This one also started a bit slowly. It's another book about a monarch struggling to rule a troubled realm. For some reason, these have been the typesThis one also started a bit slowly. It's another book about a monarch struggling to rule a troubled realm. For some reason, these have been the types of books I've enjoyed this year. It's a little odd.
I hardly remember the other books in the series at this point (or even, honestly, if I read all of them). Still this is an interesting book about a grace (special ability - sort of like X-Men mutations) gone wrong and how it managed to nearly destroy a kingdom.
Bitterblue, the young queen, struggles to figure out all that is happening in her kingdom and to solve the problems she sees around her....more
I wavered between a 2 and a 3. This book started mighty mighty slowly. It didn't get good until the real intrigue began. Celyn is a good character thoI wavered between a 2 and a 3. This book started mighty mighty slowly. It didn't get good until the real intrigue began. Celyn is a good character though. I like that she makes mistakes and that even though she is an accomplished spy and thief she really can't keep secrets all that well. I will read the next book of this when I get round to it.
What's in it for me in the sequel is the nice 'secondary' plot of this one - the rebellion of mages against an oppressive regime that denies all but its 'one true god.' ...more
What a lovely book. The Nac Mac Feegles are hilarious and Granny Weatherwax makes an excellent teacher as she shows up from time to time. Tiffany AchiWhat a lovely book. The Nac Mac Feegles are hilarious and Granny Weatherwax makes an excellent teacher as she shows up from time to time. Tiffany Aching herself is a very nice character too. In this book, she faces a frightening creature called a Hiver. But not without the help of the loyal brave Nac Mac Feegles (whose attempts to disguise themselves as a normal human are amazing) and Granny Weatherwax. I really loved this book and will definitely be looking up the others about Tiffany....more
I continue to really enjoy the adventures of Tiffany Aching (even as I read them a bit out of order). The Nac Mac Feegles are so funny. I really likeI continue to really enjoy the adventures of Tiffany Aching (even as I read them a bit out of order). The Nac Mac Feegles are so funny. I really like Tiffany and her grandmother a lot....more
Okay, I read 50 pages each of this and Atlas Shrugged. I think that will have to be enough.
In sum, if this was part of Andrew Ryan’s speech about RaptOkay, I read 50 pages each of this and Atlas Shrugged. I think that will have to be enough.
In sum, if this was part of Andrew Ryan’s speech about Rapture, I would find it compelling and interesting, because it’s clear the entirety of Bioshock is designed to show you what a misguided, egotistic sociopath he is, and he is great at being one and there's this sick fascination with watching his sheer hubris, but this book has no self-awareness, so I can't enjoy it that way.
It’s also an extremely interesting mirror into the author’s own mind, one feels. Although in school I was cautioned that the author is not the main character, there is a bit of a pattern that develops here only about as blatant as the broad side of a barn. Her heroes have an awful lot in common: people tend to dislike them on sight. They are all misguided geniuses. They are all original thinkers. They all have to struggle to overcome undeserving rivals who possess ambition and charisma without much talent.
I suppose I can understand the attraction of freeing oneself from the need to follow convention. Especially the way Rand spins it. She seems to suggest that ALL one need do is defy convention to show one’s true genius. Can I just suggest, there's no way that is true. It can be summed up by this absurd statement from Cameron to Roarke: “You're as good as you think you are.” I am sure lots of people want to think they are geniuses, but thinking doesn’t make it so, nor does simply throwing convention out the window.
I also think the idea that one CAN completely buck tradition is a little silly. No matter what you do you’re going to borrow from the past. That’s inevitable and I don’t even see why it’s such a bad thing. Thinking you have to just reiterate on tradition would be bad, though, I can see that.
Then there is Keating, a contemptible sort of human being, surely, but the idea that there are so few types of people in the world: contemptible social climbers who will stop at nothing to gain power, the dupes and victims of the former, and maligned misunderstood hard-working geniuses who love their work is perhaps a smidge reductive.
The cult of work is such an attraction for us in North America, I feel. There are many jobs that people like to exult to 'callings.' The first thing anyone asks when meeting someone new is what they do for a living. The fantasy of the American Dream is believed absolutely by so many. To work hard is a moral obligation and it doesn't even matter what you are working at. Since this is a pretty pervasive social attitude, I can see why so many fell under Rand's spell.
I didn't even get to (much of) the misogyny I'd heard so much about, but that's probably for the best.
Atlas Shrugged was worse so I put the rating here. There was a lot more orgiastic description of innovation and technology and originality though that was kind of entertaining, and I DID have a bit of a laugh when Hank Rearden basically had an orgasm over the first firing of his new metal. ...more
**spoiler alert** What an odd book, really. It was an interesting experiment in trying to imagine what it would be like in a society where it is accep**spoiler alert** What an odd book, really. It was an interesting experiment in trying to imagine what it would be like in a society where it is accepted that it's okay to clone people and let them grow up only to be harvested for their organs.
Something just felt really fake about it, though. I feel that I don't believe it would have been that hard for Kathy and Tommy to figure it all out. Like, how, once these kids are released from their 'prisons' do they really manage to avoid finding out just what happens to them?
I guess I understand the desire to imagine everything's okay. I do think humans do their best to convince themselves that horrible things are impossible, but this went a bit too far. I also have difficulty believing one of the kids at the school wouldn't have twigged it.
