Barren Waters: The Complete Novel by Julia Shupe (Book Review)

Sorry everyone it’s been quite a while since I posted any new reviews, I got a bit distracted with other things recently. However, here is a re-post of a book review that I originally did back in 2017.

Barren Waters is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival in a dystopian future where the world’s oceans have become barren and stagnant due to mankind’s pollution of their environment. As the human race continues to pump toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and waterways across the world it is not difficult to imagine the possible effects that Julia Shupe presents in this novel, and the scary thought is that it could come true.

In the 22nd century the pollution has reached intolerable levels, and the efforts of mankind to clean up their act and attempt to preserve their home, is too little too late. Plankton in the deep oceans have died out, leaving a wide variety of aquatic animals without food. Starvation becomes rife and mass extinctions leave the oceans dead.  Shrinking levels of oxygen in the atmosphere, further restricts the survival of both plant and animal life, including those of human kind.

Julia recounts the lives of two scientists with the foresight to prepare for the coming disaster, and the trials of their surviving family, a son and grand-daughter 50 years later, struggling with daily life in their harsh, unfortunate circumstances.

Favourite Quote:

“Jeremy had always believed luck was a double-edged sword. Good luck could easily turn bad. And fast.” – (p2)

The author, Julia Shupe kindly offered me a free copy of her novel, Barren Waters in exchange for an honest review.

The narrative jumps back and forth quite a lot between its descriptions of the unfolding apocalypse and of the resulting consequences, and the dates of the events don’t run consecutively, instead forming part of the story at the necessary time. It does not detract or confuse the story too much, but for those who attempt to follow the proper timeline from beginning to end will find this incredibly difficult and somewhat confusing. However, Julia has crafted a well thought-out and imaginative tale, which both intrigues and entertains the reader, while also provoking thoughtful scientific stimulation.

My only other niggle is the usual issue which pertains to most self-published books, the high number of annoying spelling mistakes within the Kindle copy. However, at 4 out of 5 stars, don’t let those errors put you off from enjoying this otherwise wonderful tale of human survival.

I may now be tempted to delve deeper into this author’s world, by reading her fantasy series The Sentinels of Kiln.

Kill or Cure Series: Book 2 – Bloodlust by Pixie Britton (Book Review)

We continue the story of Alyx and Tommy in the Kill or Cure series with book 2, Bloodlust.

…possible spoiler warning… Continue reading “Kill or Cure Series: Book 2 – Bloodlust by Pixie Britton (Book Review)”

Kill or Cure Series: Book 1 – Kill or Cure by Pixie Britton (Book Review)

Kill or Cure is the first book in Pixie Britton’s young adult dystopian series, about a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. I was offered a complimentary copy of this book, directly from the author, and being a fan of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels I decided to take a chance on this new writer. However, it’s aimed at younger teens and while some of these types of stories can also be enjoyed by adults, there can be a fine dividing-line between them depending on maturity of the language, and writing style.

…possible spoiler warning…

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Maze Runner Series: Book 4 – The Kill Order (Book Review)

The Kill Order is the original prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, having been released many years before The Fever Code.

…spoiler warning… Continue reading “Maze Runner Series: Book 4 – The Kill Order (Book Review)”

Maze Runner Series: Book 0 – The Fever Code (Book Review)

The Fever Code is a prequel to the original Maze Runner trilogy, and I was led to believe that it would provide backstory and general information, which would complement the series as a whole.

I remember reading the original prequel, The Kill Order, years ago and really struggling with it. This was because it was centred on a completely different cast of characters, had a tedious story and didn’t really correspond to the other books. My hope was that The Fever Code, would provide the answers and insight that were missing, in regards to Thomas, Teresa, Newt and Minho.

As you would expect, all the regular and much loved characters from the trilogy play a part in The Fever Code, and it’s nice to have some of these familiar faces return. However the never-ceasing list of WICKED guards and employees that keep cropping up, eventually becomes too frustrating to try and keep track of.

The book has far too many inconsistencies with the main trilogy, often contradicting events and the memories that conveniently return to Thomas, just at the right key moments. Unfortunately, the story also doesn’t provide any further information than what we’ve already been told. The questions, such as why WICKED changed all the kids names, are still never answered. Instead just re-hashing the same old facts that we’re already familiar with.

