Oh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was thOh! How I wanted to LOVE this. I was certainly impressed by Krokos' Q & A on the fabulous blog: the midnight garden. And quite honestly, it was this Q & A post that compelled me to check out his book in the first place. (He also makes some pretty insightful comments on author-reviewer relationships.)
So you see...I was so ready to love this.
It really pains me to say I don't. Right off the bat, I knew I was heading into rocky territory. The first few scenes didn't fit very well with what I expected of an amnesiac: a girl finds herself without any memory and she calmly tells a mall cop "Hello. I lost my memory. I was wondering if you could help." If I was in her shoes, I think I would probably appear frantic, confused, and more anxious about what was happening to me. Haven't you ever walked somewhere, like to the pantry to get something but then when you get there, you've forgotten why you were there in the first place? Well, sadly that happens to me ALOT. And I always feel out of sorts afterwards trying to remember. So it made me think: what if you lost ALL your memories? Wouldn't you feel a little more...unrestrained? Wouldn't you be scared? And in Miranda's case, wouldn't you expect her to manifest those fear waves immediately?
Then later on, I felt that some parts of the story seemed off: when Miranda meets Peter, it feels weird that there is so much drama and mystery of how he knows her. Why was he acting as if it was some kind of game to him? And if you just met a stranger, would you eat his mango chicken? uh. gross. And for someone who is supposedly a top notch weapon, why does Miranda make so many mistakes--like forgetting to grab the gun when she fights Grace? I also completely missed the point of Miranda feeling like kissing these 2 boys all the time; she kisses one and then she immediately wants to kiss the other. If I had a better sense of her, I think I would have understood her motivations better. But the part that bothered me the most was that the Roses were created to cause destruction--just because. Very little light is shed on the creator's motivation for making them--aside from them being "mad scientists." I think that's an easy explanation but not a compelling one; I wished there was more background to the story to make it believable.
I do think the concept for the story is interesting: teenagers used as weapons, with amnesia as a side effect, and I admire Krokos's challenge for writing a female perspective. It seems like it's received good reviews so you might like it. But for me, I found the story to be choppy and flat in places. I would have appreciated more character development in such a plot-driven story. Unfortunately, I lost interest in the characters and plot by by the last 1/3 of the book, skimming and skipping to the end. ...more
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." InstAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I thought the story would center on the adventures of a female "James Bond." Instead, all I got was a bad taste in my mouth. It's not that Graceling was so poorly written: I actually found the writing style and world building nicely done. It's just that...I think I was lied to.
First, Cashore refers to Graceling as growing "from her daydreams about a girl who possesses extrodinary powers--and who forms a friendship with a boy with whom she is insurmountably incompatible." So imagine my surprise when Grace meets Po (the insurmountably incompatible guy) and I end up waiting...and waiting...for the big "reveal" only to find out their incompatibility is due to her being a fighter and him being aware of his surroundings. Now how exactly is that insurmountably incompatible? See...incompatible would be an angel hater saving an angel (like Angelfall). Or a demon falling in love with an angel (like Daughter of Smoke and Bone).
Second, there's the problem of Katsa. Obviously, this girl is carrying around some childhood baggage because she's got some major anger management issues. In one scene she "swung at (Po's) jaw with the side of her hand" bruising his jaw because she didn't like what he was saying about King Randa's hold over her. Whhhaat?! In another, she refuses to understand Po's reason for keeping his Grace a secret. Is she really that clueless? Of course, she eventually comes to her senses and end up in his arms.
Which comes to my second point: a lover or a husband? While Katsa has her own view on what these two definitions mean: freedom or imprisonment, what it really boils down to is commitment. There's just something that doesn't feel right with Katsa and Po's relationship. Basically, she wants to be with Po but without being tied to him and all it requires..."For once she became his wife, she would be his wife forever. Her freedom would not be her own." and "How will you feel if I'm forever leaving? If one day I give myself to you and the next I take myself away--with no promises to return?" It just seems to me that if you are in a relationship (married or not), there should be a certain level of commitment: loyalty, sacrifice...If the tables were turned and Katsa were a man, he most certainly would be considered a player.
My biggest disappoint is that the messages of feminism are poorly characterized in Katsa. Does Katsa have to behave like a stereotypical man (or feminist) in order to further the feminist movement? If a man hit a woman or didn't commit to a relationship, would we honor him for using his manhood? So why should it be okay for Katsa to behave this way? That's not what feminism is about: it's about embracing womanhood and striving for equity between the sexes.
Of course, there were also some minor character/plot development issues like: Katsa finding out that her grace is not actually in killing but in survival (which doesn't really make sense because how then is she able to inflict accurate pain on someone else when she's not being threatened?); or how Princess Bitterblue has the clarity of an adult when she's really only ten; or why the urgency to protect Bitterblue from her father (why she was so important to the King; if she died, then what? what's the consequence?); or why King Leck decided now (and not before) to spread his power across the kingdoms.
Overall, this was a desperately painful read but I was determined to finish...why? maybe I thought there was some redeeming grace at the end. But sadly, the entire time, I just begged it to be over....more
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. OutsiAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
Plagued with guilt over her twin brother's death, Araby tries to escape her subconscious at the Debauchery night club. Outside the entire world is broken. The "weeping sickness" is only kept at bay through porcelain masks (I can't help but imagine "Darth Vader" type coverings), worn only by the wealthy and prestigious. Araby's father is the inventor of these masks and as Araby's world begins to crumble by those that seek power, she must decide who or what she's capable of fighting for.
