When the moon's gravitational pull increases, causing massive natural disasters on earth, Miranda and her family struggle to survive in a world without cities or sunlight, and wonder if anyone else in still alive.
- ISBN10 0547248040
- ISBN13 9780547248042
- Publish Date 1 April 2010 (first published 1 January 2010)
- Publish Status Out of Print
- Out of Print 28 June 2021
- Publish Country US
- Imprint Houghton Mifflin
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 239
- Language English
*Review to come!*
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
First and foremost, let me say this - The World We Live In is not a bad novel by any stretch of imagination. But out of the four books in the Last Survivors saga, it's the one for which I have the most complaints. Mostly because it started so good.
Right from the get go, I loved being back in Miranda's mind. It felt like - yes, this is what I was missing in the last book. The thing that makes Miranda so attractive as a character to me is that, while she lives in a post-apocalyptic universe that forced her to grow up too fast... she's still a teenager - she still throws tantrums, she still gets angry for stupid reasons, she still feels jealous and irrational and all those things that come with being a teen. That is so real and captivating to me, because this is a character that started out in a normal world, and you can't un-learn or un-know all these things.
So it was off to a fantastic start, especially since the meeting and the beginning interactions between Miranda and Alex (and Julie) were pleasantly satisfying. I enjoyed the antagonistic relationship that developed between the two, especially because I honestly find the two of them to be such different people with Alex not being the easiest person to fall in love with, so it couldn't possibly have gotten down any other way.
Not to mention, Alex seems intent on making the worst impression possible in this novel. He's highhanded, stubborn, righteous and borderline jerk-ish. Especially now when we don't get any insight into his mind to soften his manner, and Alex is a pretty introverted.
So, yeah. Off to a wonderful start, with all the new characters joining the Evans household being interesting in their own right. So where did things go wrong? Simple - the INSTA LOVE.
Yes, this needed caps lock. God dammit, why did it have to rear it's ugly head in these novels?! And not one case of it... but two? Jeez. I ended up shipping Peter and Laura (Miranda's mother and her boyfriend) in book one ten times more than I ever did Alex and Miranda or Syl and Matt because it was far more based and made more sense than these two relationships ever did!
I understand searching companionship and comfort in such desperate times that you would be attracted to anyone who might give you that and not waste time about it. I get it. In fact, if any novel world could pull off insta love, it would be this one... except it didn't.
These people had no chemistry whatsoever. It was so perplexing to find them together and attracted to one another. That's never a good response to a book couple. But then there is also the element of them claiming they know each other better than anyone... when they really, really don't. I don't mind you starting to date. I could deal with the abrupt and unfathomable change from hating each other to eating each other's faces, for the reasons I mentioned before. But don't pretend you know each other. Don't tell me you're in love, because kissing does not equal love. Not when you failed to show me that in any other scene.
I wanted to ship this couple so very much. I've waited for their romance since I learned books one and two intersect in this way. We don't always get what we want.
And then... the ending happened. It kind of felt like Pfeffer suddenly remembered this was a post-apocalyptic, unstable, unfair world, and some bad shit had to go down and people had to die. So she went through all the natural disasters to find one she hadn't used and sicced it on our characters.
Now to clarify... I don't resent this happening. I'm okay with the meaningless deaths because the whole point of this novel, judging by the title, is "the world we live in". And... that's the kind of world they live in. It just kind of came out of nowhere, giving me whiplash. And I kind of, sort of, resent who she chose to kill. I don't want any of them dead, but a few are crueler than the other... and she sure chose the cruelest one.
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I feel like this got up to such a wonderful start, and then just fizzled out... mostly due to the insta love.
I really loved being back in Miranda's mind. What's so attractive about this character (to me), is that while she lives in a post-apocalyptic world and has been forced to grow up way too fast... she's still a kid. She still has teenager-like reactions and tantrums. That is SO real, especially in a scenario where you're cooped up with your mother and two brothers for ages.
I was also looking forward to her meeting Alex and Julie, and was pleasantly surprised by how it started - with a slightly antagonistic relationship between the two. Miranda doesn't like Alex all that much at first, which really worked for me because I've never really been in love with the guy. Alex in highhanded and righteous at times. And he is so stubborn and borderline jerkish in this novel, probably because we get no insight into his inner thoughts to mellow his words, and Alex has never been all that great at expressing his compassion.
So this started out great. I also loved Charlie, and I have loved Julie since the last book. I was a bit disappointed we never got to meet Carlos. I kind of wish The Dead and the Gone would've at least had one scene with him, especially because everything I hear about him is not all that positive and I would've liked to have met this character for myself.
What went wrong? Major insta love. Two cases of it, on top of things. I shipped Peter and Laura more than I ever did Alex and Miranda, or Syl and Matt. For god's sake, these kids know practically nothing about each other. And they had no chemistry what so ever! One scene they're fighting and Miranda says she doesn't like him all that much, and the next they're kissing like life depends on it, saying they would've been each other's dream girl/boy in a normal world, saying they know each other better than even their families, and etc. This made NO SENSE. Especially as we didn't get any scenes proving this. Show me their love. Show me how they make sense. Make me ship them, dammit! I wanted to ship this so, so much!!!
And then... the ending. The ending felt, to me, like Pfeffer suddenly remembered she had to have some sort of climax, some conflict, and went through all the natural disasters to find one she hadn't used yet and sic it at our characters out of the blue, just so she could kill some characters and nail in the point of death, post-apocalyptic stuff, and hard choices no one should make. I mean, I don't resent this. I'm okay with her deciding to throw in some meaningless deaths just to remind us this life they live is not kind or fair. It would seem to have been her goal, considering the title of the novel. I just thought it came up so randomly, and I kind of wish she would've picked different characters to off. There is no character I'd wish died, but these two felt like such cruel deaths, you know?
Anyways, this wasn't as good as the first two, mostly because of the insta love crap. If it had happened more subtly, and gradually, or even if she simply gave us more scenes of the two of them getting along (without kissing, because kissing does not equal love), this would've been so much better. As it was, I was super disappointed with this direction!
This World We Live In combines both families from books one and two in the series, Alex and Miranda's. The world is still in ruin, but as long as they're alive, hope is alive. I was disappointed at the inclusion of new character Syl, as the book wore on, I begun to despise her character and prayed for her demise. I love Miranda's character and her journal entries, she's far more engaging than Alex, who thankfully didn't share his point of view in The World We Live In.
There is certainly instant love involved, in at least two cases, but it's virtually the end of the world and it seems more as though it's an act of compassion and companionship. Regardless, I just couldn't relate to Syl, or even Alex for that matter. Miranda is the hero of the series, she's emotional, honest and realistic. It does have an open ending to blend into The Shade of the Moon, the next and what I believe to be final book in the series, as told from Jon, Miranda's younger brother. Set two years into the not too distant future.
I liked this book mildly better than the first. There was more action and introspection and Miranda seems to have grown up a bit. It was definitely not as dull as the first, although I still found the characters flat and the plot generally lacking. It seemed odd to introduce all these new characters when the existing ones are barely developed, but it was nice to see some fresh faces to mix things up.
The plot was okay - more exciting, but still without any real threads tying it together. I guess that's how life goes, but it was just generally pretty non-compelling. Some of the more gruesome details like the mound of bodies were neat, and I felt like the world building was better in this one.
Alex and Miranda's romance was so odd to me. It was barely explained - Miranda goes from feeling uncomfortable around him to wanting to marry and run away with him. So weird. She never explains what draws her to him, just that she loves him soooo much.
Basically, I thought this was mildly better than the first, but still nothing to write home about.