Sunday, March 29, 2015

'Dove Arising' by Karen Bao


Phaet Theta has lived her whole life in a colony on the Moon. She’s barely spoken since her father died in an accident nine years ago. She cultivates the plants in Greenhouse 22, lets her best friend talk for her, and stays off the government’s radar.

Then her mother is arrested.

The only way to save her younger siblings from the degrading Shelter is by enlisting in the Militia, the faceless army that polices the Lunar bases and protects them from attacks by desperate Earth-dwellers. Training is brutal, but it’s where Phaet forms an uneasy but meaningful alliance with the preternaturally accomplished Wes, a fellow outsider.

Rank high, save her siblings, free her mom:  that’s the plan. Until Phaet’s logically ordered world begins to crumble...

Suspenseful, intelligent, and hauntingly prescient, Dove Arising stands on the shoulders of our greatest tales of the future to tell a story that is all too relevant today.

Phate isn't a bad character. She's pretty interesting. 
Her motivation is great. She is motivated by her family. By the love of her family and friends. She keeps going because of them. I'm surprised by how willing she is to give up her dreams. She's a good sister. If I ever have a sister, I hope my sister is like Phate. 
She's also a tough girl. A tough spirit. I imagine that if she spoke more, she would be really sarcastic. She's quiet at first. Then, she whips out her motivation and becomes this superwoman. She's still human, though. She still bleeds. She has limits. But she tries to hard. She's so motivated. I wish I was that motivated to lose weight! 
Wes. Why are you named Wes? (I don't particularly like when characters use the same name. It's hard to understand at times.) I don't mind him. He's not bad. I like that he's good with fighting. He could help Phate practice. Without Wes's help, she might not have gotten as good as she had gotten. He is quite quick and clever. 
I am lost on something about Wes. Why he does act two different ways to Phate? Distant or all huggy-huggy. I didn't understand that. Was he hurt? Phate barely spoke. There isn't much that happens between them other than sparring. Does he like her? Gasp. What is Wes is acting all childish because he likes her? Ooh...

The plot is okay. It's not bad or anything. 
It has good action. The fight scenes...pretty good. I like them. Phate is a clever girl. She thinks differently. With this, she fights differently. She doesn't always use brute force. In combat, she uses her brain to make ways to get out of situations. Anyways. In training, you'll have combat. The punches. The dodges. You don't always get the chance to avoid things. You sometimes have to take hits. 
The majority of the book is about the training to be part of the Militia. Which can be a bit boring. There isn't a rebellion or anything. (I honestly prefer rebellions. They're interesting.) The things the trainees have to do is interesting. They have to do hand-to-hand combat. Then flight training. Weapons. They learn teamwork and alliances. These are things they might never use. The privates are mostly on the Bases. They just patrol. It doesn't seem like they will ever need to know how to fly a destroyer. 
The drama with her family isn't bad. As a plot point. It's fascinating why they act like they do. Anka doesn't understand. And her brother (whose name I can't even try to spell) is trying to be mediator. And her mother...that's just another story. There are reasons to act certain ways. It's someone's way of acceptance. Seeing how Phate deals with her family is interesting. That's how she accepts her situation in a way.

Oh gosh. The way Karen Bao worded things... Her sentences were really odd. 
The sentence structure was odd. I don't have examples sadly. (Most of them are in the beginning to my recall.) The sentences would trip over themselves. They seemed to skirt the point. It was odd. And hard to read. It was as if they were avoiding the point. 
Either that or they used specific medical terms. Which shows her anatomy knowledge. But gives the reader a hard time. I can't imagine anyone really understanding unless you recently took a biology or anatomy class or if you're a major in one of those medical fields or something along those lines. I'm in a biology course. Sadly, my teacher didn't explain the body systems very well, so I was a bit...confused. 
An example: 'Umbriel's jaw relaxes, while mine clenches so hard that my masseters cramp. (Page 282) Okay. My thoughts. Masseters? I know that's you're...jaw muscles. But still. If I hadn't taken a course on muscles recently, I wouldn't have known. At all. I mean, you can figure out what it is. But that just makes it harder for the reader. Maybe...'my jaw hurts'? Not masseters? As much as I love it when people prove they're smarter than the Average Joe, I don't need a biology lesson. 
Here's another example:'Has my autonomic nervous system exhausted itself, given up on me?' (Page 312) Uh. What's the autonomic nervous system? I don't know. And there isn't any way to understand this sentence's meaning. I don't know what to think. I feel a bit stupid. 
I don't really like the wording of the sentences. I typically can handle it. But this book...was too far. Too much. I couldn't handle it. Karen Bao, we get it. You're smart. I understand. Don't shove it into my face. Especially if I don't understand some of the meanings. 

The ending definitely was a cliffhanger. They just landed. They have to survive. What happens? Will they survive? What about Brother-to-Phate? What about Mother-to-Phate? (Why am I writing Brother-to-Phate? I'm lazy for one. And I know I'll botch the name if I try. Phate is hard as is.) 
I don't think I love or hate this. I'm neutral. I think it's a ending. Anything can happen. Anything at all. The author can make it rain asteroids. Or introduce a new guy who makes Wes jealous. Who knows? Wes could be gay. Phate would be secretly a hooker. You don't know. This ending doesn't give any hints. Which is great for the author. She can write her ending. 
But it's also terrible for the reader. We have to wait maybe a year for the next book. And you don't know what could happen. Anything could happen. You don't know. Everything could turn sour. Or maybe it won't be sour. 

Sunny with a 50% chance of rain

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