Based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe of the same title, Griffin took an idea and grew it into a fascinating and complex story. This is one of the very few, if only, steampunk stories I've ever really held onto. Carriages that run on steam; new inventions with a feel of the 19th century. The world is spot on for gothic dystopia: dark, dreary, foggy...so Edgar Allen-painted with so much imagery and feeling that I could clearly picture the devastation and turmoil.
Also, try saying debauchery without getting the chills.
But what really struck me were the characters. Talk about complex. To explain, let me refer to a post I came across by Laurie Halse Anderson in which she discusses characters who have dimension and depth. Masque of the Red Death is a perfect example of those characters. Araby, Will, and Elliott all behave both admirably and despicably. Which if done poorly can make a reader go crazy but here Griffin balances their character traits so that you realize no one is absolutely good or absolutely evil. Mind you, there were some parts that made me go "huh?" but for the most part, it kept me on my toes. At times I couldn't help but wonder if given the choice, what I would decide.
My only discontent or puzzlement I have with the story is that the "Red Death" is not introduced into the plot until much later. I was a bit confused because I thought the masks were to prevent the "Red Death." I'm not so much bothered that it stopped me from enjoying the story but I think it would be an interesting idea to discuss.
If you are in the mood for a dark and captivating story, check this one out. I definitely think it's one to put on your to-reads shelf....more
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way thrAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
As a story, I wasn't that impressed. The plot line was pretty simplistic and fairly predictable. Only a third of the way through and I already had a lingering suspicion of who the culprit might be. There were also a few unrealistic moments. For instance, when the target is finally revealed, I kept wondering why they didn't just google "Ortolan & video game," a hundred pages ago instead of just "Ortolan." Which by the way is evidenced when Nick says, "We should have done more research...Then we would have found him a lot earlier." Yes, my thoughts exactly. I also didn't feel that much for any of the characters: an eyeroll every once in a while and an exasperated sigh. The pacing was also somewhat slow for a thriller and quite honestly, I felt like it was consuming up too many hours of my time. And when a book makes you wonder if "it is ever going to end?"...well, that's not a good sign.
HOWEVER, I really did like the writing style. And while I wasn't impressed by the plot, I was impressed by the way the characters became totally consumed by the game. I'm not a gamer myself so I can't fully understand the draw...but I've always wondered what keeps them hooked. As the story switches back and forth from the gaming world and the real one, I began to get a better feel for what keeps them going. There's the secrecy of the game and its rewards. Once Nick gets his hands on Erebos, he becomes completely consumed by it: just one more level...just one more reward... My favorite parts were when Nick must accomplish a task in "real life" in order to obtain a reward in the game: Nick acts nearly psychotic and desperate.
AND I did appreciate the fact that the story is more multicultural than most high school settings. Erebos takes place in London, and I expected a completely homogeneous group of people, so I was pleasantly surprised to read references to descriptions and names from different races. It made London feel so real!
But towards the end, I just wanted the story to be over. The romance with Nick and Emily was too forced...like the author just had to make it work. The pacing was too slow for me, and I expected more plot twists, more suspense. Also, I'm a bit surprised that Nick's parents never mention a word to him about Erebos. It is an interesting read but not as entertaining as I would have liked. I would have to recommend this as a "Maybe" read....more
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
There is a delicate balance between a story that is too simplistic and a story that leads to information overload. Too simplistic and the reader falls asleep; too complex and the reader is left in the dust wondering what just happened. Unfortunately, The Obsidian Blade falls into the latter category.
I should have known from the first chapter that I was heading into a bad mix of Star Trek vs The Twilight Zone. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both. I'm just not sure they work well together...well, at least in this setting.
At the start, we are given a brief historical account of the Klaatu Disks (or time portals) invented by one discorporeal being in the postdigital age but made by Boggsian corporeals. Is your head spinning yet? It took me a few minutes to come to grips but I had to put that aside because then comes Tucker and his Reverend dad who finds themselves drawn to these time portals. And well...the adventure confusion begins.
From there, we discover that the Reverend has lost his faith and his wife is slowly heading into mental instability as a result of playing Sudoku. (Beware all you Sudoku fans!) The Reverend wants to cure his wife and disappears into the disks. But Tucker suspects this and eventually follows them.
In his journey, he meets such bizarre beings as futuristic autistic medical attendants (medicants) who use you in their product assembly line, futuristic priests who sacrifice pure girls to the disks, the last day of earth with a single mysterious woman who has secrets, a retelling of the crucifix of Jesus (who instead of dying and returning to earth, actually got delivered to the medicants: repaired and returned in 3 days), discovers that the Reverend got "cured" of his belief in God, references to the Digital plague, maggot disk eaters, and then being reintroduced to the Reverend as now Father September who will somehow return every one to a state of grace (from technology).
Wait a minute, I was under the impression I was going to read a time travel novel. Instead, the time traveling aspect is just a set up for introducing new bizarre circumstances. From what I can gather, the point of the story is about how we eventually become corrupt from technology...but why all the religious references? Is there a subtext I'm not understanding here. It's just all too complex and unrealistic; is there such a thing as unrealistic science fiction?
Sadly, I felt like I was reading a foreign language. I didn't feel anything for the characters and the story was just bizarre. Then a few days ago I was watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and ironically discovered that the main character is named Klaatu... coincidence? Why name the disks after one of the most popular sci-fi characters? I'm not sure, but I'm already too confused to think about it any further.
Sadly, a recommendation I can't make to anyone. If anyone has suggestions on a true time traveling novel, please let me know....more
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stRated 2.5 Stars.
