When comparing the books within the series, this one rates low for me - maybe my second leat favorite.
Of course,...more**spoiler alert** Last read 12/1-3/10
When comparing the books within the series, this one rates low for me - maybe my second leat favorite.
Of course, #6 out of 7 of a great series is still a good read. It's just it seemed a bit sluggish in places.
It does have some great little bits, though, which set up for future installments, not the least of which being the discussion between Harry and Dumbledore at the end, and the pensieve-like qualities of the diary.
And I do love old Gilderoy - he's just so annoying smarmy, it can't help being funny. :>(less)
I'm not really sure why, but I had a hard time getting into this book. It didn't particularly drag or anything, and it was entertaining and enjoyab...more2.5
I'm not really sure why, but I had a hard time getting into this book. It didn't particularly drag or anything, and it was entertaining and enjoyable enough, but it just didn't grip me, so to speak.
I think part of the problem - the biggest problem, really - is that there's not really a lot of time with character development, aside from, and even including, the two main protagonists. All of the adults are pretty much interchangeable - they all protect the kids, with pretty much the same motives and actions and lines. There are probably some little personality quirks that I'm missing, but, honestly, aside from Tanu, there's little to differentiate them.
And then we meet some new characters who we meet even less, and then some of them die, and, really, we don't care in the slightest because they don't really exist as characters. They're just plot devices. You sympathize with Kendra a little, when she's sorry for their loss, but only a little.
As I said, it's entertaining enough, and the plot keeps you interested enough, but it would be better, overall, if you were actually invested in the characters.
But it was entertaining, if a bit repetitive with the clues and whatnot, which elevates it that extra half-step.
(I went onto the author's website just to find out what his plans were for the series, and it ends with the fifth - so this is good. I hate those series that just go on and on and on and are ostensibly the same story over and over again, with no overall arc or end in sight. I'll definitely finish the series, and it's not a bad one to get into, as far as these things go.)(less)
I really liked the first book of this series, and had high hopes for it. I even recommended it to people - people who have gone on to enjoy the ser...more2.5
I really liked the first book of this series, and had high hopes for it. I even recommended it to people - people who have gone on to enjoy the series, as a whole, more than I seem to be doing.
But, for me, every book has gotten progressively less interesting, and I'm glad that it's only a 5 book series because I don't think I'd stick around if there were more than just the one book left.
Not that it's all bad. Seth is maturing and his developing powers are interesting, especially the way that his dark powers interact with Kendra's light powers. And it is very action packed, so for those who like a high amount of action and don't mind sort of shallow characters and rationales for that action, then I'm sure it's a very exciting book.
But therein lies my problem - the characterization remains weak, and this is doubly disappointing 'cause it's one of the things I liked about the first book - the development of Seth and Kendra. But whereas Seth is developing, Kendra seems kind of stuck in a rut - not to mention she refuses (view spoiler)[to give Seth a bit of leeway even when he proves himself worthy of it. (hide spoiler)]
But the other characters are pretty thin, too. I went back and reread my review from the last book and I said something about how all the adult characters, with minimal exceptions, are pretty interchangeable and just there to protect the kids. This remains true for this book, and is perhaps even worse.
And, really, it's just one adventure after another after another. And they're thrown into these situations, told they have slim chance of surviving, and yet don't seem to have much trouble real with it. They always seem to have the right maguffin for the job, and I just never felt any suspense of intensity.
I actually had to actively stop myself from skimming towards the end. Even after the big twist I still didn't really feel connected. I had a twinge of "Huh, really? Well, that sucked," but that's it. And (view spoiler)[Gavin was probably my favorite character of the series, so I should've felt more when he ended up being a bad guy, breaking Kendra's heart, and then getting eaten! (hide spoiler)] I should've felt sad, or angry, or heartbroken, or something. Anything.
I think part of it is the thin characterization, but part of it is the writing, too. There are big info-dumps that arrive at conveniently placed plot-points, the writing - especially the dialogue - is kind of clunky and unrealistic sounding, and everything is spelled out, leaving no room for any kind of subtext.
I know someone is reading this and thinking "you're expecting too much of a kids book", or something to that effect, and all I'll say is that I read a lot of middle grade books that manage it, so that's no excuse.
Anyway, I just really hope that the last book in the series wows me in some way, 'cause I really don't want to walk away from this series feeling disappointed.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
After the fourth re-read I've noticed some hiccups and glitches that I hadn't noticed before, but I still thoroughly enjoy the characters, their inter...moreAfter the fourth re-read I've noticed some hiccups and glitches that I hadn't noticed before, but I still thoroughly enjoy the characters, their interaction, and the wit and humor of the dialogue.
Oct. 13, 2008
A pseudo-medieval adventure, sort of along the lines of Robin Hood, but following the life of a young apprentice Ranger...
I admit, the thing that first attracted me to this series was because I love the concept of Rangers thanks for Stryder in LotR. (Note I say Stryder. I always thought that character was so much more interesting before the truth of his lineage comes out.)
I was not disappointed. I ended up really loving this book, and most of the series thus far (only up to book 4 in paperback here in the States.) The characters are relatable and likable, the action is nicely paced but also matched up with some nice character moments, and a lot of dry wit. (I read a reviewer that said they didn't laugh once - but I found myself grinning wryling through most of it. Humor is so subjective, but I think if you like yours on the dry side you'll be like me and truly appreciate those subtle touches in this book.)
