2.5 stars Okay, let's get one thing out of the way: this isn't really a book about a plane crash and survival. I mean, it is, technically, but it's ac2.5 stars Okay, let's get one thing out of the way: this isn't really a book about a plane crash and survival. I mean, it is, technically, but it's actually more of a romance, with the accident as a major precipitating factor. (view spoiler)[Precipitating! Hah. (hide spoiler)] It's sort of in the vein of men-writing-hardback-books-about-feelings like Robert James Waller or Nicholas Sparks. Unfortunately, not only does the "plane crash survival" aspect not deliver, the romance doesn't really deliver either.
I was about this halfway through listening to the audiobook, when I realized
a. exactly where the story was going b. there wasn't much time left, so this was...it. There wasn't anything more to what I was listening to.
What I mean by "this was it" is that the whole endeavor is extremely limited in scope. From the simplistic plot to the rather one-note characters (all secondary ones are there solely to prop up the main ones; problematic anywhere, but especially in a downed-airplane story) to the thing you discover at the end that's supposed to be a surprise, it all felt underdeveloped and underwhelming.
I do think the basic structure was a good choice, you could tell there was a reasonable amount of research put into it, and the authors have a certain gift for writing internal dialogue that keeps you interested. (Until you realize the character doesn't have that much to say, to be sure, but still.) This is the first novel written by The Apprentice guy with another person, btw. Which is sort of odd, especially since they named one of the minor characters "Bill."
Anyway, I'm mostly disappointed because stories of survival, people foraging for food and such are like catnip to me, and this had very little that was viscerally appealing. The mechanics of survival were there, but I didn't feel the deprivation and elements and fear and suffering that I should have. Two books featuring plane crashes that do this better: HATCHET, and a romance by Linda Howard called UP CLOSE AND DANGEROUS. Neither of which get the fancy hardback treatment, it should be noted. I don't mind at all that the book turned out to be about a relationship and a single unanswered question, but it still wasn't nearly as emotionally resonant or as surprising as it was trying to be.
Audio notes: I liked the narration by Julia Whelan and the other actor, whose name escapes me at the moment but I'll add later. Their performances probably helped with my not noticing what was lacking for some time. The choice to have the unnamed male narrator mostly bookend the audiobook was also an effective one.
An audio copy was provided by the publisher for review....more
I bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party andI bought this book in a tiny mountain town in the middle of nowhere, mainly because I'd always wanted to read more about the infamous Donner party and to find out whether this children's book published by Scholastic would actually mention the cannibalism.
Kudos to the author for writing about a tricky subject with responsible sensitivity. I'm curious and surprised that this book was written and published (was it commissioned?) for middle grade students, though--I hope most kids get to last beyond elementary school before they have to learn all the gory details of what human beings can be pushed into. Probable futile hope, but still.
Anyway, this gave adult-reader me just the right amount of information and even gives this sad period in history a bit of context and hope. One of the photographs also mentioned that Donner party survivors put items into a time capsule buried at one of the memorial sites back in 1918, and it's supposed to be unearthed a hundred years later. That's just two years away, and you can bet I'll be watching to see what that capsule contained.
Recommended for fans of The Long Winter if you are weirdly drawn to awful stories of survival, if you like the pioneer era, or if you just have a somewhat morbid curiosity in general. I'm always interested in learning about people pushed to their limits and how they cope, and this is an extreme example of that for sure. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
DNF Hugely not a fan of the leaden "literary" writing style, and the family dynamics aren't nearly as compelling as they should be. The way things wraDNF Hugely not a fan of the leaden "literary" writing style, and the family dynamics aren't nearly as compelling as they should be. The way things wrap up neatly into a pretty bow made me roll my eyes, and as a thriller, this isn't a very suspenseful read, either.
I had to stop the audiobook 7 minutes in because I found the narration by Cassandra Morris too needlessly emphatic and obvious. Teenagers are alreadyI had to stop the audiobook 7 minutes in because I found the narration by Cassandra Morris too needlessly emphatic and obvious. Teenagers are already say a lot of slightly bratty and sarcastic things, so I prefer less exaggerated styles of narration. Guess I'll have to find time to read this myself eventually. ...more
3.5 stars Really great for an airplane/beach type read. It unravels a bit towards the end (and pretty early on it seems clear what's happened--and def3.5 stars Really great for an airplane/beach type read. It unravels a bit towards the end (and pretty early on it seems clear what's happened--and definitely telegraphed by three-quarters through), so I felt a bit impatient for things to be resolved), but it's a fast-paced Agatha Christie-ish mystery that keeps your attention with an enjoyable narrative voice. Also well-plotted and written overall; it's hard to sustain suspense with first person narration in which the POV character knows something she's withholding from the reader and also (in parts) has amnesia, but the author does this well.
