The Day of the Triffids

Author: John Wyndham0993_john_wyndham_the_day_of_the_triffids_1970

Pages: 228

Genre: Sci-fi, fiction, classics, horror, apocalyptic

Fantastic, frightening, but entirely plausible, John Wyndham’s famous story of a world dominated by monstrous, stinging plants, catches the imagination like the best of H. G. Wells.


Thoughts: Here’s my next book review for March, and I’m moving on from Six of Crows, and Crooked Kingdom finally. I was convinced to try out the 1951 classic, The Day of the Triffids. Some may have seen the TV series, or even the movie, but this is the original story they were based on. And I’ve got a few things to say about this one, it’s both good and bad. Let’s get started…

“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.”
― John WyndhamThe Day of the Triffids

From the title, and the first line (above), I was intrigued to find out more, and I really enjoyed the first chapter. It introduces Bill, our main protagonist, who is in hospital with bandages over his eyes. The reason for this is later explained in future chapters. What makes it exciting though, is that outside, the world is experiencing the most spectacular meteorite shower ever – and Bill misses it. What nobody realises is, once they wake up the next morning, everyone who saw the bright flashes of light, is forevermore, completely blind. So, fairly exciting start. Then after this, it just gets confusing.

Triffid:

(in science fiction) a member of a race of predatory plants which are capable of growing to a gigantic size and are possessed of locomotive ability and a poisonous sting.

This is the definition that I missed while reading, and probably the reason I was so confused. After the exciting, imaginative start, it goes into a bit of explanation and backfill into Bill’s earlier life. This part lost me for quite a while. Another thing about it is, because it is such a ‘realistic’ sci-fi story, it does get a little boring. For almost a whole chapter, it’s just him walking and wandering around the streets of London, wondering what’s going on, and what he’s going to do, and then on top of that, the explanations. While this is quite possibly what would happen if it were to happen to the real world, this is what makes it a little slow.

In saying this, once he meets another person, Josella, things do start to heat up a bit. And then this continues throughout the entire book. All up, it is a bit of a slow, meandering story of the apocalypse, and because it is so realistic, and believable, it becomes really scary. The fact that Wyndham was able to predict what would happen to the world in so much detail is quite amazing. He got right down into how individual people’s values and ethics go right out the window, and also how different countries react in times of great crisis. It shows and reveals some very true facts about the Human race which some might not have realised.

“It must be, I thought, one of the race’s most persistent and comforting hallucinations to trust that “it can’t happen here” — that one’s own time and place is beyond cataclysm.”
― John WyndhamThe Day of the Triffids

There was a point at which I had to stop myself from looking at the next page, as I needed to know what was going to happen, but knew I couldn’t look. This generally means there is a rise in tension, and a climax. But, in saying this, I couldn’t tell you where the climax was, or whether it rose in tension at all. It’s just one of the books that stays the same tension the entire way through, which is how lots of these types of classics are, I’ve found.

And now onto the ending. It did resolve, but also left some very big questions unanswered, which annoyed me. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to resolve at all, because it was still going in the last few pages, but it did get there in the end. I really needed to know how it all began in the first place; I feel like this could have added another creative effect, which I would’ve appreciated. But no, I guess it had to leave a bit of speculation.

I sort of feel like I’m sounding very negative, when it’s not that bad of a book. It’s definitely a very creative story, especially for when it was written. There’s been the early versions of Sci–fi before the 19th century, and then there was Frankenstein, and a little after that, H.G. Wells. I’d say this book fits in well with this type of genre of book, even if it is a little younger. So, if you enjoy the classics, especially science fiction I’d say you’d rather enjoy this book. Also if you’re a big fan of just sci-fi, I’d say you have to read this, because it’s one of the early stories before the young adult aspect came into everything.

I’m going to say I enjoyed the story itself, especially the idea, but not the book, just because it was too slow and meandering for me. I get bored quite easily in books, which probably isn’t the best trait for a bookworm, but that’s just how it is, I’m afraid.

