This book might have been saved by better writing. Unfortunately, it had the lamest attempts at simile and poetry I have read in a while. Not a...moreBoring.
This book might have been saved by better writing. Unfortunately, it had the lamest attempts at simile and poetry I have read in a while. Not an actual quote: "The sand felt slightly damp, as if it were waiting for the tide to come in and soak it." Um, okay. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Also not an actual quote: "They were superheroes battling each other for world domination." Yay. Great. That might have worked if either of the guys in question were in any way super or heroic.
The character development was basically nonexistent. The development of character relationships was also nonexistent. Especially in the beginning, there was little sense of the time that was supposed to have passed. As a result I had no idea why Wendy would feel so close to these people. Why on earth do they care for her? I had no reason to understand Wendy's trust for them. I had no reason to care about her brothers or her search for them. I had no reason to care about surf culture (I guess that's a thing).
I must be too old for books like this. All I could think about was how lame these kids were for stealing and selling drugs in order to maintain their lifestyle of surfing and living off the grid in abandoned mansions. I was like, you know what's a good way to make enough money to surf wherever you want in the world, especially if you already have minimal expenses? Get a job, save some money, and then quit that bitch so you can travel. Or, if you're Jas, throw a tantrum until your super rich parents agree to fund a vacation. Although they had very little, these kids seemed like entitled idiots.
There were drugs, and references to beer, and stealing, and a sketchy bar with a BACK ROOM, and a skeezy guy who tries to assault Wendy, and cheap motel rooms. Oh, how EDGY. Haha, not.
The book did get slightly better in the second half, but the only reason I stuck it out that far was so I could write a review for Netgalley.(less)
Minor spoilers, but you probably already know how this book is going to end if you've read any YA novel from the 90s.
Why do I keep reading 90s teen no...moreMinor spoilers, but you probably already know how this book is going to end if you've read any YA novel from the 90s.
Why do I keep reading 90s teen novels? They're all the same. Yet I plan to add more to my to-read list after I write this review. (I found them advertised in the back of this book. That was how you found out about books before Goodreads.)
The summary for this book is so incredibly misleading. Drew is the love interest of Susan, the bland MC. On the back of the book it talks about him arriving in town. The Goodreads summary says Susan meets Drew. However, he neither arrives, nor do they actually meet in real life until literally the last couple of pages.
Susan is a good girl. It never actually says that, but she's a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the apartment above her brother's garage, and she uses place mats when she has company. With matching napkins. The real good girl role is reserved for her friend Angie, who only wants to wear her skimpy red bikini for her sexist boyfriend Brad, because she doesn't want people to get the wrong idea about her. (She wears it anyway, in case you were wondering.)
This is such a weird setup. I mean, Drew appears to Susan on her TV (or television set, as the novel quaintly puts it). He was killed by vampires and now he's warning her about a local band called the Blood Brothers. His being on the TV is sort of explained by him being a reporter, but really, what the hell is this? He's dead, a ghost, and the TV is his medium. But like I said, he and Susan meet at the end of the book and he's randomly alive. No explanation.
But there were some really good parts. One night the characters go to the Blood Brothers' club to hear the band. After the set, Susan dances with Bishop, one of the band members. It was a short scene, but it was so good and surreal. Later that night, Bishop shows up at Susan's door on a vampire errand (I'm not joking, TV Drew actually calls it a "vampire errand," haha). Anyway, the brief scenes where Bishop tries to seduce Susan are awesome. Obviously she should have given in to him and let his bad boy vampire self sweep her off her feet. God, what a wet blanket. (They say things like "wet blanket" in the book, too.)
This book just had so many open ends and random shit happening all over the place to make up the shitty mythology: a Mexican white witch, blue electric power that comes out of nowhere for no reason, vampire-made music that appears to suck out the listener's life force. There was so much potential for creepiness and sexiness, and creepy sexiness. Each of the three friends (Susan, Angie, and Freddie) are sort of paired up with a gorgeous vampire dude. There are five vampires in total, including Angie's boyfriend Brad, who's the new guy among them. And we still couldn't get some action out of all those hot vampire guys.
In short: - bland, one-note characters - cheesy dialogue ("Boy, we got out of there just in the nick of time!") - woefully underdeveloped mythology - a sexist boyfriend
However, I do think this would make a pretty cool movie. Complete with an awesome old school goth soundtrack, of course.(less)
**spoiler alert** Well, I definitely wouldn't call it "sexy." Hans and Greta were boring as heck, and their romance kind of ruined the story. Liesel w...more**spoiler alert** Well, I definitely wouldn't call it "sexy." Hans and Greta were boring as heck, and their romance kind of ruined the story. Liesel was the best character and she became a zombie.
