Had to set this down about halfway through, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Most unique dystopian I've read in a long time, and the heroine, Sa...moreHad to set this down about halfway through, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Most unique dystopian I've read in a long time, and the heroine, Saba, ranks up there with Katsa from GRACELING and Tally in the UGLIES trilogy. I love a truly tough warrior heroine who would do anything to survive. Saba was flawed and compelling, and her relationships were deep and incredibly realistic--I loved Lugh, Emmy, and Jack, and I loved how Saba's character grew over the course of this book. And Nero, the crow who can play with dice? I so want a Nero of my own. (view spoiler)[ I actually suspect Nero is something more than a crow. It was the dice that did it for me. I was okay with him jabbering away in crow and playing counting games with Emmy, but beating Jack at dice? The suggestions were building up, and I'm wondering where they'll go. (hide spoiler)]
This is basically a rave review for me. I felt the ending was a teensy bit scattered, climax-wise, but that was just me. Everything important was resolved beautifully.
I do have some questions that I hope will be resolved in book 2--for example, I have my suspicions about Saba (view spoiler)[those dreams of hers? I'm thinking some kind of magic (hide spoiler)] and DeMalo (view spoiler)[very interested as to why he let Saba go, whether he'll turn out to be good or bad, why he could look into Saba's eyes and make her hear things, and whether he has magic, as well (hide spoiler)] and of course, Jack. Jack who has places to be and things to do. Jack who acts loyal now but obviously has a past. Jack...
This book surprised me in the best possible way. Given the cover, I expected some chic, high-tech dystopian, full of fizzly romance and a lightheaded...moreThis book surprised me in the best possible way. Given the cover, I expected some chic, high-tech dystopian, full of fizzly romance and a lightheaded heroine, and (possibly?) a ball.
But Elliot's story is one of farming, of the contrast between the rich society of estate holders and the drudgery of the Reduced and Posts. It was like reading Persuasion set on a plantation right before the civil war, with some amazing SF elements thrown in. And, basically, Elliot has to choose which side she's on, and how she plans on fighting for what she believes.
I loved it--the story and Elliot's struggles felt very real. The letters interspersed between the chapters were perfect and sweet, giving us an insight to how Elliot's and Kai's friendship had developed and where things went wrong. And Elliot is such a strong character. I love how she stands up for herself against Andromeda, and even Kai; how she doesn't relinquish her secrets just because someone asked her to trust them. Her development is very well done and real.
As for the romance--it was the angsty, simmery, painful and beautiful, all at once, and full of misunderstandings. My only complaint is that we didn't get more of it at the end.
My actual rating for this was 4.5 stars. Loved this take on stasis, and really enjoyed the modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty in a SF setting. To be...moreMy actual rating for this was 4.5 stars. Loved this take on stasis, and really enjoyed the modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty in a SF setting. To be honest, I forgot it was supposed to be a retelling; I was caught up in the story.
Though it had a lot of plot (and thanks to the Plasticine, a lot of action!) I think it was actually one of those quieter books like The Adoration of Jenna Fox (which lately I'm comparing everything to, agh!) and also The Different Girl, Melody Burning, etc. It had a lot to do with character development via the plot and reminded me of Altered by Jennifer Rush in that way, too.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, it wasn't a cryo book like Across the Universe (Beth Revis) is a cryo book. It wasn't a sci-fi fairytale retelling like Cinder was. But it was beautifully done, a fantastic read, and it had a great little twist at the end that just gave me that burning sensation of a story living beyond its pages.
But it IS quieter. The first couple chapters gave me problems. I was afraid I already knew how the story would go, and I almost put it down for good, but things picked up again and I was glad I pushed through. If you're the kind of person who pushed through the slow 100 pages of The Host and ended up loving it, or enjoys the quieter, quirkier books like Melody Burning, or who thought Altered was awesome even though maybe you thought it should read like the Uglies series and it didn't*--then you will know how to enjoy this.
*Just a P.S? I LOVE all those books mentioned, both sets of comparisons. I just want to recognize that it's very easy to come at a book with set ideas on what you expect it to be like, and then feel frustrated when it turns out as something completely different. I love both kind of books but it always helps to know which one I'm getting into :)
Okay. I wasn't going to read this book. More than once, the pretty cover made me waver, but I told myself no--and then I saw it in the libra...more3.5 stars.
Okay. I wasn't going to read this book. More than once, the pretty cover made me waver, but I told myself no--and then I saw it in the library, and my resolve crumbled. Ah, the lure of lovely covers!
