Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Darkest Minds (Review)

The Darkest Minds

By: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 18th, 2012
Genre(s): YA Science Fiction

My Review: (3.5 of 5 stars*)

Its been awhile since I've really gotten involved with a book, let alone a series. My first thoughts are that this was a bit of a heavy and suspenseful read. You need to be clear-headed, and ready to consume the text in the manner it requires. My truthful rating of The Darkest Minds is 3.5 stars out of 5. I must say its a good start leading into what I'm hoping will be action nonstop in the sequel. Clocking in at nearly 500 pages I feel this could've been easily reduced to 300 pages. A lot of what I found to be the best parts were very much elongated to the near point of disinterest. However, the concept of it all has much potential to changing my first thoughts.

This is definitely aimed at teens who are advanced and voracious readers. It has a heavy dose of violence, inappropriate language, and some sexual content. The story is compelling in many ways. The novel really begins with Ruby, the main heroine, who is toted to a camp called Thurmond for children who are considered dangerous. Prior to these events other children from school are either dying or disappearing. Ruby is unaware of why she's there until it's explained in a string of violent events. At camp children are being segregated based off of the colors red, orange, green, and blue. These represent the unique capabilities of the children and classify how dangerous they are. That said, these camps are basically prisons that keep the children suppressed from society because of their unstable powers. It's there that Ruby discovers her true nature and how her life will never be the same after it.

I don't want to say too much because much of the story can easily be condensed and that would take the enjoyment right out of reading the first installment. It was GOOD. I really loved some of the twists, and the mystery behind the shadier characters. I liked getting to know Ruby and was very curious to see what she could do that differentiated herself from most of the others. It's a gloomy read, with a long journey and a lot of backstory. I was a bit torn though because of all the text it didn't really focus on the finer details such as character's physical description, or explain thoroughly the abilities themselves. I think that's where as a reader it might've taken me from what I could've loved about the Darkest Minds to what I ended up just liking.

To be honest overall it was a well-enough constructed read that will have me picking up the sequel at some point. I'd say to anyone contemplating picking it up--do it. If you don't mind the length and a slower more digestive novel than it's most definitely worth it. I am highly interested to see the direction of where the continuing story will take off in Never Fade.


When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Holy Cow by: David Duchovny (Review)

Holy Cow

By: David Duchovny
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
Genre(s): Fiction/Humor

My Review: (3.8/5 stars*)

If you're reading this book for David Duchovny's notoriety than you're reading it for all the wrong reasons. However, I say this because aside from being an actor, producer, singer, he's also a writer. Yes, just like on his show Californication, but, unlike his assumed role this is the man himself off set. This is the very essence and curtain revealed behind the man's thoughts, and, they are wildly perceptive towards life, and it's focal point which is animal cruelty unveiled through the eyes of a female cow.

Enter stage: Elsie Bovary; cue the dramatic entrance zooming into the very nature of what it's like to be a cow grazing the lands. This intriguing character tells a tale of where her life began, simplistic, care-free, going through the motions of what it is to be such a creature. Then, comes the drama, the ups, the downs, and the very inhuman justices this world offers this animal and others. She discovers this the hard way when she changes routine and decides to break out of the fence that she's always known to exist between her and the real world.

Scroll back and we see a lighter version of the story laced in humor, fun, references to pop culture, movie hits, and the timeless age of rock music stars. Everything is green and full of prosperous life on the prairie one-third of the novel in, and everything couldn't be going more swell, and, as we hit that page-turning, cringeworthy scene that rocks this cow's societal view we start to see a foreboding descent into darkness. David Duchovny dives right into the grit and grave of the truth of animal life. Certainly the "Truth is Out There", X-Files fans, and it's grim.

The writing itself writes in a very stylistic way that only Duchovny could accomplish and make it work. It blurs the lines between the diverse screenwriting structure only to be told in firsthand storytelling so you are literally viewing behind the eyes of Elsie Bovary, a witty cow. It's pretty wild to think of peaking through such a lense, but, it's unique so I'd say give it a chance and let the writing and wry wit deliver itself. Although politically and historically suggestive with references particularly aimed is humor derived and slightly offensive if you're a sensitive subject. As long as you can take a joke, or two, this book might be right for you.

My thoughts completely are that I couldn't put this down. It grasps you and holds you in this overlooked creature's world. Sheds the light of all brights on the sad and savage lifespan of most cattle and other farm species. It prompts many questions of consumption of beef, delves into the circumstances that surround most animal treatment. Questions it completely. And, with that note this is a novel read with a heavy heart, and it is most definitely full of it. I give a bravo to the author for not sugar coating his own thoughts, and values imparted in this book. It's a rarity, a sight, a good story to read whether you picked this up randomly or very exactly for the reason of knowing the actor from the big screen.

Totally looking to scoop up his second novel Bucky F*cking Dent for more of his writing.


A rollicking, globe-trotting adventure with a twist: a four-legged heroine you won't soon forget

Elsie Bovary is a cow, and a pretty happy one at that-her long, lazy days are spent eating, napping, and chatting with her best friend, Mallory. One night, Elsie and Mallory sneak out of their pasture; but while Mallory is interested in flirting with the neighboring bulls, Elsie finds herself drawn to the farmhouse. Through the window, she sees the farmer's family gathered around a bright Box God-and what the Box God reveals about something called an "industrial meat farm" shakes Elsie's understanding of her world to its core.

There's only one solution: escape to a better, safer world. And so a motley crew is formed: Elsie; Jerry-excuse me, Shalom-a cranky, Torah-reading pig who's recently converted to Judaism; and Tom, a suave (in his own mind, at least) turkey who can't fly, but who can work an iPhone with his beak. Toting stolen passports and slapdash human disguises, they head for the airport.

Elsie is our wise-cracking, pop-culture-reference-dropping, slyly witty narrator; Tom-who does eventually learn to fly (sort of)-dispenses psychiatric advice in a fake German accent; and Shalom, rejected by his adopted people in Jerusalem, ends up unexpectedly uniting Israelis and Palestinians. David Duchovny's charismatic creatures point the way toward a mutual understanding and acceptance that the world desperately needs.

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