It has been over a year, maybe two, since I last read a novel from the Young Wizards series. I was expecting a nice, shallow, YA fantasy read to space...moreIt has been over a year, maybe two, since I last read a novel from the Young Wizards series. I was expecting a nice, shallow, YA fantasy read to space out my heavier novels. I was surprised. This wasn't a heavy novel per say, but it was not a shallow novel my any means. It deals with incredibly deep and religious themes which are fundamentally important to young peoples lives, rather than assuming, as many YA books do, that young people deal with "younger, simpler" issues than adults. I adored it and I think it exemplifies what YA fantasy should be: ageless.(less)
The strongest aspect of this book is just the quality of the writing. I picked the book up because I loved the Ben Fold's album that Nick Hor...more3.5 Stars
The strongest aspect of this book is just the quality of the writing. I picked the book up because I loved the Ben Fold's album that Nick Hornby recently played lyricist for, and the author had been floating around in my brain for quite a while. So when I saw the book sitting on a cart in the library, and the back cover made it sound damn clever, well, I broke my fantasy streak and picked it up.
It was enjoyable. It wasn't gripping, it wasn't profound, it wasn't a perfect novel. It was a very enjoyable and very well written book. The dialogue is great and Hornby has a really good sense for the timing and movement of dialogue. The long passages inside the character's heads were often hilarious (Is there a word for the things everyone thinks but no one realizes everyone else is thinking, cause this book is full of those). One of the weak aspects of the book is that all the characters come off as reall introspective. That is unavoidable when the book spends so much time in their heads, but a few of the characters weren't written to seem as introspective as the writing style made them seem.
The book avoids sentimentality and insipid inspirationalism, but also avoids hipster emotional stand-offishness. It feel real, somewhat optimistic, cheery and dark. (less)
A Game of Thrones may be my perfect novel, in fact as far as I can see it is a perfect example of what a novel should be. A Clash of Kings in not that...moreA Game of Thrones may be my perfect novel, in fact as far as I can see it is a perfect example of what a novel should be. A Clash of Kings in not that, it is somewhat droning, the interest level of the plot is inconsistent, it focuses on some of the less interesting characters too much (THEON!) and gives you far too little of some of the brilliant characters. While Tyrion Lannister makes a great central character, he is obviously less likable than Eddard was, which causes to book to lose much of the intimacy of the first. That is not to say that this was a bad book, it was just a different sort of book than the first. For the most part the first stood on it's own, while making clear that it was part of a larger story. This book is a series novel, and it has the feel of the introduction to an epic. It is not as tight as a Game of Thrones because so much more is going on, it is not as intimate because it is the story of a realm, not a story in a realm. It introduces some very fun new characters (Brienne, and the Frogeater siblings) and fleshes out some of those who were flatter in the previous book (Cersei, Catelyn), it avoids dealing too much with some of the most fun characters to focus on an epic story rather than their personal stories, and in doing so allows you to focus more on the realm. It is supremely successful in what it tries to do.(less)
This was really a wonderful book. The writing was tight and amazingly readable, it was fun to read, had a compelling plot, and characters that were ea...moreThis was really a wonderful book. The writing was tight and amazingly readable, it was fun to read, had a compelling plot, and characters that were easy to care about. While it read much like Young Adult fantasy, it obviously wanted to deal with some heavy themes. It does the difficult task of being a good novel on it's own, but also making you want to read the series very well.
