**spoiler alert** Now I've finished this trilogy of the Corean Chronicles and allowed myself to read reviews, I'm half-and-half about how much I liked**spoiler alert** Now I've finished this trilogy of the Corean Chronicles and allowed myself to read reviews, I'm half-and-half about how much I liked it.
I repeat the criticisms of the first two: EDIT PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Another book that could have been cut down by a third.
I think with really long books with multiple and complex aspects, you forgive the shortcomings more easily than in a short book because there's enough else to make up for it. So while I took note of all the repetition, and the parts where each time a word, place or thing was mentioned it seemed like Modesitt just c/p-ed the paragraph from the last time he mentioned it...it just made me chuckle indulgently.
Unlike some critics, I don't mind that Alucius always delivers. I like to like characters, and I liked him, and one thing I thought was totally awesome was Wendra doing all her butt-kicking with Alendra - her three-month old - in her carry-pack, strapped to her ma. That was very very cool.
Not sure if I'll read more, though...judging from the reviews, it all gets rather repetitive in plot....more
Same criticisms as for #1 - did nobody copy-edit this book????did nobody EDIT this book AT ALL???
Seriously. Cut out about 1/3 of the book - fewer treSame criticisms as for #1 - did nobody copy-edit this book????did nobody EDIT this book AT ALL???
Seriously. Cut out about 1/3 of the book - fewer trees get cut down (okay maybe not really), fewer pages, sentences that don't double back on themselves and choke off any sense...it would help keep me committed as a reader. If I put it down once between reading (and I did, because it took me a few days to finish), I had to skim back over everything that came before to figure out what was going on again.
Maybe I am just dumb. As before, once I got into it, it was good and I enjoyed it. I just got really thrown by poor editing. I'm also confused about why, at the end, Alucius doesn't dispatch the bravos with Talent, instead of bullets. If it was explained, I missed it. XD
This is not a review. It is a note-to-self....more
Two years since Artemis Fowl and the Time-Paradox, the titular teenage genius is back, andFull review can also be found here: http://wp.me/pNqpf-pT
Two years since Artemis Fowl and the Time-Paradox, the titular teenage genius is back, and this time with a plan to save the world – a change from his usual various and nefarious criminal activities. The book opens in Iceland, on Artemis’ 15th birthday.
At the end of the Time Paradox, things had become hopelessly tangled and complicated (that tends to happen when timestreams are involved), especially between Holly and Artemis. What do you need after that?
A lot of it.
This a book chock-full of awesome. Here is a list.
* Butler. Does anyone else geek out over at TV Tropes? There is a whole page about AF’s crowning moments of awesome. What is great about this series (among all the other things) is that the author never allows literary snobbery to interfere with storytelling. * The fear of cliché never stops him from writing the baddest, worstest crowning moments of funny. In fact, it’s full of CMs: CMs of awesome, funny AND heartwarming. * Brilliant one-liners: Colfer is master of the hilarious throwaway remark. You have to read ‘em. * The relationships: I love the interplays and by-plays between the cast: Artemis and Foaly, Mulch and Artemis, Foaly and Mulch, Holly and Butler, Artemis and Holly – there’s a real camaraderie hidden under all the quipping. And they’re a bunch of geeks shamelessly geeking out – it’s great! Geeking out is almost my professional pastime, and AF hits all my geek buttons whilst also hitting all my fangirl buttons. * Twins: a glimpse of Artemis’ now older twin brothers, in what is the most entertaining side-story of the book.
Artemis has been on the road to reform since the Arctic Incident, when he gets his father back, but old habits die hard. In the Time Paradox, Artemis faced his past self, and this book finds him trying to deal with the consequences of the person he used to be – and making an awful mess, because when magic involves itself, nothing is simple. The story is increasingly psychologically complex; Colfer now addresses the question of motivations and consequences, and the greyness of subjective moralities, with two completely different criminal minds.
In children’s books, it takes a kind of editorial bravery to introduce irreversible changes, things that won’t be repaired by a deus ex machina to return everything to the happily-ever-after that the reader wants – and this is new ground for the Artemis Fowl books, and I love it. Without giving too much away, what was happening in Artemis’ own head was the most complex and satisfying part of the story. I first thought the Atlantis Complex referred to…some fairy mega-corporation in Atlantis. It doesn’t.
