If my tear ducts would operate correctly, I would be drowning in tears right now.
As famous as this book is, I never...moreOH MY GOD.
I can't. I just can't.
If my tear ducts would operate correctly, I would be drowning in tears right now.
As famous as this book is, I never put much stock in it until I picked up a version to read on the plane. My parents were both shocked that I'd never read it yet. I thought the reason was obvious, given that it was 1000 pages long and could serve better as a paperweight.
Epic. This book is epic. And not just because of its length. It is epic because it covers the entire length of the antebellum era, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction that overtook the South. It made me realize that from reading my history books, I've only seen one side of the story. Never did I consider the Southerners anything but people who were glued to tradition and bitter because they couldn't see justice. There might be glorification of the honor and loyalty, as well as the way they treated their slaves, but so much of the setting was real to me. It brought alive the untamed wildness of the South and the pride that the people there put in their legacies and their land, as well as the devastation that the war wreaked on everyone there. The characterization, also, was brilliant. There wasn't any important character that you'd forget, from the way their personalities are shown through their words and actions. Scarlett, of course, was the shining jewel of it all: intense, headstrong, passionate, and manipulative. Her flaws were so evident and I hated her for being so nasty and bitchy, but her sense of survival and the courage that brought her through the deaths of so many of her loved ones and her losses have to be admired greatly. I may have given this book five stars, but I hated the way she acted. I hated how she mooned after her ideal of a man, how she couldn't see Rhett properly, how she treated her children, how she wished everyone who stood in her way dead. But how many of us are self-aware enough to see these things? How many of us have given into selfishness and would have crumbled if we had the weight that Scarlett had to carry, if we had to support so many people off of so little? I hated her, but it is because of her that this book is so beautiful and profound.
I was anxious half the time, because I already got the ending ruined for me, and while I was looking at quotes from the book, I accidentally happened upon the very last line. And that was when I knew that everything would go to hell and there'd be no happy ending. Maybe it was because of that that the ending gave me hope instead of ruining everything. It seems fitting that at the very end, Scarlett shows her old determination. After an entire book where her determination turned out results, I can only hope that this constancy runs into the future, even if there is no sequel. I can't imagine Mitchell sitting down to write another 1000 page book anyway (one is already accomplishment enough), and you know if she wrote less, the second book would never be as epic as the first.
I could talk about so much more, about how Melanie is the epitome of the Southern ideal, of Rhett as this foul, condescending man who is still a gentleman. I could talk about how damned angry I am that his arrogance and Scarlett's arrogance couldn't give it a rest, and how mad I am that they never were in a situation where both could sincerely express love for each other. But this isn't just a love story. It's about how a woman builds her own way up from the ruins of her past. It's about the loss of a past that can't ever be rebuilt, the honor of a civilization, and the capacity for forgiveness and understanding in a human being. I may despise the characters, the plot may have infuriated me, but I can't deny the depth and profundity that this book offers. (less)
There's a reason this book got a Printz Prize, and it ain't because it has sparkly vampires. Jellicoe Road, to me, encompassed all the things life is...moreThere's a reason this book got a Printz Prize, and it ain't because it has sparkly vampires. Jellicoe Road, to me, encompassed all the things life is made of. There is trauma, sadness, grief, and yet, the underlying message is that there will always be hope, and that it's never too late. The main character, Taylor, has her hatred and quick judgment of others, but she also has remarkable courage and love for the people in her life, although she takes a while to realize it. The job that Marchetta does in expressing each character's nuances is nearly perfect. I can remember all the characters in the book, it seems: Jude, Fitz, Narnie, Ben, Raffaela, Santangelo, Tate, Taylor, Jessa, Chloe P...They all have such differences, yet their love for each other is all the same. And don't even get me started on Jonah.
Jonah may be one of the most realistic boys I've ever read. Broken, damaged, yet still capable of love. He stands out to me as someone full of issues but still able to care behind it all, especially when he says, "'I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will be happening in my lifetime.'” If that isn't fittingly romantic, I don't know what is.
