(Note this is a review for the first 3 books. Yes I know that's a lazy cop-out but I've read too many books to properly review lately. Also I'm not re(Note this is a review for the first 3 books. Yes I know that's a lazy cop-out but I've read too many books to properly review lately. Also I'm not really sure why I took away a star and I'm considering giving it back)
When I first met Ruby Oliver at the local library, I thought the books looked pretty darned girly. Also it sounded a little bit too boy-crazy. Sometimes I get frustrated with all those true-love YA stories. I want to scream THERES MORE TO LIFE THAN BOYS! Besides, who finds true love in high school?
Oh how judgmental I am sometimes. This series is one of the best that I've read this year. This is not a mushy true love story. It's girly, but the right kind of girly. Ruby is witty, intelligent, neurotic, boy crazy and completely awesome.
I'm very impressed how these books touch upon some serious topics without taking themselves too seriously. Sometimes girls treat each other like competition rather than friends. The Ruby Oliver books navigates tough girl friendship situations with humor unlike anything I've seen. But at the same time they acknowledge that sometimes girls suck, especially where boys are concerned.
The story starts with Ruby in social exile because she kissed her (former) best friends boyfriend. Never mind that Jackson was Ruby's boyfriend first, or that Jackson kissed Ruby back. None of that matters because the school mob has deemed Ruby a boyfriend stealing slut. (Sidenote: Why is it that the boys are never to blame in these situations?)
Ruby's new found social leprosy leads to panic attacks, shrink visits and an unfortunate Xerox of her "Boyfriend list" created for her psychiatrist.
It's hard to list every reason I love these books. There's just so much to like. But you know I have to try! 1. Ruby's insightful and witty commentary about life 2. Neurotic hippie parents who live on a houseboat but clearly love their daughter very much 3. Misadventures and confusion with boys 4. Noel's fruit roll ups (the second and third book) 5. Hooter Protection Agency 6. The Boyfriend Book--insightful scientific observations of the male species 7. Non-preachy but important commentary on girl friendship and always blaming the girl 8. A main character who isn't perfect but is likable 9. Silly poems written by boys 10. Frogs laden with meaning 11. A goat named Robespierre 12. Ruby's addiction to making lists
Who cares about stars! This book gets a whole box of fruit roll-ups, value sized folks. (I am currently on a fruit roll-up binge so this is a high compliment). It's so much fun, but it's not mindless fun it's SMART fun. I cannot recommend this series enough.
If you like audio, these books are excellent. Please note that the narrator changes after book 1. They're still good, but the original narrator is amazing. After a few minutes I didn't really mind the new narrator....more
This is one of those books that I liked well enough, but didn't love. There are sections of this novel that are well done and that I really3.5/5 stars
This is one of those books that I liked well enough, but didn't love. There are sections of this novel that are well done and that I really like. Then there are parts that just feel unnecessary.
The grief in the beginning felt real. When I was a senior in college my fifteen year old cousin committed suicide. The grief from suicide is hard to explain. I was not even close to my cousin and his death really shook me. So Harper in the beginning, trying to find a way to cope and failing miserably, I can relate to. When all the people are shoving food at her family as though it's going to fill the void and she just wants to hide, that's when Harper really works for me. She consumed by this overwhelming grief and trying to understand June's decision to commit suicide. She's hurt, pissed off and most importantly she misses her sister.
But then there was a lot that felt forced. A lot of the side adventures along the road trip, I just felt eh towards. Suddenly they are at a random protest and all these hipster teenagers are rambling on about their oh so alternative viewpoints. Oh they are vegans. Oh there's an anti-war protest. Oh I'm a weird-melodramatic artist. It felt unnecessary. Grief is a big enough issue to tackle without trying to throw a dash of everything else in.
As the road trip continued, there were more sections that seemed forced. Obligatory debates about music, random punk rock show and then some random band invites a 16 year-old-girl back to their bus to party. That's as much as I can say without major spoilers.
This novel felt a little too hipster for me. The characters were all just so different (without ever really seeming that different to me). They didn't like the mainstream, they wore vintage clothes, skinny jeans and collected vinyl records. The thing is, hipsters kind of bug me.
I'm all about being yourself. I went through a slight punk phase, there's still a hole in my lip (never wear the ring because well...grown-up), I've had pink streaks, purple streaks, hung out at concerts, albeit Christian concerts. But hipsters seem...more pretentious than we ever were. They seem to be purposely avoiding trends, even things they like that become trendy. In high school we were just having fun. At best it was minor rebellion but I'm not even sure I'd call it that anymore. In retrospect, it was small town boredom. I still remember when my town got a Waffle House and it was a Big Freaking Deal.
