I've been on something of a cozy mystery kick lately, but I think it is possible I just dislike cozy mysteries! (My BFF, upon hearing that theory: "I...moreI've been on something of a cozy mystery kick lately, but I think it is possible I just dislike cozy mysteries! (My BFF, upon hearing that theory: "I can't believe you ever thought you liked cozy mysteries." I will blame all disappointing reads on her from now on, for failing to stop me from reading them despite her clearly superior knowledge of my taste and character.) I was frankly expecting this to be a cozy, but the main character is a cop (something you'd think I would have picked up from the fact that the series is called "Chief Inspector Armand Gamache"), and I think I might be happier for it. I liked the setting -- rural Quebec, perfect reading for bitterly cold days and scaldingly hot tea -- and the writing was full of understated sarcasm and sly humor. Overall, quiet but captivating, and I'll definitely be reading more in this series.(less)
Brain candy! I liked this one much better than the second one, but I don't think we're quite to four stars. It was fun and fast-paced and the killer w...moreBrain candy! I liked this one much better than the second one, but I don't think we're quite to four stars. It was fun and fast-paced and the killer was not obvious since page two, but there's still something that annoys me about this series. I'm starting to suspect it's the propensity to lecture -- I'm all for learning new things, but it's rare for more than a half-dozen pages to go by without a few self-satisfied paragraphs about coffee or architecture. I care about coffee and architecture! But the format is a bit offputting.(less)
3.5 stars, but rounding down because definitely not 4. Enjoyed this one more than the first one, which surprised me. I think I just stopped fighting t...more3.5 stars, but rounding down because definitely not 4. Enjoyed this one more than the first one, which surprised me. I think I just stopped fighting the absurdity? It was still silly, but I thought the plot was interesting (until the very end, when it was just eyerolly) and there was more worldbuilding this time around. Fun enough that I basically read it in an evening.(less)
**spoiler alert** "Life is full of shitty conflicts," said the wise man, and I suppose if there is something to appreciate in this series, it's the fa...more**spoiler alert** "Life is full of shitty conflicts," said the wise man, and I suppose if there is something to appreciate in this series, it's the fact that even when it's summertime, the living ain't easy. Yes, the setup leading to the dystopia is utter nonsense and somehow becomes even more ridiculous once you know What Really Happened, but -- oh wait, sorry. Never mind. I forgot that our heroes mindwipe a bunch of scientists and this fixes everything.
Um. Pretty rough ending to the series, and not just because she killed off the main character (as you can imagine, this is a source of some mild internet rage, by which I mean I'm pretty sure Roth is getting death threats). Where do I even start.
Writing: Unlike in the first two books, the POV in this one switches between Tris and Four, but their voices have exactly zero distinguishing characteristics; more than once I had to go back to the chapter heading to remind myself who was speaking. It allowed for an increase in scope, which I appreciated, but it was a good idea poorly executed.
Pacing: Shitty. Too much up-front exposition, then a long period of discovery that was paced fine but sucked anyway for reasons (on which more later), followed by a too much preaching and then a terrible plan to change the world that's wrapped up in like three pages.
The Ending: I'm actually way more upset by Evelyn deciding to abdicate power and cancel the revolution because of ~the power of love~ than I am by Tris' death. It's not that I doubt ~the power of love~, especially the power of parental love; it's that I doubt the power of Evelyn's love. We weren't shown enough of her to make it believable, and like everything else, it was handled too quickly for me to buy in.
As for Tris' death, the only thing I found particularly surprising about it is that her special-snowflake self is not somehow immune to bullets the way she is immune to everything else.
Reasons: I sort of (SORT OF) thought the outside conflict between the genetically pure and the genetically damaged was interesting, and I appreciated the attempt to explain & tie together everything that was going on in the world, but "everything that was going on in the world" was too much for this book to take on. Instead of sticking to the conflicts and revolutions within Chicago, we left the city, discovered world-wide conflicts and revolutions, and decided to take them on in 50 pages. Even if those conflicts & revolutions had been REALLY compelling, that would not have worked for me; I really felt like Roth bit off more than she could chew. She also probably missed a money-making opportunity by not writing a sequel trilogy about the experiments and whatever and ending this one in Chicago.
