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
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
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
I think I still have all of these volumes hidden in my closet back at my parents house. I used to collect manga like crazy, but eventually gave them aI think I still have all of these volumes hidden in my closet back at my parents house. I used to collect manga like crazy, but eventually gave them all away when I went to college. So the fact that I still have these books somewhere goes to show how much I enjoyed them. I remember loving these books not only because of the good plot and how beautiful the art was, but how BADASS the characters were.
The summary given above makes it seem like The Demon Ororon is super romantic. And I suppose it was a little, but for the most part the relationship between Ororon and Chiaki was sweet and very natural feeling....more
I read this whole series a long time ago, but I still think back fondly on it every once in a while. Admittedly, Angel Sanctuary isn't for everyone. TI read this whole series a long time ago, but I still think back fondly on it every once in a while. Admittedly, Angel Sanctuary isn't for everyone. There's incest, there's concepts that religious people will find offensive, there are angels who are very bad, there are demons who are very sympathetic (there are also good angels and bad demons, though) and there's drama, drama, drama!
Overall it's a strong series, although there were times when I thought maybe I could do with a little less craziness and a little more getting back to the main point....more
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....more
Overall, this was a pretty underwhelming book. Personally, the only redeeming factor about this book was the ending, which was rather realistic and daOverall, this was a pretty underwhelming book. Personally, the only redeeming factor about this book was the ending, which was rather realistic and darker than I had expected. There is no fairytale happy ending here, instead, it’s all rather bittersweet.
I was already pretty iffy about this novel when I realized just how similar it was to Labyrinth (which is a huge guilty pleasure from my childhood. Who doesn’t love David Bowie in makeup and exaggerated hair dancing around in super tight leggings with an obvious bulge?). But The Goblin Market reads like Labyrinth with shades of The Iron King (I don't know which came first, Kagawa's book or Hudock's because I know Hudock had originally premiered this story as a podcast or something). At first I was willing to enjoy it for the ride, the adventure and the similarity to Labyrinth. But it was too similar.
If you're interested, here are the similarities to Labyrinth: (view spoiler)[1. Kothar is the Goblin King. Jareth (aka David Bowie) is the Goblin King.
3. Both Goblin Kings challenge the girls to take back their siblings, but don't think they'll make it to the castle.
4. Meredith needs to travel through the Darknjan Wald, which no one has ventured into and passed. Sarah needs to find her way through the labyrinth, which I'm also assuming no one makes it through, or at least hasn't in hundreds of years.
5. Meredith gets help from Gorigast, a minion of questionable loyalty. Sarah gets help from Hoggle, a creature of questionable loyalty.
6. Both Gorigast and Hoggle get threatened by the Goblin King (Kothar wants Gorigast to bring Meredith to the castle but kill Him, while Jareth wants Hoggle to make sure Sarah doesn't get to the castle), they both chicken out and decide not to "help" the girls and then change their minds later and go back to help them for realsy.
7. Meredith loses her memory, arrives at the castle and takes part in a masquerade ball, is dressed up like a princess and sort of charmed by the Goblin King before Gorigast finds her and she comes to her senses. Sarah gets trapped in a bubble where she loses her memory, is dressed up like a princess and takes part in a ball where she is sort of charmed by the Goblin King before she breaks out and is found by her friends, who help her regain her memories.
8. When Meredith finally remembers, she runs around the castle trying to find her sister and discovers that it's strangely reminiscent of an M.C. Escher painting with stairways going nowhere. Sarah finds herself in an M.C. Escher painting while she runs around, going up and down stairs, trying to find her brother. (hide spoiler)]
And then came the super cheesy insta-love. Nothing sours me on a book faster than poor romance that relies on insta-love. I’ve just become so sick of the plethora of books that use this crappy plot device to get to the romance, and The Goblin Market relies heavily on it when it comes to Meredith and Him.
"... and though she knew they had barely known each other for the full cycle of one day, she felt as though they'd walked that forest together for the length of several lifetimes." (Emphasis mine)
"One night, and already she couldn't imagine a day apart from him. One night, and she was already thinking about forever."
Also, this is self published, so it's lacking some copy editing. There are periods in the middle of sentences, there are words incorrectly spelled and there were a few odd instances where a sentence had been changed halfway through but the original wording wasn't deleted. All in all, the actual text is very much readable, and these issues are not overwhelming.
Hudock isn't a bad writer, in fact she's pretty good. But I just couldn't get over the fact that the story she was telling was so similar to something that came out a quarter of a century ago. Oh, and that pesky insta-love nonsense.
If insta-love doesn’t bother you and you haven’t seen the movie Labyrinth, then The Goblin Market is going to seem like a really unique and fun ride....more
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,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, 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....more
However, Unearthly was incredibly interesting and had a very unique take on the idea of angels. All angel-bloods (Clara is only a quarter and her mom is half) have a purpose. Shortly after puberty they begin to have visions of what they were put on earth to do. Clara learns that her purpose is to save a boy from a forest fire in Wyoming, so her California family packs up and moves.
There are typical high school moments in the book, but for me the most interesting thing is the mythology created about angels and angel-bloods. I want to learn more about this world, about these beings. Some angel-bloods’ purposes are to watch, others are messengers, and there are those who are supposed to interfere in human events in some way. There is conflict between angels. There are angel levels and hierarchies. It's all touched upon here, but not completely fleshed out yet.
In this book, the antagonist isn’t really the Black Wings (fallen angels who have gone against their purpose and what God intends for them), although Clara does have a confrontation with one. The main antagonist is actually Clara herself. As the book progresses and she meets Christian, Clara seems certain she is supposed to fall in love with him. When she instead falls in love with someone else (love triangle! dun, dun, DUN! But seriously, it's not that annoying), Clara finds herself torn between fulfilling her purpose or being with the boy she truly loves.
To me this book doesn’t really end. This felt like only the first act. I think it’s because there are so many open storylines now that Clara has made her decision and things don't go down how anyone had expected them to. There's so much to cover in the next book still: (view spoiler)[Neither Clara nor Christian knows what they should do now that they both technically didn’t complete their purposes. Something tricky is going on with Jeffrey, whose wings are almost completely black now. And Clara’s mom is still hiding things. I imagine all of this will come into play in the next book, and I eagerly await all of it. Especially Jeffrey’s storyline. (hide spoiler)]...more
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 whyConsidering 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....more
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 SIn 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!...more