Showing posts with label Science Fiction > Dystopia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science Fiction > Dystopia. Show all posts

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman


4.3  ·  Rating details ·  11,672 Ratings  ·  2,617 Reviews
Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
Citra and Rowen are two teenagers who get the pleasantry of meeting the honorable Scythe Faraday. 
Scythe by Neal Shusterman download for free or read it online
Scythe
by Neal Shusterman

No one wants to run into a scythe, much less talk to one or spend any kind of time with one. They have the ability to kill you if they see fit. That is their duty. But Citra and Rowan had the chance to meet this particular scythe and they were both not very pleasant to him. In some cases this could mean they would be gleaned depending on the unpleasantness, but Scythe Faraday was taken with these two individuals and brought them both under his wing as apprentices. Of course neither of them wanted to be apprentices and possibly become scythes themselves. Although there could only be one and it's not the norm for a scythe to take on two apprentices, but such is life. 
To be a scythe you have to give up many things, but they are necessary in this new world where there are no illnesses and you do not die. So there has to be an executioner if you will. There are some evil scythes in the book that enjoy the killing and this goes against their creed but everything works out at some point.

I love these characters. I loved them so much. Citra and Rowen are just awesome and Honorable Scythe Faraday is awesome too. Even though he is a killer and has lived hundreds of years, he's a nice man and JUST READ THE BOOK!

Some things happen and Citra and Rowen get separated and are training under different scythes. Citra is under Honorable Scythe Curie and Rowen gets the evil Scythe Goddard <--- I'm not even calling him honorable. He's a twat!

There is a lot more going on in the book and reasons for this that and the other but you can read all of that for yourself.  





Review


  • Pretty much a perfect teen adventure novel. In a conflict-free world where humans have conquered death, elected Scythes must cull the human population. Two teens find themselves volunteered as apprentice-Scythes, and discover that of all the things that Scythes can kill, corruption is not one of them.

1. Over the years, I've heard many books touted as the successor to Hunger Games, but SCYTHE is the first one that I would really, truly stand behind, as it offers teens a complementary reading experience to that series rather than a duplicate one. Like Hunger Games, SCYTHE invites readers to both turn pages quickly but also furrow their brows over the ethical questions it asks. Tone-wise, I would place it solidly between M. T. Anderson's FEED and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

2. Over the years, YA has come to encompass a wide age range — one that I feel tends to skew ever older and sometimes forget the folks who are growing out of middle grade, but slowly. SCYTHE strikes me as a true teen novel, one that I will happily thrust into the hands of even reluctant 12-14 year old readers to show them what awaits them in genre fiction. It asks enough difficult questions to stick in the mind, but it never asks them at the expense of pacing or story. Although it's a series-starter and the end is tantalizing, it does feel like it satisfyingly stands alone (as is evidenced by its new Printz Honor sticker — the Printz is very rarely awarded to series books as the novel's merit must be contained entirely within the volume awarded). Moreover, it is very light on the romance, something that younger readers often prefer (and somewhat difficult to find in YA).

3. Over the years, I have grown too lazy to make note of when sequels come out. I've made a note on my calendar for this one, though — November 2017. I look forward to another good time.

  • I didn't know what to expect going into this book, and wanted to read it because 1. Neal Shusterman is an incredible writer and 2. Anything with a scythe on the cover has my interest.

This turned out to be a fascinating book that made me think much more deeply about death, but more importantly, about modern life and how the challenges we face in it are what make it worth living. Neal creates a truly original utopian world that looks great on the surface, but has a pretty nasty underbelly (like all realistic utopias.) The politics in the world of Scythes is intricate and realistic and well done. The characters were quite distinct (it's a dual narrative) and their development is portrayed very honestly. Though there were a few plot devices I wasn't quite sure about at first, they all smoothed out in the end to make for a book that's fast-paced, but also deeply thoughtful. Definitely recommend this one.


  • Scythe defies all YA tropes and is incredibly quotable. What more can you ask for?

Exhibit A:

    "I think all young women are cursed with a streak of unrelenting foolishness, and all young men are cursed with a streak of absolute stupidity."

    "Welcome to life as a god," Scythe Volta said to him. While behind them the building burned to the ground.


The story takes place in a world beyond natural death, where disease and aging is eradicated and accidental death can be reversed in a hospital. It's a pretty great place to live, overall.

