Friday, 4 July 2014

science fiction & fantasy kindle samples

I've been reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy recently, (see my mini reviews of previous kindle samples here and here) and a loss of what to read next I downloaded a couple of kindle samples to try. 

Synopsis:  'sticks and stones break bones, words kill'. At an exclusive school students are taught to persuade and manipulate other people using words, the very best will graduate as poets and will have the power to control people's minds. Emily is hustling on the street when she is recruited, under the guidance of Bronte, Lowell and Eliot she becomes the school's most talented pupil. Meanwhile Wil is violently attached in a airport bathroom, he has no recollection of what he is supposed to have done, or who his attackers are. 
My thoughts: The book starts with a Wil been ambushed, and rather like him as I reader I felt thrown into the middle of something I didn't fully understand. My initial reservations about the novel, is that it will be too plot driven, all gun fights and car chases without any depth or character development. That might be a hasty conclusion however, and I would like to read the rest of book. The premise intrigues me, propaganda and rhetoric are powerful tools, that have lead to the deaths of many people, so I think the author is clever to make this concept literal, words as weapons.   
Verdict: want to read, but not worth buying(have already reserved it from the library) 

Synopsis: There have been elven previous expeditions to Area X, an environmental disaster zone monitored by the secretive Southern Reach agency. Each of this expeditions has resulted in fatalities and terrible consequences. The narrator, an unnamed biologist, is part of the twelfth group to investigate Area X, the quarantined area soon begins to affect her and her companions is strange and disturbing ways. 
 My thoughts: My initial reaction was yay! as all the members of the expedition group are female, though I was soon to realise most of them aren't going to last long. The opening is pretty creepy, I'm expecting that there has been some kind of outbreak, or contagion that will physiologically unbalance the group. I also suspect that the Southern Reach send people to Area X as part of human experimentation. I wasn't immediately drawn in, perhaps because I can predict what's going to happen, though of course I could be wrong. 
Verdict: not fussed, either way. There are other books I'd like to read first       

Synopsis: After the world has been annihilated by nuclear war, and humans are nearly extinct, aliens first make contact. Hoping to save the earth and humanity, the Oankali rescue the people they can and begin to rehabilitate the planet. Lilith is one of the first to be awoken by the Oankali, and she must prepare her fellow humans to survive in a hostile environment. 
My thoughts:  I've been on an Octavia Butler kick recently, Kindred was my top pick last month (see my review here) but this sample didn't really grab me. Going of the strength of her other books though, I think I may have been too quick to judge. I'm a fan of post-apocalyptic books, I'm always interested to see how authors think society will rebuild itself, so that appeals to me. It's just the involvement of aliens that puts me off. 
Verdit: There are other Octavia Butler books I'd like to read first (I bought Seed to Harvest the other day and am waiting for it to arrive)  

Synopsis: Chava is a golem, shaped from clay and brought to life by a rabbi, who dabbles in dark magic. When her master, a failed businessman, dies whilst they are travelling, Chava is left purposeless and alone in 19th Century New York. Similarly forlorn is Ahmad, a being of fire, trapped for centuries in a copper flask. Once freed, he is still tethered to the physical world, by a band of iron and must, like Chava, try to survive in a strange, human world. 
My thoughts: I only know a little about golems, so this novel had instant appeal for me, I love learning about different myths. The turn of the twentieth century is also one of my favourite time periods, so that gave the book another tick from me. Though Chava and Ahmad are supernatural beings, there story will have a lot in common with the flood of immigrants that arrived in New York in this time, culture clash and alienation are going to be huge themes in the novel, as both try to navigate their way around the human world. I was immediately invested after reading the sample.
Verdict: desperate to read (plus it's only £1.99 on kindle) 

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