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So when I found out Valerie was actually 34, the whole picture I had of the book cracked a little bit. But I continued reading. I decided that it was not fair to not give this book a chance merely because of Valeries age. I thought 'it can still be nice and there can still be a gang of friends'. Well, I quickly found out that the gang of friends didn't exist.

The main thing that really betrayed me was the fact that the synopsis portrayed zombie Caroline as Valeries best friend, so I was hoping for a supportive girl friendship. Well, it turned out that Caroline and Valerie were not really friends at all, Valerie just seemed to seek out Caroline only when she needed her help. Dave the boyfriend was barely there but tbh I didn't really mind cause their talk about sex was awkward. Also, there is a moment where Dave finally gets to tell Valerie he loves her she keeps interrupting him when he wants to say it , but it was just super weird and unnecessary.

Overall, this book was just mainly Valerie bossing everyone around to save the world, which I just didn't really like. I don't think I'll be reading the sequel any time soon Jan 25, Liesbeth books. I raced through this book. And that is not a good thing for me.

If I really love a book I savor it. I reread pieces while I go to really take it all in. I did not want to do that at all. I wanted to finish it. The reason? First I did not like the characters. They were all pretty flat and very undeveloped. The only one I liked and which seemed like a real person to me was the boyfriend. Second, I hate it when a writer doesn't trust their reader to figure thing out in their own. There was to much e I raced through this book.

There was to much exposition going on. Just people explaining things.

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Did not like that. Third, there really wasn't a real world build here. It is basically our world with a whole lot of magic and creatures and weird shit in it. But there didn't seem to be any rules, no guidelines. It felt very messy and thus harder to follow. When anything can and can't happen it gets hard to get your head around and into the story. Also, there were mistakes in it.

Like thing written wrong. Repeating words, missing letters and grammar mistakes. So yeah, those were my thoughts This mystery story is taking place in Calgary in Canada. Valerie is the main character she has a gift to see the preternatural world. She works for the Canadian Government and uses her gift for her job. Her job is to protect humans from evil creatures coming from the preternatural world. When she finds out something bad is going to happen she gets all the help she can find.

Caroline, a zombie-girl, is called in to help, also a very old troll is helping her and of course the dead ghost of a former This mystery story is taking place in Calgary in Canada. Caroline, a zombie-girl, is called in to help, also a very old troll is helping her and of course the dead ghost of a former minister of the Canadian Government. I really liked that it is not getting boring while the author keeps you curious with new findings. I also did not expect it to be this adventures so it turned out much more fun than i thougt it would be.

When you like adventure this book could be a perfect quick read. Full review to come! Valerie Stevens is an alchemist who works for a shadowy arm of the Canadian government I know it is kind of hard to believe the Canadian government can have a shadow arm - but you know there has to be a darkside to all the Canadian niceness right? Most the time Valerie's job involves tracking or capturing supernatural elements in Tupperware and sending them to her boss near the North Pole and to avoid attempts on her life by unhappy elements of the supernatural community.

This time Valerie's Valerie Stevens is an alchemist who works for a shadowy arm of the Canadian government I know it is kind of hard to believe the Canadian government can have a shadow arm - but you know there has to be a darkside to all the Canadian niceness right? This time Valerie's job is alot tougher than trapping the supernatural element she finds herself up against a terrorist organization with dark magic at it's roots.

Thankfully, Valerie has friends in the form of an ancient mage, a former Canadian prime minister now ghost, a zombie that has retained part of her soul, and her dump truck driving boyfriend Dave. Although this book starts out a bit slow for me with much of the world building by way of Valerie's inner monologue - once the world and the players are established the book really starts to take off as Valerie rushes to find out who or what is behind the attempts on her life and stop them before they bring about more death. Valerie is a great character and has an interesting group of beings that she calls friends.

She is the kind of no-nonsense heroine I can appreciate that doesn't do more than the usual amount of grumbling about the deck she has been dealt in life and she does some serious bad guy supernatural butt-kicking.


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Her friends also add some interesting spice to the mix with Fifty Dollar Bill being just how I would imagine the eccentric former Prime Minister William Mackenzie would behave with long winded speeches and antiquated views of how a woman should behave though he does pop in on her in the shower , while her friend Caroline is a unique mix for a zombie - though she is one of the undead she retains her soul and therefore her sharp wit yet she has a zombie's strength and immunity to pain, and flesh eating habits as well though she stays away from humans.

Another great character, though we don't see enough of him, is her boyfriend Dave. Dave is a dump truck driver and is totally freaked out by the supernatural though he is sweet and cooks for Valerie, listens to opera, and sticks by her through all the craziness because he loves her so much. And let's not forget the location - Calgary, Canada. Though I have read books that have been based in Canada before but they never made good use of the location and local flavor as Mr. Cumming's book did. Several of the locations used in the book actually exist in Calgary and he includes the all important Tim Hortons if you ever meet a Canadian and are looking for things to discuss just bring up Tim Hortons and they'll be talking about how wonderful it is for a while..

