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 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)
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.
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)
Out of what I read of the Time Quintet originally this was the book I had the scantiest recollection of. I reread A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilt...moreOut of what I read of the Time Quintet originally this was the book I had the scantiest recollection of. I reread A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet many many times, but this one? Not so much. My memory of it was very shaky and I think it got mixed somewhere over the years with some Magic School Bus episodes.
Nevertheless, rereading the book I found a lot of charming parts of it. I don't feel that it was nearly as strong as A Wrinkle in Time, but poking around I discovered that for a great many people this book was really their favorite. The author's speculative biology was both misinformed and predictive, interesting and thematic. It's a bit heavy, but all of her books are. I think my main problem was that the book came off as more rushed than the others for me.
Progonoskies is a fantastic character, but Blajeny and Sporos both didn't seem fully developed. Calvin could have been emphasized a bit more, too, considering what part he and his family play in A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet but that might just be my own bias speaking.
Man, I wish this universe had been more fully fleshed out.(less)
It's odd reading this book years after I first did. I remember reading this book on my own, and I remember this book being read to me. I remember watc...moreIt's odd reading this book years after I first did. I remember reading this book on my own, and I remember this book being read to me. I remember watching the movie and crying, and dreaming of red hound dogs of my own. I remember lending it to a friend and my dismay when I realized she'd never read it. It's a book with many, many mixed feelings.
All in all, the book retains a special place in my heart due to such memories and nostalgia. It remains important to me because the overall message of it is important, however dated at times it may seem. It's important to earn things, to work for things - things mean more when we do them ourselves, and it's important to learn a certain amount of self-reliance. Yeah, it's old fashioned, but old fashioned sometimes can be important.
Do I think it's important to ask for help when you can't do it on your own? Yeah, of course. But sometimes tough lessons are important to learn.
I had no idea this book existed until quite recently when Alan reviewed it. It being the Christmas season, I looked it up on Project Gutenberg (www.gu...moreI had no idea this book existed until quite recently when Alan reviewed it. It being the Christmas season, I looked it up on Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) and read it for myself.
This book is quite like the Oz books that L. Frank Baum is better known for. The same whimsical nature of those books is conveyed, and the world is rife with folklore and certain bits of magic.
Reading this story, I could imagine it being told to children and trying to answer their questions... hence a lot of mythos without a lot of backstory, a lot of explanation of the more mundane things (cat toys won't hiss and scratch you!) without explanation of how the reindeer can, say, fly over water.
Nonetheless, this book is rather adorable and one I'd love to share with my nephews if given the chance. :)(less)
I won this book through the Good Reads First Reads program.
Imagine you're going about your everyday business as a high school student. You've a boyfri...moreI won this book through the Good Reads First Reads program.
Imagine you're going about your everyday business as a high school student. You've a boyfriend, a decent plan for life ahead of you, good family and friends. One minute you're coming home from school, the next minute you're under the subway and dead. Well, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray..."
The Dead Girls Detective Agency begins with that death, something that could easily be chalked up to a slip of the foot but turns out to be something far more sinister. Murder. So, in order for Charlotte to move on she's got to solve her own murder - with the help of a few other dead teenagers in similar straits.
For me, The Dead Girls Detective Agency was a pretty solid three. It was entertaining enough to keep me reading and enjoying the ride, but glib enough for me to be wincing now and again as one too many references were made to current or past trends. It would have been served by being a bit more mature, following trends in YA fiction, but as it was? It was still a fun, if predictable and groan worthy read. It would speak to the younger YA crowd, maybe middle school rather than high?
The book wasn't bad, and had some rather good moments tossed into the mix. In particular, the reasoning behind why certain characters chose to - or not to - go through the Big Red Door to whatever is beyond. Similarly, the concept was amusing and there were a few good questions posited to make a series a distinct possibility. The world is entertaining, and a bit more depth would make it even better ride. If you feel like a silly read to snack to, or a book to maybe get a middle school girl reading? This would be a decent bet.(less)
Semi-Charmed Life is Nora Zelevansky's authorial debut, and also a novel that she wrote during NaNoWriMo if I'm not mistaken. The book is a well-done satire on how obsessed we are as a culture with the concepts and trappings on fame, and how hollow a pursuit it truly can be. Wrapped up in all of this commentary is a dash of magical realism, well placed humor, and an air of mystery. That's quite a lot for a first novel to contain.
