First of all, the author didn't even bother to TRY and explain any the worldbuilding in this book. I was completely and utterly confused foQuit at 62%
First of all, the author didn't even bother to TRY and explain any the worldbuilding in this book. I was completely and utterly confused for the first 50 pages, then just gave up bothering to try and figure it out. I still have no idea if everyone in this world are witches or why some witches hate one another or why some races hate one another or why there was a war 20 years ago that they are now trying to prevent starting up again or what the hell 'Threadstones' are and why I should care that Iseult can't make them.
I enjoyed Iseult, but Safi was headstrong and stupid. She constantly made the WORST decisions, which put both of them in danger and then needed to be rescued, every.damn.time.
Worst than either of those was the jackass of a love interest. Merik is a self-proclaimed hot head who seems unable to keep his temper, especially around women. There is a seriously weird dance scene with Safi that made me uncomfortable at best. He rails against his sister (the heir apparent), yells at Safi and his elderly aunt, and when they speak out against him HE LOCKS THEM IN CHAINS and rants about "punishment". This is the point at which I quit. Pretty cover be damned, I am not here for that shit. ...more
This book was so disappointing. It felt like it was written by one of my students. All dialogue, very litSee full review here: Reading Between Classes
This book was so disappointing. It felt like it was written by one of my students. All dialogue, very little exposition. Everything was told instead of showed and there was no character development whatsoever. I could not wait for this one to end. The world was interesting but too much was thrown at the reader too fast. It felt like the author was trying to cram in as many references as possible which ended up creating a completely convoluted plot with so many villains (some who only showed up in the last 10 pages or so) that it was so difficult to keep them straight and eventually I stopped caring. I realize that this is a middle grade novel - but give the kids some credit. They need well written books too. If you are looking for a middle grade book with fairy tale connections - try The School for Good and Evil instead. ...more
Cover Impressions: Pretty. Yay, no whitewashing. Natural hair on a woman of color!
The Gist: Summer king gets elected, summer king gets killed - still don't understand why. June is spoiled brat who causes trouble and calls it art.
WARNING: This will be ranty. If you don't like swearing, please move on to another review - this one is not for you.
This book broke me. And not in the "oh my god this is so good nothing will ever compare" kind of way. More in the "reading has become a huge disappointment and I will now spend my time watching reality tv instead" kind of way.
I hated every minute that I spent with this book and, now that I have finally quit, I don't even want to read anything else. I am that annoyed.
I hated this world. It was futuristic and fucked up and nothing made sense. To go along with the nothing making sense was the fact that the author chose not to explain anything. I made it 3/4 of the way through the book and I STILL have no idea why the hell they choose a summer king or why the hell they kill him some years and not others. And you know what? I don't fucking care. That is how little these characters affected me.
The kids were spoiled and entitled. June spent most of her time glorifying a father who committed suicide and blaming her mother for this, despite any evidence that she did anything to cause it. When she wasn't being a heinous daughter, she was pulling pranks making art for some weird ass contest to which no one ever explained the rules. Oh, and did I mention that any other free time she had was spent at lavish parties?
That was the gist of the plot, no danger, no immediate cause to work towards, just an episode of The Hills set against the backdrop of an alternative future.
Despite all these issues, I might have managed to get past it. However, then came the sex. I understand the desire to have sexual situations and language in a young adult novel, I really do. I do not, however, enjoy the way that this author chose to use sex in such a casual manner. June actually told us of how she and her best friend took care of their "virginity problem". We hear of the Summer King sleeping with anything and everything that moves and then, to take the literary cake, June strips off OUTSIDE, masturbates, is revealed to have had an audience to her little show and then acts as if it meant nothing. No. NO NO NO NO NO!
I can't even.
If I gave this book to one of my students, I would end up fired.
Fuck this. I'm out.
