It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed a book as much as I loved "Neverwhere." Sadly, I was a Nei...moreHow do I love this book? I cannot count the ways!
It had been a long time since I'd enjoyed a book as much as I loved "Neverwhere." Sadly, I was a Neil Gaiman virgin before this book (I still can't believe it took me so long to get around to reading one of his books). At this point I've read two of his novels and I can hardly wait to get my hands on the rest of them. He is so undeniably imaginitive, I'm almost envious.
"Neverwhere" takes place in an imaginary realm of London, the "Underground" which is inhabited by all of the people who "fell between the cracks" so to speak. The narrator somehow gets transported to this world when he rescues a beat up, apparently homeless girl on the side of the road, and what he discovers is so unbelievable that it takes a good three chapters before he convinces himself he's not dreaming. The journey they embark on is sprinkled with gruesome, wacky, unforgettable characters, such as the Marquis de Carabas, a mysterious conman whose true nature is not really certain until the very end of the book.
Though this book delved into the darkest kind of fantasy and was, at times, a little grisly, the constantly changing scenery and plots made it so that you didn't have to dwell on the bloody, nasty bits and instead allowed yourself to be delighted at the whimsical. I've heard it described as a dark "Alice in Wonderland" and I couldn't describe it any better myself. Some of the locations and characters are so ineffably bizarre that it seems impossible that Gaiman wasn't smoking some kind of hallucinogenic drug. And to that I say, keep on smokin' Neil! (less)
This book kept popping up on all of the forums I browse through for book titles and so a few months ago, I picked it up at the book store. I actually started it a few weeks ago, but this was another one of those books that took forever to get through. It's not that it wasn't good or too difficult - no, this book was incredible. It took me so long to get through because the only time I've had to read as of late is during my lunch break, and really this is the kind of book you should read in one sitting to fully appreciate its emotional value. I highly recommend that you read this book alone, with a box of tissues, and only if you have a good chunk of time to get through it.
I was truly moved and heartbroken by the themes and stories in The Book Thief, and by the overwhelming beauty of its most important message: that while humans are violent creatures, capable of committing gross atrocities against each other, our innate love and ability to care for one another as humans is what really makes living worthwhile. That while life can be cruel and inexplicably tortuous, there are those brief, shining moments of goodness that can show you the bigger picture. It's set in the Holocaust, so immediately you should know that you're going to be dealing with heavy subject matter, and yet it's seen in the eyes of a child, so what would otherwise be so unimaginably horrendous that it would be nearly impossible to describe, is viewed as a child would see it, in the plainest and simplest of forms, untainted by the justifications or elaborations an adult would add to the story. No - to a child there is only right and wrong and the world should always be as it should be, and not thrown askew by any alterior motives. The book is narrated through Death's perspective, a character as cold and unfeeling as they come, and yet at the end of the story even Death is moved by the crisis this child has suffered. It's not about a book thief, or the Holocaust. What I took away from this book is as simple and complex as morals go. Love. Love each other. Rejoice in the moments you have with the people you care about. Always tell people how you really feel about them. Take care of each other. Things every child knows, but that adults tend to forget.
I cried SO hard at the end. I was so heartbroken and thankful to be alive at once, and grateful for the world we live in now, however horrible it may seem at times. Though I couldn't see through the tears, and the ending was sad (as you can imagine - it's set in the Holocaust) it was a GOOD feeling.
I absolutely adored this book - it was SO unique, absolutely heartwrenching at times and just a really good read. The more I think about it, the more...moreI absolutely adored this book - it was SO unique, absolutely heartwrenching at times and just a really good read. The more I think about it, the more I love it.
It isn't overly dramatic and doesn't take advantage of how emotional a subject like 9/11 is (which is what I was expecting). Instead, it uses the tragedy as a backdrop to point out just how beautiful and fleeting life is, and how important it is to say what you need to say to the people you love while you still can. After that day, so many of us realized how quickly our worlds can be turned upside down - this book examines the lives of several individuals who experienced just that, and how they managed to honor and remember those they'd lost, but found a way to continue living.
It's the story of a quirky, endearing boy who lost the person he loved most in the world and is trying to deal with the grief and guilt. His voice is heartbreakingly honest, so much that so many times I just wanted to just reach through the pages and hug him.
I was really impressed at how well Safran Foer connected with the thoughts of a nine year old. And while it took me a bit to get used to how he handles dialogue, after a while I realized that it was probably because that's how a nine year old translates dialogue and I was even more impressed.
I loved it, but as a disclaimer, I don't think this book is for everyone. I can see how some people might lose interest in the side stories and get frustrated with how Oskar rambles at times. But it didn't bother me at all - I fell in love with the characters and their stories, was anxious for Oskar to have peace, at last. I highly recommend it.