Mental illness in children’s books can’t be easy to write authentically, and Colfer does not disrespect his reader – there is no watering down or shying away. Artemis faces it, and you, the reader, face it with him. I find this account extraordinarily nuanced and moving; as Artemis slides into severe obsessive compulsiveness, paranoia, hallucinations, and finally multiple personalities, it’s impossible not to feel a kind of cold shock. This can’t happen to Artemis.
Every so often, you read a book that is utterly satisfying in almost every way – like meeting an old and dearly-missed friend after a long time. Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex right now is that book. After over a decade of Artemis in my head, I still only want more – I want to know how he’ll change. It doesn’t answer all the questions – because there will be more. Artemis will be back, and so will Holly, and that’s another book.
The great beauty of a serial with child characters is its magnified scope for evolution, where the things that have happened affect and shape what will happen, and where there are no easy answers. It takes you from a child’s tumultuous world of growing and changing into one of inconstancy and ambiguity: People do bad things for good reasons; bad things happen to good people. It’s life: complicated and multifaceted – and hopeful. ...more
This book, although probably geared to a 12-16 age-group, is still enjoyable and insightful, especially for anyone who's been pulled in different direThis book, although probably geared to a 12-16 age-group, is still enjoyable and insightful, especially for anyone who's been pulled in different directions by conflicting cultures. The story is about Estrella, about to turn 15, and facing the doom that is a traditional Mexican Quinceanera, which marks a girl's passage to womanhood.
I liked the quirky little dictionary-definition chapter-intros of Spanish/Spanglish phrases: several made me sniggle* like a mad person.
It gives a really authentic account not only of a culture-clash but also a class divide, and the conclusion is one that every confused and culturally-torn teen has to know: every part of your life belongs to you, and YOU get to decide who you are. You don't have to choose one thing, like, 'be Mexican' or 'be preppy'. Be you.
I think I would've enjoyed it even more if Alegria had written this ten years sooner!
**spoiler alert** The portrayal of the sisters' relationships was brilliant and beautiful, and that's really what made this book for me. I mean, roman**spoiler alert** The portrayal of the sisters' relationships was brilliant and beautiful, and that's really what made this book for me. I mean, romance is great and everything, but a person does get tired of the same old formula (no offence, Silas, but this book was not about you. Well, okay, it was a little, but...it wasn't 'The Sisters Red and the Woodsman-kid', right?).
The book trailer is what hooked me, for this book: the excerpt is really stunning. Although I had the whole story worked out within the first few chapters, and predicted it correctly all the way through (a yay-point, after my Jasmyn screw-up), it didn't detract from the loveliness of the Rosie-Scarlett vignettes.
The prose was liquid and graceful, although there's also a certain amount of uncertainty that makes you feel like Jackson Pearce is trying a lot of new stuff for the first time - I mean that in a good way! I am definitely looking forward to Sweetly.
There were a few things I was uncertain about, that I hope the author can explain at some point (spoilers ahead):
The wolves: the Fenris are described as having no souls - how then are their memories explained? And their personalities? Like the 14-year old boy, and the fact that they all seem to have very distinct personalities. If they have no soul, doesn't the Fenris have to show a complete departure from the person their body used to be?
Similarly, they respond to their Alpha like any pack would be expected to: does this mean their HUMAN soul has dissipated and the body becomes that of a predator that is basically animal and not human? And if that is the case, how can that be described as 'evil', instead of just animal?
Thirdly, the manner of their...dispersal - the dissolving into shadows - upon their death backs up the evil-soul-eaten person construct, but it doesn't explain their personality, memory and apparent humanity.
So my uncertainty is that one part works if you ignore another part, but all of it doesn't seem to work together....more
My sister told me if I was looking for a Codex Alera fix, I'd find it with this. 'It's even better than Alera,' she said.
I'm amazed I finally finishedMy sister told me if I was looking for a Codex Alera fix, I'd find it with this. 'It's even better than Alera,' she said.
