**spoiler alert** I am so massively disappointed. I think I even feel justified going back and deleting a star from Hush, Hush in retrograde, because...more**spoiler alert** I am so massively disappointed. I think I even feel justified going back and deleting a star from Hush, Hush in retrograde, because Hush, Hush left me with expectations that the story was going to progress and then IT DIDN'T. We made one fat circle around the exact same issues and plot points. The 'surprise' badguy was once again, the idiot best friend's new boytoy. Wait, why is that so familiar? It already happened, that's why, except it was completely obvious this time, whereas before, I was the tiniest bit shocked.
Now, here's some personal notes to the characters themselves.
You idiot. And also. Really? I actually found myself longing for another world... a world where you had died at the end of Hush, Hush and Patch had taken the opportunity to become human and the whole thing had spiraled into lovely tragedy. That would have been better, I think. Maybe Patch would have done something more interesting with his humanity rather than just shopping and going to the beach, getting in fights with other dumb tarts and overeating constantly and then breaking up with his boyfriend for what has got to be the dumbest reason. Ever. All that immature crap was kind of cute in the first book--I mean, you're a teenage girl and being a total moron comes very naturally with the territory, but I wished you had died. If this is what you're going to do with your life... I'm no longer interested in hearing about it. I had the apparently very wrong impression that you might have grown up a little after the events of Hush, Hush.
Alright, give the letter to Patch now.
I hate you too, by the way. Here's the problem I see... By the end of all this, I was actually hoping that you had killed Nora's dad so that she would finally just ditch you forever. I knew that Rixon had done it, because it was just too obvious. But, I secretly hoped until the last possible second that I was wrong and you had done it. THAT would have been interesting. I can't care about the two of you, because you're both so infernally annoying.
So, that's pretty much all I managed to feel about this book. Anger, irritation. A touch of exasperation. I kept reading, because I hoped it would get better and it kept getting worse... Oh, one more letter.
Sorry, I forgot about you. That's the whole problem with you, isn't it?
Anyway. Its pretty bad when I can't be bothered to care about the main couple, even a little. I've never wanted two fictional characters to stay broken up so badly before in my life. I've never wanted a main character to die with such ardent longing. I REALLY enjoyed the first book, except for that rant about Google-search reveals... I did, really like Hush, Hush and then this sequel kind of ruined everything. I'm not sure I can even look back on Hush, Hush fondly. (less)
I adored this book. After the disappointment of similar novels, it was refreshing to read someone who did it right. I was surprised by the twist at th...moreI adored this book. After the disappointment of similar novels, it was refreshing to read someone who did it right. I was surprised by the twist at the end and I loved the characters/found them believable and really got sucked into the story. It was very satisfying. It ended very well... I am going to have to read the rest of the series pronto. However. I have to voice one major complaint.
If I have to read another book where the epic reveal is covered by a Google-search, I'm going to throw a massive tantrum and start chucking books at innocent bystanders while screaming, "WHY!?"
This is becoming a staple in fantasy YA literature. I know that the internet is great and that realistically we could find the answers to a lot of our supernatural suspicions on web-pages but it is such a massive cop-out! PLEASE just have the chick confront her crush when she suspects that he's a fallen angel, vampire, werewolf, cyborg, zombie, alien, police officer in disguise etc.
I would love to get all bothered during a big messy, emotion and action soaked reveal rather than utterly underwhelmed as I imagine the main character typing her suspicions into a search-engine.
**spoiler alert** I was so impressed with the first book, so I'm sad to admit I was a bit disappointed with this second installment. Here's my problem...more**spoiler alert** I was so impressed with the first book, so I'm sad to admit I was a bit disappointed with this second installment. Here's my problem with it; the plot is great, solid, interesting and still shrouded in mystery despite the main character's best efforts to figure everything out, then there's this awesome romance in the second book, which was delicious... except that the main focus shifted from the awesome plot to the awesome romance and then nothing really devastating or interesting happened with the romance. The conflict in the plot got way more complicated, but because I was so wrapped up in the romance it just didn't feel like there was much at risk anymore. I didn't feel like there was any opposition, because all my emotions were diverted to the romance, which was opposition-less. It went just great through the whole book. Started great, got better, got really good for a second there, then stayed awesome and the book was over. The result was a lack of conflict or what felt like a lack of conflict to me. If something tragic had happened with regard to Dimitri then it would have made the imminence of the prophecy that much more devastating and would have ended the book with the same south-paw jab to the eye that the first one did.