Now, I'll leave you with a few quotes that really touched me.
"I felt, that night, on that stage, under that skull, incredibly close to everything in the universe, but also extremely alone. I wondered, for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it?" * * "Dad didn't have a spirit! He had cells!" "His memory is there." His memory is here," I said, pointing at my head. "Dad had a spirit," she said, like she was rewinding a bit in our conversation. I told her, "He had cells, and now they're on rooftops, and in the river, and in the lungs of millions of people around New York, who breathe him every time they speak!" * * "When I looked at you, my life made sense. Even the bad things made sense. They were necessary to make you possible." * * "It's so beautiful at this hour. The sun is low, the shadows are long, the air is cold and clean. You won't be awake for another five hours, but I can't help feeling that we're sharing this clear and beautiful morning." (less)
I heard about this book on an internet forum. Various posters raved about it, so I decided since I had some extra time on a long car ride yesterday that I’d give it a whirl.
I am SO glad that I did. This book was EXCELLENT. And while it falls into the “Young Adult” category, I really believe that this book would appeal to readers of all ages. It’s the story of a high-school aged girl who has just lost her sister, her idol, and in the process of grieving is discovering her identity and falling in love. I normally wouldn’t pick up a book that sounds so transparently sappy – but this book was so much more than that. The elements that made up the story were so rich, so real. Not sappy in the least, but sparkling with characters that felt like home, people who you could almost see and hear.
Lennie, the narrator, leaves lines of poetry scattered everywhere she goes. The lines of poetry usually begin and end every chapter, and so many of these short blurbs literally made me choke back tears, lines of adolescent comings of age, memories of her sister, things she just couldn’t understand. And sometimes there would be these brilliant lines, scattered throughout the book like Lennie's poems - shining gems of English, words arranged so perfectly and enormously that I would just sit and savor them over and over again until I really understood them. This book is what growing up is like.
Never at any point did the story lag or was there anything unnecessary. Everything meant something, a quality that is rare in a book, especially one that is specifically intended for younder readers. Nelson's style is flawless, the writing lyrical, and in spite of the tragedy, almost always hopeful. This book made me want to be seventeen again.
Bear with me for a moment, as I try to figure out how to express how dearly I loved this book, and how much joy it brings me to feel so completely ent...moreBear with me for a moment, as I try to figure out how to express how dearly I loved this book, and how much joy it brings me to feel so completely entranced by a story again, the likes of which I can't remember since finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, several years ago. Yes, I said Harry Potter.
I know that whatever I could write here is not going to do this book justice. I'm still reeling.
Part of me feels a little dead inside. Not because of the content - the book is, in a word, incredible. I feel empty because I haven't read anything so utterly wonderful and imaginative and just completely engrossing since HP7 - that is the last time I felt so... much. So moved. So inspired. So heartbroken. Because of a book. I'm just in awe.
Okay, now that I've done enough gushing, let me try to actually describe what this series is about.
I read Rothfuss' first book, The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles, Day 1) late last year and immediately fell in love with his writing. After reading the second book in the series, The Wise Man's Fear, I can officially declare myself a die-hard fan. The story (which flows seamlessly from book one to book two) is highly descriptive, intense fantasy - but even if you don't usually enjoy fantasy, I'm convinced that I'd be hard pressed to find a true lover of literature that wouldn't enjoy these books. The fantastical elements are so flawlessly weaved into the story that you can accept it without blinking an eye - Rothfuss builds a dangerous new world, a strange, delightful culture, and a highly imaginative form of magic that mixes science with the impossible, and makes it seem so tangible and reachable that it becomes hard to separate fact from fiction - Rothfuss' imaginary world from our knowledge of the material world. It's glorious, really. And that's just part of why these books are so wonderful.
The real reason why I fell in love with these books is because of the characters. Rothfuss' character building is masterful and intricate; the narrator, Kvothe, has a voice unlike any other I've encountered in reading. Throughout the books, we are introduced to characters that seem almost unbearably real - what Rothfuss exhibits in creating such realistic, empathetic characters is a fundamental and deep understanding of the subliminal aspects of human nature, and of what makes different personalities - he knows what makes people tick. And he uses this knowledge to make these gorgeous characters come alive and force their way into our hearts.
I don't want to tell you much more about the story - it has all the major themes that any epic fantasy novels should tackle - the endless battle between good and evil, a boy maturing and becoming a man, a man battles obstacles to become a hero - you many think you've seen it all before, but not like this. Not like this.
I INSIST that you go out and get a copy of The Name of The Wind. Go get hooked on this series. You will not regret it. (less)