Sunday, March 31, 2013

Prophet of Bones - Ted Kosmatka

Paul Carlsson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundation of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye and nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind but can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle that seems to threaten the fabric of society, but the world's governments and Martial Johansson, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop and nothing to silence him.
This 'thriller' had no thrill!

It simply plodded along, occasionally going for a brief sprint before returning to its trudging pace.

I thought this book would be fascinating, but it often lost me in its technical jargon. I often felt like I needed some form of forensic/biology degree just to get through various passages.

Not even the characters could redeem this book. They were all painfully flat and superficial, and the only interesting aspects that they might have possessed were only glanced over and never delved into. The character I was most curious about only had a small part before he was killed and we never got to learn who he was beneath the surface. Disappointing.

I wouldn't recommend reading this book unless you already possess knowledge of DNA analysis and a basic grasp of early hominid types.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Battle Royale - Koushun Takami

Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan - where it became a runaway best seller - Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.
Oh. My. Gosh!

What an ending! I kind of saw it coming, and then I didn't, and then I was completely blindsided!

This book is incredible. Brutal, but incredible. I loved the detail it went into with each death; it truly added to the horror.

Introducing so many characters right off the bat can often cause confusion for readers, especially with such similar names, but Takami handled it perfectly. We spent enough time with each person or group, in their own unique set of circumstances, to be able to easily discern them from their fellow classmates. This made it really easy to follow.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. I just hope you have a strong stomach because mine did churn once or twice.