Book Review — Until The Last Dog Dies by Robbert Guffey

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

Robbert Guffey dives right into the field of stand up comedy with his science fiction novel, Until The Last Dog Dies, speculating a future devoid of humour. A virus has infected people’s ability to register or respond to humor, thereby threatening Elliot and his friends’ profession.

The premise of this novel is a fantastic one! I couldn’t have been more excited to read it. But sadly, I didn’t finish it. The initial couple of chapters weren’t gripping at all and try as I might, I couldn’t bring myself to push through till the very end. There were some scenes strung together that didn’t make sense to me and Elliot’s character didn’t help make matters better. All throughout the chapters, his thought process is all over the place and so the narrative digresses multiple times in a confusing manner. The writing style of the author is pretty articulate and does not heavily rely on dialogue. Apart from the writing style, the plot was something I really looked forward to. But when you are unable to connect with any of the characters in a book, it becomes a little difficult to keep reading.

Perhaps if you do finish reading it, you could let me know your thoughts about the book. But I tried a couple of times to get a grip on it and failed.

Rating –  1 out of 5 stars

What do you get out of it? Honestly, other than coming to terms with what it’s like to be a stand up comedian, I can’t highlight any plus-points within the chunk of the book that I read.

Thank you Ingram Publisher Services and Edelweiss for an e-galley in exchange for a review.

Advertisements

Book Review — Alex + Ada Volume 1 by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Alex + Ada is a graphic novel that is set in a world where humans and androids coexist. While humans are trying to maintain the upperhand by using the robots as servants or companions, the Nexaware Massacre drives them to the extremes and they establish the A.I Restrictions Act. Alex, suffering from a breakup, is appalled when his grandmother sends him a Tenaka X5 android.  After a lot of consideration, Alex decides to keep her and names her Ada. But soon, he grows frustrated with her inability to make choices by herself and her lack of individuality. This lands him on a rocky terrain filled with illegal intrigue and a companion who barely knows anything about herself.

I’ve been meaning to read this graphic novel for a long time and it has received a lot of good reviews on Booktube as well as Goodreads. The 1st issue was good but not great because it had a large chunk of technological information which in a way is necessary in order to set the foundation to the story. I did enjoy it. Alex’s grandmother is hilarious. Which sort of balanced out his glum mood. From the 2nd issue onwards, it gets progressively great. The story builds up and is played out at a good pace. I was glued to the novel and couldn’t stop reading it. The art work in the entire volume is splendid. It is not very colorful and yet the themes followed in a particular page gel together seamlessly. Alex’s friends didn’t seem all that surprised at seeing Ada. That reflects how normal it is, in the society, to have an Android at home.

I agree with a point that has been put across in the novel, which is that – humans want to A.I in order to make their lives easier, and then they are fed up of how “robotic” and “not human” these androids are. That idea conveys the double standards, that humans have, very accurately. One other thing that I really really liked about this novel is the space that has been created by the authors called Prime Space. It is a virtual reality that humans and androids can enter into and explore all sorts of places, games, forums etc. You’d be able to understand better if you read the graphic novel, which I suggest you do. Because it is so so good. I would definitely recommend it to all who like scifi. The plot is great, the art is wonderful. What’s not to like?

Ratings – 4 stars on 5

Meera

Book Review — Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

One of the most popular Gothic classics, Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde sets the mark for numerous psychological and literary studies. It is the story of a certain Mr. Hyde, cold and villainous who surfaces as a relative of the kind Dr. Jekyll, scientist extraordinaire.  When two old friends of Dr. Jekyll’s – Mr. Utterson and Dr. Lanyon – notice this absurd shift in the scientist’s demeanor, they take it upon themselves to solve the surrounding mystery about the newfound connection. Mr. Hyde’s appearance is marked by Dr. Jekyll’s tendency to become a recluse and maintain a distance from the public. This puzzling hide and seek of the two has Mr. Utterson completely befuddled. And what comes to his understanding makes the two friends wonder how Dr. Jekyll could have ventured into such uncharted territories.

