While not as fantastic as the Lunar Chronicles novels, this is a great novella. It's excellent. Levana is wonderfully evil - but thinks that she is inWhile not as fantastic as the Lunar Chronicles novels, this is a great novella. It's excellent. Levana is wonderfully evil - but thinks that she is in the right, like any good villian. The cameos of favorites from the main series are great, along with the early childhood of Winter (who I'm sure we'll all love when her book finally, finally comes out). This, I think, is a must-read for anyone who loves the rest of the Lunar Chronicles. It is worth knowing Levana's motivations.
Things I Liked - How Levana justifies herself by believing that, since she is better than Channery, her actions must be just. It is both fascinating and twisted when people think that since they believe themselves to be fundamentally good, all of their actions (even the evil ones) are justified. Levana is both fascinating and twisted.
- Channery, who in many ways made Levana who she is (as awful as she is).
- Just how messed up Levana's relationship (if you can even call it that) with Evret was. It's like watching a particularly horrifying train wreck. He did nothing to deserve it.
- Seeing tiny Winter, tiny Cinder (well, Selene), tiny Jacin, and Cress's father before he fled Luna. Also, seeing Sybil rise to her position of power.
- The background about letumosis, how it was created, and what exactly the biochemical warfare plan is.
- How the mirror was incorporated (Levana is the Evil Queen, after all).
- The details on glamours.
- The gorgeous art of the Lunar Palace on the inside cover of the hardcover edition.
Things I Didn't Like
- I wish we had found out who Cinder's biological father was. I get that he doesn't really matter, and Channery wasn't married, and her adoptive father is the plot-relevant one - but I kind of wanted to know if perhaps her biological father could be a potential ally for when Cinder & Co. get to Luna. I'm pretty certain, now, that's not a possibility.
- I half-expected to get a scene of the incident in which Winter got her scars. Maybe we'll see that in Winter's book. (It's better to see it from her point of view, anyway, but it does seem to parallel how Channery inflicts the burns on Levana by controlling her).
Overall, this was great. If you loved the rest of the series, you should read it. It's short, though. Fair warning, it's not a full-length novel. However, it is really good, and the art inside the cover is gorgeous.
If I had to describe Landline quickly, I would say that it was emotionally draining. I read the entire book in one sitting - partially because I wanteIf I had to describe Landline quickly, I would say that it was emotionally draining. I read the entire book in one sitting - partially because I wanted to know what happened next, and partially because I knew I wouldn't get out of that emotional funk until Georgie did.
It was an amazing book. I've loved everything Rainbow Rowell has written. My only real problem with this book is that as fantastic as the writing was, I can't say I enjoyed reading it. Maybe I wasn't supposed to. I don't know. Normally, I would try to break this review down by Pros and Cons - or something similarly deconstructable. However, with this one, it's probably best to break it down by My Favorite parts, and my Least Favorite parts. Nothing in this book is bad, I just enjoyed some parts more than others.
Fair warning, there may be spoilers ahead.
Favorites - Magical Realism: For how much I like stories that fall into this catagory, I don't read nearly enough of them. It can sometimes be kind of hit-or-miss - but a time-vortex-y phone is certainly a hit.
- Emotional Investment: I was really invested in Georgie, and her marriage, and her career.
- Seth: I don't know if I was supposed to like Seth as much as I did, but I did. I have a friend who I've known since high school who is a lot like Seth. He puts a lot of thought into his appearance, he's fairly self-centered, and everything we did together we did well. Plenty of our friends thought that was headed somewhere romantic, or that it already was. It wasn't. So, I could understand where Georgie was coming from when it came to Seth.
- Heather: She was my favorite character, hands-down. I loved the dynamic between her and Georgie - and how it was a comfortable sibling relationship despite the age difference. I loved her subplot with the pizza delivery person. I loved the part about pugs in the dryer (despite the fact that I'm on Georgie's side when it comes to dogs).
- Flashbacks with Neal: Meeting present-day Neal first, and then seeing the connection between Neal and Georgie unfold in flashbacks was fantastic.
- The Couple Who Gave Georgie a Ride at the Airport: They were amazing. I wish all strangers were this nice.
- Lack of Resolution: It's realistic. So much had gone wrong with Georgie and Neal that it wasn't all going to get straightened out in a week. They probably need much more time, and maybe some therapy.
Least Favorite - The Time-Travel Landline Working in the Kitchen: I know, it's nitpicky, but if the yellow rotary phone was the magic one, how come the connection still worked with the other phones in the house? If somebody other than Georgie called Neal's mother's old number from the kitchen phone, would it call 1998 Margaret? I kind of wished only the yellow phone was special.
