“Bird Box” review

18498558.jpg“Bird box” is a dystopian novel written by Josh Malerman. I wasn’t familiar with him, but he’s apparently in the rock band “The High Strung”. In the novel we follow the story of Malorie, and eventually her two children. In the present, it’s all three of them, in the past we follow the events leading up to their birth and how they got to the situation they’re in now.

In the past it is dark, it’s creepy and no one can ever open their eyes. It begins with people mysteriously dying or committing suicide from observing something unknown. People begin boarding up their windows, wearing blindfolds.. They eventually stop going outside, growing food in their yards, gathering water from a well while still blindfolded. It’s not a great situation to be in. Malorie loses her sister to suicide, and seeks out shelter with other people after finding an offer to help. The life in that house seems normal at first but then it just gets weird. They acquire dogs, guard birds, then Gary shows up. I definitely don’t like Gary.

Gary escalates things super quick. I don’t want to say anything about him because that’ll ruin the suspense, but he’s so creepy. The action builds up more and more until you’re about 3 quarters of the way through the book and then it kinda flatlines. I’ve noticed that with most of the dystopian novels I read that they kinda end “too well”. Things sort themselves out and it feels kinda lackluster. It’s not a terrible ending, but it was not as exciting as I expected it to be, with the way it built up. It is creepy, definitely, but just not what I expected.

Bird box is not a bad novel, I read it fairly quickly because it was so thrilling that I didn’t want to put it down. So if you enjoy dystopian novels, I’d recommend this one for sure. Just don’t expect too much from the ending. If you do, you would probably end up feeling slightly disappointed. I gave it 5/5 on Goodreads because it was really engaging 95% of the time.

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“The Winter People” review

18007535The Winter People is a novel written by Jennifer McMahon. It is set in the city of West Hall, Vermont, and it follows the story of someone both in the past, and the present. There isn’t a singular narrative in it, because it switches from character to character, but it is very easy to follow, because it switches at the beginning of a new chapter so you don’t have to keep track of it yourself.

The main focus of the novel is on Sara Harrison Shea, she was found dead in the field in front of her house in 1908, completely skinned.  Her diary was found under the floor boards in her old house in more recent times and the family now living there has to somehow solve the mystery of her death and find out where the missing pieces from the diary is located. These missing pages conveniently contain information about how to bring people back from the dead. The house is located close to a rock formation called the Devil’s hand and guess what? It contains some sort of portal where the dead can return if you perform some grotesque ritual. In recent times we follow the story of Ruthie, whose mother has gone missing. It is her that finds the journal and realizes that her mother’s disappearance must have something to do with that woman.

All of the different stories that we follow converge in the end, although they can seem a bit too coincidental, they merge somewhat well. What I didn’t like about the novel though, is that the ending works out a bit too well, if that makes sense. It’s as if someone snapped their fingers and suddenly everything was back to normal. It could have done with a more implied end, leaving me with a sense of wonder and mystery instead of just plainly say that this and that happened and that all is well. It was a decent novel though, and I rated it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. It’s not the best novel I have read, but definitely not the worst.

“Rapture” review

6852063Rapture is written by John Shirley and it is a prequel for the video game series “Bioshock”. It’s set as a prequel for the first game, giving us insight to how the city of Rapture came to be, plus background on a lot of the characters mentioned and seen in the games.

In the novel we are introduced to a variety of people, the most notable being Andrew Ryan, the founder of Rapture. We get to learn about his background in Russia, his journey to the US and how he began the building of the underwater city. Because of that, we are introduced to an array of people, some notable ones are McDonagh, who goes from being a plumber to an overall handyman in the new city. Then there’s also Fontaine, who plays a major role in the video game.

