#WWW Wednesday – 28 September, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

lifesassistanceagencycoverI finished three things this week. The first was The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell. Sadly this ended up dragging a lot. It got better in the last 10-15%, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the earlier stuff. 😦 I also finished Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, which I enjoyed a lot more, in spite of the constant info-dumps. It was an entertaining story but it was definitely one where the author clearly wanted to convey a “message” (a worthwhile one, but it was still heavy-handed). I also read The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean, which is a prequel novella set in her Viper and the Urchin steampunk universe. It was adorable and I want to give tiny Rory all the hugs.

Little Brother review is here, while the Life Assistance Agency review is here. littlebrothercover

It was also the 75th book I’ve read this year, so I’ve completed my GoodReads challenge. 75 was my total for last year, and that included some Patrick Ness short stories and things that only took a few minutes, so I’m rather proud to have hit this this time with so much time still to spare.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverI’ve finally returned to The Rook by Daniel O’Malley for the moment. I didn’t want to start anything new before heading off on holidays. I was only going to take The Name of the Wind with me, but because I’m pedantic, I don’t want to actually start it until I’m aboard the ship on Saturday, so the Rook is my reserve reading (trust me to choose two of the chunkiest books in my possession).

illuminationcoverI also started the audio book of Illumination by Karen Brooks. This is the third Curse of the Bond Riders book. I said I wasn’t going to listen to the audio book because it’s even longer than the second one and there were parts of that I wished I could skim… but I couldn’t find any other audio books that interested me right now and this was there and so far it’s okay. I may still finish it in print form.

What do you think you’ll read next?

nameofthewindcoverAs I said last week, I’ll be reading The Name of the Wind on my cruise. It did occur to me that my regular reading speed is about 100 pages an hour, give or take a bit, and that I could actually get through it a lot faster than expected, especially with the three days at sea at the end, so it’s probably good I’ll have The Rook in reserve, too.

Let me know if you’ve any thoughts on any of these! 🙂

See you all later!

~ Emily

“Freedom is something you have to take for yourself.” // Review of “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow

Title: Little Brother
Author: Cory Doctorow
Audio book narrator:
Kirby Heyborne
Genre:
YA/dystopian
Date Read: 18/08/2016 – 22/08/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

This is another book that’s tricky to rate, due to some parts being really awesome, and some parts being really… not. However, it is a truly relevant book for today’s society, to the point where there were certain scenes where I was nearly blocking my ears and whispering “Too real, too real!”

In the near-future, Marcus Yallow aka W1n5t0n online, and his friends are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on San Francisco, and are imprisoned by the Department of Homeland Security and treated inhumanely for a week. When they are released, they discover that San Francisco has been turned into a police state, where the population  are forced to give up their privacy in exchange for “security”. But Marcus and his friends are tech-savvy enough to go underground in cyber-space, and pretty soon, a movement is beginning.

I really liked Marcus as a lead character. He is unapologetically geeky. He’s into computers and crytopgraphy and old books and passionate about fighting for his rights. There were some interesting side characters, though so much of the plot unfolds through Marcus’ interactions with people online that it was a little hard to get to know everyone else. I did feel that the development of the female characters left a bit to be desired. The book is written in first person and Marcus would describe every girl or woman he met in terms of attractiveness, and only afterwards perhaps discuss other aspects of them. Overall, though, characterisation worked for the story that Doctorow was clearly trying to tell.

The thing that put me off the book was how info-dumpy it was at times. My partner and I have an arrangement where I drive to the shops then read or listen to a book while he goes in and gets the groceries. I listened to a ten or fifteen-minute diatribe about LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) during one of these shopping trips. There were similar ones about crytography, security systems, gaming, San Francisco geography and other things that I can’t remember right now because I started zoning out. These took me completely out of the story and screwed with the pacing; they killed all momentum the story was building.

As I said above, there were aspects of this book that rang really true in today’s society where we are all supposedly in danger of terrorist attacks. The panic, the additional “security” measures, the blind acceptance of government control by so many members of the public… while the exact technologies described in the book might be a little way off (or they might not; I get the impression they all exist in some form or another already), the methods of using them was incredibly realistic.

While it certainly wasn’t a five-star read for me due to the reasons above, I definitely recommend this book for everyone. It is a good eye-opener in a lot of ways.


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#WWW Wednesday – 21 September, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

(I have to apologise for being fairly useless at returning comments and visiting other blogs last week. I’ll do better this week! :D)

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

dragoninthegardencoverI finished The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner, and it managed to not become a complete mess! I enjoyed it in and of itself, but I don’t feel compelled to read the sequel whenever it comes out. I posted my review here, along with my review of The Mysterious Adventures of Becca Carlisle by Cate Morgan, which also went up this week.

What are you currently reading?

lifesassistanceagencycoverI started reading The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell. This is the one I requested on NetGalley last week, and since it has just been released, I thought I should try to get it reviewed soonest. I’m also listening to Little Brother by Cory Doctorow on audio. I’m enjoying them both, though in both cases I am finding the lead characters are both really standard male characters (one’s that goofball, kind of loser stereotype and the other is a “hot-blooded” 17-year-old) and there aren’t very many women around in either one. The stories are both good, though, so I’m trying to let that slide.

What do you think you’ll read next?

nameofthewindcoverOn October 1, I am going on a cruise for a week and I plan on taking The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss with me. I am not taking any devices other than my phone (for camera purposes, I’m not getting international roaming), but this should keep me going for eight days. Depending how quickly I finish the other stuff, I might read The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune before then.

Let me know if you’ve any thoughts on any of these! 🙂

See you all later!

~ Emily