**spoiler alert** I read Shadow of the Giant in one day, after ordering it from my Amazon wishlist. As opposed to Shadow Puppets which I grabbed as so**spoiler alert** I read Shadow of the Giant in one day, after ordering it from my Amazon wishlist. As opposed to Shadow Puppets which I grabbed as soon as it came out I forgot about this one for a long time, though I did want to know what happened to Petra, Bean and their babies.
I have to say that I was a little disappointed. The overall story is good, but I felt there was too much focus on the third-party characters who do not mean as much to the reader. Also, and though I have noticed in Card's books before it was more here, there are huge chunks of plot-revealing dialogue that just get old. I also feel that sending Bean out to space just as he did Ender was a bit of a cop-out, though the one-missing child arc is interesting. I also predicted the Peter and Petra ending during the first chapter of the book.
I feel like Card is stretching these out unnecessarily, to be honest, as a fan of the Ender's Game/Shadow books since I was fourteen I kind of wish he would stop and leave us with the glory that is the first few books. ...more
**spoiler alert** That Summer has the hallmarks I love and find unique about Sarah Dessen's books. Her protagonists aren't extraordinary, and the worl**spoiler alert** That Summer has the hallmarks I love and find unique about Sarah Dessen's books. Her protagonists aren't extraordinary, and the world does not shift with their movements. Indeed, Haven's life during That Summer is not too different from any teenager's life during a particularly difficult summer. She does not fall in love, have tragedy occur or encounter significant loss or disease. Indeed, this changes in Dessen's later books, so I enjoyed it here. Her writing style is also evident in this first novel, with a tendency to revel the past in long explanation, which though possibly frowned upon, I sort of like.
The thing is, I can definitely pin this as a first novel. Some plot points could use definite revision. For instance, Haven's revelation about her sister's ex-boyfriend was not a revelation to me. As soon as the second girl, the sister's friend, was introduced I knew that something had happened between them. Having this girl be a member of her sister's friends-group before the boyfriend might have made things a little bit more mysterious. Really, I wouldn't have minded a relationship between Haven and Sumner. Nice and scandalous that, but I guess it doesn't happen in real life....
On a side note, it was fun reading this thirteen years after its publication. No cellphones, no internet. Kids lazily wandering the neighborhood on a summer's day, not engrossed by Gameboys. Oh how we change......more
I picked up this book at a Books ETC in London, so the cover picture up there is from Amazon UK, although the link is to Amazon.com. I bought it becauI picked up this book at a Books ETC in London, so the cover picture up there is from Amazon UK, although the link is to Amazon.com. I bought it because the review on the top was from JK Rowling. It wasn’t until I was well into it that I realized that it was written in the forties. That matters not, of course, and I was struck by how timeless the story was.
It’s told in first perosn, by Cassandra. At first she is still childish, depsite having finished school and watches the events around her somewhat naively. As she wishes for something exciting to happen in a life that at first seems fantastic (living in a castle!) and turns out to be quite woeful (her family is broke, her writer father hasn’t written in years.).
When the unexpected happens, and two eligable gentlemen walk into their lives the true Austen-esque themes come into play. Cassandra, though, is well-read and notes how much see and her sister seem to be living the lives of one of Austen’s heroines, with some marked differences.
As Cassandra grows up through the year she writes about in her diary, the reader sees the change in her. The book is so richly detailed that every character’s story is well-told, from her father to the hired boy (who hasn’t been paid in years) who is absolutely devoted to Cassandra. Deeper themes of religion, selfishness, love and even a commentary on the difference between the US and England are woven into the narrative. te In the end, i can’t recommend this book enough. I won’t spoil the ending, but I have to say I didn’t even mind that Cassandra turned out more like Austen than one of Austen’s heroines.
My third time reading this book I am struck by how gorgeous the May Day and Midsummer's Eve scenes are. The glory of nature and England; the fire, the mixture of cultures and histories. I absolutely love it. ...more
It's no secret that I worship at the alter of Jennifer Donnelly. I devoured the Tea Rose books this summer, stalked the Harvard Coop to get RevolutionIt's no secret that I worship at the alter of Jennifer Donnelly. I devoured the Tea Rose books this summer, stalked the Harvard Coop to get Revolution, and @reply her like a freako, but rereading A Northern Light for class made me realize WHY I do that. She's incredible. Under different hands, to be honest, Mattie's story might not be that interesting. She's a girl who wants to go to college, whoopdeedoo, and it's 1906, which fine complicates matters. But Mattie's voice is so strong, and Donnelly's description so vivid, that the reader is as invested in Mattie's seemingly-hopeless goal as she is.
Now, I have to admit that while I love the tie to An American Tragedy, I think it could have been played down. It's sort of a calling card of Donnelly's YA, this second voice to give the protagonist a what-if, but I'm always more interested in the other story. I do understand that Grace's letters gave Mattie the realization of how bad things could be for women, and why she had to get out and find her way, but the way they were interwoven with her history made this decision seem more abrupt than it might have been were it chronological.
I absolutely loved the integration of the plight of female authors. A Room of One's Own before its time, in a way, Mattie contemplates why many female authors never married, how they wouldn't have had time nor energy to write if they had. The book does an amazing job of depicting how much women worked for no recognition, and how desperate their situations could be.
I do wish there'd been a little more of the other side. The positives of motherhood and domesticity. Mattie's mother shows some of it, but she also dies of cancer before the story starts. The book is better than many feminist books at showing layers, but I wish more would emphasize that CHOICE is the important thing, and what you do with that choice is up to you.
Still, I adore this book to pieces, and bought a new copy because I loaned mine out ages ago. It's one of those books I needed to have a physical copy of, which is quite the compliment. ...more
Listened to it on audio. Kristen doesn't read it, she performs it. She's incredibly honest and spirited, as well as down-to-earth. She gives hope thatListened to it on audio. Kristen doesn't read it, she performs it. She's incredibly honest and spirited, as well as down-to-earth. She gives hope that Hollywood and Broadway is not all glitz and glam, shallow people. She is an honest person working for her living and her philosophies made me smile and bolstered my faith....more