    The concept of a B seat, where one had to sit between two other airplane passengers, had been eliminated along with other unpleasant things, like disease and government.

The only way to die permanently is to be murdered ("gleaned" is the euphemism used) by a Scythe, a socially condoned killer whose job is to keep the population in check. All of earth is ruled an AI called the Thunderhead, both an omniscient database and a conscious benevolent entity; the only thing not controlled by the Thunderhead is the Scythedom, which has a self-governing body reminiscent of the current US Congress. The action kicks in when two teenagers, Rowan and Citra, are chosen to become Scythe apprentices.

If, at this point, you're thinking, "Oh of course, I know this story type. They'll fall in love and it'll be star-crossed and I've definitely read this kind of book before." STOP. This book is full of surprises and ass-kicking plot twists that will blow your mind. Obviously since it concerns professional killers there is quite a bit of moral and philosophical talk, but it only adds to the unique value of Scythe.

  • What if cancer and all the worlds diseases were healed and our understanding of how to heal everybody was so great that you could pretty much save anyone from practically anything that would have killed them.

What if you could totally turn back the clock so that even though you are fifty-two or seventy-five you could look like you were in your twenties.

What if there was nothing like war, poverty or hunger because artificial intelligence wasn’t a bad thing and it was better at running the world than the politicians and warmongers.

The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government. Back in the days when the world’s digital network was called “the cloud,” people thought giving too much power to an artificial intelligence would be a very bad idea. Cautionary tales abounded in every form of media. The machines were always the enemy. But then the cloud evolved into the Thunderhead, sparking with consciousness, or at least a remarkable facsimile. In stark contrast to people’s fears, the Thunderhead did not seize power. Instead, it was people who came to realize that it was far better suited to run things than politicians.

What if selected humans were now charged with culling the population and causing the deaths of those chosen. That they themselves had to choose who to kill and perform the execution becoming walking death.

What if you were chosen to be apprenticed to one of these people and learn how to kill.

What if…… well you get the gist.

I used to read a lot of YA but after a while so much of it seemed the same. After the fifteenth time in the book someone released a breath they didn’t know they were holding or dollface’s eyes became darker (cuz that is what happens when you lust after someone) and she threw away everything special about herself for Jerkwad A I was over it. But then I found Neal Shusterman (NS). I think that NS is the king of what if…. He takes something from our society today and tweaks it extremely to the best/worst case scenario and TaH-DaH magic.

Neal Shusterman has been on my autobuy list since I read his Unwind series which is my favorite completely YA and Dystopian series to date. While this is completely different in the world and the characters one thing remains the same. This book is for people who like to ponder the “what ifs” of the world and society. Like….
To date, the oldest living human being is somewhere around three hundred, but only because we are still so close to the Age of Mortality. I wonder what life will be like a millennium from now, when the average age will be nearer to one thousand. Will we all be renaissance children, skilled at every art and science, because we’ve had the time to master them? Or will boredom and slavish routine plague us even more than it does today, giving us less of a reason to live limitless lives? I dream of the former, but suspect the latter.

This story follows Rowan and Cirta as they start their internship of a year with Sythe Faraday learning everything there is to know about what it takes to be a killer of men. Which is less about learning how to kill, although there is some of that, and more about finding a path they can live with. Watching people die isn’t as easy as one would think. There are moral quandaries and it seems that not all the Scythes believe in the same things. Could it be in this society where a fraction of the people die compared to the Age of Mortality that there are things going on in the politics of death that might lead to disaster???

As the story delves into the deeper politics of death and how the world might be changing I liked seeing how a few of the different Scythes treated the responsibility of killing and how each seemed to have a different process and a different way to deal with families and after affects. People are people and it seems that if you give some of them enough power corruption is bound to bleed through.

There is a very small aspect of romance between a few characters but nothing overdone and it is definitely not the focal point of the story. The focal point is the society and how Citra and Rowan are trying to find a way to change it in their own way or else one might have to kill the other at the end of the apprenticeship.

There is a little bit of time needed for the set up to the story but there was also enough going on that I never lost interest. I became emotionally connected to Rowan and Citra in their very different struggles and I really enjoyed all the world details that made be question if you could live forever would you really want to?

