Book Review | Leviathan Wakes

“For thirty years, Miller had worked security. Violence and death were familiar companions to him. Men, women. Animals. Kids. Once he’d held a woman’s hand while she bled to death. He’d killed two people, could still see them die if he closed his eyes and thought about it. If anyone had asked him, he’d have said there wasn’t much left that would shake him. But he’d never watched a war start before.”

Leviathan Wakes is the first book in a series by James S. A. Corey. I first heard about this book by watching a show called The Expanse, which was based off this series. I made it through a few episodes and then decided I would like to read the books before continuing the show.

Leviathan Wakes started out good, then went to great…and then got better. I am always a fan of science fiction, and this book packed a lot of emotional energy in between some smooth technical descriptions of “spacey stuff”. Epstein drive? Coolest thing I’ve ever heard. And then about halfway through the book, we get…wait for it….

[SPOILER ALERT]

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.

.

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zombies.

Yep. James S. A. Corey managed to combine space and zombies. Space zombies. That’s when I became totally hooked. If my attention was only half mast before, space zombies gave me a fully erect literature hard-on. I devoured the second half of the book. All books have those periods where they kind of slow down, you lose interest, you put the book down for a few days and don’t pick it back up. I hit that point with this book about 50% into it, and then hit that plot point and was fully committed to finishing as soon as possible.

And just when you thought you knew where the story was going, they throw in another little plot twist right around the final showdown. I didn’t see it coming, and I was pleasantly surprised. Can’t say I get a lot of that in books these days. Really, it was refreshing.

I loved the characters in this book. Amos is, of course, a fan favorite. The funny guy that everyone loves. I waited with bated breath to see if he survives the whole length of the book and…well, you’ll have to read it to find out. But my favorite character in the whole book was Miller. Holden might have been the MC, but Miller stood out as one of the most dynamic characters. I felt for him like a drunk uncle. I wanted him to be happy, whatever the hell that meant for him. And I was so thankful to know that in the end, he gets exactly what he wants. Sigh of satisfaction.

However, like all books these days, I feel like this was written more as a screenplay than an actual novel. It was heavy on dialogue and scene descriptions in a way that would work great for a tv show (which it did end up becoming). I could even hear a little of my own writer’s voice in the way he phrased things and thought to myself, “funny, I could have written something like this”, which was an interesting way to critique my own work.

Should you read it?

Yep! It was enjoyable, engaging, and even humorous at times. And if you are a fan of Resident Evil or Dead Space, you’re going to love this. Not for the faint of heart. There are gruesome descriptions about bodyparts skittering around on the ground and stomach bile floating in midair like a churning ocean. Reader beware!


Have you read it? Leave your thoughts down below!

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Take care, and don’t forget to take your medications! 

 

Book Review | Biohazard

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“Since leaving Moscow I have encountered an alarming level of ignorance about biological weapons. Some of the best scientists I’ve encountered in the West say it isn’t possible to alter viruses genetically to make reliable weapons, or to store enough of a give pathogen for strategic purposes, or to deliver it in a way that assures maximum killing power. My knowledge and experience tell me that they are wrong. I have written this book to explain why.
There are some who maintain that discussing the subject will cause needless alarm. But existing defenses against these weapons are dangerously inadequate, and when biological terror strikes, as I am convinced it will, public ignorance will only heighten the disaster. The first step we must take to protect ourselves is to understand what biological weapons are and how they work. The alternative is to remain as helpless as the monkeys in the Aral Sea.”
Ken Alibek, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World–Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It

Ever since I played Resident Evil when I was little I have always had a fascination with biological weaponry. Strictly from a fictional viewpoint, of course. Which is where biological, viral weaponry should have stayed. I really wish Biohazard was fictional. Unfortunately the story detailed in this book is real, or as close to real as one is likely to get from a defected member of Russia’s bioweaponry department.

