Tag: Books: Dystopian


Review: The Book of M

Posted 19 August, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Book of M
By: Peng Shepherd
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears–an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

Like The Passage and Station Eleven, this haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory, connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.

The premise caught my attention and admittedly it sat on my to-read queue for quite a long while. While I did pick it up when I did, I was wondering if now was a good time to read it given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; last thing I wanted to read was about a pandemic sweeping across the globe and giving rise to a post-apocalyptic, each-man-for-himself sort of world. Oh, and the Forgetting reminded me of Alzheimer’s which I encounter regularly with my job so yeah, I’m in for a trip.

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Review: An Ocean of Minutes

Posted 19 February, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

An Ocean of Minutes
By: Thea Lim
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In the vein of The Time Travelerís Wife and Station Eleven, a sweeping literary love story about two people who are at once mere weeks and many years apart.

America is in the grip of a deadly flu pandemic. When Frank catches the virus, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him, even if it means risking everything. She agrees to a radical plan: time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded laborer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

An Ocean of Minutes is a gorgeous and heartbreaking story about the endurance and complexity of human relationships and the cost of holding onto the past–and the price of letting it go.

Been eyeing this book since I first heard of it…the year before? I can’t remember now but I got around to picking it up last year (trying to avoid the same scenario with Madeline Thein’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing where there was no stock for a while). It was long listed for Canada Reads 2019 this year so yeah, got around to reading it a while ago 🙂

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Review: 1984

Posted 28 June, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

1984
By: George Orwell
Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase

‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent – even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

So, backstory time: I first read this book in 2008. It was the heyday of me studying Soviet Russian history and I was just reading up everything I could get my hands on related to the regime, and dystopian literature reflecting on the events was one of them. So George Orwell came into my reading list at long last. I liked it the first time but despite it being the time that I started book blogging, I never got around to typing out a review of sorts about the novel. Fast forward to almost ten years later and with current events spiralling about, this book returned to attention, even selling out at some stores. I had been meaning to re-read it for some time now so I decided to pick it up again.

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Books: A Batch of Mini-Reviews

Posted 11 May, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Mini-reviews seem to be my friend these days 😛 Included in this post are reviews for the following titles:


Sonnets from the Portuguese
By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer and reviewer in the Victorian period, and in her lifetime, her reputation as a poet was at least as great as that of her husband, poet Robert Browning. Some of her poetry has been noted in recent years for strong feminist themes, but the poems for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is undoubtedly best know are Sonnets from the Portuguese.

Written for Robert Browning, who had affectionately nicknamed her his “little Portuguese,” the sequence is a celebration of marriage, and of one of the most famous romances of the nineteenth century. Recognized for their Victorian tradition and discipline, these are some of the most passionate and memorable love poems in the English language. There are forty-four poems in the collection, including the very beautiful sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

I first read this collection two years ago (review) when I was first making a serious foray into poetry. Revisiting it now after having read quite a range of poetry, I find her poetry evokes a lot more emotion out of me with the passion conveyed about her love for Robert Browning and how that love affects her. I suppose you could say I appreciated this collection a lot more than I did the first time around 😛

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Review: Memory of Water

Posted 18 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

Memory of Water
By: Emmi Itäranta
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town-and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

I had heard this book in passing maybe a year ago or so when I was looking up books translated to English from Finnish (or any recent Scandinavian literature, actually). The premise sounded interesting but it was only a few months ago that I got around to checking it out. It falls more on the dystopian side of literature, but still works for this month’s Sci-Fi event as it’s set in a future ravaged by climate change.

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