*** 2.5 stars *** Do you see those 2.5 stars? They do not mean I did not like the book. The chunk (or half star) missing to label this a perfectly alr...more*** 2.5 stars *** Do you see those 2.5 stars? They do not mean I did not like the book. The chunk (or half star) missing to label this a perfectly alright and recommendable apocalyptic read got unexpectedly lost during my perusal of “Part 2”.
I really enjoyed the writing, especially Daisy’s genuine voice. Sometimes I even thought that she talked a little like I do – stringing too many words together to clumsily form a noun, for instance. And her complete lack of worry at the beginning of the – far away – bombings and water poisonings in the promising light of a task-free and adult-free (view spoiler)[ - Aunt Penn is stuck in Oslo when the international airports are closed, but manages to give the kids access to her local bank account - (hide spoiler)] almost-holidays with her cousins felt refreshingly realistic for a fifteen-years-old heroine, who has just fallen in love for the first time.
Unlike some other not quite satisfied readers I did not see anything icky or strange in cousins entering a sexual relationship. I have married first cousins among both my relatives and my friends. I rather got a bit anxious because all the talk of rampant sex never ever included any means of contraception. (view spoiler)[Later Daisy explains that her anorexia had put an end to her bleeding. But until then I unconsciously held my breath for an announcement of an undernourished baby to be born out in the woods. (hide spoiler)]
The big obstacle shadowing my path of enjoyment was the following: The believable war time scenario featuring the British military pocketing usable buildings and spreading rumors, terror and chaos in the name of the greater good changed into something rather bizarre with one single telephone call at the end of “Part 1”, which was quickly succeeded by unexplained events happening at lightening speed and an awkwardly dumped blob of passed time that culminated in a knotted bundle of stickily bittersweet soul-mate melodrama. Rating down seemed to be the inevitable consequence. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A believably brutal and beautifully written retelling of the legend around Paris and Helena of Troy, which focuses on a fictional and likable characte...moreA believably brutal and beautifully written retelling of the legend around Paris and Helena of Troy, which focuses on a fictional and likable character, Anaxandra, a pirate lord's daughter who at the age of six is taken as a hostage by King Nicander and poses later as his deceased daughter Callisto, when Menelaus of Sparta drops by after the island is raided, depeopled and destroyed.
Like everybody I had always thought Helena to be pretty selfish: She lets a huge mass of people tumble into a bloody war because of her sudden infatuation with a brainless, childish twit. But "Goddess of Yesterday" even tunes Helena's character up quite a notch: She is depicted as an inhumanly beautiful and inhumanly evil and twisted bitch, who doesn't care for her four children at all and gets a mighty kick out of watching people die a painful death for her sake. Chilling, but fitting, somehow.
Fear and fascination kept me glued to the pages. The only distraction has been the occasional botched up sentence or misplaced word, which was astonishing for a traditionally published book (Randomhouse group). (less)
'Don't You Wish' would be the perfect base for one of those cute 'n fluffy American Teen Movies, which demonstrate that being popular, rich and beauti...more'Don't You Wish' would be the perfect base for one of those cute 'n fluffy American Teen Movies, which demonstrate that being popular, rich and beautiful doesn't equal being happy, unconditionally loved and free to do what you want.
The trick to open the unsatisfied heroine's eyes in this particular case is a magical mirror-smartphone-application-thingy invented by a Honey-I-Shrunk-the-Kids-style mad-scientist dad, which paired with the desperate wish for a different life transports the braces-wearing orchestra geek into a parallel universe - one in which her mom married her ambitious first boyfriend instead. One which turned Annie into ultra-bitch 'A-List' Ayla with a sex-hungry jerk-boyfriend, but which contains the adorable scholarship genius Charlie Zielinsky, whose twin-sister's paralyzing car accident used up his family's financial resources and then some.
Certainly the recipe works - and Charlie's charm works, too. I was sufficiently enamoured with him. But the seemingly quantum physics-based mechanics of travel between the parallel worlds can be called murky at best. Especially around the end I felt pretty cheated in my hunger for sound world-building.
