I'm actually glad that I was provided with a free copy of this book by the publisher as part of the Goodreads First Reads program, in return for an hoI'm actually glad that I was provided with a free copy of this book by the publisher as part of the Goodreads First Reads program, in return for an honest review. I would hate to have bought it for myself. Why? Let's just say that I really did not like this book.
It's boring, poorly written, and there is no romance at all. I knew going in that it was a clean romance and I was cool with that, but I still expected some level of interaction beyond "Where are you from?" between the romantic leads. There really wasn't. Well, that's not completely true. There was some interaction. It was more in the form of "How do we not get killed?" and the pages dedicated to Tessa asking Jeff why he had kissed her. I was confused about why he kissed her, too. There was no chemistry between them at all. Sure, there was the whole fear that they could be killed by a drug kingpin type dude--or a couple of them, but there was no romance. I'm pretty sure that once the adrenaline wore off that they would both be wondering what they had gotten themselves into.
As a clean romance, I probably should have expected the references to modest clothing and all the talk about God and prayer. I didn't, though. I didn't realize that almost half of the book would be prayers. If I wanted to read a book that was half full of things that you shouldn't do in life and half full of prayers, then I would have read the Bible. That probably would have been more exciting. If you're skiddish about religion or you don't want to be preached to, then you probably should avoid this book.
Other people who should avoid it include anyone who doesn't like a gratuitous threat of rape. Yes, this is one of those books that puts an attempted rape scene in the book just to add conflict. Writers should really stop doing that. There are other ways to add conflict besides trying to rape or, as this author calls it, "abuse" the (usually) female characters. And, while we're at it, if you are going to put a rape or rape attempt scene in a book, then you should be willing to call it what it is. I know that rape is an ugly word, but it is an important word to use when it comes to this sort of situation. People need to be able to recognize it for what it is. While rape is a form of abuse, not calling it rape diminishes that ability. This leads to people acting callously toward rape victims or towards victims being in denial of what they have actually suffered through.
There was some more ignorance thrown in the other parts of the book. The male lead (a Border Patrol agent) kept explaining the science to the female lead (a fish biologist), which was really annoying. It felt like she should be the one explaining science to him since she was the science person. There were also references to poor communication with their families. There was judgment of divorce and couples who choose that option. The male lead was able to tell just by meeting the female lead that her intelligence and gender made her high maintenance. The bad guy in the book threatens to sell the female lead to make money; an exact quote from this interaction was "There are men who would pay top dollar for a red-haired American woman."
Speaking of ignorance related to the bad guy, the drug kingpin was forcing his "employees" to stay and work for him on his marijuana grow. This was recognized and identified as slavery. It was even mentioned that sometimes he kept the employees drugged so that they would work for him. All in the name of keeping his operation going and keeping the profit margin high. These are acts that most people would recognize as signs that this bad guy is really bad. Well, not our female lead. She didn't realize just how horrible of a human being he was until he tried to sell her for a profit. At the end of the paragraph after that last quote, she made the following remark, "So you're going to move from illegal drugs to human trafficking?" He was already involved in human trafficking, hun. Human trafficking is defined as, "a. sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age; or b. the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery." That she didn't know this was horrifying. It disgusted me that she thought that her education or social status or anything else somehow made her more of a victim than these people who had been "recruited" into slavery because of their addictions or their poverty.
There was the "all drugs are bad" feeling that the book gave off. It also had a tendency toward the pro-nationalism that you sometimes see on the right. I don't know if that was intentional, but that's definitely how certain parts came across.
The book also followed some religious stereotypes. You have the strong male lead with the deep Christian faith. You have the weak female lead who has her doubts; she also has red hair, which is common amongst religious characters who have been objectified in some way. And you have the bad guys, who don't believe in God and who have scarred bodies and faces. They have nothing to live for except their greed. Basically everything you learned in Sunday School. Not really imaginative. Not really ground-breaking. Not any good.
I've been on a bit of a politically-fueled comedy book reading bent lately, and since I generally like Bill Maher's style, I thought I would check thiI've been on a bit of a politically-fueled comedy book reading bent lately, and since I generally like Bill Maher's style, I thought I would check this book out. This book is definitely different from his New Rules books by featuring only essays by him--well, except for the political posters, which were inspired by or based on the ones that were made during World War II.
