This was...well, it's exactly what it says it is. It's an alternate ending for Feed. However, the ending of Feed itself is much more satisfying. ThisThis was...well, it's exactly what it says it is. It's an alternate ending for Feed. However, the ending of Feed itself is much more satisfying. This doesn't actually add anything, except a sense of certainty to the events that most readers could've predicted would have happened if Georgia and Shaun's places had been switched. My main problem with it is that the entire chapter that includes the confrontation with Tate doesn't change at all with a new narrator. Mahir's blog post and meeting with Rick are the only new things.
Overall, even though I really enjoyed Feed (and am presently reading the second book), this didn't do anything for me. It's mildly interesting, but skippable. ...more
I've heard a lot of great things about Brandon Sanderson's writing, and I've been meaning to get into his works for a while now - but I had wanted toI've heard a lot of great things about Brandon Sanderson's writing, and I've been meaning to get into his works for a while now - but I had wanted to start with Mistborn. However, then I found a copy of Elantris in my favorite used bookstore, and I just couldn't resist. Seeing as this is Sanderson's debut novel (as far as I am aware), it isn't a bad place to start anyway. It also appears to be a standalone, which is rare and refreshing in the world of high fantasy.
There are a lot of things about Elantris that I loved, but there were also a lot of things that made it a pretty slow read and a bit of a slog to get through. I can't decide whether I want to give it three or four stars - maybe three and a half? Something like that. The world-building is incredible, the characters are well fleshed-out, and how all of the plot points come together is masterfully done. However, it also has some pacing problems, and gets off on meandering tangents that don't always go anywhere. I would recommend it - but with the warning that this book is one that might take even regular high fantasy readers a while to get through.
***Mild Spoilers Ahead (nothing important - but if you want to stay totally spoiler-free, stop here)***
Things I Liked
- The worldbuilding was really phenomenal. I can only imagine that Sanderson has pages upon pages of worldbuilding notes sitting around somewhere. And that map at the beginning is actually important, rather than just there because high fantasy novels usually have maps.
- Sarene, for being exactly the feminist heroine I wanted her to be. I was a little worried when the back cover only described her as Raoden's widow - but that is just one of many roles that she plays. Primarily, she is a brilliant political mastermind.
- Raoden, for being a hero whose greatest asset is his kindness. He can't fight, and he has very few actual marketable skills, but he is incredibly kind. He's a dreamer who believes wholeheartedly in every single person's potential, and really loves humanity. He is great that way.
- Karata, for not letting this be the kind of novel with only one heroic woman (or even just one heroic type of woman). She is a very different character from Sarene, and a great heroine in her own way. She is also a fantastic balance of warrior and mother, and I loved her.
- Galladon, for being the perfect reluctant partner to balance out Raoden's dream-big nature.
- The fact that there are multiple different races in this world. (I've read too many high fantasies that leave that out).
- The fencing lessons with the women of the court. The whole dynamic between Sarene and the court women was just great.
- The dynamic between Raoden and Sarene. I didn't think I would ship them, but I do. Oh, how I do.
- The way all of the plot points with the Aons fell together.
- The little glossary of Aons at the back of the book, which I kept flipping through when I forgot what they meant.
Things I Didn't Like
- This book could have benefitted from being about 30% shorter. Not because of the actual length (which is pretty par for the high fantasy course), but because sometimes a hundred pages would go by and nothing plot relevant would happen.
- As much as I enjoyed the alternating POVs, I wish they didn't alternate in exactly the same order all the time. It went Raoden to Sarene to Hrathen, then back to Raoden, to Sarene, to Hrathen over and over again without any variation - which meant that sometimes a character would be narrating even though nothing significant was happening in their plotline at the moment. It made for a lot of chapters that felt like filler while we bided our time waiting to get back to whoever was doing the most exciting things at the time.
- Hrathen, in my opinion, had too many chapters devoted to his POV. His air of mystery when first introduced is ruined almost immediately by the reader seeing his POV too often. I feel like he could have benefitted from being a little bit more scarce at the beginning of the novel, and seen through Sarene and Raoden first.
- This might just be my problem, but I kept getting all of the nobles names mixed up. A lot of their names sounded really similar, and I had a hard time telling who was who.
- It took me until about page 300 to realize that Doloken was supposed to be a sort of swear word (akin to hell, it seems?). Some of created language, while creative, needed a little more background for the reader.
