All the different facets of this novel add up to make one of the best stories I have ever read. From the very first pag...moreLyrical. Captivating. Haunting.
All the different facets of this novel add up to make one of the best stories I have ever read. From the very first page, Mattie Gokey's zeal for words makes the pages of the book turn themselves. Weaved throughout Maggie's fictional struggles is the real life story of the death of Grace Brown, as seen through Mattie's brief (and fictional, of course) interaction with her, and letters that she left behind (the letters are real, by the way).
This is not an idyllic coming of age story full of flowers and happy, skipping children. It is a story of racism, hatred, marital infedelity and a family left imbittered by the death of their mother from breast cancer.
Jennifer Donnelly doesn't sacrifice real life to make the story more pleasant. Childbirth is described with horrifying detail, sickness and starving children are common threads to the story, and marriage isn't viewed as the grand ideal. In fact...there IS no grand ideal. Just a community of people surviving as best as they can.
Mattie's love for books and writing is one of the best parts of the story. My favorite part of the novel is a scene where Mattie sees her teacher's library for the first time-more books then she has ever seen or heard of that inspires her into a passionate speech about writing.
Well, it seems to me that there are books that tell stories, and then there are books that tell truths...The first kind, they show you life like you want it to be. With villains getting what they deserve and the hero seeing what a fool he's been and marrying the heroine and happy endings and all that. Like Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion. But the second kind, they show you life more like it is. Like in Huckleberry Finn where Huck's pa is a no-good drunk and Jim suffers so. The first kind makes you cheerful and contented, but the second kind shakes you up...
Why don't they tell the truth? Why don't they tell how a pigpen looks after the sow's eaten her children? Or how it is for a girl when her baby won't come out? Or that cancer has a smell to it? All those books...I bet not one of them will tell you what cancer smells like...
I don't mean to be coarse. I just...I don't know why I should care what happens to people in a drawing room in London or Paris or anywhere else when no one in those places cares what happens to people in Eagle Bay."
Her teacher then tells her Make them care, Mattie, and don't you ever be sorry.
I like to think that is what Mattie will end up doing, after the end of the story. Through the reading of the losses Grace Brown suffers before her death, Mattie realizes where her destiny really lies. (less)
I read Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility a few years ago, but I don't remember them well at all. So, I count this as just my second Austen, P...moreI read Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility a few years ago, but I don't remember them well at all. So, I count this as just my second Austen, Pride and Prejudice being the other.
Just like with P&P, it is easy to get caught up in the story and involved with the characters. That really is a sign of a very well written book-when instead of just noting 'oh-here is the "bad" guy', you get genuinely angry when they are in the story and breathe a sigh of relief when they leave it.
I know there aren't truly BAD people in this particular story. All the characters are on different levels of stupidity and the worst of them seem to cause the most trouble. Unfortunately, in many ways, Emma is among the ranks of the most ignorant. At least she means well though, which is more then can be said for the ridiculous Frank Churchill. Of course, his standing with me was not at all helped by the fact that I pictured him as in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie-a horrible looking Ewan McGregor with a disgusting head of hair. Too bad his movie character didn't drive an obscene distance to get a haircut like he did in the book. The truest villians of the story are probably the Eltons, its certainly hard not to despise both of them by the end of the story.
I really did love reading this, all the characters had distinct and (mostly) charming personalities that made all the dialogue fly along and the book so easy to read. I'm glad I read it, and will probably read it again someday.(less)
I wasn't a huge fan of this one, I liked Wicked Lovely MUCH better. I'm really excited to move on to Fragile Eternity and get back to the original cha...moreI wasn't a huge fan of this one, I liked Wicked Lovely MUCH better. I'm really excited to move on to Fragile Eternity and get back to the original characters.(less)
I DARE you not to love Georgia. This book is incredibly entertaining, I don't think I've ever laughed as hard or as often. Sure she is shallow and tot...moreI DARE you not to love Georgia. This book is incredibly entertaining, I don't think I've ever laughed as hard or as often. Sure she is shallow and totally caught up in herself...but she is in MIDDLE SCHOOL. Her attitude is the reality for pretty much anyone at that age. So get off your high horse, pick this up, and get ready to laugh!(less)
I think this is a 5 star book, I really do. It was fabulous, and I think-overall-had a good message. I'm giving it 3 stars because I never felt connec...moreI think this is a 5 star book, I really do. It was fabulous, and I think-overall-had a good message. I'm giving it 3 stars because I never felt connected to the characters 100%, and its hard to fall in love with a book when you don't.