You see, as a reader, I was skeptical of all the facts presented in this book. Why would someone who called Russia his home for so long suddenly spill all of its secrets with no fear of reprimand? Why was he allowed to go public with the information he had? Not only does he discuss Russia’s side of things. He discusses America’s as well. While I don’t doubt the authenticity of his story, I read this book with grains of salt. How much was fiction? How much was real? And is hydrogen peroxide really enough to sanitize a lab room that was infected with a virus?

This book is a slow burner. There was no way I could plow through this in one sitting, just because I’m the kind of reader who likes to let things soak in, and this was a deep read that required many breaks. Despite this, the first three quarters of the book were easy reading. It could be defined as boring in some places because of the amount of detail paid to the description of scientific causes, effects, and procedures, but for the most part, it was a devourable read.

The last few chapters close out the book nicely by discussing Americas cures, vaccines, and safety precautions that are now in place to combat the ill-effects of his previous work. As he stated, more or less, was that this book was his attempt at making up for all the wrongdoings he did as a member of Biopreparate.

I feel that this book is vastly important and a must read for anyone who has even the smallest interest in war, Russia, America, military techniques, or bioweapons. And if you don’t have an interest in any of those things, I still recommend this book. It is heavy with politics and if nothing else is a quick history lesson into who was in power during the Cold War era in Russia and America. Very informative, and quite enjoyable.

WWW Wednesday | September 19th, 2018

Today is the first day I’ve heard of WWW Wednesday, so naturally, I decided to give it a try! I discovered this meme via Whitney over at Whit Reads Lit. She posts lots of awesome book reviews, so go check her out! The meme is currently being hosted by Taking On A World Of Words. So let’s get right into this challenge!


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Biohazard, the true account of the Russian bioweapon project called Biopreparat. I’m a pretty big fan of the Resident Evil franchise, so I am just lapping up this book. It reminds me a lot of the fictional world of Resident Evil. But on a more practical note, I really wish this book was fiction, because the things discussed are quite horrifying. And it’s all true. I think this is one of those books everyone should read at some point, as it details the arms race between America and Russia, as well as the Cold War. So it’s a dose of history as well as some really neat/horrifying facts about the creation of biological viral weaponry. I will have a full review up as soon as I finish reading, so stay tuned for that.


What did you recently finish reading?

Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey. Hey readers. Hey readers. Hey. Hey…
WHAT?!
…Nothing.

The last book I finished was C. S. Lewis’s Paralandra. I’ve started working my way through this series, but decided to stop before the last book to read Biohazard. I really enjoyed these books. You rarely find fiction like this these days. It’s philosophical more than anything, and uses a tight plotline to discuss human origins, religion, and the reason we are here in a fun fictional way. Again, I will be posting reviews for this series as soon as I finish the last book, That Hideous Strength. I am excited to conclude this series. One of the most memorable parts of this book is when the devil character sits there all night repeating the main character Ransom’s name until he loses it and asks “what”, only to be answered by “nothing”. Now that is truly hell!

I also recently finished Out of the Silent Planet, the first book in C. S. Lewis’s series. He is considered a classic author, so I wanted to chug his works down. And let me tell you, these books are classics for a reason. I truly mean it. They just don’t write books like this anymore. The depth and intellect in this series is astounding. I can’t wait to finish this series!

Girl Code was also a book I finished recently. It took me about a day to get through, and I found myself quite bored by the shallow content presented. You can read my full review here. In an age where everyone is publishing self help books, one must ask themselves if all of those books are necessary. But you can be the judge of that yourself!

Circle of Friends was another recent finish for me. I absolutely loved this book. You can find my full review here.


What do you think you’ll read next?

That Hideous Strength is obviously first on my list after Biohazard. This is the exciting conclusion of the series by C. S. Lewis. I fell in love with the character of Ransom and it’ll be interesting to see him take on a different role in this story, not as the main character, but as a tertiary character.

Welcome To Night Vale is second. I found this book at Half Priced Books and just had to get it, because I adored the podcast. If the book is half as funny as the podcast, I’m sure I’m going to love it. I read the first paragraph of chapter one and started laughing like a maniac in the middle of the bookstore, so…that’s probably a good indication of how this read through will go.

