This is an interesting book, but a strange one too. It's a retelling of the story of the land of Oz, centered around the character of Elphaba aka. theThis is an interesting book, but a strange one too. It's a retelling of the story of the land of Oz, centered around the character of Elphaba aka. the Wicked Witch of the West.
It's far more adult than I would have expected, which kind of jars the reader from what they know about Oz from the very beginning. I liked that Oz isn't 100% some magical, mystical land. It has geography, history, cultures, religion, myths, politics, racism, and more. It was a little strange to think of the Wicked Witch attending school and drinking coffee (but never water!) or even eating meals. That's just not something you think about when you watch the film.
One fascinating thing for me was the character of the Wicked Witch of the East, Elphaba's sister. I won't tell you anything about her, but since she had no character at all in the film, the author was free to make her into whatever he wanted.
As for Elphaba herself, I have mixed feelings. There are parts of the book where I actually really like her and want her to succeed. However, as time marches on, she gets farther and farther from her earlier character and becomes someone we don't recognize. The author doesn't very much go into detail as to why she changes so much, but maybe a second reading could explain further. I will say that focusing on Elphaba's character journey would be a great way to analyze the book.
Weak points of the book include the general weirdness of it, its failure to bring all of its lore and legend together at the end, and its refusal to answer burning questions. Things are hinted at and then dropped as if they don't matter. And there doesn't seem to be a point to the book at all (other than the nature of good vs. evil).
Also, as you can imagine, the book is held back by the reader's knowledge of the eventual arrival of Dorothy.
Would I read this again? Perhaps, but I'm not sure what new insights I would get from a second reading. ...more
A very solid, mostly entertaining, incredibly tense sci-fi work. This will be a classic in the genre for sure.
What's amazing to me is the way that WeA very solid, mostly entertaining, incredibly tense sci-fi work. This will be a classic in the genre for sure.
What's amazing to me is the way that Weir makes Mars, the Hab, the Rover and everything else Mark Watney makes use of, seem like home. Obviously Watney is trying to survive and escape, and the reader wants to see him succeed, but at no point did I get the "I need to leave here NOW" feeling. I suspect Mark even enjoyed his time as the sole inhabitant of the Red Planet.
It's technical but not so technical that a layman cannot understand what Mark is doing. This book puts the Science back in Science Fiction, and I'm very happy about that. I think we can expect to see copycat novels in the next few years....more
Quite a surprising read. The writing keeps you glued to the page, even as you tell yourself you don't want to know the next horrible little detail. ItQuite a surprising read. The writing keeps you glued to the page, even as you tell yourself you don't want to know the next horrible little detail. It's a good psychological yarn, where everything that can go wrong, does. You find yourself identifying with the narrator at the same time as you're yelling at him to stop making things worse. ...more
**spoiler alert** In case you were like me and thought it wasn't about vampires - it is.
But, thankfully, the vampire part stays mostly in the backgro**spoiler alert** In case you were like me and thought it wasn't about vampires - it is.
But, thankfully, the vampire part stays mostly in the background. What really matters is the legacy of Vlad Dracula, and finding out what happened to his body and where he is today.
The thing I liked most about this novel was that it took a quite different approach to a vampire story. Although perhaps a bit too "Da Vinci Code," it did show people fighting the evil of Dracula not just with weapons, but with scholarship. Every new discovery and development gives a thrill, and thankfully the author didn't keep us in the dark too often. The revelations come fast and keep the reader satiated.
One big flaw here is the story structure. For one thing, the novel is mostly divided into two sections, the girl's story and her father, Paul's story. This means that there comes a time in the book when we leave the girl mostly behind and focus on Paul's quest. Also, the book follows a document the contains stories, which contain letters, which sometimes contain other stories. It can be a bit too much to follow sometimes.
The characters are mostly good. Paul isn't written too well, but he does narrate most of the book. It's hard to characterize yourself. Helen, on other hand, is a very well-written character. Some may not find it believable that she and Paul fall in love, but at least these are characters you WANT to fall in love.
Overall, I found the book entertaining and even informative. It's not high literature, but it does keep you guessing and wondering and trying to put the pieces together yourself. ...more
This was my first experience with Neil Gaiman, and his writing hooked me from the very first chapter.
