Sunday, May 26, 2013

Book Reviews: Maggot Moon & Rootless

Reading Nook
This is my reading nook where I do a lot of my reading. I like to read here in the late afternoons watching the sun play across the yard, and the shadows lengthen. Recently, I picked up four dystopian, young-adult novels that I wasn't familiar with. I have finished first two and am working my way through the third.

"Maggot Moon" by Sally Gardner had an interesting enough plot premise to get me to bring it home in spite of the awful name. Standish Treadwell lives in an America that is quite different than the one we know. Although the author never states the foundation of the society, many clues make it seem that the book takes place in an America that might have existed if the Nazis had won World War II.

The prose of the book has a sing-song quality the mimics the wandering mind of the main character, who can't read or write, but who is really quite bright. Standish lives with his grandfather and deals daily with bullies at school as well as general fears from being somewhat of an oddity in a totalitarian state. The book moves back and forth between incidents in the past and the present which continues to move forward.

I really wanted to like this book. It had a good premise and a great plot and some terrific characters. I was able to move past the prose which isn't really my style but is OK for the tone of the book. My problem was the level of evil in the society. It didn't feel realistic. The book really wasn't desolate, and there was certainly hope, but bad things happened on a level that didn't quite feel right. Of course, you could say the Holocaust was a bad thing that happened on a level that certainly doesn't feel right, but in my head, I still see the villians of the Holocaust as people. The villains in this book were not people to me; they were simply evil monsters. I would think characters like Standish and his grandfather might try to think more outside the box.

The second book was "Rootless" by Chris Howard. This book was a winner. It had unique a plot, three dimensional, well-developed characters, thoughtful themes, and just the right flow to keep me pulled in to the story.

A couple of quotes to share:

"Because even when there is no hope, somehow you can still find a place to pin inside the things that you need."

"It was sort of beautiful. In its own horrible way. And I remembered what I'd said to Crow about heaven and hell and how they're maybe just the same thing anyway. Glory and hunger. Fear and love. All looped together so there's no place where one ends and the next one's beginning."

Now I am reading "The Darkest Minds" by Alexandra Bracken, and I should have a review up for that in a few days. All three of these books were pretty dark, and I have a problem with that. I think when people in books start looking too evil, it is time to step back and make sure we are showing reality instead of painting a portrait of a future no one wants.

View From My Reading Nook

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