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Cities at Sea by Martin Simons
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Cities at Sea

by Martin Simons

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Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Although I am not a huge fan of dystopian fiction, the initial premise of the story about living on cities at sea because you can't live on land and the possibility of genetic manipulation to help you be able to live in the water appealed to me.

But, from the beginning, this story failed to grab me. It wasn't that the dialogue was the problem (the dialect is Australian). It was everything else.

The continuity of the story, the flatness of the characters and the attempt at world building were a big jumble and only added to my confusion as I tried to follow the story. I do not like to be frustrated as a reader and the story frustrated me to no end.

I don't normally fail to finish a book, but in this case I couldn't force myself to read any more. ( )
  kishazworld | Oct 25, 2013 |
My Rating – 2 Stars

*I received a digital copy of this novel free from Netgalley on behalf of Martin Simons*

I hate reviews like this.

Ok here it goes…

The world has flooded and not much actual land remains. The cities of the world exist on giant floating rafts that house millions of people. Everyone looks to same (beautiful and brown skinned) and speaks roughly the same language. There is no crime and very little sickness. People are free and encouraged to have sex with everyone because there is no chance of getting pregnant until the government says you can.

Sal lives on the Sydney raft and has always wanted to swim with the fishes. After doing some random scientific research she’s comes across Jezzy’s experiments that can turn people into creatures that can live on both land and in water. Sal is very much interested and when she makes this known to her superiors, she is very publicly arrested and questioned for her decisions.

Once released she ultimate decides to go with Jezzy to become a fish-lady-mermaid-thing (Called Sea Sprites). As Sal begins her transformation, the news of her arrest and decision spreads across the raft cities and thousands of young people are interested and it also kicks up some very heated debates on if Jezzy’s experiments are morally wrong.

The lab soon becomes overrun with new applicants and Sal and other “originals” must take a leadership role.

There is also a plan to split up the Shanghai raft into three smaller rafts because the city has grown too big. Once that happens, a new Captain takes control and wants Jezzy replaced and her fish children experiments to be ended.

Jezzy and her staff anticipated this, and began plans to separate the lab and have it be its own raft city. This works…sorta. The lab city is considerably smaller than the regular raft cities and is unable to handle large storms; the raft is damaged and Sal and her crew must figure out a way to keep the sea sprites alive and Jezzy’s dream going.

So. The premise of this book was really cool. The raft cities and how they function to the prospect of a genetically altered species that can live on land and water. This story is kinda the Little Mermaid in reverse.

However the execution was...well…lacking.

The writing is very simplistic, almost childish. Everyone talks like this! All the time! And they say hehe and haha! And they just randomly have sex! But nothing is ever described, the sex is put like this “They joined sexually. They took interest in each other sexually. There was touching.” Actually there is more mention about how everyone is expected to bang like bunnies than actual plot development.

And living on the raft boats there are no issues, no problems, its perfect Utopia. Though she’s arrested, things go her way. The transformation goes perfectly for Sal. Her pregnancy goes perfectly. She finds love even though committed relationships are not the norm in their society.

The first half of the book was heavy on the dialogue and the second half was almost no dialogue and more or less an instruction manual on how to fix a sinking ship. The whole book from beginning to end is described in the summary. (Though I don’t remember any pirates) The ending of the book is also in the summary as it ends with them beaching themselves.

There is no character development; no character has a backstory or defining characteristics. There were a lot of typos and grammar mistakes in my version.

Overall I didn’t like this book. It was pretty disappointing, but as always, feel free to read and form your own opinion. I’d like to hear your thoughts if you do like the book!

Read this review and more at Punk's House of Books ( )
  Punkfarie | Oct 11, 2013 |
Set in the future, all of the major cities of the world are on huge rafts floating in the ocean. When Sal's raft comes near the Shanghai raft, she meets Jezzy, a scientist who has modified humans to have gills in order to explore the ocean. Intrigued, Sal signs up for the program. When a new captain takes over in Shanghai, Jezzy's team makes the choice to separate from the city.

I thought this was a very interesting world and I would be interested in reading a sequel. The author seemed to jump forward in time a lot, skimming over major events and developments. I would have liked to read more details about these in-between times. I also would have like the author to show more character development and interactions among characters. Overall, not a bad book. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Sep 19, 2013 |
Cities at Sea takes place in a future where global warming has flooded most of the continental land of the world. Several larger cities had the foresight to go to sea on large rafts that now sustain their populations and float along according to the currents. A resident on the Sydney raft, Sal wants more to life that floating on land when they are surrounded by water; so when she hears of a scientist on the Shanghai raft that is using stem cells to allow people to grow gills, Sal takes a chance with Jezzybaba to turn her into a new species. In a reverse tale of the Little Mermaid, Sal finds herself after being altered to live in the sea.

I really thought I would like the plot of this book, in a world after global warming where cities were now rafts in ocean and now global cooling is an issue! There are definitely many talking points about climate change brought up in this book. However, some of the plot seems to be all over the place. The main character Sal, wants to fit in with the ocean and becomes genetically altered in order to do so. This is another great discussion! However, the characters aren't quite developed enough to fall in love with. The writing also seems to be on a Young Adult level; however, the way sex is approached in this book does not make it suitable for that audience.

With some clean-up, I would be interested in a sequel to Cities at Sea since we left the characters in a precarious situation. There is definitely room to grow. ( )
  Mishker | Sep 15, 2013 |
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A thousand years hence, all the major cities of the world are at sea, floating on huge rafts, using ocean currents to navigate. Sal, a young girl on the Sydney raft, training as a navigator, visits Shanghai which is the largest raft city of all, on holiday. She hopes to find the famous genetic scientist, Jezzy, who will modify her body to give her gills. She wants to be like a mermaid, free to live in the sea with the fish. She does meet the old woman but when she leaves her laboratory is arrested as a deserter and mutineer. She is flown back to her home raft for trial. After a tribunal she is released after all to join Jezzy and like many others, is modifed as she desired. There is a strong public reaction against Jezzy?s operations. In fear of being marooned to die on land, Jezzy and her young changelings break away their section of the Shanghai raft away drift off independently. Sal finds a lover and gives birth, but a violent storm damages the raft severely and they struggle to avoid sinking. They can survive only by beaching themselves. Sal, the young navigator, plays an important role in achieving this. The remnants of a land based tribe are encountered but more dangers must be faced from marauding gangs of pirates. The rafters make plans for rebuilding their city and returning to the sea.… (more)

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