Bartimaeus is what drives this book and makes it worthwhile reading. The story jumps between two points of view: Nathaniel, the young Magician, which...moreBartimaeus is what drives this book and makes it worthwhile reading. The story jumps between two points of view: Nathaniel, the young Magician, which is third person, and Bartimaeus who delights us in first person narration, complete with footnotes that act as side quips. I thought that I would be frustrated by the footnotes because they normally drag you away from whatever it is you’re reading, but they turned out to be funny and not that distracting.
Nathaniel is somewhat of an annoying brat, and as Bartimaeus has said, too clever for his own good. In this world, magicians don’t actually have their own power, they must summon djinni (or, as Nathaniel’s master calls them: demons) to do their bidding. It is a master-slave type relationship. Nathaniel may be strong for his age and shows a lot of potential, but there are certain aspects of being a magician that he clearly lacks the knowledge of and maturity to deal with these things. Bartimaeus is a wizened (and honorable, as he says) djinni, so we mostly learn the important things from him.
Although Jonathan Stroud’s writing style and word choice is quite nice, it somehow distanced from the story rather than sucking me in. I kept noticing the nice flow and almost flowery or poetic language, but in some ways it reminded me of reading my textbooks – too many big words and your mind starts straying. My mind didn’t actually stray, but I wasn’t able to connect to the story as much as I would have liked, and it was easier to set the book down and come back to it at a later time.
This book turned out far better than the first 100 pages promised. What is a little disappointing in this book is that we don’t get to see as much fro...moreThis book turned out far better than the first 100 pages promised. What is a little disappointing in this book is that we don’t get to see as much from Bartimaeus as we did in the first book. Nathaniel wasn’t that likable of a character to begin with, and if anything, he’s gotten worse. This is perhaps why the beginning of the book wasn’t quite as enjoyable. This book also introduces us to Kitty, a member of the Resistance. While clearly not quite as fun as Bartimaeus as a narrator, Kitty’s story adds depth and interest that helped to redeem my initial indifference.
Despite the fact this book is the 5th book in a series, it stands on its own quite well. There was some character building that I ob...moreActual rating: 2.5
Despite the fact this book is the 5th book in a series, it stands on its own quite well. There was some character building that I obvious missed by not reading previous books, but it was not detrimental to the plot line. What I did struggle with, however, was the short chapters. This wasn’t James Patterson short chapters where there is often a new chapter every couple pages, but there are 103 chapters in 438 pages. If I were to channel Tara on this, I think I would term it “Short Chapter Syndrome.” Short chapters splinter my attention and makes it harder for me to keep reading. The end of chapters should propel readers forward, making it irresistible to turn the page and keep reading. Short chapters have the opposite effect on me – rather than being drawn into the story, I get bored and set the book down for a few minutes before continuing.
When I’m not drawn into a story, I start getting more critical because I am less emotionally involved. David Baldacci’s writing style was great, but I experienced a few hiccups along the way. The use of exclamation marks by Oliver Stone, the legendary ex-spy, is an example. If you’ve been trained to keep a cool head, barking out your surprise over something just doesn’t make sense to me. The plot itself was intriguing and actually probably one of the better parts of the book. I liked Oliver Stone, but his character felt distant and like he held things back from us, the reader. This could certainly be intentional, but one could also see by his actions that he was perhaps not as distant as it first may seem. On this point, I wonder if not reading previous books is the culprit here – would I connect with Oliver Stone more if this wasn’t my first Camel Club book? I don’t have an answer for that.
This high stakes game, meeting with the president, the involvement of high ranking government officials, so much death… it was hard to swallow as possible. That this was a fictional novel was always at the back of my mind, which is silly, because I’ve swallowed less likely books as plausible. Again, this could just be the degree that I was drawn into the book. It’s the author’s job to draw their readers into the world he or she has created. What draws in readers will differ. For me, I wasn’t engaged. But I have no doubt that many people out there would love this book.
I was not really sure where Suzanne Collins would take this series after The Hunger Games, but what happened took me by surprise. Even with how widely popular this series has been and how many people I know who have read (and either loved or hated) this series, I have managed to isolate myself from everything. The only thing I knew about Catching Fire was that the love triangle came to play in full force.
