So, I had to fly back to England, 14 hours on a plane, and maria loaded up my Kindle with books. She told me I'd like this. I knew she was wrong, butSo, I had to fly back to England, 14 hours on a plane, and maria loaded up my Kindle with books. She told me I'd like this. I knew she was wrong, but because I love her, I gave it a try...well, one of us was wrong!
I loved this.
A small town story, where very little happens, and yet I never wanted it to finish. And when it did, I was left with a tear in my eye....more
Just brilliant. I realise that this isn't much of a review, and for that I should apologise...but I won't. The simple fact is, if you have arrived he
Just brilliant. I realise that this isn't much of a review, and for that I should apologise...but I won't. The simple fact is, if you have arrived here by reading the first two books, I promise you will not feel cheated by this book. It is an excellent conclusion. I was moved to tears several times, I laughed out loud, and when I turned the last page I let out a huge sigh of disappointment. I was sad because I had to leave the characters, the world, and their story behind.
I cannot recommend this trilogy highly enough. They are excellent - and every teacher should be recommending them to young adults. In fact, stop reading this review and go get book one. Now!...more
I really want to write a review for this book, but I feel that I won't be able to do it justice. I gave it 24 hours before I started to write, becauseI really want to write a review for this book, but I feel that I won't be able to do it justice. I gave it 24 hours before I started to write, because I wanted to settle my thoughts. However, I have already started the third book in the series, and already my mind has started racing. This means that I have ended up sat here, for 30 minutes, writing and re-writing this review. I can't quite say how excited this book has made me.
The first book was a "road" book. It was an introduction to the characters, the world it is set on, and the politics. This book (the second in the trilogy) is set in one single, claustrophobic town. Todd and Viola having reached Haven, however they now become embroiled in a fight between two political ideologies: The Ask and The Answer. Remembering that these books are "Young Adult" fiction, the author brilliantly lays out the ideas/ideals of fascism and terrorism. The two protagonists are forced to choose a side (or are, at least, presented with situations that force them to choose), and thus the reader is also forced to accept that their "favourites" have made choices with which the reader may disagree.
I started to read these books because I was looking for books to recommend to my students. Sadly, I feel that these books are "too old" for my grade 6. I'd love to recommend them to some of my students, but after "The Hunger Games" recommendation, it wasn't just the whole grade 6 that read the book, but it spread through the school via siblings, and fourth graders were reading THG. I cannot recommend this book, knowing that it will end up in the fourth grade. This is a great shame because I would love to discuss these books with students.
And, at that point, I'll stop. I don't know if I've said anything useful here at all, except: read this book. If you have a teenage child, are related to a teenager, know one, read this book and then give it to them. Then a week later (it will only take a week) sit down with them and discuss their thoughts/feelings about this book. I would place this book right up there with 1984 as an eye-opener on political manipulation.
This was not what I was expecting at all. At one point, someone tells Todd that "everything he knows is a lie." As the bookI am wonderfully confused.
This was not what I was expecting at all. At one point, someone tells Todd that "everything he knows is a lie." As the book is written from Todd's point of view, and as all the information we are given is via Todd, it means that everything we know is a lie too. Which makes for a strange read. You spend half the book learning everything you can about the world that Todd lives in, to spend the rest of the book having to relearn everything all over again.
Welcome to New World, a planet that has been resettled by pilgrims, looking for their Eden. Except it isn't Eden. A war with the Spackles (the previous inhabitants) has ended with two major outcomes: all the women are dead; all the men can hear each other's thoughts. This ability to hear each other's thoughts means that the world is full of Noise. You can hear other men's thoughts, you can hear your dog's thoughts, you can hear the thoughts of all living things. This is Todd's world. A world where he is the youngest boy, in fact, the only boy. Every other person in Prentistown has already achieved manhood, an occasion that Todd is looking forward to with great anticipation.
And then Todd discovers a hole in the Noise. A hole that is best described as Silence.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed a lot, read bits out to my wife, screamed "NOOOOOO!!!!" several times, and wiped away tears a couple of times too. I'm off to read book two!...more
How bad is this book? Bad enough that I am tempted to go back and re-write reviews for the other books in the series. Do not read this book - esAwful!
How bad is this book? Bad enough that I am tempted to go back and re-write reviews for the other books in the series. Do not read this book - especially if you enjoyed the previous three. Stop at the end of "Specials".
Unfortunately, this book points out the *huge* plot holes in the previous books, holes that I'd been willing to skip over, but were pushed to the forefront with all the subtlety of a brick to the face. Plus, any growth done by any character in the previous books, is either ignored or changed. Familiar dynamic characters become mere cyphers, characters who were treated with respect become nothing more than caricatures. And no one learns. No one grows.
