I don't usually read YA books. They just aren't my thing. But, I do love Sherman Alexie, so I decided to try his book Flight. While his book The AbsolI don't usually read YA books. They just aren't my thing. But, I do love Sherman Alexie, so I decided to try his book Flight. While his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was thoroughly enjoyable, I found Flight to be a bit more pedantic and not quite as realistic. I think it might be for a slightly younger audience than I thought, but it was definitely a bit more trite than I was expecting, especially since many of the reviews I've read of it called it gritty or dark. It wasn't a bad book, and it was definitely better than many YA books I've read, but I would restrict it to the intended audience rather than recommend it for people my age. Rating: 3 stars
Accessible writing, slightly trite and pedantic, intended for a younger audience.
Overall, I thought that this was a perfectly average YA action series. Though it definitely had its strong points and showed some originality of conceOverall, I thought that this was a perfectly average YA action series. Though it definitely had its strong points and showed some originality of concept, it followed a lot of the stereotypical themes of the YA genre. The writing was definitely not bad, but it wasn't superb either. The plot was at times refreshingly original, at times stereotypical, and occasionally a bit too much of a stretch. The characters took nearly three books before they became round in any way, but when they did it was pretty satisfying.
In short, while I don't think that these books were bad by any stretch, I definitely do not think that they are worth all of the attention that they have been given. They are perfectly normal YA books, good for a young reader or for a light pleasure read, but nothing more than that. ...more
Considering all the hype, anticipation, and general excitement about this release, I feel like it would be pretty hard for this book to live up to eveConsidering all the hype, anticipation, and general excitement about this release, I feel like it would be pretty hard for this book to live up to everyone's high expectations. And while I don't think that it quite redeemed the mediocre quality of the series, it was a definite improvement over the second book, and it definitely brought some new and exciting ideas to the table. First, the bad things. Katniss was at her most annoying in this book. Stubborn, distrustful, anxious, and generally paranoid, I felt like she never stopped whining. While I admit that she had been through a lot and deserves some sympathy, I got the sense that she was often just being contrary for the sake of being contrary. Snapping at friends and allies like Gale for honestly trying to help her is not a character trait I look for in my heroes. I mean, we understand that you've been to hell and back, but do you always have to be so dang negative? Can't you save your angst for the things that are legitimately your fault? The plot of this book couldn't decide if it was good or not. Again, the action and conflict parts were great, but I felt like there was a bit too much emphasis on the publicity/propaganda aspect of Katniss's role. Watching her run around getting filmed all day isn't exactly exciting, and while I understand why that is an important plot element, I feel like it could have been handled differently. I also thought that her little crusade near the end of the book was reckless and stupid. While that doesn't mean it was out of character for her at all, I felt like it was just a device Collins used to show off the horrors of the traps in the city and to get Katniss to the square at just the right time. Something about it just felt so futile. *Spoiler Alert* I also didn't like the way that Finnick's death was handled. Maybe I was just speed-reading that part, but I didn't feel like it was given the amount of time that he deserved. He became a really important character in this book, and I felt like he deserved more than he got. *End Spoiler* I felt like this book had some good things in it that the others didn't have. There was more emphasis on a message or meaning to the books, rather than it just being a story. I know that Collins wrote this series as a way to comment on violence and war and what it does to people, especially children. In this book, I really feel like she got that message across. Some of the things Katniss says about the futility of war are actually very moving. I feel like this is also a way that Collins gives Gale a bit more personality. He stops just being the supportive male companion and becomes more of a ruthless fiery rebel, willing to do anything for the cause. I never really felt anything at all about Gale int he first few books (except to wonder why on earth he liked Katniss) but in this one I actually started to understand him, even if I disliked what he was becoming. The thing that happened with Peeta was also kind of a surprise. At first I thought it was kind of a stretch, but I think it actually made him a better character than the puppy boy we met in book one. Again, the action writing was very intense and fast-paced. The emotional writing tended to be a bit melodramatic like in the other books, but there were some moments that were very touching. The ending seemed a bit boring to me. Her coping mechanism was cute, but pretty cheesy. I was also expecting more of a scene when she chose who she loved, but it kind of just happened eventually after everything was over. I guess that is more realistic, so I can't argue too much, but after such a fiery book I was expecting the ending to be more of a bang than a sigh.
Overall, I'd say that this book was a vast improvement over book two. Though it has its flaws and strange moments, it also had some good things to balance them out.