Her job description isn't one that you'll see written anywhere because her job is to collect supernatural commodities for government profit and act as a broker with supernatural beings, so the preternatural world stays unknown to the population at large. It's Valerie's supernatural abilities that help her in the everyday responsibility of her job as a civil servant but those in the preternatural world would call Vale Valerie Stevens works for the Government Services and Infrastructure of Canada.

It's Valerie's supernatural abilities that help her in the everyday responsibility of her job as a civil servant but those in the preternatural world would call Valerie a sorceress, Valerie prefers to be called an alchemist. A mysterious and very evil presence has made itself and its deadly intentions on the city of Calgary known to Valerie.

Now Valerie has to race to find a way to stop the evilest presence she has ever encountered but she's not alone in this deathly race.

Valerie has an eclectic cast of friends to help her fight this ultimate evil. Shade Fright was an interesting and different take on the world of the supernatural, steeped in the history of Canada and a nice mixture of different folklore, told from Valerie's point of view. I found it to be enjoyable for the most part but a few parts in the story lost my attention when too much detail for my taste went into the political subterfuge of the supernatural world. The secondary characters help give the story an air of variety.

Caroline was one of those characters. A sort of role reversal between a man and woman. Dave offers Valerie the steadfast companionship of a man whose comfortable with himself. He also loves the opera, cooks gourmet meals, drives a dump truck and he sports a gunslinger's mustache. What a combination! The overall story arc in Shade Fright was well written and interesting enough that it kept me reading plus there are a couple of subplots that could play out into more books, that I would be most interested in reading.

Lord of the Flies contrasted polite British society with the Hobbesian state of nature and asked whether the two might not be so different; Battle Royale insists that the war of all against all was always already there — the scenario just formalizes the rules. But Takami makes clear that the everyday violence of family and school primed the kids for taking on roles as victims or victimizers.

Prepare to be equal parts disgusted and enthralled. Plenty of dystopian fiction makes memorable use of cities. Feed might have been the darkest dystopia I read as a child because the villain is amorphous and unbeatable — there is no single sinister overlord or town to escape. Anderson makes consumerism and vanity look unbearable and shallow, but also unavoidable. Here, though, one man survives, and so do all of the women. How exactly does the world fall apart?

What nations become powerful? What skills become rare? What resources become valuable? Like most dystopias, the series is also a product of its particular moment — some of its political gestures already feel a touch out of place. But it is still remarkable for how thoroughly it imagines its new world, and how well it executes its epic survival quest. In it, a group of youngsters befriend one another and their idealistic ambitions get the better of them, leading to extremely well-intentioned destruction that makes this both a dystopia and a great postapocalyptic tale.

Why this collection of short stories flew so low under the radar is a mystery. Derby is one of the masters of surrealist dystopia, weaving together big ideas and raw emotions to create a tapestry of depression and alienation that spans decades. Despite the fact that the stories are framed as being the tales of humans long lost to time, retold by a monkish order in the distant future, each tale stands on its own as a document of fallen-world—building. Women are forced to harvest so many eggs that their hips crack, food crises lead to everyone eating just meat, children start mysteriously floating, warriors fight with sound guns … the level of imagination is staggering, but the book remains grounded in the dismal fact of human adaptation or is it resignation?

Reading The City of Ember is an experience tinged with a constant, low-grade anxiety, like the moment before a jump scare in a horror movie. Lina Mayfleet lives in a world of scarcity, with food supplies depleting and no means of getting more.

Even more terrifying, she lives in a world of encroaching darkness — the sky and world beyond her underground city are black and, like the food supply, the light bulbs are running out. When the book begins, flickers and power shortages are commonplace, and Lina never knows when an outage might be permanent. Of course, we get the standard dystopian tropes: career assigned to you in this case by picking out of a bag , no strong parental figures, a younger sibling to care for. But what makes it unique among the bevy of early aughts young-adult books is how visceral her fear is.

There is a clock running out, and we have no idea how much time is left. With the self-centeredness of just about any high-school-aged kid, narrator Kathy details the drama of a love triangle and the sexual awkwardness that comes with being young and curious. But as she grows older, it becomes apparent that Kathy and her schoolmates are meant for a different life: to be cogs in the wheel of a larger system that is so dominant, so all-consuming, that mere thoughts of rebellion never even emerge.

Here, she finds state-of-the-art fitness equipment, art and cultural materials, and a friendly staff. It all seems decidedly pleasant — except for the mandatory nature of it, and the fate of all of the residents there. The result is a powerful meditation on questions of societal obligations, families or the lack thereof , and how one best leaves a mark on the world.

Instead, he zeroes in on essential questions: What does it mean to be part of a family as the world reverts to a state of nature? Is it more important to uphold some remnant of morality and idealism in this broken world, or does survival take precedence over everything else? This is not the kind of dystopian narrative that extrapolates contemporary events far into the future, or uses fantastical or uncanny elements to heighten a mood. The novel follows the title character as she escapes from a totalitarian nation and finds herself in a series of nightmarish scenarios, from grotesque industries to urban violence.

