Hmmm. Definitely a five star book-- and every bit as good or better than its predecessors for sure.
I will say, though, that there was a sadder feel t...moreHmmm. Definitely a five star book-- and every bit as good or better than its predecessors for sure.
I will say, though, that there was a sadder feel to this one. Perhaps it was because of the fact that kids were dropping dead right and left due to insects possessing their bodies or a coughing virus so violent it could practically break a person in half...but because that stuff is pretty typical in the FAYZ, I don't think that's the case.
No, I think it had more to do with the fact that for the first time since I've been reading the series, my sister was not along for the ride beside me. On the Tuesday Plague came out, I went and bought a copy for the both of us and tried to make plans to read together. After a few days of blowing me off, she finally told me to start without her and she'd catch up. Well guess who had to finally go ahead and finish the book because sis never started? If you guessed me, you are correct.
So, kind of disappointing reading experience, but still a top notch book. Michael Grant has already touched on alcohol, drugs, and rock and roll (if you count Albert's dance club and the frequent mentions of the band Weezer), but we finally get some long overdue sexin'. Now, here's the thing-- I am pretty old fashioned in my views on sex in my PERSONAL life, but I'm not an idiot. I know people have (gasp!) pre-marital sex...I even know that kids have (double gasp!) pre-marital sex. I'm not saying I'm for it, but hey, it happens-- and I think it adds to the realism (haha, kind of a funny word to use considering we're talking about a land of disappeared adults and mutating kids) and I have actually been expecting it to be addressed since the first book.
Aside from the kids dying and banging each other, there was the typical amount of twists and turns in the story making it super fun and ridiculously frustrating. Drake is as frightening as ever, Caine is as manipulative as ever, Astrid is annoying as ever (haha, actually, she improved a bit from the last book) and Sam is our same beloved tortured hero. The side characters are wonderful too-- especially my Sanjit:)
Oh, and this one offers my favorite cliffhanger ending so far.
In short, if you've read the previous books, I feel confident you will enjoy this one. If not, well...why are you reading this review?
As I've just finished my re-read, I think I'll go through and tweak my original review a tad. Not because any of my opinions have changed necessarily,...moreAs I've just finished my re-read, I think I'll go through and tweak my original review a tad. Not because any of my opinions have changed necessarily, but I'd just like to expand on some of them. Note to Tia, Emily, and Kelsey-- my dear goodreads and real life friends, do not read on until you have read the book!
I suppose I was a bit premature in announcing my glee over the teaming of Sam and Caine in the previous book. Guess that was a one time thing, because they seemed to be back to their old dynamic in this book- which is fine, it will just make for a better payoff when they do finally team up permanently. (Hey, a girl can dream.)
Lies was by far the most stressful and frustrating of the "Gone" series. I seriously felt like I was one gasp away from a full on panic attack the whole way through. The book was definitely title appropriately though- lying became sort of the "thing to do" in the FAYZ, in order to accomplish some kind of ultimate goal...and of course-- go figure, no one's ultimate goals are ever in line with one another. So the result is (once again) lots of verbal spats, physical encounters and all around drama-rama.
Perhaps the most annoying example of said drama-rama is what becomes of Sam and Astrid. Now, I was never full-on in favor of their relationship anyway, because I've always loved Sam, but Astrid is just sort of...eh. Astrid is sort of the poor man's Hermione Granger-- super duper smart, a tad pretentious, yet still conscious of the welfare of others...however, something in her just doesn't translate right. I can't pinpoint it exactly, but if I had to guess, I'd say at the end of the day, she's a lot weaker than Hermione, and she doesn't put enough confidence in the people that she loves-- namely, Sam. What bothered me the most is when she has the nerve to tell Sam that she was able to get over a slap in the face from the psychotic Drake Merwin, so he (Sam) should be able to get over the ruthless whipping Drake gave him. Um...excuse me? Not the same thing, dear. And she never even apologizes. So I don't exactly dislike Astrid, but I certainly don't give a rats about her now either...which is a ahame, considering she is such a main character.
Now don't go thinking there aren't any badass ladies here, though. One word: Diana. I would have given two words, except I can't remember her last name. Anyway, even with her cold, stony heart, moments with her draw a thousand times more sympathy from me than any moments with Astrid. Plus, as with the end of Hunger, Lies offers an incredibly sweet moment (or at least as sweet as they can get) between Diana and Caine.