The writing was brilliant though, I really like his style. I love how he is so consistent with the way his characters think. Like Pudge always thinking of how many "layers" are between him and whatever character he is with at the time. Also, I laughed outloud when he got hit with the basketball and said "I am concussed."
This is just an easy, sweet story. None of the outcomes are hard to guess, and most of the characters are ridiculously perfect...but I had a lot of fu...moreThis is just an easy, sweet story. None of the outcomes are hard to guess, and most of the characters are ridiculously perfect...but I had a lot of fun reading it just the same.(less)
hmm...I'm really not sure why I liked this book so much. It wasn't what I expected when I started, I didn't have a very good idea of the premise thoug...morehmm...I'm really not sure why I liked this book so much. It wasn't what I expected when I started, I didn't have a very good idea of the premise though. It is a very intense story, and certainly not a happy one. I can't say its original either...it made me think of the movie The Village, I Am Legend, and even The Stand in some ways.
All that being said...for some odd reason I really enjoyed reading this. I've been getting more into zombies lately, so why not? I look forward to reading the sequel next year.(less)
This was an amazing book in so many ways, I'm so glad I picked it up. I understand that it is classified as YA...but believe me, it would more than ho...moreThis was an amazing book in so many ways, I'm so glad I picked it up. I understand that it is classified as YA...but believe me, it would more than hold it's own in the adult section as well. There are 4 sections, most of the first, second and fourth are the "manuscripts of the boy Octavian", and the language is rich and very much of the eighteenth century. Have a dictionary handy--I sure needed one quite often.
I was touched and outraged throughout all of Octavian's actual memoirs, but I thought the third section lagged a little, I even found myself just scanning parts of it. That is probably why I didn't give the book 5 stars.
Anyway, I don't have much to say about the actual story. You need to read and experience it for yourself (and just WAIT until the curveball at the very end!).
Here is one of my favorite sections:
"...they told me of color, that it was an illusion of the eye, an event in the perceiver's mind, not in the object; they told me that color had no reality; indeed, they told me that color did not inhere in a physical body any more than pain was in a needle.
And then they imprisoned me in darkness; and though there was no color there, I still was black, and they still were white; and for that, they bound and gagged me."(less)
Maybe I would have liked this more when I was a kid, but...I was bored. Very bored. I got to page 80 and couldn't stand it anymore, I read the last co...moreMaybe I would have liked this more when I was a kid, but...I was bored. Very bored. I got to page 80 and couldn't stand it anymore, I read the last couple of chapters and called it quits.(less)
I read this in two sittings, I couldn't put it down but...I don't agree with some of the directions the story took. Nonetheless, it was a pretty good...moreI read this in two sittings, I couldn't put it down but...I don't agree with some of the directions the story took. Nonetheless, it was a pretty good read.(less)
How can anyone not think this book is an absolute joy to read? I mean, Shannon Hale dedicates it to Colin Firth. That is incredible, hilarious, and de...moreHow can anyone not think this book is an absolute joy to read? I mean, Shannon Hale dedicates it to Colin Firth. That is incredible, hilarious, and definitely makes her my hero. I love that she did that.
Is this book of the same caliber as Pride and Prejudice? Abso-fricken-lutely not. Did Shannon Hale in any way intend for it to be so? No. She wrote a sweet little frolic of a tale for all of us Austen lovers to have a little swoon over. And this Austen fan had just that.
Any self-respecting Austen girl worth her Darcy daydreams will fall in love with Jane Hayes on the first page. Because, my friends, Jane has a secret. She is a Pride-and-Prejudice-BBC-movie-watching-Jane-Austen-book-reading fanatic. Aren’t we all?
There is one little slip, when a mention is made that Northanger Abbey isn’t worth reading twice. We’ll forgive the author for that one small blip in what is otherwise a perfect piece of fluffy Austen-ey goodness.
Jane’s attitude about her Austen obsession in the beginning is hilarious since she is so embarrassed about it. She hides her DVDs (I have mine displayed! No shame here) and keeps all I-must-marry-an-Austen-leading-man thoughts to herself. It makes me feel like I’m part of a secret club with her since I feel the same way (except for the hiding it part. I expect Captain Wentworth to show up any day now).
