There's some really strong writing in this book, but it didn't hold up very well as a mystery. The mystery in itself wasn't the problem, nor were theThere's some really strong writing in this book, but it didn't hold up very well as a mystery. The mystery in itself wasn't the problem, nor were the characters (I liked them a lot). What bothered me was that (view spoiler)[Mycroft and Watts ended up figuring out most of the details of the homicide with so few clues. By the end, I couldn't suspend my disbelief. If the development of the mystery had been given more time to breath, it would've been better, but the romance ended up being more believable than Mycroft's brilliance. It's one thing to piece a story together from clues no one else notices, a la Sherlock. It's another thing to solve a case without any good evidence at all. (hide spoiler)] Still, I liked Watts' voice so much that I would give the next book a read....more
A good adaptation with the most unsympathetic, sociopathic Victor I've ever encountered. The humans are so monstrous that it's almost laughable when tA good adaptation with the most unsympathetic, sociopathic Victor I've ever encountered. The humans are so monstrous that it's almost laughable when the characters still insist that the Creature is a demon. The story is dark enough as it is, but Barnes did his best to make you hate the human race even more. This insistence on cruelty left me feeling lukewarm about the story in the end. I prefer Shelley's subtle evils -- her Victor still believes himself to be a good man with extraordinary abilities, and he sees his own flaws in the end. Barnes' Victor DGAF about whether or not he's in the right. It's implied that there's a reason for this, but they didn't delve into it enough for me....more
I keep vacillating on whether or not Amanda Palmer jumped from story to story on purpose or because she was on such a tight deadline, but to be honestI keep vacillating on whether or not Amanda Palmer jumped from story to story on purpose or because she was on such a tight deadline, but to be honest, I don't care. I still loved everything about this book. I don't feel any need to truly analyze its "structure" or whatever the hell else critical readers are supposed to do because Amanda's story is so riveting.
She begins by telling her story as a street performer, "The 8-Foot Bride", and as she tells her story chronologically, she also drops in anecdotes from various times in her life. I could see how these time jumps may frustrate some readers, but I think the anecdotes complemented her narrative perfectly. And technically, this isn't a memoir. It's marketed as a self-help book. In reality, it's both of those things, and it's also an artistic manifesto and a "how-to" guide for people who want to become working artists. And her words are beautiful. I must've cried five or six times, and when I wasn't crying, I was laughing, or I was vigorously underlining my favorite passages to tweet or post on Instagram later. She often compares herself with her husband, Neil Gaiman, and not in a positive way. They're extremely different writers, but I can honestly say I was just as touched by Amanda's nonfiction as I have been by Neil's fiction. Amanda's honesty and vulnerability is absolutely infectious, and even though I'd only heard a few of her songs and had read only a few of her most popular blog posts, I fell in love with her while reading this. ...more
I was surprised at how earnest Amy Schumer was in her book, but as I watched more clips of her show and her standup, I came to realize that I shouldn'I was surprised at how earnest Amy Schumer was in her book, but as I watched more clips of her show and her standup, I came to realize that I shouldn't have been surprised at all. Schumer is painted as a very crass comedian who relies on sex as her main source material. That isn't wrong, per se, but it certainly takes her material out of context. She isn't afraid to share her sexual experiences and discuss her personal life in a way that makes you feel like you're talking to a friend. You can see yourself in her. Maybe that's part of why she's so powerful -- she doesn't position herself as this out of touch Hollywood Goddess, not does she position herself as a representation of "the common woman", although that's obviously how tabloid media portrays her, I guess because she doesn't get lip injections or something. She just does what she wants. She's forced to think about gender stereotypes now because she built her career on ignoring them, but she still does a good job of flying in the face of expectations. And I like that about her. I liked her book a lot, too, even as it meandered all over the place....more
"I'll try to remember," Kim said, half to herself. "Remember what?" "To call you Rose."
When I first started reading this book, I was unnerved. Something"I'll try to remember," Kim said, half to herself. "Remember what?" "To call you Rose."
