Excellent! A dozen plots, several dozen characters, and a plethora of themes that intertwine seamlessly.
Cons: I was disappointed with the portrayal of...moreExcellent! A dozen plots, several dozen characters, and a plethora of themes that intertwine seamlessly.
Cons: I was disappointed with the portrayal of queers (the only homosexual reference I remember was associated with horrifying bullying and a group of "hermaphrodites" cause a scene), which I consider a major minus. I am also mulling over the portrayal of women (amount of character development vs. that of men & their endings).
Pros: A fascinating read. I constantly laughed out loud; fretted when the characters faced a new difficulty; and chuckled over little gems of Truths About Life. Vikram Seth knows how to capture little quirks of humans with just a few words. (less)
**spoiler alert** As a Brazilian who came to Canada to marry her long-distance, same-sex girlfriend..... I gotta say, this book manages to both be acc...more**spoiler alert** As a Brazilian who came to Canada to marry her long-distance, same-sex girlfriend..... I gotta say, this book manages to both be accurate and satisfying. I couldn't wait to get back to reading the book, and I was loathe to ever put it down!
I did find its long-term vision of relationships to be depressing. By the end of the book, all of the "happy" relationships are debunked with behind-the-scenes affairs (Jael, Gwen, and Marcus), suicide (Síle's mother), and unhappiness (the divorced couple in Canada who still live together). No relationship can work out, really? That foreshadows a dark ending for Jude and Síle.
Also, with the number of affairs going on, it'd have been nice one example of a polyamorous relationship; Jael seems to be cannonically poly (one person for a whole lifetime isn't enough for her). Instead, monogamy is portrayed as the only option-- one that makes so many people miserable. I hope it works for at least Jael and Anton; the text was vague enough for that to be a possibility.
(Plus Kathleen-- ;__; I waited THE WHOLE BOOK to find out what was up with her reaction to the breakup. I wanted to know moooore about her. Alas! Denied! *SAD*)
What I enjoyed was... its light-heartedness (even when events got melodramatic, a sense of good cheer pervaded). The cast's diversity. A story about two women in love that felt real and true. The insights into human nature. The language. The sense that everything would be alright. The perfect descriptions of air travel, longing, and count-downs to when you'll next see your love.(less)
**spoiler alert** I didn't finish this book. I had high hopes for it: my wife would read to me excellent passages and tell me about the highlights (sq...more**spoiler alert** I didn't finish this book. I had high hopes for it: my wife would read to me excellent passages and tell me about the highlights (squid cultists!). And man, that is an *excellent* cover.
However, I was annoyed from the get-go by how much of a cabbage-head Billy was. I couldn't identify at all with him for he had little discernible personality. I was intrigued by Leon but didn't particularly care when he died; I had no emotional investment in him. It felt like a waste of a death!
I gave up when the story turned disgusting (HUMAN RADIO). Even the language, which is what kept me going for seventy or so pages, was not worth another four hundred pages of my attention. Despite the occasional gem of a sentence, the narrative's events felt vague and distant, like I was walking through a foggy forest. Is that a tree or a shadow?
From what my wife told me about the rest of the book, I think quitting it was the right decision for me. It's an ADVENTURE book. Eeek! So I recommend this book for readers who want adventure in their science-fiction/fantasy, as this is a creative romp. But for character development addicts? Not for you.(less)
The book started with so much detail and eventually delved into tell, tell, tell. The brightest moments were between Vix and Caitlin, and once they we...moreThe book started with so much detail and eventually delved into tell, tell, tell. The brightest moments were between Vix and Caitlin, and once they were (mostly) separated, the energy was lost. It felt like the author had taken on too much content to fit into the pages, or got bored with the material, and made half-hearted notes to indicate what was supposed to happen. Maybe she needed another round of edits? (less)
**spoiler alert** This was my second reading of Tipping the Velvet and time has clearly influenced my opinion of it. The first time I looooooonged for...more**spoiler alert** This was my second reading of Tipping the Velvet and time has clearly influenced my opinion of it. The first time I looooooonged for a Nancy and Kitty reunion and expected it by the book's end; but she chose Florence instead! Grrr! HOW SADDENED WAS I.