I'm amazed I finally finished it - it's one of those books that even after you've been reading it for days, you don't seem to have got any further.
The first 3/4 of the book are very slow. It took me over a hundred pages to get into it, and work out the world (i.e. 'Hieron, Madrien': all it needed was the smallest throwaway sentence to say it was the capital city of Madrien, the land ruled by the Matrial. REALLY), and I put down the book many, many times for other books just because it was sorely testing my patience. I wasn't fully convinced by the romance between Alucius and Wendra, which got in the way of sympathising with them, although the dissonance lessened towards the end of the book.
When books exceed a certain length, do editors and proofreaders stop reading them? It seemed to me this book would have benefited from a forthright editor. All over the book, chunks of several paragraphs could have been reduced to a few more effective sentences; there were many instances when sentences just didn't make sense, even though I read and re-read them. The pace was too slow, held up by excessive text, and there was too little explanation about a lot of things, although it's possible that is being saved for later books. Poor editing really detracted from this book.
That said: I really got into once I figured out everything that was going on. Lots of military stuff again (how did this happen to me? I even read Sharpe's Rifles by Bernard Cornwell XD) - Alucius does remind me a little of Tavi (Codex Alera by Jim Butcher), and my sister told me - when I told her it was hard to get into - to imagine that Alucius has a 'rich inner world'. I admit that helped XD...more
Overall enjoyable, not a serious book, but nice (a good break from number-crunching). Refreshing take on fairies!
I guess one thing you could say thatOverall enjoyable, not a serious book, but nice (a good break from number-crunching). Refreshing take on fairies!
I guess one thing you could say that Twilight has done for literature is rejuvenated the mythical character recycling/refurbishing plant (and if you have read this book, you will see what I did there!). Good read!...more
- Making me think of a conversation I had with a friend once, about how the only real experience of complete silence and isolation o(early in reading)
- Making me think of a conversation I had with a friend once, about how the only real experience of complete silence and isolation on Earth is possible in a desert, and said friend always wanted to do that. So I'm thinking about that a lot.
- Also its tone reminds me a great deal of Meg Rosoff's 'How I live now', except with punctuation. I've been reading it while roasting in the sun, too, so it fits - just like reading 'How I Live Now' during a visit to Leeds Castle in the middle of the English countryside at high Summer....more
Surprisingly not-trite spin of Beauty and the Beast: having just finished the last Alex Rider book, I was thinking of the film (Alex Pettyfer plays AlSurprisingly not-trite spin of Beauty and the Beast: having just finished the last Alex Rider book, I was thinking of the film (Alex Pettyfer plays Alex Rider), and the very next day I saw a trailer for Beastly. Although I've been aware of the book for a long time, I didn't particularly want to read it (a person can take only so many black-and-red paranormal romances XD), but the trailer made me curious.
It's a retelling from the Beast's point of view, and although you can see where it's all going, it was a more complex story than it passes itself of as. There's the obvious theme of outer beauty vs inner, but there are also more intricate themes of parental relationships, the meaning of friendship, and horticulture. The IM logs were a diverting touch: hilarious, serious and endearing at the same time (the frog XD).
Obviously, the film messes with it pretty comprehensively. For a start, Kyle's beastly appearance is...Magneto with an external vascular system. Hullo, not beastly! And Magda is, um, black? No she's not, she's East European. I think. I know there are good reasons for 'ethnic casting', but it grates at my sense of book-fidelity....more
Weirdly forgot that Alex is only 14 - same age as my brother is now. Every new Alex Rider book makes me happy because it's like catching up with an olWeirdly forgot that Alex is only 14 - same age as my brother is now. Every new Alex Rider book makes me happy because it's like catching up with an old friend - you don't simply read it for the story, but because Alex is, in a sense, a very good friend and you care about him.