When I first started reading this book, I was unnerved. Something significant had happened to Rose, but what was it? What had changed? As the clues were dropped and I started to see the full picture, I was really stunned by how simple this book was and how deeply it impacted me. It comes at you under the guise of a contemporary YA novel, and then it hits you with something that, yes, is science fiction, but also feels so close in terms of technological advances that I almost hate shelving it as sci-fi. Not to mention that I can think of so many people -- including myself -- who would've considered doing what "Rose" did. Maybe that was the most unsettling part of the whole story. ...more
At one point towards the end of the story, Simon says, "...there are times when it's actually more work not to smile." Which basically sums up how I fAt one point towards the end of the story, Simon says, "...there are times when it's actually more work not to smile." Which basically sums up how I feel about this book....more
2.5 stars. Despite my rating, I did like this book. While the story is set in a very typical fantasy world without much to make it stand out, the char2.5 stars. Despite my rating, I did like this book. While the story is set in a very typical fantasy world without much to make it stand out, the characters are solid, and I found myself rooting for Celaena on more than one occasion. She's much more confident and even cocky than some of the YA heroines I've encountered in recent memory, and while it seems this turned some people off, I loved it. The girl's beautiful, and she knows it. She's also strong, and she knows it. She still has believable moments of self-doubt, and she struggles through that and comes out on the other side, flexing her biceps for the crowd. You go girl.
Chaol and Dorian were also enjoyable, though I'd be lying if I said Dorian didn't feel like a familiar character. He's far from the first Bad Boy with a Heart of Gold in a novel with a significant romantic plot, and at first I found his scenes painfully annoying. By the end, I liked him more. It's interesting to see (view spoiler)[ the parts of him that shine through as he falls in love, though I prefer to think that the changes were not REAL changes, but simply a reflection of him growing up. He acknowledges that the women he hooks up with before meeting Celaena are using him as much as he's using them, and Maas does a good job of showing us his evolution as he decides that those relationships aren't what he wants for himself forever. But I'm intrigued to see if she'll take him right back there in the next book, now that Celaena has hung him out to dry. (hide spoiler)]
Chaol is...well, he's the best friend. Another cliché, yes, but that's the cliché I prefer, so I give him an unfair advantage. I took less of an issue with his relationship with Celaena and more of an issue with his strange incompetence. (view spoiler)[When he brings Celaena to look at one of the murder victims, she makes observations that -- in my mind -- a person of Chaol's position should've also made. I think many people probably looked at that scene and got annoyed with Celaena for being a know-it-all, but for me, it's Chaol who deserves the criticism here. How am I supposed to believe he's the Captain of the Guard if he doesn't pay attention to details like that, despite being the head investigator? And how the hell does he examine every crime scene and not give the Wyrdmarks a second thought? Sure, maybe he wouldn't have been able to examine them openly because of the ban on magic, but he didn't even NOTICE them? I have a hard time buying that. It seems like this was a matter of Maas trying very hard to make the plot work around the characters. After all, if Chaol had noticed the marks, that would've added a whole new dimension to Celaena's investigation. (hide spoiler)]
And that wasn't the only plot point that took me out of Maas' world. I'm always bothered when I see a world that worships a female goddess and yet has the same patriarchal system we're used to seeing in high fantasy novels and fairy tales. Does not compute. If everyone worshipped a woman, and if even the priestesses are women, how are women not given more power in society? I have practice overlooking this while reading other books, so it didn't spoil the story for me, but it's worth thinking about.
And lastly, (view spoiler)[why do we have a heroine who suspects her closest friend of attacking champions when the true identity of the attacker is painfully obvious? This was a real weak point in the arc of the story. I still enjoyed this book, and I wasn't going into it expecting to be thrown off by a plot twist, so this wasn't particularly upsetting. But once again, this seemed like Maas making her characters fit uncomfortably into the Plot Box when letting them be themselves would've made for a more believable reveal moment, even if it wasn't such a big reveal. (hide spoiler)]
I've heard the series gets better as it goes on, and I definitely like the characters enough to invest more time in them, so I'm planning on continuing with the next book....more