Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Report (almost done with 2014!!!)

So I'm still trudging along (is that the word I'm looking for? Trudging?) trying to get my books on this blog anywhere near the books in real life.  The good news is, I'm almost done with 2014!!!  The bad (but actually sort of awesome) news is that I'm already ten books into 2105.  I just really like books.

And libraries.  Obvs.

This round up, we have Station Eleven (Best Book of 2014.  Well, one of the two best.), The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea. None of those links are affiliate because I have yet to figure out how that shizz works.

If I hadn't read Life After Life and I didn't loathe having to pick favorites, Station Eleven would easily have been the best book I read in 2014. It sounds like your typical post apocolytic formula- it is NOT.  It is ANYTHING BUT.

From the back: An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. 

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. 

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek:“Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. 

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

This book was just gorgeous. Beautiful.  Haunting, just a little.  I used to not know what people meant when they said a book was 'gorgeous' but then I read Night Circus and I kind of got it. Mandel (is that her last name? Or is it St John Mandel?) just has a way with her words.  She's magical.  I was sobbing so many times thru this book, seriously.  It will make you happy to be alive, it will make you want to hug your babies and smooch your husband.  It made me BETTER.  This books made me want to be a better human being. Their catchphrase "survival is insufficient" is basically the entire book's message, summed up in one fell swoop.  I seriously considered getting it tattooed the entire time I was reading.  And for months after.  And now.

But seriously, it's NOT about the apocalypse.  At all. So don't let that steer you away. Five stars.  Drop whatever you're reading now and go get it.  RIGHT NOW.

The 5th Wave and the Infinite Sea are the first two of what I'm assuming is a trilogy.  It could be more though, no idea. From the back of 5th Wave: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Justin Cronin (The Passage) blurbed this with something along the lines of 'I couldn't turn the pages fast enough' and I'll give Yancy that- I tore thru both of these.  They were good.  Not stunning or perfect or mind blowing- just good.  I was interested to see what happened next, and I guess, bottom line, that's the point of a story, isn't it?

Infinite Sea confused me a little bit, but nothing that made it suck.  I just can't really figure out the aliens or the mission or how things work and I can't tell if you're SUPPOSED to be confused, or if I should have picked up some cues somewhere.  From the back: How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

I'd only bother with these if you really like this sort of story.  I happen to love it, so they were fab for me, but I can see these not being everyone's cup of tea.  I hate to ever admit that I read Stephanie Meyer, but I think the Host did this whole idea better.  Don't tell anyone I said that.

All right, two more books and we'll be in 2015!!! Hooray for literacy!!!

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