I loved the writing in A Study in Scarlet. The dialogue was catchy and natural. I found the bThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I loved the writing in A Study in Scarlet. The dialogue was catchy and natural. I found the book surprisingly easy to read especially considering how old it is. The thing that really stands out in this book and the thing that has made it last for so long are the characters. Sherlock is very cheerful, eccentric, sarcastic, loves to be flattered, and is bluntly honest. And of course the thing that makes his character so fun to watch on TV in the modern adaptation - his cocky genius. I couldn't hate this guy if I tried. I loved seeing these two iconic characters meet (Sherlock and Watson) to set the stage for the rest of the Sherlock Holmes series.
The first half of this book was a fascinating mystery. I was glued to the story, turning pages, dying to know what happens next. Then we get to Part 2. The second half of the book was the longest, most drawn out and boring flashback I have ever read. We find out the solution to the mystery at the end of Part 1. Part 2 goes into why he did it. Apparently Mr. Doyle doesn't believe in recapping what happened. We get to live it. If we're going to live through it, at least make it interesting. It was not at all interesting because almost nothing happens for most of Part 2. I skimmed a lot of it. It also felt very disjointed to go from a mystery in London to the American West. It felt like I was reading two different stories that had nothing to do with each other. Part 2 is only tied in to Part 1 by the very end.
Portrayal of Mormons
I have to say as a Mormon, reading Part 2 of this story was a little difficult for me since Mormons are not painted in a good light for this part of the story. But let's start with this hilarious quote first.
In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert...
- Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet p. 63
Repulsive! Arid! My home this is! Yoda and I are highly offended. Okay not really. But he kept describing the whole state of Utah like it was entirely covered in the Salt Flats where everything was covered in "alkali dust" and used words like "barren", "misery", "despair," and my personal favorite "gloomy." The whole thing just made me laugh. While it is true that the west side of the Great Salt Lake is all those things, the pioneers settled on the EAST side of the lake which was your more run-of-the-mill desert with snakes and cacti and stuff. And regular desert dirt that almost nothing can grow in thank you very much. I mean if you're going to insult my state at least get it right. :)
The thing I struggled with the most was the portrayal of Mormonism as a cult. And when I say cult I mean a group forcing people to do things by threats or brain-washing. Mormons believe the point in life is to make choices. There is a point in the story where Mormon pioneers find a starving, wandering man and his daughter and say they can join them only if they become Mormon. Brigham Young (or any Mormon) would NEVER force anyone to be Mormon. Not cool Mr. Conan Doyle. I did some research and in Mr. Doyle's defense, he believed these things to be true at the time. Still - forcing people to do things is against our religion and always has been.
The murderer's motive was based on their hatred of the practice of plural marriage (or polygamy). While Mormons did practice it, it was portrayed in the book that if you didn't get married to more than one person you were kicked out (and then hunted down by a secret band of murderers. Say what?? That most definitely didn't happen). Not everyone practiced plural marriage. Many early Mormons were monogamous and were in fine standing with the church. I won't go into tons of detail in this review, but if you're interested the official Mormon (also known as Latter-Day Saints or LDS) website has more information on plural marriage and Mormonism. It's an interesting article that talks about the trials the people who lived it faced, how long it was practiced and more. And just to be thorough Mormons don't practice polygamy today and haven't since 1890.
Overall, I adored the first half of the novel and meeting the most iconic characters in literature, but I found the second half to be boring and the anti-Mormonism made me uncomfortable. I would give the first half of the novel 4 stars and the second half like 1/2 a star....more
My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The vThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
My biggest thought about the House of Ivy & Sorrow is that it could have been more. The voice was there, but it didn't come out as much as it could have. The conflict definitely needed more to it. Even with a twist, the conflict came with an explanation already just based on how the world works and it made it hard for me to stay connected to the story. I almost didn't finish this one because about a third of the way through I didn't feel like I would learn anything new about the conflict. To be honest, I didn't learn anything new about the conflict at the end. It came out like I thought it would. But the way it was resolved was interesting. I liked that the resolution came from the girls and their friendship. Girl power!
I liked the magic and the characters in this book. The idea of magic coming from places was creative. The character Nana was one of my favorites. She had the strongest personality in the book and I enjoyed reading about her. The love interest seemed a little boring at first, but he came with an interesting twist of his own. The romance was a little cheesy for my taste, but it was still cute for the most part.
