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snark (reading) lady

In my free time, I snark things. In my freer time, I read things.

Currently reading

Night Film
Marisha Pessl
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
Philip Pullman
Mark Slouka
The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien
This is Not a Test - Courtney Summers Weird and embarrassing confession time! So. When my sisters and I were little, we were kind of obsessed with watching "Days of Our Lives" during summer breaks. We got really into the story lines. So much so, that we made it a habit to block the clock near the TV, because it would stress us out to see the time. I mean, if something crazy was happening and it was 1:45, you just KNEW it wasn't going to get resolved that day, you know? I was reminded of that, the stressed out feeling, while reading this book. I turned page after page and I felt myself getting anxious. Another page and I feared for the resolution. Another page and I had to stop glancing down at my progress. I banned myself from looking at it, banned myself for calculating how much resolution the author could possible give us as the end drew near.All that to say: well done Courtney Summers. A lot of times when I comment on pacing, it's to say that the author has propelled us forward through their story. Most of the time it's about momentum and being able to get through something quickly. What I want to say about Summers is that she controlled her pacing expertly. There's a chunk of the book where close to nothing happens as these kids spend their days barricaded indoors, but she balances this out so well with the action at the end, and the character developments. It was well crafted. Next I should say that I read some reviews complaining about how this wasn't a zombie book and I tend to roll my eyes at that. The zombies are not at the forefront, so if that's all you want, a book full of zombies and blood, fine. This isn't for you. I saw a few questions about why Summers included zombies at all, and why not nuclear warfare or, I don't know, the bubonic plague. Uh. Because it's her book and she chose zombies. I'm not really sure where this argument is going. No, the zombie aren't at the forefront but they added a wonderful element to the story. They are dark and gruesome and I don't think it was gratuitous because Summer's story and characters were already dark and gruesome. They complimented each other. The zombies, walking around with a hunger our characters could feel, served as a foil for main character Sloane Price. It fit together in this story, that the end of her world would come at the hands of walking dead, when she's felt like a dead woman walking for a long time. And that's what sets apart this end of days book from others that I've read. Sloane Price doesn't want to live. She had resigned herself to dying before the outbreak. The end of the world doesn't change how Sloane feels about life or about living it. How do you survive when you don't want to live? It's such an interesting character study. I'll admit that I had a little bit of trouble through the first few chapters. 1.) Sloane's narration is a little choppy. It's all short observations and incomplete phrases. 2.) Sloane is not a very happy person. At first it was so morose, that I kind of wanted to shake her. It all settled into place, though. The narration style fits the story. Forgive the word, but it's raw. Summers manages to convey so much in her stripped narrative, observing and commenting on life and survival in a cut-to-the-chase manner that I loved. Yep. I ended up loving what I didn't like at first. Sloane's, uh, pessimistic outlook on life settles as well. You understand her more, you understand what brought her to this point, and as the world falls apart around her, it becomes easier to relate to. The surrounding characters are all good, even the one I disliked. They are all flawed and dealing with their own losses. I loved what each one of them added to the group dynamic. I won't tell you how it ends, but I will say that it is vague with just a slight tinge of hopefulness. Or maybe not, depending on how you read it. It's left as open ended as I imagine a post-apocalyptic world would be. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this. It didn't quite feel like my version of a five star book, but I understand anyone who marks it that way. I'm off to mark Ms. Summers' other books as to-read. The thing no one tells you about surviving, about the mere act of holding out, is how many hours are nothing because nothing happens. They also don't tell you about how you can share you deepest secrets with someone, kiss them, and the next hour it's like there's nothing between you because not everything can mean something all the time or you'd be crushed under the weight of it.