Cheri Reviews The Wrong Unit by Rob Dircks

Sci-fi isn’t really a go-to genre for me and I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book. I had never heard of the author and I didn’t read the blurb before I stared – I like to be surprised. If you want to read the blurb, here’s what Amazon has:

I don’t know what the humans are so cranky about. Their enclosures are large, they ingest over 1,000 calories per day, and they’re allowed to mate. Plus, they have me. An Autonomous Servile Unit, housed in a mobile/bipedal chassis. I do my job well: keep the humans healthy and happy. “Hey you.” Heyoo. That’s my name, I suppose. It’s easier for the humans to remember than 413s98-itr8. I guess I’ve gotten used to it.

Rob Dircks, best-selling author of Where the Hell is Tesla?, has a “unit” with a problem: how to deliver his package, out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to guide him. Oh, and with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance. It’s a science fiction tale of technology gone haywire, unlikely heroes, and the nature of humanity. (Woah. That last part sounds deep. Don’t worry, it’s not.)

Not much to the blurb but there’s lots to the story. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away.

I was engaged right from the start and absolutely loved hearing Heyoo’s interpretations of things that are very human. Quite possibly my favorite were his theories on the meaning behind the song “The Wheels on the Bus.” I’ll never listen to it in the same way again.

There was so much that I enjoyed while reading this book! The humor is fantastic and I laughed out loud many times. The science fiction aspects were interesting and I was immersed in the world that Heyoo and Wah lived in. I cared about the characters and the outcome and was a little sad when I got to the end of the book. Speaking of the ending, very well done! I didn’t see the final resolution coming until a few seconds before it happened. And the ending almost made me tear up a bit. I’m still smiling after nearly an hour.

Probably the most pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed the narration. Some authors should definitely stay away from narrating their own work but not this one. His voice is great and his sound effects definitely added to the work.

What a fun, entertaining, feel-good book. Mr. Dircks has a new fan.

I received a copy of the audio book from the author for a possible review.

You can download a sample or purchase The Wrong Unit by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Goodreads Review)

I found this book mostly fascinating and terrifying. With our current political and religious culture this could be a possible future.

I loved the prose and Claire Danes was perfect as narrator. I would absolutely read it again. Maybe with my eyes next time.

I did have to take a short break because it was so heavy emotionally. That’s not to say there’s much in the way of emotional writing because the narrator, Offred, is not emotive in her telling. She’s sharing her story in a direct way. Well, direct in that she’s giving facts and reasons behind her decisions. There are a few places where she gives her more personal feelings but she tries to keep it to a minimum. I think this forced me to experience my own emotions rather than feed off of hers.

I’m glad I finally read it.

Cheri Reviews Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (Goodreads Review)

Well that’s my Z for the A-Z Challenge AND my 80th book which takes me to the completion of my 2016 reading challenge.

Zoo was an engaging, interesting, and fun read. It wasn’t a literary masterpiece or anything like that but it held my attention and I enjoyed the read. Perfect for what I was looking for at the time. There were some good action sequences, too. The POV switched from Oz’s first person to everyone else covered in a third person omniscient. The POV of the animals was one of my favorite things about the book.

Also, damn us humans!

Cheri Reviews Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Here’s a quick video of me sharing my thoughts on this book. For those who don’t want to watch, I loved it and I highly recommend it. Very fun read.

You can download a sample or purchase any of the various formats of Ready Player One by clicking here.

Sera Reviews The Magistrate by Keira Michelle Telford

Keira Michelle Telford is another new author for me. One of my friends has gotten me started reading more sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian-type novels, and this definitely falls into the latter category. As with the book I previously reviewed, I had no expectations as to the author’s style or history.

The title refers to the main character, Carmen Wild, a magistrate in 24th century London. Magistrates are similar to Judge Dredd in the sense that they patrol the streets to enforce arrest warrants and terminate any civilians who attempt to evade justice.

To paraphrase the Goodreads blurb, London in the 24th century is full of poverty, crime, and horrible living conditions. The laws themselves are “strict, illiberal, and unsympathetic.” Anyone too poor to feed and clothe themselves is sent to the workhouse; anyone who can’t pay rent is sent to debtors’ prison. And anyone who’s gay is hanged. Not a very happy place to live.

While this novel was exceptionally long (around 400 pages), once it got going, it got GOING. Carmen is a very well developed character who does unsavory things as part of her job. She’s not the best partner for her girlfriend, but then her girlfriend isn’t perfect either. Carmen is complex and interesting, and her back story, well developed in the novel, is very interesting and explains much about her actions. The secondary characters are full formed and not cardboard cutouts. Everyone has a distinct personality and Miss Emmeline was my favorite character. As the madam of a whorehouse, she is the “hooker with a heart” (though she runs the house but doesn’t offer herself to her customers) and, for me, served as the soft part of a very hard world.

I very much enjoyed the way the author structured her story. In the beginning, she intersperses the present with visits to the past. She makes it clear when the events take place, so it wasn’t difficult to follow and actually added to the story for me.

Keira Michelle Telford is a prolific author with another series and at least one stand-alone novel. The best part of this book for me was that it is just the first part in the Prisonworld Trilogy, which means I can revisit the characters. Which I’m in the process of doing now with The Procuress.

To download a sample or purchase The Magistrate by clicking here.