Review: Dust

Dust by Hugh Howey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Excellent finish to the series! Howey's writing and structure has really progressed, and it shows here. The only disappointment I had with Shift was that there appeared to be too many pages dedicated to getting across a plot point. Dust is much tighter. The pacing and action are excellent.

That said, there are a number of elements that bother me. I've read them mentioned in other reviews, but I will voice my own here as well.

First, what happened to the rest of the world? In Shift we learn that getting folks into the silos was sparked by a false flag attack on Atlanta orchestrated by Thurman. What happens after is a complete mystery. We're left to assume that some sort of world war broke out, but how extensive was it? Was the earth wiped clean of people as Thurman hoped, or was it isolated to a region around Atlanta?

Next, the nanos themselves seem to have fluid rules. They are self-replicating, but somehow can't move beyond some unexplained barrier around the silos. They kill nearly instantly in high concentration, but the low concentrations outside can be balanced out with the "good" nanos. They don't stick to clothing at all, but if you are gassed on your way out as a cleaner they eat through immediately and kill you. They form a dome around the silos that the wind can't blow away and form a gray cloud in the sky...somehow. The nanos are tuned to human DNA, but also kill all of the wildlife and vegetation around the silos.

What about silo 40 and their kindred rebels? Donald bombed that area pretty extensively, but Anna and silo 40 appear to have infiltrated several silos. What happened there?

What about the other silos that were functioning as intended? With silo 1 gone are they all as good as dead? Permanently entombed? Immediately killed?

My wife kids me that being critical of this sort of stuff make a me a killjoy, that I should just suspend belief and enjoy the story. Fair enough, but it would still bug me if I didn't say it out loud (or write it).

If you've read the first two books, you definitely should read Dust. It is a great finish to the series. If you haven't read this series yet, start! I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone else who enjoys stories of the apocalypse.

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Review: The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao
The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. The premise was so absurd that I was hoping for a bit of campy humor. Unfortunately, while there is some light humor, it took itself too seriously. Maybe I had poor expectations going in. I did find it entertaining, and I feel this story would make a fine series on SyFy. The ending sets up very well for a lead in to a series of Roen Tan novels, but I am not sure I will be following them.

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Review: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been reading Stephen King books for a long time. Before I had my license I would beg my parents to take me to the library or the book store so I could get the latest from King, Koontz, or Clancy. Books like [b:The Dark Half|11597|The Dark Half|Stephen King||1316297] and [b:Selections from Skeleton Crew|666371|Selections from Skeleton Crew|Stephen King||652423] both terrified me and thrilled me.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm finding that King's stories have a much different impact on me. [b:Full Dark, No Stars|7912007|Full Dark, No Stars|Stephen King||11067830] was fantastic, but it wasn't a supernatural horror. As I was reading Doctor Sleep, I realized that it wasn't scaring me. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the book, because I did. Maybe it is a matter of maturity, or maybe I just can't believe in the fantasy, but Rose the Hat and her True Knot just didn't spook me. I'm glad I read this book, and I have to say that little Danny Torrance went through just the type of living hell you would expect after experiencing the trauma of the Overlook.

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Jade Mason