I have to admit, I was really nervous about this book. Let's be honest, TV/movie-to-book adaptations don't exactly have a history of working out well,I have to admit, I was really nervous about this book. Let's be honest, TV/movie-to-book adaptations don't exactly have a history of working out well, do they? But this worked. Oh, my gosh, it worked so well. I actually think I liked it better than the movie, and I adored the movie. The character's voices were so true and clear, there were lots of epic plot twists (EPIC PLOT TWISTS), I just--it was perfect. Absolutely perfect. And all lined up for the next book or movie. So many props to Rob Thomas and everyone involved. They've taken some pretty big risks in keeping this series going, and those risks have paid off. Keep it coming, guys!...more
There isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. Taylor set the bar high in DOSAB, and the sequel didn't disappoint in the slightest. Reading heThere isn't much to say that hasn't already been said. Taylor set the bar high in DOSAB, and the sequel didn't disappoint in the slightest. Reading her poetic, yet succinct, prose is pleasure enough, but the story it tells is just as marvelous. Gorgeous and heartbreaking, with the best sidekick-friends I've seen in a long, long time....more
This has been a really wonderful series, and I'm sad to see it go. Happy, though, about the brilliant way it ended. Cooper tears her little family of
This has been a really wonderful series, and I'm sad to see it go. Happy, though, about the brilliant way it ended. Cooper tears her little family of royals apart and then glues them back together, so that you can close the book with a smile on your face. One of those smiles was caused, not by the book itself or anything which was actually, expressly written, but kind of slipped into the family tree at the end. I read a few of the other reviews, so I'm not sure most people picked up on it. Check out the heritage of His Royal Highness Prince David. At first, I was like, "wait...what?" And then I read the last chapter over, and I was like, "Ohhhhh!" Well played, Ms. Cooper. Well played, indeed. ...more
How do I love thee, Partials? Let me count the ways….
1)Thy witty, spicy dialogue. If you’re a fan of Firefly/Serenity or Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s (tHow do I love thee, Partials? Let me count the ways….
1)Thy witty, spicy dialogue. If you’re a fan of Firefly/Serenity or Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s (the show, not the movie) whip-sharp banter, you’re going to love this book. It’s got the same kind of effortless, rapid-fire discourse Joss Whedon injects in his cult-classic shows. A lot of authors shoot for this and fail miserably; Wells doesn’t just succeed, he excels at dialogue. I could seriously have read and enjoyed this book purely for the banter.
2)Thy heroine be neither ninny nor copycat. I never thought I’d say this, but…Katniss, this girl Kira could kick your ass. Kira’s genius-level smart, loyal, brave, stubborn—and, though we’ve seen these characteristics a million, billion times, somehow wholly unique. Maybe because Kira’s not running around trying to sacrifice herself for a boy; she chooses the cause every time, no matter what the cost. And, on that note:
3)Thou art a great crossover book for boys. I don’t care what authors and publishers say; there’s too much romance in mainstream YA to make it attractive to boys of the same age group. The romance in Partials, though, is minimal. Kira is already involved in a healthy relationship when we meet her, and the introduction of Samm doesn’t threaten that relationship—at least, not in the way we’re used to seeing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sampling the fruits of forbidden and/or starcrossed love as much as the next YA reader—but I didn’t realize how burned out on breaths catching and long, meaningful stares I was until they weren’t there, and I felt refreshed by their lack. So, if you’re looking for a book for a teenage boy, one that has hardly any mushy scenes, but many gunfights and military maneuvers and escapes by sea and ASPLOSIONS—get him Partials.
4)Thou makest science fiction easy and fun. I was a little nervous when I realized how important virology was going to be to the plot. I like a little science in my books—it adds to the realism—but lots of books go overboard on the intricacies of the science, and then I just get confused. But Partials took a complex idea and broke it down into smaller, digestible pieces. I understood it without feeling talked down to, and therefore my enjoyment of the story and all its implications wasn’t dulled.
5)Thou layest thy foreshadowing with a light hand on the brush. It’s annoying to predict how the book is going to end within the first three chapters and then, three hundred pages later, find out you were completely right. Partials has two major plot twists. One I sort of saw coming, but the clues were so subtle, and buried in conflicting information, that I doubted myself until the reveal. The other I was completely blindsided by—but when I found it, I was annoyed that I hadn’t guessed it earlier, because everything I needed to figure it out was there all along.
