**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about h...more**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about how completely unforgiving it is in the best way possible. The the pace of the book still wasn't ideal in my opinion, but that is so easily overlooked. I know a lot of people disliked the way that Mockingjay ended the trilogy, but to be honest I don't think it could have gone any other way. Collins proved time and time again that she didn't pull her punches and that she was willing to make these books as realistic as possible, no matter how much it hurt to read. This book is about war and the lengths people will go to in order to win. I love that about this book.
Original review Two things you need to be warned of going in: the characters are all broken by the end of the book and no character is safe. One great thing that comes into play in these books is the effect relationships have on people. Katniss is not the strong character of the previous books; the simple knowledge that Peeta is being held by the Capital because of her is slowly making her lose her mind. Finnick is not the shameless flirt anymore because the girl he loves, poor, insane Annie, is also in the Capital and he's complete off his rocker as a result. Even Haymitch isn't the same. He blames Katniss just as much as she blames him for losing Peeta. The great thing about the new relationship between Katniss and Haymitch is seeing how similar they are and how much they both relied on Peeta, the strong, normal, good one of the trio. And emo, angry Gale loses the emo and just becomes angry, he becomes a product of the war because he's determined to no longer let the Capital ruin the lives of people in the districts. He's determined to win at any cost and it ends up breaking him.
I absolutely love how much Collins broke Peeta. As my favorite character I love him to death, but seeing him when he comes back from the Capital just made me love the character even more. Everything good about him, his trust, his love for Katniss, his good nature, have been turned and twisted and made into a weapon.
And the ending is absolutely brutal. You see Peeta fall apart to the point that he's begging people to kill him because he can't live with the way he is now and you see Katniss get addicted to a drug, lose her mind, and pretty much lose the will to live. This doesn't sound like what the protagonists of a YA novel should be acting like, but then Collins' Hunger Games trilogy so much more and so much better.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book was actually incredibly disappointing but it was so unique in the concept that I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. I just thou...more**spoiler alert** This book was actually incredibly disappointing but it was so unique in the concept that I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. I just thought that the story was executed poorly. I know some people complained about the actual climax of the story and I have to agree that if you blinked you might miss it. There was so much build up to the fact that King Leck was this dastardly evil villian and then after listening to him talk forever (which normally I would have hated just because it's such a cliche, but it made sense since it was his Grace), the actual fight was done in less than a paragraph. There was no fight. It was a non-fight in the style of Twilight. All that potential build up to a potentially good showdown and then it added up to nothing.
And the character of Katsa, who could have been a really been an awesome, strong female character was angry, bitchy and inconsistent. By the second half of the book Katsa, oddly, becomes teary at the drop of a hat. And one thing I have to say that I'm becoming sick of in novels is a strong female character swearing off marriage, love and children before they even reach a reasonable age and experience love at all. And Katsa was that new stereotype of the badass female. It's become overused as a way of saying that "hey, she's a serious character and totally cool."
This book was stronger for me in the first half and then halfway through I reached a point where I began to read faster not because I was so interested in the story, but because I wanted to finish and just get to the end so I could move on to a better book.
Maybe my problem with this book is that Katsa was a poor man's Katniss from The Hunger Games, maybe it was because I had just come off of reading two really good books (The Book Thief and The Passage), or maybe I never would have really been a fan of this book because of how it was written.(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)
In the sequel to The Iron King, Meghan Chase is stuck in the Winter Court as per her contract with Ash. However, when Iron fey sneak in to steal the S...moreIn the sequel to The Iron King, Meghan Chase is stuck in the Winter Court as per her contract with Ash. However, when Iron fey sneak in to steal the Scepter of Seasons and no one believes that the Iron fey exist, it’s up to Meghan to get the scepter back and stop a war between Summer and Winter. Along the way she finds herself with the unlikely ally of an Iron fey when she finds out that an imposter sits on the Iron throne.
The concept in general is interesting. The execution is horrible. I mean really, mind-numbingly bad.
There is so much about this book that I hated. As the book went on I despised Ash and Meghan more and more. And the love triangle feels so forced and annoying. There are so many cliches in this book too.