Age: 16 and up Gender: Female - I guess. Sex: See review - this shit's fucked up. Violence: Fist fighting. Knifeplay Inappropriate Language: Whore, Shit, Ass, Bastards Substance Use/Abuse: drug use...more
Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty, but expected. It makes it appear that Isolde is This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: The cover is pretty, but expected. It makes it appear that Isolde is the main character when, in actuality, the plot follows Luca for a majority of the time. I was glad to see the omission of the "heaving bosoms" that normally accompanies this type of cover
The Gist: Seventeen year old Luca is accused of heresy and thrown out of his religious order for using math to prove that it is impossible for all of the relics from the true cross to be real. He is quickly recruited by a secret order and sent on a mission to hold an inquiry into strange occurrences. Isolde has been cast out from her home upon the death of her father and forced to vows at a nunnery and serve as their lady superior. When the sisters began acting strangely and complaining of strange dreams and stigmata, Luca is sent to investigate.
Review: I was pretty disappointed by this one. I have read a lot of Philippa Gregory's books (though I haven't really enjoyed the latest ones) and was hoping for the same sense of excitement that I got while reading The Other Boleyn Girl. Instead, I got a watered down romance, predictable storyline and characters who were barely tolerable.
When we meet Luca, we are told that he has a remarkable head for numbers and that these skills led to him being called a Changeling (my definition: a child that is left behind by the faerie folk to be raised in a human household). Take note of this BECAUSE IT NEVER COMES UP AGAIN! Seriously. He never uses these mysterious mathematical skills and, despite the title of the book, we never find out anything about whether or not he is a changeling. As a character, he is boring as heck. He never does anything exciting or unexpected, his manner of speaking is flat and unaffected and he switches between allowing others to take charge and pompously reminding them that he is supposed to be leading this investigation.
Isolde has been promised by her father that, upon his death, all the lands and the kingdom would be hers. She has been raised to be the lady of the house and taught how to maintain her lands and keep her people fed and safe. Yet, on his deathbed he supposedly recounts all of this and gives her the choice between marrying a particularly disgusting man or joining the nunnery. Isolde is told all of this by her brother (her father apparently refused to see her at the end) and never questions the authenticity of his claims. When she asks to see the will, he gives her a COPY instead of the original and then sends her would-be husband to rape her. That's right folks, her brother tells his buddy that he can exercise his matrimonial rights before she has even accepted and (I think) within 24 hours of her father's death. And STILL Isolde doesn't think he is lying about her inheritance. FFS! How dense can you get? For the rest of the book, Isolde continues to be boring and is in constant need of rescuing. The only characters that show any type of promise are the servants Ishraq and Freize and even they are not nearly as interesting as they could be.
This book holds an odd place in the genre spectrum. It is not quite realistic enough to be true historical fiction nor is it strange enough to be paranormal fiction. The blurb promises werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers but doesn't actually deliver on either werewolves or witches and I can only assume the alchemists and death-dancers will be featured in the next book. The plot is sloooooowwwwww and concentrates far too much on traveling and interviewing people. It really feels like two separate stories; one that features the nunnery and one a village with a werewolf. The stories felt disconnected, almost like two novellas that were strung together in an attempt to make a full book, and no progress is made on any of the over-arching issues (Luca's mysterious new order and his heritage or Isolde's disinheritance).
For most of this book I found myself waiting for it to be over and wishing that I had chosen to read something else instead. I do not think I will be sticking around for the next in this series.
Age: 13 and up Gender: Female Sex: None Violence: Death by Poison, Death by Fire Inappropriate Language: None Substance Use/Abuse: Drinking Wine/Ale...more
Cover Impressions: Ok, the font is nice and I like the overlay of writing. HOWEVER - the This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: Ok, the font is nice and I like the overlay of writing. HOWEVER - the emo dude on the cover ruined ANY chance of my having warm feelings for Varen.
The Gist: Vapid cheerleader is paired up with (gasp!) dark, emo dude for a school project on Edgar Allan Poe. Despite the fact that the partners were chosen by the teacher, her friends take this as a personal insult and threaten goth boy for breathing the same air as cheerleader girl. She finds his contempt for the world enticing and leaves her friends for him. Out of left field, she discovers a weird world where Varen (and Poe's) writing comes to life and Isobel is the only super special snowflake who can save Varen from himself.