Killing the little brother was brilliant. Killing Dimitri would not have been a good idea, because it was kind of done with the brother, but there are other ways to incite devastation. I feel like she's totally safe as long as Dimitri is looking out for her and Lia should not be safe. She's got unnumbered legions of evil vying for her destruction. Dimitri is a body-guard. He should complicate things and make it harder for Lia, not soften the blows.
Sonia's betrayal was really well done, I didn't see it coming and it helped to crack Lia's already fragile state a little more, but like I said, it wasn't crushing because Dimitri was right there to help... maybe it would have felt like there was more going on and more conflict if Lia had been truly crushed, rather than just bruised. He doesn't ride in to rescue her at the end, but it sure felt like he did. I want to see Lia rescue herself.(less)
**spoiler alert** I couldn't help but love it, in spite of the ending. Hearing her explain how she chose to forget everything and then pieced the memo...more**spoiler alert** I couldn't help but love it, in spite of the ending. Hearing her explain how she chose to forget everything and then pieced the memories back together years later was troubling, more because of some personal reasons that anything else. (fast explanation; I'm writing a story in which we learn that the villain chose to forfeit her memories in her youth because it would make her mission easier to accomplish if she wasn't aware of past relationships. The similarity was a bit staggering and I couldn't help but default to my personal opinion that it is better to live with the truth no matter how painful it is.) That made everything troubling in retrospect. But it couldn't mar the overall experience, because I came to think of Suzanne as a humble practical woman who would not invent memories. I fully accept that she believes every word in this book, otherwise she wouldn't tell the story. Like all near-death experiences with which I am familiar, it seemed catered to the experiencer's unique personality and emotional needs. I was definitely inspired and touched. God truly does know and love each of us. I look forward to reading Through the Window of life next.(less)
I love this book! I couldn't help but be moved, especially by the ripple-effect theme of service and righteous influence. Bruce Miller and Lance Richa...moreI love this book! I couldn't help but be moved, especially by the ripple-effect theme of service and righteous influence. Bruce Miller and Lance Richardson are so great to share their experiences. I read The Message last year, so it was especially nice to read some of those same stories in more detail.
On a personal note, I have actually seen how the events in this book are still effecting people for the better, a decade later.(less)
First, something I did like. Honestly, the details and descriptions are very pretty. The smoothly flowing narrative is lo...moreI really wanted to like this.
First, something I did like. Honestly, the details and descriptions are very pretty. The smoothly flowing narrative is lovely and appropriate for the context. As far as mechanical writing goes; an overabundance of contractions outside of dialogue is really starting to drive me nuts. There was a lot of exposition that didn't need to be there. A lot of telling rather than showing and what was especially bothering me was that it was telling us things that I didn't want nor need to know with regards to the story. Throughout the entire story I felt like I was being fed details that were not only unimportant to the story, but were boring. Unimportant but interesting, I can handle, but unimportant and boring I cannot abide. I also noticed many repeated instances when one thing would be stated (usually an unimportant and uninterested fact) and then a few chapters later something would contradict what had previously been said.
The entire story takes place in Venus Cove. We don't need to know anything about Heaven and it would have better served the story to keep details of the afterlife ambiguous. Instead of doing that the story leaves us with a detailed and frankly boring vision of heaven. She says that there is no time. Then she mentions being created seventeen years earlier. There was no reason to talk about there not being time in heaven. It is not important to the story at all and now it is really confusing how there is 'no time' in heaven and yet this angel is seventeen years old having lived her whole life in heaven. They also watch stuff going on on earth occasionally and she greets the souls of children who have died and speaks and comforts them and yet she has no idea what a seat-beat is? Did that really never come up? I can imagine thousands of scenarios in which that might have come up during the seventeen year period that she was talking with the souls of dead children. Except time doesn't exist? None of this would bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that it was completely unnecessary to the story to even bring it up.
Another example; she says that angels have no free will, but that just straight up doesn't make any sense. They have rules that they follow and occasionally choices are made and they violate those rules. You can't do that if you have no free will. The entire story is made void if there's no free will, so why, I ask you, did the editor leave in that contradictory line about free will? It adds nothing to the story and is confusing because it doesn't fit with everything that happens.
Throughout the story I kept getting snagged on little lines like that.
