Fiction, Jiles-Paulette, Mystery, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult

#564 Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

Lighthouse Island by Paulette JilesLighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

In the future, the world, at least the United States, is one large city. The city makes the rules. There are endless agencies. This agency does this. This agency does that. Everyone watches television. The shows are fake. There is a man called the facilitator. Water is scarce. The whole world seems to be in a drought.

Nadia remembers being abandoned. She had parents, and then she didn’t. She was taken to live with a family with a man named Thin Sam Kenobi. He let her read. He taught her things. He told her never to forget about something.

Nadia was forced out of that home and had to go into a foster home. She eventually grew up. She got a job, as all people did. She worked in an agency, like many people did. She had a bit of an affair and got in a bit of trouble.

Finally, she knew she had to get out. Someone had turned her name in for the pickup. People were picked up and then dried out. Nadia ran away.

She pretended to be other people. She met a man in a wheelchair high on the roof. He had a very interesting conversation with her. The two made something of a connection and he gave her a special card. Nadia traveled on. She was on her way to Lighthouse Island. She had heard about it. She had seen pictures. Maybe it existed. Maybe it didn’t.

Nadia faces more troubles as she goes along. People are picked up for just about any reason. Nadia finally makes it through the large city to a nice house. It belongs to the man in the wheelchair. He wants to go to lighthouse island too. They both desire to get away from their current world and the current world is trying to find them and take them, but they’re not going to let that happen.

What I liked

This is a very interesting book. There’s a drought, but there is also an endless city. A dirty, dusty city seems like it could be the perfect place for a dystopian society. People want water. They’re crammed in together like sardines. They’re ignorant of the wild world, as city dwellers tend to be. The city will protect them, that’s what they believe, but everyone knows that isn’t right.

A protagonist in a wheelchair is an interesting choice. He’s also a nerd. A nerd is a more common choice than someone in a wheelchair. I liked that Paulette used two people who were broken in some way to be her protagonists. Nadia was blind for a while and an orphan. James is in a wheelchair. Their disabilities have made them stronger. They’re scrappers. They fight for themselves. They survive.

What I didn’t like

I would have liked to have known what happened after the end of the book. It was an ok ending, but I would have like to know the after. What do James and Nadia do?

I thought a bit of the book was too hurried. I didn’t really feel as if there was enough explanation for why certain people appeared in certain places. I guess it was enough though considering the back stories of everyone else in the book.

Overall

People are drawn towards the light, interesting.

Weigh In

If you lived in a dry, crowded city, would you want to get away if it meant cutting off all your supplies and becoming and enemy of the city?

Do you think we’re heading in this direction ourselves?

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Classic Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#418 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

What does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to be human? If you live and function on your own, but aren’t technically human, are you still alive? Does you life have any meaning if you can’t be classified as a human? These are all things we would wonder about if we lived in the world that Rick Deckard lives in.

Rick is a bounty hunter. He doesn’t go after parole breakers or drug lords, he goes after androids. It’s the future. Things on Earth are bad. Nuclear fallout and dust has left the life of Earth desolate. Many people have immigrated to Mars. Rick still lives on Earth with his wife, Iran, in California.

Rick worries. He has an electric sheep. He used to have a real sheep, but the real sheep died. It was all very unfortunate. In the world Rick lives in, animals are worth a fortune. A spider just doesn’t walk across your floor. Cats and goats are traded at higher prices than cocaine. Rick wants the money to get a real sheep again. He tells his wife so. After arguing with this wife for a while about how they should dial their empathy boxes, Rick goes to work.

He is given a list of androids. He starts out with six. The androids look like people. The only way to distinguish them is by giving them an empathy test. The first android almost gets him, but he wins. He goes after the second, masquerading as an opera singer. This is when Rick starts to trip up. Luba is so much more alive than he thought an android could be. She’s autonomous. She thinks for herself. It’s strange to see the humanity he possesses reflected in her. After some confusion, Luba ends up dead and Rick feels bad. He knows feeling empathy for androids is a jeopardy to his job.

A friendly android agrees to help him out. She knows the three remaining androids on his list, in fact, she is on the list, but her humanity strikes Rick. After this assignment, Rick has to wonder what is really important. What does his life mean? Life seems to have become very mysterious. Androids aren’t the cold-hearted creatures he thought them to be. Mercer isn’t the god he thought he was. In the end, Rick has to go on with life, even if a bit defeated.

