Book Review: Dust- Hugh Howey

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If you haven’t read the first two books in the trilogy you can read my reviews of Wool and Shift, and my reading group questions for Wool and Shift before you read on!

I had been looking forward to reading this for quite a while, and it doesn’t disappoint. The last installment in the trilogy, Howey spends the whole novel tying up all his loose ends, but it’s not at all boring. Often the last book in a trilogy or series hasn’t got much story in it, it just ties off all the annoying little threads that are hanging out all over the place. Dust does not do this. It’s a proper ending, although not a final one because we leave some people alive in that world. (I’m not telling you who makes it to the end! Who do you think I am?!) It’s the kind of ending that I love, because these people, and their stories, don’t end until they die. I like that Howey has acknowledged that, both in the ending itself, and in an author’s note.

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Reading Group: Shift- Hugh Howey (SPOILERS)

Hey everyone! There’s a lot of spoilers in this so if you haven’t read the book and you don’t want to know what happens then don’t read on! I’ve taken these questions from the back of the book and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in so here we go…

Also, if you haven’t read them yet, you can read my review of Wool here, my reading group questions for it here, and my review of Shift here.

Before we begin I wanted to say that at the start of the book I struggled to distinguish between Troy and Donald and that made it quite difficult to get into for a little while, but as it turns out they were the same guy! I didn’t want to put that in my book review because of the massive spoiler that it is, but I can put it here!

Thurman truly believes that he is doing what is right for his country by building the silos and forcing people inside them. do you agree with him based on the information of the possible threat to his country? or is acting on anything but a certainty of a threat too much of a risk?

I think he’s just afraid to die. There’s no other way to put it really, he’s willing to do anything to survive, and he’s terrified that the attack will come from someone else before he can protect himself and his daughter. I think if I was in his position though, I would probably have done the same, or maybe not the exact same thing, but I would have built the silos and told as many people as possible about the threat. I wouldn’t have destroyed the world though!

Mick is obviously aware of the last-minute switch between himself and donald when they go down into the silo just before the rally. of their two roles, Donald’s is the more powerful, with much more responsibility, leading to him living for hundreds of years, but he is envious of mick’s relatively normal life in a silo with helen. whose position would you rather be in?

I’m not really sure. I think Donald has the advantage of knowing what happened and everything, but I’m not sure whether I would want to because then I would have to deal with what I’d done to the world. Because if I was in Silo 1 I would have been involved in that. And also, if I were Mick I would be able to have a normal, happy life, rather than the misery that Donald had.

the members of silo one are given medication that causes them to forget traumatic events. if you were offered this medication freely, would you take it? or would you want to remember the truth about your past?

It all depends on what I’d done. I think that if I had done the things that Donald had done without really knowing what it was that I was doing then I would want to forget that. Because sometimes it’s better to just move on from things that you did in the past and forgive yourself, but with something like that I wouldn’t be able to, so it would be good to be able to just forget that it had ever happened.

donald discovers that anna is the reason he is in silo one, and not with helen in a different silo, and is furious. do you think she put him there for purely selfish reasons? or do you think she thought he would be the best man for the job? in either case, do you believe she had the right to make that decision for him?

I think, if Anna was honest with herself then she would admit that she did it for selfish reasons, but I think that the reason that she likes Donald so much is because he is the sort of person that will do the right thing without really considering the alternative, more selfish reasons. So it’s kind of both, although I don’t think that she had the right to make that decision for him. She knew that he loved Helen and she did it anyway, because she’s selfish and wanted him to be with her. It turned out ok in the end because Donald really was the person that they all needed in Silo 1, but there are so many ‘what ifs’ about what his life could have been if she hadn’t done what she did.

the crow is seen as a threat to the stability of the silo for generating a feeling of dissatisfaction among her pupils. do you agree she is a threat? would this feeling of there being something more out there be realised without her help? consider the other silos. does there always have to be a ‘crow’ figure for an uprising?

Yes she’s definitely a threat, and it’s intentional too, she wants to bring the silo down, she wants to punish them for locking them all up below ground. I think that the feeling of there being something more out there would have been realised even without her or another figure like her, because it happens repeatedly with every generation. In Silo 18 they have rebellions every twenty years or so and it can’t always be due to one person spreading malcontent. In the latest revolution for example, Jules doesn’t spread malcontent about being in the silos, the people of Mechanical rise up against the silo because of their grief.

Mission is willing to go to any lengths to help rodny as soon as he believes he is in danger. would you agree that ultimately it is his own bravery at trying to save his friend that causes his reset? are you happy that Mission can now start a new life, forgetting the troubles of his past? or do you feel angry that such a decision was made for him without his knowledge?