There are many characters and storylines weaving together in this books which may throw off some readers, but really succeeds in keeping my interest (you all know how I love my intertwining stories). My favorite addition to the FAYZ cast in this book would have to be that of Sanjit, Virtue (Choo), Peace, Bowie, and Pixie. As the adopted chilren of two huge movie stars (think Brangelina), they were stranded on a private island when the "poof" happened, and have been fending for themselves ever since. Rather than being snotty, useless rich kids like you might expect, they are actually very caring and capable, probably due to the fact that the majority of them spenf half of their lives in third world countries. They were a lot of fun, and able to dupe Caine, which immediately qualifies someone as hardcore. My favorite part in the whole book comes from Sanjit, after he and Choo have exchanged brotherly love sentiments and he attempts to fly them off the island in a helicopter...
"Great," Sanjit said aloud though only he could hear his own voice. "And now that we've had that touching scene, it's time for our heroes to go out in a flaming ball of glory." Virtue frowned, trying to hear. "I said," Sanjit shouted at the top of his lungs, "I'm invincible! Now let's fly!"
It's probably really dorky out of context, but I just felt so much power behind the words:)
I'm leaving this part of my original review intact, because (unfortunately) it's still relevant: As a final note, I just want to say that I'm getting increasingly disturbed by how much my sister loves Drake, who, (for those of you who don't know) is a ruthless, pain loving psychotic freak. She has affectionately declared Lady Gaga's "Monster" her song for him, and much to my dismay even I can't hear the song now without thinking about the guy. Any recovering Drake lovers out there? I think she may need help(less)
Three stars out of respect to its predecessor. Two stars would be more accurate, though. Full review to come...or who knows, maybe I'm just making emp...moreThree stars out of respect to its predecessor. Two stars would be more accurate, though. Full review to come...or who knows, maybe I'm just making empty promises...(less)
Three books down, four more to go. My original plan is not going at all as I intended. For those of you who don't know, I was trying to make this read...moreThree books down, four more to go. My original plan is not going at all as I intended. For those of you who don't know, I was trying to make this reading experience last right up to the theater release of DH Part 2. I was supposed to be taking a month with each book to really absorb them and let all the finer details soak in.
Apparently, though, when it comes to Potter, I simply can't exercise self control. My stipulation of one chapter a night turned into "well, two is a nice, round number," which turned into "three can't really make much difference," which finally landed me at "it's two in the morning, and I have to be up for work in four hours, so I should probably put this book down."
You may be wondering, what's the rush, Lisa? Why fly through the book when not only do you own it, but you've read it already? A fair question, indeed. Yes, I have absolutely no reason to fear "The Grim," who I know very well to be Sirius Black. Yes, I have absolutely no reason to fear Sirus Black, who I know very well to be an innocent man. Yes, I have no reason to wonder how Hermione is getting to her classes on time when the feat should be physically impossible, and no reason to wonder as to whether or not Crookshanks actually ate Scabbers. The mystery is gone, sure, but that "magic" I keep referring to in my previous reviews is not.
I'm getting increasingly creepily nostalgic and mystical with each new review I post, so don't be surprised if by the time I review Deathly Hallows I'm raving about the suicide pact I've made in the name of Harry Potter (actually, if that happens, please be more than surprised, be very, very concerned.
Anyway, the point is, the magic is here, as it always is and always will be. This book is pivotal in many ways, most importantly for its introductions to Sirius Black and Remus Lupin, who would both go on to perform very father-like roles for Harry, filling a void that had gone long unfulfilled. Then we've also got our first use of the Marauder's Map (thank you Fred and George Weasley), which makes itself incredibly useful, especially when used as a companion to the invisibility cloak. On top of that, it also gave me the quote for my next tattoo-- "Mischief Managed" on my feet. I know, I know-- what kind of idiot gets a Potter tattoo on their body? Well, the kind of idiot who knows they will love Harry Potter until they die:) Also, you may not have realized, but this is also the only Potter book which doesn't feature Voldemort as the primary baddie. Interesting, huh?
