This book is like biking on Route 66: although whatever landmark your looking at is actually miles in the distance, it looks as though it's right in fThis book is like biking on Route 66: although whatever landmark your looking at is actually miles in the distance, it looks as though it's right in front of your nose. You can see everything about this book pages in advance...and can almost predict how it will be worded, too. I wish the author made her audience work a bit harder at earning some of the plot points.
Don't expect this to be a masterpiece. It's witty and interesting enough to be a perfect "beach" read...
Enjoyable, light and perfect for women with great taste in stormy, libidinous male characters. Scottish, too (can't go wrong with a saucy brogue, black hair and hot, hairy forearms)!...more
Scott Lynch, in my opinion, is an author to keep an eye on and an ear out for. This dude is smart, funny and obviously has a massive imagination.
It wScott Lynch, in my opinion, is an author to keep an eye on and an ear out for. This dude is smart, funny and obviously has a massive imagination.
It was after this, the second in the Gentlemen Bastard series, that I was hooked. I was devastated to learn, after searching for the third installment, that the book is not set to be released until 2013. I'm hoping the recent reports, stating that it will actually be released in autumn 2012, are correct. I'll definitely be looking forward to devouring the upcoming "Republic of Thieves"
I'm attached to Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen. I'm in love with the world Lynch creates. It's definitely got a crapload of heart and is an exquisite nod to honorable thieves everywhere.
I've got to flesh out this review to do this world justice. It's so beautifully crafted and well worth your time-- I'm a fan of the fantasy genre-- not particularly adventurous in that arena...but Lynch is the type of author who makes me want to explore and unearth more rollicking gems like this.
First: Don't expect too much from this book, and you'll find it an enjoyable read...It serves as a good transitional book...something that cleanses thFirst: Don't expect too much from this book, and you'll find it an enjoyable read...It serves as a good transitional book...something that cleanses the palate prior to your next literary feast...
Best Aspects of the Book: It's entertaining and certain scenes actually plant a seed of fear and suspense that is nurtured until the end of the book. It's an easy and consistent read (the quality of writing doesn't waver or seem pretentious). The characters mature and develop in a very clean, unobstructed manner. The realms are fairly interesting and well realized. Portraits of each character are also well depicted--it's easy to get an impression of the characters, both mythical creatures and humans alike...
Worst Aspects of the Book: It's difficult to explain...I suppose I'll write about it this way: I don't like it when I can practically hear the clickity-clack of the author's keyboard in my mind. While I'm reading any novel, I want to forget that the author exists. A while after I'm finished, however, when I'm digesting a theme or technique, I'll willingly think about the author's process, and relish the thought of those long hours that resulted in his or her labor of love...
In this case, Bray was practically sitting in my bedroom while I turned the pages of her book. Each page smacks of self-awareness...I'll have find some concrete examples to support this opinion...
Other weaknesses: Published in 2003, in the wake of Harry Potter's enormous success, it seems as though young-adult genre has been pigeonholed...
There's the predictable setting: Spence, a gothic, all girls finishing school in England, is where the action takes off in the first novel...There's one particularly gifted person(Gemma Doyle, main character) who shoulders nearly all of the responsibility...blah blah...go into the forest, see what is right before your eyes...
It is used as an uninspired springboard to London, where the fashionable and unsavory streets seem a bit contrived and flat,there's some obligatory drizzle, the token suffocating crinoline, don't forget about the perennially charming, rakish gentleman...debutante gossip-mongers, surly, duplicitous professors and a wickedly stuffy headmistress...the list goes on ad infinitum......more
This is another pleasant book for young adult readers who are interested in fantasy...(can you sense an impending "however"?)
At times, HOWEVER, I reseThis is another pleasant book for young adult readers who are interested in fantasy...(can you sense an impending "however"?)
At times, HOWEVER, I resented the editor, because it seemed like the arguments between Cezar and Jena acted as filler pages that prevented the story from moving forward.
I also disliked the fact that it was nearly impossible to become attached to any of the sisters (besides Jena, who is the main character)though such an attachment or personal investment (on the reader's part) is the effect the author wanted to produce. There just didn't seem to be enough time to create substantial character development for each sister...They were merely good spices thrown into the pot; they added flavor to the meat that was Jena's story...
Like so many of this genre, I'm sure it would have been best enjoyed prior to entering this callous, skeptical world of pseudo-adulthood. I suppose I've become a cantankerous, all-too-serious old woman, despite the fact that I'm still in my early twenties...I'm reading about fairies, for chrissake! What do I expect?