Overall, I would recommend it. It was a lot of fun, and it is easy to get really attached to the characters. ...more
This book was, essentially, everything that I wanted it to be when I started it. It isn't perfect - but it's entertaining and emotional in just the riThis book was, essentially, everything that I wanted it to be when I started it. It isn't perfect - but it's entertaining and emotional in just the right ways. As a book about zombies, politics, and blogging, it does pretty damn well for itself.
Also, this is my first Seanan McGuire book. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's written under her penname Mira Grant - but it still counts, right?). And now I'm more excited than ever to embark on the rest of her work.
All of that being said, I kind of wish this were a standalone. I mean, I'm planning to read the rest of the series because I already bought the other two books - but if this had been the end, I would have been satisfied.
Now, for the specifics. As spoiler-free as I can manage.
Things I Liked
- The alternate-history. Seeing as Feed came out in 2010, it was probably just intended to be the future, but now that we're past the summer of 2014 the "past" of the novel (which takes place primarily in 2040) has transitioned pretty effectively into alternate-history territory. Which is nice. Because otherwise the story wouldn't have worked reading it present-day.
- Georgia, for having a distinct narrative voice and believable layers of characterization.
- Buffy, for containing multitudes and not just being the flake that her introduction implied.
- Rick, for growing on me. I didn't like him when he first showed up, but that changed pretty quickly.
- Lois, for playing to my love of cats.
- The whole blogging-sphere and the groupings of different kind of bloggers (from the Newsies who rely on fact, to the Stewarts who are presumably named after John Stewart, to the Irwins who would like to poke alligators like their namesake, to the Fictionals who bear a striking resemblance to fanfic writers). It was a well-developed online world.
- The campaign trail as a device to move the plot. I like the idea of politics driving a plot that isn't really about politics in any other way.
- Shaun, sometimes. Though I only really liked him when he was interacting with Georgia. (view spoiler)[Which might make the next book a bit of a struggle. (hide spoiler)]
- Emily Rhyman. Favorite minor character by far.
- That scene that made me cry. You know the one. There's a van involved. And I cried. Embarissingly hard.
- (view spoiler)[The fact that the villain was a human, and not a zombie. He is much scarier for the fact that he really ought to have empathy, and clearly does not. (hide spoiler)].
Things I Didn't Like
- The pacing towards the middle got muddled and slow. I feel like the book could be roughly a hundred pages shorter and tell the same story with more precision.
- Some of the blog posts at the end of chapters slowed down the pace so much that I wanted to skip them.
- Repeated explanations of things that I remembered from earlier in the book. These might have been fine if I had stretched out the reading over weeks or months - but I'm pretty sure most people don't forget what they read a few hours ago, or even yesterday.
- The times that I didn't like Shaun. These were mostly times when I didn't understand why he did the things that he did.
- What was even the purpose of Chuck? Because he did nothing. And I don't really get why he was there at all.
Overall: I would recommend this. Maybe not to people who really love zombie stuff and expect some gore (because I liked this book, and I've only ever been able to sit through four episodes of The Walking Dead. I rather prefered Feed's LACK of gory zombie action). I would recommend it, instead, to people who like political conspiracy books, with maybe some zombies on the side. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There is a particular kind of book that sucks you in and drags you along until you question reality. Beloved is that kind of book. Each time I would oThere is a particular kind of book that sucks you in and drags you along until you question reality. Beloved is that kind of book. Each time I would open it and read more, it was like being sucked into some sort of time warp until I wasn't sure what had just happened once I finally looked up. I am still trying to decide whether that is a good thing or not.
Mostly, I wish that someone had told me a long time ago that this was not a historical novel, because I would have picked it up sooner. Not because I dislike historicals - I like them, just not as much has I like other things. Like, for instance, Magical Realism. Beloved takes place in the past, but it also straddles the line between Magical Realism and outright Surrealism. Sometimes you aren't sure what is happening. Just as often, the characters aren't sure what is happening.
There's slavery, and ghosts, and murder, and mind control, and guilt, and lonliness, and a timeline so muddled that you might not ever be sure of the order in which events occurred, or how long they lasted.
It is mostly a book about living in a house with a very posessive ghost, and the reasons that people might want that ghost to stay.