Whereas before, the author seriously took on the targets of plastic surgery, anorexia/bulimia, recycling/reuse/renew, cutting, and mind control - now we have an attack on "fame" and the end result? Well, fame *is* important. If you don't have fame then you are nothing!
Just don't read this. Enjoy "The Uglies Trilogy" and stop there....more
[24hr Update: Having thought about this for a bit, I've changed my rating. Previously I gave the book 5 stars, I realise that this was really for the[24hr Update: Having thought about this for a bit, I've changed my rating. Previously I gave the book 5 stars, I realise that this was really for the series as a whole. As an individual book I would probably rate Specials as a 4 star book.]
I'm going to treat this review as an end to the trilogy. Yes, I realise that there is a fourth book, but I like to think that the author had invented such a great protagonist in Tally Youngblood that he wanted her to have a last "hurrah".
Simply put, this series isn't really a trilogy, so much as one blummin' huge book. I first set about reading this series because i was looking for another book to recommend to my 6th grade. At first, I thought that this would be an ideal series. The thoughts/ideas raised in book one would have struck resonant chords with my students. However, as Harry Potter grew through his years at Hogwarts, so Tally grows and the situations that arise become more mature. Because of this, I am not recommending the book to my students. This is not because I feel that they couldn't deal with it, some of them could, but mainly because the sixth grade is the top grade in the school. After we read Hunger Games, fifth graders and fourth graders took up the book. I don't believe that this series is aimed at that age level. So, no recommendation to my students.
BUT, I *do* recommend this series.
The author has built a world, a world that has realised the mistakes of our world. A world has set about trying to make up for the mistakes that we have made (are making). However, to make up for those mistakes, there has to be a certain amount of mind-control in order to curb the natural excesses of humanity. This builds a dilemma into the book. Is it better to have free will if that leads to the Earth's destruction? Or is it better to "fix" people with an operation, thus saving the planet? The book is so well written, that although you dislike the "prettified" world, you can't help but see how badly we are messing up the present day, and how the people who have reversed the mind control, start to repeat our mistakes.
I think the series is brilliant! It is at moments like this that I wished I taught Year 8/9 so that I could sit down and discuss this series with my class. I can see how the book has raised questions within my own mind, and would love to know how these books would read for 14/15 year olds.
I'm off to read book 4, "Extras". I'm not sure I know what to expect. I liked the ending to the book, and felt that it left everything to the reader to "play god" and decide what was right or wrong. I don't think I'm looking forward to the author making that decision for me. Ha! As if the author of this made up world has any right to make decisions about what happens....more
Congratulations Mr. Westerfeld, you managed to impress me, amaze me, and convince me to read the third book.
When I finished "Uglies" (the first bookCongratulations Mr. Westerfeld, you managed to impress me, amaze me, and convince me to read the third book.
When I finished "Uglies" (the first book in the series), I was really impressed and looking forward to reading "Pretties". 20% into the book, I was starting to feel depressed. What I had hoped for wasn't happening. There was no strong female protagonist, there was nothing new. Well, nothing new except for a new relationship with another boy. Aaaargh! I was worried that I was going to end up with another girl unable to choose between Edward/Jacob Peta/Gale situation. And then everything changed.
I should have trusted the author a lot more. The book quickly became a page turner. Once again I was sent on a wild ride. New situations, new characters were introduced - and not just for the sake of trying to make the book seem different to its predecessor, these things occurred to drive the plot forward. They slowly revealed that the author has a much bigger plan for this story, a story that he intends to unwind slowly.
I am off to read book three - and this time I intend to be more patient while reading the first third! ...more
I'm a sixth grade teacher, and in a desperate search for books that will capture my students' imaginationWow! I really was not expecting that ending.
I'm a sixth grade teacher, and in a desperate search for books that will capture my students' imagination (especially my female students), I decided to give "Uglies" a go. I was a bit sceptical at first, did I really want to recommend a book based on children's looks to my students. Sometimes I can have enough trouble with name calling, without opening up a can of worms about the difference between "pretties" and "Uglies". However, as I read, I was pleasantly surprised.
The book deals with the difficulties of growing up, and the changes that children go through, in a very open and very clear way. It points out the pain of surgery but also points out the benefits. However, it very cleverly starts to point out the lack of personalities of the "Pretties". I'm probably not explaining this very well.The easiest thing to say is that I would very quickly recommend this book, and will happily stand by that recommendation.
The book isn't just about the surgery, it is also set in a future world. A world that remembers how we (the Rusties) attempted to destroy it - with our love of cars, cutting down trees, and non-recycling.
And, at the heart of the book, is a betrayal. A betrayal that I thought would become "glossed over". However, the final third of the book deals with that betrayal head on.
