Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Ender's Game

   Not being a fan of science fiction, I have long avoided reading Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card's well-known and well-loved take on the culture of war, childhood,  and the modern war machine. But after watching both my boys rip through the pages with glee, I decided to set aside my prejudices and give it a try.
   Excellent book, I must say. Just goes to show, sometimes it is good to step outside your comfort zone; you might be pleasantly surprised. Ender's Game was a brilliantly crafted, scathing critique of the  military industrial complex. The idea of young children being trained, brutally and intensely, to live, work, and fight for the "machine" of governance is not new, but Card adds in the unique stellar landscape, where children play the roles of both good and evil, isolated, for the most part,  from adult supervision, though it is understood that the over arching mechanism is still adult-managed and manipulated.
   I found this book to be a fascinating study of the human psyche, and  how a child's role in the world can be entirely manipulated by the adults who pull the strings. It was disturbing in parts, mostly when Ender, the very image of goodness and humanity, found himself participating in brutal practices, unable to stop. There is a primitive quality in all of us, it seems, and it only takes authority to bring it out.
   I highly recommend this book... enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


   Imagine being able to see the date that someone is going to die... how would life be for such a person? Invigorating? Depressing? A bit of each? For Jem, in Rachel Ward's Numbers, having such knowledge is a curse, one she literally runs from to try to escape. Joined in this mad dash to flee from her "gift" is an unlikely hero, Spider, who is gangly, smelly, and nerdy.
   Wrongly accused of detonating an explosion that kills several, Jem and Spider must find a way to clear their names, while Jem seeks to discover the source of her abilities.
   Numbers was entertaining enough, I guess, but mostly it was forgettable... I know there is a sequel out there, but frankly, I just don't care enough about the characters to go looking for it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Review--Ashes, Ashes

   This might be one of the last dystopia novels for me for awhile, though for a finale, Ashes, Ashes, by Jo Treggiari, was entertaining enough, though entirely predictable. In a world stricken by plague, earthquakes, and flooding, Lucy, our young heroine, must navigate the post-apocalyptic world of New York City, where she is hiding out like a savage in a city that is no longer recognizable. Central Park is now home to roving packs of dogs, all of whom seem intent on hunting the straggling survivors, and Lucy, in particular, for her blood carries something special... a possible cure to what ails the planet.
   Lucy finds herself on the run, teaming up with Aiden, the young man, who in better days would have been the jock that ignored her in the school hallways. Romance ensues, of course, and the book scrambles to an end that leaves the reader hanging, but not entirely caring whether another book is on the horizon.
   So, if you need a quick, fun read, give this one a go, but don't expect too much.