Rio dreams of living in the Above, the unknown above her watery home of Atlantia. Her promise to her sister, Bay, to remain below when Bay decides to...moreRio dreams of living in the Above, the unknown above her watery home of Atlantia. Her promise to her sister, Bay, to remain below when Bay decides to leave Atlantia and live Above. Because of the death of her mother, the powerful former minister, she is left alone and begins to search out the reasons she was left behind. Oh, also, she's a siren, which can be a dangerous prospect in Atlantia, which has a bit of a conflicted relationship with the humans that can control with their voice.
I was a big fan of Condie's first series, Matched, because I appreciated her poetic tone. I feel similarly about this book. The pacing in this book is not for everyone, but it worked for me.
The story and mythology that is woven into the characters and put into a more modern setting is beautiful. Sirens and underwater creatures can be tough to pull off. I liked the humanistic approach to these myths. The sirens aren't mermaids or supernatural. They are people with special abilities that can seem scary.
Here is one of my favorite quotes (from my uncorrected ARC): I remember the day when we were five and I made Bay cry so hard she could barely breathe. I did it on purpose. I liked it when I was doing it—I felt hot and cruel and clever and powerful—but afterward, I broke down in remorse. My mother held me tight. She was crying, too. "You are a good girl, Rio," she said. She sounded relieved.
"I hurt Bay," I said. "And I wanted to."
"But you were sorry after," my mother said, "and you don't want to do it again."
I nodded. She was right.
"That is the difference," my mother said, almost as if she were no longer speaking to me. "That is the difference."
Here's where the novel breaks down a bit for me. There just isn't enough. Rio's penchant for mechanics is discarded partway through the novel, among other things. The construction and elements of the setting needed an extra push. With more development and more information to keep me invested in Atlantia, this would have been phenomenal.(less)
Loved loved loved this book. It was brilliant. Great voice, characters, and religious commentary. I think Mormon readers will better understand all th...moreLoved loved loved this book. It was brilliant. Great voice, characters, and religious commentary. I think Mormon readers will better understand all the nuances of the jargon and culture, but there is enough explaining to help non-Mormons too. Full review closer to release date.(less)
Full disclosure: I know the author and she was a former teacher of mine.
Again, I wish goodreads had half stars, because a more accurate review would b...moreFull disclosure: I know the author and she was a former teacher of mine.
Again, I wish goodreads had half stars, because a more accurate review would be 3.5.
There are a lot of things to love about Men of Destiny. The organization is great, I thought the sections and moving from one profile or point of view to the next worked very well and made for a smooth transition and storytelling throughout. The book was clearly well researched and there was a lot of information about Lincoln and Smith that I didn't know before.
However, the book has a very religious slant. It's definitely targeted to members of the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) community. As a matter of personal taste, I prefer non-fiction to be more objective. My main complaints come from the use of religious language in describing Joseph Smith. LDS people have certain words that they use that either aren't used in regular conversation or have different meanings.
And, while the book as a whole flows very nicely, I thought that some of the transitions from section to section were a little clunky. And, in a few of the sections I thought that the theme or target got lost a little in the weeds and wasn't as focused as it could have been.
Overall, Men of Destiny is a great, quick read with lots of interesting information and ideas to ponder. I recommend it for people who enjoy LDS Church history.(less)
I loved Henry Adams's writing style, and his depiction of his childhood. Of course, my favorite part is his description of his interaction between him...moreI loved Henry Adams's writing style, and his depiction of his childhood. Of course, my favorite part is his description of his interaction between himself and his grandfather, John Quincy Adams.(less)