“When almost half a lifetime has been spent in one conception of order, reorientation is no five-minute business.”
― John WyndhamThe Day of the Triffids

Rating: star_rating_3-5_of_5

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Jane Austen & Seth Graeme Smith

Author: Jane Austen & Seth Graeme-Smith

prideandprejudiceandzombiescoverGenre: classic, dystopian, Horror/zombies, Humour

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899779-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies


Thoughts:

I’m going to start off with a statement that might be quite shocking to some readers: I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice or any other Jane Austen books. I know, I know, how can I call myself a bookworm, when I haven’t read the classics, but I’d just never gotten the chance. So when I spied Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I thought I might give it a try…

Because I only had a vague idea of who the characters were, and what was going to happen, most of the events were new and exciting. Especially the new zombie scenes, that were dotted all over the place, filling the classic novel with horrifying ‘unmentionables’ or ‘dreadfuls’, as they were called in the book.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

I think that the zombie aspect was a very interesting idea, (that Jane Austen would never have seen coming), and in the very few, short scenes where they featured, it was a fun, yet horrifying read. But they did only feature in a few very short scenes. If you are going to introduce a whole new aspect to a classic novel, especially one as big as a zombie apocalypse threatening England, then it needs to actually play a big part in the story. The changed characters were perfect for it, but the scenes where they had to showcase their skills just weren’t there. Instead, the book kind of seemed like a spin-off Pride and Prejudice, with a few random scenes where they killed some zombies… then back to normal Pride and Prejudice again.

“Elizabeth lifted her skirt, disregarding modesty, and delivered a swift kick to the creature’s head.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

In saying this, they did begin to feature more toward the end, which made it a little better. I think that incorporating a topic so different from the original story might have proved a little difficult to Seth Graeme-Smith, and it seemed unnecessary or not important.

“The business of Mr. Bennett’s life was to keep his daughters alive. The business of Mrs. Bennett’s was to get them married.”
― Seth Grahame-SmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies

The language used for the book and characters was still the original formal polite speech, but this time mixed in with some funny sarcastic humour, spoken both by characters, and the author of the book as well. This made it quite entertaining, and had me snorting sometimes.

Why should you read it: I don’t know whether to recommend it to Jane Austen readers or not. You could find it quite hilarious, and enjoy the spin-off, but then you could also feel like it was a silly, unnecessary book. It’s not a bad book, and I enjoyed reading it, and getting an understanding of the story-line, but I also wouldn’t read it again.

Rating:star_rating_3-5_of_5

 

 

The Rain – Virginia Bergin

Author: Virginia Bergin

Genre: pthe-rainost-apocalyptic, young adult, science fiction

It’s in the rain…and just one drop will kill you.

They don’t believe it at first. Crowded in Zach’s kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach’s parents’ frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, “It’s in the rain! It’s fatal, it’s contagious, and there’s no cure.”

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who’s been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby’s only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he’s even still alive.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21116887-the-rain


Thoughts: The Rain: Just one drop will kill you. Quite an interesting subtitle if you ask me. I didn’t really put much thought into this book when I first started reading it, (I know, it sounds bad) but after the first chapter, I was quite interested. By about halfway through, I was really getting into it, and could not put it down. The author, Virginia Bergin, wrote her novel in a very specific way, that I found myself enjoying. It made it fun to read, and very engaging.

The language and story line, while a little dark in some places, was quite informal and funny, and the narrator was super sarcastic all the time. I think that’s what made it different from every other post-apocalyptic, young adult novel. 

“The rain—” That’s all I remember hearing to begin with. “It’s in the rain,” and everyone staring at the radio as if it was a TV.”
― Virginia Bergin

I don’t know how she managed to do it, but Virginia Bergin also captured my attention so well, that a couple of times, I thought that the story was real life, and I had to keep checking if it was raining. Whether it was using descriptive words, or just creating a story that can get readers involved, it was definitely a book that was hard to put down

I will say one thing, even if it’s not necessarily a negative, and that is, even under all the sarcastic humour from the narrator, some scenes still gave me the shivers, not because of the ‘scariness’ that was happening to her, but because the world wasn’t too different from our own. Meaning, that if some terrible disaster happened to Earth, we would be in the exact same position.