You get those stories that are full of death, angst, and tragedy, but it's rare where you see something so poignant and profound beneath it all. When I first picked up the book, the prologue captured me, especially its last line: "Wonder dies." After I read that, I knew I had to keep reading. The first hundred pages, I had absolutely no idea what was happening, but I read the reviews on Goodreads ahead and decided to keep reading, since everyone said it would be worth it. And it completely was. It seems impossible that all the pieces could finally come together, but they did, and maybe that's what Marchetta was trying to do: let our discoveries parallel Taylor's, so that when she came to her revelation, we were right there with her. This book took me on a bumpy ride, made me sad and made me laugh, and it ultimately made me understand that things do have the potential to get better.(less)
Oh, I feel so satisfied. I was so afraid when I began reading this book. Since the second book, Bardugo hasn't struck me as the type of person who lets you leave a book happy.
By all means, this series isn't perfect; some things come a bit too easy, and some people get a bit too whiny. It's an age-old concept: the struggle between light and dark. Bardugo takes this idea and plops it in the middle of a frightening and exotic landscape of ancient legends and creatures. But it's so much more than that. It's a majestic world built by violence, loyalty, and patriotism that somehow makes its way through the ruins because of some very special people.
For some reason, I've always felt very drawn to the Grisha series because the struggle that takes place within it, while epic and fantastical, is something that I can understand in the deepest part of my being. The conflicts that Alina encounters are difficult, to say the least, and you can clearly feel her inner turmoil. So many times characters are faced with two choices, but one is always the clearest, and there isn't much effort made over choosing it. This story could've gone the route of overdramatic and cheesy, but there is the perfect blend of sacrifice and danger to eliminate any chances of that happening.
I'll be honest, I thought Bardugo sunk a little bit too much into the sarcastic, witty dialogue and didn't explore the depths of her characters (I'm mostly thinking of Zoya), but the funny talk made me laugh when things were getting too dire. She once again doesn't cease to amaze with the sweeping descriptions of the ruined land of Ravka and the dazzling brilliance of the caves that Alina ventures through. And the relationship between Alina and Mal is just so AHHH. It's so understated, told through single sentences and small movements, but I loved every minute.
So Alina and Mal win Best Couple Award. The Darkling wins Best Villain. As much as this series was about Alina, it was also about him. I could call him a foil to her character, but he's not that. He's something much more. I can't help but compare this series to the one I recently finished, Daughter of Smoke Bone. Where the theme of that one was hope, the theme of this one was faith. At first glance, they seem similar, but faith anchored this book, and it made me believe until the last page was flipped. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Not only am I mourning that awful cliffhanger and the fact that I won't get to read the next book until next year, I am mourning Mal...moreI AM IN MOURNING.
Not only am I mourning that awful cliffhanger and the fact that I won't get to read the next book until next year, I am mourning Mal, Alina, Genya, David, and all the other characters that Bardugo has mercilessly tormented throughout this book. I've never had my emotions manipulated so harshly before. This book is more scarring than a bad breakup. And seriously, what is with all the attractive but damaged men in this book? I guess you just can't have it all.
If you follow my reviews, you probably noticed that there was a lot of this:
In between all the crying, though, I forgot to mention that there was also a lot of this:
To be honest, Shadow and Bone didn't make that much of an impression on me. The only things I really remember about it are Russians and the Darkling turning out to be more than a fancy vampiric incarnation. This sequel, I suspect, will stay with me much longer. Like its predecessor, I got through it all within two days. If there's one thing that Bardugo does perfectly, it's her pacing. It's not extremely fast or slow, it's Goldilocks's ideal porridge.