This book is also different in that it isn't really all that funny. It's more of an educational sort of thing. As is probably obvious by the title, this book has to do with the post-9/11 world that the book was written in. Oddly, even though it was written in 2002, much of what he said in this book still applies to current attitudes and policies in this country. That, in itself, is rather alarming.
There were some things about the book that made me feel a little less comfortable. While I'm used to his comedy having some edge, this book was a lot edgier than what I expected. I understand the frustration he had with the country and the world in 2002 because I felt that way a lot, too. I guess I was just disappointed that he made a book that a reader would think should be comedy into a bitter rant-fest.
And while it was different from what I had expected, the book was also full of wisdom. Sometimes it is easy to dismiss the things that Maher says because he is a comedian, but that really just makes him a type of anthropologist or sociologist. He definitely observes a lot about the world, and he is unafraid to share his thoughts on what he likes and what disturbs him. That alone makes this book worthy of reading, even if you just wanted to see the guy smiting his enemies with his snarky wit....more
I wasn't exactly sure I wanted to read this book after finishing The White Queen. While reading that book, I found myself already disliking Margaret BI wasn't exactly sure I wanted to read this book after finishing The White Queen. While reading that book, I found myself already disliking Margaret Beaufort almost every time that she was mentioned. I was shocked when I started reading this novel and I liked her.
After about 100 pages, the fluffy feelings toward her disappeared and that familiar loathing feeling returned. There's something that is purely despicable about any character who describes the children of her enemy as being young and trembling next to their mother, which gives the reader the impression that they are innocent, before describing them (on the same page) as "little traitorous boys who wept for their defeat." She is describing children who are about 7 and 10 years old as traitors. She is mocking them. She continuously criticizes anyone who doesn't live up to her "righteous" standards. What kind of standards must someone have to vilify a child?
The annoying obsession of The White Queen was Melusina. This book also has a character with her own annoying obsession. Instead of a pagan goddess, she is obsessed with Joan of Arc. It starts as a simple childhood obsession, but becomes a lifelong one. She fangirls over Joan throughout the whole book, and even prays to her. She wants to be Joan of Arc. As a child, she dreams of becoming a nun. Then she wants to be a warrior for God once she has heard the tales of her heroine Joan of Arc. She decides while in childbirth that she is like Joan in delivering a future monarch, though Joan's delivery wasn't through childbirth.
There are definitely times when Margaret deserves sympathy. Being neglected as a child, suffering through months of marital rape from a husband who is more than a decade older than her, and being treated like an object or a pawn because of her gender makes it very, very easy to feel bad for the girl. Her judgmental attitude lessens that sympathy, though. And her near-constant whining makes her insufferable to read about. It's awful that a person who should be an easy-to-admire character (because of all that she has been through) ends up being no more than an amalgam of several negative tropes. Her joy for learning and desire to be independent is not able to triumph over that self-righteous, snide attitude that she embodies.
Other than my issues with how contempt-worthy I find the main character, I find myself truly torn about my feelings toward the book and the author. As with the first book of this series, I enjoyed the first part of the book. I felt there was too great of an emphasis on her obsession. I constantly wanted someone to go ahead and develop some Thorazine to give her so that she would calm down. I didn't like that this book (like the last one) had times where it would suddenly switch from 1st person to 3rd person. With that respect, the one thing I can be glad of is that this one didn't have nearly as much of that as the previous one did.
Though it was mostly an easy read, I can't understand why people are so enamored with this author. Her stories may be accurate from a historical standpoint (or as accurate as one can expect in a work of fiction), but her style isn't really any greater than most of the writers out there. She's quite average and seems to capitalize on the drama and scandal of dramatic and scandalous families. She doesn't really create much conflict, and sometimes I wonder if she should be writing these as biographies instead of as works of fiction. There is nothing truly extraordinary about the stories of hers that I have read so far....more
This is the first book I've read by Philippa Gregory, and I only decided to read it after the BBC/Starz series started airing. For the most part, I enThis is the first book I've read by Philippa Gregory, and I only decided to read it after the BBC/Starz series started airing. For the most part, I enjoyed the book.
Some parts of the story focused a little too much on teaching about the Cousins' War time period. It felt a little too much like a textbook when I would get to some of those sections. While I enjoyed being educated about the history of the time period, I didn't like feeling like this was more of chance to school readers than to entertain them.
