This is the first in a new series by an author I love. I was very excited to read it but I don't read series until they are complete, so I just got ar...moreThis is the first in a new series by an author I love. I was very excited to read it but I don't read series until they are complete, so I just got around to reading it now. A friend of mine had already finished it and warned me that I might not like it. He didn't come out and say it, he just said, "I'm interested in what you think of it. Let me know when you're done."
PLOT: The story had great potential. I thought the opening sequence ofe events, through when he met and was trained by Deware was very good, after that I found Nevare to be a whiny little snob. I didn't like him at all as he got older but grew no wiser. I liked the story less and less as we met all the cadets at the school and learn about all the politics. This section seemed too long. I was as sick of school as the cadets seemed to be. I waited for something to happen but it took too long. When it did, I thought the story was interesting again.
CHARACTERS: The father seemed like a strong character who was a good father. Sargent Duril was one of my favorite characters and I absolutely love Epiny. Although I didn't 'like' Deware, I did hope he'd beat some sense into the boy. I considered not reading the rest of the series, but I have enjoyed Hobb's other book so much I knew I'd eventually have to read them. I also had to know what happened to Epiny, Spink and Caulder.
OVERALL: This book could have been a lot shorter. We need exposition and character introductions, threads strung together that seem to hold hopes for a great series, but these things took away from the story and created a plodding drama rather than a fantasy adventure. Actually, I think the whole series could have been a lot shorter, perhaps to the point of one strong novel instead of three watered down plodding narrations.(less)
I read this book immediately following the first book in the trilogy. The first books ends with adventure, conflict, moral dilemmas, strong character...moreI read this book immediately following the first book in the trilogy. The first books ends with adventure, conflict, moral dilemmas, strong character interaction and hope that the main character had learned something that will help him in the adventures to come. Instead, this book throws us back into plodding, slow, weary exposition as more sadness befalls Nevare and he travels into a new life that is even more sad and useless than his previous one.
Nevare was frustrating in the first book, but he was young and stupid and there was hope that he'd figure things out as he got older. Nope. He's wishy-washy, bigoted, racist and unlikable through this entire book. Nothing is ever his fault, no one will ever listen to him, his future just isn't what he was expecting it to be and there's nothing he can do about it...boo hoo. I got sick of him and his whining in the first several chapters and it only got worse as the book went on.
Why did I keep reading? Because there was a good story going on around this guy. I wanted to know what would happen to his sister, his cousin, his best friend, and all the other interesting people he met along the way. I needed to know what would happen to Yaril and her children. I wanted to know what the dancing spindle had to do with anything. I needed to know what the heck the Specks were up to. It was unfortunate that I had to hear it all from his perspective.(less)
I really don't know what to say about this book. The main character is again starting a new life. He started his life as a the soldier son of a noble...moreI really don't know what to say about this book. The main character is again starting a new life. He started his life as a the soldier son of a noble in the first book, but it was taken away from him by magic. He was forced to create a new life as a common soldier in the second book, taking happiness wherever he could find it. Again, it was taken away by magic. Now he is forced to live a third life that seems to be the will of the magic, but it soon becomes obvious that this life too will end badly. We just have to wait and see how.
In my previous review I've stated that I didn't like the main character, but I find the story interesting enough to read it anyway. This continues to be the case with this book, but less so. I like the characters around Nevare, but not Nevare himself. He's still whiny and never seems to think that anything is his fault or that his actions might hurt other people. He doesn't learn, he doesn't grow. Seeing through his eyes is annoying, but less so in this book than the others.
OVERALL: There was a great story hidden in this trilogy, I just wish it had been more concise and readable. I had great hopes for it, but very few of them were realized. I liked several of the characters, but disliked just as many. Several times, ideas were introduced but never fleshed out. Conversely, there were several times the writer introduced an idea then she beat it to death. Environmental issues and race issues were the main theme, and I think the average reader would have picked up on her points without overtly hearing them several times and in several ways. The beginning of this third book especially seemed preachy and wordy to me.
I think that this trilogy could have been one solid novel instead of three drawn out books of a trilogy.(less)
I understand why some people hate this book, but as a middle school librarian, I am not one of them. I fall into the, 'Anything that gets young people...moreI understand why some people hate this book, but as a middle school librarian, I am not one of them. I fall into the, 'Anything that gets young people to read is a good thing' camp. Porn and its offshoots excepted, of course.
It grabs the imagination and pulls readers into a world where anyone can have the potential for greatness. That's a huge selling point for me. It is high literature? No. Could is stand up to LotR? No. Does it get boys excited about reading? Yes.