Where Shadow and Bone was tamer, more of an introduction of all the things that the characters of Alina's world were capable of, Siege and Storm dives right in, beginning with the Darkling resurfacing and a romp over the seas. Immediately, you have to appreciate the world Bardugo has created and the intricacy of each aspect, from the mythical creatures that roam it and the elaborate hierarchy of the Grisha and royalty. I must say, I love the names she's created for each part of her world. They make me want to visit Russia and make me momentarily forget that if I do visit, I won't be able to say anything besides "Da, Kapitan." In between all the political intrigue and fighting, Mal and Alina get their moments. But these moments are so fleeting, I was always left wanting more, and that was basically what tortured me throughout the entire book. It's like watching a slow-motion car crash; you see the void widening, yet all you can do is helplessly read on. Anyway, the problem of the Darkling explored in the first book basically lays eggs and expands to horrifying proportions, but I'll let you all enjoy the gory details when you read the book, though I feel like I'm discouraging people from reading it...
I love Mal. I really do.
“No, Alina. You came here for Ravka. For the firebird. To lead the Second Army.” He tapped the sun over his heart. “I came here for you. You’re my flag. You’re my nation."
How can you not love him? Even in the end when he was pissing me off, I still loved him. I must add that the end with Alina and him really disappointed me. (view spoiler)[Some part of me thinks that he's stopped loving her because she's become so hideous, (hide spoiler)] and I just want someone (preferably Leigh Bardugo herself) to tell me that this isn't true and that they'll get their happy ending. But what are the chances of that? I mean, all hell has broken loose. There's no way. God, I'm so bitter right now. To all the people who are shipping the Darkling and Alina, you guys are so twisted. He's psychotic. Yet there are parts of him that are disturbingly human, and it's just AUGH. It's freaky. Oh yeah, and while I'm extolling the males in this book, Sturmhond. Nikolai. Hohoho. Alina can take Mal. I'll take him. He's a bit confusing, and we're never too sure what his intentions are, but he's really got the cocky thing down. I look forward to a further exploration of his personality in the next book. That is, if Bardugo doesn't kill him off before that happens... She's getting a bit bloodthirsty and power hungry. Like Alina! Hahahaha. Bad joke. Okay. Moving on.
Alina is such a strong character. I'm not really a fan of the whole there is darkness within me and I'm sinking into it but there's nothing I can do struggle. But Bardugo maintains this balance between Alina's darkness and her determination that I couldn't help but admire her and go NOOOO *sob* when bad things happened because of her. Through her actions, I could understand the huge burden placed on her shoulders and how hard it was on her to make everyone happy, how the knowledge of how she was to be responsible for an entire world was eating her up inside. She's stupid, fearless (though it could be argued that those two are the same thing), determined, and strong. She is really the driving force behind this entire book, and so, so human.
There are fewer light-hearted moments in this book, though there were still snatches of dialogue that made me laugh. Part of me wishes for those simple, happy moments between Mal and Alina to be back, but I know that those are gone. The awful cliffhanger can attest to that. Also, I've heard rumors of a fourth book... Which only means my suffering is going to be prolonged another year. Shit is going down, and I want a front row seat. If you want one too, I suggest you read this book immediately and pester Bardugo until she has no choice but to urge her publishers to hurry up.
P.S. Never ever entrust your nation to someone named Vasily. P.P.S. Apologies for any harsh words or incoherency in this review. I am not in the most eloquent of states right now. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Review for another time when I don't have all this homework piled up because I just spent my entire day finishing this book.
Edit: Now that I have a b...moreReview for another time when I don't have all this homework piled up because I just spent my entire day finishing this book.
Edit: Now that I have a bit of time, I'd just like to say how this book has made me chronically sad. I don't know how John Green does it, but everything he writes has such depth. I was taking down quotes every couple pages (I'm going to convince my teacher to let me do my literary analysis paper on this book). He gives such life to his characters, you can easily imagine that his books are just biographies of their lives, and that somewhere, their lives are still going on. We have Hazel, the protagonist, and she is amazingly strong and unique. She has cancer, but the cancer hasn't taken her over. Throughout the book, she maintains her own identity, though she comes into conflict with the effect that cancer will have on her and the people she loves. She calls herself a "grenade," and I think that's a bit of a universal term for all of us who have families and people who love us.