Grim is predictably still great. I really enjoyed the idea of Leanansidhe’s little kingdom in between the real world and Nevernever. And I enjoyed the Iron fey who joins up with Meghan (view spoiler)[which is why I’m so mad that Kagawa killed Ironhorse. Because I really only liked two characters: Grimalkin and Ironhorse. And in one fell swoop she reduced the characters I like by 50% (hide spoiler)].
I’ve officially given up on this series because if I have to read one more page of Meghan and Ash being the ultimate sad, emo couple I’m going to give up on reading altogether and George R.R. Martin hasn’t even finished A Song of Ice and Fire yet!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
As much as I loved this book, there was one thing that stopped me from giving it five stars: Guy Gavriel Kay needed some serious editing. This book ha...moreAs much as I loved this book, there was one thing that stopped me from giving it five stars: Guy Gavriel Kay needed some serious editing. This book has an amazing premise and the overall story, the characters and themes explored are very interesting and engaging. However, the middle of this book gets very muddled and boring and drags on. At almost 700 pages, Tigana could have been cut down by almost 200 pages and not have lost much, if anything. In particular, I'm thinking about the entire Night Walkers storyline, which plays such a minor role at the end that I felt like it should have been scrapped completely.
I wasn't a big fan of Kay's actual writing style. Partly this was because he needed to severely edit out the unnecessary details, history and world building that don't actually play into the story. But I also didn't particularly care for the way he would move the scene forward and then stop it to backtrack and cover something that had happened that morning or over the last few weeks and then jump back to where the initial scene had stopped to pick it back up. Using this technique once or twice would have been fine, but I felt like he relied on it too much.
But the ending of this book, when everything comes together, was done wonderfully and the last sentence of the epilogue took something mentioned earlier and sort of drops it onto three of the characters like an anvil.(less)
I loved this book and there isn't a whole lot more for me to say. The concept is creepy; the characters are not only well developed but they all chang...moreI loved this book and there isn't a whole lot more for me to say. The concept is creepy; the characters are not only well developed but they all change so very much; there are some deep, thought-provoking topics on life and religion; and the ending is perfect.
And the fact that there's a sequel coming out is making me all sorts of giddy with excitement.(less)
I first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it'...moreI first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it's written in first person (which always used to annoy me, but now I've come to accept partly because of this book). As soon as I finished the sample, I bought this book and the sequels.
This book is marked as YA, but there are a lot of heavy themes that are probably better suited to adults. For those who have read the Japanese novel Battle Royale, this book has a similar premise, teenagers fighting to the death in an arena where only one can survive. The Hunger Games, though, is better. And you can see in this book where the next two are going to take you, because it's clear that the government is shady and the citizens are getting restless.
One of the truly great things about this book is Katniss, the main character and our narrator. She is, quite simply put, awesome. She is a no-nonsense, independent girl and she is completely oblivious to anything remotely regarding romance, which is good considering the fact that this book sets up an epic love triangle with the boy who is her best friend and who she trusts implicitly and the boy who she's been thrust into the arena with and who she feels she owes because he's saved her on more than one occasion. The best part about this love triangle is that in this first book it's all in the background. The story and action doesn't get sacrificed for the sake of the love triangle. This is not Twilight, where everything gets put on hold for the characters to have deep, long conversations about how infatuated the two boys are with the girl.
I honestly don't think there was a single thing about this book that I disliked and I wish there were more books out there like the Hunger Games trilogy.(less)
I really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from the...moreI really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from the first book. After all, the premise of this book is similar, Katniss is going back into the Hunger Games. Still, it was a great book because the arena has changed and is way more interesting and imaginative.
Catching Fire is an apt title for this book because throughout it you can really feel that the idea of rebellion is slowly spreading throughout the districts and Katniss is the catalyst whether she likes it or not. This book introduces a whole host of new characters that I immediately loved. It would be so easy to not like the other victors of the games, but they're almost all amazing, from flirtatious Finnick to bitchy Johanna (my new favorite characters) to the drugged out morphlings and bloodthirsty Enobaria. The former victors are all incredibly unique and it's fascinating to see what winning the Hunger Games does to you a few years out.