Having since realized that first loves are perhaps not all that they cracked up to be, I appreciated the final section of the book more. I did that including the entirety of the socialist speech at the end was a bit strange-- as much as I agree with the principles of socialism and wish we could institute them, given that Nancy herself does not care for the cause it felt gratuitous to give the whole thing. (And also a bit back-patting? It's not so revolutionary to agree with movements that were realized decades ago, geez. Though, then again, unions are not as universalized as they could be and *are* under threat, so.... did I just talk myself into a circle there??) My main point is that while I think Nancy helping Ralph and finding herself in the giving of the speech was a brilliant turn of characterization-- I just think that the speech-giving could've been summarized in places.
I was also bothered by some privilege-blinded moments too. The "n" word appears and mostly to make Nancy feel shame; we don't see how much Billy himself is affected by it. One character, Zena, also talked about going to "the colonies," and let me tell you, in a book that romanticizes fighting for the economic improvement of British working classes, talking casually about the theft and exploitation of foreign land without any comments on the ones being colonized pisses me off.
Having said what bothered me about the book..... I quite like it! You have to get past the first few pages of constant questions, but by fifty pages in the prose has really found itself and flies. The plot is captivating and Waters, as always, creates wonderfully multi-dimensional characters. What I admire about her work is how *true* people are in them. And, oh, it's great to read intimate lesbian scenes that are sexy and detailed without ever feeling like it's porn made by and for men. In short, Tipping the Velvet is a fun, page-turning book that feels educational. :3(less)
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed the various metaphors, as well as the glimpse into a passed age in Korea. The people are drawn in relative simplicity, how...more**spoiler alert** I enjoyed the various metaphors, as well as the glimpse into a passed age in Korea. The people are drawn in relative simplicity, however, their bodies describe much emotion. Sometimes the background scenery stunned me with its black-and-white detail and beauty.
I think my main critique would be that I'd have liked more different content-- like more on the protagonists running their errands, or getting to know more about life in their neighborhood. The lessons taught in the series (such as beauty being the main desirable trait in a woman; the implication that only heterosexual couples can have sex; the ageism towards the end) also make me uncomfortable, but I imagine that they reflect the times. I also am in no position to opine on these themes, knowing as little as I do about Korea and its history.
What I did enjoy was the relationship between Ehwa and her mother; the coming together of various metaphors; the art; the quality of the print edition (it is absolutely lovely, and a joy to hold and read through-- plus there are suggested discussion topics at the end, which are fun to read and ponder); and the glimpse of a culture and time period I know so little about. I do wish I knew what became of Ehwa in her new home and her mother (how will she and the picture man fare, now that they live together??).(less)
I admit that I've become a bad, distracted reader. I often find it hard to not close a book after a page o...more**spoiler alert** Excellent, excellent book.
I admit that I've become a bad, distracted reader. I often find it hard to not close a book after a page or two. But this one? Grabbed me from the first paragraph. I marathon-read the last two hundred pages because I simply had to know how Micah's story ended.
The narrative, Micah's voice, is strong and compelling. The story too is fascinating. I don't know what I expected from the cover & title, but it wasn't what I got-- and the novel threw other surprises at me that also made sense within the context.
The ending..... well. Hrm. I suspected that her brother hadn't been invented because she mentions him again after claiming him to be one of her lies-- why bother bringing him up again? It felt like there was more to him than just pretending. So I don't want to say that I know when Micah lies (because I don't-- I did believe her when she said she and Zach hadn't slept together, though who knows if she lied about having fucked him many times over). But there are hints (pg. 258, about how it's cold here and there's no window) that Micah did not get that happy ending. That she's been institutionalized, for murder(s?) and/or mental problems. She might not even be a werewolf.
But that seems too simple, too straightforward, too telegraphed. The truth is somewhere in between, surely? :| I guess we'll never know. I imagine Justine Larbalestier has her own answer. I might even try to find it. But I claim the right, as a reader, to believe in whatever ending version I want to at any given moment.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'd read this back in 2002 and managed to forget most of it in the interim. I have vague memories, like of Bran falling (and becomin...more**spoiler alert** I'd read this back in 2002 and managed to forget most of it in the interim. I have vague memories, like of Bran falling (and becoming a wolf?). Then again, I did love him!
