Wizards rule. No, really. They have rules. Anyway, I'm not sure what to make of this book, but I do know that I went hot and cold on it just as easilyWizards rule. No, really. They have rules. Anyway, I'm not sure what to make of this book, but I do know that I went hot and cold on it just as easily as me trying to decide between one cake over the other. It was great, and then there were times when I absolutely hated Terry Goodkind for torturing his characters like nobody's business. And then he patched them up again and all was well. Almost.
I think the first half dragged on for too long. It took me a good few days to even get halfway through, and some of the story seemed unnecessary. I feel like if Goodkind wanted to effectively get rid of Zedd and Adie, whose help would have highly facilitated the tasks in the book, he could have done it another way that didn't send them in some wild, annoying goose chase. And the whole Sisters of the Dark arc better be vital to the storyline of the third book, or else I wouldn't have found much purpose in them either (except be really annoying pains in the gluteus).
That said, the book put out all stops and wrenched as many heartstrings as it could. Like I said, I blew hot and cold, and it was a roller coaster ride from one scene to the next. There were parts where I literally had to put the book down to exclaim a string of unrepeatable expletives about how awesome some characters were (yay Kahlan grew a spine!). Likewise, the same could be said about how annoying others were (Pasha you are a moron). The second half definitely flew through more quickly, but that can be owed to all the elements finally being thrown into place.
All in all, though, I ended up liking the characters more than I thought. Chandalen and Sister Verna grew on me, as I believe they were supposed to. Cyrilla I felt real sorry for, the poor woman's got enough on her plate as is.
Anyway, yeah. Liked it. Don't think I could go through the story again, though....more
RUSSIAAAAA! The Romanovs and their sad fate--as well as the theorized conspiracies over possible surviving members of the family--were always a senseRUSSIAAAAA! The Romanovs and their sad fate--as well as the theorized conspiracies over possible surviving members of the family--were always a sense of intrigue, much like anything else I have when it comes to certain aspects of history. I have to admit, however, that this would be the first fictional book I have read regarding the Romanovs and regarding this particular area of Russian history (sadly, I go for the more ancient, folkloric Russia, the Slavic mythologies and the like).
There's no denying that the first time I was even remotely fascinated by the Romanovs was after a viewing of the Fox film Anastasia. That was certainly a starting point, though fortunately that was not the ending point. There is much to be said about the tragic result of the monarchy after the Soviets got their hands on them. A much sadder tale when it came to the Romanovs. It was like the French cleansing of their aristocrats during their own Revolution. And a story revolving the possible survival of Nicholas II's direct line would be utterly romantic and would practically give those Soviets the ultimate middle finger.
I liked the fictional backdrop here, though the governmental process and the idea of the return of an absolute monarchy is more fantastical than I'd hoped; I suppose this is because I think the semi-presidential federalist republic that Russia holds now seems a better option than giving one man absolute power. Still, the fact that Berry simplifies the idea and puts most of Russia behind the man that would be "Tsar of All Russia" is commendable, and--for the story's purpose--highly moving.
Putting the story in the present was great. And the addition of the past in between--with the glimpse of the two Romanovs' survival--was endearing. Rasputin's prophecy and the fact that the characters depended on fate quite a bit made me smile (I mean, come on, that was as close as I was going to get to some sort of mysticism!). So yeah, I'm glad I took the time to read it....more
The book I picked up on a whim, honestly. I was in the mindset of "triple deities" and saw one on the witches of Macbeth. I immediately borrowed it. AThe book I picked up on a whim, honestly. I was in the mindset of "triple deities" and saw one on the witches of Macbeth. I immediately borrowed it. And this was the result.
In her "Author's Note," Cooney urges the reader to read Macbeth after Enter Three Witches. I have to say, I really do want to read Macbeth right after. And I've already read the play once or twice. It's probably one of my more favorite tragedies, and considering the heavy dialogue in the play itself, I was curious over how the book relayed the story, with additional original characters, to boot!
The story came mildly slowly in the beginning. Some scenes I found slightly irrelevant, and other characters that I didn't care about at all. But boy, I liked the further development Cooney had made with Fleance and Macduff and the Macbeths, and I loved how she tied this in into the eyes of a changing Lady Mary and a demonic Seyton. And once the great climax of Acts IV and V came to a close, I still found myself crying for the death of Macduff's children and cheering heavily for the thane, the man "not born of woman."
I did not expect to like it, but it was good!...more
Oh gawds. Okay, I admit it. I bawled. BAWLED. Mostly because in the deep corner of my heart I'm still somewhat a Christian, and the loss of a soul hasOh gawds. Okay, I admit it. I bawled. BAWLED. Mostly because in the deep corner of my heart I'm still somewhat a Christian, and the loss of a soul has a much deeper effect than death. So yes. That means I bawled quite a bit, and by the end of the novel, I had already unleashed a string of savory and profane words.
I've said this over and over again to people that I'd mentioned this book to: I really liked it, surprisingly enough. When I picked it up and started reading the small teaser blurb, I thought "well, sounds interesting enough." But I honestly expected a repeat of Bella and the Jacob-Edward rivalry (the so-called ghuls are, after all, vampire-like minions with no souls).
Thankfully, I was wrong. Some bits read predictably, but others were just so well-planted that I was still reeling from one event and unable to see what would happen on the next one. Perhaps for a story like this, I was kind of put off that all the events happening went by so quickly. There was barely any room for pause! Still, at least it was fast-paced enough to keep my attention.
