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Book #41 of 2016: Red Fox | Abandoned book: MindWar

Red Fox by Lara Fanning
Rating: Okay (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)



This story had such potential. This story had such plot holes.

Set in Australia, the government finally decided to do something about global warming. They decided to ban use of all electricity. They decided to ban use of all gas-powered things. (Good thing Australian government officials don't need to be elected, right? ...wait.) Then they go beyond that -- they want all humans to go back to living as we did in caveman times. Nothing but hunters/gathers; they wanted all humans to go back to being "feral".

How would such a thing be accomplished? First they had to kill off a good third of the population. Anyone who protested that (a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of people, one in a thousand or less -- the main character one of them, of course) got turned into "Breeders" -- humans who were (assumedly) more aggressive so the government wanted their children to populate the world so they'd do better as hunters/gathers.

One of the first big problems of this story: How does that make sense for the government to do? Where is the benefit to the people with the power/money?

But anyway, since it was an interesting idea, I kept reading.

So the government has all these "aggressive" human types, and now they need babies. They put them into groups (three men with twenty women) and order them to make babies. If you have a bunch of "alpha type" men who are ordered, under the threat of death, to make babies with women, shouldn't there be (at the very least) pressure from the men to have sex with the women? If not outright rape? That never happened! (Other than one single almost-case of it, at the very end of the book.) All of these supposedly "aggressive" alpha males were nothing but nice and kind and blushing at the idea of having sex with the women... UGH.

It really was an interesting idea for a story, and some parts of it held my attention. I read the first 90% of it then started skimming because the end got even worse: Set-up for a love triangle in book two. Ugh.

I'd love to see this story in the hands of a more experienced, more skilled, and edited writer. (Self-published, this book was full of editing mistakes. One character was called three different names on a single page!) Still, that this author is 22 years old and this was her first book. She has potential. I'm not going to read any other books in this series, but I might pick up something from her again in the future.

MindWar by Andrew Klavan
Rating: Hated (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)



I really hate it when a book starts with self-promoting quotes, though not usually for this reason. MindWars had this one:

Through it all, [the main character] teaches lessons in Christian decency and patriotism, not by talking about those things, or thinking about them much, but by practicing them... Well done, Andrew Klavan.

Can an author dictate how a review interprets his book? Nope. But he sure as heck can decide which quotes to include with his book, so he must have approved of this one. (Self-published book, so it's the author's decision in this case.)

So the story opens with a "perfect" teenager -- captain of the football team, every girl in school lusts over him, perfect grades, everything perfect about him. Then a car accident breaks his legs and that's the end of football, thus he thinks his life is over. So he starts playing video games. In a couple weeks, long before his legs heal, we learn from a government official:

"We've actually trained people to play the game. Professional gamers. Soldiers. Army Rangers. Navy SEALs. Some of our finest, best warriors. They've never matched your score. They've never come close.

UGH. So Mr Perfect McPerfect is also perfect at playing video games. Better than professional gamers, who practice gaming for more hours in a day than most people work! But this main character, in the space of weeks, is better than them all! And it's not even like he focused on one game, he played many different ones.

I actually got to the 14% point of this book, though I should have given up much, much sooner. Reviews said it was about the government having a program where people fight wars in cyberspace, which would be an interesting story, just not in the hands of this author.
Tags: 2016 books, book review, book: mindwar, book: red fox
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