Thursday, 28 February 2013

February Reads

february reads  
Cover images from

vN, Madeline Ashby (2012) 
vN tells the story of Amy, a humanoid robot, who's life changes when one day her (robot) grandmother attacks her (robot) mother and Amy steps in to protect her. When Amy puts a stop to the attack by eating her grandmother she ends up carrying her around as a part of her memory and soon everyone is after her.
The concept and setting of vN were both pretty strange so I found it hard to concentrate on and quite confusing at times. Although I have seen the world-building praised by some readers I found it lacking and extremely difficult to believe in which is what I think led to my dislike of the book overall. Understanding the reasoning behind character’s decisions and motives wasn’t the easiest - I think this book will leave you with more questions than it answers! Speaking of the characters, I didn’t warm to any of them at all particularly Amy who's actions I found frustrating throughout. The fighting between her own mind and her Grandmother's reminded me somewhat of the two souls Addie/Eva trapped inside one body in Kat Zhang’s What’sLeft Of Me which I also didn’t enjoy very much. I thought the most interesting thing about the book was the cinematic feel of the writing. The chapters were written in a way that made the story seem like it would be well-suited to a film adaptation, which did leave me feeling that maybe if the same story were told through a series of striking film action sequences instead it may make an exciting and innovative piece which, although I wasn't that keen on the world of vN, I potentially may have enjoyed more. The book questions what it really means to be human and explores our fascination with creating robots that look and behave just as humans would. An interesting concept but with irritating characters, a sometimes confusing plot and a whole lot of unanswered questions, overall vN just wasn't what I wanted it to be. I wish I could give it a higher rating but the fact that I couldn't wait to get it finished and out of the way means its got to be a 1/5

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury (1953)
Always a firm favourite to feature on ‘must-read’ lists Fahrenheit 451 is often considered one of the dystopian books that helped shape the genre as we know it today. The book centres around fireman Guy Montag in a world where a fireman’s job is to start fires rather than extinguish them. Montag has never questioned this until a chance meeting sparks his curosity and his world is changed.
I really don’t feel like I want to review such a thoroughly analysed and highly praised book so I won’t be going into depth with this one. Fahrenheit 451 is a favourite for literature studies and with it’s many metaphors and comments I can definitely understand why. The book is full of imaginative, interesting and sometimes controversial ideas but I felt it lacked something in the execution of these. What I did enjoy however was learning about how the novel came to be. The edition I read included an introduction from author Ray Bradbury detailing his writing process and how Fahrenheit 451 was born out of several short stories which were eventually joined together to form a short novel. Reading this additional information gave me an extra insight into the story and provided an explanation for why the story didn’t seem to flow that well at times and why the characters felt underdeveloped. I read the book fairly quickly and didn’t stop to dissect every little idea or phrase as I wasn’t reading it as a study. Read purely for entertainment I found Fahrenheit 451 disappointing but I do think it would be an interesting book to study in more depth 2/5

Also reviewed this month
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (2011) - click here for review
Cinder, Marissa Meyer (2012) - click here for review
Is It Just Me?, Miranda Hart (2012) - click here for review 

This month I also interviewed the lovely Heather, aka Bookables on YouTube - read the post here

I've now reached 11/52 books towards my 2013 challenge! Find me on Goodreads here
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