It starts slow but gets just as exciting as the first. I couldn't put it down and finished it in just a couple of days (would've been faster if I didnIt starts slow but gets just as exciting as the first. I couldn't put it down and finished it in just a couple of days (would've been faster if I didn't have to work!). Great cliffhanger made me pre-order Mockingjay so I wouldn't have to wait and see if the library was going to get it. Can't wait to see how it ends!...more
I'm on page 187 (chapter 21) and I'm really getting into this. I even peeped at the first chapter of the 3rd book that is in the back and I think CarrI'm on page 187 (chapter 21) and I'm really getting into this. I even peeped at the first chapter of the 3rd book that is in the back and I think Carrie Ryan is getting better. This book is so far better than the first. At first I disliked Gabry more than I did Mary in the first and thought I'd end up disappointed in this book. She seemed so very weak and unlikeable but things are getting better and more interesting. Even the first book was a real page-turner. I keep getting tempted to look ahead. I think I gave that one a three but I'm leaning toward a four on this one. We'll see.
UPDATE AS OF FINISHING: There are a lot of things I don't really like about this book - the repetition (how many times can Gabry kiss one guy and then kiss the other and wonder which one she should be with? How many times can she think about how she wants to go back to the way it used to be vs. what she should've done, how many times can she and one of the guys have an almost-kissing standoff, etc), the first-person present-tense narrative (I think if I wasn't so much inside Gabry's head I might actually like her more). When Gabry "learns her lesson" at the end, the first-person narrative of course has to have her explaining to us what she learned, which feels like I'm getting slapped in the face with "this is the moral of the story."
But Carrie Ryan is very, very good at suspense. I couldn't put this book down. I kept having to resist the urge to flip ahead while I was reading it. The urgency and the tension and stress were easy to feel. I did care what happened to the characters. I liked the best friend dynamic between Gabry and Cira (a nice difference from the first book when the girls were fighting over the same guy). She's good at describing sensation. In fact there were times where I felt like it was getting in the way of narrative (one character saying something important and Gabry has to stop and tell us how her body feels at this point. It's essential but overdone here, by my tastes).
The book pretty much rides on the strength of the suspense. Not everyone is a re-reader, but I am, and part of what I base my enjoyment on is whether I would enjoy reading a book more than once. I don't think I would read this one again. But I am glad I read it and now I really do want to read the third one, The Dark and Hollow Places. 3.5 stars (though it'll only let me do whole stars in the rating)....more
I haven't quite finished this yet, and I will, but as far as reviews go I'm calling it now.
The first two books rode on Ryan's suspenseful storytellingI haven't quite finished this yet, and I will, but as far as reviews go I'm calling it now.
The first two books rode on Ryan's suspenseful storytelling. In this one, I stopped caring. Maybe it's because it's been so long since I read the first two, but I just didn't care about the characters. I find Annah pretty unlikable. I don't care about her, Catcher, Gabry/Abigail/whatever her name is or Elias. I get angry with the abuses of the Recruiters but that's about it.
My main problems: -The whole first-person-present-tense with a completely inauthentic, overly poetical voice. No one would "think" like this. First person past tense would do a lot to improve it (someone with an artistic soul thinking back on events would be authentic enough) but this first-person-present trend is huge now, much to my annoyance. It makes it really hard to suspend my disbelief and it really really slows down the action AND takes me out of the story, whether something is happening or people are just talking. No one is that goddamn actively mentally aware of how their body is feeling and what they're thinking in the middle of a conversation or when something exciting is going on, at least not in such detail.
-The repetition, the constant circling around of coming together, pushing away, philosophizing about is surviving really living, should we envy the undead? It's gotten to the point where I'm not sure which character holds which opinion anymore. I went from one chapter where Annah is telling Catcher pretty much "live today for tomorrow we may die" to the very next, she's going on to Elias about how maybe dying/undying would be easier. I can see mood swings but two adjacent chapters of just talk talk talk (and I'm not averse to talk, or character development... if only we could get some!) is wearisome.
-Again, with the do I love this person, does he love me, I want you/I can't be with you, all taking place in the middle of post-zombie-apocalypse hell... Okay, so it's been awhile since I've been a teenager and these kids have grown up with the world like this (over a century, apparently, since the Return? I'm amazed anyone's still alive). It still strikes me as really bizarre that the romance drama would be anyone's primary concern right now. It was ridiculous enough when they were actively running from zombies.
I pretty much picked this one up just to finish the series (and if there's another book after this one, forget it, it ends with a trilogy for me). If Ryan is trying to simulate the tense boredom of the main character's daily existence, she's succeeded, bravo. Maybe I'm just getting too old for teenage love quadrangles.
