2016 Reading Challenge · Book Insights · Book review

POPSUGAR’s 2016 Reading Challenge: A science-fiction novel | Book Review: Life on the Preservation

Gel’s little side note: Hey everyone! It’s been so long since I posted a book review, but hurray for this one!

I’ve been excited to post this review because the author, Jack Skillingstead liked my tweet about some quotes in this book a few days ago.


I intended to post this the night before, but idiot me forgot to register her pocket WiFi load. I’m posting this at the end of a school weekday, so enjoy!

Skillingstead, J. (2013). Life on the Preservation. Oxford, United Kingdom: Solaris

Some details:

Edition: Paperback, 405 pages

Price: I don’t know, I borrowed it from my friend (thanks, Ayra!)

ISBN: 9781781081174

Genres: Science Fiction > Dystopia, Fantasy

Characters: Ian, Kylie, Father Jim, Charles Noble, Zach

Setting: Seattle Preservation Dome, post-apocalyptic Oakdale

My Goodreads rating: 3/5 stars

Dates read: Jan. 20-Feb. 2, 2016

Do you want to know… (directed to Goodreads)

Click here for my Goodreads review version (just a shortened one from here).

“Beautifully strange.”

Comment on the cover:

One look at the cover and you will say, “What is this?”. Obviously, the main characters were the only ones in color, while the other people were only in blue, with the exception of a tall man somewhere in the back. I first thought this was a zombie novel, but as I read through the book, it was not the typical modern zombie type — it was more like the clueless, trapped android type. The leading lady was also not the common women from books I usually read (which is YA), so her appearance was new and odd for me. The good side was that it was not cliché. Overall, the cover was really bizarre and for a personal preference, I would not be very enthusiastic as to what I would read inside.

Plot summary:

“Inside, it’s always the same day. Outside, there are no days left.”

It is always the fifth of October in the Seattle Preservation Dome. Ian is the only one who knows the truth and made it his mission to wake up the city before the aliens erase his identity. Kylie is the only one who was not contaminated with the sickness that the post-apocalyptic world spread, and made it her mission to destroy the Preservation. They met inside, and together uncovered puzzling events that were even more perplexing than what was once known.

my face

Book discussion:

The chapters were in third-person point-of-view, usually interchanging among Kylie, Ian and the Curator. The book was light on science with adequate technical terms, but nonetheless would satisfy a sci-fi enthusiast. It was not for the faint of the heart, because some graphic, sexual scenes were vividly described, whether it belongs to the common bed scene or to mutilations common in National Geographic. Lots of déjà vu would happen, which perfectly (but annoyingly) captured Ian’s twisted life. The mad priest, who I believe would follow Kylie to the end of the world (literally and figuratively) was what I would call the mushroom villain. He was there, then he was not there. Lastly, the Curator, who was given very few chapters to develop his character, was interesting. His first appearance would make any reader wanting for more.

My journey:

This book was temporarily given to me by my friend, Ayra. Though she has only read two chapters, she wanted me to read it for she found this “weird”. After I read the first few chapters, I definitely agreed with her. For some reason, I know I would undoubtedly finish this book. I was hooked by the concept of time loop, because one of my most favorite books, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, was by the same idea. Shaking my morality through the unpleasant actions of Father Jim also did the trick for me to keep reading. Skillingstead did an agreeable job of portraying Ian and Kylie’s lives separately, with all their problems, past relationships and well-being unstable, then suddenly fate brought them together to be stronger (or more complicated). I also think that the beginning was slow and the ending rushed, not a good combination, but the middle made up for it.

What I like:

  • Despite a seemingly short screen time, Ian has developed his friendship with Zach even more and reconciled with his sister, Vanessa over the course of the book. They helped him a lot through those difficult times, even if they were just merely androids.
  • Disturbing characters. Disturbing scenes. Disturbing place. Disturbing EVERYTHING. I liked it, though. What’s a book without at least tingling your mind and soul?
  • Kylie had gone through many heart-wrenching problems in her life, but her braveness topped it all. I can sometimes connect with her character, though most of the time I question her choices. She is a strong female lead, though.
  • Philosophical questions! While reading the book, sometimes I asked, “Is my life and never-ending, repeating one?”, “Am I just an android with a predictable action every day without even knowing it?”. Some crazy, philosophical questions.

What I dislike:

  • I swear my head would have been blown by the never-ending scene of Ian making his coffee every morning. I was like, “Okay, this scene again, damn this was so crazy! Wake up, people in the loop!”.
  • Skin-and-bones or SABs, which were the harmless zombie-like once-were-people, were… there. Just there. Nothing interesting happened. Except when one helped Kylie, which was VERY unusual for SABs. So… cool?
  • So Kylie and Ian met, kissed and had sex in just a few hours time. Way to go (yeah I know this happens in real life but please don’t be offended by my opinion… peace!).
  • The book didn’t shed light on the alien invaders or Hunters mystery. WHY? Bummer, I want to know more!
  • I really did not understand the Curator on the last chapters of his time. I attempted to, but soon got bored.

i want to know why

Round up and recommendation:

I rarely finish these kinds of books in such a short time, but I find the book an easy (but disturbing) read. I recommend this to all science fiction readers looking for a thrill. If dystopia, aliens, time loop and a balance of romance and sex interest you, then you might want to read this. Beware though, for mature audience only!

Sample excerpt:

Emotion tightened his throat, choking off his next few words. He swallowed hard. This was the thing he always feared, wasn’t it? You let someone in, you love someone, and they leave you. It was so freaking simple and the pain was so easy to avoid: Don’t love.

Jack Skillingstead, 2013, 360

Gel’s little side note: Thanks for reading my review! I’m also excited to share my “signature” below. I so so so so so loved it (thanks, Je!).

The Ultimate Quotes from the book, coming up! Stay tuned!


Do  déjà vus disturb you?

Photo taken from Goodreads | GIFs taken from ReplyGIF and Tumblr

5 thoughts on “POPSUGAR’s 2016 Reading Challenge: A science-fiction novel | Book Review: Life on the Preservation

All comments appreciated!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s