I won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was written...moreI won this book through the GoodReads First-Read program.
I... really didn't like this book, unfortunately.
It was very clear that the book was written with great passion. It was also obvious that the author had put a great deal of work into fleshing out the universe that the characters inhabited. She worked out various hierarchies and built upon a good deal of old mythology to do so. She knew her history (nice shout out to medieval German beliefs!) but that wasn't quite enough to save the book in my eyes.
I can't understand the weakness of female characters. Yes, she was strong in that she was willing to sacrifice herself to save the man she loved. But... she also was killing a lot of other people to save that man when he was her mortal enemy... and when she was a trained soldier and had put all that behind her... and she kept forgiving him for unforgivable acts. I've a problem with this.
Furthermore, why exactly wasn't there more urgency felt in the book itself? You have an army being raised to destroy all of creation more or less. You also have a "seer" going unaccounted for and both poorly hunted and poorly protected.
I just... wasn't feeling this very much. The kicker was the switching of first person perspectives and a failure to differentiate the voices very clearly.
The premise itself holds promise, and the worldbuilding holds promise too. It just needs better execution.(less)
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turn...moreBeautiful, beautiful story.
I tip my hat to Beatrix Potter for managing to perfectly capture the benign and industrious nature of the hedgehog and turn the humble insectivore into a cultural landmark for us all to love and cherish.(less)
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater...moreHunting is bad, okay?
That's the gist of what was going on in Roald Dahl's mind here. The illustrations, lovingly done by Quentin Blake, add a greater dash of humor to the typically dark Dahl tale. It's short, sweet, and rather to the point. Another fun example of "how would you like it if someone did that to you?" The answer? Well. Not much.
The high rating is less for the title story than it is for the awesome expanded facts in the book. After the story the new publication continued with a brief biography of Dahl, some fun quotes, bits of trivia, and other general madness related to the man. That bumped the rating up to a four from a more general three for a fun quick read.
What an awesome guy. Thus, I continue my "read everything by Roald Dahl" challenge of the year...(less)
I was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing ways...moreI was able to get this book for an advance review for Netgalley.
I've always had a bit of a fascination with the Louisiana Bayou and the vanishing ways of life attached to it. The hoodoo tradition is one that is misinterpreted about as often as it is referred to in popular culture - fortunately, Will O'the Wisp did a rather good job of showcasing both the traditions themselves and how people tend to view them nowadays.
The artwork for this book was highly reminiscent of the style used in Locke and Key, which is one that I'm especially fond of. There's a fluidity to the landscapes, the swamps, the fire, that is both beautiful and eerie. The bugs and the bones as well are beautifully rendered, and I would say that the book is worth looking at for the artwork alone.
While I'd like to rate the book more than three stars, I'm not entirely certain I could. While the book lends itself to reading for the hoodoo traditions and the artwork, and the story was a traditional tale of vengeance from beyond the grave and uneasy isolation, I felt that overall it was missing something. There was constantly more to the story that I wanted to uncover, but couldn't. I would say that this is the fault of the medium itself and the age of the audience it's intended for, but I've read a great deal of graphic novels and know the medium to be virtually unlimited in the scope it could cover storywise and the YA genre itself is fast accepting more and more titles that delve into what previously may be considered questionable content.
My disappointment with the depth of the story being told could easily be remedied by telling more stories of Aurora's time with Silver in Ossuary Isle, and is offset slightly by the attention paid to the spells of Nonnie, the begrudging respect paid to the hoodoo traditions by Silver, and the beauty of the artwork in the piece itself. It's certainly a title that I know friends of mine would enjoy, and by no means was it a bad read at all. I enjoyed it, and I'm certain a great many others will as well.
Couldn't be happier that traditional Louisiana hoodoo culture is getting treated to some good storytelling for a new generation!(less)
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry c...moreThis is such a fun idea!
The illustrations bumped it to a two star book for me, but the writing is unfortunately just one star territory. Each entry consists of just a number and a brief sentence such as "Karaoke". Nothing more, nothing less. You're just reading a list of silly ideas with no real elaboration to make it more entertaining. Worse, several ideas are repeated multiple times which makes the list just redundant and ridiculous...
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as...moreWhat??? Four stars?? Why?
Well, it was just a four star book to me. Ratings are subjective, and occasionally I change mine as my feelings change. Or as I feel like it. Or when I'm fairly certain I won't get slaughtered for disliking something as popular as Never Let Me Go. Oops.
Anyway, James and the Giant Peach was a movie I rather enjoyed. I retained the basic plot, and was amused enough giving it a read through. The illustrations were fun, the LadyBug lovely, the Silk Worm a deus ex machina if there ever was one, and the Spider charming. The Centipede was an unrepentant pest, but what can you do? I still hope I never see one again in my life. In real life, I mean. In books they're all right, for the most part.
