Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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Through my high school years for English class, I got to read novels such as the Chrysalids, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. I very much enjoyed all these novels and their common dystopian theme. But I never had the chance to read Brave New World. Finally, two years later, I found the time to read it. I wish though that I could have read this book in high school. I can just picture analyzing the themes, the characters, and the setting. I can also even picture myself writing a comparative essay on 1984 and Brave New World or writing a comparative essay on the civilized people of the brave new world and the savages. But thank goodness, I don’t have to do that. Maybe its because I read 1984 few years ago, but I also don’t find them to be so very similar except for the dystopian theme and a brainwashed society.

The book starts of describing the development of people in the modern world. Humans are genetically engineered and have clones and different levels of hierarchy. It is hard to understand exactly what is happening because the reader knows nothing else about the world that Huxley created. In 2014, the readers have been more exposed to such terms as genetically engineering  so the readers can somewhat understand what is happening. But eighty years ago, I don’t think people were familiar with such things thus this concept was very profound for them. It is easy to understand why eighty years ago people were so impressed with these new ideas of a utopian world, even now, when people are more familiar with technology, this book doesn’t fail to impress with its ideas of the future.

Everyone is happy. Nobody works hard. Everyone belongs to one another, meaning everyone can have sex with anyone. Concepts such as mother and father are considered dirty words. Soma is what they call a holiday. It is actually a drug that manipulates the people and makes them forget about ‘unpleasant’ thoughts. There are people who still live by the old ways with no technology, living in monogamy, and having babies. These people are savages. There is also no religion. There’s nothing that could make people feel upset.

The readers are introduced to the characters of Bernard and Lenina, whom I presumed would be the main characters of the story. That was proven false when in the middle of the book, the actual main character, John the savage is introduced and Bernard fades into the background. I actually had high hopes for the character of Bernard. He is described as Alpha-Plus, meaning that he is a top of the line persona, but he is different because he is little bit strange from everyone else. First of all , he isn’t as tall as other Altha-Plus man, he enjoys being on his own, he is in love with Lenina and doesn’t like seeing her with other man. Lenina also likes Bernard overlooking his differences and she enjoys only having one partner at a time. Both of these characters are introduced in a way that the readers see that they are different from the others. Now, the downfall. Bernard and Lenina go on a visit to New Mexico, where the savages live, and they find John, who is the son of Beta and a Controller, that were left on the island. Once John is introduced, we see that the character of Bernard is not strong as presumed. Bernard gets permission to allow John and his mother to get back into society. John brings Bernard popularity and fame. The popularity and fame shows that Bernard is not different from anyone else and he starts  enjoying all the parties and promiscuous sex. Furthermore, when the savage tries to start a riot and is caught, instead of supporting John, Bernard blames everything on him and begs for mercy. Huxley made the character rather pathetic. Ugh he had so much potential. As for the savage, I also had high hopes for his character once he was introduced but once again was disappointed with his development. I was expecting John to be a strong character, that once he joined the society, he would try to help others In some way instead of stupidly trying to start a riot randomly. The character is then sent off to live in isolation, where he inflicts self-harm due to his religious beliefs. In the end he ends up committing suicide because, even though this is not stated but is implied, he finally gives in to sin and has sex with Lenina. He considers sleeping with Lenina a sin because he likes monogamy and the ‘old’ type of love while she is everything but. Lenina’s character is also turns out to be nothing but eye candy for other characters. The readers do not even know what happens to her afterwards. I guess she just goes on living.

So maybe I’m just interest in heroic stories. Nothing in this book was very important except for the society Huxley builds. I guess I wanted more from the characters.

I read that when the book came out, it received negatives reviews because nobody thought this kind of society could happen. But look at the world now, we are already half way there. Technology, drugs, modification, people choosing careers over families, etc.

I realized I tend to make many claims and no arguments for them. I apologize for that, I do have arguments but im always too lazy to write them out and assume people know what Im talking about.

I enjoyed reading this book. Did I like it? Eh. I honestly love the world Huxley created.

I couldn’t bring myself to read Brave New World Revised. I skimmed through some pages and frankly, half of the time, I did not know what Huxley was talking about so I just gave up. Even though the chapter titles did seem interesting, when I started reading them, it seemed irrelevant to what I thought it’ll be.

Now, do I ever read anything without assumption? That is a good question. Yes, but all the assumptions come when I start reading the actual book.

I would suggest this book for others to read but I’m not going to lie that it fell short of my expectations.

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey Review

Hello everyone,16101128

I had my two week hiatus, but not intentionally. I’ve been moving and then I had my exams and now I have two weeks before classes start again. I am going to try to read as many books as I can in this time. I am currently reading the Great Gatsby and I just finished reading the 5th wave.

So what did I think of the 5th wave?

I think it actually lived up to its expectation. It captured my attention right away and I just kept on flipping through the pages trying to figure out what happens.

I wasn’t too keen on reading this book when I bought it. I wasn’t impressed by the cover (and I do judge books by their cover since it’s the first thing that makes you pick up a book) but I picked it up because I heard mixed reviews on this. I heard that it’s similar to the hunger games and I expected it to be very predictable. It wasn’t.  This is one of those YA novels that gives me hope that there is some creativity and originality left in this field. I must admit that I haven’t read many alien invasion stories so maybe that’s why I was impressed.

The book follows a girl named Cassie (for Cassiopeia) which is unusual name and I wonder if it will ever have a great significance other than being a constellation of a vain Greek queen. The first one hundred pages explain what happened to the people and to Cassie. This is a story of aliens invading earth and murdering the human race which they do in five waves. “After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one”. The aliens have been watching the human race since the beginning of history thus they know how people think and how to extinct the human race. The first wave took away all the electricity, the second wave brought a flood that destroyed all the major cities by water where most people live, the third wave brought a flu and only the immune survived, the fourth wave is when the aliens descend and start killing the people themselves but the difficult part is that they are not some green skin monsters, nobody can tell how they look like. Now it’s the 5th wave and no one knows what to expect. Cassie is alone, she feels like she is the only human left on earth, maybe she is, but she hopes she can find her little brother who was taken by the same people that killed their father. The book switches perspective between Cassie and this guy, Ben, who is at the same camp as Cassie’s little brother. So we get an outside perspective and an inside perspective.

I read so many terrible reviews on this book so people must be thinking that I have a terrible taste in books. Maybe I do but I loved this book. I think the plot was very well developed and thought through. It wasn’t predictable even though some things were made obvious to the readers when the characters had no idea. The book started off at a slow pace and then started increasing pace as the readers started understanding what is going on.  Some reviews that I read said that it went by too fast but I loved the fast paced action packed ending.

I didn’t think that this book was very similar to The Hunger Games. Sure, it is apocalyptic , there is a girl fighting for survival and being watched all the time but that’s a similar theme to hundreds of other books. You hear of every new dystopia book being compared to the hunger games now, why? I love the hunger games but it’s not like it’s the best or original dystopia novel, and it’s not like everyone compares it to Battle Royale (most people don’t even know what that is).

I thought that the book was well written, but I have to admit when the story captures my attention, I barely pay attention to the writing. Since nothing caught my attention therefore it must be okay. Excuse my poor judgment skills 😛

Overall, this was a very nice read. I give it 5/5

Writing 4/5

Plot 5/5

With love, Maryana