Monday, May 27, 2013

Til the World Ends

Til the World Ends is comprised of three short stories: Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa, Thistle and Thorne by Ann Aguirre, and Sun Storm by Karen Duvall. All of the stories are apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic and feature some sort of romance.

In Julie Kagawa's Dawn of Eden, a disease threatens to wipe humans off the face of the planet. Red Lung is widespread and only a small percentage of people survive. After a mysterious man, Ben, and his friend show up at Kylie's clinic, a new symptom appears: bleeding from the eyes. Then the people who died get up again and savagely attack any human around them.  These zombie-vampire hybrids are wild, insanely strong, and bloodthirsty.

The situation basically a zombie apocalypse situation except the zombie aren't around during the day. I liked this story, but it seemed a little run of the mill. The plot was very typical for a zombie situation with one slight difference. The romance is based on instalove (eyeroll) with one sex scene, which was unexpected since it's the prequel to Kagawa's teen series Blood Eden and it did seem a little out of place and out of character for Kylie. I think the characters make pretty stupid decisions and don't stand out much, simply being defined by their attraction to each other. The writing was engaging and really the only reason why I liked this story at all. Overall, it was an ok story with a lame romance and zombie-vampires.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

Thistle and Thorne features a post-apocalytic world ravaged by pollution and chemical spills. The only law of the land is kill or be killed and the mob bosses have taken control of each city, ruling with fear and intimidation. The extremely rich get to live in protected communities, away from the harmful pollution. Everyone else, including Mari Thistle, gets to live in the Red Zone, scavenge for valuables, and protect what is theirs at all costs. Mari takes jobs as needed to provide for her little brother and sister. A heist goes wrong when she tries to steal a figurine from a rich community based on out of date plans. She goes into hiding to escape the mob boss Davros that hired her and teams up with Thorne, who works for the mob boss but is using Mari's situation to plan his downfall. Together, they hope to bring Davros' reign of terror to an end.

I loved this story the most out of all of them. There was a sense of companionship between Mari and Thorne  and the story didn't focus too much on their romance. There is initial attraction and they get to know each other over time, but that's about the extent of it. Other events were much more important. These characters had the most development out of any of the other stories and the world was much more interesting. I found the structure of society fascinating and utterly believable if the pollution levels got that bad. I loved that Mari is tough, but has a soft spot for her siblings and will do anything to protect them. The storytelling was good and the pacing added tension and kept me interested. My only real complaint is that the ending feels too abrupt and I want to know what happens to the characters and that world after the ending. This is the only one I would have liked to see as a full length novel.

My rating: 5/5 fishmuffins

Sun Storm describes a world where sun storms cause radiation and either kill people or give them cool powers. Sarah Daggot has the power to predict the sun storms and chases them to warn the potential victims and to get power from the storms. She meets another Kinetic who can control the weather, but he's on the run from a rogue government agent set on caging and experimenting on Kinetics.

I did not like this story. I love a good sci-fi story, but emphasis on the science part. There was no real explanation for the sun storms or the radiation or anything else for that matter. I would have preferred a straight fantasy story with magic if there was going to be no effort to scientifically explain the extreme climate change. The love story was frustrating. One moment, Sarah doesn't trust the guy and then she does and then she doesn't. Ugh. The changes came out of nowhere and didn't really make sense to me. The developments and revelations were cheesy and unbelievable. The ending was too convenient. The characters didn't develop much and the villains were practically cardboard cutouts. I would not read another story by Karen Duvall.

My rating: 1/5 fishmuffins

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