I don't want it to sound like a bash-fest on this novel. Like I said, the initial grief really caught me. I cared about saving June, about the road trip to California to set her sister free. That whole storyline worked for me. Grief, like Harper, is selfish and complicated. It's a big mess of emotion that's hard to capture, but the book did a good job. That alone could've carried this novel and brought it up from a 3.5 star (which is a good novel). The potential is there but I felt like there were too many distractions along the way.
There's a chance I'm a little too old for this book. I think people who are more musically and artistically inclined will enjoy all the tidbits that I found off-putting. Maybe I'm not hip enough for this book. For me I just liked it. I'd recommend it as a good YA that deals with grief. Because of the subject matter I wanted to love it more than I was actually able to....more
This is a 3 star book that I really do like. DJ is believable, which is also part of where it loses some stars from me. I just wanted to give her a seThis is a 3 star book that I really do like. DJ is believable, which is also part of where it loses some stars from me. I just wanted to give her a self-esteem INFUSION if that were even possible. She's always so hard on herself and her negativity got me down a little. But DJ has every reason to be down. She's given up her grades, sports and pretty much her entire life to save the family farm. Not only is her family not very grateful, it's almost like they don't notice all the sacrifices she's making. It's frustrating for DJ & the reader.
This is the type of story where it doesn't seem like much happens because most of the big changes are internal. I cared about the characters, their relationships and wanted to see DJ find some happiness.
I enjoyed Brian, though I had trouble believing the diversion his character took for awhile.
This quirky, funny and somehow very sad at the same time. And that probably makes it more realistic than most YA books. Life is never just funny or sad, it's usually a weird mixture of both. ...more
The Mark of the Golden Dragon was better than expected, though I must admit my expectations were low. I'd been warned that if I expect reso3.5/5 stars
The Mark of the Golden Dragon was better than expected, though I must admit my expectations were low. I'd been warned that if I expect resolution this was not that book. The Jacky Faber story keeps going in circles. They are fun romps, but never-ending cycles that don't advance the plot forward.
However I gave Jacky a long break. Months and months. In this book Jacky herself claims that she's best in small doses and I'm thinking that maybe she's right. So for Jacky Faber fans who are growing tired of her running around in circles, leading Jamie on and never growing up I had advice for you. Take a break between books. Listen to something else. Give Jacky a few months to fade from your mind. Then when you come back enjoy the high sea adventures, fun flirtations and everything we love about Jacky.
Aside from the break, this book had a few things in it's favor from the start. Lord Richard Allen is one of my favorite Jacky flirtations. He's older, dashing, snarky and I love him. So I'm automatically biased towards book with him in it. So when you're deciding how you'll like this book, consider how much you like Lord Richard Allen.
I always enjoy books where Jaimy actually does things. That may sound silly, but sometimes I feel like he's off on a ship somewhere just writing love letters to Jacky. Though he and Jacky are separated, and there are letters, he's got a big part to play in this book. Jaimy has gone mad with grief, turned into a highwayman. There's some entertainment value to that, especially since he's seeking revenge upon some of our favorite villains.
The problem with this series is not that the books aren't enjoyable. They are, especially in audiobook form narrated by the incomparable Katherine Kellgren. However after the first few books each subsequent book seems to start at point A and end at point A. There is no forward progress.
As expected at the end of Golden Dragon we were back in exactly the same position we'd been before. It's entertaining, but like Jaimy I've reached the point in my relationship with Jacky where I want more than she seems to be willing to offer. Despite my misgivings, I know Jacky has a way of bouncing back so I haven't given up on this series yet. I doubt I ever will....more
Sometimes in the book obsessed life you find a book that leaves a novel shaped hole in your heart. You continue to seek something co4.5 out of 5 stars
Sometimes in the book obsessed life you find a book that leaves a novel shaped hole in your heart. You continue to seek something comparable, something to fill the void left by no longer reading that book, but instead it becomes the novel you constantly compare everything else to.
For the last year that novel has been Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Though I have loved many books since I first read Jellicoe Road, nothing compares to the soul-crushing, sweeping, pile of emotions that it gave me.
