[779]: Silent History by Eli Horowitz, et al.

I was under the impression that this book is a horror. But as the chapters flew by, it quickly become clearer that it was more Sci-Fi than anything. I enjoy Sci-Fi/horror anyway, and since I don’t have very many of those, I’m always game to dive in. However, I felt that this book went way too long for my taste and it didn’t have the sustainability to keep a reader like me.

In here, we find a generation of children without voice and no means of communication. It was as if they were born without that part of their brain. Parents, doctors, scientists were confounded. The children can’t speak, and unable to make any sounds at all. They were shunned by other children who can speak, treated as if they were mentally handicapped. But the worst part of all was that they were vulnerable to predators. Case in point, a kid who was abducted while shopping in a mall when he couldn’t scream for help.

Told in part as chronicles of testimonials, The Silent History contains a world whose ability to communicate vastly changed. Half of the world spoke in a telepathic manner but was not taught and can’t be learned. Though this book is 500-some odd pages, I found myself racing through 50% of it. It was a fascinating world, one where half the population scrambled to learn about a new kind of language all together.

However, it doesn’t take time until I found myself lost — not in the story, but literally lost. The plot quickly becomes convoluted. With the discovery of nanotechnology that enabled the children to speak, the Science of it all complicated what was an otherwise absorbing story. And as the cure was slowly introduced, so were the factions that contributed to the chaos. It was harder to keep track of the number of points of views — and there were many.

The cure, while great on the surface, became a bone of contention for some parents and the government. After the kid was saved from the sexual predator that kidnapped him, the government instituted a law that aimed to protect children under the age of 6. They made it a law to have all outfitted with the cure. And while I can understand why the parents would want their kids to have the ability to speak, I also saw why some parents were against it. In essence, the cure would invariably change their children into different people altogether. Some chose to let the children decide for themselves as adults.

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[717]: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Waking Gods
by Sylvain Neuvel


Ten years after the end of Sleeping Giants, Themis finds herself in the company of one of her kind. The giant robot appeared in London; dauntingly unmoving and ominously observing. If the scientists, led by Dr. Rose Franklin, concluded that Themis was left behind to protect mankind, this visitor immediately proved it was there for a wholly different reason. After it pulverized the greater part of London, Earth Defense Corps scrambles to find a way to defeat what’s coming. Especially when they appear almost simultaneously in densely populated cities all over the world.

Easily one of my favorite reads in 2017, y’all. I don’t know what to say. It was just as riveting as Sleeping Giants, if not more so. The narrative style remained consistent and though it may seem a bit verbose at times, it was far from dry. Suffused with light humor and an uncannily matter-of-fact style of story-telling, Neuvel once again presents a Sci-Fi story “for the masses”.

If you haven’t read Sleeping Giants, I should tell you that the books are written in an interview format; a dialogue of sorts between characters and an unknown interviewer. It’s how we become acquainted with the characters; get a first-hand account of the nuances of the story, and how we discover all the mysteries of the alien robots that once roamed the Earth. The author was a fan of the epistolary style of writing even at a tender age when he first read Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The story of how his debut novel exploded is actually quite spectacular. From not being able to find a publisher to having a few film companies on a bidding war for the film rights in a span of a month, his’ was a Cinderella story for the ages.

In this installment, we find out that the unearthing of Themis was a summoning of sorts and have more or less gave credence to what we’ve known about Themis’ role as the humankind’s protectors. Themis mightily stood against the aggressors for a price. As in any epic battles, there were victories and losses. The weapons these robots unleashed were catastrophic and somewhat of a learning lesson for Themis’ minders.

Waking Gods was an exhilarating installment. The author is not a fan of cliff changers and unneccessary prolonging the series for devious reasons. He answers all the questions and ends a book in a way that doesn’t leave his readers sleepless for nights on end. In fact, he presented us with a batch of new questions in Waking Gods, answered them and gave us a closure of sorts. As for what’s coming in the third book, let’s just say we’re headed to the final frontier. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

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[712]: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

A futuristic nightmare that challenges a reader’s view on immortality.


Scythe
by Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman’s brand new series depicts a future where immortality is now a reality. There’s no cancer, no communicable diseases or otherwise.  The body is healed using nano technology. You can die, sure. You can even kill yourself many times over. But in this world, humans have the ability to bring you back to life. Not in a zombie form, and no life-altering side effects of any kind. You’ll be resuscitated to exactly how you were before you died. The downside to this world is overpopulation. Since people can reinvent themselves in all sense of the word, many can live for hundreds of years.