My biggest complaint as I read it was that it sounded just like any numer of Dungeons and Dragons games I've played. It lacked originality, but to middle school boys who've never read Tolkien or played D&D, it's all new to them.(less)
Most people have heard about this book already, so I'll skip the professional review and just add my personall rave:
Wow! Talk about too good to be tru...moreMost people have heard about this book already, so I'll skip the professional review and just add my personall rave:
Wow! Talk about too good to be true, I was amazed that this guy is a real person. I'm always afraid that people who become heroes to the American public will get torn to shreds by the media or their own dark past. I really hope that doesn't happen with this man, he's an example to us all.
My husband has been on a H.P. Lovecraft kick lately. He's reading everything, including stories by authors who have been influenced by 'The Master'. H...moreMy husband has been on a H.P. Lovecraft kick lately. He's reading everything, including stories by authors who have been influenced by 'The Master'. He reads the intro's to me for some of these short stories, especially when he sees something by an author he knows I've read. Such was the case with Brian Lumley. I have copies of my Necroscope books on my shelves, I read them when they first came out and enjoyed them so much I've kept intending to re-read them. (Yes, I was a middle and high school girl reading horror novels about vampires in the 80's.) So, one day Brad asks me, "Have you ever read Brian Lumley?" and I'm drawn irresistibly back to the series.
First off, they are dated. The Russians vs. the US and England. The Russians are EVIL, the Americans are...well, not quite saints...but the good guys nonetheless. Perhaps a first read would be best thought of as Historical Fiction and it would be easier to overlook the lack of technology and odd politics.
Second, writing styles have changed over time. We, today, are used to fast-paced. Everything is faster today than it was when Necroscope was written. So, go into it expecting it to read a little slow in the beginning. It's still damn fine writing!
Third, a great character lives on. I still love Harry Keogh today as much as I did in the 80's and 90's.
Fourth, a great plot is timeless. Good vs Evil. Vampires who are truly evil, horrible creatures. Secret societies that remain secret throughout the books. And, I love the way the dead are handled in this book. It's fascinating to think about the great masters and what they would do with infinite time.
So, I guess it's obvious that I love this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Horror. Notice, I didn't say vampires. Today's 'vampire' lovers would probably not like this traditional depiction of the monsters. But, hey...all that shimmers is not gold.(less)
It's true that nothing in the world is truely original any more, which is why I'm always so excited when I read a book that makes me feel as if I'm ex...moreIt's true that nothing in the world is truely original any more, which is why I'm always so excited when I read a book that makes me feel as if I'm exploring new ground. That was the case with this book. I enjoyed the alien's background, the human's relationships and the tention created by the two being thrown together.
I find it interesting that this book, which has no overt sex, no swearing and very light violence is labeled adult Sci-Fi while the Twilight series, also written my Meyer, is marketed as Young Adult. (less)
I found my self thinking that this was a silly, fluffy book as I began reading it. That's not the type of book I like, so I almost set it aside. I'm g...moreI found my self thinking that this was a silly, fluffy book as I began reading it. That's not the type of book I like, so I almost set it aside. I'm glad I kept reading. It got darker and more serious quickly.
I enjoyed most of it, but wasn't really impressed by either the main character or the 'mystery' part of it. I figured out who did it about half way though, although I still liked the story. Sookie was too naive to be believed at the beginning and too boring to keep my attention at other times, but again, I'm glad I kept on reading. It's the first in a series and I'm hoping that the author makes her a stronger person as she sees more of the world. I'll read a couple more to see what happens to her, but I'm not waiting on the edge of my seat to get my hands on the next book.
A few things annoyed me. There were times where a thought was repeared several times, as though the reader might not have the intellegence to remember something. Twice would have been OK, but they mentioned that it's hard for Sookie to keep her walls up at least four times. That was only one example.
The bodyguard toward the end just seemed silly.
I'm not a romance reader, I don't like Harlequins or over the top bodice-rippers. So I didn't like the couple of sex seens that seemed a bit too detailed for me. I'm not a prude, I just think there are times when what's left unsaid, and left to the imagination, is more powerful than what's stated too bluntly.(less)
I found the first several pages confusing, having entered into reading it on a recommendation with little to no background. I got the title from a fri...moreI found the first several pages confusing, having entered into reading it on a recommendation with little to no background. I got the title from a friend, read the back, then started to read the book.
Races: There are several races introduced almost immediately, but they are not well differentiated by the author. One's a hawk-like race, another a lion-like race, then later a third dragon-like race. Above these mortal races are a dark features immortal race. They all get confused in the first few pages and so I have introduced them here so that when the main character touches the wings of a person she meets (without the author explaining that the person is from the hawk-like race) it might make more sense to you than it did to me.
