At the tender age of eight, Rose Edelstein discovers that the taste of food has changed for her. Instead of tasting the final product, she tastes what...moreAt the tender age of eight, Rose Edelstein discovers that the taste of food has changed for her. Instead of tasting the final product, she tastes what went into the food, the emotions of the person who made it. She finds herself overwhelmed by her mother's sadness and depression during home cooked meals and as she grows up she struggles to find food that she can actually eat and she also finds herself unable to connect with people.
Once Rose reaches high school and she experiments with her food-tasting abilities the book begins to really get interesting. Because in addition to understanding more and learning to live with her odd ability, Rose realizes there is something going on with her brother that she doesn't entirely understand. It's very interesting the way the book contrasts Rose's experience with her ability and growing up and trying to find a way to continue living in society with her brother's increasing withdrawal from everyone he knows.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake felt muted for the most part, possibly because Rose spends so much time trying to keep distance from others, or can't seem to understand or figure out the best way to interact with people.
Although there was a lot about this book that I didn't really care for, it's the contrast between Rose and her brother, their relationship and the different choices they make that really grabbed me and will stick with me long after I've read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.(less)
In the year 2039 the creator of the world’s largest interactive online simulation, OASIS, dies a very rich man. However, he has named no heirs to his...moreIn the year 2039 the creator of the world’s largest interactive online simulation, OASIS, dies a very rich man. However, he has named no heirs to his fortune. Instead, in his video will, he sets a task to the people of the world. There is an Easter egg hidden somewhere within the vast universes of OASIS. In order to find it, players must find three keys and three gates. He leaves a clue to the first key and immediately a frenzy begins as the winner stands inherit not only OASIS, but the hundreds of billions of dollars the man had. For five years no one can even find the first key, until high school student Wade Watts gets very, very lucky, triggering a frantic race.
Throughout the book of Ready Player One readers are able to experience the vast, intricate and odd world of OASIS, a place both wonderful (there’s a Whedonverse!) and unreal. But at the same time we are introduced to an Earth that is a dismal place, ravaged by wars, with high unemployment, incredible numbers of homeless and a money-grubbing evil corporation, people are escaping into OASIS more and more simply so they don’t have to face reality.
Ernest Cline has managed to create two very interesting and unique worlds, and the clues and the hints the egg hunters (or “gunters”) are given to find the keys and gates are detailed and interesting. The journey through OASIS, the race against other gunters, Wade’s realizations about the world, and the antagonist of the evil corporation IOI all combine for a great read.
However, this book had some pretty big flaws, the main one being pacing. The middle of the book is a real killer. There is a lull between passing the first gate and finding the second key. Wade falls into a funk, he’s depressed, he’s wasting time, he can’t concentrate on the game and overall I lost interest a little myself. Then the pace picks up frantically as after the second key is found, the second gate is quickly passed and the third key is found even faster. It seemed very uneven to me.
Another thing is the ’80s references. OASIS’s creator loved the ’80s because he was a teenager then, so he makes all sorts of references to games and shows and music of that time in a journal he left behind. As a result, the world becomes obsessed with old games like Adventure, television shows like Schoolhouse Rock and bands like Rush, believing, correctly, that knowledge of his obsessions would help them find the Easter egg. I always find making references to current or past pop culture a cop out. In this book it make sense, it really does, in order for the gunters to figure out the keys, but I quickly got ’80s fatigue at all the name dropping and references and factoids. Technologically, the world in which Ready Player One takes place has progressed, but it stymied culturally, never advancing and in fact actually backtracking to, of all decades, the ’80s.
The book raises the interesting concept that, like the Internet, you could be anyone in OASIS. So I enjoyed learning a little more about the people behind the avatars. (view spoiler)[Although it was disappointing that the person we learn the least about was Art3mis. We get very interesting back stories with Shoto and Aech, but Art3mis, the love interest, never really gets developed much. When they meet the focus is on the mark on her face, to prove the point that physical appearance doesn’t matter to Wade, he fell in love with her long ago in OASIS. But we don’t get any background on her. She’s a college student who lives in Canada. That’s about it. Whereas Shoto explains his backstory with Daito, how they met and why they felt like they were brothers. Aech explains her troubles with her mother and why she chose to be a Caucasian male in OASIS despite being a black female in real life. (hide spoiler)]
Ready Player One was a unique and interesting read with a few issues that didn’t detract too much from the overall story.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Alas, Babylon really shows an amazing look into what American life would have been like if Russia had sent nukes during the Cold War. Admittedly, I th...moreAlas, Babylon really shows an amazing look into what American life would have been like if Russia had sent nukes during the Cold War. Admittedly, I thought it was a rather optimistic look at life, since the people of Fort Repose, Florida, seem to get rather lucky at the things they find, at the fact that the wind blows just right so they can avoid the fallout and that they live on a river that essentially feeds the main characters throughout the book.
We don't really get much of a look at what is happening in the rest of the country until the very end, because communications are down and whatever is working is reserved specifically for special defense communications.
