Had a hard time pinning down what didn't grab me about the book. At the moment it just boils down to the fact that for me, American Gods didn't coalesHad a hard time pinning down what didn't grab me about the book. At the moment it just boils down to the fact that for me, American Gods didn't coalesce as an entire novel in a satisfactory way.
Despite it mostly being told with the main character - Shadow - in view, there are multiple stories here, many of which are very interesting and add quite a bit of color. One of my favorite things about NG's style is you generally get the idea various seeming-tangents will come back around and tie in to the main thread in a clever way. And even if they don't (or you don't see how, rather), the stories they tell and the characters they follow are engaging on their own.
The stories of how the gods were brought to the US are by far my favorite moments in the book. I typically like books that seem to go on and on - as in favor the "here it is" commonplace happenings over the up-and-away climatic moments - and I quite liked the bits with Mr. J and Mr. I, but I cared little for (and about) Shadow so I was pretty detached from the book as a whole. As I mull over it, perhaps it's MEANT to be that way, considering the subject. Definitely food for thought. ...more
Awesome. Despite all it's foibles, this is one example of my ideal science fiction book. In fact, I could very well read this over again and pop the rAwesome. Despite all it's foibles, this is one example of my ideal science fiction book. In fact, I could very well read this over again and pop the rating up to 5 stars.
First, a note and a few warnings: Vernor Vinge was a true blue scientist first (computer science and mathematics), and so perhaps some reviewer complaints about the technical detail and less-than-preferred level of characterization can be explained to a certain extent. I for one prefer science and tech over "drama" and found the concepts flushed out in this text conceivable, imaginative and fascinating, though readers who prefer more "drama" and characterization may find this book to be lacking.
The beginning of the book is somewhat vague, and it takes some time to properly understand the universe Vinge has thrust you into. You will find such "cumbersome" names like Wrickrackrum and Jaqueramaphan in the beginning, but definitely hang in there as there is a very good explanation as to why names like that exist. He does a good job of explaining through his characters the Zones (of Thought) and how time and space operate relative to where one is placed in this universe, but the lag between the outset and the expression of that universe can make the context difficult to understand right away. Vinge's explanations of how his characters use technology can be very technical, and if you can't appreciate such details, will serve as tangents that bog down the overall flow of the story. Also, one of the primary alien races, while interesting and unique in the grand scheme of this universe, is described - and behaves - in a very human way. This description of the Tines' behavior gives the reader context for how they operate, and also makes them Less interesting (but not uninteresting) as an alien species though many of their other characteristics more than make up for the lack.
Some will love it, and some will hate it, but ultimately, I found this book to be imaginative and well worth the read. Humans come up both as a subject and a footnote, and in a "space opera" like A Fire In The Deep, that's how it should be! I fell in love with many of the characters such as Pilgrim and "Amdijefri" (SPOILER ALERT: some of them WILL die), appreciated the dynamics of inter-species relations, and now that I've spent time learning about the universe Vinge created, would be totally interested in reading other books that work within the same universal context.
I've always thought that a good science fiction text - especially one that aims to conceive of a universe rather than simply one world or another - admits the fleeting nature of civilizations and all their issues in the face of time. One quote: "Over the last few weeks, some newsgroups have been full of tales of war and battle fleets, of billions dying in the clash of species. To all such - and those living more peaceably around them - we say look out on the universe. It does not care, and even with all our science there are some disasters that we can not avert. All evil and good is petty before Nature. Personally, we take comfort from this, that there is a universe to admire that cannot be twisted to villainy or good, but which simply is." ...more
I love this series, yet I must say: Ender's Game is good, but Speaker For The Dead is the book that really blew me away. The beginning of EG is kind oI love this series, yet I must say: Ender's Game is good, but Speaker For The Dead is the book that really blew me away. The beginning of EG is kind of "meh," written in a style that I want to chalk up to Ender's character being very young at that phase. The writing later in the book is much better, but Speaker For The Dead was stylistically miles ahead of Ender's Game. It does make sense - I seem to remember that Orson Scott Card technically started writing Speaker For The Dead first, so it follows that SFTD is significantly more indepth.
