This book could have been SO awesome. It was still good, but it really didn't live up to its potential. To begin with, as many other reviewers have meThis book could have been SO awesome. It was still good, but it really didn't live up to its potential. To begin with, as many other reviewers have mentioned, a lot of the plot points (and sometimes dialogue) came straight from the Twilight books. (This one gives a good, if slightly angry, overview: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...)
But still, the supernatural element in this one was just so different from the rest of what's out there right now that it was a breath of fresh air. (If you've read the book, that pun was on purpose. Ha.) Sure, it was reminiscent of, oh, Captain Planet, but it still felt new and not copied. Sometimes the explanations of the mechanics and mythology seemed a bit confusing, but I still got the gist to appreciate the plot complication.
The biggest crime, however, was that she set the story in Kinsale, County Cork, and spared no time for setting descriptions. I Googled Kinsale out of curiosity when I finished the book, and it is absolutely gorgeous, charming, picturesque. I wish I had done that before I read the book, because it added a lot in my mind. I have this thing for YAF with a good setting (I think I've mentioned before that I love Unearthly so much because of the Wyoming/Grand Teton descriptions), and I was sooooooooo excited for County Cork. Definitely the biggest letdown of the book. I'll hope for more in the next installment.
I'm giving this the benefit of the doubt and going for 3 stars. I really liked the concept. It was definitely more of a plot-driven book than a characI'm giving this the benefit of the doubt and going for 3 stars. I really liked the concept. It was definitely more of a plot-driven book than a character-driven one. (In fact, if you stop to think about it, the characters are awfully flat.) Still, it's not really a hindrance because it's a plot and issues book rather than a people book. As I told Joan, "I'm just so happy to be in deep space again!" There's just something about all that emptiness out there that adds a greater element of suspense to the story. I don't want to give anything of the plot away, but I will say that I liked the (critical) look at religion and fertility (for lack of a better descriptor). What made me suddenly want to knock this good book down to a 2 was the unexpected character development in the last 10% that made for a seemingly pro-religious tone. I will say to each his own, but I don't want to read Christian fiction and I feel like I should be warned. (Incidentally, the three-way romance implied in the cover blurb hardly even seems to be a two-way romance, much less a love triangle.) Of course the story's not over yet, so perhaps I should wait and see where it goes in the next book. Hence my suspension of judgement....more
I felt a bit ho-hum about the first two books in the series, but I liked them enough to keep going. I'm glad I did. It's funny, some of the things thaI felt a bit ho-hum about the first two books in the series, but I liked them enough to keep going. I'm glad I did. It's funny, some of the things that bothered me about the later Immortals books (Night Star and Everlasting) actually seemed to work here. There was suddenly a lot of time traveling, but since the process had already been established, it didn't feel very sudden. Her past lives weren't so detailed that it got too complicated or inaccurate, but they were detailed enough that they all had a different feel. I liked that she had a quest, a goal, a mission, and that she struck out on her own to get to the root of her love for Daniel. Unlike most YAF girlies, she questioned her love instead of jumping into it blindly. (Sure, it took three books, but it was refreshing nonetheless.) Then she finds herself in the company of a miniature gargoyle with a croaky voice and an amusing personality named "Bill," and he was a fabulous addition to her journey.
I'm not sure whether the plot actually made that much sense in terms of the rest of the story, because I honestly can't remember the details of the first two books that well. There was enough filled in that I could appreciate the story on its own, but I still feel like Luce and her mission had greater importance than just saving Daniel from an eternity of losing her. A better memory on my part would probably have helped me appreciate this book more. Now I've gone from feeling ho-hum about the series to really looking forward to Rapture. Hooray!...more
This collection was a bit disappointing, not as good as I remember Death's Excellent Vacation being. I think the main disappointment was that the newThis collection was a bit disappointing, not as good as I remember Death's Excellent Vacation being. I think the main disappointment was that the new Sookie story was a bit of a let down. It didn't feel like it fit in the Sookie-verse, plus there wasn't a single vamp to be found. Many of the stories were related to series I haven't read, but they were still complete enough to give me a sense of the world. One that really stood out was Suzanne McLeod's "Full Scale Demolition," which featured elements of Celtic and Greek mythology. Very good. The absolute creepiest was Rochelle Krich's "Squatters' Rights." I can't begin to describe how much my skin was crawling while I read that story, and for hours afterward. One really great aspect of the collection was the variety of creatures (vampires, wizards, weres, fae, pixies, kelpies, lamias, ghosts, zombies, etc.) and cultures (Celtic, Jewish, Greek, Vodou, Chinese, etc.). It was really very well-rounded.
Despite my mostly positive remarks here, however, I was left with an overall "eh" feeling about most of the stories. It was okay, just not my favorite ever. (I think the Sookie disappointment might be largely responsible.) Still, a well-assembled collection....more
I just thought this book was great. I loved almost everything about it. (I think the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I wasn't thrilleI just thought this book was great. I loved almost everything about it. (I think the only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was because I wasn't thrilled that the murderer was revealed to the reader before the detective.)
