ReMade episode 8 season 1: End of the line

End of the line Book Cover End of the line
ReMade #1.8
E. C. Myers
Science fiction, YA
November 2 2016

After a twitchy trigger finger leaves the train without a driver, the group scrambles to find a way off their runaway getaway. With food running out and still no idea where they are headed, it’s hard to imagine things could get worse…

New week, new ReMade.  And it's Inez-centric! I'd say the background and personality of Inez was heavily telegraphed from the moment she appeared, so there aren't any big surprises here if you drew the same conclusions I did.  Is it weird that someone really quite awesome almost comes out a bit bland, given the rest of the ReMade kids? Rough deal - poor Inez. 

(But I did notice a bunch of hate for her in the Goodreads comments, which baffles me. She takes Teddy in stride, that's impressive enough on its own...!)

Actually, what I liked best in this episode was not just Inez, but Inez drawing Seyah into conversation. We've hardly seen any of Seyah except through Holden's rose-coloured lenses - what we do know is that she's sort of unique among the kids, because she knows exactly what happened to her before she came here, and that it is, um, Holden's fault. And he's here too.  So that's awkward.

Oh, and they have to get off this train.

This isn't my favourite episode so far, despite some undeniable lifethreatening action. It's a little too much of a lull in the bigger story, and I'm getting so impatient now to learn more about, um, everything. The space station! The caretakers! The why?!

End of 2014 read-a-thon: TBR

Reading in festive environment

Today’s task for the read-a-thon  is… to post my TBR for the rest of the year.

Well – easy bits: I will finish Seanan McGuire’s Velveteen vs. The junior super patriots and Jo Walton’s The just city, for a total of about 400 pages.

Then, I think, almost definitely, I’ll read Gone girl (I haven’t, yet!) and Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and tell.

Then I have no idea. New shiny fantasy (City of stairs) or long-postponed sequel fantasy (Robin Hobb or Patrick Rothfuss) OR I change my mind entirely. I’m going to shoot for 8 books including the already-started ones, and probably only leave this couch to change into PJs and eat fistfuls of hazelnuts…

Dystance: Winter’s rising, by M.R. Tufo

Dystance: Winter's rising Book Cover Dystance: Winter's rising
Series starter
M. R. Tufo
YA, Dystopia
Sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc
June 12th 2014

Dystance is Winter's home - the only place she knows. From the time Dystancians exit the Bio Buildings when they're eight years old, all they can do is struggle to feed themselves enough to survive until ten years later, when they either go to the War - or, optionally, if they're female, to the Bio Buildings to make more future Dystancians.  Pretty firmly dystopian, I'd say.

What Winter discovers by chance, though, is context.  Stumbling across a remnant of a past world - a library! - it dawns on her, and her friends, that the world has been different. Humans have lived lives very unlike theirs. Once they even had an abundance of paper - enough that stories could be written that weren't even real.  She starts asking questions...

I'm going to do this in a pro/con sort of list:

What's good about this novel?

After a bit of a slow start, it becomes a decent pageturner.  There's a lot of action, and through the action parts, the writing flows excellently.  (I haven't read any previous books by this author, but I imagine his incredibly long Zombie Fallout series might be pretty good if this is what it brings to the table.)    The characters are, for the most part, well defined - I was completely charmed by Winter's friend Cedar, whose introduction to the library's romance section was perhaps the most memorable part of the whole book.   The question of what kind of world this really is, outside of the absolute war the Dystancians and a few other communities are locked in,  grows increasingly interesting.  What's the framework, here? Who made things to be this way, why are these people kept in these meaningless warrior/babyfarms?    If you're curious enough, you'll very likely keep reading the series.

What do I dislike about this novel?

First of all, the romance. It doesn't work for me. Being sixteen years old gives a character a lot of room for feelings-without-reasons, but here, I'm just being told the main character has romantic feelings for a person, and a flash of childhood memory to explain their close connection, but I don't really get it.  It's unfortunate, because part of the (quite decent) characterization later on has this romantic interest making himself less than charming,. For good enough reasons - but it just keeps reminding me I don't know why I should care.   I also find the character interaction to be written a bit stilted and awkwardly - contrasting the fluid ease of the more action-filled paragraphs.

My main problem is - I know this is a series starter, but is it not supposed to function as a novel of its own?  For that, it just leaves too many questions unanswered or unresolved.  I close the book without having satisfied my interest in the questions that kept me reading,  which is more than mildly frustrating.  If I've misunderstood the construction of the story - if this is more like a first episode than a first book - that's all right, but it doesn't really make me any happier.

...I believe this is going to find an enthusiastic audience, though.  All things considered, I'm an old grump, and not quite as devoted to teenagers-in-dystopia as a lot of other people are. Really, a lot.

Hoarding: Verso sale & Humble Book Bundle

Verso books has a half price sale on e-books and paperbacks. I’ve grabbed Genes, cells and brains, which I probably had wishlisted even before I noticed the Margaret Atwood recommendation.  Verso has an interesting non-fiction catalogue, worth looking at if you’re thus inclined.

Also, there’s a lovely Humble Bookperk Bundle available right now.  It includes a whole bunch of HarperCollins titles, including authors like Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold.  I haven’t bought it yet, because I happen to already own the most interesting handful of them, but I hope they’ll add an extra to win me over, because I really like buying humble bundles. (Charity and stuff. And buying bundles means making sure there’ll be future bundles, and I really like bundles.  So much, I’m going to type the word bundles one more time.)