And Augustus, my goodness. A boy who is sweet, funny, gorgeous, yet impeccably real. When he (view spoiler)[died (hide spoiler)] I think I did a little bit too. It just got to me because I felt like he was a real person.
We have Augustus and Hazel, but we have everyone else too. Hazel's caring parents, who are as important because they must have a daughter with cancer. Green beautifully portrays the feelings of both the cancer patient and those who have to deal with the illness. And Isaac, who's an observant third person suffering himself. He has a story all of his own.
Now, onto the theme of the book. Green was trying to show that even if we don't have control over our fates or whether we become heroes in history, there is still a possibility of enjoying life. And he accentuates this with a trip to the Netherlands and a book that I seriously thought was real. There are so many unconventional ideas in this book that it's become a living, breathing thing of its own. I'm still pretty torn over the ending, and I won't be forgetting Augustus and Hazel for a long time. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book was truly a masterpiece. It takes a lot to get the courage to narrate something in such an unconventional yet fitting way, and Zusak managed...moreThis book was truly a masterpiece. It takes a lot to get the courage to narrate something in such an unconventional yet fitting way, and Zusak managed it with a skillful artistry that moved me completely. I'm not going to say any more about it because I don't think I could manage to describe the beauty he gave to words and how they breathed life into the characters living along Himmel Street, suffering and rejoicing during the events of World War II. That, I think, is something that everyone should experience for themselves. (less)
There needs to be a destination, even if it's way off in the haze of my unlived life. And in that life, I'd like to be an artist.
I have a headache from reading this book. I think this is one of the few times where I'm pleased, despite the pounding in my head.
I honestly didn't expect the impact this story would leave on me. Maybe a few iguanas, some rain forest talk, barracudas...But Hubbard managed to make this into something profound. She brought the eternal problem of discovering yourself to South America, and in the process, she made something beautiful.
To begin with, the main character, Bria, has incredible character development. Over the course of her stay in various places of the wilderness, she develops her own independence and confidence in fighting for what she loves. Of course, she is pretty pitiful in the beginning, but I found it adorable instead of irritating. She has a voice that's completely sincere. As a teenager, I can completely sympathize with the way she feels: torn between places. Her connection to her art reminded me of how much I love my own writing and the possessiveness that comes with our own personal creations. Also, I loved the little pieces that Hubbard would slip in that made Bria so much more believable. For example, there's this one part when she's trying to put on her summer dress in front of Rowan and two other girls and gets stuck before she can get it all the way on. It's stuff like that that makes me believe that the author really has gotten into the mindset of the characters she's writing and knows that it's not just pretty words that makes a story: it's voice. And I'm happy to say that Bria's is an especially enjoyable one to read.
Onto Rowan. Damn, does he sound like a delicious piece of man meat. Despite his ponytail. Ha. I loved that he had his own problems, and that his bad boy past hadn't turned him into some dark poetry-reciting maniac (It has happened in other books. I would know.). Throughout the story, he comes off as someone truly likable and sweet, with a big heart and secrets of his own that he won't share unless the right person comes along. I loved tracking how he changes and opens himself to Bria throughout the novel, and I'm thankful that Hubbard never made their love story easy. Caution: whenever Rowan and Bria seem to be getting along better, don't get your hopes up. Something, be it Scandinavian giants or seasickness, will probably mess it up. Those who've read this book know what I'm talking about. But it all comes down to the issue of trusting someone else, not just with your safety, but with who you really are. That's why those who are sick of insta-love and unrealistic characters should read this book. There are real discoveries of what it means to exist in this world, and what it takes to step out of the comfort zone and pursue dreams that are actually worthwhile.
Not only do we have a hilarious, lovable, and begrudging travel couple, we have the beautiful backdrop of South America and the Caribbean. After all this, I have a hankering to visit there. Although I would never backpack. It sounds brutal, and I like comfortable hotels. Yup. Anyway, the way Hubbard describes the seas and brilliant sunsets are so vivid, it makes me yearn to be able to experience it once in my life, too. The drawings that were included were a lovely addition, especially the last couple ones, which let me visualize what kinds of people Starling, Rowan, and Bria are. I'm actually considering buying this book, which is big, since I'm pretty stingy in buying books because I think I won't ever read them again.