There were also parts of the story that were too focused on the legend of Melusina. Some of those parts were repeated over and over again, and by the end of the book, I was sick of hearing about the sea goddess and her husband. It was annoying and redundant and it felt like the story would have been better off with less of that myth being discussed.
I felt like there could have been more development of the characters. I know that Gregory was trying to stay true to the historical information, but sometimes I felt like Elizabeth, as well as her friends, family, and enemies weren't as fleshed out as they could have been. It felt like Gregory forgot that it can be really important for the reader to understand what characters are like and what drives them to behave in certain ways. She was too busy with things that were less important (i.e. the Melusina parts) and it really took away from the quality of the story-telling.
I'm still trying to decide if I want to continue reading the stories in this series and others by this author because I don't know if I will find them more compelling than this one or not. If not, I'm not sure that I want to "waste my time" reading them....more
Oh, I really wish I had liked this book more. I don't know why, but I always seem to be somewhat disappointed by books that Lora Leigh writes. I thinkOh, I really wish I had liked this book more. I don't know why, but I always seem to be somewhat disappointed by books that Lora Leigh writes. I think it has to do with her books all seeming to follow the exact same formula/outline.
Even if the characters are supposedly from different backgrounds and face different struggles, they all seem to be the same. They all say the same things. (If I have to read the words "so pretty" by a guy who sees a girl in her underwear or sans underwear again, I think I might just scream.) They all have the exact same sex scenes. Her books might be okay for someone who just reads one of them, then never reads another story by her. For those of us who read more of her work, it starts getting a bit boring.
I'm not really sure what other people are seeing in this book when they rate it so highly. It wasn't good.
Emma is clearly in need of some therapy toI'm not really sure what other people are seeing in this book when they rate it so highly. It wasn't good.
Emma is clearly in need of some therapy to get over her fiancé's death. The dude died four years earlier and she's still treating it like it's the first day after his death. I think that her inability to truly get over his death is part of why she is so obsessed with having a baby before she turns thirty. (Unless she has a full-on fertility issue, she shouldn't be as concerned about being almost 30 and baby-less. And clearly she doesn't, since it only takes a couple of tries.)
Aidan's proposition was also pretty shameful and could be considered sexual harassment. He isn't seducing her. He isn't really even helping her. He wanted to have sex with her and she turned him down, so he uses her obsession with having a baby to advance his own agenda. That's not a sign of a caring and giving person.
There were some serious issues with overzealous religious types. Emma's backwoods family get-together was so trope-y that I almost expect it to be a prequel for Deliverance. I could almost hear the banjos playing in the background as I read. I know a lot of people still have issues with the idea of out of wedlock pregnancies, but these people were a bit over the top about it.
And then there was the male entitlement and slut-shaming. A cleaning lady at the office simply smiled at Aidan and he thought she was being a tease. That's pretty indicative of some of the more problematic thinking that went on in this book. Of course, it fits in well with the previously mentioned Wanna Baby attitude that Emma has, the religious nuts, and Emma's judgmental tendencies toward certain sex positions. (Who knew that kitchen sex was trashy? Only Emma and some people who probably have very boring sex lives.) Women are treated as sex objects whose only real importance is to provide pleasure for the men and babies to continue the human race. Basically, women are just ovaries, a uterus, and a vagina, but not in the well-written, let's-stop-thinking-this-way style of The Handmaid's Tale. No, this is one that PROMOTES the idea that the only value a woman has is her fertility and her ability to make a guy orgasm. Very, very backwards. Very, very gross.
It was extremely easy to read. Sometimes ease of reading is a good thing, but in this book it most certainly wasn't. It was too easy to read. There wasn't really enough going on in the story, which made it too short. It also left it feeling like she didn't truly put effort into the story. There was a lot of rushing going on and the sex was boring. There was no chemistry between the characters, which meant that the entire story felt very flat.
I knew going into the book that it wasn't going to be some great work of literature, which is why I waited until I found a copy at my local library. Of course there was a cliffhanger, so the author wants you to pay up so you can find out what happens next. She needn't have done that because this book was short enough that another 200 pages or so wouldn't have been some horrifying reading task. I can only assume that she split the book into two parts because she wants the moolah. Well, I have no intention of buying the other books because the quality is so low and the story-line/style is so offensive. I may want to know what happens with these characters, but I will only find out if I stumble across a copy of them at the library. And I really hope that my library doesn't buy the other books because they could spend that money on much better books....more
I haven't enjoyed this series as much as I probably should have. After all, it is fully of vampires, and those are sort of my thing. Between the draggI haven't enjoyed this series as much as I probably should have. After all, it is fully of vampires, and those are sort of my thing. Between the dragging feeling that was present in almost every book, the times when chapters would be 40-50 pages long (for a 300-400 page book), and the switching perspectives in almost every other chapter (and going from 3rd person to 1st person in those chapters) in the last few books, I have been feeling more and more disenchanted.
