Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit-451-Ray-Bradbury

Source: Goodreads

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to set fires and burn all of the illegal books in the city. He loves his job, even takes pride in the lingering smell of kerosene, until the night he meets Clarissa. The self-proclaimed insane seventeen-year-old changes Montag’s life in an instant, and once his brain starts turning over all she has said it cannot stop. But thinking is almost as dangerous as reading in Montag’s world, and the consequences are more than he could have imagined.

 

As we follow Guy Montag through his life post meeting Clarissa, we are given a small glimpse into the world in which he lives. Just a taste, but enough to be absolutely terrified. Highspeed hovercars, fireproof houses, talking walls, banned books, incessant advertising on every hyperspeed subway car, and the loss of all free speech and free thought. If that wasn’t bad enough, the firehouse dog will chill you to your bones.

This book has been on my list to read for more than half of my life. I wanted to read it because it was about books. I didn’t want to read it because they were going to burn all of the books. And back, and forth, and so on. If I had actually read Fahrenheit 451 at twelve or thirteen, it probably would have had much less of an impact on me. I wouldn’t be familiar with the majority of the works mentioned. I wouldn’t know what was being burned. Reading it at twenty-five, I was extremely aware of how influential the books were. Plato, Shakespeare, The Holy Bible, and millions of others. It is easy to believe that people would have rather died in the flames than be forced to live in a world with no working logic, a world that is enslaved to media through seashell earpieces.

Fahrenheit 451 is the first thing I’ve ever read by Bradbury, but his words have a liveliness to them, even in the slow and quiet parts, that many writers lack. It makes everything interesting, from the chattering of a seashell earpiece to the read and yellow flames licking up the side of a formerly fireproof building. I can’t wait to dive into more of Bradbury’s stories to see what secrets they hold.

 

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1) – Victoria Aveyard

Source: Goodreads 

Red Queen introduces us to Mare Barrow, a regular girl forced to live in the slums of civilization because her blood is red. The upper class, in addition to bleeding silver, are endowed with supernatural abilities. Some of them can read minds, while others can heal, or manipulate certain elements. The silvers live seemingly carefree lives while the reds are forced into enlistment at the age of 18. This is normal for Mare’s world. But some things are about to change. For one, Mare discovers her own powers, ones no one has ever heard of. For another, she suddenly finds herself engaged to a prince: a silver. Can Mare blend in with the upper classes? Or will the threat of rebellion rise, red as the dawn?

The concept sounds really cool, right? That’s because it is. This book is full to bursting with potential. But that’s about it. It’s not that the idea of a futuristic-middle-agey dystopian world is overused. In fact, it’s one that almost always interests me. But we don’t get very much of it. Aside from once or twice when a character is actively looking at a map or when they are traveling, we don’t get a very good idea of the world as a whole. Sure, there’s a massive war going on and I didn’t expect the reds to know everything, but I did expect more knowledge from the silvers. Aside from the immediate surroundings, the reader really doesn’t get very much in the way of layout for the cities and buildings, much less culture.

As far as characters and storyline go, I wouldn’t say I was surprised by anything or anyone. Granted, I had the plot twist spoiled for me, but I think I would have caught on pretty early anyway. I will say that my favorite character is not Mare. In fact, I’m not really a fan of Mare. For a girl who’s supposed to be really good at reading people she misses a lot. My favorite character is Evangeline. She’s the only person I feel like I really got a read on. She’s complex, while everyone else feels a little 1 or 2 dimensional. I think it would be awesome to follow Evangeline for a book or two. I can’t even begin to imagine what goes through her head.

At first, I thought the book was very much Hunger Games meets The Lunar Chronicles, but it did eventually deviate and do its own thing, at least for a little while. I picked up this book because just about every BookTuber and YA reader that I follow is obsessed with it. (The second book, Glass Sword, comes out in February 2016) After reading it and the reviews, I’m hearing a lot of comparisons to another futuristic dystopian series: Red Rising. (Which I haven’t read yet) Although Red Rising takes place on Mars and follows a male lead, it’s the ‘reds’ against the ‘golds’, and the main character has to infiltrate the upper classes and lead a rebellion, etc. So, it’s up to you which one you want to read, but they do sound extremely similar.

Will I read the sequel? Probably, but only because I like Evangeline and I’m really hoping Aveyard will flesh out the world some more. I’d be interested in seeing if all the silvers have the same abilities in the other countries, or if that varies. If you like YA or futuristic-middle age-y settings or dystopias or love triangles, this is the book for you. If you have a history of disliking main characters who are a tad oblivious and overly trusting, however, I’d say you should probably skip this one.

HHC Rating: 2 Stars