And there you have it—a book that I’m going to go out on a limb and include in my top five of 2012, even though we’re not even a quarter of the way through yet. Please to enjoy. ...more
On Friday afternoon, I read an article on io9.com about a movie which was "Australia's answer to the Hunger Games." That sur(Actual rating, 4.5 stars)
On Friday afternoon, I read an article on io9.com about a movie which was "Australia's answer to the Hunger Games." That sure as hell piqued my interest. Even though the article wasn't terribly complementary, I was intrigued by the synopsis, and, since it was based on a book series, potentially opening up new reading territory for me...yeah. So, I watched the movie (which, for interested parties, is only available on VOD at this point)with my husband. And we were both. Blown. Away. (I should also mention that I'm highly suspicious of Australian film; the few Australian movies I've seen all seem to have been based on the bad acid trip someone experienced after reading about a significant event in Australian history.) I immediately downloaded the book afterward and, well--let's just say that this was one movie adaptation which lost nothing in translation.
What I Liked: This book has earned a lot of well-deserved comparisons to The Hunger Games--but, if anything, it's grittier and more realistic. The whole book is like a Hunger Games situation which could actually happen. And that's what makes it so scary. It was slow at times, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing--it contributed to the real-life feel of the book. The world, even a post-invasion world, isn't all explosions and gunfights. A lot of the time, it's sitting somewhere trying to catch your breath and process it all. And the pacing sort of added to the tension--when things were quiet, you, along with the characters, were waiting for the other shoe to drop. Characters in novels are always talking about how much they're changed by events, or, rather, the author's always trying to point out to you how much they've been changed. No big red blinking arrows necessary here. The change is as apparent in Ellie's voice as it is in the choices they make. What I Didn't: Though, as far as I can see books #2 and #4 are available on Kindle, book #3 isn't. And it's out of print, so it's semi-impossible to get ahold of without plunking down brand-new-Stephen-King-hardcover kind of money. However, I liked the first book enough that I'm actually bidding on a set of the next two on eBay, since that's the only place I can find them at a reasonable price. The other thing--and this is why I'm recommending you read the book first--is that, in my opinion, the movie was actually a little better than the book. That meant that, at a few points, I had moments of mild disappointment when things weren't as spectacularly dramatic as they were in the movie. But I got over those moments pretty quickly.
Overall: A satisfying dose of literary methadone for those suffering from Hunger Games/Divergent-type withdrawal....more
What I Liked: Born Wicked has an incredible atmospheric presence that sucks you right in and holds you under its spell. Some of the other reviewers coWhat I Liked: Born Wicked has an incredible atmospheric presence that sucks you right in and holds you under its spell. Some of the other reviewers complain that it's a little slow in the beginning, and it's true, but it was almost like being in a beautiful museum--there might not be much going on to start off, but the architecture is so striking you barely notice the time pass. Going back to the slow start--YA as a genre has trained us to have a short attention span, always beginning by dropping us in the middle of a war or a plague, but Spotswood is just taking her time to set up the layers which will really, REALLY matter later on. Trust me, it's worth taking your time to read. On the subject of those layers, the conflict is deliciously multi-faceted. Cate isn't just stuck between a rock and a hard place--she's stuck between a rock, a hard place, the frying pan, the fire...she can make no choice without tremendous sacrifice. I didn't even realize how completely involved I was until she finally did make her choice, and I jumped up out of my chair and walked away, clutching my head. What I Didn't: The Sisterhood could have used a little fleshing out. I understood the obvious influence and power of the Brotherhood, but I could have used a few more examples of the malevolency of the Sisterhood, so their threats didn't fall so flat in my mind. Overall: A solid, beautiful book. I'll be continuing with this series for sure. ...more
Even though it's only September, I'm going to go out on a limb and name Unspoken my favorite book of 2012. In a very, very large nutshell (like a cocoEven though it's only September, I'm going to go out on a limb and name Unspoken my favorite book of 2012. In a very, very large nutshell (like a coconut shell?) Unspoken has:
-witty humor like Buffy and Firefly -angsty drama like Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices -kick-butt heroines like Kristin Cashore's Graceling/Fire/Bitterblue and Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games -gothic atmosphere like The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and Franny Billingsley's Chime -and a whole bunch of other stuff like I DON'T EVEN KNOW
There are books which make you snort and grin, and then there's this book, which made me laugh so hard I had to stop reading. Seriously. I legit LOLed. But at the same time...it's so emotional, it's painful. I remember one part where Kami and Jared were talking...just talking, and no one was leaving or doing anything sad, and I was like, "You're making my heart hurt! Why does my heart hurt and you're not even doing anything?!"
