It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Giving Sci-Fi a Chance

Champion by Marie Lu

Champion

In my last IMWAYR post, I mentioned that I had been reading the Legend series by Marie Lu. The next week I began reading the last book, Champion.  I have mixed feelings about the book.  While I enjoyed the character development of June and Day, I felt overwhelmed by the action scenes.  My reaction to this book was similar to my reaction to Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay: I felt like I was reading a movie script rather than a novel. The book packed a lot of information about the history and politics of the two dystopian societies into this installment, and I found myself getting lost in the details and impatient for June and Day to come back.  I really did love these two characters, but I confess that I skimmed quite a bit of this book.  The ending, however, I thought was nicely done.  I won’t spoil that for you, but I found it satisfying in a way that many trilogies don’t provide.

Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow

Namless

A book that I loved for its character development and unique take on an old tale was Nameless: A Tale of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow.  This story is loosely based on the fairy tale of Snow White.  At first I found the story disorienting because I think I was expecting it to follow the fairy tale more closely. But St. Crow is a talented, lyrical writer, and she drew me into the world in such a way that I just accepted what I couldn’t understand at first.  

Camille is a teenage girl with white skin, jet black hair, blue eyes, and blood red lips. She was found and adopted by “The Family” as a small girl after they find her bleeding in the snow on the side of the road.  The head of this Family is one of the “Seven,” the most powerful bloodsuckers in the world. She is haunted by dreams of her childhood before she came to live with the Family, but she can remember nothing about her past.  I was glad that I didn’t know before beginning the book that the “dwarves” that take in the young refugee princess are a family of bloodsuckers since I’m so weary of vampires.  The way St. Crow creates her vampires is much different from anything I have read before, and I’m glad I experienced this story.  

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

across-the-universe-cover

I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of science fiction. I generally find it too technical, and the world-building in some sci-fi books seems to overwhelm the character development and the conflict.  But I gave Across the Universe by Beth Revis (a book that has been in my TBR pile for a while) a try, and I was pleasantly surprised.

This book is creepy.  That’s the first adjective that comes to mind if I’m being honest, and that’s not what I expected. The original cover features a couple about to kiss, but although there are some subtle elements of attraction between the two main characters, the book isn’t really a romance. It’s more of a dystopian story, with elements that reminded me of Brave New World, Event Horizon, and The Island.  Revis’ descriptions of the process to be cryogenically frozen were horrific enough, and that was just the beginning of the story.  

Amy, one of the two narrators, is frozen along with her parents, intending to be woken up 300 years in the future to colonize a new planet. When Amy is accidentally awoken 50 years too early, she finds thousands of people who have populated the ship living and working in their own society.  The people who have been living and procreating and dying on the ship are now monoracial and mono-pretty much everything else.  Their ruler is named “Eldest,” and his methods of controlling the people, revealed throughout the story, are just disturbing.

The second narrator is young “Elder,” who is to be the next leader of the ship when Eldest’s time is over.  Amy fascinates Elder, as she is the only person his age on the ship now.

The claustrophobia of being in a ship, albeit a gigantic one, in the middle of outer space, the description of Amy’s consciousness while frozen, the vacant sheep-like quality of the ship’s population: all of these elements raised the hair on the back of my neck several times.  I loved how any of the technical and scientific elements were explained in such a way that anyone could understand, and the story didn’t dwell on these elements.  I also liked how any of these technical elements that were necessary for the world building were only revealed when they were necessary for the story instead of them all being described at the beginning of the book.  I find it much easier to read a science fiction book when the exposition is woven into the story rather than given all at the beginning.

What are your reading plans for the week? Or can you recommend any other science fiction that I might actually like?

(“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a great way to keep track of what you’re reading and see what others are reading each week.)

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