I feel that this book is excellent and will be recommending to my class. It deals with themes and problems that they will face (are facing), and allows the characters of the book to make hard decisions. If I was 12/13 I would be giving this a five star rating. As it is, I am giving it a four star rating but am opening book two as soon as I publish this review....more
Ok, first things first, I know the author. In fact, I would probably describe myself as a friend of the author. Which means that anything I say next iOk, first things first, I know the author. In fact, I would probably describe myself as a friend of the author. Which means that anything I say next is going to be coloured with that brush. I did, however, pay cold hard cash for my copy of the book - a whole 99c (USD) - which is probably also necessary knowledge before you read my review. And, finally, I don't normally read police procedural books, but I picked this up because a friend had written it and it only cost 99c, so I couldn't see the harm. Assuming that is all the information you need - here's my review.
I liked it. It should really be read in one sitting (which is entirely possible because it is more of a novella than a novel) to get the full enjoyment of the story. This is not a "who-dunnit" as the book isn't over padded with red-herrings, wild-goose chases, and other animal-themed asides. No, this starts with a murder, moves on to another murder, and continues until....well, until the end (HA! You're not getting any spoilers out of me.). Along the way a blogger gets involved, and helps the police out with their enquiries (in a positive way).
All in all it is a quick and easy read, with a satisfying conclusion. I'm looking forward to the follow up, which will hopefully flesh out the characters fully. The problem with a novella is that there isn't enough to fully form the characters, and I want to know more about Wil and Chief Inspector Price.
Well, that was different. I really disliked book 2, Catching Fire, but having read my way through two books, I decided to give book three a go. And, IWell, that was different. I really disliked book 2, Catching Fire, but having read my way through two books, I decided to give book three a go. And, I'm glad I did. It is a totally different book. Oh, it never achieves the heights of book one, but it does have its moments.
These moments are mostly caused because of Ms. Collins changing the whole premise of the book, changing the thought patterns of the characters, changing the whole way that time passes, changing her mind about what sort of book she is writing. From the very first chapter, where we suddenly learn that "everything you knew before was wrong", to the second last chapter, where we suddenly learn that "everything that you thought you now knew is in fact as wrong as the other bit you knew", the book becomes very schizophrenic - it really doesn't know what it wants to be. Oh, we still have the odd moments of Katniss pretending to be Bella from Twilight, and we have a lot more moments of her pretending to be Ripley in Aliens, but instead of the book being all about "me, me, me" somehow she becomes more of a viewer to other people's problems. She does actually grow a little in this book. Not much, it is still up to too many other people to do all the hard work for her. But occasionally she does have glimpses of empathy - which is nice.
It is a strange beast this book, because by the end of it, there are very few likeable characters left. Katniss (in case you haven't guessed) I never particularly liked, even though I was desperate for her to be likeable. However, as the book progresses, everyone you learn to like (or have liked), either dies or becomes unlikeable.
The best news about this book is that it ends. There cannot be any more...unless the author - no, she wouldn't. Anyway, even if she did, I won't be on for the ride.
If you've read book 2, read this. Even if it is just to get the taste of book 2 out of your mouth. It'll give you proper closure, and in the second third of the book, remind you why you enjoyed The Hunger Games so much. I'm fairly sure that the film is going to be great though. So, on the whole, I'd give the whole three books a miss and just watch the film instead! [And that is probably the first time I have ever said that.]...more
I was slightly disappointed with the ending of book one (The Hunger Games), but I enjoyed the premise and so decided to read book two. Oh dear.
Let meI was slightly disappointed with the ending of book one (The Hunger Games), but I enjoyed the premise and so decided to read book two. Oh dear.
Let me explain. I'm a school teacher. I teach sixth grade (11/12 year olds) and am on the look out for well written, exciting stories that will challenge and inspire my students. At first I thought I had found one, The Hunger Games, and even more so, I thought I had found a book with a female protagonist. At last someone who can stand up for herself, make her own decisions, and become proactive. Unfortunately, Ms. Collins seems to have given up totally on her leading light. Suddenly I appear to be reading a book from the "Twilight" series, and I seem stuck with a female character who cannot decide between one boy or the other, and instead of being proactive, is treated like an "idiot" by all those around her...including the author.
The book is frustrating. You tend to read it very quickly, it does "suck you in", but it is annoying. Personally I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. That said, you know what I'm going to do next? I'm going to read book 3. I am already dreading it....more
I picked this up because I was looking through a list of "books for young adults", looking for stuff to recommend to my class. I also knew there was aI picked this up because I was looking through a list of "books for young adults", looking for stuff to recommend to my class. I also knew there was a film coming, so I thought it would be a good idea to read it before the film. And, I'd also heard that it had been banned somewhere, which I always find as a fairly good recommendation.
It is a very good, very fast read. Be aware that it is for "young adults", and so (if you aren't 12 years old) this isn't going to stretch you. However, it is still fairly emotive. I found myself fully involved, fairly worried, and (twice) moved emotionally. It is a real page-turner!