This will be a duology or I prefer the term duet and I was extremely shocked (like wtf just happened I didn't see that coming at all shocked) by some of the happenings going into the final quarter of the book. But I adore where the book let off for the next installment and I am really excited to see what Shusterman has planned since there seemed to be some beginnings to a few things and with NS anything can happen and you will probably find your jaw on the floor when it does.


  • This book was a very pleasant surprise! Since the YA library of fiction has become saturated with dystopian tales, it is often hard to find originality. Because of that, the stories quickly become boring because we have "been there, done that". That is not the case here!

Key pros:
- Unique story, well presented
- Great characters
- Action and suspense
- Little (if any) filler
- Left me wanting more

Key con:
- St. Louis is not the capital of Missouri

If you are a fan of YA - especially YA dystopian fiction - you owe it to yourself to check this out. I am 99.9% sure you will love this, too.

Reference: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28954189-scythe

George Orwell - Animal Farm

Although Orwell aims his satire at totalitarianism in all of its guises—communist, fascist, and capitalist—Animal Farm owes its structure largely to the events of the Russian Revolution as they unfolded between 1917 and 1944, when Orwell was writing the novella. Much of what happens in the novella symbolically parallels specific developments in the history of Russian communism, and several of the animal characters are based on either real participants in the Russian Revolution or amalgamations thereof. Due to the universal relevance of the novella’s themes, we don’t need to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of Marxist Leninism or Russian history in order to appreciate Orwell’s satire of them. An acquaintance with certain facts from Russia’s past, however, can help us recognize the particularly biting quality of Orwell’s criticism (see Historical Background).
George Orwell - Animal Farm download for free or read it here online
George Orwell - Animal Farm
Because of Animal Farm’s parallels with the Russian Revolution, many readers have assumed that the novella’s central importance lies in its exposure and critique of a particular political philosophy and practice, Stalinism. In fact, however, Orwell intended to critique Stalinism as merely one instance of the broader social phenomenon of totalitarianism, which he saw at work throughout the world: in fascist Germany (under Adolf Hitler) and Spain (under Francisco Franco), in capitalist America, and in his native England, as well as in the Soviet Union. The broader applicability of the story manifests itself in details such as the plot’s setting—England. Other details refer to political movements in other countries as well. The animals’ song “Beasts of England,” for example, parodies the “Internationale,” the communist anthem written by the Paris Commune of 1871.



In order to lift his story out of the particularities of its Russian model and give it the universality befitting the importance of its message, Orwell turned to the two ancient and overlapping traditions of political fable and animal fable. Writers including Aesop (Fables), Jonathan Swift (especially in the Houyhnhnm section of Gulliver’s Travels), Bernard Mandeville (The Fable of the Bees), and Jean de La Fontaine (Fables) have long cloaked their analyses of contemporary society in such parables in order to portray the ills of society in more effective ways. Because of their indirect approach, fables have a strong tradition in societies that censor openly critical works: the writers of fables could often claim that their works were mere fantasies and thus attract audiences that they might not have reached otherwise. Moreover, by setting human problems in the animal kingdom, a writer can achieve the distance necessary to see the absurdity in much of human behavior—he or she can abstract a human situation into a clearly interpretable tale. By treating the development of totalitarian communism as a story taking place on a small scale, reducing the vast and complex history of the Russian Revolution to a short work describing talking animals on a single farm, Orwell is able to portray his subject in extremely simple symbolic terms, presenting the moral lessons of the story with maximum clarity, objectivity, concision, and force.

