn’t execute it well enough for me to sing it’s praises. It was a struggle to read and put a stain on my experience for the world of Todd and Viola. Plus I still have a Manchee hangover…

For YA, I don’t think this is something I’m happy to recommend. That target market have less patience than I do, and this really felt more like a social commentary on racism and colonialization than it did on science fiction.

Overall feeling: *jolts awake*

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ (#1 Chaos Walking) by Patrick Ness

A tale of a boy and his dog… and a girl from outer space.

Genre: YA, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 512

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Dogs in novels are always a kicker for me. I love them characterised as one of the main cast, and the bond that pet Manchee has with protagonist Todd is pretty special, and I ate it up like a second helping of icecream.

There are so many exciting elements in “The Knife of Never Letting Go,’ colonisation of an alien planet, warring with the native inhabitants (The Spackle) which verges on genocide and slavery, sexism that is amplified as the male half of the population suddenly find their every thought is displayed for all to see through the ‘Noise,’ the arrival of a new colonist from another ship from Earth – Viola, and her introduction to Todd, a local boy who is starting to find out what he had been told about their village, and the circumstances of haw they now live aren’t entirely true. We even get to hear the thoughts of animals on the planet as well which is another dynamic that adds to the narrative.

Told in first person from Todd’s point of view we see how the safe little existence in his village is slowly dismantled, how most of what he has come to love, is now a threat as he chooses to protect and guide Viola. The discovery of a new colonising ship about to land on the planet stirs ideologies of control and dominance in Mayor Prentiss as he jostles to put himself in a position of power before the ship lands so he can maintain his status once the new colonists arrive. But Todd and Viola pose a threat with their uncovering of some awful truths… and if they tell their story to those on the ship before Mayor Prentiss can cement his position in society, it will all come crumbling down around him. Especially some of those dark, dangerous truths the village has hidden and spread false stories to hide.

This is essentially a road trip/chase as Todd and Viola leave the village that is the only place Todd has known his whole life, and head to the capital to radio the colony ship and warn them of what is awaiting them on the planet below.

There are some hard themes explored. It’s a gruelling journey as the teens are perused by zealots determined to either kill or bend the pair to their will. As Todd is only thirteen years old, I sometimes felt the narrative separated itself from the realities of a boy of that age. Plus there were a lot of illogical decisions make that didn’t make sense to me – both in this story and in how the society came to be. But it was great discovering the world through Todd’s naive eyes.

We get some great character development, both Todd and Viola have to face a much different world than they thought it to be. And they have to do it on their own with very little resources. Trust is tested and forces the teens to rely only in each other.

Aaron as a religious zealot and antagonist in this story is the one character that I had the most issue with – while great for the story, the realism of this did not sit well with me. He is seriously crazy. And in a world where the Noise leaves little to be hidden, that type of thinking should have isolated him from the colony, rendered him powerless. So while a great storytelling device, I held little value in him as a character.

There is also a heart-wrenching scene that just about ended me. I was audibly sobbing. I won’t say much more than that to avoid spoilers… but man, there is some brutality in the novel that is traumatising. And afterward I was trying to figure out what its role was in the grand scheme of the novel and while I understand it to an extent, it didn’t resonate well with me.

Patrick Ness has a great writing style, though I must admit I found the use of dialect a little off putting. To continually read grammatically incorrect sentences because of the education level of the protagonist is jarring. It’s either brilliant of annoying… maybe a little of both. Other than that it was fantastic to explore the alien planet, the Spackle, and the colonists with delicately painted scenes; though on the whole the novel did feel a little too long, and slightly over-dramatic.

I can see how it deserves some of the praise it’s received. However, when I think of the target market, ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ needs some serious trigger warnings. Some of the content is traumatic.

This is a soft recommendation from me. A great concept, interesting character development, if a little long.

Overall feeling: what the hell did I just go through?

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wrap up – Sky Chasers Trilogy by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Not my favourite trilogy, but a great ending.

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This series took me on a bit of a ride. I was kinda liking the debut, ‘Glow’ and then didn’t bother continuing with the series for close to two years because it failed to make an impression on me. Though, my OCD finally kicked in and I needed to complete the trilogy, however ‘Spark’ was underwhelming and my hopes began to sink. But ‘Flame’ ended the trilogy in brilliant fashion and is definitely my favourite of the whole collection.

This trilogy is a bit like ‘Lord of the Flies’ in space. It has a heavy religious aspect to it as two ships travelling to colonise a new planet each have a focus: one on faith, and the other on science and technology. It then further delves into beliefs, violence, vilification, and politics in a fight for survival. While there is certainly a lot packed into these novels – and not for the faint of heart – I did find the religious aspect somewhat preachy. You do get a very real sense of the isolation and insignificant-ness of being a tiny speck of dust – a spaceship – floating in space.

