Tomorrow, When The War Began

When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong — their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision — run and hide, give themselves up and be with their families, or fight back.

I have only really just put this book down and I don’t like to start a review negatively but I feel disappointed by this book. Since I started my dystopian challenge this is a book I have been really interested to read but having read it I’m not totally convinced I would count it as dystopian. It is the story of a group of friends who go off camping to a remote part of the bush and when they return it has been invaded. They work out roughly what has happened and so put together supplies and return to their camp to decide what to do. The book is being written by Ellie, who has been nominated to record everything that has happened to them so far. As a result of this we get to live through her emotions as the story unfolds but what annoyed me was that it included a love triangle. I know this book is 11 years old and before the fad but it still always puts me off a story. Whats more I just didn’t find it an understandable thing to be worrying about giving else that was going on. The disappointment however was the actual story, it just didn’t feel realistic. Some of the things that are said and the actions they take are pretty extreme and I just don’t think teens would act that way in that situation. Maybe that is me just being cynical but it didn’t work for me. The thing I did like though was the look at evil and nature. Ellie is really interested in these concepts and her musings about them are interesting to think about. Overall I didn’t hate this book I just didn’t feel that excited by it. It was an easy read and I don’t think I will read any more of the series but I will try the film. 

 

Genesis

Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim? Outstanding and original, Beckett’s dramatic narrative comes to a shocking conclusion.

This was recommended to me by a friend on goodreads and as I am trying to read 24 dystopians this year and the book had amazing reviews I decided to go ahead and download is for my kindle (it was only 98p). When I started it I was expecting it to be like a lot of other dystopia at the moment but it was totally different. The style of writing isn’t the usual you would find in Young Adult fiction. The story is told as an exam of the societies history and it almost feels like you are reading a piece of educational text. The character we are seeing from is a 17 year old girl but she is studying the creation of their society by telling  the examiners about Adam and Art. During their time their island has been cut off from the rest of the world because of a dangerous plague destroying the world. Adam is a bit of a trouble maker in this new society and so he finds himself sentenced to help a philosopher with his work into artificial intelligence, Art. Through their interactions the book questions humanity. The pair argue about consciousness;

“Consciousness is the feel of accessing memory.” 

the mind;

“The mind is not a machine, it is an idea. And the Idea resists all attempts to control it.” 

and ideas;

“The only thing binding individuals together is ideas. Ideas mutate and spread; they change their hosts as much as their hosts change them.”

and our narrator Anax offers beautiful definitions of human spirit;

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile.”

superstition;

“Superstition is the need to view the world in terms of simple cause and effect. As I have already said, religious fundamentalism was on the rise, but that is not the type of superstition I am referring to. The superstition that held sway at the time was a belief in simple causes. 

Even the plainest of events is tied down by a thick tangle of permutation and possibility, but the human mind struggles with such complexity. In times of trouble, when the belief in simple gods breaks down, a cult of conspiracy arises. So it was back then. Unable to attribute misfortune to chance, unable to accept their ultimate insignificance within the greater scheme, the people looked for monsters in their midst. 

The more the media peddled fear, the more the people lost the ability to believe in one another. For every new ill that befell them, the media created an explanation, and the explanation always had a face and a name. The people came to fear even their closest neighbors. At the level of the individual, the community, and the nation, people sought signs of others’ ill intentions; and everywhere they looked, they found them, for this is what looking does.”

and fear;

“But time passes. Fear becomes a memory. Terror becomes routine; it loses its grip.” 

I don’t feel I can really say to much about the thoughts offered in this books because they are best as they are presented. I would recommend this book to those who love the classic dystopians like 1984 because this book  isn’t about what happened but what was discussed and in the end it will surprise you because you might think you know whats coming but it’s not as you expect. 

“In the end, living is defined by dying. Book- ended by oblivion, we are caught in the vice of terror, squeezed to bursting by the approaching end. Fear is ever-present, waiting to be called to the surface.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Note of Madness

Life as a student is good for Flynn. As one of the top pianists at the Royal College of Music, he has been put forward for an important concert, the opportunity of a lifetime. But beneath the surface, things are changing. On a good day he feels full of energy and life, but on a bad day being alive is worse than being dead. Sometimes he wants to compose and practice all night, at other times he can’t get out of bed. With the pressure of the forthcoming concert and the growing concern of his family and friends, emotions come to a head. Sometimes things can only get worse before they get better.

This was a powerful book, made more powerful but its uncomplicated writing. It did take me a little while to get started with this book but once I did it was very easy to read. For me this is important to the story because it shows how easily mental illness can become part of you life. Flynn was a perfectly happy and normal student who was hit out of nowhere with Bipolar. He goes from manic highs to immobilizing lows and his descriptions allow you to feel the emotional journey and how sudden it is. He tries really hard to continue his normal life as a music student and to socialize with his friends but all becomes to much. He is a really good pianist ask to perform at a the Royal Albert Hall but music becomes his obsession. Romance is out of the question for him as he cannot see himself as worthwhile and friendships break down around him. It isn’t a book with a massive plot and and a fast pace though, but that isn’t the point of the story. I think the message here is about mental illness and everyday life. how it really effects people and how we might be able to recognize it and help.  

