The Moorchild tells the tale of Saaski, a young girl in a small village at the foot of the moor. She's different from the rest of the villagers, and g...moreThe Moorchild tells the tale of Saaski, a young girl in a small village at the foot of the moor. She's different from the rest of the villagers, and gives her parents a lot of trouble because of it. They love her all the same, and try to defend her from the increasingly hostile villagers, many of whom think she's a witch, or a demon, or one of the Folk. It's not giving away anything for me to tell you that Saaski is in fact half human, and half Folk. When it was discovered by the rest of the Folk that she could not do the same things as them, she was used as a Changeling, left in a crib in place of a human baby. As Saaski grows up in the human world, she learns more and more that she is different, and memories of her life before come drifting back.
This is a lovely story, full of rich detail about village life, activities, and attitudes during some vague medieval time in what is probably Ireland. The author calls upon a lot of folklore and fairy legends to weave a strong, interesting, and moving story. My family and I listened to it on a road trip, and had to sit in our car for an extra ten minutes after we had gotten home, just so we could finish the story and find out what happens.(less)
Well, I finished it. If i had been reading it and not listening to it, i might not have finished reading it, but since it was on in my car, i just rol...moreWell, I finished it. If i had been reading it and not listening to it, i might not have finished reading it, but since it was on in my car, i just rolled with it for the sake of hearing what happened next. Did i hate the book? No. It was alright. That's probably the worst thing any author can hope to hear about their book, but that's how i feel. There was a lot of promise in the beginning of the book, but it didn't follow through for me.
Good points: Interesting near-future/alternative present where corporations dominate the world, and everything takes a back seat to making money. Advertising campaigns are off the charts for outlandishness. Some creative projections about future power players, like the NRA and The Police as hired mercenaries with their own armies. Not-so-good points: Plot driven. Shallow characterizations. Stilted conversation. Obvious foreshadowing and uninteresting 'cliffhanger' chapter endings. No sense of real danger for the characters, because they're so flat you don't care much what happens to them. The author seemed obsessed with trying to figure out as many ways as possible to interconnect the characters, which set up a set of 'rules' for the book, and then didn't fully follow through on obvious choices. Mitsui meets a girl in a bar, finds out her name, has a whole conversation with her, and then she just disappears from the book. What the hell was the point of her character being there? She could have created another level of intricacy. Hack Nike, one of the main characters, goes through a major personality change for no apparent reason. He just decides to. Now, I'm not saying that people don't just decide to change their personality for no apparent reason, but it doesn't make for very interesting prose. Jennifer Government is so stereotypical that it hurts. Here's a chance to mess with stereotypes, and the author doesn't bother. Why couldn't Jennifer Government have been the type of woman that you would expect to work for the government - not a hottie with awesome skills, but a realtively normal woman who works long hours for little pay and comes home to do more work to raise her kid. That would have been interesting. Also, what's up with the technology? It was written in 2003, so the technology is plenty advanced. It's supposed to be showing the future, but... let's see... people are at the store arguing over the latest VCR. I'll leave it at that. Also, some obvious character choices were completely ignored. Violet, the independent contractor who built a computer virus that could destroy any network. Gets hired to use it. Uses it. Then gets screwed over by the company that hired her. What does she do? She goes crazy and makes a bunch of completely irrational decisions that are not consistent with what little character she had. What she could have done is used the damn virus on the people that ticked her off. I'm running out of space on this review.
I'll keep my earlier tirade/insight regarding sub-genres:
"A near-future sci-fi novel - although sci-fi doesn't really cover it properly. Science fiction is about science, right? Like, how science evolves and the effect it has on the world. Hard sci-fi is about something that could really happen with technology that's possible. So in a way this is hard sci-fi, but it's more about business and economics - unfortunately, hard econfi doesn't roll off the tongue like sci-fi, but it would be nice if there was a way to differentiate between the types of science that are being explored. Cyberpunk is for computers and human/machine interfaces, for example. Maybe there's not very much in this vein - no that's not true. This type of book relates to some of the dystopian novels of the early 50's, where totalitarianism of one source or another has oppressed people into a very narrow range of possible activities. So it's also a kind of hard socio-sci-fi, hard econo-sci-fi, hard poli-sci-fi, etc." (less)
The Haunting Of Hill House is so much more than a haunted house story. At it's heart it's a psychological profile of a very troubled woman trying to f...moreThe Haunting Of Hill House is so much more than a haunted house story. At it's heart it's a psychological profile of a very troubled woman trying to find a place in the world. I'm sure it's chock full of symbolism, if you're one of them literary nerd types. Symbolism is all well and good, but if it weighs down the story then what's the point? Jackson doesn't spend an excessive amount of time on it - she simply tells the story in short vignettes, leading the reader through scenes of lyrical calm and bonecrunching terror with equal care for choosing just the right turn of phrase. It was tremendous.(less)
You may be familiar with this title from watching Hayao Miyazaki's film of the same name. The film originated as a manga series, also by Miyazaki. It...moreYou may be familiar with this title from watching Hayao Miyazaki's film of the same name. The film originated as a manga series, also by Miyazaki. It was released several years ago in a "Perfect Collection" of four volumes. That version wasn't actually perfect, so Viz re-released it in 2004 as a seven volume series which preserved the original format of the manga (back to front, if you don't live in Japan), as well as many other aspects of the original, including the ink color (dark brown) and sound effects in Japanese.
The first book introduces some of the main characters. Many scenes from this first book were used verbatim in the later movie, but while i was reading it it became very clear that the series would be going in some very different directions. Though the film is epic in it's scope, it's very narrow and limited by comparison to the manga.
The characters, story and plot of this series are rich and deep, in a perfectly realized world. I highly recommend this series to anyone, whether they are fans of manga or not - if you're a fan, you need this for your collection. If you've never experienced manga, this is a great way to be introduced to the genre and format. (less)