I cringed at the self-congratulation of many of the characters, as I did to the continual ramming down our throats of religious belief, this was so prominent in the second novel I ended up with a stress headache. I was also put off with the amount of violence and abuse of human rights. While a great novel to kick up discussion on many issues around these topics, it verged on unpalatable. But you cannot deny Amy Kathleen Ryan can write a novel wrought with tension and importance.

The final book of the trilogy brings some much needed action over the issues I has with the first two novels. There were a few major plot holes with the science of it all, but it ties up everything in a neat (if somewhat spoony) bow. You can definitely see Ryan’s growth as a writer with each instalment. And I truly think that if ‘Flame’ had not impressed me so much I would have happily torched this trilogy in a fire pit.

But would I recommend it? Probably not. It wasn’t all that entertaining for me. But, if you are up for a science fiction read that poses social issues to discuss, you might get something from it. It is confronting, adventurous and a little bit preachy.

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For individual reviews click on the links below:

Glow’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/book-review-glow/

Spark’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/book-review-spark-by-amy-kathleen-ryan/

Flame’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/book-review-flame-by-amy-kathleen-ryan/

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Flame’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan

A book in another world to its predecessors.

Flame Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Dystopia

No. of pages: 309

From Goodreads:

Waverly and the other members of the Empyrean have been scattered, and their home ship destroyed. The mission to rescue their parents didn’t go quite as planned, and now they’re at an even greater disadvantage: trapped with their enemies on the New Horizon, trying to find a way to survive. Will Seth’s health hold out long enough to help Waverly topple their enemy? And will Waverly find a way to unite her friends before the final battle? Nothing is certain and every second is a risk in this explosive finale.

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The final book in the Sky Chasers trilogy and another collection down in my Slay That Series year!

Flame’ is so much better than its prequels. The religious aspect was kept to a respectful belief system of those who chose to live by it, and I didn’t feel like it was being crammed down my throat or the crew being oppressed by it.

The political struggle became raw and visceral. It was thrilling. And action – I don’t think I’ve read a book with so many twists and turns. I was thoroughly impressed. Such a departure from my experience so far in this trilogy.

Again, like in ‘Glow’ and ‘Spark,’ I loved the character growth and arcs. People are fallible and it could not be more true about the cast of the Sky Chaser trilogy. Some redeemed themselves, some didn’t. and I loved this aspect of the story. One thing that has stood out about this series is the types of characters, how their beliefs motivate them, how they are changed by their experiences.

I found the long-winded postulation and stream of consciousness were just about gone. The pacing far superior than in ‘Glow’ and ‘Spark.’ I read this in one sitting. I get distracted by long speeches or pages and pages of deliberation – it goes down as well as a fart in a space suit with me. So I was delighted that the lamenting had been replaced with sci-fi action.

A factual thing that is still niggling in the back of my brain is in regard to the gene pool – how many off spring of a couple of girls are there? It was mentioned over 100 embryos were ready… the new generation sounded like it was going to be majorly made up of Waverly’s children. Doesn’t leave much room for them to repopulate the new planet when prospective partners consist mostly of your half brothers and sisters… They’d have to map our genealogy out carefully. I felt like this was an important issue not to be addressed. You go to all this trouble of kidnapping, murder, and essentially raping your girls of their genetic material only to risk the future of the human race to genetic degradation from inbreeding. I mean, c’mon!

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The ending was lovely, if a bit spoony. Having everyone coupled up and all the loose ends tied up neatly can feel cheap in an epic sci-fi; I tend to like it conclude with possibility and wonder, or just a hint at an amazing future. It was a cute ending, and I liked it, but after wading through so much I was hoping for a bit more of a significant event or image for the series to end on.

It has been a bit of a journey for me. I had a low opinion of this series and Amy Kathleen Ryan at the start, but after completing ‘Flame,’ I have to eat my words. She crafted a marvellous story. I still feel the issues I had with the first two books are legitimate, but have seen Amy’s growth as a writer over this series, I now actually look forward to reading more of her catalogue.

Overall feeling: Wow! Where did that come from?

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Flame Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘United’ by Melissa Landers

More political alien hi-jinx that left me a little… meh.

united-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 317

From Goodreads:

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.

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I was really looking forward to this final book in the ‘Alienated’ trilogy. While they haven’t blown me away, they have been a fun, solid read, and was anticipating an explosive ending… but it pretty much fizzled out. There is still political intrigue and some new threats, but lacked the action and all stakes conclusion I was craving. Though we get lots of lovin’ from our main couple, insights into secondary characters, and some of Landers sarcasm.

