It's been months now since I read this, and since I skipped the 3rd book (couldn't get into it at the time and still haven't gone back), I don't knowIt's been months now since I read this, and since I skipped the 3rd book (couldn't get into it at the time and still haven't gone back), I don't know how much my reading & memory of this has been affected -- but I definitely don't think anything's captured the magic of the first book. Still fun, though, and I liked the new perspective. I love a good whimsical created world, I truly do, but I think the thing I love even more is when that whimsy spills over into our own world, seeps into our history and our ways of life, and tints it all in rose-colored magic. I love the places your mind can go with the alternate universes's"new information," and I love seeing how real people and events shape the authors decisions, and then our world is reshaped by those decisions, and on and on in this intricate tangle of real and make-believe. It delights the child and the creative person in me, as well as the absurdist, and this scene let me know that Fairyland number 4 would give me that in abundance — at least for a little while... ...more
It's been a good long while since I've had to do one of these, but: This is a DNF review. That means I did notfinish this book, and am going to attempIt's been a good long while since I've had to do one of these, but: This is a DNF review. That means I did not finish this book, and am going to attempt to tell you why, so if these types of reviews are not your cup of tea, or you don't think someone is able to form an opinion without having seen a book through to the last page, then you'd probably be better suited looking elsewhere (and I won't blame you -- there are plenty of glowing reviews out there). But for those of you who are curious to hear my thoughts, or wonder why I couldn't see this one through, I'm going to do my best to lay that out, and I want to start by telling you a bit about me as a reader: 1) I try my best to give a book multiple chances when it's not working for me -- I don't have a super happy DNF trigger finger (though it does itch from time to time). 2) BUT that said, I know myself as a reader, and I know when I'm unlikely to enjoy a book. Life is short, and I've grown unwilling to force myself to finish something that I'm not enjoying. 3) A book doesn't have to be horrible for me to DNF it. Actually, it's more common that I'll give up because I'm indifferent; if I am truly hating a book, I might finish it out of spite, just to be able to fully explain why I loathe it so. But indifference is often the death knell... 4) When I've decided to DNF a book, and still "review" it, I try to make sure I've read enough of it to feel like I've got a handle on the things I want to say, and a clear indication that it's probably going to remain so throughout the book. In this case, I stopped at about 25% of the way through, which is a bit shy of the 100 page mark.
So, all of that said, these are the reasons that I just couldn't bring myself to keep reading:
It does feel overly reminescent of other things out there, most notably Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It's not that DOSAB was so wholly original in every element, because I'm sure there were things in it that seemed unique but had been done before. There's nothing new under the sun, and all that. But there are times that this feels like a straight knock-off: not just influenced by, but actively used as a format /slash/ jumping-off point. When I love a book the way I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, comparisons to it can go two ways: either, 'yay! hopefully that'll be really good!' OR 'it can't even compare, I already know it.' When a book is as stylistically strong as, well, any of Laini Taylor's books, it's likely that the comparison will go the second way, and not work out in its favor. If, the entire time you're reading something, you're comparing it to something else that was excellent, then it's bound to suffer in comparison. If someone does something exceedingly skillfully, and then someone else does nearly the same thing, but less so, all of the flaws are going to stand out FAR more than they would have otherwise. ***Weird Misty Food Analogy in 3...2... If you've only ever had Rice-a-Roni, it's fine. But then if one of the world's top chefs makes you a delicious plate of risotto, and then someone hands you a plate of the Rice-a-Roni you were used to, and calls it risotto, it's probably going to make you a little angry. You've had it before, and you know how much better it could be... It may seem unfair to compare it to someone else's book, and honestly, it probably is. But sometimes these things stand out, and when they're so reminiscent as to seem like they're maybe ripping off that other book, it bears mentioning. (FYI, I've seen people compare it to other books as well, and say much the same thing, so something to bear in mind, especially if you've read one of the books it's compared to, namely Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the Grisha series, and The Mortal Instruments. If you haven't read these books, the similarities will be lost on you, so you may like it much better than I.)
Probably the biggest issue: I couldn't help but find it cheesy. Everyone has different triggers and levels of tolerance for this, so the things that bothered me may not bother you. BUT I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit more than I'd like, especially for the amount of pages I read. I found the names cheesy (the types of names I would have come up with and been very pleased indeed with myself in middle school); I found the setup and the way the conflict between these two factions was kind of talked around a good bit before it was actually addressed, and I found it cheesier when we were given info, always in very obvious setups and clumsy attempts to work the info-dumping into dialogue. (This is generally something I appreciate, but it's gotta be subtle. This ... was not.) And I found cheesiest of all the main character, Echo; her interactions with others, and really, her entire being. And I felt this was likely to get worse.
