Of course I love all of the HP books but what I liked most about this one was the insight in to Riddle's background and how Harry will need to use thiOf course I love all of the HP books but what I liked most about this one was the insight in to Riddle's background and how Harry will need to use this to defeat him. This also has the most devastating death scene of the series, at least for me, preparing for the last book when Harry feels like he's all alone (except for the as always awesome Hermione who spends too much time mooning over an undeserving idiot in this book)....more
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh I chose to read this because I enjoyed The Glass Palace. This time the story occurs on the brink of the Opium War, 1839Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh I chose to read this because I enjoyed The Glass Palace. This time the story occurs on the brink of the Opium War, 1839-1842. A wide variety of characters appear to travel on the Ibis and like Glass Palace, the narrative shifts to follow each in turn.
Summary: There is a ship called Ibis sailing to China. People from many different walks of life with secrets to spare find their way on it.
I did have some problems with this book. First the sailors speak in an odd mix of languages-I recognized some English but for the most part I could not understand it. I was still able to follow the story but it detracted from my enjoyment. The shifts in perspective could be annoying when it focused on a character I didn't like (Paulette) but I enjoyed it in both Glass Palace and here. I also felt the ending was rushed-apparently this is part of a trilogy which is good because this ending would be incredibly unsatisfactory in wrapping up the story. I actually think the book could have been a bit longer to pace out the ending better.
I'm going to talk about each character in turn with MILD SPOILERS so skip to the overall if you don't want to know. Deeti-is an Indian woman of high caste married to an opium addict; after he dies, she flees his lecherous brother with Kalua, a big man who is disdained by the community. As they run, they marry, they enlist as workers to travel on the ship, she becomes pregnant, and he has to abandon ship to avoid being killed. Zachary Reid-my favorite character; he's a mulatto who joined the ship to leave behind poor opportunities in America. He is fitted out to become a proper gentleman by Serang Ali, a former pirate and the leader of the ship's crew. Paulette is a Frenchwoman whose father had lately died leaving her at the mercy of the Europeans of the city; she ends up disguising herself as an elderly Indian and enlists on the Ibis; unfortunately she and Zachary like each other (I think he could do a lot better than this annoying girl). Baboo Nob Kissin was an odd character to me; he is a devout man who believes he is possessed by the spirit of his now dead religious patron Taramony-I do not entirely understand where Ghosh is going with this story nor do I understand the religious practices being performed. Ah Fatt is a recovering opium addict and prisoner on the Ibis along with Neel, a former Raja whose lands have been taken by greedy Englishmen (Yes, he was not a good manager of his estate and nor was his father but it's the calculations of the colonists that really doom I think).
Overall: I would rate this 4 out of 5 due to my difficulties with the language and the abrupt ending but also for an enjoyable time, for sparking my interest in the Opium War, and for promising two books to come. ...more
This was completely off my radar until I happened upon a review that mentioned that it was a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen's best known (and mThis was completely off my radar until I happened upon a review that mentioned that it was a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen's best known (and my favorite) book, Pride and Prejudice. So I went to my library's website, saw that they didn't have it, requested that they purchase it, and voila now I have read it.
Unfortunately it did not quite live up to my expectations although it was a mostly enjoyable story. There are four sisters, the eldest Juliana, then Elise, our narrator, Layla, and lastly Kaitlyn, who's mostly a nonentity since she's so young. On their first day at a new school, Juliana quickly pairs up with Chase Baldwin while Elise is stuck chatting to Derek Edwards, our Mr. Darcy, whose tough outer shell conceals his fears that people are only interested in using him because his parents are famous actors.
I thought Elise's pride issues were very well-done and the Wickham character was appropriately creepy and remorseless about how his actions hurt people. Elise's family was also suitably embarrassing especially brat Layla and her desperate attempts to appear more mature, often giving the complete opposite impression, and their mother who likes to drink and fawn over celebrity children. The father was also good with his obvious favoritism of Elise and his skepticism about anyone being good enough for her. I also loved Elise's first time at Derek's house-very easy to see how she could fall for that house!
However this story lacked in several ways, when comparing the incidents to the original book. Of course there should be changes but I thought these were particularly egregious. Where was Mr. Collins? A third suitor for Elise could have been fun and Mr. Collins is usually good for some laughs. Also I was not able to identify a Lady de Bourgh character, another shocking omission. Secondly there were not enough obstacles separating Juliana and Chase. And I thought that Elise and Derek got together too quickly, meaning that the last few chapters petered out. There was nothing driving them forward as the main couples were paired up and the ending itself does not read like one. I turned the page and was surprised that it was over.
Overall: An okay reinterpretation but I've read better. Give Prom and Prejudice a try or better yet, read the real thing!...more
I hadn't seen much about this book around the blogosphere but I read a really funny interview with the author at Badass Bookie, which mSource: Library
I hadn't seen much about this book around the blogosphere but I read a really funny interview with the author at Badass Bookie, which made me think this might be a good book for me as I'm always up for comedy especially over the drama and serious books that sometimes seem to get coverage around the blogosphere. That impression was right as this book definitely had its humorous moments albeit balanced against serious moments as well.
The basic plot centers on Izzy whose life is chaos-she's a hypochondriac, her mother is recovering from a rare cancer, her best friend seems to have changed personalities, her ex-best friend is all of a sudden friendly again, and her long-time crush actually seems to be interested in her. Not too mention her older sister's nitpicking, her best friend's suddenly cute older brother, and her extracurricular commitments like an art portfolio for a trip to Italy. Not so basic after all, I guess and that was my big complaint about this book. There's just so much stuffed in here and I wish a few subplots had been taken out as I felt overwhelmed. I know it's fitting for the book because that's what Izzy comes to realize but I don't think it's the best feeling for a reader to have.
However within that multitude of subplots are some real winners. Of particular interest to me were two. One was the relationships between women. Izzy has many important women in her life: her mother, her older sister, her best friend, her ex-best friend, her mom's best friend, and her art teacher being some of the most important. These relationships have their ups and downs but they do show the wonderful world of female friendship and family that I feel is sometimes missing from YA. Nobody is perfect or always right, mistakes are sadly made that fray the bonds, but in the end, they are there for each other. Relatedly is my second point of interest: a bit of an "I am Spartacus" moment when the girls at school bond together to protect Izzy against a potential punishment. Now I'm a bit upset that the boy who is actually responsible received no explicit punishment; rather it is implied that the poor company he keeps and the bad decisions he makes will earn him his just reward.
Overall: A pretty funny and moving story-I hope it starts to get more attention among contemporary fans! It just felt very smart and down to earth, real and touching in the best ways....more