Our pal Kit hits us up with some more Kick Ass Stories You Should Really Check Out!
Well it’s the time of the year where love and romantic themes are shoved down your throat wherever you go. It’s a day where you’ll find one half of the internet covered in soppy messages, hearts and flowers, while the other half complains about soppy messages, hearts and flowers. What it also leads to is writers using it as a lazy excuse for a theme for their material. With that in mind, you’ve guessed what this article’s theme is: Romance! Though each of these stories is great, even if romance isn’t your thing.
This will probably be going up on the site after Valentine’s Day itself. Sorry I didn’t get it up in time but I was busy eating bacon and playing video games inside a fort. I’m sure you all understand.
Romance is in nearly all of our literature in one way or another, be it an action hero winning the heart of the beautiful reporter they barely know, the loving old parents in a kid’s book, or the relationship that starts off so happy and joyful but ends in ruin and then there’s is also Twilight (unfortunately a fair bit of romance is kind of crap, so the less said about Twilight, the better). It has, of course, featured in some of the stories I’ve mentioned before – Another End to the Empire and Tom the Universe are both excellent and well worth checking out (also, read my previous articles with them in if you haven’t already.. go on, do it now…).
We’ll be covering a range of genres today, and to start we have Power Armour – A Love Story. Yes, it’s a love story, but if that isn’t your kind of thing then it has power armour, a dystopian future, time travel and assassins. I’m pretty sure at least one of those things should appeal to you! Then After the Cure – A Post-Post-Apocalyptic setting (is that the actual term for it? If not, it is now!), Vampires, dealing with the psychological trauma of having eaten people and, yes, a bit of romance. Finally another physical book – The Song of Achilles – Achilles, Ancient Greek myths, wars, gods and romance. Sounds like a pretty fun Friday night!
Power Armor: A Love Story
“I don’t mean to scare you, Mira, but where I come from there are . . . secret police. Unlike anything you can imagine. Cyborgs. Shapeshifters. I’d have no chance against one of them. Unless . . .” He showed the hint of a smile. “In the same lab was something else we’d been working on. This armor.”
Set in the modern day the story follows Anthony Blair and his attempt to save earth from the dystopian future he escaped from. This is a very dangerous possible future he must prevent, with incredibly high tech cyborgs and assassins, and he’s certain that at least one has been sent after him.
Believe it or not this is really the most romantic story we’ll check out this week. It does have a lot of cool sci-fi concepts, although these are used far more to drive the plot along, or as metaphors to communicate the story’s themes.
For those of you capable of feelings outside of apathy, whiskey and rage (yes, you can skip this part Adam) hopefully you’ll find this as adorable and lovely a story as I did. This is where some implied spoilers crop up, so skip forward a paragraph if you’d prefer to!
This story really emphasises the idea that you can meet someone in the strangest of situations, and that loving someone will mean you’ll have to let your defences down, meaning that those you care most about can hurt you more than anyone else. It also shows that actually this really is a risk worth taking.
If you, your partner or anyone really wants a good romantic story then they should check this out. If you feel like you’ll be forced to listen to something romantic but prefer sci-fi, this should provide enough mech suits and dystopian ideas for you to enjoy!
Author: David Barr Kirtley
After the Cure
“I was shot with the cure in the dark. Later, someone would tell me it was a Tuesday, but before the tranq dart I didn’t know such a thing existed. It was either day or night, hungry or sated, alive or dead.”
This story has some warnings:
- If you don’t like horror, specifically feral vampires – move along.
- If you don’t like graphic descriptions of gore – move along.
- If you want a romantic sparkly vampire – seriously, move along.
- The first 10 minutes of this recording is promoting a sponsored episode of the Drabblecast they eventually do (which one day I’ll include in one of these). You may want to skip this.
Right, with that out of the way, onto the review. This is a story about both a girl who’s survived a vampiric apocalypse and society, as it tries to rebuild itself. Vampires in this world are wild and feral. They live on instinct, eating and feasting on anyone they find. Anyone who survives a bite becomes one of them. Mankind has been fighting back though and they’re beginning to win, having developed a cure. The cure returns people from this monstrous state back to human, letting them return to a normal life. Well, that’s the theory at least.
