Author Archive: Duane Mccoy

Fracture by Megan Miranda

Publisher: Walker Children’s Books

Release date: January 17, 2012

Pages: 272

Summary: Delaney falls through the ice of a like near her house and drowns. When she’s hauled out of the frigid water, she’s technically dead. But a few days later in the hospital, she comes back. Delaney is considered to be a miracle—she apparently has significant brain damage, but as far as the doctors can tell, she’s in perfect health! What the doctors don’t know, though, is that Delaney has developed a weird tingling in her fingers. She’s pulled towards certain people—people who are going to die.

My thoughts: Fracture starts off with a bang, hooking readers with the mystery of Delaney’s miraculous survival. The first half of the book is gripping and full of unique plot turns: almost every page is full of surprises. Fracture’s second half is where the story gets a bit fuzzy, focusing more on questionable morality and a shady character named Tom. Things that occur in Delaney’s personal life are a bit unbelievable, and the relationships she holds with friends and family are suddenly blurred. It’s a bit disappointing to see a character’s life start off one way and then quickly become something completely different. It just doesn’t flow with Fracture’s momentum; instead making the reader jerk to a stop in confusion.

Still, Fracture ultimately succeeds. The fresh concept holds strong through the course of the whole book, and there’s never any doubt that Fracture will continue to shock and delight. Megan Miranda is a master of plot twists, each one turning the reader’s preconceived notions on their heads. The main characters are consistent, and though at times they’re not exactly likable, they are strong. Delaney goes through some emotional turmoil, but she never comes off as whiny or obnoxious. Megan Miranda keeps it real with Delaney’s romantic endeavors: there are no soul mates in Fracture—things are complicated.

Fracture is a perfect read for anyone looking for a book with a fresh paranormal concept. Readers will be amazed at how easily Megan Miranda can shock them. Though at times the story becomes a bit inconsistent, Fracture is overall a fun, occasionally heartbreaking read. Fracture will make you think about what it means to be alive. Don’t forget to leave a comment, I would like to discuss this book with you.

4/5 stars

For those who like: Mystery, suspense.

Anthem by Ayn Rand Part 2

Come on! This guy has no concept of individuality. He is telling the story. He is literally wishing that he was more like the others. Why would he say something insulting like that? He wouldn’t is the point, which is why the sentence is jarring. The whole story is jarring because at every turn there’s a point that is stomped home. This character continuously shows perspective far beyond his experience, and out of the context with what he is conveying, because Rand wants to make sure the point is heard.

For example, he ventures off on his own and reinvents electricity. Then it’s rejected by the establishment, which is non-democratic and brutalistic. And of course, they are the only people who get a singular pronoun in being called, “The Old Ones.”

So he’s gone out and he desires to bring electricity to the people, with the specific desire of bringing them light. Get it, like Prometheus.  Are you sure you get it? Ayn Rand d0esn’t think you’ve got it. So he escapes with a female, finds a house with a library, reads some books and decides to give himself a new name. Guess what the name is!

Prometheus. Get it?!

Still though, Ayn Rand isn’t sure you get it.

So she ends the book with an emphasized word, “EGO.” Which, you will already know but be told again, is what Prometheus of the myth carved into rock.

I am quite good at suspending my disbelief, and for the most part an author’s personal proclivities aren’t going to stop me from enjoying a work. But you really do have to agree with this to like it. Not just agree, but like its specific tone and gesturing. Because I agree that a collectivist society without technology living among ruins sounds like it’s awful, but there’s no story here. There’s propaganda. Which is really disappointing.

I honestly don’t think it matters what your politics are in terms of reading this. This doesn’t function as a story. It’s jolted philosophy. And there’s value to it, in reference to the ideas of the time and the ideas it opposed. It’s just difficult to read a story where the author has so much antipathy for a character’s state of development that she skips it.

Orwell fought in the trenches during the Spanish Civil War (and wrote the brilliant Homage to Catalonia about it). He saw firsthand there, and in Burma, what fascism could do. So if he can restrain himself enough to write an allegory about fascism, that also functions as a nicely fleshed out story about farm animals, Rand has no excuse.

And I’m feeling pedantic after reading Anthem, so if you didn’t get it I was talking about Animal Farm above. You know, by Orwell. That guy I was talking about. Who fought in The Spanish Civil War. He wrote a book about it called…

You get the idea.

Anthem by Ayn Rand Part 1

I figured I’d tackle the infamous Ayn Rand.

Anthem, a novella written in 1937, is set in a dystopian future where individuality has been outlawed. In this world technology is banned for the most part, as are any and all exceptional things. There’s also a large government backed hatred for the past and all its advances. Even the main character’s above average height is frowned upon. The story follows Equality 7-2521, who refers to himself and others in plural pronouns only, with singular pronouns having been outlawed. Issues arise for our protagonist when he commits the crimes of indulging his curiosity, breaking rules and reinventing basic technology.

I originally thought with this blog that if I didn’t really want to write bad reviews. If something was bad, I’d simply not review it or I’d find other works and do a bigger piece on the author’s writing. But man, Ayn Rand. This is an author you have to agree with to enjoy. She slugs you with her opinion. In the first paragraph she hits the reader with, “And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone.” It’s so heavy handed it sounds sarcastic. But the problem is, the main character, the one who is supposed to be speaking, isn’t being sarcastic or jaded.

I mean, it’s a fascinating world. Imagine having individuality erased. It’s essentially the finalized world 1984 was gearing up for. This is the society after all the words have been erased. There exists no concept of individual thought. There aren’t any words for specific and none general emotions, like love for one person in particular. And it’s set in a future where technology has been shunned, but they live among the ruins of 1930′s civilization! That’s some H.G. Wells style classic intrigue.

But the problem is that it isn’t the world the author is interested in, nor the characters. It’s her point that she wants to get across. And that could be fine, but it grinds against the story. You can’t write lines for a character who has not yet developed a concept of real individuality, while thumping home an anti-communist agenda. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but here it just creates dissonance. It’s like trying to read a research paper from a high school student who hates the subject s/he is writing about. And it goes on. The point that individuality is gone and this monstrous commonality has been imposed is set out for pages, before you even know anything about, well, anything other than Rand’s opinion.

And there are some cool ideas, but they’re so beaten through that they lose their flavor.  I like the concept of this character in a weird society who’s pushed towards enlightenment because he just happens to be taller than the others. That’s a neat fantasy/sci-fi impetus. But no, Equality is also smarter. And that isn’t implied. It’s chucked at the reader. He’s smart, and not only that, he wishes and hopes that he was like one other, who has “half a brain.”