Friday, June 24, 2016

Witch & Wizard

Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson and a second author in smaller print, is about a witch and a wizard. Their names are Wisteria and Whitford Allgood, but they usually go by Wisty and Whit. Yes, they are really the All-good family.

Unfortunately for them, "the country" has elected some fellows called the New Order into power, and in "a few months" the New Order has completely destroyed "the old government" and instituted a council to rule over the new authoritarian state and also they've convinced everyone that not only does magic exist but also that it's evil and that it's okay to do terrible things to children and also the Allgoods are the last nice parents on Earth and everyone else is just sorta fine with it except for kids so the New Order just kills children by the hundreds and did I mention EVERYONE IS FINE WITH IT and also there are apparently no countries other than "the country" because everyone is either in the New Order or in the resistance as clearly marked in the map and also the world is flat I guess and there are no oceans but there's also four other levels of reality because why not?

So, yeah, it's set in an alternate reality where that somehow makes sense.

Anyways, Wisty and Whit have somehow missed the fact that the GOVERNMENT IS GONE AND EVERYONE IS EVIL sorry I need a little time to adjust to this premise.

[time passes]

So, Wisty and Whit were not informed about the new government, nor about the existence of magic, nor about the fact that magic is illegal and morally reprehensible. They are then completely surprised when they are arrested by the New Order for the charge of being a witch and a wizard, respectively. They are even more surprised when they start developing magical powers, such as seeing ghosts and being on fire. Slightly less surprising is that they are sentenced to death. Now, Wisty and Whit have to use their magic to escape the torture-prison and find their parents.

The review so far has been a bit ranty, so I feel like I should clarify: I really liked Witch & Wizard. It is fun, and easy to read, and it moves at an incredibly fast pace. The good characters are all likable, and the evil characters are all cartoonishly evil. I'm also okay with the ridiculous setting, because it just emphasizes the whole silly good-vs-bad fun of the story.

So, read this book if you like fast-paced action and fun. Try to ignore my little rant. Honestly, I just made it for fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

World War Z

The year is like 2026-ish. The world is slowly being rebuilt from the devastating 10-year zombie apocalypse. Max Brooks, of the United Nations Postwar Commission Report, has spent the last few years flying around the world and gathering stories from the survivors. Now, some of their stories have been compiled into World War Z, an oral history of the zombie war.

This is one of my favorite books. It is, as I said, a collection of stories, all in the form of interviews, which together tell the overall story of humanity and it's struggle to overcome this deadly force. It was apparently inspired by a real history book, The Good War, which was told in the same format. I am quickly running out of things to say.

So, I've just read a bunch of other reviews, because I have no ideas of my own. It seems like most of the complaints stem from the strange format, because you cannot connect to the characters and watch their story arcs, because the interview are so short. I can see what they're talking about, but that's not really a problem for me, because I tend to empathize with any character who isn't completely terrible, and most of these characters are likable.

I actually think this format works well, because it emphasizes that the zombie war (and other wars) can't be seen as simply actions of "the masses," and that everyone needs to work together to defeat the zombies. This theme is slightly undercut by the U.S.-centrism which creeps it way into some parts of the book, but it still works overall.

What I like most about World War Z is the fact that Brooks makes so many different kinds of stories. There are quite a few about guilty military personnel, and about how everyone was doing things wrong, but for the most part it was full of diversity. There are some stories about survival, people going insane, a nuclear exchange, the formation of a religious state, plans that pulled humanity back from the brink, people giving their lives to try to cleanse areas from zombies, and gung-ho military operations.

So, If you think you will like it, give it a shot. If not, well, maybe this book is not for you. At least read a few chapters. Oh, and if you liked The Zombie Survival Guide (which uses the same zombies), then you will probably love World War Z, because it is a collection of the kinds of stories you made up while you read the survival guide. That's all I've got.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project has a million covers, and it was reccommended to me profusely by my mom. It is supposedly a romance between Don, a professor with a rigid schedule and no social skills, and Rosie, a woman on a quest to find the identity of her biological father. It was okay.

I feel like I just didn't "get" the book. The central romance never really resonated with me, and for almost the entire thing I really wanted Don and Rosie to not get together. Apparently there were subtle hints the entire time that they were perfect for each other, but I just didn't notice. Also, my mom says the book was hilarious (as well as the reviewers on the cover, which is not surprising) but I didn't even laugh once. I also didn't cry once. Maybe it ate my feelings.

So, now I'm in the interesting situation that I didn't like the book, but I'm pretty sure that I'm wrong. I suppose, if someone else reccommends this book to you, you should listen to them. I won't stop you from reading it.

Also, it was written by Graeme Simsion. I couldn't figure out how to integrate that into the review.