Station Eleven jumps between three periods in time - before, during, and decades after the apocalypse, with stark and beautiful writing throughout. JuStation Eleven jumps between three periods in time - before, during, and decades after the apocalypse, with stark and beautiful writing throughout. Jumping between these stories really kept my interest, and seeing how the almost-strangers in each have the most unexpected ties with each other was nicely done. Sadly there's also some typical Adult Novel Bullshit, i.e. And Now I Must Have an Affair due to The Ennui of Marriage, which is as widespread and annoying as the love triangles and instalove that people gripe about in YA. And self-indulgent paragraphs that go on for pages to really hammer some points home. The characters are also extremely distant, almost like outlines rather than people, which hurts the story since I couldn't care much when/if any of them died (except Jeevan, who I liked, but who was also even more undeveloped than the rest of the cast). ...more
I said in my review of the first book that I wouldn't mind as much if the plot took a backseat to character interactions and learning more about the wI said in my review of the first book that I wouldn't mind as much if the plot took a backseat to character interactions and learning more about the world Schwab's created, so even though the structure of this book is really weird - the big magical tournament has horribly anticlimatic "fight" scenes that last a few pages altogether - and it takes 300+ pages to even get to that point! - I didn't mind. There could definitely be a lot cut out of this book but I really enjoyed delving deeper into the consequences of the sacrifice Kell made in the last book, the complicated relationship he has with his brother Rhy, and exploring the magic in this world even further. There's a tiny scene where we learn that powerful magicians like Kell couldn't actually use the kind of plant magic where you can help things grow and nurture life, only control large forces of nature. Seeing as how the majority of the cast is an uber-powerful magician at this point, it's cool to see how that "balance" can be as special as raw power.
I reaaally loved the villain set-up here, where he's definitely an antagonist who's done some terrible things, but he's also the hero-of-another-story, with motives that make all too much sense. [spoiler]'s chapters were chilling and terrifying, beautiful and sad all at the same time.
What I didn't like.... good god, Lila drove me completely nuts. I want to like her so bad. We let so many unbelievably reckless and powerful and edgy male anti-heroes get by without batting an eye, but jesus H christ Lila continues rampaging through the story like a spoiled, selfish child, who knowingly could've gotten innocent people killed but didn't care because she's downright proud of being reckless as long as she can feel the thrill of adventure. Of course there's hints that this will eventually catch up with her as she's using magic way too irresponsibly... but I've had to suffer 600+ pages of this so far, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me every time she reminds herself how edgy and dangerous she is... the boat stealing scene at the start? Clever, badass and meticulously executed. Literally everything beyond that point? Amazingly stupid and successful through sheer dumb luck and plot contrivances. They really didn't have any kind of magical charm to see through impersonators, even after someone used the tournament to sneak in and murder royalty? What happened to the fact that she barely knows the language of the person whose identity she stole??
I think it's just worse when everyone else has real stakes, and inner conflict between what they want and the pressures from where their duties lie. But Lila has nothing tying her down and can do whatever she wants - there's no consequences, nothing really resembling a real struggle for her anymore. All the trouble she gets into are her own damn fault in the first place, so it's hard to feel any concern when she makes a mess of things and has to murder her way out of them....more
I just stayed up until 2am to finish this in one sitting and all I can really say is that wow, Walls is a great writer, and I can almost understand hoI just stayed up until 2am to finish this in one sitting and all I can really say is that wow, Walls is a great writer, and I can almost understand how she can possibly forgive her parents for everything they've done (or really, haven't done to provide the barest level of care for her or her siblings). They were horrifying, despicable, abusive in every sense, and they were family and they loved her, and even though I kept turning the page and saying JFC THIS FINALLY CROSSES THE LINE, I think, I could feel how she could still love them back.
It's not my place to decide how Walls should feel about them. But it sickens me how much of a factor being family has to be when you're struggling to escape that downward spiral. On paper, it seems ridiculous, when you look at what they've done put in such a plain and matter-of-fact manner. Doesn't dangling your mother out the window cross a line? Stealing money from your own kids while they starve and get by digging through garbage? Practically whoring out your twelve-year old daughter so you can hussle more money? Any of this warrants cutting ties and never looking back, family or not. But Walls presents her past as it happened, the good and the bad, and it's mostly horrific - I mean, I'm glad that she managed to escape and build a life for herself but it makes me feel so sad for the kids that didn't. And it makes me think about how the bond between siblings is the only one where you can truly know how fucked up your parents may have raised you. I don't think I can get over the fact that she still looks at them fondly in the end. But I can understand....more
Ugh, this romance was teeth grindingly awful, and how I wish Kasia and Agnieszka's friendship had a bigger focus, but the writing and the world and thUgh, this romance was teeth grindingly awful, and how I wish Kasia and Agnieszka's friendship had a bigger focus, but the writing and the world and the characters (taken separately - their relationships were disappointing) were wonderful. Like. I can't remember the last time I've been in awe of how something is written like I was whenever magic was described here - it starts out slow but builds in intensity until I was just marveling at the beauty of it all. The action was the same way, dark and horrifying but so intense you can't look away.
The words were beautiful, but it was lacking the emotional punch from being attached to the characters. I liked the contrast between Sarkan's more scientific love of magic and Agnieszka's intuitive approach, but their bond wasn't convincing and way too abusive. Kasia was underutilized and we're just told that she's Agnieszka's best friend, without providing any foundation for it.
Even so, this is the kind of fairy tale that I felt like I could sink my teeth into; the mythology behind the terrifying Wood, the brilliance and beauty of the magic, the unexpectedly epic scale of the story- they were all somehow enough to overcome elements that I find pretty damn important.
I'll take an entire book about Alosha now, thanks....more
I didn't even plan on reading this book because it was due at the library the next day, but then I opened it because why not? and I fell in love withiI didn't even plan on reading this book because it was due at the library the next day, but then I opened it because why not? and I fell in love within the first two pages. There are some passages that made my heart ache, they were so beautifully written, and the characters are so vividly drawn. This is the kind of fairy tale that I feel like I've known my whole life, that I haven't read in ages. It's been a while since I found a retelling this detailed and good, though. Isn't it weird to feel nostalgic about a book I'm reading for the first time?