Because of this, I don't like EG as much as I did the first time I read it (I've read Ender's Game 3 times, and SFTD maybe 6), but I appreciate the text for the personality and legend it brought to Andrew Wiggin and the part it plays in the rest of the series. OSC's detailed explanations of strategies executed in zero g may come off as tedious for some (and I think he goes off in to a bit of physics here and there) but I totally loved it. Will probably read this a thousand times more. ...more
There are a trillion very concise (and very similar) summaries of Murakami's 69 so I'm going to skip all that and simply say This is a Fun, Fun Book TThere are a trillion very concise (and very similar) summaries of Murakami's 69 so I'm going to skip all that and simply say This is a Fun, Fun Book That You Should Read. I was literally on the train laughing out loud as I read this; Ken Yazaki's smartass transparency is both charming and humorous, and I could go for reading a 70 and 71 as well! Ryu Murakami does teenager personality and voice SO well (from my not-a-teenager perspective); one of my favorite characters in Audition so happens to be the teenager (Shige) though the story was more on the horror/murder/crazy person end of things.
While it would be useful for the reader to be a Stones/Beatles/S&G/60's rock fan - or have a really cool friend who can provide you with a fancy schmancy mixed cd - one can completely make do with, say, an internet connection and a Youtube link. I was more familiar with the classical pieces (Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Symphonie Fantastique, etc.) but again, there's plenty of flavor there to make it a good read even if you aren't familiar with all the music/pop culture references....more
I definitely feel like this is a made-for-tv book (and clearly it is on tv now). Not a negative comment necDidn't love it, didn't hate it, thus the 3.
I definitely feel like this is a made-for-tv book (and clearly it is on tv now). Not a negative comment necessarily! Aside from the length of the text, GoT is a relatively light read with straightforward, understandable characters, some of whom you (eventually) want to survive - I did find myself rooting a little bit - and making you feel there is something at stake by killing characters that hold the primary third person narratives (note: one of my favorites does NOT make it... le sigh). The character developments for Daenerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, and even Robb Stark (not a primary, but viewed through Catelyn Stark's narrative) were intriguing enough to move me forward, albeit slowly. And as a lover of strategy storytelling, I found myself very interested in the last couple hundred pages or so after the warring actually got started.
But it took way, way too long to get me there. The "something at stake" mostly happened because I forced myself to read the vast majority of the book over a day or two to make it go faster, and that was after struggling through the first couple of narratives over the course of a month. And I am not a slow reader! If it was maybe 300 pages shorter, I may have been amenable toward a higher rating.
I could have done without the bulk of Bran's perspective altogether, and experienced a very definite WTF moment during that last segment with Daenerys. Actually, there were quite a few WTF moments over the course of the book, and I'm saying this as a lover of science fiction and a fan of fantasy writing. I totally believe some plots are just conceptually better on screen than in the confines of a book; not because they are difficult to conceive of in writing, but because when it happens on tv you think "Well hell, it's tv, of course that would happen." I would apply that idea to this book. Someone who has seen the series will have to let me know how it translates to the big screen, and whether those WTF moments still carry over.
In that case, this book may be better for readers who normally aren't into science fiction or fantasy, and can come to this with fewer expectations than I did (and I didn't have many). Perhaps I will take a peek at #2. I have certainly run into #1s that were not as great as the #2+s, and GRRM is setting the stage in Song of Ice and Fire for an extended series of conflicts, which may be better appreciated in retrospect......more
So much to say. You could spend probably two weeks purely on discussion of Mishima's landscape and setting descriptions, let alone the intricacies ofSo much to say. You could spend probably two weeks purely on discussion of Mishima's landscape and setting descriptions, let alone the intricacies of his characters.