- Noomi: Could somebody please explain when and why she got obsessed with cats, and with being one? Also, why can't people call her Naomi? It's only one syllable longer, one letter different, and not any harder to say. This doesn't really bother me, it just confuses me.
- Sitcoms: This is no fault of the book. I just don't like Sitcoms. So I wasn't invested in Jeff'd Up, or even in Passing Time.
A Thousand Pieces of You has, undoubtably, one of the best covers of the year. This being said, books with spectacular covers have a lot to live up toA Thousand Pieces of You has, undoubtably, one of the best covers of the year. This being said, books with spectacular covers have a lot to live up to. And while A Thousand Pieces of You is exactly what it is advertized as being, I was not nearly as blown away by the book as by the cover.
I'm not sure whether to give it two or three stars. Maybe two and a half?
Things I Liked - The Science. This book was well researched. That much was clear. I also liked how the exact mechanics of the Firebird and how it works are never explained - because if they had been, I probably would've torn them apart. Fake science would have been more distracting than the gaps.
- The transference of energy across dimensions, rather than matter. It was interesting to see Marguerite have to adapt to the lives of the different Alternate Marguerites because she was literally in their bodies. It also brings up some really interesting ethical issues.
- The fact that the protagonist is an artist, and not a scientist. While part of me wanted to hear the story from the point of view of one of the grad students, or Josie, Marguerite was the right viewpoint to pick. This allowed the author to give the bare bones of a scientific theory in a way that really worked, and not have to go into too many fictinal details that would make it less believable. Marguerite didn't know how the Firebird worked, so the audience doesn't have to be told. Marguerite doesn't know the mathmatical similarities between the universes, so the audience doesn't have to know. She also provided a nice audience surrogate when it came to the things we did need to know - when Theo was explaining it to her, he was also explaining it to us.
- The twist about the villian.
- Alternate London. Just, everything about Alternate London.
- The version of Henry Caine from Alternate Russia. He was great. In fact, I loved most of the characters in Alternate Russia. Vladimir is a close second for my favorite person in that universe.
- The rainbow table. Just, the randomness of the anecdote of its creation, and then how it grows into something that is so important to what Marguerite's family is at its core.
- The entire concept. The alternate dimensions, the Firebird, the revenge quest (although that is very short lived).
- The basic difference between each universe that leads to drastically different results (technology developing faster in Alternate London, versus slower in Alternate Russia. Only one thing is really changed, but the whole world is different because of it).
- The fact that Marguerite's home universe appears to not be the universe of the world outside of the book. (the tPhone, for example. Or the fact that it appears to be present-day, but everyone knows that her parents are developing interdimensional travel). It makes it believable in a way that it wouldn't be, if her world had seemed like the real world. If any of that makes sense.
Things I Didn't Like - Lack of development for Paul. Why do I care about Paul? I don't, actually.
- Lack of development for Marguerite, to a lesser extent. I do actually care about her, though.
- My biggest problem: (view spoiler)[The fact that Henry Caine isn't dead. It felt like such a cop-out. I know I should be glad that Marguerite's father is alive, but I'm not. I felt like it ruined the only thing that felt real about Marguerite to me: her grief. Everything she said about how the death of her father changing her (all of which I highlighted in my copy as something that felt really true) is no longer relevant. Also, it felt like her quest was useless, if the event that sparked it didn't even happen. (hide spoiler)]
- Also, (view spoiler)[The fact that Real Theo was romantically interested in Marguerite. I thought, for a moment, when Marguerite realized that only Alternate Theo had ever called her "Meg" that only Alternate Theo had feelings for her. And I was really interested in that idea - that she had been projecting this romantic possibility on the wrong person all along. I felt like having Real Theo confess interest in her at the end wasted a lot of that potential. (hide spoiler)]
- How much the plot slowed down in Alternate Russia.
- What was the purpose of Josie in the story?
- Why was Marguerite so important? Why were both Paul and Theo in love with her? How on earth would the CEO of Triad know that they were both in love with her?
Overall, it wasn't bad. It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. There was a lot about this book that I loved (the worldbuilding) and a lot about it that I hated (the mass of spoilers above). I'd read a few reviews that were bothered by the Marguerite/Paul relationship that pretty much took over the story as soon as they were together - so I was properly warned for that, and it didn't bother me. I didn't particularly care about Paul, but I could accept that Marguerite did. I'll read the next book in the series, if only to find out what the hell Triad is trying to do. I wasn't really impressed, but it was an entertaining read....more