Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Dystopia - because I just can't stop


See all those stickers on there? Yeah, that's for a reason.

Things I liked about this book:
  • Great writing.
  • Strong characters.
  • Different science fiction...sneak-up-on-you science fiction that every now and then slaps you on the back of the head and says, "Remember, this is a possible future."
  • House of the Scorpion seemingly has so much in common with The Island (futures wherein clones are used to harvest organs), and yet the treatment is so. so. different.
  • How easily it would translate to film.
  • I need to mention the characters again - ah! - the characters! I do love strong characters, so.
  • How ridiculously wonderfully it would serve as a text for high school English. The themes, the quotes one could draw to support essays on the themes, the either gender appeal - awe...some.
Things I didn't like about it:
  • That it took me two months to read it. Two months. I read three books in two weeks leading up to Ivy's birth. I was a quarter of the way through House of the Scorpion when Ivy arrived...and things stalled. Seriously stalled. With a delicious newborn on offer, I found the prospect of retreating into a dystopia for entertainment a little lacklustre - but not on the novel's account...I said "delicious newborn;" no novel trumps baby-gazing.
  • Not being given opportunity to spend more time with an older version of the protagonist. Buuuuut I understand a sequel is on its way, so that's that gripe struck from the list.
This is NOT like the other dystopian books I've been reading and harping on about from Janssen's list. Enjoying Matched, The Host, Delirium or The Hunger Games is not necessarily indication you will also like this book (although I enjoyed them all). It is a little slower, absolutely less love-driven, and more challenging (for younger readers, in particular) - which could lead some to prefer it to the soppy offerings listed! It reminded me a little of the reactive feelings I had during Speaker for the Dead (fascination and disgust), very loosely of the story arc of The Count of Monte Cristo, but all in all, can't be compared to anything else I have ever read, and that, in and of itself, is to its credit. Recommended for "something different," and undeniably intelligent and interesting.
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