I find each installment of the series hard to begin but then usually get caught up in the action a fourth or a third of the way through. (So much slogging before that, though!) This is partially, of course, because I liked watching how the different narratives reach different plot points (like crisis moments or turning towards throne-desiring).
Right now, I just wish the book had more female pov characters, fewer mentions of face/nameless whoring (we get it, we get it, men pay women for sex, but geez maybe those prostitutes have lives of their own?), less white-centered skeeviness, and... I dunno. I did like that Ned died. Cool, that. And I wish the girls could get their direwolves back. :(
I'm partway through the next sequel but don't know if I have the patience to get through it, much less read *all* the following books. (less)
This book seeped into me, as if through skin and under fingernails, and sunk a deep, heavy mood in me. In the days I read it, I felt sadder, dirtier,...moreThis book seeped into me, as if through skin and under fingernails, and sunk a deep, heavy mood in me. In the days I read it, I felt sadder, dirtier, depressed.
The author has published poetry, which goes a long way to explain the fluidity and perceptiveness of the language in the book. I took care to read each sentence slowly, to make sure I got the full impact of an unusual but *right* adjective. Sometimes I'd look up just to soak up a reaction. The structure too is excellent.
The story is a... searing critique, honest portrayal, and vibrant intuition of society in a major Canadian city. It reminded me of Dar Williams' "The Mortal City," only far darker. And yet the conclusions aren't entirely different.
Not a light-hearted book, but excellent nonetheless. I will have to reread it again someday.
" I think it comes down to how the characters do find their ways, and do keep trying to do something kind or good despite all their failures, and they make these real, difficult, imperfect connections with each other and hang on to them, and I think that’s a very hopeful thing. You can just keep trying to love, and accepting the damage. And you never get it right. But you can keep on trying. And we do."(less)
**spoiler alert** Fun! :) The ending was a bit too happy (ball-blocking fairy? seriously?) and I wasn't comfortable with the implied message about rap...more**spoiler alert** Fun! :) The ending was a bit too happy (ball-blocking fairy? seriously?) and I wasn't comfortable with the implied message about rape culture (namely: sexual harassment is bad! but it's really the girls'/fairy's fault, not the harassers. Plus, no one likes a girl who's popular with the boys?? :( ). Also, I wasn't too comfortable with Andrew being what really seemed mentally disabled and the only one doing enough criminal activity to be punished?
What I do like about this book is that the plot and characters develop, facing the consequences of previous actions. I'm very tired of stories where the status quo does not change and/or the foreshadowed threats are not at all addressed. Not the case here! :) We knew that some of the highest stakes was seeing the principal (getting expelled) and (almost) dying-- and that's where it went. <3
I also adore the female relationships. <3 <33!!! I honestly though that Rochelle was going to prove to be a false friend; perhaps I simply associate obsessions with clothes with shallowness? My bad! Rochelle proved to be an awesome support, sticking by Charlie through thick and thin. <3 That's a wonderful presentation of friendship. I also loved Fiorenze and how she gets closer to Charlie, going from being a hated enemy to a genuine friend. :) And one line indicates she's queer?? ("I'm not even sure I like boys.") I like that, leaning how to get along with those you dislike.
Most of all, I just slid through the book. An engaging read. <3(less)
It was okay. I skimmed the paragraphs of names I'd never hear again and the battles. The main reason I'm continuing with the series is that it's becom...moreIt was okay. I skimmed the paragraphs of names I'd never hear again and the battles. The main reason I'm continuing with the series is that it's become a common cultural item and I enjoy being able to participate in conversations.(less)
I love Neal Stephenson's books. I didn't get past 50 pages of ReamdDe. Too male-centric for me and-- more to the point-- so much telling! Plus, I was...moreI love Neal Stephenson's books. I didn't get past 50 pages of ReamdDe. Too male-centric for me and-- more to the point-- so much telling! Plus, I was creeped out by how possessive and into Zula Uncle "Dick" was, despite barely being able to remember her when they run into each other again.
Maybe I'll try it again someday, but since I was more frustrated by the writing than involved in the story, I shelved the book.(less)