I liked the first Harry Dresden book, but didn't love it. It was fine! This second one was way better, I thought. I was initially pretty meh about th
I liked the first Harry Dresden book, but didn't love it. It was fine! This second one was way better, I thought. I was initially pretty meh about the werewolves idea but ended up thoroughly enjoying the book, enough so that my natural meh feelings were overridden! ...more
***Spoilers in here, so be careful if you haven't read it yet.***
There are moments of such transcendent beauty in Justin Cronin's books that it makes***Spoilers in here, so be careful if you haven't read it yet.***
There are moments of such transcendent beauty in Justin Cronin's books that it makes the thin characters feel EXTRA thin. They're like paper dolls, where you know the shape and what they look like, but they don't feel real and their emotional processes are almost entirely opaque, to me. I don't GET any of the characters. Or, I understand what he tells us but he doesn't give us enough to really fill in the spaces. That is my biggest and most sustained criticism of these books.
I liked this book, but I didn't love it. Dipping back to tell stories about what was happening in other places as the outbreak happened was interesting, and even having a new world Evil Empire was kind of cool, but it all felt so...flat. Just kind of there.
I feel like squandering all the Twelve, without spending any time getting to know them, was kind of a waste. Maybe because the Big Bad in the first book was a single member of the Twelve, to then have them ALL dispatched at once, when we never get a chance to invest in them as bad guys, seemed like a missed opportunity for more books. He touches on the different types of virals - how the dopeys are all Carter's - and that was such a cool idea, but it never gets expanded. Exploring how the group mind link works would've been so cool! But no. He just plops that down and never comes back to it.
I think possibly my biggest criticism is the credulity straining reunions. I don't know why that bothered me so much but it really, really did. To establish a world where human life is so fragile and worth so little, but then have all the loved ones of the main characters magically be alive? Silly, and, to me, shows an over sentimentality in Justin Cronin, that he can't stomach having really bad things happen to his main characters. He's fine killing off the vast majority of faceless Americans, but can't stomach having HIS characters really suffer. (I know, there's plenty of rape and life in Homeland sucks the worst for Sara. But the reunions. THE REUNIONS.) I guess I feel like if you're going to create a terrible post-apocalyptic world, you need to be ready to follow that through to it being awful and soul-deadening for everyone, even the characters you love so much. You can't slip A BUNCH of characters we thought were dead out of your back pocket. That undercuts my investment in the stakes of your world.
Amy's transformation made zero sense to me. I fully admit I am a literal person so I don't pick up on subtleties all the time, so maybe it was super obvious to other people, but I, personally, didn't get it. Her hooking up with Carter was nice, and Amy's relationship with Wolgast, and the longing that the virals feel for thier lost lives, is by far the most meaningful part of the stories to me. That is beautiful. Cronin is at his best when he is tackling that anguished longing, and even the peace of Greer's spiritual awakening. Those parts were beautiful enough to bring tears to me eyes.
I guess I have a lot of negative stuff to say about the book and not a ton of positive stuff. I'll definitely read the last book because I want to know what happens with Fanning, but I've adjusted my expectations. ...more
I had incredibly low expectations of this book (fantasy plus detective noir? WE SHALL SEE) but it was really fun. It was entertaining, surprisingly f
I had incredibly low expectations of this book (fantasy plus detective noir? WE SHALL SEE) but it was really fun. It was entertaining, surprisingly funny, and snuck up on you with the depth of emotion and creep out elements.
I have no doubt that a committed reader could completely decimate this book. It's not Shakespeare. It's not even George R. R. Martin. But it's FUN. Okay? Sometimes you want to read a book that's fun and isn't so terrible it makes you embarrassed to be reading it.
One of the most difficult things about fantasy series is creating a world that feels real enough to buy into. I kind of admire Alex Bledsoe for not really trying to plumb the depths to blow our minds with his world. The town and country names are half-assed, he's not trying to be super consistent with technology or the development of society in his world, his characters are all named hilariously banal normal names (King Phil! And his sister, Janet! Hahaha! Yes!).
He doesn't give a care about those fantasy series fripperies, which was strangely refreshing. Who cares? Just tell me a fun story. Sure, mash together to weird genres and see if that works! Rad. It works! It's fun. Is it gonna win a Pulitzer? No. But is it silly and funny and weird and surprising? It decidedly is. And I will absolutely be reading the other books in the series now....more
A charming dessert of a book. Fun, funny, encouraging. It's the literary equivalent of eating cookies with your friend on the sofa, talking about you
A charming dessert of a book. Fun, funny, encouraging. It's the literary equivalent of eating cookies with your friend on the sofa, talking about your feelings. It's not challenging, but it makes you feel happy after you're done, like you've made a new best friend. ...more
i'd like to start off by saying, straight out, that this book destroyed me, in the best possible way. so this will be an almost uniformly positive revi'd like to start off by saying, straight out, that this book destroyed me, in the best possible way. so this will be an almost uniformly positive review. if you're short on time, don't want to get into the details, just know this book is gorgeous and will liquify your brain and heart. definitely read it.
