I think I would typically rate The Host at 3.5 stars, but because I was so surprised at how much I liked it (and to be fair, I went in with really lowI think I would typically rate The Host at 3.5 stars, but because I was so surprised at how much I liked it (and to be fair, I went in with really low expectations), I’m bumping it up to 4 rather than down to 3. I really feel like I have to justify why I liked this book, especially since I loathed Twilight so much.
In my opinion, this is a huge improvement over the schlockfest that was Twilight. There is an actual, interesting story to tell that is beyond a love triangle (although there is a love triangle present: more on that later). And it’s a rather unique story too. Meyer proves to be a competent storyteller, even if her writing leaves a lot to be desired at times. She still has her sentences that aren’t quite sentences, which annoys the crap out of me. She still has her creepy, WTF scenes that masquerade as her idea of romance and love, and make me wonder what goes on in this woman’s head.
One of my biggest complaints, however, is that Meyer still avoids actual confrontation and loves the fluffy, happy, Disney ending. (Hell, even Disney might be more hardcore considering it’s not afraid to do things like kill off Mufasa or throw in a montage of a married couple’s life that includes me bawling for five minutes when we learn the wife can’t have children and then she DIES and it’s so depressing. Disclosure: I love Disney and Pixar). The whole book is leading up to a confrontation between Wanda and Seeker. And what we get is Wanda being a sad sack and then coming up with the perfect plan that fixes everything. (view spoiler)[Yes, Wes dies. But he dies off screen and to be honest, who gives a crap? We barely knew Wes. He’s just someone who lives in the caves and happens to support Wanda. But he’s not vital, we see maybe three scenes with him. And yes, Walter dies. But it’s of cancer. No one can control that. It’s not the result of someone’s choices. And again, we barely knew him. (hide spoiler)]
Meyer broaches some interesting topics, specifically about humanity and the soul. We have to wonder just what makes us human. What makes us civilized? And what is it that makes a person who he or she is? Is it the body, the soul, personality, interactions, relationships to people, reactions to events? Furthermore, the book brings up interesting parallels of how countries would invade another and take over, enforcing their ideas on the natives. The whole justification by the souls (other than they can’t survive without a host) is that humans were too violent and they were killing the planet. So they came in and they made it better. They made people better and the world better. Of course this is all debatable, and it’s not really better for the humans if they are trapped in their own heads or if they disappear altogether.
This book was already incredibly long at more than 600 pages, but Meyer made a mistake in not giving details and explanations in the area that really needed it. Wanderer is placed in Melanie’s body and she quickly realizes that the host is not gone. Wanderer, who has been to eight different planets, is supposed to be pretty hot stuff among the souls. She’s strong and she’s confident that Melanie’s presence isn’t going to be a big deal.
Fast forward a few months, and we learn that perhaps Melanie is just stronger. We get a few memory/dreams and the adventure starts as Wanderer chooses to go search of Melanie’s brother Jamie and Jared, the man she loves. Wanderer, at this point, already has very strong feelings for the two and she doesn’t want any harm to come to them. I suppose it’s understandable, but I felt like Meyer copped out by not showing us the slow change in Wanderer as she gradually came to care for two men she’d never met simply through the memories of her host.
It’s like the insta-love problem. You skipped all of the relationship building, all of the turmoil, the INTERESTING stuff. Plus, considering how AWFUL Jared is to Wanderer for the first couple of months she's there, I just don't believe that she would still sort of love him even when she's afraid he's going to hit her (yes, this is a very real fear she has at times). But maybe if we saw the development of her feelings for Jared, I could better understand why those feelings remain despite her fear.
But Meyer also proves in this book that she’s capable of writing a believable, growing relationship: thus, the third aspect of the predictable love triangle. This is where things get tricky. Melanie, who is very much still there, loves Jared. Her body responds to Jared. Therefore, Wanderer (aka Wanda, now) also has very strong feelings and responses to Jared. But, enter Ian. Wanda slowly develops feelings for Ian, who has slowly developed feelings for Wanda (Melanie, for the record, is not happy about this because it's still her body ... so, creepy, when you think about it). Things aren’t insta-love for the two of them right off the bat. Instead, Ian is one of the many who (quite understandably) hates Wanda for what she is, doesn’t trust her and even tries to get at her so they can kill her and protect the group. But we can see when Ian starts to change his mind; when he realizes that there is more to Wanda than a parasite alien.
