Better than the first book, but that's not hard. An intense opening that I was not expecting, followed by a mehish middle section, and a reasonable enBetter than the first book, but that's not hard. An intense opening that I was not expecting, followed by a mehish middle section, and a reasonable end. But it's still quite badly written. There are moments where I was just confused about what was going on. In particular, the action isn't well written, it's messy and hard to understand (as it was in the first). It also felt like there were parts of the text missing at times because the narrative would suddenly jump, jarringly, and something major would've happened that wasn't described ((view spoiler)[Elara's death, anyone? (hide spoiler)]). There were characters and events from the first book that I just didn't remember, so I guess I'll be super confused when the next book comes out next year and I won't remember anything. There were also characters introduced in this book that I couldn't even remember next time they showed up!
Bottom line: these books are a bit shit really, and I will utterly forget them, but they're good to read when you have no brain....more
There really is no way to talk about this book without spoilers so if you haven't read it, go away. If you want to read this book then just read it; dThere really is no way to talk about this book without spoilers so if you haven't read it, go away. If you want to read this book then just read it; don't read anything about it!
OK, disclaimer over, here goes: (view spoiler)[I did not see that coming; I knew someting was going on and I expected something to twist but I did not realise I was reading a ghost story! Which is why this gets the four stars that I gave it because it managed to surprise me and it did it in a believable way that still made sense with the rest of the book. Sometimes a book (or film) does something to change everything and you go 'err, what?!' (Allegiant, I'm looking at you). But this made the book. Everything slotted into place and it worked really well. What actually upset me the most was the poor dogs dying in the fire.
I also liked that it recognised the problems with privilege and the effects of power dynamics and the abuse of power. Yes, it was a bunch of rich white people on a private island, but if you're getting huffy about that you're missing the point the book makes about the inanity of materialism and the imbalance of power and wealth in the world.
Another thing I liked was the fact that even though there is a romance within the story it is fundamentally about one girl's experience and recovery from trauma. Cady goes through the 'present' in the book basically alone. She has support from her mother, but it's limited and claustrophobic. She's really just trying to work everything out for herself, because sometimes in life that's the only way you can.
Probably best to read this before Requiem and not after, like I did. Makes events that happen in Requiem much more emotional.
The formatting for this eProbably best to read this before Requiem and not after, like I did. Makes events that happen in Requiem much more emotional.
The formatting for this ebook was horrible though. The font displayed very large by default, even reducing the font reading size to its very smallest it was still large. The fonts also changed every now and then, and not seemingly for any aesthetic reason. It was just a mess. I actually returned this because it was such a mess. All three of these short stories have had messy formatting, but this was the worst. Going to get the book with all three stories in instead, and hope that's not so much of a mess....more
I'm honestly not sure when's the best time to read this. I read it a few chapters in to the book, but it might be best to read the opening statement oI'm honestly not sure when's the best time to read this. I read it a few chapters in to the book, but it might be best to read the opening statement of the book, and then start with this. It honestly doesn't add much, it's like a few bonus chapters at the start of Tempest.
I didn't 'click' with Tempest until the end of the first 2009 section ((view spoiler)[i.e. when Jackson does his first full jump back to 2007 (hide spoiler)]) and because I read this before that happened, it actually just ended up making the opening slightly too long. Maybe it's more interesting to read after the book? I don't know, because I didn't do it that way.
As an introduction to the book and a 'way in' to the series, I felt it was weak. As I understand it, this was published before Tempest came out so it's meant to be a freebie to hook you in to the main series. If I'd read this before thinking that 'Tempest' sounded interesting, I might not've bothered to continue.
Most short 'extras' often come between books, and add a little something to the story, but usually nothing too crucial. This is not that. Glad I did continue with the book though, turned out good in the end....more
I read the first half of this in bed one morning. I started on it and couldn't stop until I was forced to get out of bed because of the call of natureI read the first half of this in bed one morning. I started on it and couldn't stop until I was forced to get out of bed because of the call of nature.
There's some Quantum Leap style similarities, it is a fantasy, and there is a 'but what happened next?' type ending with unresolved questions - but it's not actually about that. That's just the plot device.
This is really about morality, empathy, friendship, the choices we make as people, human nature, our genetic make-up, control (what we can, and what we can't), diversity, relationships (in all forms), and love (of course) - to name a few things.
A has to be empathetic towards the people A is inhabiting for the day, for the body and life they have custody of, and try not to drastically change their lives or harm the body. But A makes mistakes, like we all do, and A learns that the things (and mostly the people) that we love can make us selfish. Which is fine, and human, because nobody is selfless.
I feel we have to be empathetic towards A too. I can only imagine how lonely it'd feel to be a new person every day and never be able to make any lasting connections or relationships. It's understandable that A wants to try, wants to know what it feels like for everyone else, even though A understands there will be collateral damage. Like I said, nobody is selfless.
