Oh! Oh! This book almost broke me. Collins continues to be a most affecting, almost brutual writer. Really, if you are a kid and you get through theseOh! Oh! This book almost broke me. Collins continues to be a most affecting, almost brutual writer. Really, if you are a kid and you get through these books you'll go on to G.R.R. Martin as an adult and just chuckle. Like Martin, Collins makes sure there are STAKES in each book and consequences. In this book a young character - probably the age of many its readers - who is bereft in a way that just struck me to my core.
What I think these books do, including this one, which is a quest to find the cure for a plague that is killing all the warm blooded creatures of the Underland (humans, rats, bats and others) is an interesting paradox. It's an exciting adventure book which grounds itself in the fact that unlike in most books you read, being in an adventure story can be a terrible, stressful, life damaging thing.
(Just as in those other books you might have read living in a post-apocalyptic distopia where you are a cog in the machine is a soul-destroy, life warping nightmare.)
Most of us are extremely lucky that the novels of our lives are extremely boring and slow paced and without significant event for the blood-thirst reader. You think about the few exciting times of your life. I mean like almost dying or having to flee for your life or being beaten and be happy that that is just a tiny little fragment of your overall existence. These are books that make me feel guilt about being an reader of exciting adventures, all the while happily gobbling up more unfortunate events and maheme.
The Gregor books take into account the existential wear that happens in being the character of a adventure fantasy series. I'm sure Gregor would have prefered to be the character in a stand-alone novel and then retired back to his family's little apartment.
I don't know if this level of psychological realism is fair. Writers are dramatizers and sadists, they want everything to be as exciting and as interesting as possible, and they want their characters to go through lots of trials and be bashed down as low as possible, to make the victories sing in contrast. So I applaud Collins for her psychological realism of showing how this is beating poor Gregor down, but I can see why this hasn't been a concern for adventure writers before. There is a convention of dramatic compression and of heightening all the circumstances which I think readers have taken into account before books like this.
Of course, it doesn't mean that Collins is damn good at wringing drama out of each and every stituation both on a character and plot level at the same time.
Okay, the plot. No spoilers, but the final conclusion was one I think I spotted back at the very beginning of the book. Collins does a very good job of getting away from it and taking the characters on the quest, but once it comes back up again it felt like a sort of duh, moment. It does continue to work on that central theme though, the price of violence, the price of being safe. The self-brutalization that happens when you make yourself strong.
But Collins is like Alfred Hitchcock in that she has the pacing down to such a rapid speed that it isn't until after the ride that you start to go - heeeeeeyy! And start noticing the flaws. At least for a slow witted reader like myself. I'm sure there are some smarter readers that might have been drumming their fingers for a long part of the book. For myself I was impressed that while I had strong ideas about the origin of the plague that was quickly diverted by her management of events.
Here is my progress at p. 265 which I'll probably edit into a review once I'm done, but which doesn't fit in my little progress sound bite box:
I'm reaHere is my progress at p. 265 which I'll probably edit into a review once I'm done, but which doesn't fit in my little progress sound bite box:
I'm reading this quite quickly, which is a good sign. If a book is really miserable, I end up reading it slowly, reluctantly, so as to increase the suck. I don't think I've found much of it very funny though. (And I think I'm supposed to.) There was a short bit at the beginning with the crisis line which made me laugh, but not much since then. Also, is this going to be a full story? I'm okay with it leaving stuff for a #3, but I would like a full story or else this is simply a filler book. Okay, progress report is that I'm happily reading the book, but am still grumpy about Christopher Moore's writing. One of us is an asshole and it probably isn't him. Oh, and Charlie is annoying this time around.
It was okay, like 2.5 stars. Charlie got less annoying.
It is my fondness for the characters from A Dirty Job that had me happpily read the book. Unfortunately, I don't know if there is a protagonist for this book, not like Charlie Asher was in Dirty. I suppose it is everybody's book? Maybe Minty Fresh?
I enjoyed seeing the characters again but I didn't get the sense this was somebody's story and they were going to have to do something or change. I go back to Minty, but still am not convinced about him as a main character for a Moore novel. He isn't bumbling enough.