This is where Scythes come in. They are in charge of culling the population (permanently, that is). They are harbingers of death, harvesters of the living. Some decide how you die and some compassionate ones let you pick your own poison, so to speak. They are feared and revered in equal measure. How they decide who to die is a gray area, however.  To some, the selection is based purely upon the wiles of the administering Scythe.

Scythe Faraday has his own method; in a way that’s almost scientific and based on statistics.   He might be detached from the task but he took the time to render compassionate death.

Becoming one is, of course, not that easy. The first rule of being a candidate is that you must not want to be Scythe. When the thought of being one repulses you. Unfortunate for Citra and Rowan, really. Because they both share the same revulsion. Under Faraday’s tutelage, they’ll learn to develop killing with empathy and compassion (if such a thing exists). They’ll also learn how to distance themselves from the task that each and every culling doesn’t make them want to turn the blade unto themselves.

Predictably, this kind of power elicits a voracious hunger for more. And in this installment, you’ll meet a group who enjoys mass killing/killing a little too much. The bloodier, the better.  So not all Scythes are like Faraday. Citra and Rowan will also find out exactly how competitive apprentices are during their first conclave attendance. The differing ideologies and politics create the kind of dangerous division that can only mean even more disastrous and bloody deaths for humankind.

As a Shusterman newbie, it’s easy to see why his Unwind series has such a cult following.  Unfortunately, I can’t say much about the world he conceptualized here because I felt it was the barest minimum as far as world-building goes.  But the ingenious plotting won me over. His characters are memorable; strong-willed and full of conviction.  They are thrust into the world where people’s lives rest unto their hands – quite literally. And whether they like it or not, they had to heed the call. However, I had a problem with how easily they performed the tasks considering how extreme their aversion was for killing people.

Scythe explores the subject of humanity in a way that asks if we’re still humans if we’re unable to die. Suicide had become an extreme sport of sorts for the adventurous bearing no repercussions whatsoever. This is a brutal, dark world where people are held hostage by their fears, waiting for the swing of the scythe to strike. It’s quiet, with bursts of action and gallows humor in its midst. A great intro to what promises to be an addictive series.

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[672]: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

25733990 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files, #1
Del Ray | April 26th, 2016
Source: Bought
Science Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?


A Disembodied Hand

The novel starts off with an 11-year-old Rose taking her brand new bike for a test run but soon found herself exploring on foot off the beaten path. Then she fell in a hole to a giant metal hand thousands of years old where her father and the firemen found her. The story speeds up 17 years later when Rose grew up to be a physicist at the University of Chicago. As if the fate of hand (pun intended) was playing a cosmic joke, she’s then tasked to head up the group that will uncover all its secrets.

Parts of a Whole

Narrated in forms of interviews, Sleeping Giants tells the story about the discovery of a robot created for reasons yet to be determined. Rose Franklin believes it to be of alien origin because it’s constructed from a rare metal that can’t be found on Earth in abundance.  She knew other parts of the giant robot’s body were buried somewhere. But finding the pieces isn’t going to be a walk in the park. They’d have to extend their search outside the United States which means they’d have to conduct their searches covertly and without triggering a war against other nations.

How Do You Work This Thing?

Once assembled, mobilizing it wasn’t easy either as it takes a lot of skills and the correct anatomy. Its legs can only be moved if the person in control can somehow break their kneecaps so they’re facing backward. The language barrier was also a problem. They needed someone with enough intelligence to decipher the codes. Then the helmets. The helmets are made specifically for people with the right genetics code so operating the thing is not as easy as training someone.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

The robot absorbs energy and vaporizes everything around it once engaged. It’s technologically advanced, years and years far ahead. Man’s infinite curiosity for the unknown will prove to be disastrous in this instance. Our uncanny ability to use, abuse, and misuse new technology has been predominantly on the side of catastrophe. So of course, they’d bungled this one, too.

There was a lot of ethical dilemmas that Neuvel tackled here. The unknown interviewer, who also happens to be the master puppeteer of this endeavor holds great power and influence which he exerted in every way possible. In a way, he reminded me of Nick Fury (sorry, been watching way too many Avengers movies lately). Anyway, Nick Fury straddles the line of good and evil. But he’s the perfect example of someone who’s a true believer in the adage, “the end justifies the means”. He will do everything in his power to preserve any weaponry discovered under SHIELDS – even manipulation. So Neuvel presents an interesting conundrum for the readers. In one way, such a technical and weaponry advancement could bring about stability. Its presence alone is a threat in itself that nations would think twice about antagonizing another. On the other hand, such unstudied, volatile power could potentially be catastrophic if misused.