All in all, I thought the end of the book had a very odd message. It almost seemed as if what we were to take away was that once modern amenities were all taken away from them, the people of the book found their lives fulfilling because they had to fend for themselves in a way that they never had to their whole lives.(less)
If I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fu...moreIf I was wearing a hat it would be off to Scott Lynch. This book is amazing. Going into it though, is like going into Million Dollar Baby: it's all fun and games and win after win and you think you've got a handle on where it's going and then BAM! It all goes to hell and you NEVER saw it coming.
Never before has a cast of characters so delighted me. Locke is brilliant and funny and ballsy as all hell. Probably my favorite part is when we learn that Locke was told once when he was younger not to piss off a Karthian Bondsmage. So what's the first thing he says when he comes face-to-face with one? "Nice bird, asshole." And that, right there, tells you a lot of Locke Lamora. He's arrogant but so damn smart that he can afford to be so. It was amazing seeing how all of his cons would unravel and suddenly make sense. He's always five steps ahead of everyone else around him.
The rest of the Gentleman Bastards are simply the greatest as well. Tough and loyal Jean Tannen, the comical and sneaky Sanzo twins and adorable Bug who is just trying to keep up with the men. But beyond the Gentleman Bastards are a whole host of other characters that are fascinating and so three dimensional from the rich Salvaras to The Gray King and even Ibelius, the questionable healer.
This book might not be for everything. There's some rather strong language (which I loved to death as I curse like a sailor in everyday life) and people get cut up, eaten, tortured, stabbed, burned, etc. This is a book about thieves, and some of those thieves don't have the strong morals that our main character does, and even Locke's morals only go so far and when he's pushed, he drops the fun attitude and becomes a force to be reckoned with.
And I loved the way the book was structured, how the reader gets interludes that jump back in time to round out the city of Camorr or how the Gentleman Bastards came to be as awesome as they are. I foresee this is a book I will want to read many, many times in the future... just after I read Red Seas Under Red Skies.(less)
What I enjoyed most about Across the Nightingale Floor was how the pieces were all set for the story to go a specific way and yet when the time comes,...moreWhat I enjoyed most about Across the Nightingale Floor was how the pieces were all set for the story to go a specific way and yet when the time comes, nothing goes as planned, which may seem like an odd thing to like about a book, but I thought it was nice here. (view spoiler)[I sort of liked that we were expecting Takeo to be the one to kill Iida and there was so much build up with the nightingale floor and after all of that Kaede gets to him first because he's a drunken perv. (hide spoiler)]
My biggest complaint about this book was the insta-love that takes place between Takeo and Kaede, which was a huge disappointment and a little creepy at one point: (view spoiler)[the part where they do it right after Kaede killed Iida and his dead body is still in the room. What? That's not romantic at ALL. Plus, Takeo actually mentions at one point that the more frail she looks the more he desires here (hide spoiler)]. The insta-love was even more disappointing because Kaede had the potential to be a really interesting character. I could see how she was growing, but she never really gets a chance to be as good as she could have and I sort of blame the insta-love for that.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was impressed when I read Mistborn because Sanderson had created such a unique magic system and a world with a detailed history and interesting poli...moreI was impressed when I read Mistborn because Sanderson had created such a unique magic system and a world with a detailed history and interesting politics. In that sense, Warbreaker is similar, with an entirely new and unique magic system in an entirely new world that he built. He's also incredibly adept at creating three-dimensional characters, particularly strong female characters who aren't abrasive. He does a good job at keeping you guessing about what is really going on until he deigns to explain it all (and it isn't tiresome).
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride that Warbreaker presented. However, the destination was sort of a letdown. Warbreaker is a standalone novel, but at the end I couldn't help but feel like I was jipped. The entire purpose of the book is that sisters Siri and Vivenna are both trying in their own ways to prevent a war between their home, Idris, and the more powerful Hallandren. And yet there's nothing really concrete about the outcome of the war. The epilogue tied up some loose ends, but it didn't really give me what I wanted after investing so much in the (incredibly interesting) in the story.
I think a lot of people will be disappointed with the rushed ending.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book takes a really interesting concept and makes it so convoluted that I lost interest. I was intrigued by the idea (but not I...more**spoiler alert** This book takes a really interesting concept and makes it so convoluted that I lost interest. I was intrigued by the idea (but not Idea) that the main character of a book created a band that turned out to be real in an alternate universe. Things start to get crazy when the main character of the book and the lead singer of the band cross paths and accidentally swap spots in their universes and then are suddenly characters in a book and become one.
Each new twist and turn in the plot lost my interest more and more because it made things harder to follow. A unique idea that simply got out of hand. I think this book would have been a lot better with a little editing and simplification.(less)
Now I know why Severus Snape hated Harry Potter so much (you know, beyond the whole (view spoiler)[Snape loved Lily thing (hide spoiler)]). All of the...moreNow I know why Severus Snape hated Harry Potter so much (you know, beyond the whole (view spoiler)[Snape loved Lily thing (hide spoiler)]). All of the times Snape called Harry arrogant and was cruel to him because he thought Harry acted like he owned Hogwarts and people should pay him the proper amount of attention, I was annoyed because I liked Snape, but I thought it was so biased and unfair and turned him into a caricature. I am now Snape. Kvothe is such an arrogant little shit, that I can understand why Snape was always sneering at Harry and trying to find ways to dock Harry points or something. If I was Kvothe’s teacher, I’d go out of my way to find problems with him (of course, in Kvothe’s opinion, and the way Rothfuss wrote him, he’s so damned awesome, I would fail every time). Take this gem from Kvothe’s narration:
“…I was brilliant. Not just your run-of-the-mill brilliance either. I was extraordinarily brilliant.”
