I'm not one to devour a biography of any kind. An autobiography is perhaps a bit more bearable since you at least get the vaguely comforting first-per...moreI'm not one to devour a biography of any kind. An autobiography is perhaps a bit more bearable since you at least get the vaguely comforting first-person narrative of a kind of novel. Still, I'm a huge fan of Russell Brand and I wanted to give this a go. It only took me three days to finish this book, which is a miracle, considering it being all non-fictiony. I accomplished this because of the following factors; it's a really fascinating story, and I was actually curious to know what exactly was going to happen (or had happened) next in this man's life. The writing itself is remarkably stylish, preserving the very English and delightfully eccentric way that Mr. Brand speaks. I could probably put an umbrella around all of this and just outright say that this is a really great book. It's touching and inspiring and hilarious and ludicrous and appalling and all of that wonderful real-life gritty nastiness.
This book is not for the faint of heart or those prone to panic attacks. He's really done some horrible things in just the 30+ years he's been alive. But that's one of the things that makes it so amazing is that he admits to every last mistake and indiscretion, not without shame, but with a kind of glorious acceptance of it. He writes to people the way he speaks to people; like you're best friends siting in a kitchen parlor. You can't help but feel like you know him, and in knowing him you can't help but love the man.
The only real shame of the whole thing is that he's still a fairly young man and to have already written an autobiography leaves me wondering if perhaps he's anticipating an early demise. It honestly wouldn't surprise me, but I very much doubt that it's the case. Towards the last paragraphs of the book he talks about plans to write and publish more memoirs, I certainly hope he does. I can't wait to read them, and it'll be just like him to publish a sequel to his life story.
In any case, I love Russell Brand. He's always struck me as a very sweet person who really genuinely wants everyone to just get alone and get on and I was a bit worried that reading this book would possibly tarnish that delightfully simple view of him, but it's only helped to explain quite a lot:) (less)
I have to give Christopher Paolini his due. Writing a book at fifteen is no easy task… Never mind. I wrote a book when I was fifteen and it wasn’t act...moreI have to give Christopher Paolini his due. Writing a book at fifteen is no easy task… Never mind. I wrote a book when I was fifteen and it wasn’t actually that hard. The book I wrote at fifteen was awful. So is this one. If I had known him personally I would have said this “That’s great that you finished the book, now how about you wait like ten--maybe fifteen years and then rewrite it, once you’ve really developed some skill as a writer?”
I forced myself to finish it just because I had heard from so many very misguided people that it was genius. It’s not. It has some good ideas that are never fully realized within the story, an incredibly annoying whiny-weak-sauce main character and very lame fight scenes. I can’t stand a fantasy novel with lame fight scenes. It was predictable—-which isn’t always the worst thing ever, but in the case of this novel it is just another problem at the top of a heap of reasons to just put it down already. I do remember thinking at one point that it wouldn’t be too difficult to take the novel, chop it up into a couple of bite-sized pieces and then make a script for a movie that wouldn’t be utterly terrible—-but then the movie came out and it was utterly terrible, so... que lastima. (less)
Harley, Harley, Harley... Poor thing. Now, I'm not a very good feminist. Let's just put that out there. And I love Joker/Harley stories. The Joker and...moreHarley, Harley, Harley... Poor thing. Now, I'm not a very good feminist. Let's just put that out there. And I love Joker/Harley stories. The Joker and Harley Quinn are pretty much the ultimate in the abusive relationship. In real life, this would be the saddest thing I'd ever heard. But that's what's so great about fiction, you can look at something from totally different perspectives and you can explore impossible ideas and outcomes. You can take a maniacal serial murderer and pair him with an adorable, but completely insane, proverbial villain cheerleader and the dynamic is not only amusing but there is really something quite charming about it.
So, here we are presented with the origin of one of Batman's greatest female adversaries. (He doesn't have many, but bear with me). We get some Harley Quinn backstory, and it's a lot of fun. Her genius creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm have made her history tragic and shocking and oh, so darkly funny.
Some of my favorite bits (that they didn't end up doing at all in the really-quite-accurate cartoon portrayal a few years later) are the daydreams Harley has of her dream life with her loving puddin'. And there's even one pretty amusing daynightmare from the mind of the Clown Prince of Crime himself, when he's imaging his humiliation at what the other super villains will say, when they find out that his cute little bouncy girlfriend managed to capture and kill The Batman, all by her lonesome, after he failed so many times before. Pretty great.
