Chaos Walking Trilogy Review

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Head’s up everyone! This review contains a lot of spoilers for the “Chaos Walking” trilogy! So if you want to avoid that, click off this page now!

The last time I read a series, it was adult fantasy and was also one of my all time favorite series, the “Shades Of Magic” trilogy by V.E. Schwab. I can’t even tell you what the last YA series I read was. It was probably “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” or something. I have read so many YA apocalypse/distopia that I hated, that I’m not even sure what made me pick up Patrick Ness’s “The Knife Of Never Letting Go” in the first place. I am however very thankful that I did.

When I read the synopsis, I was feeling pretty “meh” about this one. The first book follows “almost a man,” Todd Hewitt as he escapes his hometown on New Earth, a planet that humanity escaped to once the o.g. earth’s end was inevitable, where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts and there are no women. He runs into a girl along his way named Viola Davis who crashed in a scout spaceship from a new group of settlers from the old planet earth. They end up running together, and adventure ensues as the two escape a crazy preacher, and an army. This plot develops into what becomes a civil war in the second book, and a global war in the third. I thought it seemed like a lot, but having read Ness’s “A Monster Calls,” I was hopeful.

Out of all three I think the second book was my favorite. The addition of Viola’s perspective made for an intriguing dynamic and a break from Todd’s hick dialect. I also really enjoyed the first one. The third one I could give or take, it was still well developed and entertaining but I also thing this series would have been just as powerful as a duology. In “A Monster Calls,” I was amazed by Ness’s use of metaphor, which is also found in the “Chaos Walking” trilogy. I also was impressed by Ness’s powerful character development, practicality, and themes. The development of Todd and Viola throughout the series is a big one because they are right at that young teen age where they essentially go from being children to being adults. Todd and Viola’s growth from everything they know being wrong, is enthralling and also very accurate to real life despite being on a more severe scale. I also appreciated the attention to the fact that people should not be comfortable with killing other people! I feel like a lot of times in the dystopian genre particularly. (*cough*, “The Hunger Games,” *cough*) people are murdering people and then just not having any emotions about it at all. I don’t care if they had to do it to survive, or whatever, they should still feel some residual guilt or mental turmoil over it, ESPECIALLY when they’re not doing it of their own free will. If they don’t feel torn up after that, then they’re just a straight up sociopath (*cough*, Katniss, *cough*, Everdeen, *cough*.) But I digress.

In “Chaos Walking” almost all the characters are constantly questioning where they stand morally and I appreciate that greatly. I also appreciated the awareness Todd had of his own masculinity and the fact that he had to keep it in check. For once toxic masculinity did not ruin the party because for once a straight male character was raised by two gay men and not a total piece of shit. (I mean toxic masculinity ruined the party for every other character in the book, but still.) This brings me to another thing that I really liked about this book. I went through the first two books thinking “wow, I can’t believe that he’s never going to mention that Todd’s guardians Ben and Cillian are totally gay for each other and that’s why they were able to save Todd from the toxic masculinity of this town.” Then in the third book, HE DID. And it wasn’t a big deal. It was never a secret from anyone because they can all see each other’s thoughts, they just never mentioned it because no one in this whole society thought it was a problem, and I think that is an amazing choice on Patrick Ness’s part. The whole book is so solely focused on the divide between men and woman and our two main characters are so starkly different in their thoughts on gender from the rest of the world that it’s impossible to miss the point that is being made.

A lot of other issues with gender are brought up with the pretty much genderless race of aliens. It is made clear from very early on that they are much more united than the humans, thinking as one entity instead of individuals. Thankfully it is also seen that lack of individualism in a society can cause problems of it’s own, when half of the race is left behind in slavery. Ness really covers all his bases. Overall, this trilogy is the greatest depiction of very real societal flaws that I have ever seen in a YA book. Which is crazy, because you would think books catered to youth would want to provide some kind of thought on their world. I think a lot do, and that it just ends up buried under a pile of flaming love triangles.

In the end I gave them all 4 out of 5 stars because they did of course all still have YA aspects to them. That flaw is completely based on personal preference, and I think if I had read it back when I was 12 or 13 it would have been put on the favorites shelf. The only plot aspect I really didn’t like was the whole power of love thing Todd and Viola had. It was fine in the more adult relationships, like Ben and Cillian. Todd and Viola’s relationship however, especially in the first two books, seemed very juvenile, so I had to suspend some disbelief there. I also was left with some questions at the end of it all, like: “What about Todd’s dad?” or “What happened to the Mayor’s wife?” or “Can I have a whole spin off series about what happened to that human/alien couple from the short story at the end of book two?” Other than that I thought this series was amazing. For anyone who read the book that wants to know, my favorite character was absolutely Davey Prentiss who is being played by FUCKING NICK JONAS in the upcoming film so I cannot wait to see my sweet baby boy come to life.

I hope you all enjoyed this, kind of all over the place, review. This month is going to be pretty heavy on reviews of movies and books, so if you like these kinds of posts make sure to sign up for email notifications! Now get off the internet and go read this trilogy!

