3.5 stars; rounding up because it contained more of the awesome worldbuilding stuff that I loved so much in the first book and missed so much in the s...more3.5 stars; rounding up because it contained more of the awesome worldbuilding stuff that I loved so much in the first book and missed so much in the second. There was a lot that was cool about this story, and the way she wrapped it up was unexpected-- yet oddly unsatisfying. The revelation about Mal seemed out of the blue, and Alina sacrificing her power at the end felt like a letdown. And the love story between her and Mal just seemed overly tortured and way too easy at the same time. I wanted her to actually fall for Nikolai. But, props for interesting supporting characters (Tolya and Tamar totally win) and queer characters and gorgeous descriptions of some really cool places. I'll be excited to see what Bardugo does next.(less)
It takes some doing to take the fun out of Star Wars, but man, Timothy Zahn made it happen. I was so disappointed by the way this book lived up to its...moreIt takes some doing to take the fun out of Star Wars, but man, Timothy Zahn made it happen. I was so disappointed by the way this book lived up to its considerable hype- or more accurately, how it didn't. Almost every Star Wars fan I know says this trilogy is the best contribution to the EU, yet to me it fell incredibly flat. From reusing pieces of dialogue straight from the movies, to a huge overabundance of telling rather than showing, I didn't find it to be particularly well written. And frankly I expected way more from sanctioned fanfiction- for starters, that the characters would at least resemble their canon counterparts. But while Zahn does a fine job with Luke, I found Han and Leia almost unrecognizable, and really lackluster to boot. I never bought any of their emotions as real, possibly because the only emotion either of them displayed for most of the book was worry over the situations taking them constantly by surprise. Leia was little better than a stick figure, constantly wringing her hands in fearful concern and happily ceding control over her life to the men around her. Where did "from now on you do as I tell you" go?? And okay Mara Jade wasn't so bad as the book wore on, but she was pretty one-note. The action scenes were good, but then with such a cinematic canon to draw from I'd have been surprised if they weren't (and frankly if Zahn sucks at writing people so much, one would hope he'd be good at action scenes). There was just enough meat in the book's latter half to keep my interest, but the jury's still out about whether I'm willing to risk the sequels to find out if any of it gets better. TBH I'm likely to read them just to find out where fandom's obsession with Mara comes from (other than the fact she's a sassy redhead badass) bc I can be suckered in just by the promise of a well written female character, but if Zahn' treatment of Leia is any indication I might be signing myself up for more disappointment. Only time will tell.
2.5 stars, rounding down for the letdown factor. Sorry SW fans. Maybe next time?(less)
I knew before I even began this book that it would end up on the 'best of 2014' list, and I wasn't disappointed. There are few books that can make me...moreI knew before I even began this book that it would end up on the 'best of 2014' list, and I wasn't disappointed. There are few books that can make me laugh out loud while reading, without a care for how many funny looks I'm getting from commuters or coworkers around me, but like its predecessor, Ghosts of Tupelo Landing had me chortling on the regular. Lines like "'Connoisseur', I whispered. 'French for "know-it-all."'" or "Having a temper means you find out what you're going to say at the same time everyone else does." made me love Mo LoBeau more than ever. Yet the book didn't lack for gravity either-- again, like Three Times Lucky, there was a current of real-world seriousness to the story, and the title alludes not only to the ghost Mo and Dale think they're chasing, but to the shades of past hurts that live in the collective consciousness of any small town. It's also rare I'd recommend a middle-grade book to anyone I didn't know already enjoyed middle-grade fiction, but these two books are funny and honest enough to worm their way into anyone's hearts.(less)
Man, it is so hard to write good short stories, and I'm not surprised Ann Leckie has as much talent with the form as she does with the novel. This was...moreMan, it is so hard to write good short stories, and I'm not surprised Ann Leckie has as much talent with the form as she does with the novel. This was a perfect little gem of a story, and just as punch-packing as Ancillary Justice.(less)
With the disclaimer that I didn't read this play, I saw it performed, I have to say that it was almost 15 years ago and I still remember it as clearly...moreWith the disclaimer that I didn't read this play, I saw it performed, I have to say that it was almost 15 years ago and I still remember it as clearly as if it was last week. This play is intense, and moving, and especially if you have ever struggled with faith or asked the universe "why?", I recommend it.(less)