Foucault’s Pendulum by Eco Umberto is also on my to-read list. I’ve heard great things about him based on other books I’ve read and loved. Foucault’s Pendulum is said to be dark, twisted, and esoteric, which all seems right up my alley. And the premise seems supernatural, but really it’s just a creation of human imagination and the dangers that humans can put themselves in by believing certain things. So I am really excited to delve into this. Some online compared it to The Club Dumas, which is one of my favorite books, so we shall see if it holds a candle.


 

You! Yes, you!

What books are you currently working your way through? Link your posts in the comments to share the book recommendations and keep this challenge going!

Take care, and remember to take your medications! 

Book Review | Circle of Friends

 

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Everyone needs to drop what they are doing and go order a copy of this book here. It’s a book you are going to want to read over and over. Yes, that is how much I love this book. As soon as I finished Circle of Friends, it skyrocketed to the very top of my favorite book list. Allow me to get into the reasons why I love this book so much.

Written by the ever so talented, Maeve Binchy, Circle of Friends focuses on a group of college students living in Dublin and surrounding areas. The book was written in the 90’s and takes place in the 50’s. I found it listed on Goodreads as “Chick lit”, “Romance”, and “Period Pieces”, and while it is a period piece, there is almost nothing of this book that dates it. In a word, it is timeless. It could have been a book about any group of friends, in any time period, and in any part of the world. I also don’t feel like “Chick lit” does it justice. Although it is a chick lit novel, and a romance as well, it is also so much more than that.

Every character in this story came to life. That includes the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary characters. Even the character who dies at the beginning of the book has his own little story to go along with his character (don’t worry, this is not a spoiler alert, his death is the catalyst that brings our circle of friends together). Nothing in this book was meaningless or without purpose. Every single detail tied into the next, flawlessly.

Let us begin with the character of Eve Malone. She is the friend everyone wishes they had; honest, witty, and fiercely loyal. She is part of a duo of main characters (the other main character being named Benny Hogan who we will get to next) and if Benny is ice–calm, nice, friendly–then Eve is fire–bold, fearless, and hot-tempered. So rarely do you see a character written as truly and honestly as Eve, let alone a female character! I found myself cheering her on with tears in my eyes several times during this read.

Benny Hogan is truly the main character of the story, and second to Eve is an adorably relatable character. A dumpy girl from the country, big boned and awkward, she captured my heart almost immediately. Throughout the novel, her connection to food hit home for me, as I’m sure it did for many other readers. She is the awkward little girl in each of us, vulnerable, genuine, and affable, Benny is well liked by every person she encounters, and no doubt by every reader as well.

These two girls go off to study in Dublin, leaving their small town behind (or at least during the week when they have class). They soon form a circle of friends with Jack Foley, one of the most sought-after boys on campus, and Nan Mahon, a deviously gorgeous girl who is always used to getting her way. Throughout the story, we follow this circle of friends through bumbling romances, heated arguments, personal grief, and selfish vices. Each character must bare their own crosses; Benny must endure the creepy Sean Walsh who is trying to become a partner in her father’s business and who has a penchant for most unwanted advances on Benny; Eve Malone must settle some business with Simon Westward, an estranged cousin from a family who abandoned her; Jack Foley must learn that his actions have heartbreaking consequences; Nan Mahon must try and fix her selfish plan gone wrong; and Mr. Flood must battle with his visions of nuns in trees, nuns that are not actually there!

Will Benny thwart the creepy Sean Walsh and stand up for her family business? Will Eve’s temper get the best of her and ruin the only connection she has to a true family? Will Jack learn from his mistakes? Will Nan solve her problem? Will Mr. Flood stop seeing the nuns in the tree?!

Find out!

Should you read it:

Um yes. 110%. Yes. Yass. Si. Ja. Hai. Da. Oui. Do it. You will enjoy it! It’s such a good novel you could write essays about the character development and intertwining plot lines.