4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
When I was young, building blocks were some of my favorite toys. Then, there was a period of time when I loved the tower-building game, Jenga, which found me playing with more blocks. Most recently, Blocks has been one of my favorite books. Sadly, the blocks in the tome were not fun to play with.
Written by Tara Basi, Blocks tells the story of several people trying to solve the mystery of large monoliths that have been placed in various locations on the Earth's surface. The story starts off with two young boys just trying to survive in the wastelands surrounding Block Seven. Battery Boy is determined to find his friend who disappeared some time ago, while Stuff is more concerned with surviving and finding food. When some hunters spot and chase the lads, Battery Boy and Stuff decide to take a chance on finding out what is inside of Block Seven. Using a map and other tools that they find on a dead "old-boy" while en route, they make their way to what they think may be a better place, a place where all of the free people are. Meanwhile, a crew of voyagers are returning to Earth after having been in space for a century in Earth years (one decade on the ship), and they are in for a big surprise when they arrive.
Blocks was the epitome of "unputdownable" for me, as it was full of suspense. From the first page, this story hit the ground running and rarely let up. Even though the action wasn't dialed up to high every moment, there was a steady flow of enthralling occurrences that kept me from growing bored. I found myself staying up late at night, obsessively reading page after glorious page because I just had to know what happened next. The author used the trick of changing viewpoints almost every chapter, resulting in 13 small cliffhangers as well.
Ms. Basi's talent in building worlds was also second to none. I was in constant awe, astounded by her ability to create scenery. Every time I read about a new location, I felt as if I was really there, resulting in a very positive immersive experience. I could actually see the Blocks in the distance, the sun glistening off of their shiny surfaces. I could smell the deer roasting over the fire in the open field. I could hear the clicking of thousands, if not millions, of roaches as they walked around in the dirt. Everything was so realistic that I actually experienced a few jump scares as I read certain scenes while sitting on my living room couch late at night.
Fortunately, the author also didn't shirk her duty in creating interesting and realistic characters. Even though no one had a complete backstory, I did know enough about each person to understand their goals and motives. My feelings about many of them also waxed and waned as I read. My favorite person was Mina, the systems specialist from the prototype research ship, the UN22 Small Business. Even though she tended to panic and try to quit, she was also kind and willing to help. I got big laughs from the ship's computer system, Trinity, too. The system "had been studying the crew's interactions with each other, evolving its own personality." Its personality was pretty obnoxious and funny. Mina's crewmates, Commander Cole, Grain, Sara, Doug, and Greg, were also written well, though I didn't particularly care for Sara because she was obsessively jealous and brusque. Of the runaways, my favorite was Stuff. I imagined that I'd act most like him - tearful and fearful - if I found myself in similar circumstances. Meanwhile, I could have done without Jugger, a hunter that the boys befriended, and Pinkie, a girl that they rescued from some wild free people. The two characters were a little too aggressive and unwilling to listen for my liking. The book also had a number of antagonists, none of them likable, though I did pity Block Boss Tracy for a while.
Tara's writing was nearly flawless as well. The story was written in a factual tone that was perfect for the tale, and I found very few grammatical errors, leading me to believe that the book was professionally edited.
It is with pleasure that I bestow a rating of 4 out of 4 stars on Blocks, and I wish that I could rate it even higher. I highly recommend this book for fans of science fiction and post-apocalyptic stories. I must also add a warning that even though many questions are answered by the end of the book, there is a wide opening for the next part in the series, so there are still quite a few loose ends and unanswered questions. I'd also like to reiterate that nearly every chapter begins with a change of focus from the previous chapter, so readers who dislike frequently changing viewpoints may not like this tome.
In summation, I felt that Ms. Basi did an excellent job creating the building blocks for what's sure to be a great series, a series that I intend to finish.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like MsTri's review? Post a comment saying so!