Jerome is your typical teenage boy "misfit" that finds himself on the rehabilitation side of Heaven. And by typical, I really mean, stereotypical: lives on the wrong side of the tracks with his drunk dad, has no future, can't stop thinking about "milk cartons" or short skirts, and acts without consequences--like letting his cousin shoot an apple off his head. Which is how he found himself in Heaven's rehabilitation program in the first place. His last saving grace is to be Heidi's guardian angel. So since her birth, he's pretty much made her believe she hears voices in her head, singing FreeBird.
When Jerome finds himself in the Rehabilitation Program, he learns about the "Guardian Angel's Handbook: Soul Rehab Edition" (which he promptly loses), the 9 levels of Hell (Level I: Everlasting Standardized Testing, Level II: Ballroom Dancing with the Elderly, etc...), Morning Therapy Group Sessions, and of course, swearing sensors.
While I admire the creative parody behind the story, I found it tiring after awhile. And even with the "swearing sensors" in place, Jerome has a pretty active mouth. The barrage of slang (chevy, motherflasker, apple hole, well...you get the point) was distracting and overwhelming...after reading it for the HUNDREDTH TIME.
The plot was also a bit unbelievable: Heidi wears a black-and-white spandex outfit and dances with her best friend, Megan, in front of the entire school in the Talentpalooza. According to BFF Megan, "We have to do this, Heidi, if only to take high school back from the people who rule it....We must defeat them." Now either I'm missing something or Megan's lost a few screws because when was dancing with another girl in front of the entire school EVER going to be a winner? I just can't believe that a teenager would ever think so. So of course, Heidi's upset and ends up taking a walk near a frozen pond.
You can imagine what happens. She falls through the ice, and Jerome inadvertently saves her...by detaching her soul from her body, and they now have 48 hours to make things right. I have to say, this is where the story went south for me. With so much emphasis on the comedic aspect of heaven, it became too much.
I was surprised by Heidi's lack of despair or panic when she finds herself "dead." I also thought the entire side plot for saving her dog Jiminy was a bit ridiculous. She pretty much occupied his body in order to save it while Jiminy's spirit went off to chase squirrels. But then again, I've never had a dog...
In the end, I did like how Jerome changed and became more confident and responsible. The story is a bit predictable and somewhat confusing towards the end (what was the celestial squirrel nut for?) and I thought the reincarnation was a bit out of left field. And being a romantic, I don't always like stories where the (view spoiler)[boy and girl don't end up together. (hide spoiler)] I admire the creativity behind DI but after that, it didn't really do much for me.
So should you read it? Maybe...if you've got a lazy afternoon with nothing to do.
Kids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "hoKids, please don't hitchhike aboard a stranger's bus...
I actually had to look up the criteria for a Newberry Medal after reading this. Even as an "honor" medal, I couldn't believe that it deserved the title of "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." But I guess that's not really up to me, it's up to 15 people to decide.
But...if it were up to me, this book would probably get a medal for "best concoction of invented and real words...without saying much." I fully admit that it's unique prose caught my eye in the beginning but after a while the story was so full of word fluff that when digging around for the story, I realized there wasn't very much there.
Word Fluff: I appreciate beautiful prose but it just got to be too much. Much of the prose sounded like this: "...next to the pushing-pulling waves." "...broody Samson was a dark and shadowy seven..." "...my palms burned like fire from all of the hurt just under the skin." "Girls only get quiet, polite savvies--sugar and spice and everything humdrum savvies." ...etc. etc. etc. Now, don't get me wrong. I fully enjoy adjective-saturated imagery...but when the focus is more on the word usage than on the plot, I begin to wonder what was the point of the story in the first place?
Plot: In case you're wondering, the plot basically goes like this: (view spoiler)[1) Leading off from the summary...Mib's parents are at the hospital. 2) Since her parents aren't there, the town's preacher family hosts Mibs 13th birthday party which is a disaster so Mibs hides aboard the Bible Supply Bus. 3) Along with 2 of the preacher's kids and 2 of Mib's siblings, the kids stow away on the bus, heading toward Salina (where the hospital is located). Eventually we learn that an alert has gone out that kids are missing. (Btw Grandpa Bomba is at home with the other Beaumont sibling.) 4) Mibs discovers that her special magical power is hearing the thoughts of people through ink on their skin. 5) The kids and bus driver and another "hitchhiker" travel through different cities until they finally arrive at the hospital. 6) Mibs tells her dad that even though he's "human," he still has a magical power which is that he never gives up. 7) Family returns home. (hide spoiler)] The End.
Obviously, the message here is one we've heard over and over again. Mibs, who is somewhat of a social outcast, is initially disappointed in her ability (i.e., Savvy) but ends up appreciating it, and through her adventure she develops friendships with other kids. Unfortunately, there is nothing awe-inspiring of this message. And for an honor book, I expected to be blown away.
Instead, all I could think about was: 1) Why would a group of teenagers along with a 7-year-old go hide in the back of school bus with a stranger driver. Did they not consider that their parents would be frightened to death by their disappearance? Furthermore, couldn't one of the townsfolk or even her Grandpa drive them to Salina to be with her dad? (Oh, but then we wouldn't have a story now would we?) And couldn't Mibs have told her Grandpa or left a note before they drove off? 2) Then when the bus driver, Lester, finally discovers them, does he insist on calling their parents? Is he the responsible adult he should be? Oh no, he lets them stay on the bus while he continues making his deliveries. 3) When the bus happens upon a broken down car with a lady (Lill) waiting by the side of the road, Lill decides to join them on the bus...because that's just what you should do when your car breaks down...climb aboard a bus of full of kids with a strange man. (Btw kids, it's really okay to hitchhike because it's a pink Bible Bus.) 4) But Lill is more of a responsible adult because she makes them call their parents...but isn't clever enough to know that the kids trick her by not really calling their parents. (And would any parent that had missing kids tell Lill to just wait until the next day to bring them home?) 5) And when the kids were finally found, when would a police officer ever say this: "I know how easy it is to make wrong choices and end up in difficult situations, but things don't always turn out badly. There will be consequences, of course, but no one got hurt, and no hurt was meant. So, as far as I know, no one's pressing any charges against those folks out there. [Lester] and [Lill] may have made some ill-advised decisions, but they did do a good job of looking after you and keeping you all safe." 6) So I guess the real message here would be: "Kids, if you make really bad choices, but nothing bad comes out of it, it's okay then."
