Thursday, 17 November 2011

Dark Parties by Sara Grant: It's Like Centre Parcs but You can't go on Bike Rides

In the future everyone
gets a lovely frock.
Dark Parties is a dystopian story set some time at the end of this century (I think, I should probably make notes on books as I read them). It follows Neva who lives with her parents in the sinister if oddly named Protectosphere, a ginormous dome that was built after The Terror to protect the people inside. It does this by electrocuting anyone that goes near it.

Neva isn't really happy about her life and is all set to rebel with her friends. Unfortunately snogging her best mate's boyfriend at a 'dark party' (it's a party in the dark) complicates matters. Who'd be a teenage freedom fighter?

Neva is pulled deeper and deeper into the fight by people who want to escape the Protectosphere. She's torn between behaving to stay safe and finding out the truth about the Protectosphere. Things escalate. People betray each other, via snogging and informing. Sinister policemen stalk about in black uniforms and the story generally gets exciting.

And it is an exciting story. But I did wonder about a few things in it like the size of the Protectoshere, population inbreeding, food supplies, and the time setting. Would such a seemingly large population gets genetic convergence/inbreeding in the time period suggested in the book? Though this question has been probably been caused by reading too many books about genetics on my part.

The characters are believable/interesting/likable/horrible, as humans should be. Neva is complex, her best friend is annoying, her dad tries to protect her and make her conform and her torn mum is torn. It also has a good gender balance for the goodies and baddies. Yes, some of the baddies are women! Not many but you know, some is better than none.

The ending was a bit annoying as it didn't answer most of the questions I had and lumped a good few more on top. So I hope there is sequel in the offing as I want answers! And seeing as I care and want answers I'm going to conclude it was quite good. I've started reading quite a few YA books in a similar vein recently and most of them I didn't get past the 100 page. The characters or story bored me. But I liked the characters in Dark Parties and liking them helped me keep my disbelief about the big dome suspended. And I really want to know the crazy idea behind building that big dome.

Dark Parties is out in about a month for about £7.

Cheers,

Mark


Friday, 11 November 2011

The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall by Paul Torday: In Which Posh People's Lives Change

What's it all about?
The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall is a book I don't understand. I don't mean it's in French, I just don't get it. I think there's some point it might be trying to make but, to me, it just boils down to some posh people, the kind that call their parents mummy and daddy even though they're middle aged, having to alter their lives.

I suppose my main problem with it is that happens in the book doesn't really match the blurb. I feel hoodwinked! The blurb says,

"Ed Hartlepool has been living in self-imposed exile...he must return to his ancestral seat, Hartlepool Hall...But can Ed save his inheritance without such a drastic move[selling the hall]?"


So, the first part happens, Ed returns to his ancestral home but the second part, nothing like that happens. Ed just wanders about worrying, reading the paper, looking at lots of food and not trying to save his home. Maybe its about his inability as a posh bloke to cope with modern ways and how you don't need an enormous house and cash to be happy. Or something.


It's written well enough, but I just didn't get it.


The Legacy of Hartlepool Hall is out on the 5th of January 2012!


Cheers,

Mark