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Book Reviews

The Hunger Games Book 2 * Catching Fire * Suzanne Collins

I’ve read all three Hunger Games books but I just realised, I forgot to talk about the second in the series. Here are the reviews for the other 2:

After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. This is the terrifying sequel to “The Hunger Games”.

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Book Reviews

The Road – Cormac McCarthy * Book Review

The Road is the astonishing post-apocalyptic and Pulitzer Prize-winning modern classic by Cormac McCarthy.

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food – and each other.

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Book Reviews

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I was always interested in reading the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick. I’ve tried many, many times. And when I finally got the audiobook version, I was really excited, thinking that having someone narrate this to me one the way to and from work will actually get me long enough in the novel to get me interested.

Boy, was I wrong. The narrator was the same guy who did Atlas Shrugged and I couldn’t get over the voice for the longest of times.
Then, the subject at hand, did not interest me in the least.
I love sci-fi BUT. Not this.

The Story

The Rosen Association manufactures the androids on the colony of Mars, but certain androids violently rebel and escape to the underpopulated Earth where they hope to remain undetected. Despite their realistic appearance and advanced intellect, androids are not treated as equals to humans. They are prohibited from doing many things, including emigrating from the colonies to Earth. Therefore, American and Soviet police departments remain vigilant, keeping officers on duty to track and “retire” fugitive androids. Similar to the androids, humans with mental disabilities, psychological disorders, or genetic defects, called “specials”, are also treated as sub-human; they are forced to remain on Earth and are prohibited from traveling to the colonies.

Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department, is assigned to “retire” (kill) six androids of the new and highly intelligent Nexus-6 model which have recently escaped from Mars and traveled to Earth.

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Deckard buys his wife Iran an authentic Nubian goat with the bounty money.

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His supervisor then insists that he visit an abandoned apartment building, where the three remaining android fugitives are assumed to be hiding. Experiencing a vision of the prophet-like Mercer confusingly telling him to proceed, despite the immorality of the mission, Deckard calls on Rachael Rosen again, since her knowledge of android psychology may aid his investigation.

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“I like her; I could watch her the rest of my life. She has breasts that smile.”

Rachael wants him to abandon the case. She reveals that one of the fugitive androids is the same exact model as herself, meaning that he will have to shoot down an android that looks just like her. Rachael coaxes Deckard into sex, after which they confess their love for one another. However, she reveals she has slept with many bounty hunters, having been programmed to do so in order to dissuade them from their missions. He threatens to kill her, but holds back at the last moment. He leaves for the abandoned apartment building.

Meanwhile, the three remaining Nexus-6 android fugitives plan how they can outwit Deckard. The building’s only other inhabitant, John R. Isidore, a radioactively damaged and intellectually below-average human, attempts to befriend them, but is shocked when they callously torture and mutilate a rare spider he’s found.

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They all watch a television program which presents definitive evidence that the entire theology of Mercerism is a hoax. Deckard enters the building, experiencing strange, supernatural premonitions of Mercer notifying him of an ambush. Since they attack him first, Deckard is legally justified as he shoots down all three androids without testing them beforehand.

Isidore is devastated, and Deckard is soon rewarded for a record number of Nexus-6 kills in a single day. When Deckard returns home, he finds Iran grieving because Rachael Rosen arrived while he was gone and killed their goat.

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Deckard goes to an uninhabited, obliterated region of Oregon to reflect. He climbs a hill and is hit by falling rocks, and realizes this is an experience eerily similar to Mercer’s martyrdom.

He stumbles abruptly upon what he thinks is a real toad (an animal thought to be extinct) but, when he returns home with it, his wife discovers it is just a robot.

Phew. That was a mess.

I just didn’t like this book. The narrator was just so whiny. I don’t feel like the metaphysical questions that the book posed were brought to the forefront enough, and I never personally felt challenged to review my personal definition of humanity, which is what I think Dick wanted. I felt like there was a good idea for a story in here but it was buried in pseudo-religions that were not fully realized within the context of the story.

This was a huge meandering cluster of a story. The preoccupation with animals baffles me–and for how little it had to do with the story overall. And except for maybe Isidore, all the characters in general were extremely flat, with close to no personality traits. I couldn’t tell you anything about Deckard, except that he really wanted a goat.

1/5

Categories
Stephen King

Stephen King – The Mist

Welcome to one of my favourite horror stories from Stephen King. Set in a very tight space (a supermarket in a small town), with a larger-than-life event going on outside (a mist spreading out and killing whoever dares to go outside), the story analyses human behaviour in crisis situations.

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Book Reviews

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane Book Review

I’ve seen the DiCaprio movie ages ago and when I saw the book that inspired the movie during my charity shop runs, I decided to give it a go.

While I vaguely remembered the plot, I thought the book had a good premise and interesting characters, enough to keep me entertained for a few hours.

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Unfortunately, these is one of those rare occasions where the movie was actually better than the book and I could not wait to put it down and start another read.

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Book Reviews

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton Book Review

I have recently visited Amsterdam and was absolutely over the moon to find out that my next read was set in the city of Amsterdam, about 400 years ago. Set in Amsterdam in 1686–87, the novel was inspired by Petronella Oortman’s doll’s house on display at the Rijksmuseum. It does not otherwise attempt to be a biographical novel.

“Looming above the sludge-coloured canal, the houses are a phenomenon. Admiring their own symmetry on water, they are stately and beautiful, jewels set within the city’s pride. Above their rooftops Nature is doing her best to keep up and clouds in colour of saffron and apricot echo the spoils of the glorious republic.”

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Book Reviews

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill Book Review

37034.jpgI had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy. But it was not a story to be told for casual entertainment, around the fireside upon Christmas Eve.

The story begins with Arthur Kipps, a retired solicitor who formerly worked for Mr. Bentley. One night he is at home with his wife Esme and four stepchildren, who are telling ghost stories. When he is asked to tell a story, he becomes irritated and leaves the room, and begins to write of his horrific experiences several years in the past.

Many years earlier, whilst still a junior solicitor for Bentley, Kipps was summoned to Crythin Gifford, a small market town on the north east coast of England, to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow.

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Book Reviews

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty Book Review

No matter how seemingly perfect a person’s life is, no one can ever tell what demons he or she is fighting within.

That is the premise of this lovely book which delves into analysing the complex social dynamics that form between parents who do a school-run.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the little lies that can turn lethal.

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Book Reviews

Hell House by Richard Matheson

While reading this book I could not help but feeling that I’ve seen a very old movie with the exact subject. The feeling only got stronger as the story progressed and when I finished it, I had a look online to see that yes, indeed, there was a movie made in the 70’s with a script provided by Matheson.
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I can’t wait to have another look at it!

Categories
Book Reviews

Doddie Smith – I capture the castle

“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”

Meet 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain who, alongside her family, lives in a rented castle. They’re poor (no-one earns any money) but they like to dream. The girls dream of love and marriage, the parents of unending days and food. And they feel that their status and their lack of money can mean only ruin in the future unless an appropriate husband is secured.

And what I thought about most was luxury. I had never realized before that it is more than just having things; it makes the very air feel different. And I felt different, breathing that air: relaxed, lazy, still sad but with the edge taken off the sadness. Perhaps the effect wears off in time, or perhaps you don’t notice it if you are born to it, but it does seem to me that the climate of richness must always be a little dulling to the senses. Perhaps it takes the edge off joy as well as off sorrow.