Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Oblivion - Anthony Horowitz

Whoa, I just realized the titles of all
the books are places. 
Anthony Horowitz
Series: The Power of Five (UK) #5 // The Gatekeepers (US) #5
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: How do you do that?
On Goodreads

I have four problems with this novel. One, I keep having to bookmark pages, two, the end is rushed, three, there is some unnecessary repetition, and four, it ends.

Since the novel is told in around a million points of view over eleven main parts, I will forgive the repetition (the bits about Matt making the mistake at the end of Necropolis and taking an extra second or so to name a place for all of the Five to end up comes up again and again and just about every character reflects on it, but it makes sense for them to. Thankfully Lohan silences the topic because Lohan is awesome.) The rushed end I can't forgive, though. The novel is beautifully woven and I was hung on the ends of each page . . . and then the last bits were thrown in my face before I could fully feel them. Not that it's such a horrible thing, I can understand why: the culmination of five books in one defining moment while half the characters are resolving their developments . . . it makes sense. So I won't take much from my rating, because I understand why there are bits that are bothersome, it's that big of a work.

Now onto the other problems. There is so much that is so good I can't actually physically handle it. Oblivion is a masterpiece of fiction. There is a whole new world we are introduced to in the last book of the series and yet Horowitz plays off its attributes as if they were nothing. "I just put my characters into a post-apocalyptic world? Let's torture them!" he says to himself, stroking his cunning wit, sprawled on his throne of plot twists. Each of the sections play out as short stories, and it takes only a short while to see how they're so intertwined. Literally the plot unfolds in such a way that you can't help but stand up and say:

Continuously. At just about every point where Horowitz takes on his I'm about to blow your mind tone. Which is his second language. Specifically the manner in which he describes scenery and other facets of a setting and how amazingly varied the settings are. You would think a war torn, deprived world would be deficient in complex, interesting, or enrapturing settings (past the frightening ones).
Dubai took them by surprise. . . . All the grass had died but the earth that remained was neat and symmetrical. The city didn't seem to have grown. It could have been laid out deliberately piece by piece.
And it was completely deserted.
. . . There wasn't a flicker of movement anywhere. And the very motion of the car as they rolled forward seemed alien and unwanted. (223-224)
In addition, the viewpoints of the characters are amazing. With so many of them, overlaps and repeats can be a problem. But not here. They're all so interesting. From our first narrator, Holly:
It was the week before my sixteenth birthday when the boy fell out of the door and everything changed. Is that a good start? (Horowitz, 1)
To Horowitz's version of a young professor Umbridge:
Jonas Mortlake was not married and had no children of his own. The idea of being close to another human being slightly repulsed him and he particularly disliked women. (64ish. Stupid ebooks.)
Well, and then there's Scott:

The diction and tonal change is literally spot on. Especially for Pedro. Basically if anyone were to portray Pedro with even half a degree of accuracy, they'd deserve a BAFTA on the spot. I stand by this. The scene around these words made me reel horribly. It was almost painful to think about it.
The filth rose over his face, over his head. He could feel it pressing against his eyes. It was utterly and completely revolting. It was worse than death. (157)
And the end, which I bloody knew was coming, felt kind of like this:

A slightly inaccurate portrait
of my heart after the last
couple of chapters.
There is a beautiful short resolution that follows. I have very little to say of it. The messages the book leaves its reader with are many and extensive, spanning many human extreme. There's a lot to say about this novel but it really is an experience that you have to take yourself.

- Marlon

What would you sacrifice for the world, just one tiny chance for the world?
Let us know in the comments!

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