When Lucy Fisher returned from a rather catastrophic vacation in Hawaii, she thought it wasn't possible that things could get any worse. But when sheWhen Lucy Fisher returned from a rather catastrophic vacation in Hawaii, she thought it wasn't possible that things could get any worse. But when she arrived home to find all her possessions unceremoniously tossed out into the yard by her newly ex-fiance and her now-tattered wedding dress in the grasp of a grubby homeless woman, she knew she was wrong. Dead wrong. And now, after losing her home and her fiance, she loses her dog, her job, and, in an unfortunate bus accident, her life. But for Lucy, death is only the beginning. She wakes up to find herself in a school for ghosts, where she must master the skills to go back out into the field and try to discover what unfinished business she has so that she can fully cross over to the afterlife.[return][return]Though the book seems to have a bit of a rough start (I had particular difficulty suspending my disbelief whenever anything involving crack was mentioned--I mean, really. There has to be a better device to move the plot along), once Lucy's dead, the book really gets going and becomes enjoyable. It's lighthearted and funny, and oddly creative in a semi-done before way. I liked many of the supporting characters, particularly Lucy's also departed grandmother, and the whole story surrounding her dog Tulip had my eyes watering as a dog lover. Even though I don''t find Lucy the world's most likable or relatable character, the book was, on the whole, well-written and entertaining. It's a quick read, and I would definitely recommend it for entertainment on a weekend getaway or another similar venue....more
My feelings toward the Inheritance Cycle are complicated at best. I started reading the series in about 2006 at the suggestion of my roommate, who wasMy feelings toward the Inheritance Cycle are complicated at best. I started reading the series in about 2006 at the suggestion of my roommate, who was generally into the same type of literature as I am. She leant me Eragon, I'd heard about it from other people who were Harry Potter fanatics, and so I gave it a shot.
While I have an immense respect for Paolini as a young author--he's just a few years older than me, and his creation of such a complex and comprehensive series at this age is certainly a staggering feat-- I find the series overly long, fairly predictable, and prone to falling into classic fantasy tropes over and over. Even after finishing the entire series, I'm still of the camp that looks at it as a combo of Lord of the Rings+Star Wars with some dragons added in.
(view spoiler)[As for the actual book Inheritance, I think it was probably the best of the series. However, I had a lot of problems with it, especially concerning the flow of the story. The battle scenes are incredibly detailed and long, as is the part where Saphira is crossing the ocean. And I'm talking UNNECESSARILY long--I've got an amazing attention span, and I generally love detailed stuff because I love feeling immersed in the world of a novel, but it was just SO MUCH DETAIL that I constantly felt my attention wavering. The length of these scenes detracts from the flow of the novel as a whole--a good 60% of the book is spent describing the various bloody fight scenes. Don't get me wrong, I love a good, bloody battle description as much as the next person, but knowing how Roran gets each and every single cut on his body during EVERY battle does absolutely nothing to add to the story. It bogs the reader down in superfluous details that only detract from the actual plot. This is a general problem throughout the series, but I think it was particularly prominent in this one.
Saphira's sea crossing was especially painful for me to read. I read the book on my iPad, where the digital pages are slightly smaller than in an actual text, but it just felt like Paolini's description of the storm went on and on and on for dozens of pages. It justwouldn'tend. I don't see the point in dragging out these sorts of things so excessively, and I found that it really took away from the flow of the rest of the story. I understand Paolini's need to be thorough in wrapping up a story that has consumed such a large part of his life, but the book would have really benefitted from a lot of tightening up in the editing. If the flow were better, I would have enjoyed reading the book more.
Also: Roran's chapped and bleeding crotch. Seriously? Did I need that much description of his chafing problems? No. I did not.
I also had a problem with several plot points, which Paolini definitely acknowledged in his post-script. He spends all of this time describing every detail of battle, but we still know next to nothing about Angela. The belt of Beloth the Wise was never recovered by the end of the book, but quite frankly, I didn't see the point of the belt in the first place, since Eragon never really needed or used it (I'm also probably forgetting something from the past books, but Paolini made no attempt to remind the reader of its purpose in this book). Even though he spent a great deal of time attempting to wrap up the loose ends after Eragon defeated Galbatorix, I still feel like something was lacking at the end.