EDIT: Screw it. I can't stand it anymore. I don't even care how the last few chapters go, I'm done....more
I didn't find this nearly as hard to put down as Mogworld, but it was an interesting take on the usual apocalypse fic, with a disaster in the form ofI didn't find this nearly as hard to put down as Mogworld, but it was an interesting take on the usual apocalypse fic, with a disaster in the form of a "monster" reminiscent of The Blob: a three-foot (usually) deep layer of jam (seriously, it smells like strawberries) that devours anything organic. I wasn't too fond of most of the characters and the "irony" obsessed settlement in the mall was really irritating (by design, I'm sure). Funny, but not as funny as Mogworld, that's all. I'm into post-apocalyptic fic too so it's not a genre interest concern. The part involving the mall takes up the majority of the plot and is probably the least interesting/most slow moving to me. I just wanted most of the characters to fall into the jam already....more
I read the revised/expanded edition, btw. This book made me feel like I accidentally picked up a book in the middle of a series instead of the first bI read the revised/expanded edition, btw. This book made me feel like I accidentally picked up a book in the middle of a series instead of the first book, but I'm taking it with a grain of salt after reading King's introduction where he explains a little about the writing of it and how young he was when he started writing it.
In the intro, King mentions something about having had the idea for the book when he was nineteen, or maybe he started when he was nineteen, and I can kind of see that in a few places (kind of weird, for instance, that the three women in the book (Alice, Sylvia, and the oracle) are depicted as sex-mad. Adolescent male fantasy indeed). I only felt like I vaguely knew what was going on through most of it, and there was a lot of back and forth in time, since he starts in the middle of the desert, thinks back to an encounter at the start of the desert where he tells a guy about what happened before the desert, and then goes back to present tense in the middle of the desert again. Steven, Steven, Steven, Creative Writing 101, buddy.
There are some words and ideas that aren't really explained that you can sort of get from context (also contributing to the in media res feeling). A few off the top of my head: ka, jilly girl, threaded, gunna. There is a glossary online, though: http://stephenking.com/darktower/glos...
Overall, I'm interested enough to keep reading (and since I have volumes one through six from a friend who couldn't get into it, I might as well) and I've started on the second and find it immediately more interesting....more
I definitely found this one more interesting than the first and more difficult to put down. I'm hoping this bodes well for the rest of the series. EddI definitely found this one more interesting than the first and more difficult to put down. I'm hoping this bodes well for the rest of the series. Eddie Dean's story, which takes up the first half of the book, was most interesting to me. Roland's culture shock at stuff in "our" world is pretty funny too....more
King made the rather strange decision to stick a prequel novel in the middle of this novel, which makes the events before the telling of his past feelKing made the rather strange decision to stick a prequel novel in the middle of this novel, which makes the events before the telling of his past feel like they were in the previous book (it wasn't until I flipped back to the beginning that I remembered the riddling of Blaine WAS in this installment). Unlike many reviewers, I did like the story of Roland's past, I just question how it was done here. Maybe King brushed it off as "time going soft" or something.
I did have a few sort of wry observations of the adventures of Roland, teenage sex god. Purely nitpicking: 1. I highly doubt a 14 year old whose only previous sex experience was one time with a prostitute (unless she took it upon herself to give him a crash course in how to please a woman - doubt it) would be able to bring even the most sexually awake teenage girl to ecstatic orgasm the first time they do it. For a girl who only discovered touching herself maybe that week, doubt increases. 2. Maybe King doesn't/didn't know this or he's following the beloved imagery trope to signal a girl's virginity passing, but I'd wager that virtually no girl who grew up riding horses has an intact hymen to break and cause the "pretty flowering" *shudder* of blood when she has sex for the first time.
Aside from all that, I did sympathize with the characters and enjoy the story. Cuthbert's my favorite probably because Eddie's my favorite and I just imagine a young Eddie since Roland always remarks how similar they are. There was some of the typical fairy tale old-done-woman-is-jealous-of-youth-and-beauty both from the "wicked witch" Rhea, who seems mostly pissed that Susan didn't let her have a taste of that *shudder* and from the spinster aunt who wasted her chance and is just incensed that her niece won't let her pimp her out for her own material comfort. Fie on them both.
And yes, when (view spoiler)[Susan died (hide spoiler)] I choked up, even though I knew it was coming because I have a bad habit of flipping ahead just to poke around and catch bits and pieces. It's almost enough to make me prefer ebooks (though then it's harder to flip BACK and I hate that). Anyway yes, tragic, sad, poor kiddos.
The Wizard of Oz shoutout at the end was kind of weird, and it seems to highlight how these books seem to be just semi-arbitrary chunks of one enormous novel that he's just hacking down into digestible pieces. Or it's King's way to cliff-hang us a little. But yeah, making the whole novel a framing for another novel, I can see why some people really disliked it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Despite my annoyance with the Calla dialect (say thankya big big... ugh) I liked this one more than the previous, especially when things got grippingDespite my annoyance with the Calla dialect (say thankya big big... ugh) I liked this one more than the previous, especially when things got gripping near the end. It also made me want to take another crack at Salem's Lot, which I couldn't get into the first time I tried to read it. ...more
There are a lot of great, thought-provoking and amusing little gems in this one. While I doubt they all will appeal to any one person, I think there'sThere are a lot of great, thought-provoking and amusing little gems in this one. While I doubt they all will appeal to any one person, I think there's something for every sci-fi fan. Some great story-starters that I hope the author might continue one day. Many were a lot less flash-fiction as in a complete story (which is very hard to do - flash fiction in general is hard to do "right") than something that might be the first chapter or first page or two of a longer story, but that's fine with me....more