I still can't believe this is what is considered a contribution to children's literature. If you are interested in a Newberry Medal read, there are much better choices out there: try Holes or A Wrinkle in Time or The Giver.
Should you read? Sorry but I have to say, "Skip it."
For this review and more check out: Little Zombies: Book Reviews for Sleepless Children.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't bI don't know how he does it...After The Lightning Thief series (which if you haven't read it, what are you waiting for!), I thought Riordan wouldn't be able to produce another one just as entertaining...But I WAS WRONG! Thankfully...
The Son of Neptune is the second in his new series: The Heroes of Olympus. The first book, The Lost Hero, follows the adventures of 3 demigods: Jason, Piper, and Leo while The Son of Neptune begins at the "Roman" camp starring Percy, Hazel, and Frank.
Riordan's trademark humor and sarcasm is evident throughout the story, and I found myself laughing right at the start:
"Her Bargain Mart vest, her flowery dress, even her tusks were decorated with 50% OFF stickers. Her name badge read: Hello! My name is DIE, DEMIGOD SCUM!"
The chapters switch POVs seamlessly among the 3 characters. Each has it's own mystery, strength, and weakness. And Frank's Asian grandmother was so ON THE MARK...I loved it!
There were only a few "buggy" things I noticed this time around: 1) The characters all seem to have the same "voice." I'm not sure if that really makes much sense, but while each of the characters have different backgrounds, they seemed to speak the same, have the same humor. It's not enough for a reader to notice unless there are being overly Type A...like me.
2) Definitely try to read the books without waiting MONTHS in between. It made for a frustrating read as I was trying to pull my amnesia back into remission. There are A LOT of tiny references to both Book 1 and The Lightening Thief series--not enough to take away from the story, but it would have been nice if my memory served me better.
Overall: I highly recommend any of Riordan's books. The only bummer about finding an author you enjoy is that you're not the only one; Riordan's last book signing was INSANE and a bit of a disappointment. I literally was given less than 10 seconds to say hello and have him sign my book. Oh, wait, I didn't even get a chance to say hello because he was busy talking to the kid in front of me. I got a "head nod" and then herded out of line. Apparently, I haven't gotten over that. But still, go read the book. It funny fun.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the bAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I guess third time's the charm because they finally did something right with the cover! In this one, Alona is stuck in the body of Will's friend Lily. As they try to make sense of this situation, things get complicated when another ghost wants a turn in Alona/Lily/Ally's body.
This series has definitely found its place on my "books I need to own" shelf. As soon as I read the first page, I was hooked. Kade has this way of writing that is not only catchy and witty but natural-as if each character him/herself is telling me his/her side of the story. And how does she come up with all those lines?!
I really grew to love Will and Alona. They have both matured and become more selfless and caring. You can really feel their longing for this relationship to work out. And when this other ghost complicates things, I couldn't help but hope for that happy ending.
In the end, I was very happy. I was actually surprised by how well everything in the story seemed to work out. I still shed a tear or two when I said good-bye to Alona and Will. I had some pretty good times with those two. I can't wait for Kade's next series: The Rules!...more
Are all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may haveAre all cloning stories based on the same idea? If I hadn't already read The House of the Scorpion or watched Ewan McGregor in The Island, I may have been more impressed by a story of (view spoiler)[harvesting organs from human clones (hide spoiler)]. Granted this one was about 1 individual being cloned multiple times...but, wait...wasn't that like The House of the Scorpion?
But--as the character Abby would so often point out: there are pros and cons to everything so here's my list for Replication:
Pros: 1) I felt like I really knew Martyr; As a clone, we learn of his perceptions and views while living on the farm and then see his lack of knowledge of the "real world" when he escapes. What he thinks about colors, sky, clothing. What he calls a "dog" or a "house." It makes me think about when and what we learn about the world. 2) Abby's train of thought and sarcasm were funny. 3) Williamson did a good job of balancing the themes of Christianity in a Sci-fi novel. I didn't feel like she trying to preach to me. It just felt like a story about a girl who just happens to believe in God. There are definite Christian principles in the novel such as prayer, creation, and the Bible which may be a little overwhelming if you are not interested in those topics. 4)A discussion guide was included! Yay!
Cons: 1) I had hoped for a more interesting concept/plot line and the story was fairly predictable--which is probably why I wasn't on the edge of my seat and began to get a little bored closer to the end. (But if you haven't read many human cloning stories, you may enjoy this one.) 2) Some answers weren't good enough for me. Why do clones need to be educated if the doctors are just going to take out their body parts? Just to keep them civilized? What if you just kept them in a vegetative state?
Even with 2 strikes against it, I think it's well worth the read and would make for an enlightening book club discussion.
Check out this review and more on my blog at: Zombie Mommies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
...so I confess. I didn't even get half-way. Not even 40%. Yep, I stopped at 34%. Even did the math.