It's also a quick, easy read... nothing taxing, and quite enjoyable. (less)
This story has the same mix of characterization, action and humor as the first - tho perhaps just not quite on the same scale. I couldn't really put m...moreThis story has the same mix of characterization, action and humor as the first - tho perhaps just not quite on the same scale. I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first... but it's still a good sequel, and I look forward to the rest of the tale.
Oh - but one thing. I do hate cliffhangers... (less)
Ah, yes - now this is what I've come to expect from this series...
After a lackluster third installment (with another dreaded cliffhanger ending), this...moreAh, yes - now this is what I've come to expect from this series...
After a lackluster third installment (with another dreaded cliffhanger ending), this is a fitting finale to this particular arc - once again bringing Will and Halt together (and how I do love watching the growing relationship between master and apprentice... ).
There was also a return to that mix of action and wit and feeling which was lost a little bit in the last book. An enjoyable read, and a solid ending to the arc.
**Edited to add: There was one thing that sort of bothered me at the end, though. I would've liked to have seen some mention of Will's old ward mates. Jenny could easily have been helping out in the kitchen, especially since Master Cubb was mentioned. Alyss could've come to greet the two heroes at some point, either at the banquet or beforehand. I mean, they sort of started to set up a sort of romantic interest between Will and Alyss in the first two books, and then it just disappears? George wasn't missed nearly as much, because he was never as much of a presence... but, still - I just thought it felt weird not to have some mention of the five coming together at the end there...
Heck, you could've fit in a whole chapter or two of Will trying to sort out his old feelings for Alyss and his feelings for Evanlyn...
Maybe it's just me. I love action and adventure, but, even more, I love characterizations and little moments and watching them grow and mature and get confused. It's one of the things I loved about Harry Potter - watching them grow up and all those subtle little moments they have together... and it felt like such a wasted opportunity both to develop Will's character a little more, and also to truly tie the whole series together in one of those cliche "everybody visits" endings... (less)
I have something of a taste for children's and young adult fantasy stories. I'm a total geek for Harry Potter, and quite enjoyed Fablehaven, Tithe, an...moreI have something of a taste for children's and young adult fantasy stories. I'm a total geek for Harry Potter, and quite enjoyed Fablehaven, Tithe, and Wicked Lovely, amongst others. The thing is there are some children's books which, while written young, can appeal to an older audience, and there are others which are written in such a way as to make the cross-over nigh impossible. This was on of the latter...
Leaving aside the cliched plot and all the other things that people have pointed out, there were two things which annoyed me the most about the book and both of which have to do with tone. For one, I felt that the author was writing in the way that some adults speak to younger children - not as young people, but as idiots. I felt it was written more for 6 year old than a 9-12 year old - and can only wonder if I would've been offended while reading this at 12 since the tone, to me, felt so patronizing.
The other annoying thing was the way that the "Magykal" words were capitalized and bolded. It's another one of those things that makes me feel like the author thinks children are idiots - let's make sure they don't miss this special, important words! Look at this word over here! Don't miss it now, boys and girls! That's right! It's a Magyk word! (spoken in the tones of nauseatingly bad children's theater everywhere... )
It would be an exquisite torture finishing this series. Luckily for me, I'm not nearly that masochistic... (less)
This is a cute little middle-grade story which doesn't quite cross age-barriers, but which I think people of the age it's written for would probabl...more2.5
This is a cute little middle-grade story which doesn't quite cross age-barriers, but which I think people of the age it's written for would probably love. It reminded me, in some ways and at some times, of Ferngully, which I loved as a child - though it's not so similar to seem derivative.
But the story's a bit twee at times and, at times, I find the action hard to follow. One second they'd be over doing one thing, and then, all of a sudden, over there doing something else. There was a lot of this jumping around, especially when the Puddlejumpers were directly involved in the story, but it wasn't so bad that I wasn't generally able to figure out where I was.
It doesn't break any ground, and it's pretty predictable for those who know these types of stories, but, still, a decent enough read and, again, something I think the younger-types would enjoy a good deal more.(less)
I had seen, and loved, the movie before I ever read the book. One of the reasons why I wanted to read the book was because there were certain thi...more3 1/2
I had seen, and loved, the movie before I ever read the book. One of the reasons why I wanted to read the book was because there were certain things in the movie I didn't quite understand, and I hoped that the book went into some more detail or explained a few things.
Imagine my surprise when not only were those things not in the book, but that the book was a good deal different from the movie. And since I already loved the movie, I think I rated the book a bit less favorably because of its differences.
In this reread I tried to keep a more open mind, and while there are certain things I really like in the movie that are different from the book, I like the book a good deal on its own merits, too.
For one thing, the book makes a bit more sense, and characters are developed more, especially Sophie. That said, the writing does seem a bit slipshod in places, and there were more than a few times that it suffered from the "issues that could be easily solved if only people talked to each other" disease. (In fairness, at least this is sort of written in as a character trait, and not just one of those things that happens for the sake of plot development.)
I also really like the sort of Chrestomani vibe that certain aspects of the book has, namely (view spoiler)[the fact that Howl comes from our world. (hide spoiler)] This is one of my favorite parts of the book over the movie.
Overall, I rather enjoyed it, and I do want to read more about Sophie and Howl, but I didn't love it. (Mostly, I think, because the characters do act damnably annoying sometimes.)
But I'm glad I reread it with a more open mind, and I would recommend it to others.
Quick question for those who've read all three in the series - I've heard that the next book, Castle in the Air, doesn't involve Sophie and Howl much, though you do learn a bit more about them, but indirectly. I've also heard that the third book, House of Many Ways, does deal more with Sophie and Howl directly. I was wondering if it's possible to skip the second book and go straight to the third?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)