Read most of it yesterday, over spaghetti with Wai Theng at Pak Li, while waiting for Mama to pick me up, over vegetable sambusa at Zamzam. Of course...moreRead most of it yesterday, over spaghetti with Wai Theng at Pak Li, while waiting for Mama to pick me up, over vegetable sambusa at Zamzam. Of course by this time I was somewhere near the climax and had to stay up till midnight to finish it.
Started off dry though. Bunch of new characters. It felt, in the beginning, more like informative narration exploring the consequences from the first book. But it got better.
Starkey's escape scene was just... ouch. Ouch ouch ouch ouch.(less)
This book of Dan Wells seems to have better ratings than I Am Not A Serial Killer, which I think is strange, because IANASK was (for me, at least) muc...moreThis book of Dan Wells seems to have better ratings than I Am Not A Serial Killer, which I think is strange, because IANASK was (for me, at least) much more enjoyable to read. Wayyy much more.
The beginning of Partials was rather dull and non-engaging, but the plot picked up in the latter half of the book. I can't say I really feel any empathy for the characters, though I do plan to read the next book in the sequence, even if only to find out what happens next.
p.s. kudzu kudzu kudzu kudzu KUDZU !!!! p.p.s. "Tell me about your...pheromones."(less)
A society consisting of five factions based on characteristics such as amity and candor? Pff, lame. Not to mention that it seemed like someone was try...moreA society consisting of five factions based on characteristics such as amity and candor? Pff, lame. Not to mention that it seemed like someone was trying to be all in your face with those big words that are the names of the factions.
The above were my exact thoughts when I first heard of this book and as I read the first few pages.
But somehow, along the way, I became invested in the story. Not sure how that happened. The writing is not to my taste, though I guess one can say that it fits the dystopian setting. I will be reading the next book.(less)
It began as just a probe—to see how good the story was, whether I could discard it from my to-read pile or not. I hadn't even read the summary of the...moreIt began as just a probe—to see how good the story was, whether I could discard it from my to-read pile or not. I hadn't even read the summary of the story beforehand, just started reading from the first sentence, which was a quote from a character in the story. This story definitely does not belong on the to-be-read pile—it belongs on my bookshelf, specifically the 'amazing why have I not read this before?!' section. Yeah, somehow I got sucked right into the world Shusterman created, reading from noon till 4 pm.
It's no wonder, really. Shusterman's Unwind is one of the most magnificent stories I have ever read. The writing was a little weak in the beginning, but showed an interesting enough premise--beginning with The Bill of Life, a new rule that satisfied pro-choice and pro-life armies, where a child may be retroactively 'aborted' when he reaches 13 years of age.
As I read on, I was not disappointed. Far from it, for Unwind quickly becomes multilayered as it progresses. You follow the story from different points of view. Though this is a device that is easy to butcher, Shusterman pulls it off splendidly.
The plot is detailed, yet not difficult at all to read, as the story is well-paced. It encompasses the fictional slang, pasts of the different characters, and even incorporates subplots such as the scare-stories of 'Humphrey Dunfee', among others. I felt that Connor's part at the end seemed a bit too short, but the ending was overall well-executed and satisfying; no loose ends that I can think of.
p.s. My favourite character was Lev.
[After logging on to Goodreads] What? Unwind has a sequel? Wow. I thought this was a standalone book. Nevertheless, I will read the sequel if I can get my hands on it, though I personally think that this book is good enough on its own.
I normally shy away from books that: a) are categorised under the horror genre, and b) were translated into English from their original language—
But had...moreI normally shy away from books that: a) are categorised under the horror genre, and b) were translated into English from their original language—
But had I done that in this case, I would have missed a truly amazing book.
Upon opening the book, I was confronted with a list containing 42 names...in Japanese. That was, of course, to be expected, but still I gawked and wondered, "How on Earth am I supposed to remember who everyone is?"
However, once I had made it past the list and into the story, it was quite easy to follow the story. Takami, in spite of his rather large cast, had balanced the characters' appearances and points of view well; the story was interspersed with various flashbacks that gave insight into the characters' backgrounds. Also, there was the factor of the continually decreasing number of students left in the game.
