Review of “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Series: –
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 358
Published: 1953, Ballantine Books
My Grade: 2 out of 5 phoenixes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

MY REVIEW

I have had this book on my priority to read list for quite some time now but have been postponing reading it until I really felt like it. I got in a classics mode after finishing Ready Player One and thought this might be a good read next since it is coming out as a movie later this year. I tend to move books up on my to-read list when I learn that they are being converted to the screen. However, I am disappointed. Maybe disappointment is the wrong word. Perplexed perhaps as to why this became a classic is more accurate. I strongly like the idea of this dystopian future where books are illegal and firemen start fires instead of putting them out. But it was just too weird for me to understand why it got so big.

One reason why I didn’t like it, might be because I am part of this problem Bradbury describes. And that is one scary thought! And nothing I can’t really help either. In Bradbury’s world it was decided that the free thought was what made everyone depressed and the world a bad place. By reading, everyone was more aware of the world and all the sadness and bad things in it. Why read about things that aren’t real? Why read about things that can lead to depression and suicide? Why read at all when you can surround yourself with screens as walls that contain your “happy family” who tells you how to be and live. How to be controlled. It really reminded me of 1984 by Orwell. This could have been the first stage to that extreme controlled big brother society. Anyway, where I come into this whole scary scenery is that I am controlled by what I read. I do read. I read a lot and I am proud of it. But I read as my leisure time. I don’t watch TV, I much more prefer to read and have the world grow in my head instead of just being an image projected there. I can read on the bus with tons of people around me, sure I have music in my ears, but I can read and understand what I am reading without really thinking about what the meaning of it all is. That is how books nowadays are written. And I guess that can kind of compare to the braindead people in Fahrenheit 451 where they do the easy thing where the least amount of brainpower is needed, something leisurely. Now when I wrote that theory down, it sounds stupid, I might not be the person who discards all books to watch the walls, but many others today sure are.

The real problem with what I just wrote I think comes down to this: It is an old book. It is written in a different way from books are nowadays. I get the feeling that back then, it was as important how it was written as what the text was actually saying. And I just don’t see how that is an entertaining text where you don’t even understand the meaning behind the words. How am I supposed to get a world in my head when nothing makes any sense? When so many paradoxes are used to described the story, when there are more metaphors describing every action? Perhaps if you spent some time analyzing the text every other page or so you might understand and get the deep meanings behind every word. But like I said, I like to read leisurely, so this was clearly not for me. I might be the wrong person to write this review then?

More things that bothered me, the dialogues. Extremely weird and didn’t make any sense at all. Like they randomly took thoughts from their heads while watching the big screens and throwing them at each other where they did not quite fitted. Was it because they were more real than any other dialogue in a book because all the characters usually always says the perfect thing?

 

Last but not least, the ending. I got the feeling from it, but it was just so strange that I had to read it several times to make sure that I wasn’t hallucinating or something while reading it. Super weird.

I have my idea of what a good book is. I know what types of books I like, and even if I feel like being a little cultivated every now and then with something from the row of books behind my favorites, I rarely get this disappointed. Yet, I don’t regret reading it But I did expect more. I have now made myself a personal opinion about another classic. Maybe next time I will go even further back in time and finally read something of Jules Verne?

Fahrenheit 451 gets a 2 out of 5,  it was a book which I didn’t enjoy very much, but I don’t really regret reading it either.

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Review of “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Series: –
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 374
Published: 2011, Crown Publishers
My Grade: 4 out of 5 simulations

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

MY REVIEW

During the first chapter or two, I didn’t believe that I would see the charm that everyone 10 year older than me does with this book. Then I realized that it probably wouldn’t have mattered even if it was about the geek-culture of the 90’s. I don’t think I would have recognized as much anyway. Or maybe I would have. But the fact that I was born in the early 90’s didn’t make me understand any less. I have the geek within, even if it is not on such a detailed level and I think that was what made me understand anyway. I know how all of that works, I lived through a decade of incredible technological developments and understand why Halliday (the deceased creator of OASIS) had such an obsession with the 80’s, which was even more extreme than the 90’s. The author is also very good at describing everything, so even if you might not get the exact image in your head while reading, you still clearly see it all in front of you. The part about the book being about geek culture in the 80’s doesn’t take over the main story, even if it is present all the time.

