This was more depressing than I thought it would be. Also I think I had way too many expectations, despite my best attempts otherwise. Not quite williThis was more depressing than I thought it would be. Also I think I had way too many expectations, despite my best attempts otherwise. Not quite willing to say it was a let down, because I think a big part of my dislike is due to the Season--it was disgusting, as the author intended it to be, but it gave me a bad vibe for the rest of the book.
These are a few of the highlights both good and bad:
-I felt like the POV switches were forced, and often led to repetitiveness. -I loved the way Elder reacts to Amy when he first sees her, and his descriptions of her -It bugged me that Elder (and sometimes Amy) never stuck to a topic, but dropped it whenever another plot point came along. They felt overwhelmingly reactive versus proactive. -I really appreciated the complexity of the minor characters, like Orion and the Doc -I felt frustrated that Elder liked Amy so much but didn't protect her like he could have--some of those scenes, he simply should have been there. It was a disappointment. -I liked that Amy was determined to act, especially her thing with the wall -I loved the actual flow of the pages and the unique use of whitespace. It felt so natural, and incredibly unique, like every line was poetry. -I really hated that Elder and Amy didn't figure things out earlier -- the author did a great job of dropping clues about the killer's identity, and I could have guessed who halfway through, but no one else got it. -I thought the denouement of the antagonists was well done, despite their being so many deaths -I was irked that Amy and Elder's romantic relationship had such a setback near the end, and how little Amy did to work it out between them. -I loved the koi fish. Details like that really lingered with me -I loved the complexity of Elder/Eldest, and the related twists were well done
I think I will read the sequel when it comes, mainly because I sense that book will actually be more positive than this one? I'm looking forward to see Elder and Amy grow together. Thank goodness there won't be another season!
Much darker than I'd expected. Although I guess you could say it had a 'happy ending,' I was still overwhelmed by all the horrible things that had hapMuch darker than I'd expected. Although I guess you could say it had a 'happy ending,' I was still overwhelmed by all the horrible things that had happened. It was hard to find resolution....more
I am oh so slowly falling in love with Brightly Woven.
After reading it the first time, I enjoyed it, but was bothered by a few questions, and particulI am oh so slowly falling in love with Brightly Woven.
After reading it the first time, I enjoyed it, but was bothered by a few questions, and particularly irked with the climax. Something about the book stuck with me though. I knew I wanted to re-read it. It had been my first taste of fiction after months of hard college work, and I had devoured it. I wanted to go back a second time and savour it. Upon doing so, I found myself more forgiving, and more able to contemplate the questions I'd had before.
Some of them are structural--when Sydelle leaves with North, and they reach their first village, she says that "sometime in all his ramblings" North mentioned how the village would look. Problem is that North never rambled. He's barely talked. I wondered if the author cut out a travel sequence, and that we missed some kindness on North's part. It felt like something was missing. In a similar way, it bugged me that Sydelle almost finished the cloak, and then that whole plot thread just got dropped for a while. It had so much meaning and I wanted to explore that.
Other questions I had involved the neglect of the kingdom of Provincia. This plot thread is developed so carefully. Then, when we go to Auster, Sydelle realizes how kind these people are, how much like her own, and she also sees how gorgeous their kingdom is. Sydelle can't help but compare it to her own home nation. The question is, why has Provincia been so neglected? We never find out. Again, I felt like something important was missing.
Originally I had issues with North (he seemed so careless and manhandling) and Hectate (like seriously? War for no reason? What is your problem?) and Henry (why was Sydelle bothered by him? It felt random.) But upon re-read, I started picking up on some more of those subtle details. I really, really fell in love with North's tortured soul. He reminded me of Howl in Howl's Floating Castle, which was a pleasant surprise. I love that Sydelle brings out the best in North. And Sydelle was a beautiful character, who did a few stupid things, but not unreedemably so; who I could identify with, who picked up on all those little clues, who figured it out, who was proactive. Sydelle was very real. Okay, she was rather thick about the bracelet. But I was very proud of her and how she acted in the climax. And the resolution afterwards was perfect.
Brightly Woven is the kind of book I want to buy, and re-read, and absorb.
It was a debut, and my writer's instinct snagged on a couple rough edges, but they are completely forgivable and this was way worth the read.
