“It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.”
With those two sentences, Nick Dunne aptly sums up the relationship he has with his wife, rife wi“It was kind of romantic. Catastrophically romantic.”
With those two sentences, Nick Dunne aptly sums up the relationship he has with his wife, rife with false personalities, resentment, the thirst for approval, the desire to be better for one another and a begrudging sort of admiration, even love.
Nick and Amy’s marriage is in rocky waters when Amy goes missing on the morning of their fifth anniversary. The novel is told through alternating chapters from Nick, beginning on the morning of Amy’s disappearance, and from Amy’s diary, beginning back when she met Nick up until shortly before the “event.”
As the investigation progresses, Nick’s lies pile up, the evidence mounts against him and the reader relives how Amy and Nick fell out of love.
At first glance,Gone Girl is a simple mystery, well written, but initially nothing special; however, halfway through the novel takes a sharp and drastic turn. This run-of-the-mill mystery becomes so much more, and I couldn’t put it down at that point. For me the first half is a 3.5-4 stars, but the second half is a solid 5; you just need to power through and get to the good stuff.
Gone Girl is not the sort of book I would normally pick up, but the hype around it was so strong, and it ended up on so many "best of" lists from 2012, that my husband and I had to give it a try. He read it first and couldn't stop raving about it, but couldn't tell me too much about it. And now I know how he felt. It's really the sort of book you need to read all the way through to understand why it's so good, because you can't discuss anything from the second half of the book without ruining it all....more
And All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, inAnd All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in the aftermath of an alien occupation of earth. The story is about classes and social work and an individual being more than the generalization of his or her society.
This book was a really great read. I loved having the characters realistically discuss what to do next, seeing the occupation and changes to society take place over time. I always find it frustrating when a novel or a movie establishes some event is taking place (alien invasion, virus release, zombies, etc.) and then jumps ahead some how (character gets injured, usually) without showing the transition. And All the Stars is all about the transition.
But just as much as the actual story, I loved how diverse the characters were. There's a straight boy who doesn't confirm to hetero norms and has a gay best friend who he's super close to and he doesn't mind when people assume they might be a couple. There are people of other religions, people from multiple ethnicities. And even one male who dresses feminine with makeup and traditionally female clothes despite definitely identifying as male.
My only complaint has to do with the end: (view spoiler)[the big final battle is skipped over ala The Hunger Games where Katniss would always wake up later to someone explaining how things finished. (hide spoiler)]...more
Here's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge seHere's the obligatory warning that I'm in love with these books and they can do no wrong in my eyes.
All of the previous books in the Emperor’s Edge series have been leading up to this book, in a way. The lines of the Forge storyline become completely clear, and by the end of the book it is understood that the events to follow will forever change the world of the Emperor’s Edge books.
We get some strong development between Sicarius and Amaranthe, plus we get more of Sicarius, Amaranthe and Sespian together for extended periods of time. (view spoiler)[And the truth about Sicarius and Sespian’s relationship finally is revealed! (hide spoiler)]
There are very few love triangles that I can actually stand (let alone like), but the one between Sespian, Amaranthe and Sicarius is one that I actually enjoyed reading and was a little torn up over. (Another was between Jonathan, Alanna and George in Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartetSong of the Lioness quartet.)
It’s clear that the story isn’t done, but Blood and Betrayal isn’t as much of a cliffhanger as the previous book. There’s more that has to happen, but the book tied up most of what started in Conspiracy(view spoiler)[with Sespian getting to do the spying he wanted the team to kidnap him for, the team being reunited and all secrets revealed (hide spoiler)].
In order to hold myself over until Forged in Blood comes out (2013!) I’ll be moving on to Encrypted, which apparently deals with the mysterious alien technology that shows up in both Conspiracy and Blood and Betrayal....more
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 whatAt 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....more
What you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was theWhat you should know going into this review, is that I am unabashedly in love with these books.
In a way I sort of dreaded this book because it was the one where we get Akstyr’s POV, and he’s always rubbed me the wrong way. As the one member of the group who has always looked out for himself more than the others, I felt like Akstyr was going to harsh my good vibes about the Emperor’s Edge group.
You know it’s the mark of a good author and storyteller when a book focusing on a character you don’t particularly care for is just as enjoyable (possibly more so) than the rest of the series. Buroker had a stroke of genius when she decided to use Akstyr’s POV in a book with the most interesting (so far) storyline.
In this book, the story that began at the end of the previous one (view spoiler)[(Sespian contacting the group to be kidnapped) (hide spoiler)] comes to fruition. Sespian, that kind, young emperor with a bit of a crush on Amaranthe, finally comes back into the picture for an extended time. No longer being drugged into submission, we finally get to see Sespian as he really is.
