Sound the trumpets, I've finished Harry Potter! I didn't enjoy this last one as much as #6, which in the end turned out to be my favorite. The Deathly...moreSound the trumpets, I've finished Harry Potter! I didn't enjoy this last one as much as #6, which in the end turned out to be my favorite. The Deathly Hallows had a lot of lulls and was unnecessarily dragged out (I'm guessing the only reason this story took a year to play out is because the other ones did). The explainathons didn't help much either. I have to wonder if Rowling left the door open for a spin-off starring the orphaned son of Tonks and Lupin. Orphans seem to be special in the Wizarding World. Anyway, I get why people who read this series when they were younger are so attached to it, but it didn't do as much for me at my age. I'm just happy I can now tick it off my list of "must-reads". Adieu Harry. You cheated me out of the tragic ending I was mistakenly led to expect and had hoped for, but adieu.(less)
From what I can remember of the previous books, I think this one was better than the second one. It was paced more quickly and there was a lot going o...moreFrom what I can remember of the previous books, I think this one was better than the second one. It was paced more quickly and there was a lot going on. There was so much going on that at times it got a bit confusing. Dozens of characters in separate, ever-changing groups, always on the move, people dying and new characters being introduced almost until the end makes for a lot to keep track of.
The relationshippy parts in this series seem a bit packaged and shallow to me, kind of forced and even too easy in a way. And the way it wrapped up so neatly in the end was disappointing. I did enjoy Marcus as comic relief. And I was impressed at what Vale ended up doing in White Plains, not necessarily because I approve of his action but because it was unexpected in a YA novel. There was so much death and gore and violence you wouldn't think it appropriate for this genre but somehow I didn't feel much of the horror you might expect. The author attempted to have his characters feel something about this but did not succeed in transferring that feeling to this reader.
This series is clearly bound for movie adaptation à la Hunger Games and Divergent. And I think it might even be quite decent in that format. As for the books, they were a mostly enjoyable adventure but didn't delve as deep into the emotions and issues they raised as much as I would've liked. The trilogy focuses more on action than anything else.
3.75 stars. A good book, with a slowly unfolding mystery, humour, emotion and action, but I didn't really like what the "mystery" turned out to be, I...more3.75 stars. A good book, with a slowly unfolding mystery, humour, emotion and action, but I didn't really like what the "mystery" turned out to be, I kept hoping the characters' theory was wrong. And the ending wasn't very satisfactory, you never find out what happens. I know that's meant to be the point -- there's always "more than this". But I wish Ness would have given a bit more of the more!
It's hard to write much of a review without giving away the mystery. Enjoyable characters, lots of suspense, but some plausibility issues. This book doesn't top Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy, but not much does ;) Definitely worth the read, as Ness is one of the best YA authors in the business. A lot of books in the genre are basically action/romance movie-like fluff, but Ness' stories are infused with meaning and real emotion.(less)
2.5 stars. Good idea, mediocre execution. The relationship between Michael and Patrick was the most well done part of this book. I liked Michael's ide...more2.5 stars. Good idea, mediocre execution. The relationship between Michael and Patrick was the most well done part of this book. I liked Michael's idea of inventing The Game to get himself and his brother through the zombie apocalypse, and how it eventually became a liability. Less well done were the actual characters. Michael himself was yet another protagonist with self-esteem issues and the usual habit of blaming himself for everything. The other characters, aside from Patrick, were one dimensional stereotypes and could have used a lot more meat on them. Patrick was more endearing. This book had a lot of little inconsistencies and implausibilities, even given the premise of zombies. It was frustrating at times, and the climax was rather too neat. Definitely not a book for nit-pickers or people who expect detailed world-building.(less)
Aarrggh a cliffhanger! Damn you Kelley Armstrong! *shakes fist*
This book reminded me a smidge of Graceling, set in a sort of fantastical kingdom, you...moreAarrggh a cliffhanger! Damn you Kelley Armstrong! *shakes fist*
This book reminded me a smidge of Graceling, set in a sort of fantastical kingdom, young people with special powers. But it wasn't as good. It wasn't bad, it just didn't suck me in. I'm regretting not waiting until all three were published before beginning to read though. Why do I do that to myself?(less)
I can't figure out why this YA trilogy isn't more popular. My library only ordered one copy of this book, and I was the only one who put it on hold. E...moreI can't figure out why this YA trilogy isn't more popular. My library only ordered one copy of this book, and I was the only one who put it on hold. Even after having it for the entire 3 week loan period, there was still nobody waiting when I returned it. Sure, it's science fiction, not urban fantasy (no angels or vampires), but I also suspect this series wasn't marketed much. Which is a shame, because it is of much better quality than series like Hush Hush or The Lorien Legacies.
