I am going to handle this review in two parts. And, I'm doing this for one reason: At 3/4 of the way through the thing, I fear that with the tension r...moreI am going to handle this review in two parts. And, I'm doing this for one reason: At 3/4 of the way through the thing, I fear that with the tension rising, I will forget some of the details that make it fabulous.
The book starts off with an interesting little prologue that may force some readers to set the book promptly down. Myself? I found it intriguing, but wondered if the "narrator" could possibly keep up such delicious prose throughout the novel.
The answer: Yes (resounding).
Narrated by Death, this novel sucked me in with its premise and its prose requires the book to be pulled from my fingers in order to complete such tasks as diaper changing and dish washing. Which, given the subject matter, is saying quite a lot.
From Death's perspective we follow the life of an adolescent German girl, during WWII. Her life and the lives of the other poor souls on Himmel Street are inspiring examples of mankind's ability to "live" in the midst of extreme poverty, suffering, and death.
The minuscule, yet ginormous victories of their existence endear these characters to the reader in an unprecedented manner and I find myself emotionally invested in their fictional survival.
And yes, "fictional" was an intentional word choice.
I am now at a place in the book where I know the likelihood of survival for some of these characters is dimming. At a particularly hopeful passage, I teared up. Hope is scattered throughout the dark pages and is really the thing that keeps me turning them. Given Death's charismatic and often gentle treatment, I feel a kind of peace in turning these characters over to him. Though, I am finding it hard to let them go. But, Zusak has crafted such a rare and unique novel that I know these characters will long outlive their imaginary existence.
On the downside - POV purists will struggle with this book. I've read that the author's treatment is experimental and that seems an appropriate word for it. So, if you're a POV meanie, steer clear. Or, be fair warned and give yourself over to the indulgence of reading something you'd never let yourself write and simply enjoy.
So, there you go... there's the first of two reviews. When I'm done, I'll be back.
Finished. Balled my eyes out.
The story ends appropriately and every character is shown respect. Liesel, Max, Rudy, Mama, Papa and Isle will forever be with me and I cannot recommend the book highly enough. It has the feel of "required" high school reading and I believe it should be.
Congratulations to Zusak for a mind-altering work. Thank you for the great read.(less)
Collins has taken a concept as old as the Roman Coliseum and given it a post-apocalyptic spin. While the idea of humans being pitted against one anoth...moreCollins has taken a concept as old as the Roman Coliseum and given it a post-apocalyptic spin. While the idea of humans being pitted against one another in a fight to the death, has long been discussed and often practiced for human entertainment, Collins has given it a unique twist.
By placing this challenge on the shoulders of adolescents, in a world obsessed with reality television, she asks us to consider the definition of a "champion," and to identify who the villains really are. How is the nation of Panem similar to our own and what part do we play?
I enjoyed Collins' story and appreciate the deeper truths of it. Her writing is smooth, moving from one desperate situation to another. I did question her point of view on a few occasions, but overall The Hunger Games is told with a true voice--the voice of a teenage girl forced by a cruel nation to hunt first for food and then again for entertainment. It's a clean, albeit intense read, aimed at a young adult audience, but the astonishing success of her books makes it clear that readers young and old will be captivated by The Hunger Games. (less)
Some way, somehow, my original review of this book was deleted.
A dilemma happily remedied.
This is the second in the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexan...moreSome way, somehow, my original review of this book was deleted.
A dilemma happily remedied.
This is the second in the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander, and truly, I cannot speak highly enough of her books. This one, in particular, is fascinating in its fictionalization of the events surrounding Marie Antoinette and the dauphin.
New characters are introduced, including the dashing Sebastian Capet, and delicious characters return with new life and vibrancy. Lady Emily is wonderfully and curiously impetuous and both Margaret and Cecile provide delectable exchanges. Colin is... ahhhh Colin.
I won't explain Colin. For that, you must read. :)
Suffice it to say, "A Poisoned Season" is a worthy read and you won't regret the time spent. In fact, you'll be dying to pick up her next book, "A Fatal Waltz" which is my absolute favorite of the Lady Emily mysteries. (less)
The cover itself begs to be compared to Jane Austen and there's no missing the similarities. From the setting to the characters, there...moreDelightful read!
The cover itself begs to be compared to Jane Austen and there's no missing the similarities. From the setting to the characters, there are parallels to be had--parallels that the Jane Austen fan will adore. Houses and dresses described in detail, heroine's to cherish, gentlemen aloof and worthy. There is much to be appreciated here.
There are also several differences. While Austen certainly didn't shy away from references to the church in her novels, Burkard has embraced its role in the lives of her characters. There are still colorful ministers to be found, but it is Christ Himself who takes a larger role in her story. From the heroine's prayer life to her utter dependence on the Lord for direction, Burkard has given literature a character with a solid foundation of Christianity and a heart to do what is right. The treatment is delightful and her heroine honest and contrite.
