And the conclusion was less than stunning. I'm majorly disappointed, to be honest. What an unspectacular way to conclude a series that started with on...moreAnd the conclusion was less than stunning. I'm majorly disappointed, to be honest. What an unspectacular way to conclude a series that started with one of my favorite books of all time. (less)
It was a fast, easy read. I breezed through it in about three hours. Voice wise, it's a typical YA book. Maybe a bit more sex. But it wasn't as bad as...moreIt was a fast, easy read. I breezed through it in about three hours. Voice wise, it's a typical YA book. Maybe a bit more sex. But it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, I wanted to hate it, but I couldn't.
While I had my problems with it, I'd say it's one of the better so-called New Adult books out there.
3.3 stars. Someday, perhaps I'll write a review.
ETA: Landon is hot, I suppose. Though I don't understand why tattoos and a motorcycle suddenly deem a guy a bad boy. I have tattoos. I know people of all shades who have bikes. I know a million people with bad pasts. The bad boy label is way overused. (less)
I don't care for Chuck Palahniuk. It's not the plot or the subject matter. It's the pacing. And the weird misogyny.
I'm surprised he isn't married to...moreI don't care for Chuck Palahniuk. It's not the plot or the subject matter. It's the pacing. And the weird misogyny.
I'm surprised he isn't married to Bret Easton Ellis. Neither is able to write a particularly compelling main character, neither is able to fully express their MC's disdain for women without making us see that this is the MC's disdain for women, not the author's, and neither is particular brilliant when it comes to pacing their novels.
Interesting ideas. Mostly boring implementation.
I'll sum it up for you right now: Victor isn't Jesus. It's not a spoiler for anyone faintly acquainted with Palahniuk's writing style and half of their brain. The last ten pages are filled with faintly amusing plot twists the average reader picked up halfway through the novel. The insanity of the MC and his mother is overshadowed by the absurdity of the world he lives in. While some might become immersed in this novel, others undoubtedly will be unable to check their brain at the door. (less)
What the fuck did I just attempt to read? Did I really force myself through a third of this boring shit? Nothing hap...moreBook #1 of the Hipster Experiment.
What the fuck did I just attempt to read? Did I really force myself through a third of this boring shit? Nothing happens. No, correction: many boring unrelated things happen. It reads exactly like you'd expect a diary to read. But that's just it—it's a diary, not a novel. I can't bring myself to care to read some guy's diary entries on the best time of his life, especially when said life is rather unremarkable as far as lives go. If Kerouac is the voice of the beat generation, my god.
If you enjoyed this novel, whoopdi-fucking-do. I could not find two fucks to give. And I tried. I really did. I gave this book far more time than I give many others.
I hope Into the Wild and the Motorcycle Diaries are better. Otherwise, I'll be tempted to say young twenty-something white males should be forbidden from writing about their lives until they reach an age where they realize no one gives a fuck except other twenty-something white males.
If you want a novel, not simply a diary about the jaded life of an adolescent male, go read Black Boy, by Richard Wright. Wright is a fantastic writer who knows how to thematize his life. Or fall back on the old American standard of petulant American spoiled bullshit—The Catcher in the Rye. Either choice is better than this.
I think it's cute when middle-class white males intentionally fuck up their lives to pretend to be poor or black or less-privileged than they are. Cute and pathetic at the same time. And also insulting.
As a sidenote, Kirsten Stewart stars as Marylou in the movie. Apparently, there's a scene in which she jerks off both Sal and Dean at the same time in a car. Call me crazy, but I think the movie is probably better than the book. Stewart's not bad outside of Twilight. And she's quite hot. (less)
Something from Meyer gets more than two stars from me? Amazing, no?
Rosalie, right after Leah Clearwater, is probably my favorite character in the Twil...moreSomething from Meyer gets more than two stars from me? Amazing, no?
Rosalie, right after Leah Clearwater, is probably my favorite character in the Twilight series. I don't get why this was a joke to Meyer. She could be quite a good writer if she didn't focus on wish fulfillment and boring abusive relationships.
