The Magicians focuses on Quentin Coldwater: an extremely brilliant young man who is depressed and disillusioned with the world, and desperately wantsThe Magicians focuses on Quentin Coldwater: an extremely brilliant young man who is depressed and disillusioned with the world, and desperately wants to visit Fillory, the magical world portrayed in his favorite book series. Then he finds out that magic is real, and he is able to attend the foremost magical college in the United States. There he meets others who are like him--intensely intelligent, but always longing for something more.
Grossman takes the traditions set out by such children's books as The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter, and treats them as if they were real--populated by real people with real problems. Grossman's characters are young adults in college, where they experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex, buoyed by their own specialness at being magicians. There's plenty of darkness at work in this book, and much of the conflict is the result of the characters' poor choices, selfishness, and pride.
Grossman has written very real, very flawed characters. Perhaps most flawed of all is the main character, Quentin. He repeatedly makes bad decisions and is incredibly pompous. He's so brilliant that the world bores him, and he looks in all the wrong places for meaning. The other characters can act equally terribly, but it's a testament to Grossman's writing that they're still compelling, and that I didn't end up utterly hating them. Still, some of the relationships grew a bit too incestuous for my personal taste toward the end of the book.
As for the plot, it was disjointed at times, but that added to the element of surprise. The details are delightfully fleshed out, and the worlds that Grossman builds are very tangible. I never knew what would come next, and it was refreshing to encounter a book that could so constantly keep me on my toes.
I did listen to the audiobook, and highly recommend it. Mark Bramhall did an incredible job narrating, breathing additional life into each of the characters, and reading with the snarkiness that the narrative so needed to really take off.
I got frustrated at the characters in this book, but I could not put it down. The language employed is hypnotic, and I constantly wanted more. Happily, the sequel has just come out, so I eagerly look forward to getting going on The Magician King....more
There’s been quite a bit of buzz about the so called Mayan Apocalypse, rumored to take place on December 21, 2012. As the date draws nearer, more andThere’s been quite a bit of buzz about the so called Mayan Apocalypse, rumored to take place on December 21, 2012. As the date draws nearer, more and more sites appear discussing the event on the internet, and the theories of what this means for mankind grow stranger and stranger. Understandably, all of this chatter can really frighten those who read it and don’t know what to make of it all. This serves as the impetus for Aveni’s book: a young man, disturbed by the 2012 hype, begins an email correspondence with Professor Aveni to find out what the Mayans really thought.
Aveni gives his expert opinion. He’s both and astronomer and a Mayan researcher, and his expertise in both fields is very apparent as you read the book. To be honest, this was a little bit of a drawback for me, since although he tries to write for the layman, it still came across as over my head. I took astronomy in college, but still struggled a bit when it came to the astronomy heavy chapter (although, to be fair, I struggled with it in college as well). The best chapter for me was when Aveni summed up the many other times humans have predicted the impending end of the world.
Aveni largely thinks that the people who are spouting the Mayan apocalypse are getting it wrong. The astronomy doesn’t hold up, and the Mayan research is sketchy at best. There are just too many areas where we don’t know enough to make a real judgement call about what the Maya meant or knew. So chill, Aveni thinks we’ll be okay....more
After three years of trying to forget about him, trying not to think about where he might be, Daniel Kalbi reappears in Grace Divine's life. Suddenly,After three years of trying to forget about him, trying not to think about where he might be, Daniel Kalbi reappears in Grace Divine's life. Suddenly, the perfect world of the pastor's daughter starts to crack. Her brother, who is normally saintly, starts to have violent mood swings. Her parents are fighting. And the Markham Street monster, who had left mutilated bodies of both people and animals in the past, appears to have come back. Are these events somehow related to Daniel's return? What dark secrets are being held back from Grace by everyone she loves?
The Dark Divine was nothing like I had expected, in a good way. The book follows a path that I didn't think it would, but it does it well. I don't want to give away too much, since I'd like other readers to be surprised like I was. One thing I really appreciated in this book was that the bad-boy love interest had real depth. Compared to some other rebellious male characters of late, I could really see why Grace cared about Daniel. He was a complex character with a sympathetic back story.
This book asks its readers to think about some mature topics. There is an overarching theme of forgiveness. How many wrongs can somebody commit before you are able to forgive them? How much of your own pride are you able to swallow to make things right? Other issues brought up are child abuse, underage drinking, and harmful rumors. There is also an element of danger, and a bit of action to boot. Despain leaves the ending open to a future sequel, so hopefully there will be one. ...more
After a friend dies in a mysterious, suspicious fire, Luce goes from being a scholarship kid at an elite private school to being a highly monitored peAfter a friend dies in a mysterious, suspicious fire, Luce goes from being a scholarship kid at an elite private school to being a highly monitored perpetual suspect at a reform school. Now Luce is constantly under the watchful eye of security cameras, and surrounded by dangerous classmates, among whom is attractive, distant Daniel. Although he is rude to her and makes it clear he wants nothing to do with her, Luce can't help but feel that she knows Daniel from somewhere. However, finding out where that is could change everything she knows to be true, and put her in grave danger.
Fallen felt like a mixture of Twilight, Evermore, and Hush, Hush. The story was far from original, but will probably appeal to people who cannot get enough of the recent crop of YA fiction.
The good: I love the cover. I think it perfectly captures what the author was going for, and really intrigued me initially. Also, I was fairly happy with Luce's character. She may be a bit confused, but she doesn't do as many obviously stupid moves as Ever in Evermore. I also really liked some of the supporting characters, particularly Arianne and Penn.
