Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. I liked the storyline thread. I enjoyed the writing. I take issue with the story arc and the ending dDon't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. I liked the storyline thread. I enjoyed the writing. I take issue with the story arc and the ending didn't resolve, nor dissolve in a satisfying manner for me. I liked it reasonably enough, but it's not spectacular. ...more
**spoiler alert** There is a lot here that reminded me of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Mieville, Clarke, Rowling-- all their books containing magical element**spoiler alert** There is a lot here that reminded me of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Mieville, Clarke, Rowling-- all their books containing magical elements seem to be given an homage by Grossman. So, it seems familiar, but even though as you read it, you are compelled forward because you honestly have no idea as to what is going on. At least that is how I felt.
One point that I simply must make-- this book was saved (as in I gave it 3 stars instead of 1.5-2.5) based mostly on the writing ("Well, isn't every book?" you ask. Well, yes, but particularly this one.) because while Grossman is weaving his tale and nodding to The Greats in fantastical and magical literature (and rightfully so), he is more or less dancing on the line into "just plain weird" at times. Now, I can suspend reality with the best of them (which is probably why I am able to give this a 3 star rating), but some scenes and plot lines seemed to just leave me scratching my head, "Hm." So, yes, his writing which I find elevates the fantastical elements that seem so "other worldly" about other classical fantasy lit and he brings them just a tad closer to "reality" in an even more adult and "realer" vein than even Harry Potter, in my opinion (which doesn't mean there is a flaw AT ALL in Rowling's work, it's just an impression that I received while reading Grossman that it felt "close" some how if that at all makes sense). There is no doubt that this is a wonderfully readable yarn.
What bothered me: Julia-- Julia. Ok. Reading her portions seemed separate, other, odd. Maybe that was on purpose to coincide with her story arc. Which is another thing-- her story arc. I felt bad for her, yes, because no one likes to have a piece of chocolate waved briefly under their nose to have it snatched away and then be told that the chocolate never existed in the first place, so yeah, I get it, no fair. But really. Her spiral downward and all her bellyaching irritated me greatly. Furthermore, and maybe it's because I missed a step, but the whole black eyes and her thinness and her not eating and her dropping of contractions while speaking.... why? What was the relevance of that? Is this some symbolism of some other Greek myth that I just have no idea about? And all the math and reasons behind all the hacking? Honestly. And then how she became who she felt she was meant to come? Where did THAT all come from? And then there is Fillory. No, I don't want everything explained away and no I don't need everything tied with a bow and neatly packaged but the most unsettling elements that intrigued me the most are never dealt with to my satisfaction. The imagery of clocks in trees is so steampunk and eerily fantastic and the whole idea of The WatcherWoman (which I know was somewhat unpeeled in the last book, but again unsatisfactorily) just feels like it could be so much more.
I feel like I could complain, dissect and unpack almost every scene and every chapter, but what good would that do, but unravel all the threads that are still holding together the mystery of the story and who wants to do that?
Maybe I just wanted to like it so much more and I'm being lenient, perhaps I am fixating on all the things that I truly enjoyed the feel of while reading so I'm purposefully trying to ignore and not harp on all the things that I felt troublesome...probably.
The books in the Neitherlands and the gods and why Four Thrones for Four Kings? Chutes and ladders into the Underworld and climb down to climb up into the new world? The Sloth on the ship? Maybe I am trying to find so much meaning where it's just a random thought that the writer wanted to explore with that world...?
All in all, I am very much anticipating the next book... and watch, he's probably daydreaming in class all along and none of this ever happened. Or he comes to just as they are ringing the doorbell to the interview... I hope not. ...more
More like 3.5-3.7 ... A lot of it was very frustrating and seemed slightly (ok maybe a lot) pretentious, but there was a lot of ethereal prose that IMore like 3.5-3.7 ... A lot of it was very frustrating and seemed slightly (ok maybe a lot) pretentious, but there was a lot of ethereal prose that I felt transcended the odd parts that I waded through. I couldn't help but be touched (I'm a sap) and swept away by the subject matter of personal histories, time passing, and the complexities of love, family, and marriage relationships... ...more
It's a shame... I'd give this 1.5 stars really. The prose can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and some portions were interesting, but this plot lIt's a shame... I'd give this 1.5 stars really. The prose can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and some portions were interesting, but this plot line of all their personal lives grated on me incessantly. In essence, I felt it was like a Hurakami, however not done well in the least. I WANTED to like it, but alas, I did not. ...more
The Devil Wears Prada meets Fight Club. Graphic, but searingly truthful and brilliant. The plot can be incredulous, but the honesty of the message andThe Devil Wears Prada meets Fight Club. Graphic, but searingly truthful and brilliant. The plot can be incredulous, but the honesty of the message and the indictment of society and it's treatment of women and women's issues makes the incredulousness irrelevant. I can understand the 2 and 3 star ratings, but I feel that the weight of the subject matter and the compelling way with which it's dealt, covers the remainder. ...more