Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Two SF books you'd think I'd love...but weren't a great fit after all

The Moon Dwellers, David Estes
I love this cover.  Between that, the title, and the incredible endorsement of being listed as a great read for fans of The Hunger Games*, I could not resist.  Sadly, once inside, I found a certain immaturity to the voice and clunkiness in the exposition -- there's a lot of redundant language, common phraseology, and telling over showing.  That said... there's some weird and awesome ideas too and I think for a younger YA reader, this could be a lot of fun.  It's not a good fit for me.  Huge props to Estes for his hard work.
*I've officially sampled all 15 of the recommendations from this list.  Most I've read the entire series, a few I've only read the first book and tapped out.

The Passage, Justin Cronin
I've given this two good goes now.  Chapter 1 is a gut punch of an opener.  In that first chapter alone there is adultery, abuse, swearing, neglect, prostitution and attempted rape (there isn't gratuitous detail, but it hurt my heart).  I appreciate that all of these are employed to render a character's origin story more fully, but nonetheless, the gut is punched!  Unlike Lost Boys -- a novel with a similar confronting opening -- this heavy content isn't brief or limited to the novel's inception.   Although Chapter 2 makes a huge departure in narrative (so that Chapter 1 seems more like a prologue than part of the main-story's chronology), the narrative thereafter continues with crude and confronting material.  Things I loved: how cinematic this reads, the premise and set-up, that it reminds me of Koontz (a lot) and Card playing Hitchcock, and that the story spans a long period of time.  But as the F-bombs came thick and fast, as crude characters vomitted crudeness to underscore their natures, and impassioned tangents slowed down the action...I realised this wasn't a good fit for me.  In all likelihood, I'll end up watching and loving the series adapted from this book...but this particular flavour of delivery didn't work for me.  Oh, my lament...for there's so much that did work for me.

Thankfully my TR list has ever been out of hand.  I'll recover.
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