Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Blending Time by Michael Kinch + Giveaway!

Published October 1st, 2010.

In the year 2069, turning seventeen means mandatory Global Alliance work assignments that range from backbreaking drudgery to deadly canal labor. Trying to survive in a world that's been ravaged by plagues and environmental disasters, three "s'teeners" from the harshest backgrounds think they've gotten lucky. Jaym, Reya, and D'Shay are chosen to be among thousands of blenders, whose task is to help repopulate and rebuild Africa after a devastating solar flare.

But the continent itself - roiling with civil war and mercenaries intent on crushing the blending program at any cost - poses the gravest danger. Separated, the three friends struggle to escape the violence and chaos, and somehow reunite. But will following rumors of a mountain hideout lead them to sanctuary, or cost them their lives? (book back blurb)

This book was a weird one for me. I wanted to really like it but at the end of the day, my like for it ended up falling pretty short of where I thought it was going to be.

My favorite aspect of it was the grittiness. I love gritty books that actually make you feel gritty and not in a grossed out way. I've read books where the characters are just gross but the world around them isn't. That just makes me gag, dirty characters. But when the world is gritty, and the author's awesome enough to actually project that onto your person through words, that's fantastic. It helps me anchor into the book more. I feel like a greater part of it and even if I end up not liking it all the way through, I at least felt something from it. Kinch does such a good job of portraying this dusted, wasted world that was once ours that I couldn't help not feel its grit all over me.

I really liked the characters too. I was rooting for all three of them as they tried to make their way through such a disorganized, corrupt society that disguises itself as something functioning. They're extraordinarily brave for taking the role of a blender a world away just to escape certain death in the canal. Despite the fact that they could be walking into it all over again. And again, I have such a soft spot for authors that beat the ever-loving snot out of their characters. I think Reya took it the worst but came out all the stronger for it. That's not to say D'Shay and Jaym had it easy but, well, to save some spoilers, what Reya went through was infinitely more terrible than what the boys had to handle.

Most importantly, once they all got to Africa, the story felt real to me. The presence of the pseudo-government faded and the realities of a dying world floated to the surface with all of their open sores on display. I believed what I was reading for that part. I didn't so much buy what was going on in the US and the total dissolution of society in a span of 50 years. I felt that wasn't time enough for all of that to happen. But I was able to suspend my disbelief enough to get over that hurdle and to Africa where I think Kinch really nailed it. There it became less about what the world had become and more about how people were trying to survive. I liked the focus shift that THE BLENDING TIME provided in that respect.

I didn't like the slang that was used. Not for any particular reason. It just really grated on me. It's basically just a lot of words chopped in half. It came off more lazy than anything else and it grated me every time I read one of the characters using it. Like 'scrapers for sky scrapers. I just didn't find it necessary.

Other than that I don't really have a valid reason for not loving THE BLENDING TIME. Maybe it was just the timing I had reading it. Or my mood those couple of days. Ultimately, it's a really good book. A hell of a lot better than some of the dystopians that are coming out now that completely spit in the face of worldbuilding. It just didn't grab me. I don't think I run into instances like this a lot but when I do, it bothers me. Why didn't I love this book? I have no idea. It just didn't hit me right. I don't know what else to say.

But I'd definitely recommend it to others and I know I'd like to keep reading the series to find out what happens with the characters. It's a great dystopian that, I feel, is more deserving of a place on the shelves than some of the other prettier covers that act as nothing but a facade for lackluster verbiage. Despite my lower rating, you should read this. Hopefully it'll hit you harder than it hit me.

Giveaway time!!!

Want my copy? Then fill out the form below for your chance to win it.
  • Open to US residents 13 years of age and older only.
  • One entry per person per email address.
  • Duplicate entries will be deleted.
  • Giveaway ends August 31st at midnight, EST.

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