I think that perhaps his reset would have happened anyway, although maybe not so soon, even had he not been so brave in trying to help Rodny. I wasn’t angry so much as incredibly sad that the decision was made for him like that. And I’m not entirely sure why they wiped everything, just because Cam died doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have just wiped his memory of that, rather than his memory of Cam altogether. Although I suppose they wanted to wipe out his memories of the Crow and his school days with her. But they didn’t need to! It just made me very sad.

How did you feel when Thurman ‘sheperds’ donald back in from the outside? were you happy that he saved his life? or were you behind donald, wanting him to die a free man?

Neither really, I was too busy freaking out that Thurman was outside without a suit on! I mean honestly, I kept re-reading that paragraph trying to understand.

donald realises it was anna who swapped him and thurman for the start of his third shift. did you always suspect it was her? was there anyone else who thought that donald would be better than thurman in that role? do you agree that donald is the best man for the job?

Yeah I think that it was pretty obvious, the tension was whether Donald would be clear-headed enough to realise it before he did something stupid. Which he wasn’t. I think Victor wanted him in charge, but at that point he was already dead so really there was no one else that would have swapped them. I do agree that Donald was the best man for the job, given the alternatives, but he wasn’t prepared for it, and he didn’t know how to deal with the situation that he found himself in.

jimmy’s father leaves safety behind to go in search of his wife, resulting in both their deaths, and jimmy being alone. do you think he should have stayed to be with jimmy? could he have ever lived with the knowledge that he didn’t try to save his wife?

Perhaps he should have stayed with his son, but I really don’t think that he would have been able to live with himself knowing that he didn’t even try to find her. And it would probably would have evolved into a division between him and Jimmy, he might even blame Jimmy for his wife dying because the only reason that she put herself in danger was to go and get Jimmy from school.

donald wakes up his sister, Charlotte, because he needs her help, and as soon as she is with him, he feels happier. would you wake your loved ones if you were in donald’s position? or would you want to protect them from the horrors of their new existence?

I would want to protect them, but I’m also quite selfish, so I’d probably wake them up!

jimmy ceases to be solo and reclaims his identity when he meets another living thing in his silo- a cat. what gives you your identity? is it something deep within yourself or is it about the people surrounding you? consider yourself at Jimmy’s age. does this change how you would feel?

I think that a person’s identity is something internal that isn’t really affected by other people too much, but I think that at the age of sixteen we are all a bit too concerned with what other people think of us. And because he’s so young Jimmy is quite insecure about his own identity, he’s not really sure who he is yet and so when everybody else dies he can’t see who he is reflected in them. He can’t see their reactions to him and so he’s not sure who he is. 

when juliette comes into contact with donald at the end of shift, she threatens him, as she sees him as a keeper of lies and secrets, and the reason for the state of her world. was this how you felt towards those in authority as you read wool? has your opinion changed since hearing donald’s side of the story? why?

Definitely! I totally felt the same as Jules did when I was reading Wool, but now I know better. I mean, she’s right if she’s only thinking of Thurman and the people in charge that actually knew what was happening before it happened, but it’s not like she can just go and take down the whole of Silo 1 without hurting innocent people. There are all the women and children that have been frozen for hundreds of years for one thing, they haven’t done ANYTHING wrong, and then there’s people like Donald and his sister who may have helped, but didn’t have a clue what was really going on and what they were doing. She can’t blame them for that, especially since Donald is trying to help. I mean, I can understand why she finds it so difficult to trust him, especially with the technology that warps his voice, but I can understand both sides now because we have seen more detail from both sides of the story.

TV Tuesday: Defiance

I read about this programme in SFX magazine a while ago, but hadn’t got round to watching it until now. It was on my list of programmes to try, so when one of my programmes finished for the year I decided to watch the first episode and give it a try. Two days later I had binged my way through the whole of the first season. Fantastic stuff. It’s set in 2049 in a town called Defiance. In this town they have many different races, humans live alongside Casti and others. Nolan, the main character, comes to the town in the first episode. He brings with him his adoptive daughter, an Irathient girl that has a difficult past. They have been travelling together, scavenging valuables from fallen Arks and selling them on. When they reach Defiance Nolan decides to stay, and although Irisa (his daughter) is reluctant, they eventually settle in. The mayor Amanda has just been appointed in the first episode and after an attack on the town, decides to appoint Nolan as the Lawkeeper of Defiance.

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Book Review: Armageddon Outta Here!- Derek Landy

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This collection of stories and novellas from the world of Skulduggery Pleasant was a godsend while I was waiting for the final instalment of the series to be published! Some of them I had already read, but for the most part they were new to me. I thought that the timeline at the front of the book was very handy, and I really liked how we got to see the changes of all the characters in a much more concentrated way than in the full length books. I particularly enjoyed the second story, told from Gordon’s point of view. It was highly amusing, and a lovely way to get to know who Gordon was before he died. Also, it was quite odd to see how the tone of the stories changed as time went on. The first story was set at the time of the war, but as the Edgeley’s came into it things got lighter and funnier for a while, the return to darkness is very interesting and I can’t wait to read the next book! (Sneaky that wasn’t it Derek? Now you’ve got us all waiting. Very sneaky. Gordon would be proud.)

