A gorgeous book, luxuriously written and carefully crafted. I expected the plot twists but that didn't make them any less devastating, and the last pa...moreA gorgeous book, luxuriously written and carefully crafted. I expected the plot twists but that didn't make them any less devastating, and the last page left goosebumps running down my arms. As an aside, if Spanish is your second language, like it is mine, I am sure you will find this book even more intoxicating. It has a lilting sort of cadence that can only be found in a romance language, and yet it is perfectly translated and conveyed in English. I can't get over how well done it is. LOVED. (less)
It's definitely not the kind of book I'd pick up on my own. 1.) It's non-fiction, and 2.) It's True Cr...moreThis was my book club's selection for February.
It's definitely not the kind of book I'd pick up on my own. 1.) It's non-fiction, and 2.) It's True Crime (blech). Based on the True Crime novels I've read on the past, I was expecting something entirely different than what I got from this book - namely lots of blood, gore and violence.
However, The Devil in the White City is a slow building crime novel that focuses mostly on the psychological aspect of its murderer, H.H. Holmes, with the backdrop of the Chicago World fair and Exposition of the late 1800's. Intensely fact heavy and intricately researched, Larson sets his story in this dangerous world with ease and believability.
This book was very well written - I can't argue that. However, to me, it read a lot like a text book. It was pounded thick with facts and tidbits of very interesting information about the Chicago World Fair, but it also felt a bit overwhelming. There was lots of architectural jargon and facts about Chicago, for those of you who are into that thing. I also expected there to be more of a tie in between the World Fair and the murders. It felt like they were two separate stories that just happened to be occurring at the same time. I found myself hurrying through the Fair-building parts to get to the progression of H.H. Holmes murders, which were soooo creepy! I was thoroughly disturbed by how absolutely twisted his mind was - and that was the stronger part of the book, in my humble opinion.
All in all, if you're a fan of non-fiction, you'd probably enjoy this book. As a non-fan, I'm surprised I liked it as much as I did. (less)
I have been waiting for this book for MONTHS! It came out last week and I devoured it in a few hours. I just could not put this baby down!
All of the...moreI have been waiting for this book for MONTHS! It came out last week and I devoured it in a few hours. I just could not put this baby down!
All of the rave reviews I've been reading everywhere are well deserved, and I find myself agreeing with the reviewers that said this book is as good as The Hunger Games. Yeah, I said it. I know that's a lot to live up to, but I was that impressed. And as much as I hate to compare books that really are very different, this book has inevitably been compared to HG because a.) Dystopia. Duh. and b.) it features a kick-ass female heroine. But that's pretty much where the similarity ends. This book is good because it's good, not because it's anything like the Hunger Games.
It's awesome. Just awesome. The story is unique, compelling, fast-paced. The characters are crisp and complex. Emotional depth is packed high from start to finish and the writing is wonderful. The love story is secondary to the actual plot, and I totally dug it. In fact, I find that most YA books that I really LOVE feature issues that don't revolve who is going to take the heroine to the prom, but instead focus on deeper, more meaningful struggles, like who the heroine wants to be. This book accomplishes that with flying colors.
Also? Veronica Roth is only 22 years old. TWENTY TWO years old, people! I had that in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading this book and let me tell you, you should too. Her writing is clean and mature, and I really had a hard time believing that this was a debut novel. Many kudos to you, Ms. Roth.
Really quick, let me tell you a little bit about the concept:
Society has collapsed and been rebuilt. The remaining people (in this case, living in Chicago) have been divided into different factions based on their dominant personality traits. For example, people who value peaces are sorted into Amity; people who are selfless are sorted into Abnegations; and so on. However, people who show more than one dominant personality trait are labeled Divergent, and that's where this book begins.
It's action packed and exciting, just an absolute treat to read, and I KNOW that ya'll are going to love it. I am SO going to be recommending this book to everyone I know. (less)
What a bunch of pompous crap. I hated every character. The writing was long winded and dull. All in all, a sucky book I wouldn't recommend to anyone....moreWhat a bunch of pompous crap. I hated every character. The writing was long winded and dull. All in all, a sucky book I wouldn't recommend to anyone. (less)
This was our book club’s selection this month and, from the jacket, I thought it was going to be one of my favorites of the year. As I made my way through the beginning of the book, I thought it had a lot going for it – a premise that seemed interesting, a few unraveling mysteries, a possible murder-suicide-familicide and a narrator that had the potential to be a unique, empathetic voice.