Review: This book (and its sequel) have been on my TBR list for quite a while. A lot of the reviewers that I follow have loved it and I had such high hopes that I saved it to be my last read of 2012. What. A. Mistake. Here were some of my issues:
1) The characters were stereotypical and irritating. Isobel = the vapid cheerleader and Varen = the moody, emo teenager she falls in love with. 2) Isobel didn't even LIKE Varen. She was constantly hating on the goths and when she had her little fantasy sequence - he was there, but as a prep who was NOTHING like the real character. For his part, Varen was a jerk. He treated Isobel like crap and she kept coming back for more. I read a lot of review that praised the romantic angle, but I just didn't get it. Their connection didn't feel real and Isobel was more than a little pathetic. 3) At least 1/2 the plot revolves around a homework assignment. That's right folks, Isobel loses all her friends and Varen gets pulverized OVER HOMEWORK! I kept waiting for the supernatural elements to kick in, but they took FOREVER. All this teen angst over homework was boring and irritating. 4) Speaking of homework, why were her parents so bent out of shape that she had to sneak out of the house in order to work on a project? What kind of parent doesn't make allowances so that their kid can pass a class? 5) Also speaking of homework, despite at least half of the book centering around a homework project, and despite sneaking out to meet Varen to work on said project, Isobel spent her time avoiding doing any of the actual reading or research. At the last minute, she threw together some flashy presentation meant to mask the fact that she didn't do any actual work. 6) When we were finally thrown into the supernatural element it was with very little explanation. Isobel basically wandered around searching for Varen. She had no plan and no information. None of the other characters felt the need to explain anything that was going on and the whole Dreamworld seemed like one convoluted mess. 7) This book was supposed to be strongly tied to Poe - a master of suspense and horror. This story does not do him justice and I am appalled that his name was invoked at all.
I have NO desire to read any further in this series and, quite frankly, I hope one of the creepy ass bird kids eats Isobel for lunch.
Cover Impressions: This cover looks rather primitive, as if it was gleaned from a cave dThis and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes
Cover Impressions: This cover looks rather primitive, as if it was gleaned from a cave drawing. I don't find it particularly eye catching but I can see where it would appeal to an audience of teenage boys
The Gist: Todd has grown up in Prentisstown; a town full of men who spend their lives surrounded by the Noise of each and every person's thoughts. Just a month shy of becoming a man, he stumbles upon a patch of silence - something he has never encountered before, and the secret forces him to run from the people who know his every thought.
Review: I had saved this novel for a time when I just had to read something great. It has wonderful reviews and has won several award so I thought it was a safe bet. I never dreamed how wrong I could be. I was angry and frustrated for most of this book. I spent my time yelling at the characters and cursing the writer. This was not an enjoyable experience. First of all, I did not care one lick for either of the characters. In fact, I actively despised Todd. I hated the way he spoke, I hated his actions, I hated the fact that he did not demand answers, because lord knows the author was not going to provide any. I don't mind novels that ration information, handing it out a tidbit at a time like Charlie nibbling on a scrumdiddlyumptious bar, but this novel gives no tidbits. Instead, it infuriates with lines like "it is time you knew the truth" followed by either and adult telling the kids to wait or something trying to kill them (something is ALWAYS trying to kill them - see below). Perhaps, since Todd cannot seem to spell Information, Ness decided that he didn't need to have any.