Old Major’s dream presents the animals with a vision of utopia, an ideal world. The “golden future time” that the song “Beasts of England” prophesies is one in which animals will no longer be subject to man’s cruel domination and will finally be able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. The optimism of such lyrics as “Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown” and “Riches more than mind can picture” galvanizes the animals’ agitation, but unwavering belief in this lofty rhetoric, as soon becomes clear, prevents the common animals from realizing the gap between reality and their envisioned utopia.
By the end of the second chapter, the precise parallels between the Russian Revolution and the plot of Animal Farm have emerged more clearly. The Manor Farm represents Russia under the part-feudal, part-capitalist system of the tsars, with Mr. Jones standing in for the moping and negligent Tsar Nicholas II. Old Major serves both as Karl Marx, who first espoused the political philosophy behind communism, and as Vladimir Lenin, who effected this philosophy’s revolutionary expression. His speech to the other animals bears many similarities to Marx’s Communist Manifesto and to Lenin’s later writings in the same vein. The animals of the Manor Farm represent the workers and peasants of Russia, in whose name the Russian Revolution’s leaders first struggled. Boxer and Clover, in particular, embody the aspects of the working class that facilitate the participation of the working class in revolution: their capacity for hard work, loyalty to each other, and lack of clear philosophical direction opens them up to the more educated classes’ manipulation.
The pigs play the role of the intelligentsia, who organized and controlled the Russian Revolution. Squealer creates propaganda similar to that spread by revolutionaries via official organs such as the Communist Party newspaper Pravda. Moses embodies the Russian Orthodox Church, weakening the peasants’ sense of revolutionary outrage by promising a utopia in the afterlife; the beer-soaked bread that Mr. Jones feeds him represents the bribes with which the Romanov dynasty (in which Nicholas II was the last tsar) manipulated the church elders. Mollie represents the self-centered bourgeoisie: she devotes herself to the most likely suppliers of luxuries and comfort.

The animals’ original vision for their society stems from noble ideals. Orwell was a socialist himself and supported the creation of a government in which moral dignity and social equality would take precedence over selfish individual interests. The Russian revolutionaries began with such ideals as well; Marx certainly touted notions like these in his writings. On Animal Farm, however, as was the case in the Russian Revolution, power is quickly consolidated in the hands of those who devise, maintain, and participate in the running of society—the intelligentsia. This class of Russians and their allies quickly turned the Communist Party toward totalitarianism, an event mirrored in Animal Farm by the gradual assumption of power by the pigs. After Lenin’s seizure of power, Communist Party leaders began jockeying for position and power, each hoping to seize control after Lenin’s death. Snowball and Napoleon, whose power struggle develops fully in the next chapters, are based on two real Communist Party leaders: Snowball shares traits with the fiery, intelligent leader Leon Trotsky, while the lurking, subversive Napoleon has much in common with the later dictator Joseph Stalin.
Orwell’s descriptions in this chapter of the pre-Rebellion misery of the farm animals serve his critique of social inequality and the mistreatment of workers. They also make a pointed statement about humans’ abuse of animals. Indeed, the same impulse that led Orwell to sympathize with poor and oppressed human beings made him lament the cruelty that many human beings show toward other species. He got the idea for Animal Farm while watching a young boy whipping a cart-horse. His pity for the exploited horse reminded him of his sympathy for the exploited working class.
Orwell creates a particularly moving scene in portraying the animals’ efforts to obliterate the painful reminders of their maltreatment: this episode stands out from much of the rest of the novella in its richness of detail. In the attention to “the bits, the nose-rings, the dog-chains, the cruel knives,” and a whole host of other instruments of physical discipline, we see Orwell’s profound empathy with the lowest of the low, as well as his intense hatred for physical suffering and its destruction of dignity.

George Orwell - 1984

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George Orwell - 1984
The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell's prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of "negative utopia" -a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel's hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions -a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.






Review

  • “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

    This changed the way that I looked at ideologies and changed the way I looked at leadership. Cynical, scathing, and not without its flaws, this is still a stark, haunting glimpse at what could be.

    “War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.”

    Chilling.

    The closing lines still come to me sometimes and remind me of depths that I can only imagine.

    “He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.

    He loved Big Brother”
     
  
  • I kind of hate reviewing classics that I just missed the first time around for whatever reason. What am I supposed to say that hasn't already been said, and much more eloquently? I'll just say that the book's reputation is well deserved. It's a little dry (hence the 4 instead of a full 5 stars), but the world it creates and the rules for it's dystopia remain chilling (and hit a little too close to home in the era of Trump). I'll admit that Trump's America was my catalyst for finally getting around to reading this, and I'm glad I did. In some ways, it feels like a handbook for the Republican Party. I can only hope our ending is better than Winston's
  • “There were four ministries the government was divided. The Ministry of Thruth concerned itself with news, entertainment, education and fine arts. The Ministry of Peace concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintain law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak : Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv and Miniplenty.”

    For me, this book is an epic. An absolute masterpiece. A book that accurately translate collective human nature greediness over power.
    “To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone-to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone.

