Feels like a Lite(TM) version of Lemony Snicket. I should probably not try to compare this to A Series of Unfortunate Events, but that series was so iFeels like a Lite(TM) version of Lemony Snicket. I should probably not try to compare this to A Series of Unfortunate Events, but that series was so influential to me as a pre-teen/teen that I couldn't help being a little disappointed by this. If anything, I've only been able to appreciate ASOUE more as an adult, but this doesn't hold any of the same appeal. There's enough to trigger a nostalgia for the original books, but it feels far too simplistic (a word which here means: "dumbed down to be more marketable for the ten-year-olds of today").
Unless the whole point is for it be deliberately disappointing, which would be very meta and appropriate. Thanks, Lemony....more
I feel like I've been attempting to force myself to read this for long enough. I read for pleasure, not for the chore of finishing sub-par books, althI feel like I've been attempting to force myself to read this for long enough. I read for pleasure, not for the chore of finishing sub-par books, although when I've spent money on something I usually like to see it through till the end if I can.
I wasn't intending to read this after all the bad things I heard about it, but what can I say? I was on vacation and wanted a little brain candy. And just look at the cover! It's so pretty! And it sounded so cool! Steampunk murder mystery with Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde-meets-X-men lead character? Yes please!
The eBook I downloaded came with the the short story The Strange Case of Finley Jayne, which was not really a prequel, but I suppose the author's first iteration of her character and concept. I read it first, and actually really enjoyed it.
So my question is...what the heck happened? How can you take such a promising idea and make it SO. DARN. BORING? I know, let's take away any amount of personality you could have given to your characters and make them as generic as possible, and while you're at it...let's throw in more freaking love triangles. I want to know when the human race sat down and collectively voted on including at least one love triangle in seemingly every YA book in existence. If you are a YA author and you are reading this, and you are considering making a love triangle the central point of contention in your novel, please just DON'T DO IT. It's not as fascinating as you think it is. Really, it isn't.
This definitely fell into the second-book slump category. All of the momentum of the first installment ebbed away, and it gave me time to notice someThis definitely fell into the second-book slump category. All of the momentum of the first installment ebbed away, and it gave me time to notice some pretty huge oversights in the plot. Can someone please explain how there isn't a single person in the whole crew of Shippers (the Godspeed's engineering class) who understands basic Newtonian physics? And who didn't realize that something must be up other then "Oh no guys the ships engine is broke and we're like slowing down in outer space!"? You're piloting a spacecraft, not taking your SUV down to the grocery store.
I didn't even really like the characters as much. Amy just skulked around trying to avoid attention and Elder proceeded to crash and burn and then take the ashes and dump them into a volcano and then blow the volcano up with a nuclear missile.
Maybe the final book in the series will end things on a better note? Le sigh. I had SUCH high hopes here......more
Zombies? And steampunk? In the same book? You would think this one was written especially for me. I had really high hopes for it, but it turned out toZombies? And steampunk? In the same book? You would think this one was written especially for me. I had really high hopes for it, but it turned out to be an epic fail.
The premise is that in the far future, after the world as we know it has been destroyed by the usual wars/plagues/natural disasters, a society forms and decides to model itself on Victorian times, complete with all of the usual class snobbery, oppression of women and restricting wardrobe choices. This is actually where any semblance to steampunk ends, because their technology and jargon is all completely 21st century. They text and email each other and watch TV, and ride in electric carriages. Oh and they live in terraformed underground cities, in case you needed another random, distracting plot device thrown in there. They are at war with a faction called the Punks, who are anti-technology and believe that the Victorians are traveling down the same road as the earlier civilizations who caused the downfall of the human race originally. (This could have been an interesting idea to build a book on actually, had it not been bogged down by the more ridiculous elements of the story).
Nora Dearly, the main character, is a Victorian whose late father was a great scientist before his death. When a virus begins...you guessed it...to turn people into the walking dead, she is kidnapped by a faction of Punks (who are also undead...yeah). There she learns that before his death, her father knew about the virus and was working to stop it. Oh yeah and there's a zombie solider guy named Bram (who is a good guy), that she totally starts falling in love with. I'm not going to go into anymore detail or give spoilers about the plot, that's really all you need to know.
My main gripe here was that there was just too much of a mishmash of different stuff. I think steampunk/zombies would've worked, or futuristic/steampunk, but futuristic/steampunk/zombies was a gamble and in this case those three separate elements didn't really gel into anything coherent. There also ended up being a lot of inconsistencies, like in the zombies themselves. Some of the zombies are typical mindless killing machines, while others walk around and talk and think like normal people (and fall in love with teenage girls). The author's explanation for this is very shaky. I think this was really the plot device that sent it over the edge for me. If the Punks that kidnapped Nora had just been regular people and not zombies who were somehow NOT ravenous monsters (through the wonderz of technology...for realz), it would have been a lot more believable and might have even saved the book. I know, I know, then we couldn't have had the cutesy impossible romance between Nora and a zombie solider, but do we really need one of those in every YA book? Let's leave that to Edward and Bella, kthanks.
I also have a subgripe about the writing, especially the dialogue. Can someone please explain to me why a bunch of battle-hardened, undead soldiers in the year 2135 talk like a group of giggly middle-school girls? Examples:
"...when you get a thigh holster for your pistol...oh my gosh, that will be so cute!" pg 200
"Ignore him, he just thinks he's the big man on campus..." pg 214
"Seriously, I am going to hurl." pg 217
"You killed me, you loser!" pg 218
And my personal favorite:
"You need to man up. You need to stop acting like a little girl -- wah-wah, I was bitten, my life sucks so bad...you might think yours is an extra special sparkly rainbow UNICORN fart type of suck, but it's not." pg 219
Sorry, that doesn't work AT ALL. I rest my case.
