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Month in review

Reviews
Around the World by Matt Phelan
A Boy & a Girl by Jamie S. Rich
Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Down Under Donovan by Edgar Wallace
The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley
Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski
Explorer 2: The Lost Islands edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Mud-Slinging Moles by Maxwell Eaton III
Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse by George Selden
Hildafolk by Luke Pearson
How to Make Friends with Demons by Graham Joyce
I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin
The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan
Leo Geo and the Cosmic Crisis by Jon Chad
Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Martian by Andy Weir
Marx by Corrine Maier
Rust: Death of the Rocket Boy by Royden Lepp
The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle by Lynne Cherry
The Sixth Gun, Volume 1 by Cullen Bunn
Sock Monkey Goes To Hollywood: A Star Is Bathed by Cece Bell
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth by Ian Lendler
The Summer of Love by Debbie Drechsler
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
The 26-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Tune: Still Life by Derek Kirk Kim
Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham

Miscellaneous
The Gallifreyan Roundabout or Circular thinking and navigation
Genuine antiquitee, yes sir-ee

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Islands at the End of the World: 08/28/15

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan:

The Islands at the End of the World by Austin Aslan is set in Hawaii on the big island and on Oahu at a time when the world goes dark. Leilani loves surfing and would be happiest doing nothing but in her spare time. Unfortunately she's an epileptic and her parents have put her into a study, meaning she and her father have to make regular trips to Oahu.

As part of Leilani's treatment is to stop her normal meds. This is one of those convenient plot points that often get tossed into disaster stories, because then it's not just a matter of an uncomfortable change in life style or some hardcore roughing it, it becomes a matter of life and death due to an otherwise manageable medical condition.

So, of course, something weird has to happen. The lights go out across the island. Radio goes down. TV goes down. The island is essentially cut off from the other islands and from the rest of the world. And isolated location like Oahu does provide a good, closed environment for a disaster story — more so than a continental one where the excuses have to be more far flung to explain why no one can get through.

A big portion of the disaster part of The Islands at the End of the World focuses on the situation where a tourist island is suddenly cut off from all imports. Society quickly begins to fall apart and the U.S. military presence takes over, putting everyone in protective camps while they decide how to deal with an island which no longer can support the population.

In the background of all of this, is an extraterrestrial event, a thing in the sky that looks like a glowing orchid. The orchid thing awakens Leilani's connection to her Hawaiian heritage. But this part of the plot didn't feel as genuine as the military machinations. It's not that native Hawaiians wouldn't be reacting to the experience against their traditions and creation stories. Of course; it's a natural human reaction. But here what should have been magical realism ends up feeling forced.

Having read The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett, I couldn't help but see similarities between the space orchid and the strange light above the Disc. Except Pratchett while playing with tropes and poking fun at a lot of fantasy ended up creating a rather deep statement about our place in the universe. Leilanli's experience falls far short of that which is a shame because the initial chapters showed such great potential.

Three stars

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