I didn't enjoy the writing. There were a few cliche moments, but luckily it didn't go to the extreme or I would have definitely chucked this book across the room. The dialogue was interesting, but I found that the main character said "No" a lot, in big long strings, when things didn't go her way. Maybe it's a little much to expect someone to realistically be eloquent in moments of stress. I don't know.
I was disappointed, to say the least, when I found out the villain's motivation. I think this goes along with the weak conflict. The villain and conflict just needed to be turned up a notch and it would have been awesome! And then the villain had to go and be all tacky. He was cheesy enough to make me cringe a little. If only he had a mustache to twirl....
Overall, the magic and characters were good but without a strong conflict or interesting villain motivation this book just didn't keep my interest.
Content warning: a few brief kissing scenes and pain used for magic that is mildly disturbing (e.g. pulling out fingernails and teeth etc.)...more
Cruel Beauty was a very dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast that had an unexpected mix ofThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Cruel Beauty was a very dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast that had an unexpected mix of Greek Mythology. The story opens on a very stiff and formal life for the main character Nyx like a dark version of Downton Abbey. Then we get a nice, long lecture on How This World Works that I found hard to get through.
I was entertained by the story but I really didn't like the cop-out device of Nyx having "no choice" to create these dramatic situations. Nyx is engaged to a demon since birth because her father made a bargain and now she has no choice but to marry him. This bothers me for two reason. 1. It takes away the self-sacrifice element of Beauty and the Beast that I love but, more importantly, think was the main point of the fairy tale. 2. Her dad is an idiot. And 3 -- okay apparently there are more than reasons why this bothers me -- she doesn't "have" to do anything. It made the main character seem very passive about her life. She was very negative and spiteful all the time. I didn't like her all that much, which is fine, but if she's going to be unlikable then at least make me understand why she did things. I never understood why she did things.
I did like the quest of trying to find the demon's name which was one of the few elements remaining from the original fairy tale. The castle was a wonderful adventure full of strange rooms like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
I won't spoil the ending, but I didn't like it. I felt like the ending did not have anything to do with what they had been doing for almost the whole novel. I felt like we spent the whole novel doing one thing and she suddenly decides to change course and last minute do something very drastic. And as the books comes to a close, I felt like the characters were so completely different that they weren't even the same characters anymore. They felt like strangers and I didn't care all that much what happened to them.
Overall, it was too dark of a fairy tale retelling with poor world building and unlikable characters that just wasn't for me even though I did like the Greek Mythology element of the story. Content warning: quite a bit of dark innuendo (that is thankfully not very graphic) about a girl trying to seduce a demon which I found mildly disturbing....more
Journey to the Center of the Earth was incredibly slow. It took 100 pages for them to get toThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Journey to the Center of the Earth was incredibly slow. It took 100 pages for them to get to the volcano, walk around, and run out of water. That is half of this 200 page novel. I struggled through this book because all I could think for the first half of the novel was "Nothing....is...happening."
Another thing I struggled with was the science. I understand that this is (a) science fiction and (b) written over 100 years ago, but it got to the point where the only way I was able to enjoy the story was to pretend I knew nothing after 8th grade science. Then! When we get to the really cool part of the story that really is awesome science fiction, it's barely talked about. (view spoiler)[They find prehistoric animals and even a person and then don't even explore it at all! And I just couldn't get on board with finding a "sun," ocean, wind, and plants underground. I still don't know what to make of that. My notes say "????" and that's still pretty much how I feel about it. And the worst was the ending! Coming up the volcano on a wooden raft on a lava eruption?? (hide spoiler)] Seriously, what is going on with this story.
The small amount of dry British humor was amusing. One of the most amusing things was that the nephew argued with the uncle and the nephew was defending the scientific views that we accept today while the uncle defended scientific views I have never heard of. It made me laugh but I'm not entirely sure that it was supposed to be funny. The way the story went made it seem like it was defending the uncle's view of science.
There were a few gems in the writing. Here's my favorite quote from the book.
Our principle is, that books, instead of growing mouldy behind an iron grating, should be worn out under the eyes of many readers.
