Listening to this book was a bit like watching a John Hughes movie... actually, it was a lot like watching a John Hughes movie. It is kind of sweet, tListening to this book was a bit like watching a John Hughes movie... actually, it was a lot like watching a John Hughes movie. It is kind of sweet, there might be some heart-breaking moments, some misunderstandings, some bullying, but definitely a lot of friendship, quite a bit of sweet-loving, and totally easy to get hooked on and want to know more and want everything to work out at the end -- and boy did EVERYTHING get worked out! Mostly believably so but definitely veering toward the hyper-optimistic end of possibilities: which, we all need from time to time!
I was a little sad that once Simon & "Blue" met up in real life, the author pretty much stopped giving us their exchanges of ideas: no more interesting emails to read of their views on the world around them or the quirky questions and answers. In the last part of the book, the readers are left with just observing their physical (sweet) contacts and first explorations: as if all those emails were just a precursor to what REALLY matters: kissing and other physical relationships... It would have been more fulfilling an emotional journey for me as a reader if both physical and intellectual aspects of their relationship had been more equally represented during the last part of the story.
A potential quibble: I am still baffled why the characters refer to Tumblr as "the Tumblr" -- was it that the author does not understand the teen-lingo these days or that it is THAT specific Tumblr page reserved for the kids in that particular town/high school -- thus the article? ...more
So glad that this sequel delivers! The emotions are genuine and intense, so torturous and yet so tender. The ending was not exactly what I had expecteSo glad that this sequel delivers! The emotions are genuine and intense, so torturous and yet so tender. The ending was not exactly what I had expected or hoped for but it makes total sense: and the twists and turns, the politics and the strategies, and the machinery: all convincing. Do not feel like I need a sequel to this but will welcome more adventures of Wen if a 3rd book in the series comes to be. I also just so appreciative of both covers, featuring unambiguously Asian looking protagonist!...more
I enjoyed the first installment quite a lot but this second volume left me frustrated and annoyed every few chapters. Even when I genuinely want to seI enjoyed the first installment quite a lot but this second volume left me frustrated and annoyed every few chapters. Even when I genuinely want to see what happens next and how Kestrel and Arin's torturous love affair pans out, I am fatigued by these two high position political figures acting so impulsively on their "love" for each other and by their constant misunderstanding of each other. They put themselves and everyone around them at huge risks: which is convenient for plot-advancement but inconsistent to the characters' traits and talents at being sophisticated gamers (as laid out in the first book.) I also simply could not buy all their sneaking about, being so readily aided by the servants when neither Kestrel nor Arin are being portrayed as having gained any loyal followers by their talents in winning trust or sympathy.
The "games" element that were the breath of fresh air and made the tale stand out in the first volume (Winner's Curse) were also woefully lacking in this one.
The ending, though, was a well-placed fruit, just out of reach, and enticing enough for me to read the final book when it comes out next year. ...more
This second book in the Reckoners series reads like a complete story -- with it central villain(s) being dealt with by the last chapter and secrets reThis second book in the Reckoners series reads like a complete story -- with it central villain(s) being dealt with by the last chapter and secrets revealed. It also sets up the next book nicely, because those secrets will propel the conflict into grander scales. A thoroughly enjoyable book that did not go beyond my expectations, even when some "shocking truths" are exposed. Perhaps because I have been binging on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as I read this book, and the two storylines share a lot of similarities especially when it comes to how the perceived good characters and those supposedly bad characters might turn out to be very different from what you have originally believed. So, I learned to mistrust all characters (even the narrator himself) until proven otherwise. This makes me wonder about the recent wild popularity of dystopian novels for young people and the central conflict rooted in a strong distrust of one's government (or team, family, or friends, etc.)
I am all for critical thinking and questioning authority and demanding clear reasons and transparency when we are asked to behave in certain ways (and when we ask young people to follow certain rules and paths.) However, I often fear that we (as educators) are encouraging generations of young people to question everything every step of the way and mistrust those around them as the default form of interaction with the wider world. Once in a while, it would be so nice to simply just trust since I do believe that large portion of humanity is good. ...more