What took this book down from a five to a four was more or less the fact that James didn't really gain much from his journeys. Oh, sure, he realized he was an intelligent human being. (view spoiler)[He gained friends once they got to America. (hide spoiler)] It just didn't feel like quite enough. The ending of Matilda, for instance, felt like enough to me. But this book felt a wee bit unfinished. Not as literally so as Staurt Little was, but still just a bit not fully there.
No bother, though. It's still a rollicking adventure and a delightful film.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
You know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read ever...moreYou know, I really enjoy Roald Dahl. In fact, I'm slowly going through just about everything he's written. Unfortunately, when you decide to read everything someone has written you come up against a few unfortunate reads. For me, this was one of them. During the World Wars a great number of books were written for children about aspects of military life. This was how The Gremlins was born.
Gremlins are tiny creatures that go through planes (and most mechanical objects) and totally mess them up. You probably have a few messing with your WiFi on occasion. Why do they do this? Their forests were destroyed during the Industrial Revolution and they want revenge. Why else? Maybe for fun, or maybe not. In this story Roald Dahl decides to create a little school for them so they can repair planes rather than destroy them. Which... I guess makes sense? Now the pilots won't have anyone to blame but themselves when things go wrong though. Didn't think that one through, did you?
This book just... bored me. The illustrations weren't enough to keep me engaged, I was constantly confused by who didn't believe in them and who did. I don't understand why they decided to work with creatures that nearly murdered them for fun. It was just a bit of a mess for me. Oh well. I think Disney even got a film out of this nonsense.
No nostalgia here, and no Snoopy to keep me engaged. Alas.(less)
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the c...moreAh, well, we meet again my love.
Dogsbody was first laid before me by my first librarian in elementary school. She offered me the book, what with the chilling rendition of the cold dog on the cover. Fur as white as snow, ears as red as blood, in mid leap towards the front of the cover. I devoured the book more quickly than anything, and left with a part of me stolen by the story. I could relate to Leo, to Sirius, to whatever you choose to call him. I had my rages, had my temper. Rereading it all these years later, yes, I've had my ill-chosen love. I felt I understood him, and understood the love that Kathleen had for him and the emptiness she felt towards the end.
Rereading it now, I understand the subplot of the Irish Troubles, the prejudice that I missed completely when I first read it innumerable times. I understood the mythology of the Hunt, and better the desire to chase and destroy and mourn and love that was all wrapped up within it. I understood the difference between the wild and the tame, the intelligence and the cruelty. There is so much in this book that just... it's almost like we were given only a brief snapshot of what could have continued on for ages. The world built was beautiful, cruel, confused and haunting. We were given so much in this book to explore, and so much was just viewed through inadequate eyes.
I think I'll always love this book, and I know it will always have stolen a large part of who I am. It's my favorite for a reason, and I spent years trying to find it for a bigger reason still. This book is an under-appreciated classic, and one I'll always hurriedly recommend to anyone who asks me. (less)
I think I got more out of this book by reading the extensive notes and introductions than by reading the book itself. The book was so full of allusion...moreI think I got more out of this book by reading the extensive notes and introductions than by reading the book itself. The book was so full of allusions to political situations, changes in speech and text depending upon what was being mentioned, legitimate philosophical meanderings and religious commentary. Well, it was a piece of work.
I think it would be an easier read a second time around, bearing in mind all I learned from the first poke through it. It's one of those books you know you should read and contemplate, but doing so alone is a bit difficult. A bit like listening to a lecture and having your mind blown away - listen again, and you can begin to pick at the subtleties.
I do agree that the most fascinating bit about Utopia is the fact that there would be no way to enforce it had the structure not already been in place. Yes, it sounds great from the outset, but knowing freedom and having experienced this level of it (impinged upon as it may be these days) we'd not take too kindly to having it all stripped away. It truly is No Place as much as it may be a Good One (which can be thoroughly argued, seeing how flawed the system in place is.)
The commentary is great, the concepts novel at the time and still rather fresh now. Not to mention the dystopia genre does hinge upon this singular text, written and published so many years ago.(less)
I think this book would serve far better as a standalone than as a proper part of the Wrinkle in Time movement. Aside from Sandy and Denny, the other...moreI think this book would serve far better as a standalone than as a proper part of the Wrinkle in Time movement. Aside from Sandy and Denny, the other characters are pretty much only mentioned. It isn't as involved with Meg and the family as A Swiftly Tilting Planet managed to be, and really only tangentially dealt with the science aspects that dominated the other three books. The idea of something only existing when it is observed, however, is one that's fascinating and worth a bit of a think.