Though a lot of the elements seem silly when described, they work perfectly in the book. For instance: A Boston PD detective on loan to the Icelandic police. Does it seem like a silly foreign exchange? No. Since Magnus is Icelandic-American and needs a place to hide while he waits to be called as a witness for a police corruption trial, it works for that angle. Since Iceland has practically zero murder and could use the extra help, it works from that angle too. Next: A lost ancient saga that might have lent inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, glorified fanboys trying to obtain the manuscript, and mysterious deaths all around. Could be absolutely corny, but it was done very intelligently and with class, so that it seemed clever instead. Pretty awesome.
On top of all this fascinating mystery plot, there was great characterization and even better setting. Magnus was especially very three-dimensional, and for a such a short plot-based book, the reader learns a lot about his past. And even more about Iceland. Though I've read a lot of European books in my life (including many Scandinavian mysteries recently), I've never felt so immersed in a different culture. From legends and sagas to volcanoes and corrugated iron houses to social customs and police procedure (even law enforcement can't carry a weapon in Iceland), I felt transported. So much so that when I put down the book, I said, "I want to go to Iceland" and started poking around to look at trips online. (Obviously I can't go any time soon, but I do want to put Iceland toward the top of my list for one day.) All of this is made more impressive by the fact that Ridpath is British, not Icelandic. Good research.
I hope Rick's not losing steam, because this was probably my least favorite of all the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books. Part of the problem mighI hope Rick's not losing steam, because this was probably my least favorite of all the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus books. Part of the problem might be that I was forgetting key plot points from the last one, and I was as frustrated with my memory loss as Percy was! I do think the whole Roman demigod/Greek demigod worlds colliding bit is going to be really interesting in the next book, so here's to hoping.
Oh, and the absolute BEST part of this book? Apparently Amazon is run by... Amazons. I loved the scenes in their Seattle warehouse, complete with armored forklifts. Soooooooooo funny....more
This book was a quick and enjoyable read. Think Sookie Stackhouse (Dead Until Dark) meets Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones's Diary) with a love interest iThis book was a quick and enjoyable read. Think Sookie Stackhouse (Dead Until Dark) meets Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones's Diary) with a love interest in the vein of Jamie Frasier (Outlander) and another love interest that makes Eric Northman's manipulations (i.e. in All Together Dead) look downright innocent. Win! It isn't high literature, but the writing is pretty solid and it was a fun concept with good characters and interesting details (running a vintage store, going to night vampire church, etc). I'm really looking forward to the next book....more
I'm a huge Castle fan. The show is something really special, and the books are a great extension of the show. (I'm not usually big on the whole book-bI'm a huge Castle fan. The show is something really special, and the books are a great extension of the show. (I'm not usually big on the whole book-based-on-screen thing, but in this case it works.) These books have the same goofy humor, loveable characters, and complicated mysteries. The writing is direct and easy to read, and breezing through an installment in a few hours is no sweat. Shippers get an added bonus in seeing Rook and Heat's relationship develop much faster, and it's fun to picture this new but strong romance coming from Castle's imagination.
On the subject of Castle's imagination, another strength of this book (and the previous ones) is that a faithful viewer of the show can see where the writer got his inspiration for certain events, but he blends them together so well and uses his own creativity so that they aren't a carbon copy of the actual event (i.e. he used a bootlegger's tunnel as a setting but it wasn't integral to the crime as it was in the inspirational case). If you're not a Castle watcher, you don't need to recognize these little things to enjoy the book, but it adds a layer of enjoyment for the regular fan.
To say more about the mystery would ruin the plot, and it is a very complex one with many seemingly unrelated strands that the dynamic duo weave together skillfully and with the usual pizazz. I'm so happy to be loving this series still, and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Who knew such an out-there concept as a fictional character writing his fictional books for real could hook skeptical me?!...more
Some recent books by Philippa Gregory have seemed to drag, not to mention have some pretty bad (and repetitive) writing. I found myself getting into tSome recent books by Philippa Gregory have seemed to drag, not to mention have some pretty bad (and repetitive) writing. I found myself getting into this one quickly, mostly because I really liked Jacquetta. Some reviewers have complained that there are large parts where nothing happens because she's just off having babies (which is sort of true), but I think it adds to the story, seeing everything from her perspective and not being privy to information she wouldn't know. It gives it a more realistic feeling. I also liked the mystic elements, because they weren't overdone. This book only follows her through her daughter's meeting with Edward IV, but I would love to hear more of her story....more
My first thought upon finishing this book was, "Well, I liked it okay." So at first I leaned toward 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the moreMy first thought upon finishing this book was, "Well, I liked it okay." So at first I leaned toward 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go back to 2.
The concept was interesting, but from the very beginning I just didn't believe the factions. The traits that they valued just didn't make as much sense, for example, as the House traits in Harry Potter. (Also, the fact that some faction names were nouns and some were verbs was reeeeeeally irritating to me. What can I say, I'm a grammar nazi!) I would have liked to know more about the other factions, because the Dauntless bored me to death.
