Above by isla Morley review

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Given my blog name, and the fact that it's a books blog of sorts (very general sorts, the kind of sorts that get cast in crowd shots in movies, or as zombies 55-67 in the Walking Dead) I've decided to give this whole reviewing thing another shot.

Anyway. First off the shelf so to speak, is Above, by Isla Morley.

It caught my eye in the bookstore, and given that it was payday and I lack moral fibre, I bought it, despite books costing HELLA MONEY here in New Zealand.

But the back cover promised me much, things like TRUST NO ONE in big shouty letters and something like NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS which led me to believe there would be an awesome plot twist.


Anyway. At 16, Blythe Hallowell is kidnapped by extreme survivalist Dobbs Hordin, who worked in her school library. He puts her in a silo, and plans for the end of the world.

So far, so interesting. But there were many things about Above that I couldn't get my head around.

Blythe herself, for one. She's a shadowy character, and it makes the book feel a bit slippery, as she's the one narrating the story. Dobbs is a pretty standard villain type, and while there are a few rants here and there about the impending end of the world, his reasoning isn't really fully explored. He does see Blythe as the saviour of the new world and basically as the mother of the new race to come. So, unpack that any way you like, but Above does get pretty dark.

Spoilers ahead I guess?

Above covers many years in the silo with Blythe - and eventually her son, Adam, and Dobbs, and it's all rather .... hopeless.

Until of course, Blythe and Adam escape finally, and head out into the real world.

Where the whole NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS thing comes in. I had the most trouble with this part of the book - it drags and sags a bit under the weight of the reveal that you know is coming and honestly if I were watching a movie, this is the bit I would fast-forward.

The premise of Above is interesting, and super-promising, but I feel like it falls short of that promise. It's a good idea, it just didn't quite come off for me.

Moral of the story: If a book has BIG SHOUTY WORDS on the back cover, don't believe the hype.

It's Monday

Monday, July 21, 2014
The meme is hosted here: http://bookjourney.net/

Most recently I've finished V for Vendetta, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Wool by Hugh Howey and Star Wars: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber.

That looks like quite the list, but I haven't done this meme in about a month - lol.

As for what I'm reading now, I'm deep in book three part two of A Song of Ice and Fire: A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold. I'm also still picking at The Two Towers and I have The Long Earth on my radar as well.

What are you reading?

Stuff, some things maybe

Sunday, June 22, 2014
It's Sunday night, I have a Lily-scarf across my neck, so of course it's the perfect time for a vague sort of life-update post.

I say "vague" because not a lot has been happening, really. Patrick turned seven(!!!) last month, I turned 43(!!!) a couple of weeks ago, and life shuffles along as it is wont to do.

Patrick asked me a few weeks ago if scientists were real, because he wanted to know if he could learn to make potions. After assuring him that yes, scientists are real, he now wants to be  a chemist. It's an advance on a ninja or Spider-man anyway.

All valid career choices, obviously.

Work remains work-ish. There's not a lot to say when you literally, actually work in an office from 9-5.

The period of doom hasn't returned *fingers crossed*, and now I'm just waiting to hear about a scan.

I saw What We Do in the Shadows - a Kiwi-made vampire comedy - yesterday, and it's hilarious. Very, very Kiwi in its sensibilities and sense of humour, and very unapologetic about it.

Great fun.

Uh ...... I also slayed a dragon and discovered life on a distant planet.

It's Monday

Monday, June 16, 2014
Your meme is hosted by Sheila, here: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

It's been a couple of weeks, I'm not sure what happened there.

Anyway. I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude, and it remains as devastating as ever.

I also embarked on another graphic novel, and read the first part of Y: The Last Man. I liked it a lot, but I'm going to dig deeper into it before I go any further than "like."

I finally picked up Shirley Jackson, and read We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is a creepy little novel.

I finished Dog Will Have His Day, which is .... odd. Interesting, but kind of odd. However, that might have been the translation, I'm not sure.

I'm still reading Wool, and The City & The City. I got Mr Mercedes by Stephen King for my birthday last week, and I'm half way through that.

That's ... a lot of dudes. Next up, to balance the universe, a lot of ladies.

What are you reading?

It's Monday

Monday, June 2, 2014
It's that time of the week. :-)

Your meme is hosted by Sheila, here: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

I finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Levy last week, and I have to say I liked it really rather a lot. It's set in 1920s Alaska, and it felt like the landscape was a whole other character.

It's based on the old fairytale which, from memory ends rather sadly, but The Snow Child was great. A little sad, but great.

I also read Daytripper, a graphic novel by Fabio Moon. It's a kind of day in the life/stream of consciousness thing, which highlights different days in one man's life. At the end of each segment, the man dies, and it all kind of knits together at the end. I really, really enjoyed it.

I also read The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon, which was a nice, light read after the previous two angst-fests.

Now, I'm reading Wool by Hugh Howey, and I'm about to start Dog Will Have His Day by Fred Vargas, and embark on a re-read of The City & The City by China Mieville with Jodie. And I'm slowly making my way through One Hundred Years of Solitude for the fourth time.

What are you reading?

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan is framed as the memoirs of the early days of famed dragon naturalist, Lady Isabelle Trent.

Lady Isabelle decides to write her own story her own way, and delves into her own early life with refreshing honesty.

I was, I have to say, expecting more dragons, but ultimately A Natural History of Dragons isn't really about dragons at all, but about Lady Isabelle forging her own path in a world that has very definite ideas about what is and is not suitable for a young lady.

Needless to say, Isabelle has her own ideas on what's appropriate, and before she knows it she's on an expedition with her new husband to a remote location to study dragons.

I enjoyed A Natural History of Dragons, but I felt like I was waiting for something to happen the whole time. There's a lot of sort of .. running about with not getting much done, and a sub-plot that reminded me of an Enid Blyton novel I read as a youngster (I can't remember the name of it - it had Mountain in the title), and then at the end there's a bit of a rush of  A LOT OF THINGS HAPPENING VERY QUICKLY and it felt a bit unbalanced.



It's Monday

Sunday, May 11, 2014
Your meme is hosted here: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

I'm about halfway through One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I'm reading on my lunchbreaks at work, so it's slow-going.

It's always good to revisit a favourite though.

I started The Snow Child by Eowyn Levy yesterday, and on Saturday, finished The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.

Not sure what's up next, but I'm hopefully back on track after a relatively slow reading patch.

What are you reading?