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Posts tagged ‘Dystopia’

Doublespeak and big brother.

So this weekend I may or may not have dressed up as a zombie librarian and shuffled through streets scaring people. If you did see my awesomely bloody visage and it frightened you, I would be sorry but that was totally what I meant to do! Before I ran around as a zombie, I did have the time to read a fabulous new dystopia book that we just added to our collection here at the Tucker Free. I highly recommend coming on over to check it out!

Scored by Lauren McLaughlin takes place in a world that is pretty much identical to where we live now. Parents still work, kids go to school, and everyone lives in harmony for the most part. Well, the kids live in harmony as long as they hang out with their score group and maintain their scores no matter the cost. See in this future, a private corporation decided that if kids were scored based on the choices they made and the friends they had, they would work harder to be better. If you score above a 90, then college is paid for and you are pretty much set for life. Score below a 70, and you can kiss all your hopes and dreams goodbye. Imani has always been an above 90 girl. Her best friend Cady, was in the 90s once, but has fallen to the low 70s and it does not look like she will be able to move her scored up anytime soon. You are supposed to stick with your score gang. Imani is supposed to hang out with the other 90s. But how do you forget your best friend? How does some faceless corporation who is watching your every move decided that one person’s actions affect you, even if you have no idea that they were doing something. More importantly, how do you deal with an unscored boy deciding that he wants your help to take down a system that holds the key to changing your future?

I’m forgetful, but not to this extent!

So I picked up a book I would have never in a million years chosen to read, and decided to give it a shot.  I went through a few basic stages that one goes through when reading a new book they are not sure about.  First there was disgust; I could not believe I was reading this book that was written in such a convoluted way.  The second was despair, this book would never end!  After disgust came grudging respect, the plot was picking up and things were coming together, I hated life a little bit less.  Lastly was acceptance and love.  While I may have wanted to throw the book across the room when I started, by the end I was so involved in reading it I would not have heard if someone had thrown my entire book collection across the room.

The book that had me so emotionally confused was As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott.  Poor Ava wakes up in a room she doesn’t recognize, surrounded by people she doesn’t recognize, being told who she is and that everything will be okay.  She just has a minor case of memory loss.  Ava is convinced that something isn’t right; she remembers nothing about the world she lives in, but keeps having flashbacks to a world she feels is where she belongs.  A world filled with a nasty government, secret agencies that spy on you, and Morgan.  All of these memories jumble together with impressions of people she vaguely remembers, she knows her friends, but in a very different world then the one she lives in.  Is she really the Ava that everyone says she is?  Or is there another world out there, one in which she truly belongs?

This book did not impress me at first.  The book is written from Ava’s point of view, so for the first few chapters as she is struggling with what is happening to her, you are struggling right alongside her.  You keep waiting for the explanation that will make everything clear, that will let you truly grasp what is going on in this book.  Fortunately, as Ava figures things out, what has happened to her becomes clearer, the writing style fleshes itself out, and just like Ava is gaining balance in her world, the writing of the book gains balance as well.  Elizabeth Scott does a good job of separating what is happening in the world where Ava is and the world where she remembers being.  The characterization of the people in the different worlds is done wonderfully and helps to add to Ava’s confusion, as well as helping her solve some problems she is facing.  This is a book that I feel I am going to have to revisit, just because there is so much happening under the surface that I feel like things were explained to me and I completely missed them when I was caught up in the action of the book.  Overall, As I Wake is a wonderful work and I hope you come to the Tucker Free Library to check it out for yourself!

So I spent my weekend destroying flesh-eating muties, how about you?

Okay, so I didn’t really unleash my righteous fury on some zombie scum.  But I did read a book where they did!  And that is almost totally like doing it yourself.  Almost.  There might have also been a little shape shifting bad-boy love in my life this weekend.  That was in book form as well, but a lady needs something to do when her partner in crime is out of commission (thanks wisdom teeth.)  So this weekend while I had only planned on reading one new book to review, opportunity smiled upon me and now you are the ones who benefit!  Without further ado I introduce the two newest books in the Tucker Free Library’s collection: Enclave and The Gathering!

