Keeping in mind that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a much-adored classic, I will refrain from ranting too much about how annoying both Dr. FrankensteKeeping in mind that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a much-adored classic, I will refrain from ranting too much about how annoying both Dr. Frankenstein and his monster are. I shall just say that Frankenstein succeeded in creating a monster just as whiney, pathetic, and morally confused as himself. The monster created a monster....more
I found Stieg Larsson's second installment of the Millenium Trilogy even more boring than the last. However, I still enjoyed it almost as much as TheI found Stieg Larsson's second installment of the Millenium Trilogy even more boring than the last. However, I still enjoyed it almost as much as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I'm still trying to figure out what makes these novels good, despite their plodding pace. Here's what I've come up with: 1) They plod very steadily, so at least I know what pace to expect throughout.
2) Wonderful character development on our lovely Lisbeth Salander and some of the supporting characters make it easy to empathize. Although, this second novel introduces quite a few new characters and doesn't spend the time fleshing all of them out, so some simply remain names on a page. I also noticed that he uses the same or very similar names for different characters, causing me some confusion as I read. Even the Erika Berger/Malin Eriksson combo was confusing at first. And I swear two different characters had the last name Johansson. Don't they have more than 10 names in Sweden?
3) Complicated, but well-plotted and well-written story makes these novels interesting even to those who don't typically enjoy whodunit mysteries.
Two additional items to note. This second novel is much less graphic than the first, for those who didn't like that aspect of it. And be forewarned, Larsson drops Salander's point of view for the entire middle section of the book, and it becomes almost a straight detective novel for that segment. But the last paragraph of the novel is great--equal parts refreshing and frustrating....more
Reality tv, survival in the woods, impossible love, corrupt government, and fights to the death. What more could you ask for in a tear-jerking, page-tReality tv, survival in the woods, impossible love, corrupt government, and fights to the death. What more could you ask for in a tear-jerking, page-turning young adult novel? Obviously, I walked away utterly fulfilled. The only thing that bummed me out about the book is that I didn’t come up with such an amazing premise myself. (Although, in reading some other Goodreads reviews on the book, it seems that perhaps Collins didn’t actually come up with the premise herself, either. You bet I’ll be checking out Battle Royale soon.)
The hunger games were created by the corrupt leaders of Panem after its thirteen districts tried and failed to rebel against the capital. Now, two names are drawn from each district at the annual reaping, and the girl and boy who are chosen must compete in the televised and sensationalized hunger games to try and win honor and much-needed food and supplies for their districts or, at the very least, try to stay alive in a game where only one may survive.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen's struggle for survival after she takes her younger sister's place in the hunger games. But the other contestant from her district, Peeta Mellark, was the boy who, many years ago, saved Katniss and her family from starvation when she had almost no hope left. Now she has to find a way to survive the game, decipher her feelings about Peeta, and figure out how to win without having to kill him....more
This second installment in Collins' Hunger Games series is riveting from beginning to end. After securing the win for herself and Peeta through one fiThis second installment in Collins' Hunger Games series is riveting from beginning to end. After securing the win for herself and Peeta through one final, rebellious act in The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen finds herself caught up in a chain of political fallout that lands her in the one place she never thought she'd have to go again: the arena. While she finds herself this time fighting only for Peeta's survival, outside the Capitol her act of defiance in the last games has instigated all twelve districts to rebellion....more
Rescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against PRescued by the rebels in District 13 at the end of Catching Fire, Katniss Everdeen now struggles to define her role in the growing rebellion against Panem while others try to define it for her.
I was very pleased with Collins' conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy. Mockingjay brought back the strongly sympathetic writing of the first book--the end, in particular, bringing me to tears. Leading up to Mockingjay, I was quite worried about how Collins would reconcile the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (mostly because I rooted for Gale but was sure she would end up with Peeta). Despite my rooting for the underdog, I was absolutely satisfied with the way Collins wrapped up this tricky plot....more
This is a story about two magicians-in-training who, unbeknownst to them, are entered into a match to the death by their mentors. A match whose stageThis is a story about two magicians-in-training who, unbeknownst to them, are entered into a match to the death by their mentors. A match whose stage is the mysterious Night Circus that travels the world without announcement or schedule, gracing its host cities with a smorgasbord of amazing performances and inexplicable experiences that are a feast for the senses and the imagination. In trying to find the perfect match of opponents, however, the callous mentors have made one significant miscalculation. Their two magicians-to-be are so well-matched that they are at inevitable risk of falling in love.