This book definitely would not make my list of awesome books. It isn't even one of the better ones in the series. For one thing, part of what made me keep coming back to these books were the characters Eve, Amelie, and Myrnin. Well, in this book, Eve and Myrnin barely have any part at all, while Amelie has none. Eve and Myrnin always provided some of the most humorous comments in the other books, while Amelie would provide some of the best insight; without these three, the books aren't as funny and they don't seem as philosophical/insightful. It's amazing how not having them makes the story so very flat.
Another thing I disliked was the continuation of the bad guy being the person you should least expect. For 14 books, that has been the case, whether it was Oliver, a puddle/the rain/Magnus, Naomi, or mad scientists. With every book, I thought the way villains were written would change. With every book, it became more and more obvious that it wouldn't change. It would have been okay if it had been an occasional thing, but 14 books that are built on the suspense of figuring out who the big bad is made this formula a really bad idea. Everything that happened in the story made it so obvious that this story was going to be like the other 13.
It is good that this is only a 15 book series. I think that, at least when it comes to the Morganville series, Caine has lost her spark....more
After enjoying Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and Bloodlines novels, I decided to check out her latest novel. Gameboard of the Gods is the first of the Age of X books. It takes place in the future, thought the exact year isn't given. The world has apparently been changed by a disease that causes physical damage to the bodies of those who survived it, as well as their descendents.
The post-infection world is filled with quite a bit of turmoil. Some governments try to quash religious worship, while others try to force it on their citizens. Bigotry and intolerance based on religion, race, class, and other factors run rampant. Nationalism is encouraged in the non-religious RUNA, as is xenophobia. These mindsets have impacted all of the characters in different ways.
The story is very intriguing, but I would recommend that anyone who starts on it try to finish it as soon as possible. There is a lot to remember, so it is best to focus on the story and not get distracted in any way. (Easier said than done, I know.) The three main characters (Justin, Mae, and Tessa) are entertaining and complex. Each has a history that he or she is, in some way, trying to get away from. Each plays a major part in the actual plot, though it doesn't really seem that way early on.
Like other novels by Mead, this one contains witty banter, suspense, and a bit of angst. It is a well developed story and there isn't much of a sense of dragging. It is engaging and I found myself not wanting to put it down once I would start reading. The only thing that I would worry about with other readers is that they might think it is too complicated and they might not enjoy the underlying social tensions....more
I cannot express how glad I am that this series that I once loved is now finished. I'm not sure why the series had to decline so sharply in quality ovI cannot express how glad I am that this series that I once loved is now finished. I'm not sure why the series had to decline so sharply in quality over the last few books, but it did. And with this last book, it continued that decline. No, it didn't continue that decline; it jumped off a cliff and sank to the very bottom of the ocean in quality. It wasn't just a little bad. It was horrible. It was awful. It was a cross between mind-numbingly bad and just plain torturous.
I know that some have been quick to say that the backlash related to this book has to do with who people 'shipped Sookie with. Even though I'm a Sooric (Sookie/Eric shipper), I can honestly say that that has nothing to do with my distaste for this book. And I'm a bit perturbed that people think that upset fans are really that shallow. I would have been fine with her ending up with just about anyone in the franchise, as long as there was a proper build-up to the relationship. And even if it ended with a sudden relationship, like it did, I wouldn't have dismissed the book as being bad just for that.
No, the reasons that this book sucks are a bit more complex than that.
