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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

The Prophesy Gene by Stuart D. Schooler

The Prophesy Gene - Stuart D. Schooler

I won this in a GR giveaway, that hasn't impacted on my ability to review it honestly and critically.

2/4 - I haven't started this yet, but I immediately have problems with the spelling of 'prophesy'.  The following is the definition of prophesy according to wiktionary (wikipedia's dictionary):

Prophesy (third-person singular simple present prophesies, present participle prophesying, simple past and past participle prophesied)

To speak or write with divine inspiration; to act as prophet. [from 14th c.]
To predict, to foretell. [from 14th c.]  [quotations ▼]
1982, Lawrence Durrell, Constance, Faber & Faber 2004 (Avignon Quintet), p. 745:
‘It has been prophesied more than once that he will find it.’
(intransitive, Christianity) To speak out on the Bible as an expression of holy inspiration; to preach. [from 14th c.]

Remember, a verb is a doing word - like jump or run.

The following is the definition of prophecy according to wiktionary:

Prophecy (plural prophecies)

A prediction, especially one made by a prophet or under divine inspiration.

Remember a noun is the name of something - like bike or television.

Now, I'm only going by what wiktionary and other online dictionaries tell me, but I think I'm right in saying that the spelling should be prophecy, as it is the name of the gene; a noun is being used.  Maybe I'll be proved wrong and when I actually begin reading I'll find out that the name of the gene is taken from someone whose last name is Prophesy, and so it's still a noun despite the spelling.  I guess we'll see.  To be continued...


5/4 - On page 33 and I'm already getting a foreboding feeling regarding the plot.  The first chapter started out with great promise.  An environmental scientist and her cousin, acting as her family appointed bodyguard and looking for his final chance at being a respected journalist, are investigating the Aral Sea disaster - although how the drying up of the sea over the last 60-70 years could cause any kind of birth defects is currently beyond me.  Anyway, ignoring the improbability of that being the cause of genetic mutation the idea of the introduction of genetically superior animals that are (only vaguely) related to Echidnas and Platypuses (I'm Australian, so always feel a sense of pride when anything Austtralian is mentioned in books, tv or movies) was very a very interesting idea and something I was excited to read more about.  Unfortunately the second chapter shot a cannonball through my excitement so that it sunk like a holey balloon (3 chapters later I have very little hope that it can be inflated again).
Chapters 2 through 4 introduced us to the idea that an alien entity with telepathic abilities was somehow involved (not clear how yet) who told them, through the vision, that they had to go to Antartica.  Then there was a huge, gory, nonsensical animal massacre and a sulfurically-stinky hole in the ground, and for some reason they were smoking marijuana (possibly just a vehicle for the characters to originally believe that the vision they saw was just a hallucination, and then to realise that two people can't have the same hallucination so that must mean it was aliens who implanted the wacky images in their mind, yeah that makes complete sense).

There's just too much going on here - genetic animal mutation, environmental disasters from the 80s, telepathic aliens, animal massacres, drugs.  What's next...time travel and dinosaurs?  Oh wait, there was some mention of a velociraptor too.  Maybe if Schooler had stuck to one main idea (genetic mutation of animals would be my pick as it's not one of the trendy plot lines of today's books) I would still be excited at the prospect of continuing with the book, instead of feeling a vague dread and sick feeling.  To be continued...

7/4 - Usually while reading a book, I keep pertinent points in mind that I want to comment on in my next review update.  For this book I spent the first four chapters making notes in a notebook because there were so many comments, most of them complaints, that I couldn't remember them all.  About halfway through chapter 5 I gave up on the notebook.  I had so much written down from just a few pages of that chapter that I knew I was wasting my time (and paper) detailing each little problem and giving details from the text.  I had written down comments ranging from "research sea turtles and find out if they have been known to chew their way through a wetsuit in order to eat a person (the closest they come to eating humans is the shrimp, sea urchins and fish that makes up part of their diet)", to "what's up with the monkey/lizard hybrid and how does that combination benefit either original species?"  Instead of asking such specific questions, complaining over specific instances of plot/dialogue/research badness I came to the conclusion both you and I (the potential reader) would be better off if I just stated categorically "This book has so many problems I'm not sure if it's worth attempting to fix (whether it is possible to fix it or not is another matter entirely)."  I am going to attempt to go on reading (only because I won it and, in my opinion, that means it at least deserves a proper go at a review), but when you only have a finite amount of reading time available it's hard to justify continuing to read this over the much louder siren call that is coming from Catch 22.

P.S. Okay, so I succumbed to the lure of Joseph Heller.  Look for my review of Catch 22 in the coming days (and possibly weeks, as it's over 500 pages long).  To be continued...

21/08 - Okay, I've officially given up on this book.  I'm sorry Mr. Schooler, I know it was a GRs giveaway and when I think about not finishing this and writing a full review I feel an instant of guilt, but then I remember all the great books I've read since I last put this down in April and the guilt is washed away by a tidal wave of relief that I no longer have to force myself to read this.  I have absolutely no desire to continue reading this - in fact if desire to read was on a scale of 1-100 I'd be at negative 100.  There are too many things wrong with this book (comprehensively detailed above) for it to be worth my continued effort.  Once again I'm sorry, but I'm far from a book-saint.