The bad: I felt like Daniel was a bit of a one-dimensional character. Kate makes clear the reason that Luce is so drawn to him, but it didn't motivate me, personally, as a reader. I would have liked to have seen more character development on his part. I also thought that the author took a bit too long to get to the meat of the story. I actually might have liked a book just about life at Sword & Cross minus the paranormal aspect, but felt that it lingered a bit too much for what the book was trying to be.
All in all, Fallen was a fun read and will have great appeal to fans of this genre. However, readers should not expect an original story....more
Emer Morrisey has had a rough life. Cromwell's army destroys her home and family, she is separated from the boy she loves, and has found her way to thEmer Morrisey has had a rough life. Cromwell's army destroys her home and family, she is separated from the boy she loves, and has found her way to the godless shores of Tortuga. So when she becomes a fearsome pirate, she knows she is finally getting the life she deserves. However, life isn't so easy. Emer is cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs before she can return as a girl, all while maintaining her memories. Now, she is Saffron Adams, an American girl with the soul of Emer, waiting until she is old enough to reclaim her buried treasure.
I largely enjoyed The Dust of 100 Dogs. Emer's story is compelling, and I like the idea of a powerful female pirate. The story is broken up into both Emer's storyline and Saffron's storyline, slowly using a non-linear approach to revealing the overall plot. Chapters also feature lessons that Emer/Saffron learned about dogs and human nature from her time as canines. While I enjoyed reading the majority of the book, the ending was a bit of a let-down for me. I'm not sure of how it could have ended better, but I felt that it lacked much of the punch that the rest of the story had. Aside from the ending, I did enjoy the story and thought it was well-written and creative....more
Alexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure isAlexia Tarabotti is not the height of London's desirable women. She is half Italian, resulting in a too-big nose and too-dark skin tone, her figure is a bit more generous than fashionable, and she has no soul. In the universe of Soulless, vampires and werewolves are a well-known cultural group, and have been assimilated into society in the British Empire. However, after Alexia is rudely attacked by a strange vampire, it becomes apparent that something strange is happening in the supernatural community. Werewolves and vampires have been going missing, while others seem to appear out of thin air. Working with the hot, alpha werewolf Lord Maccon, Alexia will work to uncover who is behind the disappearances, all while having a good time in the process.
Soulless is a fun, cheeky reimagining of the Victorian era, with a strong, witty heroine. The plot moves fairly quickly, and there is enough action and romance to keep the story going. I really enjoyed Alexia's character. Being soulless and a resolute spinster, she feels she is able to take more liberties than the age would normally allow. She's very intelligent and unafraid to speak her mind. I also really enjoyed Lord Maccon's character, in all his rough animalism and passion, and Lord Akeldama, a foppish and lovable vampire. The story had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing, and more than enough humor to keep me constantly laughing. I can't wait for Changeless, the second of the three-part series....more
As the daughter of a duke and duchess, Lady Alexandra has certain social obligations. Now, at the age of 17, she must participate in her first seasonAs the daughter of a duke and duchess, Lady Alexandra has certain social obligations. Now, at the age of 17, she must participate in her first season and endeavor to gain a husband. The problem is, Alex does not want a husband, and does not want to be a part of the season. Together with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, she experiences all that society has to offer. However, not all is right with the upper classes. The Earl of Blackmoor has met with a suspicious riding accident, and the young new Earl suspects foul play. Alex works to solve the mystery while also puzzling over her newfound feelings for her old family friend.
The Season is a light, fun read that transports the reader to Regency England. The dialog between Alex, her friends, and her brothers is lighthearted, playful and flows well. The romance that grows during the story develops organically, and makes the reader long for it to come to the inevitable conclusion. The villain was fairly obvious from the beginning, but there was one twist that I didn't see coming until it was finally revealed. All in all, a very enjoyable story, and one that fans of Jane Austen will appreciate....more
I picked this up thinking it would be another book that had jumped onto the Twilight bandwagon. The first book is Moonlight (Twilight) and the next boI picked this up thinking it would be another book that had jumped onto the Twilight bandwagon. The first book is Moonlight (Twilight) and the next book in the series is Full Moon (New Moon). It definitely had a Twilight feel to it, especially because it had the format of a quick prologue that takes place toward the end of the story during a moment of tension.
That said, I did enjoy this book. I really liked that it took place in the woods with a group of camping/hiking guides. There aren't nearly enough camping stories, so I felt like this filled a gap. The plot was quick and exciting, and the writing had an easy, fun tone. It wasn't a revelation of great literature, but was still genuinely enjoyable....more
This book didn't really do much for me. I felt like it took a while to really get going, and that the majority of real action happened toward the end.This book didn't really do much for me. I felt like it took a while to really get going, and that the majority of real action happened toward the end. I would have liked a higher sense of tension, rather than just seeing that Winnie is worried. I felt like the emotion was a bit flat.
That said, I think this would be a good book for a young reader. I liked that it took a look at a slice of time at the end of WWI when a massive flu pandemic was rampant. ...more
I love creepy, haunted house ghost stories, and this one delivered. As an older sister who's younger sister had a lot of dolls (I find them creepy), II love creepy, haunted house ghost stories, and this one delivered. As an older sister who's younger sister had a lot of dolls (I find them creepy), I could relate to Alexis's distaste for her lonely sister's hobby. But when her sister begins to act more sinister, changing eye colors at strange moments and making thinly veiled threats of murder and mayhem, Alexis knows she must take action or the entire town will feel the wrath of an evil force that has lain within her home for a hundred years.
The author bio mentions that Alender is a screenwriter. It shows. The book and story definitely had a cinematic feel, which wasn't a bad thing. As for the story line, if you like possession, revenge, murder, suicide, pink hair, and skipping class to go to the library, then this is the book for you....more