I'm completely undone: my nerves are twitching, my pulse is racing, and my fingers are trembling as I type....
Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Am I oI'm completely undone: my nerves are twitching, my pulse is racing, and my fingers are trembling as I type....
Have I entered the Twilight Zone? Am I on Candid Camera? Maybe the Earth's polarity has been reversed? Because right now I cannot even fathom how this book has gotten such good ratings so far, when in fact it is
I wish I could make that word ten times bigger just to emphasize how utterly craptacular this book is. So, so, so, soooooooo laughably ridiculous and cringe-inducing and positively sloppy--- I'm still reeling from the shock that people actually like this thing.
Since I seem to be in the minority, I assume you'll want some justification. No problem. But sadly I don't think there's enough room to copy and paste the entire text in as evidence. I'll have to just try to sum it up.
First thing you have to know, though, is that what I read was an ARC and could have been completely revised and edited before the official release. I honestly hope that's true.
Also, I think I should warn you, if you're still thinking you might check out the book, now is the time to stop reading this review, cause I am not going to hold back on details and that means spoilers-- like, all of them.
Still with me? Alright, here we go:
So the first chapter actually rocked. You jump right into the action of zombies in Victorian Era Philadelphia. I was totally on board. But then something weird happened. A zombie delivers a message to Eleanor, the protagonist, then walks away. Hm. Odd. Not typical zombie behavior but whatever. I'll go with it. Anyway, its from her brother, and she concludes this means he's being held prisoner by the zombies. Again: Hm. (I thought half the deal with zombies was the mindless hunt for brains, not errands ).
Blah, blah, blah, the story moves on; her family is out of cash, she needs to snag a rich husband, and she has some dirt on the most eligible bachelor in town, so now they're hanging out.
In the meantime, the World Expo is in town, and some Spirit Hunters are there to help out with the zombies, which apparently, aren't that uncommon in small numbers, but there's been an epidemic. The spirit hunters, a debonair black gentleman from New Orleans who does Voodoo and speaks french *phonetically*, a hot guy who makes steampunk gagets, and a little Chinese ruffian who turns out to be a girl. Of course, Eleanor enlists their help to find her brother and the spirit that's been unleashed from a party seance gone wrong.
She starts helping them, more zombies come, there must be a necromancer controlling them, her brother was studying related stuff so that must be why the necromancer has him. (beat) Riiiggghhhtt---duh, her brother is the necromancer.
If that wasn't obvious enough, guys her brother went to school with start showing up decapitated, and rich boyfriend thinks he's next. Not too hard to figure out that these are probably the boys she's talked about who bullied her brother, not to mention the sons of the guys who ruined her dad. Big brother is doing some avenging....with a zombie army.
As far as the romance goes, there were two obvious candidates for the position, and neither one seemed to want the job, nor did Eleanor appear to care. No sparks, no magic, no ANYTHING, except annoyance. There is a moment with each guy when they're all mad at each other, and she's a little bit freaked out cause they're so angry they've grabbed her wrists or whatever, and then she gives some lame internal comment that is like "Ow that hurts, I wonder if this means he likes me," and then the moment is gone. She mentions thinking about them sometimes, but always in connection with the zombie drama, and only the faintest bit of interest in them personally.
Then, *gasp*, rich boy goes missing, the zombies have taken over the Expo, turns out her brother IS the necromancer, rich boy was the bully and shambles in as a headless zombie, the evil spirit who's been around once or twice is the Spirit Hunter's evil Voodoo friend who was conveniently mentioned in the beginning, and oh yeah, big bro wants to bring their dad back from the dead. Not to be a zombie, but to just pick up his old life 6 years later and be proud of his kid and finally run for city council, naturally.
Oh, and by the way, Eleanor suddenly has feelings for the dead bully boy, but he's dead, so by default that narrows it down to steampunk inventor boy. They meet up in the street, they argue, then awkward silence. Then, because the story necessitates it, they kiss for a sentence or two, and he says it was a mistake and they go off to stop her brother.
(Don't worry, I'm almost done).
Brother is having a hard time reanimating dad's skeleton, so he borrows some of Eleanor's spirit power (If he's a necromancer that means its in her blood too- obviously), zombie dad kills bro, she takes down dad, and evil spirit swoops into to possess bro's body. They have a final battle, Eleanor uses her new-found power to level the zombie army, and the only casualty, (besides her brother, who has an Obi-Wan Kanobi/ Anakin Skywalker spirit goodbye with dad) is Eleanor's hand.
Yes, it is mangled by a zombie. And yes, she loses it. That's right, as in amputated.
The kicker is, now that she's left handed, her brother has destroyed the town with everybody's dead relatives, the evil spirit is still walking around in his body, the rich boy is dead, her reputation is shot, her family is destitute, etc, etc.... well, the spirit hunter's are skipping town and so she asks inventor boy "So, you don't love me then." And he says, "No" and she says, "That's cool" and they leave and maybe she'll catch up with them later, THE END.
