First off, this book lost points partially for being as historically accurate as it was. Tessa is too insistent on being a proper lady early on in the...moreFirst off, this book lost points partially for being as historically accurate as it was. Tessa is too insistent on being a proper lady early on in the book. It drove me nuts. Of course it could also be related to the fact that she is extremely well read and loves the heroines in many of her books. Her trying to see Will and Jem the way the characters in her books act was mostly just funny, but at times it got a bit sad. If they don't train her as a Shadowhunter in the next book I will be sorely disappointed. The book also lost points because the ending was atrocious. All it did was leave the reader hanging on several key points that now must wait for the next book to be addressed.
I did love most of the book though. The idea of clockwork automatons is fascinating and I have to admit that I didn't have everything figured out until just before the characters did. I just wish we had found out more about Will's past instead of the vague hints we got. I loved Charlotte and Henry, but I have to admit that Jem is probably my favorite character right now. I'll admit that it's at least partially because he is such a gentleman as well as a fighter. I really can't wait to see what happens in the next book! Unfortunately it will be months...(less)
I absolutely loved this book. Temeraire and Laurence are wonderful characters who completely complement each others' personalities. Most of the crew i...moreI absolutely loved this book. Temeraire and Laurence are wonderful characters who completely complement each others' personalities. Most of the crew is rather unfortunately forgettable during this book, but several of them start developing into characters that will definitely be important later in the series. Although this book has to set the stage for a world changed by the existence and use of dragons as war machines, it doesn't slow the pacing very much. Many of the details are simply incorporated the way an author writing modern realistic fiction would include computers and the internet. Dragons are as natural to this world as war horses are to historical fiction. It works really well and makes for an excellent read.(less)
The journey to China and the events leading up to it were pretty slow moving, but once everyone got to China the pace picked back up. I love the amoun...moreThe journey to China and the events leading up to it were pretty slow moving, but once everyone got to China the pace picked back up. I love the amount of intrigue that Novik includes along with the battles, philosophy and the relationship between Laurence and Temeraire. I love their interactions as well as the members of the crew. I was very eager to pick up the next book to find out what could possible happen next.(less)
There was a pretty serious problem with pacing in this book. Temeraire was far too focused on philosophizing and the action seemed to take forever. Th...moreThere was a pretty serious problem with pacing in this book. Temeraire was far too focused on philosophizing and the action seemed to take forever. The parts in the desert were especially difficult since there was little to happen other than bandits and not trusting the guide. I still was left wanting to read more about the characters, but I was a bit more hesitant to pick up the next book.(less)
This book drug and went too fast. It couldn't decide where the pace should be. I enjoyed the fact that African dragons and dragon culture were extreme...moreThis book drug and went too fast. It couldn't decide where the pace should be. I enjoyed the fact that African dragons and dragon culture were extremely different than European dragon culture, but the extent of the African empire was pretty unbelievable. The sheer structure and power of that empire with the Europeans encroaching on the coast should have been obvious, but was apparently secret. The fact that any culture would be so upset over picking a fungus (which should grow pretty quickly) was also a bit over the top. I was also extremely upset by the ending and Laurence's decisions in dealing with Napoleon. I still haven't picked up the next book because I'm not sure I'm going to like it, but I will read it just to see what happens.(less)
The book was a bit slow. There was a lot of world building to do with the magic as well as the lifestyle of the characters. I understand why Eff and t...moreThe book was a bit slow. There was a lot of world building to do with the magic as well as the lifestyle of the characters. I understand why Eff and the other girls were doing "women's work" and not expected to do much else, but it was a bit frustrating to read. There were several "naughty" words, but nothing too bad. There wasn't much romance or romantic tension although William may be interested in Eff. There was also an almost complete lack of violence with a little bit of childhood bullying that didn't result in real injury. I definitely think that I will try the next book because it was an interesting world with good characters.(less)
The whole notion of a more realistic look at superheroes in the era of the coming of age of Generation X is very depressing. I realize that traditiona...moreThe whole notion of a more realistic look at superheroes in the era of the coming of age of Generation X is very depressing. I realize that traditional superheroes are unrealistic; they fight bad guys for justice and law enforcement either allows it or doesn't notice. In Watchmen, law enforcement went on strike prompting the government to outlaw all but two government employed superheroes forcing all the others to go underground or retire. I don't really like any of the characters. For the most part, I can't find much sympathy for any of them and there is certainly none of the awe and admiration I usually feel for a superhero. Laurie is whiny and not very kick-butt; most of her identity seems to revolve around whichever guy she is living with at the time. Jon is inhuman in so many ways that even my generally logical brain doesn't like his leaps of logic. Although he is the one I dislike the least, Rorschach