Why should you read it: Generalising the book, if you like a post-apocalyptic story, with a strong female lead, doubled with some very sarcastic narration, you will love this book.

Rating:     star_rating_3-5_of_5  

End of Days – Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #3)

Title: End of Days

Author: Susan Eeend of days image

Genre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, drama, action

Thoughts: The final instalment of the trilogy is finally here! I was waiting and waiting and waiting for this book to come out, and here it is!! Ee’s End of Days is a great example of a book that you literally can’t put down. You read it as you get ready for the day, while brushing your teeth, before and after bed every day. It had me hooked. I read the whole book in two days, and they were school days.

End of Days has the same sarcastic humour that the last two books had. The same characters, but somehow, they were made better in this book. The plot is very different from World After and Angelfall with Raffe and Penryn falling into hell. Literally. There they find all sorts of unspeakable horrors and we all find out that Penryn is afraid of maggots. Luckily Raffe saved the day.

Again in this book, the metaphorical ‘vault’ in Penryn’s head gets fuller and fuller as she experiences more and more strong emotions. She reunites with her mother and her sister. The world seems to be getting better. Until she falls into Hell. In the Pit, Raffe’s Watchers are there, and both Penryn and Raffe do the unthinkable. It’s here we find out that Penryn is terrified of maggots.

“Maggots are freaky hideous,’ I say, getting up. I try to salvage some dignity, but I can’t help but shiver and shake my hands in the air. It’s an instinctive impulse, one I’m not up for resisting right now.
‘You’ve fought off a gang of men twice your size, killed an angel warrior, stood up to an archangel, and wielded an angel sword.’ Raffe cocks his head. ‘But you scream like a little girl when you see a maggot?’
‘It’s not just a maggot,’ I say. ‘A hand burst out of the ground and grabbed my ankle. And maggots crawled out of it and tried to burrow into me. You would scream like a little girl too if that happened to you.’
‘They didn’t try to burrow into you. They were just crawling. It’s what maggots do. They crawl.’
‘You don’t know anything.”

This ending wasn’t the best, if you ask me. It might be slightly because I didn’t actually want it to end at all, but all books must. And this one ended way too quickly. When I heard End of Days was coming out, I assumed it would be a big book, with all that’s going on. But no, most of the problems are solved in just 435 pages. And yes I say most for a reason. There is one trouble that doesn’t get solved. But I believe it needs this not-happily-ever-after ending, to match the dystopian mood of the rest of the book. Still, I believe Ee should have done an extra chapter at the end, maybe set 10 years after the book ends to see what’s happening. That would have made it much better.

Why should you read it: If you loved the post-apocalyptic, dystopian setting of ­Angelfall, and you should have, then you will absolutely adore End of Days. It will make you sad, and laugh, and sometimes, like all books, it’ll make you want to yell at the characters in the book. But that happens in all good books, which just backs up my theory that the Angelfall series is one of the best I have read.

Book in a word: Addictive

Rating: 9/10

World After – Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #2)

Title: World After

Author: Susan Eeworld after image

Genre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopia, drama

Thoughts: The amazing sequel to the bestselling Angelfall is here. And it was awesome!! It starts off right in the action with everyone thinking Penryn is dead. Her stitched up sister is holding her hand, her crazy mother is rambling in her made-up language and Raffe is still in shock from seeing Penryn ‘die’. Not to mention having deadly bat-like demon wings sewn on instead of his beautiful snowy white ones.

Also, sarcastic and funny comments are back in book 2. Ee is just great at creating the dark and sinister mood in the right places, but can also change it in an instant to a bright and happy one.

To tell the truth, this book was great but not as good as Angelfall, I just wasn’t into it as much. Still, it’s better than quite a few other books, and still a great read. I’m not sure why I didn’t like it as much. The writing is still amazing, the plot unfolding with unexpected events, and the characters are still generally the same. One reason might have been that most of the book was describing Penryn, her family and where she is, whereas in Angelfall, the book is more about Penryn and Raffe. I liked this feature in book one, especially the never-ending sarcasm between the two. Even though, World After does have a little more of Dee-Dum, which is quite entertaining.

