Four stars, but first off let me say that the ending felt like the story just ended, I didn't get a sense of closure. So anyone picking this up becaus...moreFour stars, but first off let me say that the ending felt like the story just ended, I didn't get a sense of closure. So anyone picking this up because of my raves (to follow below) needs to know that going in.
With that out of the way, what a fantastic set-up for a book. The plot concept literally got me excited as a creator, in the always heady "damn, why didn't I think of that?" way. The plot centers on an attempt to "cure evil." I can't say any more due to spoilers, but it's riveting.
The storyline itself is meticulously woven in multiple, intersecting timelines. There are flash-backs that you don't know are flashbacks until later in the book, and when you see that they are everything falls into line and makes perfect sense. No confusion of any kind. Very well-crafted structure to this story.
I love the art as well. I have the hardcover, and can say this is a really beautiful package, from cover to internal art to lettering.
While the ending was a let-down for my personal tastes in reading, I think most people who like a MEMENTO-style, non-linear story will enjoy this book. (less)
I give this five stars as a well-crafted scifi hero's quest. It's easy to see why people have fallen in love with this book. For anyone who felt margi...moreI give this five stars as a well-crafted scifi hero's quest. It's easy to see why people have fallen in love with this book. For anyone who felt marginalized in school, this book provides wonderful fantasy fulfillment. Are you a "good kid?" Do what your parents and teachers tell you? Obey the rules and work hard to do what is expected of you? And for all that, you're just a face in the crowd? Well screw that, son, because deep down you are a risk-taking bad-ass just waiting for a chance to shine. And also get some tats. And jump off buildings and stuff.
I was particularly thrilled with the way Roth handled the male/female dynamic in a competitive and violent environment. Tris (the main character) understood the physics of any situation: she wasn't going to win a fist fight against a boy twice her size. This wasn't a Buffy Kicks All The Ass All The Time Superhero story, Tris a girl who will mess you up if she has to (and if she can), and is also smart enough to avoid hand-to-hand combat when she knows there is no chance to win. There were parts where I just groaned going into them, thinking "and here the author is going to have this 100-pound girl suddenly be a Judo master and wipe the floor with this 200-pound man-child," but when I read that part, I saw the story play out in along extremely realistic lines. Tris was strong, she was a leader when she had to be, she constantly fought against her own self-doubt, but when crunch-time hit she did what had to be done.
And Roth made use of a basic fact of the world around us: a gun is the great equalizer.
The setting of Chicago was fun. The governmental structure was over-simplified, but this isn't the kind of book where you have an extra 100 pages to give a really multi-layered, complex governmental system. This was STAR WARS Pt. IV, establishing the world, setting up the big bad, and giving you a character that you can really relate to.
For those who comment "I thought this book was just for teenage girls," I guess I am part teenage girl at heart. Loved it. (less)
A gore-fest with gorgeous language. Completely over the top horror in the vein of mid-career Stephen King (it wouldn't surprise me to find out this wa...moreA gore-fest with gorgeous language. Completely over the top horror in the vein of mid-career Stephen King (it wouldn't surprise me to find out this was a King pen name, actually, as it has the psuedo-news/documentary excerpt style of CARRIE, and the extensive character backstory development King favored as he became more successful and his books became bigger and bigger).
It felt a bit long-winded in parts, as I wanted the coiled action to finally release, but those parts were few and far between. This author has phenomenal skills.
This is science-horror, in a way, although that science is more of a freestyle reference to facts that wouldn't combine in the real world. The research trappings, though, let a critical mind relax the boundaries of disbelief and simply enjoy the story.
I love Joe Landsdale's work. I haven't read him extensively, but every time I do I'm taken away by the story, swirled around in it, dumped out at the...moreI love Joe Landsdale's work. I haven't read him extensively, but every time I do I'm taken away by the story, swirled around in it, dumped out at the end like I've been rode hard and put away wet. Hap and Leonard are my favorite Landsdale characters yet.(less)