Showing posts with label future. Show all posts
Showing posts with label future. Show all posts

Sunday, April 9, 2017

[Review] Red Queen (#1) - Victoria Aveyard: Special Snowflakes and Silverblooded People

In RED QUEEN, Mare gets mistaken for a silver-blooded princess and is able to escape her fate as a red-blooded peasant to be forced to fight in a deadly war.

What intrigued me: Recommendation by a friend.

Wait, I've seen this before

RED QUEEN is the epitome of late to the party. It's a weird mix between futuristic dystopia and your average high fantasy class revolution. 
During the height of the 2011 dystopia hype, this maybe would've been original, this maybe would've been able to keep my interest, but having read dozens of dystopian books that follow the exact same scheme, this isn't anything special. If you haven't read lots of books in the genre, this might strike you as quite interesting, I just found it dull and repetitive. 

Especially the beginning is so reminiscent of THE WINNER'S CURSE that I thought I had picked up the wrong book for a moment. 
The social divide between two people, one overpowering the other because of their almost supernatural skill, is so annoyingly overdone that I couldn't take this seriously. The red-blooded and silver-blooded people, peasants and nobles respectively, didn't even seem interesting to me. I find the premise pretty silly to be honest, the only thing that's missing to make this novel read like a bad fan fiction is that the silvers all have unusual eye and hair colors. The weirdest thing is that the set up suggests we have a straight up class war situation, but then the book does a 360 and turns into THE SELECTION, revolution style.

Let's play cliche bingo

Although there is lots of world building, it only made me shrug. Aveyard is unable to mix the futuristic influences into her medieval-ish fantasy world without making it seem lazy and strange. RED QUEEN consists of all cliches you've seen in dystopian and high fantasy books, smashed together and pretending it's something new. And adding a dreaded love triangle between the childhood friend and the forbidden lover, AND another guy (!) just made me sigh endlessly. 

Paired with a special snowflake protagonist that inexplicably has ~magical powers~, RED QUEEN comes more across as a parody on the genre than a novel that's to be taken seriously.

Without an ounce of originality, RED QUEEN reads like a half-baked cross between your average fantasy novel and the x men, in the worst way.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

No. I found it boring and full of cliches. RED QUEEN stuns with consisting of so many tropes that I'm surprised nobody has created a bingo sheet based on this.

Additional Info

Published: February 10th 2015
Pages: 383
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780062310637

"This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart."(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read RED QUEEN?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[Review] Alight (Generations #2) - Scott Sigler: Mayan Culture and New Planets

In ALIGHT, the Birthday Children have arrived at planet Omeyocan and are exploring it.

What intrigued me: I absolutely loved the first book ALIVE.

Solid pace and jungle adventures

What initially fascinated me with the predecessor was definitely the mystery. In ALIVE, we don't get answers until the very end, which sort of made me forgive that the book had a very dragging middle and little plot.

ALIGHT follows a similar formula: We have to wait for every bit of information to make sense, so despite the fact that there's lots of exploration and action, it still feels dragged out. You really have to be patient to get to the interesting parts of the story, which are indeed quite fascinating, but the mere fact that it takes a ridiculous time to get there frustrated me immensely.

Omeyocan is a very interesting setting and managed to fascinate me. I was a little frustrated with the characters' lack of information and didn't really like the little guessing games that arose every time they encountered something they didn't immediately recognize. Omeyocan is based in Mayan culture appearance-wise, which is to be expected if you take a look at names like Xolotl. Called that one! I was hoping for more of an alien feel to the whole planet. Like this, it just feels like your average Mayan-inspired jungle with a hint of modern technology.

All the little nods to colonialism somehow give this book a cautionary tale kind of feel. Especially with Aramovsky and his neverending missionary crusade I got tired of it very quickly.

Sigler didn't quite manage to keep my interest in this sequel. I was hoping for more information and reasons very early on, maybe a big revelation or something. Though the change in scenery is quite neat, it can't hide the fact that there isn't really much plot in this.

Too many characters and a very forced romance

As for the characters - there still are too many. I couldn't keep up with them in the first novel, and has tremendous problems remembering these people and trying to figure the relationships out. It hasn't even been that long since I read ALIVE and if it weren't for the little information dumps before each character gets introduced anew, I would have been completely lost. 

ALIGHT focuses a little more on the dreaded love triangle and I just couldn't warm up to it. There is little to no real reason why these people are attracted to each other - aside maybe from superficiality and hormones. There is no base for their relationship, which just couldn't make me sympathize with Bishop and Em as a couple, even less with her and O'Malley. Honestly, I wouldn't even have minded all that if Em was an LGBT protagonist. I will never understand books in which societal norms don't exist, yet everyone turns out to be straight.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

ALIGHT didn't have me hold my breath and frantically turn the pages like the predecessor, but it's a solid read. A typical second book that lowered my enthusiasm for the third, mainly because it's just too heavy on the instant hump romance.

Additional Info

Published: April 5th 2016
Pages: 448
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space and other Planets
ISBN: 9780553393156

"Alight reveals to readers the further adventures of Em, Spingate, O’Malley, Bishop, and the other young heroes introduced in Alive. In Alive, Em fought to assert herself as leader and her friends tried to comprehend their own mysterious identity; now she must wrestle not with the challenge of winning power but the grave responsibility of having assumed it, and she and her friends must contend with a grim fact: the revelation of their identity is not an answer but another question—and one with terrifying implications."
(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like books set on other planets?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

[Review] Golem - Lorenzo Ceccotti: Italy, Miyazaki, and Conspiracies

In GOLEM, Steno accidentally gets involved in a political uprising in a futuristic Italy.