It wouldn't even take a revolutionary like Miss Lucy to reveal a secret. Kids have more intuitive understanding than people are really comfortable with and I feel something would've broken it apart at some point. I don't know. I also don't understand why they all seem so complacent about it too and none of them ever gets even a little angry.
It's a weird experience too, because the reader knows right away that no deferral is happening, so the whole end of the book is like watching a train wreck. ...more
Ah, I felt this was much better than the first one. The story wasn't so herky jerky and didn't seem to consist of fits and starts of action followed bAh, I felt this was much better than the first one. The story wasn't so herky jerky and didn't seem to consist of fits and starts of action followed by long periods of inaction. This is perhaps because the main character was busy trying to fit herself into a new culture and it was a long curve of learning.
It did still suffer from the same sort of climax as the first book, one that is much too sudden. The magic of Damar is all well and good, but it felt so odd that it just split down like a bolt of lightning and then vanished away. Hmm. It wasn't very satisfying - the main character herself acknowledges the fact!...more
So, I am not sure if it was just when I chose to read this book or what. It took me a long time to finish. I didn't ever really not want to finish itSo, I am not sure if it was just when I chose to read this book or what. It took me a long time to finish. I didn't ever really not want to finish it though. I think it might have been the constant switches in perspective. I get why it was like that - there was a lot going on in Alt Coloumb. It just isn't my favourite.
Anyway, the protagonist is cool, tough, talented, intelligent and brimming with magic.
It's funny I took this out in a batch from the library with Small Gods by Pratchett, because the idea of gods being fuelled by their worshippers is very much present here as well. I also love the ambiguity of these 'real' gods. Their huge networks of power and ability to make their followers rapt with love. They can sort of take over human's minds and make them slaves to care for them, since they have no physical bodies and can't take care of themselves. It makes you uneasy to think of them, which is interesting.
I will definitely read another of these at some point even though this one really dragged for me some of the time....more
It started out really slowly for me with the girls at school. I understand in hindsight why it happened that way.
I like some of the things that have bIt started out really slowly for me with the girls at school. I understand in hindsight why it happened that way.
I like some of the things that have been set up here. I particularly like the different sorts of magic employed by the cold mages and also by Cat and Bee.
I am a little irritated that both of the girls seem to have to have their love interest. I did like the way that all of the revelations about Cat were slowly revealed. I liked that neither of the girls resigned herself to being powerless in the struggles they find themselves facing. Even though they are pawns in this story, they are pawns who intend to fight back. I will check out the next book....more
Well, weird. I mean, sometimes I love her stories. "The Wizards of Perfil" is in this collection too. I didn't re-read it because I just read it. "TheWell, weird. I mean, sometimes I love her stories. "The Wizards of Perfil" is in this collection too. I didn't re-read it because I just read it. "The Constable of Abal" was a great story too. I loved the setting. Sometimes her stories are tolerable with really bad endings: "Pretty Monsters," "The Wrong Grave," "The Specialist's Hat" and "The Surfer."
I think a lot of problems spring from the fact she took a page out of O. Henry's books and has this need to provide a twist ending. But it's okay, you know? Sometimes a twist ending isn't necessary. When it works, it works. Like "The Wizards of Perfil" and to a lesser extent "The Surfer."
She also has an unfortunate attraction to meta-narrative. "Pretty Monsters" was all swollen up with this trick. It was a story about a story a girl was reading in the story and then two girls reading about the girl reading the story. It added nothing to either of the narratives except a 'ha, gotcha' moment, in my opinion. But anyway, I have a notorious dislike of these things, so.
Then there's the story that was so wretched I almost didn't finish it. That's right, a short story: "Magic for Beginners." It's a short story about a boy who's obsessed with a TV show. Everything in it is pure nonsense. I get whimsy, right? I also get nonsense for nonsense's sake, but you need the nonsense to be umm good? Interesting? To have some kind of internal nonsensical logic? Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, right? Willy Wonka is completely bonkers and so is everything about his candy factory, but it's an endearing bonkers. It's a bonkers you can enjoy and sympathize with. Let me explain using examples from the story.
So the characters all love this TV show called The Library. It's supposed to be super great. It sounds like about the dumbest most annoying show I have ever heard: "One episode of The Library takes places inside the top drawer of a card catalogue, in pitch dark, and it's all in Morse Code with subtitles." That really sounds like a joy to watch: "In one episode of The Library, everyone was invisible [. . .] Invisible Forbidden Books were fighting invisible pirate-magicians and the pirate-magicians were fighting Fox and her friends, who were also invisible." Oompa Loompas and chocolate rivers and Everlasting Gobstoppers are things I think would be cool, but this stuff isn't.
This spills into the 'actual' story too, but wait, it's because the story itself is a TV show about the people who watch this TV show. I wouldn't watch this show either: "[. . .] if Jeremy asked his father about kissing Elizabeth his father might suggest that Jeremy not worry about giant spiders when he kisses Elizabeth. Jeremy's father's advice usually has something to do with giant spiders." Yeah, he's a horror novel writer and he's supposed to be quirky and funny, but he sounds like a jerk. So I almost raged and threw this book against a wall during this story, but I guess I'm okay with the fact I didn't because the other stories were decent. I'm also glad I borrowed it from the library....more