This book is great. It's very quietly chilling. Rachel is a young girl living on a bit of privately owned property in the country, away from the muchThis book is great. It's very quietly chilling. Rachel is a young girl living on a bit of privately owned property in the country, away from the much more dangerous cities with their Labor Pools and Identifications and random, overboard taxes. Some people would say that where Rachel lives near The Line--one stretch of a protective barrier surrounding the Unified States--is even more dangerous than the cities. It's The Line, after all, so very close to Away, where strange mutated creatures and human Others are rumored to live. Rachel has never seen any Others. And she's content helping out at Ms. Moore's greenhouse learning how to raise the sensitive and exotic orchids, being homeschooled by her mother about the corrupt government, and pondering what life is really like on the other side of The Line.
But Rachel doesn't believe everything she's told. Ms. Moore knows something about Away that she isn't sharing, and Rachel's own mother acts strangely whenever Enforcement Officers come around. So when Rachel finds an urgent message from across The Line, she's determined to figure out the secrets everyone has been keeping for so long. Turns out there's a lot she didn't know. Not only do the Others exist, but when a crisis changes everything, Rachel might be the only one who can help them.
I got an ARC of The Line and cracked it open, planning on scanning the first few paragraphs, but it sucked me right in. There's something very concrete and grounded about this story. The prose is great; the descriptions are so clean and sharp. Here's one on page 121--"Alarm flared scarlet in Vivian's mind." Images like that, both original and succinct, fill the entire book. You get this sense of believability and security even as darker, crazy things are going on in the background. The relationships were great...there's a pretty tight cast of characters, and it all seems so simple at first, but then you pick up there's a whole lot more going on in what everybody says and is thinking.
There's also a sense that the author isn't trying to trick you or hold anything back, as some "big ominous mystery" books do. None of the mystery was over dramatized or dangled in front of you. It all unfolded perfectly, and you just want to keep reading smack until the end. I actually wish there was more. It's a shorter book, and it ends on a note where you're just dying to find out what happens next. It's a cliffhanger in the sense that as everything in this book is wrapping up, you get a piece of new information that just makes you crazy to figure out what happens involving it. It was a pretty good one as far as cliffhangers go.
So this is a great little read, and I can't wait for the next in the series, 'Away.' Although 'The Line' hasn't even debuted yet, so I guess I have a long wait!
I was a little disappointed in this book, to be honest. Not only was it epically long considering the short period of time it spanned, but also, the gI was a little disappointed in this book, to be honest. Not only was it epically long considering the short period of time it spanned, but also, the gamut of emotions that the heroine goes through is exhausting to read about. On one hand the book is incredibly realistic. I could usually empathize with Samantha if not understand her. Still, as realistic as it was, it was also very frustrating as a reader to have to wade through fifty pages of Samantha's despair, followed by another fifty of her "giving up," followed by another fifty of her feeling as if her world has crumbled and she's loosing her mind.
The enormous despair of her situation made getting through those parts a struggle--and those parts consist of almost the entire book. Pile plenty of cussing and sexual situations on top of that, and "Before I Fall" was at times a rather unpleasant read. I did appreciate the ending although I hoped for something more. This wasn't the amazing read I hoped for/expected, but I'll give it to Lauren Oliver that it must have taken a lot of skill to write. Three stars.
This was an author I interviewed way at the beginning of last year. The book itself was a shorter and a little quieter than I had expected, but actualThis was an author I interviewed way at the beginning of last year. The book itself was a shorter and a little quieter than I had expected, but actually quite beautiful and well done. What the author did with amazing skill was develop the various antagonists and the mystery surrounding Maddy's death--I really had no idea who killed her. Was it her best friend's mother, who is slipping deeper into mental illness? Or her boyfriend's jealous ex, Dana? Or was it Tammy, the early childhood friend turned bad-girl who thinks Maddy turned her in about some drugs? That whole thing was amazingly well done.
The story had a lot of depth and spark because of it. That and the other relationships were well developed. The book started out slow, ran a little short, and I liked the ending, even though I'd hoped for more. All in all it was a nice debut and a sweet read with enough of an edge of mystery to keep you guessing. The quieter feel reminded me of "I Heart You, You Haunt Me." Glad I finally got a chance to read this. ...more
I don't know how to rate this. It was a good book, very intense, and I loved it right up until the end. That part didn't suck...but, well, I know whyI don't know how to rate this. It was a good book, very intense, and I loved it right up until the end. That part didn't suck...but, well, I know why this is a dystopian. I wish someone would warn me beforehand!