-Jules Verne, A Journey to the Center of the Earth Chapter 10
Overall, I regret to say that I found this science fiction classic to be boring and the science part of the science fiction to be a little too outdated to full enjoy the story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really liked the writing in The Invisible Man, but I thought the storytelling was awful. H.This book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
I really liked the writing in The Invisible Man, but I thought the storytelling was awful. H. G. Wells has a way with words and I really enjoyed his turn of phrase. Phrases like "the inhuman bludgeoning of all tentative advances of curiosity (p. 19),"violently firing out its humanity (p. 33)" and "The Anglo-Saxon genius for parliamentary government asserted itself; there was a great deal of talk and no decisive action (p. 28)." And he uses the word "hobbledehoy" which had the Downton Abbey fangirl in me grinning. But the story itself moved at a snail pace. It took me a week to read 30 pages. I thought it was told from the least interesting perspective possible --from the outside observers instead of the invisible man's view and what he was struggling with. These outsiders noticed something was not quite right ("Look how much time he spends alone!") but not to the point that I found it very interesting. When the plot finally picked up, instead of some much needed action the cool stuff was recapped in a conversation where he just describes all the action in the most dull way imaginable. I had to make myself finish this book and keep pencils far, far away from my eyes.
The science behind the invisibility was pretty interesting. It was based on the idea that our world is an illusion of light. I thought that was a fascinating way to look at the world. (See I didn't hate everything about it).
I found the main character interesting if not likable. He's an anti-hero. I'm pretty sure his antagonist was all the stupid people in the whole world. He was kind of arrogant. Obviously he learns the bad things about invisibility. I was surprised about the little things that he struggles with, though. I could tell a lot of thought went into what it would really be like. For example, the fact that he can't sleep because his eyelids are invisible. The crappy thing about being invisible is that it's easy to get things, but hard to enjoy them. And you get kind of lonely. H. G. Wells did have a good point that the only really good use for invisibility is murder.
I'm not sure if I was supposed to get something out of this book. At the end I felt like the moral was "Mean people suck but it's better than being alone."
Overall, I found it tedious but the writing was good. I enjoyed War of the Worlds so much more....more
I really struggled with The Chaos of Stars. I adore Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but this felt likesomeone found a Egyptian mythology textbooI really struggled with The Chaos of Stars. I adore Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but this felt like someone found a Egyptian mythology textbook and stuck in a teenage girl. I mean, I liked the mythology stories and I did learn a little bit about them, but it did not feel updated or interpreted in any way. The Egyptian myths are completely unchanged all the way down to the god's appearances. Because of that I felt like I was reading an explanation of mythology instead of a modern narrative.
The dysfunction of what the gods would be like as a family was kind of amusing. At the same time, since the gods looked the same as they do in their mythological stories, it was really hard for me to imagine them actually sitting around the breakfast table. The plot jumped around a lot since the story would go from memories, mythology stories at the beginning of each chapter, and bad dreams the main character, Isadora, would have. The conflict through the story depends a lot on dark dreams that she has and it was not enough to keep my interest. Without a good conflict the story really started to drag.
The writing is very much the funny and quirky stuff that I remember from Paranormalcy. I could see Kiersten's writing style come through. Sadly, the writing came across as very fluffy and superficial since I didn't find any depth to the story to balance out all the quirk. I really wanted something bittersweet or sad to help me really connect with the story like there was in Paranormalcy.
All the swear words had been replaced with "floods" and "chaos" which were used a lot and it started to get on my nerves towards the end. Not that there needed to be swearing, but a bigger variety of words would have been nice.
The romance was cute but cheesy. Their connection was very dependent on fate and their love being written in the stars etc. Still, there were a few moments that I said, "Awwww." I found the characters hard to connect to and visualize. It was hardest for me to connect with Isadora because I really didn't get why she had an issue with her mother. It was hard for me to visualize the setting, too. I've even been to Balboa Park a few times. I love it there and I still couldn't picture what it looked like from the descriptions. At least, I'm pretty sure it was set in Balboa Park...
Overall, it was mostly cliche, predictable, and very convenient, too. I felt relieved that it had ended and I could move on to something else.