And it was this cheesiness that lead to the death knell: I was indifferent. I couldn't connect, and there came a time that I just had to admit to myself that I'd been putting off reading it for a month, and hadn't been reading anything else because I didn't want to let myself get sucked away and find excuses not to finish it, and that it was just dragging down my reading pile for the month of May, when really, did I even care what happened? I did not. I couldn't make myself care about these characters and their war, and their search for the "firebird;" I couldn't get past the jarring way that their otherworldly and high-fantasy selves didn't mesh with their uber-modern, carefree styles of interaction, and how I was never quite able to believe in any of them, at any time, enough to take a leap into the world and begin building my willing suspension of disbelief. I just couldn't.
And so that is why I had to give up. I am hoping that if I set the book to the side for a good long while, enough to clear my head of it and reconcile myself to what it actually is, versus what I was hoping it was, that I can come back to it and try again. Maybe like it more than I have this time around. Maybe even enjoy it. I'm borderline curious to see what is actually going on in this world, and I want to know what the fuss was about for my friends that have read and loved this. But for now, I know that any further reading is just going to make me resentful, and ruin any chances of me liking this down the road, so I've got to let it go. For now, at least. ...more
This is from my blog, and may not make total sense in the context of Goodreads, but it's late and I don't want to type a new review. This review is foThis is from my blog, and may not make total sense in the context of Goodreads, but it's late and I don't want to type a new review. This review is for ALL of the Olympians books, essentially. ______________
I mentioned in a book haul not long ago that I was asked to be part of the blog tour for the next installment in George O'Connor's Olympians series, Ares, and that when I said yes (yay, mythology!), the fine folks at FirstSecond not only sent me that book, but the entire boxed set — further cementing that they are amazeballs. And yes, I still said amazeballs in 2015.
Now, the reason for this (beyond said amazeballs), I'd imagine, is that I expressed a little trepidation at jumping into the series at book 7. Though I know it's a retelling of Greek myths, I wasn't sure what kind of retelling it'd be; so though I'm very familiar with Greek mythology, that's not to say that I'd be familiar with O'Connor's spin. I mean, Kendare Blake's Antigoddess is fabulous, but it's hardly a traditional retelling; same: Percy Jackson; same: everything else out there. But I needn't have worried — there's no spin! I mean, that's not to say there's no interpretation, or picking and choosing which aspects of which tales to highlight, because of course there is. But the series is more like careful curation; it presents these timeless stories just as they've always been, but in the fantastic modern medium of the graphic novel. It's faithful, but playful. And this may be weird to say, but it's kinda ballsy. In a time when everyone's looking to bank on their own twist of the well-known, it's refreshing to see someone say, Nope, these stories have stood the test of time for millennia now, so I'd much rather give you an excellent presentation of them than a modern, watered-down version*. *She says, fully loving the "modern, watered-down versions" too. I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em.
This means that you really can pick the series up at any volume. You can stock your classrooms & libraries with them, or give it to newly minted mythology buffs to fall in love with — and let me tell you, I would have adored these as a kid, when I was just getting into mythology and wanted everything I could get my hands on. And though I loved Hercules and Xena and Clash of the Titans as much as any other weirdo 12 year old obsessed with the Greeks, I was a very particular child, and would get a little grumbly about the things they *shudder* GOT WRONG. A faithful and yet lively adaptation such as these would have been an instant favorite. (And still is, now.)
Art copyright George O'Connor / FirstSecond books
But beyond the faithfulness and clarity of the presentation, I would have fallen in love with (and have fallen in love with) the artistic and narrative choices O'Connor makes. I had a feeling from almost the first moment of Zeus that I was going to love these (and I say first moment, but actually I think it was literally the first, nearly-blank page, that gave me the love-this feeling); little touches like this recurring thematic thread (right) of having 'too much of his father in him' cemented it. Which means by page 10, I was in love. This example might seem a little silly or meaningless to some of you, but it struck me for a few reasons: 1) it's a solid storytelling & artistic choice, to have the "father" (the stars) physically represented as being a part of Kronos and Zeus, 2) it's a striking image, and 3) it so perfectly and simply encapsulates the core of these myths, and how its actors are doomed to repeat the mistakes that came before them. So many Greek myths are about inescapable-ness and self-fulfilling prophecies, and to succinctly and strikingly capture that aspect so simply basically immediately won me over.
But whether those little details are likely to win you over or not, the fact remains that this is a very strong adaptation of Greek mythology, both in the art and the storytelling, and I highly recommend them.
This was the February WednesdayYA bookclub read, and like Grave Mercy before it, I flipping loved it! I may have even liked it more, and that's sayingThis was the February WednesdayYA bookclub read, and like Grave Mercy before it, I flipping loved it! I may have even liked it more, and that's saying something. Definitely need to get my hands on the last book now....more