Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Title: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1)

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

Genres: Fantasy | Science Fiction

Length: 304 pages | 4572 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.25/5

 

Premise:

When she was 11-years-old, Rose Franklin fell through the earth. When she comes to, she finds herself surrounded by glowing symbols and sitting on a giant hand.
Seventeen years later scientists still don’t know what it is. Rose, now a physicist, is closer than anyone else to unveiling the mysteries.
However, what consequences will her success have?

Review:

Sleeping Giants read like mature sci-fi. It is told in the form of interviews, journal entries, reports and news articles, amongst others, so it is safe to say it is not an emotional narrative style. Personally, I loved the detached approach to the narrative and I kept wanting to know what happened next. There were moments of great excitement, suspense and awe and I had never read anything quite like it.

All interviews are conducted by a mysterious individual who orchestrated all efforts into putting together a team to solve the puzzle the book relates.
The book approaches different issues like how government handles delicate situations, work relations, religion, amongst many others.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the narrative style not only because it was detached but because it was subtle. We are told how things happened through different characters and different methods and nothing is repeated, although you may get different perspectives of the same event. So if you are reading something through, let’s say, an interview, there might be a news article after that and then an experiment log and you get to know everything that happened, everything relevant anyway. I appreciate that a lot.

There isn’t much more I can say without giving too much away. Even though the little we know about Mr Mysterious is that he is not military, I cannot see him condone an intimate relationship betwwen co-workers, especially given the importance of the endeavour. I just did not find that believable. Still, I thought the plot was well constructed and this was a surprisingly character-driven story, which is quite unusual, at least from other sci-fi books I read. While the style is not for everyone, I for one enjoyed it very much and recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Feb 14th to Feb 17th, 2017
GR Review

A Collapse of Horses

Title: A Collapse of Horses

Author: Brian Evenson

Genres: Horror | Paranormal | Science Fiction | Short Stories

Length: 220 pages | 2683 locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

A varied short story anthology.

Review:

What a wonderful collection of short stories. They manage to be thought-provoking, engaging and entertaining.

Overall they were quite disturbing, exploiting the darkest corners of the human mind, and really got under my skin. Some struck me as almost psychedelic and/or nightmarish. They were not only quite philosophical but also just plain insane and my oh my there were so many types of insanity.

As in all anthologies there were stories I liked better than others and there’s always the feeling of disappointment when I finish a story that is just too short or unresolved, but if you are a fan of the genre and don’t mind your mind being turned into jelly I am sure you will enjoy this.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 21st to Jan 25th, 2017
GR Review

Dreams Before the Start of Time

Title: Dreams Before the Start of Time

Author: Anne Charnock

Genres: Science Fiction | Speculative Fiction

Length: 224 pages | 2911 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

A family saga spanning five generations revolving about the future of fertility in a very near-future world.

Review:

Dreams Before the Start of Time had my head spinning. It is quite an epic book, spanning five generations. It is not a particularly easy read as it goes back and forth in time and switches characters quite often.

I don’t even know what to say about its content cause there is just so much going on and at the same time not much. We are shown snippets of several characters’ lives, at different points in their life. We meet them as babies and adults and as the narrative advances we get the view them differently but they still have their voices.

Sadly I was unable to connect with the characters. Also, the writing made me uncomfortable, as each chapter or even subchapter ended very abruptly.

However, I did enjoy the sci-fi elements. I especially enjoyed that everything felt like it could happen soon. It is not distant sci-fi as most of the stuff out there. And crazy as it may seem the stuff that comes up during the narrative made me wonder why I hadn’t thought of that before because it could totally happen.

It is a special book indeed. I just wish I could have connected more with the characters and that the narrative didn’t feel so disjointed all the time. Rounding it up because there is so much food for thought and for the originality of the concept, but it is a solid 3.5 for me.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Jan 12th to Jan 16th, 2017

GR Review

Fungoid

Title: Fungoid

Author: William Meikle

Genres: Horror | Science Fiction

Length: 177 pages | 2401 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

It came in the rain. When the drops fell, people scratched madly as if burned. But that was only the beginning.

Review:

Wow, what a ride! Fungoid was a really pleasant surprise. I didn’t know William Meikle and I am so happy to have discovered him. It is amazing what the author was able to do with such few pages. And just when you think you have read every possible scenario of the Apocalypse, this sure takes a new enough spin on things.

I absolutely loved the prose. It was simple, straight to the point and incredibly eerie:

(…) they were met with deathly silence punctuated only by the sound of moisture dripping from the dead brown branches of the trees.

