How do I even begin?
I picked up this book primarily because I'd seen mention of it several times - it seemed popular, so I thought it would be a good idea to give it a read so I could stay abreast of recent trends.
My first impression of the book and its opening chapters were not good. The narrator spends several pages griping about his existential crisis, the energy crisis, his identity crisis, and how living in his world more or less sucks super hardcore.
This set me up to dislike the book in general, but as I mentioned in another blog post, I didn't like the way I had jumped to conclusions over Maze Runner and decided to give this book at least 5 chapters to win me over.
By the end of Day 1, I was 6 chapters in and starting to get invested in the characters. During Day 2, I made it to chapter 14 and was actually very interested in how this was going to play out. I finished the book on Day 4 (that should give you a general idea of how much I ended up liking the book) and am considering just keeping it so I can reread it another time.
For a book whose utterly depressing and insulting introduction turned me off so quickly, that's pretty well done.
So, there are a couple things that really bothered me about this book, and there are a couple things I really liked. Here's the skinny.
This book is stuffed with profanity and is written from a worldview that I don't agree with. The narrator states plainly in the first chapter that belief in God, heaven, purpose, etc. is stupid and pointless, and goes on to say that humans have wrecked the earth, life sucks, you're doomed, and good luck.
On the other hand, the characters are deep and dynamic, the setting is vivid and real, and the issues presented in the plot are some that we in the modern world can associate with: energy shortages, declining resources, overpopulation, unemployment, and the elevation of a virtual reality over the real one we live in.
This is, in every sense, a true Sci-Fi story, in that it takes the problems the author sees in today's world and extends them out to an extreme to demonstrate what might happen if we don't act to amend the problem now. Couple that with the character development arc that takes place in the narrator, Wade, and you get something truly powerful. The story of a real person dealing with real problems.
I haven't yet watched the movie, but I hear that it holds to the same messages with a slightly altered story to better fit the new medium, which I approve of heartily. I plan to see the movie at some point in the near future.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, but I would warn the reader to keep in mind what worldview the story is told from. It would be easy to not think about it and absorb parts of it without thinking about the paradigm shift you're putting yourself through.
That's all for this week. InkFire out.