Anywho, that said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. I thought the buildup into paranormal was well-done despite a few little holes in the curse theory. I also really appreciated that the author had the main couple draw back at times, scared by their own intimacy--added a tiny level of realism that you don't see in a lot of YA romances. I thought the ending was well-done and there were a few twists along the way that helped to keep me theorizing. (less)
Wow. So I had a teensy bit of trouble getting through the first few pages, but once this book gets going, boy does it get going. I haven't read a lite...moreWow. So I had a teensy bit of trouble getting through the first few pages, but once this book gets going, boy does it get going. I haven't read a literal page turner in a long time--I was reading so fast that skimmed right over scene breaks. Lovely romance. Great character development. Things got a little rushed at the end, and I felt a teensy bit frustrated with the "compromise" Jackson made with his Holly problem. Because of course I'd hoped for the best. But two more books in the series gives me a teensy bit of hope in that department.
Hmm. I didn't connect with this the way I'd hoped to. For one, things felt very slow. The intrigue was on and off. There wasn't a lot of tension about...moreHmm. I didn't connect with this the way I'd hoped to. For one, things felt very slow. The intrigue was on and off. There wasn't a lot of tension about being Linden's husband, because Linden turns out to be a half-decent guy, albeit a rather manipulated one. There wasn't much tension about escape attempts, either. They just sort of happen. We get hints of plenty of secrets, but the answers don't reveal things as much as I'd hoped. I just never felt like there was a real threat.
Obviously, a lot of other people have enjoyed this book immensely, and I think I just didn't click with this like someone else might. I do plan on reading book 2--hopefully once Rhine and Gabriel get out there, they'll be forced to make more choices and take risks. So. Fingers crossed!(less)
Loved the cover, but once I got two chapters in, I felt like I'd seen this before--and I wasn't connecting with it this time. Very intriguing start, a...moreLoved the cover, but once I got two chapters in, I felt like I'd seen this before--and I wasn't connecting with it this time. Very intriguing start, and I feel like a lot of other people would really enjoy this. But not my cup of tea.(less)
So I finally got around to reading this! I enjoyed it, although I had mixed feelings about how the romance is handled toward the end. I think I tend t...moreSo I finally got around to reading this! I enjoyed it, although I had mixed feelings about how the romance is handled toward the end. I think I tend to like my time travels with a lot more action, so this felt a little simple to me, but I think people who enjoy a solid romance would like this.(less)
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 willi...moreThis 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 hap...moreMuch 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.(less)
Before you read this book, before I review it, you need to read this quote from an interview with Robin McKinley:
"[You, Robin McKinley, have] explaine...moreBefore you read this book, before I review it, you need to read this quote from an interview with Robin McKinley:
"[You, Robin McKinley, have] explained on your blog that Pegasus started out as one giant story, but then it became so long that you were forced to cut it in two. The first part comes out this fall as Pegasus; the second part will be published next year. " full interview
Why is this important? Because I went into Pegasus not knowing there would be a sequel. (UPDATE: It's now a trilogy. Oh, dear.) I went into Pegasus and thought it was a gorgeous story with an incredibly slow buildup and some annoyances along the way, but a great story nonetheless, and then we hit the dark moment--
And the story ends. Just like that.
Because she chopped it in half. I don't mean to be rude or snarky or anything, but literally, she agreed with the interviewer on this fact. And so the ending is pretty horrid. If you're not the kind of person who can read for 400 pages (even if they are beautiful pages (even if those are slow)) then you shouldn't read it.
So if we drop the whole chopped-in-half thing for a moment and talk about story, I will say this: It's a gorgeous story with all these twists, pitfalls, long-forgotten secrets, and this sense that we're uncovering something vital and important. It's haunted me ever since I finished. I love the minor characters, I love Ebon--his relationship with Sylvi is so open from the start, that you just ache for him and Sylvi.
Alright, minor annoyances: basically, there's a lot of introspection in this book, and a lot of backstory that segues into deeper backstory that skips forward that segues into backstory until you're not sure what's the present, and what's backstory. That's a little frustrating. Equally frustrating is the way Robin McKinley drops clues and then forces Sylvi to disregard them. I can't remember how many times it went, "Sylvi saw threads of magic, but that was silly, perhaps it was the tears in her eyes" or something. You get the idea. And Sylvi never has interest in investigating these clues and always "wants" to ask so-and-so "but didn't" for reasons that didn't seem strong enough to stop her strong desire to find answers.
There was that. Then there was the pseudo-ending. But the story itself, the plot, the themes, the idea of this gorgeous relationship gone wrong, the sword, the tunnels, and yes the caves--I want to know the end to this mystery Robin has so brilliantly woven. I really want to. However, I'm guessing things will get worse before they get better. Sighs.
3 stars for a lousy ending. UPDATE: 4 stars for "can't get it out of my head-ness" UPDATE: 5 stars for improving immensely upon re-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 much...moreThis 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!