Oryx and Crake

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Snowman, once known as Jimmy, sleeps in a tree with a dirty bed sheet and laments the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake. Seemingly the only survivor in a stark and terrifying post-apocolyptic landscape, the narrative follows Snowman as he lives in the present and remember the past. In the midst of his struggle for survival, with only the Crakers for company, Snowman is faced with the taxing questions of  whether he should have seen it coming and whether there was anything he could have done.

Margaret Atwood does it again (wait, have a written yet about The Handmaid’s Tale or The Blind Assassin?). Her post-apocalyptic world is stark and inventive, forcing the reader to ask some heavy questions about ethics and science and the what makes us truly human. Short-listed for the Man Booker in 2003, it is a bleak and twisted love story and a clever and chilling prophetic narrative about the not-so-sci-fi problems that face our real world modern society. A decipherable plot is unclear for most of the novel, which is instead driven by the reader’s curiosity to discover the cause of the collapse of society as well as the current situation of the protagonist, Snowman.

While it’s not my favourite Atwood, it is though-provoking, challenging and a good read.
4starsMA

 

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Tomorrow When the War Began

Spoiler Alert: This text is studied in Year 9 English (CCAS & MC)

Tomorrow When the War Began - John Marsden

“Ellie and her friends leave home one quiet morning, wave goodbye to their parents, and head up into the hills to camp out for a while; seven teenagers filling in time during school holidays.
The world is about the change forever.
Their lives will never be the same again.
Would you fight? Would you give up everything? Would you sacrifice even life itself?”

A lot of Australians I know say that this is the first book they ever read and enjoyed, or that this series is what got them onto reading, or that to this day this series marks the only books they’ve ever read all the way through! I think that says a lot. When Marsden wrote these books, he also began to create a heritage of great Australian teen fiction. The setting and characters are so relatable and true to Aussie form, not only that but the questions and issues that he confronts head on were and are real questions and issues for real Australians now. It’s got action, suspense and of course a bit of romance, as the reality of teenage life cannot be extinguished, not even by a war. An exceptional story about courage, loyalty, heroism, friendship, love, war and all that makes us human.

Any high school reader. 4 stars.