Rosie’s #Bookreview of #Dystopia REDDER DAYS by Sue Rainsford

Redder DaysRedder Days by Sue Rainsford

3.5 stars

Redder Days is a dystopian tale set in a semi-abandoned commune; teenage twins Anna and Adam remain with ex-commune leader Koan. The commune is in an unknown setting but it is close to the shore and a forest, while much of the ground bubbles with volcanic disturbance.

Anna and Adam prepare for STORM; an end of the world prediction. Each day at dawn and dusk they kneel for devotion and prayer. Then Anna keeps watch through the night and Adam has the day shift. What they fear most is a red disease; something which turns humans and animals into monsters.

The commune was created by a group who wanted to escape this red disease. During the heyday of the commune, Koan’s leadership was strict; women giving birth did so in a farrowing room with only Koan in attendance. He alone controlled the fate of each babe, with those who survived being ‘educated’ by Koan; we learn about this via accounts from the twins.

The chapters go back and forth between Anna and Adam, with some chapters from Koan’s diaries and a sprinkling of others from a former commune inhabitant, Matthew. This is quite a slow gruesome story, with little let up of the pacing, even at the end. It deals with indoctrination, survival and incest. The subject matter is disturbing and the style of the narration added to the overall atmosphere with no light relief, which I found made it hard to read.

The author has also chosen to use an experimental style of prose and it did feel awkward to read. Particularly the over-use of subordinate clauses as well as dialogue with no speech marks. I can understand wanting to make your work different, but it had me re-reading some lines believing I was missing something, which became a distraction from the main narrative. I know there will be a market for this type of writing, but it isn’t for me at this time; experimental styles need a lot of skill to carry off.

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Desc 1

Twins Anna and Adam live in an abandoned commune in a volatile landscape where they prepare for the world-ending event they believe is imminent. Adam keeps watch by day, Anna by night. They meet at dawn and dusk.

Their only companion is Koan, the commune’s former leader, who still exerts a malignant control over their daily rituals. But when one of the previous inhabitants returns, everything Anna and Adam thought they knew to be true is thrown into question.

Dazzling, unsettling and incredibly moving, Redder Days is a stunning exploration of the consequences of corrupted power, the emotional impact of abandonment, and the endurance of humanity in the most desperate of situations.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #SpeculativeFiction TOKYO MAYDAY by Maison Urwin

Today’s team review is from Aidan. He blogs here https://ricketttsblog.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Aidan has been reading Tokyo Mayday by Maison Urwin.

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Maison Urwin’s book takes a novel approach to addressing the increasingly isolationist perspective of England by flipping the problem on its head. Instead of other migrants trying to enter the UK, citizens of the FREW (Federal Republic of England and Wales) are desperately trying to migrate to the economic powerhouses in Asia. It turns an unrelatable situation into a relatable one with great success.

When car manufacturing giant, Matsucorp, decides to close its plants in the FREW due to lack of economic viability, it decides to keep one worker on from each. For Jordan May, this opportunity provides stability in an uncertain time. However, the cost is uprooting his family and bringing them to a new, sometimes hostile climate.

My favourite element of the book was its strong political themes, which were well developed. I really felt as if I had a window into the world of migrants, and the problems they face, ranging from the language barrier to being the target of hate attacks.These themes stayed strong throughout the novel, and gave the book depth.

The plot also held up well, binding the novel together without being over the top. There were plenty of twists, some of which I saw coming, others I didn’t, which continued to drive the book forward. Each of the May’s have their own plotline, which all show different facets of the challenges they face, and are all equally good.

The majority of the important characters are conflicted, and don’t always make the right choices, but are inherently good. The exceptions to this are Matsubara and Struthwin who are morally grey, as they balance their business agenda with human decency. They presented a different perspective on situations that aren’t typically found in books. 

The biggest issue I had with the book was the writing style. It just felt a bit rigid to me, and I thought it threw off the flow of the story a little. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the dialogue either, which often felt unnatural and not different enough between characters, with the exception being Struthwin, who I thought had decent lines. Also, the japanese terms were often not translated. Although this does help put the reader in the May’s shoes, I would have liked a glossary of terms at the end of the book. Throughout the novel, there were also places where the perspective would shift to a different character with little warning. While this was initially off-putting, I grew to quite like this element. 

Overall, I’d give the book a 4.5 out of 7. If you enjoy strong themes presented in a creative way, like I do, I’d easily recommend this book. I thought it was worth it, despite the issues I had with the writing style.

Book description

This is Maison Urwin’s debut novel, which follows the ordeal of a family’s economic migration from the Federal Republic of England & Wales to Tokyo

The power is in the East.

The Federal Republic of England & Wales is in crisis.

