I love the concept here - small groups of people mind-meld into a single consciousness (a "join") that lives as one person with multiple bodies. I givI love the concept here - small groups of people mind-meld into a single consciousness (a "join") that lives as one person with multiple bodies. I give the world-building five stars (unique, intricate and well thought out) and the story four stars (a delightfully twisty futuristic noir). The execution, however, gets one star. I had a very, very hard time reading this. The prose is elegant, but it's very difficult to keep track of the different characters (or rather, the different "drives," which is the term for the different bodies within a join). One of the main characters is Chance, a join of five, and when we're reading about Chance's thoughts or feelings, it's just Chance. But if one of Chance's drives is walking or talking or what have you, s/he's referred to as Chance One or Chance Two or Chance Three or Chance Four or Chance Five. Chance's friend Leap, another major character, is also a join of five. So if there was a scene where Chance Three and Leap Two went to a bar, I wasn't really reading because I was so busy trying trying to figure out of this is the male doctor drive meeting with the lady guitarist drive, or the feisty female airline pilot meeting with the young Hispanic cancer patient (or what have you). Really it was just Chance meeting with Leap, but which drive/body they're in does matter, plot-wise, so I made myself a chart that I then used as a bookmark and referred to every ten seconds or so. It was exhausting. Other readers might not have this problem, though, so if the join concept intrigues you - give it a whirl. The author raises a lot of interesting ideas about humanity, mortality, individuality, and so forth....more
This is a "princess in disguise" type story. The main character is a countess from Osfridia (think Elizabethan England) who dodges an arranged marriagThis is a "princess in disguise" type story. The main character is a countess from Osfridia (think Elizabethan England) who dodges an arranged marriage by posing as one of her servants and joining The Glittering Court, a service that polishes up common girls and sends them across the sea to Adoria (think colonial America) to become wives to the colonists there. Cue mischief and mayhem.
I enjoyed this but didn't LOVE it. For context, I am an adult reader who loves the author's Vampire Academy series but couldn't really get into its spin-off series, Bloodlines. This new series isn't fantasy - more frontier romance - but it feels a little like Bloodlines to me. It's well-written and the plot is solid, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters. And while I appreciate the author touching on issues like religious freedom and the objectification of women, I do wish she would have delved a little deeper (otherwise why introduce those things at all?).
The reason I'll probably continue with the series is that the main character's two best friends have completely unresolved stories of their own, and I suspect the other books will switch to their POVs (like Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassin trilogy). 3.5 stars...more
This is a quirky, whimsical tale about a bunch of quirky, whimsical teenagers coming of age and finding their way. I enjoyed it overall but thought itThis is a quirky, whimsical tale about a bunch of quirky, whimsical teenagers coming of age and finding their way. I enjoyed it overall but thought it was a little thin. There's a lot of emotional honesty (I appreciated this aspect), plenty of teen angst, a little magic realism, and a sort-of love triangle...or square? Actually, it's a love hexagon.
The plot is basically mean-girl-dates-nice-boy-who-ditches-her-for-a-strange-girl, with a side of absentee-parents and a twist of a cherry on top. I like the author's style, but I wanted...more. I am a thirtysomething adult who enjoys reading young adult fiction, and I think perhaps this tale is more suited to actual young adults. It's edgy and emo and ethereal in a distinctly adolescent manner (which I believe it is meant to be).
The only thing I truly disliked - because it was so distracting - was the characters' names. Wink, Poppy, Midnight, Leaf, Alabama, Buttercup, Hops, Moon, Peach, etc - hard to imagine an entire town in which every kid has a funky name. Maybe that's part of the magic realism, but it made the characters feel a bit two-dimensional....more
The most helpful comment I can provide is that this is NOT Life of Pi Redux. Yann Martel is a gifted storyteller, and this book is no exception, but iThe most helpful comment I can provide is that this is NOT Life of Pi Redux. Yann Martel is a gifted storyteller, and this book is no exception, but it's a different kind of story with a very different structure. If you go into this expecting another Life of Pi, you may be disappointed. If you go into it with no expectations (other than that it be exceptionally written), you may be delighted, as I was.
The book is divided into three sections - really three separate novellas - each set in a different time period, each with its own characters and storylines, but all loosely connected by a single place, the High Mountains of Portugal. The first section, set in 1904, is about a man on a quest to locate a centuries-old crucifix. His uncle lends him his car - one of the first ever manufactured - and much of the story is a hilarious showdown between man and machine (or, as the man calls it, "metallic stallion"). The second section, set in the 1930s, is about an Agatha Christie-obsessed pathologist performing a very bizarre autopsy over one long night. The third and final section, set in 1981, is about a Canadian senator who adopts a chimpanzee. (These are the barest plot outlines, but it's difficult to provide further details without giving too much away.)
Most significantly, I think, the man at the center of each story is a man struggling with profound loss. Each goes on a quest of sorts to process his grief, to make sense of his loss, and for me that's what this book is all about. It's about humanity, mortality, and faith, about what it means to love, what it means to live, what it means to die...
As always, Martel's writing is rich with allegory and sprinkled with magic realism, though the latter is inconsistent and gives the book a somewhat disjointed feel. I loved reading each section, but I'm not sure the story as a whole came to a satisfactory conclusion for me. But then, maybe that's the point? Our endings are not always neat and tidy and satisfactory; sometimes they're messy and painful and unexpected. Making sense of them is the challenge....more
Though I was absolutely sold on the description of this novel - the history and intersection of myth, magic, fairy tales and faith - I struggled to geThough I was absolutely sold on the description of this novel - the history and intersection of myth, magic, fairy tales and faith - I struggled to get through it. There is a lot (a LOT) of dense history and backstory, some of it interesting, almost all of it a chore to read. I appreciate the author's vast knowledge of Catholic history and Celtic lore, but he is not good at translating that into story. It reads as if he felt obliged to cram in every morsel of information he had, storytelling (and editing) be damned. There's a lot of potential in the material, but what the author delivers is convoluted, clumsy and cluttered. I just couldn't get into the story at all. I hate to be so negative about a debut effort, but I honestly cannot recommend this to anyone....more
I enjoyed the first book in this series (unique zombie mythology, hilarious dialogue), but each successive one has beenTHIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
I enjoyed the first book in this series (unique zombie mythology, hilarious dialogue), but each successive one has been more and more disastrous. This installment is the worst of the bunch. The writing is terrible, the plot is lazy, and the instalove is cringe-worthy. It's fairly obvious that the author had no plans for a fourth book until her fans revolted over Kat's death and demanded a happy ending for Frosty. What's her solution? Force a romance between Frosty and the only unattached female character left - who just happens to be the person responsible for Kat's death. How does she convince us this could possibly ever happen, that Frosty would EVER forgive Camilla? By a) giving Camilla a history of abuse to make her more sympathetic (LAZY), and b) suggesting that Kat and Frosty were never meant to be together in the first place (EVEN LAZIER - and more importantly, RUDE). Lastly, minus all the stars for trotting out that horrid, cliched descriptive "all the girls wanted to be with him, and all the guys wanted to be him" (recycled from one of the earlier books - it was lazy the first time, and now it's the LAZIEST EVER). I wish I could back in time and not read this. ...more