Wayward by Blake Crouch

17920175I seem to be in the habit of reading books that are midway or the last of a series. However, it didn’t matter that much to me for this one. Wayward is a page turner, but there were some things that annoyed me about it. Firstly, there was a lot of short sharp sentences¬† like this:
xxx
xxx
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that were designed to build tension. They worked initially but then they started to appear too often which meant the tension evaporated. Secondly, evolution doesn’t work that fast. 2000 years into the future and humans will probably be the same (if we haven’t destroyed the earth by then). The creatures made me think of polar bears. They also reminded me of the Eloi from The Time Machine (so many time travel stories echo the HG Wells classic – I guess it can’t be escaped). Humans are also very hard to control – just look at any news story. The creepiest control story I’ve read so far is 1984, and this is because it is so close to contemporary authoritarianism (totalitarianism / fascism) that it is totally believable. But control only lasts for so long as so this story proves. The question I was always asking myself about this was what was the big man getting out of all this? I couldn’t see any benefits or pluses or… Plus, the big man’s surname was always distracting me because that is the surname of the systems guy at the department where I work. That sort of affected the tension for me too.

The ending leaves you on a cliff-hanger and the edition I got from my local library had a small sneak peek at the opening of the final installment. It didn’t grab me enough to want to find out what happens.

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Queen of the Night by J.A. Jance

7746554This book is doing double duty for this challenge as well as Book Riots Read Harder 2017 challenge – read a novel set in Arizona and read a book set over 5000 miles from your location. This novel is part of a series about the Walker family – law and order administrators working in Arizona. The thriller story set-up was good – would a mass murderer be caught before escapes to Mexico? It was let down by wooden characters and the introduction of too many of them. I didn’t connect to any of them and halfway through, I got two of the families mixed up. This novel can’t really be read as a standalone novel. For it to make sense and to have an overall idea of the families and the people involved, reading the series is advisable. I also found the absence of descriptions about people odd. There is a lot of background story for various characters which is description of sorts, but nothing like ‘she pulled back her long pepper and salt hair from her face with a headband’. The only descriptions I can think of is for one of the former criminals haunting a now middle-aged woman, the current murderer on the run, and a little girl orphaned. Lots of descriptions of night blooming desert flower however. And cars. Oh! And at the beginning of each chapter is temperature in fahrenheit – which for someone who uses celcius is annoying and distracting. Yes, and I am in Australia and thought hmmm .. 23c at 9pm in the summer? Try 35c!¬† Tohono O’odham is an actual tribal group, and they play a large part in this story. I don’t know if the tribal stories and traditions in this novel are authentic or not, but it does add a lot of colour and action to the novel. Without them, the story would fall flat.

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