Engines of the Broken World
Author: Jason Vanhee
Published: November 5, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 2 stars
Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby. . . .
What a weird book. The whole time, I just sat, puzzled. This animal that wasn’t an animal, but looked like an animal, but kept changing its appearance to different animals . . . What?? I thought maybe, once the mother started moving and talking even though she was dead, things were gonna get good. Not really at all. I had such high hopes with the cover and the description. But by the end, I was more confused than when I started!
I’m not even sure how to describe what I read. I think it was supposed to be some kind of post apocalyptic tale, but even then, I’m not sure. Different worlds that can communicate with each other, ministers that look like animals but aren’t, snowstorm that shrinks the world. But then it just ends with no resolution. I just didn’t like it. I don’t get what happened. I don’t understand what the author was trying to say. I just don’t know. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this book to anybody.
Author: M.R. Carey
Published: June 10, 2014
Dates Read: November 23- December 10, 2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Book Summary from Goodreads:
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.
My husband and I saw the movie trailer for The Girl with all the Gifts and after watching it we both want to see the movie and I also wanted to read the book. I was able to get the audiobook from my local library. If you have not seen the trailer for the movie or know anything about The Girl with all the Gifts then this will be a spoiler for you: This is a zombie book. Like Raising Stony Mayhall, The Girl with all the Gifts is a different take on zombies. I read that book several years ago and loved it. I also enjoyed The Girl with all the Gifts.
This is a tough book to review without revealing spoilers. It is also a thought provoking and character driven book. The premise of the book is intriguing and the first act of the book is brilliant. Melanie and her classmates are in school, but they are not just children. They are zombies, or ‘hungries’ as they are called in the post-apocalyptic United Kingdom. But they are also all special: for some reason they still have their mental abilities and have some control of themselves unless they get too close to ‘normal’ humans. Then they revert back to no mental awareness and only focus on one thing: Hunger.
The military base they are all on is attacked by hungries and junkers( uninfected humans who are scavengers and very dangerous). From here Melanie, her teacher, a scientist, and two military personnel end up traveling together as a group. The book does slow some, but we get points of view from all the characters involved in the book. There is zombie violence throughout the book.
I did listen to this in audiobook format and the narrator had a British accent, which works well, since the book takes place in the UK. At times I did have to move the CD track back some to listen again because I know I missed something. I will plan to read this book at some point.
You can’t help but get attached to Melanie. I had no idea what was going to happen to our group. Will they survive or will they all fall victim in some way? A particular character makes a decision that leads to a shocking ending, and this causes the reader to reflect on the entire book.
I give The Girl with all the Gifts 5 stars. I also look forward to seeing the movie. Knowing that M.R. Carey wrote the screenplay and kept the ending faithful to the book is even more exciting.
The Girl with all the Gifts is recommended.[Top]
Author: S.M. Stirling
573 Pages in Paperback
Published: August 3, 2004
Husband read in 2016
My Husband’s Rating: 4 Stars
Book Summary from Amazon:
The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.
My husband recently read Dies the Fire. He said I would like it since I like post apocalyptic settings in books, movies, and tv shows. I asked him to write a review! Here is his review of Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling:
“Dies the Fire” by S.M. Stirling is the first of what has become his longest and most prolific series, Emberverse, spawning over a dozen works of long and short fiction. It is itself a spinoff of the Nantucket series, wherein an Event of unknown origin sends the modern-day island of Nantucket and its inhabitants back in time to the Bronze Age. The backlash from the Event causes an irrevocable change in the rest of the modern world, immediately rendering all forms of electricity and high-pressure combustion inert, and this is the beginning of the Emberverse tale. The power goes out, engines stop working, even gunpowder fizzles instead of exploding. The immediate effect is obvious: Death and destruction on a worldwide scale, as planes crash, hospitals go dark, and emergency workers are left with less than basic first aid equipment to work with. Within weeks there is only a fraction of the world’s population left, and the survivors fight each other for the scraps.
That sounds like the setup for an amazing post-apocalyptic story, and for the most part it is. The world of Emberverse is scary, thrilling, and sad, while the story of the protagonists gives a feeling of hope and accomplishment. Unfortunately for the reader, the author relies too heavily on coincidence and chance meetings (an award winning horse trainer from Texas in the middle of the Idaho mountains *just* when our male protagonist needs him most, followed shortly by an expert archer/bowyer/fletcher with a British SAS background conveniently dangling from a tree for our female protagonist to find and rescue) and explains it away with one throwaway line about how only the most skilled and hardy folk will survive such an event. Certainly they will, but the fact that they all happen to be within a few hours’ walk of each other is a ton of disbelief to suspend.
Despite the cheeky deus ex machina in nearly every chapter, Stirling manages to weave an epic tale of medieval adventure set in the beautiful but daunting Pacific Northwest wilderness. He isn’t shy about inspiration from Tolkien, given one minor character’s obsession with the world of Middle-Earth, and there is an obvious “good versus evil” element to the plot. But the true enemy in this world is the depravity of Man and just how terrible people can be when they are forced to take on nature without modern luxuries. There is also a deep exploration of female protagonist Juniper Mackenzie’s Wiccan faith with great attention to detail and accuracy. Granted, her faith just happens to be extremely useful to surviving such an event, but nonetheless it shows Stirling’s penchant for research and realism in his writings.
Readers of this book will immediately recognize the influence it has had on more modern post-apocalyptic tales. The male protagonist, Mike Havel, is a blueprint for characters like Jake Green from the television show Jericho and Miles Matheson from Revolution. Indeed, Revolution seems to borrow the vast majority of its concept, plots, and characters from “Dies the Fire”, including some scene-for-scene remakes and Matheson aping Havel’s dark, witty sense of humor. One can even see some influence on the “Walking Dead” comics (and by extension, the television show), again with scenes that appear to be lifted directly from Stirling’s work.
Overall I would say it’s a great, fun, though often dark read, but the reader must be prepared for a little eye-rolling when the main characters win nearly every hand dealt to them with a wink and a shrug.[Top]