A truly classic book, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde maintains its air of suspense from the very beginning. The dark and chilling atmosphere of the plot is reflected in the clime of its setting. The plot is splendid and thrilling. I would have rated the book higher if some of the content was more decipherable. At some instances I couldn’t understand what was going on. As in the author’s writing style was a little overwhelming at times. Dr. Jekyll is portrayed to be the responsible, amiable and skillful individual whereas Mr. Hyde is the exact opposite. He has no remorse for his actions, is very antisocial and not kind. I was aware that the book had something to do with split personalities but fortunately I hadn’t been spoiled with the details and so the climax did come off as a shock to me. I felt that while it was representative of the dual nature of man, this form of escapism was totally unnecessary. I understand that Dr. Jekyll, tired of always being the good guy, wanted to explore the other side for a change. But he didn’t have to invest in such a risky endeavor because that is playing with one’s life and not appreciating it as much as he ought. We all at times reach a point where our personalities change due to circumstances but I don’t believe that such a drastic change is needed to balance out the good and the bad within us. A must read classic of the epistolary kind, this book envelopes you with its stunningly eerie tone and ending.

Ratings – 3 stars on 5.

Meera

 

Book Review — The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman

This story takes us back to the narrator’s childhood days which were filled with horrors and revelations too mature for a 7 year old. As the eldest of two siblings, the narrator often found himself completely alone, and so would preoccupy himself with books. When a lodger commits suicide in his father’s car, a portal of darkness descends over him. Monsters unheard of take over his simplistic world. Driven to an extreme sense of despondence by his parents refusal to believe him and the suffocating dominion of the creature, he knows not a way out. But to his relief, as with any good story, he soon finds his savior in the form of his next door neighbors – the Hempstock women. With the help of Lettie Hempstock, the narrator assumes the role of a brave, tactical individual, ready to face every monstrosity that comes their way.  Gaiman’s writing is spellbinding as he weaves instances of the past coupled with creatures that bring despair.

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This is my second Neil Gaiman book and it was brilliant from the start. Albeit told from the POV of a 7 year old, mind you its not a children’s book. We don’t get a name for the narrator throughout the book and you’d think that such an essential detail being missed out is a major bother. But its not. You can still connect with the protagonist because all the emotions he goes through are so relatable. There is a kind of peculiarity in this book, that I found to be quite normal. The boy’s relationship with his parents or sister isn’t very great and which the creature ultimately exploits. The Hempstock women are his life-jackets; his one and only reprieve from all the chaos.

The best thing about this book is its magical nature; everything that goes on can be interpreted in numerous ways. The Ocean, I felt was a metaphor for that earthly body from which we all rise and to which, one day, we shall depart. It is that regenerative source of energy which heals us. It is this very ocean that proves useful in the story. The creatures could have been spurred on by his imagination or could stand for something else. There was so much going on, some concepts took a little understanding, others were a breeze. The narrator’s sense of loneliness was so palpable. I wished he had some support from his family. The creature’s logic and reason are explored in the plot too. Every bit of the book was fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Give it a try. It is one of the best books I have read this year.

Ratings – 5 stars on 5.

Meera

Book Review — The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass

I’m going to review the trilogy and not each book particularly cause there’s so much going on in each of them.


In this New World Order tale, The Selection is every girl’s dream. Or atleast, almost everyone. America Singer was never one to swoon over the prince-to-be Maxon and his royal stature. Her feelings are for another – Aspen. Belonging to the lower ranks of society, America and Aspen have had eyes for each other since a long time. But girls aren’t permitted to have a relationship with those below their castes. So Aspen and America find bliss in their stolen moments, secretly hiding in a tree house whenever they can manage to get away from chores. Before their story could progress further we see how America’s fate turns her nothing-spectacular life all topsy-turvy. She gets Selected to be one of the 35 girls who are chosen as potential brides for Maxon. It’s nothing like she expected, but America might as well go with the flow and make the best of it. After all, all the girls’ families are paid sufficiently and amidst the competition, she has no hope of making it to the next round. Surely Maxon will call her out on her rudeness and downright contempt of the higher castes.