This is the kind of book you savor, relishing eveThis was my first experience with Neil Gaiman, and his writing hooked me from the very first chapter.
This is the kind of book you savor, relishing every vivid sentence. The characters are colorful and complex. The twists and turns in the plot will have you wanting more, and wanting to read the book again to pick up on clues that pay off later.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to further experiences with Neil Gaiman....more
Excellent blend of horror and crime solving that gets you hooked from the very first page.
The main characters are believable, although perhaps definedExcellent blend of horror and crime solving that gets you hooked from the very first page.
The main characters are believable, although perhaps defined too much through their relationship to each other, and the supporting characters are colorful. The story itself is truly terrifying, and you feel the weight of the struggle to come for our protagonists. The writing is suspenseful and keeps you reading even though you don't want to know what awaits.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone wanting a good horror story....more
**spoiler alert** Although I've owned this book for a long time, and probably read it when I was younger, a recent re-read led to disappointment.
Tom C**spoiler alert** Although I've owned this book for a long time, and probably read it when I was younger, a recent re-read led to disappointment.
Tom Clancy is a very famous writer of political thrillers, but I found a good deal of problems with his writing here. First, with the exception of the action-packed opening chapter, Clancy takes a while to get the story moving forward. There are long periods of time when our hero, Jack Ryan, is recovering in a hospital. As Ryan is stuck in his room, the reader is stuck right along with him, wishing the narrative would get going.
Another entire chapter involves a plane ride from London to D.C. Nothing is accomplished in this chapter besides getting our characters from the U.K. to the U.S. and establishing that Ryan has a fear of flying. This plot development doesn't come up much in future chapters and does not factor into the book's concluding action. If the main showdown of the book took place on a plane, I could understand this earlier chapter and its place in the story, but instead it just introduces a character quirk that could have easily been mentioned in a few paragraphs.
Another flaw with Clancy's writing is the glut of technical jargon. Ok, perhaps it adds to the realism of the story, but it also makes the reader get bored and want to skip ahead to dialogue that makes sense and moves the story forward. Most legal thrillers don't go into detail about the technical paperwork most lawyers deal with, so I don't see why this book needs to detail each and every CIA and military procedure. It just makes Clancy look like a show-off and doesn't give the reader anything to relate to.
As for the characters, they aren't as believable as one would like. Ryan has a great job, and the beginnings of another great job in the works. He has the perfect house, the perfect child and the perfect wife, who is now pregnant with their second. His entire life just seems a bit too perfect.
The plot itself is mostly fine. We're dealing with Irish terrorists who have a murky operation and murky goals. Some of the details of terrorism here are awfully dated, with a big deal being made of "there has NEVER been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil." Maybe in 1987, but a reader in 2013 knows better. There's nothing to do about that, but it just makes the book seem quaint.
One good thing I can say is that there are several good tense action scenes. As long as the terrorists are still out there, the reader anticipates what their next move will be. We know they won't just let go of their issue with Jack Ryan. That gives the reader a sense of urgency, which helps make it easier to relate to Ryan.
Overall this is a decent thriller, with some tense moments and action scenes, but the rest of the plot can get boring and confusing. ...more
Really amazing writing that keeps you wanting more and more. When I thought the book was reaching a climax, I realized I was only halfway through. TheReally amazing writing that keeps you wanting more and more. When I thought the book was reaching a climax, I realized I was only halfway through. The author just kept building and building the action, dropping secrets and upping the stakes each and every chapter.
The descriptions are very vivid, so much that you can almost feel the heat and taste the sand. I thought most of the characters were well-written, too.
If you are looking for an intense, gripping, exciting book that will surprise you and occasionally freak you out, this is the book for you....more
If you think this is just a book for kids, think again. The writing is very sophisticated and lyrical, and the subject matter can get intense at timesIf you think this is just a book for kids, think again. The writing is very sophisticated and lyrical, and the subject matter can get intense at times. Above all, this book is a good portrayal of what it's like to be a young boy, and also what it must have been like to live in s small American town in the mid-19th century....more