Sunday, July 10, 2011
Books I LOVED this year so far, part 1 of 2
So, at some point earlier in the year, I was asked to blurb a book. My first reaction:
"WOW, YES! I would LOVE to blurb a book! I can't believe someone would value MY name recommending ANOTHER book! This is a rite of passage!"
Writers gets excited about these things! But then it occurred to me that I am a pretty picky reader. I feel bad to be so picky, but I am. I can ENJOY many books but ADORE few, and I don't want to put my name on a book about which I had misgivings. Still, I couldn't very well pass up the opportunity to blurb my first book.
The book in question was called A LONG LONG SLEEP and was described as a sort of sci-fi Sleeping Beauty tale. It arrived, and not wanting it to get lost in the dread TBR piles of doom, I started reading it as soon as it arrived...
...and didn't stop (except for life obligations like dinner) until that night when I was done.
"Holy guacamole," I thought. "They asked me to blurb THIS? This is the kind of book I want to clutch to my bosom and never let go, except that I also want to immediately lend it to everyone I know so they can share it with me." (In fact, I was going to give away an ARC with this review but I ended up lending it out to a string of people, sorry!) I seriously haven't taken a book to my heart so much since Graceling.
Part of that is definitely the boy situation. There is nothing that gets me so much as getting a crush on a book character, and I must say that alien boy Otto is there with Graceling's Po and Edward from A True and Faithful Narrative as far as book boy crushes. When he was first introduced I thought he was going to be sort of a brooding angst-muffin weirdo, but he actually turns out to be sweet and intelligent and his relationship with the main character is founded on intellect and heart rather than hotness. But I say "relationship" instead of "romance" because the boy situation is complicated:
Let me backtrack a bit. This is the story of Rose, whose parents own a huge corporation and who frequently put her in stasis, a sleeping tube basically, while they gallivant around being rich important people. Anyway, as it turns out, while she is in stasis a plague wipes out much of the population and she is forgotten in her tube for 60 or so years. She is discovered and awoken by a boy named Bren, and we also get flashbacks to the boy she left behind, Xavier. All these relationships are interesting and there is no formulaic love triangle situation. There is also a definite bittersweet note and no HEA, but it's not sad either. It's just the kind of ending I like: hopeful and thoughtful and a little complicated but not cliff-hanger-y.
Other things I like:
--Rose herself can be a little passive at times, particularly in the beginning, but she does grow throughout the book, and her initial passivity makes sense. Also, she is an artist and it doesn't feel tacked on, which I loved.
--It's futuristic and sci-fi, but not a dystopian, IMO. The dystopian part has basically already come and gone. Maybe post-post-apocalyptic or something.
--The Plasticine. So creepy! I love it!!
--The book knocks the whole GMO food thing in a couple of spots. I saw a review complaining about how the reasoning doesn't make sense scientifically, but frankly I find GMOs in real life disturbing, insufficiently researched, the company that is pushing them consistently evil, and the public very unaware and uninformed about them. What can I say, I'm an ethical foodie. So I like seeing it addressed fictionally.
--It's a page turner but also lovable. I frequently find that page turners tend to be gripping, stressful types of books for me, whereas books where I fall in love with the characters meander more, sometimes too much. Why this is, I'm not sure, but anyway, this book grabbed me both plot-wise and character-wise which is rare.
I've seen some complaining about the sci-fi aspects in general or the future-speak (which I usually don't like either, but in this book I was okay with it), so this will be a YMMV kind of book especially if you're coming into it as a sci-fi fan. But as a character story, I loved it SO SO much and everyone I know who's read it has agreed.
A Long Long Sleep comes out August 9th.
Now I finally just found a second book I'm in love with this year. I'll blog about that one soon.