The other thing that disturbed my ability to enjoy Annie's/Ayla's transformation were the - admittedly typical - black-and-white strokes, with which the wealthy crowd was depicted: All the boys in Ayla's private high school in Miami are dumb, superficial and sex-hungry, and all the rich-enough non-geeky girls go shop-lifting to compensate for their parents' indifference, smoke weed, sniff coke and carelessly drive around in expensive cars with a couple of mojitos in their bellies. As a Europan and as a handyman's daughter, who was blissfully oblivious to at least half of her classmates' social stati, and whose primary and middle school days were mainly ruled by an iron-fisted but poor queen bee, who lived with her grandparents, because her dad was in prison and her mom constantly in and out of rehab, I am in no position to destroy either the poor-rich-kid cliché nor to question the fixed idea that having certain financial means results in having friends and an opinion worth listening to. Still, I do wonder. Each time.
That doesn't make American Teen Movies or wake-up-heroine-and-be-yourself-books like 'Don't You Wish' indigestible to me, but it places them into the same parallel media universe as space operas and alien inversions.
So, this is my advice: Get out the popcorn, switch off your brains, turn on your swoon-radar and prepare to be entertained.(less)
I am so glad I picked it up again after deciding to let it go around page 60 (Somehow the beginning of Mina Smiths' story about a twelve-years-old, bl...moreI am so glad I picked it up again after deciding to let it go around page 60 (Somehow the beginning of Mina Smiths' story about a twelve-years-old, black girl during the 70s, who is desperately trying to start a ballet dancer's career in an all-white summer camp, breezed past all my emotional buttons without even brushing them lightly). And I am pretty dazed about the fact that it kept me up reading last night until my eyes protested. It's not as wonderful as Homecoming or Dicey's Song, but it's still peculiarly impressive and moving. In fact, the dancing thing quickly became just a part of Mina's past.
Cynthia Voigt is one of those very special storytellers whose heroines are at the same time familiar and strange. I already noticed that, when I first read On Fortune's Wheel (I grabbed the German translation from a bargain bin at the train station and directly fell under its spell), but since I was disappointed by Jackaroo and a bit ambivalent about Elske, it took a long time for me to go out and buy her first Tillerman book and even longer to buy the second and third. Silly me.
And now I am wondering again if the last two volumes and the spin-off about Dicey's uncle Bullet are up my alley or not. What's that irrational notion that always makes me hesitate in spite of all those wonderfully pleasant surprises?(less)
Another book that has to go unfinished (after 108 pages).
In the beginning I had a good feeling. Although the characters behaved a little anachronistic...moreAnother book that has to go unfinished (after 108 pages).
In the beginning I had a good feeling. Although the characters behaved a little anachronistically, which is completely alright for a fantasy novel set in an alternative version of an existing region, I liked them and I enjoyed the lush and exotic scenery - the food, the fabric, the means of transport. The 'problems' started with the onset of the road trip plot: The heroine flees an arranged marriage to an old, rich pervert and goes to search for her disappeared father outfitted with just one magical protection amulet, some food and a small bundle of clothes. After a few stops - the heroine gets permanently attacked by mythical creatures and accosted by sex-hungry geezers - I surmised the following:
The novel turned into something like a passive role playing game, where you press the 'fight button' and the game does the rest: All the moves, all the talk, all the staying fit and out of reach. The heroine had by pure chance read a book about supernatural monsters before leaving her home and can thus identify them, when they attack. But even that is not really necessary for the plot, for the multi-talented protection amulet immediately starts doing what it is meant to do : Smashing beasts and demons around, whacking potential rapists to pulp etc. After that the heroine cleans her clothes, rests her body and licks her wounds. Until the next incident.
Not as good as the Mediator Series or Teen Idol, but definitely more enjoyable than some of Cabot's other recent output. It has a kind of open ending,...moreNot as good as the Mediator Series or Teen Idol, but definitely more enjoyable than some of Cabot's other recent output. It has a kind of open ending, but since I had read the sequel last year already, I didn't mind so much.(less)
*** Decided to let it go after 244 exhausting pages and the slowly forming wish that the buggers, whoever they were, got them all and ate the planet f...more*** Decided to let it go after 244 exhausting pages and the slowly forming wish that the buggers, whoever they were, got them all and ate the planet for lunch. ***(less)
I stopped reading on page 52 for no particular reason and failed to collect enough interest to pick it up again. I have wanted the book for years. And...moreI stopped reading on page 52 for no particular reason and failed to collect enough interest to pick it up again. I have wanted the book for years. And now it has let me down somehow.(less)