As labyrinth-like as the castle is, America’s stay there is even more bewildering. From easing into the fancy rooms to a close bond with Maxon, she loses track of how rapidly situations are changing. Soon an unexpected arrival at the palace questions America’s feelings towards The Selection, Maxon and Aspen. Unable to make head or tail of it, she is caught between a whirlwind of love, friendship and destiny.

A society, divided into ranks based on occupation and ruled by a monarch is played out to the best interest of the readers in the book. And the plight of the lower castes are portrayed as being worse than that of a criminal. The Selection isn’t a compulsion but most families end up signing their girls  for the monetary benefits and a chance to live the regal life. I really liked America’s family. Her dad is so understanding and even though her mom nags a lot, she has her best interest at heart. What she has with Aspen is sort of like puppy love but towards they end, both of them become far more mature and self-reliant.

I’d like to say that America doesn’t get along well with the King cause her opinions and actions endanger everything the monarch family stands for. And often she challenges their laws by taking matters into her own hands in a very rebellious, headstrong manner. Those moments were absolutely delightful to read and I was constantly cheering her on. Also her friendship with Marlee, one of the other girls, goes way beyond any competition. You’d think that girls who are competing to be the Queen would all be scheming behind one another’s back, but these two have been loyal and terrific companions since the beginning. The ending was sort of odd, how everything wrapped up in a jiffy. But nevertheless, I liked the trilogy so so much! A must read for all fantasy, dystopian readers.

Ratings – 4 stars on 5.

Mia.

Book Review – Scapemaker by Steve Cypert

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would actually be able to go through the entire book (initially). The first couple of chapters were a little slow paced for my liking. But I couldn’t be more glad for not putting it down. It has been one of my best reads in early 2013. The plot is so enriching and imaginative, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. For those of us, who associate the “paranormal” with either vampires or werewolves or such – we will definitely begin to reconsider and rethink the vast horizons of the supernatural world.

Scapemaker is the first book in the series and follows the life of Matthew Namely, as he tries to cope with a parallel universe – the dream world. Where all just seems to be a mind game, but actually is as much a part of reality as himself.  A sudden dire circumstance leads to Matthew questioning himself as well as those around him. What he considered true was far from it. When part of your identity was always concealed and you were bought up under false pretences, what is a teen-aged boy  to do?
Creatures so unimaginable, it leaves you mind-boggled in an attempt to process their existence.Night walkers, Sand sleepers, Soul feeders , Skin walkers, Dreamscapers, Imagi, dragons and so much more! :O
Kudos to the author for crafting all this from scratch, it is truly an awe-inspiring deed! Matthew is a very likable character. And the bonding with his mother is just so adorable! Daedree and Amber add equal doses of girly drama and help keep up the love-triangle. Hunter is just a BIG PAIN IN THE A** and more than once, I have wanted to kick him hard! I mean talk about bad timing! Can’t he just leave Matthew alone?! Well, technically speaking, no, cause he is the villian. But still… The whole plot is soo different than anything I’ve EVER read which just doubles the excitement and anxiety.Its a very articulately written book. As I said before, the first couple of chapters were a little slow, only to cusion the impact of the forthcoming fast paced chapters (and to make them more understandable). Its like collecting all the pieces of a puzzle. Only when you have them all, can you understand the bigger picture. 🙂

Well I could just go on and on, its that good! Oh, and I just realized something – this book has so effectively held my attention I totally didn’t realize I just finished a book of 519 pages so fast! I didn’t realize I was on the last page and in that instant I was so shocked and wanting more. 😥 Its cruel to have to wait till the 2nd book comes out. But anyway,  let Mr.Cypert work his magic even more amazingly! 😛
That’s all folks! I hope (for your sake) that you give it a try, if you haven’t already! You wont be disappointed! NEVER! 😀

Rating – a GAZILLION stars out of 5! 😉 is that allowed? Well, never mind, you get the point!

-Spreading the Bookish Love.
Mia