The Short Of It All

I used to have this thing against Sci-Fi. Lately, though, I’ve been finding myself drawn to this genre for some odd reason. I suppose it helps that Sleeping Giants was far from dry, and the ingenious narrative sped up the story considerably. It’s Science-heavy at times but it doesn’t bog the readers down with textbook jargon. The characters are not lacking in personality even though we don’t get to see them outside of the roles that they play – which to me, was brilliant.

Learning about the giant was a curious thing. Neuvel’s writing has the uncanny ability to convinced his readers that they’ve got a vested interest in learning everything they could about the giant – its origin, mechanics, and its abilities. I was enthralled. I got excited every time a new found knowledge came about.

Sleeping Giants opens up the Themis Files series brilliantly. It’s a Sci-Fi for the masses; addictive and entertaining. Neuvel simplified a lot of the Science related aspect of the novel which aided to the smooth as silk reading experience. And with an ending like that, you know I’ll be out there picking up the installment on release day.

 

 

 

 

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[666]: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

27833670 Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Random House Canada | July 26th, 2016
Science Fiction | Suspense
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.


Novels with parallel universe typically confuse me. I spend a lot of time trying to follow the thread of each story lines. It’s a complicated subject that I more often than not, usually stay away from. I don’t know what it was that attracted me to this book. But when Penguin Random House Canada sent me an email, my curiosity won out and I requested a copy.

The story begins with a married couple whom on the surface, looks content. One is a professor teaching college level Physics and his wife, a former artist who is also a teacher. Their lives couldn’t be further from what they imagined them to be. But they could not admit the regrets of the choices they’ve made. See, Jason Dessen was once a brilliant Physicist on the cusp discovering something big; and his wife, Daniella was an artist on the verge of stardom. When she got pregnant with their son, they’ve made a choice to forgo their dreams and focus on the family they’re about to become. During the course of their marriage, Jason couldn’t help but think about how different their lives would’ve been. And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, Jason got his answer when he was abducted, beaten and woke up in a facility he doesn’t know and a life that wasn’t his.

So this was unexpected. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy a Sci-Fi such as Dark Matter, but it happened. And with all the versions of Jason’s I had to sift through, it was a wonder how I didn’t end up screaming for the hills. It has a very interesting concept. One that involves a lot of Science I’d rather not bore you with. Basically, it’s about a guy who has an evil version of himself that invented this cube that can take him to different worlds – universes that had an infinite number of Jason’s. He had to find his home but each door leads to terrifying versions of his realities. I was terrified for him and had to constantly fight off the urge to skip ahead just to see whether or not he made it home. With every turn of the page, you’ll see every conceivable versions of the worlds dictated by his thoughts before jumping into the “box”. It was a heart stopping torture.

Dark Matter could easily have been confusing especially when the author chose a seemingly omniscient narrator to tell the story. With all the versions of Jason running around, it was tough to make sense of what was happening sometimes. But if you’re fully vested in the story, it wouldn’t be so bad. I like that this Sci-Fi has a heart. You’ll feel for the Jason that was lost and one who was willing to sacrifice himself just so his wife and his son can have a future and a life without having to worry about being hunted all their lives. I also like that no matter how technical Crouch can be at times, it wasn’t all that clinical or sterile like most of the Sci-Fis I’ve read so far. I didn’t have a hard time understanding all the thingamajigs and such. Overall, Dark Matter is easily a 2016 favorite. Multiverse trope isn’t a new thing to Sci-Fi, but for once, I didn’t have to work too hard to understand all its idiosyncrasies.

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[639]: The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

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The City of Mirrors

by Justin Cronin


I’ve only recently discovered this series – in February to be exact. I found a hardback at a flea market last summer, but I didn’t really pick it up until the audiobook went on sale in February of this year. It was the kind of book that had me instantly hooked. So of course, I had to listen to the next one soon after. My feelings didn’t change. In fact, I think I was even more in love with the second one. The third and final book took four years to write so if you’ve been a fan since the first book came out, I can only sympathize. But I can tell you that I can relate if you’re having a hard time writing what you felt after everything is said and done.

the story

Years after The Twelve has been destroyed, humanity attempts to build a life outside the walls that had protected them from the virals. There’d been no signs of them, no attacks since The Twelve has been killed. Complacent, but otherwise determined, the humans decided to test the waters outside the walls.

