Tag Archives: Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction

Justin Cronin: The Twelve

It’s been a year since I read The Passage and I’ve been postponing reading The Twelve to closer the release date for the last book (but it’s still not known) and I could no longer wait and had to read it.

There are obvious similarities between the two. The beginning is disjointed and it takes time for the reader to get his bearings because the story is skipping backward and forward and it takes a while before you can connect what happened in the intervening years and how it reflects on the story now.

But you do and you shouldn’t stop reading even if it bothers you.the twelve

We follow the characters from the The Passage five years after the story of that book has happened and even though there is a place where humanity survives, there are hints that all hell might break loose and overtake that little human circle.

Hmm, now that I mentioned hell, I should also mention the fact that God is a big part of the story. Not in the obvious way, but there are references to Peter being a shepherd-like figure, to hearing God’s voice/hints as to which way a character’s life lies, etc. When humanity disappears, turning to God is an obvious choice. And I don’t mean it in a condescending way, we all need some kind of comfort to hold on to.

One thing Mr. Cronin does well is describe what  might be happening in someone’s mind. The description of what goes on in a mind of a crazy person here was unbelievably believable. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m leaning toward crazy?! (since I can imagine it so easily…) 😉

You know, the thing about really good post-apocalyptic books is the fact that they make you aware how much cruelty and pain we inflict on each other and how in any possible scenario of a future apocalypse (except for meteors and stuff like that), we, as humans, will be the ones responsible for bringing about the end of our world. And I really don’t have a hard time believing it after seeing one of the characters pave the road to hell by selecting the so called “good intentions road”. And true to my prediction, he certainly did that.

And here is where it gets both interesting and complicated.

We follow some of the characters from the previous book but we also learn how previous events are going to reverberate down the future and influence our heroes’ lives and choices.

The great thing about Mr. Cronin’s writing is that you really get lost in the story and feel you are truly a part of it. It keeps pulling you in and you are powerless to stop it.

Emma Shortt: Waking Up Dead

As I said the other day, give me anything post-apocalyptic, and I’ll start reading it immediately. 🙂 Or soon.

This one though is a post-apocalyptic romance. Yes, there are love stories happening while you fight against zombies. And quite good ones too.

It starts action-packed and very tense from the beginning and it doesn’t really lessen up. which makes sense if you can get killed by a zombie at basically any moment. There is no safe place in the life of Jackson. And it all comes accompanied by some gruesome graphic detail. It actually makes me smile thinking of those details.waking dead

I was a bit worried I wouldn’t get information on how the whole situation happened, but throughout the story there are reminiscences between Jackson and Luke (and sometimes for themselves) which slowly build the picture of what happened. It is rather reminiscent of how it happened in World War Z (the movie, I haven’t read the book yet).

I found it interesting how I could understand everything Jackson went through in her head. How what is normal in her life now would have cause immense amounts of therapy in previous life and how it normal is such a relative term depending on the circumstances. I must say I admire the person she became, because it shows she has a core of steel which would have probably never become obvious while the world was normal.

Anyway, after meeting Luke and falling for him, we follow their story of falling in love during a zombiepocalypse while searching for the last human bastion rumored to be in Texas.

At some point I started wondering at the rather obvious glaring plot hole. 🙂 Turns out I shouldn’t have worried and I’m not going to point it out now.

As I could completely understand Jackson’s position in life, I was a bit worried if Luke was going to finally decide he cannot stand it, or hopefully, man up  and understand and support her life and become her partner and not try and be her protector, because, let’s be honest, she’s better at that than he is. 😀

But, yes, their love is the one to overcome all hurdles.

And for the next book, it seems Luke’s blood might hold the key to human survival (my guess, it’s not spelled out in the story)…

Now only if the sequel might come soon…

You know your life has hit rock bottom when you’re living off cooked rats and showering once every few months—if you’re lucky. But for Jackson Hart things are about to get a whole lot worse. When her best friend, Tye, disappears hunting for food, kick-ass Jackson’s ‘head south to safety’ plan looks like it’s dead before it’s even begun. But then she meets ex-mechanic Luke Granger, who takes her to his bunker, feeds her with non-rat based food, and offers her protection against the zombie hordes—not that she needs it. She knows how to use a machete and isn’t afraid to.