 

 

Enclave is a first book by the lovely Ann Aguirre and I hope it is not her last!  Part I Am Legend, part Y the Last Man and a sprinkling of Hunger Games makes for an exciting read in one of the best post-apocalyptic dystopias I have seen in recent months.  These tribal societies have developed underground where you are not given a name until you turn 15, mostly because few make it to that age.  Once you turn 15, you either become a breeder, a builder or a hunter.  We follow the story of Deuce, recently given her name and branded as a hunter in her tribe.  She is partnered with Fade, the only boy who survived alone in the tunnels for years.  Deuce and Fade are supposed to get food for the rest of the tribe, and kill any freaks (flesh-eating monsters) that get in their way.  When they find out that the freaks are growing smarter, developing strategies, and have overrun the closest tribe they trade with, they find themselves at odds with the tribal elders.  It seems like the ruling faction does not want the true power of the freaks known.  When they are exiled, what choice to Deuce and fade have but to try out their luck, above ground.

Our next book takes place in a small close-knit community as well, on a island up in Canada.  The Gathering is the newest creation of Kelley Armstrong, who is a force in the world of Young Adult literature.  Maya is dealing with the loss of her friend, convincing her parents to let her get a tattoo, and generally dealing with the things life throws at you when you are sixteen.  And while most sixteen year old girls don’t have to deal with being catnip for mountain lions, or having the ability to speed up the healing process in animals, or have a best friend who can “read” people, Maya does.  She also has a birthmark which caused an uproar in a tattoo parlor, has attracted a bad-boy to her side, and makes her think twice about where she has come from.  Add in a reporter getting murdered and strange shenanigans going on around the island, and you get one confused teenager who just wants to solve the mystery of herself.

It’s another Guest Review! Yay!

Christina Franke must really love me, because just as I was looking at this next book thinking, “When am I going to have time to read this between puppet shows and slaying dragons!?”  She texts me with a “I’ve just read this book, want a review?”  I am officially in her debt and am willing to offer her my first born child, as is standard procedure (in fairy tales at least.)  So my lovely blog readers, here is a review of Matched by Ally Condie from the practically perfect in every way Christina Franke (who I may or may not be flattering in an attempt to keep the guest reviews coming.)

Brief Summary:
Life is perfect in the Society. Cassia Reyes is looking forward to the best day of her life so far: her matching day and birthday all in one. In the Society, everyone, except the singles, receives their match at the matching banquet. They all get dressed up, choosing suits and dresses (a far cry from their everyday uniform plainclothes) and going with their family to the fancy banquet hall. Cassia selected a light green dress and was the only girl in her district to do so. Most people are paired with people from one of the many other districts. Cassia is surprised and thrilled to find herself matched to her best friend, the handsome Xander. She loves the Society, Xander and her parents; life really is perfect here. Until she goes home and puts the microcard on Xander (one is given to every matched person, since most people do not know their match) into a viewer and sees a face that is not Xander’s. This face is familiar too. What does it mean?

Review:
Matched definitely shares commonalities with Lois Lowry’s The Giver. The Society organizes people into tight-knit family groups, has hazy borders and guarantees long life to a certain point. Within the Society, everyone lives to their 80th birthday, at which point they die, having had a final meal and said goodbye to their closest friends and family. The people are matched up for compatibility, which has led to the elimination of almost all diseases. Food intake is controlled, as is exercise and behavior. Everyone is kept safe from harm.

Also as in The Giver, everyone in the Society has pills they have to take. In Lowry’s story, they had pills to prevent The Stirrings; in Condie’s, everyone has three pills: red, green and blue. The green pill has a calming affect, the blue heals and the red is a mystery to be used only in crisis situations. In Matched too, everyone’s jobs are given to individuals based upon their talents. Here though, they remain in school until the age of seventeen, not twelve as in The Giver. I think Condie actually through in an allusion to The Giver, because Cassia at one point thinks about what it must have been like to be colorblind (the Society bred that out of them long ago); in Lowry’s book, everyone was colorblind.

Condie’s book is not all the same though. The Society feels more realistic than that of The Giver. The most interesting and powerful element of the story is that the society no longer teaches writing, so people are unable to really create and speak for themselves. While I was not entirely blown away Matched, I definitely enjoyed it and hope to see more from Condie in general and this series specifically. Cassia very much feels like a real teen in an odd situation, working through something difficult to contemplate.

Dystopia fans, this one is worth checking out!

See more from Ms. Franke at her site: http://readeroffictions.blogspot.com/