Update: started to reread before finishing the series and now I'm going to have to downgrade this one.
Maybe it had first time charm, but doesn't holdUpdate: started to reread before finishing the series and now I'm going to have to downgrade this one.
Maybe it had first time charm, but doesn't hold up now that I know what to expect. Maybe I was having an off day. I don't know. But it's definitely embarrassing that I gave it five stars before, because now the story just seems so dumb.
Anyway, here's my old review, too, if you care-
Whoa. Did you see that? I just gave this book 5 stars. I, like, never do that. You know why? Cause for me, 5 stars doesn't just mean a fantastic book, it means a book that has me so enthralled that I don't care about the stupid parts.
A book can be amazingly profound, immaculately written, and perfectly executed and still bug me. At the same time, I have very low tolerance for idiotic books. Editing, plot holes, flawed world-building, and most of all, dippy heroines, are pretty standard these days, and grate my nerves like nothing else.
So, if a story can capture me so completely that I can see past its faults and ignore its weaknesses and still really like it?....
Well, that, my friends, is called love. It's irrational as all get out, but there it is. No one is more surprised than I am....more
How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while othersI've been looking for a book like this for years!
How do some people always look so put together, making looking good appear effortless, while others try their hardest and can't manage to get past awkward and frumpy?
Belonging to the second group, I've always wanted to know what the secret was-- is it an innate sense? is there a scientific formula? do you have to be obsessed with fashion, buy only the most expensive clothes, and have a stylist at your disposal?
That's one way. The other is way is what this book is about: the simple tricks, easy tips, and manageable guidelines that streamline looking good into more than just random chance.
Truly, it's nothing you probably haven't heard, but what makes this particular book work is the backdrop she sets it against- her rise as a Hollywood costume designer. From the start it is engaging and entertaining, mixing her gutsy career gambles with lots of on-the-job disasters, and the back stage workings of major productions with a side of celebrities that is rarely seen.
I got so caught up in it, I read half-way through in one sitting! And if that isn't recommendation for a non-fiction book, then I don't know what is....more
Totally didn't expect to like this, but actually quite enjoyable!
Update: just read this again before I read the sequel, and while I don't find the stoTotally didn't expect to like this, but actually quite enjoyable!
Update: just read this again before I read the sequel, and while I don't find the story nearly as exciting as the first time through, I did mark an insane amount of lines and passages throughout.
Hartman writes beautifully, there's no doubt-- “And that is when I know that I will kiss him, and the very thought of it fills me with … well, it’s as if I have just solved Skivver’s predictive equations or, even better, as if I have intuited the One Equation, seen the numbers behind the moon and stars, behind mountains and history, art and death and yearning, as if my comprehension is large enough that it can encompass universes, from the beginning to the end of time. And I have to laugh a little at this conceit, because I do not even understand the present, and there is nothing in the world beyond this kiss.”
At the same time, her humor is so dry that I know I missed half of it last time. “He had apparently told Basind [a dragon] to flatten himself into the snow, because Basind did a good impression of a lizard run over by a cart—a giant lizard, and an unthinkably enormous cart.”
Hartman's treatment of music and emotion is profound at times, and she is full of witty, wise philosophies.
The interesting thing is that she is able to weave all these elements together, along with a dearth of smarty-pants words ('dearth' being one of them), into a story that has depth and meaning as well as (NOT in spite of) mass appeal. And then ends with a glossary that includes such gems as
“scrawny sackbut player—exactly as you imagine”
It's the best of both worlds.
Finally, I wanted to note something about the characters. Seraphina in no way acts like a 16 year old, though she does, I suppose, bear some resemblance to Jane Eyre. Anyway, it's striking how well she and her friends get along-- hard things happen between them, but it gets handled maturely. There's little pettiness and more forthright 'character' in the characters. There's a clear line between friends and foes and it's all so tidy. I kept waiting for the back-stabbing, treachery, underhanded maliciousness, etc. but these people are seriously invested in doing the right thing. It's quite the novelty....more