It was not fun to read, because it feels a bit like losing your mind, but it was an experience worth having. ...more
I really enjoyed this - mostly as a way to see the Vampire Academy story I already know play out in a different form. The art is beautiful (Rose and CI really enjoyed this - mostly as a way to see the Vampire Academy story I already know play out in a different form. The art is beautiful (Rose and Christian look particularly good and much like I imagined them. I'm less thrilled with Lissa's look, but it's still a pretty good representation of her description in the book). I wasn't sure how Rose's narration was going to work in graphic novel form, and sometimes it did seem clumsy, but overall I think it was handled well. My only real complaint is the particular scenes that were cut to shorten the story - some of them I missed, and wished had been included (view spoiler)[(particularly some of the Lissa/Christian scenes in the church attic that fleshed out why she wouldn't let him die when he was attacked by the Psi-Hounds. Lissa's motivations are much clearer when we see more of her. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, pretty great. I definitely want to see how the rest of this series translates to this format. ["br"]>["br"]>...more
Well, now I can see why everybody seems to love Colleen Hoover. I can definitely see the appeal, even though this is the first of her books that I havWell, now I can see why everybody seems to love Colleen Hoover. I can definitely see the appeal, even though this is the first of her books that I have read. (Honestly, it's the first premise that appealed to me, and because of that I'm glad I started with this one).
I really loved the beginning when Auburn and Owen met, how they developed an entertaining banter and had great chemistry before the inevitable misunderstanding and miscommunication started. There was a stretch in the middle that I was unsure about my feelings of, but the ending definitely restored my love of this novel. (Also, the paintings are gorgeous. That is a definite plus).
So, on to the details.
Things I Liked - Auburn and Owen's chemistry. The dialogue between them is well done, and it's clear that they genuinely care about each other.
- The duel POVs. I love alternating POVs.
- The idea of the Confessions, and the paintings, and just everything about Owen's gallery.
- The whole blue-tent subplot. From the scene in Target to A.J. and Owen's conversation about secret keeping. It was great.
- The epilogue. It was hands-down my favorite part of this book. Suddenly, everything made sense. (view spoiler)[Although, I do wish that the fact that Owen knew Adam would have come up earlier in the novel. Just a hint. Maybe have Owen recognize A.J.'s multicolored eyes. I mean, I know he recognizes Lydia and Trey, but I kind of wanted a clearer foreshadow of his connection to Adam in particular. (hide spoiler)]
- The fact that Owen and Auburn have clearly differentiable voices in their narration. I didn't always have to check to see who was narrating a particular chapter, because it was easy enough to tell the difference between them.
- Owen-Cat, and the fact that Owen named his cat after himself. It was an interesting detail that made Owen feel more real.
- Emory, for being my absolute favorite character. She is the best. (view spoiler)[She threatens an attempting-rapist with a gun. She comes up with the code phrase "Meat Dress." She makes her roommate call to confirm that she has not been murdered. She is just an all-around great secondary character. I want to know what kind of shenanigans she gets up to when Auburn isn't around. (hide spoiler)]
Things I Didn't Like - Lack of motive for Trey. I mean, I know he's a completely terrible person (not to mention an abusive boyfriend), but I kind of wanted a reason. Maybe not a reason for his lack of morals (because he seemed to have been pretty evil even back when Adam was dying), but a reason that he was obsessed with Auburn. I mean, we got Lydia's motive for being so possessive of A.J. when Auburn explained that she seemed to be using A.J. to replace Adam, but we never got why Trey was so obsessed with Auburn. (Note: I don't want that motive to be redeeming in any way, because what I really wanted was for Emory to shoot him, but I do want him to be a more fleshed-out character, because three-dimensional villians are both scarier and make more sense).
(view spoiler)[ - I don't really agree with Owen's decision to never tell Auburn that he knew Adam, or that the painting that she has was the one that Owen gave to Adam. I mean, I get that it's Adam's confession and not Owen's...but I still feel like it's relevant that he knew the father of her child (if only briefly) and that he was the person who stalled Trey so that she could say goodbye to Adam that final time. I feel like she should know when the first time their lives intersected was. It seems like a lie of omission not to tell her. (hide spoiler)]
- Some of the miscommunications between Auburn and Owen made me want to grab them both by the shoulders and shake them. I mean, this happens a lot in miscommunication plots, but still.
- It's a personal preference, but I'm not really big on super-unusual names for protagonists. So, "Auburn" bugged me a little. Not a lot, but a little. (And, obviously, weird names don't put me off enough to keep me from loving something, because I love Sarah Dessen to pieces and she is guilty of this, too).
Overall, this was a pretty solid book. I really enjoyed it. Now, I just wonder if that means I should read some of Colleen Hoover's other books. (Will I like them, or were the things that I liked about this one unique to it alone? Am I willing to slog my way through more miscommunication plots for emotional payoff and enjoyable writing? Do the other ones have cats and cool roommates?).
And, if I do decide to read more Colleen Hoover, which of her other novels should I pick?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more