i can't bring myself to finish this. this book has many things i should love (female leads! action heroes! idiot teens!), but there are so many awkwari can't bring myself to finish this. this book has many things i should love (female leads! action heroes! idiot teens!), but there are so many awkward writing conventions that put distance between the reader and the story -- instead of building suspense, as i suspect they're meant to -- that it quickly became a chore to pick up. jumping back in time every other chapter, each present-day chapter only moving a few minutes forward (it felt like a movie, and is probably much better suited to that medium), the constant "this happened. or maybe this happened. or actually THIS happened, or she thought it happened, or maybe it never happened" method of relaying information was cute the first handful of times and deeply exhausting by the hundredth. rose fell neatly into a category of badass-female-characters-written-by-men that are Tough and Mouthy and Don't Take No Shit and sooooo incredibly boring. sara was actually fun!! i liked her and wanted to read her bits, even with the obnoxious time jumping. but it wasn't enough to make me press through to the end. ...more
this is a really interesting, intriguing premise with solid faux regency writing, excellent attention to historical detail, a lovely friendship at itsthis is a really interesting, intriguing premise with solid faux regency writing, excellent attention to historical detail, a lovely friendship at its center, and is about as engagjng to read as looking at three day old dry toast. laurence is so Correct and Priggish, and the narrative takes such great pains to paint him with sympathy even as he acts like a moralistic 19th century asshole, that 2/3 of the way through the book i seriously began to wonder how none of these rough and tumble anti-etiquette captains hadn't thrown this dude and his perfect-and-good-at-everything dragon in the damn lake. he has no flaws. what mistakes or judgment errors he makes are glossed over or immediately noted by laurence himself, corrected, and never touched on again. temeraire is even worse. i understand not every dragon is going to be a big dumb cat doing the dragon equivalent of walking across your keyboard to get to the other side of the couch; but the whole knowing and understanding everything immediately, being better and more unique than every other dragon, smarter than laurence, kinder and fiercer and a better flier and fighter and eater and swimmer and and and -- like, enough, we get it. but i could have handled both of these things (the side characters were great, for example, and livened up every scene) if there was just...a story. or ANYTHING at stake at all. sure, there's a war going on, but you can hardly tell. 70% of the way through the book, and maybe a tenth had been devoted to actual warfare, or...anything besides talking about how great temeraire is and how much laurence loves him (inexplicably??? i get why temeraire bonds but why does laurence? he just suddenly loves this dragon more than life). conflicts are resolved immediately, invariably in laurence and temeraire'd favor. battles (well, battle) are over in about five seconds flat. there are about a million minor characters who all seem to worship laurence and temeraire as caricaturishly perfect leaders. this is just? so boring???? i thought i was going to read a book about dragon warfare and instead i got the fist two acts of diet how to train your dragon. ...more
i had such high hopes for this book, but not even a quarter in, i'm throwing in the towel. no time for a full review, but boy, is this just not enjoyai had such high hopes for this book, but not even a quarter in, i'm throwing in the towel. no time for a full review, but boy, is this just not enjoyable to read! maybe it gets better, but honestly, nancy is simultaneously so bland and completely insufferable (no ty to any narrator that starts with "oh i'm so plain and ugly and boring btw i have a Secret Talent that makes me SUPER INTERESTING," like, please), the writing hits all of my "faux victorian in love with its own cleverness" buttons (STOP NAMING ANYTHING CONTEMPORARY THAT HAPPENED TO BE FAMOUS), there are SO MANY ELLIPSES which i realize is a personal gripe, but whatever. i'll probably still pick up the paying guests, as i'm hoping waters' prose improves since the 90s (maybe she even abandons the first person pov? A GIRL CAN HOPE), but i am just not into this one enough to carry on....more
This would have been interesting as a standalone piece, without the novel tie-in and "cliffhanger" ending, which gave about as much suspense as wonderThis would have been interesting as a standalone piece, without the novel tie-in and "cliffhanger" ending, which gave about as much suspense as wondering whether your toast will pop up. The concept was intriguing. I was hoping for one of those stories that uses an inexplicable supernatural event to examine character relationships or perceptions; instead it was just some vague rumblings about the event that caused David's condition, and David being sad. The ending came out of nowhere; suddenly there's some kind of religious serial killer, no explanation, just there derailing the narrative. I understand this is a prologue (or something?), but if you're going to release it as short fiction, it ought to stand on its own feet.
Positives: the opening paragraphs are well written and well constructed to draw you forward. Schwab's writing style isn't entirely to my tastes (not a fan of dramatic one sentence paragraphs used liberally), but it's not at all bad. I'd be interested to see either an actual short from her, or a proper novel; this in-between thing just didn't work. ...more
Unfinished. Considering my usual unending love of Russian/Slavic fairy tales, I expected to tear through this one; but maybe it was the stark narrativUnfinished. Considering my usual unending love of Russian/Slavic fairy tales, I expected to tear through this one; but maybe it was the stark narrative voice, or the (to me) utter lack of anything actual fairy tale-esque, or any mysticism at all beyond vague feelings of dread--I don't know. I think had this been pitched to me as "vignettes about soviet life with a slightly surreal bent" instead of "scary fairy tales," I might have been more into it. I just don't think I was in the right mindset. It definitely wasn't bad, but coming off the very lyrical and folkloric In the Night Garden, I wasn't really in the mood for something this straightforward. The first few stories in particular read to me like something a weird relative might tell over family dinner: decent lead up with a sudden end less bizarre than bewildering, and leaving everyone unsure how to change the topic of conversation tactfully. But again, maybe this will appeal to me more at another time! I'll likely grab it from the library again at...some point....more