Still, this was a good idea for a retelling. I think it might have worked better as a novel.(less)
What is this book? Is it a joke? I keep staring at my e-reader in bafflement every couple of pages.
For the first few chapters I wa...moreAll right. I'm done.
What is this book? Is it a joke? I keep staring at my e-reader in bafflement every couple of pages.
For the first few chapters I wasn't sure whether I was going to finish this one, but then I decided I'd go ahead and stick with it. So I pulled up chapter nine and was immediately presented with these gems:
Thank God for my mom! She was The Man! A Man with a Plan. Well, a Mom with a Plan. But you know what I mean.
Because of our special magic bond, wherever I was going to be from now on, Tristan needed to be close nearby. WITH ME! Wasn't that absolutely amazing? I couldn't believe my luck! It was the best news ever! I wished I could just pack him up in a suitcase and go already!
Why are there so many exclamation marks? They're all over the book, too. Not just that paragraph. Anyway, let's continue.
I laughed so much when he saw the microwave working for the first time! That was so hilarious! His eyes looked like two big saucers. It was like having my own private Back to the Future Boy. Only backwards because he was from the past and was now stuck in the future.
As my special treat of the day, I made him watch my favorite movie of all time: Jurassic Park! That was a blast!
What is this. Seriously.
Tristan is a ghost magically brought back to life within the first few chapters. The dates on his tombstone say 1938-1950. No, I didn't type that wrong. No, you're not terrible at math. He's twelve years old. How did no one catch that? Anyway, he also dresses like a greaser with his slick hair and leather jacket, even though that wasn't a thing yet in 1950. And he's twelve.
There are various other problems throughout the book, like caricatures instead of characters, needless dramatics, and unnatural dialogue. Everyone keeps saying damn, and in ways nobody actually uses that word. "You're damn right!" "I was damn sure you'd cave in!" Okay, maybe those aren't that weird, but I've never heard a teenager talk like that.
Maybe a stronger reader can make it all the way through this book and nitpick everything that's wrong with it for a really amusing review. But I could only last a quarter of the way through.(less)
Okay. I really want to see what happens with Glendower. So for that reason I might read book 3. But these are the reasons I might NOT read book 3:
1. I...moreOkay. I really want to see what happens with Glendower. So for that reason I might read book 3. But these are the reasons I might NOT read book 3:
1. I sometimes like the writing, but sometimes it pisses me off for no apparent reason. It's derivative? It tries too hard? There are paragraphs of random information between dialogue? I don't know. But I think the writing is my biggest issue with this series.
2. Blue has no female friends. If she has a life outside the boys, we don't get to see it. (Working at Nino's doesn't count.)
3. I hate that Orla was used to create tension and jealousy between Blue and the boys. Especially because of reason number 2. And of course she just has to be all skimpily dressed and making innuendoes at the boys. Gawd.
4. I don't see the appeal of Gansey as a love interest. Just . . . yuck.
5. I know Adam comes from an abusive home. I know people like him often exhibit the same sort of abusive behavior they've known. But in Adam's case, it sort of felt like a convenient way to skew him away from good and into bad. And maybe for Blue to stop having a crush on him. It felt . . . cheap.
7. Hated the Kavinsky angle. Too convenient.
6. This book was all over the freaking place. Unfocused as heck. (view spoiler)[There was a chapter where Ronan stole Gansey's Camaro. In the next chapter, Noah told Blue he was out "making trouble." Then Ronan was at his family home with his brother and his BMW. Then some other stuff happened in other chapters. Then Ronan was street racing in the Camaro. Did I miss something in the timeline here? What the eff? (hide spoiler)]
So those are my gripes. But seriously, I want these kids to find Glendower. And I want it to be as cool as the first book promised it would be.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Well. For starters, this book wasn't really about Ava Lavender at all, even though she's the one narrating. She tells us about her entire family tree...moreWell. For starters, this book wasn't really about Ava Lavender at all, even though she's the one narrating. She tells us about her entire family tree to make us understand why she was born with wings, I guess, even though I'm still not really sure why. Anyway, it should have been called The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of the Women of the Roux/Lavender Family (as told by Ava Lavender). But that might be too much of a mouthful.
