Tag Archives: Dystopia

What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang (Review)

11 Mar

Description

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else–two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

My thoughts

Let’s see … Did I love this book? The answer would be no. The first 30% of What’s Left Of Me almost made me give up on reading it. The plot was very slow and I just couldn’t get into the story. I don’t know exactly why because the characters were OK and the idea was somehow original: every person is born with two souls. One of the souls will become dominant and will control the body, while the other will slowly fade away and eventually disappear.

The main character of this book is Eva (she also narrates the story), a recessive soul, who shares the same body with her sister, Addie. Most children begin settling in kindergarten, some during middle school, but those two sisters never settled at all, which makes them a hybrid. Here is the problem: everyone thinks that the hybrids are a danger to the society, so when one is discovered it’s taken away by police and maybe institutionalised in order to be “helped” to settle.

In order to live a normal life with their family, Addie and Eva had to learn to lie, to pretend that they settled and that everything was normal about them. Addie was the only one in control, Eva being just trapped inside the body, with nothing else to do but just speaking with her sister and practically being a spectator to everything that happened in her life. Everything is going “well” until they meet two other hybrids – Hallie and Lissa; Devon and Ryan – who promise to teach Eva how to talk and walk again. Thinking this is a great opportunity, Eva convinces her sister to accept the offer, but this decision will soon change everything. All of them will be discovered and taken to a hospital where they should be helped to settle.

Like I said, the idea of the book was original, but at the same time I had a hard time trying to believe that that could actually happen in the real world. There was no explanation for how the world got that way, for how the hybrids first appeared. Also, I’m not sure exactly when the story takes place: in the near/far future or the present, in an alternate world? Since this is a trilogy, maybe the author will explain everything in the next books.

Eva is the main character and I know I should have felt sorry for her for being trapped inside a body and practically being dead to everyone, but there were a lot of moments when she got on my nerves. There were times when I just couldn’t sympathize with her because she acted in a selfish way, without thinking about the repercussions of her actions and decisions. In the end, I think I liked Addie more because she was more cautious.

I think I would have given What’s Left of Me 4 stars if I hadn’t previously read Unwind and The Darkest Powers trilogy. This book reminded me a lot of the books that I just mentioned, a good amount of the plot taking place in a hospital where the doctors made experiments on the children. With that being said, I will give this book 3 stars. So, did I love this book? No, but I admit it was a worthwhile read. I still recommend it and I hope you, guys, will like it more than I did!

Thanks to Netgalley.com and HarperCollins Publishers UK for sending me this e-book.

My rating cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

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Unwind – Neal Shusterman (Review)

11 Jan
Paperback, 335 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published November 6th 2007)

Description

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

My thoughts

After reading tons of positive reviews and watching a lot of Youtube videos in which people recommended this book, I finally decided to add this book on my “have to buy soon” list. Then, while browsing on BookDepository, I saw it and I couldn’t resist the impulse to click on the buy button. I’m glad I did. This book was GREAT, FANTASTIC, EXTRAORDINARY etc. but at the same time quite disturbing. I had high expectations for Unwind and I’m glad to say that they were not only met, but also exceeded.

The plot is set in the future, where parents can choose to have their children between ages of 13 and 18 unwound, or in the case of kids without parents, the orphanages take this decision just to cut the costs. After the unwinding process, all the parts of the body are used for transplants “needed” by other people (some of them just want new eyes or hair because they don’t like the color of theirs). As the doctors say, since 99.44% of the body is being reused, unwinds do not technically die, because the individual parts live on.

The story focuses on Connor, Risa and Lev- three children that are supposed to be unwound- and their efforts to survive. This is a third person narration told from different points of view (mainly Connor, Lev or Risa, but there are also some additional perspectives which helps the reader to see and understand the whole picture). All the characters, even the supporting ones are well developped, are three-dimensional, complex and have a special story.

I recommend this book to everyone, but I also want to warn you that Unwind is not an easy book, it’s quite disturbing (not in a graphic way) and it will leave you asking yourself a lot of questions.

P.S. I think the 61st chapter is the most shocking thing in the whole book. I still can’t get it out of my head!!!

“…One thing you learn when you’ve lived as long as I have-people aren’t all good, and people aren’t all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I’m pleased to be in the light.”

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

On my Wishlist (4) – Shades of Grey / Nuanțe de cenușiu- Jasper Fforde

24 Oct
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 6th 2011 by Hodder (first published December 29th 2009)

Description

Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy is determined by your perception of colour.

Eddie Russett is an above average Red who dreams of moving up the ladder by marriage to Constance Oxblood. Until he is sent to the Outer Fringes where he meets Jane – a lowly Grey with an uncontrollable temper and a desire to see him killed.

For Eddie, it’s love at first sight. But his infatuation will lead him to discover that all is not as it seems in a world where everything that looks black and white is really shades of grey…

If George Orwell had tripped over a paint pot or Douglas Adams favoured colour swatches instead of towels . . . neither of them would have come up with anything as eccentrically brilliant as Shades of Grey.

Different cover

           

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Shades of Grey is the beginning of a dystopian trilogy (the next books are Painting by Numbers – 2013- and Gordini Protocols) and it has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey.

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Tocmai am vazut ca aceasta carte a fost publicata si in Romania, de editura Litera. Iata descrierea si coperta:

Descriere

În lumea lui Eddie Russett, culoarea înseamnă destin. Odată testată, percepţia culorii le determină oamenilor locul în Cromatocraţie. Nimeni nu poate vedea preponderent decât o culoare şi nimeni nu ştie de ce –, dar sunt o mulţime de necunoscute apărute după Ceva Ce s-a Întâmplat, dezastrul care s-a abătut asupra omenirii şi care a fost urmat de deFaptizare şi de Retroziuni.

Ca pedeapsă pentru răzvrătirea împotriva birocraţiei Colectivei, Eddie – un Roşu, aşadar cu doar o treaptă deasupra Cenuşiilor, clasa muncitoare – este trimis să facă un recensământ al scaunelor în Carminul de Răsărit, în Hotarele Îndepărtate, un ţinut unde locuitorii au un mod aparte de a interpreta Regulamentul. Într-o lume în care întrebările şi cei care le adresează nu sunt văzuţi cu ochi buni, Eddie se îndrăgosteşte, se răzvrăteşte împotriva Prefectului, află un mare secret şi este înghiţit de un copac carnivor.

Nuanţe de cenuşiu este un roman provocator, sofisticat şi plin de substanţă.