And it does. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Well, wait. So maybe I can never be completely satisfied with any story that has a love triangle, no matter how well executed they are. Let’s just clear that up (in case there was any ever doubt). But there are a couple reasons why this one works. 1. Peeta and Gale both represent paths Katniss can take for the future, and they both represent integral parts of her past. She could not be who she is without those experiences — or people. 2. Katniss is not your typical heroine; she’s more focused on keeping her loved ones alive than on romance. In some ways, this makes it makes the choice of which hero to choose less rooted in emotion and more in logic. Kind of. I caught myself switching sides occasionally, which is not something I do. It seemed to be more who is the right fit for Katniss more than anything else. The boyfriend said he was team Katniss. I see the logic in this.
So, there. I’m team Katniss.
As though the idea of a world that makes a concept such as the Hunger Games possible isn’t horrifying enough, Catching Fire brings even more stark horror to the world. The reach and strength of the Capital is stunning in its absoluteness. Just when you think there might be triumph, it is squashed. Ruthlessly, and with much blood shed. It took me the better part of the first part of the book to really get into the story, but once I did, I found it hard to put down. I cursed myself for not being able to read faster. Catching Fire is the type of book that has you wanting to seek out spoilers or flip to the back of the book. I’m going to resist the obvious comparison that the story makes you feel like you’ve caught fire and the only way to put out the flames is to read faster, and just move on. No silly analogies to see here. Run along now.
If I remember correctly, I believe that Katniss bothered me a bit in The Hunger Games. Her characters grows (or perhaps adapts is a better word) in Catching Fire. Her feelings tend to swing wildly, but it is mainly in response to the politics of… well, everything that is happening in the districts. She cracks. She becomes human. She is absolutely determined to do whatever she feels is what is right. And this time, there is far more at work than she could guess, which leads to a nasty cliffhanger.
But Catching Fire is still good. Very good. As good as or better than The Hunger Games.(less)
So, we have finally arrived at the end, haven’t we? I had not originally planned to do this as a double review [with Catching Fire], but I don’t know that there is really much to say about this book. While I did not hate Mockingjay as some do, I do think it is the weakest of the three books. It just doesn’t have the gripping story line that both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire did. Mockingjay does have an eerie distrustfulness to it, though, that makes it bleak and hopeless. One would think that being rescued by District 13 would actually be a good thing. It is not. It is just as bad. Or worse.
Life under the Capitol with yearly Hunger Games is brutal enough, but there is something about the war and the rebels in Mockingjay that reveal the true brutality of human nature. No side is exempt from this brutality, and I think almost every character goes through their own period of utter ruthlessness. Sometimes it was really hard to like the characters we had come to love (or, like reasonably well) and sometimes — okay, most of the time — they were put through some really shitty situations. These characters change. Drastically. No one comes out unscathed.
And I kind of liked how much hell Suzanne Collins put her characters through.(less)
There is no second book slump syndrome for Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles series. Wow. Like Cinder, Scarlet was the kind of book that makes...more4.5
There is no second book slump syndrome for Marissa Meyer and the Lunar Chronicles series. Wow. Like Cinder, Scarlet was the kind of book that makes you panic when the pages start dwindling because you don’t want the story to end. I cannot get enough of this story, these characters, and this world. 2014 is too long to wait for the next story!
In Scarlet, we’re introduced to Scarlet (shocking!) and Wolf. Scarlet is a very loosely retold version of Red Riding Hood–complete with red hoodie. What I love about both Lunar Chronicle books is that while being a retelling, these books are so much more. With Cinder’s story arc still continuing into this book, we get to see the world expand and grow in ways that are unique and exciting. So many THINGS HAPPEN!
Though we don’t get to spend as much time with Cinder this time around, we do get introduced to more characters and more, er, stuff. (Sorry. Vagueness needed to ensure no spoilers.) This is Scarlet and Wolf’s story and what a fun one it is. (No, really. It was a “grip the book in your fingers and fly through the words because that scene was so incredibly SWOONY” type story.) I loved the push and pull between Scarlet and Wolf. Their story is different from Cinder and Kai’s, but at the same time it involves a lot of the same elements. (No, I won’t say which.)
And I don’t think I can write this review without mentioning Captain Thorne. He just tickled me silly. Thorne also does a very good job of highlighting the subtle humor that is pervasive throughout the Lunar Chronicles. It’s good fun–the kind of humor that occasionally catches you off guard, but you find yourself cackling at. I want more of Thorne and his “heavy American accent” and I seriously hope he’ll make an appearance in future books. (And Scarlet and Wolf. I want more of them, too. I want ALL THE CHARACTERS.)
