This was the first novel by Ann Rinaldi that I have read, and I have to say that I can't imagine a better introduction to her works of YA historical fThis was the first novel by Ann Rinaldi that I have read, and I have to say that I can't imagine a better introduction to her works of YA historical fiction. The story being told from the first person perspective, I loved the way even the narration contained what we now consider to be antiquated ways of speaking, turns of phrase and attitudes evident of the time period in which the novel takes place. That little touch made a big difference in being able to fall into the story.
Tacy's story was not one of grand adventure or romance or saving the day. Ultimately, it was the story of someone trying to get by in difficult times, when it feels like the world is falling apart around her. It's not heavily action-based, and you're not going to find yourself on the edge of your seat with excitement, but you're going to see real people in a real situation from history, and if you're the sort to love character-driven stories, then the pages will keep turning and you'll find yourself engrossed in the story, wondering what happens next in spite of the fact that there's no major personal conflict or resolution. There is fear, though, and a great sense of loss that's very easy to empathize with, even if you haven't lost somebody to war.
Above all else, Tacy is believable. She could easily be a friend from school, a sister, someone across the street. Her thoughts and feelings come across well, she's a very well-rounded and fleshed-out character (as they all are, really, even the ones we don't get to see too much of), and I like her spunk.
What struck me the most when reading this book is that war doesn't change. Certainly, the technology used in war changes, but war itself is always going to be full of death, of broken bodies and limbs and blood, of the stench of the dead and people mourning for them. It's the same today as it was a hundred years ago, two hundred, and so on back. People die as often for the right cause as the wrong one, and more often than not, those lines aren't as clearly drawn as some would have people believe. There are gentlement enemies and bastard allies.
I can say with certainty that if I got the chance to read more of Rinaldi's novel, I'd take that chance. I love her style, the way she writes to let the reader fall into the story and become a part of it rather than just seeing it from the outside. Very smooth, easy to grasp. Not the most spectacular novel ever written, but still very enjoyable nonetheless, and I was glad to have read it.
if you're the sort to like character-driven stories (as I said before), or just have an interest in historical fiction, you should definitely check this one out.
**spoiler alert** I have heard so many good things about this book over the last week that I couldn't delay reading it any longer. And while it wasn't**spoiler alert** I have heard so many good things about this book over the last week that I couldn't delay reading it any longer. And while it wasn't the best book I've ever read, it was still fun and enjoyable to read. The author did a good job of building on existing mythology and creating some interesting characters to follow. I particularly enjoyed what little I got to see of Wendy, as I could relate to her a fair bit.
I was quite impressed by the way the romantic plot was handled in this book. You expect, right from the first page, that Clara and Christian will be the ultimate romantic couple, having their sappy moments and the on-again-off-again thing that seems so popular in teen novels these days. Instead Clara ends up with more of an interest in Tucker, who was something of a jerk to her in the beginning, and that interest distracts her from Christian. I have to give the author kudos for that one, since even if it isn't unique in the world of teen romance, it's certainly getting to be uncommon.
The author's got a good gift for style and pacing, too. The writing is very fluid, and it reads easily and well for a variety of age groups, not just the teenagers for whom it's intended. If she keeps writing like this, I can see big things in her future.
My biggest beef with this book is that it feels like only half a book instead of being part of a trilogy. Too much was hinted at but never dealt with, too many times the reader is given glimpses of something that should have at least been thought about more but never was. It isn't always easy to write a trilogy so that all the books can stand up on their own and yet continue as part of a series, but I think this one could have benefitted perhaps from being a 2-book deal instead of a 3-book deal, putting more of the story into each book instead of doing so much hinting. I enjoy a good series as much as the next person, but the way it was done here bugged me a little.
Still, in spite of that, a good story was woven and I do want to see what happen in future installments of the series. I have to say this book was definitely worth the good reviews I've been seeing. ...more
I want to rate this book higher, I really do. There are so many things to like about this artbook, even once you move beyond the awesome idea that somI want to rate this book higher, I really do. There are so many things to like about this artbook, even once you move beyond the awesome idea that somebody did an artbook full of steampunk-inspired creations. The pictures are sharp and clear and quite beautiful, very inspirational. There's good information about what steampunk is, its origins, why it's gaining in popularity. The spotlights on various designers and their inspirations is really cool to see.
However (and there's always a however), the copy of the book that I have is unfinished. I can understand why that is, since ARCs are not always the same as the finished product that hits the shelves, but I must say, it's very hard to properly judge a book of visual art when half the art isn't there. It's filled with "picture goes here" notes and wonky formatting, and while I can try to ignore that and judge the book solely by what it does contain, I feel unsettled at giving the book a good review based on the fact that I had to ignore everything that was left out at the present time.
This book may be absolutely fantastic and revolutionize steampunk. It certainly will inform and entertain. But the ARC I received can't properly convey that to me, and so I'm afraid my current review on this will remain a ackluster 3 out of 5 teacups until such time as I can see a finished and properly formatted copy.
And I have to admit, I'm pretty sad to say that....more