    From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink-greetings!”
    “And the people under the sky were also very much the same-everywhere, all over the world, hundreds of thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same-people who had never learned to think but who were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.“
  • WAR IS PEACE.

    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

    Those words keep sounding in my head since I read this book. Gosh, probably the most haunting not to mention frightening book I've ever read. 1984 should also be included in the horror genre.

    1984 describes a Utopia. Not Thomas More's version of Utopia, but this is one is the antithesis, i.e. Dystopia. Imagine living in a country, whose leaders apply a totalitarian system in regulating their citizen, in the most extreme ways, which make Hitler, Mao, Stalin and that old bloke in V for Vendetta look like sissies.

    Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, talking, thinking, procreating...in short living, all are controlled by the state. Any hint of obedience or dislike can be detected by various state apparatus such as the Thought Police, telescreen, or even your children, who will not hesitate to betray you to the authorities. Even language is modified in such ways that you cannot express yourself, since individualism is a crime.

    The past is controlled, rewritten into something that will strengthen the incumbent ruler. Who controls the past, controls the future. Who controls the present, controls the past. There is no real truth. The "truth" is what the state says it is. Black is white, 2+2=5, if the state says so.

    The world in 1984 is divided into three states, originated from the ashes from World War II: Oceania (British Isles, the Americas, Pacific, Australia), Eurasia (Europe & Russia), and Eastasia (the rest of it). Continuous warfare between those three (who hold similar ideologies) is required to keep the society's order and peace. Si vis pacem para bellum. That's describes the first slogan.

    The second slogan, freedom is slavery, means the only way to be free is by letting you lose yourself and to be integrated within the Party. That way, you'll be indestructible and immortal.

    Ignorance is strength, means the division on high, middle, low classes in society will never be changed. The middle wants to be the high and they'll act "on behalf of the low" to dethrone the high. Afterwards, a new middle class arises, all will change except the low. The high and middle make and uphold the law, the low (proletarian) is just too stupid to revolt. The state maintains its structure by torture, intimidation, violence, and brainwashing.

    Blimey, Orwell's Animal Farm is already depressing, but 1984 gives "depression" a new meaning, at least for me.

  • In George Orwell's 1984, Winston Smith is an open source developer who writes his code offline because his ISP has installed packet sniffers that are regulated by the government under the Patriot Act. It's really for his own protection, though. From, like, terrorists and DVD pirates and stuff. Like every good American, he drinks Coca-Cola and his processed food has desensitized his palate to all but four flavors: sweet, salty-so-that-you-will-drink-more-coca-cola, sweet, and Cooler Ranch!(tm). His benevolent overlords have provided him with some war happening somewhere for some reason so that he, and the rest of the population, can be sure that the government is really in his best interests. In fact, the news always has some story about Paris Hilton or yet another white girl who has been abducted by some evil bastard who is biologically wired by 200,000 years of human evolution to fuck 12-year-olds, but is socially conditioned to be obsessed with sex, yet also to feel guilty about it. This culminates into a distorted view of sexuality, and results in rape and murder, which both make for very good news topics. This, too, is in Winston's best interests because, while fear is healthy, thinking *too* much about his own mortality is strictly taboo, as it may lead to something dangerously insightful, and he might lose his taste for Coca Cola and breast implants. The television also plays on his fears of the unknown by exaggerating stereotypes of minorities and homosexuals, under the guise of celebrating "diversity", but even these images of being ghetto-fabulous and a lisping interior designer actually exist solely to promote racism and homophobia, which also prove to be efficient distractions.

    For some reason, Winston gets tired of eating recycled Pop Tarts and eating happy pills and pretending to be interested in sports and manufactured news items. But, in the end, they fix him and he's happy again. Or something.
     
  • YOU. ARE. THE. DEAD. Oh my God. I got the chills so many times toward the end of this book. It completely blew my mind. It managed to surpass my high expectations AND be nothing at all like I expected. Or in Newspeak "Double Plus Good."

    Let me preface this with an apology. If I sound stunningly inarticulate at times in this review, I can't help it. My mind is completely fried.

