Absolutely beautiful art, but the plot still seems to be lagging with things the characters really ought to have figured out by now, and a highly disjAbsolutely beautiful art, but the plot still seems to be lagging with things the characters really ought to have figured out by now, and a highly disjointed narrative style....more
Here is a book where the female fighter heroine ACTUALLY SOUNDS (to me) like someone who knows something about fighting. (Mental NoSo First off:
Here is a book where the female fighter heroine ACTUALLY SOUNDS (to me) like someone who knows something about fighting. (Mental Note: I do not want to get in a fight with Susan Ee.)
Here is a book about angels where it ACTUALLY SOUNDS like the author has, at some point in her life, been to church. Unlike most it's-about-angels-because-my-publisher-said-we-had-too-many-vampires YA drivel. Don't get me wrong, it's not going to be sold in stores that specialize in Christian kitsch. It will not be shelved next to 'Left Behind.' BUT it has an internal logic and provides specific references that MAKE SENSE to people who are familiar with the Bible. Think of it sort of as a fairy tale re-telling, but the fairy tale is the Revelation of St. John.
There are some theological caveats here, of course. (view spoiler)[I mean, there's a scene with angels in zoot suits going clubbing and stuff. Also, the whole thing about the Nephilim being abominations are-- not necessarily an accurate translation. The verse in question talks about Nephilim being "giants on the earth" but it's not clear that the "sons of god" who were going for the "daughters of men" were angels, or just Israelites, but pretty much everyone loves the idea of half-angels because half-angels are easily as cool as dhampires and changelings and Spocks. (hide spoiler)]
Here is a book where the people are not idiots. They do not spend the whole book figuring out things that are pretty obvious in chapter three. They do not somehow neglect to mention key pieces of information for years. They do not sit around and feel sorry for themselves, or have their primary distinguishing characteristic be the fact that they hate themselves and life. They have goals and interests besides fawning over their Onetwuwuv.
Here is a book where people set out with plans that seem like the sort of plans that a sane person might come up with. These plans sometimes go wrong and sometimes go spectacularly, fantastically horrifyingly or hilariously wrong. The plotting is WONDERFUL. Endlessly unexpected, with stakes that get ever-higher.
Here is a book where the Resident Angsty Douche ACTUALLY HAS LEGITIMATE reasons for hating himself and everyone else and shoving aside Our Intrepid Heroine.
And . . . get this . . .
Here is a book-- the ONE and ONLY book, I might add-- with a slight love triangle that I (Omigod. Can I say it? Really? Me?) that I could actually LIKE. Not just tolerate, the way I tolerated Hunger Games'. I mean enjoy.
Aside: My problem with the obligatory YA love triangles is that
1) they're all the same (best friend vs. bad boy) The best friend is mortal. The bad boy is immortal. 2) it is always obvious who they are going to wind up with. (Dude. It's the guy they DO STUFF with and think about all the time. It's also almost invariably the budding abusive asshole.) 3) they make the heroine seem weak-willed, indecisive, and backstabbing-- and the story clearly implies that 'being too sweet and feminine to decide' is somehow virtuous, rather than manipulative and sickening and selfish.
What's different about this one is that... the mere mortal seems pretty much perfect for Penryn, is pretty open in his admiration, is more dangerous and sexy than the angel, and is basically the leader of the new free world. As much as I adore Foe Yay, when Obi walked in, I was ready to say: Forget You, Angelic Douche! Obi wants You for the Human Army!
It doesn't help that I have a hard time visualizing Raffe. Ok, he, like every other supernatural new-wave YA guy, looks like an 'Adonis.' There's a whole sea of Adonises out there. All I know about Raffe is that he has hair so black it's nearly blue and eyes so blue they're nearly black. And white wings.
So... does he look like a somewhat less beefy version of this guy?
Or maybe this guy?