Of course, nothing goes as planned, and the group discovers that Forge is even more formidable than they initially estimated.
What I really wasn’t expecting was for this book to end with such a cliffhanger. Because Conspiracy is really the first part of this story arc. While the previous three Emperor’s Edge books can stand alone, Conspiracy cannot. In order to finish the story started here, you need to move onto Blood and Betrayal. Which I’m doing right now!...more
This is such a fascinating story and really aptly portrays how even the best of intentions can go wildly astray. There's so much present in this shortThis is such a fascinating story and really aptly portrays how even the best of intentions can go wildly astray. There's so much present in this short novel: a down-on-his-luck hero, love, a sick child, a world in peril, a harsh ruling class and a sneaky and crafty villain to despise.
And while the story is finished nicely, I can't help but wish there was more to the characters' stories after the last page. I'm definitely reading the other book in this world (The Executioness)....more
This short story was fantastic. Considering how short it is, there's a wealth of information, about the people who live in the silo, about the rules aThis short story was fantastic. Considering how short it is, there's a wealth of information, about the people who live in the silo, about the rules and about the past.
Within a short amount of pages there is plenty of second guessing (both on the part of characters and the reader) about what is or is not outside the silo. Because that's what this book is really about. It's about faith in a way; it's about how seeing is believing. It's about how when an idea forms in someone's mind they have to know the truth. So what's the truth about this world? And what is really outside the silo?
Wool is crafted so beautifully that the reader won’t know what to believe until the very end....more
The short stories contained within this collection are incredibly varied in style, substance and quality. And I’d never read anything from any of thesThe short stories contained within this collection are incredibly varied in style, substance and quality. And I’d never read anything from any of these writers (unless we’re counting Charlie Jane Anders’ posts on io9).
There were some stories I was happy that I had read. But there were some that I definitely could have done without, either because I didn’t like the writing style, I didn’t like the characters or I just didn’t care for the plot. But that is the risk you run when you read a collection like this.
There were three incredibly strong pieces in this, two that were interesting but felt very incomplete, and two I may not have even bothered to finish.
Overall, well worth it, especially considering it was free!
Six Months, Three Days An interesting take on what happens if the two people in a relationship both have a sort of ability to see the future and they know that their relationship is going to end poorly. The story is one of free will vs. fate. And while I enjoyed reading it, I had a problem with the dialogue, which I thought was fake sounding.
The Dala Horse I had no idea where this story was going when I started it, and I finished it with a multitude of questions. It was an interesting read, but I felt like so much was not answered.
A Clean Sweep with all the Trimmings I’ll admit that I couldn’t read this at all. I don’t like the style of writing and I didn’t care for the little bit of the story I did read.
Beauty Belongs to the Flowers A long, beautiful story of a cyberpunk Japan. The technology available fascinated me. But more so, I enjoyed the interactions between the people. The youth of Japan, embracing very modern ways, vs. the older generations, who are more respectful and do not approve of the fake worlds people live in as a result of their technology. However, I did not like the very end. It creeped me out, but not in a good way. In a sort of disgusting way.
A Vector Alphabet of Interstellar Travel A look at various alien cultures in the galaxy. These are incredibly creative. However, they are unconnected to one another and read more like the appendix to a really great space opera rather than anything that can stand on its own.
Ragnarok I’ll admit that I have problems with epic poems, but there have been ones I loved in the past. This is not one of them. I had trouble getting into it, and I had trouble paying attention the whole way through.
Hello Moto Another story that seems like a snippet of a larger novel. It very interesting, but overall too short. I would like some more, please. We don’t get enough background of who the women are, but we know that one of them created something that they could use for good, and, as happens, two of them choose to use it selfishly.
Shtetl Easily the best of the bunch. This is the story of a world where Hitler succeeded. The Jews have been wiped out, and the Reich rules the world. Since there are no more Jews, the Reich has chosen to create little villages with actors (like those annoying ones from frontier villages or something), who do not break from their roles while in the village. They live out the lives of Jews while tourists come and gawk at this extinguished people. The actors do their jobs so well, that they have to admit to themselves that there is no longer a difference between the characters they place and the people they are outside of the village....more
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 hisIn 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....more
I know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of UnearI know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unearthly (which I loved). They aren't normal people or kind to humans or guardian angels or anything like that. These are biblical angels. These are Old Testament/Torah, wrath of god, angels that destroyed cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Susan Ee has legit angel and bible lore (I'm not religious, but I did go to Catholic school) and I was absolutely giddy about that. (Nephilim are referenced correctly! Gabriel is the messenger of God and brings about the beginning of the apocalypse! Uriel has ties to hell!)
