I decided to review the #COYER book club reads together in one post. These are our June 2022 picks – SciFi month. SciFi isn’t my favorite genre but both of these worked for me – after a shaky start!Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Narrator: Olivia Taylor Dudley, Lincoln Hoppe, Johnathan McClain, Kimberly Farr, Donnabella Mortel, Matthew Frow, Ryan Gesell, Sile Bermingham, Beata Pozniak, Jolene Kim, Emma Bering
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Published by Listening Library (Audio) on October 20, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours 40 minutes
Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the worst thing she'd ever been through. That was before her planet was invaded. Now, with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating craft, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But the warship could be the least of their problems. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their biggest threat; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady plunges into a web of data hacking to get to the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: Ezra.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
I’ve had this book/series on my TBR list for years, but with it being Sci-Fi it’s never been at the top of my list. When it was selected for COYER book club, I decided to give it a go. I know it’s a very popular series, but for me it was just okay and I don’t plan on reading more.
To be honest, I almost DNF’d Illuminae. There were a few reasons — I had a lot going on in my personal life and was perhaps not in the best place to be reading this book, I wasn’t drawn to the VERY YA characters, and the plot initially lost me. I usually make my decision to DNF a book at the 20% mark, but I gave it a little longer because of my mindset and I am glad that I did. I ultimately found that last 25% ish very engaging and I can see why the series is so popular. Just a very slow start.
I think it was at about 35% that I got really interested. The artificial intelligence made things interesting and the illness presented an unexpected complication/twist. I really never did get to where I truly cared about any of the characters though. Kady was somehow simultaneously smart and dumb, selfless and selfish. So yeah, a YA character.
The way the story was told – though snippets of an investigation looking back at what happened – probably had a lot to do with how I felt disconnected and impersonal. I can see why it was done that way and it had definite advantages, but it did keep me from really connecting with the characters, I think.
The narration possibly added to that disconnect. It is one of those performances that has tons of narrators playing different roles, complete with sound effects and everything – a true theatrical experience. And it was definitely a solid performance, something I typically consider to be a treat. But in this instance, I think that it added to the feeling of disconnect. I never forgot that I was listening to recordings of events and stayed disconnected from the characters. I don’t know, I think everyone delivered a solid performance and if this is your kind of book I think I would definitely recommend the narration.
All that said, if the story were continuing in the next book I’d probably read on. But it appears to be rehashing of events from different POVs and I’m really not interested in revisiting this story. So that will be it for me.
EDIT: After bookclub I found out from Lillian that the next two books are not actually rehashings. So I might be interested. Maybe. We’ll see.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Narrator: Carey Mulligan
Published by Penguin Audio on September 29, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 8 hours 51 minutes
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
I feel like everyone needs to know before starting this book that the first 20% is VERY depressing. Matt Haig takes us to a very dark place where the main character is ready to end her life… so it’s depressing. And then it gets really truly good. So don’t give up on it too fast.
I really enjoyed going with Nora on her journey of self-discovery. She starts off in a truly dark place where she feels that her life is at an absolute dead end and thanks to the journey she finds life’s potential. Along the way Nora learns so many valuable lessons, such as that we have to really live for ourselves not others, that sometimes that decision you regret wouldn’t have been everything you dreamed it to be, that sometimes you just need to give it some time and things will look entirely different.
All these lessons are wrapped up in a really neat world of the Midnight Library – a library full of all the infinite different paths Nora’s life could have taken with every single decision she could have made differently. Such a neat concept and really well executed.
I listened to The Midnight Library, narrated by Carey Mulligan. I’m pretty sure this is the first book I’ve read a book Carey has narrated but I would happily listen again. It was a solid performance and the characters were delivered really well. I listened comfortably at my normal 2x speed.
Berls is reviewing June's #COYER book club reads. Have you read these Sci-Fi picks? Click To Tweet