May 7th, 2013

Book with cat 5

Book #22: I deserve a reward or punishment for finishing this book...

Book #22: Zoo (The Enclosure Chronicles) by Tara Elizabeth.

In my previous post about this book I covered her writing and grammar, so in this post I'm going to focus mostly on the plot. (Oh, the plot, oh my poor head.)

A few bits about her writing first though.

There I was, reading along, the current section describing the main character being locked in a room. No mention of books, just that she's locked in a stone room. The next section started with:

I hate this book!

Me too, author, me too.

I raged when I came upon this in the book:

"I regret so much." He changes directions and starts heading back to the building. :(

But Thistle! How else will we know it's supposed to be a sad scene if the author doesn't add a frowny face?!

And then there was this. Italics as they appeared in the book:

He's there for me in the exact way I need him at the exact right time. - Was that a line from a movie?

Author's note to herself left in?

So, the plot. The author borrowed plot ideas from so many other books, so the short version is something like: Modern day teenage girl gets pulled into the future, then sent into the Hunger Games, then fights Nazis, marries an evil king in a medieval castle, and is part of a love story that crosses hundreds of years.

The character was SO UNLIKEABLE. From the first page of the book:

I was one of the unlucky ones that actually got into a car accident while texting. Typical.

I nearly stopped reading there. Texting while driving makes me rage. But it was the character who was saying it, so I kept going.

So in the future, people are really mean and stupid. They've mastered cloning and time travel, so they make clones of people who are about to die, then snatch people from the past at the moment of their deaths, leaving a clone body behind. These people are then put into human zoos. (Such potential this idea had...)

Main character (Emma) gets stuck in a zoo with another girl. Two guys are put in. They're expected to "mate" and have babies. (Why? If the future people wanted kids, couldn't they just snatch up dying kids from the past?) Other girl gets pregnant in a day. Main character girl doesn't want the boy (Kale) put in for her, she's in love with the ~handsome~ guy in the cage across from hers. Insert chapter after chapter of her being a bitch to Kale, lusting longingly for the guy in the cage across the way.

Finally, since she's not "mating", the zoo keepers get rid of her. They send Emma and Kale to the Hunger Games. Seriously. They arrive, other people rush out of the woods to kill people and grab some of the women, then the games are on. Blah blah blah boring, badly written version of the Hunger Games plot. People from the future watch them killing each other. Have to fight for food, blah blah.

Oh, but there are Nazis here, too. And somehow there's a castle. (The enclosure has trees, trees, and more trees. Almost no one has tools. How someone built a "medieval castle" is beyond me.) The king of the castle wants a virgin bride.

Remember the guy in the cage across the way (James) Emma spent multiple chapters ~longingly gazing at~? Well turns out he's a rapist and an all around bad guy. After trying (and failing) to rape Emma (so Kale can be the Shining Hero and ~rescue~ her), James snatches Emma up to take her to the king.

(In the future, people are not only mean and stupid, they're hard to please, too. Emma and Kale are sent to the Hunger Games knockoff for not mating. James is sent for getting TWO women pregnant instead of one...)

Blah blah blah, Emma outsmarts everyone in the castle, suddenly has all sorts of skills there's no reason she should have so she can escape, blah blah whatever. Oh, and the king wants to behead Kale. As a wedding gift to her.

So Emma and Kale escape (the castle, they're still in the Hunger Games enclosure). And encounter the Nazis. Sigh. The Nazis have missiles. They chase the two, firing missiles at them as they run. Blah blah ~true love~ blah blah they escape.

While they're dodging bullets missiles, we get lines like this as they kiss:

I can feel his soul through his lips. It's telling me a story of agony over how long it's waited for this moment and how it never wants to end.

So eventually the people from the future decide that being mean to people from the past for no reason at all is a silly idea. They decide to help Emma and Kale. Blah blah, help them escape the enclosure and are going to send them through a portal back to the past. The portal's name is Stephen. Why a portal for time travel is given a human name is never explained. I give up.

Emma's body was replaced with a clone body, so it would be a problem if she just showed up back there. (Because, while people from the future can put clone bodies in place, they can't pick them back up?) So she's given a magic thumbtack. She gets back to the past, pokes the clone body with the tack, and it melts. And the clothing from the clone body appear on her, replacing the clothing she's wearing.

I swear to god, I don't know how the author thought this was a good, reasonable idea.

There were so many issues in the book. The author had some major disconnection on how human sexuality worked. She also seemed to be trying to send some message about teenage sexuality, but it was so muddied I have no idea what she was trying to say.

The writing was so bad. A teenager could have written a better book. There were so many issues, I don't even want to list them all.

And worst part? In the time since I left my review on Amazon, there was another five star review left! I have no words. I suppose it's fitting to end this review with: >:(
Love button

Defiance: Showing what's important in a TV show.

I have a very bad habit when it comes to TV and movies. When I "watch" them, I spend the whole time looking at my computer and just listening to what's on TV. With some shows I can get away with that. Others? Not even close. (Game of Thrones is a whole different show when you actually look at the screen!)

So when Defiance first premiered, I "watched" it in my usual way. The show did little to nothing for me (unsurprisingly). But the music caught my ear, and when I googled to find out more, I encountered a lot of positive reviews. The reviews mentioned themes and characters that seemed really interesting, so I rewatched the series thus far. And by that I mean I really watched it, trying not to multitask during it, pausing it when I had to look away.

Wow. Defiance is one good show. On the surface, it's syfy -- er, scifi. It shows on the Syfy channel. But not far under the surface at all, it's a western. At risk of building it up too much for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, it reminds me a lot of Firefly. It is NOT as great at that, but it has the same feel to it.

But it doesn't really matter what it is. Scifi show, western show, neither alone would make me love it. It's the characters. The people. The aliens are really (really really) interesting. A bunch of alien species in a single town leads to lots of interesting conflicts big and small. The characters have such layers!

I don't know if this is on purpose or not, but it's the female characters who are the smartest, strongest (not necessarily physically) ones who do the most things (moving the plot along, good and bad). The main character is male, but all he does so far is action-y things. The government official is female, the "seer" is female, a woman runs the whorehouse (which is an interestingly different place), and there are some other major important roles being filled by female characters, but I don't want to list them because it would be spoilery.

I only meant to rewatch the pilot today, saving the other eps for later, but somehow I just kept watching on and on. I have only the latest ep left to rewatch.

If the pilot doesn't hook you, don't give up. The pilot was the most action-y of the series thus far. From the first ep after that and on, it gets more character-oriented.