Beasts of the Field
Summary From Goodreads:
They are building a better world.
No more hunger.
No more poverty.
No more corruption.
Utopia is within our grasp—and there is no escape.
Beasts of the Field is a gritty way of depicting how easily the government, or any large power, could control us. Human susceptibility, inner darkness shown on the outside for all humanity to see, that is what this book depicts. It is freaky, jarring and it works so well because of how plausible the scenario really is. Using a game to control the population would never be easier than in today’s society where seemingly everyone has a phone capable of playing games on them at all times. West doesn’t hold back in shedding light on how humanity might react if we were faced with a supposed utopia, one that might not be morally sound and that wasn’t optional. Human primal urges are on full display in Beasts of the Field.
One thing you should know going into Beasts of the Field is that it uses a lot of points of view, and I mean a lot. It can be confusing, though I think that may be intentional since the book itself is built on a premise of pure chaos. Even the powers that unleashed the game might not be able to control the results so it is only fitting that the reader be as confused as the characters within. Anyway, back to the point I was trying to make, so many POVs. They are all interesting, the character each twisted in their own unique way, and each is vital to the story/plot somehow, but keeping track of who you are listening to and what’s going on is a feat. So if you aren’t into that sort of read I’d look elsewhere. I enjoyed it though, it made my brain get a workout.
The action in Beasts of the Field is really intense. You jump from one crazy display of human ferocity to the next and watch as the characters try their best to survive, and really try to understand what is going on, with varying levels of success. There are different tactics used, from going on the offensive and attacking the “enemy”, to hunkering down and trying to hide and even just attempting to escape. It’s pretty fascinating to “watch” and I was just as curious to see what would work as the characters were.
There isn’t too much else to say about the book. It’s creepy but thought provoking, gory but rich in depth and I really enjoyed it. I know West wasn’t going to release this book because it isn’t “mainstream” but I am really glad he did and that he’s allowing this side of him out to the bookish masses. I can’t wait to read more of his work that is in this vein. Definitely check it out and thanks as always for reading! ^.^
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #115/200
Review: Here Lies Death
I was given an eBook copy of Here Lies Death by Harlan Vaughn in exchange for an honest review.
Here Lies Death explores what would happen if there was no longer any process of aging or death. When death is eliminated on December 21, 2012 two sisters have to face this new reality and try to find meaning in their now seemingly endless lives. The world struggles to understand what this means from both sociological and psychological points of view and whether or not religion has anything to do with it. Can the human race cope with the idea that they will no longer die, and what does this mean for those who are trapped by old age, young age, and simply the understanding that so little of what they do now seems to matter. Will humans survive? What will the government do?
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started reading Here Lies Death. The book takes a long hard look at one example of what could be defined as the world ending, at least as we know it to be. In a world without death what matters? What is the purpose for people to continue doing their everyday activities and jobs? All of that and more is examined. The characters in Here Lies Death try to continue life as they had lived it before but struggle with finding purpose in a deathless existence. Some even attempt to kill themselves, and each other in the hopes that they could at least feel what it would be like to die. It was quite a morbid thing to read about indeed, but something that seems so natural now, to die, would leave quite a gaping whole in our reality.
As I was reading Here Lies Death I enjoyed how the author examined all of the different angles. They took a look at how the religious would use this new happening to bolster their claims and denounce others. Government was rattled and their purpose in society was shaken at best, they had to find a way to establish that they still mattered. Even just the simple act of giving birth and creating a family was considered. There was no detail untouched, but that didn’t make the pace slow too much, it enriched the story.
Some of the scenes were very graphic. I will say that they were done exquisitely and were probably the high point for me at least, even if their gruesome nature was sometimes a bit hard to digest. Without giving too much away, this is not for the squeamish, if you can’t handle some gore thrown into your reading experience then I wouldn’t suggest this book for you.
I enjoyed the book thoroughly until I hit roughly the 75% mark. The world was in turmoil about whether or not they wanted to die, and without giving any spoilers I will say that there were some developments with characters struggling to survive some governmental plans. The ending was very unsatisfying. Before I did this review I tried to think about how I would have tackled ending a book such as this, and though I was unable to come up with a full-proof solution I still can’t go along with the way Here Lies Death did end. You can’t have so much buildup where characters are valiantly trying to survive and live and then completely nullify those attempts without giving them anything in return whatsoever. With this in mind I won’t recommend this book, but I also will say that there were many redeeming parts of it that I did enjoy so I’m not saying not to read it either. If you are an Amazon Prime member (I’m not but I came across this, not selling out I swear) you can get it for free for Kindle, I would say then to check it out and see if you can put up with the ending. You may even be satisfied with it, we each have our own preferences.
As always thank you for reading! If you would like to comment feel free. What are some books where the ending has frustrated you and did that stop you from recommending them completely or did you suggest checking them out anyway? Let me know! ^.^