Cara seemed to have grown up a bit, but still had her moments of adolescence. I wanted more from her role in the Council – if felt as a ‘by the way’ and wasn’t all that challenging for her. A missed opportunity to add some zing to her position in uniting the two cultures. Having faced so much, it felt like she was coasting a bit with the storyline, even though she still gets a lot thrown at her. I have ended up liking Cara more as this trilogy developed, she’s a bit dry, a bit witty, somewhat naive. She lacked some sass and strength, but I guess her personality was suited to the culture of the L’ehir and stood out against typical YA tropes.

Aleyx was a little too goody-two-shoes, and at other times overprotective. I wanted something more from his personality to grab me – he was so bland and vanilla that he bored me. No out-pouring of alien love from me…

The lovey-dovey-ness of our star couple was ample in ‘United’ and by the end, I felt tired of the number of intimate scenes; it didn’t feel like it added anything new to the narrative. These scenes needed something to make them more engaging – it felt very overdone, run of the mill romance… it needed a spicy writing style, or humour to stop the sensation that I was re-reading the same paragraphs over and over. These love scenes were numerous in comparison to the other two books – saccharine sweet, I found myself skimming some parts the further I got into the novel. Not a great sign for a finale of a trilogy.

Additionally, I would have liked to see the technology harder to handle and learn – more obstacles for them to overcome. Have more of the “science fiction” in the narrative. I was left feeling empty in waiting to discover great new things, gadgets, cultural aspects from an alien race. Wasn’t this the big draw card for the series?

I liked the added threat this volume brought. As well as a tinsy wee bit of mythology and origin of the races discovered on theirs, and other planets. I wish we got more though L  Here’s hoping Landers writes elsewhere in this universe to flesh out the history, technology, and many more new discoveries *crossing fingers*

As a result, I felt like there was many missed opportunities that could have made the story more interesting and engaging. Added a layer of difficulty. Many things happened too easily, and/or got resolved too quickly.

United’ is an entertaining read, with a satisfying, if cute, ending. I liked how this last book still left the series open to the possibility of another collection with an undertone of hope. I wouldn’t say I was wow-ed by this final novel, but satiated; and story arcs completed with sufficient dramatic flare. Only recommend this to Landers fans and lovers of the first two instalments.

Overall reaction: oh well… what’s next?

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wrap up – Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

From ‘meh’ to marvellous.

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Honestly – it took me two years to finish this series. While I liked the premise of an arc of humanity journeying through the stars, off to colonise another planet, and issues raised on how different factions evolved over the journey, and their ultimate clash against each other, the first two books were lacking that special spark to keep my interest. (Which is why there is so much time in between reading each instalment – I needed to let my disappointment fade and get excited for the next book.)

But that gives a big disservice to this trilogy, for the last book is by far the best – better story line, better characters, better plot and execution. It is streaks above the previous two.

With alternating P.O.V’s between ship-born and leader Elder, and a newly awakened from her cryogenic stasis, Amy; I felt like the narrative kept getting interrupted, and it prevented me in truly losing myself in the book.

I had difficulty relating to Elder in the first novel, and some intensity was missing from the coupling of Amy and Elder to enable me to really care about them being together. The second book raised the stakes and had some great plot twists. We see some great character development and pacing, but I still had the same issues with Elder as I had in the debut, and it was hard for me to care about their story at all. Additionally, the way religion was brought into the narrative didn’t sit well with me either, I think It could have been executed in a much better fashion.

In the final novel though, without the influence of the familiar surrounds, Elder finally gets to step up and flex some muscle. The cast face some physical and political dangers all set on an alien planet. The elements that had previously urked me were gone.

Still uncertain if I would recommend this series to my friends – suffering through the first two books was uncomfortable – but luckily Beth Revis’ writing style lend itself to a quick read. Then you can enjoy the goodness of the last instalment. It’s so unusual for the difference in ratings across the series, but it is what it is. Targeted towards a younger market, but dealing with some heavy issues like racism, free will, rape, abuse, drugs, faith, and murder.

I’m interested to see how Beth’s latest release (‘A World Without You’) is in comparison to these, it will probably be the deciding factor as to whether I’ll pick up any more of her titles.

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For individual reviews click on the links below:

Across the Universe’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/book-review-across-the-universe/

A Million Suns’ – https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/book-review-a-million-suns-by-beth-revis/

Shades of Earth’https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/book-review-shades-of-earth-by-beth-revis/

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Shades of Earth’ by Beth Revis

Warring factions from a spaceship settling a colony on an alien planet – two teens thrown in the mix – mayhem ensues.

Shades of Earth Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, science fiction, Mystery, Romance

No. of pages: 369

From Goodreads:

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed‘s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.

FUELED BY LIES.
RULED BY CHAOS.
ALMOST HOME.