I was a little disappointed that there was nothing about the three Edgeley brothers, their relationship has always intrigued me. And I would have liked to have seen something of Stephanie/Valkyrie’s (the original Stephanie, I mean) home life with Alice. I do have a sneaking suspicion that those two things may factor into ‘The Dying of The Light’. (Which is a very forbidding titile Derek. You’d better not try and kill anyone else that I like. I realise that it’s too late to change it no, but nevertheless, I shall not be happy.)

Let me know what you thought of the book.

Have a lovely day,

Alys

Book Review: The Bone Season- Samantha Shannon

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Paige lives in London, but it isn’t the London that we know today. Her London is part of Scion, an Empire in which clairvoyants, like Paige, have to hide their talents to survive. Hide them from their families and neighbours whilst using them in the criminal syndicate of SciLo (Scion London). But there is more to Scion than Paige and her syndicate could ever imagine and when she unintentionally displays her talents on a public train, Paige finds herself thrust into an unimaginable world.

When Paige is transported to Sheol 1, a city that replaced Oxford, she discovers a whole new hierarchy of society, where voyants don’t have to hide their abilities, but use them to suppress the ‘Amaurotics’ (non-voyant humans) and protect the city from the Emim (beings of the Dreamscape). All while being in the servitude of the Rephaim, but Paige is about to change all of that. (Sorry for the lingo, it’s kind of difficult to explain what all those things mean if you haven’t read the book).

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Summer Round-Up

Well hello there, that went quickly didn’t it? If you want to read about what I got up to in the Springtime go check it out here. And on with the round-up! This summer I hit one hundred posts and started an Instagram account. It’s not all that exciting over there, but you can keep up with what books I’m reading before I review them (although at the moment I’m quite far ahead, I have posts scheduled into October now!)

Books.

This summer I have read a LOT of books, so many in fact, that I now have reviews written and scheduled all the way into January! So I’m not going to bother with listing the whole lot of them here. I’m going to pick my top ten from the whole of the last three months. They aren’t in order though! Also, not all of these have been reviewed yet, but they’re written and scheduled for the coming months.

1. The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

2. Bitter Greens- Kate Forsyth

 

3. Good Omens- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

4. The Lies of Lock Lamora- Scott Lynch

5. The Dead-Tossed Waves- Carrie Ryan

 

6. Sand- Hugh Howey

7. The Stepford Wives- Ira Levin

8. Chocolat- Joanne Harris

9. Peaches for Monsieur la Curé- Joanne Harris

 

10. Extras- Scott Westerfeld

Films.

I’ve not watched too many films this summer, they’ve been replaced with a heck of a lot of reading!

I wrote about the film version of Coraline and discussed the changes that were made from the book, and talked about the merits of stop motion animation.

I did watch Tarzan too, with Phoebe, and was most disgruntled to find that she didn’t like it! (Dreamworks’ Sinbad was a hit though. Who doesn’t like pirates?)

TV.

I wrote about Orphan Black in May, and talked about how brilliant Tatiana Maslany is! If you haven’t watched it then you may want to go and check it out, Maslany plays almost all of the characters as it’s about clones and an illegal experiment on teeny weeny babies.

In June I wrote about Melissa and Joey. Not a programme I would normally have chosen to watch, but it did inject a bit of much needed comedy into my TV schedule.

July was the month of BEAST! The Midnight Beast was back and so I watched all of season one and two and got myself all riled up again!

And at the start of this month I wrote about Huge. It’s a show about a groups of teenagers that have been sent to fat camp to lose weight over the summer. There’s plenty of laughs, but plenty of heartbreaking moments too. Have the tissues at the ready!

Rambling!

I wrote about the virtues of nail varnish and how it can be an amazing tool in looking after children.

I also wrote about what I’ve been doing with Phoebe over the summer, writing Four Year Old Diary Entries. There’ll be more of those to come as they were supposed to be posted last Friday, but I’ve been having computer trouble!

Crafts.

I started a new project this Spring, I have always thought that scrapbooking was a bit frumpy, even though I like to create things and take lots of photos. And then I heard about Smash Books and I have decided to try and DIY one. Using a notebook that had sat unused on my shelf I launched into the project and I’m really enjoying it! However, I do wonder if I will ever finish one project before I begin another. I now have two cardigans that are unfinished and an art book that’s a work in progress!

I’m not sure that gardening counts as a craft, but I have been growing some flowers this Spring/Summer as I bought them for my mum’s birthday and now they’re doing really well. I now have a plethora of sweetpeas, and a few sunflowers to boot, brightening up my garden.