The plot itself is fairly straightforward: a sailor and a widow who runs a business meet and fall for each other, and the majority of the book is taken up by the woman's son's reaction to the sailor's appearance in his life.
The boys in Noboru's (the son's) gang abide by an understanding that the world is emptiness, and that they must actively install order through their own efforts (keeping in mind these are 13 year olds who later acknowledge that murder before the age of 14 is not punishable by law). To them, fathers are the vilest beings as their actions create limitations on what the boys view as an otherwise limitless existence. Noboru (the son) first views the sailor as a hero, an ideal symbol of manliness journeying out into that grand world of possibility without limitation; and as the sailor settles down for a definable, "limited" existence, the ideal disappears and Noboru strikes out.
These boys are clearly disturbed; but despite all the focus on their warped perspective of society ("objectivity"), this pervading sense of disenchantment with self and society - an element I've found across the Mishima books I've read - has made the biggest impression on me so far and it makes me wonder if I'll ever find a (male) character in Mishima's books who is even remotely satisfied with the hand he's been dealt in life - but considering the life of author, I'm not holding my breath.
Anyway, I am intrigued enough by this book to read through it again at a later date. ...more
I landed on 3 stars but let me tell you: if 3.3, or even 3.5 were options, I would have clicked one of those instead. I want to give it a 4, but the cI landed on 3 stars but let me tell you: if 3.3, or even 3.5 were options, I would have clicked one of those instead. I want to give it a 4, but the conclusion was just such a bummer.
The first book - Hunger Games - was AH-mazing. The second book - Catching Fire - left a little to be desired, but was a great followup to the first. This final one took an interesting turn into the dynamics of the rebellion, which is in and of itself pretty interesting. I appreciated the moments that point out Katniss' huge imperfections as pertains to her "new role" (how believable would it be if she were perfect all the time?) and the clever plot twists - hence the 4 temptation- but it's hard to get around the fact that the first two books spent loads of time building up the tension between Peeta, Katniss and Gale only to spend about 45 seconds tying it up at the end of book three.
And it wasn't just the relationship situation amongst those three that was cut short; it seemed like Collins galloped through the last 1/4th of the book to a "nice" but anticlimactic end. Two of the primary characters just drop off the face of the earth. Perhaps if the relationship bit wasn't such a driving force in the plot I could have tolerated the ending a little better. So disappointing! ...more
But I should note: objectively, March deserves a 4. Personally, I would give March maybe a 3.5 or less.
4 because it is a well-written, emotional, imagBut I should note: objectively, March deserves a 4. Personally, I would give March maybe a 3.5 or less.
4 because it is a well-written, emotional, imaginative piece of historical fiction. Grace Clement, a former slave who appears many times throughout the book usually as a constant source of strength and character, is hands down my favorite in this piece; she's seemingly the most sensible out of the "March" bunch, and by the end of the book is the only person able to practically counter Mr. March's idealistic passions and send him where he needs to go.
3.5 or less because of the above: passionate, emotional characters tend to be impulsive and, more often than not, do/say lots and lots of stupid things that result in bad things happening to everyone. And while those actions are at times impressive and admirable, they are practically foolish and said characters suffer "needlessly" (leaving that up to opinion). Mr. March often throws himself headlong into situations and struggles that are clearly beyond his capacity to secure success, and many of his introspections are spent roiling in emotional guilt over his "failings"; this is a quality that makes him as much a lovable character as a source of constant frustration for me throughout the book.
You could easily make an argument that this one point is a commentary on the nature of war, and there are several moments throughout - one of them generated by Grace herself - where this fact is pointed out: despite the best of intentions, "war is full of misfortune." Bad things happen no matter what. At the same time, given my preference for characters who exist with a healthy sense of skepticism about the world around them, and are far less idealistic than the "inconstant, ruined dreamer" Mr. March, I would have to say a second read is not in my future.
I would also like to note that I have not read Little Women, and have been told that this is a good read for those who enjoyed it. Just not my cup of tea!...more