I'm already exhausted just recapping the story, so i'm not going to waste more time by rehashing the details, but I hope you see where I'm going with this. In short, this book is dumb; the story is painfully predictable, the characters are flat and boring, and everything in between is contradictory or nonsensical.
Something Strange and Deadly is henceforth going down as one of the three most idiotic books I can't believe I've read (the others being Torn and Article 5), all infamous for making me want to scratch my own eyeballs out.
I'll admit, I was pretty worried that this book was about a new unknown character. I'm usually not fond of switching main characters from book to bookI'll admit, I was pretty worried that this book was about a new unknown character. I'm usually not fond of switching main characters from book to book, but I was happy to see how well Meyer integrates a new story and characters into the existing story, while continuing to advance the original plot lines as well.
Even though I'm only two books in, I've already determined that this is a reliable, "good bet" series. It's pretty good, but not amazing. It's easy to see the parallels with the fairy tales they're based on, and even some of the surprises are not hard to spot coming.
Luckily, Meyer's has given this story just enough novelty to boost it above the common fare....more
I keep waffling between 3 and 4 stars. Because usually, I absolutely loathe when a series changes narrators with each book. And this one was about peoI keep waffling between 3 and 4 stars. Because usually, I absolutely loathe when a series changes narrators with each book. And this one was about people never introduced in Possession. I was wary.
But it actually worked pretty well. It was a great way to broaden the scope of the story, add so many more unforeseen complications, and twist things up that much more.
At some point, I realized that *I* shouldn't be believing everything I was reading, even from the narrators, not because they were lying, but because no one can be reliable when mind reading, mind-control, and brainwashing are zinging around between all the characters. It's impossible to know if any of them are ever completely in their right mind.
Kind of nifty how the author plays that.
Side note: when hubby asked what I was reading I told him it was called 'Surrender' but had to immediately explain that it wasn't some cheap romance like it sounds!
The title really explains *nothing* about the book, nor does the cover which is true for all the other books as well. After reading the first one a few years ago, it took me forever to figure out what it was called again when I wanted to finish the series. And the summary was just as vague. Absolutely no help. This is like the triple death warrant for an author because there is nothing memorable or even contextual to remind readers of the series' existence. Such a shame....more
Yay! I really dig these kind of YA medieval fantasy stories (they aren't ridiculously over complicated worlds like true Fantasy, so yeah, a little dumYay! I really dig these kind of YA medieval fantasy stories (they aren't ridiculously over complicated worlds like true Fantasy, so yeah, a little dumbed down), but man, there just aren't enough of them. Throne of Glass easily fit the bill, even managing to one-up Graceling for most rockin assassin chick. Can I just tell you how awesome it is that Celaena is all tough AND a girly-girl? Ha!...more
Guys write on SUCH a different level than girls: more plainly, more factually, more....raw. Less complication---more power and sMan oh man.
Guys write on SUCH a different level than girls: more plainly, more factually, more....raw. Less complication---more power and strength. Its the testosterone--it's gotta be--and female authors just can't duplicate that same kind of intensity.
That being said, the Chaos Walking series is the epitome of "boy books", and in a genre saturated with "girl books" it's impossible not to sit up and take notice.
I'll admit, it took a couple of tries to get going into this book. I wasn't snagged in the first chapter or two and was reluctant to continue. It felt a little 'Of Mice and Men' for a bit, but it turns out that's just the setup for the story and doesn't linger there long.
The action is at break-neck speed for the rest of the book; I found my muscles tensing so much I was almost in a full-body charley horse by the end. Thank goodness this series is complete, so I could dive from the killer cliff-hanger straight into the next book!
Another "boy book" quality this story excels at is emotional bonding without sappy romance. It's so cut-and-dry, so pure and without guile, compared to the elaborate, over-analyzation of "girl books". Maybe what makes it so different is that there isn't so much speculation or self-doubt about feelings ("Does he like me? Do I deserve him? I'm so confused I can't think about anything else"), but rather just realization and loyalty ("She makes me feel good. I want her around"). It's so refreshingly honest!
That's not to say that "boy books" are devoid of sentiment, though: the forthrightness of their emotions just keeps things short and to the point, even if they are sensitive. In fact, one of the main issues in the story is that Todd IS such a tender guy and whether this prevents him from being a man.
Aside from that, the story is brilliantly conceived, combining futuristic space colonization with epic, high adventure. Orson Scott Card's "Pathfinder" is a lot like it, and I was also reminded of Beth Revis's "Across the Universe" not to mention Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain Chronicles" --- all books high on my list of favorites.