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark Review

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If you remember my tbr from earlier this month, you’ll remember how excited I was to read Michelle McNamara’s book, “I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. Well I have read it and I am back now to review it for you. Let’s get started.

Okay, so before I even opened this book, I already had a huge emotional attachment to it. I had listened to multiple podcasts about the book, and I had also been following the fairly recent capture of “The Golden State Killer,” who was arrested shortly after the publication of “IBGITD” (that’s what I’m going to call it from here on out.) So like I said I had very high hopes. I usually go into my books knowing hardly anything but I went into this one with lots of prior knowledge about the crimes and also the author.

The book is split into three different sections. Part 1: information about the GSK (Golden State Killer), Part 2: Michelle’s experience working on the case, and Part 3: Information from Michelle’s research assistant who helped finish the book after McNamara’s death, an afterword from her husband, and a letter from Michelle to the GSK. This arrangement works well and despite having so many different pieces, flows with surprising ease. I love the fact that they decided not to try to recreate McNamara’s writing style to finish the book because it truly couldn’t have been done. McNamara writes with an emotion and style that is rarely found in true crime. It’s the perfect amount of detail without reading like a report. Her descriptions of California are incredible and she has just the right amount of bluntness in the sections that describe the actual killings. Billy Jensen and Paul Haynes did an incredible job piecing together her research and the parts of the book they had into a complete book of Michelle’s work.

I would not recommend this book if you are at all squeamish about murder. The GSK was a real horror show, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Any gory bits are written with tact and respect but if you are just beginning to delve into true crime, I wouldn’t start with this. It has a novel quality but is packed to the brim with information. The addition of maps, pictures, and a list of the detectives and criminologists that are present throughout the book, make the whole thing a real experience. This book took me the longest to read out of my books this month, and that was mostly because I felt I needed to absorb everything. I annotate all my books but if anyone tries to borrow this one, they might have a hard time reading the book under all my hand scribbled thoughts. I think that’s a sign that a book is good. If it takes up your whole brain.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I gave this book five out of five stars. It has been added to my list of all time favorites. I only had one grievance about the book and that is that it’s not really THE book. The whole time I read, I couldn’t stop asking myself if this was the book Michelle McNamara wanted me to read. I think it is definitely close. It was put together by people that knew her very well, but there was still so many things that she wanted to put in and unfortunately didn’t get to because of her untimely death. I wish she would have been alive to see how well it did, and see him get caught right after her book came out. I admit I teared up at the end when reading the afterword written by her late husband. In it he says she was “quietly, effortlessly, original,” and I think that shows in her writing and in her commitment to finding the GSK.

The GSK was a true monster. As Michelle states in one of my favorite lines, “the act…was arousal alchemized to hate, a vicious punishment meted out by one judge: his corroded brain.” In summary this is a book about a monster written by a hero. She helped so many victims through her work, and helped to solve one of the biggest unsolved cases in America. Although her time with us was short, she achieved more than a lot of people in this world ever will. I think this book is a treasure. It could have been lost to time, forever sitting on a dusty hard drive. I considered reading this a privilege and it is a book I will not soon forget.

If you want to see what I thought of the rest of the books I read this month, make sure to check back on Monday for my February wrap-up post!

January Wrap-Up

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Hello! and welcome to my January reading wrap-up! I am proud to say that I finished all of the books on my January tbr. Thanks insomnia! Here are my final ratings and thoughts on the books I read this month.

  1. Killing and Dying – Adrian Tomine: I already spoke about this one in the tbr because I had already read it and I stick with that initial review. I loved the drawings, loved the story line, my only complaint was that it was so short. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

   2. Saga Volume 1 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples: I figured I was going to like this one and I definitely did. I read it in one night, so it’s definitely a quick read. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is great. The world however is built very quickly so if you like a slow burn this is not it. It is very much a “jump in and figure out the logistics later” kind of book. Once again 4 out of 5 stars.

     ⭐⭐⭐⭐✩

3. Fresh Complaint – Jeffrey Eugenides: To read my review of Fresh Complaint click here! My first 5 out of 5 stars this year.

        ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

4. Deadman Wonderland – Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou: I knew I would like this. In fact I loved it. Everyone always wants to bitch at me about how manga isn’t really reading, well you can shove it because this book is great and it never won’t be. I bought the second one so you have that to look forward to. 5 out of 5 stars.

           ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

5. Not In Kansas Anymore – Christine Wicker: This book was good. It made some really thought provoking points about religion and spirituality and I especially liked the anecdotes throughout. However there were so many subject wound into one that it all felt a little convoluted. I would have rather read a shorter book on one subject than this compilation of way too many. If the book would have just been about Wicca or Hoodoo I would have loved it, but I could do without the faeries and furries. Plus the whole thing reads kind of like a 1950’s crime novel. It’s very reporter/detectiveish? (If that makes any sense.) Whatever it’s called it’s distracting and definitely took some getting used to. I gave this one my lowest rating of the year so far, 3 out of 5 stars.

          ⭐⭐⭐✩✩

That’s 5 books done for the year! No ratings under three yet so things are looking good. I’m very excited for next month’s books, so check back friday for a new tbr! What did you read this month?

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