I read this book time and time again when I was younger, but unfortunately on an attempted reread to decide whether it was worth saving from my massivI read this book time and time again when I was younger, but unfortunately on an attempted reread to decide whether it was worth saving from my massive book donation spree, it didn't hold up.
Probably something to do with the fact that a character is a nasty guy, and his balding head is supposed to support this. Meanwhile, my boyfriend is balding and he's the loveliest person I've ever met. I mean, I would say that, but it's kind of true.
Quite soon after, there was Mrs H, a prospective babysitter who was extraordinarily ugly, and Katie, the main character, somehow decides she can't bear to spend the rest of the summer with her because of this fact.
I didn't read further after that, and the book has gone to the Salvo's to find a new owner. Maybe a girl who was the sort of kid I used to be, and needed Katie's company for a long time.
Five stars for good and interesting writing, for being a book that I could escape into when I was ten years old, and for nostalgia. Two stars taken away for the appearance method of judging morality, which to be honest made me a little sick....more
If I ever meet Jeanette Winterson I'll probably try to shake her by the hand, hug her tightly, grin my head off and burst into tears all at the same tIf I ever meet Jeanette Winterson I'll probably try to shake her by the hand, hug her tightly, grin my head off and burst into tears all at the same time. I've been wanting to read Why Be Happy for ages, but it came to me at exactly the right time in my life. Had it come to me three years ago, I wouldn't have been ready to listen to it. I probably would have shunned its contents.
As it was, reading this was an experience in catharsis. I often had to just sit for a while at intermittent periods to make sure whether I needed to cry or not.
You see, Winterson's problems as a child growing up are mine amplified: a rather oppressive religion, certain books forbidden, a mother who wasn't quite enough, a low self esteem, bad depression and a secretive discovery of my own sexuality become, for Winterson, the worship of doom, all books forbidden, a mother who took away rather than added anything at all, crushingly low confidence in relationships, bouts of depression that turns into near-madness, and a sexual orientation that is much harder to hide than mine turned out to be.
She says so many things I would want to say but hadn't quite gotten the courage to. And what is most amazing is that she is bitter, but has the power to forgive and to live. That's what kept me going through the awful stories of her childhood and her struggle through life. It makes my own lingering bitterness seem quite petty.
Winterson is an artist, not only in her incredible command of language and emotion, but in her ability to sculpt her own soul and force me to take a good long hard look at mine. And it's bearable to do so, because after all, she went through a more horrific version of what I went through and came out human.
I'm going to stop with the pity party now. All that's really left to say is that you should read this book. Even if only once....more
Bringing closure to the Cain and Abel dance between Soren and Kludd, this book is what I like to think of as the 'final' in the Guardians of Ga'HooleBringing closure to the Cain and Abel dance between Soren and Kludd, this book is what I like to think of as the 'final' in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. Indeed, when I was younger, as the first six books were the only ones the library carried, I thought it was the final. It mostly centres around Otulissa's plot to invade the St Aegolius Canyons, which have by now fallen to the Pure Ones, and, were there no more books in the series, would do a credible job of wrapping it all up.
For a Ga'Hoole book, it was excellent. All the owls are dropped into a new land, facing the perils of the Northern Kingdoms, which gives Lasky scope to reveal new aspects of their characters.
I especially enjoyed reading the sections with Otulissa and Gylfie--they are great foils for one another and I've grown to love Otulissa for her intelligence, cunning, ideals, upset outbursts, and of course, her unintentional moments of humour. Probably the best example of character development in the entire series with her sudden but understandable turn to a colder, less charitable version of herself. And yet she is by this point my favourite.
Twilight, on the other hand, has a scene of shocking cruelty, one of which I do not understand and which Lasky makes no judgement on, though the situation richly deserves it. Apparently it's all right to harass a group of vultures who just helped you out even though you shore their tailfeathers off, simply because they aren't owls. Twilight is a character I like, but at this point I like him in spite of himself.
Digger, as always, never gets enough screentime.
And Soren is one of the most likeable, thoughtful characters I've ever read. As far as I can tell (I've read up to about book 10), this is the last book that focuses much on him. I'm sorry to see him lose the limelight.
The richness of the owl culture and history as always sucks me in, with all its cheery poems, songs, and Twilight's chants (raps, really). Meanwhile Lasky retains a subtle but firm touch of the mystical, with ice weapons that never dull from an ice spear that never melts, and Soren's starsight dreams, which are excellent foreshadowing, and are rarely if ever used in a heavy-handed way. The epic tone of the story is still there, bolstered by the aspiration of the owls to be better versions of themselves, and Lasky's use of telling rather than showing at times, which hearkens back to the songs that bards would sing. They are the Chaw of Chaws, the best of the best, and they will fight for their freedom.
However, the elitism of the story also proves its undoing. The Burning loses a star, as any Ga'Hoole book always will, for Lasky's blindness in creating a band of noble owls fighting against a supremacist and rather racist cult, when they themselves behave in exactly the same way towards other birds (seagulls, puffins and vultures come to mind as especial victims). Not to mention the nestmaid snakes, who are practically enslaved by the owls, and who seem to revel in their servitude. Lasky makes no attempt to comment on this beyond actually praising this order of things, which I find quite despicable.
I also dislike that Octavia seemed to naturally take on such a role in becoming Ezylryb's nestmaid snake after she had such a different life before she was blinded. As though that were all she were good for, and all she aspired to!
