My main problem with short stories is I always want to know more. What's going to happen next? Where do they go from there? With a good short story, j...moreMy main problem with short stories is I always want to know more. What's going to happen next? Where do they go from there? With a good short story, just when I get sucked in, it's ending. All in all, most of these stories were entertaining, but I was nearly always left wanted more, whether it was because the story was so good that I wanted to know what happened next or because the story felt incomplete and unfinished. Here are some brief thoughts on each story, and u have ranked each story from my most to least favorite.
The idea of being able to hear a song that is the essence of a person, the story of their life or death, is really interesting. I still don't really understand the science behind it all, or why you would have to pick either life or death, but I don't really need to understand, I guess. I liked this story, and appreciated the connection Darya ends up seeing between herself and her mother. I just want to know more, though, and feel like this world could support a longer tale. What was Darya's schooling like? Who were her friends? What is her relationship with Christopher? Might that relationship develop into something more than friends? What exactly is the life of a Hearkener like? All things I want to know now, so well done, Veronica Roth.
Love is a choice
I really liked this story. It had a great, interesting setting - a self-contained world on a ship, headed towards the great unknown - and a tricky, powerful culture. It felt akin to books like the Giver, where a society is controlled by one super-powerful overlord, for unknown generations, and it's up to one person to figure out a way to safely break their society free of that control, so they would have free will and the ability to choose their own futures and lives. I'd love to know more about Orion, and follow his story deeper. I have much sympathy for Mag, too, who, despite her rash impatience, really wanted to see their world improve. I'd love a whole book set in this world.
Though I think this one is supposed to be a future world, it felt almost medieval, with the fortress and the strange leadership roles and being assigned a job as a whore. Of course, there are also the werewolves and hybrids and such, plus whatever infection is supposed to have killed so many people, but even the advanced medical stuff somehow felt ancient. This one feels like it would be a good prologue to a story, but I don't really feel like I connected to the characters as much. I kept being surprised by Rayne's duplicity for some reason, and would have appreciated more time to get to know her and to see why she is so dedicated to Braedon. Poor Priscilla. She could eventually turn into an awesome heroine, as she has shown signs of bravery, and at this point has a lot of adversity to overcome. Alas, this is a short story, and ends here, without any redemption for Priscilla.
This was another story that felt almost medieval, with its sickness caused by bad air, sharp class divides between the rich and poor, and men wearing beak masks stealing away the sick. Of course, this world is in our decimated future, but it feels like it could be the past. And in the midst of all that, you have a poor girl doing everything to save her sister and a rich boy who can't help but love the poor girl, doing everything he can to save her. In the end, Frankie is left with dreams of a happy future, and returning to Charles one day, and I hope her dreams can come true.
Another sad world, but at least this one ended with a little hope. Harmony has some major self-destructive anger issues, and her family has done her no favors, but at least she has Chris by her side, to keep her from going off the deep end and to save her when she is being especially risky. And wouldn't you be a little crazy if a corpse-eating destroyer god had invaded your worse, and was eating or converting everyone you care about?
This one was sad, and more depressing than the others so far. To live a life where you never see outside? To watch thousands of kids get killed because they're too expensive too feed, and not financially worth the price? Too sad for words. It's not surprising that Zay and Virtue were set on revenge. The end was depressing, but also fitting. Everyone might have died, but at least the bad guys didn't get away with anything.
Necklace of raindrops
Huh. This was an interesting one. It took me a while to figure out what was going on, and I'm still on entirely sure I get it. It was all very stream-of-consciousness, which I'm not a huge fan of. I wish we could have seen and felt more of Jai's transformation. I wish we could have seen how and why Z fell in love with Jai. It wasn't until the last few pages that this story came to life, and I suddenly cared about these characters. And then it was over.
This one was strange, and by the time I figured out what was going on, it was over. This is another that would be better served as a prologue to a larger work. The fantasy world causing a global apocalypse in our world felt kind of awkward, and nothing seemed to make much sense. Dana and Alex's powers were confusing and unclear, and their mission, even at the end, was incomprehensible. Oh well.
The more of these stories I read, the more overwhelmingly depressing they become. Of course, you can really have a dystopia without it being depressing, but in a longer novel, you have the time to build up characters and relationships, and from those spring hopes of a better, happier future. Unfortunately, in a story like this one, even if Phoenix is able to rescue Sky, they are still going back to their miserable, depressing life. There is no foreseeable happy ending for them, and that's just sad.(less)
Normally, I don't like short stories. They take too long to get in to, and then they are over. You never get a chance to figure out who the characters...moreNormally, I don't like short stories. They take too long to get in to, and then they are over. You never get a chance to figure out who the characters are and what everything means. I have NEVER struggled to put down a book of short stories before. Usually, they take me weeks to read because I can't do more than 1-2 a day.
Clearly, I have been reading the wrong short stories. The stories in this book are beautifully written and compelling, full of sorrow and unexpectedly mundane despair. None of them felt truncated, probably because they all revolved around a specific theme, and therefore, you could feel the relationship between them as you turned the page. They are about the convergence of classes - racial, social, economical - but also about family. What we expect from our family and what we get are often very different things, and you see that theme echoed throughout O'Connor's stories.
This is another book whose reading was inspired and shaped by Lost. Family relations were especially on my mind as I was reading this because Jacob was reading it right before he watched Locke fall 8 stories to what should have been his death (but wasn't), all at the hands of his father. Family relationships are hugely featured on Lost, and perhaps none more so that Locke's perpetually disappointing one with his birth father.
My favorite story in this collection was "A View of the Woods", which is possible because it's the most heart-wrenching to me. All of them are great though, and I definitely would recommend this to anyone, not just fans of Lost.(less)
Well-written, but often quite sad. I really sympathized with Olive. She so rarely seemed happy. I think I might have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been...moreWell-written, but often quite sad. I really sympathized with Olive. She so rarely seemed happy. I think I might have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been stories, but a proper novel.(less)
Painfully confusing and almost schizophrenic. This is not a novel, but separate stories that sometimes overlapped. Once I started viewing them as indi...morePainfully confusing and almost schizophrenic. This is not a novel, but separate stories that sometimes overlapped. Once I started viewing them as individual entities, they became easier to handle and understand. But then, they would intersect again, and I'd wonder what it all meant, or if it was supposed to mean anything at all.
In my attempt to figure out what was going on, I kept looking up character names, trying to keep everyone straight. That proved impossible, though, because characters had the same names, and you never knew if the Andrea he was talking about in the first story was the same Andrea in another.
The only story I actually enjoyed was "Soundly", which was truly touching and emotional. If only we could have read an actual novel about Lila and Allison.(less)
I've been wanting to read this collection for a while because it contained the short story "Benjamin Button", upon which the movie was based. Unfortun...moreI've been wanting to read this collection for a while because it contained the short story "Benjamin Button", upon which the movie was based. Unfortunately, I was fairly disappointed in that particular story, as it felt so inconsequential and lackluster.
There were a few stories I did enjoy, namely, "The Camel's Back", "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz", and "The Lees of Happiness". I'm not sure these particular stories make up for the disappointment of "Benjamin Button" and several other stories, but at least the book as a whole was redeemed by them.
In the end, it could be I am not cut out to read short stories: by the time I have figured out who the characters are, it's over!(less)