What I liked

This is a short book and easy to read in many aspects, but in others it’s difficult. In a short way it says a lot about humanity. What makes us human? What makes us different from an animal or a robot? What things would we value if life changed drastically? Rick has his eyes opened about the world. Sometimes things are stranger than you ever would have thought.

I liked the term “kipple.” This book uses the word for useless junk. It collects on its own. It multiples on its own. It makes sense. If a majority of the population of Earth left, there would be a lot of junk sitting around. It would appear to multiply all on its own. Junk seems to multiple all on its own at my house, although I try to keep an eye on it. I don’t like junk.

What I didn’t like

Books are supposed to make you think. They’re supposed to inspire your brain cells to start working and thinking about the world. This is one of those books that does make you think, but almost too much. It’s profound in a very simple manner. In a short while, Philip, is able to make us question our being and our humanity.

There would be much confusion if robots were created to look like people and function exactly like people. If they could develop their own conscious as the androids in this book seem to have done, how could we distinguish? It reminds me of the whole cloning debate. If you clone an animal, or if you clone a person, does that person have a soul? It’s just a copy right? A cloned human being would still be a human being right? It’s a big question of ethics. Of course a clone would still be a human being, but it’s a weird thing to think of. As far as I remember about cloning, the cloned animal’s cells are at the same age of the cells of the donor. So if you clone Dolly the sheep at two, the clone’s cells are two, even if the clone is an infant. I don’t know how that works out as far as a life span goes. There would almost certainly be problems if humans were cloned that would be hard to work out.

It reminds me of a really weird movie I watched. The movie is called Womb and stars Matt Smith(the eleventh Doctor). He’s cloned. He’s real. He lives, but he isn’t the same as everybody else. He smells different. He’s called a copy.

It’s not that the train of thought inspired by this book is bad, because it’s not, it’s that it’s a bit unsettling. It brings in this huge questions about us and about our existence.

Overall

I think this is one of those books I’m going to have to read more than once to really appreciate.



andoirds, do androids dream of electric sheep?, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, electric sheep, philip dick, philip k. dick, rachel rosen, rick deckard, sheep
Classic Fiction, Dick-Philip K., Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if
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Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult

#413 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent by Veronica Roth

My side is better! No, my side is better! Why in the heck are we doing this?!  I’ve got the truth! No, I have the truth! Anything you can do, I can do better! Ketchup is better than mustard!

And it goes on…

Sometimes we think we’re fighting for the right thing, but maybe we don’t have all the facts. Maybe there is someone else we should be listening to. Maybe the people who seemed so bad before, aren’t really that bad.

This book finds the factions in shambles. Abnegation has been attacked by Erudite. People have been shot, including Tris, but she’s alive. Candor won’t help anybody. They have a strong alliance with Erudite and won’t cross any boundaries. The Dauntless headquarters is constantly watched. They can’t go back for a while. The factionless also have a plan. It turns out the factionless are actually banded together under an unlikely leader. It’s someone you never really would expect.

No one really knows what to do at this point. They know they have to get the simulation program from the Erudite so the Dauntless cannot be used against anyone again, but that’s easier said than done. Tris is also having problems. She’s shot a friend in self-defense. The Candor demand that Tris and Four undergo a truth serum questioning. They were originally charged with crimes against humanity, but no one knew they were under a simulation from the Erudite. The truth comes out, but Candor still decides to side with Erudite.

In the Amity section of the city, they vote on whether or not they’re going to get involved. They’re not. They know the Dauntless are planning on storming the Erudite compound and that many people may die, but they don’t want to get involved. Tris fights with herself over her guilt of killing Will, but also over her feelings for Four. She doesn’t want to be close to anyone. It seems she has lost her entire family. It also seems her brother is now on the side of the Erudite. How can things get much worse?

The factionless soon join the fight. It seems they’ve been doing more than simply sitting in a dirty part of the city. They help the Dauntless raid the Erudite headquarters. At one point, Tris turns herself in and is subjected to torture via simulation. She is also sentenced to be executed, but an old frenemy helps her out of a bind.

Tris and Four go back and forth between factions in the city. Four’s father alludes to some very important information. It’s information that everyone needs to know. The Abnegations were going to release the information to the public and that’s what Tris’s mother and father really died for. The whole thing ends up being very M. Night Shyamalan. 