And while this book has more violence and language than the others, it's possible that that is what makes it just a little more powerful....more
This book is not what it seems-- it isn't yet another pseudo-dramatic tale of teen love in the midst of survival in a scary world. (...Ok, maybe it isThis book is not what it seems-- it isn't yet another pseudo-dramatic tale of teen love in the midst of survival in a scary world. (...Ok, maybe it is a little.) Anyway, what the description doesn't tell you is that this is a difficult read, and the subject matter is heavy, and there's a lot of metaphor lying around. Of course not: teens don't want to read those books because they've already had more than enough of them in their high school English class. The problem is, there is a level of depth and and humanity and introspection achieved by reading these types of books, and we don't always like to have our reality shaken up like that--especially when we're young. Which is exactly why its assigned in English class: because teens like their safe-self-spheres and unless they are forced to "see" outside it, they'll never grow up. (Wow, I might have just made a breakthrough 15 years late). So anyway,kudos to the publishers for trying to sneak it past like it's all normal, when in fact it's smart and thought-provoking and fragile. And wow to the author for not making this into one of those depressing-someone's-got-cancer stories that I firmly avoid, and cleverly hiding the brokenness of her characters between fantasy and reality. I've read too many shallow YA books lately and needed a good dose of genuflection....more
Update:I just reread this book today, and I don't know what I was thinking 2 years ago when I gave it 4 stars, because it's awful! I'm embarrassed thaUpdate:I just reread this book today, and I don't know what I was thinking 2 years ago when I gave it 4 stars, because it's awful! I'm embarrassed that I liked it, humiliated that I likened myself to the protagonist, confused that I called it "rather clean", and I'm absolutely cringing that two people I'm related to added it to their to-read lists! Consequently, I have deleted my previous review. Now I'm just wondering how many of my other book reviews I need to revisit......more
Yay for an original setting! The story is ok, though there are some great little nuggets of relationship wisdom and even a smattering of philosophy. WYay for an original setting! The story is ok, though there are some great little nuggets of relationship wisdom and even a smattering of philosophy. Who knew?...more
So, the first half of the book was pretty good. I just finished reading a similar story and this one was way more interesting.
Then almost exactly halfSo, the first half of the book was pretty good. I just finished reading a similar story and this one was way more interesting.
Then almost exactly halfway through, this book turned to crap. It was laborious to slog through the boring, slow moving, swamp sludge it had become.
And even with the final twist, the end just kind of fell flat to me.
And oh gosh, I can't help but comment on the names:
DANK?? For real? Even if he is death, that's a really, really stupid name. (About as stupid as an angel named Patch.) Why not Gristle or Rot or just plain Grim? I hope Dank isn't a legitimate name, but it sounds made up to me.
As for Pagan, it actually sounds pretty cool, but I just couldn't get past the implied meaning. Was it intentional? I half expected her mom to be Wiccan or at least a hippie. (Maybe if she had siblings would they be named Heathen and Gentile?). My point is, any name sends immediate messages, whether it's the name of the bully who harassed you in second grade, the homecoming queen, but especially when its a regular word. (Just ask Chastity Bono.) Your brain can't help but make associations, and so far, these names are not helping these characters. Whatever. I'm just saying.
But alas, like the idiot that I am, I'm going to attempt the next book. I'm not holding my breath that the story will revive. ...more
So, weird thing to admit, but I like books like this that get inside of mental illness. Compared to all the teen-flufWell that was over way too fast.
So, weird thing to admit, but I like books like this that get inside of mental illness. Compared to all the teen-fluff-supernatural-fantasy-romance, the raw intensity from addressing things like serious depression is powerfully real.
I think everybody tastes the crazy at some point and nothing could be scarier than feeling completely isolated in that prison. No one wants to be alone and no one wants to be crazy and just reading something like this helps you to feel a little less of both.
And in all likelihood, loosing your marbles a little is probably as close to paranormal as most people will be able to get, so at least there's that, right? ...more
So here's the thing: this is a swoony sort of book with no real flaws, but what disappointed me about it, was that the story arc was given away in theSo here's the thing: this is a swoony sort of book with no real flaws, but what disappointed me about it, was that the story arc was given away in the summary and there were really no surprises.
Summaries are tough- balancing between giving too much away or making it so vague it's misleading. And with this one, knowing there was going to be trouble with the old girlfriend just frustrated me waiting for it to inevitably be resolved.
I was pretty annoyed when I realized the book picked up A YEAR after Slammed ended. After reading the first book, the aftermath is all you want to know about, and then the second book just starts off with a recap. I hate it when books do that. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of the stuff we miss in the interim year are detailed throughout Point of Retreat as flashbacks and memories, making them a crucial part of the story. It was an interesting way to do it, especially since Will and Lake talk about their lives not being in chronological order.
I'm not sure I liked this book coming from Will's point of view, either. For one thing, its first person, not third like Slammed. By doing so, I feel like Will's masculinity took a nosedive. His perspective was so obviously female written that I often forgot whether it was coming from him or Lake.
But you know what? It is a sweet story. And having the second book made the first book better. It's a bit cheesy, and almost impossibly happily ever after, but gosh, sometimes you just need the storybook ending. It's a lot like Callum & Harper, really, with the tragic circumstances, the amazingly supportive cast of characters, tender love story, and endless sexual tension (not to mention a couple scenes which are so eerily similar it's uncanny), so if you like one, you'll most certainly like the other.
So yeah, I had some minor grievances, but on the whole, the book, and it's companion, would melt anyone's heart....more