In a world trying to rebuild itself we find that though Vale, our main character, survived the apocalypse, she didn’t make it through ‘pure’. She was turned into a monster and spent years hunting people, tearing flesh from bone. Now, she’s back to normal but life is not easy, as although the cure was meant to erase all her memories of her time infected, it hasn’t. To make matters worse, she was infected for so long that most of her pre-infection memories have gone. She barely knows who she was and, without name or identity, has to face a society where, just a short while ago, someone would have shot her on sight and many still might.
The story is focused on Vale coping with this trauma, trying to find a way for herself in this world, while dealing with the monster she feels is still inside her. She has killed and everyone knows it. It doesn’t matter to most people that she had no control over herself, or even a concept of self, at the time. It’s a very introspective tale, more of the narrative dealing with what she thinks of herself and her feelings.
I like how the story explores what might happen after a monster-based apocalypse and how society might fair. There’s plenty of fantastic stories set during an apocalypse, but if mankind wins, it either ends at that point. We just assume society rebuilds itself, all of the monsters die, or they return to normal with no apparent side effects.
There is some romance in this story, with Vale trying to rebuild some kind of life for herself (obviously, or it wouldn’t be on this list!). However, I feel that here the romance is a plot device within a horror story. If you want a short mushy tale, then scroll back up and click the link to Power Armour. If you want an excellent story, about someone trying to find their place in a dark world where monsters still roam, with no guarantee she’ll find anything or anyone, then this will be more your thing.
Author: Carrie Ryan
The Song of Achilles
“Name one hero who was happy.”
I considered. Heracles went mad and killed his family; Theseus lost his bride and father; Jason’s children and new wife were murdered by his old; Bellerophon killed the Chimera but was crippled by the fall from Pegasus’ back.
“You can’t.” He was sitting up now, leaning forward.
“I know. They never let you be famous AND happy.” He lifted an eyebrow. “I’ll tell you a secret.”
“Tell me.” I loved it when he was like this.
“I’m going to be the first.”
Achilles. We all know the name, and the story of the invincible god-touched man who led the charge at the battle of Troy. There will be some small spoilers in this review, as I’ll assume that most people know the basics of this legend. If you do want the spoiler free summary though:
This book is excellent. Based on the myth, but from a different point of view (Yay! Perspective again!), it contains a very sweet love story as well. If you want some ass kicking, and one of the greatest heroes in any legend, then this is for you. If you want a love story about somebody who cares deeply for someone else then this is also for you.
Right, onto the details. This is a story where Achilles, although a huge element, is not our protagonist. This is the story of Patroclus. He always plays a huge part in the legend, being depicted as either Achilles’ closest friend or lover. This book portrays their relationship as a romantic one and shows us Patroclus’ side, instead of Achilles’, which most interpretations run with.
The book begins with their youth. As a child, Patroclus is innocent and caring, qualities that stay with him as he grows up. He acts as a moral guide to Achilles when he can, while supporting him as he fulfils the prophecies that will make him a hero. At the beginning, Achilles is faced with a choice – pursue a happy and simple life, or become one of the greatest heroes there has ever been, but at the price of his happiness.
Achilles is idealistic and hopeful, wanting to take on the world and make it his own. Patroclus deeply cares for Achilles and thinks the world of him. He shows us the side of Achilles the legends don’t speak of, his carefree and forever optimistic side. Achilles always expects things to work themselves out, largely thanks to the support of Patroclus, who helps him deal with the difficulties he faces.
There’s action as well. We see Achilles and Patroclus both kick ass on the battlefield, and also try their hands at the political games played at war. Their relationship has everything, from an awkward first love, the disapproving parent, and heated arguments as the relationship gets strained under the pressure of both prophecy and war.
I really enjoyed this book and do highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of mythology, or a fan of romance, this book holds up as a fantastic read.
Author: Madeline Miller