Not really creepy, though--your expectations are set up for that with the title and description, but it's a fairly straightforward psychological thriller.
One question for someone who's read it--(view spoiler)[at one point, there was a reference to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and for a time I thought the author was implying that with James, as with Brick, there was repressed homosexuality. But there wasn't. (hide spoiler)] So what's the correlation there? I'm missing it!...more
All I have to say is, this book is somehow even more awesome than the original series.
Don't be nervous about the multiple POVs--every character has hAll I have to say is, this book is somehow even more awesome than the original series.
Don't be nervous about the multiple POVs--every character has history and agency, and you'll care deeply about every single one of them. Plus diversity! Kickass heroines! Gifted thieves! Amaaaaazing action sequences! All perfectly paced and perfectly thrilling.
This showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprisThis showed up on my doorstep unexpectedly, and I gave it a chance because I'd seen some surprisingly positive reactions among friends. I say "surprising" because I absolutely loathed Hush, Hush--suffice to say that years after reading it, I still don't know if there's a YA couple that I dislike more.
It's true that Black Ice is entertaining and kept my interest, more than most YA thrillers, though I'm admittedly hard on the genre in this age category. It's not unlike adult romantic thrillers you'd find from authors like Lisa Gardner or books in Harlequin's Mira imprint, in which the relationship drama gets a near equal amount of play as the fairly straightforward mystery. That's all perfectly fine, except that the characters are pretty ridiculous here--the BFF is an idiot and the adults are non-existent. Britt herself isn't entirely unredeeming, except that she's torn between her cocky ex-boyfriend and her lusty Stockholm Syndrome feelings for one of the guys who kidnapped her. The author does keep you guessing (I mean, I guessed correctly, but she did a decent job of drawing things out) who the culprits are, but it doesn't even really matter, because pretty much every guy in this book acts like a jerk at one time or another. Not quite Patch-levels of controlling behavior or abusiveness, but enough to make you want to give them a good hard shove out the door. Even if they are supposedly, as my friend Crowinator says, supernaturally hot.
I kind of wish this author would write books for adults. While I'm annoyed by women acting dumb over guys in most scenarios, and I certainly don't think YA needs to always model exemplary behavior, I'm so uncomfortable with romantic portrayals like this--it just feels especially icky when the book's audience is younger. At least Britt stands up for herself? Eventually? I guess? But the power dynamic still seems so off, and the tenor of the relationships is so negative and mostly animal attraction-based, that I just can't get on board with the romance--and when that's 50% of what's going on, that's a lot of letdown. Not to mention that there's a lot of male-fixation and sexist thinking.
So: the thriller parts are relatively diverting, but the relationships and characters annoyed me. And despite all this snow and isolation, there's not all that much talk about the survival aspects, which is something I would have enjoyed. But this serves to confirm that this author's just not for me. While the resolution for this one is better than the Hush, Hush series, these aren't the types of relationships I enjoy reading about--or the types I would necessarily be wild about impressionable young girls daydreaming over, either.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more
This was fitfully cute, but it does try a little too hard at times. Seems as though people like book 2 better, though, so maybe that'll hold more surpThis was fitfully cute, but it does try a little too hard at times. Seems as though people like book 2 better, though, so maybe that'll hold more surprises....more
So if in some twisted universe, a Laura Ingalls Wilder type accidentally got pregnant and moved onto a farm that may or may not be cursed, would she:
aSo if in some twisted universe, a Laura Ingalls Wilder type accidentally got pregnant and moved onto a farm that may or may not be cursed, would she:
a. abandon her home and force her sister to raise her child until she can return for it b. lose the baby and fear that it watches her from the woods with its dead eyes c. run for her life as Ma and Pa go crazy and chase everybody with pickaxes d. find a boy with a twisted smile who helps her battle the unknown forces and live happily ever after with him e. turn into a vampire and suck out her best friend's soul?
Depending on which of these appeals to you, I can tell you whether or not you'll like this book, because it sure ain't for everybody. (view spoiler)[I mean, the girl fantasizes about her baby sister dying in the first chapter. (hide spoiler)]
I have to admit, the writing, overall plot, and characterization didn't quite gel for me, but there are some really great creeptastic moments in this book--not just your typical banging closet thing either, but closer to the seething, feral nature of Another Little Piece. Between the horrible things conjured out of the Amy Lukavics' mind and the atypical ending, I'd definitely try another book by this author.