Among the Nameless Stars was a prequel novella for one of my favorite novels, For Darkness Shows the Stars. The writing in this novella didn't seem to be the same quality that I loved in the novel. The story was ok but not terribly interesting. I feel like if there's going to be a prequel it should be about something mind-blowing or amazing and the simple plot about the boat race was not enough to keep my attention. I just didn't see the point of this novella. I didn't get any new insights into the story. It fills in details about Kai but I already knew where the plot was going. It might be that it's just been too long since I've read For Darkness Shows the Stars that made it feel like I didn't learn anything new or interesting.
Reading Zombies vs. Unicorns taught me that short stories and I don't get along. At all. Or mThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Reading Zombies vs. Unicorns taught me that short stories and I don't get along. At all. Or maybe reading too many short stories in a row is bad for my mental health. It took me a long time to get the characters and the world straight in my mind (and that applies when I read anything) so by the time I've finally figured it out for each of these the story was over! Because they were short! It was very frustrating and made me feel like I wasn't making much progress. It took me an insane 6 weeks (!) to read all these short stories even counting the fact that I skipped or skimmed most of the zombie stories. Lesson learned - I will take short stories one at a time and then move on to something longer. Never again will I read so many in a row. I think my brain melted.
That being said, I did enjoy seeing some of my favorite authors do interesting things with the short story format. Short stories have the ability to be a little more edgy since they don't last too long. Something that would tire you in a novel is fascinating in a short story. I loved the unique mythologies and origin stories that the authors came up with for the zombies and unicorns.
Here's my thoughts on a few of the short stories that stood out to me.
The Highest Justice by Garth Nix was a zombie story that had a setup similar to Twilight. This boy loves this other boy but he also wants to eat him. I didn't finish this one because I found it too vulgar and gross for my taste with a cheesy villain on top.
I adored Purity Test by Naomi Novik. It played on the stereotypes of unicorn stories. The unicorn was male and snarky yet pretty and had a modern New York accent. It just got better and funnier from there with fun pop culture references which I love! 10 points to this short story for the Harry Potter reference!
Children of the Revolution by Maureen Johnson was the only zombie story I liked in this entire collection. It was hilarious and unexpected. THAT was definitely an origin story for zombies that I have never heard before.
My favorite story in the entire bunch was The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn By Diana Peterfreund. I think it was perfect for this collection because it had a zombie element to it because the unicorns were dangerous.
Cold Hands by Cassandra Clare was probably the most boring and unmemorable story of the bunch. There was a castle somewhere in the story. Maybe. That's all I remember.
There was commentary at the beginning of each story between Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier "arguing" about which team was better. I found every thing that Justine (Team Zombie) said to be tedious and annoying. I didn't connect with her humor at all.
Overall, this was a fun collection of unique spins on zombies and unicorns but you might find yourself skipping the other stories if you are more partial to one team or the other. I was Team Unicorn, you could say, and I didn't enjoy most of the zombie stories. Also, I might have enjoyed these stories more if I had taken breaks from it instead of reading them all in a row.
Content Rating: High, for strong language, violence (some of which was kind of disturbing) and one mention of partial nudity.
Fables of the Flag is about a boy, Jack, who travels back in time and meets a young Benjamin Franklin. The story was cute, but I was not a big fan ofFables of the Flag is about a boy, Jack, who travels back in time and meets a young Benjamin Franklin. The story was cute, but I was not a big fan of the writing. It felt like too much telling and not enough showing. Some things weren’t fleshed out like they could of been like why Ralphie is even friends with Jack if he is always getting him in trouble. The dialogue felt awkward and the plot was a little too convenient sometimes. There wasn’t a ton of historical facts in this book, but I did like that the story kind of sets up how Benjamin Franklin got the idea for his famous kite experiment. Overall, I think kids might like this book as a way to learn more about American history and become more interested in it.
Splintered starts out as anawesome retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a gothic twist. Alyssa, the main character, goes on a Short and Sweet Review
Splintered starts out as an awesome retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a gothic twist. Alyssa, the main character, goes on a journey fixing what Alice broke in Wonderland, which I thought was a clever idea. The middle suffered from way too much info-dumping. The end never quite recovered from that loss of momentum from the slow middle. The story turned into a shaky quest to get this thing so she could get that thing then the other thing and I easily got lost which made me stop caring about the story. I sadly didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Jessica Thinks Too Much Review (view spoiler)[
I’ve been collecting bugs since I was ten; it’s the only way I can stop their whispers. Sticking a pin through the gut of an insect shuts it up pretty quick.