Ugh, a little full of yourself?
Not only is he arrogant, but Kvothe goes out of his way to build up his notoriety. He already got in to the University uncommonly young, but that wasn’t enough. Then he showed up his teacher and got whipped in public and after that he’s REWARDED by being let into the Arcanum when I would’ve purposely made the kid wait at least until the next term as part of his punishment. He’s smart, but he shouldn’t be rewarded for what he pulled because although the teacher was a prick, Kvothe knew exactly what he was doing to embarrass Hemme. Then he pulled the trick with the drug so he wouldn’t bleed or pass out durng the whipping, which had everyone talking, and then as if that all wasn’t enough, he starts to spread rumors about himself, some true and some false, just to get more attention and be better known. Dude, you SUCK. I found myself rooting for the asshole Ambrose because SOMEONE needed to try and knock Kvothe down a peg.
He’s like all of the characters in The Great Gatsby. And the characters are the reason why I LOATH that book. The Name of the Wind is still better than Gatsby, but that’s no thanks to Kvothe, that's simply because there's more of a point to this book than Gatsby.
Not that I hate arrogant characters. Locke Lamora is arrogant. He’s also brilliant and he knows it, that’s why he’s the brains of the Gentlemen Bastards. So in that respect, he’s similar to Kvothe, but Locke Lamora is one of my favorite characters of all time, whereas Kvothe is probably tied with Gatsby as my least favorite. Locke also has a flair to him that makes him so damn amusing. I appreciate his arrogance because damn, the boy earned my respect with how ballsy he is.
I enjoyed the first few chapters of this book, while Kvothe was the innkeeper with the dark past. I liked that Kvothe. Then the Chronicler had to pop up and stroke Kvothe’s ego and suddenly he was the worst. Oh no, he couldn’t tell his story in one day, he needs THREE days. He couldn’t cut out any of the boring crap, he needs to describe in excruciating detail being on the road, his three years in Tarbean (which is where I really began to lose interest) and then being at the University. I honestly, didn’t care about any of that stuff. But I did actually enjoy about 40% of The Name of the Wind. The problem was that every time I thought we were getting somewhere (particularly when the Chandrian came back into play) Rothfuss would divert the plot (I was excited when I first saw there was a dragon, but then I couldn't bring myself to be interested in anything that happened with it).
However, I can totally understand why people love this novel. I see the appeal, it’s just not what appeals to me. I'm not in any rush to read The Wise Man's Fear, but I won't rule reading it out completely.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. Norma...moreThis book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. Normally, I'm a fantasy/sci-fi gal. That being said, this book was possibly my favorite book of the year.
When Daniel finds the rare book by Julian Carax he probably never would have imagined he would become get drawn into a decades old mystery and come face-to-face with a man who wants nothing more than to destroy everything Carax has written. Daniel finds himself obsessed with learning about who Julian was and why someone has burned almost all but a few copies of the author's books.
There are so many twists in this book and Zafon does a wonderful job of pulling in the readers so that we, too, want to understand the mystery of Julian and the girl he loves Penelope. Fairly quickly we learn that Penelope and Julian did not get their happily ever after and it's unraveling what happened to them that makes this book so engrossing. And it's not just the story of the past that is intriguing, because Daniel is having some interesting adventures of his own: his sidekick has clearly run into trouble in the past and may not be who he say he is, there is a man who is not-so-subtly threatening Daniel to leave it alone, and also he's falling in love with his best friend's sister and it's mirroring Julian's own story.
I absolutely loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in intriguing plot.(less)
Set in Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s, The Book Thief is partly a story about Nazis, a little about the Holocaust, and a lot about huma...moreSet in Germany during the late 1930s and early 1940s, The Book Thief is partly a story about Nazis, a little about the Holocaust, and a lot about human relationships and the shape of a human soul.
I almost didn't give this book a proper chance. I had trouble getting through the prologue because I thought the narrator's presence was too strong. I thought it seemed gimmicky to have Death narrate the story so much. But then I got into the first part and I fell in love with the characters and the heartache and the pain.
The Book Thief isn't the type of book that I felt compelled to rush through to see what happened next. I didn't read it quickly. Instead, this was the type of book that I read a chunk and then had to put it down so I could process what I read.
Zusak has written a very painful book in a very beautiful way. One that will tug at your heart and maybe step on it a few times by the end. The characters are so multifaceted and real that even though I knew what was going to happen to them, how they would die (because Death is kind enough to give some fair warning) it is still so upsetting.(less)