That and a lack of many laughs makes this a pretty minor Moore novel, a footnote rather than a sequel to A Dirty Job....more
Abandoned 6% in, which was enough to get a feel for the glacial pace of the book while at the same time feeling how stuffed it was - with not much atAbandoned 6% in, which was enough to get a feel for the glacial pace of the book while at the same time feeling how stuffed it was - with not much at all. I'm too busy and too slow a reader and it just didn't feel like it was going to reward me. No rating cause this isn't for me. This is a note to remind me of that....more
I've been slow to warm to Gaiman. Probably enjoyed American Gods best before this point, but love the darkness of the violence between father and sonI've been slow to warm to Gaiman. Probably enjoyed American Gods best before this point, but love the darkness of the violence between father and son - truly terrifying stuff for a child. Like Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books in a echoing way, as well as some other female British fantasy author whose name is (bang, bang!) escaping me right now....more
Really enjoyed the first four issues, but found going dream like in death for the final chapter in this book was a step to far, it unmoored an alreadyReally enjoyed the first four issues, but found going dream like in death for the final chapter in this book was a step to far, it unmoored an already weird book (was loving the oddness up to that point). For it to have a full effect felt it should have stayed in the real plane....more
Read the first couple of pages and thought: either this guy is a master who is going to transform all the cliches he is conjuring or is a roaring oldRead the first couple of pages and thought: either this guy is a master who is going to transform all the cliches he is conjuring or is a roaring old hack who might still be marginally entertaining. Not a book I would recommend....more
There are some books where people complain that 'nothing happened', like Jo Walton's "Among Others", at which point I have to restrain myself from scrThere are some books where people complain that 'nothing happened', like Jo Walton's "Among Others", at which point I have to restrain myself from screaming "ARE YOU KIDDING ME???" in a petulant voice.
And now the shoe is on the other foot. Serves me right.
I'm a Rothfuss enjoyer, not an enthusiast. You get to those other books when you are good and ready Patrick, I can wait. I'll probably have to go back and re-read them because they'll have completely fallen out of my brain.
So I went into this book sort of remembering Auri: mentally ill little girl, instead of living on the streets she lives underneath. Kvothe and her exchange stuff. Odd little duck. If there is more, I've forgotten, bad reader me.
Reading this book I thought. Yeah, if this wasn't in the fantasy genre I would 100% classify her as an obsessive-compulsive with some sort of delusion where she imbued objects with human consciousness. That it was fantasy let it waver kind of pleasingly between 'she's ill' and 'well maybe it's magic'. I like it when a fantasy, or any type of fiction, can let you really enter into someone's head space.
But for my level of interest it went on way too long. The story simply didn't give me enough to stay engaged. I finished the story, but it mostly tried my patience. Auri in small doses was charming, but in this large dollop she felt annoyingly precious. At least in my own humble opinion - WHICH IS THE GOD OF THIS REVIEW (but nothing else).
At least he didn't put Auri's story in the main books. Rothfuss likes to put in lacunas, dead calms in his novels, and this sure would have been extra trying in the middle of a entertaining tale. Separated out it is a bit more tolerable.
I restrained myself from including the Foreword and Endnote in my review or rating. (It is the WTF moment of the book.) Okay, I will give Rothfuss the Foreword: new readers BEWARE! But the endnote is terrible, terrible, terrible, awful, some sort of pustule of his fame that he was allowed to include. Stories live and die on their own. Trying to defend your story in the endnote disrespects what you have written. If what you have written is good, it will kick my negative review's ass. Bad author! Go to your room!...more
Fucking amazing and moving and mind blowing. Like the best of the best hard sf I have read. With characters I cared for and feared for right until theFucking amazing and moving and mind blowing. Like the best of the best hard sf I have read. With characters I cared for and feared for right until the very end, the very last page. And a love song to this beauitful, rare and severely abused planet. Genius....more
I enjoyed the book, but... Something prevents me from whole-heartedly embracing it. Perhaps it is the length of the tale (this is the first part of thI enjoyed the book, but... Something prevents me from whole-heartedly embracing it. Perhaps it is the length of the tale (this is the first part of three) in combination with the amount of engagement with the characters. A shorter tale with more engaging characters, someone to root for would make me like the book a lot more. I have a similar problem with the Expanse series (only read the first of that) so these books might not be for me. Too much reading/listening for the reward I get out of them....more
Great otherworld, good writing, love the dragon and the demon-angel clown, but didn't quite connect to the female main character. She was damaged andGreat otherworld, good writing, love the dragon and the demon-angel clown, but didn't quite connect to the female main character. She was damaged and shut off, but unfortunately shut off from me as well....more
I didn't realize this was something rescued from Bolano's files after his death, and probably wouldn't have listened to it if I had known. Thank goodnI didn't realize this was something rescued from Bolano's files after his death, and probably wouldn't have listened to it if I had known. Thank goodness for my ignorance. While it is no 2666 or The Savage Dectectives, Bolano's leavings put most other writers' work to shame. Starting with the opening monologue on the different types of poets (an offensive, potted, brilliant, funny rant), this book has plenty of treasures for those who have the hunger for more Bolano - more, more, more!...more