New Releases 11/30

Matched by Ally Condie is out today! I read and reviewed an advance copy of this book a few months ago. You can read my review here. Basically, I think all the blurbs from critics saying that this is the new Hunger Games are wrong — the story isn’t as fast-paced and suspenseful, it’s much less action-y and there’s more navel-gazing. It’s not going to hook people in quite the same way. But I liked it, and I think the story really has room to grow as a series, and I think you should all check it out.

Smells like a bad analogy

I am so sick of the “love interest smells like something totally implausible” trope in books. I’m reading The Unidentified by Rae Mariz — which is pretty good, and which I am enjoying — but sometimes the writing is just clunky and bad.

His shirt smelled like cotton and cinnamon, and something else. Like welded metal or outer space.

Is his shirt made of cotton? How would his shirt ever smell like cinnamon? Did he spill tea on himself? Couldn’t you just say that his breath smelled like cinnamon, or that his shirt smelled like it had just come out of the dryer (which makes sense and calls to mind a smell that all your readers will recognize)? Don’t even get me started on welded metal or outer space, things which mean nothing because the reader could not possibly have any idea what they smell like. Neither could the narrator in this book, for that matter. So why put it in?

He laughed. His laugh sounded like rain clouds clearing.

Really? “He laughed, and I thought of rain clouds clearing” might make sense. I get what the author is going for here: his laugh is like sunshine! Because the narrator loves him! But come on, his laugh does not sound like rain clouds clearing.

I actually like this book, I swear, but every now and then I read a sentence like the ones above (which occurred on the same page) and it’s just so bad that I’m completely distracted from the story.

Fan-Made Hunger Games Short

Warning: contains spoilers if you haven’t read the book!

This fan-made video of scenes from The Hunger Games actually had me tearing up! I loved the actress playing Katniss — she did a great job of being emotionally vulnerable while still being so strong. I hope this is something they can translate to the big screen just as well.

The Search For WondLa

The Search For WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

Only a couple of chapters into this book, I fell in love. Hard. The Search For WondLa features such a curious, adventurous heroine and such a whimsical, weird world for her to explore. Thanks to the gorgeous illustrations (also by Tony DiTerlizzi), the characters and scenery felt tangible. Every time I picked up the book, I was swept away to Eva’s world, which is wondrous and terrifying at the same time. You have Wandering Forests, giant tardigrades, terrible oxygen-sucking plants, plus robots and hovercraft. What’s not to love?

The Search For WondLa begins with twelve-year-old Eva Nine, who lives in an underground Sanctuary with a robot called Muthr (Multi-Utility Task Help Robot), who is charged with Eva’s care and upbringing. Eva is being prepared for survival outside of her Sanctuary, in a world that seems to be much like ours. But when Eva is forced to leave the Sanctuary early after an intruder attacks her home, she realizes that the world outside is nothing like the one she was prepared for. Her Omnipod doesn’t recognize any of the plant or animal life, though it notes that some of it is similar to microscopic life forms like tardigrades. As Eva tries to make sense of this unknown world, she manages to make a friend (or at least an ally) with the lone widower Rovender Kitt, and finds out that she is being hunted by a brutal bounty hunter called Besteel.

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Behemoth

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

The second book is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy does not disappoint. Behemoth is one of the releases I was most excited for this year, and it completely exceeded my expectations.

In Leviathan, we were introduced to an alternate WWI era, full of fantastic air beasties and mammoth mechanical walkers. Behemoth takes us to Istanbul (called Constantinople by the British), where we’re introduced to entirely new wonders. Istanbul is full of giant machines designed to look like elephants, which is kind of a brilliant mash-up of the Clanker and Darwinist ideologies: they take the power of the Germans’ machines but are still very connected to the natural world. And one of the Istanbul natives we meet is shocked by the way the Darwinists refer to their beasties as “it” rather than “he” or “she”. Each of the different ethnic neighborhoods of the city also have their own walkers, which they call golems and are designed to look like mythical creatures or characters.

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