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)
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)
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.
2.5 stars. I'm officially not a fan of cyberpunk. Okay, so I've only read Snow Crash and Neuromancer, but if I can't love those, I think that qualifie...more2.5 stars. I'm officially not a fan of cyberpunk. Okay, so I've only read Snow Crash and Neuromancer, but if I can't love those, I think that qualifies as official. I'm more of a science geek as opposed to a computer geek.
There were a few isolated things I liked in this book. I liked Hiro and his swords. I really liked the whole information meme/virus idea and the Babel/Sumeria mythology. I liked the Metaverse. I even liked the basic plot. I didn't like the way this book was written. It was jumpy in time, place, and perspective. It was confusing. I didn't feel like I knew what the hell it was supposed to be about until the last quarter of the book. I see how that follows Hiro's point of view--the reader only figures things out as he does. But it felt like there wasn't actually a plot at all until it was almost over and all the disparate and seemingly random things I'd been reading about came together. I've read books that do a similar thing, but still managed to seem unscattered, perhaps due to a stronger, more central protagonist. This book really had two main characters, and their relationship was incidental and undeveloped. A stronger bond between Y.T. and Hiro might have made a good anchor to build the story around.
Speaking of Y.T., she was a little young for the role, if you know what I mean. Kind of creepy, Stephenson. Joss Whedon's fixation on teenaged girls with superpowers ain't got nothing on your over-sexualized fifteen year old skateboard whiz.
It took me a long time to read this book, so long that it felt like a chore. It just wasn't able to hook me. I can see how some people might like it, though. It has a lot of action, humor, attitude and interesting ideas. I just think the execution--the storytelling--could have been better.