on June 26, 2015 :
The Ishim Underground, Overground... Wombling Free!
So let me start by saying I am not a big fan of post-apocalyptic stories as they always tend to assume all engineers disappeared during the fall of humanity, so I went in skeptical due to my bias. What I found was a well written story about people which touched on many of my favorite subjects such as Genetic Engineering and AI and just happened to be set in a post-apocalyptic future. There are some lovely descriptions in this book which you cannot fail to smile at in acknowledgement of how easily they construct a mental image which remains personal to the reader.
I found this a truly enjoyable reading experience, it doesn't tie your mind in knots but also doesn't bore you into skipping ahead, it simply keeps you interested. The characters are flawed and it seemed to reflect societal reality which is a truth of today, a thousand years ago or a dystopian future so its easy to relate to their thoughts and agency. To sum up how this book made me feel it felt like a warm 'emergency-jumper', the one you throw on to slob about at home in and is always the most comfortable item in your wardrobe. The author clearly understands the need when world building to not answer everything, keep the mysteries for the future, let the reader fill in some of the blanks, no need for heavy over explanation.
I'm still not a fan of post-apocalyptic stories but tales of humanity told with a dash of clever subtle humor which never feels forced - yes I'm a big fan of that and this book.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
on June 25, 2015 :
Perception of The Ishim Underground by Carrie Bailey.
Reading Carrie's novel was a delight from the beginning as it immediately filled me with ideas for my own novels and that is what a great author does. You can tell you're reading a good book when it inspires you to write something grand out of pure excitement, yet can't as yet because you need to read on. It is quite the conundrum to decide. I, however, have decided to take time out to write my thoughts, because the book is so interesting that I know if I read on the colourful descriptions, coupled with my excitement at having found a book worthy of my time, the concepts I want to write about will fade as my mind is assaulted by new excellence.
I don't often read much from the post-apocalyptic genre since the Obernewton Chronicles left me emotionally exhausted. And as much as you might think that is a good thing, claiming that at least those books affected me so much, I will tell you otherwise. Sure, you want an emotional connection with the characters because it makes them more real and thus you fully slip into the time and tale of the book. But no-one wants to be a withered wreck. I read fantasy to get away from real life difficulties and horrors. I don't want to find them in the new world I have only just escaped to.
The style of writing is odd and threw me constantly as many of the words aren't quite in their correct places. It's really quite subtle in form, actually, because it places the reader in the post-apocalyptic world where many words and meanings haven't survived the transition entirely intact. Imagine growing up thinking the language you're learning is the one true form that your revered ancestors spoke. From outside we as the readers notice it, but from within, ie, for the characters it's normal, if not brilliant. This is further established ironically as the main character, Eron, despises the nomads for brutalising so many of the proper words. It's an amazing concept on the author's part and I wish I'd conceived of it myself.
The story itself moves strangely. As the reader following Eron you can't help but sympathise with his plight because he is just a teenager doing what he can to fit into a hostile world that often attacks him in various ways, shifting his perceptions of it.
I don't know how I feel about it because the writing style jumped my mind around so much and I had to really focus to understand what the nomads were saying. Yet sometimes it was unintelligible, as speech often is.
Wonderful character creation and depiction. Very complicated and often subtle, Bailey doesn't lead the reader along but let's you make assumptions like you're in a mystery novel. But it's not a mystery...
Go buy the book and test it out for yourself, but beware: you may need to retreat to a desert island upon completion to rearrange your mind.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on June 24, 2015 :
The Ishim Underground was an amazing read! Carrie Bailey does a phenomenal job of describing this post-apocalyptic world, set in the future and evolved from the world that we know. The way that she describes this new world, is own cultures, and the conceptions that they have of our time is quite immersive!
The story follows a young man named Eron, so educated that he is positive that he knows how the world works and his path in life. When forced to see the stark contrast between his civilized world and the world beyond sheltered walls, the thin veil is lifted from his shattered paradigm.
Balancing the awkward scholar in this adventure is a wild boy raised in savage lands, Guardsmen who carry out the law of the land without question, thieves that defy the law, and the mysterious, immortal Ishim. There are genetically engineered megafauna and barren wastes where it is easier to become food than find food.
With so many elements of excitement, Carrie Bailey's story is an excellent adventure! I highly recommend The Ishim Underground!
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
on May 3, 2015 :
This is the second pass for me reading this book. I had the opportunity to review a pre release copy. I hesitate to list this book as a young adult book. Good characters and character development, the development of worlds, progression through the story line are more important for me. If we adhere to agree ranges, the world would not have experienced Harry Potter. The author did great job of showing me the character, and leading me through his story, so much so, I found myself peeking around the corner looking for what was next. I look forward to what ever comes next in this world.
(reviewed 2 days after purchase)