I think of myself as a technology-loving person and of course wonder how this whole virtual reality world works. Like do they talk out loud while talking to people in the game? Wouldn’t that be very annoying for everyone around on that bus for example? Do they have earplugs to snuff out the sounds from the real world? How much do they actually have to move in real life order to move in the OASIS? I wonder if the author had anything to say about the movie that will be out in 11 days.

 

The plot was kind of predictable and took the usual turns where we first meet the main character who falls in love, screws it up while everything else around him turns bad as well just to work everything out and give the book a happy ending and not a surprising one at all.

It was a very good book and the predictabilities doesn’t lower the grade, but the fact that I don’t understand the 80’s does unfortunately. So it gets a 4!

Review of “Champion” by Marie Lu

Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 369
Published: 2013, Penguin Books
My Grade: 4 out of 5 airplanes

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

MY REVIEW

This series was definitely getting better and better and had a strong ending. Very predictable but still very fitting for the story.

The main thing about these books is the way Lu is writing and I feel that her way to connect to the characters are getting stronger and stronger with each book. She does it in a great way, but I am also feeling that it kind of gets too much, if that makes any sense? She paints a great picture of the environment and I feel that the characters feelings and analyzes take words from the story. Or maybe I am just jealous that I can’t write like that, haha!

It is hard to read when you are writing yourself. But that is good, because now I know that I want to use her passion and emotional engagement in her fighting scenes, in my own (way way way in the future).

It’s a good book, a four for sure!

Review of “Prodigy” by Marie Lu

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 371
Published: 2013, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 paper clips

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

MY REVIEW

I am not sure why exactly this got a slighty better grade than Legend. It might have been because I listened to Legend as an audiobook and I did it in two sittings so it felt like nothing happened. Or perhaps because this one was slightly better. Maybe they were as good? I got a good impression of it anyway. 3 feels low, but according to my scale, it was a good book so I guess that is accurate.

What was good about it? First of all, it was very intimately written. I got the impression that this book’s focus was the development of the characters and their point of view rather than the story. The story is good, but the closeness to the characters really make it pop.

Second, any type of realistic dystopian story intrigues me. Well, it doesn’t even have to be realistic, but this is. More of the backstory to why it became the Republic of America is revealed in Prodigy and it is so cool that the author sits on so much information that never really gets out to the reader. This is something I have definitely learned since starting to write myself and Marie Lu has drawn up a very colorful (maybe vivid is the more correct term since her future is really really grey and dull) world.

Definitely better than the first. Is perhaps Champion (the last in the trilogy) even better? We will have to wait and see.

Review of “Legend” by Marie Lu

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 305
Published: 2011, Penguin Books
My Grade: 3 out of 5 plague victims

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

MY REVIEW

First, before anything else, I have to say that the grade might have been affected by the fact that this was not read, but listened to. I almost feel like I have cheated. For the first time in my life, I have listened to an audiobook. I took a trip up to my cousins in Nynäshamn and it is 5 hours each way. I was alone and felt that I would get bored if I only listened to music, so I tried an audiobook for the very first time. During those 10 hours it took me to drive back and forth, I managed to finish Legend and 25% of Prodigy (#2).

I usually don’t have big expectations on books. But I was a little disappointed by this. Don’t mistake me, it was a good book and definitely enjoyable listening too. Perhaps I went through too much of it in too short time, but it felt like not much was happening. I also got the feeling that this was a very long introduction to the story, that most of the exciting things are happening in #2 and forward.

I really liked the characters, they felt real. Although it is pretty cliché-y that the main characters are from opposite sides of the social hierarchy and that they fall in love and all of that. But it does not overtake the main story of the new Republic of America.

One thing I really liked when listening to it was that they had two people reading, one man for the boy and one woman for the girl. It made it feel more alive, even if perhaps I wouldn’t have given them those voices in my head.