The tension was palpable and as the narrative evolved, the impending sense of doom was keen on crushing all hope of beating this horrible thing. The evolution of this menace, what it does to the world around the characters and how they react is so well achieved. Just when you think it cannot get worse… It does. Absolutely dismal. You just don’t know if anyone is going to make it.

At first I thought there were too many characters but as the story moved on the main ones came together and the way it was done was really cool. The main strength of the narrative is not exactly the characters so I was happy to find that what I read of them satisfied me, and their development was quite realistic.

There were only a couple of things that bothered me here and there, things that I either wished had been better explained or just felt cheesy/too easy, but overall this was a really fast, creepy read and I will be dreaming of spores for sure.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Dec 31st 2016 to Jan 1st, 2017

GR Review

Only Blue Will Do

Title: Only Blue Will Do

Author: Mark Rippon

Genres: Science Fiction

Length: 272 pages | 4221 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

In the frozen landscapes of Norway, two bodies were found.
What follows defies logical explanation.

Review:

Only Blue Will Do confused the heck out of me.

It started out very scientifically, describing the changes to a frozen area’s fauna and flora as a result of the progressive increase in temperature.

Then it got just plain weird, particularly with the introduction of the second main character. It was clear the author tried to infuse them with a sense of normalcy but the dialogues were stilted and the prose riddled with unnecessary figures of speech that made it drag on.

Kate and her mixed signs were utterly annoying and Hugh was beyond naive. They did not feel real at all. But then again nothing in that story seemed so.

There is no transition between the moment the characters are presented with a mind-blogging revelation and what becomes their new reality. The change was so abrupt I actually thought I had skipped an entire chapter.

The narrative evolves under the presumption that there is no time and space and what follows is esoteric and psychedelic. The descriptions are indeed beautiful and unique but the entire thing feels utterly pointless. The book ended, to me at least, with a sense of dismay and precious time lost.

The story was a bumpy ride to say the least, and I have to admit reading the book became a chore, so even though there may be folks out there who will like it I cannot say I recommend it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Dec 5th to Dec 11th, 2016

GR Review

The Fates

Title: The Fates

Author: Thomas Tessier

Genres: Horror | Science Fiction

Length: 217 pages | 2355 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

A series of odd events occur in small town Millville.
At first it was just small things like fluttering paper with no discernible cause but then deaths start coming up.
What could be causing them? Is it pollution? Aliens? A religious phenomenon?

Review:

The Fates was quite different from what I usually read. I was very intrigued.

However, there were a lot of characters. For the first fifth of the book we are bombarded with new characters and new situations.

Then they start coming together and things pick up a bit but I still found the pace fairly slow because there were just too many characters to keep track of and not much was happening.

The point of view changed constantly in the same chapter and the ARC needs thorough revision. Not only were the subchapters not easily separated but there were several words mistyped, such as bam instead of barn and modem instead of modern or fed instead of feed, and a serious lack of punctuation.

Storywise, there were a few attempts to liven things up and shock the reader, such as mentions of bestiality, but for the most part I kept wanting something new to happen and some answers to be given.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting and even thought provoking book but it came across as an essay on how people would react when they were faced with something they could not comprehend and that just isn’t enough to make a book stand in my opinion, let alone with such a poor resolution.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Nov 25th to Nov 30th, 2016

GR Review

Arrival

Arrival

Rating: 4.85/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

Review:

Having heard about this movie and seen part of the trailer I had written it off as yet another sci-fi movie featuring aliens. There were people running around and being violent and aliens talking about weapons and an explosion and everything was frantic and I just did not feel like it was my cup of tea and that other similar movies have been made.

I could not have been more wrong and I am so glad I read a review on IMDB that changed my mind and made me want to watch it because that is so not what it is like. This is not just another movie about aliens. It is so much more than that. It is absolutely stunning. Mysterious and heartbreaking and everything comes around at the end. I honestly don’t understand why try to pass the movie as something it is not.

There are very suspenseful scenes indeed where you can feel the sense of urgency and it is totally justified but ultimately the vibe of the filme is awe-striking and somewhat dreamy, which has a reason why and is made clear as the movie comes to a closure.

The close-ups are incredible, moving, and the soundtrack blew me away. Oh my gosh. It gave an entire new dimension to the movie and completely involved me and intensified the alien atmosphere.

There is only one scene that I did not like because it felt like it did not belong, and the slow pace was a struggle sometimes, even if it was part of the movie’s charm, but overall this was an absolutely incredible work of art and I hope you will watch it. If you stick to the story and pay attention, it will stay with you and you will want to discuss it after sitting on it. I know I do!