So this is your typical kid-didn't-know-they-were-magic, now-has-to-save-the-world deal. It takes place in Nigeria and the magic is juju, so that wasSo this is your typical kid-didn't-know-they-were-magic, now-has-to-save-the-world deal. It takes place in Nigeria and the magic is juju, so that was interesting, but y'know, it's the same general premise with which we're all familiar.
I liked the protagonist, and some of the magic stuff. There was an awful lot of just explaining, though, the ol' telling instead of showing. That got a little tedious. Is this the first of a series? It seemed like it (though it does stand alone as well, which is nice, I hate it when books don't stand alone). Further books in a series might be nice because then they wouldn't have to explain so much, and could just get on with the good stuff.
Still, an enjoyable, quick read with great female characters....more
I re-read this book in August 2009, after seeing the film adaptation, which I found tremendously disappointing.
I liked this book a great deal upon re-I re-read this book in August 2009, after seeing the film adaptation, which I found tremendously disappointing.
I liked this book a great deal upon re-reading it. (I'd give it a 4.5 if possible.) The kids are old enough that they make reasonable decisions, and aren't annoying the hell out of me. Danger seems real, funny parts are funny, and though Rowling is a little heavy-handed when she tries to make me sad, generally she succeeds. Because I'm a sucker, and because I've known these characters for a long time how, and I care about what happens to them.
I recommend this book to anyone who saw the film. Though a movie can never hope to cover everything in a book this length, there's just so much more depth in the book -- in terms of plot (it's such a shame that Bill and Fleur and Scrimgeour and others are nonexistent in the movie) and feeling (the tragedy at the end was tremendously unaffecting to me in the theater, which is in itself a tragedy) and ACTION -- I will never stop complaining about the fact that they CUT OUT a battle scene. ...more
MAN I really liked this book! It was better in the middle than the end, but that's okay, that might be how I feel about all kid-goes-on-a-magical-jourMAN I really liked this book! It was better in the middle than the end, but that's okay, that might be how I feel about all kid-goes-on-a-magical-journey, Joseph Campbell type stuff.
So! The storyline was familiar, as I already sort of alluded to above. But I didn't mind, because the writing is clever, the ideas are cute, and the characters were likeable, and not too cliche'. Most importantly, the story was FUN. Hooray for Summerland and also for baseball!
Everyone who liked Harry Potter should read Summerland! Unless you don't like baseball, I mean....more
The whole thing with Paul being able to (view spoiler)[see after his eyes are burned out: (hide spoiler)] still cool. But on this, my third or fourthThe whole thing with Paul being able to (view spoiler)[see after his eyes are burned out: (hide spoiler)] still cool. But on this, my third or fourth reading, I'm realizing there's not much to this book. It simply bridges the first and third. No Jessica, no war, no revolution, no emergence of a new messiah . . . eh.
Also Alia has the potential to be such a fascinating character, but she's underused and underwritten. And I already know that in the next book she's going to be crazy and retconned half to death (which I can NEVER get used to, and which NEVER ceases to drive me bonkers), so this is our last chance to view mad, violent (yet in control of her own mind,) beautiful Alia. And there's such potential in that early scene with the practice droid, but then all she does is have visions and get pissed off at Duncan. Yawn.
[Re-read in August of 2008. Initially read in . . . 2000? And re-read several times after that.]...more
I really really liked this book in the beginning. I enjoyed the cranky, whiskey-drinking poet narrator.
Then it got . . . weird. I was okay with the weI really really liked this book in the beginning. I enjoyed the cranky, whiskey-drinking poet narrator.
Then it got . . . weird. I was okay with the weird.
Then at the end there was a big detective-story reveal. You know, the whole explain-everything-at-dinner rigmarole. Which was vaguely tedious. And then the very VERY end was anti-climactic. It was all, "oh no, possible tragedy! What will happe-- END SCENE. Epilogue: everything turned out fine!"
All in all, I still enjoyed the book a great deal, even if the second half wasn't as enjoyable as the first. And Stephen Fry is a fantastic narrator (natch.) If you would like to read this book in some form, I recommend the audiobook version....more
June 17, 2015: Oh boy, it felt great to read this book again.
Dune may not be my most favorite book ever, but it is in the top whatever (five?) and isJune 17, 2015: Oh boy, it felt great to read this book again.
Dune may not be my most favorite book ever, but it is in the top whatever (five?) and is certainly my most-read book. I don't re-read books often (almost NEVER more than twice) but I've probably read this five or six times by now. I can no longer tell what it would be like to read it for the first time. I think I enjoy it MORE the more I read it. I know it's flawed, but the flaws don't stick out like they used to. This is the scifi to which I compare all other scifi. This is worldbuilding, yo.
It doesn't feel like a slog (even if you know what's coming) because every scene moves the story forward. It's ~500 pages but it moves very quickly. Everything is important. Sure he repeats the same phrasing over and over again, but that's what makes it great, these are important things that we should not forget! Plans within plans within plans. Terrible purpose! I wonder if there's a band out there called "Terrible Purpose." (I know there is one called Shai-Hulud.)
This time I'm not going to go on and read the rest of the series. Everything else is, as many say (Mordicai), a step down. This first book is the masterwork.
It's funny, I have all these dog-eared corners on like a zillion of the pages, but most of the time I couldn't figure out what it was on the page that I was marking. And yet I made a bunch more dog-ears! Also this time around I think I decided it that from the time the Atreides landed on Arrakis to the (view spoiler)[betrayal of Yueh (hide spoiler)] (I don't know what I spoilerized that, he says it's going to happen and who's going to do it almost from the beginning of the book, is there are word for that literary device?) is less then two weeks. Because I'm pretty sure Jessica says that the dinner party is a week after they landed, and then they definitely say it's only two days from the dinner party when shit goes down. I do think it would make sense if that were more like a few months, but whatevski.
So anyway, if you haven't read Dune lately, do so! You'll remember how wonderful it is. And if you haven't read it yet, by God man, do!
Review from August 2008: Arrgh, I succumbed! I thought I'd skip reading Dune this summer, but I needed something mindless to bring with me to Camp Bisco, and I untaped a box to dig this bad boy up. Not that Dune is mindless in and of itself, I've just read it so many times, y'know?
I upped the stars from four to five because it's the only book I've read so often. So it must be great.
Now I just have to stick with that boring Herbert biography I'm reading . . . ...more