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From Your Bookshelf to the Big Screen: The Martian
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. Read the best-selling novel from Andy Weir before you see the major motion picture. Learn more
Flash Crash alternates between three main characters Eli, Fern, and Meera as they try to survive in a world of depleted resources, unemployment, and catastrophic oil prices. While I found the book's premise interesting, and enjoyed how it was anchored in our current day economic system, it lacked much needed plot and character development. Ultimately, I rated it 2.5 stars.
The beginning of the book would benefit from a clearly defined conflict for the reader to latch onto. There's a lot of decription of main character Eli, living in a dystopian society and trying to make ends meet, but I felt like I was just observing his everyday life with no idea why. In the next chapter Fern is introduced, a woman who's rich husband walked out on her by way of a simple note. However I didn't see her abandonment as a conflict to be solved; Fern wasn't very concerned as to why her husband left her, so as a reader I wasn't bothered by it either.
It wasn't until the introduction of former lovers Martin and Meera, and Martin's accident, that I had a reason to stick around. I continued to find Meera's story the most interesting and her character gave me something to hook onto: Meera's mystery computer project, her search for Martin, and the strange man following her.
This book had a lot of description, which would have been fine except plot and character development suffered because of it. The character's were rather one dimensional and several of the main character's conclusions were farfetched: for example, establishing a man as a killer because he had cold eyes. As a reader, I needed the conclusions the characters reached to be believable and often I wasn't on the same page. It felt like I lacked crucial information that the characters knew.Read more ›
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Well written, flows nicely, timely (sort of) believable premise, and a satisfying (if predictable) ending.
I really liked not knowing what was going on at first. It drew me along, wondering, as the characters were developed. The background situation formed slowly, as the current action became well underway. The four main characters are likeable and dimensional enough that the reader can identify with them. The several minor characters supported everything well and were easy to keep track of.
I reccommend this 'hopeful' view of world catastrphe, and look forward to reading more from this author.
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I hate reviewing things poorly. I really do. Unfortunately, if I don't rate the stars on something I can wind up with pages of Amazon recommendations based on my purchase of a novel I would rather forget. And so...here we are.
This novel started off well enough, I think. Excellent descriptors of life in a world now depleted of needed resources, where only the rich can get what they need and the rest of the world sort of muddles on...or doesn't survive at all. The main characters were actually pretty engaging at first too, with distinct styles and points of view.
Where it all went wrong is in a weakness of the plot that the author chose to fill with fluff and other tactics that exceed the ability of a relatively smart reader to suspend disbelief.
I'd rather not fill the review with spoilers, but the whole concept of fomenting rebellion obliquely by going into virtual reality games and putting conflicts analgous to toppling the kings of the castle is just silly. Really. And in a short time frame 3 people are going to get the world so riled up that they automatically understand that all the oppression they've suffered all their lives and said not a word to is suddenly too much. And they're going to do it by generating conflict in video games? There's more to it, but that is basically where my tipping point is reached. Going into a video game where the setting is medieval and fomenting people to rebel against whoever is the "lord" does not translate into all those couch potatoes suddenly growing cajones in their real life.
And the whole concept of the retreat of the rich has massive problems with logic too. What would be the point of manipulating the markets to take profit when the money will be useless because they are going to let everyone die off?Read more ›
Overall, I liked the book, though I can't say I loved it.
The general setting of a dystopian future only a few years ahead was certainly intriguing, though a little thin on gritty detail. I also kept wondering quite how, if such a high number of Europeans were no longer working/ earning, the government was able to raise sufficient taxes to provide the soup kitchens etc.
Still, the premise was OK and I was willing to go along with it.
The Hives were good, I could see such a thing happening, as a natural development from gated communities. A reaction to reduced resources, better technology and a widening gap between rich and poor.
Character development was a little weak and simplistic and somewhat cliched, though I think Meera was the most interesting. We got to see more of her inner thinkings and conflicts, which made her more real than the others.
Where it also tripped up for me was the idea that the baddies were so desperate to take into the fully sealed Hives a financial system and wealth derived from the society outside. My thought was that wealth would have a different currency, a different meaning once permanently sealed within the hives and bringing it in from outside just didn't sit well with me. I felt a whole new society with new values would develop within these sealed Hives, if they were to happen.
The end also fizzled out rather than wrapped up with a satisfying "aaaah!"
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