Graffiti Moon comes close. Being compared to Jellicoe Road is like a medal of honor that I don't give very lightly. In fact I don't think I've ever given it before. But like Marchetta novels, Graffiti Moon somehow realistically captures what it means to be human. It's sometime painful, sometimes beautiful and always hopeful.
Grafitting Moon is an eloquent book. The emotive language is wonderful, never purple and always heartfelt. Crowley says things in ways that I've never thought of but makes perfect sense. It's simple words, no thesaurus needed, but somehow says everything she needs to and more. The passage below is where I knew I was falling in love.
"I liked that he had hair that was growing without a plan. A smile that came out nowhere and left the same way. That he was tall enough so that I had to look up to him in my dream sequences."
I don't know if I've ever read a description quite like it. This book was already stealing my heart but when I read those words I melted. MELTED, not for Ed, not for Shadow or Poet but for this novel. Melted for someone putting into words what I've felt but never been able to say.
The story follows 6 teenagers celebrating the last night of year 12. There's Lucy--artistic, thru and thru--with Jane Austen romantic ambitions, Jazz her psychic somewhat wild best friend, Daisy who needs a break from her boyfriend, Dylan said clueless boyfriend, Ed and Leo. On a final night of misadventures they're going on a quest to find Shadow and Poet, 2 elusive graffiti artists.
Artistic Lucy feels like Shadow is the only person who might understand her, that he can be Mr. Darcy to her Elizabeth. She's tired of the mundane world of high school and arse-grabbers. Lucy wants sunsets, starry nights and someone who sees into her soul.
Jazz, celibate for 6 months due to final exams, wants to kiss a boy and celebrate the end of her childhood. Daisy is along for the ride, needing something different after being egged by her boyfriend earlier that day. Dylan comes along because he doesn't want to lose Daisy. Leo's curiousity is piqued by Jazz. Ed is somehow dragged into all of their plots against his will.
Normally I skeptical of books that use alternating POVs between boy and girl characters. Generally speaking I think it's an overdone gimmick, a writerly easy road to romance. In Graffiti Moon the different POVs are necessary and well done. They actually serve a purpose that advances the story.
This book involves art and poetry without feeling pretentious. It's just who these kids are. They still have real world problems like rent, broken families, unsure futures, and it keeps the story grounded. Lucy & Ed (who become the main characters) are so painfully cool that I'm just a tiny bit jealous. But they're also real and relatable.
Jazz and I made lists of people we'd do it with once. She looked over mine. "Yours are all fictional characters."
When I read that passage I thought "Lucy I have SO been there," and I think most avid readers will relate to the sentiment. That's something everyone has felt. That there has to be something better that what's right in front of us.
Graffiti Moon is genuine and heartfelt in a way that most books aren't. What happens over the course of the novel could occur on many continents, many time periods, to many people. We've all had weird misadventures, nights with friends that have changed us, the moments of our youth we remember fondly despite all the real life that's happened since. This book captures all the best parts of the teenage experience without glorifying or overreaching. It's a story of one great night with grand implications, but it doesn't tell us what will happen next. There isn't a message. There's just life, played out beautifully on the pages in front you. It's messy. It's wonderful. But most importantly it's real. ...more
Sometimes you have a series that you just love. For me The Agency, despite the fact that I know it's completely unrealistic, is a favorite. I love MarSometimes you have a series that you just love. For me The Agency, despite the fact that I know it's completely unrealistic, is a favorite. I love Mary's practicality. I love how circumstances keep throwing Mary and James at each other. I love how they try to resist each other for logical and rational reasons. I love the witty banter and flirting between them. I love that they are attracted to each other's intelligence. This series is very pro-female, which I love. There is no real way to review the 3rd in a series without some spoilers (and some might consider that paragraph spoilery enough as is). This series continues to be delightful, full of good mysteries to solve, fun flirting and a very pragmatic heroine....more
4.5 stars Sometimes I miss the sense of childlike wonder that kids have. Last night one of my little cousins was making up a tall-tell about his moth 4.5 stars Sometimes I miss the sense of childlike wonder that kids have. Last night one of my little cousins was making up a tall-tell about his mother making him pay rent. The fiction just flew from his lips naturally. It's like the realm of make-believe lives right below the surface and kids can jump in anytime without any effort.
Maybe that's why I keep falling for sweet innocent books that remind me of fairytales. Maybe I'm trying to recapture something I've lost along the path to adulthood. Whatever the reason I love books like Goose Girl, Princess Academy and the latest, The Magician's Elephant.
