This was so much better than The Flash: Rebirth. I already knew the story from watching the animated version, but thisBarry Allen fucks shit up again!
This was so much better than The Flash: Rebirth. I already knew the story from watching the animated version, but this has some moments that lacked -- and they were almost all my favorite parts. (view spoiler)[Thomas Wayne stabbing Thawne with a GIANT SWORD in the middle of his villain speech and Bruce crying over his father's alternate universe letter (hide spoiler)] were huge highlights.
I mostly read this because I am getting impatient to see how TV!Barry Allen and his much better hair fuck things up in the show's version of Flashpoint this fall. But this was quite fun all on its own.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't mean that as an insult at all. I love fanfic; I have, in fact, read many fics that I've liked bet**spoiler alert** Well that was a fun fanfic!
I don't mean that as an insult at all. I love fanfic; I have, in fact, read many fics that I've liked better than the original work -- and I've certainly read better post-series Harry Potter fics than this. Still, The Cursed Child does a lot of what I like a good fic to do, namely take the characters in an unexpected new direction and evolve the relationships in ways the original narrative seems unwilling to. It's also tropey as fuck.
Time travel? Check! Alternate universes? Check! Redemption of villain? Check! Character who is (hitherto) the non-canonical offspring of a main character? Check! Slash pairing as main characters? Check!
Okay: check-minus -- Rowling & Co. wussed out and didn't make Albus/Scorpius canon, even though this was in every way an Albus/Scorpius fic. I never read that pairing, but folks who did: come on, this is almost note for note, right? But again, I'm not mad at it, mostly because Scorpius is the cutest character ever. I think about 85% of the problems I may have had with the adult trio's characterizations in this were reduced to twitches because I just loved Scorpius so much. Draco went and had an adorable nerd-baby. In fact Draco, almost in spite of himself, seems to have been a much better father than his father and Astoria (RIP) appears to have been retroactively awesome. Yay!
Draco and Harry, and -- even more, in a way -- Draco and Hermione coming to terms and perhaps even some mutual affection also made me really happy. I guess I'm easy sometimes? But I never expected this of Rowling, who I thought hated Draco. Here was the character development I wanted in Half-Blood Prince or Deathly Hallows. Is it too little too late? Maybe, but I still enjoyed it.
Overall, I bought into this much more than I expected to -- perhaps because my investment was rather low. I've always liked Harry Potter, but I was never a HUGE FAN. I don't feel the need to be particularly nitpicky about this.
Was it amazingly well-written? No. Did the plot make total sense? No. Was this how I would have characterized the series' main characters twenty or so years later? NOPE. (Could I in any way picture how the hell this was staged? Not in the least, yo.)
But I enjoyed it for what it was. A fun Albus/Scorpius, Draco redemption fic with time travel. That J.K. Rowling wrote. WOW....more
The title unfortunately describes the way this book is plotted. Things happen, and they are sort of loosely slung-together, with very little sense ofThe title unfortunately describes the way this book is plotted. Things happen, and they are sort of loosely slung-together, with very little sense of time passing (at one point the protagonist notes she's known another character for five years, and I genuinely thought only a single year had passed since their meeting at the beginning of the novel) and with absolutely no character development. No characters at all, really: Taylor's creations seem to turn on a dime, depending on whatever the plot ("plot"?) dictates. Out of nowhere, one character is suddenly revealed to be a sexual predator, because Taylor needs the reader to hate him now. The love interest up and screams at the protagonist, also out of nowhere, for...angst I guess? Oh and some rando background character suddenly calls the protagonist a slut and...sexually attacks her. Of course. I see more of a pattern here than to the plot and it's gross.