Rosalie, in just four pages, has actual depth -- flaws and positive traits -- something Bella lacked. If I could trust Meyer to leave out imprinting and basically anything related to Bella, I'd read a sequel from her POV. (less)
I haven't read a high fantasy novel in years. In fact, I think the last one I read (and finished) was Eragon. I simply don't have th...more**spoiler alert**
I haven't read a high fantasy novel in years. In fact, I think the last one I read (and finished) was Eragon. I simply don't have the patience for 1000 page tomes of names, world building, and (typically) racism and sexism in vast amounts. Call me a traitor to the genre, but I started A Song of Fire and Ice, expecting to love it, and put it down within the first two or three chapters out of sheer boredom. In fact, I did the same the first time I attempted to read Finnikin.
Now, I'm not what you'd call a fan of Marchetta. I've skimmed The Piper's Son and the only parts I cared for involved Tara Finke. I read Looking for Alibrandi, and while I liked it, it was a bit too much Judy Blume on soap opera crack for me. I attempted to read Saving Francesca and it bored me to death. I read On the Jellicoe Road and I didn't like it, with the exception of the scenes with Sam. Marchetta's writing style puts me to sleep.
She relies too heavily on secrets to force the plot ahead, on over-excessive family drama. Perhaps this is why I prefer minimalist writers like Courtney Summers and Sara Zarr. They tell complete stories in almost half the length it takes Marchetta to write part of one.
So, you must be wondering, why did I like Finnikin?
To that, I have a simple answer -- for the same reason I loved, and hated, Norwegian Wood. You, readers of this review, have have no idea how much I abhor Finnikin of the Rock. Yet, strangely, a part of me is inspired by it. I'd like nothing better than to rate it two stars and move on, but it's on my brain, making me think, making me want to write high fantasy (egads, fuck no, I don't have time for that).
It's not like there's anything really original about this novel. It's the standard hero's journey complete with prophecies, imposter kings, Orks (or Dwarves/Orks/Savages), cluttered world building, languages galore, a secret princess, and fantasy logic. I've read Tolkien, and Pullman, and Funke, and Gaiman, and Rowling. There's nothing particularly new here that I haven't seen before. But somehow, Marchetta made me care.
What I Liked
Evanjalin had kind of a Joan of Arc vibe about her. I was worried that she'd become an unbearable Mary Sue, but I was pleasantly surprised. I understood why she lied (or ommitted *snort*) and why she sent Finnikin to the mines. What I didn't quite understand was why she fell for Finnikin.
His backstory was interesting.
3. The Prophecy
I admit, I had this figured out, but I thought it was kind of funny. Am I the only one who got that it meant Finnikin would take her virginity for him to be king?
4. The Religion and the Novices
I have no interest in the warrior culture that we were exposed to. I'd rather see the more intellectual side of things explored.
5. The Romance
It was kind of intriguing the way Finnikin came to love her. And they did have chemistry.
What I Didn't Like
How the fuck did Finnikin not know who she was? Granted, I wouldn't be able to remember the kids I went to kindergarten with, but it was blatantly obvious that she was the princess, what with all the talk about being promised to the King and her telling Finnikin to forget about the guard. I mean, Finnikin wasn't exactly the brightest star in the Lumateran sky (I mean, this dumbass sleeps with whores during a time of plague and famine for his people. Yeah, nice way to get a disease, or so Tholomyès would tell us -- I'm partially kidding, so don't jump me for this), but I figured out her true identify faster than a guy who grew up with her and her family.
And while I understand why it was necessary for her to lie, I think this novel would've been better if she'd simply been a Mont peasant. All the bullshit surrounding "God" descended royalty annoys the fuck out of me. And while I'm an atheist, that has nothing to do with it. If royals are descended from God, a la Jesus, commoners were created by God. Same difference, really. You want to tell me that a being who was implanted into the womb of a woman is superior to that which was created by God's hands?
