Friday, September 17, 2021
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021
Hardcover. 368 pages.
The Body Scout is a fast-paced, innovative futuristic sci-fi with a bit of a 'whodunnit' vibe that keeps the plot moving. This book is set in a world in which body parts can modified and/or replaced, there are modifications for almost all parts of the body (including eyes, ears, and more!), and what constitutes a "natural" person has become much more involved and/or dramatic than we might know it as today.
When I fist started this book, I was excited for the somewhat dystopian futuristic setting, but at the same time when I realized baseball was going to play a decent role in the plot, I grew hesitant. I don't like baseball and honestly find it rather boring--especially talking about it--and wasn't sure how heavily this book would dive into that topic. Fortunately, although there is a decent amount of talk and it does sort of constitute the main career world that Kobo exists in--being both a scout and former player--you do not need to like or care about baseball to like this book. The focus really isn't on that, but rather is used as a backdrop in which to tell a different, grander story of life in this world, and Michel does an excellent job of doing just that.
Once the plot of The Body Scout takes off, it never really slows down. Kobo's adopted brother, a famous baseball player known as J.J. Zunz, dies in a rather dramatic fashion, and Kobo decides that he needs to track down his killer, even though he has no real resources to do so–or at least, so it seems at first. We then follow Kobo along on this crazy, unpredictable adventure full of twists as he tries to find leads and insight towards his brother's death, which of course leads him to uncovering even more corruption and secrets along the way. There's never a dull moment in The Body Scout.
Kobo is a pretty charismatic character in the sense that all he's really trying to do is survive in this rather hostile, unfair futuristic world, and if doing that means he might not be doing everything "right," then that's just what he has to do. It's hard not to root for him struggling in this crazy, harsh world, but his determined yet somewhat casual attitude towards his life and struggles feels somehow relevant to our own often difficult world. I liked seeing Kobo interact with a wide variety of people, from those that like him to those that tolerate him and those that are outright hostile towards him. There were a few side characters that felt a bit more on the stereotypically drawn side, but nothing extreme that really took away from my enjoyment. I really liked getting to know Dolores, an ex of Kobo's that ends up playing an pretty important role throughout the story.
The worldbuilding is incredibly detailed, and the futuristic elements were described and incorporated really well. Although the characters were all mostly developed well and I didn't have many issues with them, I would say Michel's strength in this book was really moreso in the worldbuilding and general layout and structure of society than in anything else. This is not a world that I want to live in or visit, but I had a lot of fun learning how everything worked and how all of the body modifications affected the population (and don't worry, paying for medical bill remains an over-priced problem).
At the end of the day, The Body Scout is a really solid, entertaining, and straight fun novel. It's not all fun and game, and Michel does tackle plenty of more sobering elements and byproducts of a world such as this one, but it's done in a well-written manner that fit in well with the narrative and allowed for some great thoughtfulness and discussion-prompting. I've given this book four stars!
*I received a copy of The Body Scout courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Can't-Wait Wednesday: Isolate by L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett, & Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
This week's upcoming book spotlights are:
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!
This week's topic is book titles with numbers in them, and since I know I've done this topic before, I figured I'd just make it a bit more themed and count from one-ten in book titles! Simple, but always a little fun to track down all the books that work. Let's count!
One Way by S.J. Morden
Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
Monday, September 13, 2021
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Hardcover. 480 pages.
Under the Whispering Door is a wholesome, thoughtful, bittersweet contemporary fantasy story about what happens after we die–specifically, what happens to Wallace Price after his passing from a rather dreary, serious life. And because I've seen a bit of confusion around this, please note that this is not a House in the Cerulean Sea sequel and does not have anything to do with that book, but it does still contain Klune's delightful ideas and plot and has a lot of great things to offer that I think you'll love if you also loved The House in the Cerulean Sea.
As mentioned, this book follows Wallace Price, a recently deceased lawyer who is thrust into the unexpected situation of facing his own life after his death as he discovers what the afterlife really is. Wallace was a rather arrogant and selfish man in his lifetime as a lawyer, and it is with the help of some quirky, endearing characters–including his very own reaper–that he must confront this life and attempt to figure out how to move on from it. I really appreciated Wallace's character development throughout this story, and especially how his relationship with each additional character evolved in their own ways and at their own pace. And it's not only Wallace that undergoes his own development, but every character seemed to have their own unique path that was explored in varying degrees of detail throughout the progression of the story.
Under the Whispering Door takes place almost entirely in one main location–Hugo's tea shop–and I was impressed by how much Klune managed to pack into that one primary setting. There is so much color and depth within the pages of this book and the characters we meet, all developed fully with multi-dimensional personalities and backstories that helped to flesh everything out. The tea shop itself was a delight, from it's quirky description and structure to the various adventures and both light and heavy conversations that take place within. I may not be a fan of tea (I know, I'm sorry), but something about Hugo's passion for tea and finding the right tea for every single person really made me want to go start drinking tea and find deeper meaning and calmness with it, much in the way he does for the people he meets and helps.
This story heavily explores themes of loss, grief, and regret, and I think it does so in a really excellent and effect manner. It was a little saccharine sweet at times in its messaging, and yes this led to it feeling ever so slightly sappy at times, but I think that's exactly what this book was meant to be, and I think it's both what people want from this book and that it works perfectly as a much-needed comfort right now.
My only real complaint about this book would be with the some overdone dialogue and messaging. The themes previously mentioned are explored well in the book, but at times it felt like I was reading variations of the same general ideas over and over again, and it became a bit repetitive and almost dull at times. A lot of the dialogue felt slightly predictable or cliche at times as well, and although this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it did leave me feeling slightly wanting at times. The House in the Cerulean Sea had similar firm elements of instilling messaging that I know some people didn't care for (although it didn't bother me), but this book just felt slightly more repetitive and heavy-handed at times.
*I received a copy of Under the Whispering Door courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Friday, September 10, 2021