The scale of the book was again off, and I, a long-time fan of the series, don't actually know how much time has passed since the series began. I thought it was a year, two at most. Apparently it was "summers and summers ago". And yet Soren and the rest of the band, whilst they have grown and changed over the previous books, are still very much adolescent and do not seem to rank any higher in the Tree than a fairly talented group of teenagers would in the real world. Meanwhile, the number of owls in the Tree is still unexplained, and when you're talking war and invasion, it gets confusing.
This book would have gotten five stars had it not been for the severe moral flaws within--however, the rest of the writing and worldbuilding is good enough to overcome it--and it has to be good. The Guardians of Ga'Hoole is a series that somehow, against all odds, rises above its unsightly flaws to live up to the nostalgia it evokes in me. The nostalgia of a different and more naive time, in which I was a different and more naive young girl....more
This is not a book without faults but I rated it five stars because that's how much enjoyment I got out of it.
I suspect the translationRandom notes:
This is not a book without faults but I rated it five stars because that's how much enjoyment I got out of it.
I suspect the translation retains much of the author's original voice, because it is stilted at times, but in a very adorable, nanny-ish way.
As a skeptic with spiritual leanings I can't quash, the method of thanking and saying goodbye to the things you want to discard seemed silly to me, but it has worked on the 10 things I've had stashed in a corner for a while that I haven't quite been able to get rid of. It's an emotional release really.
I can't wait to get back to my parents' home and try it on the 200-ish books I still have stacked in a bookcase. I would guess about half that will remain afterwards, plus hard-to-find reference books.
In an ideal world I'd implement all her suggestions, but there are some things I have to compromise on (and that's okay!):
- I have to keep some of my clothes that don't spark joy because I have to wear them to, you know, job interviews and so on. In an ideal world, I would get some
- I keep the empty boxes of things I buy even though they don't 'spark joy' because as a student I end up moving around a lot. I need to transport my stereo, xbox, tv, etc safely.
- I keep some papers because I enjoy the security blanket, and sometimes they're useful. That said, I went through and shredded everything that wasn't absolutely necessary a few years ago, and have kept that habit, so perhaps I'm okay even by Ms Kondo's standards on this one.
- I am poor enough that I'm not going to chuck everything away. I can't just run to the shops and buy a new whatever. So some things that don't spark joy just have to stay.
- It might be said that this is the logical extreme of the first half of the idea by that Walter guy who said something to the effect of 'keep nothing in your house that you do not perceive to be beautiful or know to be useful'. I think this is an excellent unpacking of the 'beautiful' part. The useful part is probably up to you, unless you have a problem with hoarding too many 'useful' things, in which case this method will probably help you to let go....more
Eh. Meh. I got to the end of this book and thought what a waste of an evening it had been. Agatha Christie makes you care about the characters, and woEh. Meh. I got to the end of this book and thought what a waste of an evening it had been. Agatha Christie makes you care about the characters, and wonder about them afterwards. This book did no such thing....more
I think mostly this book failed to get me simply because I KNEW how it was going to end. The end to book three madWow. What a letdown end to a series.
I think mostly this book failed to get me simply because I KNEW how it was going to end. The end to book three made the ending to this one abundantly clear. All these characters and purposes that were vague in this book, like who Cimorene was, and who Daystar really is and what he has to do, have already been answered in the previous book. The only new things coming were the last few chapters, in which the action we've been primed for since book 3 now happened. The rest of the book was just boring. I had to push myself to keep going.
With a few changes, this would have been a fantastic standalone novel; but as it was...
And one final thing: Daystar and Shiara kept going, "I know this. ...Hey, how did I know that?" Which was annoying, not to mention clumsy writing.
**spoiler alert** This was fairly good, but it was probably the most boring of the Vampire Academy books so far, and it had the feeling of. We didn't**spoiler alert** This was fairly good, but it was probably the most boring of the Vampire Academy books so far, and it had the feeling of. We didn't need the introduction of that Alchemist girl--unless she's going to come back later, which I'll bet that she does.
Also, there's all these hints that Dimitri's going to come back. I mean, I was definitely like, YOU KILLED OFF DIMITRI HOW COULD YOU RICHELLE? at the start of the book, but by the end of the book, I was emotionally ready for him to die off. Then the author goes and brings in the possibility of him coming back.
It makes it feel like Rose can't move on, through time. Like she's living through the hard times right now, but later on, something's going to happen that's going to wind all that back.
Also, after Rose thinks she's killed Dimitri, she still keeps wondering about Strigoi being brought back to dhampirs through some weird spirit thing. I was thinking, "Can't you let it go, Rose?" but at the same time, I totally knew where it was heading. And voila! Dimitri isn't dead after all!
Everything's fitting too neatly, so neatly that this is definitely the weakest in the series so far. I only hope Mead redeems herself, which has to be impossible, seeing as so much of this book set up plotlines for the next book, and if it all keeps going the way its going right now...
Well, all I can say is that there's going to be a grisly mess on the floor.
As for the highlights, I think Rose really experienced some catharsis here, and the whole Russia thing really was quite interesting. Despite all of my grumps, I did enjoy this book....more
I refuse to count this as the ending to the series. It wasn't the downer ending that turned me off, it was how BORING it was. For me, it will always eI refuse to count this as the ending to the series. It wasn't the downer ending that turned me off, it was how BORING it was. For me, it will always end with So Long and Thanks For All The Fish. I don't need that Guide MkII rubbish. ...more