And how 'bout that butterbeer? Eh? If anyone is interested, my friend Emily and I have had a blast making the stuff (or at least one version of it) for parties and such. Here is the recipe, which tastes just as good when using vegan ingredients, by the way:
BUTTERBEER Start to finish: 1 hour (10 minutes active) Servings: 4 1 cup light or dark brown sugar 2 tablespoons water 6 tablespoon butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided 1/2 teaspoon rum extract Four 12-ounce bottles cream soda In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240 F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 heavy cream. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the rum extract. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass). Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine. Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each Try it out! But fair warning, the stuff is almost sickeningly sweet.
Oh, and in conclusion, for anyone wondering-- you cannot summon the Knight Bus with just a stick from the ground (even if you think it may slightly resemble a wand). I tried it out, so now you don't have to. (less)
I'm not sure if I should review this right now or not. I'm nearly done with Order of the Phoenix, so my thoughts might possibly come out a bit blurred...moreI'm not sure if I should review this right now or not. I'm nearly done with Order of the Phoenix, so my thoughts might possibly come out a bit blurred between both books, but I'm just going to to give it my best shot anyway, and I may or may not decide to post in the end. (Hint: If you're reading this, I decided to post.)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Who else remembers seeing this monster for the first time? I believe I was in the 8th grade when it made its debut. Now, I was not quite old enough to hang out at midnight book releases (though this was the last Potter book that I didn't go to one) or even to really keep up with release dates of things (I know, shameful), but fortunately I had that cool Uncle I mentioned back in my review for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Uncle Mike kept up with all big-time book, movie, and tv premieres and made it his solemn duty to be sure that the kids related to him would be on top of things.
So, even though I was not really even fully aware it was out, Uncle Mike snagged me a copy on the release day and gave it to me as a (two month early) birthday present. At the time, my cousin and I had somewhat of an unhealthily competitive relationship, so we entered into an unspoken race to see who would finish first. I'm sure we each have our own version of how things went down, but dear goodreads readers-- believe me when I tell you I totally got this one in the bag. And if you've seen the size of this thing, you know that is a serious victory.
Yes. It is a big book-- for a kid, it almost feels as daunting as cracking open the bible. Luckily, it reads a little faster (and that's coming from a Christian). For the first time, we are given a look into some of the wizardry outside Hogwarts-- and it's awesome. Beauxbatons and Durmstang-- two wizarding schools which differ largely from Hogwarts. Harry is entered against his will into what is known as "The Triwizard Tournament" to compete against members of other schools in various tests of skill, strength, and courage. The winner is awarded a buttload of galleons, a pretty little cup, and you know-- glory and stuff. Though Harry is initially a little freaked over his name mysteriously being entered, he's still successful in the competition...to no one's surprise.
One of the most notable happenings in the book is that painful Ron/Harry feud which, when Ron is your favorite character, seems to last an eternity, but is in reality a fairly short portion of the book. Even though he acted a fool, I stand by my man-- it has to be hard living in Harry's shadow. And speaking of my man, or, uh, Hermione's man to be more precise-- how can you not love the first sure-fire sign of their feelings for one another at the Yule Ball? It doesn't get played nearly as well in the movie, (through no fault of Rupert Grint or Emma Watson) but that is some fun stuff in the book. I also like that Harry gets turned down by Cho. I know-- it sounds terrible, but no one should have everything come easy to them.
From the fun and frivolous ball to the quirky, entertaining competition tasks, much of the book maintains its usual light tone. But there's a reason this book is as big as it is; it's hiding one hell of a punch to the gut.
He-who-must-not-be-named returns. And he sucks. Hard.
Cedric Diggory, Harry's fellow Hogwarts competitor, is dealt a quick but cruel death, the first significant one of the series. I, for one, was not expecting it. I mean I always figured ol' Voldy would come back, it just didn't enter my wee little brain that that would mean characters I cared about might actually, you know, die.
Then right after the sobfest that is Cedric's death, Harry is reuinted with his parents for a brief moment. It is beautiful and tragic and at that point in my life, I had never read anything like it. The value Rowling intends to instill with the conclusion of the story-- that we need not separate ourselves so fiercely, even though our differences might be great, is one that's important to all people groups. Yes, even us stuffy Christians;) Thought this is the fourth book, it feels oddly like the beginning. I can't wait to write my next reviews. Thanks for reading (I don't know why I've gone strangely formal).