I will say that this book is very well written and will keep you hooked right until the end. If you'll enjoy the end, I can't say. It was better than "Feed" though. ...more
Despite what the blurb says, when Callie Montgomery accidentally travels back to 1815 in a pair of Prada heels, she's not out to win a hot duke's hear Despite what the blurb says, when Callie Montgomery accidentally travels back to 1815 in a pair of Prada heels, she's not out to win a hot duke's heart. She's actually kinda furious with him. In real life, Callie is a loner and a bit of a brainiac. She hoped the school trip to London would help, but it only left her feeling worse than before. To try and impress some girls from the A-clique, she buys a $400 pair of Prada heels, and trips on them in her first steps. This is Callie. Geeky. Clumsy. Desperate. But not Rebecca, the girl Callie finds herself acting like when her fall transports her to England of the past. Apparently, Rebecca is the kind of girl people expect to fix things, to work miracles. To get home, Callie will need to as well. But can she really save Rebecca's best friend from an arranged marriage? And is she right about Alex being a jerk, or has he been looking out for her all along?
She's still clumsy. She's still a geek. But Callie is going to find a whole new side of herself that no one can take away - the guts to fight for what she wants, the courage to let herself fall in love, and the understanding that she doesn't need a Prada to be special.
Prada & Predjudice was an entertaining summer read, one of those kind that you read while kicking your heels. I had some trouble connecting with Callie. She's a bit self-absorbed and entirely true to life, and I think her immaturity made it hard to like her. She never convinced me that Alex was a jerk. A lot of the twists were predictable, and I found myself frustrated with Callie for playing dumb. But around halfway through, things pick up and Callie starts caring more about the lives of those around her. As she grows and becomes involved, so does the story. The parts about Alex are great. And the ending was perfect - I love how she comes home and continues going on with her life, pretending that nothing happened but knowing that it did - with that final twist that just makes you grin. Not too bad for a debut.
Silver Phoenix is a coming of age story set in a mystical asian universe called the Kindom of Xia. Ai Ling is a young asian girl from Xia who is troubSilver Phoenix is a coming of age story set in a mystical asian universe called the Kindom of Xia. Ai Ling is a young asian girl from Xia who is troubled to have reached the age of matchmaking, but to have been turned down by all available suitors - except for a sickening, manipulative man who claims that Ai Ling's father owes him a debt, and wants Ai Ling as payment. The problem is that Ai Ling's father is off following summons to visit the emperor- and has been gone for months without word. With the shame of her family upon her, Ai Ling sneaks away from home and sets out to find her father.
But immediately, strange demons begin attacking her at every turn, threatening her to turn back or be killed. Why are they so desperate to stop her? With her newfound ability to reach into other's souls, and the help of a fellow traveler, Ai Ling begins a journey that will take her to places she that were known only as myths. There is a secret waiting for her at the emperors palace. But how much will she sacrifice to save the ones she loves?
This was a really wild book. The author Cindy Pon has a great imagination and vidid descriptions that bring you into the story. The magical elements were introduced so naturally that it gave them a realism they wouldn't have had otherwise. The plot itself was a little rough, and I found myself irked at the main characters a few times. But otherwise, this was a great debut that straddles the line between fantasy and mythology. I'm looking forward to see what Cindy Pon will write next. 3.5 stars. ...more
This is the first novel by debut author Brett Battles, and book one in the Jonathan Quinn series. As a cleaner, Quinn covers up messy murder scenes beThis is the first novel by debut author Brett Battles, and book one in the Jonathan Quinn series. As a cleaner, Quinn covers up messy murder scenes before the police can discover the crime. He's a mind-your-own-business kind of guy with a sort of grim wit and a dedication to his old teacher who died on the job.
This book sucked me in right off the bat with it's original premise and swift plot. The twists really are surprising, and the characters develop in interesting ways through the story - Nate especially surprised me with his maturity levels. It has all the tropes you look for in a good suspense, thriller, and detective story: a tangled conspiracy, a clue-by-clue mystery, an international thrill ride, secret agencies, and a main character that really is the best out there.
On the down side, one or two things did strike me as unbelievable: for one, there's the bad guy's main building. Brett kept describing it as a balloon, which I had a heck of a time picturing, and I ended up thinking of it as some kind of space shuttle. Then there's the mints at the end....don't want to spoil the story, but mints? They were too silly for me to take seriously. However, these were minor flaws in an otherwise great book. All I can think about is how classic it was, despite being so inventive. Kudos to Brett for this great thriller.