I thought this book looked like it would be a unique read. And it is. I kept reading because I truly enjoyed the author's writing style, even as I begI thought this book looked like it would be a unique read. And it is. I kept reading because I truly enjoyed the author's writing style, even as I began to care less and less about the story itself. The book has two tales that it follows, the one of Alan (or any other male "A" name) and his family, while the other is about Alan trying to help set up free wireless internet for his area. The first one was interesting, for the members of the family were not made up of the usual characters. The second was... there, though not completely sure why other than being the medium in which Alan met certain people that had very peripheral impact on the main story.
I may be tempted to read other books by Doctorow, simply because his style of writing intrigues me, even if the story of this book did not fully engage and hold me....more
This book was good, but it frustrated me a bit. I initially had trouble getting into it because of the writing flow (which was proI like this series.
This book was good, but it frustrated me a bit. I initially had trouble getting into it because of the writing flow (which was probably very intentional), and then I had a dislike of feeling like everyone was crazy. It reminded me of Gormenghast (for those of you who haven't read it, it is a world populated by people that have their own twist of insanity, to the point where I felt the villain was the only sane person in the book). That being said, there is a very good reason, in the world of Bitterblue, as to why so many people were off. The author's choice to put you in Bitterblue's shoes in regards to handling lack of information and being surrounded by unstable people was a brave choice, and in the end, worked well for the book. I can't say this is my favorite book in the series, but I did enjoy it and I liked how it brought things together....more
I think this might be a book you have to read at the right time. Here's why. Plot-wise it was slow. So slow, that you could almost miss that it was thI think this might be a book you have to read at the right time. Here's why. Plot-wise it was slow. So slow, that you could almost miss that it was there at all. In some ways, it felt like the book was setting up for the main plot, to follow in the rest of the series (?). So, if you need a heavily plot-driven book, that can make reading it difficult. However, don't take that to mean the writing was weak, because it wasn't.
This book was almost more a discussion of different points of ethics, thinly veiled as fantasy. It addressed a variety of different ethical problems, as well as analytical critical thinking discussions, in the mode of the main character learning how to become an imager. In doing so, it caused me to stop and reflect, or nod in agreement as I had recently done some similar learning. As I am a critical thinker and like ethical discussions, I found the main character interesting, as well as his conversations. To be clear, whether he was be lectured by a teacher or not, almost all of his conversations were some form of learning experience or thinking exercise for him, and for the reader if they allow themselves.
While I personally liked the characters, I can see how others might think the characters and their relationships were pretty flat. There is very little expression of emotion or true feelings of connection between the characters, except for maybe between the main character and his girl. Strong emotions definitely are not evident in the book, as most of the characters tend to keep themselves very contained, and how the author uses point of view does not allow the reader the get a deeper sense of what is going on in the characters.
So. If you like ethical and philosophical exercises, and can see the merit of a book driven by a subtle plot, than feel free to read this book. If you need more overt action and lively plot, step away....more