Jackson was tempted to stay in the city with her rescuer. Food, shampoo and the possibility of finally getting laid, what more could she ask for? But the flesh eaters are getting smarter and the bunker is compromised, so Jackson and Luke have no choice but to make the journey south.
Luke and Jackson team up to find other humans in a road-trip romance for the ages. They travel for thousands of miles with zombies shadowing their every move. They must utilize every resource at their disposal…and then some. On the way, they discover that even if flesh eating zombies are knocking down their door, there’s always time for sex and even love. “

2013. The year that was

I have no better words to describe it. It was, it’s over now.

I look back on it and all I can think is, thankfully, it’s over. Nothing bad happened to me but it still felt like a bad year, full of bad news (both domestic and international), lethargy, indifference, deaths – generally, a year that didn’t display human kind at its best (an understatement) and did display it at some of its worst.

I always feel guilty for thinking like this, I feel I am being ungrateful. Compared to most of the world, I lead a life of plenty. And realistically speaking, it’s true. I lack for nothing, quite the contrary, I have a great family, a nice job, a good education, great circle of friends. I live in a beautiful country. I travel. I can buy perfumes and books. I am also healthy and hopefully will remain so.

So why feel like my year was one I just went through? Because it was. It mostly feels like a year where I went through all the motions of my everyday life when actually it felt more like hibernation with some small sparks of life.

But I want to focus on all the positive things this year brought me (because it feels like the hibernation period might be over) and one should always bring in the new year on a positive note. 🙂

 

PERFUME

This year has brought me some true treasures. 🙂black smoke

I discovered Cuirelle by a lucky chance and fell in love completely.

Suzanne opened my eyes to what incredibly happy perfume 24, Faubourg is.

I listened to Maurice Roucel give a talk on perfumes and met some new perfume friends.

And then the new Puredistance Black came out. And speaking of black, it really has become my favorite color to wear.

 

 

BOOKS

I discovered I am hooked to post-apocalyptic novels of any and every caliber – YA, horror, zombie, romance – you name it, I’ll probably enjoy it. I do wonder about what that says about me because I’m scared of the actual possibility (some of them sound too realistic). Am I preparing for the possibility?!passage

I haven’t read World War Z but I did see the movie and loved it. I’m guessing the book is better. When someone asks me what I want for birthday, that will be on my list (although I can already see the eye-rolling accompanying my wish for more books). 😀

I also think I will never reach my annual goal of 100 books. Last year I came closest, but this year, I think it’s the worst so far. Maybe I should sign up for the 50 books a year challenge, I would be able to finish that one. 😉

 

THE REST

The highlights of my year have been the trips to Vienna and Rome. In Vienna I finally got to meet the lovely Birgit and her boys, with an additional surprise of meeting Sandra and her son as well.

Rome was a trip we planned while in Paris in 2012. I cannot say how happy I am that I got to meet with Suzanne, Mark and Asali in Rome again. I thought there wasn’t a city in the world that could remove Paris from the top of my list of places I would love to live, but there’s Rome. I love that city and I hope to visit it again soon.

View from the park above Spanish steps

View from the park above Spanish steps

It might seem like I had a very active year, what with finishing 4 half-marathons in 3 different countries, but that was an uphill fight all the time, as all I wanted to do was stay home and read, and not go out and run. Still, you can’t tell that from the races, so at least it looked good on the outside. 😉

IMG_2034

See how tired I was?!

But I took time off for the last two months as I needed to replenish my physical and psychological energy levels. I actually feel better now.

So, without further ado,

Wishing you all a successful, fulfilling New Year full of happiness, laughter and joy!

*off to toast to that with a glass of champagne*

Champagne_glass_flower_stem_shape

Lindsey Fairleigh and Lindsey Pogue: Into The Fire

into the fireI should warn you before I start, if you haven’t read After The Ending, there will be spoilers.

I feel lucky that I didn’t have to wait long before reading the next book in The Ending series. Although now I’m not sure if I still remembered enough of the previous book or the authors were so good to jog my memory with what happened in After The Ending (knowing myself, I’d say it’s the latter).

The story picks up where it left off and we are introduced to some new characters, some you know will be there (Gabe), some you have no idea existed (because they shouldn’t – Camille and Mase) and some you wouldn’t have expected in your wildest dreams. I’m not saying who. 😉

Considering the fact that After The Ending took our characters on a several months long journey, you will be interested to know this book takes place during one week. Who knew so much could happen in a week? And even though the story mostly switches between Dani and Zoe again, it’s from Dani’s perspective that we learn the most intriguing bits.

And those that would make you scream in frustration.