The book takes place after cities of the U.S. have already been destroyed when angels came down to Earth to wreak fire and brimstone. In life after modern amenities are gone, people keep one eye on the skies to hide from angels, gangs roam the streets and Penryn (your typical tough female lead, like The Hunger Games' Katniss, Graceling's Katsa or Hollowmen's Remy) watches as her little sister is grabbed by an angel who flies away with her. And the only chance she has of getting Paige back is the injured, wingless angel she finds on the street. Raffe is willing to bring Penryn to the angels only because she has his wings and it's his hope that they can be reattached.
I love lawless end-of-the-world-type societies, so Angelfall hit the mark for me. I like books that are light on the romance, but hint that there is actual build up of a relationship. I just really liked this book. I love underground rebellions (like Neville Longbottom and Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
And I absolutely loved that Penryn's mother is legitimately crazy. She's schizophrenic, sees things, does things that only make sense to her but seem to have no rational reasoning and is just damn fascinating to read about. A woman like that would normally be in the care of professionals. Instead, given the end of the world and everything, she's free to roam the streets and right now the real world looks as horrifying and scary as what she's always pictured in her head. And she is actually more dangerous than most people because of how unpredictable and out of touch with reality she is.
I think the only reason Angelfall didn't get 5 stars from me was because the story is the classic "younger sibling was taken by supernatural creatures and I have to get him/her back with the help of one of these supernatural creatures that I don't trust all that much" (although the end is different (view spoiler)[ when you consider the fact that Paige has been turned into a little monster! I can't wait to see how that plays out (hide spoiler)]). Lastly, it's written in first person POV, and I'm honestly getting so sick of that. There's something about first person POV that I never really liked and the more YA novels I read that are written like that, the less patience I have for it.
Overall, this was an amazing book, a fascinating read and has planted the seeds for a really great series....more
Whenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven'tWhenever I finish one of the Emperor's Edge books I have this urge to grab random people on the street, shake them and demand to know why they haven't read them yet. I honestly can't praise the author, these books and these characters enough. And as much as I enjoyed the first two, I think this one was the best. And based on the epilogue, the story is just going to continue getting better....more
Prediction August 2011: My only concern stems from this one line: "and wonders if she may be falling in love again." EDIT: the blurb has since changedPrediction August 2011: My only concern stems from this one line: "and wonders if she may be falling in love again." EDIT: the blurb has since changed.
I'm predicting the dreaded upcoming storyline. Lena is now on her own and thinks Alex is dead. She meets up with some people in the Wilds, and starts to fall in love with one of the guys. Then, toward the end of the book, she finds out that Alex is still alive and OMG MAJOR CONFLICT OF EMOTIONS. Lena and the others decide they have to try and save Alex. Cue the next book in the series, which will be super heavy on the love triangle angst.
Review: So I've finished the book and overall I was rather pleased with it. The format of the story was not what I was expecting. I really enjoyed that it wasn't told linearly. Instead, the chapters alternate between Now and Then. The Then chapters pick up directly after the events of Delirium. Lena has escaped into the woods and she's injured and alone. The Now chapters are six months in the future. Lena has been with the Invalids in the Wilds and now she is living in one of the cities, pretending she is cured, but really working for the resistance.
However, some aspects of this book were a little predictable: (view spoiler)[the fact that Tack gave her all that stuff and was acting weird just made it obvious to me that they knew she was going to be captured. I hadn't figured out the extent of it all, but I wasn't all that surprised by the big reveal. Also, the fact that she and Julian (as soon as he was introduced I knew he was going to be the object of affection) fell in love was not at all surprising. Furthermore, I knew Alex was coming back. He's different though, changed by the Crypts, so that should be interesting. But not if he's going to be a d-bag to her and yet still have feelings for her and she'll still be torn despite the fact that he's acting cruelly toward her (like Wanda in The Host. (hide spoiler)]
What I liked about this book was the fact that Lena's role changes. In the first book she is one of the believers in the cure and we get to see her perspective slowly change because of Alex. In this book she's acting in the role of Alex because she is pretending to be cured and she is changing the mind of someone else.