But Meyer has to ruin some well-written relationship development with her incredibly twisted idea of what is romantic (she did some fairly creepy things with Edward-Bella-Jacob. Hi, tent scene and time when Edward offers to pimp out his wife). There’s a lot of weird experimental kissing and a juvenile pissing contest between Ian and Jared that is full on ridiculous because these are grown ass men.
I know there has been talk of two other books, which I’ll probably read, but I think The Host stands fine just the way it is. I like the ending as it stands. It opens up the possibility of sequels (view spoiler)[(I would assume that they would then focus on the rebel cells of humans and taking back Earth.) (hide spoiler)] but they aren’t necessary, and to be honest, they will probably be a letdown unless done exactly right.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It would be difficult to read the Percy Jackson books and not compare them to another series about a magical young, prepubescent boy. But Percy JacksoIt would be difficult to read the Percy Jackson books and not compare them to another series about a magical young, prepubescent boy. But Percy Jackson is sort of like an inverted Harry Potter. Harry tries to spend his whole life being invisible so Dudley and his friends won’t beat on him, whereas Percy, with his ADHD and various other issues, can’t help but act out. Like Harry, Percy finds answers to all of the weird happenings in his life when he discovers the truth of what he is and is brought to a place to train those like him. Only, where Harry Potter gets to live at Hogwarts during the school year and dreads summer, Percy dreads the school year and makes the choice to only attend Camp Half-Blood in the summer.
If I had read this book when it was first published I might have enjoyed it more. I’m a little older now, and much of The Lightning Thief was a little juvenile for me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the quest because it was a little repetitive: the group goes here, they run into trouble, they get out of trouble and move on to the next destination where they run into trouble and get out of trouble and then move onto the next destination…
I think I’ll still give The Sea of Monsters a try (eventually, but not right away) because I like the overarching plot that this book set up at the end (view spoiler)[that Kronos is a threat once again and trying to come back (hide spoiler)]. I’m also interested to see if both the writing and Percy mature a little as the books go on.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
These book was incredibly good. And then I got to about 90% in and my mind was simply blown. All of a sudden, everything that had happened previouslyThese book was incredibly good. And then I got to about 90% in and my mind was simply blown. All of a sudden, everything that had happened previously took on all new meanings. I never saw that coming and it was amazing....more
This book was just very bland and formulaic and predictable, and I didn't particularly like the characters and I especially didn't like the relationshThis book was just very bland and formulaic and predictable, and I didn't particularly like the characters and I especially didn't like the relationship between Tally and David. Overall, it was a disappointment for me....more
This book was an absolute gem. Somehow Hobson managed to take witchcraft, steampunk, the old West and various fictional religions and create a wonderfThis book was an absolute gem. Somehow Hobson managed to take witchcraft, steampunk, the old West and various fictional religions and create a wonderful adventure with two well-crafted but flawed characters.
Emily Edwards is just the time of plucky heroine I like. She’s a little crass, she can be improper and, best of all, she doesn’t become someone else when she finds love. And the thing I enjoyed was that as Emily fell in love with Dreadnought (coolest name ever), so did I. He was insufferable and incredibly obnoxious in the beginning. He was the guy who couldn’t help but correct you and rub your nose in the fact that he is smarter and richer than you. And falling in love with Dreadnought (for both the reader and Emily) is gradual, it creeps up on us and it’s utterly perfect.
The use of magic in this book was amazing. I liked how brutal and dangerous it could be. It brought a sort of realism to the story. And the villainous Caul was so very scary for me because he became less sane as the book goes on.
As a historical novel, I loved the little things Hobson put into the Native Star that helped me remember where they were in time. She mentions people (like President Ulysses S. Grant) and places (Central Park is being constructed in New York City) and it all served to help me really feel like I was back in time.