The main character has no personality except to be perfect at everything and drive evil people to fits of revealing rage -- classic Mary Sue stuff. I get annoyed with the overuse and misuse of that term, but it really applies here. Max feels like a self-insert. She, her love interest, and the innumerable interchangeable secondary characters are all amazingly under-characterized and flatly written: I couldn't describe a single one of them to you, nor could I tell them apart much of the time. (Which one was Markham and which was Murdoch again?) Early in the book, Max notes that she often does not react to things in a "normal" way, but this is never used to make a point about her history or to develop her character as the story progresses; instead, it feels like Taylor simply did not know how to write realistic reactions to situations and was using this as an excuse.
And nothing else makes sense either! You have a secret -- but not all that secret if it's known by a major university and receives "assignments" -- time travel organization, which for some reason is severely understaffed. At one point they only have four historians (a.k.a. time travelers) working for them, and don't hire more -- but no real qualification seems necessary? Like Max makes a big deal about how rigorous the training is, but without actually conveying that in any way, and it's also not explained why they can't just recruit more people for the training in the first place. Max's "specialty" as a historian is brought up, but then she never works on anything related to it. They send her back to study dinosaurs when her speciality was ancient Greek and Roman civ. You guys couldn't recruit some paleontologists?
As a time travel book, this novel makes poor use of its subject. In fact, nearly no use: the main conceit of historians using time travel in their studies was done better many times over by Connie Willis; the big "twist" is the starting point for many other time travel narratives, and seemed so obvious that the characters not figuring it out sooner just makes them look dumb. On the most basic level, St. Mary's does not seem like a fun or exciting organization to work for, so why would I want to read about it? This book was baffling for me from start to finish; I kept waiting for it to get going, then to get better. It didn't. Now I wish I could go back in time and not bother....more
This book is different and I admire so much that the author isn't doing the same old thing. I ought to be tThin characters are confused for 300 pages.
This book is different and I admire so much that the author isn't doing the same old thing. I ought to be the ideal audience for this, too -- I love science! I LOVE time travel! But I was unspeakably bored by this novel. I never connected with any of the characters; despite being sprinkled with German and physics, I found Gottie's narrative voice incredibly bland. I never got a clear picture of her village or her grandfather's bookshop or even her -- apparently eccentric? -- house; this was one of those books where people seem to move through blank stretches of space, like underdressed sets. The time travel baffled rather than engaged, and anyway mostly took a back seat to Gottie's romantic woes, which hinge on two almost interchangeable boys. If you're looking for a book about learning to live with grief and escaping being stuck in the past, those themes are far better handled in We Were Liars....more
**spoiler alert** It is impossible to separate my thoughts on the first volume of this duology from the second—possibly because they never should have**spoiler alert** It is impossible to separate my thoughts on the first volume of this duology from the second—possibly because they never should have been separated in the first place. This is a single novel that got way, way out of control, and if Willis (or really, Willis’ editor, who’s supposed to be the responsible one in this case) had had any sense, this monstrosity of a manuscript would have been carefully pared down to one tighter, and much better, book. Where is Max Perkins when you need him?
So I’m not going to discuss the structural problems with these books in much greater detail: said problems are immense, and if you’re going to tackle this story, you have to accept going in that the first volume is entirely setup, and over-long setup at that. Blackout should have probably been the first hundred pages, maybe, of the overall work. All Clear, which contains—finally!—the resolution, is better, but even it took a good 300 pages to start getting anywhere. Willis has a definite style, but it can start to seem like a crutch, especially when there’s not much else going on. It got to the point where I began groaning every time I read “But she didn’t” or “But he didn’t”—just like I grit my teeth through all of Tolkien’s “And lo!” and “And behold!”s in Return of the King.
The characters’ worries and reasoning about whether or not they were screwing up the timeline were frustrating as well. There were far too many instances of them deciding that they had corrupted it—oh wait, no they hadn’t! (See, I swear, it wouldn’t have even been that hard to cut this.) And the actual solution...how was this a surprise? To ANY of them? Am I somehow wrong in thinking that “the time traveler’s actions are and always were part of the timeline” is one of the major theories of how time travel would work? They use it on Doctor Who and Supernatural all the time. Willis’ Oxford books take place in the future, and I’d think that, even if this is a future where time travel has proved possible and this particular theory of time travel has supposedly been disproved, the characters would at least be aware of it. They’ve got a good century of pop culture behind them to make use of, after all! But instead, they’re totally shocked by the possibility, like people in modern zombie films who are totally taken aback by the revelation that a bite means you’re a ticking zombie time bomb. This just makes the characters seem really alarmingly thick.