1.) For the first nine books, Sookie had a definitive voice. She was likable. She was funny. She wasn't always the brightest or least-self involved character in the world, but she wasn't the most shallow and she wasn't horribly rude. At some point in the tenth book, this changed. Sookie became more hateful. She became more judgmental. She became obsessed with the most idiotic things. She became a character that disgusted me. By the time I finished this book, I felt like I had been reading from the perspective of the villain for the last 13 books. She was just rude, bigoted, and selfish. She tried to make it seem like she was a good person, but it was quite clear in her attitude and dismissal of certain characters (and their species' in general) that she was just as bad, if not worse, than the antagonists. Oh, and she wasn't just judgmental of bad guys. No, she even judged Tara for still being two sizes bigger than she was pre-pregnancy. She just had twins and Sookie is judging her for not bouncing back quick enough. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Oh, and everything that Eric does in this book is somehow wrong. He comes to Sookie's house to tell her that he still cares for her and is leaving someone outside to protect her since he can't, and she gets pissed. He bails her out of jail, she gets pissed. He wants to keep her in his (un)life, she gets pissed. He agrees to being away from Pam and Karin for a longer period of time to keep her protected, she gets pissed. He makes it so that she can't be hurt by any vampire ever, she gets pissed. She is just so pissy in this book.
2.) For a character who has been sexually assaulted and a writer who has as well, the lack of compassion for Eric being sold into sex slavery with his marriage to Freyda was appalling. (His being forced to have sex with Freyda is described as a cushy benefit of his job.) What was also appalling is that even after Bill attempted to rape Sookie in Club Dead and after finding out that their whole relationship was built on him using her, meaning that any sex that she consented to was consented to under false pretenses and was, therefore, akin to rape, Sookie is still attracted to him. She describes his kissing like it's magical and wonderful. She lets him in her house whenever he wants. She doesn't care that he brings along a character in the beginning of the book that is actually out to possibly impune her character. She gets all googly eyed when he's around. If she can so easily dismiss Eric for being a vampire and therefore soulless, evil, etc., then why can't she do that with Bill? Why is he immune to her bigotry?
3.) At one point, Sookie says that she doesn't think that her relationship with Eric was meant to be because he wanted to save it using the cluviel dor. She doesn't think magic should be used to save or create a relationship. She then turns around and hooks up with her "HEA" because the has opened his eyes to the fact that he wants to have a relationship (with wild seal sex) with her. If magic can doom her relationship with Eric, why can't it doom the relationship with Sam? Because, technically, the only reason for their hookup is that she used magic.
4.) For twelve books, Sookie was the sole narrator. For twelve mysteries, we only knew what was happening in the story based on what Sookie knew. For twelve books, that format was good enough for all involved. Why, in the thirteenth and final book, do we have to go from first person (Sookie) to third person? It was annoying. It made it harder to read. And it just seemed lazy.
5.) Speaking of laziness, there were times when it seemed like CH just half-assed her way through chapters and scenes. Either we were being told every single mundane thing that some random character was doing, or we would get one or two sentences that seemed more like they were part of an outline for the story. It was annoying and I can't believe that someone along the way didn't pick up on how bad that made it look. Of course, there were other editing issues with this book, so I'm wondering if maybe the editor just ignored all the issues that were going on in the book.
6.) When Tyrese is given HIV as part of a Faustian deal (on page 17), I got a bit pissed. Using an illness as a punishment for someone selling their soul is just wrong on so many levels. It makes it seem like it is okay to say that anyone who ends up with a disease, especially a deadly disease, is somehow responsible for ending up with that disease. It makes it seem like diseases are punishments from a supernatural force. Equating the cause for having a disability with selling your soul/sinful behavior? It is offensive. Absolutely offensive.
7.) The character interactions were off. The whole story lacked flow, but the character interactions were some of the worst. It was almost like watching a student film where no one in the film actually knows how to act. Basically, reading the interactions was like watching a trainwreck...in slow motion.
8.) Speaking of the characters, was it really necessary to have so many of the less-important characters from past books in this particular book. Did we really need Barry and Quinn and Mr. C and Diantha and Amelia and Bob and Copley and Johan and on and on and on? I know that Charlaine probably wanted to have Sookie have this one last battle with all her friends and enemies, but it wasn't really necessary. Sometimes less is actually more, especially when it comes to ending a series. It just seemed like overkill.
I didn't enjoy this book. I can't imagine anyone who has been a fan of the series enjoying it. I can't even imagine non-fans enjoying it. If there were a way to give it an even more negative rating, I would because it deserves it. This book was nothing but a waste of time. It makes the whole series, a series that I used to enjoy, seem like a gigantic waste of time. Avoid this book if you can. Even if--no especially if--you loved the series....more
For the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (soFor the most part, I thought this was a really great book. It definitely is worthy of the four stars that I'm giving it, but it is the worst book (so far) in the Bloodlines series. I really enjoy the series and Mead's writing, but this book just didn't make me feel the same kind of rush that the previous 3 books did. That doesn't mean that I won't end up loving the last two books, especially considering that in the Vampire Academy series, my least favorite book was the fourth book. Maybe I just have a problem with that part of the arc in stories? Anyway, I digress.
