A Visit from the Postal Fairy

So the Postal Fairy left these two gorgeous hardcovers on my door step yesterday! I wasn’t expecting them to arrive until next week so there might have been a bit (a lot) of excited squeeing going on.

Still got a couple of books from this month’s TBR pile. I’m averaging one book a week, thanks to Directive 51. That book was seriously hard going! These two will probably wind up in my next round of TBR because I’m not sure I can wait.

Advertisements

Directive 51 – John Barnes

Set in mid 2020’s USA, Directive 51 opens with protagonist Heather O’Grainne investigating a social phenomenon known as ‘Daybreak’. Made up with people from all walks of life and beliefs, united by their desire to take down what they call the ‘Big System’, Daybreak is about to become a terrible reality. With civilisation rapidly collapsing as biotes and nanoswarm devour anything plastic or electronic, the US government struggles to minimise the damage and maintain control.

This isn’t just Heather’s story though; Directive 51 is told from a large number of perspectives. The reader gets a feel for what’s going on around the USA, from both sides of the conflict, but it means the story feels fragmented and, particularly in the first third of the novel, very slow to get going. It also made it kind of difficult to engage and empathise with the characters as they are pretty one-dimensional for a while. I did become invested in a few of them by the end of the novel.

The writing is dense and has a serious amount of unnecessary exposition going on (not helped by the small print in my paperback copy) so it took me a while to get through this novel. Realistically it could have been a much shorter novel (and a better one for it). It’s also very heavy on the US Constitution – most of the conflict in Directive 51 isn’t to do with Daybreak and the end of the world as we know it but with issues surrounding the continuance of government. If that kind of novel bores you to tears, I suggest you give this one a miss.

I did enjoy the sci-fi side of Directive 51, particularly how the world begins to adjust to a post-Daybreak life and technology level though, of course, some manage better than others. Being a big fan of disaster movies, I love a good apocalypse scenario and the sudden and catastrophic failure of things like plastic and electronics is a great one. I really liked the premise of Directive 51 but the overall execution wasn’t the best, sadly.

Despite my expectations, the ending left me wanting to know what happens in the rest of the series. I get the feeling that my favourite characters are never going to catch a break but that’s the point in an end of the world thriller I guess. Whether or not I actually pick up Daybreak Zero remains to be seen.

Rating: 2.5 stars.

Similar Reads: Black Monday by R. Scott Reiss (also listed as Bob Reiss).

Directive 51 was published in 2010 by Penguin Group. ISBN : 978-0-441-02041-6.

New books!

Just wanted to share the new books I picked up the other day – Marie Lu’s Legend and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. It’s been a bit of a book buying spree this week. I also have a couple of shiny hardcovers coming from Book Depository in the next couple of weeks which is exciting.

Cause this is Thriller. Thriller night.

At the moment I’m working my way through sci-fi thriller Directive 51 by John Barnes. It’s taken me a little while to get into it but stuff is going down now. A bunch of people are dead and it looks like life as we know it is quickly coming to an end. And I’m only a third of the way in!

Aiming to finish it in the next couple of days (providing I get my uni work done) so expect a review of it soon.

 

Defy the Dark – Saundra Mitchell

Defy the Dark is an anthology of stories set under the cover of darkness. Written by seventeen Young Adult authors, the stories cover a wide variety of genres, including dystopia, horror, paranormal, romance and crime. I picked this one up for two reasons:

1. It features stories by my perrenial favourites Sarah Rees Brennan and Carrie Ryan.

2. It has a super pretty cover and I am a total sucker for those.

In addition to some great standalone pieces, Defy the Dark also features expanded world stories from Beth Revis’ Across the Universe and Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series so if you’re a fan of those series I advise you pick up a copy.

It was really hard for me to narrow down the stand out stories for this post so I’ve left it at my Top 6. In no particular order:

Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins

Very much following the trope of the ‘teens making out in the car’ horror set up but I was still pretty creeped out by the end of it. Not to mention very angry at Kelley for being a total wanker (spoilers).

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp

Every day Pruitt Reese drives the mind-numbing delivery route from his family’s farm around the small town of Stillwater. The only highlight of his day is his neighbour Delilah. Delilah is also on the wrong side of a longstanding family feud and Pruitt knows his romantic notions will never come to pass. But there is something strange about Stillwater and, together, Pruitt and Delilah are going to discover what it is.

Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan

Set in Vista, the town featured in Ryan’s The Dead Tossed Waves, at the start of the zombie apocalypse. Four friends decide to have one last hurrah at the amusement park before the dead descend on their town. Of course, nothing involving zombies ever goes to plan.

Shadowed by Christine Johnson

Esme has lived her whole life in darkness, confined to a tower in her father’s castle thanks to a curse placed on her as a baby. If she ever casts a shadow it turns on her and tries to kill her. She is resigned to a life in the tower until a new (and very handsome) knight arrives to fight in her father’s tournament. Could he be the one to break Esme’s curse?

Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce

Deep underground a young miner hears a strange knocking sound. Following it he discovers a mysterious girl named Ennor, living in the earth. Although he never sees her they soon become close friends. But trouble is brewing between the miners and Ennor’s family and the pair find themselves caught in the middle.

This Was Ophelia by Tessa Gratton

A beautiful story about being true to youself, not what society expects of you. I was all in for Ophelia/O and Hal’s stuggle to be who they wanted to be. Their love story is wonderful, one of my absolute favourites in this anthology.

4 stars.

Similar reads: After by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

Defy the Dark was published in 2013 by HarperTeen. ISBN: 978-0-06-212353-4.

Timekeepers – Catherine Webb

Now, fair warning. There are some minor spoilers for Waywalkers below so if you haven’t read it and are planning to then maybe give this post a miss.

The sequel to Webb’s first Sam Linnfer novel Waywalkers, Timekeepers resolves the duology. Sam finds himself cut off from his allies as the Pandora Spirits are used against him in a bid to release Cronus from his prison. New kids on the figuartive block, the Ashen’ia, offer Sam protection but the mysterious Master and Mistress who command them are manipulating Sam for their own ends. All the while Sam’s father, Time, demands he submit to his fate: save the universe and destroy himself in the process.

Since Sam can no longer rely on pretty much anyone we met in Waywalkers there are a lot of characters missing from Timekeepers. While we do get to meet a few new ones, such as the comically named Tinkerbell, the almost complete absence characters I was invested in frustrated me.

The actual plot wasn’t bad, with a lot of well written action and fight scenes which is appropriate since Sam spends basically the entire book on the run from one thing or another. There is an awful lot of build up for the final battle for the universe but, while there are some great action sequences and information reveals, the actual climax was almost boring and not very well described. There is also quite a lot unresolved in regards to some characters, Loki in particular.

Overall I enjoyed this series but I’m not sure if I would re-read it. If you’re a fan of magic and mythology but don’t like explicit gore in your reading then check out Waywalkers and Timekeepers.

3 stars.

Similar reads: Fated by Benedict Jacka, The Woken Gods by Gwenda Bond.

Timekeepers was published in 2004 by Atom. ISBN: 1 904233 43 0.