The wordplay has mellowed out quite a bit in this sequel and the author has found that great balance of maintaining Fair’s whimsical voice without goi...moreThe wordplay has mellowed out quite a bit in this sequel and the author has found that great balance of maintaining Fair’s whimsical voice without going too far past Silly Town. It’s great to see her character start to come out of her shell as she has a chance to step away from her hotel and spend time with new people. I always like watching as a character starts to learn that they have potential and how to use it.
The flirting is epic in this book! 1000% epic! And I love that Fair and Gomery bypass any bickering attraction and dive right into “hey, we like each other and aren’t afraid to show it! In our own weird, subtle ways...” All without being an insta-love thing that would feel rushed. They’re lingering in that happy area where it’s all tingles by just being near and talking to the other person. (Why do people insist on rushing right past that beautiful phase, anyhow?)
And the Redwoodian! I want to go to there! Without the lobby cluttered with posh skiers, of course. The fireplace, the Boughery Bar, the general awesomeness that is a cabin in the woods during a blizzard. I wonder what my pinecone would say...
More and more questions on the whole mystery keep popping up, digging the mystery hole deeper. I’m so eager to know what’s going on! I am completely in the dark on this one and it is just as infuriating as it is exciting.
Random note on Thurs Mathers: I expect that he’s incredibly charming, if he can pull himself away from his phones. I also feel like he’s going to present a threat between Fair and Gomery. Not a love triangle, but his charm and intentions will create some tension. On a related note, I’m curious to meet Aunt Ingham and see how her personality differs from her sisters.(less)
Any misleading in the title and cover image is quickly clarified at the bottom of the cover: "This book is not about unicorns." Instead it is about co...moreAny misleading in the title and cover image is quickly clarified at the bottom of the cover: "This book is not about unicorns." Instead it is about corn... and an infectious virus of brain-rot and corn zealousness.
For such an absurd base premise in a novella that the author describes as 'bad', 'hurried', and 'inconsistent', you'll find - along with the expected silliness - a great deal of contemplation on morals and ethics through philosophical debate and an examination of the driving forces in varied living, moving beings. There is definitely more here than I expected walking into this and it is definitely the better for it.(less)
The biggest standout in this book that will be make-or-break for most readers is the writing - Fair Finley’s voice - which is a lot like Lemony Snicke...moreThe biggest standout in this book that will be make-or-break for most readers is the writing - Fair Finley’s voice - which is a lot like Lemony Snicket and Joss Whedon+writers* circa Buffy's high school years, on speed, shifted into overdrive, and examined under a microscope. It takes some getting used to and can be obnoxious at times, but it also perfectly suits the main character as it showcases her own internal sociological system and subsequent lingo thanks to the personally-solitary and unique life she has lived. It’s that sort of language that you see develop with an eclectic group of people, but Fair IS her own peer group with the addition of just one outside friend. At least, until she gets sucked into a tar pit, room-swapping mystery with Montgomery #1 and Montgomery #2, both of whom are quite spectacular.
I have to say now: I have NO IDEA where this mystery is headed... and it’s kind of odd how much I appreciate and enjoy that. I am super curious and so ready to find out! The settings and these elements of mystery have a marvelousy absurd quality that are simply delightful and add such color and light to Fair’s world.
Ultimately, it was the character of Fair that really resonated with me in a sort of eerie, looking-into-the-mirror way. Not so much in her situation, obviously - oh, to live in a hotel with a 500 Dip Bar! - but we are so much alike in personality. She’s shy, awkward, neurotic, daydreamy, and completely unsure of herself which really presents itself in all of her -ishes and maybes (I use my fair share of maybes but I thankfully do not have an -ish problem). I also start every sentence with the word sorry... or use it enough to make a similar statement. She doesn’t handle reality well, either, and also requires an anchor in social situations. The difference with her being, she doesn’t completely freeze without that anchor and her general awkwardness has a vocal pitch that is impressive considering her foot is wedged in her mouth while my awkwardness stays mostly quiet. I have, however, learned that one is never too old for a Shirley Temple.
