All tagged Speculative Fiction

A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka: Uneven, But Relevant & Gripping

I don't know if I suffered as severe of dystopian burnout as a lot of readers, largely because I'm self-aware enough to know that any faction-based world irritates the crap out of me, so I managed to avoid a lot of the popular dystopian-ish novels that hit the shelves in the wake of The Hunger Games' popularity.

(Seriously, what is with all the factions, dystopian authors? I just don't get it.)

I've picked up a few recently that I've enjoyed at varying degrees. I enthusiastically enjoyed Maureen McGowan's corporate conspiracy-meets-X-Men Dust Chronicles action-adventure series; I was profoundly let down by the promising water-contamination novel The Ward by Jordana Frankel (that book had so much promise!).

Catherine Linka's debut, A Girl Called Fearless, likely sits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, yet it manages to shine a bit more brightly than many others because it's both thought-provoking and gripping.

Audiobook Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

ā€œ...some things are better left in the past. And true things are destined to repeat themselves.ā€

Suzanne Young's new novel, The Program, somehow got slapped with the label "dystopian." I'm not sure if this was thanks to early publicity or the viral nature of Goodreads shelves,  or something else, but this likely inadvertent label has stuck, and it's one that seems to have stuck. Unfortunately, the dystopian label does this intriguing and unique novel a huge disservice.  

If I were to slap a genre name on The Program, I'd say it's speculative fiction or allegorical alternate reality (which I don't think is actually a genre). It's set in a very familiar world, much like the modern day (it's set in my home state of Oregon, so it felt particularly familiar to me). Except in this iteration of our world, teen depression and suicide are an epidemic, one that's dealt with in an extreme way, hence The Program.

The Program is an extreme course of treatment for teen depression, in which memories of all things negative, painful and emotive are removed. Any extreme reaction can result in a trip to The Program, and those who return from the "treatment" are shells of their former selves.

In the case of The Program's narrator, Sloane, she's already seen what can happen to those who are untreated--her beloved brother died as a result of suicide, and it destroyed her parents. She made it through the dark days following her brother's death thanks to her boyfriend (and her brother's best friend), James. Together, they fight the darkness that threatens them. After that, a bunch of stuff happens (obviously, since it's not exactly a short book), all of which will massively spoil The Program if I share the details. But, let's just say, what Sloane experiences is quite harrowing and explores a number of compelling concepts including memory and social control.  

FNL Character Rating: The guy that kept trying to rape Tyra.

This is harsh, I know, especially in comparison to the many rave reviews I’ve read.
However, I cannot abide by the effed up sex stuff & the attitude of Rhys Traehaern, the Iron Duke from the title. In my eyes, he is the prototypical abusive male. I guess some people might see Traehaern simply as an alpha male and find that attractive. I find him possessive, controlling & abusive, yet somehow making the object of his interest, Wilhemina “Mina” Wentworth, believe that’s what she wants.