This is excellent. Harley Quinn is my favorite. She's psychotic and demented and hopelessly in love with a murderous psychopathic clown. How brilliant is that?
This comic isn't just a lot of fun and adorable and entertaining. It's a damn good read. Everything a comic-book should be, with a couple of cherries.(less)
This book probably deserved more than three stars. But I just can't give it any more than that. I HATE this book. I hate it with my whole soul. It's s...moreThis book probably deserved more than three stars. But I just can't give it any more than that. I HATE this book. I hate it with my whole soul. It's so true and I am massively depressed after reading it. It perfectly illustrates the life of a completely useless waste of a human being and all his useless friends and their useless lives. It's awful. They should all be put out of their (and our) misery. The best thing I can say is that this book serves as a glorious example of how not to be. The scary thing is that's it's probably a pretty accurate portrayal of a certain type of people.
If I had the choice, I would have put it down after I finished the first twenty pages and wanted to shoot myself, but I had to finish it for a class. I would not recommend this to anyone who is already depressed. There is a slight risk of becoming suicidal. I would also not recommend this to anyone who is currently blissfully happy. You should enjoy that while you can.
I can say that this is very well written. I typically cannot stand first-person present tense. It's like running when you could walk along leisurely, but it's not so bad when it's a quick read like this. Ellis makes an incredibly good point about the shallow lives that some people live through. Also, it did help me appreciate my own life a lot. I feel like a really good person now, because I'm nothing like these creeps, which is all you can hope for in life.(less)
**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)
I sort of figured that this was probably one of those series where the first book is really the only story and after that the narrative just kind of l...moreI sort of figured that this was probably one of those series where the first book is really the only story and after that the narrative just kind of limps along so you get the satisfaction of knowing about the rest of the main character's lives. It's not though. You can actually tell that this is the next chapter in the story. There is more to know and experience and there are still questions that you didn't even know you had about the first story.
More of the world opens up and we get to see just how alien this place and these people are. Like in the first one, everything has significance and a purpose and it isn't taxing yet to try and guess what that may be. The authoress gives you credit here. You're going to figure out a lot of what's going on before the characters let you know about it, but there was at least one pretty impressive surprise for me at the end.
Probably my only major complaint would be the lack of Aerial/Irrylath. I do realise that there needed to be a certain amount of 'off camera' character development. They've got issues and this part of the story isn't really about them, but the couple of scenes they had together were quite good and pretty much a total tease.
I'll move on to the third book tomorrow and hopefully we'll get a resolution... (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)
The second you stop enjoying a book/series STOP READING IT! Life is way too short to waste your time reading books you don't like. Sorry, but you're a...moreThe second you stop enjoying a book/series STOP READING IT! Life is way too short to waste your time reading books you don't like. Sorry, but you're a straight-up dumbass if you read the other three books, didn't like them and then went on to this one. That's why I recommended it to people who've already read and liked the first three. Twilight: it almost feels like Meyer was just warming up with the first book. It was more of a long introduction, none-the-less I did enjoy it. New Moon: kind of hinted at real plot, but never quite got there. Still alright. Eclipse: finally made me think that all of this might be growing into a real story. Breaking Dawn: is a bit like the payoff. The most rewarding bit is Edward and Bella's relationship finally reaching its intended depth. Meaning Edward became sort of useless and Bella started doing things.
I'm a bit primitive biologically, so I'm not nearly as disturbed by how lopsided the power-play between the two of them is, as I should be. For three books Edward has had all the power; on every level he dominates Bella. It might bother me if I didn't understand the whole 'find-the-strongest-meanest-male-in-the-tribe-with-which-to create-healthy-strong-children-with-greatest-chance-of-survival' instinct so well. I think these kinds of couples have certain application and glamour when done properly. In fiction I mean. In real life, it’s typically just a disaster. Think about all us girls who would have run away with the Phantom in Christine’s place… or the girlies who really truly believe that Sarah eventually returned to the Labyrinth and lived happily every after with her sadistic Goblin King Jareth. Since Dark Knight came out, I found myself thinking a lot about The Joker and his Harley Quinn. But those two are kind of like an extreme example of this dynamic, while I’d place Edward and Bella on the ‘really-quite-tame’ end of the spectrum.
Point is (if a point is there) Edward and Bella make an incredibly twisted match because of how strong he is compared to how weak she is. In this book we FINALLY see the switch. Bella becomes dominant over Edward in every. single. way. It's very entertaining. Edward spends most of the book overwhelmed or wrong or just a basket-case of uselessness and despair.