Personally, I found the book a bit difficult. Primarily, I think that's more my problem than it is a reflection on the book. Not being too engaged in the TMZ culture the book is talking about, some of the references were lost on me and I think a fair bit of that humor missed me. I felt a bit late to the party, but I can think of a few friends of mine who would be caught right in the middle of it all.
The jokes that I did get were unanimously hilarious. In particular the line about Jackson Pollock was great, and some of the jabs at both the Goth culture and poetry culture were great. I think if the book had been more focused on literary figures and the like I would have had an easier time of it. Actually, Fifty Shades of Louisa May comes to mind, though these books are leagues apart.
The writing was solid, though bit too reference heavy for my taste. The actual story was well done, and once I passed the 73 page mark the book really began to flow for me as a reader. I enjoyed the fact that she took a magical realism approach to the book, and would actual push to emphasise that aspect of it next time around. The no-holds barred approach to the fantastic element reminded me of Jonathan Carroll's sheer weirdness, though as a first novel, the writing lacked some of the confidence needed to truly pull off something of Carroll's stature.
All in all, I did enjoy the book and am curious to see what happens next. Nora Zelevanksy is an author that I'm hoping to see more of, and I'm hoping will keep up the irreverent air shown in this first novel. Now, if only I could conjure up a Veruca for my own life!(less)
This edition has a short biography on Robert Louis Stevenson in the front. This biography describes his sickly childhood, and his own proclivity towards foreign climes and minor adventuring. The anecdotal stories of how he became a writer and what drove him to write Treasure Island were quite interesting and altogether did add to the novel that followed. The cover bears a picture of the map itself, as well as a drawing of Long John Silver with Captain Flint on his shoulder.
I picked up this book due to my interest in a certain Keith Moon's near obsession with Long John Silver and the tale in particular. Seeing how the popular adaptation of it came about in the 50s, I was quite curious to see whether or not the book itself informed the time period where its surge in popularity occurred.... I was not disappointed in the least.
While it is a wonderful adventuring tale, peppered with deceit and swashbuckling violence, it is also a swansong to a long-dead Britain with a wholly unselfconscious patriotism that is pretty much never seen today. These adventurers raise the Union Jack on their hideout, knowing full-well it gives the pirates a target to aim at, because it would be sacrilege to not do right by their beloved country. These people storm the Hispanoila to cut down the Jolly Roger since it is better to fly no flag at all than to do wrong by Britain. The patriotism is almost as astounding as the character of Long John Silver - it's that, more than the language, that showcases how this book came from another time.
Long John Silver also bears a mention before this review is through. Silver is a fascinating antagonist, and one that Jim Hawkins finds himself inexplicably drawn to. We are shown his ruthless, evil nature - we are shown his mercurial switching sides as soon as one is favored over the other. As a reader, we know full well the amount of Silver's treachery... and yet? I liked him. I genuinely liked him as well as Jim Hawkins did and the rest of the crew. We know he's evil, but we hope for his survival and cheer him on on occasion. Why? I don't even know, but Long John is a beloved villain as surely as he is a compelling antagonist all these years later after the book was first published.
The long and short of it? This book is a classic, and with good reason. Read it, treasure it, and love the countless adaptations of it. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.(less)
I'm still on the fence about this book. While I liked it overall, I didn't feel that it was truly a worthy follow up to Dandelion Wine. The appeal of...moreI'm still on the fence about this book. While I liked it overall, I didn't feel that it was truly a worthy follow up to Dandelion Wine. The appeal of Dandelion Wine was the innocence conveyed in the book, the very strange feeling of being a child in an uncertain world and the terror that one can only feel during that time. Farewell Summer was harsher, more jarring, and I could have used a bit more of a transition between the two... I'm glad the editor cut it out of the original manuscript.
In addition to this, the ending is also... questionable. I'm not truly certain how I feel about it, or if I ever will know what to make of it. I understand the point of it... but... well, I don't know.(less)
A beautiful coming of age story in the 1928 summer of Ray Bradbury's life. Bradbury's lyrical prose will stick with you, it'll seep into your mind lik...moreA beautiful coming of age story in the 1928 summer of Ray Bradbury's life. Bradbury's lyrical prose will stick with you, it'll seep into your mind like any fine dandelion wine. To try to assign this book to any genre, or indeed, anything other than sheer poetry would be wrong. The book is beautiful, a capsule of a time long lost. Idyllic and idealistic Bradbury captures the spirit of being 12 in a time when losing a baseball card would ruin your summer - when a new pair of tennis shoes is the most pressing problem on one's mind.