As she ventures north, she joins up with a group of like-minded women living on a farm called Carhullan. In the U. There are a few stylish flourishes that make this novel veer in unexpected ways. Hall offers plenty for sociopolitically minded readers to ponder in this haunting narrative.

Can poetry also bring the reader into a dystopian landscape? Most definitely — there are several writers whose experiments with literary forms and narratives take them into futuristic spaces and transformative narratives. The writings of Bhanu Kapil come to mind. In these poems, Hong also hearkens back to a horrific real-world incident of political oppression: the Gwangju uprising, in which South Korean citizens protested military rule and encountered a violent response.

Sometimes the dystopian narrative extrapolates contemporary trends and fears; sometimes it summons up memories of a grim moment from history. Beukes is fantastic at capturing metropolises where things have gone ever-so-slightly off. Her first novel, Moxyland , uses the lives of four characters to zero in on questions of class, commercialization, and the overlap of media and technology — urgent ones to this moment in time.

The South African author writes about pop culture better than most, both in terms of forecasting the plausible artists and trends of tomorrow and how media consumption in the future might look. The series that launched a million think pieces. Say what you will about the craze that followed, but this novel brought a new era of young readers into bookstores, had them questioning authority, and turned the braid into an act of rebellion.

While it will perhaps not be remembered for its prose, generations to come will know the international phenomenon The Hunger Games ignited. Though its most prescient social commentary was warning us how easily reality TV could take over politics. When the world is on fire, will you be a passive viewer, or will you volunteer as tribute? For all of the heightened talk of reducing societal dependence on fossil fuels in recent years, said fuels still play a significant role in our lives.

The Windup Girl offers an in-depth look at a society where oil is no more and kinetic energy is abundant. The ravages of genetic engineering is a frequent theme in science fiction — the way that the promise of science can suddenly give rise to something that brutally alters the fabric of society. Nearly everything here seems off: The rationale for the missions suggests that things are deeply wrong with this society. Shteyngart imagines a financially gutted New York City that the world has left behind, where a vaguely and aimlessly authoritarian federal government issues labels and missives with obvious typos and everyone lives in fear of their publicly readable credit score.

There is no apocalypse on the horizon, just more malaise. And yet, the next-most-operative word is love , as the romance in the foreground — however troubled it is — reminds you that common, private humanity survives in almost any fallen world. On one hand, Ready Player One is an all-encompassing tribute to all forms of geek culture and fandom. But in its midst-century setting, where environmental catastrophes and economic issues have radically upended the U.

Can nostalgia be dystopian in and of itself? It just might. This is a subtly postapocalyptic world; some of the conflicts feel timeless, and a subplot about weaponized rape is particularly wrenching to read. The novel takes place in a future Sudan, where the light-skinned Nuru oppress the dark-skinned Okeke.

Martin attached as executive producer. Forget what you know from the HBO show. Can the people who remain, the titular leftovers, resume their normal lives when such an event has taken place? And, yes, although some characters find meaning in joining a cultlike community called the Guilty Remnant, who chain-smoke cigarettes while wearing white, Perrotta is at his best when he focuses on the mundane — the teenage girls who have regular teenage-girl problems, even while the world feels so profoundly broken.

The ripest fruit borne of the Hunger Games tree. In the wake of Katniss mania, a new era of YA dystopia was ushered in, and Divergent was the cream of the crop. Every teenager has seen these groups before: The Dauntless are brave jocks ; the Erudite are intelligent nerds ; the Amity are peaceful do-gooders. Though the series takes many convoluted turns and ends on a pretty unsatisfying note, Roth created a story where every reader could see themselves and imagine what their role in the rebellion to come would be.

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Preternatural

But what makes this novel lodge in the mind is the inherent fragility of nearly everything: the shreds of civilization looking to piece themselves together; the wall keeping parts of lower Manhattan safe; even the handful of zombies who remain stationary, a reminder of the people they used to be. Whitehead impressively blends fatalism with a sense of hope, and sustains tension on multiple levels throughout the narrative.

The novel memorably encompasses the complexities of a society in which art, love, and politics are intertwined. The collapse of technology; diseases that decimate the population; natural disasters; the arrival of an extraterrestrial menace. I considered this. It was, in a way—I suppose.

Jesus, I thought, Vernon Gant. It was all coming back to me now. Nineteen sixty-nine. I stopped again. I was just thinking out loud, thinking—what angle did I take? Having a smoke. The notion was absurd. There was also, I have to admit, a slight Pavlovian element to my hesitation—the idea of bumping into Vernon and heading off spontaneously to another location stirred something in my body chemistry. Hearing him say vamos , as well, was like an access-code or a search-word into a whole phase of my life that had been closed off now for nearly ten years. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. We use cookies to enhance your visit to us.

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Finally—giving in—I look at my watch. I look at my watch again. Clearly, though, time is running out. So how do I begin this? The broad stroke.