The Last Town — Blake Crouch

‘Pines’ and ‘Wayward’ were brilliant, and so i dove straight into this finale to the trilogy without pausing for air.

It’s been a while since i’ve been treated to such unputdownable books, and to have 3 of them in a trilogy is wonderful.

As with the other two books, great writing, great characters and great all-around story telling.

And what a great ending.   Although, for me, i feel it would have been a tiny bit slightly better without the Epilogue — it wouldn’t be a good review without some negative criticism, now would it?

I am most certainly going to be reading more from Blake in the future.

I’m now a fanboy.

Blake’s Page

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Wayward — Blake Crouch

‘Pines’ was a really good read, and ‘Wayward’ did not disappoint in any way either.

I found both books totally unputdownable, any spare moment my head would be glued to my Kindle reading.

The story keeps on having more layers and twists added to it as more information from the time before suspension is revealed — all to be played out in Wayward Pines.   And the characters just get better the more we learn about them as Blake artfully drip feeds the occasional back story snippet from their previous lives.

Full on story telling from a full on story teller.

And now it’s straight into ‘The Last Town’ for the finale.

Blake’s Page

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Pines — Blake Crouch

I started to watch the TV series a couple of years ago, just because Juliette Lewis was in it.   And then they had the utter gall to kill her off in the third episode.   WTF!!!   So i binned watching the TV version and decided to read the books instead.

So how was the book?   Awesome!

I was very surprised to see this listed as ‘horror’ in Amazon.   I would definitely put this in dystopian sci-fi, i didn’t notice any horror, just the normal dystopian sci-fi kind of stuff.

I’ve previously read Blake’s book, ‘Dark Matter’, which was exceptionally well written and Pines is just as good.   Blake does a fantastic job of putting his protagonists into some really mind bending, disturbing situations and putting the reader well and truly into the protagonist’s mind.

All in all, a great start to this trilogy and i’m diving straight into book 2, ‘Wayward’, very optimistic for more of Blake’s style of writing — i’m becoming a big fan.

Blake’s Page

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The Vernal Memory — J. N. Chaney

I was hoping for a bit more from this last book in this very enjoyable series.   It was still very enjoyable, fast flowing, full of action and everything the first three books were, that’s not the problem.   The problem is that throughout the previous books it’s felt like we’ve been thrown a trail of breadcrumbs concerning lots of things, and i started reading this book thinking that that trail would have lead to somewhere.   Sadly, someone seems to have run out of breadcrumbs.

Previously we were told that the Variant came from a hole that was drilled into the ground, which sounded like someone was covering something up.   Like a hole in the ground would have enough gas to destroy a whole planet plus one more when it leaked through a worm hole.   It didn’t seem plausible for all this gas that has flooded two whole atmospheres to come from a hole drilled into the ground.   But that’s all that’s said about it in the whole series — nothing more.   No further explanation is given.

I was also hoping to have explained to me why the people of Everlasting can’t breathe Variant but the rest of the people on the planet can.

Then there’s Garden.   Who seem to have been around quite some time before the humans arrived, yet their sole purpose seems to have been to stop Gel from his master plan to invade Earth with genetically modified people from Everlasting — genetically modified with Earth’s help.   So no real explanation as to what has been going on in Everlasting before the humans arrived to have caused the insurrection was given.

And there’s other little picky things that just made this feel like a ‘quickly wrap the series up and move on and not get too deep about anything’ kind of book.

But, as i said at the beginning, it’s still an enjoyable read, but i’m just left with the feeling that it could have been so much more.

All in all, a good series, good writing, great characters, fast flowing pace throughout, just slightly lacking at the end.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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Hope Everlasting — J. N. Chaney

The third book of this, so far, very enjoyable tetralogy.

We left book two after the story split into two stories on two worlds, Earth and Kant, and enter book three where the story moves onto Kant almost in its entirety.

One would have expected a little slowing down in the story by now, but no, in fact the story starts going more, especially towards the last quarter of this book.

More characters are added to the cast, more ingredients are stirred to the mix, more clues are added to the puzzle, but still very little is being revealed as to what is really going on.   And it works really well, you just want more of it.

And so wanting more i dive straight into the fourth and final book, where, hopefully, all will be revealed and we will find all the answers to this puzzle.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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Transient Echoes — J. N. Chaney

I really enjoyed book one of this tetralogy, so i dived straight into book two, and really enjoyed this as well.

Not as flowing as the first book as its essentially two separate stories set on two separate worlds, but it still flows as well as it can be.

As with the first book, there’s no words wasted on pointlessness.   Everything keeps the story moving forward, which is what we like.