Also, at some point I really wanted to scream in frustration at both Dani and Zoe – I was just starting to think Zoe was the rational and cool-thinking one, after I got upset with Dani thinking with her heart, and then Zoe goes and does the same. And Dani turns smarter.

I’m blaming it on the fact that they are still young and facing a new world, not on the fact it suited the authors to move the story in that direction.

It was one of those books that make you turn into a reader who calls out for blood for the bad guys. It seems in this case, the BAD guy might be even worse than you thought but we’ll get to learn that in the next book.

So, to sum it up (I always wonder if I manage to convey through my thoughts how much I liked the book) – I practically inhaled it. Through my eyes of course. 😉

I received my copy through NetGalley.

P.S. I just want to add, this book deals with some unethical and immoral choices bad people make. It also deals with how people can act differently when faced with such problems and how difficult choosing the right path sometimes can be. Also, how easy it is for the bad guys to take over. 😦

Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue: After The Ending (The Ending Series)

Yes, there’s no way around it, I got involved in another series. 😦

Luckily though, it’s terrific and the next book is out in November. Also, it’s not a short novel so it can be stretched into 3 books, this one is actually longish (I don’t how long exactly as I read an e-book but considering the time it took, it’s nicely sized).

It reminded me a bit of J. Cronin’s The Passage, less dark and with more romance (no vampires either) but a post-apocalyptic scenario that unfortunately for me, becomes easier and easier to believe.

Not exactly this particular one, but some kind of a virus (or other man-made catastrophe) seems more and more like a possible scenario for the world we live in.after the ending

We follow the story through two friends, located in different cities but more connected than sisters, losing the life they led because of the virus and finding unlikely fellow travelers on their way to the military camp where everyone is being kept safe (if you can reach it). Of course, not everything is as it seems and slowly it becomes visible.

I’m going to warn you know, the first book ends with a horrible cliffhanger so if you want to know what happens next, wait until November and then you can just continue on with the next.

I loved how there were some smart references in there, how one of the main characters seems a bit bitchy, how they are both insecure even though they are in their  twenties – there are many parts to this book making the characters come alive because of the little things you learn about them or see them do.

I often mention the predictability of a story as a bad thing (because I think it is), then again, some authors take it so far to other side of a spectrum you cannot make heads or tails about what’s happening. Here, you cannot guess where the story is going to take you but it makes sense (of course you can guess where the romance will go). 😉

The story starts slowly and the builds up until you cannot stop reading. I enjoyed reading it a lot and consider it one of the best new books I read this year (HP is a league of its own).

There are so many great moments to this book, funny, sad, tragic, honest, scary, life-enriching that all I can say is – go read it. 🙂

Justin Cronin: The Passage

Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I read such an engrossingly haunting and incredible book.
And before you go thinking it’s something lovely, it isn’t. Not even close.

It’s basically a horror story of what we as people can do to ourselves. Well, in my opinion not a true horror story, most post-apocalyptic stories feature some kind of deformed human predator which in this case are the virals (which is possibly why some people call it horror).
I’ve seen reviewers calling this a vampire story but I would never refer to it as that just on the account of virals who have some similarities with vampires but in my mind only barely. passage
The scariest part of the story for me was the fact that people keep tinkering with things they don’t really know anything about because they feel they can gain something out of it. And thinking that they have it under control. But that is only an illusion.

Which is pretty much what happens here and how world descends into apocalypse. It’s also very scary reading about the atrocities people can do to each other. And I’m not discussing virals now but people.

The beginning reminded me a lot of Terry Brooks Shannara world building – the World/Void books. Here we follow a slow decline of the world through all the bad choices we, as the people, make.
In the beginning I got very upset that I had to wait for understanding of different story lines. I mean, the different story lines make perfect sense in the way they build up to a full story but it takes a while for that to happen. Until then, you are hooked trying to figure out what will happen. And that lasts until the end (which is long time coming). 🙂

It also took me some time to figure out the story is not happening in present day but in close future.
The really scary part of this book is the fact that it’s possible. Probably not as imagined in this book but the virus tinkering is a quite real possibility.
Can I just add that the collective of the twelve reminds me a lot of the Borg? 🙂 Couldn’t help it, the association just appeared. I don’t want to spoil the book so I won’t be explaining this further, if you read it, you’ll know what I meant.

If you enjoy post-apocalyptic worlds, I would highly recommend this. While reading it, it might feel like you’re in the Twilight zone but it will be worth it.

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