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 1)
What an opening line! It's so cool! This girl, Alyssa, is slightly crazy but so relatable and likable that I kind of over looked it. She kills bugs as a way to deal with hearing their voices and then makes beautiful/creepy art out of them. It's such a strange but fascinating way to deal with the struggles she has. The fact that she does her best to deal with them instead of ignoring them is what makes her so easy for me to like.
I tapped the bee hard enough to stun it. Then I whisked the flowers out of the water and pressed them between the pages of a spiral notebook, to silence their chattering petals.
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 4)
Chattering petals. I just love that.
When Alyssa does go to Wonderland, she meets some flower zombies (which is an awesome idea all by itself) and then tries to fix all the things that Alice ruined in Wonderland to fix a curse that has plagued her family (who are descendants of Alice) ever since. What a cool way to retell Alice in Wonderland! She soaks the ocean of tears up with a sponge and defeats a creepy gothic version of the walrus. Oh. My. Gosh. I am so on board with this. I'm having the best time!
Alyssa goes to Morpheus' house. He's the "grown-up" caterpillar meaning he's a moth/human thing of some sort. So cool. But at Morpheus' house we run into the major issue I had with this book. What started as a journey to fix a curse is getting twisted into a story about Alyssa getting crowned Queen because she's actually a descendant of the Red Queen (and so not cursed but a half-breed, solving that problem nicely). We obviously don't know that at this point in the book (which was almost exactly in the middle), but to foreshadow such a big shift like that takes a lot of info-dumping. Buckets and buckets of tedious, boring information. It took so much setting up to have the twist at the end that *gasp* Alyssa is the new Red Queen (!) that I had lost interest by that point. I kept getting impatient with the middle of the book waiting for things to happen again. Some of the info-dumping was about things I had already guessed, like her mother was not really insane. Duh. It's hard to keep interested in a story when 30 pages of it goes something like this:
“After Queen Red was exiled to the wilds, she was never seen again. Her stepsister, Grenadine, married the king and became Queen— a woman so forgetful, she could never handle wearing the crown. And now her king wants to give her two.” Morpheus drags a glittering diamond tiara from the bag. “I’ve a spy stationed in the Red castle. When the White Court came to me with news of Ivory’s fate some weeks ago, I sent word for my contact to steal the jabberlock box. I’m harboring Ivory here, along with her crown, to keep them safe from Grenadine and King Red. If they control both the Red and White portals, good luck ever getting home.” He tucks the tiara away again. “All this will be ameliorated once Alyssa finds the vorpal sword. It’s the most powerful weapon in Wonderland. I can use it to force them to grant Ivory’s freedom. Her portal will be open to you then.”
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 201)
It's too much all at once. I want to experience events as much as possible and be told about past events as little as possible. One instance of info-dumping isn't so bad. It happens sometimes in stories. But so many stories like this were told right in a row that it slowed the story down. We get info-dumps about her boyfriend's past issues and info-dumps about how Alyssa has looked extremely different the entire time she was in Wonderland. Say what. I'm baffled that this guy would keep Alyssa's altered appearance to himself. For what reason does he do this exactly? No guy would mention it that late in the game if they had even noticed a change in her appearance at all. But because he decided to keep it to himself, we get another glorious info-dump.
“You’ve been like this the whole time. I noticed it when we first stepped out of the rabbit hole. I thought your makeup had smeared. But then, after the ocean, you still had it. I didn’t make the connection until I saw Morpheus without his mask a few minutes ago.” Jeb pauses, looking like he might be sick. His thumbs rub the edges of the black designs. “They don’t wipe away. And the glitter all over your skin? That’s not salt residue. You’re starting to look like my fairy sketches, for real.”
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 188)
The theme of insanity was well done and one of my favorite things about the book. I enjoyed the quotes that came up about sense and logic and how relative those terms really are. When Alyssa goes to a dinner where they have to hunt down and kill what had, at first, seemed like a dead and roasted bird, I love how Morpheous explains that just because it looks insane, doesn't mean that it is.
“You understand the logic behind the illogical, Alyssa. It’s in your nature to find tranquility amid the madness. And that’s what we’re doing here. We’re giving our food a fighting chance.”
