What is this book about?
Set in an apocalyptically barren and hostile desert landscape crawling with half-mech, semi-sentient machinery and other monstrosities, Lotus Blue presents a bleak depiction future ravaged by war to almost extinction.
Star and Nene are two orphan sisters travelling with desert-roaming nomads in a thirteen caravan procession that survives day-by-day in an inhospitable and unpredictable environment. Star has always yearned for something more than the life of a nomad, but when the caravans witness the fall of an ancient relic satellite, it sets off a series of events that will throw her head-first into a chaotic adventure to save what’s left of the world from the rise of an ancient, deadly war machine.
Why is it boring?
The world-building is simultaneously the redemption and the downfall of this book. Sparks has imagined a compelling world that sounds like a fantastic basis for some hair-raising adventures, but I found myself disappointed by the relatively small window that was explored compared to all the aspects frequently referenced.
An ensemble cast of characters is a risky endeavor and really relies on the author’s capacity to give each character ample limelight for individual growth and development. Unfortunately, Sparks didn’t quite succeed at this. I found myself often frustrated by scene changes introducing new characters with perspectives I didn’t think were valuable or enlightening enough to warrant including. This left me feeling robbed of opportunity to grow attached to the main characters, and I was left with very little investment in even the protagonist. In my experience brilliant characters can carry a dull novel with even the most unoriginal of premises, but the reverse doesn’t always work. I was left unsatisfied and almost relieved when the novel finally ended. Some people died, some people survived, and I found myself not really caring either way.
Who would you recommend it to?
A wicked setting with a brilliant and intriguing concept of a world run to ruin by high-end technological war that outstripped the ambition and expectations of humanity, I was very taken by the world-building and careful consideration that had gone into the creation of this novel. The sheer possibility of it all is what really makes a science fiction novel that much more brilliant to me. The projection was an original and alarmingly foreseeable one. Machines taking over is nothing new to the sci-fi genre, but the war-focused aspect of it rung really close to home considering the tense and security-paranoid atmosphere of society. This novel was a terrible insight over the implications of the folly and ambition of man, presenting a world where we created machines to fight the wars for us and they did the job… Just a little too well.
Why should I read it if it’s boring?!
I was mostly intrigued by the fact that the author was Australian, and I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with coming from a country where driving a few hours out of any city will give you all the inspiration you’d ever need to write a desert-based post- sci-fi novel. There was a lot of likening to the ‘Mad Max’ franchise, which I thought was a bit of a reach. I admit, though, that’s probably the second biggest reason I picked this book up, hooked by such a comparison. Unfortunately I wasn’t the biggest fan of this novel in the end. I love stories with a lot of focus on the characters and that to me was one of the major failings of Lotus Blue – Star, the protagonist, was more an observer than a participant in the events – but I’ve read some rave reviews about this book and am self-aware enough to concede that just because Lotus Blue didn’t tick my boxes, it won’t tick someone else’s.
And if you want to know what other boring books we recommend, you can find out here.