The characters were okay. I've read a lot of reviews saying that they were so complex, real, yadda yadda yadda, but they didn't feel that way to me at all. They all felt flat, one defining trait per character, not awesome. Tris was a little more fleshed out, probably because we were hearing the story from her perspective, but even though there was more to her she still didn't seem like a real person to me.
I think Roth's biggest mistake was that she had an awesome setting picked out, and she didn't exploit it as much as she could have. The marsh, the Hub, the trains, one visit each to Navy Pier and the Bean. It was pretty cool for someone who's been to Chicago, but more description would have been much appreciated and would have added a lot, in my opinion.
I actually liked this book more than the review implies. I liked it enough to read the second one when it comes out, for example. The story just didn't mesh for me. It's hard to explain, but character motivations, societal motivations... none of it clicked at all. The story had great potential, but somehow felt hollow. Like I said, hard to explain. Maybe it's because I've had so many friends read it and love it that I was expecting more. Maybe it's because after Daughter of Smoke and Bone I'm spoiled for other YA for awhile. (Although I did read Crossed and thought it was decent... Though it didn't have to be as good since I was already invested in the series, I guess.) Anyway, I think the direction that Insurgent is heading in looks a lot more promising, so we will see....more
I had mixed feelings about this book, some very positive and some... well, not negative exactly, but not positive either. Most of the things I was unsI had mixed feelings about this book, some very positive and some... well, not negative exactly, but not positive either. Most of the things I was unsatisfied with involved the solution to the crime, so I'll hide that part of my review.
I loved the concept. My favorite mystery has always been And Then There Were None, a classic locked room mystery. This book had a perfect locked room scenario: the Oslo-Bergen train is derailed before a tunnel near the Finse station due to ice, and the passengers are forced to take shelter in the hotel for several days as the biggest storm in living memory rages outside. (Hanne actually thinks of And Then There Were None during the course of the novel, which worries her due to that book's unhappy ending!) I did a little reading on Finse, which has the station with the highest elevation in the Norwegian rail system (1,222 meters above sea level). It is also only accessible by train. There are no public roads to the town, though in the summer one can apparently bike there. (Side note to Star Wars fans: Finse is where they filmed the Hoth scenes, so that will give you an idea of the isolation!)
So, perfect setting for this kind of mystery. Her descriptions of the wind and snow, the mood of the stranded passengers, her characters' personalities (especially Hanne's) was all very good. I really felt like I was trapped in the hotel with the passengers, unable to get home, unable to sleep, unable to bathe properly, worried about the many deaths... I definitely liked that part. I also liked how unlikeable Hanne is. She's in a wheelchair, having been shot in the spinal column when she worked for the Oslo police. Her paralysis naturally distances people from her; however, she purposefully adds to the distance herself. Unlike my favorite Norwegian detective, Jo Nesbø's Harry Hole, she's not that likeable in spite of her flaws like he is. Still, I liked her a lot as a character. Hard to explain. She spends a lot of time putting off an investigation, which might seem weird but also makes sense. She expects the police to have an easy time solving the crime when they arrive to a limited group of suspects, and she seems to want distance from that aspect of her past. It's the second death that makes her really want to get investigating, and that's when I started having more mixed reactions to the book.
One thing I can mention without spoiling the plot is Hanne's tendency as a first-person narrator to frequently state that she has a plausible "theory" or "idea" or "thought," but she never shares these with the reader and so she's solving a mystery with clues known only to her. It made me feel left out and somewhat annoyed with her. Guess that's part of her unlikeable character, since she never shared information with any of the other passengers if she could avoid it!
(view spoiler)[As for the rest, basically I found it very frustrating that she makes such a big deal about this extra carriage on the back of the train, only for that to have nothing to do with the mystery at all. It really only gives her an excuse to preach about American treatment of terrorists and its death penalty, compared to Norway's policies. That whole thing really jerked me out of the story. It was also a bit too convenient how so many people new Cato before they were on the train together, as if she was desperate to add suspects. There's only one clear motive for his murder if you read between the lines, in the story about the embezzlement. The fact that Veronica is suddenly and all too conveniently the daughter of the wronged party made the mystery feel too easy to solve, and the reader never had a hope of solving it since we're not privy to that information ahead of time. So the ending seemed to unravel on me. I felt disappointed that she basically wasted such an awesome setting and ambiance for a mystery that quickly because downright pedestrian. It was so promising! Still, I did like it. (hide spoiler)]
This book is the most recent in the 8-book series, and it looks like book one will be out in English next year. I'm really looking forward to it, because I'd like to know more about Hanne's life, her partner, her daughter, what she was like as a policewoman before she was paralyzed, and the events leading up to her injury. I assume this book is much different than the others because of the setting. I would guess the others are more police procedurals and more about Hanne's character, rather than having the feel of an amateur sleuth with the whole trapped-characters-interacting scenario. So yes, very curious to read the rest from the beginning.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more