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 211)
I don't mind sensuality when it adds something to the story. When two characters are falling in love, it works. I felt like there was a lot of pointless sensuality in Splintered. The vomit inducing sensuality didn't add anything to the story besides my vomit.
Then she turns to Jeb. “Elfin knight, do you wish for pleasure on your quest? I can provide it, if you so desire.”
- A. G. Howard, Splintered (p. 145)
The romance. Jeb draws pictures of Alyssa all the time but he has a girlfriend. Ok. All Alyssa can think is, "He's going on a dangerous adventure with me and he almost kissed me. Clearly he likes someone else." Ok. I just really didn't get it. Then they make-out some more. End romance.
I wished I had liked the ending, but it was even more confusing than the romance. Stuff happens and Jeb loses his head. Literally. It was one of those things where it's so crazy that the only way to fix it is with magic. Alyssa fixes this problem by going back in time and making it so Jeb doesn't come this time and therefore doesn't lost his head. Weird magical time jumps should not just magically fix things. But maybe that's just me.
Then we get to a possessed toy graveyard and by this point I'm just really sad. I'm really sad for all the toys I've ever thrown away and I'm really sad that there are now characters that weren't in the original Alice in Wonderland. I don't really get why these spider/woman things are even in the story other than stopping Alyssa from getting the latest thing. I think it's a sword right now. I'm also really sad that the love I had for the first quarter of the book is gone. I wish the rest of the book could have been that awesome.
When I finished, I don't I understand why this book is a series. The ending seemed pretty wrapped up. For some reason, Alyssa is a queen in Wonderland but decides to go home. Seems like a lot of work to go through to become queen if all she gets out of it is going home. Maybe she couldn't find the ruby slippers. I don't know. Morpheous got eaten by a pig but I don't really care that much. To be honest, there's nothing that is pulling me into the next book. I love retellings and while I liked some things about this gothic rendition that was inspired by Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland, it just didn't click with me liked I hoped it would. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Take the beautiful, imaginary world of Neverland and make it a literal place where everything is messy and covered in dirt and that is the uninterestiTake the beautiful, imaginary world of Neverland and make it a literal place where everything is messy and covered in dirt and that is the uninteresting world where Tiger Lily is set. I didn't think it was possible to make Neverland so completely boring. A few magical elements remain like fairies and mermaids but they felt very flat and unoriginal. There's also a poorly explained excuse for why some people get old and some people don't. If you're curious the reason some people don't get old is because it just happens when something important happens in your life for no logical reason whatsoever.
The plot felt very been there done that in the way that Avatar was. It's kind of a tired plot line to have new people come and mess everything up for the indigenous people. I also felt like there was nothing new or interesting added to this retelling of Peter Pan. I personally like my retellings to have new twists otherwise what is the point of the retelling? I'm not really sure what the overall conflict even was. It felt like the plot just kind of dragged along with an ending that kind of baffled me. Honestly, the whole book felt a little preachy. There were a few cute scenes between Peter Pan and Tiger Lily but not enough to make me really love this book.
The writing was good though it wasn't my favorite. The word choice stood out to me sometimes and felt a little awkward here and there like it was trying too hard to be poetic or something, but there were a few quotes I really liked. Like this one:
“I’m not myself,” [Tiger Lily] offered, guilty. . . .
“You can never say that. You’re just a piece of yourself right now that you don’t like.”
-Jodi Lynn Anderson, Tiger Lily (p. 69)
My favorite character by far was Smee who sadly shows up in the book only a few times. The rest of the characters I had a hard time connecting with, especially Tiger Lily and the very strange decision she makes at the end of the book. I honestly found it hard to tell some of the characters apart.
Overall, I did not enjoy the world building in this book at all. It had a tired plot line with a cast of characters that I ended up not caring much about.
The Vicious Deep starts out with a guy narrating for a change, which was nice. Not only that, but the voice was amazingly well done – it felt authentiThe Vicious Deep starts out with a guy narrating for a change, which was nice. Not only that, but the voice was amazingly well done – it felt authentic and like what an average teenage boy would really think and say (as far as I know….I am a girl). This debut novel had a lot of great funny, sarcastic moments and lines. I could really visualize all the characters and feel their personalities. But, as I was reading, I felt like the plot was very jumpy. It went from one thing to the next to the next to the next and I didn’t feel like I knew why things were happening or why I should care. I didn’t feel a strong overall conflict that the main character, Tristan, was trying to overcome. I started out loving the voice, the characters, the setting at Coney Island, and the interesting take on mermaids but the plot felt contrived and it just ruined it for me. I found myself forcing myself to finish it by the end. A lot happens in the story as far as events go, but the pace felt slow because I didn’t understand why things were happening. Why does he go to the island??? WHY does he even want to participate in all these events?? I really just didn’t get it. And the content of crude sexual references and lots of strong language was a big turn off for me.