Mark Twain is hilarious, and his social commentary throughout the book is often enough to get a genuine chuckle out of me. I...moreFun little adventure book.
Mark Twain is hilarious, and his social commentary throughout the book is often enough to get a genuine chuckle out of me. In particular, the quotes throughout the examination section were rather great. Mark Twain is rather good at coining pithy quotes, and capturing the more whimsical facts of life in such a way that reflect both a child's wonder and an adult's cynicism. The book is grand for that.
A traditional adventure story, I had trouble parsing out which bits I remember from actually reading abridged versions of the book, and which I remember from say... Wishbone or film adaptations. The book wandered a bit much from me, and I understand now (at least I think I do) why it's cut the way it is in order to make for a film. What I'm saying is, the plot wasn't terribly strong with this one.
Where Harper Lee can get away with her story wandering, it works because it all ties together in the end. I didn't quite feel that was the case in this book, and ended up not able to take all that much away from the story. Good for nostalgia, but not too great at holding up to the test of time for me at least. (less)
Sebold's writing style appealed to me, and I didn't really dislike any of the characters. I understood the loss descr...moreI'm kind of torn about this book.
Sebold's writing style appealed to me, and I didn't really dislike any of the characters. I understood the loss described, and the book itself... We want to know that life goes on after we're gone, and we want to know that people remember and think about us. That was all well and good for the book. Then why the two stars?
Something about the plot just didn't work with me. I don't know if it was the fact that everyone was broken that turned me off, or if it was just the fact that not a great amount of things happened in the book. It felt a bit fractured to me - there wasn't enough in heaven and there wasn't enough outside of it.
For me, the book didn't work. For others, it has worked wonders. I'm glad I read it, it just wasn't quite to my taste over all.(less)
I remember almost everyone reading this book when I was in high school. It was one of those books that just seemed to permeate the atmosphere, sort of...moreI remember almost everyone reading this book when I was in high school. It was one of those books that just seemed to permeate the atmosphere, sort of like The Giver or Ender's Game. It was just everywhere. I had no idea what it was about and never got around to reading it until now. I kind of wish I'd read it earlier.
This is the sort of book that would really benefit a younger audience. Like Barry Lyga, Laurie Halse Anderson tapped into the teen psyche in a way that works and works well. She tackled tough topics in a manner that is respectful to the victims without turning unrealistic. Hell, I think we all need someone like Mr. Freeman in our lives.
While being cliché in places (hence the four stars rather than five) I still think this book is a valuable piece of YA fiction. I hope it continues to be as popular as it was when I was growing up. Kids need books.(less)
I'm not incredibly certain what I was expecting to get when I first picked up The Marbury Lens. There are certain expectations that come with YA ficti...moreI'm not incredibly certain what I was expecting to get when I first picked up The Marbury Lens. There are certain expectations that come with YA fiction, yes, but after reading Barry Lyga's Boy Toy I think that most of those were shattered for me. Still. The Marbury Lens took my expectations of YA literature and broke them further, and still further, and quite possibly traumatized me in the process.
A good book makes a lasting impression. I'm not entirely certain that I will ever fully escape The Marbury Lens.
To say that the book is sci-fi, horror, psychological thriller, or any of those sort of genres is doing a disservice to the book. To say that the book is traumatizing or revolutionary or any such thing is doing a disservice to the book. In recommending it to a friend I compared it to Shutter Island and House of Leaves in terms of what reading it is like.. but those, too, are doing a disservice to the book.
The Marbury Lens takes reality and fractures it, and then fractures it still further. It's like a bug rattling around in your skull, digging deeper and deeper until the thoughts somewhat consume you. It makes you wonder, question, and then flips everything right back on its head. The book has a strange ethereal quality to it. it's something that I found I had to put down time and again just to take another look around, take a deep breath, and calm down. The book isn't horrifying in a jump-out-of-your-seat way, it's disquieting in a whole different, and much deeper, manner.
Lovecraft turned horror into a cosmic experience of maddening grandeur; I feel The Marbury Lens is equally revolutionary in what it has done to the genre.
