Hmm. Alright. I didn't find it to be as charming as Beverly Cleary's Henry or Ramona books. Also, despite the "runaway imagination" in the title, nothHmm. Alright. I didn't find it to be as charming as Beverly Cleary's Henry or Ramona books. Also, despite the "runaway imagination" in the title, nothing Emily does is really all that wild.
And I'm pretty sure Chinese, or at least most major dialects of Chinese, have both an r and an l phoneme in it?...more
I'd thought it was just the Henry Huggins and Ramona BC books I'd read when I was much younger, but I must have readVery cute story about friendship.
I'd thought it was just the Henry Huggins and Ramona BC books I'd read when I was much younger, but I must have read this one somewhere along the way too, as the rats and the Maypole scene toward the end of the book was really familiar....more
More adventures and troubles with our enterprising little hero. I found book number four to be a bit stronger in the humor department compared to theMore adventures and troubles with our enterprising little hero. I found book number four to be a bit stronger in the humor department compared to the first three....more
Case #55879 in why I shouldn't pick out books to read based on their covers alone.
I'm about 130/541 pages in. So far everything is so dull that it's aCase #55879 in why I shouldn't pick out books to read based on their covers alone.
I'm about 130/541 pages in. So far everything is so dull that it's a chore. I should give up and return this to the library, but I'm stupidly stubborn when it comes to dropping titles I'm disliking.
This is a needlessly nitpicky point that aggravated me, but shortly into the book, a bunch of crows kidnaps our protagonist Prue's baby brother. Naturally, this is shocking and worrying, so she runs through the Portland streets to keep the crows in view. And I mean, directly through Portland streets, in front of cars that have to slam on their brakes, and she doesn't even spare a second glance or think "maybe running into the streets, even if my baby brother is being kidnapped, isn't such a good idea." Does the author just not drive or something? All the drivers are just nameless, one-scene throwaway characters to show how shocked she is, but as a car driver, having pedestrians jump out in front of me is something to always be vigilant and wary about, and I don't like seeing it even in fiction. Even the smallest cars weigh a whole bunch and can make smashy goo of 12 year old girls very easily. Most drivers aren't sociopathic enough to want to kill, even accidentally, someone with their car, and not just because they'll be accountable for it, even if really, it's the goddamn pedestrian's fault for LEAPING OUT INTO TRAFFIC. By the way, of course nothing bad happens to Prue, as she is The Protagonist and important enough to do stupid things like this with indemnity.
Though if she had gotten run over, we would've been spared this doorstopper of what I will now predict (though hope I may be proven wrong) to be a constant snore throughout, since everything would've been wrapped up nicely in about 15 pages. Prue's bro got snatched by some birds, then she died when she was hit by a car, running out into the streets to follow them. Ma and Pa Prue never find out what happened to their younger offspring. The End.
Why do I predict the whole book will be boring? The general writing thus far. Every time I turn the page, I just kind of stare at the whole WALL OF TEXT staring up at me and contemplate again just giving up. Any two-page spread can easily be made up of just three huge paragraphs or so. I'm sure plenty of people have no problem with that, but I prefer briefer, snappier writing, the sort of thing that's usually made better by, say, DIALOG. Those huge chunks of paragraphs are often just sentences after sentences of scenery description: trees, what kind of paintings are on the walls of the building Prue has just entered, or just the uninspired actions of what the nameless and unimportant background characters are currently undertaking. I get it. Scene-setting for our world-building. Except I don't care. I don't care that a deer is walking on two legs and buying apples or something, because it has little relevance to anything and we've already established the animals here are weird earlier on. Where is the developing of your more important characters, like Prue? So far all I've gotten from her is that she is a stupid, snide child who at least cares for her brother, which we already established about ten pages into the book. 120 pages later, and she's barely had any lines of dialog, or much internal thought for us to build some sort of rapport with her, so I still feel the same way about her.
Also. Seriously. SRSLY. Your 12 year old takes your one year old out ALL DAY, and you don't even look at the baby later on? Prue's parents are obviously all about the hands-off approach to parenting, which isn't necessarily and automatically bad, but to this degree, it's amazing Prue lived to be 12 without having already died from gross negligence.
