Tag Archives: dystopia

Running Slowly Up the Ramp (Review: “UnSouled”)

It takes incredible skill to be a master storyteller. After Unwind and even UnWholly, I would have easily put Neal Shusterman on that list. I read UnSouled, though, so I’m withholding final judgment for now. I’m not as encouraged to keep reading, but I’m glad I did. I have to push through to the end, just like Connor, Risa, and Lev.

Spoilers for Unwind and UnSouled ahead.

The story picks up right after UnWholly. After the destruction of the Graveyard and the dramatic execution of Starkey’s stork mutiny, our main characters are scattered once again. Risa has betrayed Proactive Citizenry but made it out alive—and walking. Connor and Lev are on their own, now running from parts pirate Nelson and making their way toward Sonia and toward the whole truth. Starkey and the storks are embarking on a plan to make him a hero no matter what the cost. The politics are heating up in the background, making the unwinding of teenagers seem like a mere prelude to a much bigger scheme. Camus Comprix is finding slow acceptance in the world and discovering who he was really made to be, whether he likes it or not. Before long, their paths once again converge as they head toward the climax of their journeys and the saga.

"It never ceases to amaze [him] how far society will go to protect the children it loves and to discard the ones it doesn't." —Unsouled, by Neal Shusterman

Read the rest (and find out whether I liked it!) at Austin CNM.

The Necessity of Hope (Review: The Children of Men)

Dystopia is hot right now. Perhaps, seeing how situations that were once born of slippery slope fallacies are becoming recent history, more and more people are drawn to depictions of worlds gone terribly wrong. How bad could it get? How would humanity be saved?


Since we live in a culture where many people have separated sex from love, marriage, and children, it is interesting to see how the world might be different when that divide grows deep over generations. The Children of Men, written by P.D. James and adapted into a successful movie, considers what life could be like when generation itself is impossible.

Read the rest at Austin CNM.

Not So New Anymore (Review: “Brave New World”)

The artificial wombs of the future? (photo by Tomasso Masetti)

I have never had my heart broken by a book so quickly. I cried when I first read A Walk to Remember (hey, it’s romantic and sad!), and I was upset when Mockingjay was such a lame conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy (I got sick of Katniss’s PTSD), but I don’t think any book has ever left me so sad and so worried about the future as Brave New World. As with The Screwtape Letters, Brave New World was on my list of books I ought to have read sooner. I’m glad I finally read it, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to read it again. My heart can only break so far.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

The Other Side of the Future (Review: “Gathering Blue”)

If The Giver blew your mind, it may further blow your mind to know that The Giver has sequels. As if the journey of twelve-year-old Jonas through the frightening truth about his seemingly perfect world weren’t enough, Lois Lowry has spun another tale. The Giver presented a futuristic world with no choices and an oligarchy enforcing “Sameness” to create a better world, but one with sinister secrets. There are indications, though, that Jonas’s community is not the only one. What about everyone else?

In Gathering Blue, we find out what is going on in the world beyond.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

Flying High and Falling Fast (Review: “Mockingjay”)

photo by Daniel Dale

Dear readers, the end has arrived. That is, the end of this series of reviews has arrived. I dove back into the Hunger Games trilogy at the beginning of this calendar year, and I shared that journey with you all in my reviews of The Hunger Games and of Catching Fire. Moving at a speed matched only by my devouring Bumped and every Harry Potter book, I tackled Mockingjay and emerged, well, a little disappointed.

Read the rest (and beware spoilers) at Austin Catholic New Media.

The Heat Is On (Review: “Catching Fire”)

While I was home for Christmas, I saw Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows with my mom and sister. I loved it. It was one of the best sequels I’ve ever seen, because it didn’t strictly require knowledge of the first movie, but it built beautifully on what had been established. Reading Catching Fire, the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, was a similar experience. It built beautifully on the first book (see my review of The Hunger Games here), but it is its own story as well.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

Playing with the Girl Who Was on Fire (Review: “The Hunger Games”)

I have read and reviewed the first book of The Hunger Games here before, but since my sister gave me the trilogy for Christmas, I decided to start by rereading the first book. It became a twofer, since I used that for this week’s review for ACNM, which is excerpted as follows.

photo by lj

This may be the hardest review I’ve written for ACNM. This is not because I didn’t read the book. I did; I’ve read it twice now, and I would never try to review a book I hadn’t finished reading. This is not because I didn’t like the book; it was amazing. This is because the book blew my mind, and because it has caused such a stir in the literary world. This book is The Hunger Games.

Before I read the first book in the trilogy by Suzanne Collins back in 2010, I had been hearing about it for ages. I actually had important plot points from the second book spoiled, but that happened with A Walk to Remember, and I loved that anyway, too. I had some time to kill before a friend’s wedding rehearsal, so I decided to grab a chair in Borders and give the paperback one chapter before I decided whether to buy it. At the end of the first chapter, I immediately knew two things: I was going to have a tough time putting it down to get to that rehearsal on time, and I wouldn’t be satisfied until I’d finished the entire trilogy. As I mentioned in my first review, it was on.

Read the rest at Austin Catholic New Media.

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