* - Particularly thinking of Jane Espenson’s line for Willow in 3x11, Gingerbread: “A doodle. I do doodle. You, too. You do doodle, too.” But there’s also a lot of wordplay that I could see coming from the Scoobies at any given time.(less)
It's a common thread that I am envious of brave protagonists. Tris is no exception. She is brave almost to a point of fearlessness - at least to an ou...moreIt's a common thread that I am envious of brave protagonists. Tris is no exception. She is brave almost to a point of fearlessness - at least to an outsider's perspective - but we see that deep down she is pushing herself out of determination to prove, to herself as much as everyone else, that she belongs in Dauntless. That she made the right choice in choosing a new faction and leaving her old faction and family behind. And, okay, sure, she might be a bit of an adrenaline junky... but can you think of anything that gets the adrenaline pumping more than facing one's own fears? Going toe-to-toe with your fears is pretty much the definition of bravery.
Stepping back and looking at the bones of the story, you can see that it makes use of a certain framework seen in some of the more cliched YA these days. However, Roth does so with great skill and uses that structure to build something wholly her own. Some of the cliches are still there, don't get me wrong, but they wedge in nicely to either fade into the background or are completely believable within the context of the story. Several surprises you'll see coming, but there are plenty more that can catch you off guard.
My only real gripe with this debut novel is wanting more details in the world-building. While it was decent and painted a solid picture of this society, it was also very limited and needed more hues to give that picture depth. It's the difference between 2D cell-shading and virtual 3D. The first is great but the latter can breath a life of its own. So with the first book done, I'm hoping this is one of those stories where the world building is part of the plot: we will learn more as Tris learns more. It's not surprising to have a segregated society know little about the workings of anything beyond their group, so we can only expect Tris to go through a bit of culture shock as she grasps more of the world around her. There's a large question - glaring, even - of 'what is beyond the fence, beyond the post-Chicago area?' Given the tidbit about the locks placed on the outside of the perimeter, I'm certain this will be just one of the big truths Tris reveals before the full story comes to a close. And I look forward to every second of it.
WARNING - additional thoughts that are spoilery: (view spoiler)[- Al's death. I suspected early on that he was going to commit suicide, yet once he did I immediately got the sense that it was faked and someone else actually killed him. So my fingers are crossed that we don't get a reveal later, telling us that Four offed him as retribution for his hand in hurting Tris. - When Tris wraps up her fear landscape and Eric has her injected with a new serum designed by the Erudite, I expected to find that she was still in her fear landscape, forced to face a fear of the serum she asked her brother to look into and the plans it could entail for everyone. I'm not sure if I would be annoyed or amused if this still pans out to be the case and Tris wakes up back in the fear landscape room, à la Dallas season eight. - Empty speculation: Jeanine's plans will be nothing compared to whatever truth Tris uncovers in the next books. Could this area with the factions be some kind of sociological experiment or testing ground? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I wanted to like this more than I did, which is not to say that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. I did devour this is two days, after all. It's just... I...moreI wanted to like this more than I did, which is not to say that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it. I did devour this is two days, after all. It's just... I think my expectations were too high. I kept looking for something more. Perhaps this 'more' will find its way into subsequent books, the release of which I eagerly anticipate.
I think they worried that my grandfather would infect me with some incurable dreaminess from which I'd never recover - that these fantasies were somehow inoculating me against more practical ambitions - so one day my mother sat me down and explained that I couldn't become an explorer because everything in the world had already been discovered. I'd been born in the wrong century, and I felt cheated.
Particularly around the beginning, I was definitely aware of the sort of haunted writing that also accompanies the author's charming documentary-style videos on YouTube. There's a great lilting quality to it. I don't hear that quality so much as the story progresses, but it could be an acclimation thing. And the photographs, of course, are a brilliant inclusion.
