Tag Archives: fiction

The Alliance: A Registry Novel

The Alliance Book Cover The Alliance
The Registry, Book 3
Shannon Stoker
Fiction
William Morrow Paperbacks
2014-09-02
448

In this deadly endgame, the final move is hers . . . In America, the Registry weds girls to the highest bidder and raises boys for its army. Mia Morrissey escaped to make her life her own, and now that she has, she will risk everything so that everyone can be free. Going undercover as part of a diplomatic mission, Mia returns to America. But life there is more dangerous than ever as the walls grow taller, and the forgotten country faces its most ruthless leader yet, Grant Marsden . . . a shadow from Mia's past. With the help of Andrew, Carter, and other members of the subversive group Affinity, she embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Grant, bring down the government, and destroy the Registry once and for all. But when a terrible betrayal exposes the operation, Mia discovers that her enemies have used her—and so have her friends. Alone and frightened, she's uncertain of whom to trust—or whether the mission is worth the sacrifice. With the fate of her friends and the future of her country on the line, Mia knows that her next step may be the last for her . . . and America.

 

Review:

I admit that I was a little reticent to continue “The Registry” series, by Shannon Stoker, but the premise was promising enough to get me to give “The Alliance” a try, and I’m glad a did.

While the writing still lacks some polish and over-use of certain words (said being an example), the author showed a great deal of growth in how she handles character interaction and personal thoughts.  The backstories sprinkled throughout made the characters feel less like caricatures and more like humans.  I genuinely began to care about most of them, even the less than likable ones from the previous “Registry” novels.

I loved the beginning of each chapter including the history of how the society came to be using accounts from diaries of the period.  It provided answers to questions that had been nagging me from the beginning, and the explanations made perfect sense in the context of the story.  The ending was also plausible and satisfying.

I’m very impressed with Stoker’s growth and look forward to seeing what else she publishes.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Sexual Situations

The Bully Order

The Bully of Order Book Cover The Bully of Order
Brian Hart
Fiction
Harper
2014-09-02
400

Washington Territory, 1886 Jacob and Nell Ellstrom step from ship to shore and are struck dumb by the sight of their new home—the Harbor, a ragged township of mud streets and windowless shacks. In the years to come this will be known as one of the busiest and most dangerous ports in the world, and with Jacob's station as the only town physician, prosperity and respect soon rain down on the Ellstroms. Then their son, Duncan, is born, and these are grand days, busy and full of growth. But when a new physician arrives, Jacob is revealed as an impostor, a fraud, and he flees, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Years later, on a fated Fourth of July picnic, Duncan Ellstrom falls in love. Her name is Teresa Boyerton, and her father owns the largest sawmill in the Harbor. Their relationship is forbidden by class and by circumstance, because without Jacob there to guide him, Duncan has gone to work for Hank Bellhouse, the local crime boss. Now, if Duncan wants to be with Teresa, he must face not only his past, but the realities of a dark and violent world and his place within it. Told from various points of view, Brian Hart's novel follows the evolution of the Harbor from a mudstamp outpost to a city that rivals the promise of San Francisco. The Bully of Order is a meditation on progress, love, and identity; a spellbinding novel of fate and redemption—told with a muscular lyricism and filled with a cast of characters Shakespearean in scope—where everyone is as much at the mercy of the weather as they are of the times.

 

Review:

This review is of a complimentary copy provided by Harper through the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review.

“The Bully Order” by Brian Hart is an unapologetic novel set on the coast of Washington State in the early 19oo’s.  It is gritty and doesn’t shy away from just how brutal and miserable things were during that time in that area.

I really wanted to like this novel.  The history is sound and a refreshing take on an era that is all too often romanticized.  A few of the characters were engaging and made me want to know more about them.  Unfortunately, those were the only redeeming qualities I found.

The beginning of the book is slow and filled with words that make it seem as though the writer went crazy with a thesaurus.  It really bogs the flow down and makes it near impossible to get sucked into what may otherwise be a good story.  The flips between points of view were enough to make me seasick.  I stuck with it in the vain hope that it would get better, but the flaws pulled me too far out to ever really settle into the story.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Sexual Situations, Rape

Damned

Damned Book Cover Damned
Damned, Book 1
Chuck Palahniuk
Fiction
Anchor Books
2012-10-02
247

As thirteen-year-old Madison tries to figure out how she died and ended up in Hell, she learns how to manipulate the corrupt system of demons and bodily fluids.

 

Review:

To be upfront, I am not typically a fan of Chuck Palahniuk’s writing, but this one’s description caught my eye so I decided to give it a try.  I’m glad I did, because I generally loved it.

The main character, 13-year-old Madison, evolves throughout the story from a rather clueless girl to one who gradually becomes more self-aware.  The writing style is meant to mimic how a girl her age may write, and for the most part it played out nicely.  However, after a while some of the repetition began to grate on my nerves like one of the demons in the book.  We got the point, Mr. Palahnuik. It really marred what was otherwise a pleasant read and is the sole reason I gave it three stars instead of four.

The other characters were excellent.  All surprising and well-rounded, they did a great job of making the novel thought-provoking as opposed to one-dimensional. Archer and Goren were particular were favorites of mine.

The list of ways to get you a one way ticket to eternal damnation had me laughing every time one came up.  I challenge anyone not to wonder if you are gambling with their soul the next time they commit one of the atrocities.

As is so common in a Palahniuk novel that I don’t think it bears even a thought of a spoiler warning, it all comes down to the ultimate existential crisis.  This one is the best I have ever read, not only from the author, but from possibly any author. It definitely left me wanting more in spite of the previously mentioned repetition. Lucky for me, there is a sequel, “Doomed”.

Content Warning:

This book was listed as young adult, and that designation makes me quite sure that I either entered an alternate dimension or the one who decides such things came to work drunk.  It is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a book meant for younger readers.  There is quite a bit of profanity, extremely graphic sexual imagery, and an overall perverseness that would make most school librarians have a stroke.  You have been warned.