Actually, I liked the book a lot more than my snarky tone lets on. As everyone else has said, the writing was lovely. There's no question about that. There were parts I really enjoyed, yet there were also parts where my interest flagged. Some parts were surprisingly, erm, graphic? highly evocative of unpleasant things? for a YA novel ((view spoiler)[sex, rape, an abusive marriage, hints of incest, dead people lingering around (hide spoiler)]). In another reality this could have been an adult magical realism novel, and in my opinion that might have been a good thing.
The weakest parts, for me, were actually the ones about Ava herself, and the strongest ones were about her family. At one point I was afraid (view spoiler)[the romance would be between a 29-year-old man and 15-year-old Lavender (hide spoiler)], but thankfully that didn't happen. I also wasn't satisfied with the demise of the villain, ((view spoiler)[if the ghosts had the power to basically snuff him out of existence, why couldn't they stop him from hurting Ava? (hide spoiler)]) even though it made for some nice imagery.
A lot of people really enjoyed this book, but something prevents me from loving it. At least I got to read a well-written book. Oh, and I also got a sudden desire to visit a bakery.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I would say I enjoyed this book for the most part. What I didn't like: The descriptions were quite wordy (but beautiful), and the ending was rushed an...moreI would say I enjoyed this book for the most part. What I didn't like: The descriptions were quite wordy (but beautiful), and the ending was rushed and unsatisfying. But I did like that I could feel Ariel's sadness. I liked the romance. I didn't mind Ariel's passiveness, especially when she begins to realize things about herself later in the book, and grows stronger.
This wasn't exactly a quick read, despite the short length. Also, the story doesn't really seem to go anywhere for a long time. I had this book on my maybe this, but I'm glad I took the time to read it. It made me wonder why I haven't read more of Block's book over the years.(less)
**spoiler alert** I finished this book before bed last night. It was a good, though surprisingly light read, given the subject matter. I kept expectin...more**spoiler alert** I finished this book before bed last night. It was a good, though surprisingly light read, given the subject matter. I kept expecting a tight little ending where everyone gets what they deserve, but it never came. This book reminded me that not every rape victim gets closure and not every rapist is locked up, and a lot of people are not going to be sympathetic to a person who's been raped.
Anyway, after I finished, I started thinking about rape and had so many angry thoughts I had trouble falling asleep. I'm going to write them here, so this isn't really a review so much as a rant. With forceful language.
Fuck people who just assume girls "cry" rape. And fuck that terminology.
Fuck insensitive people who try to "do the right thing" for victims by making them feel more isolated and guilty and question that they were ever raped in the first place, and fuck that these people might not even know how they're wrong.
Fuck a narrow definition of rape.
Fuck the people who shame victims to an astonishingly hateful degree and teach our sons and daughters to do the same.
Maybe you raped someone once, even if you don't think you did. Maybe you weren't prosecuted or put in jail for it. Maybe your victim never even told anyone. Maybe you went on with your life and got married and had kids and lived the life of a good citizen. Maybe you never raped anyone ever again. Guess what? You're still a rapist. So fuck you, too.(less)
I really wanted to like this one because, you know, Antarctica. And this was a great idea: a futuristic society where reality TV has gone to horrifyin...moreI really wanted to like this one because, you know, Antarctica. And this was a great idea: a futuristic society where reality TV has gone to horrifying new levels AND Antarctica? Sounds good to me. Unfortunately, the poor execution was apparent early on.
Although I don't claim to be an expert on Antarctica, I have read a couple of thorough and thoroughly convincing books on the subject, but there were few parts of this book that felt authentic. I could have forgiven the lack of world-building and barely developed characters, and even the uninspired writing if only the Antarctica portion of the book had convinced me.
First of all, the five teenagers sent to Antarctica were American, so when the book referred to the government shutting down all scientific research in Antarctica, I'm assuming it referred to American research. Which would mean several other countries' research stations would still be in operation. However, there was absolutely no mention of these bases, and scarce evidence anything had ever happened on Antarctica after Scott's expedition in 1912. So unless the Antarctic Treaty (which was also never mentioned) somehow became completely defunct and every single one of the 49/50 participating countries hauled off every scrap of material they had ever used, I could never believe in this part of the story.
The author did include several details from Scott's expedition, which was a nice touch to the story, but the expedition of the book's five teenagers was just . . . meh. The journey these children took never felt particularly harrowing. They had supplies and gear and animals, and they seemed to know exactly what to do. They were like "Yeah, we're on the ice, whatever, let's get to the South Pole already." At one point a girl took off her shoe OUTSIDE because she suspected frostbite. What the HECK? You're OUTSIDE! Also, they seemed to be counting on seals for food, even though at 150 miles from the Pole, I'm sure they were pretty far away from any wildlife.
