Saw the movie, liked it a lot, but couldn't get through the book. Partly because I found the writing style annoying, partly because the pacing is so s...moreSaw the movie, liked it a lot, but couldn't get through the book. Partly because I found the writing style annoying, partly because the pacing is so slow, partly because the worldbuilding is illogical and really doesn't hold up against scrutiny. I know this is a Young Adult book and the faction thing is supposed to be a metaphor for the pressure teens feel to choose a concrete and defining identity, but I feel like it was done really clumsily and without much thought.
The one thing I liked more about the book than the movie was that Book Christina is more fully-realized and more capable of holding her own. In the book, Christina begins the story lot more competent than Tris. This doesn't come through in the movie.(less)
This isn't a bad book, but my criteria for giving a book three stars is that I think it's worth reading. I could've gone without reading another post-...moreThis isn't a bad book, but my criteria for giving a book three stars is that I think it's worth reading. I could've gone without reading another post-apocalyptic young adult novel with a heterosexual love triangle.
Is the book readable? Yes. Is it well-put-together? Yes. Was the concept cool? The concept was hella cool.
Though this book does contain some useful exercises, it also seemed really rushed and unpolished to me-- sprinkled with typos and awkwardly-worded sen...moreThough this book does contain some useful exercises, it also seemed really rushed and unpolished to me-- sprinkled with typos and awkwardly-worded sentences-- and I have trouble trusting a book about writing that doesn't read well. Also the entire last chapter is an advertisement for the author's editing services, and I know she's got to make a living somewhere, but it kinda made me feel like the whole book was just the lead-up to an attempted sell. And that put me off.
Is the book worth reading?
If you're too neurotic and self-loathing to write the novel you've always wanted to write, and you need someone to kick you in the butt with harsh words, then yes, this book would be useful.
If you write regularly and you're at the stage where you're trying to improve your craft, your time might be better spent studying a novel or actually writing.(less)
I bought Taming the Wolff because I wanted a trashy lesbian pirate novel. That's pretty much what I got.
The characters are engaging, and the story cou...moreI bought Taming the Wolff because I wanted a trashy lesbian pirate novel. That's pretty much what I got.
The characters are engaging, and the story could have been really good... but this book suffers from some seriously poor pacing. I felt like the narrative arc had already run its course halfway through the book. In addition (vague spoiler) the on-again/off-again relationship between the two leads started to feel really unhealthy after a while.
Their relationship also relies heavily on heteronormative romance tropes, and that may be what a lot of readers are looking for. I personally would have enjoyed more realism, both in the relationship and in the historical setting.
Was it a decent beach read? Yes.
Did I find myself wishing it was either slightly more substantial or way, way more over-the-top trashy? Also yes.(less)
It took me a while to figure out why I couldn't get into this book, and eventually I realized it was the lack of narrative structure.
IMO, to some exte...moreIt took me a while to figure out why I couldn't get into this book, and eventually I realized it was the lack of narrative structure.
IMO, to some extent it doesn't matter how rich a book's setting is or how rateable its characters are; compelling stories need structure. At the least, they need some try-fail cycles. The protagonist tries, the protagonist fails, the protagonist tries bigger, the protagonist fails bigger, on and on until the protagonist either succeeds in getting what they wanted or fails more miserably than imaginable.
In the first third of this book, there is no try. Ash meets with one tragedy after another, one abuse after another, and she does nothing. She is acted upon. It is frustrating and boring and it did not make me want to read more.
But I liked the world Malinda Lo had created, and I liked her style, so I slogged through. And I'm glad I did, because the second half of the book was worth it.
- The culture of the hunt, and huntresses specifically. I want to know where that idea came from, and I want to know more about huntresses. - Everything fairy-- the world, the items, the characterization of the fairies themselves... - The fact that the story revolves around women, good ones and bad ones and morally grey ones. Ash and Kaisa are not the only important female characters. - I feel like the whole story is really an allegory for depression, and how it can be fought, and that speaks to me. - Gay stuff.(less)
This is one of the rare Mur Lafferty books that I WASN'T drawn to at first. I don't know why. I guess, the idea sounded cool when I heard her various...moreThis is one of the rare Mur Lafferty books that I WASN'T drawn to at first. I don't know why. I guess, the idea sounded cool when I heard her various podcast advertisements, but the title didn't sound like something I would be interested in. I tend to read books with female POV characters (like Mur usually writes) as opposed to books with a depressive/malcontent/sassy dude at the center. That is my least favorite archetype. Seriously, I LOATHE that archetype, because this guy shows up in EVERY tv show, and he's always framed as being right and good and admirable despite the fact that he is... well... a dick. And a whiner. God, I hate whiners.
Marco does embody that archetype to an extent, However, he IS punished for the stupid shit that he does. He also grows as a character over the course of the story. No spoilers, but I was surprised by how cathartic the ending was. I got to the seventh episode (of the audiobook) and was like, "There's no way she'll be able to wrap this up in 20 minutes" and then... Mur Lafferty did. In a very satisfying way.
I would say this book is definitely worth reading/listening to, regardless of whether or not you're a fan of Mur Lafferty's other work. Despite my dislike of the whiny-white-guy archetype, I think Mur has improved at writing characters that are unique and differentiated from each other. The supporting characters are really interesting and vibrant in this story. I've read other stuff by her which seemed not very character-driven. Marco and the Red Granny, by contrast, is very driven by the personality and emotions of both Marco AND the Red Granny. I think that sets it apart.(less)