Okay, let's think positive thoughts. From here on out, everything is going to be AMAZEBALLS FASCINATING. Yes. Let's go....more
The audiobook is read by the author himself, and while he's not doing a bad job, I don't know if that's his real voice or what, but he reads it with sThe audiobook is read by the author himself, and while he's not doing a bad job, I don't know if that's his real voice or what, but he reads it with such a heavy, deep, dark SRS BSNS voice that the whole thing comes of as kind of comical....more
Christopher Pike's books are usually at least decent. This one doesn't really fall into that category. The writing and grammar felt more like that ofChristopher Pike's books are usually at least decent. This one doesn't really fall into that category. The writing and grammar felt more like that of an inexperienced fanfic writer who didn't even bother with a beta reader....more
**spoiler alert** The rather preachy messages about how humans suck (except the few that don't) are fairly typical of DK, along with the overuse of "h**spoiler alert** The rather preachy messages about how humans suck (except the few that don't) are fairly typical of DK, along with the overuse of "hatred" as the sole describer of the depth of the bad guys (seriously. If, in his book, one of or the main antagonist itself is supernatural in nature, then, pretty much without fail, in their pursuit of the good guys, they'll be described as having "hateful eyes", or being able to feel their "sheer hatred of mankind", and that's about it. They aren't ever simply mindlessly robotic in their slaughtering, being controlled by someone else, or just find the brutal murdering of humans to be delightfully fun; even if they are being controlled or they find it fun, the whole basis for their characterization is that they're nothing but a physical manifestation of "hatred". It becomes quite boring after the first several times.) My first sentence and already I'm derailing heavily. But no, seriously. "Hateful" and "hatred" to describe supernatural evil creatures in a Koontz drinking game, guaranteed to be schnockered.
Anyway, aside from the above, the story felt a little different than what DK usually writes, though any interesting qualities due to that aren't enhanced upon well, because it feels like he just repeats the same events over and over. Slim sees goblin, kills it. Is paranoid. Sees girl he likes, has emotional issues. More goblins. More killing. Lots of issues on the relationship side. Cryptic comments on Love Interest's background, but not coming out soon enough to keep me really engaged, because we're back to more spotting goblins and being paranoid and stuff. Honestly, I think the book would've worked better as a video game. That way Slim has an excuse to go around constantly killing the same nameless, brainless, zero-personalitied goblins, (which isn't nearly as fun to just read about), he can expand on his psychic abilities as the game progresses (by unlocking new or stronger skills or something; more exciting than his merely talking how he can see under the goblins' human shell all the time), going from town to town, and even the rather silly goblin backstory would've been more forgivable in a video game (because they just are.) I mean, the goblin origin was kind of interesting, but the whole lost civilizations thing, on Earth, that had reached such staggering technological advances (exactly how long ago? I know we're throwing science out the window as usual here, but if it was only a few millennia previous to the events in the book, you'd think today's scientists would be completely aware of all of this. Or did they exist before the dinosaurs, and the goblins that survived live alongside them?), well, lost civilizations are rife in video games, so it'd all be much more easy to swallow there.
Anyway, they mention over and over how "mature" Slim is, despite being only 17, but his voice is still pretty inexcusable when applied to a 17 year old if we want some feel of realism and the ability to relate to him; as it is, he feels more like a wish-fulfillment fantasy stand in, a self-insert or something. "Look at all my amazing powers and how matoor I am!" Not to mention the rather laughable sex scenes with the typically super hot Love Interest.
These are really all just minor gripes, though. As silly as the book is, it's fairly enjoyable going in with no expectations (I actually had gotten it into my head that it would be much worse than this. As in, Breathless bad.)
However, I wasn't spared a supreme hurling-book-at-wall moment (which would be quite a feat, considering I'm listening to the audiobook version on my computer, but "angrily-deleting-audiobook-file moment" doesn't pack as much punch) at the very end of the first part when Love Interest, who has committed frankly what I consider to be the most atrocious of all crimes in the book (the goblins can't help being evil! They were genetically created to be like that!), doesn't even get a slap on the wrist, but is forgiven utterly (hardly even forgiven, considering that besides maybe a scant couple of minutes by Slim, she's barely even reviled or deemed "UNFORGIVABLE" in the first place). Just like that. I mean, I don't actually hate Rya myself; she's really fairly interesting, as far as DK characters go; they're almost always completely good or completely evil, and will usually only make reprehensible choices when being brainwashed or something so as not to be responsible for their actions, so she's a rare beast indeed. However, come on; what she did was incredibly vile, and regardless of how she justifies it, and regardless of how much psychological torment she puts herself through over it, you can't just have the main character decide "I can't kill her! Then I'd be just like the goblins. *frowny face* No hard feelings? *hugs*" and expect the readers to accept that she's paid her dues. (And no, getting a little plastic surgery that changes her from "stunningly beautiful" to "very slightly less stunningly beautiful" and having to dye her hair are not even remotely punishments.)