First, it's a little hard for me to take an author...so I confess. I didn't even get half-way. Not even 40%. Yep, I stopped at 34%. Even did the math.
First, it's a little hard for me to take an author seriously who is shirtless on the beach for his "goodreads" photo, but I digress...
After being bombarded page after page with a glamorized angel celebrity guide consisting of too many "Hollywood" spin-offs (Angel News Network or ANN, Angels Weekly, Angel Television or A!) and too many references to Designer Brands, I felt like I needed my own personal bodyguard just to make it to the next chapter.
While the concept of the story seemed interesting at first, the writing appeared amateurish and the dialogue filled with cliched teen talk: "OMG, Perf!, totally". It was too over the top for me to take the writing seriously. Plus, how can I take something serious when every reference was a spin-off of some "Hollywood" term (see above paragraph). Not only that but Maddy and Jackson were annoying and unlikable. In one scene, Jackson returns to apologize to Maddy and instead of hearing him out, she makes accusations which end with Jackson responding "...you're impossible!" (...as if they've known each other longer than 24 hours).
Sadly, one of the most disappointing author debuts...and I was so looking forward to an Angel story. But I have to say... I do love that cover!...more
Ditched is one night at prom filled with quirky characters, some hilarious lines...and a hangover.
While the first few chapters were entertaining: funnDitched is one night at prom filled with quirky characters, some hilarious lines...and a hangover.
While the first few chapters were entertaining: funny one liners and an interesting premise, sometime after that, my attention drifted elsewhere. The flashbacks of the night told to two 7-eleven strangers got tiresome. The partying and high school behavior wore me down: a drunk teen taking vodka-jello shots at his parent's house (and his parents have NO clue!), dog swapping pranks, discussing the male anatomy, smoking marijuana...It was a little too much drama...And I guess I was expecting Ian to play a bigger part in the story than off stage.
Most of all, Justina-which by the way is such an awkward name for a character-did not deliver. At first, I was cheering her on with Ian. But then her behavior just spirals out of control. From the moment Ian picks her up for the pre-party, it was a domino effect just waiting to happen: her jealous side seems to have affected her ability to think straight. She draws some pretty big erroneous conclusions about Ian when they are supposed to be BEST friends. Aren't you supposed to know your BFF pretty well? Or maybe love/heartache blinds you in a way that you can't see clearly? Or maybe she was just insecure? Or maybe it's like what Gilda, the 7-eleven worker, tells her "Couldn't you have waited until you had some questions answered?"
Yes Justina, couldn't you have just waited? Then I wouldn't have this hangover.
Suma's pyschological drama reminds me of the opening to the "Twilight Zone":
"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a diSuma's pyschological drama reminds me of the opening to the "Twilight Zone":
"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone."
The whole of Imaginary Girls is based on questions answered and unanswered--wondering what's real and not. Suma keeps you wondering wondering wondering what's the mystery? what's happening? and keeps you reading up until the end...
...the end that I'm still wondering about.
The imagery, dialogue, and emotions are beautifully written, and the mystery of the night Chloe tried to swim the reservoir keeps you connected to the story. The loyalty of both sisters is both admirable and heart-breaking. Ruby's behavior is both empathetic and horrific. So nothing is purely one-sided.
But while the writing was beautiful, I found myself deeply disappointed. I wanted answers to the following questions:
(view spoiler)[ 1) How does Ruby know so much about the town of Olive beneath the reservoir? The reservoir doesn't seem to be an issue to the townspeople until that dreadful night so what is her connection? 2) Why does the town of Olive want to claim the life of Chloe so badly? What is their motivation for doing so? revenge against the people still living? 3) How did Ruby bring London back to life? (hide spoiler)]
I didn't like how the story was really about 2 stories: Ruby's mysterious influential power along with the mystery of the reservoir's power. For me, the focus on Ruby's power would have been enough of a creepy/psychological thriller: a girl who has power over her entire town. That was already creepy in and of itself so why did Suma add this reservoir element to it? The two phenomenon kept competing for my understanding and focus.
The story left me with too many questions without a solid answer. And while I commend Suma on her beautiful imagery and diction, I thought the plot itself was too void of interpretation leaving me frustrated and unsatisfied for a 2.5 stars.
(There are many many readers out there who have thoroughly enjoyed this book and if you like magical realism or the "Twilight Zone," I think you may enjoy this one more than I did.)
**Content Advisory** There are several teenage depictions of partying, drug usage, and sexual behavior--that I personally got tired of reading about page after page after page.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm breathless and without words. It's been so long since I've read high fantasy, I'd forgotten how MUCH I miss and love it!As seen on Zombie Mommies.
I'm breathless and without words. It's been so long since I've read high fantasy, I'd forgotten how MUCH I miss and love it!
From the first pages of artwork, I was pulled into Ravka: A land marked by a dark stain filled with images of gnashing teeth surrounded by intricate designs. Her Russian inspired fantasy world was new and different from anything I'd ever read before.
The storytelling begins with the tale of an orphaned boy and girl who find refuge at the Duke's estate and then leads into Alina's perspective: from a nobody girl to a girl of power.
After reading so many debut books this year, I had almost given up on the possibility of one that would really shine...and I've finally found it in Shadow and Bone. Bardugo has crafted a tale with thought and care. The worldbuilding was done to perfection: the Russian inspired language and landscape transport you to this fantasy world. The details of clothing and scenery so carefully crafted that they seem almost close enough to touch.
Each of the characters are unique and filled with mystery. Alina: Funny and a bit stubborn and insecure. I loved her story and her struggle to understand her place as she gains social status and power. Mal: the cocky childhood friend whose loyalty never falters. The Darkling: the most powerful Grisha (magical elite) whose charisma may or may not be as it seems.
