Showing posts with label epidemic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label epidemic. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

[Review] Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel: Epidemics and the Apocalypse

In STATION ELEVEN, an epidemic outbreak changes the lives of different people forever. 

What intrigued me: I felt like reading some dystopian.

Very Literary

I tried my best with STATION ELEVEN, but we just weren't meant to be. This one of those extremely literary books that you have to have a taste for, and I think I'm just lacking that. 

STATION ELEVEN is written absolutely beautifully with multiple POVS that each unfold the lingering pandemic a little bit more. I was fascinated for a couple chapters, but quickly lost interest when I realized that this is an extremely quiet story. And what can I say - I like my dystopian books to be gritty, fast-paced, and action-filled. STATION ELEVEN is none of these things. It's a story about survival over the years that couldn't be more niche.

If you're looking for classic dystopian lit, this might end up disappointing you just as much as it did me - STATION ELEVEN demands your full attention at all times. So many protagonists, so many details to pay attention to, so many filler chapters. You really have to be invested in the story and the characters. 

It's Not You, It's Me

STATION ELEVEN is one of those epic reads that span decades, have dozens of protagonists, and are more about the world than the characters. Add a couple time jumps in and you know exactly what kind of book this is I personally cannot empathize this for the life of me. This is very much a hard case of It's Not You, It's Me syndrome. It's undoubtedly a skillfully and beautifully written book that just oozes talent and magnificent prose, but for me personally none of this matters when I find the story unengaging. Again, this is a by no means an objective judgment of the quality of this book, this is just me having peculiar taste.

Ultimately I think the thing that just made this unenjoyable for me is that STATION ELEVEN is more about the journey and the story as a whole than what is happening in the moment. Everything comes together in the big picture - but this technique personally never works for me because I'll lose interest on the way if the journey isn't filled with plot twists and secrets and adventure.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

STATION ELEVEN is a little too literary for me and absolutely not my cup of tea. I expected a regular dystopian story, but got an epic decade-spanning saga. You have to be in the mood for these kinds of books.

Additional Info

Published: September 14th 2015
Pages: 416
Publisher: piper
Genre: Adult / Dystopian
ISBN: 9783492060226

"One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Twenty years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave."
(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like literary books?

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Friday, May 27, 2016

[Review] True Born (#1) - L.E. Sterling: The Plague is Back with a Vengeance

In TRUE BORN, a plague has decimated the world population significantly. Only those who are born with a natural immunity and those rich enough to get their genes "repaired" temporarily, are able to survive.

What intrigued me: I find the concept of an epidemic always incredibly intriguing in dystopias.

Reading this is like rocket science

TRUE BORN centers around the sisters Lu and Margot who are approaching the day that it will be revealed whether they are immune to the Plague or not. They go through several tests, and suddenly their father hires bodyguards to protect them and all hell breaks loose. 

This is where TRUE BORN really lost me to be honest. While I am very interested in the premise, the execution and writing are incredibly eccentric and strange. To me the whole novel reads like chunks of it are missing. Many scenes involve time jumps to get to action, and sometimes they're not even denoted as such.

I couldn't, for the life of me, keep up with the character names because new people kept appearing out of the blue and acting like they had been there all along. I caught myself going back and forth so often that I quickly lost enthusiasm and the desire to even understand this very confusing world. The premise isn't that complicated, but TRUE BORN does its best to make it seem like rocket science. Lingo and complicated terms are thrown around a good dozen times before they are even explained, and the explanations we get aren't easy to grasp either.

Generally, it feels like TRUE BORN is trying to hide the fact that it has a very simple premise and seeming to come across as taking place in a very intricate, super complicated world. I had huge problems trying to picture the world in my head because it notoriously lacks descriptions. I still can't really picture what kind of dystopian future it takes place in because there is little to no imagery.

Not groundbreaking, yet oddly entertaining

However, as tedious as this whole confusing world might sound, it frustrated me so much that I wanted to continue. I really wanted to understand what was going on and was waiting for the moment when it would all made sense, so I could find my peace with this book. This moment sadly didn't come for me and my entire reading experience could probably be most accurately described with ???.
I did find it sort of entertaining to try to find out what exactly was going on, but I didn't, at all, form any attachments to the characters. I liked the idea of this very special bond between twins, but like many things in TRUE BORN, it doesn't seem groundbreaking. There are so many little tropes and things that I've seen so often in novels of the genre that I almost mentally found myself checking off a list.
Describing swoony love interest's eye colors for multiple paragraphs? Check. Protagonist is a special snowflake and different to everyone else? Check. Paragraphs and paragraphs of absolutely irrelevant narration to hide that there's no world building? Check.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

TRUE BORN was a really exhausting read. I didn't connect to the characters or narrative enough to say I enjoyed it. It's undoubtedly a very unique story and Sterling has a very memorable writing style. It just wasn't for me.

Additional Info

Published: May 3rd 2016
Pages: 304
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: YA / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781633753198

"Welcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated...and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there's Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood."(Source: Goodreads)

 Do you like novels about epidemics?

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