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Shades of Earth’ was so much better than the previous novels in the trilogy. I wasn’t really overcome by any need to move forward with this series after low ratings on ‘Across the Universe’ and ‘A Million Suns,’ but after a lengthy hiatus I decided to wrap up this collection… and I’m really glad I did.

Our protagonist, Amy, stopped being so flighty and immature, and has grown into a young woman I really respect and loved to read about. Her strength really shines in this conclusion, as does her ingenuity, and no longer needs to rely on Elder for her safety.

Elder (Amy’s love interest) did not seem so young either, and has really started growing into a leader. I think the added dynamic of planet fall and the addition of the cryogenic passengers now awake have given both of these two a chance to challenge themselves in so much adversity.

There are moments where the couple are fighting against parents or “rulers” that annoyed me. Yes, their actions are justified, but to have so many unreasonable adults around, in the situation of colonising an alien planet, it did not seem so realistic. The type of people to make a new home in somewhere completely new and alien takes ingenuity and adaptability – and I did not see a lot of that (even if they were under orders from their bosses). This was the biggest issue I had with the plot – it represented more of a power play than any realism of surviving in a hostile alien environment.

Amy’s parents fell into this category as well; even though it was juxtaposed with moments of empathy and parental care, I was frustrated at their behaviour. Respectively, ‘Shades of Earth’ really captured that love-hate thing we go through as teens.

I had guessed all about our new cast member introduced in this novel, Chris, within the first scene. He was a great character and added a fresh dynamic to Amy and Elders relationship. But still a clever story arc, and one that I thinks adds a lot of interest to the novel.

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Loved the descriptions of the new planet, though, I would have liked to find out more about the ecology there. I was expecting more flora and fauna – it is an evolved planet that can support life, just a few scary lifeforms seems deficient… I love a good fight for survival, and as much as ‘Shades of Earth’ is that, the aboriginal life on Centauri-Earth could have been amped up more.

The development of technology over time is brilliant in this story, and I loved how it was intertwined within the plot – how elements of Earth, Godspeed, and the planet are all included in Amy and Elders plight.

This is the right way to end a series.

I don’t think I would have bothered to pick up anything written by Beth Revis based on my experience of the first two novels, but ‘Shades of Earth’ has totally redeemed her writing in my eyes and turned me into a fan. Even though it took me two years to finally finish the trilogy.

Overall reaction: That came out of nowhere!

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Shades of Earth Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick

Dark, mysterious and loaded with insensitive protagonists… and very aggravating.

A Maze of Death Book Review by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction, Mystery

No. of pages: 192

From Goodreads:

When fourteen people arrive to colonize the otherwise uninhabited planet of Delmak-O, they quickly discover that their bizarre new world is more dangerous – and much, much stranger – than they could ever have imagined. The colonists have nothing in common and no idea why they’ve been sent there. All they know is that there’s no way to leave and, one by one, they are being killed..

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I’d been longing for science fiction title for a while, having reviewed so many YA paranormal and contemporaries lately, I was itching for a change. So I picked up ‘A Maze of Death’ because it looked promising and reminded me of the types of books I liked to read in high school (yes I was having a melancholic moment) And well… what can I say?

Firstly, I put this book down a few times, because the narrative is oddly formal, making it feel jarring. With long stretches of dialogue, followed by a simple description of action … it was more like reading a screen play. The dialogue also ran on in a continual stream in some parts, without formatting, so it was difficult to determine who was talking at times. So you can see why I put it down and walked away for a rest.

Additionally, for such a science driven writing style, the narrative felt immature – like absolutely everything had to be explained. Distracting. And with that said, the content was very technical, but the way the characters addressed each other, was like they were talking to a child… the whole novel felt out of wack!

On the plus side, ‘A Maze of Death’ has a dry wit, reminding me of a very unfunny grandpa.

Through the first part of this novel, I had a hard time working out what was going on with the characters – they are all snarky and not very relatable.

There is a point to all this whinging… it was written that way on purpose. I’d explain, but you know – spoilers!

Yes this book is extremely grating and frustrating to read. But has a great twist that leaves you floored.

A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleThe planet, Delmak-O where most of the novel is set is a puzzle, and the beginning had me intrigued. Weird things that didn’t make sense. A murder. So many questions I wanted answers for… I was so, so curious.

And you know what curiosity did right?

Well, it slayed me.

I would’ve loved to have experienced better world building, and a more articulate flow of dialogue (also formatting). The conclusion is completely unexpected. Some readers loved it, some loathed it! For me – it felt a little like a cop out and left me wondering why I’d wasted my time with the book. But ultimately it’s a great novel to get you critically thinking. And possibly re-read with this new knowledge.

I appreciate it for what it is, but it’s ultimately not the kind of enjoyable reading experience for me.

Overall feeling: Did that really just happen?

 A Maze of Death Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.