The characters feel like they lack experience, which is especially a huge problem if your character is supposed to be a few thousand years old. One thing they should definitely not lack is experience. The book talks about how they must be so wise and great, but I just don't feel that. When they spoke the words and the manner struck me as belonging more appropriately to a particularly stubborn, clever, but closed-minded teenager; not a magnificently wise heavenly being.
I was struck by a similar problem with the romance and really all of the previously established and developing relationships throughout the book. I have to be told that there is affection/trust/respect between these characters because otherwise I wouldn't pick up on it from their dialogue and conduct together. It makes it hard to believe that there's really any love here.
I really wanted to like this book. I wanted to believe that these two crazy kids should be together regardless of the laws of angels, but instead I found myself completely not invested in their success as a couple. I actually felt like they were just being selfish and immature and that it would have been better for everyone if they kept it together and resisted the underwhelming urge to be together. I know that the bond between them is supposed to be very intense, but I had to be told. I didn't feel it. Nothing about their time together was as inspiring as I wanted it to be.
Also, can I please be spared any more narrative about teenage-heartthrob boys running their hands through their hair?
I've been informed by outside sources that the shallow romance and the lack of experience is more than anything the result of this being a book written by a very young person; "Give her a few years and see if she doesn't write something that really impresses you." That kind of thing. This very wise person is probably correct. I would be interested to read more of her work in a few years, just because she does write very prettily. The story isn't hopeless, but like a lot of books that I've read by younger authors I couldn't help but think to myself; I wish s/he had put this aside for about five years and rewritten it as an adult. (less)
Enjoyable and quite prettily written. This was exactly the book I was in the mood to read in December, which is why I added an extra star after debati...moreEnjoyable and quite prettily written. This was exactly the book I was in the mood to read in December, which is why I added an extra star after debating between three and four for a few seconds. The story is entertaining and the dystopian fairy-tale charm of the world the author has created makes for a unique and promising start to what I hope will become a series I'm excited to stick with.
As a romance, its quite nice. Umm... I wish I had more to say on that. Maybe it says something that I don't. I'll move on to stuff that bugged me.
My biggest problem with the book is just that though. It ends and I feel like there's so much more that could have been said and like the story has barely started. There was nearly not enough plot to make one book, although there were plenty of words.
The other issue I had with the book is a bit existential to explain, but it is something I am noticing a lot in recently published fiction by contemporaries of this author. I feel like the book is a bit trigger shy, and there were several moments when somebody could have gotten shot. (Not literally. Usually.) I sensed a good and powerful set-up in several scenes and thought we were going to see some carnage. I am not talking strictly about violence, though that can be included. I just mean that I felt like more could have happened, the enemy could have been a bit more evil, the passion could have been a bit more thrilling, the fear and the aggression less passive.
I'm torn on this though, because from one perspective, I could chalk it up to a choice of style. Our shero is not a hard-core dystopian warrior. For a good chunk of the book, she is submissive and naive and very alright with being under total control by her tyrannical government. When the rebellion does spark inside of her, it never quite reaches a rolling boil. At first I was honestly refreshed and pleased that the author had taken what I deemed a more realistic view of a TYPICAL teenage girl's attitude toward authority; passive aggressive at its most hostile. However, by the end of the book I was a bit bothered that so little had happened in the way of wars and rumors of.
Anyway. I reserve the right to revisit all my opinions and judgments upon reading the promised sequel(s?). I'm anxious to see what happens.(less)
This book was read to me when I was a teenager, and at that age it helped greatly to have someone who understood every phrase close at hand to explain...moreThis book was read to me when I was a teenager, and at that age it helped greatly to have someone who understood every phrase close at hand to explain and be my living breathing dictionary and thesaurus. I finally took to reading it for myself. Every line is quotable, every single paragraph is tight and focused. The technical language doesn’t extract the author’s passion for the subject the way it can certainly seem to do so in other works, instead, it seems to me that James E. Talmage is just so masterful with words that he knows exactly the right ones to use to help the reader feel exactly the emotion that he himself is experiencing.
