Sunday, December 2, 2012

Deju Vu Review (4)

The Deja Vu Review is hosted every Sunday by Brittany at The Book Addict's Guide.  It's a chance to mini-review books that I read in my pre-blogging days.  This week's topic is novels with strange names.  And both of mine happen to be dystopian!

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I loved Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, so when I saw the unique title on her list of other novels, my interest was piqued.  And the first chapter helped, too--the main character, Snowman, wakes up in a world where it seems that all other humans are dead.  How can you not be taken in by such a scenario?

While I did find the book enjoyable, I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite dystopians.  As you learn more about Snowman's problematic situation, you get his backstory, which includes Crake (his former best friend) and Oryx, a woman they both loved.  After the initial "OMG what is happening here" moment in the first chapter, I felt that the plot got a bit slow and disjointed.  For a dystopian novel, it doesn't have a very energetic pace, and it jumps around in a way that is very confusing.  However, in the last quarter or so, things started to come together, and the climax at the end left me interested enough to seek out the novel's sequel, The Year of the Flood.  Overall, not the best dystopian I've ever read, but it's intriguing in terms of world-building, and you'll like it if you have your thinking cap on.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Oy vey, this book.  This book is the first book I ever (EVER!) did not finish.  This and Middlemarch (I gave up on them on the same day. It was a frustrating day).

I still feel I have the right to (mini) review it though, because I spent over 6 weeks on it.  Which is eternity for me!  It's 954 pages long and I read about 600 of them in that time, so I have to get a little credit here.

Most people I talk to ADORE 1Q84.  Cannot say enough good things about it.  I, on the other hand, found it extremely tedious and boring.  It centers on Aomame, a young hit-woman who enters 1Q84, a parallel existence to her life in the year 1984.  At the same time, it follows Tengo, a writer whose complicated story begins to mingle with Aomame's as time goes on.  The plot is much more complex than all that, but Aomame and Tengo's relationship is the basis for all else in the novel.

Why did I dislike it?  One, it was just so.darn.slow.  I don't mind wordy/long novels, if they actually take me somewhere, but I felt stuck in park for the majority of these pages.  And two, the characters.  They were weird and quirky in a way that made me completely unable to connect with them or their intentions.  Plus, one of them always speaks in a completely flat, monotone voice (always states questions, doesn't "ask" them), which drove me nuts.  I found none of them likeable and after a while, just couldn't muster the energy to care about their lives anymore.  Overall, a huge no-go for me.

Do you have any good books with weird names?


  1. Wow, I had been wondering abut 1Q84, glad to know how slow it is. I am not crazy about slow books either and I'm glad for that warning. Though, I still may try to read it sometime, it will probably not be anytime soon. Great picks! Deja Vu Review!

    Vyki @ On The Shelf

  2. Bummer! Sorry to hear you were disappointed by both! I haven't read either one, but I've heard the same thing about 1Q84 - The premise sounds pretty interesting, but it seems to be a love it or hate it book!

  3. @Brittany, I wouldn't say I was totally disappointed by Oryx and just took a really long time for me to get pulled in. If I had a shorter attention span, I might not have hung in there, but I was glad I did.


Imagination Designs