Book Review: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson

Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction Novella that tells a futuristic Neo Noir detective story. I was reminded a lot of a Phillip K. Dick meets George Orwell, especially The Eye, the story Minority report is based on, and 1984. In the near future a computer program can simulate an entire day of the past for every person , police step into this world to gain to find evidence in the real time, but every interaction with someone from the real time causes deviations in the day. This story takes place in the program 10 days before present day. The idea of this story is amazing, with such a short story it has some good twist.

The Plot: Davis and Chaz are detectives in the Snapshot. The Snapshot is the name for the program that can simulate any entire day for every person in the city. The cases aren’t difficult they will watch and document a domestic disturbance, and they will watch where a murder suspect flees to it drops the murder weapon. They can communicate to the real world that is in the same time but different day. The way the program works they have to spend a day there, so they have safe houses to go to if need be. They end one case early and instead of go to the safe house, they explore. Davis still wants to be a detective, where Chaz enjoys the Snapshot. Davis read about an odd event that occurred this day on a conspiracy blog and wants to investigate. They find multiple bodies and a killer that knows how the Snapshot works.

What I Liked: The plot to this story is so good. The idea is cool, Sanderson is known for writing some big books, and this story could easily been expanded. Davis took me a couple pages to figure out but I loved his character, and loved where his story arc went. I liked the idea of the Snapshot, I wanted to know more about it. The twist towards the end of this story are really good, it really reminded me of a Phillip K. Dick twist ending. I loved the reveal on Davis leaving the real life police force, and the reason he turns off the machine each night. I loved use of the deviations and what element to the story they introduced.  The badge that shows you this world is not real was a well thought out device.

What I Disliked: It took me a while to visualize the main characters, and it took me longer than it should in a novella to identify with the characters. A slow beginning, there’s a fair bit of exposition in explaining how the Snapshot works, which is interesting but out getting to know the characters on the back burner.

Recommendation: This story was right up my alley, if you’re like me and love mind bending science fiction then this story is for you. It is short and well worth the time reading. I have yet to read a bad Sanderson story, I love Mistborn series and Stormlight Archive series. I rated Snapshot 4 out of 5 stars. I bought it for my kindle for 1.99 and it was well worth it!

Book Review: All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha Wells is the first novella in The Murderbot Diaries series that is up to 4 book so far. This novel has one a plethora of award The Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for best Science Fiction Novella, as well of plenty of others. I’ve seen other reviews rate it quite high, and I personally was not disappointed. This novel is a unique character study with thrilling bits of action thrown in. The novel is told from the perspective of Murderbot, who is not your average bot, he has a rebellious side to him. Murderbot can me compared to a rebellious teenager as it choose it not to read reports, would rather spend time watching entertainment, would rather be alone than with the crew who doesn’t understand it and doesn’t know what it wants of this life.

The Plot: Murderbot is an SecUnit a self aware droid with human features and characteristics. Murderbot is what he calls himself but not allowed. He works as a piece of hardware for the Company which is a massive rental facility that provides security and gear for teams. Murderbot is not like other SecUnits he hacked himself out of the mainframe and does not have to follow orders, which no one know except him. He assigned to a group of scientists that are surveying soil on a distant planet through a worm hole. Murderbot is bored most of the time, a massive creature breaks up the boredom as it attacks the crew coming up from the ground. Murderbot kills the creature before it can inflict too much damage . The crew survives but end up finding that their survey of the planet has been modified with no mention of the creature and places on the map omitted. The crew find themselves in danger as someone doesn’t want them to leave the planet alive and Murderbot is their only hope.

What I Liked: This is not a stereotypical robot story there are not beeps and boops. The voice and personality Murderbot is unique and refreshing. The relationship of the crew toward each other and towards Murderbot. The action is easy to follow and exciting. The ending was unexpected I feel it was right for the character, even if I was a little sad of what the outcome means for the next novel and some of the characters. It is short but the story fills complete it could of added a couple more pages to fill in a scene that gets interrupted.

What I Disliked: The end of the rising action left me wanting to know what exactly happened, I felt a little cheated not knowing.

Recommendation: I totally recommend this novel, I look forward to reading more adventures of The Murderbot Diaries. I would recommend this to people who like science fiction, this novel is could be a good novel to get some one to try Science Fiction it is short and not overly detailed when it comes to science. There is one use of bad language, I would recommend this to teenagers, since Murderbot is so much like a teenager himself. I rated this book 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more of Martha Wells.

Book Review: A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

A House at the Bottom of the Lake is a novella about one creepy and magical first love. This was my first Josh Malerman book, I went to my library hoping to snag Bird Box his debut novel that’s still getting all kinds of buzz in the horror community, and soon to be a Sandra Bullock film on Netflix, but it was out. so I picked up his novella A House at the Bottom of the Lake, and man is the writing good. It reminded me of my first love the tension the apprehension. It starts off so sweet and ends up so messy, like most relationships. The theme is there through out this book of love and it’s many facets. Innocent love, complicated love, longing love, and messy love, there are other’s these are the ones that stuck out the most to me. This novel personifies the stages of love to creepy results.

The plot: James asks Amelia out on a date while working at his father’s hardware store. He doesn’t go for the the lame dinner and a movie, but instead he ask her for a canoe ride on the lake by his uncle’s place. The first date is filled with doubt and trepidation, but then they find a tunnel in the brush that leads to a secluded lake. In this lake they find a house at the bottom of the lake, it’s a big huge mansion like house with two storying and 7 bedrooms. This house is odd in that everything in the house is no effected by the water, the carpet looks new, chairs and plates are in there proper setting nothing floats in the house except clothes but they float different as filled by an invisible body. They make a pact no to tell anyone about the house, and never ask how or why this is happening. Like in love it’s best not to ask why or how, the problems start when they start questioning, but the question they should’ve asked is whose house is this?

What I liked: How this novel captures first love. The suspense when they explore the house I was with them not knowing what to expect. The tunnel and the house were described really well, and vivid. The supernatural worked. The theme of the stages of love really made this novel focused. Small chapters made this really hard to put down and added to the suspense. The ambiguous ending, I’m always not a fan of this but when it works like it did here, I spend the day thinking about what the ending meant to me, then it’s a good one. the last ambiguous ending I read I felt let down by was Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, so not aways effective by me.  The cover is very well done, and really captures the book.

What I disliked: There’s very little outside relationships, I wanted to see how friendships were effected by the relationship. I wanted a little bit more of the supernatural element. When did they refill up on oxygen? I could have seen more reaction on people outside of the relationship. That’s just minor stuff this book worked for me.

Recommendation: I would recommend this to fans of horror and supernatural. It deals with kids that are 17 years old but would not call it Young Adult because of Language and sex, but on saying that I think it is an important book they way it looks at young love. I would recommend it to 16 and up. I looked at some of my fellow reviewers thoughts and this book is going to be pretty divided. I struggled between a four and a five star review, and ultimately settled with a 5 out of 5. This does increase my anticipation for Bird Box and other titles by Josh Malerman.