Anyway, I will stop and say that I'm pissed that Isaboe is only special because she's a Queen. Sure, sure, Marchetta added the bit in about Trevanion respecting her because of her achievements, but according to the book, they were only made possible because of her bloodline. I'm also going to assume that Froi is the son of Perri, or someone important, for him to have his own novel.
Now, if I'm to accept that Evanjalin, or Isaboe, or whatever the hell she wants to call herself, is a Queen, then I'd like to know why she has to marry to be in power. Queen Elizabeth didn't take a husband. Queen Elizabeth II hasn't remarried. And this isn't the real world. It's a fantasy novel. I'm sick of authors who feel the need to stick to the rules of European high fantasy that women must always be second class citizens. Even the Queen. It would've been a nice change if Marchetta had been more adventurous, instead of following the trope and giving us small bits of independent women in a world that ultimately views them as sex, breed mares, and house cleaners.
There was little tension between the darker and lighter races. Marchetta mentioned a gay couple that was, apparently, accepted as normal. So why do women get the short end of the stick?
2. The Magic
It made no sense. Don't even try to explain it to me. I don't care.
3. Froi the Rapist
The fuck kind of explanation was that? Rapist turned devout follower? Not all orphans in extreme poverty become rapists and I hate that Marchetta tried to explain his actions, and let Evanjalin "forgive" him just because he's of her people. That makes no sense. That he has his own book puzzles me ever more.
4. The Marriage
Why? I can see Finnikin pining after her for decades, but I can't see her willingly marrying him (or anyone, really) and sacrificing her power to someone else unless the council forced her too. I can see her keeping him around as a fuck buddy, because I won't deny that they had chemistry, but I don't see her loving him as deeply as Marchetta described, despite their childhood together.
5. The Climax
Or really, what climax? Finnikin wasn't even there. And he's our main character (and psuedo-protagonist). That's like Frodo being asleep while Gollum (or Aragon) tosses the ring into Mt. Doom. If this climax was sex, it's like the guy going soft right before he gets the girl off. It just fizzled and went on, and on, with "will they, won't they drama" until the end.
6. The Pacing
It's slow. Be prepared.
7. The Villains
I felt no threat. For high fantasy to work, IMO, you need a credible villain. I didn't understand how the Lumaterans got exiled from their village and let themselves be slaughtered like pigs when it was so easy to take back their kingdom. With the ease they won back their land, Frodo could've just dropped the ring into a well, or Potter could've just cried on Voldemort, and he would've exploded like the Wicked Witch of the West.
8. The Whores
Yeah, yeah, it's supposed to be realistic, but that Finnikin is supposed to be our "hero" I'd expect more from him. I didn't need to be reminded four or five times that he was experienced in the ways of women. At least Evanjalin chided him for it. If I were her, I wouldn't be running to sleep him. Knowing how many times he's paid for sex, he might have something really gross hiding underneath that loin cloth. I would've preferred that he had a girlfriend (and not a pathetic, weak-willed, maid that he fucked at random intervals) but an equal, that he truly loved, who died or some shit. I like my fantasy heroes dirty, but not too dirty. I mean, not even Boromir paid for sex. Hell, even Snape didn't pay for sex. And he was ugly as fuck.
But I don't know. I think very little of men who pay women for sex in oppressive unequal societies, though I don't blame the women for selling it to them.
8. Prophecies and "Free Will"
This is what I dislike most about high fantasy. The "it was all meant to be" shit. If I ever finish the high fantasy novel (with a middle-eastern/Asian slant) I'm working on, I will have no prophecies of any kind that actually come true.
I'll get around to reading Froi. Someday. I just wish that Marchetta would change her writing style a bit and trim her novels of their excessive fat. Truth be told, I'd rather see Evanjalin of the Monts in print. She was the most fascinating character here. For my sake, I'm just going to pretend that the Isaboe bit never happened, as she will always be Evanjalin, the Mont peasant who exceeded everyone's expectations, despite being treated like shit and doubted at every turn until her bloodline was discovered.