Eh. It's not good, and it's not bad. I guess mediocre is the word I'd use. As much as I love dystopian themes, female leads in action books, and rebellEh. It's not good, and it's not bad. I guess mediocre is the word I'd use. As much as I love dystopian themes, female leads in action books, and rebellion against cruel governments, this book just didn't really work for me. I mean, it was exciting and fast paced and all that, but I feel like the author is really pulling a lot of stupid stunts on us in this book. A lot of the plot seems pretty far fetched and fabricated. That can sometimes be ok if the writer is talented enough to make me believe it anyway, or to make such a good story of it that I don't care, but this author really doesn't have the talent to do either. The characters are pretty one dimensional and none of them are even really likable except Preeta, the plot is at times highly predictable and at others just completely ridiculous, and the writing style is mediocre at best. It's clearly a book meant for younger audiences, maybe 12 - 13 years old. If the author had tried a little harder to fill in the plot holes or make the coincidences more believable, this could have been a great book. As it is, it just ends up being interesting and maybe even exciting, but not what I'd call satisfying. I don't know if I'll be reading the next one.
This second book was, to me, the low point of the entire series. While in the first book I could understand Katniss's romantic confusion and inability to decide what she wanted (after all, it was sprung on her suddenly and in an awkward situation), in this book I thought that she went from being simply confused to using the two boys for her own purposes. She didn't want to date them, but she sure didn't mind cuddling or smooching them when she needed comfort. I don't care if she couldn't choose, but she shouldn't have strung them along like that. I had trouble finding Katniss special in the first book, but I had trouble caring about her at all in this one. Luckily, Peeta becomes a more sympathetic and well-rounded character in this book. While he isn't nearly as human as I'd like, his more revolutionary ideas were some of the best and most advanced in the book. He definitely helped to balance out my growing dislike of Katniss. I also felt that the plot was even more unrealistic and gimmicky than in the first book. *Spoiler Alert* The fact that they ended up in the games again seemed a bit silly to me. It's like she had a great premise with the first book but didn't know where to go from there, so she just brought it back. I know it fit into the overall plot arch, but it just felt like a stretch to me. *End Spoiler* Also, I think that the cliff-hanger endings to both books were a bit over-dramatic. I know what she was going for, but I don't think it quite worked. The one good thing that carried over into this book was the action-packed prose. While it may not be the most sophisticated writing on the planet, it is certainly exciting. I feel that Collins handles fast-paced action sections better than the slower more emotional parts of the book, and though I still wanted more detail on the violent parts, I thought she stepped up the horror level a few notches in this book even without resorting to descriptive violence. Overall, I thought this book was lacking in both character and plot development. It definitely did not live up to my relatively low expectations.
Little Women. I don't know that there is a more daunting book to review. I honestly considered not reviewing it at all, and I'm not going to make anyLittle Women. I don't know that there is a more daunting book to review. I honestly considered not reviewing it at all, and I'm not going to make any promises that this review is going to make much sense. This book has been a favorite of young children ever since it was first published, and mothers read it to their daughters at bedtime even now. This book follows the March family, and tells the stories of the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they grow from girls into women. Other characters include their ever-loving mother and role model, Mrs March, their saint of a father, and their good friends and neighbors Laurie and his grandfather.
The wide popularity of this book made me rather excited to start reading it. After the first couple pages, my impression was that this was just like any other quality children's book, and I looked forward to the rest of the story. But as the pages went by, I started to notice that the book dwelt quite a bit on the moral lessons that the sisters were learning than on things like characterization or plot. Now, I love a book with a moral as much as anyone. In my opinion, the best books don't just tell a story, they have something to say about the world in which we live. But I prefer my morals to be gathered from the plot, not stated right out in the open by the characters or, even worse, the narrator. Morals are one thing, being preached at is another entirely. Sadly, that is the route that this book takes. So often the plot is disrupted by a paragraph (or two, or three) of lecturing by Mrs March, one of the sisters, or the narrator. That's permissible every now and then, but it happened at least once a chapter, often more, and after a couple hundred pages it started to get pretty old. For awhile I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to make it through this book, but I kept on reading, thinking that there must be something worthwhile eventually, or it wouldn't have lasted this long. And, to my surprise, I was (mostly) right.
This is a book that gets steadily better as it goes. The first half, maybe more, is so focused on the moral upbringing of the girls that it often lets plot fall by the wayside. But towards the end of the book the girls start to grow up and find love and lives of their own, and the plot becomes more apparent. The moralizing never really goes away, but near the end of the book the plot takes over to a point that the preaching is alright.