The best thing about this book is the suspense of waiting for full-blown rebellion to start. There were so many hints of it, things Katniss didn't catch on to but the reader does, that I was losing hope as tributes started dropping like flies in the arena.
This book was still incredibly interesting, and it is clearly the stepping stone to something much bigger and greater in the next book. And the end of this one, what Katniss learns at the end, is a killer.
EDIT: I'm actually downgrading my 4.5 to a 4. Thinking about it again, the love triangle in this book became a little much for me and although Katniss is totally a badass and she's totally not a girly girl, it's like Collins forgot that because Katniss enjoys being made up and describing the clothes and the makeup a little too much. The whole time she's being transformed you get the feeling that Katniss not-so-secretly loves it even though it doesn't fit with her character as established before.(less)
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book. It's actually a little embarrassing. I deliberately waited until after the first season ended to...moreI can't believe it took me so long to read this book. It's actually a little embarrassing. I deliberately waited until after the first season ended to read the book, and one of the things that I love about books like this (and Lord of the Rings) is the world building that you just don't get on screen. AGoT does a wonderful job of balancing a huge (and I mean HUGE) cast of characters and still managing to make it clear where most people's (not counting sneaky weasels like Varys or Littlefinger) loyalties lie.
However, having watched the show, I think it took away some of the suspense for me. I knew how things were going to turn out and because of that I skimmed through sections. And the many little tricks and turns and betrayals didn't affect me as much (view spoiler)[Ned's death wasn't as shocking. It's like going into Final Fantasy VII already knowing that (view spoiler)[Aeris is killed by Sephiroth (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)].["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I'm sort of a sucker for a good period piece and for a strong female character and this book started out with both. It faltered, it wasn't perfect, bu...moreI'm sort of a sucker for a good period piece and for a strong female character and this book started out with both. It faltered, it wasn't perfect, but overall this book was strong enough that I enjoyed having read it.
Camille does not lead a typical life for a young woman living in London in the 1800s. She dresses in trousers as a boy and spends her nights hunting werewolves with her guardian (which makes the cover a little confusing since she so rarely wears dresses). That is how she meets Nathaniel Strider, the newest victim of a werewolf bite, who Dr. Bennett and Camille have one month to study and find a cure for before he transforms.
Where this book falters for me is when it gets caught up in the romance. The language becomes unbearable (Strider actually affectionately calls her a "sopping kitten" at one point); Camille herself becomes unbearable (she finds her bottom lip quivering in his presence and she also becomes a lovesick fool). But, I enjoyed the science in this book, I enjoyed that werewolves are still monsters and not romantic creatures. I also enjoyed some of the twists (although I definitely guessed the cure well before Dr. Bennett and Camille did).
Slight sort of spoiler that doesn't ruin any plot: My absolute favorite part of this book, that showed wit and actually made me laugh out loud, is when Nathaniel and Camille kiss in public and when they notice everyone staring at them, he says "I suppose I should have waited to kiss you when you weren't dress in trousers."
Spoiler The ending ties up a little too neatly a little too quickly (Oh, surprise, we're heading to Transylvania and we've surprisingly worked out a way for Strider to come too! Hope that one-month courtship is long lasting and not just a fling born of desperation and danger!)(less)
Considering how close The Iron King and Switched were published, I find it almost impossible for one to have been influenced by the other. That’s why...moreConsidering how close The Iron King and Switched were published, I find it almost impossible for one to have been influenced by the other. That’s why I find it so astonishing how similar these two stories are. Girl who is an outcast and doesn’t fit in gets pulled into another world (literally and in King and figuratively in Switched) where she finds out she’s actually the daughter of royalty (of the king in King and the queen in Switched). The guy who brings her into this world (Finn in Switched, Robin/Puck in King) clearly has chemistry with her, although in King it is one sided on Puck’s side. In both, they have to try and learn how to use powers and they both seem to be surprisingly strong or stronger than usual for their kind.