Another welcome difference was the prominence of the love interest, Phillip Mornay. With obvious references to Mr. Darcy, Phillip is at first haughty and rude. Burkard indulges the reader and allows us, by comparison, considerably more insight into Mornay's life. In this way, we get to know him more intimately than Austen's Mr. Darcy for example. As an Austen fan, this has long been a happy frustration of mine, and I found myself giddy that Burkard favored the reader with information we were bound to want.
Needless to say, I am looking forward to the second book in this series. Interesting characters, a fun plot, a bright and airy read--I'd recommend this book to all the Austen fans out there, especially those with a Christian heritage. (less)
Loved it! I appreciate where she was going and how she got there. The characters were engaging as always and I enjoyed the journey. One of her better...moreLoved it! I appreciate where she was going and how she got there. The characters were engaging as always and I enjoyed the journey. One of her better books.(less)
Love this play for lots of reasons. Nostalgia, the innocence, the underlying message. Emily and George are endearing. Their parents are laughable. The...moreLove this play for lots of reasons. Nostalgia, the innocence, the underlying message. Emily and George are endearing. Their parents are laughable. The Stage Manager makes the show and yet it is the audience that takes center stage as they are asked to consider whether they "realize life while they live it. Every, every minute?" Great show.(less)
Collins does a fabulous job with the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Having been already acquainted with the world of Panem,...moreLoved this book!
Collins does a fabulous job with the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy. Having been already acquainted with the world of Panem, Katniss, and gang, I appreciate that the story starts off at a great pace and continues that way throughout.
I've read a few reviews that critiqued Collins' use of deus ex machina and while I can see the readers' point, there wasn't a minute of this book that I didn't enjoy. And, while it took me a few chapters to connect with Katniss' point of view in The Hunger Games, I was able to slide right into Catching Fire, so major props to Collins for drafting such a worthy sequel.
Loved Katniss. Loved Peeta. Loved Gale. Loved the multi-layered new characters. Can't believe I have to wait until August to read the conclusion! (less)
Can't even tell you how much I love this book!!! Years ago, two friends and I set out on a literary journey together and it is, to this day, one of my...moreCan't even tell you how much I love this book!!! Years ago, two friends and I set out on a literary journey together and it is, to this day, one of my favorite memories. We took turns reading aloud from this book in nearly every cafe, restaurant and bookstore in the Portland area. Dumas took us across the choppy ocean and behind prison walls. He transformed his characters deliciously and created one of the greatest principle characters in all of literature in Edmund Dante. I've read the book again and again and having grown so attached to my old copy, I've had to resort to duct tape just to keep the thing together. Read it! Lots of coffee and good friends make any reading experience one to cherish. Read it!
Note: THE MOVIE SUCKS! And is nothing, NOTHING, like the book....(less)
Looking forward to the next one. The premise itself is engrossing and Wilson's characters have bite (no pun intended). If I'm being critical, I had no...moreLooking forward to the next one. The premise itself is engrossing and Wilson's characters have bite (no pun intended). If I'm being critical, I had no problem setting this book down. There is an awful lot of set up, so the next two novels should be easier to jump into. I would have liked a little more grab and run, if that makes sense. Snatch me up from the first page and keep the pace going. Still, the story is unique and Wilson has given his own version of vampires an interesting twist.(less)
My favorite of the series thus far. I loved that she placed a majority of the story in Vienna and I find myself wanting to hop on a plane just so I ca...moreMy favorite of the series thus far. I loved that she placed a majority of the story in Vienna and I find myself wanting to hop on a plane just so I can visit the little cafe Lady Ashton discovered. There was more emotional angst in this one: angst for Emily, for Colin, for Ivy and Robert, for Jeremy, definitely Jeremy, and in the end even for Kristiana. Having stayed up far too late to finish the novel, I was left utterly satisfied by the conclusion and slightly teary eyed. I'm looking forward to Emily's next adventure.(less)
Read it for the first time in Junior Honors and loved it ever since. Was lucky enough to get cast as Abigail in a theatrical production of the play as...moreRead it for the first time in Junior Honors and loved it ever since. Was lucky enough to get cast as Abigail in a theatrical production of the play as a young adult and during that time, did a lot of research on the era and the fictionalization of very real characters. The experience increased my respect for the story and for Arthur Miller's attack on the witch hunts that continue to plague us. Rich characters, heart-rending mistakes, genuine regret, selfish children and paranoid leadership... a story that is never dated.(less)
Like most of the readers in the world, I loved this book. Of course, having seen the musical many times, the lengthy descriptions were helped along by...moreLike most of the readers in the world, I loved this book. Of course, having seen the musical many times, the lengthy descriptions were helped along by my vivid memory and I lamented the many characters who didn't get nearly enough stage time.
Hugo has done the world a favor writing about misery the way he has and to Valjean, Cosette, Marius, Fantine, and Eponine (especially Eponine) I raise my glass and drink to days gone by! (less)