Red Clocks by Leni Zumas | Book Review

2018 has been the year of feminist dystopians, and I’ve finally read the last one that was on my physical TBR for the year (that I had been meaning to get to since February!)

Red Clocks follows three women and one teen girl in the near future after a “personhood amendment” is passed in the US, barring everything from abortion, artificial insemination and single-parent adoption. We follow The Biographer, The Mender, The Wife and The Daughter as they all deal with life under this change and slowly the connections they all have to each other is revealed.

I’ll say at the top that this book won’t be for everyone. The style especially takes a while to get used to and even then it’s still strange in its combination of lyrical language and stark/choppy structure. But for me, that style brought such a power to book that, once I got the swing of things, I was completely hooked.

You could feel the desperation, you could feel the contempt and the anger. In the end these “placeholders” (naming the point of view chapters after the women’s role in society) were fully realized people. I could relate to the wife who’s life I’ve never lived; I could relate to the mender even though I’ve never been called a witch.

And unlike some of the other books in this same vein I’ve read this year, it’s a dystopian that is explained in a way that you could easily see happening. Some say modern comparisons to the Handmaid’s Tale are exaggerations — but this book? This is a couple of short steps away from reality.

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface with my feminist dystopian reads of the year (Future Home of the Living God; The Power; Vox; The Handmaid’s Tale; The Book of Joan; The End We Start From; Red Clocks), and I already have more on my list for next year. But what are your recommendations?

Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman | Book Review

Book: Dry

Author: Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Release Date: Oct. 2, 2018

Synopsis

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.
Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
 

Format: Physical Advanced Reader Copy (found at library sale, not given to me by the publisher)

Length: 389 pages

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Review

img_1446Dry is an apocalyptic-esque thriller, multiple perspective story on the desperation that follows when Southern California runs dry. It starts from people stealing cases on water from each other at CostCo and quickly devolves into doing absolutely whatever it takes to survive.

All of the main characters are teenagers, which means there was a good chunk of the middle where I had to stop reading, turn to my S.O. and say “THESE KIDS ARE SO DUMB!” or “Listen to the 10-year-old! Your plan is stupid.” But hey, I’ve watched a lot of disaster movies so I’m pretty judgy.

This is also my first Neal Shusterman book, so I’m not sure if this is just his style or not, but there were a lot of heavy-handed metaphorical or “deep thought” statements that you’d typically see at the end of an important passage or at the end of books, but that were just thrown around every page or so. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the “momentous” moments these 16-year-old kids were internal monologuing about. (Oh god the more I type, the more I want to lower the rating).

One more gripe. This book had real stakes and bad things happen. But I couldn’t help but feel at the end that none of their decisions actually mattered? Like if they had decided to stay versus go or this way or that, it seems like the ending would’ve been the same. The main characters didn’t bring about the end of the book, so the deus ex machina element to this made the ending a bit of a let down for me.

Ok, so let’s say it’s a 3.5 star that I’m rounding up. If you like Neal Shusterman’s style, you’ll likely enjoy this more than me. I’m still going to give Scythe a chance to see if I like his dystopians more.

Thoughts on “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

451 fireI recently began thinking about the classic book by Ray Bradbury. A friend of mine tweeted about artist Elizabeth Perez’ rendition of the book. Around the same time, the work gained popularity/intrigue through websites like Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Reddit.

See the post here.

She took the book-burning theme and incorporated it to the book itself — the spine had a striking surface and the “1” in 451 was a match. I had mixed feelings when I saw this.

Continue reading “Thoughts on “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury”