As a bridge between Wizard and Glass & Wolves of the Calla, this book couldn't be more perfect. It draws on the dark, down-to-earth nostalgia of g...moreAs a bridge between Wizard and Glass & Wolves of the Calla, this book couldn't be more perfect. It draws on the dark, down-to-earth nostalgia of growing up in a harsh, mean world that Wizard did beautifully, but it also introduces the bat-shit crazy, heady material of alternate dimensions and dense mythos that Wolves began introducing in its later pages. So it may not move the overall plot forward, but it's not supposed to. That plot already ended eight years ago. This is a bridge book. A book meant for newcomers to the series to read as The Dark Tower 4.5, and in that head-space, it's up there with the best of King's work. (less)
This'll be a nostalgic review for the whole Pokemon chapter book series.
Oh, the memories.
Most specifically of waking up hours before everyone else wh...moreThis'll be a nostalgic review for the whole Pokemon chapter book series.
Oh, the memories.
Most specifically of waking up hours before everyone else whilst on vacation in our family camper, leaning over for the stack of (then super long at a grand total of 100 pages) Pokemon paperbacks, and having awesome adventures with Ash and the gang. As a child who was wholly prohibited from any sort of pet (sans fish... whoopee for me) the Pokemon phenomenon offered me a form of escapism. Hell, who wants a lame and adorable dachshund when you can have a fucking fire-breathing dragon, amiright? Well, that's what I convinced myself, anyway. Listen, it was either this or those bitch-ass Tamagotchi's and I was NOT going to be the only loser on the block with one of those pussy robots.
I loved imagining the fantastic world where the series took place; where teens could, like Ash, shirk all responsibilities to nurture rare and wild creatures, battle other trainers, and have crazy adventures. I had the games (ahmygawd Pokemon Stadium on the 64 was my LIFE), the cards, the clothes, the underwear, hell I even remember these little plastic squishy toys that had marbles on the bottom you could fake battle with on hard floors.
I usually say my hardcore life as a bibliophile began with Harry Potter... but ya know I didn't even start that craze until the second or so book was out. And considering my friends and I held secret recess meetings to trade cards after they were banned (man were we rebels) in about the third or fourth grade, I'd be confident in saying it was Pokemon that got me to start reading. Well, you know, actual books. Not just skimming through those infuriating Highlight magazines and doing the search-and-find puzzles.
I loves me some Pokemans (except Jigglypuff; Jigglypuff is lame and always will be). I will forever berate my mother for getting rid of these childhood gems.
Pokemon was my childhood. This was my bible. If only my mother didn't get rid of all my Pokemon things after I grew up, I would have a nostalgia overl...morePokemon was my childhood. This was my bible. If only my mother didn't get rid of all my Pokemon things after I grew up, I would have a nostalgia overload.
Pretty fun and quite an easy read. Basically a disgruntled and unlucky-in-love college English professor orders a Kindle (to spite his ex... yeah) and...morePretty fun and quite an easy read. Basically a disgruntled and unlucky-in-love college English professor orders a Kindle (to spite his ex... yeah) and gets this pink version that accesses the literary backlogs of over a million other universes. In some worlds Shakespeare lived five more years, and put out a couple more plays, and in some JFK wasn't assassinated. It's your usual parallel universe paradox stuff. What's great here is some really smart connections to the Dark Tower. Which, for whatever reason, I didn't even realize until they were thrown in my face. But for two bucks, yeah, totally worth it.
Now I have to get back to required school reading after my little oasis on Stephen King island. *sigh*(less)
It's been five years since this series started. I read the first book way back in my first semester of college, weaving it between forced-to-read book...moreIt's been five years since this series started. I read the first book way back in my first semester of college, weaving it between forced-to-read books about the Dust Bowl and Shakespeare. I loved it, and I still think it's one of the best-paced and plotted YA books out there. And here we are at the end of the series already. Some questions answered and some others apparently completely forgotten.
Light, the puzzlingly titled final book of the GONE series, continues Fear's tradition of being a just sorta-okay book with a straightforward plot, predictable outcomes, and excess mayhem that borders on torture-porn at this point. But it's still fun, in some really confusing way. At this point in the series, with five books of character development and build-up, you know who these people are. You know their beats and emotions and thought-processes and you root for them easily. But there's no surprises left in them. Sam is brave. Astrid is smart. Dekka is brash. Breeze is self-fullfilled but courageous. The only one of these that I'd say does show a spark of change is Astrid, and that's only in one disgustingly awesome scene in the final pages of the book.
And it's the same for the overall plot. What you think will happen happens. It is the final book in the series and it knows that. It goes about its business hitting all the required points - the characters are discouraged and separated in the beginning, a tragic occurrence herds them together in the middle, the villain is beaten but not destroyed and comes back for final vengeance in the end. It's all here. It's still well-written and impressive that Grant kept it all straight and managed to end it at ALL, so that's something. But there's no final twist, no big AH-HA moment that brings back something from earlier books and forces you to think of it all differently. There's a final conversation between two characters that ends the book and teases you with a big final revelation or something unknown, but nope - nothing. Just a rehash of an info-dump that the reader already knew about but that one character didn't. And then it just ends.
For that matter I think too much time is spent on the aftermath of the FAYZ and not enough on that overused word "endgame." The final confrontation with this all-knowing and all-evil alien monster lasts about five sentences and then we see Sam and friends marvel at stuff on the outside for fifty-something pages. Water bottles! Bed sheets! MCDONALDS! This is all well and fine but better-fitted to a ten-or-so page epilogue, not nearly 1/4 of the book.
Not to shift blame too much on these final chapters, because that before-mentioned final confrontation is definitely part of the problem. I'm not asking for an epic 100 page final showdown, but there's no real sense of build-up to that kill shot. No we-have-to-weaken-her-first or any such cliche; once they get to the thing they've been talking about the entire book not sure if it'd work, it works immediately. I usually like going against the grain of cliches, but it's sorta to the detriment of the story here. This thing is wam-bam-thankya-mam and done. And the actual act used in the moment, the myriad byzantine rules and laws that are never explained, and the powers on display that we've never seen before pulled out at the last second to finally put an end to the bad guy? It feels... cheap... and the ultimate disgrace: lazy. Also, and in the mix of mutated concrete children and a little girl infected with a megalomaniacal alien parasite with a god complex, kinda silly.
These "Aftermath" chapters go on too long, and wind up being utterly pointless. They build up that all the kids (well, some, anyway) will have to be tried, forced to pay for their crimes, fess up to their actions in the FAYZ. And it's all solved in a single line with ten pages left of the book. No more prison, no more lawyers, no need to face their past. It's a bullshit, easy solution and is such a cheap way out for the end of the series. Not to mention it reminded me of the "Outside" chapters of Fear that felt ultimately pointless, too. I would have rathered a finale that ended with the dome lifting and the characters walking to uncertain fates, no bow-ties on presents of resolutions. But that's just me.
The focus here is on action and violence and shocking the reader, and less on mystery and intrigue and atmosphere. The gross violence (something I hate saying I don't like, because I'm really never bothered by it in any medium) is explained and has a valid plot point here, but there's just SO MUCH of it that by the end you really don't give a flying fuck that the upteenth child has been slaughtered. The quiet moments hit harder, like when Sam thinks on how kids died in car seats in the early days - babies left alone to starve or toddlers dead from car crashes. A kid getting a yacht dropped on him running through the desert? Not so much.
I guess that's it. There are other picks I could nit, like my confusion over the early mysteries of the series (the monster kids saw when they poofed and others) and why Gaia didn't just stay invisible and slaughter everyone with a rusty knife and be done with it, but I guess I'll leave it at that. My last review of a GONE book. It was fun, it was exciting, and then it kinda wasn't anymore. These aren't contemporary masterpieces by any means, but I still really like this series and would recommend it to those looking for a solid and generally exciting sci-fi read. Because you can call this series many things, but one thing it ain't is boring.(less)
Goodreads defines a 2/5 rating as "It was okay." And that is the perfect sentence to use in describing the fifth chapter in the GONE series.
It was......moreGoodreads defines a 2/5 rating as "It was okay." And that is the perfect sentence to use in describing the fifth chapter in the GONE series.
It was... okay.
Trying to figure out why I didn't undyingly love it like the other books is hard. Maybe because of the promise of the set up and lack of payoff. Diana's baby, the impending darkness, the inevitable battle with Drake. The way I thought each of these things would end ended exactly that way. It felt predictable and anti-climactic and so disappointing being the penultimate book in the series. The stakes feel low and unimportant going into the final book.
And, finally, what I feared would happen as this series progressed is finally happening. A lack of answers is gnawing away at my ability to give any fucks. I read an interview with Grant where he said "I give a lot of the answers up in FEAR." I can't tell you a single thing I learned that I didn't already know from previous books. Petey caused the anomaly. Diana's baby will be evil. The adults are okay outside the dome. And maybe it's not so much a lack of answers but a lack of compounding on the answers we already know. HOW did Petey do this? WHY were the kids developing powers before the FAYZ? What the hell kind of rip in the fabric in time and space resulted in Petey's omniscient and ethereal magical god powers after he died? AND WHAT DOES ANY OF THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE DOME GROWING DARK?
Even patterns from previous books are growing evident: Drake will get away in the end after a mild scuffle, random unimportant children will die horribly but have no emotional impact, someone will be bitching about SOMETHING (this time it's lack of darkness).
And those "Outside" chapters? In the beginning they were cool and fun and different and exciting. But there is something huge that is supposed to happen that just kinda never does and it makes all of these tangents to the outside world feel pointless. Okay Sam's mom misses him. Okay she's sleeping with some military dude. These people have absolutely NO idea what is going on with the dome, either. So what does any of it matter?
I don't know what's gonna happen in LIGHT, but I hope something does. FEAR felt like a blind person meandering aimlessly through the desert in pitch black darkness. OH, wait! That is what most of the characters do for 75% of this book.
I'm happy there's only one book left. And, at this point, I would rather a crazy it-was-all-an-alien-experiment explanation than what will inevitably never be explained and always simply be: the retard did it.
I imagine that chick from Eat Pray Love owes a lot to this book. Some rich and successful but oh-so-depressed dillhole decides to go to Africa because...moreI imagine that chick from Eat Pray Love owes a lot to this book. Some rich and successful but oh-so-depressed dillhole decides to go to Africa because, you know, foreign countries have ALL the answers because they're SO mysterious!
I don't even feel like explaining. Henderson is a grade A asshole, even when he starts to "become" or whatever the fuck that means. I didn't care about him. I didn't care whether he "became" and I didn't care whether that baby tiger he takes home with him on the plane retaliated against his captors and devoured everyone on board. Okay, maybe that would have made me like it a bit more.
The way it's written is almost stream-of-consciousnesses so Henderson constantly jumps back to compare events that are going on in the present with stuff in the past that we as readers don't even know about yet. After a while, I skimmed most of it, honestly, and got the plot holes filled in by sparknotes, and will be ready to put the words "I want, I want" as much as possible on my quiz in school.
If there is one thing it does well, it rockets boredom to new frontiers. And I now know that everyone that "loves" this book, like The Sound and the Fury, is either A) Trying to impress someone into thinking they are a literary scholar who totally love existential crises in fiction because it really shows off our bare-bones human nature, ya know? or B) Are exactly like Henderson and need to stop reading depressing shit and pick up a Harry Potter book or something.(less)
Colossally underwhelming. Maybe the whole "classic" status had me awaiting utter brilliance with it's cool alien-abduction stuff going on, but I was s...moreColossally underwhelming. Maybe the whole "classic" status had me awaiting utter brilliance with it's cool alien-abduction stuff going on, but I was sideswiped by mediocrity on more than one occasion. It turns out it isn't about aliens at all, it's about war. The bombing of Dresden, to be precise. That's cool, I just read The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien and pretty much loved it. I'm not against war books all-together. I just did not care about this book's characters. Not. One. Bit.
It starts with a narrator (which I assumed was meant to be Vonnegut, I dunno) introducing us to Billy Pilgrim. Billy has become "unstuck" in time, and now bounces from one moment in life to the other. In one of these moments he gets abducted by aliens and put in a zoo on their home planet Tralfamadore. Absurd moments like this are coupled with Billy's march through WWII as a cowardly soldier and his survival of the Dresden bombing.
It seems like a good idea, but I just really really did not enjoy Billy. He was so spineless and uncaring that I became disconnected with him after the first chapter. Yeah you can say that Tralfamadorians are uncaring and apathetic because their whole view of time (basically that all moments of a person's life are happening at the same time, so it doesn't matter if you die, you're living still because you were before) but I don't buy that shit for one minute. He was just so listless about everything, I became the same way about the book. And none of the supporting characters help in the slightest. Hell, I can barely remember their names.
The book even acknowledges this listlessness. Look at this:
"There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces."
Okay so it's self-referential, does that make it an easier pill for me to swallow or any of the characters more interesting? Nope.
Hugely disappointing, considering it was a school book I was pretty excited to read about. I liked the Tralfamadorian's crazy metaphysical views on life and the universe (well besides how it completely nullifies any possible plot or story progression, because we know from the get-go what will happen), but I just felt like everything else grated on me as I read it. The sudden shifts in time, the short-structured sentences and the boring characters.
Oh and if I EVER see the phrase "So it goes" again in my life, I will gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork.(less)
This book was definitely... different. I was a little lost in the beginning as to who was narrating and when Jack Nicholson's character would come in...moreThis book was definitely... different. I was a little lost in the beginning as to who was narrating and when Jack Nicholson's character would come in (pretty sure I thought he was the narrator at one point). But I'll just write that up to having just come off the clusterfuck of the stream-of-consciousness that was The Sound and the Fury.
But once you get really into it, it's quite enjoyable. The entire thing takes place on a mental ward at the local crazy-bin, and the characters are delightfully wacky and quirky. What I loved most was how we are seeing all of this, through the eyes of the one guy that never says a thing and claims to be deaf and mute. Obviously a lie since we are reading about what the guy is hearing, after all.
But along comes Randle McMurphy, gambler, ladies' man and general hound dog. He clashes immediately with the ward's figurehead and warden, Nurse Ratched, and their fights are the backbone of the book. He challenges her, opening up a room for the guys to gamble, sneaking in prostitutes, organizing an off-grounds field trip full of drinking and sex, and it is quite entertaining just to see how far he'll push her.
It's just the end that made this a four star for me. For such a generally happy and funny book (considering it's setting) the denouement completely lost me. I loved the lengths Nurse Ratched goes to quiet McMurphy, it really shows how someone wound so tight will always unravel. But what I didn't get was what the narrator does. I assume it was out of pity, but I dunno.
I hadn't been itching to read this, but I had generally been interested in it, so I won't use the word "forced" for it being a school book. Let's just say "scheduled", yeah? So as a book I was scheduled to read, it was definitely a great surprise. Besides the depressing ending.(less)
Told from the point of view of an outsider of the finer things in life (despite his wealthy upbringing), The Great Gatsby was a surprisingly easy and....moreTold from the point of view of an outsider of the finer things in life (despite his wealthy upbringing), The Great Gatsby was a surprisingly easy and... dare I say it about a required school reading novel... enjoyable.
Given the fact that my preconceptions about the book were just that it was "that book about jazz-era socialites" (which I'm pretty sure is how everyone views it who hasn't read it), my enjoyment of it definitely surprised me. It's basically a who's-sleeping-with-who-these-days scandal story, but all the characters seemed so blase about everyone's tumbles-in-the-hay, it felt almost refreshing. Despite it being over half a century old.
The narrator, Nick, moves into a little bungalow in the shadow of a mountainous mansion, owned by a man named Gatsby, on Long Island, New York. The entire novel follows the proceeding events of one summer, from Nick and Gatsby's first meet, their budding friendship, and everyone elses dirty secrets coming to light.
Gatsby hosts these extravagant parties, but only does it so Daisy (Nick's second cousin once removed) will come over, because he fell in love with her ten years ago, but he had to go to war and now she's married. Her husband, Tom, is having an affair with some mechanic's wife back in the city. At the same time, Nick falls into a superficial relationship with Daisy's pro-golfer friend Jordan. After a while, Daisy rekindles her love with Gatsby and properly begins her own affair.
Like I previously mentioned, my favorite part about the book was the jadedness most of the characters have towards adultery. Very early on Jordan mentions Tom's mistress to Nick as if she's discussing in boring detail her last loss on the golf course. And even after Tom and Daisy discover the other's secrets (I have a feeling they do very earlier on than is actually brought to light in the story) they act as if it was going to happen anyway. Well Tom freaks out a little, but Gatsby sort of goads him on.
Overall, definitely one of my favorite had-to-reads I've come across.(less)
This is not the kind of book I read. You guys know that. Considering this, I guess it exceeded expectations. It's pretty depressing and almost constan...moreThis is not the kind of book I read. You guys know that. Considering this, I guess it exceeded expectations. It's pretty depressing and almost constantly sad, but I really liked most of the characters and the short-burst epistolary format made it super easy to read. Also, I don't think I would be the only one, but I loved the message of how writing freed Celie. She has outstanding development from the beginning of the book to the end, and despite her slight inferior intelligence to her sister, Nettie, I just got the sense that the letters she wrote helped her grow. Really cool message, I thought.
