Story content and plot in The End of Eternity were very interesting to me. At first I found the idea of eternity and how it works rather confusing and the story seemed slow. It does become easier and more clear as the details are discussed. I loved the ethical implications that come to mind as you learn more about this entity. I especially enjoyed how Asimov doesn't blatantly point out these issues because he evidently assumes your intelligence. But it's not just intellectual, it also has plenty of action.
The End of Eternity feels like it should be broken into acts like a stage play. The main character goes through several shifts in his behavior and viewpoint and the story also takes a few big turns. The main male characters are wonderfully detailed and flawed. Asimov did an excellent job of filling out the characters but never lets you be quite sure of their motivations. The scenes where the main character has a mental break was so well-described, I could totally understand a man doing the crazy stuff he does.
The female character is a ridiculous mix of 70's free-love hippie and 50's subservient housewife. It was like a man wrote a female character from only watching tv shows. Then you have an aha moment that makes you realize Asimov has some serious skills.
The narrator took some adjusting to but I found his style very familiar to other sci-fi cannon narration.
I previously read this author’s book “Before I Fall” and found I really enjoyed her writing style but was disappointed in the book’s lack of interesting turns. The author has a skill that you rarely see in YA authors. She uses quite a few metaphors and similes, which I felt built mood and ambiance without being distracting. I was much happier with the Delirium series as it’s a dystopia and thus delves into more interesting content.
Of course, one must note that there are many many YA dystopias out there with a brave young woman and her love interest. But I felt the focus of the book wasn't so much on this relationship but all relationships the heroine has. How does the love cure affect how others interact with you? How do parents treat their children and spouses? You start to see the domino affect in a society with no affection and the author contrasts this with uncured children and the rare uncured adult.
One of the things I enjoyed about the world of this dystopia is that it felt like a very believable near future. I can absolutely see our society going down a path like this “for the greater good.” With domestic drones and brain research in the news this week it felt very close.
I also enjoyed what I considered a nod to Huxley’s “Brave New World” by making Shakespeare and other works of literature banned (or used as cautionary tale) and also the limiting of music. Another world-building concept I felt worked well was how each chapter begins with excerpts from their manual for society rules and new religion.
About a third of the book focuses partially on building your affection for the main characters then about the last third is very action-packed. I found in general, though, the book pulls you forward plot-wise as you know the main character is quickly approaching a procedure that will make her into a socially-approved drone. This series does delve into some violence when people don’t toe the line, but it won’t be as shocking as Mazerunner or Divergent so expect a more believable version of the future.
While in the first book they had mostly just one narrator, in this one they have several and that made sense for a style difference (and they got some good familiar voices!). The book is divided up into quite a few perspectives but it doesn't come across as annoying. There's quite a bit of build-up in the book for you to get to know the children that have been created by the originals. It is interesting to see how their different perspectives contributed to what type of children they made (human or not) and what methods were used in their child-rearing. It's not really until pretty close to the end that much happens though. Since it's such a short book that didn't really bother me. But I do see this mostly as a book that forwards the plot but, besides some shocking action parts, didn't really reveal much. I did enjoy the book and love how Sagan can write different types of people so well. Now the question is - can he close the deal?
At the beginning of this book, Endymion says that this story is not meant to answer – what happened to the book three characters? Don't be dismayed! You will certainly learn pretty much everything you want to know about the universe and your favorite characters.
There isn't as much action in four as in three. The first half suffered from some slow bits where Simmons gives you probably more information than you need about planets and politics from the Pax folks. I was more tolerant of the slow parts that involved Aenea’s teachings as much of it revealed a lot of interesting info on The Core. In general I feel that Simmons’ pacing didn’t flow well in the first half. It was perfect in the remainder of the book. I think perhaps the stem of the problem is Simmons’ desire to wrap everything up and satisfy your curiosity about the Hyperion universe.
Thankfully once things start to happen it’s an engrossing read including all those crazy clones, our favorite Shrike monster, and many characters we’ve enjoyed in the previous books. I appreciated the interactions of Catholicism, Buddhism, Pax Church, and The Core. All sorts of interesting concepts are explored. You even find out how The Core was created and what those cruciforms really are. And of course some beautiful poetry is included.
The most interesting aspect of this book is Aenea and The Strike’s ability to move through time. It brings about all sorts of interesting prospects for plot timeline. But more importantly, exploring what it would be like for Aenea and Raul to live a life connected to this variable. It actually makes things pretty convenient for the author.
It is unusual to be able to give a high rating to the book that ends a beloved series. I felt very good about Simmons’ wrap-up of the series. Aenea’s story is satisfactorily resolved and you know the general trajectory of others. Thankfully authors of this genre don’t feel the need for unbelievable happy endings. I highly recommend this series.
Lauren Oliver is really a joy to read. Her skill level is definitely higher than I've come to expect from YA authors. I also was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of these books which are narrated by the very excellent Sarah Drew. She especially shined in this book doing both Hana and Lena's voices.
This book has the perspectives of both Hana and Lena. Usually this method doesn't work well but for this story particularly it was great. We get to see the unraveling from the resistances' side and also the cured side. It was especially interesting to me to see how Hana changed after the cure as this concept was intriguing to me from the beginning.
