Book Number 16: Unsouled by Neal Shusterman

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The third in the series…

Unsouled by Neil Shusterman

Unsouled by Neil Shusterman

403 pages
Genre Fiction (Science Fiction)
Sunday 27th April – Monday 28th April (2 days)
2 morning, 1 afternoon, 1 evening.

I thought this was the last in the trilogy, but it turns out this is the 3rd in the dystology, with a novella available (Unstrung – telling the story of Lev between being a tithe and a clapper) and the last in the series being released this year (Undivided).

I wish I had know as I was a little confused about what had happened to Lev, and now I know there’s a novella, it’s on my list.

So, without spoiling too much, this is the first half of the last book, telling the story of Lev, Connor, Risa and others, and their journey to find the truth behind the conspiracy. Unwinding is a process where any parent can choose to have their children unwound between the ages of 13-18, where they are basically stripped for parts. Medical technology is advanced enough where all of your organs, limbs, body parts etc. can be taken and grafted onto or into another human being, meaning that people are living longer and longer.

In response to the Homeland War, where pro-choice fought pro-life, it was decided that abortion would be outlawed, but parents could choose to have their child unwound at the age of 13. In the first book we are led to believe that this is an answer to the abortion problem, but as we find out more though out the series, we realise there is more to it, that (as is often the case) it’s a system of control over the populate, in particular the teenage population who had rebelled and rioted in the past. And as with most “answers” and “solutions”… this one doesn’t exactly work, with children being unwound to cut costs as orphanages, babies being “storked” (left on doorsteps), and a black market for teenagers and “parts”.

I like the questions that this brings up about many different issues and ideas, our obsession with prolonging life, being perfect, abortion, the sanctity of life, when does life end, souls… a very interesting series, with a lot to think about, with nicely developed characters, well written and easy to get lost in! I read this book in almost two sittings – I started it whilst not very well in bed one day, read most of the book in one go between naps!

Next book: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

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Book Number 27: Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

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I’m loving this series…!

Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

873 pages
Genre Fiction (Fantasy)
Sunday 4th August – Saturday 14th September (42 days)
7 morning, 11 afternoon, 9 evening, 2 night.

The second book in the series… I loved this book! I have had a really busy month and I have wanted nothing more than to sit and read this book for hours, but no chance to do so… I had a weekend in Spain and a weekend off in bed and ill, where I did nothing but read this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before you go any further… *SPOILERS AHEAD!*

We follow on from the end of the first book with 5 different kings vying for the top spot, and fighting the civil war… Joffrey, Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Robb Stark and Balon Greyjoy. The land is divided, and despite Tyrion Lannister’s best efforts, the land is in disarray with the people divided. We see magic coming into the story much more, with dragons, walking dead people, murderous shadows and more. Across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen is still trying to find an army and passage back to the Seven Kingdoms to join the war, along with her newborn dragons. We see Jon Snow and the rest of the Nightwatch head north beyond the wall to find out more about what is happening there with the Wildlings.

I love the structure of these books, with each chapter concentrating on one character at a time, jumping from different parts of the world to another, and telling the story from different viewpoints. My favourite characters are still Tyrion and Arya, Tyrion is becoming more and more likeable, and Arya is probably the one character I can get behind and root for the most. However, I am starting to like Daenerys more and more… and I love her story, turning from a shy little girl to a Queen. The story of Theon Greyjoy has been fantastic, I wanted to be on his side, I wanted him to do the right thing, and watching him fail, become prideful and jealous of his sister, and lose Winterfell and the respect of all the people there was a brilliant part of the story.

When I first started the first book, I was worried I would not be able to keep up with all the characters, and that their stories wouldn’t be told properly, and that we would miss out on character development. However, I am enjoying these books, with all the different characters and find them all very interesting. Even the lesser characters, such as the Hound, have been developed in this book, and I have found myself jumping from one chapter to the next excitedly turning pages to find out what’s happening!

My only slight issue with this book – I just didn’t believe the Bran and Rickon storyline and knew they weren’t dead. I think because the whole story of Bran’s third eye had been built up, it seemed weird to then kill them off, and I just couldn’t get behind this storyline. But it didn’t last long as we quickly learn the truth, and it was a tiny minor blip in an otherwise amazing story.

Next book: Q&A by Vikas Swarup

Book Number 23: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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Finishing the series:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Page Count: 455 Genre: Fiction (Scifi) Time taken: 7 days (Wed 06/06/12 – Tue 12/06/12) Sessions: 4 morning, 2 afternoon, 4 evening.

The third book in the series follows straight on from Katniss’s rescue from the Arena and straight on into the rebellion and war. We see Katniss rehabilitated, find out that District 12 has been destroyed and that she, her family and the rebels are now living in District 13, which does indeed exist and is inhabited. District 13 has been there all along, and the people left to live in solitude, cut off from the rest of the districts and the Capitol, but now they are rebelling and fighting back, and they want Katniss as their “Mockingjay” – to help fight against Snow and the Capitol.

We see the war, watching the rebels take over each district until the war comes to an end, in a surprising way…

I have been waiting until the end of this trilogy to review them as a whole, but firstly, this was not my favourite of the three. It was good, and unexpected, but I preferred the build up in the first and second books, and found this book a little bleak. I was disappointed, mirroring Katniss’s feelings throughout this book, at the way the rebellion was turning, with people killing each other for the sake of killing each other, the struggle for power between Snow and Coin, and the fact that life wasn’t much better than before in District 13. I wondered what the point in fighting was, and whether all the effort was worth it. This, however, did make the end of the book so much better, when the rebellion actually makes a difference to people’s lives, and we don’t just see another dictator come in and rule.

The theme of war is an obviously prevalent one, and despite this being a young adult book, it is clear that there isn’t a black and white struggle, but that there are areas of grey where people are asked to do things that are morally wrong to serve the rebellion. There are consequences to going to war, in the same way that there are consequences from the Hunger Games, and we see the character’s struggle through their acts and decisions.

The initial idea behind these books, of a gladiator style reality TV show where children are sacrificed by being made to hunt each other to death in order for the Government to maintain their hold and tyranny over society is horrific. But we see throughout the book the hope (mainly from Peeta) that people still have. Despite having been through the horrible experience of the Games, most of the Tributes still have love and hope in them, and are able to form relationships, help with the rebellion and fight for what is right. These characters were my favourite by far, Haymitch, Finnick and Peeta in particular. Katniss got on my nerves a bit, but I was really glad she wasn’t all good, as this would have been too contrived for my liking.

I also liked Cinna, right from the start, and thought that perhaps his involvement with Katniss and Peeta, in fact, the whole set up of Peeta and Katniss being picked, may have been planned. He seemed set on making them different to the other tributes, and conveying little messages of defiance against the Capitol. It wouldn’t have surprised me if Haymitch and Cinna had been planning something like this (except that Haymitch seemed pretty despondent as an alcoholic…) or perhaps Cinna knew something about District 13.

All in all, a good trilogy, I found it difficult to put down these books, and I’m looking forward to the film. I always like this sort of book, the conspiracy, dystopic futures, rebellion etc… and these didn’t let me down.

Next on the list: Y: The Last man – Ring of Truth by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra and Jose Marzan Jr