But unfortunately, it never picked up from there. I kept reading, hoping the plot would thicken, hoping that something would make it a worthwhile read. The main character was dull. I never felt a connection to her, didn’t understand her in the least. The sub-plots were so thin and undeveloped – and in fact, I was really disappointed with how undeveloped the story was as a whole. There were so many unnecessary characters that didn’t add anything to the story, characters that just didn’t make sense. As I described to Joyce (who is also reading the book), I felt like the book tricked you into thinking it was going to be better than it was. The ending was utterly disappointing.
“Oh, hey, surprise! You never suspected me, did you? Oh, good. I win.” It just pisses me off when authors resort to that kind of trickery without putting enough detail into the story to make it believable.
Maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe I was just so unnerved by the ending that I’ve written off the whole book as unworthy when it might have some redeeming qualities. But either way, I wouldn’t recommend it.(less)
While on some levels I did like this book, as a whole I found it to be mostly disappointing. It started out as a typical "whodunnit" and while it coul...moreWhile on some levels I did like this book, as a whole I found it to be mostly disappointing. It started out as a typical "whodunnit" and while it could have actually been a good one, about three quarters in it felt like Ms. Pickard ran out of steam. It ended so abruptly, without any real sense of closure for any of the characters or any explanation of how their lives were affected by the unexpected ending. I just didn't feel satisfied. I kept expecting to gain some insight into the main character's mind, but Pickard spent more time developing the supporting characters than she did with the narrator. Given, some of the characters were lovable or memorable - I enjoyed the back story leading up to the murder much more than the ending itself - in those chapters, where Pickard was writing in ominscient narrative, I felt much more connected to the characters and to their stories. First person narrative just didn't work as well. I'll give Ms. Pickard credit for decent writing and suspense building.
But this book could have been so much better. Too bad.
Last month's book for my co-blogger and I's book club was "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. This was actually one of my picks, and if you've read any of my earlier posts, you know what a HUGE fan I am of his work. After "Neverwhere" and "Good Omens", I was fully expecting another delightful easy read. Well, when I first picked up the book, I realized immediately that it was different from the other books I'd read. His detail-oriented style was still apparent, but all of the whimsical and gruesome quirkiness I'd grown to love seemed to be missing from the pages. The subject material was presented in a very direct fashion, and yet after reading each passage you were left with the feeling that you weren't quite sure what just happened. To summarize without giving too much away, "American Gods" is, ironically, about how there really aren't any American Gods. The gods in the book have been brought to America in the minds of its settlers and the book follows the stuggle for power and survival of these obsolete gods in a world that is now ruled by technology and modern conveniences.
100 pages into the book, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish it. To be honest, it took me a few WEEKS to actually get into the book. The main character was dull (which, I believe, was purposeful). It wasn't suspenseful, but only just intriguing enough to make me wonder what the whole point of the story was.
When I got to the book club meeting, I was not very surprised that of everyone, only two of us managed to finish the book. It was a tough read. As I went through it, I kept thinking that it would be a fantastic choice to study in a Theology class, as it described a menagerie of deities from a wide variety of cultures and times in unique lights and I wanted to know more about their back stories. Ultimately, when I'd finished the book, though I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, I thoroughly appreciated it. It was a smart book, the kind you have to appreciate for its themes, the underlying message, the subtleties that you might not pick up on the first reading. Gaiman is a brilliant writer and if anything, I am even more impressed by his talent. He tackled a very difficult subject matter and wrote about it unapologetically, in a way that wasn't necessarily meant to be read by the masses, but loved by a specific following that would appreciate it for what it is and not what they expected it to be.
UPDATE: After I re-read this book a few months later and had a chance to really understand the concepts, I grew to love it. This is one of those books that you can't really appreciate with only one reading. It was worth the re-read and only make me love Neil Gaiman more. (less)