Not that The Jenna Fox Chronicles doesn't have its faults. My biggest problem with books 2 and 3 is how little things have changed in the 260 years Locke was trapped in a computer matrix, including Locke himself. He was basically in a sensory deprivation tank. He should either be irrevocably insane, or a zen master. Instead, he's (mentally, emotionally) the same average teenage boy he was when he was downloaded into the computer. I tried to figure out how this could be possible. I thought perhaps the matrix wouldn't allow for his brain patterns to change, but then how would he have created memories? And he definitely remembers being in the "box". So it really makes no sense that his personality didn't mature at all, after 260 years. And thus his relationship with the teenaged Raine is kind of creepy, much like, oh, a centuries-old vampire or angel falling in love with a teenager.
The world outside has changed a bit, but everybody still speaks with the exact same vocabulary as Locke. It is too easy for him to fit in with Raine and her friends - they should have all kinds of slang that Locke has never heard of, and vice versa. Pearson gives a couple of nods to this fact, and Locke almost gets caught, but really, he had it much easier than is realistic. If you time-travelled back to 1753, you'd stick out like a laser show in a sea of campfires. These implausibilities bothered me quite a bit while reading this series (though it wasn't as big an issue in The Adoration of Jenna Fox).
The plot of this third book was decent, a bit of an unlikely spy thriller, really. Pearson's writing is fluid, introspective and mature, but still highly accessible. I rolled my eyes a bit at Locke and Raine's "instalove", but at least it was a watered-down version, not immediately requited, and not the main focus of the plot. The political aspect of the series (citizens vs. non-pacts & bots) gets satisfactorily wrapped up by the end of this book, but it's a bit of an afterthought/info-dump.
I had a difficult time when I first picked up the book, the same week the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, and the manhunt was getting constant live news coverage. (This book is set in Boston and Locke travels to many locations mentioned in the news, including Copley Square where the bombs exploded). For this reason, I had to put the book aside for about a week. Even then, it was sometimes hard to concentrate on it. I have a hard time knowing whether that was my issue or if the story just wasn't that interesting to me. It's a decent finish to the trilogy, more like the second book than the first.
I really prefer the artwork done by Georges Jeanty over that of Karl Moline. The faces are so much better, for one thing. I don't know why it was nece...moreI really prefer the artwork done by Georges Jeanty over that of Karl Moline. The faces are so much better, for one thing. I don't know why it was necessary for Buffy to have a homosexual experience, why not make it Xander? Or would male homosexuality be too off-putting. Yes, I'm being snarky, but also serious. (less)
I'd already read The Long Way Home and No Future for You, which makes up a large portion of this volume, but I re-read them here to remind myself of t...moreI'd already read The Long Way Home and No Future for You, which makes up a large portion of this volume, but I re-read them here to remind myself of the story. I really like the art in these graphic novels. The story-telling isn't very linear, so it can be confusing, but if you pay attention you can figure it out. The character dialogue is right out of the show--you can almost hear the original actors' voices. Various plot lines get started in this first volume, it will be interesting to see what happens.(less)
I was so excited when I got my advanced proof of this book in the mail, courtesy of a goodreads firstreads giveaway, I took a picture of it and posted...moreI was so excited when I got my advanced proof of this book in the mail, courtesy of a goodreads firstreads giveaway, I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook. Unfortunately my excitement didn't last long after I started reading it. I admit that it took me somewhere between 150 and 200 pages to finally realize I was approaching the book all wrong. I'm in the middle of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Saga, and this is a very different type of science fiction. Basically it's like Dirk Gently on Mars, but not as clever as a Douglas Adams book.
I've read quite a few of Sawyer's novels, and he has a very simple writing style in terms of sentence structure and--necessary science jargon notwithstanding--vocabulary. His characters are equally uncomplicated, which is a mild way of saying they often feel to me like hollow stereotypes. What saves Sawyer's stories for me has always been his speculative ideas: what if everybody in the world simultaneously experienced a few minutes of their own future (Flashforward)? What if the Internet became sentient (WWW trilogy)? What if we could visit a parallel universe where Neanderthals survived instead of Homo Sapiens (Neanderthal Parallax)? The speculative idea in this book was: what if the discovery of fossils on Mars led to a gold-rush-type scenario? In comparison, this idea just didn't cut the mustard with me. Sure, people could also transfer their consciousnesses into android bodies, but that's a pretty well-used idea. Sawyer probably knows this, so he didn't really bother exploring the implications of it here.