What I liked

Because I tend to like M. Night Shyamalan and also Edgar Alan Poe and such writers, I liked the twist at the end of this book. It was something I sort of saw coming, but not entirely. I kind of got that something weird was going on, but not the kind of thing of proportions like The Village.

What I didn’t like

Here is the thing… this book is flat-out not as good as the first book. It’s not. Well, maybe that’s just me. There are a lot of problems with this book. This relationship between Tobias and Tris reeks of teenage bullcrap. Let me tell you something, all of that Romeo and Juliet jazz people talk about when they talk about teenagers falling in love is bullcrap. Infatuation? Yes. Lust? Yes. Love? No. Teenagers can love their parents, they can love their siblings, and maybe they can love their grandparents, but they don’t love each other. I know they think they do, but they don’t. Teenagers lack the mental capacity to fall in love in the proper sense. Being in love means more than, “Oh I want to be around you twenty-four hours a day,” it means, “hey I’ll clean up your puke, if you get sick.” Teenagers don’t get that. So all of this, “I’ll risk my life for you. You’re my only one. I can’t live if you die,” stuff is all bullcrap, hormones, actually. All of that would mean so much more coming from a character ten years older.

Although I liked the twist at the end of this book, it screws up the entire story. All this stuff people have been fighting for goes out the window. It doesn’t mean anything. Here we are, led the believe that Tris lives in a dystopian society that seeks to pare people down to small portions of their personality, but it turns out things are more complex. It’s really not just for the government; it’s for other people. Tris still lives in a dystopian society, she just doesn’t know the extent of how dystopian it really is. All the stuff you read in the first book and most of the stuff you read in this book is inconsequential. It doesn’t mean anything in the larger scheme of things.  It’s boils down to pettiness. That’s it. All this fighting with people killing each other because they’re in different factions means nothing. People died for nothing.

Sure, there is still corruption. People still erred. Bad things still happened to good people and other injustices of the universe, but this big battle about who was right and who was wrong meant nothing. None of them were freaking right.

Overall

I don’t know if Veronica plans to go anywhere else with this story. I did like the twist at the end. I would like to see what she does with that, but I think it’s unfortunate that so much of these two novels revolved around people simply being petty when the whole problem could have been solved by people being honest and open with each other. Isn’t that one of the desirable character traits of this strange society?

I feel bad for any people these people have to help. They obviously have too many of their own problems to do anyone else much good.



 

 
abnegation, amity, candor, corruption, dauntless, divergent, divergent series, erudite, factionless, factions, four, insurgent, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, tobias, tris, veronica roth
Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Roth-Veronica, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult
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Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult

#412 Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica RothDivergent by Veronica Roth

Imagine a world in which your brain determines everything you do for the rest of your life…wait a minute…isn’t that what is supposed to happen? Let me rephrase the phrase. Imagine a world in which people can look into your brain and determine dominant portions of your personality then place you in the world according to those dominant aspects. There that’s more like it.

Tris finds herself in such a world. Tris’s world is divided into five aspects of personality. You’re abnegation, dauntless, amity, erudite, or candor…or, you’re factionless. Being factionless pretty much means you’re cut off from life. Not too many people question the way things are though, so life is pretty good, or so it seems.

Tris is sixteen and it’s that beautiful age in which she gets to choose her faction. In order to do so, she must take a test. It’s a computerized assessment in which her brain is hijacked. Her response to the assessment determines her dominant personality aspects. She can choose any faction, but the test will let her know which faction she is most suited to. Most people are suited to a faction, most often the faction they are born into. When Tris takes the test, it’s psychologically draining, but a very nice dauntless woman tells her some very disturbing news. Tris does not lean any particular way. She is what Tori calls Divergent, Tori being the name of the woman who administered her test. Tori tells Tris to choose a faction, it’s her choice, but be careful. She should never mention the word divergent to anyone. Tris is a little confused about all of this, but goes along with it.

On choosing day, Tris’ brother picks the Erudite faction. The Erudites are the brainy faction. They do lots of research and come up with lots of inventions. This choice shocks Tris, but it’s her turn to choose. She picks Dauntless. People are shocked that both children from one family have deserted their original faction. People will talk about it for some time.