I'm going to come right out and admit that I didn't believe I was going to enjoy this book. This isn't the typical sort of thing I read, it was hyped...moreI'm going to come right out and admit that I didn't believe I was going to enjoy this book. This isn't the typical sort of thing I read, it was hyped all to hell with the movie, and it just.. didn't interest me. However, the book was recommended to me and I try to read everything that gets recommended. As my rating shows, I did enjoy it. I didn't think it was groundbreaking or amazing, but I did like it overall.
I felt that the book was stretched a bit thin, the author trying too hard to get every girl's experience condensed into under 300 pages. What was lost in that was that none of the girl's experiences was really poignant enough to become striking. I appreciate what she was trying to do, but each girl's story could have been a book in its own right.
I enjoyed the way that every chapter was offset by quotations. A lot of the quotes were cute, and several of them decently thought provoking.
Overall, this was a very easy summer read. I'd recommend it to a younger audience, which is what it was intended for anyway. (less)
Certain books are utterly delightful - they manage to incorporate a good amount of researched details and realistic reactions to create a fantasy worl...moreCertain books are utterly delightful - they manage to incorporate a good amount of researched details and realistic reactions to create a fantasy world that comes out seeming perfectly real. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer felt that way to me.
The protagonist, Sam LaCroix, is bewildered by what he's thrown into. Nevertheless, the text is devoid of the screams of shock and numb confusion, preferring instead to have the characters make smart-ass observations and become ashamed at even the slightest hint of overreaction. The book is clever, witty, and even manages a few disturbing moments, though I wouldn't describe it as scary.
For the classic rock fan, there are several wonderful references and each chapter title is a nod to a different song. I have to say, I'll be keeping my eyes open for more books by McBride. I hope this is only the first step in a long, delightful journey.(less)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is narrated by Flavia de Luce, a pint-sized sleuth and budding mad scientist in 1950s E...moreWhat an odd little book.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is narrated by Flavia de Luce, a pint-sized sleuth and budding mad scientist in 1950s England. Open the book expecting murder, intrigue, stamps, and a bicycle named Gladys... close the book and leave it.. confused? Amused? For me, it took a little bit of getting used to.
While the voice of the narrator left me baffled, the mystery itself is decent enough. Once I stepped back and realized just how absurd the narration was I was able to enjoy myself. While I would recommend The Spellman Files over the Flavia De Luce series... I would certainly throw this book to a crowd for which the former was still too mature.(less)
Kevin is a teenager with a secret. Yes, he did save Leah from the Surgeon (a man who drugged, raped, and murdered four other girls) but jut because he...moreKevin is a teenager with a secret. Yes, he did save Leah from the Surgeon (a man who drugged, raped, and murdered four other girls) but jut because he saved her.. does that make him a hero? And worse, what if people discover the reason that he was there in that alley on the night that he saved her?
Barry Lyga once more tackles difficult questions in a young adult novel that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. The question of morals comes into play, but nowhere near as much as the questions of free speech, free thought, and right action. In the end, this is a book that transcends political parties and affiliations and instead digs deep into what it means to be an American.
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, this is a very timely book, and in my opinion, a very important one. Lyga certainly has a lot of good things to say.(less)
Goth Girl Rising begins where The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl left off. Well, about six...moreOops. I'm a wee bit late in reviewing this.
Goth Girl Rising begins where The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl left off. Well, about six months after those events, actually. Kyra Sellers, or Goth Girl from the first book, has just gotten out of the mental hospital she was put into at the end of the first book. What follows is, naturally, a story about her reintegration into life at South Brook High and trying to reconcile the changes she's going through with the changes that have already taken place with those around her.
Previous reviewers have spoken negatively about Barry Lyga's portrayal of the female psyche, something a tad bit ironic considering how he attacked just that in his previous book in this series. Kyra, in the previous book, mentioned several times how horribly graphic novel authors tend to portray women - how it's all Oedipus Complex's, or worrying about what the male characters may be fantasizing over. In reality, she explained, female characters tend to have plenty of fantasies of their own. This book actually addressed that in some interesting ways.
Although not as lighthearted as the previous book, I found this one to be insightful, respectful, and altogether fascinating. The conclusion was apt, as were a lot of the conclusions Kyra hastily jumped to. I think that a lot of people go through what she went through, at least the social aspects of it, during that time of their lives. One can only hope for a bit of Katherine's forthrightness.
Also, is it just me or is the word lachrymose popping up everywhere nowadays? Just a question. I'd never read it before this book and after finishing it I saw it around seven times in various stories, forum postings, etc. It struck me as a bit surprising.(less)