Western economic collapse has led to mass economic migration to China, Korea and especially Japan. Jordan May is offered a transfer with Matsucorp and takes wife, Shaylie, and son, Alfie, to a new and bewildering life in the Orient. The book is set in the 2050s when, following the end of capitalism in Europe, the Far East is now considered the developed world. Society in the West has fallen apart and the East Asia is the destination of choice for economic migrants who are prepared to take risks and endure prejudice in the search for a better life.

The May family emigrates from Harwich, England to Japan and husband, wife and son battle discrimination, are embroiled in political activism and forbidden romance, are targeted in racist attacks and are endangered by unwitting gangland involvement. As the climax approaches in a violent political demonstration on the streets of Tokyo, we begin to discover the extent to which a mysterious, wiry Englishman has manipulated each of them.

This work of speculative fiction sees the Mays thrust into industrial politics, illegal unionisation and hostessing. Teenage love and the organisation of a mass demonstration take place against a backdrop of racial tension and the rise of the far right.

Could Shaylie’s life be in danger? Is the mafia involved?

And just who is the Machaivellian Stepson Struthwin who sits on Matsucorp’s board and has such a hold over the lives of those around him?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #SpeculativeFiction TOKYO MAYDAY by Maison Urwin

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Tokyo Mayday by Maison Urwin

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4.5*
The human race.  Migrating here and there for centuries, back and forth, whilst objecting to the influx of others.  Like migrating birds.  Like herded sheep.’


I love to read other authors’ view of the near future, and Tokyo Mayday is a clever and inventive slant on the subject.  In the 2050s, climate change, political/civil unrest and technological advancement have turned the US and the European states into third world countries, with poverty and lack of jobs.  The world’s greatest superpower is now Japan.  Outside the cities, economic migrants are kept in holding camps, hoping for work, but now many of these migrants are white Europeans and Americans.  

Jordan May and his family are offered the chance to live in Tokyo, which means a good job for Jordan at Matsucorp, the top car manufacturer in the world.  When they arrive there from England, however, they discover that all is far from utopian.  They are to live in a shared house, and both Jordan and his son, Alfie, immediately become aware of the opposing factions in the country – the far right who want to keep Japan for the Japanese, headed by the mysterious Yamada, and the movement for better treatment of migrants, more equal wages and fairer treatment for all, which grows in popularity amongst idealistic young people and the low-paid workers from the West.  As a skilled worker, Jordan sits between the two.


Manipulating all players is the mysterious Stepson Struthwin, advisor to the owner of Matsucorp.


It’s clear that the author is well-versed in Japanese culture; the detail provided by his insight is an added point of interest while reading this highly original and probably plausible look at the future.  His writing style is spare, which I liked very much, and the characterisation works well, throughout.  The picky might complain about a certain amount of ‘telling not showing’, but my view is that if it works well, who cares – and in Tokyo Mayday, it does.  


The book held my interest all the way through, with some good twists near the end that I hadn’t anticipated.  No complaints; this is a definite ‘buy it’ recommendation, for anyone who loves this genre as much as I do.

Book description

This is Maison Urwin’s debut novel, which follows the ordeal of a family’s economic migration from the Federal Republic of England & Wales to Tokyo.

The power is in the East.

The Federal Republic of England & Wales is in crisis.

Western economic collapse has led to mass economic migration to China, Korea and especially Japan. Jordan May is offered a transfer with Matsucorp and takes wife, Shaylie, and son, Alfie, to a new and bewildering life in the Orient. The book is set in the 2050s when, following the end of capitalism in Europe, the Far East is now considered the developed world. Society in the West has fallen apart and the East Asia is the destination of choice for economic migrants who are prepared to take risks and endure prejudice in the search for a better life.

The May family emigrates from Harwich, England to Japan and husband, wife and son battle discrimination, are embroiled in political activism and forbidden romance, are targeted in racist attacks and are endangered by unwitting gangland involvement. As the climax approaches in a violent political demonstration on the streets of Tokyo, we begin to discover the extent to which a mysterious, wiry Englishman has manipulated each of them.

This work of speculative fiction sees the Mays thrust into industrial politics, illegal unionisation and hostessing. Teenage love and the organisation of a mass demonstration take place against a backdrop of racial tension and the rise of the far right.

Could Shaylie’s life be in danger? Is the mafia involved?

And just who is the Machaivellian Stepson Struthwin who sits on Matsucorp’s board and has such a hold over the lives of those around him?

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #SundayBlogShare #SciFi

Today’s team review is from Steve,

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Steve has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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October Rain is a short, dystopian, science fiction story, set against the backdrop of a less than perfect Mars colony.

The prologue sets the scene for the theme of the book, briefly describing the utter despair of the narrator. Instantly your curiosity is triggered – how can the rain burn? Why is this person’s heart so broken? And what do they not want to remember?