“I’m gonna be sick,” I said
“I’m ordering you not to,” says Obi.
“Ah, don’t say that,” says Dee-Dum. “She’s a born rebel. She’ll puke just to make a point.”

Another thing that is talked about in this book is the ‘vault’ in Penryn’s head. This metaphor describes all the emotions, feelings and things that are going on around Penryn. In the book, she can’t let these things get to her head, as they will distract her from the responsibility of looking after her family. After something happens, or she feels a strong emotion, she will quickly throw it into the ‘vault’ in her head and lock the doors. Penryn can’t afford to open it, as all the memories, emotions and feelings will come flowing out.

The ending of this book, I think is in the right place at the right time. Even though I didn’t really want it to end, I knew there was the final book to come, so I took comfort in that.

Why should you read it: This book is still one of my favourites even though it’s not as good as the first. It was quite a bit of sarcastic humour, as well as some sad, slow-paced events. It still has the amazing Penryn and Raffe as the main heroes, with added ones on the side.

Book in a word: satisfying

Rating: 8/10

Angelfall – Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #1)

Title: AngelfallAngelfall

Author: Susan Ee

Genre: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, drama

Thoughts: This book was awesome!!! Plot, setting, characters, and genre. It was perfect. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where angels rule. But these angels aren’t your normal angels. They have destroyed the human world, reducing them to barely less than animals. Tsunamis and earthquakes have ruined cities and towns. Street gangs rule the day, while fear and angels rule the night. Penryn, her younger, disabled sister Paige, and their crazy mother are just another one of these scavenging families trying to feed themselves. Until and angel warrior falls outside their doorstep. This book has a very fast paced story-line, dramatic and action-packed. Definitely not what I expected from a dark, dystopian story. Ee includes sarcastic dialogue, which made me snort out loud a couple of times, as well as some tragic events. The hero, Penryn, is a strong and fighting teen left in charge of the family when her mum went insane. She is smart, witty and knows how to lead.

“You’re lying. Why would you tell me that?”

“Maybe I’m not afraid of you.”

“Maybe you should be.”

Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))

But if you take all these witty comebacks and entertaining comments, Penryn is just a teenage girl struggling to deal with what the world has come to. Quite a few time in the book, she mentions taking the weight of the family, on her shoulders. As her mum is completely mad, her dad gone and her sister in a wheelchair, Penryn alone must deal with this huge responsibility. So she uses the attitude and sarcasm to hide this struggle. So really Ee has created, not only an amusing, laugh-out-loud story, but a novel which deals with troubles in the family and self-esteem.

“We have to get out of here,” says Mom with her arm protectively around Paige. Her voice is clear and full of purpose. I look up at her in surprise. Before I can stop myself, hope blooms inside me. She sounds full of authority and confidence. She sounds like a mother ready and determined to lead her daughters to safety. She sounds sane.

Then she says, “They’re after us.” Hope shrivels and dies inside me, leaving a hard lump where my heart should be. I don’t need to ask who “they” are. According to my mother, “they” have been after us for as long as I can remember… I nod, taking the weight of my family responsibilities back on my shoulders.

Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))

So as you can see, there’s actually quite a deep meaning.

Some parts of this book made me want to laugh, but Ee can change the mood so well from smart and happy, to dark and sad. Also the ending. The ending is just excellent, and explosive. And those are just the E’s. Totally unexpected. And the best thing is… It’s part of a trilogy. Two more books written by the amazing Susan Ee, just waiting to be read!

Should you read this book: This book is undoubtedly my favourite book at the moment, and I guarantee you’ll love it too. I will remember it and if you haven’t read it yet, get your hands on this book now! Reasons include strong female character, 5 star plot and characters, and just… Everything!

Book in a word: Enthralling

Rating: 9½ /10