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The Mulberry St. Blog is a review and writing blog. I review mostly fiction/science fiction/fantasy sorts of books, with the exception of the occasional YA or nonfiction book. The blog is updated daily, excluding Mondays.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quick Review: The Floating Islands, Bumped, Ted Chiang

Some books aren't meant to have full reviews. It may be that they weren't finished, or they're easily summarried in a few sentences. Maybe the time just isn't there or the book just isn't worth it. That's why quick reviews. A quick synopsis of recently read books that I just don't have the time or maybe the willpower to give a full review. Usually, it'll be more than one book. This week, I've chosen the books that I've read most recently: The Floating Islands, Bumped, and Stories of Your Life and Others

The Floating Islands Bumped (Bumped, #1) Stories of Your Life: and Others

The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
The Floating Islands will forever remain a DNF book for me. It was, for me, all at once lovely and disappointing. You may have noticed from my previous posts that I think the writing is a big deal. It can make or break a book, and in this case, it broke it. I absolutely loved the world that the author created. I was reminded a bit of a scene in Avatar where they go to visit those mountains or whatever that was. (It's been a long time, sorry.) The world was excellently and expertly created, and I loved every detail of it. However, the story itself fell a little flat. There was nothing in it for me to feel for the characters. They were both brats, although that may be a little unfair considering Trei's parents and everyone he knew had just died. I think if I had finished this book, I could find myself very much enjoying it. I just couldn't get very far in it. Maybe I'm just in a book slump or something. Anyway, I would neither recommend nor not recommend the book. I say give it a try, just don't have great expectations for it. It might not disappoint, but it might not live up to them, either.

Bumped by Megan Cafferty
Bumped was an experimental read. I have never really enjoyed satire because I tend to take it too seriously. So when I started reading bumped, I went in with no expectations. The subject is a rocky one for me - teen pregnancy, especially where I firmly believe in no sex before marriage. Still, I found the book entertaining. The switching of perspectives between Harmony and Melody was interesting, especially when the two girls looked at the world is such different ways. I'm not sure that I appreciated the author's representation of Harmony and Goodside, mostly because it hit so close to home. It is a completely inaccurate representation of Christians, and I'm not sure how to respond to it. I know that the book is satire, and it therefore walks what I would call a very fine line. Now don't think I'm feeling offended or upset by it, I simply am not sure how much of it is truly satire when there ARE "christian" cults that behave that way and I sincerely feel for the people who are subject to it. In any case, back to the book itself. The entire story was about choices and identity and the two subjects are handled very well. Both girls go back to their lives with a different mindset and a different view of how they live. Not that they suddenly are against their society's methods or ways, but they simply have realized that they had a choice they did not have before. The lingo quickly gets tiring, but it's not enough to ruin the book. Definitely an interesting look at a future not so far from being possible. Still haven't decided if I'll read the sequel or not. The cliffhanger ending does not help.

Stories of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang
This book is a masterpiece of science fiction, as far as I am concerned The writing is gorgeous. It's eight short science fiction stories that may have just reaffirmed my love of science fiction. I don't read sci fi very often, mostly because I don't spend a lot of time around those sections of the local library/bookstore and I don't know enough people who read it to know the right books to read. I stumbled across this one during my short story obsessive phase - a phase that I am still in, I might add - and I heard only great things about it. The book certainly does not disappoint. Ted Chiang is a fantastic author. He knows how to weave a story within a few short pages. The stories in this anthology are all about discovery of oneself and one's universe. From the inside flap: ". . .What if men bult a tower from Earth to Heaven - and broke through Heaven's other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? . . ." Chiang calls us to our own realities within another reality. He poses real questions that are outside our ability to fathom and answers them with more questions, but he does so with the ease and comfort of having actually answered those questions. He's a science fiction genius, if I may be permitted to say so. This is not a book for science fiction fans to miss.

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