The plot twists and turns with a few dead ends you weren't sure how it could possibly turn out. My hands were glued to this book from the very beginning. Some of the distinctions of class were a little confusing at first, but by the end I understood it all. I CANNOT WAIT for the next installment. This is one story you don't want to miss!...more
I only read the first page of this when I realized it just wasn't going to work out for us. While I appreciate the creativity of the writing style, thI only read the first page of this when I realized it just wasn't going to work out for us. While I appreciate the creativity of the writing style, the dialect is a bit tough for me: fer, gittin, jest along with no quotation marks at all. Maybe if I listened to it rather than read it, I would have better luck?...more
I'm almost tempted to take my Enclave review from over a year ago, change a few points and call it done. I'm overdue in librAs seen on Zombie Mommies.
I'm almost tempted to take my Enclave review from over a year ago, change a few points and call it done. I'm overdue in library fines...and it's basically identical to how I feel about Outpost (just add the romance part.)
What this means is that what I thought about Aguirre's writing in Enclave is pretty much the same here...and I'm not yet sure if that's a good thing or not.
On the one hand, I very much enjoyed the background and thought process that went into the world of Outpost. Deuce has found herself in Salvation (a town based on fundamentalist/religious doctrine) and must figure out her role in it. The world building in Outpost is one of Aguirre's strengths in this series. She really tries to have you imagine what the world might look like if it went apocalyptic: there was the gang and underground life of Gotham, evidenced in Enclave and now in Outpost, another scene of life in a separate and guarded town much further away. Could this happen in reality? I think so. So in that regard, what Deuce tries to make sense of is real: how she was raised in her former life and what she is being taught now.
On the other hand, this would have made a much greater impression on me if there was more of a character focus. While the plot flowed smoothly (albeit slooowwwlly...), I didn't feel as connected to Deuce as I would have liked. And it really bothered me that I didn't; she's a strong fighter, loyal, and has a no-nonsense kind of attitude so why didn't I...like her? And then it hit me...she's a little too perfect. I'm not saying that she didn't make some really big mistakes in the story because she did, it's just that...as a character, she feels too flat, too good, too one-dimensional, too heroic. Sometimes I felt like Deuce's thought process was too mature:
"Whether there was any truth to it or not, I accepted that flaw in human nature. Topside or down below, they always needed someone to blame..."
"...it broke my heart into a thousand pieces. But it wasn't time to be angry; I couldn't focus on how his behavior made me feel. I had to recall that self-doubt sliced at him like hidden knives."
I'm not saying it isn't a good idea to go through this type of thought process because it is, but sometimes it felt like I was listening to a therapist talk--not a 16 year old girl. Granted I haven't lived Deuce's life but all this self-regulating-I-know-everything behavior just doesn't fit right.
Because the focus of the story presents society in an emerging new world, I understand why Aguirre's writing is so plot-driven. I do think there could have been more "show-not-tell" scenes that might have picked up the pacing of the story. Outpost seemed to go on and on without much happening (at least to me) until close to the end. (Then my heart started pounding. Finally!) I guess for an apocalyptic world, I tend to expect more edge-of-my-seat reading.
However, I do find the concept of the story fascinating and can make for some enlightening discussion material. And it's really because of that, that I give this 3.5/4 stars. I do think Aguirre has very nice descriptive writing. But what I am most happy about was the romance between Deuce and Fade! Sheesh, I'm such a sucker for romance. I do look forward to Horde(Book #3) but I might not be as fanatical about it as some other reads....more
Review: Sadly, I have no happy words on how to "start" this...
I went into Starters thinking it would be like a YA version of Grisham's The Firm but with a sci-fi twist to it. Maybe that was my first problem...
****Spoilers were included to make sense of the review.*********
The World: For a story that's supposed to take place in the future, it felt very bland and unimaginative. Most of the futuristic technology was similar to what we have today except for its name: text = zing, taser = zip taser, helicopter = heli, answering service = voiceZing, a large cookie = supertruffle, starters = young citizens, enders = old citizens. So why not just set the story in current time instead of trying to fake another world?
The Vaccine: Callie's parents are dead when "Spores" are sent to Los Angeles from an attacking nation. What the situation was, I'm not told except that it set the stage for those not vaccinated to die. Now I'm assuming these spores are some kind of biological warfare agent, maybe a virus or bacteria...But according to Price's FAQs, these spores are NOT viruses. So. Then...uh... what are they? If they are not viruses, then what kind of vaccine were the scientists creating? Price compares this vaccine to a flu vaccine that's given to the young, old, and infirm. But here's the thing I don't get: if the government knew that our immunity system could not defeat these "spores" (like a typical flu) then why would it even matter who they gave it to? Anyone non-vaccinated dies from exposure to the spore; it doesn't matter who they are. So looking at it in a purely LOGICAL sense, wouldn't you want to keep the middle-aged and younger generation alive to populate humanity and contribute to society? Why keep the OLDER generation-even if "modern medicine" could help them live to be two-hundred? AND if "modern medicine" could keep the old alive and well-functioning, then why would they need to rent a "younger body?"
Callie's Parents: Of course, Callie's parents didn't get the vaccine (since they are in the middle age group: 20-60). Also her dad did not want to use his "position" to acquire it. This made no sense to me at all: you're telling me that her dad would rather put his ethics before the welfare of his children? He KNOWS that if he and his wife are gone, Callie and her brother would be left on the streets (according to the rules of the government). Sorry, but I don't buy it: first, a parent would do anything to live and protect his/her children. second, you're telling me that the government did away with estate planning as well?