Also, Anthony Horowitz's dog is called Lumpy, in this book XD XD
Fun to note how the opening of the book puts you fully in mind of a kind of prose-version of Hiyao Miyazaki, which is a great throwback to the inspiriFun to note how the opening of the book puts you fully in mind of a kind of prose-version of Hiyao Miyazaki, which is a great throwback to the inspiriation of Wooding's original Broken Sky series. The author has said often enough that that belonged to the manga tradition (Vision of Escaflowne fits its mood just right). Retribution Falls was more more Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind crossed with Princess Mononoke crossed with Howl's Moving Castle...Miyazaki, basically. You could see it in your mind....more
This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.
Maggie Stiefvater‘s third book, Shiver, debuted at a stunning #9 on the NYT Bestsellers’ List last year, and remained on it for more than 25 weeks. Its sequel, Linger (Scholastic Press, 2010), comes out this Summer on the 20th July, 2010.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of being human.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces – wolf and human…as their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?
What can I say? I have waited for this book for SO LONG (the worst part of the fangirl job-description), and it made its way across the Atlantic for me, and I’ve read it and I love it and I have no idea how to a) start this review, or b) write it without spoiling it for everybody. For everyone who is waiting for this book, and everyone who loved Shiver, and everyone who loves Sam and Grace, and everyone who was so ready to cry their eyes out at the end of the previous book – you won’t be disappointed. You really really won’t.
I’m struggling to talk about it without giving anything away, and it goes against my genetic hard-wiring to tell people what happened in books they haven’t read. So for a proper grown-up review, go read Noor’s. I’m just going to fangirl, okay?
After Shiver, I admit I was a little bit doubtful about where else this story would or could go, how it wouldn’t be repeat of it but in reverse – I had faith in Maggie (even though I thought Lament was a little shaky*), but judging from Shiver, I couldn’t see where this was set up to go. In fact, it was a while before Maggie revealed it HAD a sequel (and the SEQUEL had a sequel**).
Linger takes a step up from Shiver and really works its momentum, introducing two new first-person narrative voices in addition to Grace and Sam. We’ve already met prickly and spunky Isabel, and now we meet Cole, a new wolf – and a complicated jerk – creating an ambitious four-way narrative.
Can I take a moment to do some Isabel-fangirling? How awesome is she? The girl’s a...not a nice person, but totally honest with it...and actually, it turns out she’s not such a...not-nice person after all, but she would rather have you think that she is. Grace’s history gives her character depth and complexity, but with Isabel, it’s her personality. It was skilful contrast at its best, and the reason why you could laugh your way through so much of it.
Grace: What are you feeding them? Isabel: Babies.
This. This is why I really like Isabel. I like tough girls in fiction: the ones that give no quarter but secretly have hearts in places where they hope nobody will ever discover them. I noticed several times how the description of her expressions were telling you...she looked ‘inadvertently cruel’, she had a smile that ‘always looked like a smirk’, her ‘sheer insensitivity’. In some ways you feel like she has all the appearance of a, er, not-nice person without any real evidence that she actually is one.
You know what? I want to be FRIENDS with Isabel, the girl makes me laugh like a chimney-sweep on drugs. BE MY FRIEND, ISABEL.
You know what else? Even though it was all of the things Shiver was – lyrical and quiet and a necklace of moments – it was also really funny. I laughed to myself a LOT (on the bus, as usual), even at the most serious parts – Isabel’s a magic ingredient.**** And this is another thing that was just great about Linger. A writer with less intuition would hamstring themselves by taking it all too seriously – boys who turn into wolves, wolves who turn into boys, girls who love them…it can all get very angsty very quickly – or it can go Twilight – but it doesn’t.
It’s not that it’s ‘real’ or realistic – I mean, hello, it’s about werewolves, and werewolves somewhat lack ecological validity – but what is at the core of it is its honesty. The characters are far from perfect – they might be self-involved jerks, but they are unflinchingly honest with it. This is why you can love them – they never pretend to be anything else, not in their own heads. And that’s true for every one of the main characters – their narratives burn with it. You can love them because you can be them.
In other books, first-person narratives often suffer a loss of quality because...I think the best way I can describe it is to go a little academic and talk about something called ‘social desirability distortion’, which is jargonese for when people make themselves appear how they think they ought to be, rather than how they truly are. Writers are serial perpetrators where this is concerned; with or without realising it, characters are idealised and ‘tidied up’ – even their flaws and inconsistencies.