I realize that the author made a conscious choice to use misspelling and poor grammar to allow the reader further insight into the mind of the main character. However, I do not care. I hated it. I cringed at every "aint" and "shun". I wanted to plant Todd in my English classroom and teach him how to speak so that he doesn't sound like a bumbling idiot. I couldn't concentrate on the story because every time he opened his mouth the evil teacher in my mind kept correcting him. Ness also chose to use repetition and short choppy sentence, one would assume, in an effort to make the novel more exciting. It drove me nuts. Passages like this:
And she lets go of me- And I jump across- And I'm in the air- And the edge of the falls is shooting over my head- And I land- And I turn- And she's jumping after me- And I grab her and we fall backwards onto the ledge together- And we lay there breathing- And listening- And all we hear for a second is the roar of the water over us now-
He employs this strategy over and over, sometimes for pages at a time. That's right, I said PAGES! This writing style annoyed me to the point where I really wanted to stop. Yet I pressed on, I had hope that there would be some twist or scene that would make it all worthwhile. I mean, something had to make all these people like it, right? Speaking of Hope. If the only thing keeping the characters going is hope, how about you give me some? These characters were attacked at every point. They never got a chance to rest before one of the main villians (one of which REFUSES TO DIE LIKE A PROPER HUMAN BEING) shows up and trounces them. The attackers have brute force, horses and guns. Our MC has ... a knife.... which he refuses to use. Also, you would think, at one of their stops on this journey they MIGHT have picked up a weapon for Viola. Fate (in the form of Patrick Ness' brutal pen) continues to pound on Todd and Viola until the untimely and unsatisfying cliffhanger ending. I will NOT be continuing on in this series. P.S Yes, of course I loved Manchee - and I hold Patrick Ness directly responsible for his treatment.
Teaching/Parental Notes: Age: 15 and up Gender: Both Sex: None Violence: Knife play, gun play, death by stabbing, death of a pet Inappropriate Language: Fuck, Whore Substance Abuse: None...more
Slow, Boring. Too much talk about logistics (who was taking care if the kids, who was minding the shop, where the cats were). Skimmed the last 100 pagSlow, Boring. Too much talk about logistics (who was taking care if the kids, who was minding the shop, where the cats were). Skimmed the last 100 pages and that still took too long....more
Slow and Boring. Not a big fan of the characters. Predictable. HATE when authors use "text speak" or try to incorporate products that they think teenaSlow and Boring. Not a big fan of the characters. Predictable. HATE when authors use "text speak" or try to incorporate products that they think teenagers will relate to (uggs, smashbox etc). Ending was tacked on and awkward. Author had no idea how girls think/feel/speak. If you don't understand them - don't write about them....more
Blech. Didn't care about the characters, couldn't get past the punk/hipster parents and cringed every time the author described what they were wearingBlech. Didn't care about the characters, couldn't get past the punk/hipster parents and cringed every time the author described what they were wearing. No action. Boring....more
40 pages in and all they have done is talk. No answers, no plans just bickering and asking questions to which the only response is "there isn't time f40 pages in and all they have done is talk. No answers, no plans just bickering and asking questions to which the only response is "there isn't time for that now". If there isn't time for that then shut the heck up and get on with the story!
Finally decided to just stop reading. Characters were boring, never ending dialogue and no action....more
When I say I hated Shiver, what I actually mean is I loathed Shiver. Had I bought the book instead of the ebook, I would have burned it. As it was, IWhen I say I hated Shiver, what I actually mean is I loathed Shiver. Had I bought the book instead of the ebook, I would have burned it. As it was, I felt I should do a system restore on my reader in order to cleanse it from the stench of mediocrity.
I have serious issues with teenage LUV (not to be confused with love) at first sight especially when it is followed by a storyline riddled with tortured romance. I also couldn't, for the life of me, figure out WHY Sam and Grace loved each other, Lord knows I hated them. Grace was flat and irritating. Sam, on the other hand, was a chick in wolf's clothing. No guy talks/thinks like that. None. Ever. Speaking of talking, I work with teenagers, Stiefvater might have tried listening to some real teenagers before she tried to write about them. The plot was slow going at best and ground to a standstill whenever Sam started to get cold and/or had to go outside, and/or breathed. And a final note - song lyrics, and poetry. SERIOUSLY? Leave it to the professionals, or at least the talented. ...more
Couldn't finish this one. The characters were bland and unmemorable, the plot was slow going and the storyline was nearly non-existent. Made it to pgCouldn't finish this one. The characters were bland and unmemorable, the plot was slow going and the storyline was nearly non-existent. Made it to pg 100 and couldn't deal with the boredom any longer....more