    This book is like the dystopian Lord of the Rings, with its richly developed culture and economics, not to mention a fully developed language called Newspeak, or rather more of the anti-language, whose purpose is to limit speech and understanding instead of to enhance and expand it. The world-building is so fully fleshed out and spine-tinglingly terrifying that it's almost as if George travelled to such a place, escaped from it, and then just wrote it all down.

    I read Fahrenheit 451 over ten years ago in my early teens. At the time, I remember really wanting to read 1984, although I never managed to get my hands on it. I'm almost glad I didn't. Though I would not have admitted it at the time, it would have gone over my head. Or at the very least, I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it fully.

    From the start, the author manages to articulate so many of the things I have thought about but have never been able to find a way to put into words. Even in the first few chapters I found myself having to stop just to quietly consider the words of Mr Orwell.

    For instance, he talks about how the act of writing itself is a type of time travel. It is communicating with the future. I write these words now, but others may not discover them for hours, weeks, or even years. For me, it is one time. For you the reader, it is an entirely different one.

    Just the thought that reading and writing could one day be outlawed just shivers my timbers. I related to Winston so much in that way. I would have found a way to read or write.

    The politics and psychology of this novel run deep. The society in the book has no written laws, but many acts are punishable by death. The slogan of the Party (War is Peace...) is entirely convoluted. Individuality is frowned upon and could lead to being labeled a traitor to the Party.

    I also remember always wondering why the title was 1984. I was familiar with the concept of Big Brother and wondered why that wasn't the name of the book. In the story, they don't actually know what year it is because so much of the past has been erased by the Ministry of Truth. It could very easily have been 1981. I think that makes the title more powerful. Something as simple as the year or date is unknown to these people. They have to believe it is whatever day that they are told it is. They don't have the right to keep track. Knowledge is powerful. Knowledge is necessary. But according to Big Brother. Ignorance is strength.

    1984 is written in past tense and has long paragraphs of exposition, recounting events, and explaining the society. These are usually things that distance me from a book and from the characters, but Orwell managed to keep me fully enthralled. He frequently talks in circles and ideas are often repeated but it is still intriguing, none the less. I must admit that I zoned out a bit while Winston was reading from The Book, but I was very fascinated by the culture.

    Sometimes it seems as though the only way to really experience a characters emotions is through first person. This is not the case with this book, as it is written in third person; yet, I never failed to be encompassed in Winston's feelings. George manages to ensure that the reader never feels disconnected from the events that are unfolding around them, with the exception of the beginning when Winston is just starting to become awakened. I developed a strong attachment to Winston and thrived on living inside his mind. I became a member of the Thought Police, hearing everything, feeling everything and last but not least, (what the Thought Police are not allowed to do) questioning everything.

    I wasn't expecting a love story in this book, but the relationship between Julia and Winston was truly profound. I enjoyed it even more than I would have expected and thought the moments between them were beautiful. I wasn't sure whether he was going to eventually betray Julia to the Party or not, but I certainly teared up often when it came to their relationship.

    George has an uncanny ability to get to the base of the human psyche, at times suggesting that we need to be at war for many different reasons, whether it's at war with ourselves or with others. That is one thing I have never understood: why humans feel the need to destroy and control each other.

    It seems that the main and recurring message in this book is about censorship and brainwashing. One, censorship, is limited and little exposure to ideas of the world; the other, brainwashing, is forced and too much exposure to a certain ideas. Both can be extremely dangerous.

    Inside the ministry of Truth, he demonstrates the dangers of censorship by showing how the Party has completely rewritten the past by forging and abolishing documents and physical evidence. We also spend quite a bit of time with Winston in the Ministry of Love, where the brainwashing takes place. Those who commit thoughtcrime are tortured until they grow to love and obey Big Brother and serve only the interests of the Party.

    A common theme occurred to me throughout the book, although it wasn't necessarily referenced consistently. The good of the many is more important than the good of the one. There are so many variables when it comes to this statement and for the most part it seems natural to say, "Of course, the many is more important than the one", but when inside Winston's head, all that I began to care about was his well-being and not if he was able to help disband or conquer the Party and Big Brother. I just wanted him to be at peace.

    Whether or not the good of all is more important than that of the one, I can't answer. I think most people feel their own happiness is more important than the rest of the world's, and maybe that's part of the problem but it's also human nature. I only wish we could all accept one other regardless of belief and culture and not try to force ways of life onto other people. Maybe I'm naive for thinking that way, but so be it.