This book is a perfect reference work. If you want to know Christ, and I’m talking about actually forming an accurate and specific concept of his mission, characteristics and personality, this book is a great super-analysis of his life and his actions and the scripture surrounding it. Read it. (less)
For the past several months I have begun studying near-death experiences, in relation to my own writing. My mother is responsible for taking me to IAN...moreFor the past several months I have begun studying near-death experiences, in relation to my own writing. My mother is responsible for taking me to IANDS meetings and helping me cultivate my budding interest in the subject. She asked for this book for her birthday, because its one of her favorites. I read it before I gave it to her and I understand why this story has touched so many people. The book itself is written simply and sweetly and completely without pretension which, I believe, is quite difficult to achieve when one is writing an autobiographical story. For that unique aspect alone, I might have given it five stars, but there is more to be admired. I highly recommend this book to... pretty much everyone. I was going to say that cynical people probably shouldn't bother, but it might actually do them some good. There were a number of moments in the story that fell into a category of fairytale happiness 'oh-no-its-an-overload-of-cute' which can be hard to take for your average critic, pessimist or college student. I think that kind of genuine sugar is good for you every once in a while. Reading this book while lying under the sun on a beach, surrounded by the people I love definitely diminished my own cynicism.
Overall, it is a very moving, lovely story that makes you think. its not long, either. Go on. Read it. You know you want to. (less)
Fans of Castle will enjoy the book alot. As a fan I loved the story, the characters and the banter, just like I love the show. But as a writer I almos...moreFans of Castle will enjoy the book alot. As a fan I loved the story, the characters and the banter, just like I love the show. But as a writer I almost would have liked it more if they had strayed away from the show a bit and taken a lot more liberties that way, but as was pointed out to me, that wasn't really the point of the book.(less)
I had to leave off that last star because of some historical negligence towards a small number of feminist themes, but overall this book is spot on! I...moreI had to leave off that last star because of some historical negligence towards a small number of feminist themes, but overall this book is spot on! In our society, sex is no longer even about pleasure, it's just about power and status and yes, money. It's a cop out on the part of our people as a whole that we don't examine the complexity of sexuality like we should and instead simplify the subject by representing it with these gross caricatures of sexual identity. It's an issue that's too complex and too confusing to bother with, and as a result we're becoming a damaged society.
One must take the time to educate themselves and those they can influence. Think. Please, think. (less)
The experience of reading this is comparable to being force fed large quantities of pudding.
Stylized summary between the stars.
Start with...moreThe experience of reading this is comparable to being force fed large quantities of pudding.
Stylized summary between the stars.
Start with. Just a couple of words and then it grows and has this creepy effect of mitosis. Or is it meiosis. The one that you watch under microscopes. We ate them.
Start with. But you don't ever really start or finished, because where is the beginning and is this really the end. Just a couple of words and then is grows and has this creepy effect of mitosis. Or is it meiosis. The one that you watch under microscopes. The cells divide in half and then in half again and one becomes millions in mere seconds. We ate them.
So, it's a bit torturous. But infinitely fascinating. I found myself getting really excited whenever I noticed a mistake that he'd made while copying the same lines again. So, so fun.
This is great for someone (like me) who really enjoys seeing personalized artistic takes on older characters and premises. Bermejo and Azzarello's Jok...moreThis is great for someone (like me) who really enjoys seeing personalized artistic takes on older characters and premises. Bermejo and Azzarello's Joker is pure poker psychosis mixed with bloody breath and dirty fingernails tore-up with glass. Excellent madness. I know that the work on this has gone on for years now, long before The Dark Knight, but there is a Heath Ledger feel to the character. It isn't as heavy as you might expect, so people who want to read it purely for the similarities to the Ledger/Nolanverse Joker will probably be disappointed. Personally I like these interesting "logical conclusion" representations of The Joker in a world that's less supernatural and more real-life crime terror.
Aside from that, it's just straight up fun. I had to give it five stars. It's bloody and makes you kinda squeamish, but I feel like they could have gone a lot further with the violence and I appreciate that they reigned it in to what I consider to be just the right level of disgusting.
The unique take on the Riddler was the most surprising goody for me. I really liked it a lot after the initial shock of 'what... ?' Batman's part is subdued in this particular story, but he shows up when it's really important. Also, how cool did Croc come off? Pretty awesome.
I was worried when I read Bermejo's honestly quite chauvinistic comments about Harley's character, but you know what? He's pretty much right about her, and it works, so I find it hard to be an angry feminist about it. He totally gets away with this portrayal of her. She doesn't say a single word, she poses as a stripper for one scene and she's just generally a thug/slag, but it actually works. Didn't make me at all angry, and I was prepared to be angry. You can tell that Bermejo had a fun time drawing everyone and Azzarello's story is boss. Nothing significant happens to change the universe or Gotham, but it's like seeing the same old thing through fresh eyes. I enjoyed it thoroughly. (less)