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Last City on Earth -Rhiannon Paille

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Fuin Elda View Drop Down
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  Quote Fuin Elda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Last City on Earth -Rhiannon Paille
    Posted: 17 Apr 2014 at 9:04pm
Last City on Earth Volume 1 - published in 2012 in the USA Self Published.

This book was clearly originally done for electronic means, as there are no page numbers (drove me nuts because when I had to set it down I couldn't just remember what page I was on so HAD to use a bookmark which is the first time I've done that since I was about 7....) and has the summary in it which is clearly broken up for an e-reader.

A post apocalyptic setting where survivors of a nuclear holocaust have escaped to Antarctica and find a long lost city, that is known as Temperance.  The fountain of youth is hidden in this city and it grants immortality to one person. 

This books is actually a collection of three short stories based in this setting, two of which center around the girl Fable Ketterling who was granted immortality.  The third around her nephew (1305 years worth of generations removed) Milo.  They are meant to be marketed to a 'young adult' audience which while I am no clearly out of at this point, I found these to be around the reading requirements I had cultivated by about grade 4 (So I would be 8/9 years old and more than capable of reading these and understanding exactly what they were discussing).  So they were quite boring in terms of depth of the work akin to Goosebumps only slightly darker and with more bust and weight references  However I mark this mostly as an issue with the school system and parents that seem to think reading is not something they should help teach their children but should be left entirely to a teacher that has to try to teach upwards of 15 kids (if not more) at once.  

The stories around Fable are quite dark, and center around what is known as the Temperance Day festivals where they quite literally spend the day trying to kill Fable through various means. (And this has been going on for over a thousand years apparently)  As a way of proving how amazing her immortality is.  However the writer gets hung up on details that really don't matter, like the clothing that the characters are wearing and all the tiny details in it, when instead they could be exploring the darker parts of the human psyche but instead focus on Fables red and black corset with her bust large enough that they are almost popping out, and tight leather pants, and so on and so forth.  The first story 'Death Sentence' comes across very much like a spell checked version of My Immortal*.  While the second story goes more into what Fable has gone through and why she is the way she is, though it does have occasional mentions of clothing details it's now where as detailed and makes for a much more enjoyable read to an adult.  However overall , am disappointed that the author chose to make most of the story about how Fable looked rather than what she was thinking.

The story involving Milo however was quite different in tone, perhaps because the author had no clue about how to describe male clothing though she does go into looks but in a fairly basic sort of way that doesn't detract from the read, which is quite fortunate.  This was in terms of actual meat to the characters a much more enjoyable story about a young mans emotional growth, and discovery of the affection he and his friend Isaac share while exploring the forgotten regions of the city of Temperence.  Quite frankly, the story 'East Side Boy' is an amazingly redeeming facet of this book, it covers everything that was missing from the other two stories.  The thinking, the feeling, the character growth. When I consider  That I got this book for free with 3 other books I purchased for $45 I have to say that thus far  'East Side Boy' so far almost makes the $45 dollar purchase worth the money

While I probably would not recommend a hard copy version of this book (running at $10 US) I would recommend the .99 Kindle/E-reader version just for the one short story.  The only down side is both of the stories in there that are not bad, do occassionally reference events in the first story and without reading it it will be confusing.

*My Immortal is a horrific Harry Potter Fanfic that I think everyone on this site probably knows about but if you don't it was on fanfiction.net back in like 2005 and was a spectacular showing of how to describe clothing. 
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  Quote Jano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2014 at 3:52pm
I wonder if there's a time lapse for the author as well as between the first two stories and the last? Totally get what you mean by the incessant physical descriptions getting in the way of the 'internal' storyline - that kind of thing might be important when you're in a textual RPG so the other players can 'see' you properly. Still - it's nice to know a little bit about how someone looks or is wearing if it helps the story along so I suppose you might go too far the other way, but then a YA audience almost by definition needs to know a lot about the exterior in terms of how the person 'fits' into the world or how they're alienated?

Very fine balancing act writing for YAs without getting too preachy or going too 'native' and ending up sounding totally vapid - I think you might need to still be a fairly 'recent' adult to do it properly and successfully appeal to both sides of the teen frontier Wink but the concept sounds interesting so with the attractive price tag it might be worth a read for more mature eyes. Lack of page numbers might be going a little too far though - very sloppy! LOL
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  Quote Fuin Elda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2014 at 12:25am
Likely.  She isn't much older than me the author (she's actually a neighbour)  I think most of my ire comes from people trying to tell me she's the J.R.R Tolkien of today's young adult generation.'  If we go by that Meyers can be the Tolkien of todays generation as well given the writing style.

I really hope she has advanced beyond the vapid stages of a description of clothing every time something happens.  I didn't notice it in Surrender the book I'm currently attempting to read (well not as much, but it comes across very.... scatter shot thus far. IF she revisits this setting I would be interested to see how she has grown as a writer or IF she has grown as a writer. I've found this setting thus far far more enjoyable than her fantasy work. 
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