Posts Tagged ‘darker tone’

Catching Fire

July 23, 2012

Author:  Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire

Genre:  Adventure, Science Fiction

Publication Date:  2009

Number of Pages:  391

Geographical Setting:  Panem (North America in the future)

Time Period:  Post-apocalyptic

Series (If applicable):  The Hunger Games

Plot Summary:  In book two of The Hunger Games trilogy, the story of Katniss Everdeen is continued.  By surviving the games with Peeta Mellark in book one, she has unwittingly started stirring rebellion among the districts.  The evil President Snow is out to get her and his forces are ready to staunch the rebellion.  The lengths he goes in order to stop her and make them an example to the districts are horrifying and surprising.  When they are forced back into the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta must reach deep inside themselves and band together with the other contestants in a dramatic struggle for survival.

Subject Headings: Insurgency- Fiction, Survival- Fiction, Television programs- Fiction, Interpersonal relations- Fiction, Contests- Fiction, Dystopia- Fiction

Appeal:  breakneck pacing, detailed, dramatic, intriguing secondary characters, vivid, well drawn characters, action oriented, violent, open-ended, thought-provoking, bleak, darker tone, detailed setting, suspenseful, candid

3 terms that best describe this book:  action oriented, intriguing characters, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

The Tube Has Spoken:  Reality TV and History- edited by Julie Ann Tadeo and Ken Dvorak

The Tube Has Spoken provides an analysis of the growing phenomenon of reality TV, its evolution as a genre, and how it has been shaped by cultural history. Readers who enjoyed reading about the broadcasting of the Hunger Games, will like this look at reality television today.

Little Green: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution– Chun Yu

In China in 1966, Chun Yu was born as the Great Cultural Revolution began under Chairman Mao. Here, in verse, she recalls her childhood as a witness to a country in turmoil and struggle.  Readers interested in true stories of political oppression and revolution will enjoy this poignant memoir.

Democracy Incorporated:  Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism– Sheldon S. Wolin

This book is critical analysis of modern-day urban America, which Wolin claims is politically uninterested and submissive, much like the residents of the Capitol in Catching Fire are submissive and agree with whatever President Snow says.  A thought provoking read for those interested in government and democracy.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Uglies- Scott Westerfield

Tally Youngblood, an Ugly, is excited to turn 16 so she can have the operation everyone gets to turn Pretty. A few months before her birthday though, Tally meets Shay who challenges some of her ideas about being Pretty. When Shay runs away before her operation, the authorities get a hold of Tally and tell her that she must locate Shay and give up their group or else she will not be able to turn Pretty. Tally finds the Smoke, but discovers it’s not so bad and that there are some sinister things going on back in Pretty Town.  Readers of post-apocalyptic adventure will appreciate this fast-paced, suspenseful novel and it’s proceeding books in the series.

The Wind-Up Girl- Paolo Bacigalupi

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen’s Calorie Man in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, Anderson combs Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to reap the bounty of history’s lost calories. There, he encounters Emiko. Emiko is the Windup Girl, a strange and beautiful creature programmed to satisfy the decadent whims of a Kyoto businessman, but now abandoned to the streets of Bangkok.  Like Catching Fire, this book paints a bleak future of a dystopian world that will have readers racing through it.

The Alchemy of Stone– Ekaterina Sedia

Mattie, an intelligent automaton skilled in the use of alchemy, finds herself caught in the middle of a conflict between gargoyles, the Mechanics, and the Alchemists. With the old order quickly giving way to the new, Mattie discovers powerful and dangerous secrets. However, this doesn’t sit well with Loharri, the Mechanic who created Mattie and still has the key to her heart.  Readers who appreciate the conflicted romance and adventure of Catching Fire will enjoy this book.

Name:  Becky Ozinga

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

March 21, 2012

Author: Philip K. Dick

Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1968

Number of pages: 244

Geographical Setting: San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA

Time Period: 2021 A.D.

