You know, I could have given this book 4 stars if I had stopped reading 20 pages before the end. I was enjoying it far more than I expected. I thoughtYou know, I could have given this book 4 stars if I had stopped reading 20 pages before the end. I was enjoying it far more than I expected. I thought it brought up some really interesting issues and I found myself thinking about what I would do (as Sara) in a similar situation. I did find Sara a bit less dimensional than some of the other characters, and even though I wanted to shake her several times, I did understand how she could get to the point where she was obsessed with keeping her daughter alive . . . even at the expense of the rest of her family.
There are some beautiful turns of phrases. I liked the multiple perspectives and storylines - - each character coming to the table with a different perspective and different motives.
And then . . . the ending. It made me want to throw the book across the room. It made me want to never read another of Picoult's ever again. It was an easy out, a melodramatic soap opera of an ending. I felt ripped off. I had invested so much in these characters and there were so many ways she could have ended it more gracefully. Heck, even an open-ended and ambiguous ending would have been preferable to me.
I think she was trying to be ironic - about how life can be so unexpected. But to me, it was a cheap finish. A cowardly finish. And I almost gave it 1 star, because a bad ending ruins it for me every time. ...more
I honestly thought I'd love this book. People whose opinions I respect love this book. I worked on the movie (and before you virtually slap me, I hadI honestly thought I'd love this book. People whose opinions I respect love this book. I worked on the movie (and before you virtually slap me, I had nothing to do with the creative side of any of it, I promise) and was blown away by the angry fan mob protests of it, so I thought I'd better read this to find out what all the hubbub was about.
While I was reading it, it was all I could do to keep from throwing it across the room I was so frustrated with it.
What am I missing???
On his 11th birthday, Will Stanton learns that he is the last born of the Old Ones. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid in the final battle between the Dark and Light.
What quest? A quest implies using one's ingenuity to solve problems, making sacrifices due to impossible dilemmas, and possibly risking one's life.
The problem is, every conflict Will gets into is either fixed via another person's intervention or deus ex machina. He never solves a conflict himsel. As well, the kid is now "all knowing" due to a book he read - has he nothing to figure out on his own? He is literally handed all the knowledge he needs.
He is also immortal. Immortal? So, he can't be killed and therefore where's the threat?
The Dark Rider and "The Dark" in general were also unthreatening. This supposed Dark that was coming was so vague, an enigmatic blob of danger... I kept thinking, so what if the Dark is coming? What does that mean? What happens then?
On quests, characters usually pass "tests" of skill (brains and/or brawn). He is the "Sign Seeker," but where's the seeking? What kind of skill does it take to get sent back in time and gather up a "sign" that has been left for you or that someone gives you?
The time travel issues are another whole can of worms. I kept wondering why the Dark didn't just go back in time a bit before him and take care of business. But perhaps the Dark isn't that smart. (Another reason to not be threatened by it.)
I am in 1% of the GoodReads public by giving this one star, while 36% gave it five stars and 35% gave it 4. It is listed as one of the top 100 fantasies of all time according to some polls. I don't think it was simply a manner of high expectations for me, because a good book is a good book. I am flummoxed, truly flummoxed. ...more
As far as middle grade dystopian fiction, you can't get much better than this. It's also a great book for emerging writers to study dilemma. I was wonAs far as middle grade dystopian fiction, you can't get much better than this. It's also a great book for emerging writers to study dilemma. I was wondering how the author would manage to create a sympathetic heroine who would have to murder other children. She manages just that and creates a detailed frightening future with plenty of social / political commentary.
It ends in a place that is slightly unsatisfying, but it was probably the only place to stop without going to far into the next storyline. I found myself immediately reserving the next book at the library. ...more
I'd give 4 1/2 stars If I could. Couldn't put this down. Great continuation of first book (DO read the first book in the trilogy first). The stakes haI'd give 4 1/2 stars If I could. Couldn't put this down. Great continuation of first book (DO read the first book in the trilogy first). The stakes have gone up for our heroes.