Character Interaction: I like the idea behind the story, but was really annoyed by the way it was written. The reader goes in knowing nothing and fed the plot bit by bit. We are in the mind of the main character; however, the main character shields her thoughts. It's frustrating to have an interesting idea introduced, then pulled away as the character decides that it's not something she wants to think about. It's painful to get intersting characters introduced, then readers are not told anything about them becuase the main character hates them and would rather not think about their history together.
There is also a possibly interesting relationship between the narrator and one of her superiors, but it's only hinted at until the end of the book, then very little is revealed. I wanted to know more about their history, but didn't like this book enough to read the next in the series for that single aspect.
Writing: The author does a good job of creating a detailed fantasy world with interesting characters and a rich history. The dialogue fits into the world nicely, until the main character, whose thoughts we are sharing, thinks to her self a slang term or a very age specific phrase. Example: 'as if', The narrator disagreed with something someone suggests she do, so she thinks to herself. "As if." (Think of this coming out of the mouth os a young teen, Valley Girl style.) and then drops back into the genre. This happened several times and each time I was annoyed at the author.
Plot: I liked the villians and enjoyed the storyline. I wanted to know what would happen next, but I never got into the story because the above issues kept pulling my out of the world she was trying to create. (less)
I read the first three books in this series all at once. I thought the series was complete, so I was surprised when this book came out. I just got a c...moreI read the first three books in this series all at once. I thought the series was complete, so I was surprised when this book came out. I just got a copy from the library and have finished it in two days. I liked it a lot.
This book stands on its own. I enjoyed the characters, and the new tech that Westerfeld created, especially the Shuffle House, how cool is that. I enjoyed his commentary on fame and his ideas about a possible future. He points out flaws in todays society in such a way that they seem obvious, but doesn't beat the point into the ground. It's like, "We should take better care of the Earth." Then, move on to the next plot point.
There was only one point where I thought, "No Way!" and was thrown out of my suspension of disbelief. Aliens? Oh, come on! But I read on, hoping there was a good explination.
I would love to read this with a group of middle school kids to see what they thought of it. It's an ideal book for book club and discussion about a wide range of topics.(less)
Charlie, a high school freshman, is befriended by two seniors at the beginning of the school year. He details his freshman year in letters to a friend...moreCharlie, a high school freshman, is befriended by two seniors at the beginning of the school year. He details his freshman year in letters to a friend that we know little about. The letters are a look into the mind of a young boy as he learns how to build relationships and be a friend. He is an outsider accepted into a group of other outsiders.
Personally, I think this book is a bit too mature for the YA label that it is often given. I believe that it is a book best read by adults who have been through some of the things that Charlie is experiencing, rather than by children who might not fully understand what is happening in some sections. I wouldn't recommend this to younger students unless I knew that they wouldn't glorify the drug use and sex that is prevelent throughout the book.
Professionally, I feel like the author made a list of every concept that could get the book challenged/banned and then wrote a book which encorporated all of the things on his list. Homosexuality, drug use, child abuse, abortion, pre-marital sex, and the list goes on. It's a tough book to defend; and yet, if it were in my library I would do my best to keep it on the shelves. I would not put it in a middle school library, but would have it in a high-school.(less)
I enjoyed reading this book, and I walked away with a few favorite quotes that I wouldn't have found otherwise. For example, Jeremy Bentham's quote ab...moreI enjoyed reading this book, and I walked away with a few favorite quotes that I wouldn't have found otherwise. For example, Jeremy Bentham's quote about animal rights, "The question is not, can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?" I'm not a vegetarian, nor an animal rights activist, so there's no surprise that I hadn't heard that quote before. Yet I walk away from this book glad that I read it and feeling that I actually learned some things from it.
A. J. Jacobs doesn't take himself too seriously and he does have a grasp on how to write in a way that todays culture will understand. He breaks the book up into letters and entries, like the Encyclopaedia Britannica itself. He tells readers about himself in entries that apply to his life or those that remind him of events in his past. It's interesting to see how the project consumed his life, leaking into everyday conversations and into his work. I have to say that I'm really impressed by his wife. She's a saint!(less)
This book came highly recommended. I can't understand why.
It seems to me that it teaches chidren who aren't afraid of or upset by bedtime that they sh...moreThis book came highly recommended. I can't understand why.
It seems to me that it teaches chidren who aren't afraid of or upset by bedtime that they should be. My kids go to sleep without crying, and when we read this to them my first thought was that they were going to be up all night, screaming for my attention. My kids are still very young, so that's not what happened, but why take the chance by reading it to them again in the future?