Usually if a book is low on plot it makes up for it by being more character driven. You'd think that since the main focus of the book is how the girls learn to be good women that a character driven plot would fit it perfectly. Sadly, I found the characterization to be a bit lacking as well. Each of the girls filled a certain stereotype. Beth was the sweet shy one, Jo was the tomboy, Meg was a good girl who just wanted to be rich like her friends, and Amy was the spoiled little one who cared too much about the opinions of others. Beth learns to trust other people, Jo learns to calm her temper, Meg learns that being poor doesn't matter, and Amy learns to be a sweet little lady. Those just seemed like the most predictably stereotypical things that could ever happen to these cookie-cutter girls. The only one that I could even care about was Jo, and that is because she is, for quite a bit of the book, the focus, and because she resembled me the most out of all the girls. But doesn't every girl who reads this book say that?
***Spoilers This Paragraph***
For me, one of the faults of this book was when Beth died. I felt like the author never made Beth anything more than a perfectly sweet little girl, so it was hard to really feel sad when she was gone. She wasn't a real character to me, just a tool the author used to teach the other characters, especially Jo, a lesson in humility and kindness. That said, I think the book gets much better after she dies, if only because that's when things start happening in both Amy and Jo's lives. Now, I was secretly rooting for Laurie and Jo to end up together the whole time, so I was a bit disappointed when that didn't happen. But, as soon as Laurie showed up in Europe with Amy I knew what was going to happen. It was interesting to see how quickly Amy turned from a spoiled brat into a really lovely young lady, second in goodness only to Beth. I'd say that by the time they were together, Amy and Laurie were indeed a perfect match. But where does that leave Jo, I wondered? It's a bit late in the story to introduce a new character. But then in comes the professor to save her from spinsterhood. I wasn't really sure how I felt about that to begin with. How much older that her is he? But she was so happy in the end, with her professor and her big house full of boys, that I couldn't argue.
The true beauty of this book was in the last chapter or so. Everyone goes into this book knowing that, in the end, everything is going to end up alright, so the sunny happy scene at the end of the last chapter should really come as no surprise. But somehow that ending, even though you're expecting it the whole time, really manages to ring true in a way that honestly surprised me. It leaves you feeling warm and peaceful, like everything is right with the world. I set out to finish the last part of this book just so I could review it and return it to the library once and for all, and even I smiled as I read that last page. The ending alone was enough to raise my rating a whole star.
All in all, though this book suffered from being too preachy and having rather stereotypical characters, I think that the intent of the book was good, and sometimes that really shines through, especially in the ending. I wouldn't read this book again, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone in particular, but I'm still glad that I at least read it just this once. It may not have been the best book I've read all year, but it was, in a strange and unexplainable way, somehow worth reading.
Ok people. All of you seem to be missing the point of this book (or at least the point that I saw.) I personally think you're all taking the atheism tOk people. All of you seem to be missing the point of this book (or at least the point that I saw.) I personally think you're all taking the atheism thing way too seriously. Yes, the bookwas written by an atheist. Yes, it has atheist themes in it. But there are more important things that I think you're overlooking.
*The rest of this review contains spoilers.*
Ok. What I took from this book was this: love is what's really important. Yes, there was the temptation and the death of God, but in the end it was their love for each other that saved things. That's all. Dust, that lifeblood of all the worlds, responded to their love. And while yes, Pullman dislikes and kills God, what he's trying to say is that love is what should guide us instead of God. God couldn't save the world or manipulate the dust, only the true love between the two children could. And the Republic of Heaven thing? He's trying to say that we have to work together to try to make the world as close to Heaven as we can. The fate of the world rests in our hands, and only with love and commitment can we make the world a heaven. It may be an idealistic goal, but it is better to strive for perfection and only get close than to never try and not make any progress. So for those of you who say this book is written by an atheist, yes, it is. So are many other books. But you have to understand that the overall message he is sending is applicable to everyone. And for those of you who say that you shouldn't write an atheist book that is aimed at children (young adults really) I would argue that C. S. Lewis shouldn't be writing Christian books for children either. It's all a matter of opinion, and there are people who find Christianity just as offensive as you find atheism to be. So if you can read your children Narnia, then I don't see why these books would be any different.