Oh and one more thing...am I the ONLY one that sees an inherent engineering flaw in having a GAS LAMP on top of a PARASOL?...more
I am very impressed with this book. My first thought is that this is what YA writing should be like, and so often isn't. The author didn't use the ageI am very impressed with this book. My first thought is that this is what YA writing should be like, and so often isn't. The author didn't use the age range of his target audience as an excuse to get away with shoddy writing, characters who do things that make no sense or a plot that's poorly thought out (I'm looking at you, Hunger Games *pointed stare*).
This is a real, gritty look at a future world that isn't so far out of the realm of possibility. There are no hordes of deranged zombies or killer sentient robots or elaborately plotted reality TV shows of DEATH (although don't get me wrong, I love me some zombie head-bashing and er...that other stuff). There's just a world where the effects of greed have finally started to catch up with the human race, affecting everything from the climate to the living conditions of the less-privileged classes.
And ohmygod...THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE FREAKING LOVE TRIANGLE IN SIGHT. Thankyouthankyouthankyou! While there was just a hint of a budding romance between two of the characters, it took a backseat to the more important action. As it should be. Because I'm pretty sure if you are being hunted by a band of ruthless criminals and genetically-altered soldiers who are led by a psychopath, you aren't going to be mooning around going: "Does she like me? I don't know. I like her. I think. I don't know. Do I? Uuuuhhhhh...her hair smells pretty!"
Thanks Paolo Bacigalupi for a great read (and I'm sorry I murder your last name whenever I try to recommend this book to anyone)....more
Someone told me about this book with the recommendation: "It's like The Hunger Games, but minus the teenagery romance". That appealed to me, because wSomeone told me about this book with the recommendation: "It's like The Hunger Games, but minus the teenagery romance". That appealed to me, because while I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I got a little irritated with the mushy stuff. And while it's true that there was an attraction between two of the characters in this book, it definitely is not in-your-face and it takes a backseat to the main plot. I appreciated that, because while there isn't anything wrong with a romancey book now and then, I don't really appreciate it in my fighting-for-our-lives, post-apocalyptic sci-fi scenarios.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I'm finding my attention span is getting shorter and shorter lately (maybe because I have so much less time to devote to reading than I used to...), and I'm more apt to just put down a book when it starts to bore me rather than trying to soldier through it. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but this book definitely grabbed me from the first page and held my attention throughout. Even when I started figuring out what was going on, I still wanted to keep reading to find out how the characters solved the problem. I was rooting for the kids, especially Thomas, even though he had a whiff of the Gary Stu about him.
Of course, it ended on a cliffhanger, and of course I'm going to read the sequel. I'm really eager to see how the author develops the themes he has introduced, and I'm hoping he can avoid the second-book slump....more
It's a shame really. Look at the cover! Look at it! It's so darn pretty! But this book was, unfortunately, a flop for me. It reads more like a book foIt's a shame really. Look at the cover! Look at it! It's so darn pretty! But this book was, unfortunately, a flop for me. It reads more like a book for young kids than a YA love story. Ashlynn was a pretty bland MC, and Fin didn't do much for me either.
And how are merpeople able to sit on chairs underwater? Anyone care to explain? That's all I want to know!...more
I'm not typically a reader of anthologies, but lately I've been having trouble finding a book that holds my attention long enough for me to finish it.I'm not typically a reader of anthologies, but lately I've been having trouble finding a book that holds my attention long enough for me to finish it. And hello...zombies AND unicorns in the same collection? Who could say no? Unless you're one of those people who is all "high-brow" and "intellectual" all the time (aka...no fun). All of the stories in here were pretty good (with a few inevitable clunkers...The Highest Justice: I'm looking at you).
I thought overall the zombie stories were more entertaining, but that could be because I have a pre-existing zombie obsession. My favorite zombie story was probably Bougainvillea, for the ending alone, although Love Will Tear Us Apart definitely got points for originality.
As for Camp Unicorn, I felt that the stories were a little weaker. I feel like that's because it's tough to write a "serious" unicorn story. By default, people are just going to chuckle a little bit no matter what, cause...hehe unicorns! A lot of the unicorn stories were either openly cutesy (The Purity Test, Princess Prettypants) or more subtle. But A Thousand Flowers was downright creepy. The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn was interesting, and I might end up reading the whole of Diane Peterfreund's killer unicorn series.
Anyway, this collection did thoroughly entertain me, as you can see by the four-star rating....more
I didn't find this as unrelentingly hilarious as the Georgia Nicholson saga (it's not unusual for me to start giggling and snorting uncontrollably whiI didn't find this as unrelentingly hilarious as the Georgia Nicholson saga (it's not unusual for me to start giggling and snorting uncontrollably while reading those books...it's very unattractive, trust me). But I do find myself liking Tallulah and her ridiculous knees, and this is only the first installment....more
I'm finally getting around to reading the rest of this series, haha. Two left to go! My verdict: hilarious, as always. I love that I can just pick upI'm finally getting around to reading the rest of this series, haha. Two left to go! My verdict: hilarious, as always. I love that I can just pick up one of these books and zip through it when I need to laugh. As usual, Georgia has too many boys in her life and it does nothing but cause problems. She is in the cakeshop of lurve, and how is she to choose between Masimo the Italian cakey and Robbie the Eclair? And why does Dave the Tart keep popping up when he's not wanted? It's been obvious from the beginning where this is all going, but it's still extremely entertaining....more
Sometimes it's nice to read something totally different than what I usually go for. At first, it didn'tScandal! Secrets! Boys! Big poofy dresses! OMG!
Sometimes it's nice to read something totally different than what I usually go for. At first, it didn't really hold my attention, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Now I kinda want to read the rest of the series!...more