And with that, I've just started the second half of the book (what I'm assuming to be what DK added several years after the initial publishing of the book). Already the story feels kind of overly long, and from what I've skimmed of other reviews, doesn't seem to actually help the story in anyway.
Had to take a break from it though, because the whole ridiculously easily forgiven aspect of one of the major characters made me want to tear my hair out, and I really didn't care to pick up on Slim and Rya's newly happily married selves in that state of mind. Hopefully there's a good dose of comeuppance in the second part, but...I highly doubt it. DK doesn't seem to have to guts to do it to Main Character's Super Hot Love Interest in general. Because, she's like, hot, man.
EDIT: Okay, having finished the latter half, overall it wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be. Overly long, but there were some interesting parts throughout it. Toward the very beginning, the hypocrisy was rather aggravating, what with Slim and Rya speaking so scornfully of the Kitty Genovese murder, or Rya bristling when the illegal arms dealer was suspicious of their trustworthiness, because now "she feels bad about what she did before, so that makes it all better!" and now they can feel morally superior, or something.
And as expected, Rya never gets her comeuppance (she gets banged up toward the end, but if Slim really does ass-pull himself a new psychic power right when he needs it to save her life, that doesn't count), however, luckily after their initial trip preparations the book eases up on the moral superiority and I was able to push my annoyance at the end of the first part out of my mind.
In the end, I suppose what I find the most boring of this story is, as usual, the good guys have no real loss to deal with at the end of it all. Sure, they had hard times when they were younger, but that was all backstory, and like with most DK books, the good guys never have to deal with any long-lasting ill effects of anything that they do during the story proper. One part that particularly comes to mind is the whole suddenly becoming a healer to save Rya when she's on the brink of death. It's not entirely clear whether this happens or not, Slim being delirious at the time, but I'd be willing to bet that that's exactly what happened, seeing as Koontz heroes aren't unknown to find themselves with some inexplicable last minute power out of nowhere. Okay, fine. But how about, in exchange for that miracle power, since it manages to save the only thing Slim honestly cares about (since he goes on and on about how life is pointless to live in Rya dies), he loses his Twilight Eyes? See, then we'd have a little of that loss, that give and take that characters should go through, otherwise they end up being too invincible and boring.
And still on that train of thought, they may not have permanently stopped the goblin plans, but even then the book doesn't end on a despairing note. They'll continue to fight the good fight, we can assume, and they'll probably eventually win it, even. Then again, if I expected the good guys to learn much from their prior mistakes, I really ought not to be reading DK. Still, certain cases seem more egregious than others, and this one probably fits in more with those....more
It was kind of cute and fairly humorous in places, but (and there's always a but), although I know the book is based off a series of fashion dolls, yoIt was kind of cute and fairly humorous in places, but (and there's always a but), although I know the book is based off a series of fashion dolls, you can't deny that the book is filled with ridiculously shallow (and in many cases, extremely obnoxious) characters. The fact that the extremely naive newcomer gets it in her head to then tackle heavy themes like bigotry just feels embarrassing since it really just doesn't mesh with the constant teen pop-culture references (a girl who places a Bieber photo on the skeleton in her room is gonna change the world? Really?), not to mention that every girl with a crush is also too busy acting like their boyfriend or potential boyfriend is the center of the universe, and that if he doesn't look at her she's consumed with soul-crushing angst, or acting like a screeching jealous harpy even if that seems to be completely out of character to everything we've seen about the girl thusfar and....then the fantastic racism (which admittedly isn't even touched upon as deeply as it could have been). Yeah. No. It just doesn't work very well.
Perhaps the book mainly annoys me simply because as far as character development goes, everyone is so stereotypically shallow-fake-COMPLETELY stupid teenager (and quite unlikeable because of that) that it reaches cartoony proportions. (...And again, I understand that they're based off of fashion dolls. And have an actual cartoon adaptation. Still, when putting it into novel format, certain conventions found in other media don't always carry over that well in printed-word form.)
One thing (of no real importance but still slightly amusing) about the audiobook verion is that on occasion, whenever the narrator was voicing a male character, they'd end up sounding a lot like Milhouse from The Simpsons....more