Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
I read a few of Atwood’s books and always enjoyed them. But the main reason for me to pick up this particular book was HBO announcing that they consider an adaptation of the trilogy starting with Oryx and Crake. It’s a typical Atwood book that takes place in a post-apocalyptic America – alternately in the past of the main character and his present life.
It starts off with a weirdo dude living in a tree, wearing only his bedsheet and calling himself Snowman. He is apparently the only human being left alive after some catastrophe we don’t know about yet. Apart from the so called “Crakers” who are like humans but without emotions, sexual drive etc.
Most of the story describes Jimmy’s/Snowman’s upbringing and his way through life in a very different America where science has gone too far. Animals have been altered to make them more productive and everyone is working towards prolonging people’s lives. The main reason for all of that is, of course, to make money. The world is a dangerous place where people get murdered in the streets for the sake of selling their organs. Fortunately, kiddo Jimmy grew up in a sheltered place as his daddy was a scientist working on some important stuff. Jimmy is not the smartest, not the best looking, quite funny but altogether very average and a bit boring. His friend Glenn/Crake on the other hand is more of a mystery. He’s super intelligent and has plans that could change the world forever.
I liked the style of writing, the switch between present and flashbacks of the past that slowly tell us what led to the downfall of humanity. I preferred the flashbacks though as they were more vivid and innovative. The details and new inventions Atwood gives us made this something special. I was a bit disappointed in the role of Oryx though. After all the build-up throughout the story and the little hints we get, her appearance is not as spectacular as i thought it would be. She was a really bland character to be honest. Although we get to know what happened to Snowman and what changed the world he knew, the ending was left open.
I really liked the setting, the details, the language and the story of Jimmy’s life. But on the other hand, the parts about him in the present were not as easy to read and had some boring parts.
The Innocent by David Baldacci
America has enemies – ruthless people that the police, the FBI, even the military can’t stop. That’s when the U.S. government calls on Will Robie, a stone cold hitman who never questions orders and always nails his target. But Will Robie may have just made the first – and last – mistake of his career…
It begins with a hit gone wrong. Robie is dispatched to eliminate a target unusually close to home in Washington, D.C. But something about this mission doesn’t seem right to Robie, and he does the unthinkable. He refuses to kill. Now, Robie becomes a target himself and must escape from his own people.
Fleeing the scene, Robie crosses paths with a wayward teenage girl, a fourteen-year-old runaway from a foster home. But she isn’t an ordinary runaway — her parents were murdered, and her own life is in danger. Against all of his professional habits, Robie rescues her and finds he can’t walk away. He needs to help her.
Even worse, the more Robie learns about the girl, the more he’s convinced she is at the center of a vast cover-up, one that may explain her parents’ deaths and stretch to unimaginable levels of power.
Now, Robie may have to step out of the shadows in order to save this girl’s life… and perhaps his own.
Not very often, but sometimes I feel like reading a thriller and to be honest – this is the first non-Scandinavian thriller I have read in probably 10 years. Maybe that is the reason why I enjoyed it so much. I picked it up because the story reminded me a bit of Leon – The Professional and I love this movie.
We have an assassin/hitman and a little girl who somehow end up together and are in really big trouble. I kinda like the combination badass assassin/little girl as it’s often fun to read. That is the case in this story too, although I would have liked the 14year-old Julie Getty to be a more active part to it.
As I said, I enjoyed reading the book – it was exciting, a nice, easy-to-read pageturner that worked out well and did not bore me, although some things were easy to find out and the end was not a big surprise.
What I have to admit, though, is that it’s probably full of clichees 😀 The main character, Will Robie, is a good-looking 40-year old hitman, in awesome shape, a bit grumpy, has a troubled past and is of course the best in the world at what he does. He also only kills the really mean meanies, so he’s kind of a hero..
Hey there… stop trying to make assassins seem like heroes who do the right thing by killing people. They are assassins!!! They kill people for money! Just leave it like that.
I am not sure if I should read some more Baldacci books, maybe when I feel like thrillers again. Or maybe I go back to Scandinavian ones. I never read Jo Nesbo, for example.
It did not sound that positive but I really enjoyed the story, the action and the hunt, despite super-assassin-god Will Robie 😉