**spoiler alert** I...kinda wish I liked this book more? I mean, it seems to have all the things I like. Steampunk! Feminist! Cross-dressing Lesbians!**spoiler alert** I...kinda wish I liked this book more? I mean, it seems to have all the things I like. Steampunk! Feminist! Cross-dressing Lesbians! with! Vampires! and! Werewolves! Why isn't this more awesome?
But between the incredibly awkward, poorly-constructed prose, the repetitive dialogue, the predictable and barely interesting plot, the Alexia-is-supposedly-so-smart-but-can't-remember-vital-clues-because-the-plot-is-DRAMATIC!-THINGS!-MUST!-HAPPEN!, the fights between our romantic leads that are poorly cribbed from every Hepburn/Tracy film, and the fact that Alexia has this stupid friend that she constantly belittles and doesn't like (but who is supposedly her bestest bestie and OMG I am tiiiired of authors writing dumb women who are dumb for stereotypical reasons because it starts to look like you need your feminist card revoked at that point), and the ending, the omgwtfbbq ending that comes out of nowhere and is completely out of character WHAT?! Um. And is all: READ MY SEEEEEEEEEEQUEL!! READ IT!
Between all of those things I have lost track of my sentence. Gah.
I don't read a ton of romance-themed series, but structurally this felt a lot like an episode of popcorn tv: characters do things because plot (complete with plot-related selective memory), not because the plot arises naturally out of their actions, and the ending must be big and as dramatic as possible to get you to tune in next week. I will sometimes give tv a pass (I'm looking at you, Buffy) for this, because it's a short medium that has to accomplish a lot in 45 minutes or so. I'm less inclined to give books a pass, especially books as long as Changeless. It was just so clumsy! *sigh*
Also, maybe it's just a sign that I'm in the mindset of Steampunk after Amal El-Mohtar's essay on steampunk, but the unexamined imperialism in this book bugged me. Steampunk has a tendency to glorify Victorian England and, as such, its tendency to treat non-white peoples and cultures as prizes to be captured and manipulated. The discussions around Egypt and India made me wince.
On a final note, I also think this series fails at the GBLT, so far. I get that your gay characters are super competent! They are also big, fat stereotypes! The mincing gay fashionista with his cringe-worthy italics, the Marlene Dietrich lesbian with her top-hat and sultry smile--I complained about this in the first book, and I'm still complaining. These are gay stereotypes for the straight set: exotic, titillating, they can make you feel progressive because you're friends with them your heroine is friends with them but still allow you to smile at them, just a little, behind your hand because haha! gays are so funny with their ways! We love them, but they still aren't like us.
Also: do not tease me with your clumsy Ho Yay. Do not get my hopes up. It is so rare to see a well-written lesbian character that even a poorly-written one with ham-fisted budding bisexual awakenings from the POV character slathered over every interaction will actually get my hopes up. (Seriously? She had to strip her naked for the plot?! Ludicrous.) Don't. Do. That. It sucks. Depictions of actual, healthy lesbian relationships are rare enough that teasing some slash into a straight, married character's life is almost insulting.
All those complaints aside, if you are looking for something fluffy and fairly brainless, with plenty of lesbian teasing and even more straight sex, to pass the hours: here's your book! Not everything has to be cerebral and intellectually challenging. Even if it's not exactly my cuppa, I can see why people enjoy these....more
Wow, this book is terribly written. The author has some interesting ideas, but the writing keeps getting in the way. I couldn't finish this book, it wWow, this book is terribly written. The author has some interesting ideas, but the writing keeps getting in the way. I couldn't finish this book, it was so bad....more
Here's what I learned from Podkayne of Mars, courtesy of Professor Heinlein (blech):
A woman should always hide how smart she is, so she doesn't scareHere's what I learned from Podkayne of Mars, courtesy of Professor Heinlein (blech):
A woman should always hide how smart she is, so she doesn't scare off the men.
If a woman wants to get a man's attention and get the information she needs to further her career, she should just act like a moron coquette.
It doesn't matter if a girl is a complete innocent from a Puritan society: she'll naturally know how to be a cocktease.
Introduce an infant into a situation, even if it is of a different species, and a woman--no matter how intelligent, savvy or career-oriented--will always disregard logic and personal safety to care for and protect it.
No matter how smart a woman thinks she is, she'll always be dumber that a 12-year-old boy.
Don't expect a woman to be able to solve a problem under pressure, unless it involves babies.
Look for the psychopathic but hyper-intelligent boy in the story; he's the real main character, no matter what the narrator thinks (especially if she's female.)
All Heinlein novels will contain a patriarchal, patronizing older male figure and a smug, patronizing younger male figure whose function is to tell the other characters how stupid they are and how they don't understand the way the real world works.
Women should be grateful that men try to get them drunk so they can rape them, instead of clubbing them over the head to rape them (usually).