It’s AWESOME! So, I've been accused of not enjoying the books for the 'right' reasons... maybe they have a point. Really, the above uselessness of Edward made me giggle throughout and was probably the main reason I enjoyed the book.
Edward is obnoxious.
He kind of goes back and forth between being clinically depressed and suicidal.
In this book his whole world has, and he doesn’t adjust gracefully. He kind of resigns himself to the background and lets the more capable characters take charge.
Meanwhile, Bella finally grows up and reaches her character's logical supernatural conclusion.
Lazy critics will write off her transformation as a typical 'Mary-Sue' development into power and bedazzlement.
You can't just throw the term Mary-Sue at every strong/pretty female character and have it stick. There are definitely some hints at such a theme, but I'd argue that her personality is not a deviation from the world in which she resides and that the character itself is complex enough. Also her growth is pretty gradual. It feels fairly natural and like Meyer purposely took four books to move it along to make the transformation realistic.
I always thought of Jacob as a whiny little bitch who needed to grow the hell up. In this book, Jacob finally becomes a man. I wouldn’t exactly call the means unexpected, but even if you see it coming, it’s still really nicely executed. Anyway, I like Jacob now. I take back some of the hilarious/angry things I said about him.
Overall, if you've already managed to get over the weak points in the series and enjoyed things thus far, you might as well finish, since this is the first point in this series in which it actually feels like there might be a plot of some kind. It's a fun read. Meyer's narrative is nice. If you don't like the story... why bother? Don't torture yourself, it's just more of the same.(less)
It kills me every time I think of this book, because the parallels between Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde are really quite tragic and morbidly fascinatin...moreIt kills me every time I think of this book, because the parallels between Dorian Gray and Oscar Wilde are really quite tragic and morbidly fascinating. I know there have been books written on this very subject, but I can’t bring myself to read them. It’s too painful. There is a lot about delusion and beauty and self loathing. It was a hard book for me to read, just because it’s all so sad, but on the other foot, I couldn’t put the thing down to save my life. It’s positively spellbinding. The language is overwhelming, flowery and very intense. The book itself is like a vivid painting to read, the images and experiences are permanently painted over the inside of your eyelids. Do read it.(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 was not expecting to love this as much as I did, and part of me thinks that it's mostly the result of FINALLY reading something that so vastly resem...moreI was not expecting to love this as much as I did, and part of me thinks that it's mostly the result of FINALLY reading something that so vastly resembles what I've been craving. As a senior in college, I'm pretty much required to read only incredibly depressing 'high art' kinda literature and it starts to wear on you after a while. It's nice to be able to turn to something that's refreshing on a spiritual level.
Some books are good for your head and some books are good for your heart and some books are good for your soul, and what's lovely about Darkangel is that it satisfies you on all three levels at different times. This is the strangest vampire novel I've ever read. It barely resembles a vampire novel and I absolutely love it for being so weird. The Darkangel or 'The Icarus' (how precious is that?!) is not exactly Dracula. Or Edward. Or Barnabas. He's unique in the way that he's the least human incarnation of vampirism I think I've ever encountered. He's a winged demon collecting souls so that he can become a monster who lives forever. And he's not secretly a nice guy. He's a totally evil bastard.
And yet, like with Dracula or Edward or Barnabas, you still want him. I'm not sure how she did it, but she created a truly evil villain who you can still fall madly in love with.
Aerial's misguided, bedazzled and enchanted belief in him is contagious. This was a fast read, I read most of it during two long train rides. I'm really surprised that I only just learned about it now, since it was apparently published in 1982. Well. I have an excuse for the first five years. I wasn't actually born yet. (less)
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)
I used to read comic books in high school. I never really got into any of the classic stuff like I should have. I read Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and...moreI used to read comic books in high school. I never really got into any of the classic stuff like I should have. I read Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Lenore and whatever my guy friends happened to have hidden in their text-books that day. But, since I've always been the girl that hangs around with boys, there were a few things that I couldn't avoid knowing even if I wanted to. First off "DC rules," "No Marvel!" that's a typically conversation between my guys. I figured out pretty fast that I'm a total DC girl. Marvel's alright... But Batman just wins. Sorry. He does.