What intrigued me: The description mostly, though the cover promises a unique art style, which I'm always a fan of!

Miyazaki meets Dystopia

GOLEM is a brick of a comic book. With a whopping 280 pages, I had high expectations, was hoping for a complicated plot with strong world building and great characters. Well. I only got one of these. The world of GOLEM is surely interesting, it looks like a mix between something out of a Miyazaki movie mixed with neon colors and your typical dystopian dark atmosphere. 

GOLEM tries really hard to be different, which is sadly only reflected in the art style and not really in the originality of the story. It tries very hard to be an edgy story that conveys social critique, but really can't deliver. It's just awkward to read because the basics of storytelling, the frame, is missing.

The world that GOLEM presents mainly consists of every dystopia stereotype ever, mixed with complicated names for everything to pose for further world building. The action scenes are downright horrendous to make sense of. 

More art than comic?

Sometimes the panels shift to other charcters' perspectives that don't even get introduced. Random people that just enter the story and it's just a confusing mix of arms and legs and faces. 
Sure, it's art, it's pretty to look at, but GOLEM really would have benefited from trying to stop being a piece of art and really going more intro the storytelling direction. 

Because like this, I didn't care about the protagonist Steno, without any narration from him, why would I want to read a 300 page comic? There are so many full-page illustrations that are absolutely redundant to the story, almost blacked out pages that would maybe look great as a painting on a wall, but absolutely don't work in the comic. 

The whole look of the comic is very experimental, from the traditional paneled look to overlapping images, whole-page illustrations that look like they've been painted with a chunky brush. GOLEM is surely more art than novel and I had the feeling that it didn't really try to tell a coherent story. The basis is there, we have a somewhat intriguing world with an average conspiracy plot and there weren't too many characters to confuse them all. Sometimes it didn't even need words to help you understand what was going on, but I never really had the impression that I was reading a coherent story. 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

GOLEM just isn't for me. It needed about 120 pages for me to even have the world established enough to get anything was happening and after that it almost became a chore to finish this. GOLEM is more art than novel, and it definitely reads like this. Have you ever tried to read a painting?

Additional Info

Published: July 12th 2016
Pages: 280
Publisher: Magnetic Press
Genre: YA / Dystopian

"Set in a future, post-Eurozone Italy, entrenched in a culture of hyper-capitalism, GOLEM follows young Steno Critone as he is kidnapped during a political protest gone sour. Taken in by the band of labeled “terrorists,” he learns that things are not as they seem in society, and that he has the power to not only change the city, but reality itself.

This intensely imaginative political-sci-fi graphic novel is a visual tour de force, created by contemporary design icon Lorenzo Ceccotti, better known as LRNZ, whose design-influenced illustration provides a lush, fluid backdrop of manga-like dynamism with the cinematic scope of western comics, creating a style that is wholly unique and absolutely breathtaking."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite dystopian comic?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Review] Boy-1 - H.S. Tak: DNA manipulation, Clones, and Epidemics

In BOY-1, scientist Jadas finds out that he has been drugged his whole life to hide the fact that he is a clone. When an illness epidemic breaks out, his DNA turns out to be the key to salvation.

What intrigued me: The cover promises pretty, traditional artwork!

Likeable Protagonist

BOY-1 doesn't need much exposition to explain its world. In the not-so-distant future, humans are yet again experimenting with DNA and have made a breakthrough that will change the fate of humanity forever. 
Protagonist Jadas is an incredibly likeable main character, simply because his emotions are perfectly conveyed in the artwork and absolutely understandable, considering the situation he is in. I sympathized with him from the start, even more so because we get little bits of narration from his perspective, which I always appreciate because it adds character depth.

The beginning and world establishing didn't quite manage to convince me, because the whole line of work that Jadas is in is explained way too complicatedly. In reality they don't do more than mess with apes' DNA as a test so they can mess with human DNA later. This explanation doesn't need five confusing pages of illustrations laced with complicated scientific terms that nobody understands.

Art Compliments Narration

As soon as Jadas' secret is revealed, BOY-1 dramatically picks up the pace, jumps in time, throws you from one scenario to the next, and remarkably, I didn't have any problems following the narrative. 

However, this fast-paced-ness is probably BOY-1's biggest flaw. I would have loved to get more scenes with his girlfriend (?) and her child so I could actually understand what their relation is, since she is introduced as a prostitute in the first few pages. I would have loved backstory. I would have loved seeing more of Jadas' life, because like this it just reads like a lightspeed-paced action thriller with a bunch of cliche characters. 

From the annoyed black detective to the Chinese mafia that hardly speaks any English to the Russian pimp - I wish BOY-1 had bothered to create the side characters as carefully as the protagonist.

As for the artwork, I'm absolutely impressed. Nahuelpan took a traditional approach with little to no experimental nuances and the shadowed, angular, blue-toned look is just a feast for the eyes. it absolutely manages to convey the feel of the story and I caught myself just admiring the art every once in a while.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

BOY-1 is a fast-paced DNA conspiracy adventure. It reads quick, and you'll soon be longing for more, and I guarantee - the plot twists will catch you off-guard.

Additional Info

Author: H.S. Tak
Artwork: Amancay Nahuelpan
Published: March 8th 2016
Pages: 106
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Genre: Adult / Dystopia
ISBN: 9781631405297

"In the fast-approaching future, when the drug-addled heir of a genetic-engineering company begins to investigate his company s murky past, he discovers he is the catalyst in a terrifying global event that will transform him and forever alter the course of human evolution."
(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite dystopian comic?
Continue Reading...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...