I enjoyed this book surprisingly much for a person who usually doesn't get into epic fantasy. After reading the gushing fandom of so many people who lI enjoyed this book surprisingly much for a person who usually doesn't get into epic fantasy. After reading the gushing fandom of so many people who loved It, I wanted to give it a try. My full appreciation didn't kick in until after the hundredth page, but around then I became more attached to the protagonist and his world, and lost my ability to put the book down for long. I mean, this is despite my active and long-standing aversion to extra-special fantasy characters who have outstandingly green eyes! Kvothe is a great character because his abundant talents come along with many flaws and epic persistence, at least in his youth; the book's structure offers a mysterious contrast between the way he once was and the different, older man he's become. It's would be hard not to feel curious about what happened to change him, so I'm looking forward to finding out!...more
This is the best book I've read this year. Set in an amazing fantasy world, full of ideas and wonders, and played out by characters I thoroughly enjoyThis is the best book I've read this year. Set in an amazing fantasy world, full of ideas and wonders, and played out by characters I thoroughly enjoyed, City of Stairs is a novel I didn't want to stop reading, and will definitely read again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Just do yourself this favor and read it, okay?...more
i started to read this book with high hopes, because the premise of a nightmarish hotel sounded interesting. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, andi started to read this book with high hopes, because the premise of a nightmarish hotel sounded interesting. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, and the descriptions of the setting, but the story lacked energy from the beginning, and the intensity decreased from there. My tension, during the incredibly long middle section about a hellish cat infestation, was not the enjoyable kind of tension, and that part of the book killed off my interest in reading the rest....more
**spoiler alert** I went into reading this book with high hopes, because I thought a novel about making video games, with a mystery involved, would be**spoiler alert** I went into reading this book with high hopes, because I thought a novel about making video games, with a mystery involved, would be interesting. But...
The first problem is that whoever wrote the jacket copy made false promises. The main character, Russell, gets a job with old high school friends at their company, Black Arts Games. The book's description says, "But mostly he needs to know what happened to Simon, his strangest and most gifted friend, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts' breakout hit." This is a lie. Russell reminisces about things they all did together back in their high school days, but hardly gives a thought to the circumstances of Simon's death. The false expectation set up there IS NOT THE AUTHOR'S FAULT, but there are plenty of things that ARE the author's fault, and he is not helped by the way the cover sets readers up for disappointment.
To start with the positive, as far as I can tell Grossman gets everything right when he describes the video game industry in the late 1990s; I've known many people in that field since the early 1990s, and I was tickled to see mentions of a couple of people I met long ago, John Carmack and John Romero. But describing an industry accurately does not necessarily make an interesting story. Russell is a very low-energy main character, who sort of drifts into his job as a game designer without really caring about games, and then he gets an undeserved promotion to lead game designer when a bunch of the company's employees leave. He does develop some motivation and job satisfaction along the way, but then the book wanders into long, long, long descriptions of him playing through the whole backlist of the company's games, and having conversations with the games' characters that could be interpreted as either imaginary or magical.
The most interesting thing about the book is the hunt for a mysterious "bug" that goes through all of the games, occasionally causing the appearance of a devastating weapon that wreaks havoc and does things it should not be able to do. However, I found it difficult to stay interested through the looooooooong sections of game summary. There's hardly any dialogue in the entire book, and few scenes with conflict, tension, or action that's shown directly. Russell spends a lot of time pondering the nature of games and wondering whether it's okay to like his job rather than preferring to work in a more conventional profession, such as being a lawyer (he's a law school dropout), but he never seems to fully engage with his life and move forward.
And another thing! There are many places in the book where Russell describes things that he wasn't present for, such as events in Simon's life, so he shouldn't know about them. They could possibly be interpreted as vivid imaginings, but they're not presented that way. They're told as if they're facts and Russell is an omniscient narrator. That bothered me every time it happened. I was not as bothered by the shifts between Russell's first-person story and the sections of second-person "you" describing the player in a video game, but the third-person omniscient sections took it too far.
The book was just barely engaging enough to keep me reading all the way to the end, but it took a lot of work to get through the second half, and I kind of wish that I hadn't....more
The premise of this book, about a man being able to change reality when he has vivid dreams, is fascinating. It has so much potential. I was disappoinThe premise of this book, about a man being able to change reality when he has vivid dreams, is fascinating. It has so much potential. I was disappointed with the way the story was told, though. The characters aren't very realistic, and there are long, distracting explanations of their opinions that seem to be political messages from the author. The good guy has the good opinions, and the bad guy's opinions are the opposite. I didn't hate the book, but I couldn't feel completely engaged with it. I probably would have gotten much more out of this if I had read it as a teenager....more