After I finished, I was pouting, because I had no more book to read. I turned to my husband and said, "You know, those f***ing Mayans had better really suck at math, because if the world ends in December, my last thought as the random volcano swallows me up is going to be, 'But I didn't get to read the next boooooook!'"
What I Liked: Tris, our little firecracker. Tobias, always there to catch her when she falls. Basically, more of all the things that made Divergent grWhat I Liked: Tris, our little firecracker. Tobias, always there to catch her when she falls. Basically, more of all the things that made Divergent great. I like the broader scope Insurgent gives to the world of factions; Divergent was a pretty narrow view of Dauntless and Abnegation, but we get insider views of Candor, Amity, and Erudite. As Tris's world broadens, so does ours. Which of course, moves us closer and closer to that mysterious fence.
What I Didn't: Tobias and Tris's constant bickering. From a writer's perspective, I get it, though. Really the only way you can keep them from making out all the time. Also, the massive info-dump at the end. Maybe I'm just a little slow, but I had to read that, like, five times, before it made the remotest sort of sense to me. And I'm still a bit confused. I know, gotta end the second book on a cliffhanger--it's in some kind of trilogy-writing rule book somewhere--but to me, a cliffhanger should be, "OMG, what's going to happen next????" not "Um...WTF just happened????" If it weren't for the ending, I'd have given it five stars, but 24 hours later I'm still trying--and failing--to wrap my head around that one.
Not really sure why these are on the New Release list, since I read these when I was in fourth or fifth grade (I'm 31 now). These are great books, thoNot really sure why these are on the New Release list, since I read these when I was in fourth or fifth grade (I'm 31 now). These are great books, though, for a kid who loves animals and spooky stories!...more
What I Liked: This book is unlike anything I'm aware of on the market. The world, the twists on mythology...all completely unique. And I have a seriouWhat I Liked: This book is unlike anything I'm aware of on the market. The world, the twists on mythology...all completely unique. And I have a serious girl-crush on Karou. I want to BE her. One of the most surprising things I liked about the book, though, were the "human" moments; mainly, the banter between Karou and Zuzanna. Real but zingy--think dialogue on "Buffy" or "Veronica Mars." It endeared me to her, and made her three-dimensional, so by the time the real, honest-to-goodness scat starts hitting the fan, you really, truly care what happens to her.
What I Didn't: I only have one dislike, and it's less of a dislike and more of a concern. In the last quarter of the book, when the storyline moves to flashbacks (sorry for the vagueness, but I try to keep it spoiler-free!) the story loses some focus and starts flailing a bit, which is noticeable after Taylor's tight-as-a-drumskin narrative up to that point. It's a concern, but a minor one, because I'm sorry, but there is no danger of anyone putting the book down at that point.
Overall: All I have to say is, this is the best book I've read since I finished Anna Dressed In Blood back in August. It's been a long, thirsty dry spell...but Smoke and Bone finally broke it. ...more
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish lIt happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
This is my first Stiefvater book. I don't know why I didn't read her werewolf series; maybe because the market was a bit saturated with werewolf/vampire stuff at the time. After The Scorpio Races, though, I'll definitely be checking them out.
What I Liked: Lord, what didn't I like? The characters, to start. Sean, Puck and the supporting cast were beautifully done, both rugged and independent, which fits the setting and the story. Especially Puck, who rode the knife's edge between vulnerable and tough throughout. I loved the water horses, too. I don't know if Stiefvater is a "horse person" in real life, but the water horses' authenticity is going to hit home for anyone who knows horses. Because real horses do have that sort of wildness and unpredictability in them; Stiefvater just magnifies it to make a truly terrifying creature. Authentic is a word which keeps popping up when I try to describe this book. Even though it contains supernatural creatures, the world is so real, so well-crafted, that you fall right in and lose yourself.
What I Didn't: There was only one thing that stuck in my craw on this book, and it's a tiny, nitpicky thing--the use of the term capaill uisce for the horses. Even though there was a pronunciation slipped in early in the book, I forgot it, which meant I couldn't pronounce it in my head, which distracted me.
Overall: Loved it. A new favorite I will definitely go back and read again. ...more