Reread: Thorne. Wolf and Scarlet. This book.(less)
How I love this series. Though I can't say that book 3 is my favorite, I adored Winston and Poppy. Through Firelight and Moonglow, we've only had the...moreHow I love this series. Though I can't say that book 3 is my favorite, I adored Winston and Poppy. Through Firelight and Moonglow, we've only had the privilege of seeing this couple from the perspective of others.
And such a distorted perspective it is.
Both Winston and Poppy carry their own secrets. Moonglow left Winston nearly dead and his marriage to Poppy shattered. It was the kind of ending that had me dying to pick up Winterblaze as soon as possible.
DYING. (Figuratively, not literally. In case you were worried.)
So when the boyfriend's mom asked me if I wanted to borrow her library copy while she had it, I said, "YES!" (I also said thank you. I'm polite like that.)
The Darkest London series has a way of cutting through any type of reading "slump" I seem to have. This series just has that quality that pulls me in and doesn't let go. The world we were exposed to in Firelight has grown and expanded and gotten smaller at the same time. Winterblaze builds on what Moonglow opened up and I am excited and anxious to get my hands on Shadowdance.
Though I loved Winston and Poppy as characters, their romance wasn't my favorite. They loved each other--clearly. They made mistakes--obviously. But what kept them apart was their stubborn pride and it made me want to sit them down and tell them, "Listen. Let it go. Move on. You two are meant to be together. Also? A little more sexin' and a lot less wantin' would be nice. Y'all are hurting me a little too here."
I sincerely hope that the Darkest London series does not end with Shadowdance. This world that Kristen Callihan has created--and the love stories within it--has made this series one of my favorites. Winterblaze has only strengthened that.(less)
Hi. HI. I love Julia Quinn. Many talk about how much they love the Bridgertons, but I didn’t start my Julia Qu...more*flails all over you until it’s awkward*
Hi. HI. I love Julia Quinn. Many talk about how much they love the Bridgertons, but I didn’t start my Julia Quinn reads with this series, which is often suggested you do.
(I don’t always follow suggestions.)
Even so, words cannot convey how much I adore this family and how Julia Quinn portrays them. I love the Bridgertons. I could read an entire book devoted to their antics. And because I started with book 7 (who am I?), seeing them at the very beginning was that much better.
I was so excited for the rest of the books that I bought book 2 and requested book 3. Everyone says book 4 is the one to die for. Or that it’s their favorite. Because Colin. I can already see it. And I am excited.
But the duke. And Daphne. This isn’t necessarily my favorite couple. I wasn’t always fond of the duke and his choices. (Sorry, Simon, but Daphne was so right it hurt.) But I couldn’t help getting swept up in their romance. And for me? That’s a win.
Julia Quinn is the ultimate comfort read. And I can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series.(less)
Before we get moving on this review, I feel it necessary to confess that I read this on a Friday night while drinking, and I'm quite sure this colo...more3.5
Before we get moving on this review, I feel it necessary to confess that I read this on a Friday night while drinking, and I'm quite sure this colored my view of the book because I was, as I recall, quite tipsy for parts of it.
Which may actually be a good thing. I mean, this book follows Romancing Mister Bridgerton, and that book was amazing. I started reading this one and wanted to reread RMB. (And that wasn't the alcohol talking.) That's a hard act to follow.
But this one. Eloise's part of the story here actually begins in Romancing Mister Bridgerton, so I was quite looking forward to picking To Sir Phillip, With Love up. (Also, thanks Daphne for lending it.) And though I found the conflict to be... oh, I don't know, more on the tame side, I still enjoyed the book. Especially the brothers.
But how could you not love the Bridgerton brothers? That is a big part of why this series is so much fun.
So. Phillip and Eloise. And the children. I loved seeing Eloise interact with them and find a way to bring Sir Phillip and his kids together. That was sweet and not completely angsty (which I find weird saying that I wanted more angst), but again, a big part of the plot.
Oh. But. I adored the awkwardness between Sir Phillip and Eloise when they met for the first time. A lot of parallels to meeting people online. Totally different experience! It was adorable. And now I need the rest of the Bridgerton series.(less)