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: In the year 2021, two of the few human beings left on earth struggle to find peace, belonging, and satisfying relationships. Rick Deckard, bounty hunter, and John Isidore, a “special” human being, are fervently seeking the aforementioned human needs. Deckard and Isidore both live and work in San Francisco. 2021, in Dick’s text, is a place devoid of most life forms, and covered with dust and mounds of useless items. Deckard is a bounty hunter of androids – machines that most convincingly pose as true humans. In Dick’s science fiction classic, the lines become effectively blurred between the real and true, and the unreal or machine. Obviously, life as we know it is much altered. Deckard seeks to destroy androids, while Isidore is seeking to protect them. In the end, the reader may question who or what he or she is capable of truly loving and why.

Subject Headings: San Francisco, CA – future; Seattle, WA – future; androids; robots; love; relationships; extinction; Planets – Mars; bounty hunters

Appeal: compelling, engrossing, multiple points of view, introspective, eccentric, layered, plot twists, thought-provoking, bleak, darker (tone), philosophical, suspenseful, complex, conversational

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: engrossing, introspective, thought-provoking

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Planets by Dava Sobel – Sobel has created a poetic view of all of the planets in this book as she discusses their individual histories. She also masterfully weaves the subjects of art, music, history, poetry and more into their past and present “lives” as well. Readers will especially enjoy Sobel’s stories of Mars and science fiction’s writers regarding life on the planet.

Under a green sky: global warming, the mass extinctions of the past and what they can tell us about our future by Peter Douglas Ward – This scientific text discusses extinctions of creatures of the distant and recent past and what will happen if our climate continues to change as it has already been. Ward, a NASA astrobiologist, presents us with a factual account of one of nature’s most devastating patterns.

We, robot: Skywalker’s hand, blade runners, Iron Man, slutbots, and how fiction became fact by Mark Stephen Meadows – Meadow’s compares fact with fiction when it comes to robots in today’s world. He draws very detailed connections between what the science fiction visionaries of the past thought would become of robots today, and how far they have come in actuality. The results may or may not be shocking, but will most definitely interest many science fiction aficionados.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Dead Iron: The Age of Steam by Devon Monk – Bounty Hunter Cedar Hunt lives in Monk’s view of a different America – it is an America that is wholly gritty and darkly apocalyptic. Hunt can save his long lost brother if only he can locate the Holder, a mysterious mechanical device that is currently being held captive somewhere on earth.

Foundation’s Triumph by David Brin – Brin’s story of two worlds in collision is also the third in a series of novels written by different well-known science fiction authors. This book, however, depicts the battles of two groups of robots, which ultimately also threatens to destroy human civilization as they know it.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov – Asimov, one of science fiction’s most renowned authors, has here created a compilation of nine stories depicting robots in their varied roles/forms. Readers will enjoy the author’s imaginative extension and explanation of the “jobs” that robots can fathomably perform in their personal “lifetimes.”

Name: Melissa

The Midnight Club

February 22, 2012

Author: James Patterson

Title: The Midnight Club

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 1989

Number of Pages: 349

Geographical Setting: New York City; New York State – various cities; Atlantic City, NJ

Time Period: Present day

Series (If applicable): N/A.

Plot Summary: John Stefanovitch, a New York detective, has been stalking a ruthless murderer and crime lord, nicknamed Grave Dancer, for the past two years. When a sudden violent catastrophe changes Stefanovitch’s life forever, he vows to never give up on the search for the Grave Dancer, no matter the personal consequences. Full of twists and turns and told from multiple points of view, this fast-paced novel portrays Stefanovitch’s (and others) search for a new serial killer, one who has been murdering major crime head’s simultaneously throughout the world. Desperately trying to find out who the mysterious new criminal mastermind is, as well as put his own life back together, John ultimately must also save an innocent journalist and her son from persecution as well.

Subject Headings: New York City, police officers, serial killers, violence – physical and sexual, psychopaths, drug lords, detectives, prostitution

Appeal: fast-paced, intriguing secondary (characters), multiple points of view, action-oriented, complex, explicit violence, plot twists, strong language, bittersweet, darker (tone), hard-edged, menacing, dramatic

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: fast-paced, multiple points of view, menacing

Similar Authors and Works (Why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

City Lights: Stories About New York by Dan Barry – Barry takes readers on a poetic and bittersweet journey through the city of New York, but instead of gathering stories from mainstream New Yorkers he instead writes about those whose lives often get overlooked in everyday activities therein.

