This is a masterpiece, well written, extremely well organized contemporary style book. It is often compared to The Catcher in the Rye, while I think t...moreThis is a masterpiece, well written, extremely well organized contemporary style book. It is often compared to The Catcher in the Rye, while I think that the angst in this book isn't so apparent.
For anyone who has suffered through a mental disorder or knows someone else who has, this is a must read as it is very articulate in how it describes the process of slipping into depression.(less)
What a beautifully written story, told in the stream-of-consciousness of a boy growing up in a strange world where everyone's thoughts can be heard an...moreWhat a beautifully written story, told in the stream-of-consciousness of a boy growing up in a strange world where everyone's thoughts can be heard and no one has any secrets.
I did take issue with the ending. But that was only because I thought this first installment of the series would have been ended perfectly just pages shy of the cliffhanger that leads into the next story.
Still amazed at the measure of the skill of writing.(less)
In this future society happiness has been calculated as bliss divided by envy. An incredible look at over-rationalization and the pressure to be perfe...moreIn this future society happiness has been calculated as bliss divided by envy. An incredible look at over-rationalization and the pressure to be perfect and precise. Incredible read with gorgeous prose, the book that set the bar for dystopian literature, as this was written before such classics like 1984 and Brave New World. Don't be intimidated by its Russian roots; this book doesn't read like Tolstoy. Its style was more comparable to Kundera. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in dystopia or science fiction.
I read the version translated by Natasha Randall.(less)
P.C. Cast has gone way beyond the talent she has shown in previous books in her writing of the most recent installment of the House of Night series. T...moreP.C. Cast has gone way beyond the talent she has shown in previous books in her writing of the most recent installment of the House of Night series. The multiple perspectives, introduced in the 6th book worked masterfully in telling this book's unique story. The way that the storyline is told is both surprising as it is breathtaking. There was a point in this book where P.C. Cast tricked me and I absolutely loved it! When the realization hit, I was in awe of how well written the revelation was. And satisfyingly enough the reader will be just as challenged as the characters are while reading this book. As a friend once put it, "these books are like snacks." With that comparison, this book is not a snack the way the others are, and it isn't a full course meal either. Instead, it sits the reader down and shows them how to cook.
But lets go back to the first 6 books. Because without them, this book wouldn't be nearly as pointed. During the House of Night series, the reader feels a need and demand that the characters learn, make decisions, and grow. Books 1 through 6 hasn't really shown us the volume to which these characters can change. While we know that they have, we haven't ever been as intimate with the characters until this 7th book, where we are forced to look at these multi-dimensional characters and acknowledge the depth of them. Heath, Zoey, Aphrodite, Darius, Stevie-Rae, Rephaim, Stark and the big baddies (Neferet and Kalona) are the main focus and while fans of the Twins and Damien and Jack might be disappointed, the focus on the characters listed is key to this book. What's marvelous about that, though is not all characters are developed in the present, not all are even truly in the book, but each and every character mentioned takes on more meaning and becomes so much more clear than in previous books.
Now I'm a huge Stark fan and by the end of this book I don't see how anyone couldn't be, but that's not where I think this review should focus. What's more important is that I'm not a huge Zoey fan. I'm not a huge Heath fan. But by the end of this book I was. Zoey's character changes so much that the reader may expect whiplash yet the story is crafted so that her extraordinary progresses reads naturally. Heath's character is developed simply by reviewing the constants in his relations with everyone in the book. It does not serve to make any reader feel stupid, but rather does cause a reader to stop and think about how Heath really doesn't change so much as our understanding of him did.
Stark. Where to even begin. We learn his history, his future and glimpse into his mind in the present all at once while somehow carrying his load for him. His role in this book is so well written and so well played that this character really shines.
Those of you interested in Stevie-Rae and the inevitable dilemma of Rephaim will not be disappointed by how this story-line, so loosely and tightly mingled with Zoey's is developed and expressed.
And that firecracker Aphrodite? If you think she had a strong voice in all of the rest of the books, her voice is even stronger, if that can even be conceived, in this one. Another spin in the story line helps develop her character in remarkable ways as well.
Here are the most important themes of the book: The act of wishing vs. doing, disguise, the power of mistakes, the power that everyone has inside of us born out of the path we choose, and ultimately, the power not so much of free will but more of choice. Every choice in this book counts.(less)
M.T. Anderson is a true gift to the literary community; especially for young adults. Reading his works reminds me of those thrilling times in late ele...moreM.T. Anderson is a true gift to the literary community; especially for young adults. Reading his works reminds me of those thrilling times in late elementary and early junior high when I was actually assigned reading I liked. He speaks in layers with colorful prose. He challenges the reader to become more aware of the ridiculousness that he gently points out. Experiencing his writing is like becoming an advocate of change at the very basic level: simply being more aware of what the world, society, our innermost selves desire from Life and how to achieve it ethically.
Personally, he makes me comfortable with that grey area of not knowing what the right thing is. Among so many authors, M.T. Anderson bears the true gift and talent which marks the writer's worth. His books explode with sincerity, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, intelligence and wisdom without being preachy or sounding trite. A true visionary. I feel honored every time I read anything he writes. And I also want to immediately re-read it start to finish.
This book obviously didn't disappoint. I love this author and look forward to reading many more by him.(less)