Instead we get a story about a bumbling private detective who gets mixed up in the lives of people trying to find a long-sought-after fossil deposit. I don't read P.I. novels, so I really don't know how Alex Lomax stacks up as a main character in that genre. He thinks he's a wit, even though his jokes consist mainly of cheesy-dad puns lame enough to make a seven-year-old roll his eyes. He kind of just fumbles around, sleeping with hot women and getting other people killed. Maybe that's a "gumshoe" genre convention too, I don't know.
The plot is actually a series of three plots in the sense that the story seems to be wrapping up twice before it actually does. The first time this happens is due to the fact that the first ten chapters of this book were originally a novella called Identity Theft. The second one happens when the main plot seems to have climaxed, but there is actually more to come.
To be perfectly honest, I found this book to be a series of silly antics and repetitive gunpoint stand-offs that had difficulty keeping my attention. Aside from Rory--who was endearing despite being somewhat of a stereotype--I really didn't care about the characters and what happened to them.
If you read purely for entertainment purposes and enjoy non-serious private detective novels, you might enjoy Red Planet Blues. I like to read books that make me think a little, and this one just didn't. So for me, it was disappointing.
Note: I have removed most of my reviews to my private blog, but have opted to leave the reviews of books won by goodreads giveaways. This review can also be found here: http://bit.ly/Z2ifRw(less)
Do yourself a favour and don't read the afterword, at least not right away. You can come back to it later if you're really curious, but to me it had t...moreDo yourself a favour and don't read the afterword, at least not right away. You can come back to it later if you're really curious, but to me it had the effect of seeming like Card was trying to steal Ender's show. I know that's weird because he created Ender, but the story that has now lasted four books is about these characters you've come to know and have feelings about, and when it's over you're immediately hit in the face with a bunch of rambling thoughts that is essentially Card screaming "Me! Me! Me!" He can't just let the story be, he has to tell you some of his opinions. It's a personal blog-like essay that has no place at the end of this book.
I found Children of The Mind easier to read than Xenocide, though I can't quite articulate why. However, the ease of reading doesn't mean I thought it was better. There were quite a few things that stretched my credulity, and the ending seemed a little too happily-ever-after to feel like a consistent conclusion. I never thought I'd see a science fiction author follow in Jane Austen's footsteps by ending with a double wedding. It's so trite, especially since both couples, despite being comprised of ambitious, career-minded people, decided immediately upon realising they were in love, that the most important thing in the universe was to get married and have babies ASAP. It seemed like a rare instance of the author imposing his own values on characters that otherwise wouldn't share them. At least, the characters as I've come to understand them. Others may have a different interpretation.
In my opinion, there was something in the first two books of this series that's missing in books three and four. They don't seem to have the same integrity. They felt less planned out in detail, less pointed in message. The same kinds of philosophical and moral issues are discussed, but there is some repetition, and they don't seem to be as focused. Later books in series tend to be looser like this, and you often get the impression that the author might have been hurried, tired of his subjects, slightly lacking in inspiration and/or less motivated to really tighten up the story. It's not a huge decline in this series, but it was noticeable to me.
The characters in this series are complex, individual, and memorable. A lot of them are highly emotional and volatile, and I wouldn't want to know them, but they are interesting to read about. It's frightening to think of the fate of entire sentient species being in the hands of such a terribly dysfunctional family. If they were real, they'd qualify for their own reality show. Yet Card has a good understanding of psychology and is able to make each character's thoughts and motivations unique and, if not exactly relatable, then comprehensible. His ability to show such a wide variety of perspectives is remarkable. Though not consistently engrossing, this story did draw me in for large pockets of time.
I cannot imagine a single fan of this series not being absolutely thrilled with this final book of the trilogy. As for me, you can...more***mild spoilers***
I cannot imagine a single fan of this series not being absolutely thrilled with this final book of the trilogy. As for me, you can tell by my rating that I'm not really a fan. I much preferred The Mortal Instruments (well, the first three volumes, anyway, I'm waiting for #6 to be published before I read the rest).
