Tag: Dystopian

Book Review: The Illustrated Animal Farm by George Orwell

The Illustrated Animal Farm
George Orwell

Joy Batchelor
John Halas
Novel was originally published August 17, 1945

Illustrated Edition published January 1, 2015
115 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

A farm is taken over by its overworked, mistreated animals. With flaming idealism and stirring slogans, they set out to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality. Thus the stage is set for one of the most telling satiric fables ever penned –a razor-edged fairy tale for grown-ups that records the evolution from revolution against tyranny to a totalitarianism just as terrible.

Halas & Batchelor studio’s classic and controversial 1954 animation of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s chilling fable of idealism betrayed, was the first ever British animated feature film. This landmark illustrated edition of Orwell’s novel was first published alongside it, and features the original line drawings by the film’s animators, Joy Batchelor and John Halas.

Kim’s Review:

This is easily one of my all-time favorite books. I was a senior in high school when I first read it. I was taking Economics and it was assigned reading. I was a little skeptical, but once I started reading, I was hooked. I remember that I was at a basketball game, but I tuned it all out and finished Animal Farm before the game ended. It blew my mind! We also had to do a project along with the reading and I chose to draw a picture of Boxer dragging rocks up to the windmill . . . and I drew it! Ok I traced Boxer, but I drew everything else and made an A! I was devastated to learn that it was not required reading in my Economics class that I taught during my first year in Hawaii. Why is Orwell not require reading anywhere?

Part of why I decided to re-read it is because of the current political climate here in America. I know that we’re adamant about keeping politics out of Jessica’s Reading Room, so obviously I won’t go into anything specific. But I will make the statement that I believe everyone, every single person, should be required to read Animal Farm and 1984 in high school and in college. The story is simple and reminds me more of a fairy tale than anything else. The metaphors are relatively clear, at least they should be if the reader paid attention in history class. The lessons are also easily understood. I find it amazing that Orwell was able to create such a story with these characters and get his message across so well. It’s a great book and if you haven’t read it, then you should!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Author: Amy A. Bartol

Published: August 1, 2017

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 6-27, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

Jessica’s Review:

Secondborn has an interesting concept about birth order and where you fall in society. And you better not have a third child without permission! (Only firstborn’s can have children).Roselle is our protagonist and she is the second born child to a very elite mother, a mother who could care less about Roselle.  Roselle even grew up on television and she is well known.  But once her 18th birthday hits all life changes for her, she has to become a part of the army.

This is a coming of age story and Roselle’s fight to survive.  There is also a love interest thrown in which I could have done without, but it becomes important later in the book and I am sure for the future books of the series. 

Secondborn is similar to Divergent with the different sections of society (in Divergent you have a choice) with a female protagonist becoming who she is meant to be with a love story with a hottie thrown in.  Ultimately it was just an ok read for me as it did not really add to the YA/Dystopian genre.  I’ll stick with the Divergent series which I really enjoyed, despite the unpopular ending that I saw coming and actually enjoyed.   

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Blog Tour: Unborn by Rachel McLean

Today I am sharing my review as a part of the blog tour for Unborn by Rachel McLean.  This is a dystopian novel with a bit of a legal thriller that shows one direction that our society could be heading.

Book Description:

She killed her unborn child. The punishment will fit the crime.

America, 2026.
Feminism has been defeated.
Equality is a memory.
And abortion has been criminalized.

Three women find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Kate, carrying the child of a sexual predator.
Grace, whose baby will be born with a fatal deformity.
And Cindee: abused, abandoned and pregnant.

Can these three very different women come together to fight an oppressive system and win their freedom?

Find out by reading Unborn, a chilling dystopia combined with a gripping legal thriller.

Author: Rachel McLean

Published: Today, February 21, 2020
271 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: February 2-11, 2020

Jessica’s Review:

Set in the not too distant future, women have lost their rights and all abortion is considered murder. If a woman suffers a miscarriage then she may possibly be charged with manslaughter if it is deemed as an abortion.  And let’s not talk about what women are forced to do as a part of their sentencing for the ‘benefit’ of others…

In this chilling future in the United States, we find ourselves involved in the lives of three women whose differing circumstances eventually come together. You can’t help but like and also feel for all three women and the situations they are in: Kate, Grace, and Cindee.

Unborn is a thriller that also has a court element which was just as intriguing as the rest of the novel.  It is a quick read that leaves you thinking about morality and legalities of this time.  Unborn also helps you to be fearful that this could be the direction we may be heading in one day, but hopefully not as quickly as the time that this novel is set in.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

Contact Rachel:
Instagram: @rachelmcwrites