    I almost don't know what to think about this book. I'm not even sure my brain still works, or if it ever worked right at all. This book has a way of making you think you know exactly what you believe about everything and then turning you completely upside down and making you question whether or not you believe anything at all about anything. It's the strangest thing. Hmmm. Doublethink? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

    Everything about this book is captivating. It's groundbreaking yet at the same time, purely classic. Ahead of its time, yet timeless. From Big Brother to the Thought Police, I was hooked and wanted to know more about it all.

    Basically, I think everyone should read 1984 at some point. You really have to be in the mood to work at reading it, though. But it's all worth it in the end. It's absolutely incredible and I loved it. I don't re-read many books but this will definitely be one of them. It is a hard read, but more importantly, it is a MUST read.
     

Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 03 - Mockingjay

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
Check the other series:
  1.  Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games
  2. Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 02 - Catching Fire

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.


Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 02 - Catching Fire

Introduction

District 12 is celebrating the return of Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch, victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games. Yet, the celebration rings hollow for Katniss who knows her final act of defiance in the arena has made her a target for the Capitol. Unrest is stirring within the districts while the Capitol seeks revenge on the face of the rebellion: Katniss. Relationships are shifting, tension is mounting, and retaliation is threatening in Catching Fire, the second book in Suzanne Collins’ thrilling dystopian series, The Hunger Games.
Also read  
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games 
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 03 - Mockingjay

The 74th annual Hunger Games has ended and the victory belongs to Katniss and Peeta. Despite the excitement and celebration of District 12 there is an underlying feeling that the Capitol will find a way to curtail any threat of rebellion. Katniss knows her defiance has lit the kindling of something greater than herself and she is ever alert and anxious about her surroundings.

Attempting to bring some normalcy to her pre-Hunger Games existence, Katniss describes daily life as, “I hunt. He (Peeta) bakes. Haymitch drinks,” but simplicity is not meant to be hers. Katniss returns home to find her relationships with Peeta and Gale strained and confusing. She is trapped between wanting her independence and submitting to her status as the symbol of a rebellion. To further complicate her life, Katniss receives an unexpected visit from President Snow who advises Katniss to calm the uprising.

He issues thinly disguised threats warning her that if she cannot stop the rapidly growing revolution, then those she loves most will be killed.

Sixteen-year- old Katniss must now decide if she’s willing to lead an uprising against the oppressive, volatile, and dangerous Capitol or continue a charade that would require her to marry Peeta and for the remainder of her life worry about the threat of the Capitol.

Although she wants to run away, Katniss ultimately decides to protect her loved ones by becoming engaged to Peeta and continuing on with the victory tour. Despite her attempts to appease the Capitol, she is unable to stop the districts’ increasing demonstrations of rebellion.

In a surprising change of events, the Capitol announces that for the 75th annual Hunger Games, there will be a reuniting of past victors. Once again Katniss and Peeta are thrown back into the arena where they must fight to the death, and this time their defiance will not be in question.

Catching Fire sets the stage for a major uprising against the Capitol and solidifies Katniss’s role as the symbol of the rebellion. In this second installment of the exciting series, readers will finally learn more about the twisted plots of the Capitol, understand the mystery of District 13, and see a clear development of a love triangle. 



Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games

The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 01 - The Hunger Games download for free full ebooks epub
known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The 'tributes' are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory read more...

When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
Also check outCollins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 02 - Catching Fire
Collins, Suzanne - The Hunger Games 03 - Mockingjay 






Reviews 

Now, if you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, I won't even try to justify why you should. You just should. This is just one of those books that someone says "This book is AMAZING." Then, you take their word for it and read it.

And seriously, WHY haven't you read it yet?

This is the kind of book that is so awesome in a completely thrilling and demented and emotional and shocking way that it makes you want to bang your head against the wall while throwing fairy dust in joy. Two things that I have done in the past, but never before at the same time. That's how powerful this book is.

After that, it makes you want to cry. Cry like a little baby. Like a little baby in it's crib. Then scream. Scream like a frikkin banshee with a frikkin laser beam on it's forehead.

