Tag Archive | Dystopian

Book #28 – The Office of Mercy

by Ariel Djanikian book

That moment when just a few chapters in you realize you are not reading the book, but living in the book – ahhhh.  I love that feeling.  Lately I have found this to be a rare experience, but new author Ariel Djanikian has crafted a novel which transports the reader into another world.

Dystopian fiction is suddenly the new favorite genre of many, but my love of this type of fiction goes back to junior high in the late 70s when I was introduced to “This Perfect Day”, “Brave New World”,  and “1984”.  I have continued to seek out these types of books, and am so happy to be able to add this one to my list of favorites.  I enjoyed it so much, even before finishing the novel, I purchased the audio version to listen to and experience the book being read to me.  Yes, that’s how much I loved this book.

“Office” is set in the future in a world created by our ancestors who have survived an apocalyptic-like event.  Their new society is clean, safe, comfortable, and protected from the still dangerous outside world.  The founders created a code of ethics by which to live, and at first glance, it seems perfectly reasonable.  Ah, but once the reader understands the extremes to which this government goes in order to fulfill what it sees as its duties, the reader must question his own ethics.  This novel provokes self examination.

So excited to see what Djanikian writes next.

5/5 Stars


Book #18 – The Host

by Stephenie Myer TheHostBookCover

That awkward moment when you have to blog about a book HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to you by friends and …….. you hated it.  I am so hoping they are not actual followers of this book blog, because I don’t want to knock a book clearly loved by friends.  But, I cannot lie.  I just don’t get the fascination with this one.

Bottom line, Earth is invaded by a highly evolved civilization which can invade and assume other life forms.  Okay, I’ll accept premises for the sake of fantasy.  The problem is I can’t accept boring for the sake of the author making some money.  I didn’t like the main characters, either host or alien, so I had a hard time rooting for either to be victorious in assuming “ownership” of the body.  I didn’t like the group of humans who friended the alien, didn’t enjoy the romance of dual personalities loving the same man, yada yada yada.

I really tried to enjoy this just because of the personal recommendation, but it failed for me.

Now, one possible reason for my dislike of this book could be the narration.  This was one I listed to from audible.com.  I have enjoyed the narrator in other books, but her voice didn’t fit the character of a young-ish human with love angst.  I found a clip from internet in case you are a fan of “The Host” and want to listen to a snippet.  If you have read and loved the book, but agree this narrator doesn’t fit and may have influenced my opinion, please feel free to comment.

Clip from “The Host” audiobook


Book #13 – Son

by Lois Lowry son

After years of waiting, and not even expecting a fourth book, Lois Lowry fans were treated to a fabulous conclusion of “The Giver” series.  I started reading these YA novels when I had young adults living at home!  For those who are unfamiliar with the series, a brief synopsis:

“The Giver” published in 1993 takes place in a utopian society with clean streets, and apparently happy people.  The world works because there isn’t chaos and emotion.  People fill roles needed in society, raise kids if allowed, and everything seems hunky dory.  But, alas, what would be interesting about that?  This book features main character Jonas as he begins his assigned job working for his community.

“Gathering Blue” published 7 years later in 2000 (and fans were happy to finally get another taste!) takes place in the same time period, but different location, and features imperfect Kira and her job as a weaver.

“The Messenger” came out in 2004 and takes place about 8 years after the first book.  What is cool is that a character introduced in Gathering Blue, Matty, is now the featured character and his role as a peacemaker in a place which clearly has no pretense of being utopian.

Finally, 19 years after it began, “Son” the final book was published.  As a longtime fan, just getting to step back into a world I entered as a much younger person, had great sentimentality.  I can’t say “Son” was the best in the series (you can’t beat “The Giver”), but it was really nicely done.  The story starts within the time frame of “The Giver” and we see events from the perspective of a new character, Claire.  This was a nice way to bring us back into the world begun almost two decades earlier.

The story then moves forward showing Claire’s life after the “perfect” world which she left; and concludes in the the future showing what happened to all our favorite friends.  The only downside to recommending “Son” is you really need to read the first three books to fully appreciate this one.  But, hey, I just gave you four books perfect for enjoying this summer at the beach.

5/5 Stars

Book 6 – Birthmarked

by Caragh M. O’Brien book 6

Before getting into the review of the material, I want to discuss the “controversy” among my friends regarding the medium of audiobooks.  I LOVE audiobooks, and am constantly listening to one.  I am also a very frugal person but have treated myself to a monthly subscription from audible.com; so for those that know me, this shows the depth of my enjoyment in listening to books.  Even as a teen I owned a Walkman and listened to those terrible quality tapes which always seemed to come unwound (remember using a pencil to twist those little round holes?).  Graduating to a huge disc player many years later felt like a lottery win.  Imagine my delight when just two years ago I discovered the invention of a little thing called an iPod Touch and downloadable books!  It was like catapulting from a Flintstone lifestyle right into the Jetsons.

When I talked about both reading and listening to 52 books this year, I was shocked to hear the opinion that listening to an audiobook was not reading, and should not count.  I am still baffled at this belief.  I think both are viable ways in which to become engrossed in a story.  One of the arguments against audiobooks was that since I listen while engaged in other activities (i.e. treadmill, cleaning), I am not fully absorbing and therefore not getting the complete value of the material.  My counter to that was when I read a book I am a very fast reader, and when tested once, I am part of the population which apparently skips little words (in, the, and) but still gets the content.  Also, a narrator sets the pace of an audiobook, versus the reader who (let us all admit) can sometimes skip ahead in either a particularly exciting scene where you just have to know the outcome, or a boring scene that is not keeping your attention.

So, how did this debate of the century conclude: It’s my blog, my rules.  Audiobooks count as reading.

To the story of Birthmarked – it was okay.  I like dystopian fiction, and even as a middle aged Mom, I really enjoy young adult fiction.  There is something nice about knowing that the material is not inappropriate.  I had high hopes for Birthmarked based on the premise of the story – a futuristic society which sounds shockingly like the Middle Ages.  There are two groups in this world, those who live inside or those who live outside the wall.  This is a story about a young midwife from outside the wall, what happens to some of the babies, the haves and have-nots and a twist at the end which gives insight into why the outside babies are meaningful.

Why did I not enjoy the book?  I cannot say.  The story was good, premise was interesting, in this case the narrator painted great pictures with her voice and inflections, but something just didn’t click.  There are two more in the series, and although they’ll remain on my reading list, I am not sure when or if I would pick them up.  Here is an interesting piece of data to use in the audiobook is a book debate – I know that if I were to read the next two books I would not use the audio format.  Why?  I can check out paperbacks from the library and I wouldn’t want to invest anymore  money into this series given my opinion of the first book.

2/5 Stars