I waited a couple of years after The Gathering Storm came out to read it. I still felt some affection for Egwene and her plight, and I w...moreUUUUUUGGGHHHH.
I waited a couple of years after The Gathering Storm came out to read it. I still felt some affection for Egwene and her plight, and I was very slightly curious what would happen to Elayne. The rest of the characters in this series, and there are many of them, I long since wanted to set on fire. Jordan's tortured, irrelevant writing had made getting through these books into the worst kind of chore. I had high hopes that Brandon Sanderson would rescue a plot with potential and get it back on track with more focused writing, relevant detail, and interesting prose.
I forced myself through the interminable prologue featuring characters nobody would ever see again (par for the course for WoT), rolled my eyes through the chapter with the Forsaken having another of their stupid board meetings and quibbling over who would be Super Number One Favorite (and oh, look, sexuality is still used to define EEEEEEVILLLLL in the WoT world), and finally got to some Egwene action. Yay! Unfortunately, there was more focus on how and why Egwene knifed up a perfect pat of butter than on her actual struggle against the usupring Aes Sedai. More intrigue-less intrigue, more plodding plot, more totally irrelevant and useless detail just for the sake of padded word count. More of the same.
I didn't finish the book -- I barely got a quarter of the way in. It was just more disappointment. Some day maybe somebody will release the whole series as an abridged version. I never thought I'd say this, but abridging this vast and bloated beast would actually improve it, and might make the storyline fun and interesting again.
Adieu forever, Wheel of Time! I don't care how you end. I'll stick to ASOIAF, where at least the details matter and the prose is skillfully crafted.(less)
Unfortunately not an enjoyable read. As it is self-published, it's full of typographical errors, inconsistencies, and the type of writing you'd expect...moreUnfortunately not an enjoyable read. As it is self-published, it's full of typographical errors, inconsistencies, and the type of writing you'd expect from something that was never approved by an editorial staff. I couldn't finish it.(less)
I truly cannot understand why so many people rate this book so highly, here and on Amazon.
I could give myself a headache trying to delineate all the...moreI truly cannot understand why so many people rate this book so highly, here and on Amazon.
I could give myself a headache trying to delineate all the reasons why I disliked this book. I'll just stick to the most obvious one, the one that got in the way most often of my enjoying the story: The writing is terrible. It's wooden, stilted, flat, and totally unengaging. The narrative voice used not believable for the setting -- one doesn't expect paleolithic peoples to say or think things like "really, really" or "squishy." The girth of this novel would lead one to expect it's intended for adults, but the cloyingly simplistic writing style would have bored my midgrade self to literal tears. I can only assume Dickinson consciously chose this talking-to-a-three-year-old tone for his narrative because he thought paleolithic people didn't think as clearly or as deeply as modern people...or communicate as thoroughly. How insulting to our ancestors!
I will not read another of Dickinson's books. The Kin was miserable.(less)
One of the few books about writing I frequently and strongly recommend to writers and aspiring writers. When I, a prose writer, met a group of poets w...moreOne of the few books about writing I frequently and strongly recommend to writers and aspiring writers. When I, a prose writer, met a group of poets who wanted me to join their weekly critique circle, I was a bit intimidated by the fact that I had absolutely no understanding at all of poetry. The closest I'd ever come to poetry was hearing and vaguely appreciating Garrison Keillor's readings on The Writer's Almanac, which I would occasionally catch while running errands in my car, listening to NPR.
One of my new poet friends recommended this book to me, and I was immediately so drawn in by the "workbook" format that I dove in and started writing poetry.
Kowit has arranged a marvelous primer on poetry, starting with the most basic ideas behind the art form and bringing the reader/workbooker along a noticeable arc of improvement and skill-building. Each chapter, focusing on a different-angled look at poetry, is liberally "illustrated" with plenty of wonderful poems that show exactly what Kowit is trying to teach. Steve Kowit is a natural teacher who's arranged a truly useful, helpful, instructive book.
By the time I'd come through the entire book, I had quite a collection of poems that I felt really proud of. I was able to intelligently critique my friends' poetry and I even began bringing my own to the weekly meetings. Most importantly, my new deep understanding of poetry -- as a reader and as a writer -- has elevated my prose skills noticeably.
