Sunday, September 29, 2013

Irony of Survival (Zharmae Anthology Series #2) - Ashley's Review (Book II)

*I received this anthology from The Zharmae Publishing Press in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Irony of Survival

Edited by: Anna McDermott
Year Published: 2013

My review of Irony of Survival: Book I

Synopsis: Futures teetering between fate and chance unravel in fantastical realities spanning time and space; each bringing us face-to-face with the unexpected in Irony of Survival – a dynamic collection that explores how life’s ironic twists and turns challenge and, at times, ensure mankind’s survival. 

Never before has the role of irony in challenging our perspective, questioning consequence, and disrupting equilibrium been more distinctly illuminated than in this artfully spellbinding work that provides readers a looking-glass through which to view their own tales of survival. 

Experience firsthand how an unlikely instance, in an instant, can be the turning point of destiny.


Review: Since this anthology is split into three different books, I think I'll review each story, with the reviews separated by Book. Anthologies are always so weird for me to review.

1. Tower of Strength by Colleen Anderson: This story is a re-imagining of the Crucifixion/Easter story, but from the viewpoint of Mary Magdalene and with the addition of ancient magic. I wasn't really sure what was happening at first because the names were all different and there was a lot of dialogue. There are some elements of the original story, but the magic seemed weird and out of place. It was alright, but just didn't hold my attention well and left me with more questions than answers. 2/5

2. Restitution by James Wymore: A group of people live on a spaceship used to dump garbage, and are made to live in, eat, and scavenge through the garbage in order to survive. After receiving visions, our protagonist decides to stage a mutiny and get all these people out of their lives of trash. I think the concept was interesting, and the characters were likable, but the underlying setup was underdeveloped. How could people on Earth just forget about all the people they sent up into space? And why is he all of a sudden getting these visions? This one had potential, but fell short in the details. 2.5/5

3. The Sentinel by Jak Kavan: A tech company develops a super processor, it disappears, and all of a sudden banks and stock markets start to collapse. I actually thought the idea was really interesting, once everything became connected. I think too much of the beginning focuses on finding the processor though, and on trying to hunt down the guy who they think took it. If more time was spent on the program and how/why it becomes a sentinel, I think it would have been better. 3/5

4. The Romance Chip by Jon Del Arroz: Imagine a world where romance is dictated by a government issued chip that tells you when you are compatible with someone. Now, what if you have never had a match? The idea of making romance this simple is actually really interesting. How would people actually react to it? Would it be worth it? I did feel sorry for the main character, but I think the coincidence at the end was very unbelievable. It was just too much coincidence. 3/5

5. Replacement Hearts by Edward McKeown: A man is injured so badly that he becomes a cyborg - mostly metal, but with his brain, heart, etc. all in tact. He lives alone and has no relationships with full humans except for professional ones. When he has to transport an android "joygirl" though, things change. This story is actually one of the better ones I've read. It's written well, isn't too slow, and has realistic and likable characters. 4/5

6. The Ice Dragon by J.B. Rockwell: This story tells about the life of a fearsome ice dragon. How she falls in love with a man, has sons and daughters, and what happens to them. I actually really liked this story. It was on the longer side, but never felt too long. It has the feel of a fairy tale, which is pretty cool. I would love to have learned more about this world, but the glimpse we got was enough for the story. 5/5! 

Overall, Book II would be about a 3/5. This Book was definitely better than the first one. I hope Book III is even better! 


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