In New York, Zero’s plans once again rid the world of humanity begins with someone who had helped defeat The Twelve. This time, he’s driven by revenge. Amy and Carter lay in wait while a pocket of humans prepares for war once again. This is the last stand; the war that could definitively end a century of darkness. Or the war that could start it all over again.

the burden of reviewing the passage series

And so we come to the end of this wonderful series. An end that was daunting, breath-taking, and bittersweet. A story spanning a century and generations of survivors but with one common denominator: the one that saved humanity from complete annihilation. Reading these books truly is a labor of love. You need patience because the books are heavier than your average novel. Shedding all your presumptions about the vampire lore is also a requirement. There are no coffins, and no crosses to save your soul. In a way that the vampire lore has been romanticized over the years, Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy reinvented the myth and gave it a biological origin with a bit of theology thrown into the mix.  It’s the ultimate good vs. evil; angels and demons. But prayers can’t save you in this dimension.

This book was everything I hoped for, but somehow not enough. The ending should’ve given me a sense of resolution and acceptance but it didn’t. That’s not to say it was a bad series-ender. It isn’t. That’s not even possible, in my opinion. Justin Cronin is a master story teller. Each book was perfectly conceptualized and intricately plotted. It’s been a while since I’ve been awed by a series with this caliber. And I tell you, I’ve read quite a few 5-star reads in the past.  As I sit here and try to put my thoughts into words, I’ve been thinking about how vastly unfair my book rating has been. Because there are 5-star reads, and then there’s Justin Cronin’s books. It’s a whole another level of greatness.

 

 

 

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[627]: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

13281368 Double Day Canada | October 16th, 2012
Paperback, 568 pp.
Adult Fiction | Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
GOODREADS | CHAPTERS | AMAZON


The end of The Passage left most of the characters in variations of unresolved situations. For the most part, we knew the ones who aren’t coming back. As for the rest, short of keeping a nightly vigil, the most that we could offer for was hope. Hope that all the heartbreaks, struggles, and sacrifices weren’t all for naught. But let’s be real.  When the enemy is as formidable as The Twelve and their familiars, one can’t help but lose all hope. Admittedly, there was only one thing I was dying to see:  the direction of where Amy and Peter’s relationship would be. Well, all I can say is, the situation is about as clear as mud. And I really wish that there is something good waiting for them in The City of Mirrors.

So in this book, we await the promised eventual demise of The Twelve. For lack of a better word, they are the “forefathers” of the vampires or virals that ravaged humanity. The theory is, kill The Twelve and the rest of the infected will perish. So Amy’s army split up in the beginning of the book to hunt them down. In the meantime, Alicia’s abilities are changing. She’s becoming more attuned to the undead; she’s hearing them more clearly and communicating with them in ways that Amy was only able to do in the beginning. And whatever changes she’s going through, Amy can also sense the same within her.

The Twelve is an extension of its predecessor; in such a way that it went back to the early days of the contagion and what happened to some characters which a lot of us have probably written off as dead and gone. Characters like Lila – Wolgast’s ex-wife and how she somehow blocked everything that happened as the world was thrown into chaos. But if you think their stories are an attempt to prolong an unnecessary sequel, you might want to guess again. Without giving away too much of the story, these sub-characters will have a direct and indirect impact to the world a hundred years into the future. Justin Cronin once again showed us how particular he was in plotting this story. To go back and forth between times and characters is painstaking work, but he did it in such a way that it didn’t leave the plot in a soggy, dogged mess.

For a time, I was worried by the absence of virals killing humans. With every turn of the page, I kept waiting for a massacre to come. It turns out, the virals have found an innovative way to torture and maim what’s left of mankind. In a compound in Iowa, a government of hybrid virals has learned to make slaves and meals out of humans. Fittingly, the showdown between The Twelve and Amy will happen here. And it’s not without fatal cost to Amy’s friends.

I can never recommend this series enough. I know it’s probably a bit more verbose than you’re used to, but trust me when I say all the word vomit is essential. It’s a struggle to review because there are so many facets to the story that I can never cover. But if you find yourself in a position to wallow in a book for a week, you should start this series.

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[625]: Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

22816087 HarperCollins | May 19th, 2015
Hardcover, 867 pages
Adult Fiction | Science Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
CHAPTERS | AMAZON


What would happen if the world were ending?