From Chapter One, the narrative jumps the reader into a life on Mars, told through the eyes of our narrator. With little excess description and a confident pace, we are drawn into this life as the job, family and circumstances lead to an unwanted, if not unexpected conclusion.

I enjoyed meeting the ‘hero’ of October Rain, the author has provided sufficient details for me to empathise with the pressures piled upon this weary individual who struggles to cope. His cynicism and attitude are in keeping with overall theme and add to the overwhelming helplessness experienced by the end.

As with all such dystopian science fiction this book both makes the reader despair for our possible future and rejoice that just maybe our humanity will survive when we eventually leave our planet.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

5 out of 5 stars

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT OY YEW by @anasalote #KidsLit #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Oy Yew by Ana Salote

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Book Review: Oy Yew by Ana Salote

Oy Yew is book I of the Waifs of Duldred Trilogy and was longlisted for the Times/Chicken House prize for children’s fiction. I would have awarded it first place. Occasionally I pick up a YA book to read and the title of this one intrigued me. I discovered it is a terrific read, one I could not put down, and I think anyone from 12 to 100 would love it.

The author has created a totally believable and engrossing dystopian world, one in which goodness blossoms and evil exists but is not spelled out. It begins with a small boy, so small and pale that no one notices him. He lives outside a bakery, living on the wonderful smells of bread and sweets and scraps from garbage. When he is mistakenly nabbed as a Porian – a child discarded from that land and sent by raft to drift to Affland or die on the way – he is brought to a factory to work. When asked his name, his captors say he responds to “Oy, You!” and he is named Oy Yew.

Oy Yew slaves away in the factory along with other waifs, who are fed little and worked hard. He makes his first friend and is enjoying his life for the first time, but one day he is chosen to serve at Duldred Hall. ‘Lay low and grow,’ is the motto of the waifs of Duldred Hall, because if they reach the magical height of 5 thighs 10 oggits, they get to leave their life of drudgery. But their Master, Jeopardine, is determined to feed them little and keep them small.

The manor is populated by all sorts of great characters with names that look familiar but aren’t, and the waifs themselves are given names according to their assigned work. Oy becomes Drains, because he is small and can get into drains and sewers to clean them. There’s Stairs and Ceilings and Peelings, too. The waifs get around to clean, polish, change linens and sheets, etc by a system of small waif tunnels that run between floors and rooms, so they are not seen. When the head cook falls ill, and Molly, her assistant, is unable to make the complicated dishes demanded by Jeopardine for himself and his guests, Oy steps in. It seems he has a real knack for cooking, although where he learned it, no one, not even he, knows.

Even the diseases which strike Master and waif alike are fascinating. Oy is afflicted for a short while by seeing small, incredibly hued fish swimming around in his eyes.

Jeopardine is a collector of bones and will do anything to become the next President of the Grand Society of Ossiquarians. Even though Oy becomes invaluable as a cook, the reader gradually becomes aware that Jeopardine values the bones of Oy even more, and his methods of working the waifs and particularly Oy, become sinister.

There are many mysteries in addition to the fate of the waifs. Who and what is Oy? He is not a Porian but doesn’t know where he came from or who he is, just that he is different. Can the waifs escape? Who can they trust? What will happen as Jeopardine descends into madness?

Oy Yew is a children’s classic for adults, too. It tickles the brain as a lighthearted fairy tale with a murder mystery and an adventure story. This is a book I will definitely read again, and if I could give it ten stars, I would. I can’t wait for the second book in this series.
Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #SciFi #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Shelley, she blogs at http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Shelley has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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5 out of 5 stars.

October Rain is the second book I’ve read by Dylan Morgan, and I found it to be as captivating as the first.  I shall be rushing out to purchase his entire catalogue shortly.

Steele is an assassin for the Martian Interstellar Correction Agency where he is employed to hunt down the names on a hit list.  His ‘work’ is set to a deadline, and once the last name is crossed off that list, Steele and his family will be able to leave and start a new life.

I need to take a moment to appreciate the impressive cover of October Rain.  It’s one of my favourite covers of the year so far.

I liked Steele, he was a vivid character who you could bond with immediately.  Dylan has a knack for creating beautiful relationships between a father and daughter in his books, and October Rain is no exception.  Shauna has a wonderful relationship with her dad, and he is clearly a loving family man to his little girl and wife, Keri.  He keeps his job description to himself and works tirelessly to provide a better life for his family.

The novella is well paced, full of action and incredibly descriptive – something that author, Dylan Morgan does exceptionally well.  My only criticism is that it’s not a 400-page novel – I want more!  I hope this novella is the start of something, and the author writes a sequel.  There are enough threads to pick up the story and run with it.

I read October Rain in one sitting.  It’s explosive and gripping storyline carries you along at breakneck speed, and Dylan’s description of Mars and the remnants of humankind are fabulous.