Tris soon learns that being in Dauntless is no walk in the park. She has to make the cut, or she’ll end up factionless. Her days are filled with learning how to shoot a gun, fight and jump off of moving trains. She also gets the odd tattoo here and there. Tris comes out of the first round of ranking pretty good, but soon finds out there is a second stage of ranking, this time it involves simulations. One of the trainers, Four, appears to have taken a liking to Tris. He protects her to an extent. He’s the one administering her simulation when things go bad. Tris can get out of a simulation in about three minutes. This is three times faster than anyone else. It’s a key indicator that she’s divergent. Four knows about divergent. He tells her to keep it under wraps.

Tris goes along with her training, all the while developing romantic feelings for Four, but soon things turn weird. The Erudites implant all the Dauntless with a tracking chip, it’s in case they get lost. There are rumors, especially from her older brother Caleb, that things are going bad. The Erudite are planning an attack on the Abnegations who rule the government. Nobody knows the information fast enough though. The attack comes and it’s done in such a manner to make innocent people murderers and mind control those who are dauntless alone. Tris is not caught up in this because she’s not dauntless alone, she’s Divergent. She must use all her powers of being not one or the other to stop what is happening.

What I liked

What an interesting concept. I’ve read stories like this before, The Giver, being one story that comes to mind. It seems ever since people have been imagining dystopian societies, they’ve been imagining dystopian societies in which people are broken down into incremental parts of themselves. They become just one function, much like the people in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. You go from being this complex human being to this one thing. You’re only one thing. You’re never another thing, you’re just one thing, period. You don’t get a chance to change your mind or change your destiny. You don’t get a chance to live the American Dream. Scoff at my quaint usages of the phrase “American Dream,” but we all know what it symbolizes and we all know that it takes conscious choice to get there. If you don’t have conscious choice, how are you supposed to get there?

It’s a story about trying to box people in. You’re this one thing and that’s all you’ll ever be. Sometimes there are people who will be happy with that. It works out well enough for them for a while. They have their needs met because they lean a certain way. People are happy, or rather, they don’t know they’re not happy. Remember A Wrinkle in Time? Remember, how the people of the one planet did everything exactly alike at exactly the same moment? Their choice was taken away. Their uniqueness was taken away. They were squirreled away into these little boxes of humanity even though they had no real shackles. They were happy, at least, they didn’t know they weren’t happy, so that’s just as good as being happy, or so their captors would tell them.

This is a cautionary tale, you cannot define people by one aspect of their being. You can’t; you’ve never been able to; you never will be able to.

What I didn’t like

Does this relationship between Tris and Four not reek of the relationship between Bella and Edward in the Twilight series?

  • Bella: I want to be one of you guys. I feel left out. I’m a weirdo at home.
  • Edward: I’m all dark and broody; I stick to myself, but I totally can’t resist the hots I have for you.

….you’re my own personal brand of heroin, now, stay here while I go put lots of gel in my hair.

Now just substitute the names…

  • Tris: I want to be one of you guys. I feel left out. I’m a weirdo at home.
  • Four: I’m all dark and broody; I stick to myself, but I totally can’t resist the hots I have for you.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the same thing. The romantic relationship in this book is very predictable. I guess that’s ok though, because relationships between two teenagers are often predictable.

It would suck to have your fate in life decided because of a personality trait. If that were the case my husband would have to permanently play Scrooge in every production of A Christmas Carol because he’s a humbug. I don’t know what I would be, because I would totally be divergent. They would actually just kick me out. They would be like, “Go and live FAR, FAR AWAY!” Think about it though, your personality can change throughout your life, but it doesn’t change a whole lot. When you were a toddler, you probably displayed many of the aspects you display today. If you were stubborn then, you’re stubborn now. Imagine someone looking at you when you’re a teenage brat and saying, “You go live over there. You’ve got a choice, but not really. If you don’t make the right choice, you’re screwed.” I mean, I guess, teenagers do occasionally make choices like that(getting knocked up on prom night), but overall, teenage choices don’t screw up your entire life. You have a chance to straighten yourself out in real life, in Tris’ world, you don’t, one choice and you live with the consequences forever.