In truth, I don't think any review I write can do this book justice. You'd have to read it to know why I love it so much. Just like Bria observes that people can't understand the beauty of travel unless they've done it themselves.
READ THIS BOOK. If you don't like it (which is doubtful), at the very least you won't have felt like you lost brain cells in the end. (less)
I read this when I was a child, but I only remember bits and pieces. Reading it with my sister was a new experience, and I didn't know the ending,...more:')
I read this when I was a child, but I only remember bits and pieces. Reading it with my sister was a new experience, and I didn't know the ending, so that really surprised me. Despite all the loss, love is still the prevailing theme in this book, and it's the reason Edward's story is so beautiful. (less)
I don't know if I can write a review that will fully articulate the impact that this book had on...moreThis review can also be found on The Dreaming Reader.
I don't know if I can write a review that will fully articulate the impact that this book had on me.
If I Lie is a contemporary read that is fully contemporary. It has none of those charming happy endings or fluffy kisses. Instead, it contains nothing but reality and the fact that even when things become the worst that they can be, there's nothing to do but remain stoic and keep trying to escape.
Sophie's story is not an easy one to read. She is intensely ridiculed by her old friends, hated by everyone in her small town because she "cheated" on her boyfriend, Carey. Recently, I read a book, Speechless, that involved the same sort of high school ridicule. But Speechless has nothing on If I Lie. Sophie isn't just hiding a secret from everyone; she's also juggling the feelings she has for Carey's best friend, the stony silence of her father, and the way her mother abandoned her years ago. Jackson weaves a complex and heartbreaking plot, and there's no way for you not to sympathize for Sophie and admire her bravery for keeping Carey's secret safe despite everything. In addition, the loving relationship she has with George just tears you apart. I was very close to crying when I got to the end of this book.
There is extraordinary depth in this book. Not just to Sophie and the push and pull factors that lead her to keep her secret, but also to side characters like her mother and father. It's so hard to understand how they could treat their daughter the way they do, but you come to realize that it's all about that one defining moment when things change forever. Sometimes, you can't go back. All of the characters can be related to, with the exception of Jamie, who's just a bitch. There's nothing good about her, but you can understand that because of her position, as someone who's always loved someone who never loved her back, who's always had to stand out of the spotlight. It makes sense that she would fight back.
If I Lie has a bittersweet ending. It shows that there are some wounds that can't ever be healed, and that sometimes, we have to put ourselves first in order to be happy. But there's also the importance of friendship, and how, with the right people, those bonds will never fall apart. I think that's what Jackson wanted to emphasize: the power of friendship. The characters make millions of mistakes and are defined by their flaws, almost. In the end, this matters, but so do blood and loyalty, which also reflects the attitude in the army. Even if two men hate each other, they'll still save each other.
Jackson uses gorgeous language to express Sophie's emotions, and if you look at my status updates on Goodreads, you'll see some of them. She also calls attention to the "don't ask, don't tell," policy. Before this, I assumed that it was a good policy to just keep it on the DL, but now I've realized that's no way to live. Not sneaking around and getting beaten up for something you can't control.
Overall, this book... made me speechless. This isn't one of those "WOWZA SO GOOD" books, but it's one that makes you think about your perceptions of other people and makes you want to know their stories. Because we don't know each other's stories, and that's what handicaps us in our judgment. If you want to feel, then I suggest reading this, because you definitely will. There's quite a lot of crying, but it's understandable because of all the shit that Sophie's been through. One of my favorite parts was her relationship with an old veteran at the hospital, George. It was tear-worthy, especially their banter and the way George treats her like a daughter. Jackson has basically twisted my heartstrings into an ugly mess, and I'm recovering slowly.
Maybe I'll be able to stir up some motivation to read While He Was Away now, but I doubt it.
Thanks PulseIt for giving me a chance to read&review this book.(less)