Oops. Took too long to write this review, and now most of the particulars have slipped my mind.
I enjoyed this book. I liked that it was told from a mOops. Took too long to write this review, and now most of the particulars have slipped my mind.
I enjoyed this book. I liked that it was told from a male perspective, and thought the authors did a nice job capturing the teenage perspective in general. I liked that the protagonists were both just dumb, lost teenagers and that the romance was teenage-flavored rather than svelt and perfect in (actually) magical ways.
The narrative style was fine, though three or four times I noticed very minor narrative inconsistencies (this is the part where I waited too long and now can't remember any actual examples, but they were very minor. No giant plot holes). Some parts of the ending struck me as altogether implausible, however: (view spoiler)["Gee, these kids all hate me and there's my cousin who's trying to get me killed but I think I'll go party with them anyway, despite how terrified I am that something might go wrong." No. Why? Because she wants so badly to be a normal teenager that wanting the popular kids to like her trumps a FEAR FOR HER LIFE?! I have a really hard time buying that. (hide spoiler)]
Oh, and I have no idea what the title has to do with anything in the story.
But it was entertaining while it lasted. I may check out the next ones if I run out of other audiobook options...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Listened in the car on the way home from Yellowstone with Matt and Francy. It reads exactly like a TV episode, which was goofy, but I enjoyed it anywaListened in the car on the way home from Yellowstone with Matt and Francy. It reads exactly like a TV episode, which was goofy, but I enjoyed it anyway. ...more
Confession first: I listened to this on audio, and whether it was author's narrative or the audio's narrator, I could not stay awake. Dustin had to keConfession first: I listened to this on audio, and whether it was author's narrative or the audio's narrator, I could not stay awake. Dustin had to keep catching me up.
So I really can't say much about the quality of the mystery part of the story. I was pretty confused about that for most of the read. However, the excellent way Roberts depicted life in the last years of Rome's (in)famous Republic were well worth sticking it out for. I liked how he characterized the players, giving them humanity but not shying away from the devious and twisted motives of life in that time. I liked his depiction of the city itself, with all its grandeur and grit. I even liked the way the story's narrator was speaking from a time in the future, dropping hints that helped the reader find context for the story's contemporary action among the solid facts most of us know from studying Highlights of History 101.
And Dustin really liked it (I think), so I suspect we'll find sequels on the menu. ...more
A fascinating read. I like Pollan's narrative style, and the histories and sciences he relates are very interesting. I enjoyed hearing more about theA fascinating read. I like Pollan's narrative style, and the histories and sciences he relates are very interesting. I enjoyed hearing more about the true tales of John Chapman. I like learning what made Dutchmen go nuts for particular tulips. The discussion of our brain's natural THC production is totally bizarre and really provided a new perspective on the idea of getting a high. Pollan's treatment of GMOs was much milder and unbiased than I expected when that section started (though you get a definite understanding of his personal views as well).
I struggled most with the idea that plants manipulate humans to enhance their evolutionary odds of survival. If you accept the premise that flowers evolved to make themselves more appealing to bees, of course it shouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe that flowers can evolve to make themselves more appealing to people. And yet, and yet... The difference between what motivates a bee and a person is so large that I struggle to jump the gap. Wouldn't Occam's Razor suggest that certain species of plants have just gotten lucky? (And then, in the end, Pollan even points out that our attention to some plants may eventually lead to their downfall. That's not a very evolutionary concept.) [But then, you say, isn't evolution mostly about luck anyway? Meh. There are many reasons why I don't delve too deep into the theories of evolution. Here's one.]
All in all, very interesting and enjoyable, even if sometimes it felt a little more philosophical than strictly biological. ...more
This book was a really fun read. Zoomed right through it. 3.5 stars, leaning toward 4.
The first thing that struck me about the story is that you're bThis book was a really fun read. Zoomed right through it. 3.5 stars, leaning toward 4.
The first thing that struck me about the story is that you're being asked to root for the bad guys. The plot is a bit Ocean's 11-style, where the protagonists are trying to pull of an impressive heist... except there's no good reason to root for them. They're criminals, and they're doing something awful (looting the last, only, unspoiled tomb of an Egyptian pharoah - a crime that particularly horrifies my inner archaeologist). They're not doing it for any hidden noble purpose, either - they just want to get rich. I found myself rooting for the boobytraps inside the tomb.
Crichton ('scuse me, Lange) seems to be playing with this idea of protagonists behaving badly, though, and that's how it ended up still being so much fun, even if I cringed every time Pierce swung a mallet. Lord Grover and Lisa are constantly trying to gauge their own and others' moral standings, Grover is reading mystery novels and rooting for the bad guys, and the resolution... well, let's spoiler this.
(view spoiler)[The resolution does what needs to be done to allow everyone to feel good about what they've done. I mean, it allows the characters to feel justified in their crimes but also to have the reward without the punishment, and it allows the reader to think "ah well, it all ended with everyone on the side of goodness and light." But that's not really true. No one is held in any way accountable for the horrific crime's they've committed against history, and I personally find that very unsatisfying. (hide spoiler)] Also, I feel like I couldn't fully read between the lines in the last chapter to understand what happened. (view spoiler)[I understand why the Egyptian government did what they did, but what part did Grover play? What did his letter say? Matt, when you finish reading this I insist you explain it to me. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I've been wavering on starting because this first BOOK is so long, but it's terribly well reviewed, and I hThis series is going to be ten books long?!
I've been wavering on starting because this first BOOK is so long, but it's terribly well reviewed, and I have SO many chores to do lately that a 45-hour audiobook finally seemed like a good idea. I didn't notice the "first in a ten book series" thing until after I finished. Good thing, or I may never have started.
As with all epic fantasies I've read, it took awhile to get into it. I need a lot of time to find my feet in a new world, and once again, Sanderson has created a VERY new world. New kinds of magic, new laws of nature. At least the social system is fairly standard, which provided a hand-hold to get rolling. Once accustomed to the setting, I found myself very much enjoying and admiring the non-standard aspects, which really set Sanderson's stories apart.
On the whole, I found the writing and characters just as sturdy as those from the Mistborn series. Shallan was infinitely likable to me, her motives understandable if not always clear, her struggle against duty and desire well-balanced, and then there turned out to be even more layers than met the eye. I was always disappointed to switch from her scenes back to the others'. Kaladin had the charisma he needed in the role he played, and I did also enjoy his scenes. I occasionally found his actions and decisions a little confusing or frustrating, but I think this has something to do with me not being a man. Dalinar was my least favorite. The politicking-from-the-top stuff bores me, and while the bits about his visions were interesting, they were such a small fragment that it didn't quite keep me on the edge of my seat.
Overall, my impression of this story is that it is much more Manly than the Mistborn series. So much warring and murdering and bloody, brutal battle scenes. Fortunately, I'm interested enough in the hidden story of the world, the magic, and the mysterious spren that I will certainly continue reading, though with 8 books of 10 yet unpublished, I won't be in any hurry to pick up the next....more