I'm not quite sure what caught my attention when I was in Half Price Books after Christmas, but I saw The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Gi...moreI'm not quite sure what caught my attention when I was in Half Price Books after Christmas, but I saw The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga on the clearance shelf and had to buy it. Certainly the price point was a draw, but something else grabbed me when I read the inside of the dust jacket. Perhaps it was a feeling of solidarity.
Fanboy is a loner and he has a passion for comic books. He has one friend, a jock named Cal, who shares the same passion. Then Fanboy meets Goth Girl and everything changes.
I enjoyed The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. The characters were richly drawn teenagers with realistic problems. I was able to identify with Fanboy and his passion for comics. I have my own passions and sometimes hold so tightly to them that sharing them with others seems like a betrayal and a huge risk. No one could possibly love my passions as much as I do, right? But, as Fanboy learns, perhaps sharing your passion allows for other astonishing things to happen.
While Lyga does a great job building and creating the teenage characters in the book, the adults seemed like caricatures. Fanboy's mother complains a lot; and his stepfather was barely redeemable as a human until the very end. The assistant principal at the school was an idiot and easily steamrolled. Would a student really be able to convince one of their teachers that The Great Depression was caused by a Tortoise Blight? I found myself rolling my eyes a lot when the adults entered the picture because the scenes tended towards the extreme. The book is told from Fanboy's perspective so perhaps that was intentional. I guess most teenagers (including myself when I was that age) see their parents in a similar fashion and do wish their teachers were pushovers.
Overall, I liked The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga. Lyga creates vivid teenagers who struggle with real problems. He creates a plot that is easy to connect with and has some surprising twists and turns including a jaw dropping run in with a comic book author. Talk about fangirling! The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga gets a thumbs up.(less)
I came across this book by a chance conversation with one of the booksellers at Barnes and Noble. All she had to say was, "It's like Dan Brown, but be...moreI came across this book by a chance conversation with one of the booksellers at Barnes and Noble. All she had to say was, "It's like Dan Brown, but better." See the issue I had with The Da Vinci Code was the ending. The reveal of who done it was such a let down to me as a reader. "I spent all those hours on the edge of my seat for that?!" was my thought when I got to end. I hate mysteries that leave me feeling like that. So I bit on The Breath of God which I checked out of my local library.
The Breath of God was a better read for me than The Da Vinci Code. Unlike The Da Vinci Code which is based on conspiracy theories, which depending on your bent, may or may not be true, The Breath of God is based on religious doctrine and posed questions I've often asked myself. Why do all the major religions of the world share some of the same basic tenants? How did that happen? Why did that happen? How did history shape religion? Now if you want a humorous answer to these questions, you must really check out Lamb by Christopher Moore. If satire and humor, when applied to religion really aren't your thing, then The Breath of God is right up your alley.
Small doesn't create the gripping cliffhangers at the end of each chapter that Brown does and I was able to read the book in short bursts and walk away without it constantly nagging at me like The Da Vinci Code did. Small, on the whole, does craft a stronger story that provides you with the major building blocks to see how the religions in the world may be connected. You can see how the pieces of the plot and the Issa story fit together. I like being given breadcrumbs that lead me to the end of the story.
A few of Small's characters are a bit on the extreme side and at times, maybe a little over the top. After Grant, the main character in the story, achieves his life long goal, the story isn't quite wrapped up. I'm not a reader who necessarily needs all the plot lines wrapped up into a neat little bow. As a result, the last 30 or so pages after Grant returns to the States seemed a little extraneous. I wasn't necessarily concerned with how his discovery was going be received by the Christian Fundamentalists. However, I'm sure I'm in the minority and Small does a over the top, all the "bad" guys have to pay ending which was disappointing. I was left wondering why the book couldn't just have ended after Chapter 55.
Overall, I liked The Breath of God by Jeffery Small. There was an academic approach to religion that I appreciated. And while some of the characters were over the top, the book had a satisfying conclusion that didn't leave me mystified (or pissed) at the end.(less)
The Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose was featured in The Fussy Librarian recently. I was drawn to the book because of its cover and its connection to ch...moreThe Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose was featured in The Fussy Librarian recently. I was drawn to the book because of its cover and its connection to church history, France and stained glass. A mysterious stained glass window is discovered in a church in Vezelay, France and three individuals are brought together by its discovery. I really struggled with this novel. It held so much potential and in the end, I was disappointed. Throughout the novel, I felt not enough information was given about the stained glass, its creator and the three main characters. I thought, by the time the novel wrapped up, the creator of the stained glass would be revealed and she would have some connection to two of the three characters, Dubay and Meredith, as their family roots were in the area. This connection would explain their link to the Church and the reason Meredith was "possessed" by the glass's creator. Each of the main characters, Jonas, Meredith and Dubay, had pasts that were haunting them and those pasts had led them to the Church and the piece of glass. Once again, not enough information was given about their psychological hang ups. When their pasts were revealed it was too late in the story to really drive the plot forward and really make me care about how it all turned out.
The other part of the novel that lead to my disappointment was the constant need for the characters to speak in French with no explanation, either a straight up translation, or contextual framing to lead me to understand, at least in part, what was being said. I don't believe I missed any key plot points, but this was an endless frustration for me especially when Jonas went on a bender (Chapter 19) and sits down to have a bottle of wine with a local gentleman who speaks no English. I can't help but wonder if the gentleman shared some key piece of wisdom with Jonas that was completely missed, both by me and Jonas, because neither of us comprehend much French. The same things happens with Latin and the technical terms used when talking about the actual stained glass.
Overall, there were just too many plot issues, too much was not revealed/connected in the end, and a language barrier drove me to distraction. I had hoped that everything would be tied together, but was left disappointed. This paired with eBook formatting issues, The Pilgrim Glass by Julie K. Rose gets a thumbs down.
**spoiler alert** Another great entry from Jade Eby. This short story keeps you reading with a compelling plot told from an unusual point of view. Jus...more**spoiler alert** Another great entry from Jade Eby. This short story keeps you reading with a compelling plot told from an unusual point of view. Just a word of warning...it stops short at the end and you'll have to wait till 2014 for a resolution.(less)
This book was INTENSE! Intense on the plot side of things and the juicy romance side of things.
Things I didn't like... --The main male character being...moreThis book was INTENSE! Intense on the plot side of things and the juicy romance side of things.
Things I didn't like... --The main male character being called by his last name. He has a first name, it's a nice first name, use it. --The radical mood shifts Dean and the obsessiveness of the Sky when Dean's mood would suddenly shift. I felt like I was THIS close to re-reading Fifty Shades of Grey except with teenagers. Which, as a woman in my 30s, left me feeling a bit creeped out.
I'm going to keep an eye on Hoover. She writes a good novel. She has talent. I look forward to reading her other novels.(less)