So, and I can’t say this enough, you absolutely must read this book if you are a fan of Jane Austen! It is so much fun to read, as long as you go into it not expecting anything but a good time.(less)
I thought this book was absolutely brilliant. I was drawn into the story from page one...although after the first 200 or so pages, a story that was ab...moreI thought this book was absolutely brilliant. I was drawn into the story from page one...although after the first 200 or so pages, a story that was above average to begin with shot straight to the top of my favorites list.
It is a fairly complicated story due to various political intrigues...but I can promise you that you will NOT be bored for even a second (or at least, I sure wasn't). The names and places can all be fairly confusing, but by the time the story really gets going you'll have them pretty much down.
I thought it was pretty darn original, I've sure never heard of anything even remotely like this before. In an odd way, it was one of the most spiritual books I've ever read...just not by our standards. Their methods of worship are quite different then one might expect. I should take this moment to warn you of several S&M scenes...but all the different sexual portrayals were lovely to me, because Carey has a way of making you see them from the characters' eyes-which means viewing them as a homage to the gods.
I can't wait to keep going with this series!
*EDIT* Just realized I forgot to mention my one major gripe...the outrageously bad foreshadowing technique. I think this was the author's first book, so hopefully she gets better but...really. There was constantly a "little did I know how important this would be" or "if only I'd known then how it would turn out, I could have done it differently..." It got on my nerves. But the story was so good I forgave her, and eventually I was so caught up I stopped noticing (or maybe it was when I got to the "then" that she wished she'd known before, haha).
*ANOTHER EDIT* I just did a half-reread/scan, because I was curious to see if knowing what happens in books 2 and 3 would affect the way I saw this one. I have to say, still love this one...but it made me appreciate how much deeper you go into Phedre and Joscelin's lives in both the next books. I don't like the way Joscelin was portrayed when he first appears: he was always showing either too much insight or far too little, depending on the situation. Once she shames some sense into him during their stay in the Skaldi territory, he seemed to snap into the Joscelin I know and love. I guess that was when his pride took its first big beating. *shrug* anyway, just something I noticed.(less)
The first part was pretty slow-you do get a chance to know and sympathize with Tally-and of course, learn more about the Pretties and Uglies...but sti...moreThe first part was pretty slow-you do get a chance to know and sympathize with Tally-and of course, learn more about the Pretties and Uglies...but still--for the first 150 pages or so I was really waiting for things to pick up.
Once they did pick up, it was a GREAT ride...I'm really looking forward to picking up the next one.(less)
I have never read a series where I felt more like the whole series could have been read all through as one (huge, though it would be) book. The chemis...moreI have never read a series where I felt more like the whole series could have been read all through as one (huge, though it would be) book. The chemistry didn't falter and the characters didn't lose ANY of their appeal in this sequel, which so often happens in series.
The mysteries are good--sometimes the broader parts of the crimes aren't terribly hard to guess, but there are always smaller intrigues mixed in, and I don't think it would be possible to solve each and every one of them, so I think everyone can reach the end surprised in some fashion, and therefore satisfied.
So many things that usually annoy me to no end barely bother me at all because I love the stories so much. Clunky foreshadowing of the "Little did I know what was lurking just around the corner..." variety is in practically every chapter, and that is usually a major deal breaker for me. With these though I just kinda smile, like I have some sort of an agreement with the author that says "you can make some mistakes as long as the stories stay captivating!" or something.(less)
The murder, in this one, was the easiest to guess ahead of time. But there were SO MANY subplots that I think you had to have some idea of the bigger...moreThe murder, in this one, was the easiest to guess ahead of time. But there were SO MANY subplots that I think you had to have some idea of the bigger crime when you reached the final bend in the story or you would have been completely overwhelmed by everything else that happened.
What I love most about this series, anyway, is that it isn't about the mystery plot as much as it is the characters. Once the murders had been solved, there was still 50 pages left in the book to resolve the personal issues that have been brewing since the first page of Silent in the Grave.
I wouldn't recommend this series to everyone, because sometimes the story is slow-the mysteries always take awhile to get going. That fact THRILLS me because I am so desperately in love with all the characters, but perhaps it isn't a format that would please everyone.
I can't wait for the next one! (um...there WILL be a next one, right?)
Oh...and one last thing: I hate the covers. It makes the series seem like trashy romance, but believe me it is NOT. The chemistry between Brisbane and Jane is electrifying, make no mistake-but it comes from their strong personalities and wit, not the bedroom.(less)