So, Many Waters basically has Sandy and Denny travel back in time to hang out with Noah and his family in antedivulian times and deal with Seraphim and Nephilim. Yeah, it is overtly Biblical fiction, and although the author butchers Neanderthals a bit in her depictions of them all in all the ideas of how people survived in that time aren't terrible. It would do to interest people in prehistoric times, perhaps?
I didn't like it as much as I enjoyed the other books. I did enjoy the fact that as a coming of age story it dealt more directly with ideas of budding sexuality and how sometimes what you want isn't necessarily what you should have. The importance of family is emphasized, as well as the importance of following one's instincts and in general doing the right thing even if it isn't the easy thing to do. The ending felt a bit rushed, and I think the book would have done better to not be written for a YA audience, but that might just be the fact that I'm older now.
I love mysteries, and other painfully obvious declarations.
Stephen King is a personal favorite of mine. His books tend to deny genres, but this (as th...moreI love mysteries, and other painfully obvious declarations.
Stephen King is a personal favorite of mine. His books tend to deny genres, but this (as the publisher indicates) is at its heart a good ole murder mystery tempered by coming-of-age and other such King staples. There's a ghost in there, too, and a touch of the shining... but neither really matter in the end, as they're both (while important to the plot) easy throwaways.
The book was a very quick read for me, and it went down easy. It was fun to solve the mystery, and very possible to do so before the protagonist. Not Nancy Drew easy, mind, but fair play to the killer. Good misdirection, too.
This used to be my favorite installation in the Wrinkle in Time series. I adored Charles Wallace, enjoyed the trip through history and seeing differen...moreThis used to be my favorite installation in the Wrinkle in Time series. I adored Charles Wallace, enjoyed the trip through history and seeing different time periods... Rereading it, some of the twists were rather obvious and a bit insulting. The repetition of the rune got trying. Realizing when it was written, what was happening... well, it gave the book a context that made its message rather clear. It would have been interesting to see what kids thought of it at the time it was released with the very real threat of nuclear annihilation looming.
Good to see some Welsh mythology creeping in, as it doesn't tend to get looked at nearly often enough. The witch hunt was a bit annoying, but so it goes.(less)
The fondness I have of this book comes mainly from having read it (and having it read to me) as a child.
Stuart Little himself isn't a terribly likable...moreThe fondness I have of this book comes mainly from having read it (and having it read to me) as a child.
Stuart Little himself isn't a terribly likable character. He is capricious at best, and although he's helpful he's also terribly aloof and fickle in his cares. By the last third of the book he has run away from home to find Margalo whom he loves, but has no qualms about asking another girl out for a night of canoeing. He didn't even bother to write home to explain to his family what he was about. What a guy.
Yes, it also is troublesome that a woman gave birth to a mouse. I still don't quite understand that matter...
The ending of the book is bittersweet, beautiful, and altogether worth the read. It reminded me oddly of the ending of The House at Pooh Corner or the Piper at the Gates of Dawn in The Wind in the Willows. There's a sense of wonder and a sense of loss, and I feel considerably the images evoked by the endless trek North that Stuart Little has embarked on. Will he find he Margalo? Will he ever return to the New York he loved so well? It's debatable, at best, but with the imagery of the water and Stuart's seafaring ways it's safe to say he'd never settle in one place for too terribly long.
Beautiful book, even if perhaps an undeserved classic. Not E.B. White's best, but there are far worse fates than growing up with this story.(less)
This short story came up as free on my phone the other day and I of course jumped at the opportunity to get some more Neil Gaiman. I think this sto...moreAw.
This short story came up as free on my phone the other day and I of course jumped at the opportunity to get some more Neil Gaiman. I think this story might have been collected in Fragile Things, but either way it had been a while and I was up for a reread. Gosh, I love this man's writing.
It's amazing how much of a character you can grasp through a few simple sentences, how amusing a response to a bizarre situation can be. I adore Neil Gaiman's ability to take an ordinary man, set him into extraordinary situations, and have him react in a believable way. Neverwhere achieved this brilliantly, and this short story really highlights his capability as well.
Funny story, brilliant reread, I don't think I'll ever grow tired of this author.(less)
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over...moreI really didn't enjoy this book.
I picked it up on a whim, finding the title rather hilarious, and kept it as more of curiosity than anything else over the years. Finally sitting down to read it.. well, it was about as good as the title indicates. The male lead was Doctor Nick Necrophiliac and the female lead was Ms. Naive.
The lyrics included the wondrous phrase "Draculame, you don't scare me."