Content: teen drinking/smoking, crude humor and several sexual references, strong language (I stopped counting f*** bombs after 10 or so)
I received this book for review from the publisher, Sourcebooks, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not told what to say, I was not paid to write this review and all the opinions expressed are my own. ...more
The best thing about The Golden Spiral was that it was realistic. Time travel had huge conseqThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
The best thing about The Golden Spiral was that it was realistic. Time travel had huge consequences in Abby's (the main character) life. But I think it crossed the line into being way too realistic. I felt like the plot focused on what would really happen to the point that it stopped being interesting to read about. I didn't think the story was bad but it was not riveting, either.
The thing that really slowed this novel down was the villain, Zo. I really just did not get why Zo was that bad guy. He seems to have no motivation whatsoever. He was so cliche. When the world literally starts falling apart and the consequences start having major effects on even the villain's life, the explanation was because he wants to take over the world. Yeah, so did Pinky and the Brain. At least they were funny. The lame villain motivation made for a weak conflict.
Let's talk about what else made this novel slow (I wrote the word "slow" at least five times in my notes while reading this). I mean, a slow plot doesn't always ruin a story for me if the characters are interesting, but all the characters felt very flat to me. We know almost nothing about their past or what makes them tick and it was frustrating to me. It takes forever for things to happen in this novel. There was one major quest that Abby was trying to accomplish and the solution was completely obvious. I hate it when solutions are obvious.
The romance was okay for me. It had some cute moments, but Dante was very cheesy. (I like cheese on my tacos, not in my romance. I like chocolate in my romance). Dante doesn't seem to act like a real guy in my opinion. He seemed more like an unrealistic fantasy. Which isn't bad. It's fun to read about fantasy. But I did roll my eyes at him a couple of times.
Overall, this story felt bland and slow with a villain that had no good reason to try and take over the world....more
I went into this book expecting a new and interesting take on The Twelve Dancing Princess’ fairy tale. What I got was a re-telling. I didn’t find anytI went into this book expecting a new and interesting take on The Twelve Dancing Princess’ fairy tale. What I got was a re-telling. I didn’t find anything new or original added to the story. That being said, it was still a decent fairy tale re-telling. The narration was a little stiff like I was listening to some old person tell it in a dry, 3rd-person manner. The narration made it hard to care much for the characters. I wasn’t emotionally invested in the story at all. Her writing was good and now that I know this series is strictly a re-telling I will still pick up the second book, Princess of Glass. The main reason I didn’t like this book much was how predictable it was. I knew from chapter 2 what the characters should do and they actually got around to doing it 100 pages later. I walked away from this book feeling like it had so much potential that it didn’t quite live up to. If she had changed the narration so I could get in the character’s heads a little bit and care about them, it would have made a world of difference.
200 pages in I was still waiting for the story to start. I had to make myself finish it. It was more trashy teen novel with a tiny bit of super natura200 pages in I was still waiting for the story to start. I had to make myself finish it. It was more trashy teen novel with a tiny bit of super natural sprinkled in.
A poorly written rip off of Harry Potter with more plot holes than Swiss cheese. I felt like I was reading an overly long essay from a middle school sA poorly written rip off of Harry Potter with more plot holes than Swiss cheese. I felt like I was reading an overly long essay from a middle school student. It was uncomfortable to read in spots and not very entertaining.
The most interesting part of the book was the autobiography at the beginning. If you couldn't get through that, it doesn't get better. The exceptionsThe most interesting part of the book was the autobiography at the beginning. If you couldn't get through that, it doesn't get better. The exceptions to this are Chapter 21 Education and Income Inequality and the Epilogue. If you want to know what the book says without going through the pain of reading the whole thing, the last chapter, the Delphic Future, summarizes the second half of the book fairly well. All in all a very dry book.