All that said, they hype surrounding this book largely ruined it for me. Comparisons to George R.R. Martin? Seriously? This was a Harry Potter or a Dragonriders of Pern, or a So You Want to Be a Wizard. It was not a dense weighty adult fantasy. That is not to detract from it in any way, it was fantastic as what it was. Also, reviews seem to mention the strength of the character often, and make me wonder what books people have been reading. Yes, the characters were likable and easy to care about, but none of them developed much, nor did they have nuanced personalities or motivations. They were pretty much standard fantasy characters, wonderfully done, but the intensity being attributed to them was just not there.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book and I can't wait to read the next two. Honestly, Patrick Rothfuss is set up to be the best all-ages fantasy writer I have read since Anne Mccaffery, and I would recommend him to anyone who likes Pern and any fantasy reader who liked Harry Potter. (less)
A really great book. I can't wait until the HBO series starts. Perhaps Martin isn't a master of fantahistorical political intrigue, I don't know; this...moreA really great book. I can't wait until the HBO series starts. Perhaps Martin isn't a master of fantahistorical political intrigue, I don't know; this is the first book of the kind I have read. But what I loved is that I cared about almost all of the characters. The one major flaw is that his 'good guys' are far more nuanced than his 'bad guys'. I read an interview quote from Martin where he claimed there were no black-as-night villains in the books, but that is just not true. At least in this book people like Cercei Lannister, and Viseris Targaryen are simply not sympathetic characters at all. And all the sympathetic characters are very very flawed. He can't stomach a purely good person, but apparently thinks giving a villain strong and obvious motivations is the same as making them accessible and understandable. Perhaps in the later books, as I see more of Cercei my opinion will change.(less)
**spoiler alert** 11.14.09 P12: I'm enjoying it so far, I love the Claude Friedrich romance angle. Marshall failed to capture my interest so I hope Cl...more**spoiler alert** 11.14.09 P12: I'm enjoying it so far, I love the Claude Friedrich romance angle. Marshall failed to capture my interest so I hope Claude wins out. I enjoy the rationality with which Lily Bard approaches the conundrum of two romances, although I find her transformation from stereotype of lonely rape victim to comfortably juggling two suitors a bit quick and shallow. The meals between Claude and Lily are great friendship moments.
11.17.09 Finished: A vast improvement over the first book in the series, which I liked but thought was shallow for Charlaine Harris. Why all her characters are revolving-door serial monogamists I don't know, but I am getting a bit tired of it. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the book, and really enjoyed it. Not much else to say. I am going to switch to another series of hers for my next book, since I want to avoid becoming too attached to this character, since I know the series is finished and I won't be able to get an indefinate fix like I can with teh Sookie Stackhouse character.(less)
I was so attached to the characters of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series that I was a bit reticent about starting another of her series. Shak...moreI was so attached to the characters of Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series that I was a bit reticent about starting another of her series. Shakespeare's Landlord turned out to be really great, a lot of fun and an engrossing setting, things I expect from this author.
I read primarily for characters, not setting, plot, tone, message or style. My favorite thing about this author is that she manages to write light reads with well developed characters. Having read one of her later series before I started this book I can see how her skill in character development grew. The characters in this book are less fully described, although their personalities are well developed and some of them (Claude Friedrich) are very engrossing, we have less insight into why they do the things they do and the relationship between their past and present is much more shallow.
The background characters make the setting really captivating and lifelike, we know very little about each one, but enough to remember them, and just the fact that every character Lily Bard interacts with is mentioned and treated as a full character is wonderful and adds to the interest of the protagonist.(less)
It was fun, and quick. My biggest problem with it was that the characters seemed to have become more shallow. Sookie has lost some of her panache, and...moreIt was fun, and quick. My biggest problem with it was that the characters seemed to have become more shallow. Sookie has lost some of her panache, and the blood-bond seemed to be a cop-out for sex in a not well-developed relationship with Eric. (not to say I didn't like that relationship, I have been hoping for it since day one)(less)
I didn't enjoy it nearly so much as I remember enjoying previous Young Wizards books. It was a fun read, and the setting as always is wonderful, the u...moreI didn't enjoy it nearly so much as I remember enjoying previous Young Wizards books. It was a fun read, and the setting as always is wonderful, the unique magic system and moral backdrop of the series is one of the most creative and believable I have encountered. But I found the characters flat, the dialouge simple, and the plot a bit silly. Maybe I am just growing out of the books. That said, it was a very fun read, if mostly for the setting and descriptions of magic.(less)