Overall

I don’t know whether reading this book will entice me enough to get me to the movie theater to see the upcoming movie, but it’s still quite an interesting book, even if it doesn’t spark enough interest on my part to make me spend money on movie tickets.



abnegation, amity, book divergent, book review for divergent, candor, dauntless, divergent, Divergent by Veronica Roth, divergent the book, erudite, factionless, factions, simulations, tris, veronica roth
Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Mystery, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Roth-Veronica, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if, Young Adult
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#410 A Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate by Hugh Howey

A Rap Upon Heaven's Gate by Hugh HoweyA Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate by Hugh Howey

At this point I want to know if Hugh has written any more books in the Sand series. Let me go check…no, apparently there is not, but as far as good news goes, Hugh has apparently done some updates to his website. It looks more Sci-Fi now.

This is the last installment of the Sand series. So what happens? Well, our family manages to meet up again. Palmer is weak and can barely move. His sister rescued him from almost certain death out in the sand. They get to Springston just a minute too late. The sand pirates have blown up the wall that holds the sand back from the city. Destruction reigns.

Vic goes straight for her mother’s brothel, The Honey Hole, to check on her family. The brothel is under sand, but Vic uses all her might and her dive suit, to move the honey hole out of the worst of the sand. Her family is inside, even the new sister. They’re all there, alive, some just barely, but they’re alive. Vic doesn’t have time to stay with them. There are people trapped under the sand. She gives Marco’s dive suit to her little brother Conner and they set to their grim task of trying to rescue people from underneath the sand. They manage to rescue about a hundred people, but that’s it. Out of an entire town, they find about a hundred people.

Palmer has already told Vic about the plans to destroy Low Pub as well, so Vic has to go there. Who they meet is an old friend, but he’s turned to the dark side. What the renegades pulled out of Danvar was not some piddly little weapon, it was an atomic bomb. They plan to detonate it in Low Pub. With some quick thinking from Conner, the men don’t get their chance. Conner and Vic have to decide what to do with the bomb. After finally reading the letter from her father, Vic has an idea.

Vic takes her sarfer and goes towards No Man’s Land; she takes the bomb with her. Her family has been instructed to go west as her father said in the letter. They’re not supposed to wait on her, but they do. In a few days they see a large mushroom cloud in the distance and they know Vic has pulled off her plan. They eagerly await her return.

What I liked

I had a chance to read a bit about what Hugh thought his book was about while on his website. Hugh said he was trying to write a book about people who need help, but don’t get it. We’re not talking psychological help, although that could be included in this overall “help;” we’re talking about help(food, clothing, political aid, monetary aid). Too many times we watch the news and see this impoverished area of the world. Sure, they’re impoverished, but the government has a blockade against them or whatever. Often, political or financial institutions can get in the way of helping a person. The bad people in this book series know about Low Pub and Springston. They know there are people living on the sand. They don’t care. They are busy with their profitable mining operation and they just flat-out don’t care. Sure their mining operation is making life miserable for these people, but again, they don’t care. Money talks and in this case money says, “Screw those guys! You’re making money.”

Families can get annoying. I’ve got one, I know. My family is one of those families that have developed a communication system faster than the speed of light. So if you do something embarrassing, the entire family is sure to know in about .00000001 seconds. I’m not actually going to look up the speed of light and figure out how to calculate something that is faster than the speed of light, so if that is incorrect, you’ll just have to deal with it. Just pretend. Vic’s family is annoying. She’s ashamed of them for various reasons, one of them being her mom is a prostitute. You really don’t get much lower than being the kid of a prostitute. Vic rebels against the idea of her mother and her profession, but when it comes down to it, Vic loves her family. She risks her life to save them from being buried under tons of sand. She does something that seems impossible, adrenaline rush and all of that. She realizes that her family is important and she would do anything for them despite all of their annoyingness.

What I didn’t like

Let’s talk about mining. For those of you from the mountainous regions of the world, you might know a little about mining. For the rest of you, you’re probably not so familiar with any of the processes. I come from an area where there are gold mines and copper mines. There are also a few gravel quarries. There are different types of mining. I don’t have the technical names for all of them. There are some types of mining that are less invasive and environmentally dangerous than others, for instance, traditional mining where you literally dig a shaft into the side of a mountain and go in there with a pick axe like you’re one of the seven dwarfs. There are other types of mining that are environmentally disastrous, strip mining and fracking. Fracking is mining for natural gas and not mineral. Some of these mining practices may not be dangerous to humans, excepting their usage of certain chemicals. Take gold mining for example. It’s usually not dangerous to people unless you count freak accidents, but sometimes people mining gold use mercury to aid in their mining processes. Mercury is bad for you. If you live near a stream where gold miners used a lot of mercury, there could very well be detrimental effects to your health.