Drug lords: the rise and fall of the Cali Cartel, the richest, most powerful crime syndicate in history by Ron Chepesiuk – This work of non-fiction chronicles the history and ultimate demise of the Cali Cartel, an international drug “business.” Fast-paced and full of gritty details, this book also demonstrates the power and wit of collaborative law enforcement around the globe.

Serial Killers and Mass Murderers: Profiles of the World’s Most Barbaric Criminals by Nigel Cawthorne – Cawthorne takes us into the lives and crimes of many of the world’s most known serial killers. Discussed therein are the murderers’ childhoods and suspected motivations.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Hardcase by Dan Simmons – After a New York detective Joe Kurtz is released from jail for the injury of a villain, he takes on many other criminals – national and international, and also those involved in organized crime. Partially motivated by revenge because of the murder of his girlfriend, Kurtz is a well-trained and skillful killer. The pace is breakneck and will keep readers guessing.

Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell – Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta investigates several unusual murders (one of them was someone relatively close to her) and finds a highly-dangerous extremist religious group that may be to blame. With the help of the FBI, Scarpetta, a familiar character for many readers (series character), takes us on a detailed and graphic investigation into this religious cult in order to halt them before they ruthlessly devour more victims.

Love you more: a detective D.D. Warren novel by Lisa Gardner (Release Date: 2/28/12) – When a state trooper’s husband is found dead and daughter goes missing, D.D. Warren and Bobby Dodge have quite a mystery on their hands. Told from multiple points of view, Garner’s book will have readers questioning whom they can truly trust.

Name: Melissa

Nobody Runs Forever

October 7, 2009

October 7, 2009 by cassie67

Author:  Richard Stark

Title: Nobody Runs Forever

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 304

Geographical Setting:  Eastern United States

Time Period:  Contemporary

Series (If applicable): Parker series

Plot Summary: Parker, a hard-as-nails career criminal, is at a poker game when one of the men is discovered to be wearing a wire. After the man’s body is disposed of, Parker is contacted by one of the men at the game about a bank heist he wants to do, robbing armored cars carrying money from one bank to another. The other players in the heist are introduced, and the details of the heist are revealed, although some of the people involved don’t know what they’re doing and keep changing the plan. A bounty hunter shows up looking for the man killed at the poker game, a police detective starts nosing around, and the robbers have to be quick on their feet to get the goods and stay away from the law.

Subject Headings: Adventure/thriller, Crime & mystery, Bank robberies, Criminals, American Mystery & Suspense Fiction, Mystery/Suspense, Mystery & Detective,

Parker (Fictitious character), Suspense fiction, Crime & Thriller

Appeal: This edgy, compelling look at the inside workings of a bank heist has a complex plot line with multiple points of view. The writing style is stark and unembellished, and the explicit violence and language add to the sense of these characters as shadowy, menacing figures with their own immoral code. The story starts out action driven and plot driven, but it takes a few detours to flesh out some of the characters’ motivations.

3 Terms that best describes this book: Gritty, menacing, plot-oriented

Similar Authors and Works (criminals, heists and plans gone wrong):

Killing Castro by Lawrence Block (killers brought together to assassinate Castro, showing their motivations and outcomes)

The Asphalt Jungle by W. R. Burnett (a jewelry heist is planned by a group of seedy con-artists, written in gritty style)

Damaged Goods by Roland Jefferson (a convicted bank robber gets a gritty group together to pull off a bank heist)

3 Non-fiction Works (bank robberies and heists gone wrong)

Heist! The $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft by Jeff Diamant presents what happened from the point of view of a bank employee and the FBI investigation.

Robbing Banks, An American History, 1831-1999 by L.R. Kirchner gives the inside scoop on bank heists, including details of criminal incompetence and ingenuity.

Ballad of the whiskey robber: a true story of bank heists, ice hockey, Transylvanian pelt smuggling, moonlighting detectives, and broken hearts by Julian Rubenstein had to be included just for the title, but it also traces the story of a Hungarian bank robber and what he did to stay alive.

Name: Christine E.

Tags: Compelling, deliberate, engrossing, distant, evocative, intriguing secondary (characters), multiple points of view, vivid, action oriented, character centered, complex, explicit violence, multiple plotlines, open-ended, plot centered, plot twists, strong language, tragic, contemporary, darker (tone), details of bank heists, edgy, gritty, hard edged, menacing, stark, unembellished

Posted in Thriller