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Author: Dean Carnby
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Action/Suspense
Book Rating: 7
Personal Rating: 7
I might have to make this a catch phrase but again I’ll have to say this book had all the makings of awesome except it didn’t quite hit the mark. It started of with an action sequence that was cool, but left me feeling sorta like “huh?”. Then the set up was filled with all this information that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. Nothing was ever really fully explained either by exposition or by character dialogue. Too much was given in a “this is how it is and roll with it” kind of way which left my hand swimming in a sea of rules I was just expected to go along for the ride with and not care they were not explained. This was pretty much where my mind floated for about 40% of this book.
The characters where well written. The written style in general was good. And the humor was well hilarious. But I could never quite escape the general air of confusion. How do the plants work as weapons, why does it rely on some sort of color system, why do they drain color from their surroundings and where specifically is this border they are always talking of going beyond. And how did the world become contaminated. Usually in a contaminated world the author never shies away from coming up with some clever way for their contamination to have happened in the future realm. This novel is devoid of such an explanation. Contamination happened and that’s just enough.
Plants as weapons. Can you say ingenious? Regardless of the fact that I have no idea still of how they work. Still don’t know if ‘wasted time’ is the equivalent of memories lost from using plants. And most importantly if they are only weapons when activated, I still have no clue how or why eating normal fruits and veggies is the root of all things bad. Now that really needed to be explained. Still there is no denying the sheer awesomeness and imagination in this plants as weapons stuff. It’s a delight to read but just slightly annoying because you’re never told just exactly how they work. This book does a more than excellent job of that old adage ‘show don’t tell’ however there are some things showing just can’t do like explain the rules of why plants drain color from the natural world, why they take away memories. And more importantly when in all this before and after contamination did normal food become weapons of mass destruction in the first place. How did plants become powerful enough to eliminate the need for traditional weapons? Just too many things that were tried to be explained by showing but ultimately needed to be told.
Also, when it comes to plant use, we know the difference between a handgun and missile. Humans like to know what their weapons do how powerful they are on their own and in comparison to other weapons/fruits and veggies. The fact that even the powers in charge (polygons/triangles, octagons and the like) aren’t even entirely sure of what all the foods can do just adds to the over all confusion.
The opening character Amanda. Well I’m sure there's something I should know about her. Really I am. But with all this memory loss se just seemed like a typical flighty girl who had no firm grip on reality who’s only real goal was to get out beyond the boundary but she didn’t know why. Even at the end when we were told briefly what happened in her past the dots still didn’t add up. And why oh why is it a therapist's job to be unhappy and to ensure that her clients commit suicide within a very short period of their visits. Just another thing I’m supposed to take for granted without information.
Pearson was well written. A guy living a mundane life who gets plucked out of obscurity into this wild world of plant users, espionage and worlds with in worlds. Suffering from dreams of a shattered glass version of his city, after meeting Amanda he finds out that she has the same visions, only that she is awake, I did mention she’s missing a few screws. In any case he ends up being on the run and forced to leave his perfect existence behind. That and the fact that his apartment building seems to have vanished without a trace. Like I said in the imaginative part this book wins and fires on all cylinders.
Kathleen. Well she is just way to quirky to not love. Her introduction trying to find an intern, looking for people to sabotage her company was the only thing I clearly got, I didn’t understand her ‘testing’ mostly because I was just as clueless about colors and plants as the interviewees. Still it was brilliantly written and it set the pace for the book. Why does she want to sabotage the company? What is so wrong with conformity that she is against it? Why is she even at the job when they could be so easily replaced by plants? (the useless kind like a potted fern or something) That was a particular funny bit especially Pearson’s complete disbelief it could be true.
All of that to say her sheer enthusiasm for the course of destroying conformity let you know there is some serious behind the scenes action going on here. The kind that can only come crashing down in a rather epic ending.
Lastly, Kathleen’s assistant in the resistance to conformity Helene. She’s just a bubbly bit of fresh air. Hilariously perky and has a few secrets of her own that make me love her. In fact each of her secrets which are plot spoilers so I can’t mention them, are equally awesome. The dots that do connect in this novel are the ones that save it, because even with all of the unexplained details, rules and just craziness in general, there’s no shaking the plot is brilliant. And Helene and all that is revealed to be her, is by far the best thing going in this zany action packed novel of deadly plants.
And my biggest issue and hopefully last bit of hate. Is this whole safety nonsense. I just don’t get it. Why is a ladder so important? I don’t understand any of the things that are considered safety hazards and why they are so, so, so important. Safety desks and all sorts of things that are about codes and all this boring stuff that even the people ensuring the safety measures are loathe to carry out. I just don’t and didn’t get it right down to the last page. I know almost all literary people are going to scream out ‘no he didn’t” after this next sentence but here it goes. I desperately needed some exposition of some kind either from a character or the narrator. This book is way too wacky, in a good way, I did love it, for me to just take it at face value. Sometimes show and not tell is just not enough. People need to be told.
If it wasn’t for the fact that the characters were interesting I would’ve been thoroughly frustrated with almost the first half of this book. It was just way too slow in introducing what world I was in, but without the explanation. It set up the zaniness of it all but with out the explanation I felt like I was just thrown into crazy town and rules… who cares about the rules. Activated plants a weapons, they suck out memories when you use them. Safety is more important than actual security and ladders are really really important. The world is contaminated, therapist are evil and actually promote death and not help and… Oh whatever lets just say they “why” of it all isn’t important only the events themselves are leaving me grasping at the authors rather brilliant writing and ability to keep the important plot, the main “why” that drives the book just teetering on the edge of, ‘I must know what’s going on’ to keep me reading. That was the good thing.
Action. Oh yeah just a delight to read. Rioting. Oh yeah. Duels to the death. Yes yes yes. Man this book had so much going for it writing wise it’s a shame it was a bit of a confusing mess throughout. The humor was spot on. And from the middle to the end of this book it was a total I cannot put this book down read. Just brilliant. I could finally almost entirely ignore that the confusion and just dive into a perfectly paced on edge action paced novel. It was just pure awesomesauce.
The imagination of this author is a force to be reckoned with. This world could use a bit more foundation to ground it firmly in a readers mind, but the fact that it is created at all speaks volumes. I just couldn’t help but smile all through the second half of this book. Once the pacing seemed to hit its stride, everything got better. The characters, the setting, the reveals with their perfect timing. It was just a delight to read. If the book read like this in it’s entirety, it would be a perfect ten.
I would definitely recommend this book. For anyone who like a bit of action and just something new fresh imaginative and just fun to read. Out with the old, and in with the flying pineapples. Really I need to get me one of those. Even now I’m grinning ear-to-ear thinking about the flying pineapples vicious potatoes and crosses that take you between the two worlds. And I could definitely use an energizing walnut. Well without the whole loss of memory side affects of plant eating. All in all this author is definitely not short on the creative side of what it takes to come up with something completely different. And this book fits the bill with a definite virtual High Five from me. Can’t wait for my activated pineapple to zoom me over to the next installment of this incredibly delicious world. I can only hope I don’t sacrifice the memory of the first book after I chew on this dried apricot I have stashed away.