I liked the fact that the people we meet each day are so diverse. It's another part of the theme of empathy in the book. I understand how some people might feel it's hitting you over the head with diversity, but I do feel that's part of the point. We're not all the same; sometimes the differences are external and obvious (gender, skin colour, nationality, weight), but other times they're internal and things we'll only know if they're shared (sexual preference/identity/orientation, likes/dislikes, our feelings - all the things that make me me and not you).
A has lived life in a way that we can't, and because of that A has learned to be more empathetic, more understanding, more tolerant than perhaps we can because we're just stuck inside our own heads and there's a limit to our scope of understanding (I would absolutely love to be inside someone else's head for the day). But it also means that A has no real understanding of how relationships work, how commitment works, how it feels to grow up with someone, and how it feels to get to know someone over time. All A gets is snapshots of these feelings. A window into what A can never have. So it's no wonder that A does what A does - wouldn't you?
I can understand how some people might find this book preachy and get annoyed with it, but it just worked for me. And that's fine if I like it and you don't, we don't all like the same things. After all, that we're all different is what makes the world interesting....more
This series did improve somewhat from Torn onwards. For example, the author mercifully decides to forget about Rhys/Michael being romantically interesThis series did improve somewhat from Torn onwards. For example, the author mercifully decides to forget about Rhys/Michael being romantically interested with Wendy and sidelines his character and pairs him back up with Rhiannon (thankfully, it was all slightly incestuous feeling in the first book). Tove is also clearly made a friend (even though the (view spoiler)[arranged marriage (hide spoiler)] can be seen coming from as soon as he's introduced in Switched) and it's nice that Wendy actually has a male friend who's not in the slightest bit interested in her romantically (and isn't her 'brother').
These aren't the best books you're ever going to read. Sometimes the writing is baffling ('The room was circular with rounded walls', couldn't stop boggling at that one), but it's solid brainless fluff; if that's the sort of thing you're looking for. It's entirely forgettable; I once actually forgot what book I was reading when I was reading it! I also found Wendy's name oddly unsuited to her, and kept forgetting that too.
The main thing that these books have going for them, however, is that she is a fairly strong female lead. The books pass the Bechdel test (there are more than 2 female characters and they talk, to each other, about things other than boys (powers, family, history, as well has clothes, hair, and make-up, and (obviously) boys too)). Wendy starts off kind of bratty and not totally being able to stand up for herself in Switched, but by the end of the series the 'bratty' has become 'feisty' and she has developed her powers to be self sufficient and not needing a man to come to her rescue. So she actually gets to save the boys, which is always fun.
So, mostly forgettable, but some 'not bad' things in them. Not the worst I've ever read, but no where near the best either (I'm sticking with 2 stars throughout as I feel it's the closest to 'meh'). They certainly improve as they go, but can also be a bit messy as the author seems to have changed her mind about things as she went along rather than having a clearly mapped out plot to start with.
Additional: After I finished reading these I discovered that the published versions (i.e. not the self-published versions) have additional material: short stories at the end of each, and tweaks for each book (which can only be a good thing). These tweaks seem to include a whole new character in Ascend, Mia (which was confusing when I read the short story at the end of Ascend). My friend had sent me the self-published versions to read, so I tracked down the published versions to read the extras (which were inconsequential). So, Mia turns out to be a hastily inserted love interest for Finn, and Tove is turned gay! So that means that the 'all the guys' thing *is* correct now as he was just closeted all along. Ugh. Honestly. Makes me wonder what other changes there were to the text, but I'm really not going to read them again just to find that out!...more
Don't judge me too harshly; I just needed something brainless to read at this point in my life as things have been busy/stressful. And brainless it ceDon't judge me too harshly; I just needed something brainless to read at this point in my life as things have been busy/stressful. And brainless it certainly is, so it fitted the bill nicely. I liked that Wendy is kind of feisty and actually gets to fight her own battles (although she does still always seem to end up being ultimately 'rescued' by some male, but it's something positive at least), but I didn't like how bratty she was (that was just annoying). I also got annoyed with how ALL THE MEN FOLK are enamoured of her. I get that this is a teenage romance, but seriously - all the men? Couldn't at least one've been not interested or perhaps at least gay? Still, I have to say I would've eaten this shit up as a teenager. Who didn't wish that they were adopted and fantasise about turning out to be a magical special person? So, I can see how Amanda Hocking was successful with this, but ask me to recount the plot in 6 months to a year and I doubt I'll be able to remember. It's quite forgettable. To the point where I keep forgetting the main characters name! (I really don't think the name suits the character anyway.) So, yeah, I'll be reading the rest to see where this goes, but mostly because I still need brainless distractions....more
After seeing this in the Friends House bookshop, and in Meeting House libraries, for years I finally decided to borrow it from my Meeting House librarAfter seeing this in the Friends House bookshop, and in Meeting House libraries, for years I finally decided to borrow it from my Meeting House library. I'm looking forward to reading Forged in the Fire, the next book in the series, which I can also borrow from the MH library. I was also pleased to discover that there's a 3rd book in the series due out next month. Serendipity.