So how did I do in a review in which I actually talk about the plot?(less)
I liked it. Probably wasn't worth the giant paycheck the author got, but I won't hold that against her. I'm sure I'll pick up the sequel when it comes...moreI liked it. Probably wasn't worth the giant paycheck the author got, but I won't hold that against her. I'm sure I'll pick up the sequel when it comes out.(less)
**spoiler alert** I really like that for once, an obsessive, abusive, unhealthy romantic relationship is portrayed as, well...unhealthy. So while I ap...more**spoiler alert** I really like that for once, an obsessive, abusive, unhealthy romantic relationship is portrayed as, well...unhealthy. So while I appreciate that Nancy Werlin took that direction as far as Phoebe's relationship with Ryland, the part that was supposed to be most highly showcased-- the friendship between Phoebe and Mallory didn't exactly work for me.
In the end, I still saw Mallory's actions as selfish and wrong, and the fact that she saves Phoebe comes a little too late. At that point, it seemed like the only reason she spoke up was because she already knew the sacrifice wouldn't work, and didn't want to kill someone needlessly...rather than the fact that Phoebe was her best friend and she genuinely didn't want her to die.
I enjoyed reading this book though, and very much liked Phoebe. If the book had been written solely as a story of this event in her life, rather than an exploration of a powerful female friendship, I think I would have appreciated it more. (less)
Okay, so it has taken me awhile to finish this book. Part of that can definitely be attributed to the fact that school + work = precious little time f...moreOkay, so it has taken me awhile to finish this book. Part of that can definitely be attributed to the fact that school + work = precious little time for pleasure reading...unfortunately, the larger problem was that I just simply never felt like reading it.
There were many problems with this book- Ethan again, is quite girlish, and because it's been nearly a year since reading Beautiful Creatures, there were times when I genuinely had no idea what was going on. But none of these things were the leading factor as to why I didn't care for this book...
It is a fatal mistake in my mind when, concerning a romantic relationship, you put your characters together too early. This same thing CONTINUALLY happens throughout YA lit...Ethan & Lena together and happy at the end of Beautiful Creatures, Edward & Bella, same thing at the end of Twilight, Patch & Nora in Hush, Hush...need I go on? The problem in doing this, is that if you want to continue the series, you're then going to have to rip the lovers apart, to create some purpose for a second, third, fourth book- which never ceases to wreck the validity of the relationship for me from then on.
It was no big shock, when in Beautiful Darkness, Lena begins "pulling away" as one of the characters always has to do, leaving the main character heartbroken and alone for the majority of the book. The worst part of this whole idea is that the main character, in this case, Ethan, in his despair, not only makes excuses for the partner that left him, but tries desperately to convince himself and the audience that it was "really his fault she left anyway." I marked a few pages displaying his self-loathing over her abandonment, but here's the worst one:
"I thought about how it seemed painful for her to look at me. No wonder she felt guilty. No wonder she ran. I wondered if she could ever stand to look at me again. Lena had done it all because of me. It wasn't her fault. It was mine."
I'm so sick of teenagers believing it's okay not only to fall apart over a "breakup" (which yes, the fact that there are supernatural elements involved doesn't mean the situation is anything more than two teenage kids breaking up) but that they have to somehow rationalize that someone who wronged them isn't really in the wrong. It's a sick and unhealthy thought process that should not be glamorized or especially CONFIRMED in the end, which it is here. Of course.
I will always hold the Ron/Hermione pairing to a standard of perfection. It took seven books to get them together but it was ridiculously worth the wait. And because it happened in the conclusion, there was no need to pull them apart again in order to create more drama. Sure, they hurt one another throughout the series, but that was all through the process of realizing they loved each other, not after they'd declared their love and decided to go back on it. I wish more authors would mimic Ms. Rowling's genius here, offering a payoff that's actually worth something.