The only reason I liked it slightly less than the first book is for a reason that would be a spoiler if I mentioned it. It has to do with information that was kept from Katniss (and therefore the reader) that didn't make sense to me. Although it leaves more mystery for the reader, I still couldn't justify the reason for it other than that. ...more
This is one of my new favourite books. The amount of research that went into writing this, to create the details of a depression era circus, pays off.This is one of my new favourite books. The amount of research that went into writing this, to create the details of a depression era circus, pays off. Compelling characters, heart-wrenching story. Very satisfying ending....more
Robin Hobb is a master world-builder. She also has a tremendous ability to manage multiple-story lines. If you like fantasy adventure, her Liveship TrRobin Hobb is a master world-builder. She also has a tremendous ability to manage multiple-story lines. If you like fantasy adventure, her Liveship Traders series is a must. Don't let the cheesy book titles/covers or heavily nautical storylines put you off. This is good stuff.
For some reason, not sure (maybe I was getting a little tired of Wintrow and the serpent/dragon storyline wasn't doing it yet for me), I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first. I wish I could give 4 1/2 stars, because I still could not put it down. Hobb really manages the way Malta matures from child to young woman. I adore Amber and Althea and Brashen. And Etta! ...more
I've been reading a lot of MG and YA fiction for a course that I'm teaching. I'm looking for fiction that addresses controversial topics.
What I likedI've been reading a lot of MG and YA fiction for a course that I'm teaching. I'm looking for fiction that addresses controversial topics.
What I liked about this book very much was the author's invention of future language / slang. I liked it so much I started incorporating some of it into my own speech! LOL. It's very clever that way. And the characters are sympathetic, caught in this future world that has been completely taken over by commercialism. And white noise.
I'd give it 3 1/2 stars actually. There was just something anti-climactic about it. Perhaps that's the point, though. I did enjoy it - I just wanted something more to happen. ...more
Great conclusion to a fabulous trilogy. I really enjoyed the way Matla's character comes to her own. The way experience molds her into a true VestritGreat conclusion to a fabulous trilogy. I really enjoyed the way Matla's character comes to her own. The way experience molds her into a true Vestrit woman. I wasn't enjoying the dragon/serpent story during the 2nd book, but I did in this one as all the plotlines converge.
The only thing I didn't like about the third installment was the way Kyle Haven died. I thought it was really anti-climactic. ...more
I really had no idea what to expect from this book. I had never read any of Fyr's work before. I randomly grabbed it from the shelf. I was pleasantlyI really had no idea what to expect from this book. I had never read any of Fyr's work before. I randomly grabbed it from the shelf. I was pleasantly surprised, but then again, I have a fondness for dry British humour.
I also have a fondness for anti-heroes, but they have to be intelligent and/or witty and I must empathize with them. This book's protagonist, Ted Wallace, is a "sour, womanizing, cantankerous, whisky-sodden beast of a failed poet and drama critic" - what's not to love? Not everyone will relate to him. I think if you've spent enough time around writers, or are one yourself, you might have more compassion for him. But that's the kind of character I like, a messy and imperfect one.
There's no great character arc, which I also love. There's a believable one. He's had a life-changing experience, but he's also set in his ways. He's a better man.
The plot surprised me. It kind of snuck up on me. There's a mystery woven into the story, and I found the conclusion to be very satisfying.
If you have any kind of hang-ups about sex, you may be disturbed by some of the scenarios (which were eyebrow-raising even for us open-minded folk). But I like it when my literature disturbs me a little....more
I picked up this book b/c I write MG fiction in this genre. There aren't as many YA books that feature faeries so I was looking forward to it. I was sI picked up this book b/c I write MG fiction in this genre. There aren't as many YA books that feature faeries so I was looking forward to it. I was sorely disappointed.
Perhaps I've gotten spoiled by Suzanne Collins and Robin Hobbs. They have a way of building a story's tension through to the climax. I simply found this story dull.
The dialogue was unoriginal and I found myself annoyed with the main character, who has this completely irrational reaction to the guy she is "in love" with when she thinks he has tricked/betrayed her. While in faerie-land she either avoids him or screams at him. She refuses to listen to a word he says. She forgets about her true love the next moment and carries on, even though she feels for him more than she's felt for anyone in her life.
I know the author needed to keep them apart, but it got old and it made Anita/Tania unsympathetic.
When she arrives in faerie, she thinks it's a dream. This goes on and on for some time and so does her tour of the kingdom, where the most important thing seems to be to find the right dresses for the ball that night.