Even in a future where humans have colonized Mars and Venus, and interplanetary travel is the equivalent of a cruise to Alaska, women will still be unable to get jobs in traditional male occupations and expected (even if they have managed to break through the glass ceiling) to give up their aspirations in favor of making babies, or taking care of babies.
Of all the ridiculous sexist tripe! I nearly threw this book against the wall so many times, it's a wonder I actually got through it. ...more
Standard boy who doesn't want to be a hero? Check. Standard girl who isn't smart enough/is too strong-willing to avoid the ancient enemy/evil artifact?Standard boy who doesn't want to be a hero? Check. Standard girl who isn't smart enough/is too strong-willing to avoid the ancient enemy/evil artifact? Double-check. Standard quirky fantasty side-kick? Check. Standard helpful kickass hero (with a side of love-lorn maundering)? Double-check. Standard quizzical oddball wise mentor? Double-check. Standard deus ex machina happy ending? Check.
What is it with Nix and having great concepts, but not being able to make plots and books that live up to them? This felt so--haphazard and mechanical. I never connected with any of the characters, and the plot was really, really, REALLY predictable standard fantasy quest stuff. The Ragwitch was a neat idea. So were the Angarling. And the magic of the world had some potential. But I didn't feel the love. I didn't get drawn in. And I certainly didn't care about any of the characters. Ugh....more
While the poems do provide some interesting insight into Lewis' psyche, the are...well, there's no better way to put it than tragically awful. PoetryWhile the poems do provide some interesting insight into Lewis' psyche, the are...well, there's no better way to put it than tragically awful. Poetry was not the man's strong suit. At all....more
This book is an outline of the "Seed Faith" doctrine as composed and practiced by Oral Roberts. It essentially boils down to: "Give God [or me as God'This book is an outline of the "Seed Faith" doctrine as composed and practiced by Oral Roberts. It essentially boils down to: "Give God [or me as God's representative:] money and he will give you what you want." By pulling scriptures out of context and twisting theology to suit his own ends, Roberts attempts to make his money-making racket sound like a sound Christian practice. This book is one of the primary reasons I learned to question anyone who claims they have a divine revelation to share. In that way, it is a useful book: it demonstrates that anyone can twist the words of the Bible around to mean whatever they want, and it can be used as an exercise in critical thinking. But generally speaking, it's rubbish....more
This book is available for free online, and it reminded me that sometimes you get what you pay for. It was really poorly written and downright silly.This book is available for free online, and it reminded me that sometimes you get what you pay for. It was really poorly written and downright silly. I love Shakespeare and can occasionally be induced to read Shakespeare-related fiction, but I'm afraid that I found this book to be bloated and over-written....more
I'm not a huge fan of body-horror, so I'm not quite sure why I stuck my way through this book. Still, what really horrified me was the nasty mysogynyI'm not a huge fan of body-horror, so I'm not quite sure why I stuck my way through this book. Still, what really horrified me was the nasty mysogyny of the book and the terrible writing....more
I got bored. The concept is funny and interesting enough, but the author/interpolator wasn't very good at carrying it beyond the first joke. Also: ifI got bored. The concept is funny and interesting enough, but the author/interpolator wasn't very good at carrying it beyond the first joke. Also: if you're going to rewrite/insert your own material into a classic, at least know enough about the period to make it plausible and be able to imitate the original author's style and diction convincingly. Altogether, it read like ok AU fanfiction....more
I don't understand why this book is so well-liked, or why it would win a Newberry. I found it irritatingly condescending. My inner 8-year-old wanted tI don't understand why this book is so well-liked, or why it would win a Newberry. I found it irritatingly condescending. My inner 8-year-old wanted to scream every time the narrator addressed me as 'dear reader' with some ridiculous, down-talking explanation. The "evil" rats were ludicrous, humorous, and not at all frightening--except when they were simply horrifying. The hero was pathetic in a way that was meant to be inspiring, but simply came off as irritating. And Miggery Sow, a sadly accurate portrait of what a lifetime of child-abuse can produce, was truly pitiful--but there were moments when I felt like the narrator meant us to find her despicable or funny. It wasn't funny. It was just sad.
Maybe part of the problem was tone whiplash: the narration was saccharine, condescending and super-sweet, but the content was really dark. I'm ok with dark, even in kids' stuff--but if you're going to write dark, then match your tone.
Or maybe it was just that the book felt so self-conscious: as though the author wanted to point out at ever moment: "Look! I'm being cute! Look! I'm teaching a lesson! Look, I'm imitating other successful authors and AREN'T I CLEVER?!"
So much about this book was frustrating: it's right up my alley. Chivalrous mice with a love for stories! C'mon, people, I loved Redwall as a kid, this should be the book for me. But alas, there was sooooooooo much wrong with this book. It felt like a wasted opportunity....more