You still have a love-triangle technically in this book but I was okay with it due to the personality change in Alex for the last two books. It's an interesting foil. I also appreciated that there wasn't a lot of make-out scenes. She focused on the real story here - the desire for the freedom to choose.
Female YA authors often can't close the deal on the story. Although I felt it was obvious how the series would end, it was neat to see the details and think about the ramifications on the society. And no epilogue yea! She doesn't feel the need to lay out exactly where things will go but there's enough hints to leave you satisfied.
The next installation in the Delirium series and I'm still really enjoying the story. The previous book ends with the possible death of the main character's love interest, which was brutal. I'm so lucky to not have to wait for the series to be written!
I was somewhat frustrated by the first part of the book. The part where they are held as hostages felt drawn out. This author shines when faced with ambiance descriptions so a chunk of the book being inside a room wasn't that interesting. I understand that she was trying to show how the relationship between the two grows but I didn't feel it was that successful.
The rest of the book pacing was excellent. I enjoyed the fast-paced escape scenes and the rescue scenes. I appreciate how she also puts in lulls in action to build characters. And once again she throws a real cliffhanger at the end. I would say the last half of the book was an absolutely five star, but the first half was a little boring.
I can't rave enough about the audio book narrator, Sarah Drew, who has quite a notable list of audio book performances out there. She did an amazing job of doing the voices and anger and fear
I'm pretty impressed that five into the series this is such a strong book. The last couple books in this series were kind of a miss for me. All that pregnancy stuff got really annoying. And the whole octopus thing seemed absurd and unsurprising. I was worried that Carriger had run her course in the series.
Then this book comes along. The humor was spot-on in this book. I used to live in England so I appreciate her ability to capture the phrasing and type of humor found there. It also had lots of fight scenes, travel abroad, more info about her father, and plenty of nutty bad people. Some may have disliked the Biffy sections but I actually thought it was great. It gave the reader a lot more depth into the character of two werewolves that we don't hear much more than surface about.
I also enjoyed that there were several twists in the book that I didn't expect. These set the series up for so many more shenanigans that were previously available. Prudence turns out to be an amusing character with plenty more to learn about. Her abilities really will play well into expanding the storyline possibilities.
As always, I absolutely love this narrator. She is simply perfect for this series.
I honestly enjoyed this book more than the first one although both are very interesting. My hubby and I listened to the audiobook together and got lots of laughs out of the "we're all gonna die" comments by Benson. The narrator is just great at being dramatic.
The first two-thirds of the book I felt were pretty slow. There's a lot of brainstorming by the "students" about what the heck is going on. What is Maxfield Academy really? Who is running it? Why do they have such crazy technology? It's fun to guess along with them.
The last part of the book totally made up for the slow bits by having all sorts of great action and violence at a higher level than usually allowed in YA. Luckily, when there is some ambiguity about how one treats those of questionable humanoid status you can do all sorts of things to them. So Benson becomes quite the fighter and man of action and as always, throws caution to the wind putting others in danger. That's a trait you rarely see in YA and I loved it.
I was rather startled to find that this is actually the final book of the series. I guess we've all become accustomed to the standard three. I wish I had known that before finishing but still feel fairly satisfied with the conclusion. The main reason being - the scope of the story would drastically have to change to accommodate a third book.
I don't very often read zombie books so maybe this was a long-shot for me. I listened to the audio book as it was highly recommended. It was neat to have different voices do the parts of the book with accents and all that. The book basically gives a bunch of people's perspective of their past experience in the zombie war. I enjoyed how the author seemed to have put a lot of research into how all of the different cultures would react and people of different jobs would have been involved. Besides that, it's just a zombie war story with just a few unique ideas.
The most enjoyable aspect of this book is its believability. Many of the current dystopias available explore interesting ideas of levels of government control. However, this series I wouldn’t really categorize as dystopia as it is more of a survival story and this makes it seem so much closer to our real-world situation. It’s not a government trying to make the country perfect and society civilized and then it turning out scary. It is a government trying to help a few humans do the best they can to survive. So the story explores how a country would go about shelving away some humans for survival until the world is live-able. What levels of deceit are worth it for the best survival of the most people? It also addressed issues of class separation, population control, limit of historical information, and the power of taboos.
I found the story slow at the beginning with the first couple of main characters but it moved onto story-lines I found more appealing. All of the characters are standard bucket types, which I felt showed a real lack of imagination on the author’s part. Everyone is what they appear from day one. It could be argued, however, that in a closed society this would be apt to occur. A great aspect of this book is that it is fairly gender-neutral in approach and so more widely palatable to readers. The writing is average but the ideas are great and well-worth the read. I always appreciate an author willing to discuss difficult issues like sacrifice for the good of many and social control and value ideas over good prose. I will definitely plan on reading the Shift series.
I wasn't very fond of this narrator. She did try to do distinct voices, which is appreciated. However, she narrates like she's doing an oral reading on stage instead of just reading it. I'm glad "Shift" is a different narrator.
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