Steve has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
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
Shelley has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
Bev has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
Teri has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
Cathy has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
Terry has been reading October Rain by Dylan J Morgan
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.
The Dark Citadel is a fantasy and book 1 of a series, it touches on a Dystopia style society left living in a dome surrounded by an inhospitable land full of demons. Inside the Eternal City a harsh system of High Class and Ignorants live where men are superior and women treated like a lesser class. Rules exist about families, only two children are allowed, one boy one girl and the authorities intervene and enforce this by taking children away and “giving” them to others. Food is scarce and there is talk of culling the ignorants to reduce demand.
A young girl called Deborah resists rules and is a trouble maker, unbeknown to her she is a hostage having a rare ability to recall the memories of the people before life in the Dome began. Rumours amongst the lower classes talk of The Green Women, the keeper of memories who will one day return to rescue them. Escaping a correction centre Deborah meets her imprisoned father, another hostage, he urges her to escape the City and find her mother.
There is quite a lot to take in, and the storyline is mixed between myths, legends and real time as the author drip feeds the reader layers of the storyline. I never quite got to grips with the mythical side and ancient beings waking to a calling. Plus there were all the demons and at times I was uncertain who the good guys were and who couldn’t be trusted.
More will be revealed in the next book in the series, this is a good start to a fantasy series.
I invited Terry to read Future Perfect by Katrina Mountfort
FUTURE PERFECT by Katrina Mountfort
5 out of 5 stars
I LOVED this book! Read it over a period of 24 hours, hated having to put it down.
The story takes place in year 2181. 120 years after various events that devastated the world as we know it, the chosen people of ‘State 11’, formerly the UK, reside in ‘Citidomes’, in which their lives are easy, comfortable – and controlled. Residents live not in families or couples but with their selected ‘resmates’, and aspire to join the BodyPerfect clan: women who look like anorexic supermodels, men so metrosexual they are no longer masculine. Televisual entertainment has returned to the age of baying crowds and gladiators with non-stop reality shows in which those not conforming to Citidome standards are cruelly mocked. Bodily ‘imperfections’ are considered a sign of inferiority, emotion is discouraged; residents have ‘connections’ rather than friends. There is no religion, no creativity, no literature, and sex is outlawed, seen as dirty. Children are created by artificial means only. Details of the country’s history is available from the ‘Knowledge Fountain’, but there is little information available about life before the Citidomes. However, underneath all this shallow perfection and unquestioning conformity there is a rumbling of discontent; the ‘subversive thinkers’ want to discover the truth, and find out if life on the outside is really as savage as they are told…
I suppose this is the modern ‘1984’! Aside from being entertaining, it all seemed frighteningly possible, especially when I found out, later, what really happened to the UK back in 2065. I’m very interested in the way the population can be controlled by those in power, in ways more underhand and seemingly innocuous than many imagine (who needs Big Brother when you have the internet?), and how quickly what once seemed to be a ludicrous idea can very quickly become accepted as the norm. This book is a brilliant portrayal of subtle mind control.
Of course, a great story is only as good as the way it’s told, and this is SO well written, the superficial atmosphere and hidden horror of life in State 11 Citidomes told so artfully. Once the book moves outside (to what was Derbyshire), I loved reading Ms Mountfort’s vision of a country left to its own devices for over a hundred years, and how her Citidome residents discovered the old, forgotten ways of their ancestors.
Although the main character, Caia, is only seventeen, I didn’t realise the book came under the heading ‘YA’ until I came to write the review; there’s certainly plenty to think about in it that I perhaps wouldn’t have seen if I’d read it when I was sixteen!
A terrific novel, I’m so glad it came my way and, Katrina Mountfort, this is me hassling you for the next one in the series NOW!
Terry chose to read and review The Dead Lands by Dylan J Morgan
Right. I don’t like Sci-Fi. I have zero interest in spaceships and mutant beings. I do, however, love the whole post-apocalyptic thing, which is what made me want to read this book, as well as its excellent title. I am so glad I made that choice!
Basic plot: a motley crew of soldiers are sent from one planet to save the president of a second planet. President has lain in cryogenic suspension since an end-of-world nuclear war a hundred years before.
Dylan Morgan is one hell of a writer. Each character comes alive immediately; we are given no description, physical or otherwise, but I could tell EXACTLY what each person was like almost as soon as they were introduced – a rare talent indeed. The Deadlands is told mostly from the point of view of Lane, a former soldier and current bounty hunter, but also with guest appearances from other members of the team and connected characters, including one chapter from the point of view of one of the mutants. Very, very clever indeed, and actually put a different slant on the whole thing.
Morgan’s writing is clear, concise, never rambling. He understands dramatic impact, suspense, pathos, emotion, though I suspect all this is executed automatically, as it is with those who can write this well. If you like this sort of book you will LOVE this, and I think you will even if, like me, you suspect it might not be your sort of thing. Why? Because Morgan realises something important. A truly great novel is all about the CHARACTERS, not about the plot. The plot is terrific, too, but this story is about human nature: love, loss, greed, betrayal, despair, optimism, friendship, family and strength.
Highly, HIGHLY recommended. I suspect I might be raving about this book for quite a while! An easy 5 out of 5 stars from me.