okay. now into the details.
the main thing i keep coming back to is how much worse this book would have been if handled by an author of even a fraction less skill. making your characters confront their faith, in the context of interacting with alien cultures in space, seems like a recipe for a huge, messy, embarrassing disaster. as a tinkerer with words, i cannot wrap my brain around how it could be done without getting totally lost inside your story. it's a huge testament to russell and her amazing powers that she doesn't get lost. she gives her characters time to ruminate and rage, while also writing a book that is equal parts scary and sad. we see faith born, and flowering, and then completely destroyed. there's hope in here, but it's real life hope. it's the hope that we struggle to retain after everything around us falls apart. it's the hope we clutch to when reminded of the fact that nothing is certain, bad things happen to good people, and that there is no discernable plan for us. we're left, at the end of an epic, suspenseful, menacing journey, with the discomfort of knowing that at best we are all just muddling along in the dark, doing the best we can, hoping things work out. sometimes they do. sometimes they really, really don't.
russell clearly loves her characters, but she absolutely doesn't coddle them, which i love. her characters will live or die, but their lives have substance and meaning in the process. she's not excessive or sadistic with them, but she doesn't spare them hardship. i found the banter between a lot of the characters to be kind of tiresome. it felt forced and wasn't funny to me, but even that didn't bother me, because i believed that these people existed. i've known similar types of people. so while the specific jokes fell flat for me, the rest of their substance didn't.
i always, always, always have a hard time with the endings of books. i just don't like for things to end, i think. i have a few problems with the ending of this book, but not as many as usual, which is, to me, another testament to russell's skill. starting off your book with the certainty that all the characters you're going to spend your time falling in love with will eventually come to a mysterious, tragic end sets up a lot of pressure to have the reveal be satisfying. when things begin to unravel for the team, as you know from the very first pages it will, it all happens so quickly, that it felt almost rushed, but i also sort of liked it. that's how things go bad. they start small and then avalanche. even the abruptness of the disaster made sense. i think it was mostly a really successful, satisfying reveal, and the ending felt solid, not rushed. in fact, i was a little saddened to hear she wrote a sequel, because it's hard for me to imagine that being a good idea, or what more there is to say, but i have enough faith in her that i will almost certainly read the book anyway.
i cried and gasped and stayed up too late reading this book, the way you always hope for.
this isn't a very organized review, but it's what i'm sticking with for now. ...more
I listened to this on the drive from LA to San Francisco, up I-5, which people familiar with this route will know is mind-meltingly boring.
This bookI listened to this on the drive from LA to San Francisco, up I-5, which people familiar with this route will know is mind-meltingly boring.
This book kept me alert, entertained, excited and a little nervous the whole way home, which is a success as far as my standards are concerned. In addition, I actually really enjoyed the characters, and was very excited to realize that it's part of a series about the main character, hard-boiled police detective Harry Hole. I am looking forward to listening to more books in the series on my endless trips to and from the Bay Area.
Lastly, at the risk of opening myself up to endless discussion over how wrong I am in this opinion, I want to say I liked this book way more than I liked the Millennium Cycle, by Stieg Larssen. (Larson? Larsson? Whatever. You know what I mean. The Girl Who books.) I'm generally a fan of Scandinavian fiction anyway, but I never really gave a crap about any of the characters in the Steig What's-his-name books. I liked Lisbeth Salander, but the payoff at the end of the books was never worth all the annoying exposition. I just wasn't ever invested in the well-being of those characters, even after 3 books. I liked all the main characters in this one book more than I liked all the characters of the Millennium Cycle put together. It was just a much more satisfying read. I wasn't surprised by the big reveal, but that didn't even bother me.
Anyway, I liked it a lot and I'm looking forward to reading more by this guy. ...more
Look, guys, I don't want to fight. I don't want to be that person who is all, "This book that everyone loved totally sucked!"
But I thought this seriesLook, guys, I don't want to fight. I don't want to be that person who is all, "This book that everyone loved totally sucked!"
But I thought this series was mediocre at best, and I was so unmoved by this book that I didn't even finish listening to it on CD.
I don't know what I was missing. I love the idea. I love Scandinavian books. I like crime books and books with mysteries. I like books about tough ladies. This had so many elements that I enjoy. And yet, overall, I just felt really bored.
Maybe I would've liked it better if I'd read it. Maybe not, because I was lukewarm about the first book and even cooler about the second, but maybe!