It's such a sweet beautiful little book. The book contains a magic that my normal YA can never capture. It's the magic of being a 10-year-old child where the world is so big and anything is possible.
The Magician's Elephant completely charmed me. The language is whimsical and witty. It manages to be poetic and unobtrusive. It's simply perfect and I can't imagine the book being written any other way. As I read, I kept hearing a gentle lyrical voice (think of the Pushing Daisies narration) reading the story to me. Almost every page had a clever or poetic phrase. Never have I been so grateful for my Kindle highlighting feature and I'm not typically an underliner.
"Looking out over the city, Peter decided that it was a terrible and complicated thing to hope, and that it might be easier, instead to despair."
The book has an usual premise, a little boy named Peter spends his bread money at a fortuneteller because he wants the truth. The truth he gets is wonderful, yet impossible His sister, who his guardian said was stillborn, lives. She lives! We get the sense of joy and responsibility that Peter feels towards his sister immediately. First he needs to find her. The fortuneteller says the elephant will show him the way. But there are no elephants anywhere near where Peter lives so the wonderful beautiful hope he is given seems cruelly impossible.
Lucky for Peter, this is a book that believes in the impossible.
The Magician's Elephant is a hopeful story. I think all ages will appreciate the beautiful poetic language and deceptively simple story. The story manages to capture the wonder of a child and a child's audacity to believe in the impossible.
"What are we to make of a world where stars shine bright in the midst of so much darkness and gloom?"
It's hard to do this book justice. The Magician's Elephant is a bright, shining, audaciously hopeful book. It's a joy to read And I know it'll be a regular re-read. I loved the feeling of reading this book and I know I'll want to experience that again. The book is magic. For a brief few pages it gave me back my childhood, my sense of wonder and reminded the word is a very big, impressive and magical place. And that maybe, just maybe, believing in the impossible is the best way to live.
Currently only $1.99 for Kindle. Don't know how long that deal will last. ...more
So I'm pretty excited to FINALLY read this book and blog about it. My friend Catie recommended this book to me months ago. I immediately requested itSo I'm pretty excited to FINALLY read this book and blog about it. My friend Catie recommended this book to me months ago. I immediately requested it at the local library. I waited and waited. Turns out whoever had it last STILL hasn't returned it. But recently it arrived in my mailbox, sent by Catie as a present. So YAY!!
Who is Mattie? Mattie Ross is 14-year-old, but she's no child. She's capable. More responsible than most of the adults I know, she maintains the family budget and helps keep the family farm going. Mattie's got a strong sense of justice and is pretty much fearless.
Strength of Character Mattie has a stubbornness that I always admire in a young girl. She's very intelligent, able to read and write, but what I admire the most is her determination. I like the fact the novel handles hercharacter realistically. Sometimes stories want big flashy heroines, with uncanny abilities to shoot, run or fight. Mattie is not unnaturally strong or an excellent fighter, but just an intelligent young woman who knows what she wants. She balances the budgets, bargains with jaded cowboys and knows when she's being taken advantage of.
Mattie's Storyline When her father is murdered, Mattie goes to Fort Smith to claim the body. She is unflinching when identifying it. Upon hearing the whole story, that Tom Chaney a man her father was helping out murdered him she's determined to make sure Tom is punished. She makes a deal with one-eyed US marshall Rooster Cogburn to find her father's killer. Despite Rooster's objections, Mattie inists on coming. She knows something that most people don't realize until they are much older. If you want a job done right, you can't just hand someone $50 and watch them ride off into the Indian territories. With a determination and intelligence beyond her age, Mattie goes off into the wilderness chasing her father's killer.
Romantic Entanglements NON-EXISTENT! Thank you VERY MUCH.
Conclusions This book is considered a classic for a reason. It's a fairly simple story. It's not full of unnecessary twists or cliffhangers. It'd told in a very straight-forward manner, the perfect voice of the non-nonsense Mattie Ross. The genius of this book is the ability to create a believable 14-year-old heroine set against the backdrop of the wild west.
Breakdown of a Heroine is something I do over on my blog. Sometimes I repost them when I can't get motivated to write a regular review (which is normally if I'm actually honest). If you're interested in the blog you can check it out here http://galavantinggirlscout.blogspot.... ...more
As a knitter (not a Knitter as this book would say) it was an enjoyable read. While many of the knitting crazinesses I have not succumb to yet I can sAs a knitter (not a Knitter as this book would say) it was an enjoyable read. While many of the knitting crazinesses I have not succumb to yet I can see that I have these tendencies.
