Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: Total Oblivion

total oblivion

I love dystopian novels. There is something about an imagined world where all went to hell and yet people and things manage to survive. In a way it offers hope for the modern world. If worse comes to worse then if we look to dystopian novels almost everything is survivable.

Total Oblivion is a different kind of novel. It takes place in a future United States that has been invaded by ancient tribes. The tribes all use acient ways of fighting. The US in now divided into an Empire and other entities. There is also a mysterious plague that is going around.

The story is told through the eyes of a teenage girl. It goes from her having a normal life to being upended and having to live in a reffugee camp. Then her father takes the family down river to a supposedly new job. Along the way they encounter armies and other strange obstacles.

It also has a little bit of steampunk thrown in. At first I was taken aback my some of the descriptions (having never read steampunk) but a search online showed that this also falls under steampunk category. I am now curious to read that genre and have resolved to try it out.

I really enjoyed this book. Even though I had many questions left over at the end. What we find out is what the characters in the book would know. The author pulls off the technique brilliantly. This is a risky technique as in some books it would come off poorly written but with this book it seems right that we never find out exactly who the invaders are.It adds a bit of mystery to the story.

This is one of the strangest book that I have read. It is a good kind of strange.

The one thing that bothered me in this novel was the poor character development. Yes, I know this novel is plot driven but I feel more time could have been given to the character so that we can know why they make the descions that they do.

Monday, February 14, 2011

When You Are Engulfed in Flames


I have read most of David Sedris earlier work and loved them . So I was excited to pick up this one.

However this book I do not feel represents his best work. The essays were not as snarky or as funny.In his earlier work he is gifted in bring out the humor of almost any situation. During the time I read “Engulfed in Flames” I kept waiting for the funny to kick in but it never did.

The essay themselves cover the usual gambit from his family to his health. There was a essay on how and where he quit smoking. I felt that that essay should had been rife with his usual snarky attire but alas it was almost boring.

This brings me to my question. If an author earlier work is more funny or more entertaining than his current one, does that mean that his current book is somehow less than an earlier one?

I mean, if I had picked up this one first I might have said this was a good book. But since I read Naked first, I know this is just so so for him. I am uneasy giving it a lesser rating just because of that. What is your thoughts on this?

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