However, I liked The Iron King better because there’s an actual purpose and journey and adventure. Meghan wants to get her little brother back (hey that sounds a lot like Labyrinth!) Yet, The Iron King wasn't as good as it could have been mostly because it tried to do far too much. They’re in Nevernever, then the human world, back to Nevernever, back to the human and back to Nevernever. Okay, enough hopping around. Plus, it’s like Kagawa researched a whole bunch of possible fey and other fantasy creatures and decided not only to have them all in the novel, but to throw most of them at Meghan the moment she steps into Nevernever.
Grim, while the BEST, was very much the Cheshire Cat. Puck got on my nerves and wasn’t as amusing as he thought he was. I didn’t see the appeal of Ash. And there was unrealistic insta-love which automatically causes me to dock points from a novel. Ugh. That always makes me, as a female, SO DISAPPOINTED not only in the character, but also in the women who write these novels. Why is there no happy medium between Bella Swan’s shameful obsession with Edward where her whole world revolves around him and Katsa’s tough act where she has already decided to never marry despite the fact that she had never been in love before? Where’s the realistic love in these novels? Like Kim and Mairelon in A Matter of Magic or Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter Boxset? Where’s the slowly evolving love that grows and becomes love, not insta-love following obsession or a complete denial of romance.
I always skim over the romances in these books, because I read them for the fantasy aspect or the actual plot (and in Kagawa’s defense, The Iron King had more plot than most YA paranormal stories). So the story was interesting and I liked the concept, because even though I mentioned the idea was reminiscent of Labyrinth I still liked it because they had mini battles to fight and they had to find certain things and figure out where the Iron King actually was based on riddles.
I just felt like I had whiplash reading this book because Kagawa had too many ideas and characters and creatures she wanted to visit in less than 400 pages. I’m not sure if I want to read the next book. If I do, it won’t be right away. The Iron King was an interesting read, but I have no urge to go out and read the next one right away.(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)
**spoiler alert** I give parts of the first half of this book a 3 and rest a 1.
There was just so much I didn't like about this book. For instance, onc...more**spoiler alert** I give parts of the first half of this book a 3 and rest a 1.
There was just so much I didn't like about this book. For instance, once Bella is a vampire, her learning to be one is so boring, and then the even more boring crap about the Volturi coming and then getting ready and about a hundred-plus pages of them just getting ready and talking. And then the final fight comes and it's a non-fight! Meyers could have made that last fight epic. She could have ended the books on a bang. Instead it was a whimper from me as I forced myself to get through it all.
The one redeeming thing was Jacob, and I might be biased because he has always been my favorite. Even with his creepy imprint on the horrible and annoying Loch Nessie monster, his character was still one of the best (closely followed by Emmett as always). Having part of the book from Jacob's point of view was incredibly interesting and he is just so interesting that this is part of the book that easily got a 3 in my opinion.
And having to read through the honeymoon was absolute torture. My the end of book 2 I was sick of reading Bella describe Edward as perfect and beautiful and an Adonis and be down on herself and self-conscious and blah, blah, blah. We get it, you suck as a character and you are obsessed with Edward. It had been done so often over the previous books that by this one I was having none of it.
Edward was a character I was always torn between. I liked him at times but then when he was with Bella he turned into such an emo kid. I like angry Edward. I like mad Edward. I like it when he's frustrated with Bella or something else because, oh my god, the kid has different emotions! The only time I liked emo Edward was during the pregnancy and seeing Edward from Jacob's point of view. That Edward was realistic. That Edward was someone I sympathized with.
There was so much that could have been interesting about this book, but instead Meyers just let it all fall flat. Take a note from Suzanne Collins: don't be afraid to go all out and murder some favorite characters. It's the last book, you're not using them after this anyway. Make the fight epic and intense and take out one or two of the wolves (one of them should have been Sam, Jared or Quil since they've imprinted) or at least two of the vampires, including one from the Cullen coven (preferably Jasper). This is the end of a series, make it totally awesome and heartbreaking.(less)