I recommend that all writers get this book and develop an aptitude for poetry, whether you write poems or stories or novels or magazine articles. Your writing will improve.(less)
I love delicious prose and can forgive almost anything in a book if the wordplay is interesting enough. However, the plot, if there was one, in The Cr...moreI love delicious prose and can forgive almost anything in a book if the wordplay is interesting enough. However, the plot, if there was one, in The Crimson Petal and the White just took far too long to reveal itself. I am a fan and writer of literary fiction, which is centered on the internal world of characters rather than on fast-paced outside conflicts, so please don't think I'm merely upset that there weren't enough explosions and spies. Perhaps, this being a literary novel after all, I lost interest because of the way it jumped from one character to another and, at least when I quit reading, these characters seemed to have absolutely nothing in common. I wanted to stick with a main character and start to understand her internal conflict, not leapfrog around London.
I will say that, as a writer, I very much admire Faber's ability to create a successful novel in SECOND-PERSON PRESENT TENSE. That is one of the most amazing feats in all of literature, as far as I'm concerned. I'm a fan of unique literary devices and he combines two here with great skill.
As a historical fiction nut, I appreciated the depth of detail and the insight into the daily lives of people of Sugar's time and place. Faber's craft at building a world cannot be denied.
In the end, though, this novel didn't attach clearly or quickly enough to a central character, and one day when I went to pick it up and read a few more chapters, I found I just didn't care. So off it went to the used book store, unfinished.(less)
I am only a few chapters into Tigana, and already it's a five-star book. This is what all fantasy should be: Intelligent, relevant in its detail, BEAU...moreI am only a few chapters into Tigana, and already it's a five-star book. This is what all fantasy should be: Intelligent, relevant in its detail, BEAUTIFULLY written, and escapist without avoiding certain truths.
This is the first book I've read by Kay, but it will definitely not be the last. I've found a new favorite author.(less)
A creative re-telling (sort of) of Virgil's Aeneid, through the eyes of young Lavinia and her ghostly poet friend.
This book has the rhythmic, sing-song voice that LeGuin fans love, along with enough well researched detail to give any historical fiction nerd palpitations. It's set in the time before the founding of Rome, in a very far-off Italy that is seldom explored in literature.
This book ranks very highly among my all-time favorite novels. It's an allegorical story told in a kind of romping, hand-clapping narrative that is at...moreThis book ranks very highly among my all-time favorite novels. It's an allegorical story told in a kind of romping, hand-clapping narrative that is at artistic odds with the very dark, desperate theme. It's worth reading as a study of literary juxtaposition alone -- but the story itself is riveting, the characters totally absorbing.
It's been months since I finished The Book of the Dun Cow, and I'm still ruminating on it. It will have a permanent place on my book shelf -- this little novella about chickens and a dog is just as truthful and beautiful as anything written by Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin, or Vladimir Nabokov.(less)
This one didn't have the same page-turning appeal that The Hunger Games held for me. Still a great book and extremely enjoyable to read, but not quite...moreThis one didn't have the same page-turning appeal that The Hunger Games held for me. Still a great book and extremely enjoyable to read, but not quite the five-star that THG was.(less)
Easily one of the worst book I've ever subjected myself to.
First: Why I read it. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I'd been hearing for a...moreEasily one of the worst book I've ever subjected myself to.
First: Why I read it. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I'd been hearing for a few years how GREAT and AWESOME this book is, how ROMANTIC the romance is, how SPARKLY the vampires are. I'd also been hearing, mostly from people who are good at writing and know what they're talking about, how atrociously the author butchers English, how insulting her writing is to the intelligence of her young readers, and how late and thinly the plot is developed.
I wanted to form my own opinion of Twilight, so I read it with an open mind.
I hated it. This is one of the worst wreckages of literature to come along since the Left Behind series. And don't for a second think to leave comments about how the intended audience is teen and pre-teen girls. They are just as intelligent, sensitive, and discerning as YOU should be, oh adult female reader who is spending so much time and money on this dreck. With so much great YA literature out there (Suzanne Collins, Libba Bray, etc.), why are people falling all over Twilight?
My guess is they're sexually attracted to words on a page. Edward is supposed to be so hottt that they will overlook any literary bungling to see his sparkle in their mind's eye.
That's just sad.
Edward is an abusive, controlling a-hole who only serves to highlight Bella's total ineptitude, and to make her more and more dependent on him with each dragging, slowly passing page. Plus: Uh, hello, HOME-SCHOOL your vampire clan, Cullens. Duh.
This book sucks out loud. I will not be reading the others. Instead, I'll trust the opinions of those who saw how terrible Twilight was and call it good.(less)
I read this book long ago and remember thinking even as a kid, "The characters aren't very believable." But I do also recall thinking that it was a fu...moreI read this book long ago and remember thinking even as a kid, "The characters aren't very believable." But I do also recall thinking that it was a fun idea, and it made the town of Carmel stick out in my mind ever since. So...two stars.(less)