You will notice that I've given this book two stars, rather than one. Two reasons: Link and Ridley. Link legitimately made me laugh out loud a few times- particularly with his confusion over the words "necromancer" and "necrophiliac." And the revelation concerning him in the end almost has me wanting to read the next book. Guess I'll have to see how I feel when it comes out. Anyway, Link and Ridley's relationship offers much more substance than the two leads, and was enough to push me into the two star range. (less)
**spoiler alert** Lots of my friends have this remarkable ability to stay up really late into the night reading. I have never been one of those people...more**spoiler alert** Lots of my friends have this remarkable ability to stay up really late into the night reading. I have never been one of those people. Whenever I hear someone say something like "I stayed up until three in the morning reading this book!" I always get really jealous, because it seems no matter how much I like a book I just physically CANNOT miss sleep over it. The night seems like such an excellent time to read, too, everything is so quiet and peaceful and sleep seems like such a waste of time when I COULD be reading. But no matter how I try to convince myself this, I cannot seem to fight sleep come eleven o' clock.
Ready for a really bad pun? "Gone" are the days when I cannot stay up for a book. (That's probably not true, I'm pretty sure this book is a special case...I just couldn't resist saying it).
For me, simply put, Gone is a perfect story. An interesting premise explored by incredible characters. I am all about characters and as cool as the plot might be, (ahem, Maze Runner) if the characters don't come alive, I'm not going to care about the story.
There were a lot of people who were PISSED after the Lost finale. I'm not so blinded by my Lost love that I can't understand why. Yeah, not all the questions were answered- wait, let me rephrase- a TON of the questions were not answered. On the message boards after it aired, I saw the same complaint over and over- "Since when was this a show about CHARACTERS? I wanted answers!"
I would say the reason that I loved it so much was because for me, it was ALWAYS a show about characters. Yeah, sure, they were on a mysterious island. Dharma, Others, polar bears, time travel- bring it all on, I just want to know what's going to happen to these people I have come to care about so much over the years. So I got my answers- and I am genuinely sorry to those who didn't get theirs. Whoa, whoa, I digress.
My point is, I love characters and the characters in Gone are so incredibly fleshed out that I already know this is going to be an epic journey for me. Because no matter what happens, it's happening to them.
It's one of those rare stories where it's not a clearly drawn love/hate line between the good guys and the bad guys, either. Through the entire book, instead of thinking "Man, I hope Sam kills Caine" I kept thinking "Man, I hope Sam and Caine team up." Yes, I have this vision of them (SPOILER!!!!!!!!!) becoming bestie brothers and fighting the darkness together. I guess we'll see.
Oh, and for the friends of mine on here who know me in person- this may mean something to you. MEGAN (yes, my sister) is reading (and loving) this book. For the first time in the history of my reading career, (and the times I forced her to sit down and listen to me read HP to her don't count) my gushing over a book caused her to want to read it. She started yesterday and by the time I left her to go to bed she was nearly 200 pages in. Yes, it's THAT good.
I cannot wait to move on with the series. I know a lot of people are becoming increasingly irritated with so many series (Bethany, did we ever figure out what the plural for series is?!) but I still love a good series. Well, I love books that are written with the original intention of being a series, not standalone books that do well and are then awarded a crappy sequel or ten. I'm also one of those weird people who likes to wait with bated breath for the next book in a series. I totally get the people who want to wait until all the books come out before starting, but there's something about the wait that I really just thrive on.
I know it's not for everyone (judging my friend's reviews) but I am still going to recommend it until everyone around me has read it...or punched me in the face. (less)
I am docking Incarceron a couple of stars. I can't deny that I loved reading it, but there were many plot points that really didn't work, that I was w...moreI am docking Incarceron a couple of stars. I can't deny that I loved reading it, but there were many plot points that really didn't work, that I was willing to forgive under the assumption that its sequel would clear them up. I'll save you the suspense, Sapphique only makes things more complicated, which is kind of a problem, considering it's the final book. Super bummer. (less)
Always remember girls, if a boy is downright cruel to you, it's not because he doesn't like you. It's not because you did something to offend him. It'...moreAlways remember girls, if a boy is downright cruel to you, it's not because he doesn't like you. It's not because you did something to offend him. It's not because he's just a straight up jerk. No, it's because he's secretly desperately in love with you and is oh, so selflessly trying to protect you. Find that boy- the boy who flips you off for no reason, the boy who storms away leaving you feeling stupid and embarrassed, the boy who tells you to STAY AWAY FROM HIM. Find that boy and do what you have to to make him yours. This includes but is not limited to completely psychotically stalking and researching him. Accomplish this and you will have (as the inside cover of this book says) the ultimate love story. Good luck. (less)