Miss Peregrine felt a bit like a caricature, though the children - at once younger and older than expected - were all perfectly matched to their ripened wisdom and maturity in the confines of perpetual youth. However, I felt the protagonist, Jacob, wavered too much as I often had to remind myself that he was only 16 years old while other times he seemed almost tween-ish. Everything else in the story... hollows, wights, ymbrynes, loops scattered throughout time that remind me of a shifting apollonian gasket... I want more! It's a great start to a fun mythos that I can't wait to explore further.
Prediction time! Jacob's dad, being an ornithologist, will be useful with the ymbrynes in future books. He may also find a subject for a book that he actually finishes, marketing it as fiction.(less)
It was Full Fathom Five's goal to push out highly commercial material, and that they did. It was a very fast, fluffy read and the story itself was gen...moreIt was Full Fathom Five's goal to push out highly commercial material, and that they did. It was a very fast, fluffy read and the story itself was generally enjoyable leaving me eager to read more about the battle between the Lorics and Mogadorians, but the vast majority of the writing was tedious and stale and many moments felt wedged instead of being pulled from the story itself. The style and short sentences reeked of Frey so I can only assume he had a heavy hand in the writing process. I think I would have preferred seeing what Hughes could do with his own story rather than dealing with Frey's changes, though it's hard to say who holds the blame for the book's weak points. Even though it continued to be overly simplistic and fairly deadpan, someone was smart enough to breath some life into the more important scenes. Wish they had taken a similar editing hand to fix the relationships as they, especially the romance, were incredibly saccharine and chock full of hackneyed dialogue. It was near vomit inducing and not even on a cutesy level.
The main character (John/Four) was likable if incredibly dense at times and his love interest, Sarah, was endearing and offered a great dichotomy for a character that shows up later, whom I suspect might throw a triangle into the romance mix of the next books. Sam Goode is adorkable and Henri is a fantastic mentor, but Bernie Kosar is the best and makes every scene better.
With Buffy alum Marti Noxon co-writing the script, I'm really looking forward to the movie.(less)
Though each book may be missing something that I can't quite put my finger on, they all make up for it with pure heart and the ability to faze its rea...moreThough each book may be missing something that I can't quite put my finger on, they all make up for it with pure heart and the ability to faze its reader. It's this very reason that I adore these books and intentionally stalled in reading the last book - I didn't want it to be over!
The thing I enjoyed best out of this final story is the psychological warfare and how well Collins, without once backing down from the brutality of war, conveyed both the strength and fragility of the human mind. To top it off, the ending was effective and hauntingly beautiful.(less)
Though quite a bit of it was predictable, it was still a fun romp through the stuff of myths and a series in which I want to read more. I really enjoy...moreThough quite a bit of it was predictable, it was still a fun romp through the stuff of myths and a series in which I want to read more. I really enjoyed the modern reinterpretations of the tales that were already familiar, along with learning a bit about many others.
Especially good for kids first dipping their toes into Greek mythology - or those of us who, sadly, have limited knowledge in the area. This is great exposure to build curiosity in the original stories.(less)
I love a good mystery, so I just ate this book up! Something about the clues throughout reminded me a bit of The Westing Game, which I adore. It was f...moreI love a good mystery, so I just ate this book up! Something about the clues throughout reminded me a bit of The Westing Game, which I adore. It was fluff and I had issues with some of the writing (eg. felt the main character, an otherwise intelligent girl, was sometimes dense simply for the sake of exposition) but it was an all around good read.
Especially intrigued by the missing character, Amanda Valentino, who is crazy smart (emphasis on crazy?) and creative. She's got this great schizophrenic-too-much-personality-for-one-person thing going on. And her quotes! I would kill for the ability to pull quotes like she does. I guess when you have a person at the core of your mystery, it only makes sense that you make that person as fascinating and affable as possible.
After a bit of research I see that this is intended to be an eight-book series with at least the first three books written from a different character's perspective and by different authors, each author using the nom de plume of Stella Lennon. I like the idea of a collaborative series, especially as it opens up the voice for each individual character. Not only that but it allows you to overlook any misgivings from a particular book, as they may not be there in the next, and simply enjoy as the mystery unfolds.