Review of “Resan till Mörkret” (Into the Darkness) by Andrey Dyakov

Resan till Mörkret by Andrey DyakovTitle: Resan till Mörkret
Author: Andrey Dyakov
Translator (Swedish): Ola Wallin
Series: Metro Universe #2
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 398
Published: 2012, Coltso (translated 2015)
My Grade: 3.5 out of 5 heavens

COLTSO’S DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

SANKT PETERSBURG YEAR 2033.
A couple of decades after the big nuclear war the metro is threathened  by another war. People are desperately clinging to their miserable lives on the metro stations and in the underworld tunnels and labyrinths. Colonies on two islands in the Gulf of Finland was recently discovered, but when a nuclear bomb is detonated, only a few seamen survive and seek refugee in the metro. They accuse the metro inhabitants of the attack and threathens to eliminate all life on the stations. Taran, an infamous Stalker, gets the assignment of finding the guilty. But then his stepson Gleb dissapears…

The world on the surface is an unknown wilderness and faceless dangers can lurk anywhere in the city’s ruins where barely any human have set its foot in over 20 years.

MY REVIEW

This is so far the Swedish translations in this trilogy goes. I really hope the third one gets translated soon, I really want to find out what happens next. Like the first one, it is a really good book. It is slightly less good though, I only give it a 3.5 instead of a 4. And the reason for that, is because I felt that it was a bit spread out. There was a main story, but it was left behind after just a few chapters and it instead focused on so many other things. I guess you could say it was a bit messy. But, it wrapped up nicely in the end and answered almost all questions you had while reading it. One got unanswered and I doubt that it will be brought up in the third book (Beyond the Horizon), but I hope it will.

Compared to the originals by Dmitry Glukhovsky, Andrey Dyakov’s story takes place more aboveground, this one not so much as the first (Resan till Ljuset), but still more than Metro 2033. Lots of monsters and the author definitely has a lot of imagination when inventing all of them.

Something that also drags down the review by 0.5 points is that it sometimes felt like too much. Almost all the action-filled situations went to the worst case scenario, but always worked out in the end. This is sci-fi, I know, but it felt unrealistic, and yes, a bit too much. The characters doesn’t have to be on the brink of death as soon as something happens. It gets predictable after a while, “oh no, they are dead/almost dead, but it is okay, they will survive of course, because they survived everything else so far”.

But it is still a very good story! I really like the setting of it all and it was definitely worth reading even with the exxagerations. If you enjoyed the original Metro series, you will enjoy this series too.

Review of “Stjärndamm” by Lars Wilderäng

stjarnklart-03-stjarndamm-lars-wilderangTitle: Stjärnfall (~ “Stardust”)
Author: Lars Wilderäng
Series: Stjärnklart #3
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Horror
Pages: 296
Published: 2016, Massolit
My Grade: 5 out of 5 shiny vampires

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION (translated to English by me)

The civilization which was slowly  but steadily rebuilt, 10 years after the Shutdown, has been completely shredded. No bullets in the world can protect them against the enemy which was close to exterminate them all. And who proved way worse than the most horrific nightmare.

Some of the few survivors have once again gathered at Carlsten’s fortress, trapped like rats surrounded by threathingly black eyes. There has to be a way to stop this threat, even if it is the last thing they will do. The question is how will they get out of captivity, and if there are more survivors out there?

MY REVIEW

As always when I finish a series I feel sad. Especially when it is such a great series as this one. I am satisfied with the ending, it was extremely unexpected. Or maybe I have been too stressed while reading this, about school stuff that I just read it without thinking about what could possibly happen next? In either case, I found this last book in the amazing trilogy very unexpected (it was hard to guess what would come next in the first two as well). Lars Wilderäng really makes you sit on the edge of whatever you are sitting on and he totally makes it impossible to put down the book unless you fall asleep with it in your hand (yes, that has happened almost every night).

The finale was shorter than the other two and it was noticeble, but it was still full of action as the second, until the very very end.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone and since I am new at writing reviews, I haven’t really learned how to write reviews further along the road of a book series. But, I loved this book, I loved the series, I loved all the excitment, and most of all; I loved the realism of the story. Like I said in my previous reviews, this feels feasible, this is how the world could end one day and I wouldn’t be surprised.

I want to thank Lars Wilderäng for this experience I got, reading the Stjärnklart series for the past three weeks. I hope I will be able to enjoy other books after this, haha! I also hope that Wilderäng wants to continue writing in this universe, I see great potential for more books! (I also can’t wait for the TV show!) Anyway, easy five out of five! Everyone should read these three books! I MEAN IT! READ! IT!