I'm being unnecessarily critical; it was a charming, young story--I liked Gogu's character very much and Jena did make an interesting main character; I wished the utmost happiness for her while I read her story, and will remember her fondly.
This book is excellent for a couple of stormy summer nights--it's a fast and easy, enjoyable read.
*Also, I must give Marillier some serious props for being inspired by the "12 Dancing Princesses"--she added a very cool interpretation of it and obviously loved researching Transylvanian culture, which I really appreciated.
Elizabeth Marie Pope has certainly mastered historical fiction. That Pope is capable of weaving fantasy and folklore into the mix is absolutely delighElizabeth Marie Pope has certainly mastered historical fiction. That Pope is capable of weaving fantasy and folklore into the mix is absolutely delightful!
This is a great read for any age, although I'm certain my love for it would have been magnified tenfold were I a bit younger when I first read it. Still, I was transfixed by the story-and greatly appreciate the way Katherine Sutton (the hero of our story) is portrayed.
If you're like me, you'll enjoy the banter that Christopher Heron (our other worthy hero) and Kate share. It's the type of relationship that brings a smile to my face-Pope has also mastered the translation of tense, antagonistic affection to the page in a clever, lively way.
This is a quick, great read that almost anyone is sure to enjoy--but it's especially for those, like myself, who are given to fits of whimsy.
I also heartily recommend Pope's "The Sherwood Ring."
A solid fantasy novel for young adults. I find myself wishing that I had read it during those teenage years...I probably would have found it more inteA solid fantasy novel for young adults. I find myself wishing that I had read it during those teenage years...I probably would have found it more intense and involving.
Looking for that teenage feeling these days, I think...It's rather obvious I'm trying to escape some major aspect of my life, as I'm almost exclusively reading fantasy these days...I keep telling myself it's just a phase.
Upon further reflection...I think this installment could have been much better. Perhaps Rowling was freaking out under the enormous pressure...never eUpon further reflection...I think this installment could have been much better. Perhaps Rowling was freaking out under the enormous pressure...never expecting her series to be so wildly adored by so many...Still, this book left something to be desired, I think. Rowling made so many predictable moves...and not even the ones that would have had more of an impact...
Snape could have been the hero of the entire series, for example. It would have been rather ironic, considering the fact that he's been the object of every one's disdain--which would have made an outright act of heroism all the more outstanding. I understand that he made a significant contribution to Harry's safety, and Snape's storyline was heartbreaking and interesting...but he could have openly faced Voldermort. He could have raged and fought--he was a powerful wizard, after all... Snape should have gone out with a bang, I think--instead of a blood-soaked whimper.
Also..The necklace around Ron's neck...bringing all of his envy and mistrust to the surface...Where have we seen this before? (just take a glance at the Lord of the Rings)...Harry and Ron have already had that fight about inequity in popularity...been there, done that...Why revisit it in such an awkward, hackneyed way?
The gratuitous deaths also bother me. If you're going to kill a character off, kill one who is critical to Harry's development. Make Harry a three dimensional character! Do something earth-shattering to him!
Also--merely showing a pile of dead bodies on the floor doesn't drive the point home. Some peripheral characters were cast off, as though their deaths were intended to evoke a certain emotion--yet they were clearly not considered important enough to be given more than a page of recognition upon their demise...What does that lead the reader to feel about those characters?
Also, why the hell did Harry spend such a huge swath of the book sitting in a tent like a big doofus? Why didn't Rowling use all of those pages to illustrate the maturation of Harry's skill as a wizard--to give us some details as far as Voldemort was concerned...why wasn't there more conflict there? Why am I taking all of this so damn seriously is a better question...bleh.
There were some interesting bits in this book. I guess it's time for me to state it--there's better young adult fantasy out there...series that deserve just as much, if not much more recognition...as they are better written, better rendered, etc.
I do think of Harry Potter with fondness, however. Perhaps it's the combination of book and film...perhaps it's because so many friends of mine adore the books...I like them for their entertainment value...These are good pleasure reads--and could have been elevated to something much more. Perhaps my expectations were too high for this one.
Had I read Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty when I was 12-14 years old, this probably would have been close to a favorite of mine. There’s somHad I read Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty when I was 12-14 years old, this probably would have been close to a favorite of mine. There’s something about the way it is written (Bray’s exploration of insecurity, the quest of finding oneself, budding sexuality and subsequent doubt, yearning and curiosity, conflicts with family, struggling with authority, self-image, etc) that is absolutely perfect for Bray’s young adult audience. Please keep the genre in mind while you read--perhaps then you won't feel too disappointed. This book deserves a chance, I think. It does seem misguided at times, but it's not complete tripe. I appreciate what the author is (and often succeeded in) doing here. Try not to turn your nose up at it.