A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain…

Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven distinct races now three billion strong — embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown … to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.


When I first started my very own minimalism movement, I made a list of things I needed to tackle: 3 closets, 4 toy boxes, a wall-to-wall bookshelf, bedrooms, and a number of bathroom sinks. As the list got longer, I felt daunted. It got worse when I was faced with the debacle that was my bookshelf. I don’t quite know what to do. It was a mess of books to keep, books to give away. When it was all laid out in stacks before me, I wanted to put them all back and forget about the whole thing. I took a break. Stepped back and imagined the big picture. I was coasting after that.

Seveneves is that kind of read. First of all, it’s a monster of a book, a Sci-Fi of all things. Which means, my brain was fried by the end of the first chapter. I’ve never fully committed myself to reading something as elaborately plotted as this book. But once I gave myself some time to think about it, I realize the feat of what I was able to accomplish. Seveneves is a story that spanned thousands of years into the future. It is jam-packed with space jargon. So much so that I would dare suggest it’s the closest thing to a Rocket Science textbook as I’m going to get. The most significant thing of all is that it’s a story completely lacking in human emotion. It’s dry and sterile – and just like every other Sci-Fi books I’ve ever read. Only more involved. So did I enjoy this book? Surprisingly enough, yes. Yes, I did.

This book has quite a good hook: “The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason.” And just like that, the human race was on the clock to save whom and what they can before Earth is engulfed in hellfire. Bits and pieces of moon rock debris will create a hard rain of high-velocity ammunition destined to destroy life, as we know it. In the meantime, a space ark meant to sustain life into the future will carry a select number of astronomers, scientists, and members of the general population needed for the human race to go on.

Life in space is frightful enough as it is. But if you add politics and ego to the mix, you have less of a chance of life evolving into something better than what you’ve known. That’s exactly what happened. The space ark is built into little arklets that can break apart in case of damage. So when some of the population rebelled, they didn’t think about the consequences of their actions. Humans, even the educated ones, become stupid when they’re led by egos. Water is scarce, food as well. The onset of space dementia accelerates. Populations quickly lessen from a few hundred to less than twenty. Where is the hope for humanity now?

Thankfully, there were few level headed scientists who knew what needed to be done. And this is where the title of the book comes into play. I’m not going to say anymore because that’s part of the charm of this book. It made me wonder if the author built a story around his fondness for this palindrome. In which case, I’ll come out and say, brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Even though I had to get past 600-some odd pages before the title was explained, the journey to get there was torturous fun.

Seveneves is an exhaustive tale of the human race’s resilience no matter the odds. Where it gives us hope that we will go on, it’s also a sad revelation of our tendency to destroy each other at will. Be advised, the author is quite fond of long narratives. I would say it’s best to listen to the audio book, but even that nearly put me to sleep.

 

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[611]: The Passage by Justin Cronin

6690798 GOODREADS SUMMARY
Series: The Passage, #1
Ballantine Books | Hardcover, 766 pages
Publication Date: June 10th, 2010
Adult Fiction | Horror, Thriller
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her.

As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.


This book was unbelievably good. At first, I was a little intimidated by its heft and I wasn’t quite sure what the book was about. The synopsis does not offer much. All I can infer was it was a book about a contagion that started in a lab gone wrong. Soon it will be revealed that the creatures were vampires in essence. They are strong and fast. They hunger for human blood. But while Vlad the Impaler didn’t make an appearance, another equally sinister and dubious “creator” was present and accounted for.

Apocalyptic novels and films usually begin in two ways: one, man can’t leave things well enough alone so they go to remote places of the world to find an artifact of great value – not for wealth, but indulgence. But since they don’t know enough about the artifact’s history, they will inadvertently unearth a curse or in this case, a creature that’s been left sleeping in peace until they wake it from its slumber. Second, mankind’s greed for power and domination over their kind that leads them to trouble time and time again. They create a biological weapon out of conceit. Unleashing an irreversible devastation that none of them would have the chance to defeat because it will overpower any kind of weaponry known to mankind.

The Passage started as it should. The end of the world rooted to man’s boundless greed and ambition. The U.S. government employed the help of a Harvard microbiologist to create a breed of super soldiers in an effort to staunch the terrorist attacks that have been happening more on U.S. soil. They infected twelve convicts on death row to become a race of soldiers of great strength, agility and endurance. But the experiment backfires, plunging the world into darkness, chaos, and death; bringing the human population to near extinction.

