Great Stories/Horrible Characters: The Sky is Yours and Yesterday

26 Dec

Two of my recent speculative fiction reads both focused on people I found myself disliking despite enjoying the books.  Check them out and see what you think!

The Sky is Yours
by Chandler Klang Smith
Fans of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian post-apocalyptic works such as Oryx and Crake and The Heart Goes Last should enjoy The Sky is Yours.  The Sky is Yours is a very creative and beautiful written story with characters that I found myself disliking intensely.  Interestingly the author seems to have written them purposefully that way, comparing them in an interview to the characters in The Magicians series, which we had noted in the book discussion group here at the library are quite a contemptible bunch.  The Sky is Yours focuses on a former reality star, Duncan Humphrey Ripple V and his new wife Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg and Abby, a wild girl who Duncan met after he crashed in a garbage dump.  Duncan and Swan are wealthy and spoiled, but the city they live in is crumbling around them burned by the twin flames of dragons that ceaselessly circle the sky.  I thought it was interesting that Smith chose to focus on the characters she did.  Sometimes I found myself wishing I was following the exploits of more likeable individuals, but I thought it was an interesting change not to be focusing on people who are innately good and deserving as so often happens in speculative fiction especially those that feature the fairy tale like quality that The Sky is Yours sometimes has.  It made me wonder how I would feel about a story like say Harry Potter if it had focused on the Slytherins instead of Harry and his friends.

by Felicia Yap
In the alternate universe of Yesterday people are divided by how much they remember: monos remember one day and duos remember two.  The main characters of the novel are a mixed marriage of mono and duo couple, the husband’s mistress, and a detective attempting to solve the mistress’s murder.  Only the detective truly came across as sympathetic to me; he is a mono pretending to be a duo so that he can keep his job.  The vindictive mistress especially was unlikable, but she was one of those villains you love to hate.  I enjoyed the twists the mystery took and I thought the fact that the detective was trying to solve the case in one day so he would remember all the details he learned vividly added an interesting dimension.  I also always think it is interesting to see how society can be divided in ways that we currently do not such as with memory since it provides another lens to look at the divisions we have in our own society; another example of this would be Jasper’s FForde’s Shades of Grey series which divides people by the colors they see, which I had written about in a previous post.  When I was discussing the novel with one of the library’s staff, she recommended the movie Memento for those who are fascinated by the concept of memory.

What are some fictional characters you love to hate?  Recommend their books in the comments.

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