Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2016

[Review] Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) - Sylvain Neuvel: Giant Robots and Outer Space

In SLEEPING GIANTS, a little girl finds an enormous robot hand made of metal in the woods and the military immediately grows interested in it.

What intrigued me: The tagline they used in promotion got me. World War Z meets THE MARTIAN? Um yeah, get on my shelf ASAP.

Perfect transitional read for people who don't like Sci-Fi

SLEEPING GIANTS is told through interview snippets and diary entries from multiple characters. All in some way connect to a mysterious man who is secretly in control of the operation to get the robot to work.  Most of it is actually dialogue, which I loved. 

It makes this way easier to read and hides the fact that this is a pretty heavy Sci-fi thriller with political elements. Especially for people like me who shy away from epic Sci-fi or political thrillers, this could serve as a nice transitional read to get more into the genre.

I definitely struggled a little with the tone of the novel. Most of the plot is told from the perspective of military officials and scientists who use highbrow language and complex scientific processes to explain things. Even though Neuvel tries to simplify all concepts and processes, I found myself zoning out whenever someone started talking about chemical elements. This is very minor though, because the story about the ancient robot hand will eventually suck you in and force you to keep on reading until your eyes burn. It happened to me. At some point the story just starts to become so gripping and you get so invested that it's almost impossible to put it down. 

Enchanting and thrilling

I was surprised to grow attached to the characters and their fate. Neuvel manages to paint multi-faceted character relationships by telling the majority of the interactions in retrospective. If two characters who aren't the mysterious interviewer and another character interact, it's always told after it happened and through the eyes of one of the people who were there. 

You'd think that format would get tiring after a while but it really doesn't. I'm so glad Neuvel wrote this almost exclusively in dialogue, because I'm sure I would've zoned out or even quit the novel altogether if that story was told in a classic way. Like this it's easy, it's handy, it fits the plot. I enjoyed this a lot and found myself unable to predict any of the twists, which is really rare. SLEEPING GIANTS is a very unique, almost experimental read that will surprise and enchant you.




Overall: Do I Recommend?

Following the events in SLEEPING GIANTS almost became an addiction. It's really impossible to put down and a fantastic thriller that you should read if you like conspiracies and aliens. It put me in the worst reading slump ever because it's so genius!

Additional Info

Published: August 8th 2016
Pages: 416
Publisher: Heyne
Genre: Sci- Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9783453316904

"A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?"(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read SLEEPING GIANTS?

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Monday, January 4, 2016

[Review] The Quest for Integrity - Jaswinder Singh

THE QUEST FOR INTEGRITY is an enthralling tale about politics in modern-day India; about corruption versus integrity. It's set against the background of the Bank of the Nation and a worker's union made up of its employees. 

What intrigued me: I'm a huge politics nerd and a book about the gritty details of the dealings of a bank with its union is just my thing.

Characters lack personality

I've always been interested in politics and this is such a detail-oriented tale about corruption and the struggle against it that I just couldn't put it down. The various intrigues of the characters who only think of their own gain are fascinating to uncover.

The big setback of this novel are sadly the characters themselves. I love to connect with the characters of the books I read but this time it just didn't happen. Basically, there are only three types of characters: the good ones, the bad ones, and the ones that are good but made to behave in bad ways.
A little less black-and-white thinking wouldn't have hurt.

Plus, in the beginning I really stumbled over the way they talk. Their speech seems unnaturally formal and sometimes even stilted. This only adds to the characters' obvious lack of personality. Though I did get used to the way everyone speaks after a while, it's hard to identify or at least emphasize with the characters. I didn't really care all that much about who wins or loses.  

This novel leaves you thinking

Singh really knows how to pace. The plot develops at the perfect speed and before you know it, you're in the middle of it. I loved that the events slowly but surely escalated. At first the power struggles are expressed mostly verbally, but they quickly spread over into actions. The way the characters trip down the lane of their own lies and deceptions is absolutely fascinating.

THE QUEST FOR INTEGRITY is insanely philosophical. Don't mistake it for some light entertaining reading – this novel wants to make you think and it will. Ever so often, a line would make me pause, put down the book and really consider it for a while. The plot serves mainly to illustrate the ethical issues the book is exploring: the way power corrupts. Here, the book makes up for its cardboard characters. It reads like a Medieval Morality Play, with good struggling against evil, the characters serving only as representations of that. This feeling to it is what sets it apart from other books.

While the novel isn't easy reading, the topic got me hooked and the clean simple writing had me turning the pages.



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Yes – but: I'd only recommend this novel to someone who is inherently interested in politics like I am. If that's your thing, do pick up this novel because you'll love it. If it's not, I'm sorry to say but this won't be the novel to get you interested in it either.



Additional Info

Original Title: The Quest for Integrity
Author: Jaswinder Singh
Published: January 27th 2013
Pages: 300
Medium: ebook
Genre: Adult / Literary
ISBN: 9781481203876

"A noble, accomplished man named Purshottam Gill is chosen to replace the latest in a line of negligent managers at the Amlawar branch of India’s nationalized bank. As he attempts to improve the branch’s performance and raise employee morale, he becomes hindered by corrupt trade union officials, politicians, and even some of the bank’s senior officers. He soon discovers that top union leaders control not just the bank, but the politics of his country, causing its citizens to live under fear and great hardships. 

Having come from a life of poverty and disease, Neki Lal, the union leader for Purshottam’s bank, values money and success above all else. Viewing Purshottam’s integrity as a threat, Neki begins a deceptive and corrupt campaign to try and intimidate Purshottam and remove him from his position at the bank. And Purshottam’s loyal employees have no choice but to follow the union directive.

As Neki Lal and his supporters begin to take over the branch, deception and manipulation reign supreme in a battle of good and evil that will forever change the lives of everyone involved.

A riveting tale of power and corruption, The Quest for Integrity is a thought-provoking and inspiring story that illustrates the importance of dignity, morality, and social responsibility.
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Do you like books about politics?

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