I was sent this as a gift and finished it in an afternoon. The story itself is okay: a young man discovering that he is special and is recruited intoI was sent this as a gift and finished it in an afternoon. The story itself is okay: a young man discovering that he is special and is recruited into a group of like-wise special young people to fight in a battle against a creeping evil who wants to take over the world for non-specified but thoroughly evil reasons in a black-and-white type of way.
That's the broad-strokes. Not breaking any ground here. The details are a little better, but not by much. "Story" is not the reason to read this.
What really makes this book enjoyable are three things: first, the language. The writing itself is lovely and well-paced. Excellent word-usage, sentence structure and nuance. Sentences tend to capture one's eyes and drag them to the end of the line. It is neither dumbed-down nor pretentiously verbose. It is excellent writing in and of itself. Hats off to "Ransom Riggs" for that, at least.
Secondly, there are the characters. While several of them are rather rote, there is life inhabiting all of their words and actions. The less-central characters tend to fair a better than some of the central ones for some reason, too; especially the few that suggest that the heroes of the book might be just a little evil themselves, making multi-faceted and highly realistic personalities.
The third reason, and, I have to say my biggest reason, is the pictures. Oh, lord: the pictures. I am right in the sweet-spot demographic audience for this book just because of the collection of odd, black-and-white and sepia-toned photographs that illustrate this book. Weird, lovely, eerie ... shots that look like they range from about 1880 to around 1955, their subjects floating or on fire or just oddly positioned and the like. I collect old photographs I find at various junk shops and this book was apparently inspired-by similar (but much better) collections of old, out-of context pictures. Without the pictures this book is a slightly-better-than-run-of-the-mill YA fiction. WITH the pictures the books becomes almost transcendent.
Recommended, if you're into this sort of thing. ...more
A young-adult book that doesn't flinch and in no way talks-down to its audience.
Set in a distopian future, this book starts off a series centered arouA young-adult book that doesn't flinch and in no way talks-down to its audience.
Set in a distopian future, this book starts off a series centered around a young woman selected by an annual lottery to be sent from her village to the Capitol to try to kill eleven other children on live television for the pleasure of the ruling class in a gladitorial event called the Hunger Games (hence the name of the book.) The point of the games is to remind all the little districts that any uprisings against the Capitol will be useless: the Capitol has so much control over their lives and so little care for them that they kill their children for sport.
Exciting, well written, and engaging, this book is a great start to a series. Plus, it's also terrifying. I think it's possible this sort of thing could happen. Human nature dictates that it might. So maybe I should mark these books ar "horror," too.
I still feel weird putting these under the heading of "children’s books." They aren't, really, and never have been. Even when the main character was jI still feel weird putting these under the heading of "children’s books." They aren't, really, and never have been. Even when the main character was just a ten year old girl.
So. This is the last of the Tiffany Aching books and the last time we will ever hear of Granny Weatherwax or Nanny Ogg ever again, thanks to Mr. Pratchett's disease. I am given to understand that most of this book was, by necessity, dictated.
And it's not a bad book. Quite good, given the circumstances. But a lot of characters from the Discworld seemed to just show up out of no where. It was like they were saying goodbye. Parts of it felt, when I read them, the way that last scene from the movie Labyrinth felt when I watched it. You know, when Hoggle and Ludo and everyone are telling Sarah goodbye. "If you should need us ..."
Man. I'm sort of tearing up. Hold on a sec.
AND we finally get to find out what the hell happened to Esk. I've been wondering about her for years. No lie. It was nice. It felt tidy and correct.
Parts of this book were really rather rough. It was much darker in places than many of his other books. I mean, any book that starts out with the near-death of a thirteen year old pregnant girl because her father tried to beat her into the ground is going down a rather particular path, if you know what I mean.
Other parts felt a little rushed. Like the love-interest. I'm not spoiling anything to say there is one in this book. Nor am I spoiling anything to say that it felt very sudden.
However, over all, this is an excellent end to the Aching series and a rather good book from my favorite author of Modern fantasy.
An historical fantasy of the steampunk varity for young adults. Lots of fun. Imagines a world where World War I was fought with stam-and-gear robots aAn historical fantasy of the steampunk varity for young adults. Lots of fun. Imagines a world where World War I was fought with stam-and-gear robots and huge, genetically engineered animals.
Not terribly trying. A brain-candy book and the obvious start to a series. I found myself bored with half of the story until the two main threads of the narrative came together and I could no longer avoid it. but the book was, overall, pretty cute. I won't go looking for the sequals, but if my husband brings one home I will most certainly read it....more
I liked this story very much. It reminded me of an extended version of a story-within-a-story that Mr. Gaiman wrote in Fragile Things called (I thinkI liked this story very much. It reminded me of an extended version of a story-within-a-story that Mr. Gaiman wrote in Fragile Things called (I think) "October in the Chair." The larger story is delicious in and of itself, being a glimpse into a meeting of the months who have all gathered to tell each other stories; but the story inside that one, the story which was told by October, is about a lonely and unremarkable boy who runs away from home and makes his first friend: the ghost of a boy his age. There's more to it than that, but “The Graveyard Book" felt like something which may have come from that shorter story. Or I could be reading more into it than I should. Either way.
Ostensibly for children, the book itself is the perfect amount of fantasy, humor, and darkness that children love and grown-ups usually think is too fantastic, humorous, and dark for children because most grown-ups have forgotten. But I digress. It was a quick read, with beautiful illustrations by Dave McKean (who did all the covers for the Sandman graphic novels... at least the ones I have, anyway). ...more
I spent a great deal of this book just flipping through waiting for something to happen. Anything. Anything at all. Very disappointing. I liked the fiI spent a great deal of this book just flipping through waiting for something to happen. Anything. Anything at all. Very disappointing. I liked the first one and found the second one okay. Well, I found it Okay-I-Guess. This final installment in the series I found predictable, tiresome and overdone....more
I read this book for the first time when I was maybe ten years old. Maybe nine. Possibly eleven. Doesn't really matter: I read it. And I've read it seI read this book for the first time when I was maybe ten years old. Maybe nine. Possibly eleven. Doesn't really matter: I read it. And I've read it several times over again. It's a dangerous book and a beautiful book. Gentle and well written and, while ostensibly for "young adults," never once panders or condescends. This book was the catalyst for my (so far) life long fascination for theoretical physics. And, weirdly enough, foreign languages.
While it could, like the Chronicles of Narnia, be classified as being a Christian allegory; A Wrinkle in Time is less direct and blatant about it: it's simple good verses evil, hate verses love, and does go out of its way to only mention Jesus in the same breath as Gandhi, Buddha, Beethoven and Schweitzer and Shakespeare; the point being not a particular faith or religion (or even religiousness), but of carrying hope and love to its obvious conclusion: to balance the darkness and to fight hate.
If one backs off a step or two in depth, however, A Wrinkle in Time is a top-notch fantasy/sci-fi about an excellent and credibly believable family (and Calvin) being conscripted into a struggle to get their father back from the clutches of evil, alternate-universe bureaucrats, aided by three angles/witches/transdimentional sisters who are known by grammatical designations.
It's a great book. Very comforting for me and one of my very favorites. I'm reading it night now and am thoroughly comforted, I assure you. I'd recommend this book and the three that followed it, to anyone at all who likes reading. ...more