The thing I loved most about The Night Circus was the mood of the book, which (since it is also set in the 1800s) felt very similar to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The writing, too, was similar in its formal style. The Night Circus, though, is presented more journalistically--showing us snippets of this character, snippets of that character, and in between highlighting the various tents at the circus as if the readers themselves were circus patrons.
This is not by any means a fast-paced and exciting book. I'd say the opening is really strong, but then the pace basically keeps steady through the whole rest of the book, rather than ever amping up. So if you're not so into the setting and mood that this style of book offers, it may not be for you. Also, I'd say Morgenstern had a little difficulty with the climax, which really lacked the kind of tension needed to properly bring the story home. (That's why I gave it four stars instead of five.) But on the whole it was definitely enjoyable, interesting, and unique....more
This second installment of the story of Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel--prince of the blood, foster son to the now thirty-somethings Phedre and JoscThis second installment of the story of Imriel no Montreve de la Courcel--prince of the blood, foster son to the now thirty-somethings Phedre and Joscelin, and birth son to the traitors Melisande Shahrizai and Benedicte de la Courcel--follows Imriel after his return from Tiberium in the previous book. He has promised to wed Dorelei mab Beidaia--the niece of the Cruarch of Alba, who is also wedded to Imriel's distant cousin, the Queen of Terre D'Ange. But that spark of attraction still exists between Imriel and Sidonie, the queen's daughter and heir to the throne. And it quickly ignites into a full-on romance. (To my satisfaction. I was worried that this book might take its whole length for that relationship to come to fruition.) It is a romance that must remain a dire secret. For if others knew, they would be sure Imriel was only using Sidonie to achieve designs on the throne of Terre D'Ange itself. In order to "be good" as Imriel always struggles to be, he must keep his word and go through with the politically motivated marriage to Dorelei, even though his heart's not in it. When he leaves the City of Elua, both he and Sidonie hope their feelings for each other will abate during this long time apart. But, once married to Dorelei on the distant shores of Alba, he discovers that more than just his own heart is against the union. Imriel's journeys take him across Alba as well as through the treacherous Skaldia and into the distant new kingdom of Vralia (the supposed promised kingdom of the Yeshuites).
I really enjoyed this novel, particularly the beginning when Imriel struggles to cope with his illicit affair with Sidonie. The pace slows down a bit when Imriel leaves for Alba and then again when he returns to the content to venture into Vralia. Carey did a good job of getting Phedre and Joscelin out of the picture, so that Imriel had to face these new challenges on his own. I also really loved how she brought the conflict with Maslin de Lombelon full-circle. That part, again, got me a little choked up.
Imriel is a great character, with constant internal conflict and a struggle to find himself worthy. These books are entertaining, exciting, and scintillating while also saying something meaningful about the human experience and the kinds of internal conflicts we all struggle with....more
This final book finds Terre D'Ange cast under a spell that threatens to lead to civil war and has separated Imriel and Sidonie, perhaps for good, as sThis final book finds Terre D'Ange cast under a spell that threatens to lead to civil war and has separated Imriel and Sidonie, perhaps for good, as she has sailed across the sea to marry another man, having forgotten all about Imriel under the guise of the spell. Imriel, finding himself one of the only D'Angelines left unaffected by this malevolent magic, must set out alone to break the spell and save his love, his family, and his country.
I definitely really enjoyed this last installment in Carey's Imriel trilogy, but was disappointed to find that really none of Imriel's stories truly measure up to any one of Phedre's trilogy (Kushiel's Dart, etc.).
I was pretty disappointed in this one. Ready Player One does have a lot of potential, and from all the rave reviews it's been receiving perhaps I expeI was pretty disappointed in this one. Ready Player One does have a lot of potential, and from all the rave reviews it's been receiving perhaps I expected too much.