Re-Read Review – Insurgent

With just days till Allegiant is released I’m really glad I have re-read these two books. I had actually forgotten quite a bit that happened in this one and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first it is still a great read. There is quite a lot to take in that is important to the story through out this book. We begin to get a real understanding of how powerful faction loyalty can be but more importantly the people who are capable of thinking about what’s right and wrong for themselves. The best description however for this book I think though is one from the book itself;

“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”

Everyone seems to have a plan in this story. There are many important characters all with secrets and Tris is able to work out almost all of them. Better than that though she knows which secret really needs to be revealed and is able to get the information she needs to change everything. What I really like about these books though is that her relationship with Tobias comes second to the dystopia. There relationship is really challenged in this one because this is reflected in the attitude Tris has and I can’t wait to see what the information she has unleashed does to their society and what is waiting on the other side of the fence.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read

This topic of our Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read from The Broke and The Bookish  is a really interesting one. There can’t be many reasons why you were forced to read a book so my list is made up of the ones we had to read for school that I enjoyed. I don’t have a list of 10 but these are the books I was surprised by at both primary and secondary school.

     

  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Witch Child by Celia Rees

What Books Were You Forced To Read But Ended Up Enjoying?

The Princess Bride

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

I think I am one of only a few people who didn’t love this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just thought I would like it more than I did. I think part of this was that I didn’t read the blurb before I started and thought the authors notes were just in my copy. The authors notes just annoyed me because it made me feel like I was missing out on part of the story and I will admit after a whole chapter was cut out I just ignored them. I really love this film because it of the mixture of action and romance but I felt the book didn’t have to same energy particularly with the romance. The story does have plenty going on and the language isn’t too complicated but there wasn’t a lot of chemistry build between Buttercup and Westley.  It was a really easy read though and once I got into it it only took me a few hours to read it. I am glad I have read it after enjoying the film so much but for me its one of those rare occasions where the film is better. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders

This week The Broke and The Bookish have asked for our Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders. When we have a choice like that I like to put some from both and this week is no different. I think sometimes I might over read the topics because for this week I considered that you could have favourite or worst ends in terms of what actually happened but also just having a good or bad last book, I’ve gone the second option because its the way its written that makes what happens good in the end and it also made writing my list a lot easier.

Favourites

  • Rapture – Fallen Series by Lauren Kate
  • United We Spy – Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
  • Brothers to the Death – The Saga of Larten Crepsley by Darren Shan
  • Monsters of Men – Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness
  • Sons of Destiny – The Saga  of Darren Shan by Darren Shan
  • Ascend – Trylle by Amanda Hocking

Worst

  • Requiem – Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver
  • Double Crossed – Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Missing Me – Girl Missing Series by Sophie McKenzie
  • Extras – Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld

 What Are Your Best and Worst Series Enders?

Re-Read Review – Divergent

I remembered that I liked this books but I had forgotten just how good it is. I think I actually preferred it second time round. The book has a really interesting idea for its society but it’s the great characters that really get you turning pages. Tris is a really good character to read as because she is got an inner struggle that we all have, wanting to fit in but still be herself and do what’s right. I also really appreciated this time round that she was going through point in life where you start to realise that your parents are actually just like you and have a life you haven’t been aware of.  She also discovers the meaning of real friendship and enemies in the people around her and I they are start her path towards accepting who she really is. Of course the best relationship to read about is between her and Four and there were a few moments of swooning as the book went on. I’m really excited now to re-read Insurgent in time for the release of Allegiant later this month!.

“I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.” pg 207

Jane Eyre

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

There is something about reading a classic that fills you with an expectation that seems unreachable. I have to admit that I actually don’t know that much about what a lot of the classics are actually about and Jane Eyre was no different, it is known to me for being a really good classic rather than its story. Like with Pride and Prejudice though I was actually quite glad I didn’t know they story as I was able to enjoy its plot developing. 

I did suspect that it was a love story but I was surprised that it is autobiographical. The story is easy to split into parts. Her childhood with Mrs Reed. Her teenage years at Lowood. Being a governess at Thornfield. Living with the Rivers and returning to Mr Rochester.  From the beginning it is quite an action packed story. There is lots of things that occur that keep your interest and Jane’s strong character is interesting to experience, particularly while with Mrs Reed. When she moves to Lowood she is able to experience a better quality of company and I think this really rubs off on her. The religious beliefs of her friend in particular appear again through out the book. There was a lot of unexpected almost paranormal incidents once she moves to Thornfield. However her time there was my favourite to read about. I loved her relationship with Adele and I never suspected Rochester’s behaviours being to out Jane. To me there was a bit of The Sound of Music about the story with Jane becoming a governess and falling in love with her master. When things seemed to be working well for her and it was only just half way through the book I was sure something bad was about to happen but the truth was not what I had expected. I can’t decided if I feel her decision to run away was a good one or not but I did enjoy her time at the moor house. It was nice for her to again make friends and the story felt a bit lighter again till Johns proposal. The ending of course is a good one although the things that occurred while she was gone where extreme and unexpected. 

There were times as i often find with classics when I was just scanning the page a bit as I lost concentration but I don’t think I missed anything important and I did really enjoy the story. It was full of things to keep you turning pages and the characters were interesting, I am pleased to be a bit further in my quest to read the classics and it is getting easier with every book. 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Best Sequels Ever

 

The Broke and The Bookish‘s topic for this week is out Top Ten Best Sequels Ever. There were a few easy choices for me this week but not nearly enough for 10 as I often find the sequels aren’t quite as good but I have managed to pick out 9 (some from the same series) that I thought were particularly good.

    

  • Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver Delirium Trilogy
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • Passion by Lauren Kate Fallen Series
  • The Lion , The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Brother to the Death by Darren Shan The Larten Crepsley Saga
  • Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling Harry Potter
  • Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan The Darren Shan Saga
  • Trials of Death by Darren Shan The Darren Shan Saga
  • Angel Fire by LA Weatherly Angel Trilogy 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are Your Favourite Or Worst Sequels ?