But mostly, I just found this book really tedious. I tired of the endless arguments about which group of people it was better to mindwipe; the ceaseless moralizing about sacrifice and forgiveness and what it means to love someone; the juvenile philosophical debates over the ethical ramifications of killing everyone. It all came off as naive, as reductionist, as completely lacking in any understanding of the darker angels of our nature. (less)
Well, despite the less-than-glowing review I gave the first book in this series, I saw some promise in it and decided to try the second one. Wrong cal...moreWell, despite the less-than-glowing review I gave the first book in this series, I saw some promise in it and decided to try the second one. Wrong call! I didn't actively dislike anyone, but the main character is still a jerk. I do not require characters to be likeable for me to like a book, but an exception to that rule is cozy mysteries. I want to like my small-town amateur sleuths, dammit! I want to enjoy the time I spend with them. In this case, I just don't.
Also, this isn't really a mystery, so much as the story of an obnoxiously stubborn woman trying to come to terms with her psychic powers and some past trauma. Most of this "coming to terms" thing seems to consist of a lot of frustrated whining that said powers do not provide her with the names, addresses and likenesses of murderers. They do provide her with other clues, though, and those clues seemed obvious enough to me. Those things add up to a few murders solved by virtue of answers handed down from the great beyond while we wait for the protagonist to get over herself enough to think, "oh! an answer! handed down from the great beyond! let me tell the cops."
Unsatisfying. The main character is a jerk (because trauma!) who uses her special librarian powers to solve the case by really sucking at research. Sa...moreUnsatisfying. The main character is a jerk (because trauma!) who uses her special librarian powers to solve the case by really sucking at research. Said case manages to be both nonsensical and predictable, which is quite the trick. The love interest is someone on whom I would have filed a restraining order immediately. I hated him SO MUCH, ugh. (Seriously, the first day he meets her, he is really pushy and obnoxious about wanting to follow her home from work "in case something happens." Like what? Like in case some creepy stranger shows up at my office and won't leave me alone and then follows me home? I'm sorry, your tight ass doesn't get you a pass on that shit.)
THAT SAID, Mr Odious is gone and I really like the idea of this series and there were bits of promise in here, so I'll be reading the next one. Never let it be said I'm not an optimist!(less)
Utterly boilerplate YA dystopia (much closer to Divergent than Hunger Games), which would have been totally fine except... well, there is this whole w...moreUtterly boilerplate YA dystopia (much closer to Divergent than Hunger Games), which would have been totally fine except... well, there is this whole weird rapey subplot going on that was terrible in many, many ways. It was victim-blamey ambiguous bullshit, with rapist as love interest, and yes, let's definitely be as cavalier and careless as possible with that kind of plotline when writing a book aimed at a young adult audience, which isn't confused enough about rape as it is. Do not want.
3.5 stars, but rounding up. I enjoy this show a lot and thought I'd pick up the books, but I definitely liked the pilot of the show more (plus, having...more3.5 stars, but rounding up. I enjoy this show a lot and thought I'd pick up the books, but I definitely liked the pilot of the show more (plus, having seen the show means I knew how the book would end). I really love Phyrne, slightly anachronistic Mary Sueish ways and all.(less)
The most important thing to know is that this is an ENTIRE book that has a werewolf as one of the main characters, and yet at no point does anyone say...moreThe most important thing to know is that this is an ENTIRE book that has a werewolf as one of the main characters, and yet at no point does anyone say "wolves mate for life." That's like two stars right there.
Otherwise I'm not sure what to say about this book. I would have liked a little more worldbuilding and a little less twee. The first couple chapters were SO over the top that I wasn't sure I would continue, but either she toned it down or I became inured (likely the latter). Overall, it landed on the fun side of the silly/stupid line, but it was a near thing.(less)
Everything about this book was ludicrous. I kept hoping someone would turn out to be a werelion, and then it would have everything! Spies, hockey, Can...moreEverything about this book was ludicrous. I kept hoping someone would turn out to be a werelion, and then it would have everything! Spies, hockey, Canada, the Olympics. (I'm not even kidding. I learned about this book and was like, "WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY I CAN HAVE IT." Come on, the guy's name is ALEKSEY KHOVECHKIN. I'm guessing he wears the #8.) But there was a tragic lack of werelions and a similarly tragic overuse of the word "loins," which is one of the least sexy words in the English language. I don't want to hear about anyone's loins, ever. Or their groins. In fact, please leave all -oin words out of your sex scenes, everyone. Unless you're French.
I also strongly disliked the main character, who we're told is some badass superspy but who mostly comes off as stupid and really bad at her job; the sudden POV shifts; and the many sentences like, "Growing up outside of Boston had been a prerequisite for owning a pair of skates at an early age." I'm sorry, but no, that isn't what "prerequisite" means.(less)