Oh, OH. Get this. After there's like, a revolt by the outraged viewers and people come in to rescue the kids, TWO OF THE KIDS STAY BEHIND so they can keep trying to reach the Pole. Great decision, guys. Good luck with that.
Anyway, my idea of a great YA fiction is The White Darkness, which started my interest in Antarctica. If you're at all interested in learning even a little about it, that's a better place to start than this.
P.S. "Had had" is definitely kind of clunky writing in my opinion (I prefer to contract the first had if I run into that problem, or figure out a new way to write the sentence). However, to the reader who checked out this book and crossed out the first "had" in the two uses of "had had," you are WRONG! (Plus, don't write in books that aren't yours.) It's called past perfect tense. Sheesh.(less)
I think this was pretty successful as far as sequels go. My major complaints were these:
1) The religion was laid on a bit thick in the first half of t...moreI think this was pretty successful as far as sequels go. My major complaints were these:
1) The religion was laid on a bit thick in the first half of the book. 2) Thank you, Alex, for imparting your folkloric wisdom whenever remotely possible. (I do think I connected with Alex slightly more in this installment, however.) 3) Most of the chapters ended on forced cliffhangers in the middle of a scene. Like, "I stepped outside and suddenly red eyes were trained on me." (Not an actual quote, but still.) And then the scene was picked up in the next chapter only to end a couple pages later. These instances were pretty awkward. 4) The "date" scene. Does this still happen in YA novels? This super-romantic forced date scene? Maybe I'm just not reading those ones anymore. I have to say at least this wasn't as saccharine as some. I mean, Alex didn't show up with roses and a gorgeous dress that magically fit Katie perfectly, because he knows her size just by looking at her, and girls never have to try anything on anyway. So there's that. 5) When the vampires spoke, it was kind of weird and corny. Like, "Come here, little fishy. Hey, you're not a fish." (Again, not an exact quote.)
However, there were some very cool scenes as the characters traveled across the countryside. I was glad to see (view spoiler)[Elijah redeem himself somewhat (hide spoiler)]. I'm wondering if this will be a trilogy or just the two books? Anyway, although this book did seem to drag on a little bit, I did enjoy it for the most part, and I think the series would probably make a pretty entertaining movie.
P.S. I think the title kind of sucks. The Hallowed Ones was a pretty good title, and I think this book could have had a much more interesting one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
My enjoyment of this book might have improved greatly were it not for the vast number of formatting errors. Most prevalent was the use of tab spacing...moreMy enjoyment of this book might have improved greatly were it not for the vast number of formatting errors. Most prevalent was the use of tab spacing rather than a hanging indent, resulting in a sloppy look. There were also plenty of sketchy dialogue tags.
It's not that I didn't like this book, because I feel there's a pretty good story in here. Humans live in an underwater colony, while the forgotten gods live on the remains of the earth above.
The idea of the colony was interesting, but I wanted to know more. More description, more character development (main and supporting), more world building, more mythology, just ... MORE. Is there more than one colony? Humans aren't adapted to breathing underwater without assistance, so how does this thing work? And I wonder if I missed the why of the colony's existence. I also didn't get a great sense of time passing during the book, though it took place over about 3-4 years, I believe.
There wasn't quite enough throughout the book for me to believe in the gods as, well, gods. The humans of the colony were convenient foils for the main characters. Sarah came off quite the little martyr, though I'm sure that wasn't intentional. It's just she seemed like a victim in nearly every scene, even though she could be mouthy at times. Her romance with Shen was sweet, and I appreciate that (view spoiler)[it wasn't chaste (hide spoiler)]. But I didn't feel their heat. Shen wasn't an ass, but I gave the side-eye to some of his sexy talk.
I could see instances of good writing and keen sympathy, but it wasn't enough. There is some great potential here. Overall, this book needed more time to come together into a far more coherent, in-depth story.
I got this book during a free promotion. I'm not sure it would have been worth the $2.99 price tag, mainly because of the grammar and formatting errors.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's not that this was a bad book. Not at all. It just didn't interest me. I made it to about three hundred of almost four hundred pages, and I didn't...moreIt's not that this was a bad book. Not at all. It just didn't interest me. I made it to about three hundred of almost four hundred pages, and I didn't care to finish.(less)