The story was intriguing and it was definitely filled with drama, which was in keeping with the past stories. Unfortunately, it didn't have the same level of wit that I had come to expect. It was rather dry when it came to that, and the drama that happened was a lot more predictable than it should have been. The whole series has sort of been building to what happened in this book, so it didn't end up really shocking me or anything.
I can say, without a doubt, that I absolutely hate Zoe and think that both she and Sydney's father are extremely most despicable characters. I know that Zoe is motivated by jealousy and was raised by a bigot, so her motives might not completely be her own, but she was given a chance to grow and change and she didn't, which makes her actions that much more abhorrent. I already knew I didn't like Sydney's father before this book, with his previous love of a rapist and his somewhat subtle emotional abuse of his daughters, but this book made me realize what a schmuck the dude really is. I hope that Sydney's mom gets custody of Zoe, if for no other reason than I know it would make Zoe and Jared so horribly miserable.
I'm glad that Adrian was finally coming to terms with the fact that he had been living an extremely self-destructive life. I hope that he can learn how to use spirit while being on medication at some point because he really deserves to have some sort of normal life. I'm sure that his decisions to go on the medicine and, later, to go back off it will be dealt with more in the fifth or sixth book...or at least, I hope that that's the case. I think that the way his lack of faith in himself was portrayed was extremely poignant. A lot of times when writers choose to write about a mentally ill character, they don't completely "get" what having a mental illness is like, but Mead did an excellent job in portraying what it was like for him. Kudos for that.
There seemed to be too many characters in the story. I know that all of the VA and Bloodlines stories have featured multitudes of characters, but there were so many in this book that it felt like some weren't getting the level of attention that they deserved. Hopefully that won't be an issue in the next two books.
Overall, even with the stuff that I didn't like about this book, I found it entertaining, easy to get into, and easy to read. I think it is definitely worth reading and I'm glad to see at least one paranormal romance series writer getting it right. (Some of the fails that have befallen other writers in the genre had made me start to lose hope.) I would recommend this book to fans of paranormal romance stories, especially within the young adult age group....more
Oh, I thought for a little while that this book would rate five stars. Even though it had way too many editing blunders, I thought it was a really strOh, I thought for a little while that this book would rate five stars. Even though it had way too many editing blunders, I thought it was a really strong story.
My love for it waned, though, when I began to realize that once again the series was going to have a book with too much action. This time seemed it seemed like there were at least 3 distinct plots, not sub-plots because of their extensive nature. A lot of new characters were introduced, possibly too many since this story is taking place outside of St. Louis. Many of the characters seemed like they would be unimportant to the future of the series, so it didn't make sense why so much attention was given to them. Another issue I had was that this book featured yet another round of "will she or won't she" be raped. I think there were 2 times when it seemed like it was going to happen, but it didn't. Instead, the book featured something even more disturbing--a vivid description of a child being molested and a description of another child being tortured. These two acts would have been enough to make me drop from 5 stars to 2. I also was not a big fan of the ongoing tension of Anita being around a serial rapist/murderer who enjoyed torturing people who happened to fit Anita's physical characteristics.
At this point in the series, I have noticed that these books are extremely formulaic. There is the repeated information from previous books (including parts lifted verbatim from past novels), Anita thinking that she's being underestimated because she's different (a woman, a freak, a zombie queen, a civilian, a supposed witch, a short person, etc.), a scene involving some sort of mental or physical torture by someone, Anita's repeated statements of being a Christian or having some moral high ground compared to others around the time that she commits or describes some horrifying act of violence, a bigot (usually from the police force) chastising Anita with Anita being immature in response, the rape of a minor character or several threats of rape to Anita, and then the revelation of the villain of the piece, who is usually a character that has been introduced fairly early and seems to be (at first) a benign character. This repeated template for the books reminds me a lot of the old episodes of Matlock, where 52 minutes into the episode, the murderer would be on the stand. It also reminds me of how on Law & Order, you meet the perpetrator at around the 15 minute mark, but the detectives don't get a clue that that's the person until 28-30 minutes in. This nature makes the books more boring than they should be.