The concept of this book is so cool. It combined so many elements that I love! Fantasy set in the modern, normal world! A murder mystery, with a hard-The concept of this book is so cool. It combined so many elements that I love! Fantasy set in the modern, normal world! A murder mystery, with a hard-boiled detective! Exotic locales! SO MUCH PROMISE!
Any most of that promise is fulfilled, for most of the book!
But the ending was a huge letdown. If you've read my reviews before you know that I often have issues with the endings of books so I am willing to acknowledge that part of my issue might me just a generalized dislike for endings. BUT STILL. I feel like the "TA-DAAA!!!" ending was pretty "eh."
I would still recommend it, though. It was entertaining, funny in a dry way, and the two-cities-in-one-place concept really is so cool. ...more
I didn't love his conclusions about sexual fantasies, specifically that they stem from serious emotional trauma in our childhoods. I can accept that sI didn't love his conclusions about sexual fantasies, specifically that they stem from serious emotional trauma in our childhoods. I can accept that some do, and I accept that our sexualities are obviously shaped by a wide array of events during our young lives. I totally accept that creating difficult fantasies can be used to help the mind cope with serious trauma. But the way he problematizes it, and makes it seem like having fantasies always hints at mental troubles...I don't know. I just wish he was a bit more loosey-goosey. He makes it seem like having fantasies of being dominated is extreme, and I wish he would take a more liberal stance on things. Sexuality is already such a fraught topic. The last thing we need is a doctor giving us more reasons to be concerned about our own.
i would've given this four stars half way in, but the end kinda dragged. i love stephen king, and this incorporated several of my favorite elements ofi would've given this four stars half way in, but the end kinda dragged. i love stephen king, and this incorporated several of my favorite elements of his writing, so in that sense i liked it a lot. it was reminiscent of 'the stand' in that it describes a massive system collapse and the people the collapse effects. it details the way the people effected by the collapse split into a Good Guy group and a Bad Guy group, which it pretty standard When Shit Goes Down stuff. i love the way stephen king creates his characters, both large and small, and this book had an impressively sprawling cast of characters. the Thing, the cause of the collapse, is surprising in how unsurprising it is, which i both liked and didn't like. and, as always, he incorporates plenty of completely stomach turning elements, which is fun. but, again, it took a long time for the ending to come and the ending was a little bit of a fizzle. i LOVED the guy who read it. he's on the top of my list of favorite readers now. raul esparza, you are the best and i love you. overall, it was good! not the best, but totally not at all the worst and a fun diversion. the audio book was 30 CDs, 30 something hours of book, which made my SF to LA and LA to SF drive way funner. i'd definitely recommend this book for a long drive or a long flight. it's fun!...more
holy smokes, i loved this book approximately one million times more than i expected.
maybe it's because i was getting a little smothered feeling from tholy smokes, i loved this book approximately one million times more than i expected.
maybe it's because i was getting a little smothered feeling from the constantly looming menace in "a song of ice and fire" but i really enjoyed how this story DIDN'T fill me with sinking dread. it's fun and funny and sad and deeply sweet. the world that rothfuss created is the perfect mix of danger, magic and fantastical elements. i expected kind of a light little palate cleanser of a book and it was so much more lovely and resonant than i'd expected. imagine my utter delight when i finally read the praise in the beginning of the book and found out it's part of a TRILOGY. i can't wait to read more.
small complaint: as much as i enjoyed the detour that the story takes towards the end during kvothe and denna's time together, the story kind of dragged there. i trust the author enough to believe that it belonged there, rather than somewhere else in the story, and that the events that take place there will continue to prove important to everything else that comes, but it kind of felt like it could've been moved to the middle of the book because it really broke the momentum of the story.
that's my only complaint. i loved this book so hard. the hardest. new favorite....more
meh. it was fine. i enjoy a nice brooding scandanavian crime novel but this one was just so-so for me. (is iceland considered scandanavia? whatever. ymeh. it was fine. i enjoy a nice brooding scandanavian crime novel but this one was just so-so for me. (is iceland considered scandanavia? whatever. you know what i mean. the characters drink lots of coffee and eat a lot of sandwiches, so this is a scandanavian novel as far as i'm concerned.) characters weren't resonant, the conclusion of the mystery was anti-climactic.) pretty forgettable. ...more
i dunno about this series. it's fine. i think i would've liked for all the solutions to have seemed like magical. the whole series is governed by a magii dunno about this series. it's fine. i think i would've liked for all the solutions to have seemed like magical. the whole series is governed by a magical logic that i didn't feel like i was privy to, so the stakes were lower. the solutions just happened. it just seemed like a very long list of mysterious magical things that happened without real explanation. no building, no planning or anything. just "surprising magical thing happens, there's peril/feeling of danger, something happens and suddenly everything is fine...OR IS IT?" i might not be making sense. i don't know. read it, tell me what you think....more