This feels surprisingly dated with the plethora of exclamation points present in the narrative, but I still enjoyed it. I'd hoped it be a bit3.5 stars
This feels surprisingly dated with the plethora of exclamation points present in the narrative, but I still enjoyed it. I'd hoped it be a bit creepier, but there's no denying the appeal of the setting and set-up, even though as a whole the plot and characters felt a bit underdeveloped.
Also side-eying the fact that after Louisa is annoyed by sexist comments by the love interest when she first meets him, they're never referred to again after they fall in love, and he doesn't appear to have any change of heart. Boo....more
This is a bizarre, violent story, one full of menace and dark magic. It's trippy the way that every Alice book should be, and full of nightmarish imagThis is a bizarre, violent story, one full of menace and dark magic. It's trippy the way that every Alice book should be, and full of nightmarish images and themes.
I loved it for the most part...but. BUT. I have one problem with it, and it's a pretty major one: the book is extremely rape-y. Huge trigger warning if you are bothered by sexual violence of any sort, because it's everywhere in this world, both blatant and implied, and both active and imagined.
While I've always thought most fairy tale retellings and re-imaginings could use a bit more meditation on the themes of seduction and coercion--it's in the very nature of many of the original stories, after all--I was extremely bothered by the degree of rape and abuse here.
If you are able to look past that--ugh, it pains me to even phrase this in such a way--the book is incredibly imaginative, and just what a grown-up Alice story should be. It's well-written, delightfully weird, and scatter-shot with wince-inducing horror. AND A GIANT RABBIT. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and I'm very interested in seeing where the story goes next!
But I also am very disturbed by the rape of past, present, and possible future. And I'm bothered by the implication that all men, no matter how good, are susceptible to bring overcome by lust, even under the most horrifyingly extreme circumstances. So...mixed reactions from me because I feel so very strongly about the way women are treated in this book, and the view of men. Please note, however, the relatively high rating despite that. Probably best to judge for yourself if you're interested.
A bit more of a polish on this review at some point. ...more
"Have you ever thought...that maybe (he) only acts like a monster because you treat him like one?"
This book seamlessly blends history, gothic mystery,"Have you ever thought...that maybe (he) only acts like a monster because you treat him like one?"
This book seamlessly blends history, gothic mystery, and steampunk into a thoughtful reimagining of the creation of Frankenstein, and it's one of the best YA retellings I've read. The author has clearly done her homework on the time period, as well as the story's literary roots--and beyond that, she makes this story of clockwork men and women, struggling to survive in a world where they are feared and despised, seem solidly urgent and real. You'll feel the pinch of gears melded to human flesh and your heart will quicken as they're pursued through the streets of Geneva...and you'll feel compassion for everyone involved.
I liked the relationship between the two brothers and I liked the characters, though I do think many of the secondary ones could've been developed a bit more, especially the women. But I enjoyed this debut immensely. Strongly recommended for those who loved The Lost Girl and Of Metal and Wishes, as well as those who enjoy Inspector Javert/Jean Valjean chase dynamics.
This is such an odd, lovely little book. The usual magic and mystery at a boarding school, a most unfortunately named heroine,I like cat-smiles. <3
This is such an odd, lovely little book. The usual magic and mystery at a boarding school, a most unfortunately named heroine, a romance that creeps steadily up on you, and incredibly strange, touching bird/cat POVs! None of it should work, and yet it does. The pacing was a bit uneven, and at times I wished for a bit more from certain scenes, but overall, a really wonderful debut. You might like this if you enjoyed Blythewood.
Kim's review is the one that persuaded me to read this: http://www.themidnightgarden.net/2014... with her promises of wish-granting feral space cats, and being that she's the one who got me to the only two books that have made me cry this year, I was right to trust her with this one.
Creepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy taCreepy, complex, genuinely frightening, thrilling, sad, and unbelievably tender and hushed and beautiful all at once. This is a dark, violent fairy tale, it's a mystery, it's a fantasy, it's horror, it's historical, it's gothic, and it's also the story of a girl trying to find a place for herself among a grieving family torn apart by war. The family dynamics and sister relationship are so well done, as are the way the book handles loss and longing. And on top of that? Feminism and jazz and tea shops and plates and plates of cake! (view spoiler)[Not to mention shrieking dolls, shudder-inducing but poignant consumption of various things, and a fantastic play on the fears of parents re: changelings. (hide spoiler)]
I haven't read a middle grade book with this much nuance and wild imagination and feeling since The Golden Compass--and I'm betting those who liked Coraline or the original Grimm's fairy tales will like this. I was thrilled by the intense creepiness and dread of the mystery behind Triss' illness, I was outraged by what she has to endure, and I teared up over what was to become of her. Best read knowing as little about the plot as possible--just enjoy the wonderfully descriptive writing, the perfectly paced plot, and the experience of not knowing where the story will go next.
Love love love love love. And now I have to read everything else Frances Hardinge has ever written.