It's told in little snippets (somewhat like blog entries) and it's perfect to read when you're feeling a little ADD (and perfect for commercial break reading!). Some knitting humor, lots of yarn and a few warm-fuzzies. Enjoyable & quick read. ...more
4ish stars (yes I'm a little wishy-washy on this point)
Variant is one of those books that's hard to review. (Yes I know I say that a lot!).
It's a book4ish stars (yes I'm a little wishy-washy on this point)
Variant is one of those books that's hard to review. (Yes I know I say that a lot!).
It's a book with a First Half. Then a Second Half. And I want to judge them separately. Because by the end I couldn't put the book down, almost finishing it in a loud chinese restaurant because I was that engaged. But as much as I enjoyed the second half, I can't ignore the first half of the book.
The first half I kinda wanted to smack the main character. Have you heard that famous Albert Einstein quote? "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." For me that's the first half of this book. Benson has only one thing on his mind. And it's something he SHOULD have on his mind. Only problem is that Benson has a bad case of the "doesn't stop and think."
"No one talked about escape. I tried to bring up the subject once, but it died out fairly quickly." Benson my friend, I hate to tell you this but you did not bring it up once. I searched on my Kindle. The word escape appears 76 times. You might have been a wee bit obsessed.
BUT then comes the second half where everything changed. And I could not put the book down. The problem? I can't actually TELL you much about the second half without ruining the nicely done twist.
When we first meet Benson (which FYI had me thinking of Law & Order SVU every time they said his name) he's on his way to Maxfield Academy. He thinks a scholarship to an elite private school is his escape from the foster system. But Maxfield Academy is not what he thinks. It's not a wonderful opportunity, it's more like a prison than school. Instead he's trapped behind bullet proof glass and barbed wire fences, with no adults. The school is controlled by 3 different gangs and breaking a rule equals detention and detention equals death. It's not exactly the bright future Benson hopes for .
I feel like I should be able to sympathize with Benson. Maxfield Academy is horrible and it does suck. He's RIGHT about pretty much everything. But his approach is wrong. He is single-mindly obsessed with escape. He's practically banging his head against the wall hoping to knock a stone loose. I spent the first half of the book wanting to shout at him. "QUIT RUNNING HEADLONG INTO DANGER! STOP AND THINK!!!!!" Benson is not much of a thinker, at least not at first.
But then about halfway through the book, just when Benson is finally calming down, falling for a girl and starting to get complacent, everything suddenly changes. Like BOOM I'm going to be a different book now. Like me better now? As a matter of fact yes I do like you better. You should have dyed your hair this color pages ago, does wonders for your pacing! Honestly the second half of this book made me question my opinion of the first. "Surely it can't be that annoying Cassi? Look how much you like it now!" So I suppose there's always the chance I was in a bad mood when I read the first half. I don't think so, but you never know.
Suddenly you can't trust anyone. Benson finally stops running in circles and starts thinking strategically. For me that's when the book gets good. When he stops banging his head against the proverbial wall and starts planning. Finally he's trying to figure out the big mystery of the school and tries to come up with a feasible escape plan (whereas his plan before was just jump the wall and hope not to die). This gives the reader the opportunity to follow his investigation and put the pieces of the puzzle together along with Benson.
Then ending is twisty, leaving the reader on a cliffhanger that made me say "HUH". I re-read the passage and I was still confused, but it was a good confusion (I was a Lost fan, clearly I have a thing for confusing cliffhangers). The ending left me curious enough that I want to read book 2.
This book has a Dystopian-vibe without actually being a Dystopia. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little bit thriller and a little bit something else that I can't place my finger on. But overall I liked it. The first portion may be a 3, but the last part is solidly 4+. In fictional math that equals a 4 star review for me.
So even though Benson is a little obnoxious at the beginning of the book, bear with him because he gets smarter. There's an interesting mystery, a creepy school and life or death stakes. The book is clearly meant to be part of a series (trilogy is my guess) because you don't get all the answers in this book. Assuming that the new and improved Benson plans to make an appearance in the next book I want to continue this series. And the cliffhanger better be worth it! Not just a shark with a random dharma logo!...more
I always appreciate books that contain intelligent discussion about depression. So often that conversation is trite, trivial and about how you can fix
I always appreciate books that contain intelligent discussion about depression. So often that conversation is trite, trivial and about how you can fix your life if you just do a, b, and c. Then it's always the goth or the emo kid who's depressed, never the smart or pretty people. Depression doesn't happen to them!
