Saturday, July 23, 2011

July's Books

Possession

Possession
by: Elana Johnson
published in 2011
405 pages
4 stars

Summary:

The world has been divided into the Goodgrounds and the Badlands. Goodies live without hunger or crime, but they also live without control over their own choices. Vi knows she isn't like everyone else, but she wants to fit in so she can be with Zenn--her best friend and her future Match. Still, she can't help rebelling in small ways, and when she is arrested for walking in the park after dark with Zenn, she is assigned a cell with a man from the Badlands--egotistical, charismatic Jag. The Thinkers who control the Goodlands want Vi to join them, and soon she and Jag are on the run together.

Review:
Dystopian love triangles. I find myself irresistibly drawn to them even though I always think I've reached my dystopian limit. I've been thinking about how dystopian worlds are very well suited for love triangles--do I stay with the guy I've always loved in the world I've always known or do I go with the guy who keeps me off balance and has the promise of a better world? I only like love triangles to the extent that I'm satisfied with the ending for all three characters. Possession is the first book in the series, so the jury is still out on that one.

I haven't had much time to read lately, but I stayed up late to finish this one. I'm on pins and needles for the sequel to come out.

Unfortunately, I'm getting to be such a critic these days--I can't read a great story and leave it there. Parts of this book were very jarring for me. Elana Johnson never slows the action to examine the feelings of her characters. I hate that. Jag was constantly doing things that should have caused intense turmoil in Vi, and when I can't get into her head to feel that emotion I get confused and wonder if I'm misunderstanding things. When the action is over, she finds time to ruminate on it all, but by then I'm emotionally detached. On the other hand, Johnson is very proficient at explaining Vi's feelings during the kissing scenes. :-) I found myself wishing for more character growth, but that's just a personal preference. All in all, this was a very fun book.

Buried

buried
by: Robin Merrow MacCready
published in 2006
198 pages
2 stars

Summary, which I took directly from the front flap:

Claudine has long buried her own needs and dreams to cover for her alcoholic mother. She protects herself with careful planning and constant control. Order is her weapon. How deep do you dig to uncover the truth?

After Mom suddenly disappears--another alcoholic binge?--and seventeen year old Claudine finds herself all alone, a much darker reality emerges from beneath years of angry denial and enabling behavior. And as the truth comes closer to the surface, Claudine must dig for the answers she's always worked so hard to cover up.

A suspenseful and mind-twisting psychological thriller, Buried is about the drama and destruction of co-dependency and the redemptive power of secrets revealed.

Review:

I've been eyeing this book at the library for quite a while now, and finally decided to read it. Parts of it were very enjoyable, but I am a big fan of Character stories, and this was an Event story masquerading as a Character story. The story was much darker than the writing style prepared me for, and I only finished it because I needed to know what was happening. Once I found out, I wished I'd never known. People who enjoy mysteries and books about obsessive-compulsive disorder and co-dependency might enjoy this book, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Enclave

Enclave
by: Ann Aguirre
published in 2011
272 pages
4 stars

Summary:
As a Huntress, Deuce's short life is mapped out. She lives in the Enclave, but ventures out to hunt for meat in the tunnels while evading zombie-like creatures called Freaks. It's all she's ever wanted to do, but things become more complicated when she is partnered with Fade, a strange but lethal boy who claims to have come from Topside. The Freaks, who have always been dangerous, but mindless, are showing signs of intelligence and strategy, but the Elders of the Enclave refuse to believe Deuce and Fade. To Deuce's horror and Fade's delight, the pair of them are exiled, and forced Topside.

Review:
Yep. Another dystopian young adult novel. With zombies. And a love triangle of sorts. It couldn't be more different than Possession-humans are barely hanging on in this book. It had more of the feeling of Ship Breaker, which is a high recommendation. Deuce lives in the tunnels underneath New York in the years following what sounds like a nuclear war.  The romance between Fade and Deuce is breathtakingly innocent and beautiful. Fade was my favorite part of this book--he makes the flaws worth it. 

I can't really get into it without spoilers, but let's just say that although I enjoy getting into the head of a leader who seems purely evil and discovering that said person is fighting to bring civilization out of chaos, some reprehensible actions require more contrition and restitution than others. Redeeming an evil character is not something an author should undertake lightly.

Enclave is the first book in a series. I won't be racing to pre-order my copy of the sequel when it comes out, but I'll definitely be reading it. I recommend this book for most teenagers--it doesn't quite earn a Books for Boys seal, but I imagine many teenage boys would enjoy it. There is some frank discussion about rape and keeping women for their sexual and breeding capabilities. There is also a human hunting scene (a la The Most Dangerous Game) that was disturbing, though short.

1 comment :

  1. Looks like it is Possession for me as the next read - I really value your reviews. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete