Blake Crouch is fast becoming an auto-buy author for me. His edgy sci-fi thrillers take a concept you think you understand and turn it completely on its head in a way which is truly unputdownable. Team that with authentic, sympathetic characters, and you’ve got a winner in my eyes.Continue reading
Category Archives: Dystopia
This was a strange, compelling and, ultimately, bleak story. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. When I started reading this novel, it immediately sucked me into its bizarre, dystopian world which just feels a little off-kilter. It lost me a little in the middle, but it’s definitely a unique tale – a quiet drama set against an epic survival backdrop in a strange dystopian twist on our reality.
In this reality, a couple is exiled to a harsh, almost uninhabitable island as a punishment for their crimes. Because of the nature of the island, they have to take a special pill every 8 hours in order to survive the unnatural atmosphere. But they’re counting down the days until their parole, one pill at a time.Continue reading
How High We go in the Dark is a speculative dystopian with a stunning cover that’s been compared to Station Eleven and Cloud Atlas. It caught my eye straight away, and I really wanted to like this one more than I did.
It is an original, imaginative and bold story of a terrifying pandemic spawned from an ancient virus which spans generations. You would think another pandemic tale may hit a little too close to home, but that isn’t the case here. This pandemic is much more deadly, and its consequences so bizarre and bleak that it felt almost otherworldly, and it works. This is an incredibly ambitious, explorative and wondrous piece of work.Continue reading
I received Blue Ticket in exchange for an honest review
Following her Booker-prize nominated The Water Cure which received mixed reviews from the blogging community, Sophie Mackintosh is back this year with her latest offering, Blue Ticket. I have a feeling this one is going to split readers further, and I’m not sure where I stand. The Water Cure, while strange, I found hypnotic and compelling reading. Something in it resonated with me, but this one didn’t have the same impact. Continue reading
I received The Grace Year in exchange for an honest review
This book has been compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games, The Power and Lord Of The Flies. Some big books to live up to, right? But it does, and it does it with a style all of its own.
In a bizarre, dystopian, misogynistic world, there are limited routes for women – they finish school young, and they’re either they’re betrothed at sixteen or destined for a life of labour working menial jobs. When they come of age there’s a veiling ceremony, where girls are desperate to get a veil and be destined for marriage. But not Tierney. She’s our protagonist, a headstrong girl who is just about to be sent off for her Grace Year, a rite of passage for all girls her age; a year where they are banished from society in order to purge themselves of their magic. Her veiling ceremony doesn’t quite go to plan, but she has no idea what’s in store for her in her Grace Year…
“My chin begins to quiver when I think of the year ahead, the unknown, but I plaster on a vacant smile as if I’m happy to play my part, so I might return and marry and breed and die.” Continue reading
Billed as The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Virgin Suicides, a ‘dystopic feminist revenge thriller’ and a Man Booker longlist, naturally I was intrigued by this book. Its low Goodreads reviews were almost enough to put me off, but I went with it anyway and I’m glad I did. There was something haunting and compelling about this strange little story, it got under my skin and I can’t quite explain why, but I’ll try.
Firstly, I think its worth pointing out that the blurb of this book is letting it down. It isn’t a feminist novel, but it does explore the concept, similar to The Power, that women can be equally as dangerous as men, if not more so. It’s not really dystopic either, for me it felt more reminiscent of a small family cult, its actions both disturbing and fascinating. It’s a book with substance and beautiful prose, as some horrific events play out against the idyllic backdrop of a desert island. Continue reading
Firstly, I’m not hugely into gaming, or the ’80s as a decade. The writer of this book clearly LOVES both. Ready Player One is a unique book, in that it is set in a dystopian future packed with state-of-the-art tech, and yet so much of its inspiration comes from the past. The writer has a passion and the story is infused with that passion at every turn, and it rubbed off on me, even though I couldn’t associate with every reference personally.
The story is set around a bizarre challenge. James Halliday, owner of a multi-million pound company dies, and leaves an unusual will. His company is responsible for the Oasis, a VR world which almost everyone uses as it provides an escape from the rundown realities of their dystopian existence. In his will, he offers to give all of his shares in the company and sole responsibility for the Oasis away, to one lucky player. There’s just a series of challenges they’ll need to complete first. Continue reading
I received Defender in exchange for an honest review.
I was excited to read this debut as the author lives quite local to me, something I don’t come across often. But, in the end, I took a while to get round to it and when I finally did, it didn’t blow me away. Maybe someone from Birmingham in the UK just wasn’t able to conjure the dry, empty landscape of a post-apocalyptic Texas which I wanted. Or maybe, it’s to do with the plot. Either way, I know this book worked for a lot of people, but I struggled to connect with it the way I’d hoped to.
The premise of this novel is great – a blend of your typical post-apocalyptic theme with a touch of some more supernatural science fiction thrown in. It’s an ambitious tale, touching on themes of sanity, grief and survival. Continue reading
I received The Last One in exchange for an honest review
I’ve had my eye on this book for months; the plot alone sounds so intriguing, so different and such an amalgamation of things I love, I had to give it a try.
Based around a reality TV show called ‘Into The Woods’, the novel follows ‘Zoo’ (a nickname given to the main character by the producers due to the fact that she works with animals) and eleven other contestants as they journey across woods and countryside. The contestant have to complete challenges and overcome obstacles, living off the land, building shelters and skinning animals in order to eat. But there’s a twist to this survival game, and it takes on a dark reality when, unbeknownst to the contestants, a real-life pandemic breaks out wiping out a large amount of the population and leaving every citizen fighting for survival. It’s a clever, original concepts which acts as a spring-board, allowing the author to explore both the staged drama of reality TV shows and the fear-inducing landscape of a post-pandemic world. Continue reading
I received The Fireman in exchange for an honest review.
My first experience with Joe Hill was when I read NOS4A2 late last year. I thought that was great, and gave it five stars. The Fireman is on another level. This bold, emotional, epic read sees Hill firmly stepping out of his father’s shadow (if he was even in it before?) and into the limelight, cementing himself as a sheer genius in creative writing.
First things first, this book is long. I didn’t realise when I blithely requested it on Netgalley and immediately started reading upon acceptance, but it’s almost 800 pages. But I actually think it benefited from that. The length gives the reader the chance to become fully immersed in the post-pandemic world and – most importantly – in Harper, an incredibly well-drawn and authentic character, one of my favourite protagonists in a long time. Continue reading