Except that it can happen to anyone.
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King doesn't talk down to people struggling with depression or bullying. It takes more of a conversational tone. This book is an "issue" book without being an "issue" book in the traditional sense. It deals with bullying, depression and suicidal thoughts. But it does it in a cool, creative way that I've come to expect from A.S. King.
CHARLOTTE: Nah. I'm fine. Everyone thinks about this shit, don't they? GRANDDAD: I have. ME: Me too. CHARLOTTE: But I'd never do it.
I've never read a passage about depression that felt more true. Because yes I've felt that too and I've said that. Last year when my grandfather died and my longterm boyfriend proved he wasn't up to snuff, I was right their with those characters feeling like life sucked. Feeling like I wasn't sure if it's worth it. (I should note that I was really close to my Papaw. And spoiler alert: It is worth it, eventually).
This book isn't told in a straight linear narrative. It's told from the perspective of what happened at school, then his summer vacation in Arizona, then the dreams where he visits his missing grandfather in a Vietnam POW camp. Switching between the perspectives keeps the dark subject matter from weighing down the novel but also shows Lucky's internalization of his problems. In his dreams is where he works through the bullying, the depression and his loneliness. His MIA grandfather is his best friend and the person he can talk to about everything.
The adults in this novel are just as disastrous at the teens. At times I just want to yell at them, but it adds to the realism of the story. Often adults just don't get bullying. (Read this article about how even the terminology we use is often wrong: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/23/opi... ). This novel shows how the inaction of adults allows bullies to reign. Sometimes parents even create the bullying situation by justifying their kids actions or being bullies themselves. This novel is very aware that bullying doesn't just die with high school but is something adults deal with it too.
If you would've told me that I'd like a book about bullying this much I wouldn't have believed you. But AS King has a very stylish, fun and honest way of tackling the difficult subjects. "Issue" books don't have to be straightforward because life is not straightforward. This is a book that anyone can read about bullying without feeling like it's a trite treatise on the evils of high school. I think it's an important and relevant subject matter that's handled in the way that's somehow quirky and fun even while talking about serious subjects like depression, bullying and suicide. Don't believe me? Then read the book for yourself.
Even though it's not published yet I'm really glad I read this during banned book week. This is often the type of book that gets banned yet teens need to read books like this. ...more
Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with paranormals with leanings towards the hate side of things. I love different4.5 out of 5 Stars
Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with paranormals with leanings towards the hate side of things. I love different creatures, new interpretations of mythology and the not-quite-our-world-but-almost settings. But paranormals have a tendency to have the mopiest and weakest female heroines. They tend to fall apart at the love story--too much love at first sight, too little relationship building and way too many love triangles.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not your typical paranormal. It's beautiful and lyrical, funny yet not a comedy. Karou, the main character, is a delight to read. She's beautiful and strong. She doesn't know who she is but she does know what she believes. Karou is very much relatable, like someone you know, yet somehow she is so much more. She's so many things I admire in a person. She's loyal, loves-deeply, curious and bold. She'd die for her family and do anything to protect her friends. But she's also painfully lonely, confused about her place in the world and just a little bit vindictive (but in a funny way).
The book is set in the very atmospheric city of Prague (where I've always wanted to visit) and the main character is an art student. Lately I've read a few books with art students as the main character and somehow it always seems to work. They see the world differently and so does the reader. Their problems are not my problems but I can still relate to them. They do things like create giant marionettes and draw naked people without blushing. Art-students, written well, are down-to-earth and cool without being pretentious.
"Zuzana arched an eyebrow. She was a master of the eyebrow arch, and Karou envied her for it. Her own eyebrows did not function independently of each other, which handicapped her expressions of suspicion and disdain."
The writing floats between being very poetic and humorously blunt. Karou despite her otherworldly blue-hair, necklace full of wishes and unconventional family of monsters, is still a seventeen year old girl. She worries that her breath smells like goulash when she thinks she's going to be kissed, wants to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend for taking her virginity and also just happens to run errands for a Chimaera who collects human teeth.
I think Laini Taylor does an excellent job of finding the humanity within the paranormal without sacrificing their otherness. You will not mistake the creatures within this novel for normal humans (sometimes I feel like this is where most parnormals fail) but they aren't so different that you can't understand their motivations.