Don't even get me started on Nasuada and Murtagh. This just...came out of nowhere and went nowhere. Dude. Paolini. Development: you're doing it wrong. This paring needed it. The battle, travel, and torture scenes did not.
But the thing I take issue with the most? The complete lack of achievement of the Arya/Eragon pairing. Paolini makes it painfully clear from the very beginning of the story that Eragon and Arya are going to be together. But seriously, Chris? All of that tension between Arya and Eragon across four ENORMOUS tomes, only to have the relationship basically fizzle into oblivion because Eragon leaves? All we get is some piddly hand holding? Come on, now. I just feel like the whole relationship was incorrectly handled. If the reader was meant to feel sorrow for a missed love, I definitely didn't. I was angry at the author for not even really giving his characters a chance to play anything out on that plane, where even Saphira got some dragon-lovin' with Fírnen (and he's even a hatchling--sort of seems like she's robbing the cradle a bit, doesn't it?), who waltzes in solely for that purpose in one of the last few chapters. Something is just backwards here, and I'm not a fan. The end of a series is supposed to give the reader a sense of satisfaction, not frustration. I felt about half-and-half on this one.
That said, I continued to read the series because, despite it being too long with really too little to give, I still found it entertaining as a whole. It's pretty well-written, some of the characters are captivating (not really Eragon, though: even after this, I feel like he's still a bit one-dimensional, fairly unflawed, and not really even funny. I like Saphira, Nasuada, Angela, and Roran far more. Brom was probably my favorite character, simply because he had such potential to develop into something interesting, but he dies halfway through the first book, so what does that say?), and the story captured my attention enough to stick it out until the end. But I feel like the work takes itself too seriously. There's really very little humor to contrast with the darkness of the battle scenes, and while I feel like some aspects of the world are creative, Paolini relies too heavily on classic fantasy clichés (a world of humans, elves, dwarfs, and orc-like creatures has really been done to death since Lord of the Rings, as have names with 50-million apostrophes and accents) and fancy mind-magic to carry his story along (about half the book is in italics). (hide spoiler)]
In the end though, if Paolini wrote another book set in Alagaësia, would I read it? Yeah, probably. His style did improve greatly throughout the books, I found the overall story at least mildly entertaining (and CERTAINLY better than Twilight, at least, which is pretty much my most-hated book of all time) and, like I said, I have a great respect for the amount of work he's put into the novels and the level of success he's achieved, even if I feel like he takes too much inspiration ("inspiration," really, since he sort of steals large chunks) from Tolkien and Star Wars. I mean, have I personally managed to bust out a series of bestselling novels at my age? No. So he's got me on that one, and, as an aspiring writer, I respect that.
However, being the serial re-reader that I am, will I re-read these books? The answer is probably not....more
I was really hoping to start off this review with much more finesse, but instead I decided to simply cut to the chase: this is one of the worst booksI was really hoping to start off this review with much more finesse, but instead I decided to simply cut to the chase: this is one of the worst books I've ever read. [return][return]The main character, Elizabeth Phoenix, is your stereotypical, transparent, one-dimensional, written-a-million times girl with a superpower. The plot plodded along with little surprise or novelty, interrupted only by the occasional, overly methodical interjection of villainous minions causing trouble: it was like reading an old-school side-scrolling video game with bosses at the end of every level for the heroine to fight. The sex scenes were either disturbing or tepid at best--how repeated rape can be seen as sexy, I just don't know.[return][return]There really is little to be said about this work. Its plot is repetitive and predictable, its writing is barely mediocre, its characters are underdeveloped and one-dimensional, and, on the whole, I think it tries to make a lot more out of itself than it merits....more
I read this while I myself was alone and abroad in Europe, so a lot of what she was going through resonated with me. At the same time, she does spendI read this while I myself was alone and abroad in Europe, so a lot of what she was going through resonated with me. At the same time, she does spend a portion of the book whining, but overall, I found it enjoyable....more
I wanted to like it--I really did. But the long and short of it is that I found Sedaris to be more narcissistic and selfish than poignant and funny. TI wanted to like it--I really did. But the long and short of it is that I found Sedaris to be more narcissistic and selfish than poignant and funny. The writing is great, and a few of the France stories stuck with me, especially as someone who has lived in l'Hexagon. But I spent the majority of the book disliking the protagonist/voice, something which never sits well....more