Sunday, November 29, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Wow. What an interesting book.

Illuminae is a sci-fi novel centered around two main protagonists, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason. Kady and Ezra are living on a small planet, Kerenza, that is attacked by the Beitech Company, a major corporation that is warring with another mega-corporation. The Kerenza survivors are whisked away on a convoy of ships, but they have to contend with the continued pursuit of Beitech's fleet, a biological weapon that is affecting many of the survivors, and an artificial intelligence system that has gone haywire, and may now be doing more harm than good. 

The story is told in a really fascinating way. Various documents, including transcripts, e-mails, IMs, and reports are used to construct the narrative. The style is a little gimmicky, and can feel like reading a found footage film. Sifting through the documents can certainly feel draining at times, but they were interesting enough to keep me moving through the book. Ultimately, the book was a pretty quick read for me, even though it clocked in at a little less than 600 pages. 

I think the main aspect of the novel that held my attention was the strength of the characters. Kady and Ezra were pretty well developed. The two were in a relationship that had just ended on the day Kerenza was attacked, so they had some personal issues to work out while also dealing with the issues on their ships, which led to some great IM conversations between the two. Kady and Ezra had great personalities, and their talks were chockful of witty banter, I'm a sucker for good banter, and it can be hard to pull off without seeming cheesy or becoming annoying, but Kaufman and Kristoff make this dialogue feel natural and use it to give the novel some much needed lighter moments.

Also, AIDAN is creepy. Read the book, embrace the creepiness.

This book is definitely worth a read. Plus this is happening, so now you have added incentive to get to it sooner rather than later.   

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dewey's Readathon is Upon Us!

The Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is fast approaching people! From 8 AM Saturday to 8 AM Sunday, I will be devouring words like a crazy person. Granted, I have a morning shift Saturday at the library and will probably pass out around midnight Sunday because I NEED SLEEP, but that's ok. One of the best things about the Dewey's Readathon is that it's a judgment free zone. You read however much you want for however long you want. My hope is to get through a couple books, but I have a pretty big, varied stack in the hopes of avoiding a reading rut.

I have a couple novels, Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us and Katherine Howe's The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen.


I have a short story collection, Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Other Stories, and an essay collection, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I've started both collections and am loving them so far, plus the shorter format means I can dive in and out of these with relative ease (readathon success is all about strategy, people!).


I also have a couple graphic novels, Scott Snyder's Wytches and the second book in John Lewis's March trilogy.


Like I said, I'll be happy to get through a couple of these during the readathon. I'll also try to spend some of my readathon time supporting other bloggers.

Happy thon, everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

If you've been waiting for years for the release of the next book in Libba Bray's Diviners series, then rejoice, because book 2, Lair of Dreams, has finally arrived! The consensus throughout the blogosphere seems to be that the book is a great continuation of the first, and I would definitely agree. We left off in Roaring 20s era New York City, and that's where Lair of Dreams picks back up. The Diviners, a group of people from different backgrounds with supernatural abilities that we met in book 1, are more important than ever as a mysterious sleeping sickness begins plaguing residents of the city.

There are so many diviners featured in the book, all with different powers and backstories, and since I'm not as talented as Libba Bray at juggling their stories in narrative form, I'm going to turn to list-making:

Evie O'Neill - A Diviner who can see the past by holding objects, Evie has a new radio show, so she's dealing with her rising stardom, the personal effects of book 1's events, and a love triangle with Sam and Jericho.

Sam Lloyd - Sam, a Diviner with the ability to make himself evade detection for short bursts of time, spends much of book 2 trying to uncover the mystery of what happened to his mother, who was taken by a secret government organization called Project Buffalo when he was a child.

Jericho Jones - Jericho's still reeling from the events of book 1, including his feelings for Evie, and issues from his past.

Memphis and Isaiah Campbell - The Campbell brothers are grappling with their Diviners powers, and have the added threat of the mysterious Blind Bill, who keeps moving closer to the Campbell family. Memphis also has a budding relationship with Theta.

Theta Knight - Theta has to deal with her fears about her powers, while pretending to be a Russian orphan for her job with the Ziegfeld Follies and trying to help her friend, Henry.

Henry DuBois - Henry's story is central to this book. As a dream walker, Henry spends much of his time in book 2 in the Lair of Dreams, searching for a loved one.

Ling Chan - A fellow dream walker, Ling helps Henry on his search. A daughter of immigrants, Ling lives in Chinatown, where the sleeping sickness begins. Ling and her neighbors have to deal with the ensuing fear mongering and xenophobia that comes with the sleeping sickness.

That list is just a taste of the large cast of characters, and the wonderful world that Bray has built in this series. Bray's writing is wonderful, the novel is meaty (clocking in at over 600 pages), but the story moves quickly, and by the last chapter you will be anxiously awaiting the next installment. Let's all hope it comes soon!

Monday, August 31, 2015

R.I.P. X: It's About to get Spoopy, Y'all!

My favorite time of the year - fall - is quickly approaching, and alongside cooler weather, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice everything, comes the best holiday to ever holiday: Halloween.

Dance, magical pumpkin man
During this wonderful season, I want nothing more than to invest my time consuming all the spine-tingling pop culture I can get my hands on. Thankfully for me, there's a fantastic reading challenge that does just that, R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, or R.I.P. started by Carl V. Anderson and hosted this year by the Estella Society's Andi and Heather!
Image: Abigail Larson

The R.I.P. challenge is all about embracing the wonderful world of eerie Gothic and horror literature in the world. There are many levels of participation, but I'm going with the top challenge, Peril the first. between September 1st and October 31st, I will read at least 4 books that I feel fit with the R.I.P. themes.

My tentative reading list is:

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

American Gothic Tales edited by Joyce Carol Oates

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This list is just a start - I'll most likely be adding to it as I go, along with watching spooky movies/TV throughout the next two months. Ack! I can't believe fall starts tomorrow (I know that it technically doesn't start until the back half of September, but I can dream!). If you're participating in the R.I.P. challenge let me know what you plan on reading in the comments!
My crew from now until Oct. 31