This is a book that is getting a lot of much-deserved gushing around the internet. It's wonderful. Things that I normally hate work in this book because the author spends enough time building the characters and creating the necessary connections. She builds a main character you can trust. By the time it gets to the love story I trusted Karou's judgement. She's got a good head on her shoulders and is not the boy-chasing type. Knowing Karou allows you to withhold judgement while the love story plays out.
It's not fast-paced, but more character driven. Karou is a mystery--to herself, to her friends, to everyone. This book seems to be all about getting to know Karou, discovering her past and finding her place in the greater cosmic struggle. There are all these oddities and clues. What's behind the other door that Karou's not allowed to open? What's with the teeth? Why are these collection of Chimaera raising a human child? Trust me, it's a mystery worth unravelling. ...more
Ready Player One takes place almost entirely within a video game. It's the type of concept that's either going to be AMAZING or fail. I just can't imaReady Player One takes place almost entirely within a video game. It's the type of concept that's either going to be AMAZING or fail. I just can't imagine any middle ground. The whole premise is a big gamble, but it pays off majorly. This book is awesomely unique and completely memorable.
Your initial reaction might be "Will this book appeal to non-gamers?" Personally, I don't game. But somehow I tend to enjoy gaming themed entertainment (particularly The Guild, oh how I love that show). I feel like this story will appeal to a variety of nerds. Yes, it takes place in a game, but there's a lot that'll remind you of other internet communities that you might hang around (for me I saw a lot of my YouTube experience in this book and the Gunters reminded me of olden days of puzzle solving for lonelygirl15. Most of which I just watched smarter people figure out).
It's a nerdtastic search throughout the Oasis (the video game) for an easter egg hidden by the games recently deceased creator. His entire fortune (and it's HUGE) will go to whichever player can find the egg first. The main character Wade is competing with the evil Sixers, a corporation trying to find the egg so they can take ownership of the game, Gunter clans (groups of allied egg hunters) as well as his best friends.
The book takes place is a believably dystopian future, a world where trailers are stacked for maximum real estate, only the rich can afford cards and people escape to a happier world inside the Oasis. Even though the characters spend most of their time in-game, there's actually no problem connecting or relating to them. They are real. Sometimes I feel like I've met them around the internet.
I feel like a lot of my friends liked this book more than me. Don't get me wrong I REALLY liked this book. But at times I found myself zoning out when it went into Halliday history dump mode. Yes the players needed to know a lot about Halliday's life, but at times it had a tendency to ramble on longer than I thought was necessary. As the reader, I'm not sure I need to know nearly as much information as I was given. I would mentally check out then when I checked back in normally I hadn't missed much.
I also had a little bit of trouble buying into the depths of the romantic relationship. Yes I know people flirt via the internet. I have flirting tendencies myself sometimes. But this book actually said that people had met, dated and got married in the Oasis without ever meeting. That I had trouble believing. I can't imagine many men going into a marriage without you know...previous physical contact. That of course wasn't our two main characters because they are teenagers, but that line hung in the back of my mind as I watch their relationship progressed and planted a seed of doubt.
Yes I know I sound picky. But here's the thing about really good books--they give you room to be picky. Saying "This book had 2 flaws that stuck out to me" tells you how good the rest of this book was. The hunt for the egg really captivated me, which is why I wanted to get past some of the long drawn out history sections. There was a fortune up for grabs and the main character is making moon eyes at someone's avatar, giving us history lessons and THERES A FORTUNE UP FOR GRABS.
This book has everything you want. An evil corporation out to ruin the game (wait, didn't that just happen on The Guild too?), life and death stakes in the real world as well as the game, first love, 80s nostalgia and the internet. I listened to the audiobook and Wil Wheaton was AMAZING as the narrator. This led to more than one LOL moment (especially when Wil Wheaton playing Wade had to mention Wil Wheaton the old geezer) and gave this book even more nerd street cred.
For the peoples of the internets, people who like video games and people who like unique Sci-fi this book is highly recommended. For everyone else, you should give it a try too. It's something different and thats really rare.
A lot of my friends do musical pairings. I don't. BUT I had "Do You Want to Date My Avatar" running through my head way too much during this book not to post a link to the video. And since I reference The Guild numerous time's & Wil Wheaton is in parts of The Guild it's fitting anyways. http://youtu.be/urNyg1ftMIU ...more