Review

Review: Speak by Louisa Hall

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2 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I was initially drawn to Speak through its cover – I frequently do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. Having just re-watched the film Ex Machina for Sci-Fi Month 2015, it immediately struck me as sounding similar, plus the figure on the cover looked a little like Ava, the A.I. in the film. I’ve always been intrigued by A.I., but my recent exploration into the sub-genre of science fiction had me interested.

And so I dove into the book, expecting something dark, technologically very clever, and most of all, exciting.

I hate to say it, but I came out very, very disappointed. Speak is not a novel as much as a collection of diary entries and chat logs, all from different time periods, all linked together by artificial intelligence. However, the link felt tenuous at best, meaning that it felt more like a collection of random stories, all told in different chapters. One diary was of a 16/17th century teenage girl, making the journey from England to the New World. Another was a chatlog between a chatbot and a paralysed teenaged girl. There was also the diary of the creator of a certain artificial intelligence.

In some ways, maybe they were linked. Both in others, not at all. I didn’t find any single chapter or event to be particularly interesting or exciting, there was no real chance to get to know any character and I was, quite honestly, rather bored of it all by the end. It’s a shame, because Speak looked so full of promise, but despite the beautiful writing it ultimately felt like a lot of loose ends with no real conclusion.

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: January 2016

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of fourteen books: Speak by Louisa Hall, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Fated (Fated #1) by Benedict Jacka, Winter Be My Shield (Children of the Black Sun #1) by Jo Spurrier, A Room With A View by E.M. Forster, Thor: Goddess of Thunder (Thor #1) by Jason Aaron, The Lives of Tao (Tao #1) by Wesley Chu, Hawkeye: Little Hits (Hawkeye #2) by Matt Fraction, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth, The Bees by Laline Paull and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

The stand out books of the month were definitely Vicious and The Lives of Tao. I’d been waiting to get round to Vicious for so long, and finally bought myself a new copy. I pretty much read the entire book in one day; it was so fantastic to have a book from the point of view of villains, or if not villains then at least morally grey characters. Bossypants was also hilarious, naturally, being written by Tina Fey. The Man in the High Castle was a major letdown, definitely my least favourite PKD novel so far. I also finally started reading graphic novels again!

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read eight books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge and managed to defeat January’s villain, the Penguin. I’m pretty happy with that, I want to try and defeat every villain this year. February’s villain is none other than Mystique, one of my favourite Marvel villains.
  • I have currently read fourteen books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
How was January for you?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: Recent & Upcoming Releases

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

One of the most exciting parts of book blogging is being able to easily keep up with recent and upcoming releases, thanks to links with publishers. Here are some of my most anticipated science fiction releases that have either come out in the past few months, or will be on our shelves some time within the next few.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) by Jim Butcher

The Aeronaut's Windlass

I have not yet read anything by Jim Butcher, although I have been recommended his Dresden Files series many times, and the first book in the series was recently chosen for Sci-Fi Book of the Month by my Goodreads book group. Yet his newest work, The Aeronaut’s Windlass, appeals to me more than any of his other works. It sounds a little Firefly-esque, and I’m drawn to anything that reminds me of the series. It is also a steampunk novel, which is a genre I intend to read more of. And finally, I do tend to judge books by their covers – and I really love this one.

The Aeronaut’s Windlass was published in September 2015 by Orbit | Goodreads

Speak by Louise Hall

Speak

Not only does Speak cover the topic of Artificial Intelligence, which has recently peaked my interest even more due to the film Ex Machina, but it also covers several hundred years in time. I really love the idea of this – there are so many novels featuring AI set in the future, but what about the past? I even broke my Netgalley ban (got to get that ratio up to 80%!) so I could download this, especially as I was auto-approved… in fact, by the time this has been posted, I may have even read the book – I just can’t wait!

Speak will be published in February 2016 by Orbit | Goodreads

The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker

The End of the World Running Club

The title of this book, The End of the World Running Club, immediately caught my attention. It’s a post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel with a bit of a twist – the protagonist is a slob, a useless husband and father, who has to embark on a journey across the United Kingdom to rescue his family. I really don’t feel like it will be a typical post-apocalyptic type novel, with a protagonist who struggles to do the things in day-to-day life.

The End of the World Running Club will be published in May 2016 by Random House | Goodreads

As well as my top three releases, I’m also looking forward to these:
Planetfall Sleeping Giants The Hive Construct

Which sci-fi releases are you looking forward to?