The thing is, I just never cared all that much for Tessa. Aside from her unique heredity and the unusual powers she has, she's sort of a nothing personality. And, outside of a Jane Austen novel, I have never been a fan of happily ever afters. So the fact that this mediocre excuse for a heroine gets a double dose of dream-come-true rubs me the wrong way. But of course, I didn't expect a tragedy, not from this series. The aforementioned fans would've rioted.
Did I mention that everybody else in the book coupled up and got happily-ever-afters as well? Except for Henry's legs, no losses were taken in the end by the "good guys" (unless you count Jessamine, who still ended up redeemed and content). Sigh.
This book did have its moments. Though over-cooked, the strength of friendship between Will and Jem was something you never see explored in this genre. And Sophie's Ascension ceremony was well done and touching. The plot in this story was simpler and yet better than the previous two installments. The most infernal of devices in this series are the ones used by the author to create drama and further the plot. I think there's only one of two significant characters in this book that didn't, at some point, blame themselves for everything. I hate it when characters do that, I really do. It's so self-absorbed and emo. It's also used in almost every YA book I've ever read as a segue into feely conversations between characters, misunderstandings, and martyr-like self-destructive behaviors. Heroes take all the blame for themselves, while villains shift all the blame onto others. I prefer realistic characters that recognize the truth is always somewhere in between.
Now that all is said and done, I think Clockwork Princess may be equal to or better than Clockwork Prince, and certainly better than Clockwork Angel. It's nice that the series did end better than it started. However, I still find myself not really caring about the story or the people in it. After three long books, you would expect to be invested in the characters. I know a lot of readers of this series probably are, but I'm just not one of them. This trilogy is like a nice looking but forgettable action movie. It doesn't explore any real themes, or make you think about any issues. In my opinion there are other, better offerings in the YA genre.
Well that ended in a rather odd place. So many plots left unfinished. I didn't like this book as much as Speaker, but it had some good bits. I wasn't...moreWell that ended in a rather odd place. So many plots left unfinished. I didn't like this book as much as Speaker, but it had some good bits. I wasn't planning on reading the next book in the series right away, but there are so many loose ends, I guess I have to. Please see my review of Children of the Mind for my complete thoughts on books 3 and 4.
Hmmmm. You know, I get why people might really like this book. It's contemporary fiction with a dash of sci-fi, and it is well-written. It has a...more3.5/5
Hmmmm. You know, I get why people might really like this book. It's contemporary fiction with a dash of sci-fi, and it is well-written. It has a reassuring message, even though it's full of tragedy. Everything matters - people want to believe that. The thing is, it doesn't work for me; I'm not buying it. I'm too far gone in my existentialism or fatalism or nihilism or whatever the hell is wrong with me. I mean, at this point, the entire question of whether or not anything matters doesn't matter to me. Things just are. This book attempts to stir something in its audience, but misses the mark (mine, anyway). Currie's trying to sound like he knows the truth about meaning and wants to share his sage-like wisdom, but as a source, he's just not credible. He's pretty young. Maybe he's even a genius like his protagonist, but IQ doesn't equal wisdom. Maybe he's figured out his own truth, and thinks it should apply universally. However it stands, it's a decent attempt, but doesn't quite get there.
The story itself is told from the perspectives of several characters, most of which sound very much alike in voice. One notable exception is the disembodied omnipotent voice that speaks directly to Junior, calling him "you", and conveniently revealing details about everyone and everything that would be more difficult to show in a conventional narrative. We never find out why that voice is there, who it belongs to, and why it's taken an interest in this particular man in this particular multiverse. Even Junior doesn't seem to ask "why me?", he's too preoccupied with what to do (or not to do) with the information he's being given, and what it means about what matters.
There's a lot of exploration of father-son dynamics in this book, which I couldn't relate to. The female characters didn't feel as fully realized as the male ones. The narrative is mostly about the major and minor events of mundane living, and sometimes it got a little boring, occasionally it got implausible.
So these are my complaints. Despite all of that, it's not a bad book. It's often compelling, even when it veers into the fantastical. The relationships between characters were interesting, with good dialogue. I guess the main feeling I have is that this story feels like it's telling you how mind-blowing or heart-wrenching or philosophical it is, but my mind is not blown, nor my heart-wrenched. So maybe it's trying too hard or taking itself too seriously. Or maybe I just don't like how this book made me feel I was supposed to be learning an important life lesson from it. Then there's this line: "Irony is a luxury the doomed cannot afford." Which I totally disagree with. If you're going to hell in a hand-basket, you need all the laughs you can get.