I'm really hoping he looks like a snarky, 'alienated' (couldn't resist) verrsion of this guy:
I'd sort of rather that he looked like Dream of the Endless or Vampire Hunter D, or some other version of the godawfully long-lived trope, but they all seemed too standoffish to make a good Raffe.
On the other hand, I know exactly what Obiwan looks like. He looks like a saner and rather less misogynistic version this guy:
If you don't know, that's Major West from 28 Days Later. They both run a kind of Welcome to Camp Hotel California in post-apocalyptic hell. It also helps that West's face reminds me of Private Praise to the Lord My Rock who Trains my Hands for Awesome from Saving Private Ryan.
Here is another reason why I adore this book. Adoring this book feels like adoring an underdog of a book. I have not seen this book on the shelves of my supermarket. I have not seen it on bestseller lists. I have no idea what kind of marketing campaign it was given, but whoever was in charge of it... *ehem* The point is: I feel the need to tell people about this book, tell EVERYONE who would like it, because... clearly this book's marketing department isn't going to do it for me.
So read this book if you like New Wave YA.
--- On the downside: Please note, I am usually cautious with my praise. I do not usually recommend books. I recommend this book.
When I finished it, I didn't want to read anything else for a few days, to save the strange taste it left. And then I started re-reading it. Which is not something I do very often anymore.
Let me say here that this is not a perfect book. The writing style is direct and clean, but there were a couple of clunky sentences and way too many uses of the phrase "with a [emotion] look." Sometimes wounds vanish a chapter or so later with nary an explanation. Some of the emotions could be explored more.
I don't know that I am head-over-heels for these characters. Penryn seems a little too good to be believed, and is also a bit of a Katniss clone, complete with Newt-sister who needs protecting and crazy mother. BUT. Penryn's crazy mother is scary. And the sister . . . well. Let's just say I'm quite eager to see more of her in the next book. There's a love thing that's going on, and it's-- well, it's at a point of nothing but potential. (view spoiler)[Raffe, who is immortal and apparently aeons old, falls head over feathers for 17-year-old Penryn in, like, a week. It's a little hard to tell because he spends the whole time telling her to piss off. But I like that he is not a dick, in the way most of the 'immortal bad boy' trope insist on being. However, at some point these characters will need to admit how they feel, which could be hilarious and painful to watch. Penryn falls as well, although she doesn't admit it to herself. Also, there's a pretty damn awesomesauce potential love rival who is win so far. (hide spoiler)]
It's the plotting and the setting that I adore. I love this world, this ruined disaster area of the once-familiar landscape. (I am thinking I would not want to be in Susan Ee's head for a long time. She seems a tad paranoid.) And I love the constant surprises in the plot.
Glad I re-read this one. And glad Brilliance Audio does such a good job with it.
When I was 12, all the characters (and their relationships) were eitheGlad I re-read this one. And glad Brilliance Audio does such a good job with it.
When I was 12, all the characters (and their relationships) were either inscrutable or unbearably stupid. Now, they seemed only human, with all the vast human complexity that belies simple answers. The love triangle was well-developed and enjoyable in its ambiguity. (There isn't someone Catherine "should" have wound up with.) Neither faith nor love saved any of the main characters, but rather destroyed them-- leading them to death or living damnation.
The gothic/romantic aspects still seemed a bit high-handed to me, and the second half of the novel, which features Heathcliff being a complete monster were less enjoyable, but overall a surprisingly goodf read....more
Disturbing it is to me that one so incapable, at least unproven was able to have so much wealth and praise heaped upon them. There were many aspects oDisturbing it is to me that one so incapable, at least unproven was able to have so much wealth and praise heaped upon them. There were many aspects of his writing that competed for ascendancy in the effort to prevent the reader from immersing themselves in this story. Truly is Paolini's work worthy of the Ellsworth Monkton Toohey award for excellence in mediocrity. I am however, relieved that this writer is writing rather than manufacturing vehicles or medical equipment....more