For a more generalized view, yes the book was crazy and contrived. I think he could have done a lot better. But it was definitely still worth reading, and it was definitely still entertaining. It could have been better, but I still loved it anyway. ...more
This book was very sweet. I liked the ending, I liked the characters, but mostly my favorite part was the poetry about Drualt. That stuff made me wantThis book was very sweet. I liked the ending, I liked the characters, but mostly my favorite part was the poetry about Drualt. That stuff made me want to be brave. I also liked the romance. I would recommend this for people who like fairy tale type books, or to any young girls who like adventure and romance. ...more
As the first book in the series, I thought that The Hunger Games was a pretty strong start. The plot moved ahead at a nice pace, and the action was veAs the first book in the series, I thought that The Hunger Games was a pretty strong start. The plot moved ahead at a nice pace, and the action was very engaging, even edge-of-the-seat a few times. I thought that the violence could have actually been a little more. A lot of it happened "off screen," and the violence that was shown wasn't very detailed. I personally would have felt Katniss's horror a lot more strongly if I could have clrealy seen the things she was going through.But since this is a Ya book, I understand her reasons for doing what she did, and I won't hold it against her.While the Games themselves might not be a really believable plot element, they aren't completely crazy either. The characters are a bit flat in this book, including the main characters. Gale is the stereotypical strong, protective, brother-figure turned romantic interest, while Peeta is the typical sweet, ever loving, ever loyal romantic interest that adores the main character no matter what she does to him. Katniss has few character traits at all aside from her overwhelming love for her family, her general stubbornness, and her magical abilities with the bow. I actually had a hard time liking her in any significant way, though I didn't actively dislike her either. Since we all knew from the beginning that Katniss was going to survive the Games, this book really had to impress me with how she survived. While most of the story was relatively predictable, there were a few elements that were fresh and surprising. Overall, I'd say that this was an average if promising book. If the next books picked up from here it could be a great series. After reading this I was willing, if not necessarily excited, to move on to book two.
I liked this book. It was simple, and very YA, but it was well written, both easy and captivating, and the reverence for books is something that I canI liked this book. It was simple, and very YA, but it was well written, both easy and captivating, and the reverence for books is something that I can relate to. I read Powers first, and it was nice to see Gry and Orrec again. It was simple, and maybe a little too spiritual, but I liked it. It was a good summer read....more
I liked this book. Ok, it may have been simple and I read it in half a day, but the writing was clear, the characters likable, and the story sweet. ItI liked this book. Ok, it may have been simple and I read it in half a day, but the writing was clear, the characters likable, and the story sweet. It was a great summer read, and definitely worth my time. I would suggest this book if you're in the mood for something light but not meaningless. ...more
This book is great. I love the character development. I became very emotionally attached to many of the characters to the point of yelling at the bookThis book is great. I love the character development. I became very emotionally attached to many of the characters to the point of yelling at the book towards the end. The writing style and voice changes depending on who is talking, which is a great way to contrast the characters. Often, when the characters are talking about one thing (a tree, for example) you will find that what they are saying has a lot more meaning than just the obvious. This book is a great read if you want characters you can fall in love with. It is for young adults, but if you want a fast read with interesting people it doesn't get much better....more
Don't read this. Trust me. Once you have read the first two books this one is just a terrible disappointment. It completely destroys the former plot lDon't read this. Trust me. Once you have read the first two books this one is just a terrible disappointment. It completely destroys the former plot line and characters, adds a new plot in and then refuses to resolve it, and has a terrible cliche ending that is a disgrace to the previous two. I repeat, do not read this book....more
This is another series that just gets better with every book. The worlds in which it is set are filled with intrigue and complicated interactions thatThis is another series that just gets better with every book. The worlds in which it is set are filled with intrigue and complicated interactions that make for excellent plot twists and multifaceted characters. The point at the end of the last book is excellent, and the ending perfectly bittersweet. Though it is written for teens and young readers, I honestly think that this book would be best appreciated by adults. I read it when I was too young to understand all the symbolism and allegory, and I plan on re-reading it this summer in hopes of catching all the things I missed. ...more
This series only gets better as the books go on. The first books sets up the main characters and the setting, but the second two books really developThis series only gets better as the books go on. The first books sets up the main characters and the setting, but the second two books really develop the characters and the political climate in which they live and the inner turmoil of their society. The characters are multifaceted and have varying motivations which are often conflicting. By the end of the series I was very emotionally invested in the characters and their well being. The ending of the last book ties up most of the loose ends, but leaves the characters in such a place that you can't stop thinking about them. All in all it's an excellent trilogy, and though it is meant for teenagers it would still be a great pleasure read for people of all ages....more