I love my Kindle. And I love being able to download the first chapter or few as a free sample. I’ve bought several books I otherwise might not have taken a chance on, based on the quality of the first few chapters, and been warned off others. (Best purchase based on sample chapter so far: Lauren Beukes’ Zoo City
. Warning: dark. Further warning: get the print edition. The e-book has annoying formatting errors.)
For your amusement, I’m going to write up a couple recent Kindle samples I downloaded while recovering from food poisoning. They are all YA sff and mostly dystopian, partly because there’s lots of dystopian YA out there now and partly because it cheered me to contemplate places more awful than my bathroom floor at 3:00 AM.XVI
, by Julia Karr. XVI = sixteen = SEX-teen = sexting = sending sexy text messages. When teenage girls (only girls?) turn sixteen, they are forced to get a tattoo labeling them sex-teens – legally available for sex. How this is different from places in the world now in which sixteen is indeed the age of legal consent, other than the tattoo, I am not sure. Unless they are forced to be sexually available to any man who asks? It’s not made clear in the part I read.
The setting is a generic near-future dystopia in which government is oppressive, media is evil, and religion has gone the way of the dodo: Gran even reads the Bible. But everyone knows that’s mythology. Although sometimes when I see how good it seems to make Gran feel, I have to wonder if there’s some truth to it.
Worst pro-religion argument ever! Lots of things make you feel good, such as drugs, bacon, and sex. “It feels good” has little to do with “it’s good for you,” let alone “it’s the truth.” And I speak as one who enjoys both bacon and sex.
The three chapters I read were bland, obvious, and tin-eared, combining clunky info-dumping with clunkier slang. I am surprised that no editor knew or cared that “trannie,” here used to mean “motor vehicle,” is, in the real world, generally-offensive slang for “transgender person.” There’s a Resistance movement, imaginatively known as “the Resistance.” To my amusement, members of the Resistance are known as NonCons, which in fanfic circles means non-consensual, ie, rape fantasy. Very appropriate!
The heroine is preachy and judgmental, conveying what I suspect is the author’s horror at the thought of teenage girls having sex. The chapters I read, and the entire concept, reminded me of the infamous Rainbow Party
, a book written to capitalize on media-generated horror over “rainbow parties,” in which teenage girls supposedly all wore different colors of lipstick and boys competed to see who could get the most colors on their dick. Unsurprisingly, this turned out to be an urban legend. (Sexual Urban Legends: Penis Captivus, Vagina Dentata, Soggy Biscuit, Gerbilling, Mars Bar Party, Sex Parties & Rainbow Parties
I will not be reading this one. Unless, I suppose, enough people think they’d be amused by a full review that they’d be willing to pony up some charitable donation money for one.