*I must make an important note here, digress and ask: has anyone else noticed that using the word “gingerly” is practically a prerequisite for young adult authors to consider themselves thus? Seriously, I could (and if I ever have the time, will) make a list of young adult lit that employ that infamous word! Nowhere else have I seen that adjective/adverb so frequently used. It’s certainly never used in common speech. I’m going to test it out–just to see whether or not people look at me as though I have three heads if I actually say something like: “I gingerly took the antique mirror from its place, high upon the wall.” Seriously, who says it? Do publishers force young adult authors to throw the word in for good measure? Is it an ingredient, like paprika, that the potato salad of young adult lit just wouldn’t be the same without? For Libba Bray’s sake, I must note that she used it only once, if I’m not mistaken...and it wasn’t poorly used, by any means...It just makes me smile every time I come across it.
Back to the book–It was well done, although there were portions of the book that seemed a bit forced.
Great & Terrible Beauty is set (during the first 30 pages in India) in turn-of-the-century England, at an all girls preparatory school. Gemma, the main character, has experienced a mysterious tragedy, and enters the school with a sense of foreboding that she cannot shake, or seem to share with anyone. After a very short time, the reader is introduced to what will become an unlikely group of friends, consisting of the archetypal cruel, power-hungry beauty (Felicity), the fickle follower (Pippa), the spirited upstart (Gemma) and the dowdy outcast (Ann).
Certain aspects of the book annoyed me. One of the subplots consisted of Ann’s injuring herself, by scratching at her wrists. While I’m certain women of all eras have harmed themselves in order to remind themselves that they “can still feel”, I couldn’t help but feel as though Bray was taking an idea from a more modern story (about the more modern phenomenon of cutting, for example) and trying to push it into this novel...The lasting effect resulted in the proverbial round peg, square hole dilemma. It didn’t seem too necessary to force that type of character development on Ann, and again, seemed glaring only because it took me out of the time period that was intended for the story.
There are certain scenes that seemed to have been a bit too familiar. The most predictable scenes, however, were often followed by something pleasantly unexpected (I must be vague here, as I despise spoilers).
I have to give Bray credit for writing such a solid story with a main character who is clearly immature and flawed, yet still strong and likeable. I also appreciate the fact that Bray managed to tell an entertaining story, while trying to instill (in her primarily female audience) ideas of feminine power–a celebration of independence, strength and individuality.
As the reader continues on Gemma's journey, the existence of magical realms and an ancient, mystical Order takes over the bulk of the plot. The magic of the realms teeters on the edge of becoming a metaphor for drug use; at times I thought the narration of the story would break, and the reader would be told that the “magic” was really heroine, or something like it. My guess is that Bray was trying to find a venue for the exploration of Power, and what potential harm it can do to a person who thirsts for it without any thought of the consequences.
If you’re looking for a slightly creepy, entertaining novel, you’ll enjoy A Great & Terrible Beauty. I want to read the sequel, Rebel Angels, which I consider a good sign. ...more
Got to admit that I was rather disappointed with this one. I had high expectations, particularly because the first in the series was just so freakishlGot to admit that I was rather disappointed with this one. I had high expectations, particularly because the first in the series was just so freakishly delightful. The second lacked forward motion and that charming, consistent, fairly quippy pace of a good epistolary novel.
It wasn't dreadful, but it wasn't spectacular. ...more
Set in Edwardian England, "Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" is one part adventure, one part fantasy and two parts completely demented (and I mean thisSet in Edwardian England, "Glass Books of the Dream Eaters" is one part adventure, one part fantasy and two parts completely demented (and I mean this as a compliment).
Apparently, many people are undecided about how to rate this book. From what I've observed, people either love it, hate it, or are filled with begrudging indifference.
Apart from all of the "scoffing" and the grossly superfluous use of the word "cabal" Dahlquist manages to write a very interesting and unlikely trio of heroes.
This trio, (consisting of the spirited Miss Celeste Temple, the formidable Cardinal Chang, and the endearing Dr.Abelard Svenson)who are united in fighting against a profoundly determined group of fanatic villains, provide Dahlquist's (otherwise convoluted) premise a great deal of vivacity and charm.
This is clearly the author's first novel and I think the editor was heavily sedated when he or she was suggesting changes. I agree with anyone who believes that this book could have been more powerful had it been condensed to about 5 to 600 pages.
Celeste, Chang and Svenson, however, will linger in my mind and provoke my lips to curl into a side-smile. What great characters! I hope Dahlquist writes another adventure including all three characters, expanding on their relationships and interactions with one another....more