Ernest Cline's debut novel takes place in a dystopian near-future where the planet's natural fuels have been depleted. The exorbitant price of fuel, caused by the energy crisis, has resulted in cars abandoned on the roadways. Citizens from the rural outskirts have flocked to the cities to escape frequent blackouts and widespread lawlessness, many living in stacks--trailer parks that have gone vertical with one trailer stacked haphazardly atop another using cranes that have become a part of the dilapidated landscape. Some drown their miseries in drug addiction, others to a virtual, online world called the OASIS.
Though the OASIS began as just another massively multi-player online game, it has evolved into much more than that. It is a world where one can find friendships that cross economic and racial differences, where one can escape into the bliss of '80s nerddome that is all the rage, where Wade (avatar name Parzival)--a parentless, antisocial highschooler--can harbor hope before the prospect of an otherwise bottom-feeding existence. That hope is a great hunt to win the billions of dollars left behind by the creator of the OASIS, in the form of a multi-part quest, within the virtual realm, involving classic arcade games, '80s cult classic movies, a wee bit of MMO-style action, and general geeky '80s trivia.
Did you think I took a long time summarizing this book? Try the first 75 pages, all in straight exposition. That is, unfortunately, the rocky start that will greet you when you crack open Ready Player One. The beginning reads like the backstory the author should have written for himself, as a reference, before writing the actual novel. Unfortunately, he decided to just plop it all right in there.
I had a lot of other qualms with the book as well. Here are just a few: The MMO lingo didn't feel authentic to me, although I understand that Cline is a gamer...It reads like someone who is not a gamer thoroughly researched the subject, so he has it almost right. But it reads like it's researched, not like he has actual experience using the terminology in a real MMO environment. The first half of the book also reads kind of like Mom's guide to the world of gaming, where things are explained so thoroughly (with exposition or exposition through dialogue) that it's not at all fun to read for someone who is actually a gamer--which I think would be a big target audience for the books. Being familiar with gaming and programming, I had a lot of little nitpicks about the physics and general details of the OASIS, but to each his own. I won't get into those specifics here. Again, just felt researched not understood from a place of personal experience or an understanding of where games are headed to make this future online world seem believable.
One qualm against the book that I've seen but don't necessarily agree with is the issue of race and white male privilege. It's possible that Cline missed an opportunity here, but I don't think he would have (view spoiler)[made Aech secretly an African American female masquerading in the OASIS as a white male (hide spoiler)] unless he was meaning to say something by it. This was Cline's one example of making a subtle point without actually spelling it out like he's writing for fourth graders.
In summary, Ready Player One has the cooky fun of the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a little bit of the movie Gamer (though I think Gamer pulls it off better), and the word-dumping, dirty-mouthed style of Chuck Palniuk--though in this instance, name-dropping everything '80s....more
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitting fanatic and yarn enthusiast who writes hilarious real-life stories and other non-fiction works about knitting. BeStephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitting fanatic and yarn enthusiast who writes hilarious real-life stories and other non-fiction works about knitting. Being a knitting enthusiast myself, I find her writing very enjoyable and inspiring, and her knitting misadventures make me feel quite a lot better about being a knitting nerd myself. Plus, it's always nice to have a benchmark to point to and say, "At least I'm not that crazy!" (Stephanie, I <3 you!)
About this collection of stories in particular...upon finishing, I wasn't too surprised to discover that it was actually her very first published collection (before that she was writing in blog form only). This collection felt a little less refined than the other things I've read from her (At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much and Free-Range Knitter: The Yarn Harlot Writes Again, so far). Both of which were so hilarious and so frickin' insightful at times. There were definitely some very amusing moments in Yarn Harlot. Although, thinking back, I almost feel like the introduction to the book was actually one of the best parts. What really threw me off were the sad stories. I just...don't pick up these books to get bummed out. She had a couple rather bum-out stories in this collection. One about a woman whose arthritis has grown so bad that she will never be able to knit again, and then another about being a birth companion to a woman who has a still-born child. (See? I bet you're bummed out now too.) But if you can look past those stories, the rest are maybe worth a looksie....more