I didn't get the whole Mr._______ thing though. Why couldn't he be named? I never knew what to say in my head when that came up so I just, literally, started calling him Blank.
Just three more books left for school this semester. I can do this.(less)
I'm surprised by how much I liked this. I've never been a big fan of stories about wars and loss and all that depressing crap. But there's just someth...moreI'm surprised by how much I liked this. I've never been a big fan of stories about wars and loss and all that depressing crap. But there's just something here that makes this story in particular feel special.
It's presented as a group of separate stories, but it's not really at all. They all connect in that the author, O'Brian, was there to witness them all. A fact that I wasn't aware of until starting the book. It gives it an air of immediacy and truth that hooks you real fast. It also helps that chapters are short and snappy, as is the overall book.
It's just the writing. It's haunting and disturbing (he talks about how great and loving his fellow squad mates are, and in the next sentence describes how they were shot in the head the next week, or blown to smithereens by a land mine), yet hopeful. The last story in particular, describing a childhood crush and her ensuing death, was so. Goddamn. Sad. Oh. My. God. Seriously, I couldn't get a warning about these things? His guilt, shame and ghosts are all there, for the entire world to read. Saying it took guts to write this down would be an understatement.
So yeah, if you aren't a fan of war stories, this is the war story for you. Honestly, when I was a kid and September 11th happened, we were learning about wars like Vietnam and how the government drafted young guys into the war. I was TERRIFIED. I didn't want to grow up in this scary world of war and be forced to fight for something I didn't even understand. This actually happened to this guy. He was just out of high school when he got the draft letter (his story about his break for Canada is one of my favorites), and, I don't know, despite it not happening to me, seeing it happen to someone else was really eye-opening.
It was just too much (depression, deaths of best friends and first crushes, suicides, use your imagination) sometimes.(less)
Okay. Here's the thing. I completely understand where everyone is coming from and why this is considered one of the greatest novels in American litera...moreOkay. Here's the thing. I completely understand where everyone is coming from and why this is considered one of the greatest novels in American literary history. It was just such of an uphill climb to get to the good stuff (which wasn't much once I got there, anyway) that I was nowhere near touting its greatness and tripping over myself to proclaim my undying love for it like, I don't know, scholarly folk.
Let me dumb it down for you, like I am very glad my teach is doing for me.
It's basically about this family, the Compsons, slowly falling apart. The brothers, Benjy (a 33 man with the mind of a 3 year old), Quentin (the eldest son whose values are very much embedded in the code of the South) and Jason (who is kind of evil). They are all obsessed (which I felt was a strong word when starting the book, and too kind a word once finished) with their sister, Caddy.
The book is broken up into different sections, each being told by a brother, but being very much a story focused on Caddy. Benjy's section is ridiculously infuriating. Being mentally handicapped, he can really only sense, well, his senses. He has no grasp on time, so when he comes up to a fence in the present, he flashes back to a memory from 30 years earlier of the same fence, but can't grasp that it is a memory. The reader has no forewarning of these occurrences, they just happen, very often in mid-sentence. The gist here is that Caddy is the only thing that calms Benjy, and among an uncaring family, she is the only to seem to care for him.
Quentin's section is somehow even more annoying. He obsesses over time (which is quite unsettling to read about after just reading 50 pages of a character that doesn't even KNOW what time is) and Caddy. Her promiscuous ways (having a child out of wedlock) confuse the heck out of him, and what is hinted at in Benjy's section is more solidified here.
And Jason, well he blames Caddy's bastard daughter for everything (she cost him a job) and is angry at everyone and cruel for no reason. And for the mere fact of being understandable, his section was the best.
So, I by no means hated it. I loved how each brother's major faults and failings all come by the hand of their sister, but she never even sees this occurring. She, in no conscious effort, caused Benjy to become castrated, but it happened due to her actions. She never meant for Quentin to resort to such drastic measures, but he does because of her.
It's just those first two sections that were way too off-putting to get any sort of enjoyment out of (I mean seriously, I get that Quentin is losing his mind, do we have to have a page that is literally just words listed down in a column with no punctuation or meaning anywhere to be found?) And it was pretty depressing (Benji's castration will, I'm pretty sure, never leave my head, even though an explicit scene isn't even in the novel). As a whole, and because of memorable parts like that, it still managed to make me like it. A little.(less)