A poor choice of character: Callie She could've been such a great character. In the beginning, she's in a difficult situation and makes the choice to become a DONOR (a rented body for the Elders to use) to earn money to take care of her brother. But after she went to the Body Bank, I think her brain got switched because she acts so confusing. Through a malfunction to her brain chip she discovers (view spoiler)[that her renter wants to assassinate the Senator to prevent him from making a deal with Prime Destinations that will allow renters to permanently occupy donors. (hide spoiler)]
First, she doesn't want to be involved in killing anyone but then later on, she has a change of heart, and decides she can kill. What!!!??? And then there's the romance insta-love with the Senator's grandson Blake who she keeps thinking about. Which is somewhat understandable since she misses this fancy lifestyle but then later on she finds out he was actually a rented body occupied by the evil mastermind (Old Man) of Prime Destinations. And what do you think she thinks about that?
"I wasn't going to let the Old Man win. I wasn't going to let him strip away my sweet memories of the time with the boy I had thought was Blake.(But those memories weren't even about Blake, it was about the Old Man!!!!)
His touch transported me back to the times we'd spent together in his car. I'd missed all this so much.
It wasn't the Blake I knew. But it looked like him; it felt like him."(But again, it's NOT! Are you infatuated with his looks because obviously it WASN'T him in this body! Arghhhhh!!!!)
Then when she gets caught and sent to a prison/institution, she tries to prevent a girl from going to Prime Destinations WITHOUT telling her it's because they will do awful things.
"You're going to go with him [them], aren't you? I can't talk you out of it?(Of course you can't talk her out of it because you haven't said ANYTHING! Why would anyone believe you if you don't tell them the reason!!!!)
Oh, and then that poor girl DIES so Callie can escape. Now why would any girl that you've only known for a few days DIE for you?
Sci-Fi/Dystopia Fluff: What could have been an interesting premise (old people renting bodies from the young) was so poorly executed with weak details, unimaginative descriptions of sci/fi elements, and a senseless dystopic world. All this fluff didn't impact the plot of the story. It could have easily evolved the same way if Callie was orphaned by some other means, living on the streets without a war. It didn't add anything to the story. It was a confusing and left me irritated and frustrated.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
After waiting and waiting and WAITING for the US Debut of Graffiti Moon, I finally grabbed a copy and breezed right through it in one morning. I literAfter waiting and waiting and WAITING for the US Debut of Graffiti Moon, I finally grabbed a copy and breezed right through it in one morning. I literally could not put it down.
Told in alternating voices, Crowley paints a clear picture of Lucy and Ed's fears, insecurities, and pleasures. I loved their banter and their he-said/she-said. I laughed out loud a few times. The descriptions of the artwork really blew me away: I wanted to picture the art on the walls; I wanted to sit in a museum interpreting a piece's meaning; I wanted to get my hands on a piece of charcoal and try sketching. And even though there were some tough decisions and topics that came up, Crowley knew just how to touch on the seriousness of the topic without making it overly heavy.
With so many different characters, I was worried they would all sound somewhat the same or be so drastically different. To my surprise, each of the characters had a unique voice. Also Crowley was somehow able to show that boys do have that sensitive side to them without making them appear "weak."
I enjoyed the lingo, and it made me feel like I was right there in Australia. My only disappointment was the unnecessary frequent usage of the f*** word: someone needs to clean out that boy's mouth.
A very talented writer and and enjoyable read; one that will not disappoint....more
If you've been to the Underworld, then you already know there's no easy way out. Most likely, it's the end of all happy endings. And if you survive, tIf you've been to the Underworld, then you already know there's no easy way out. Most likely, it's the end of all happy endings. And if you survive, the journey back is a painful one. But somehow Nikki manages it.
Beneath the surface of the Greek Persephone myth, lies a story of pain and redemption. Told in alternating time periods between the past and the present, Ashton delivers a heartbreaking tale of Nikki's path to make things right.
In many ways, because of that, it was painful to read: Nikki's mistakes, her lack of self-worth, her emotions numb. I wanted to scream: "Snap out of it! Get a spine. Go fix it." Because most of the time, she behaved like...well, a zombie, actually.
But maybe that was the whole point: Take away the pain, we become numb. Like a drug addict, it takes time and courage to recover. And sometimes it takes someone else to give us the strength to pull out of it.
My emotions went a bit schizophrenic on this one: from annoyance to empathy, sadness to anger, confusion to understanding. The theme of pain and redemption was well played and the modern Greek mythology intriguing. But I never found out why Nikki was allowed to return to the surface, in the first place. And I don't particularly like (view spoiler)[sad endings (hide spoiler)]. And it didn't compel me to turn the pages like other stories I've read. But I'm curious to see where this story goes and if you like modern-day Greek, I think you'll like this one.
Find this review and more at Zombie Mommies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Insurgent took me on a roller coaster ride filled with terrifying dips, twisty corners, and an end that left me hanging on for more. Needless to say, I didn't want to get off.
For me, this trilogy has been a study of humanity: what persuades us to survive and how we view human nature. Insurgent is dystopia at its best. At the heart of this story is conflict and turmoil; more specifically, Tris's personal conflicts. As Tris tries to make sense of her decisions and choices from that last scene in Divergent, her sanity and worth are put into question.
In this war among factions is a sixteen-year-old girl who has shot one of her friends dead, watched both parents sacrifice their life for her, and is now expected to survive in world that is crumbling. And she deals with that grief in ways that made me want to scream and pull my hair out...but at the same time, I got it. Because don't we sometimes try to avoid pain with pain? Don't we sometimes just want it to all END? And sometimes don't we punish ourselves from guilt?