The novel is not as action filled as the game, obviously, because there is a lot of information that is being relayed, but it’s not uneventful. We get to learn about how the little sisters came to be, how they ended up making plasmids, why the splicers exist and why they are so ugly. It really shows you what can happen if you let science go too far. There’s also some parts about doctor Steinman, a crazy plastic surgeon who always strives to create the perfect face.. Some about Diane McClintock, Ryans mistress, who is featured throughout the game through the audio diaries. Reading the novel helped with making sense of all of those, and the haunting memory flashbacks that can be triggered in certain locations. We also get to know the background for Jasmine Jolene, who has a memory sequence that implies she was murdered by Andrew Ryan himself for aborting her child and giving it to Fontaine, Ryans bitter rival.

It’s not a fun, entertaining read in that sense, the things that happen in the book are quite dark, but if you have played the games and you’re interested in what lead up to Raptures downfall, I would definitely recommend reading this. I thoroughly enjoyed it and struggled to put it down every time I read a part of it. I rated this 5/5 stars on Goodreads. Have you read any books related to video games before?

“The Handmaid’s Tale” Review

38447.jpgI read this one back in the later days of March, and I both loved and hated it equally. I have since been watching the TV adaptation too and boy does this mess with me. The novel is set in an alternative universe, where some women only have one purpose, to bear children for the wives of generals who cannot do so. Or just to keep humanity going. The story follows the narrator Offred, or June, as she was called. She tells her story about how it is to live in Gilead, a place where she is in a room, with no light fixtures, shatter proof glass, nothing sharp, there’s no way out. All she does is buy groceries, or have sex with the head of the house. Great life, right? Not to mention the wall of bodies people have to pass when they are out for a walk. Who knows who you might end up seeing hanging from there?

Just the thought of a future that could end up like this terrifies me. The book was quite graphic and I wanted to stop reading at some points, but I don’t know why I didn’t. Something compelled me to continue reading. I am kind of glad I finished it, just to get it over with, because just the thought of Gilead sends shivers down my spine. No one deserves to be dehumanized like the women are in the book, and the show. We’re all worthy of better lives than that.

I think the book is considered very controversial, because when I first looked at the reviews it had, people either hated it, or absolutely loved it, I honestly couldn’t find anything in between. No one though it was just “okay”, it was either “fucking terrible” or “amazing, a classic”. For me it’s definitely a mix of both. I loved it, I hated it, I want nothing to do with it but I also want to re-read it. I guess I could just settle for finishing season one. It’s really good, and awful at the same time. There’s a lot of scenes I just can’t watch because they’re really graphic. Have you read this one? What did you think about it? I rated it 4/5 on Goodreads.

“Crisped + Sere” Review

29965941Crisped + Sere is the second dystopian, or post apocalyptic book written by TJ Klune. It continues the story of the protagonist Cavalo, and it’s still located in the state of Idaho, USA. If you want to read my review of the first part of this 2-part book series, click here.

In the first novel we were introduced to the Dead Rabbit named Lucas, who turned out to be the key to eliminating the leader of the Dead Rabbits, Patrick. On Lucas’ skin, parts of a map is tattooed and Patrick has the remaining coordinates and whatnot so they need to get to him. They have 21 days to come up with a plan before Patrick comes to take Lucas from them, seeing as he is his son.

Cavalo and the inhabitants of Cottonwood does everything they can to prepare for the upcoming battle, but it is on a way larger scale than they expect and they are temporarily defeated as they capture Lucas and bring him to a different location. They send a rescue mission after him which leads to the end of the novel, so I won’t talk too much about that.

The ending of the novel felt a bit dragged out for me, it could have ended a chapter before it, but it wasn’t too bad. It just didn’t add much that I cared for. There is also a sex scene or two in this one, which wasn’t too much of a bother, I just skipped over the few pages it went over. I don’t think the second novel was as gory as the first, since it was more about the large fight between the Dead Rabbits and the inhabitants of Cottonwood, so it focused more on what happened instead of isolated events.

It was a good follow up to the first and I am glad I read it, and that I got some closure. Again, if you cannot handle gory descriptions, you probably won’t enjoy this one, there’s not much but what is there is quite descriptive. I gave this 5/5 stars on Goodreads, since it’s one of the best series I have read in a while. TJ Klune is a great story teller.