Why do I mention all of this? I mention all of this to make a point, as usual. Mining can be very dangerous to people and to the environment. We need to mine things… coal, natural gas, minerals, and so forth, but we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t know if Hugh intended to make this political statement about the safety of various mining procedures when he wrote this series, but ultimately, that’s what he ended up doing. We’ve got this great book series all about how dangerous mining practices can not only screw up the environment, but screw up people as well.

Overall

I really enjoyed the Sand series and I hope Hugh writes more about these people who survive on the sand.



a rap upon heaven’s gate, A Rap Upon Heaven’s Gate by Hugh Howey, bad mining practices, conner, danvar, hugh howey, low pub, mining, palmer, people who live on sand, sand, sand by hugh howey, sand series by hugh howey, springston, the honey hole, vic, violet
Family dynamics, Fantasy, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if
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#408 Thunder Due East by Hugh Howey

Thunder Due East by Hugh HoweyThunder Due East by Hugh Howey

My theories as far as Danvar have been confirmed, but I still won’t give it away, just in case you want to find out for yourself.

In this installment of the Sand series, we find our characters coming into seemingly chance meetings. Vic has run away from a terrible brawl that left her boyfriend dead. She’s obviously upset, but knows there are people trying to kill her. There are also people after her brother Palmer and she has to find him. She takes her sarfer out into the desert, it’s kind of a sand surfing vehicle, and looks for her brother. When she finds an emaciated frame, she knows it’s her brother. He looks terrible and he desperately needs water and food.

Meanwhile, back in the city, Rose is at her brothel, then all of a sudden, her two youngest children walk in with a little girl. The girl is about the age of her son Rob, but she’s sick and injured. She’s dehydrated. The boys tell their mother that she referred to their father as her father. Rose is suspicious of this, but accepts it quite readily, it seems just like the thing her no-good husband would do. He just up and left the family almost twelve years before then had another kid. The girl is in bad shape, her name is Violet.

When Palmer is rejuvenated just a bit, he tells his sister what he found. He tells her that Hap is dead. He tells her about Danvar and what is down there. He brought a map back up. The map is a blue print to a treasure-trove of scavengable goodies. Palmer also tells her something terrible. The men who went down to Danvar brought something back up that would destroy the two nearby cities. Vic knows they have to warn the people of the towns before this terrible thing happens even if people are after both she and Palmer.

Rose doctors Violet up enough and Violet is able to relay her tale. She traveled many days to reach the city. The raggedy clothes she was wearing was a homemade dive suit. Her father had sent her. The little girl explained what went on in the place she came from. There was water, but you couldn’t drink it. They were made slaves. They had to mine things out of the earth. All the sand came from the mining process. That was why the people in the desert towns suffered, but it was worse there. Everyone was skinny and sick. Before Rose really has a chance to do anything, sand comes from nowhere.

What I liked

I get the feeling that maybe Hugh doesn’t like fracking. Hugh’s books seem to have this message in them. In the Wool series, we kind of get that Hugh thinks people shouldn’t be intentionally polluting the environment. We get this big warning against letting a select few have control over what goes into our air and water. That’s cool and all. Hugh also seems to have taken the same stance here. A portion of a certain state has been turned into a desert because of mining practices. I’m not going to reveal what state this is, but let me go ahead and tell you, it would be largely impossible to turn it into a desert except in extreme circumstances, which is what we have in this series. This is something of a cautionary tale.

There was a period in the history of United States when poor farming practices led to a very large swath of the country being turned into dust. We called it the Dust Bowl. People just up and left their farms because they couldn’t farm dust and sand. It was a very devastating time for many people. They had to leave their homes and search for new place to live and to work. Hugh is taking a page from history when he writes about areas of the country being turned into dust and sand.

What  I didn’t like

There isn’t much I didn’t like about this book. I do feel bad that there are seemingly these foreign overlords forcing people to mine for metals.

Overall

Good story, short, but good.