Unlike the other novels, The Fever Code lacks the action and intrigue that makes readers want to keep turning the pages. It lacks oomph and mystery, which made it difficult for me to read. And I found the attitudes of the adults to be infuriatingly hostile, irritating, downright repetitive and infuriating.

At 2 out of 5 stars, I had high hopes for this book but it just didn’t match up with my expectations. It provides a very basic background story for those interested in learning more about Thomas and the origins of the maze, but don’t expect it to wow you with any answers to those burning questions you might have.

See also:

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 1 – The Maze Runner

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 2 – The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure

Maze Runner: Book 4 – The Kill Order

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure (Book Review)

The Death Cure completes the main Maze Runner trilogy, continuing on from the point where The Scorch Trials leaves off.

…Warning: this review contains spoilers, proceed with due caution…

Continue reading “Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure (Book Review)”

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 2 – The Scorch Trials (Book Review)

The Scorch Trials continues the story of Thomas and his friends, which began in the first book of the series, The Maze Runner.

…Warning: this review contain spoilers, proceed with due caution…

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Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 1 – The Maze Runner (Book Review)

This is my second (or maybe even third) read of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. I discovered the novel after watching the movie starring Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and immediately fell in love with the whole concept of the maze; the mystery of working out where they are, what’s happening to them and how to escape their confinement. This is a story I often find myself revisiting on a regular basis, and it has become one of my favourite dystopian films, as well as a favourite novel. Also it doesn’t hurt that Dylan O’Brien is easy on the eyes.

…Warning: this review contain spoilers, proceed with caution…

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The Hunger Games: Book 0 – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Book Review)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel novel in the Hunger Games series from Suzanne Collins. The story takes place many years before the main trilogy, during the 10th Annual Hunger Games event and is told through the eyes of a young Coriolanus Snow.

Coriolanus is better known as President Snow in the later books – and portrayed on-screen by Donald Sutherland in the film trilogy. However, during Songbirds and Snakes Coriolanus is a young student seeking extra credit and a University Scholarship, by taking part in a new Mentorship scheme for the Hunger Games.

In order to make his dreams a reality, Coriolanus must mentor a winning tribute in the Annual Games. However, he’s paired with sixteen year old Lucy Gray Baird from District 12, a musical performer unlikely to survive the trials that lie ahead of her. But will the odds turn out to be in Lucy’s favour? 

I debated whether or not to write this review, as I wasn’t all that keen on the main trilogy. My major gripe that I had with those novels was the amount of time dedicated to the build-up of the Games, as opposed to the Hunger Games themselves. At first Songbirds and Snakes appears no different in composition, however what time we do have within the Games this time is much more detailed. We’re given descriptions of the death of each tribute, provided with a list of tribute’s names, as well as those of the Mentors assigned to them, and regular check-ins telling us which tributes are still in play within the arena. This makes it easier to keep track of events.

I wish Suzanne had chosen a different district to focus on in this story though, rather than just sticking with the overused district 12, as I’d have enjoyed learning more about the other districts and their ways of life, rather than a rehashing of familiar places.

Having spent some time deliberating why President Snow was chosen to feature in this prequel story, I realised that this was probably because Snow was the only character that made sense. There were no other major players – at least none that currently spring to mind – from the main trilogy, whose backstory would have even been remotely interesting to read. So choosing Snow was the logical choice. The obvious question being, how did he become President?

Despite having now learned more about Coriolanus Snow and his tough upbringing I’m still not sure I’m warming to this particular character. Still don’t like him, he’s not endearing enough or interesting enough to warrant such a long book. The story becomes extremely stretched out and unengaging as it crawls along towards the end, and as a result I can only rate The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes at 2 out of 5 stars.

It has a somewhat enjoyable start, which peters out into pointless drivel, dotted with the hints of the obligatory romance now common to most young adult novels these days. It still leaves a number of questions unanswered, and I suspect that that means there will be another book to come.

See also:

Book 1 – The Hunger Games

Book 2 – Catching Fire

Book 3 – Mockingjay

Revenger Series: Book 3 – Bone Silence (Book Review)

Bone Silence is the third of the 3 Revenger series books by Alastair Reynolds, and continues the story of Arafura and Adrana Ness, and their rag-tag crew aboard the Revenger.

…potential spoiler warning for those who haven’t read the preceding novels…

You can check out my reviews of book 1, Revenger here via this link, or book 2, Shadow Captain here.

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