Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 13 & 14 - 2013

Book 13: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan – 385 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
16 years ago, Waverly and Kieran were the first children born in space. Now a perfect couple, they are the pride and joy of the whole spaceship. They represent the future. The ship is their entire world. They have never seen a stranger before. Old Earth is crumbling, and the crew is hoping to reach (and colonise) New Earth within fifty years. Along with their allies on the second spaceship - who set off a year before them and whom they have never met. One day, Kieran proposes to Waverly. That same morning, the 'allies' attack - and Kieran and Waverly are separated in the cruelest way possible. Will they ever see each other again?

This was a really interesting, though at times, frustrating, book. The concept was quite cool, and something I’d seen pondered in a number of Star Trek episodes in various different ways. Kieran and Seth and Waverly are raised on what is effectively a generational ship, but there are poisoned people on this ship, and Kieran is little too religious for the atheist ship he lives on (the other ship, 6 or so months ahead of them, is the religious ship). Unexpectedly, at least to the children, the other ship, the New Horizon, has slowed down to match up to its sister ship, and New Horizon attacks. In a manner that is just a slight stretch (but its necessary for the purpose of the story), the majority of the adults are killed, and all the girls are kidnapped. What subsequently unfolds is a Lord of the Flies type story tainted by religious fanaticism and humanity’s terror at not being able to reproduce. None of the characters in this book are perfect, even if their intentions are understandable, and I really appreciated that. Kieran is annoying and has elements of one of the cult like figures, who starts to believe his own hype, but you can kind of appreciate that he thinks he’s doing what’s best for the community. Seth hates Kieran and its not necessarily hard to understand why, though he takes his dislike way too far. Waverly is caught in the middle, and she often appears the voice of reason, but she too suffers and makes questionable decisions. All are put in inevitable positions, and its fascinating to see them cope. This is the first in a trilogy, and definitely an interesting sci-fi version of Lord of the Flies. Worth a look.

13 / 50 books. 26% done!

5064 / 15000 pages. 34% done!

Book 14: Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto – 294 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max-same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose-he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. "Her" Max. And he is alive and well. As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem-how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? - Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down-if it is "really" Max- and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.

I’m not sure what I expected, but this was a really beautiful story. Shelley’s beloved husband Max dies in an explosion on a train. Three years later, a man comes to her door who looks just like Max. Shelley is shocked when this man, Paolo, tells her that he is Max’s grandson. So begins two stories: the story of how Shelley and Max met, and the story of how it is that Max could possibly have a grandson. It’s a very clever story, but also very beautiful, and I certainly wasn’t expecting the ending. Max’s story is a reflection on what makes a life. Shelley’s love for her husband is one of those special one of a kind type of loves. Max’s stories, told in the flashbacks that explain how Max and Shelley meet, are obscure little tales that you almost wish were real. It’s a whimsical, meandering kind of story with a beautiful heart.

14 / 50 books. 28% done!

5358 / 15000 pages. 36% done!

Currently reading:
-        The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory – 437 pages
-        Celebrity Crimes: The Dark Side of the Limelight by Xavier Waterkeyn – 233 pages
-        A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Fifth: The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket – 221 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        One for the Money by Janet Evanovich – 290 pages
Tags: grief, love, romance, sci-fi, young adult

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