I would highly recommend this novella.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #SciFi

Today’s second team review is from Bev, she blogs at http://baspicer.blogspot.fr/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Bev has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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The action takes place on Mars, but all is not well with the planet, and only a small percentage of the original Earth survivors remain, awaiting transport to a new home. We are introduced immediately to Steele, ruthless, and a cold fish, except when it comes to his wife and child. His mission to assassinate a list of terrorists provided by the government carries this action thriller along at a cracking pace from the word go.  The author communicates not only the notion of imminent danger at every turn, but also the desperation of a man who longs to spend time with his family and live a normal life. It’s easy to root for Steele as he faces challenges against the odds, encountering a range of adversaries in some of the harshest environments possible.

The only downside? I didn’t like the ending. But endings are so personal, and I’m not going to give away any spoilers here!

Suffice it to say that I read this accomplished novella in a couple of sittings, was never tempted to skip ahead, and would definitely read more if a sequel were in the offing.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s second review is from Teri, she blogs at http://teripolen.com/

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Teri has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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This is the second book I’ve read by Dylan Morgan – the first was a horror novel that grabbed me from the first page and this sci-fi
thriller novella was no different.

The author paints a bleak picture of a dying city and his descriptions of an uninhabitable planet are vivid and creative and made me believe it’s entirely possible to live on Mars.  This story takes off from the first page and is easily read in one sitting – and trust me, that’s a good thing because you won’t be able to put it down.

Initially, Steele appears to be a stone cold hitman without an ounce of compassion – but then we meet his family and learn his wife and
daughter are his whole life.  I really liked Steele and if there was anything about this novella I didn’t enjoy, it was the length.  I’d love to read more about this compelling character and see his story continued.

If you enjoy suspenseful reads that offer unpredictable twists, October Rain is your book – highly recommend!  I received a copy of this novella from Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Cathy has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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October Rain is the story of Steele. He is an exterminator, a bounty hunter eliminating undesirables, employed by the Martian Interstellar Correction Agency of Olympia, capital city of Mars. After five years on a slowly dying planet Steele is more than ready to leave and start a new life with his family. He has one last job to complete, in a specified time frame, before he can even hope to give his wife and daughter a better future. But Steele has no inkling of what was to come.

“Sprawled on my back, I stare through the ceiling vents that reveal a dense sky bloated with volcanic storm clouds.

Shutting my eyes against the downpour, haunting memories swim in the darkness behind my lids, contaminating my soul and twisting my heart until it feels like it will rupture.

I wish I couldn’t remember.

I wish I was dead.”

 

The setting is a distant, dystopian future where Earth is a burned out shell and those who survived have established colonies on other planets in the solar system. Steele knows nothing of Earth other than from the information housed in the Martian Museum of Human History. His ancestors had long since abandoned Earth and Steele was born and brought up on Titan, before coming to Mars.

Steele’s pursuit of his last three targeted criminals takes us from the almost deserted upper reaches of Olympia down to the horrific and deadly tunnels carved, by prisoners, out of the Martian rock below the city.

This is a great example of how believable and well-chosen dialogue between characters can convey details of the story clearly and without being too wordy. The grim environment and the brilliant action scenes are described in vivid, and at the same time, concise detail. The contrast between the atmosphere of hopelessness and decline above ground and the danger lurking in the depths of the dark, menacing tunnels is marked.

Steele is completely focussed on his job, which he keeps from his wife and daughter. The unmistakable difference between Steele at work and when he’s at home with his family is portrayed extremely well and makes him a sympathetic character.  I really enjoyed this well paced story, from the compelling prologue to the dramatic and moving ending, which was a complete surprise and not at all what I was expecting.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT OCTOBER RAIN by @dylanjmorgan #Dystopia #SciFi #Novella

Today’s team review is from Terry , she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan

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5 stars

I liked this novella a lot! It takes place many, many years in the future, after Mars has been colonised by the dying Earth, and thousands have moved to artificially constructed cities on the inhospitable red planet. But now life on Mars is coming to an end, too, and the lucky ones are moving out to Titan, a satellite of Saturn.

Government agent Steele has one last mission, before he can join his wife and daughter on the journey to Titan—a dangerous and terrifying one…

I’ve read quite a few of Dylan Morgan’s books, and this one reminded me of The Dead Lands, my favourite, with all its expertly orchestrated suspense and bleak atmosphere. This writer knows how to do ‘bleak’! The pace is perfect, the plot unpredictable, the characterisation spot on. It’s not for the faint-hearted, or those who want to be assured that everything will turn out all right in the end.

My only complaint is that it’s so short, even though it fits perfectly into the length of a novella – I think it could have been a novel, though, or maybe the first in the series – come on, Dylan, surely this can’t be all there is? It’s a great idea; made me want to know what happened before, and what will happen after. One of those books that made me want to keep clicking the page turner on my iPad, hoping for more.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com