is absolutely psychotic and his childhood just doesn't justify it completely for me. Dan is the most gentlemanly one of the bunch, but he comes off as rather meek and ineffective despite his technological aptitude. There is also a reappearing story line from a comic that a kid is reading. This comic is insanely gruesome and almost more depressing than the rest of the graphic novel. I just don't understand the kind of worldview that would lead someone to write something like this. It is dismal and depressing. According to the story, the only hope for humanity is to scare it so badly that it can't misbehave anymore. For one thing, I just don't think it is possible to scare everyone straight especially not with the same stimulus. For another, why would you want to? Maybe war is a part of human nature, but you can't expect people to do horrible things and then hope that they don't. It's better to hold people (especially heroes) to a higher standard and hope that they strive to meet it. On a side note, there is sex, violence and quite a bit of potentially offensive language. It definitely belongs in the adult section, but even then some patrons may object to its presence in the library. I think that there must be something that people are getting out of it that I missed because it is considered a classic, must-read graphic novel.(less)
Batman was always my favorite superhero. Superman was an alien and Spiderman got his powers from a radioactive spider, but Batman succeeded on his mon...moreBatman was always my favorite superhero. Superman was an alien and Spiderman got his powers from a radioactive spider, but Batman succeeded on his money, his intelligence and lots of cool gadgets. Even knowing that he was the most human of the superheroes, I was surprised to see him so old in this graphic novel. Old age is a real pain for someone used to fighting crime utilizing a highly trained body. It leads Batman to change his fighting style although his return is still not welcomed by many. The psychologist arguing for the release of several of Batman's old foes for example blames their psychotic behavior on Batman. I understand the reaction of the police and the government, but normal people, who aren't criminals, should welcome a hero because they have nothing to fear and much to gain from someone taking criminals off the streets. Still, I rather like the new Robin although I wonder where Nightwing (the old Robin) went to in this book (and also Batgirl). The art style is classically American. The full color pages allow a lot of contrast amongst the different text bubbles. It also provides a stark contrast between the work done by Superman (which is government sponsored) and that done by Batman. The comic moves rather quickly even with the dark overtones and Batman's frustration with his own abilities (he never ends up sounding whiny). The violence might be a bit much for younger teens, but there is not much language and there is no sex. The story as a whole is a bit dark, but that is to be expected from an older Batman.(less)
Collins does an excellent job of creating a world that works within itself. I would love to know exactly how long an overlander could survive without...moreCollins does an excellent job of creating a world that works within itself. I would love to know exactly how long an overlander could survive without light according to her world, as well as how the underlanders adjusted in the first place. The characters are likable and easy to relate to even the roaches. I did enjoy the twists and changes of loyalty throughout the book, but I think that the prophecy was over used. Of course that is a danger in any fantasy novel that includes a prophecy. As for the audio, I think the narrator did an excellent job of relating the story. I especially loved his reading of Boots. There is violence in this book but it is mostly humans versus anthropomorphized animals, which is slightly easier to take especially since Gregor is 11. There may be a few choice words, but other than that the book is fairly "clean".(less)
A return to vampires that not only don't sparkle but are completely vicious and unreasonable when it comes to wanting human flesh was too much to resi...moreA return to vampires that not only don't sparkle but are completely vicious and unreasonable when it comes to wanting human flesh was too much to resist. I was intrigued by the premise of a human (the last or one of the last) hiding among his predators. This book requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief in regards to the capability of Gene to stay hidden, how this world came to be and how he can be quite so dense about certain things and perceptive about others.
I had many of the plot twists figured out at least a couple chapters before the reveals. I also got a bit annoyed at the lack of drive and direction behind most of Gene's actions. He spends most of the book intent on trying to get back to hiding rather than attempting to find a better life away from the vampires even after he starts finding hints that there may be one.
While I do have gripes about the book, it was unique. It also kept my interest the whole time. Gene's motivations were clear and understandable. Despite him being raised to act like a vampire, he was still someone a reader could relate to even if it was with exasperation at times. The book keeps the pace until the ending. The ending is my gripe with almost all series fiction these days: authors don't tend to end their individual books in the series satisfactorily, but just leave a cliffhanger and make readers wait for the next book. I hate feeling like I'm buying into your publishers' schemes rather than enjoying your work. Please quit it.
Talk of vampires eating people (and being really violent and messy about it, including one scene of it actually happening and mention of it happening to a 5 year old), along with some kissing and longing on the part of teenagers makes for a tense book. Oh, and the vampires also tear each other apart and are affected by the sunlight. There may have been some cursing, but it would have fit the tone of the book with them hiding from society and on the run for their lives.(less)