The hardest part for me was to watch Tris make decisions that I suspected would turn out badly. I couldn't believe some of the situations she put herself in as punishment or compensation for what happened.
I watched secrets and mistrust tear people apart. I watched betrayal and lies. But I also saw love and forgiveness heal. It was a journey that Tris HAD to take, and it made for a more realistic and deeper character.
I love love love Roth's writing. I fell right in with Tris's emotions. I was kept on my toes the entire time. I couldn't read fast enough. And the haunting surprise at the end?! Why oh why to have to wait another year!!
One of my favorite series. Ever. I hope it's yours too. Plus, Tobias is hot.
WARNING ALERT. WARNING ALERT. From this point forward, it's not going to be pretty...
Dystopia is probably one of the hardest worlds to build because its entire foundation is based on the assumption of what might be possible. The biggest impact dystopia has on the reader is: Could this really happen?
In Eve, sadly, the answer to that question was "no." As I uncovered more and more to Eve's world, the only words coming to mind were "this doesn't make sense." The logic behind Eve's world is weak, and I couldn't connect our humanity with that of hers.
When Eve is 5 years old, her mother is taken ill with the plague. Eve gets taken to a school for orphans where she is educated. Because most of the population has been wiped out by a deadly virus, the country becomes governed by a "King" (Reminds me of North Korea.) But while Eve has been educating herself on Scott Fitzgerald and Frida Kahlo, its graduates have been taken to serve as baby machines--a fate that also awaits Eve when she graduates.
Here's are my issues with the world building: 1) The timeline: I'm not exactly sure where Goodreads got the 2032 date.* I can't find it anywhere else. But according to my timeline, the year is closer to 2037. (If Eve was taken to the school when she was 5 along with the note from her mother dated 2025, then stayed there 12 years, the date should be closer to 2037.) The date itself isn't really that big of a deal but the timeline of events is. The cover says "16 years after a deadly virus..." So within 16 years, our entire democratic nation has completely crumbled? Sorry, I don't buy that. And who is this Politician/King that has enough military power and resources to control the entire United States...some multi-billionaire with an ego complex? The most I know about him is this:
"The King took over and then you had to make a choice. Follow him or be in the wild alone."
What made the wild so unappealing? Furthermore, what "wild" are we talking about here? Why couldn't you have set up your own community? What resources/power did the King have to force compliance? Let's say that 80% of the current US population (313 million) died off (and 80% is pretty high...I think the Black Plague only hit about 60% in Europe), that would leave us with 62 million people. That's still A LOT of people. So shouldn't there still be groups of resistance, groups of scientists, groups of professors, groups of historians, groups of religion...Would the majority of people really concede to anarchy? Maybe. But--there would have had to be extremeextreme factors to force compliance. Unless the King had something to bargain with, I find it very unbelievable that our entire society would submit. With a smaller population maybe, but if you think about all the logistics that would go into governing a huge land area like ours, it's highly improbable..
Repopulating the Earth:
Stories dealing with re-population
seem a bit eccentric and unrealistic. Personally, I'm not really worried about humans recouping its losses. Humans have experienced several plagues and even genocide that have decimated our numbers, but I don't recall any institutionalized baby factories. Sure it might take hundreds, even thousands of years, to recover our numbers but what's the hurry? Again, if Eve's virus decimated 80% of the world population of about 7 billion, that still leaves about 1.4 billion people (which is just a little less than the total world population of 1.7 billion in 1900.) I'm kind of missing the point here. Again--what's the big rush to repopulate the earth quickly? And would people really jump on the baby band wagon?Also, if you want to get people to "breed," then why not use psychological tactics instead (i.e., speeches on 'it's your duty,' or rewards for birthing more children, etc...)
3) Why educate? Now, let's suppose we DO want to repopulate the earth quickly. Then, why educate the baby makers? According to the King's perspective:
"The King believed the science was the key to repopulating the earth quickly, efficiently, without all the complications of families, marriage, and love. He thought if you were given an education, you would be occupied and content. He thought that if you feared me, you girls would breed willingly without them."
If I needed a baby factory, I wouldn't spend my time educating them on literature or the arts. I would have girls start breeding as soon as they began menstruating. Maybe use them for domestic labor until they were able to breed.
But aside from the technical aspects of the world building, I was also disappointed with:
1) The insta-love between Caleb and Eve: They went from 0 to 60 in about 2 seconds; she gets rescued, he teaches her to swim, they can't. live. without. each. other.
2) The helicopter hiding scene: Note to troops: when there's an abandoned helicopter in a middle of a field, you might want to check inside to see if maybe, just maybe that's where the fugitives are hiding...just a thought.
3) Eve's Radio Messages: I get it that maybe Eve didn't understand the danger she was in...but she CHOSE NOT to tell her host about sending out radio messages because "there was too much to tell." Was she so blinded by her love infatuation for Caleb, that she didn't consider the danger? Big mistake Eve.
4) Eve's almost rape scene: This scene came out. of. nowhere. Very uncharacteristic of the perpetrator--especially in light of his prior attitude towards Eve.
This book deals with a lot of holes and missing pieces. The logic is thin and the background research seemed nonexistent. The characters were flat and uninteresting. I had no interest in Eve; in fact, I was more interested in one of the minor characters: Arden (Eve's companion). Many times it seemed like scenes and circumstances were put together only for the purpose for pushing the story along--not because it was integral to the plot. Sadly, this one doesn't make the cut.