Live a little or live a lot, you know the things you do, say or think aren’t always consonant with each other: consistency is a goal and a work in progress, it rarely truly exists in a person as completely as a lot of books would have you believe. So much depends not only on the person you are, but on the situation, the different internal pressures that might make you react in different ways to the same situation – there are so many variables, so many things, that even your inconsistencies must lack consistency, and ‘the person you are’ is as much a sum of your contradictions as anything else.
These four – Sam, Grace, Isabel and Cole – they are so different, and yet in all their differences, they remain steadfastly honest characters, and so earnestly human. And at its heart, I feel like this is what this whole story comes down to: not just staying human, but being human - even when you don’t want to be, even if it kills you.
The following is an excerpt of one of my favourite (non-spoiling) moments from Linger:
Stepping out into the middle of the sidewalk, I watched tiny flakes float down onto the abandoned street. As far as I could see, there were banks of old snow pressed into stained sculptures. Icicles made jagged smiles on the storefronts.
My eyes smarted with the cold. I held my free hand out, palm up, and watched as snow dissolved on my skin.
This was not real life. This was life as watched through a window. Life watched on television. I couldn’t remember when I hadn’t hidden from this.
I was cold, I had a handful of snow, and I was human.
The future stretched before me, infinite and growing and mine, in a way that nothing had ever been before.
On finishing this book...I feel very tired and very sad, and about a hundred years old. I wonder if anyone will be able to read this without it sharpening any pain or grief or loss they might have felt in their own lives. Linger is like a song, aching and wistful and beautiful. It happened that I was finishing the book off to the soundtrack of one of my students playing ‘Memory‘ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’ on their piano, and it’s become woven into my memory of it, its theme.
And you know what? It’s perfect.
* I did say this to Maggie’s VERY FACE, and she didn’t eat me, or cry, so I guess it’s okay to say it on the internet. ** If you rearrange the letters*** of ‘sequel’ you get ‘squeel’ which is really almost as good as ‘squeal’. *** I’ve been reading John Green. **** Or perhaps Maggie is the magic ingredient? Duh.
All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof supplied to The Rock Pool for review by Scholastic Press, US....more
This is based on a) cards, and b) gaming, neither of which I know much about. That's part of the reason I was interested in it.
It takes about 3/4 of tThis is based on a) cards, and b) gaming, neither of which I know much about. That's part of the reason I was interested in it.
It takes about 3/4 of the book to set up the whole premise of the Game and the world of the Arcanum, so don't expect this to be plot-driven until the end. I also found parts of it unconvincing: the motivations of the chancers didn't have enough momentum, nor does their eventual 'mission' really answer that question. It was difficult to understand why the Game Masters needed to be overthrown (they seemed like inoffensive, if creepy, people), and you could predict the end.
I think the real story starts in the second book, so in one sense, this one is a filler, if a first book can be described that way.
I liked Cat - she was tough and smart and doesn't give an inch. Toby reminds me of Fabian from the Thirteen Treasures and Thirteen Curses: they're both mildly annoying know-it-alls who have dubious social skills, but where Fabian is really genuinely geeky, Toby is more of a nerd. Flora was good, but Blaine was the character I was really interested in, and his is the only story completely untold in this book.
I don't think this is worth reading until you have the second one immediately to hand, but otherwise, it's enjoyable if a little complicated in terms of world-setting....more
I loved the first few books of this series, but every time a new book comes out, I FORGET EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE. So I spend about two-thirdsI loved the first few books of this series, but every time a new book comes out, I FORGET EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE. So I spend about two-thirds of the book completely confused, trying to figure out what happened before.
The token Muslim-named character DOING HARAM THINGS really annoyed me. I know authors try to include 'ethnic' characters for the sake of inclusiveness and representativeness, but it's indiscriminate and without an understanding of or sensitivity to the group they're plucking their character from.
Also, hello, 'Yesh'?? From 'Ayesha'? Are you kidding? Harry Potter did this right. Rowling left Muslims alone. It would've been objectionable because, you know, magic is haram. A 'Muslim Harry Potter' would be Bad....more