So far, I’m making it sound like these books totally aren’t worth reading at all, but this isn’t entirely true. They fail on a number of levels, but Willis succeeds on a number of others, too—just to confuse you, I guess. Her depiction of the Blitz is fantastic and brilliantly vivid: as a story of ordinary people pulling together in impossible circumstances, these books are powerful and believable. The characters, once you work through their multiple aliases (very confusing over two books) and get over the fact that they all seem to process information in a startlingly similar way (“But he didn’t”)—they are characters to root for. Both Colin and Sir Godfrey are divine romantic heroes, and Willis, as usual, knows how to tug on your heartstrings, to write sacrifices so they feel painful and fully-realized. Once I got over the 300-page hump, I zipped through the second half of All Clear in an afternoon because I needed to know what happened to everyone. There is something here, to be sure—a spark of a good novel—which in a way makes it even more of a shame that it’s buried under so much excess stuff. Oh, Max, Max: we need to invent time travel for you....more
Okay, sometimes this thing were I get a lot of free books through my work can be both a blessing and a curse. Because often, something like this willOkay, sometimes this thing were I get a lot of free books through my work can be both a blessing and a curse. Because often, something like this will fall into my lap totally gratis, and while I would never actually buy it, when I haven't paid I'm all, “Haha, omg: it's time travel genderfuck RPF! This I have to read! It's gonna be hilarious!”
Um, no, it's not. It will be misogynistic and gross, though. *time travels, switches sex, and pats past!self on the head* Have fun, kid....more
Hey, dummy! You weren’t impressed by the last book you read by this guy, so why the heck would you try another of his titles? What were you thinking?
BHey, dummy! You weren’t impressed by the last book you read by this guy, so why the heck would you try another of his titles? What were you thinking?
But...but this one’s got time travel! The blurbs all said it was kind of like Life on Mars! I love Life on Mars!
Since when do blurbs ever tell the truth?
Yeah, okay, that one turned out to be totally bogus. But...time travel?
There really aren’t any interesting time travel ideas in this book. It’s boring and pointlessly violent, just like Swierczynski’s last book. And he ends it with another bullshit attempt at a twist ending, more idiotic than even the equally hard to spell Shyamalan’s usual crap. It’s the literary equivalent of a B-movie that would close with a card that says, “The End...Or Is it?!”
Admittedly that kind of made me want to stab myself.
So are you going to learn your lesson finally? Please?
Yeah, if I could, I’d go back in time...and not read this book!
I am so, so ashamed that we are actually the same person....more
New to the list of things Misha Collins has made me do: read an Anne Rice book. I really never thought I would do that again. Even at the height of myNew to the list of things Misha Collins has made me do: read an Anne Rice book. I really never thought I would do that again. Even at the height of my Buffy-induced vamp craze, I didn't care for Rice; I dragged myself yawning through Interview With the Vampire. Of course, Rice'd probably just tell me that means I was interrogating the text from the wrong perspective. I do have to thank you for that one, Anne: that meme never gets old.
But then Anne Rice found God, and I found Supernatural's Castiel, and suddenly both of us were worshiping things that are at least vaguely angel-shaped. As much as I mocked Rice's new book for its ridiculous title (“Is it Thursday? Oh goody”—brandishes book—“it be angel tiem nao”), I also sort of wanted to read it. The angel in Angel Time, the internet informed me, is described as having dark hair and bright blue eyes—just like Castiel! The human he saves from perdition himself is a self-hating blond assassin—close enough to Dean for government work and/or idle fantasies. Hello, hilarious assassin AU in convenient “I can read it on the bus” book form!