I really enjoyed the ride and can’t wait to read the next one. (The only reason it took me a week to read was because I was simultaneously reading A Song of Ice and Fire and those books are hard to put down!) ...more
For roughly two-thirds of this book I didn't like Gen's personality. He was a mean person and just as the rest of the traveling party thought he was sFor roughly two-thirds of this book I didn't like Gen's personality. He was a mean person and just as the rest of the traveling party thought he was street scum, so did I. I don't know if I was supposed to think he was amusing or witty, but I simply thought he thought he was amusing and witty while really just being nasty, petty and a jerk.
But in The Thief, almost nothing is as it seems. People have hidden agendas, gods are secretly intervening (at least, I think they are even if it's never explicitly said) and you can't even trust the words you read. I liked that a lot of the characters that I felt were poorly developed at the beginning really evolved throughout the book.
I really enjoyed the story, the journey and the world building. There was some really interesting and unique mythology created and I felt Turner did a great job explaining the relationship of the three countries (Sounis, Eddis and Attolia) all while hinting at a common foe they all have (Medes - perhaps this will be what future books focus on? The three countries fighting against Medes?).
One rather large complaint I have, and what kept this from being 5 stars, is that the book is told in first-person (Gen's POV) and yet at the end of the book we find out that he is not a trustworthy narrator at all. (view spoiler)[I think the twist that he had been lying to everyone and was actually the Queen of Eddis' thief and relative and that he had stolen back the Hamiathes' Gift was wonderful, but not as told from his POV. I believe that should have been third-person or from someone else's POV. Because he wasn't just lying to his companions, he lied to the readers and I feel like it makes me question how much I can trust him in future books. Because I will be reading the rest. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I have such a weakness for zombies (or zombie-like creatures like the infected in 28 Days Later), so this book, while not terribly great or particularI have such a weakness for zombies (or zombie-like creatures like the infected in 28 Days Later), so this book, while not terribly great or particularly well-written, hit the spot for me.
Hollowland tells the story of Remy, who is searching for her little brother. Remy and Max had been at a quarantined location together when it is overrun by zombies. Max, having been in the sick ward, is evacuated first and Remy escapes the compromised building to travel north to find him.
Now, the question is brought up multiple times by various characters who want to know why someone in the sick ward would be given such high priority to be evacuated when there were hundreds of healthy people. This was sort of a no brainer for me when it's first mentioned in the first chapter and I thought the “mystery” of it gets dragged out way too long. In case you’re dying to know or think you already figured it out (view spoiler)[it’s because he’s immune to the virus. He was bitten but never turned. He’s like the mom and the kid in 28 Weeks Later (hide spoiler)].
Remy is sort of the stereotypical tough gal in a novel. She heartlessly leaves a girl behind who is potentially infected without a gun near the overrun quarantined zone. She constantly pushes people because she’s a machine who doesn’t stop for anything, doesn’t let emotions get in her way, etc. I will say this though, the romance in the novel didn’t turn tough-girl Remy into pathetic-in-love Remy, so applaud Hocking for that.
As much as I enjoyed the ride, I have to mention some of the logic about this book that even I thought was dubious and I never pick up on things like this.
The lion (yep, there's a lion, which is aweseom) is supposed to be big, but she can sit on a kitchen counter? I’m trying to picture it ... and that's ridiculous.
How long as this whole zombie infection been going on for? I was under the impression it was a year. And yet, some of the houses still have food in them, some cars still have gas. And if it’s been a year then there’s no way looters didn’t get to all that stuff months ago. And yet, when they're in Las Vegas, the Paris hotel's Eiffel Tower is lying on its side. That's a big damn structure and to fall down; someone would have had to bomb it or YEARS would have had to pass for it to become compromised structurally (although, I'm not an architect, so don't shoot me if I'm completely off here).
Also, I get that Beck taught her to shoot. But she had only been with him at the quarantine for like a few months or weeks, so I call bullshit when she takes out a sniper on a rooftop. Just ... no freaking way.
There’s nothing particularly revolutionary or amazing about this book. But if you like zombie stories or survival stories or road trip stories, then you’ll find Hollowland a pretty easy and enjoyable read. If you want some heavy stuff about infections and viruses and the end of the world, go read The Passage.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
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 fuIf 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....more