What I've Been Reading, October 2020 Edition II
Lately, I'm up to my elbows in YA fantasy and sci-fi. I've also thrown in some popular science for good measure.
Presumably, this YA fantasy is the first novel published by V.E. Schwab. As such, it's not at the level of her later work. The plot is straightforward to the point of being extremely predictable. The discerning reader won't find any surprising twists to appreciate. That is not to say that this isn't a good book. In fact, it's quite good. Many of the hallmarks that make Schwab's later works so enthralling are readily evident. For example, despite telling a familiar and predictable story, the author still manages to infuse a sense of mystery into the tale. Also, I think the target audience, which I am guessing for this novel falls within the age range of twelve to sixteen, will find this story very enthralling indeed.
I had a hard time getting into this book. At first, it just seemed too familiar to other YA fare and too Hollywood. By Hollywood, I mean that the novel has imagery that seems taken directly from any number of big-budget films. Ultimately though, I enjoyed the novel quite a bit. The characters are familiar yet solid, as is the post-apocalyptic world.
Two things won me over. First, near the final third or so of the novel, the protagonist's ethnic identity comes to the forefront via her relationship with her mother and the food they enjoy. I think this is exceptionally well done. Secondly, despite the plot being largely predictable, Lu does pull off several nice twists near the end. I will read more in the series as the books come out. I can't say I wait anxiously for them, but I am invested enough in the story's characters to want to know how it ends.
Origins by Neil Degrassi Tyson
This is the third book I've read by Tyson. It's great. Plenty of fertilizer for science-fiction story ideas.