Before I read this, I had a friend who told me that this book was 100 times better than Twilight. (I'd say that it's actually more like a gorgonzolazillion times better and don't ask me the exact amount that represents. Let's just call it "To infinity and beyond.") She also said that it was going to be an even bigger phenomenon than Twilight. I was like "Hah!" Let's face it, it can get ridiculous with the Fangirl mobbing and the crying. But I concur. I think this WILL be bigger than Twilight and obviously better. Maybe even Oscar worthy. I certainly hope so, anyway.

I know that I said I wouldn't try and talk you into reading this book but I honestly can't help it. I'm not sure that I'm doing a great job at it, though. Let's try a little visual aid.


~SO THIS IS WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT~
THE HUNGER GAMES is a fantastic, breathless and somewhat brutal read that once you start you simply can’t put down again. Initially I had no idea what this book was about or what to expect in terms of YA writing, it had just been recommended to me by so many people and had such a buzz surrounding it that I had to find out for myself why.

Written along the lines of Stephen King’s The Long Walk or Orwell’s 1984 (I may be aging myself here) this story still feels very original and sucked me in completely with its modern day Survivor-esque retelling. The Hunger Games is the ultimate in reality TV, suspense, scripted realism, romance and survival that you should not miss.

Set in a post apocalyptic future (although we frustratingly never learn the why's, how’s or even when of this future.) This new communist-type America known as Panem has been divided into a Capital and its 12 districts. We follow 16 year old Katniss as she struggles to keep her starving family alive, hunting and gathering with her best friend Gale. Unbeknownst to her these are valuable skills as the annual hunger games are about to begin.

Each year these games require two children from each district who are chosen based on a lottery system for compulsory participation. These televised games are then broadcast throughout Panem (with mandatory viewing) as the 24 contestants fight each other to the death, leaving just one victor at its violent conclusion. It’s kind of like Survivor but instead of being voted off the island you have to kill your competitors. When Katniss’s younger sister is chosen as the female contestant from their district Katniss volunteers to take her place. Then together with Peeta the other lottery winner they travel to the capital and begin preparations for the opening ceremonies and ultimately their death in The Hunger Games.

Oddly this has been written without paragraph breaks and I have to admit the first part of it dragged for me, as Katniss is groomed, clothed, and schooled by her entourage within the capital. However as soon as the games begin, lookout! By this point in the story you have become attached to several key characters and its then that you realize things can’t end well as there will be only one winner. Over a period of about 2 weeks and against overwhelming odds we watch 24 victims dwindle as they struggle to survive. Simultaneously avoiding and hunting each other they form alliances, face hunger and mind numbing thirst, mutant animal attacks, friendship, love and ultimately a distrust of everyone as Big Brother raises the stakes to keep the audience interested.

This is an exciting book that will keep you up late into the night and resonate with you long after you’ve finished. Cheers
 

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now...Read More



Book Review

I’ve been moved by books in the past, many times, but I’ve never before read a book that has emotionally drained me to such a degree. This is frightening and powerful. And sometimes it only takes a single paragraph to make you realise how much so:

“Yes, Ma’am, I said again, forgetting. They used to have dolls, for little girls, that would talk if you pulled a string at the back; I thought I was sounding like that, voice of a monotone, voice of a doll. She probably longed to slap my face. They can hit us, there’s Scriptural precedent. But not with any implement. Only with their hands.”

Needless to say, this is an absolutely awful situation. From the very beginning, I knew how much I was going to like this book. Its story isn’t one that it is simply read: it demands to be heard. It beckoned me to see the full force of the situation. The Handmaids, the average woman, have no free will or individualism; they are treated as simple baby producing machines. An oppressive regime is forced upon them, and to deviate from the said standard results in a slow and agonising death. There’s no hope or joy for them, only perpetual subjugation.

Indeed, this is where Atwood’s awe inspiringly persuasive powers reside. By portraying such a bleak situation, she is able to fully demonstrate what life could be like if we suddenly followed the misogynistic views of the old testament with fierce intensity. Women would have no power whatsoever. This would be reinforced by a complete cultural destruction and lack of any form of self-expression. They would not be able to read or write; they would not be able to speak their minds. It would even go as far as to condition them so powerfully, that they completely lack the ability of independent thought. And, to make it even worse, the women know no difference. Sure, the narrator of this remembers her past, but she’s not allowed to. She is forced to repress any sense of individual sentiment.

“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”