I could debate about that all day. Point is, I was given a list of comic book titles that I HAD to read, according to my boys, if I was ever going to be a proper Batman fan. This was at the top of the list. Alan Moore, who so inspired me with V for Vendetta, has created a terrifying and beautiful story with "The Killing Joke". And Brian Bolland, you can tell, put his whole soul into the artwork. This story and the lovely, heartbreaking, horrific pictures that come with it are incredible. This is why comic books continue to survive, because as long as there are wonderful dedicated artists working together to create pure art like "The Killing Joke" there will be people willing to be a geek for a minute and let themselves be buried in the work.
What else can I say? This is amazing! He gives the Joker an origin (possible origin) which I personally find a little blasphemous, but the story itself is wonderful so we can forgive it, and also he redeems himself by having the Joker admit that he lies about his own past, and possibly doesn't even remember it right himself, since it keeps changing in his mind.
Also, the Joke that the book ends on is... how are there words?
I can't just say funny... It's more than hilarious.
**spoiler alert** Saw it coming, but who cares?! I still loved every minute of it.
I even went into reading it with pretty high expectations, something...more**spoiler alert** Saw it coming, but who cares?! I still loved every minute of it.
I even went into reading it with pretty high expectations, something I should have learned not to do a long time ago, but in this case, I was really pleased overall with the story. All of my complaints are minor details. Stela doesn't ever sound five years old to me, for example.
Maybe I'm prejudiced, because The Twelve Dancing Princesses is my very favorite fairy tale of all time and I have wanted to read a good novelization of it for ages. I didn't know that this was based on that fairy tale when I started reading it, so naturally I flipped when I figured it out. Very, very exciting for me:) Other fairy tales I love include the one mentioned near the end of the novel (Catskin, Donkeyskin, Bearskin, Allerleirauh, The King Who Wished to Marry His Daughter--or whatever other names it goes by... Sapsorrow, I love you John Hurt.) anyway, I'm not usually big on Historical Fantasy, but its growing on me recently.
I think my irritation with modern day teenage protagonists is the total lack of responsibility in modern teenage life. These girls may be young but they have a lot of people depending on them and a household to take care of. They are mature in all the best ways, yet because they are young they lack experience in romance and are silly enough to still think its a good idea to go off dancing with the fairies. Awesome. They are just the right amount of childish, meaning not very.
I found all the sisters likable in their own way. I found myself feeling for everyone actually, including Cezar, even though he was a fool and tyrant. The balance between the provincial and difficult life of Transylvanias and the wondrous world of fey was well done. I felt like I understood why each character made every choice that they did and even if I might have done something else, I couldn't begrudge them their agency because it made perfect sense that they would do it.
Costi, I figure all along was secretly the frog. That came as no surprise. Another minor complaint that I had was that once he changes back all the sisters kind of admitted they they wondered, and I think maybe we could have had them speculating even earlier in the story. Jena says that she had kissed him before and nothing happened. Which was a question I had since page one. I've always kissed my pets. Everyone I know who has pets kisses them. So I wondered if Jena had ever kissed her frog affectionately, the way pretty much everyone does. Then she chooses after he turns back to mention that's she's kissed him repeatedly and he never turned into a prince. That could have been a moment of comic relief, actually, if they had brought that up near the very beginning of the novel when Gogu is first introduced. It might have made me giggle whereas having it after the fact just served as a kind of "Oh. I wondered." moment.
The movie in my mind was like if Jim Henson Company and Peter Jackson got together. Labyrinth/Lord of the Rings aesthetic. Mmmm. Gorgeous.
Speaking of Lord of the Rings, I wouldn't have minded if the book was a few hundred pages longer. There were a couple of times that I lamented that we stayed so tightly in Jena's perspective. Since there was so much going on with the other characters in the book, it might have been cool to see what was up with them when Jena wasn't around. Also, it ended so quickly... I immediately wanted more.
On a final note: second cousin love = sooo cute.(less)
**spoiler alert** And excellent end to the story. I was utterly delighted by all the steam-punk goodies that showed up just in time for the finish. Ho...more**spoiler alert** And excellent end to the story. I was utterly delighted by all the steam-punk goodies that showed up just in time for the finish. However, I have the same problem with the ending as I did with Gaiman's loverly Stardust... WHY!? There was a blatantly obvious way to give this wonderful faerytale a deliriously happy ending, and instead we get the more literary "serious" ending. Not cool. Who the hell are you trying to please?
Maybe this was an attempt at irony. The story starts with Ariel as a slave and it ends with Ariel as a slave again. It's just too bad.