I believe this is the 1662 law mentioned in the book, if you wish to read it: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/repo... If you search the same site for 'quaker 1662' you also come up with a lot of other historical references and reports that may be of interest.
I found it to be a good blend of fictional story and Quaker history, although I would like to know more about Quakers in Shropshire in the 1660s (1662 being a mere 10 years after the 'official' founding of Quakerism). I wasn't quite convinced by the fact that they met in a public room in an ale-house, as most Quakers of that time were still meeting in private houses, fields, or barns (such as how the Eaton Bellamy Meeting is described), but I guess this was used as a storytelling device so that their Meetings could be broken up more publicly and forcibly (and therefore more dramatically). Nor was I sure that there would have been quite so many Quakers in the area at that time, but I have no knowledge of Quaker history in Shropshire for that time so I trust the author did her research.
There was lots of Quaker history to like though. The mention of Elders (which did exist then, although not in a formalised way as they do now), the descriptions of plain speech and dress, and the wonderful explanations of hat customs and oath taking. Overall I thought the Quaker aspect was well researched and well presented.
Looking forward to the next book. This has also made me keen to track down more fiction featuring Quakers to read. I'll have to see what else I can find in Meeting House libraries!...more
Didn't just re-read The Hunger Games, but decided to carry on and see if I still thought CF is good, like I remembered it to be. And indeed it is, andDidn't just re-read The Hunger Games, but decided to carry on and see if I still thought CF is good, like I remembered it to be. And indeed it is, and I still really enjoyed it....more
A re-read of the Hunger Games books, prompted by seeing the film. The film, for me, captured the overall tone and plot of the book but I wanted to re-A re-read of the Hunger Games books, prompted by seeing the film. The film, for me, captured the overall tone and plot of the book but I wanted to re-read it again to remind myself of the missing details.
Still a really good, gripping read, but I didn't hurry through it this time like I did last year. ...more
Considering I literally could not stop reading this book, I think it deserves 5 stars. Really, it's a four star book; I didn't think 'it was amazing',Considering I literally could not stop reading this book, I think it deserves 5 stars. Really, it's a four star book; I didn't think 'it was amazing', but I'm giving it that extra star because I literally stayed awake all night reading it. Don't be fooled by the 20 day reading period that's recorded; I started this but very quickly (like, just after the prologue) took a long break to re-read all of The Hunger Games.
Just like a video game, this book was totally addictive and impossible to stop reading once I was immersed in it. I'm tired now.
Added after a sleep: No, it's not the greatest book ever written. Some parts are predictable, some parts scream 'foreshadowing' so much that you're just waiting for them to resolve ((view spoiler)[like the 'glitch' in the chatroom, and the special quarter) (hide spoiler)], but the world was well imagined and described; I felt immersed, and I enjoyed it for what it is - a fun and enjoyable adventure....more
I read this book when I was a teenager. I found it in one of my many library visits and it's always stuck with me. Not because of it's story, I barelyI read this book when I was a teenager. I found it in one of my many library visits and it's always stuck with me. Not because of it's story, I barely remembered the plot at all (other than 'three Earth teenagers get transposed to Another World', which happens in Chapter 1, I drew a blank). It was the fact that I'd only managed to find the first two books in the library and I knew there was 1 more in the trilogy that they didn't have. Being a completist, I'd always wanted to re-read it, and finally read the last book, so I found them all online, 2nd hand, and bought them.
It's an odd book, that clearly draws a lot from Lord of the Rings. It even references the fact in the first chapter. Ent-like sentient trees; elves and dwarfs; elves sailing to 'the Blessed Lands' instead of dying; Kadmon being some kind of Aragorn/Gandalf hybrid; wraiths and goblins; as well as other things I'm forgetting. But more than the little things, the thing it owes most to LoTR is the theme of how our post-Industrial Revolution world is bad for the world and us in it. The writing is not brilliant, and at times the English in it is plain odd. The plot is quite breezy and moves along fairly quickly. The third person narrative switches every few chapters so that the story is told from the POV of all the three teenagers, so it's their story/journey, rather than just the story/journey of one of them. Characters die, but I can't say that I really cared as I wasn't too emotionally invested in any of them ((view spoiler)[except for the wolves, but that's because I don't like depictions of animals dying (hide spoiler)]). The deaths were nice and gory though, didn't hold anything back for a teen book that was written in the 90s.
Overall though, it seems less a story is being told and more a morality tale about the evil things Man has done to the world and each other. It's not great, but it's not terrible. I'm certainly going to read the other two though, because that was the whole point of getting them....more