THE THIRTEENTH

The thirteenth infected was a child of six. Amy was abandoned by her mother at a convent in the care of Sister Lacey. She was a quiet child who saw things and felt things that any adult person would be scared of. Although Amy didn’t turn into a monster, she’s become something else altogether. She will age slowly; she doesn’t get hurt easily. And she’s somehow able to form a mental connection with The Twelve and the millions of people that are infected. She will play an important role in saving what’s left of humanity.

THE FIRST COLONY

A hundred years later, only 94 people survived in a Fort Knox-like community (or so they thought). Vampires, as the myth goes, cannot survive in the daylight. So by eliminating nights altogether, this pocket of civilization managed to avoid the millions of vampires roaming the Earth. But it will not last. Their power source is dwindling.  In an effort to find another source of power, a group of people was sent out on an expedition that will mark the beginning of the end for the people in the sanctuary.

WHY YOU SHOULD READ IT

If you’re in the mood for a good SciFi-Paranormal hybrid, this is the perfect book to spend a few of your days reading. I listened to this on audio and read my copy whenever I can. It was the type of book that will consume you until you ache for the next one. In some ways, the world was what you will expect from a post-apocalyptic novel: desolate, scary, sparse, destroyed. But where Cronin spent a lot of time on was in his characters.

If you’ve ever read or seen The Stand by Stephen King, it is somewhat similar. There are religious undertones, but not too much. Just enough to know that the good always wins over evil. The US government named their project, Project Noah based on the Biblical story about an ark he built to survive the flood. Though I’m still not sure which of the two was the ark: Peter or Amy.

Justin Cronin is a brilliant writer. He took pains in building his characters and story. It’s the type of book where everything matters – every sentence, every phrase, every single punctuation.  He didn’t leave a stone unturned, or a plot arch left unexplored. For days, and nights this book consumed me. And I don’t regret a single moment of it.

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[597]: Winter by Marissa Meyer

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Winter by Marissa Meyer


And so this is the end. The end of a series that I’ve followed and loved since the first book came out. Books that I’ve loved progressively so with each instalment and with whom I’ve realised that yes, I still can enjoy fairy tales. It’s hard to say goodbye, but all good things must come to an end.

MEYER IS A MONSTER

A brilliant one – with a propensity for torturing her readers to the point of madness that we had no choice but to assume the foetal position and suck our thumbs. I know I did. Because I kid you not, that’s how I felt for about 95% of this 800-page beast. Every page had the potential for heartache due to unimaginable horrors in store for our beloved characters. The suspense on whether or not Cinder will succeed in her quest to overthrow Levana only amped up the anxiety level to unbearable heights. She and her cohorts have had to work extra hard to convince the people from the outer sectors to join in her revolution, but it’s such a difficult thing to do considering how far-reaching Levana’s and her Thaumaturge’s powers were. Besides the fact that the people of Luna were a defeated and demoralised lot, I remained unconvinced that Levana would, could be defeated.

TOO MUCH, YET NOT ENOUGH

Because this last book was supposed to be about Princess Winter, it was both a disappointment and a relief to find that only about a significant amount of this epic instalment was about her story. Not as much as I originally expected it to be, anyway. Winter’s is a sad story arch. Because she’d suppressed her powers of persuasion, her mind was slowly deteriorating into madness. Meyer gave Snow White justice. From the time her Hunstman (Jacin) was ordered to kill her, to when she found kinship amongst the wolves (the dwarves), right up to when Levana impersonated herself to give her a form of poison, Marissa threaded Winter’s story so flawlessly into this final instalment.

Though it may feel like the 800 pages was a bit long, I promise you that you will not notice the passing of time. In some instances, I felt like I was not reading fast enough or I read it too fast that I had to go back. In the end, and as in most cases where you’ve waited so long for a book, you’ll be warring with your emotions. Mostly, you’ll come to an unresolved conclusion on whether you wanted more or you’ve had enough.

IN RETROSPECT

I understand now why we had to wait so long for this instalment. The amount of plotting and replotting required to give birth to this book must’ve cost her blood, sweat and tears. I know it’s not perfect – no book ever is. But this is pretty much close to perfection. You know that blinding disorientation you feel after leaving the theatre? That’s how I felt after closing this book. A little dazed, a little unsure of how to go on about my mundane life.


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Feiwel & Friends | November 10th, 2015 | Hardcover, 827 pp. | Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


 

 

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