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Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if
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Family dynamics, Fiction, Howey-Hugh, Mystery, Post Apocalyspe, Post United States, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction, Social Commentary, what if

#407 Return to Danvar by Hugh Howey

Return to Danvar by Hugh HoweyReturn to Danvar by Hugh Howey

I think I know where Danvar is, but I’m not going to say because I don’t want to ruin it for you.

In the beginning of this installment of the Sand series we meet Vic. Vic is the oldest of the four siblings we’ve been following around. She’s also a sand-diver, a very good sand-diver. The beginning of this book finds her diving to a depth of 600 meters, but she doesn’t tell anyone. She doesn’t let anyone know that she can dive so deep. If everyone knew, everyone would be doing it and that would ruin her edge on the salvaging business.

When she gets back into town with her diving partner and boyfriend, Marco, she hears rumors. Danvar has been found. The whole thing sounds fishy to her. She and Marco go to see her mother at her brothel. It turns out Vic’s mother actually owns the brothel. She hasn’t seen Palmer in several days. Vic begins to suspect that Palmer is the one who found Danvar. People show up who are looking for Palmer and they have guns. This is very bad.

Vic tries to trace Palmer’s whereabouts, but ends up meeting ruffians and guns at every turn. At one point a very bad tussle leaves her injured and Marco worse off. An old friend steps in to help out.

Meanwhile…Palmer is alive! He’s still down in one of the buildings of Danvar hundreds of meters below the sand. There is air enough, but he’s ran out of water and jerky. He gets curious at one point and finds the other two divers that supposedly went down before he and Hap. Palmer There is a fight with the remaining diver. It doesn’t end well. Palmer knows he has to get out. The other diver had some air while Palmer had some power. Palmer takes the air and manages to dive up through the sand. He thinks he might make it back to the surface.

The deep pit the sand pirates had dug is gone. Palmer is going to have go even further than he ever imagined with only one tank of air. He channels everything he remembers his father and sister telling him about sand diving. He sees a beacon in the sand. He goes for it. It’s Hap. It’s at this point that he realizes Hap did not meet a happy end.

He realizes now that there will be people out for his life. Upon overhearing some of the things the sand pirates are saying at their camp, he knows they are up to no good and a lot of it.

What I liked

The plot thickens again! Of course the sand pirates weren’t nice guys.

I like how the entire family is getting involved in this situation. They’ve all been wrapped into it and they can’t get out. They’re connected by various threads and ideas. Palmer becomes this key to preventing a lot of terrible things, but is he up to the task?

Vic is another tough woman, much like Julie from the Wool series, also by Hugh. Hugh apparently has a thing for some tough women. It makes me wonder if his wife drives big rigs or something. Honey, when are you going to be home? Oh, after I deliver this haul to Phoenix and beat the crap out of a band of Hell’s Angels. Darnit! I broke a nail! It all reminds me of a song by Weird Al, Driving a Truck with my High Heels On.

Again, this world of sand is quite interesting. I have known a few people who have been through sandstorms on their deployments to the middle east. Sand gets in everything. My mother also grew up in Arizona where the occasional sandstorm would role around. The sand would sting when it hit your bare skin and get through even the tiniest of cracks. Hugh seems to know about the nature of sand, but he hasn’t gotten to its destructive power yet. He lives in Florida by the way, that’s how he knows so much about sand.

What I didn’t like

Hugh is falling into this pattern, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of depicting his main female leads as tough tomboys. Tough tomboy women are awesome, we all agree right? What’s not to love about the Danica Patricks of our world? She’s a race car driver by the way. I kind of feel as if Hugh doesn’t really know how to write another kind of woman, but that’s not necessarily true. The majority of his women may be tough, but there have been a few that aren’t these tough tomboys, but all the leading ladies have been tough tomboys. Out of the Wool series, Julie was a female mechanic, there was another female mechanic(I forget her name), the mayor was pretty hardcore, Donald’s sister was a fighter pilot and so on. Most of the women were what you would consider “tough.” It seems like Hugh is missing out on the more feminine side of women. There are people who won’t mind Hugh’s tough women though.

It’s not that I don’t like Hugh’s tough women, I do, I just think he’s falling into a rut in some aspects. Not all of Hugh’s women are tough and profess manly professions, just look at Vic’s mother in this series. She’s still tough, but you wouldn’t exactly call prostitution a manly profession.

Overall

The series gets more interesting as it goes on, as any good series should.



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