Quick thoughts on the things that stood out to me:
Wow, the Dursleys were even more loathsome in this book than the first. I love the Weasleys even more than I already did. I am so glad my mother never sent me a Howler. I thought Dobby was annoying in the movie (which I saw when it came out over a decade ago, not having read the book) but I thought he was awesome in the book. In fact, we rewatched the movie last night, and not only was it as unsatisfying as I remember it, it's just a shit adaptation of this book. I thought it was delightful that (view spoiler)[the flying car went into the Forbidden Forest and went feral (hide spoiler)]. Tom Riddle's diary was really, really awesome. The entire idea and execution were fantastic.
I loved it when Dumbledore told Harry, "It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." I hope that, as the series goes on, we have more scenes with him, because I really love his wisdom.
My minor complaints seem a little nitpicky, and I suppose that if I'm going to suspend disbelief to accept that wizards are real, I should be able to accept that (view spoiler)[none of the adults at Hogwarts would look in Hermione's fist to see the paper that Harry and Ron found after she was Petrified (hide spoiler)] and (view spoiler)[Fawkes somehow just found his way into the Chamber of Secrets (hide spoiler)], but I'm an adult and if I'd read this as a kid I wouldn't have cared for a single moment.
What if vampires were real, ancient, and spread their vampirism like a virus? That's the central premise of The Strain, and I was on board from the fi...moreWhat if vampires were real, ancient, and spread their vampirism like a virus? That's the central premise of The Strain, and I was on board from the first page. Ultimately, it was a disappointment for me, and I won't be reading the other books in the trilogy.
This book starts out with so much promise. It's a taught, intense, compelling thriller that gradually introduces compelling characters that it's easy to care about.
Then, in its middle third, it starts to wobble a little bit. The characters start doing things that don't make sense based on what we know about them, but because the slightly-too-convenient plot demands it. There were still enough interesting bits to keep me reading, but just past the halfway mark, I started to lose interest.
In the final third, it completely collapses under the weight of lazy, hacky writing that moves from one set piece to the next, sloppily throwing in brief and unsatisfying character moments as an afterthought.
So I'm of two minds on this: one, everything I stated above. The other, maybe I could have just suspended my disbelief and enjoyed the ride (which, I suspect, a lot of readers are able to do).
Strangely, I expect that a lot of what didn't work for me in this book will actually play out fairly well on the television series that starts in July, and I'm interested to see how they will handle it.(less)
Readers who are fans of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series who are expecting something as dark and gritty as that wonderful series will probably be...moreReaders who are fans of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series who are expecting something as dark and gritty as that wonderful series will probably be disappointed by Dead Set. However, readers who are looking for a realistic portrayal of a teenage girl in turmoil, who is a heroine you can definitely cheer for, will find a lot to enjoy in this quick and evocative volume.
I did not know that it marketed as Young Adult, but I figured out that it clearly was YA as the story unfolded. It's something that I know a lot of my friends would have LOVED when we were part of the Young Adult market, but If you're expecting something a little darker than we typically experience in YA, you should probably know that going into it to modulate your expectations.
Some parts are a little exposition-y, and we occasionally get ahead of the characters as the plot develops. The first half is stellar, and the second half is a a little clunky in places (lots of goodbyes, lots of people getting separated and then finding each other again) but overall it's a solid story and an enjoyable read. Like I said, it's YA, so the things that I frowned at as a 41 year old reader are things I wouldn't have noticed at all when I was younger.
Another reviewer here compared this to something that would happen if Gaiman and Palahniuk had a book baby, and I certainly got a lot of that. Someone else said it would make a great Miyazaki film, and I couldn't agree more.
I highly recommend this to any young readers who enjoy dark fantasy.(less)
As wonderful and magical as promised. Because I didn't remember the movie, the third act of the book was a delightful surprise to me.
I wish I'd had th...moreAs wonderful and magical as promised. Because I didn't remember the movie, the third act of the book was a delightful surprise to me.
I wish I'd had this book when I was a kid, because the idea that someone could be special without knowing it, and then get to visit a special world where the things that made him different were the same things that made him awesome would have been really inspiring to me.
Anne's finishing this, too, and I have to wait for her before I start in on the second book ... HURRY UP ANNE!(less)
This is absolutely wonderful. I got it at a con early this year, read it in one sitting, then read it again and, and one more time. It's just a beauti...moreThis is absolutely wonderful. I got it at a con early this year, read it in one sitting, then read it again and, and one more time. It's just a beautiful story, with beautiful characters, and manages to be sad, funny, and heartwarming without ever making you feel manipulated.(less)