The Program was probably one of the saddest, most frustrating, and most depressing books I've ever encountered. It didn't help that the book was set in a dystopian world where depression and suicide was considered an epidemic. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book! It had an ingeniously well-developed plot. It was cunning, clever, and sadistic...and I guess making me a masochist for continuing to listen. The author was obviously not afraid to kill characters.
Throughout the audiobook, I kept on trying to predict what was going to happen and continued to fail. That was probably one of the reasons why I kept on listening to it. I could only listen to a few chapters at one sitting as a few chapters were enough to make me feel depressed, too. It made me cry more than any book I've read or movie I've seen. Knowing that you can get infected with depression so easily from any one of your classmates or friends was already bad enough, but they also had to hide and keep emotions, expressions, and reaction of anything else other than happiness.
Even though I wasn't a big fan of Sloan ad there were things I didn't like about her personality, I felt for her. Not being able to grieve properly after your brother committed suicide right in front of you and having to hide all your emotions and feelings that are not happiness could have been enough to make me depressed enough to die from a broken heart. There were times when she was just being plain stupid but I asked myself what I would do if I was put in her position where they controlled everything and slowly took away my precious memories and it made me realized I probably would have done worse. I would have fought with everything I had even if it made me dumb, weak, stupid, and annoying.
James was my favorite character. He was charming, sweet, funny, caring, and protective. He was a knight in shining armor, but not too much to make him unrealistically perfect. He had his moment, too, when he was at his lowest point in life. He showed vulnerability and weakness. It made him a more realistic and powerful character. Even his relationship with Sloan wasn't forced at all. Their relationship was beautiful, romantic, realistic, and passionate.
The narrator also did a great job. I was so engrossed in every word she said and it made me feel like I was a part of the story. Her voice transported me to Sloan and James' world of depression and suicide. She captivated me and made me keep on listening to the audiobook.
In summary, The Program was a very captivating and frustratingly depressing book that manipulated, violated, and attacked my whole being beautifully. There were times when it made me feel so depressed that I wanted to hate the whole world but then there were times when it made me feel so grateful for the freedom I have. I recommend this audiobook to masochist readers like me who (secretly) enjoy getting their hearts broken to pieces. The Program was more than a dystopian book. The Program was a piece of art - a beautiful, powerful, and manipulating masterpiece.
The Bone Season was highly engaging and breathtakingly imaginative. The highly complex and visionary world of fantasy was something I have never read before. Shannon created this one-of-a-kind never-before-written original world where clairvoyants were hunted and arrested by the government under the Scion security force. Although the world she crafted was fairly dark, gloomy, and depressing, it was full of imagination, originality, and wonderfully intricate.
The story was very engaging that it made it very hard to stop or pause my audiobook. It had a perfect balance of action, tension, drama, thrill, mystery, and humour. The twists, plot-turns, and characters were all very unpredictable. The Bone Season also had such powerful and contemplating themes such as trust, bravery, sacrifice, human nature, loyalty, fear, love, and power. The characters were very-well developed as well. The main characters had so much depth and distinct personalities that made them so believable. Even the secondary characters had their own unique personality.
Paige was a strong and brave heroine. Her stubbornness and strong attachment and dependence to her syndicate group the Seven Seals made her believable. It also gave her room for growth. Being away from her group with no one to trust and rely on but herself, she learned to fight, grow stronger, and be on her own while remaining loyal to her group.
Warden, on the other hand, was the type of character that you learn to love as you read the book. Although he came off as a cold and unattached character, he was actually a very caring, stable, and dependable character. Despite not being a human being, he was more human than most of the characters in the book. He was self-sacrificing and strong. He was beautiful.
Paige and Warden's relationship was full of tension, fear, betrayal, and doubt, as well as loyalty, trust, comfort, and familiarity. If you're looking for insta-love or dangerously co-dependent love, this is not the book for you. Their relationship is much more complicated and deeper than that.
Although the created world was breathtakingly original and detailed, the execution of the world building was somewhat hard to grasp at first, but the narration and the alternating world building and action helped me keep up with it. If I read it from the book instead of listening to the audiobook, I would have been more confused than I was. Alana did an awesome job making me feel like I was a part of the story.
It doesn't matter what genre you're into, if you read books or listen to audiobooks, The Bone Season is definitely a must-read.
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