The main protagonists were Nanahara Shuya and Nakagawa Noriko, Male and Female Students No. 15 respectively. Shuya was alright as a character, though Noriko much too passive, but I could accept that. My favourite character, however, was Shinji, mainly because of the plan he came up with and his interactions with Yutaka.
I enjoyed the writing, though different than that of English novels in general, I attributed it to the fact that it was a Japanese novel in the first place. Personally, I think that the way the dialogues and monologues were interwoven displayed the characters' train of thoughts very well, as the events unfolded.
Another interesting thing I found about the story was how Takami inserted elements or references to certain issues (not necessarily school-related), such as bullying, cowardice and how these things come back to bite you in the ass—for example, Keita who had, once upon a time, refrained from helping out his classmate, was killed by that classmate, and Yoshio who had been bullied became the first killer in the game, spurred on by his fear:
There was no need to discern your allies from your enemies. Everyone had to be an enemy. After all when Ryuhei Sasagawa used to pick on him, everyone looked the other way.
Going back to the premise of the story... Essentially, it's about a whole class trying to kill each other on a small island, where the last one standing is awarded a life-long pension (and the Director's autograph, but that's not important). So of course there were murders, and some of them very gruesome indeed—(Kazushi Nuda's...ugh...)—this book may not be for those with an aversion to literary gore.(less)
In my opinion not as spectacular as the prequel, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. I would categorise this as a light read, whereas the Giver had bee...moreIn my opinion not as spectacular as the prequel, but an enjoyable read nonetheless. I would categorise this as a light read, whereas the Giver had been more exciting. The writing in this story was simple and fluent—just right the pacing of the story. The only thing that disappointed me was the unresolved ending, but that's still alright as there is a sequel to this.
Lowry built Kira's world well, solidifying it with its own unique slang and concepts, much like in The Giver; for example: 'tykes', the Fen people's rough way of speaking, and names that become longer with age. This world, as stated in an interview with Lowry, could be the same as that of The Giver's, and there is a mention of a blue-eyed boy at the end who is possibly Jonas from the previous book.
In addition, there was an underlying sense of mystery—the deceptions and questionable objectives of the village council as well as the truth about Kira's father.(less)
**spoiler alert** (I am still nursing a headache from reading the book. You might argue that reviewing said book through a headache is not the wisest...more**spoiler alert** (I am still nursing a headache from reading the book. You might argue that reviewing said book through a headache is not the wisest course of action.)
After the excitement of books one and two, I am disappointed to say that reading this has been disappointing. Granted, the story is set in a time of war, but the events were haywire and too numerous. Suzanne Collins clearly does not have an economy with character deaths.
The beginning was agony to plow through much like how Catching Fire started out, only for Mockingjay, I never really knew when the story did start. I was also not content with how it ended, thinking that it felt rushed. My most thought thought throughout the reading process, as the tension stretches and stretches was, 'Just get on with it already!'
Another grievance: Buttercup surviving through everything, continuing to return to the Everdeens as well as his interaction with Katniss. The main reason was because all these portrayed Buttercup as a cat with a human quality, something I find to be quite clichéd. It reminded of all those stories in which the animals understood/empathised/communicated with the humans. Needless to say, I was never a fan of those.
And the roses. Symbolism is one thing, but too many repetitions and mentions of it and the significance is lost on me.
Also, I have never been a proponent of Katniss with Gale, preferring Peeta. What a surprise when I was not duly affected by the time the end came about and she chose Peeta. As was already said, too many things happened in this story, most of them ridiculously tensed up and I just stopped caring.
Please do not get me started on the whole being-televised-while-in-combat thing.
The few things I liked about Mockingjay? The first would be District 13; the concept of a rediscovered place that enforced rigid discipline and strict orderliness is unique, to say the least. Some of the twists were quite good. For example, Katniss finding her prep team imprisoned in far belowground, 'half-naked, bruised, and shackeld to the wall'. I also liked the 'The Hanging Tree' song. Creepily good.
All in all, worth a read if you liked the previous books and want to know the conclusion, even if you're like me and would not like the Mockingjay by the end of it.(less)