Still, I must say, Billi might have been the main character, but it was Arthur SanGreal that stole the show. The man was as fierce as The Morning Star, and even Satan himself was scared of the crazy man. Lawdy, heaven forbid God actually pissed him off.
Sigh. I need to find happier stories. This one might make me cry again....more
It's interesting when you read a book again with fresh eyes. It must have been years and years that I'd read The Picture of Dorian Gray (probably whenIt's interesting when you read a book again with fresh eyes. It must have been years and years that I'd read The Picture of Dorian Gray (probably when I was a first or second year in high school), and when I opened the book again, half of a set of notes fell out. So I took those random page numbers and comments in mind, and I read the story again.
Of course I already knew the story and the plot (from the recent movie with a fantabulous Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton and from mild recollections of passages). But when I read it the first time, my notes implied the anger and overall incredulity of the text. The younger me was absolutely indignant over the drawn-out sayings that Lord Henry Wotton would spout to his friends. The older me is amused; in fact, so amused that I actually am enamored with his character. It's amazing how Dorian was easily twisted by a string of cynical words, even more so when the cynic himself is merely that: a cynic, and nothing more.
The writing style made me blush from time to time, not gonna lie. While the movie expressed all the debauchery that Oscar Wilde merely implied in the book, his description of beauty has that "oh la la", fan-yourself effect. It almost made me feel like I was reading a dime-romance on the train. Not good!
The horrible thing about a series is the fact that some authors have found the style that makes their readers obligated to read the next book, and theThe horrible thing about a series is the fact that some authors have found the style that makes their readers obligated to read the next book, and the book after that, and the book after that. Leviathan was definitely a great example of me turning into an annoyed fangirl waiting for the second book to be released, and Uglies came pretty close. The difference is that the Uglies series is actually complete!
It was an interesting way to discuss cultural norms. The concept was definitely a metaphor I've played with growing up in a society with so many self-image issues that can circle the globe more than ten times. So yes, bravo to Westerfeld for touching base on that. Some amusement, however, at the white orchid metaphors that tied in with the society of the Pretties. I'm sure it wasn't supposed to be funny, but I still laughed.
Tally was like any girl trying to deal with the concept of "ugly" versus "pretty," and frankly, I'm surprised it took her a quicker time to get used to things at the Smoke. Still, I admire her for the perseverance, even when half her means went to the wrong end. It's a shame you barely get the chance to know a few of the other secondary characters, though. I certainly didn't feel drawn enough to David or Peris to care about love interests for the heroine, but that's probably because I was too busy anticipating when the trouble was about to start.
I'm actually fascinated by the Specials, so I'm looking forward to reading the third book. My friend has urged me not to skip, however, so I actually have to get through Pretties first before then. Not that I mind! I'd certainly like to know what happens next!...more
Northanger Abbey was like a cross between reading Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and watching the whimsical fantasies of Ofelia in Pan's LabyrinNorthanger Abbey was like a cross between reading Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and watching the whimsical fantasies of Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth and Briony in Atonement. Except it had all the frustration of all the misunderstandings imagined by Briony and all the silliness of Don John's evil plots. I wasn't actually sure how nobody'd tried to slap the lying, arrogant prick that was Mr. Thorpe.
I wasn't very fond of Catherine Morland, and usually I gain a partiality to the leading ladies of the Austen novels. She, however, has me a little put off. But I guess it's also owing to the fact that she's way too fond of Gothic novels (right, it's illogical bias, so sue me!), and her repeated mentions of it was like having to periodically hear about Justin Bieber's obnoxious partying habits.
The light at the end of the tunnel was Henry Tilney, who does have his own kind of charm about him. He's easygoing and the like, and I actually enjoyed the teasing (and sometimes irritated) tone he has when he speaks to Catherine. I'm not quite sure what he sees in her myself, but Austen did another fine job turning out another gentleman!...more
For all Leonard Peikoff's periodically pointing out that Ayn Rand's grasp of English was poor in the beginning of her writing years, it is still muchFor all Leonard Peikoff's periodically pointing out that Ayn Rand's grasp of English was poor in the beginning of her writing years, it is still much better than a lot of native English writing today. Sure, some of the phrasing was a little awkward, and I cringed a bit at her attempt at capturing the slang in "The Night King," but overall her style and sense of the dramatics hasn't disappeared.
I actually liked some of her earlier works, and a little sad that she didn't further develop her more humorous side to storytelling. I loved her works during the '20s ("The Husband I Bought," "Escort," "Good Copy," and "Her Second Career"), which, while they were clearly the beginnings of various philosophical ideas, had a more light-hearted style as opposed to her dramatic and passionate works in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. This is probably owing to the fact that her later years were littered with rejection letter after rejection letter. You can tell the bitterness in her stories during that time.
"Red Pawn" was probably a personal favorite for her stories in her later years; but again, this story was much closer to her actual writing than the early stuff. I barely touched the two plays, mostly because by that point I wanted to get straight to the Fountainhead excerpts (the bit about Vesta Dunning is the closest to a fanfic that Ayn Rand herself wrote about Howard Roark!), which were amazingly written, if a bit out of character for the orange-haired architect.
Now that I've read excerpts of Roark, I'm almost tempted to pick up The Fountainhead again. Almost. But a re-read of Ayn Rand would probably last me weeks.
Perhaps just a few skimmed passages then......more