Three quarters through, I was convinced this would have been 5 stars. However, I found the ending a bit flat - the highly emotional ending I was looking for, never came. But, don't let that put you off. Pick it up and enjoy the ride. I can assure you, you'll finish it in under a week because you won't want to put it down....more
I apologise. I am really sorry that I ever recommended A Game of Thrones. I still believe that GoT was a brilliant book but, the problem is, this seriI apologise. I am really sorry that I ever recommended A Game of Thrones. I still believe that GoT was a brilliant book but, the problem is, this series never again gains those heights. Book two is good, book three you have to read to get the full impact of "the weddings". Don't bother to read book 4, read the Wikipedia recap. And really, honestly - this isn't a great book. I finished it because I'm being a completest, but I'm happy in the knowledge that I won't have to read another one for five years. And that isn't what I expected. I expected, when I set out on this 5000+ odyssey to be desperate for the next book to come out. At the moment, I'm relieved.
After the 900 pages of the last book, where the plot didn't move anywhere, this turned out to be another 1000 pages that leaves the reader in pretty much the same position as when they started. Mr. Martin appears to have written himself to a standstill. Not sure how he is going to get to where he planned, not sure how he is going to get himself out of all the corners he has written himself into, not sure if he wants to write anything new rather than telling stories from times before.
Oh, there are a couple more dead people around - although the author has started to regret the deaths of many of his characters and suddenly they seem to come back to life or re-appear in a moment of misdirection (hell, at this point I wouldn't be surprised if Ned Stark came back to life). There are a couple of new characters for you to learn to like/dislike/ignore. And there are hundreds and hundreds of pages full of lists of people who lived long ago and did stuff that might (or might not) affect what is happening now.
So, that's over. Thank all seven gods - and the other one and the other gods as well (the ones who aren't the seven) and the two gods of whom one can't be named and the drowned god and...and do you start to see how many blummin' religions exist? But it's over. The reading bit....more
This is the second book about Cicero's life. There is a third to come. As is the way with trilogies, the first book is written with the intention of mThis is the second book about Cicero's life. There is a third to come. As is the way with trilogies, the first book is written with the intention of making us love the main character, love them enough to want to follow them through another two books. This book is the "second act", the book where all the odds are stacked against our hero, and he is left to face death/destruction/ruin. Obviously, come the third book, our hero will rise, phoenix like, from the ashes. However, knowing all this doesn't detract from the story.
Cicero becomes unlikeable. He becomes conceited, arrogant, and too full of himself to notice that he is set on the path to his own destruction. The author manages to keep our attention though by changing the direction of the novel - or at least the novel's gaze. Instead of this book being just about Cicero, in which case many a reader might well have given up, the focus of the story moves more to his slave/companion/secretary Tiro. In this book Tiro becomes the more sympathetic character, and it is his story you learn to love. Of course, his story follows Cicero's exactly - his fate/fortune is tied implicitly to Cicero's. And let's get it right, Tiro is the wise slave, with 20/20 hindsight.
A very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the conclusion....more
This is a hard review to write for two reasons: I know the author; I didn't read the book correctly.
Let's get the "knowing the author" out of the wayThis is a hard review to write for two reasons: I know the author; I didn't read the book correctly.
Let's get the "knowing the author" out of the way first. I don't *know* him in the biblical sense. I've read a lot of Mr. Pruteanu's work before, some of it fiction, some of it non-fiction (I will be saving those emails for when he is rich and famous and I can use them in a "kiss-and-tell" moment...maybe there was something biblical?). All of this means that any review is automatically coloured by my friendship.
The friendship also meant that I read the book incorrectly. Let me explain: you need to sit down and read this book in one. Foolishly, because I was used to reading the author's short pieces and I was fooled by the use of the words "short" and "cut" in the title, I thought this was a book that I could read a bit of, put it down, read a bit more, put it down. This is not the correct way to read the book. The book is written like a piece of jazz music, and has its own specific rhythm. Some books you can pick up and read and you get into the rhythm, the pacing, straight away. "Short Lean Cuts" does have a rhythm, but it is hidden under the "freestyle" riffing of each chapter. If you read the book in one go, you feel the driving rhythm underneath each chapter, but you can follow each individual solo as it occurs. Unfortunately, I didn't do this for the first half of the book. This made the book very hard to read. Once I made a decision to "just do it", the book flowed much better.
The book isn't easy. It is very reminiscent of Chuck Palahniuk, but at his darkest. However, the book is rewarding. There are moments when you wish that the author had run a bit further with an idea, but that, in some ways, is the point of the book - these are short, lean cuts of a bigger story. The author uses the minimum of words to tell a huge story. The reader is free to fill in the bits that are important to them. ...more