For being a fantasy there was not much imagination to the story. Nothing stood out as unique/original. Very few "fantastic" events and even the faeries lose their wings as teens. Too bad, if the protagonist had wings, the story might have flown better. Or if the writing were beautiful and poetic. But the language was average and the climax was predictable and felt a bit tacked on. ...more
Ursula Le Guin is one of the few writers who can write a 120 page novel and make it seem epic. Her work is wide and dense at the same time. I didn't rUrsula Le Guin is one of the few writers who can write a 120 page novel and make it seem epic. Her work is wide and dense at the same time. I didn't realize this was her first novel when I picked it up, so I look forward to reading more from her.
She has a way of conveying information about worlds and cultures with a few masterful words. Never overwriting. One of my favourite descriptions was in the prologue when Semley, a beautiful yet primitive inhabitant from her planet, flies on a spaceship. She doesn't even know what one is, so the journey is described as one would describe it from that innocence.
It took me longer than it should have to read this book because I kept stopping to reread sentences, in awe of her wordsmithing, some of it pure poetry. "The dancers broke apart, their shadows running quickly up the walls, the loosened hair of one swinging bright for a moment. The dance that had no music was ended, the dancers that had no more name than light and shadow were still."
The only reason I gave it 4 stars is because there were too many instances when the protagonist was aided too easily, got out of situations due to happenstance and others' assistance (too much deus ex machina). I wanted him to be less passive and the only instances of that are when he decides to set off on the journey, and at the end when he gets to the enemy's base. But still, the only reason he could be at the base at all was due to an alien's "gift" to him, not something he figured out on his own.
I know she writes "everyman" heroes, regular people who are drawn into extraordinary circumstances. Even so, I wanted more from him. I did like that the hero is an ethnologist, not a warrior, and therefor fascinated by unfamiliar species and compassionate as well.
Other than that, it is pure brilliance and quite profound. I'm not a sci-fi purist, so the fact that the story is woven with fantasy elements didn't bother me as it does some readers. ...more
I was really drawn to this book by the concept. It sounded so original. A boy living in a post-apocalyptic world who is allergic to the daylight and iI was really drawn to this book by the concept. It sounded so original. A boy living in a post-apocalyptic world who is allergic to the daylight and in search of The Owl Keeper. A combination dystopia - fantasy, two of my favourite genres.
I was a bit disappointed, though. I couldn't get emotionally invested in the main characters, who were underdeveloped. Max was an extremely passive protagonist. Instead of deducing and investigating and discovering and being ingenious, he coincidentally overhears information, people and animals rescue him, and he is conveniently in the right place at the right time. It also takes too long for him to put two-and-two together when information is practically bonked over his head.
There are also complete leaps in logic and sense. For instance (possible SPOILER), it makes no sense that when Max and Rose run away that the only ones sent after them are two elderly people: Ms. Crumlin and Dr. Tredegar. Where were the Dark Brigade? Mrs. Crumlin wasn't a police officer or an official of any sort. And while they're fighting the pilot of their aircraft is just hanging out waiting for them? The whole bridge scene is filled with illogical moments like this.
Additionally, the plot seems to be driven by a prophecy, rather than the characters' actions.
I think the story is imaginative and has a lot of potential to develop more in sequels, but I would only recommend it for 6th grade or younger. I don't think the characters or concepts would be engaging enough for teens. ...more
This book is for a slightly younger audience than I usually read. I think it's a sweet and imaginative story that 6-9 year olds will enjoy. I also thiThis book is for a slightly younger audience than I usually read. I think it's a sweet and imaginative story that 6-9 year olds will enjoy. I also think parents will appreciate its message, humour, and lack of graphic violance. ...more
**spoiler alert** Still looking for innovative books for mg and ya readers, I picked this up b/c the concept looked intriguing.
What I got was a passiv**spoiler alert** Still looking for innovative books for mg and ya readers, I picked this up b/c the concept looked intriguing.
What I got was a passive protagonist that the author was afraid to get morally messy. There is no conflict between her and her adoptive parents or her perfect boyfriend. There is a ridiculous amount of time spent on planning and having a wedding when she's got a time-sensitive devastating curse to deal with.
The girl, of course, doesn't have sex and get pregnant. She is raped (but only because the boy was possessed), and then the rapist conveniently dies so we don't have to deal with him. Her virginal perfect boyfriend doesn't care and asks her to marry him. His parents are supposedly a bit upset about this because he has to leave college, but their anger magically disappears.
There is such a lack of conflict and so much that happens conveniently in this story, I honestly wanted to throw the book across the room.