There was a true excess of violence in these books. As violent as the novels typically are, there was an extremely grotesque nature that encompassed this book. Many descriptions were so disturbing that they made me cringe or even get nauseous. I'm not opposed to gory details when it is necessary, but the constant use of them in this book was just too much.
The major strength that the book carried was the exploration of Edward's real life, though some of the humanization that took place dampens his great mystique. It also makes Anita look like more of a monster than he is, as he seems to have a thread in him that allows him to love and care for people. I worry a little bit that Anita finding out about Edward's life might eventually ruin their odd friendship.
I am glad that it appears that Anita is realizing that she is truly bound to Richard and Jean-Claude. She seemed to want it to just be there in case of emergencies instead of coming to terms with the fact that is now a part of who she is and who they are. ...more
Once upon a time, I gave this book a five-star rating. After doing a re-read this past week, I'm wondering why I ever gave it such a high rating. It dOnce upon a time, I gave this book a five-star rating. After doing a re-read this past week, I'm wondering why I ever gave it such a high rating. It definitely doesn't deserve it. Maybe I was just so enamored by vampire novels at that point that I thought anything with a little fang or a little blood was awesome. Obviously, I was wrong.
As is typical with the young adult vampire novel, the heroine considers herself to be a freak and lives in some sort of broken home/recently remarried type situation. As is also typical, said heroine is having boy troubles. Apparently, vampire novel heroines are always having some kind of heartache/heart-break issue. Maybe it's actually heartburn and they need some kind of acid reliever. Honestly, that would make more sense in a lot of cases within this genre.
I was intrigued that the story dealt with segregation. Once teenagers find out that they are vampyres, as they spell it in this book, they have to give up their old life and move into a special boarding school for other people who have been marked. I know that might sound a lot like Harry Potter, but instead of being just a tradition, this is something that seems to be legally required of newly marked. It is also apparent that this is different from the HP books in that the outside world knows about vampyres existing and they treat them as being lesser creatures because they are no longer human. (To be fair, the vampyres call humans 'refrigerators', so there really is no love lost.)
Zoey Redbird, this novel's heroine and narrator, is a bit of a queen of exaggeration and immaturity. She says that she has limited math skills, but makes fun of her best friend's worse one when the friend exaggerates a number. It makes Zoey seem very haughty. It was the kind of attitude that you might see someone display right before someone punched them in the face. And she really has no right to be so, since, like I said, she's got some problems with immaturity. She uses words like "boobie" and "poopie" regularly. And she gets distracted whenever she thinks about those words. It's very annoying. She's also a hypocrite. She will ridicule someone else in one paragraph for a particular behavior and then turn around and do the exact same behavior just a few paragraphs later.
Zoey and her friends like to partake in the hobby of slut-shaming. There was honestly more slut-shaming in this book than I was ever exposed to in high school. It was very alarming to see two female writers propagating the idea that girls who have sex or who enjoy being sexual in any way deserve to be treated with less respect and with continued ridicule. What does that teach the readers of these novels to think about sex and sexuality?
Zoey also uses other ways of insulting people through slurs and stereotypes. Negative remarks that she makes about others often relate to the person's sex life or their body shape and size. And do not get me started on how Damien is described. Zoey actually mentions something about not hearing a lisp. And the story goes out of the way to make him seem like he's different from every other gay guy in the world. Instead of making the story seem more inclusive by having a gay character, it actually feels more like they're being even more ignorant and anti-LGBTQ. She calls another character a "retard" and makes fun of friends of her stepfather as being "beady-eyed pedophile husbands". Both of these things disgusted me. There is even racist wording used to describe a fellow student's hair.
I know that Zoey cannot and shouldn't be a perfect character. Flaws are what make characters great, but there's a point when it becomes obvious that it's more than just a flawed character--it's a flawed book. The writing quality of the book is poor. Before Zoey goes to the House of Night, there's a scene where her mother and stepfather are talking...and they seem to only talk in cliches. The mother actually makes a comment about "what will the neighbors say." It was ridiculous. Throughout the book, it felt like the writers are trying really hard to be young and fresh. That was disconcerting to me because one of the authors is young enough that she shouldn't have had to try very hard to sound young. And, as I think I've pointed out by now, the book is filled with ignorance and bigotry. Instead of being an interesting story, it just comes across as disgusting. ...more