Thoughts

Thoughts #18: Book Amnesia

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Is it just me, or are some books really difficult to remember?

When writing up my thoughts on the first part of Sabriel last week, I realised that despite the book being part of one of my favourite series, all I really remembered was the first half. Past that, I can’t for the life of me remember what happens next. I have the same problem with the next two books: all I remember about Lirael is that it follows either the daughter or granddaughter of Sabriel (see, I don’t even remember that much!), and Abhorsen, err well… I know I enjoyed it. For reasons. That I have forgotten.

Uhhh...

This doesn’t normally happen with favourites. Normally it’s books that I have no strong opinion about.

For example, these two – Matched by Ally Condie and Delirium by Lauren Oliver:

Matched by Ally Condie Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Here’s what I remember about both books:

  • White female teenage protagonist, probably a plain Jane type with ‘mousey’ hair or something
  • LOVE IS BAD! NO FREEDOM! You have to be paired with someone that the government chooses for you in order to *procreate to maximum effect* and produce all the genetically superior babies (gross, and I’m sure this happens in both books??)
  • Protagonist meets HANDSOME BUT MYSTERIOUS YOUNG MAN. Even though she’s only known him for about two days, she realises everything the government has ever told her is a lie and she must REBEL!
  • Love interest is predictable and oh-so-enchanting to our protagonist, but really boring to me
  • The love interest is probably already aware of how rubbish the government is, so he can recruit the protagonist into his ~super secret mission~ or revolutionary group
  • They rebel, or break out, or leave their homes and of course something has to go horribly wrong somewhere down the line

And that’s about it. I’m not sure if these things happen in both (or maybe either…) books, but when I try to remember the plots of either of these, this is what I get. I rated both of these books three stars so I must have enjoyed them at least a little bit. But can I actually remember any fine plot points? Nope.

I think part of the reason is the crazy amount of YA dystopia that has been published over the past few years – many of them are starting to merge into one. However, I can think of another YA dystopia with a similar plot that I also rated three stars – Article 5 by Kristen Simmons – that I remember the story of quite well. Plus it’s obviously not just YA dystopia that gives me book amnesia. Perhaps it depends on what else I’ve recently read? My mood at the time? I really don’t know!

Do you ever have this problem with books? Do you find it worse with a certain genre?

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Giveaway, Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Publisher Profile (Hodderscape) + Giveaway

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Today I want to discuss a science fiction and fantasy publisher, who have also been kind enough to send some goodies for Sci-Fi Month: HodderscapeDon’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 
 
Hodderscape is the science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint of the well-known publishing house, Hodder & Stoughton. They publish a wide range of authors, including Stephen King, Laini Taylor, Frank Herbert, Benjamin Percy and Jasper Fforde. You can view a full list of their authors here.
 
They have published books that range from Frank Herbert’s Dune, the science fiction classic, to Susan Ee’s Angelfall, an originally self-published sensation.
 

Here is a selection of Hodderscape’s book covers:

 
 
           

What’s so great about Hodderscape?

The number one thing to me is that they interact with their readers. The team has a big online presence and makes great use of social media to stay in touch with book lovers, answer any questions and offer up some great giveaways and competitions. They also have a blog where they feature weekly articles by author Adam Baker, Friday Favourites, Wednesday Wonders and Classic Covers, amongst other things. They’re more than happy to indulge in discussion with fellow fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Hodderscape, you can visit their website, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks to the lovely people at Hodderscape, I have some books to give away. The winner can choose between a signed copy of Red Moon by Benjamin Percy, or an ARC of She Who Waits by Daniel Polansky, and I’ll throw in some of the bookmarks that Hodderscape sent me along with the books. The giveaway is UK only, because of postage costs, but I’ll add another small international giveaway for some of the bookmarks in case anyone is interested.
 

 

Giveaway removed after migration to WordPress

Review

Review: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

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3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

This one was quite hard to rate and review. It’s been pretty popular amongst my Goodreads friends – more so than I imagined in fact. And whilst I enjoyed it, helped along by Oliver’s fluid writing style, it was just so predictable.

 

Please bear in mind that from here on until the next bold text, the review will contain spoilers.

 

Maybe this isn’t going to be so much a review as a commentary on the state of YA fiction. Lena is a ‘plain’, average girl in this dystopian world. So from the get go, she’s already a sort of Mary Sue – in fact I don’t remember any description of her appearance apart from her eyes being muddy brown. And of course, her best friend is a super beautiful blonde goddess. As soon as the fact that Lena was terrified of the idea of love was introduced, I knew she would end up falling for someone. And as soon as Alex made his first appearance in the lab, it was obviously going to be him.

There were so many predictable elements to the story that crop up far too often in YA fiction. Of course, this being a book where the main theme is love (even though love is illegal), I suppose it was hard to avoid some of the typical YA features since they more often than not involve romance.

 

End spoilers.

 

But it has to be said, that Oliver also manages to throw in a few not so predictable elements, particularly in the last third of so of the book. I was not expecting that ending, so kudos to her for that!

One thing that was definitely lacking was the reasoning behind why people were so scared of the ‘disease’. Why was there all this sudden paranoia over the side effects? When did people decide that love was a disease and not just a natural state? Perhaps this is expanded on in the next book but it really would have been good in this one.

The whole idea with love being a disease was an interesting one though. The book had a definite ‘Big Brother’ feel to it, with citizens frequently being monitored, anyone suspected of being in love taken away to be ‘cured’ or locked up.

Whilst I enjoyed this book overall, I won’t go out of my way to read the second book but if I spot it in the library I’ll probably check it out.

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #19

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My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.
 
 

Borrowed

  • Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver – I’ve seen this one on lots of book blogs, so I thought I’d give it a try. This is another YA dystopia, to fit in with the flavour of the moment!
  • Albert of Adelaide by Howard L. Anderson – set in Australia and the story of the eponymous Albert, who also happens to be a platypus… this sounds pretty interesting! I do feel I should read more books set in Australia too – I used to live there and miss it quite a bit.
  • Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry – I’m currently reading this one, and it will be my next review. I never got round to watching the series and reading this makes me want to watch it – as if I don’t already have enough things to catch up on!

That’s it for this week! What new reads do you have?