The novel itself is actually not hilarious at all—it may be, in fact, one of the most self-serious books I've ever read. And yet...it's also not bad. Most of the narrative involves not-Cas sending not-Dean to save a medieval Jewish family from being falsely accused of murder. I didn't care about this part, particularly, especially not in contrast to the interesting glimmers of not-Cas and not-Dean's burgeoning relationship: not-Cas watched him grow up, watched all the tragedy in his life unfold, felt what he felt! It's kind of fabulously over the top, and I know that if I slashed it, Anne Rice would bring the whole internet down upon my head. I will not be posting this review on Amazon.com.
Seriously, though: I'm very aware that I am interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. I am not getting what Anne Rice likely wants me to get out of it at all. I'm okay with that, though. Hopefully, given time and the better angels of her nature, Anne herself will come around....more
Ooh. This book is so fabulously clever and smart. It brings together: 1970s New York, the game show The $20,000 Pyramid, the many complexities of inteOoh. This book is so fabulously clever and smart. It brings together: 1970s New York, the game show The $20,000 Pyramid, the many complexities of interpersonal relationships, A Wrinkle in Time, and a fantastic mystery. I loved the characters, and was so impressed with how Stead (seemingly) effortlessly charts the ups and downs of their relationships: friendships forming and falling apart and coming together again. This is a kids’ book, but like I said it is a smart kids’ book, one in which Stead never writes down to her audience. And it’s funny. And suspenseful. And—oh, just read it. It’s brilliant....more
This fantastic new essay collection tackles topics as diverse as time travel, laugh tracks, ABBA, and some sports stuff that went over my head. But thThis fantastic new essay collection tackles topics as diverse as time travel, laugh tracks, ABBA, and some sports stuff that went over my head. But that's the great thing about Klosterman as an essayist: even when he's writing on a topic you know nothing about, he'll draw you in, he'll make you care.
It is perhaps also worth noting that this is perhaps the only book Klosterman has ever written that didn't piss me off at some point. I know, right? Perhaps marriage has mellowed him?...more
I really, really hated Rigler’s first novel, which this book is a sequel to. So why, you might reasonably ask, did I read the follow-up? The answer “II really, really hated Rigler’s first novel, which this book is a sequel to. So why, you might reasonably ask, did I read the follow-up? The answer “I am a glutton for punishment” might, likewise reasonably, be provided. In truth, the answer is perhaps sadder: I am desperate for time travel stories in which a person from the past travels to the present, and this novel, unlike its predecessor, is one such tale. It was also, thank the god of poor, goofy, don’t-know-what’s-good-for-them readers, significantly less annoying than the first book, and even rather enjoyable at times.
This can probably be attributed in part to Rigler’s growth as a writer—she smoothes out or just plain omits some of the plot points that made Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict so enormously dumb. But the fact is that the premise of our regency-born heroine, the unlikely-named Jane Mansfield, being transported to our present is just much more entertaining than Millennium girl Courtney Stone arriving in the past. For one thing, Jane has genuine reasons to be confused by all she encounters, while the bumbling and complaining Courtney just seemed stupid and whiny when confronted with the past she supposedly so loved to read about. Rigler also lets Jane actually stop and consider her prejudices and even have a bit of a feminist awakening, while Courtney, who in the last book called herself a feminist, consistently acted like the opposite, desperately swooning and waiting for a man to give her life meaning.
This is still not a great book, but I really did enjoy Jane wandering wide-eyed around 2009 Los Angeles. If you’re a fan of this particular—and sadly-underrepresented—sub-genre of time travel stories, than this would be a good title to add to your list; reading the first book is fortunately entirely unnecessary. And if you do know of any other good character-from-the-past-journeys-to-the-present books (or a snazzier name for the same), please do tell me!
P.S. This book, like its predecessor, has absolutely nothing to do with Jane Austen. Nice cheap marketing ploy, there!...more