More clues are added to the puzzle of what caused the Variant in the first place, yet i’m not left hoping for the answer any time soon as i’m quite enjoying putting the pieces together in my own head.   Yes, it’s definitely one of those, ‘Can-you-guess-yet?’ stories.

And because you’re always eager for more clues to the puzzle you just have to keep reading.   And so it’s straight onto book three.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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The Amber Project — J. N. Chaney

A gas called ‘Variant’ has engulfed the Earth and only a small pocket of humans cling to life in an underground city.   Procreation is strictly controlled, resources are limited, and time is running out to find a solution to humanity’s future as the city is slowly failing from age.

The solution this book deals with is to genetically engineer the children to be able to exist breathing Variant, thus allowing future generations to return to the surface, and this is the story of one of those groups.   And, i have to say, it’s a rather good story too.

It certainly keeps moving along at a good pace as there’s a lot going on in the city with the various competing groups and their agendas.

It’s well written with good characters throughout.

All in all, a very good start to this post apocalyptic, dystopian future, tetralogy — and i’m happily diving straight into the next book for more of it.

J. N. Chaney’s Page

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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? — Philip K. Dick

The book that inspired the film ‘Blade Runner’.

Click here for previous comments on this book.

So my umpteenth time of reading this book, and each time it’s always a little different.   My previous reading covered the ‘what is real’  thing, this time my focus was more on the Mercer thing with the ‘Empathy Box’.   How Philip describes the continuous Sisyphean ritual of the followers of Mercer — which seems to be all of mankind.

The thing with Philip, at least for me, is that he didn’t write anything without a reason to it, and the Mercer thing is a large part of this story.   Why?   What’s the point he’s trying to make, what’s he want us to think about?

I feel that the ‘Empathy Box’ experience would be similar to what Philip experienced with his meth use.   To achieve the creative heights, bringing life, through empathy, to all his characters, that he would have gained using meth, only to crash down to the bottom afterwards with no way back up but to use more meth.

But Philip makes clear that all of mankind are in this ritual.   That of climbing to tops of hills only to find themselves at the bottom again.   And we see it everywhere.   The guy who buys the fast car, but once he’s got it he’s just as unhappy as he ever was and now wants a faster car, or a yacht, or some other symbol of wealth to show to the rest of mankind.

And yet again, even in the ‘Empathy Box’, Philip brings us back to the main point of the story that i mentioned in my previous comments: that of what is real.   Everyone is so convinced that the ‘Empathy Box’ gives them a real genuine experience with Mercer, only at the end to be told that its all a hoax.   But people won’t believe that its a hoax because they’ve invested too much into it and their lives are shaped by it, they’ve become addicted and to quit now would only leave them at the bottom of the hill with no way — that they know of — of getting back up the hill again without Mercer.

And so it was for Philip and his drug use.   He was caught in the addiction and knew only how to create from within it.   To quit his only known means to creativity, even when he realises that it’s all a hoax and none of it is really true, or real, is a step he couldn’t take.

So that’s my take on this reading.   There’s definitely a lot of food for thought in the ‘Empathy Box’ for all of us.   Even if it’s just that morning coffee, you’re still a drug addict who can’t function without your cup of ‘Empathy Box’.   But what you’re experiencing after drinking it cannot ever be real.   Life becomes a corruption experienced through the over stimulated brain cells of a caffeine addict.   But you need that coffee to climb your hill because you know of no other way — you have to keep up and share with everyone else, you all need to grab onto the handles of your morning coffee cups else you can’t be part of society, a society that is as sick, unwell and addicted to climbing that hill as you are.   And even though there is no hill to climb, you all create one from your collective experience, it must be real if everyone’s doing it, right?

Philip’s Page

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The Lock In – Colby R. Rice

The third book of this enthralling series is just as good as the first two.

‘The Lock In’ continues where ‘The Taken’ left off.   Ezekiel has decided which side she needs to be on, but the problem with that idea is that she soon begins to realise that they might have different plans for her, ones that don’t include her being on their side.

So Ezekiel finds herself running on the streets again, but after the bombings everything has changed.   Faust makes an appearance with his minions the Ninkashi, who are all very hungry, and much mayhem, gore and death ensues as more of the story and characters are slowly revealed to us.   And that’s what makes these books so good: they are incredibly action packed, fast paced books, dark and not so pleasant, which contrasts so well with story and character backgrounds — that reveal more of the plot — getting drip fed slowly throughout that action.   So even after 3 books, i’m still not sure what’s really going on, but it really doesn’t matter, because to get here has been an awesome ride.   The destination is somewhere ahead, who cares where, the journey is more than good enough.

There simply isn’t any downtime in these books.   Find a comfy chair or bed and start reading, you may be there for a while.

Colby’s Page

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