For what was a fun, light read I'm surprised at the character depth and distinct personality of each girl. I thought it was an interesting choice to h...moreFor what was a fun, light read I'm surprised at the character depth and distinct personality of each girl. I thought it was an interesting choice to have each girl go through everything separately before reuniting, and I think this is exactly why each character was able to be fully realized along with making the whole mystery more intriguing. I definitely feel compelled to read further, which is always a good sign for a book series.
I thought the show has been fairly enjoyable but I see now that it's missed the mark on several key notes, one of which being subtlety.(less)
I can't say that I loved it, yet I liked it better than I thought I might. My biggest worry was that the writing would be full of heavy religious over...moreI can't say that I loved it, yet I liked it better than I thought I might. My biggest worry was that the writing would be full of heavy religious overtones and I'm happy to say that this isn't the case. The discussions of heaven, and even the occasional mention of god, was completely expected within the context of a guardian angel, remained minimal, and wasn't wedged into the story at all. Quite pleased by that.
I was surprised, and impressed, with the ending. (view spoiler)[The choice to have the main character involved in a fatal wreck, and at least waver on death (she'll certainly come back to the living), was a brilliant one. For those that truly believe in guardian angels, I think it's important to see that they can't save you from mortality; sometimes bad things just have to happen and it would be their job to help you through it, not necessarily keep you from it in the first place. Also, rules and limitations give magical stories more realism. (hide spoiler)] I liked this first book well enough to want to see how the rest of the story plays out.
[FTC disclosure: Received free ARC through Goodreads' First Reads program.]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Boarding school. New England. Gothic castle. I want to go to there! I don't care what kind of nasties lurk inside, it's a gorgeous setting.
So, I'm rea...moreBoarding school. New England. Gothic castle. I want to go to there! I don't care what kind of nasties lurk inside, it's a gorgeous setting.
So, I'm reading along at a fairly quick pace, picking up the cliches and usual tropes one would expect in a YA vampire story, when BOOM! Gray pulls the rug out from under me and turns her entire world upside down! Things from there only get better, even if I do tend to roll my eyes at the romance stuff. I'm definitely ready to read what the next three books have in store for Bianca and Evernight Academy.
I'm typically a fan of this sort of story where the bright-eyed and hopeful youth starts a revolution (large or small) and teaches the old guys a less...moreI'm typically a fan of this sort of story where the bright-eyed and hopeful youth starts a revolution (large or small) and teaches the old guys a lesson, so it comes as no shock that I enjoyed this story a lot. Oddly, though, what I appreciated most out of the story was the detailed tech explanations. It felt like doing research on an important topic, set into an enjoyable cloud of fiction.
It's left me itching to build my own laptop just the way I want it, mod an Xbox, and try my hand at coding. In other words, trying something completely new.(less)
Not much to say; I loved it. It's an instant favorite. A perfectly executed theme of that bittersweet dichotomy of life, where an air of beauty and ha...moreNot much to say; I loved it. It's an instant favorite. A perfectly executed theme of that bittersweet dichotomy of life, where an air of beauty and happiness somehow manages to seep through even the deepest moments of devastation.
Each character definitely has their own way with words, which is another important theme of this book. Death was a most excellent narrator, both in terms of his role (and distance) in the story and in the way he chose to tell the story. He often gave tangibility to what is otherwise a vague idea or emotion. His use of metaphor, simile, what-have-you was spectacular and sometimes even a tiny bit whimsical without ever feeling silly. And Max's books were especially amazing.(less)
The character of James (or, Jas.) is one that you can't help but root for, despite his arrogance. He's a little over cocky and dramatic, but the same is true for the Captain Hook we've seen portrayed in so many different ways. Though a lot of his actions are a little abnormal, he's generally a good guy put through some tough situations while still maintaining 'good form.' A guy you would definitely want to have on your side.
I was, however, a little disappointed with the ending as I was expecting things to play out a little further. Perhaps we will get a sequel?(less)