Based on how the book ended, I'm dreading some of the things that have to be worked out in the next book, but I've really enjoyed the first two, so I'm going to give Requiem the benefit of the doubt....more
Yeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to persoYeah, I loved this one. Somehow, it’s even better than the first one. The characters get explored a little more, and I’ve decided that I want to personally know each and every one of the team. They might all be wanted criminals and some have trying personalities, but their interactions with one another are so great and believable, that I want to be part of that team. Basilard doesn’t even speak yet I always enjoyed his interactions with Akstyr. I’m a sucker for good relationship building. In the first book, Maldynado = Finnick from The Hunger Games, for me. By the end of this book, that’s not really the case anymore. He’s now separated in my mind from Finnick (not that I ever had a problem with it, because I loved Finnick).
Buroker does something different with the storytelling in this book. While The Emperor’s Edge mainly focuses on Amaranthe (with occasional Sespian chapters), in Dark Currents, she splits the book between Amaranthe and Books. She has said that each book she writes in the series will use a member of the Emperor’s Edge team as the secondary character to Amaranthe’s chapters. I love this concept. There’s no denying that Amaranthe is the main character, but this will allow all of the others to become fully fleshed. I can’t wait to see what Maldynado’s chapters will be like. I’m interested to see what goes on Sicarius’ head, but I have a feeling that might be saved for last. But Basilard is next, and considering what we learn about him (and Sicarius) in this book, I think that makes sense.
My only complaint plotwise, is that the final confrontation with Amaranthe and the giant, dangerous beasts, is a little like the one at the end of the first book. Where Amaranthe is the bait and she has to lure the beasts to where Maldynado is waiting with a contraption to take them down.
And the biggest disappointment for me (but it didn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the book. It was just something that I thought about afterward) was that Sespian doesn’t show up at all in this book. Although, I did enjoy that there was a rather serious conversation between Sicarius and Amaranthe about the fact that the emperor clearly has a puppy dog crush on her and he’ll always hate and distrust Sicarius. It’s something that needs to be addressed. (view spoiler)[I want Sicarius and Amaranthe to get together, but I wondered throughout the book about how it would work. Morally, I mean. Sicarius is trying to make a good impression on his son. Getting together with the girl your son likes and then expecting him to be happy to see you is not a good plan. I’m glad this was brought up by Sicarius. In most love triangles the two men don’t like each other very much. They’re usually enemies or they were just never friends. In this book, they are enemies, but not from Sicarius’ perspective. That’s his freaking son(hide spoiler)].
There are supposed to be six books total in this series. Next one, please!...more
There were only three short stories here, but I really enjoyed them because they showed the dozens of smaller jobs Amaranthe and her team take on in aThere were only three short stories here, but I really enjoyed them because they showed the dozens of smaller jobs Amaranthe and her team take on in addition to the huge, complex plots from the novels. Reading this book was sort of like seeing the behind the scenes cuts: the small moments that make up the Emperor's Edge. I do wish there had been some Maldynado, but I was happy to have two Sicarius stories....more
There’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-craftedThere’s nothing like buying a book on a whim and being surprised with just how damn good it is. The Emperor’s Edge has everything I like: well-crafted characters, including a strong female; mystery; conspiracies; a little economics even; dry humor; witty banter; and just the tiniest hint of possible romance (which is exactly how I like my romance, thank you).
Amaranthe Lokdon is one of a few female enforcers in the Empire and she’s incredibly loyal to the emperor, Sespian, and has designs to move up in the ranks. So when she’s offered the chance to take out the assassin Sicarius in order to protect the young emperor, she takes the job. Only problem is she wasn’t meant to succeed. Now that she’s survived the encounter Amaranthe discovers that there are not one but two plots against the emperor afoot and the only people she has to rely on are Sicarius and the ragtag group of men she brings together.
I loved this book. I especially loved seeing the characters evolve. And although short, I think the book was exactly the right length. I liked that the mystery wasn’t dragged out for a painfully long time. And nothing came easy for Amaranthe as she inevitably got in a sticky situation with each one of the guys, but I liked that she was incredibly smart and able to think her way out of every situation.
As for the romance. I suppose one could say there is a love triangle, but not really. Sespian clearly has a crush on her despite having only met her twice, and it’s really sort of cute, almost like when one of your friends’ younger brothers likes you. It was cute, but I didn’t see it happening. Then there’s some tension between Amaranthe and Sicarius. He is the strong, mysterious, silent type that girls often can’t help themselves around, but she manages to keep it professional except for a few times. And no one can ever tell what Sicarius is thinking (or feeling), but I’d be willing to wager that he has slightly fond feelings for her. And the fact that both of these men have feelings for her is just too amusing for words: (view spoiler)[I'm serious, MAJOR spoiler(view spoiler)[father and son both liking the same girl, ha! (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)]
All-in-all this was such an entertaining read, and a true gem that I accidentally stumbled across.
Really a 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed it so much that I rounded up rather than down. ...more