I heard about it a while back and it had remained in the back of my mind as something I'd like to read. I l...moreI have had a strange response to this book.
I heard about it a while back and it had remained in the back of my mind as something I'd like to read. I love a good post-apocalyptic story that is all about piecing together what is happening now and what happened to cause/further the apocalypse in question. So it seemed this should be just the book for me, but somehow I never got around to it.
Then there was an internet brouhaha over Howey being an "author behaving badly" and, personally, I felt his behaviour was inappropriate. I can understand his feelings, but his actions completely put me off and I found I didn't want to give the man my money. I took the book off my TBR list.
About a month ago, I had started listening to a new podcast (Sword and Laser) that chose to make Wool its May book of the month. I suddenly found myself caught between being interested in reading the book and not wanting to buy it. I finally compromised by requesting it from the library.
So now I've read it. And I remain conflicted, if now about the work itself rather than my personal ethics relating to buying it.
The ideas are great. I was fascinated by the world he'd created and how it was being held together (or not) as that was slowly revealed to us. But, to be honest, as I continued reading, I found that I was also bored. The book seemed to grow longer and longer as it went on. It wasn't that I didn't care about the characters, but that I connected less and less with the text as I went on. By a third through I was wishing I could read faster. By halfway, I was skimming.
I spent the whole book trying to decide if I was going to give up and look up the plot answers on the internet, or if I was going to keep reading and find out for myself. I never quite made the decision to look for spoilers as, once that decision was made, I couldn't undo it, but I skimmed more and more.
I still think the world and the ideas are great and I'm glad I found out what they were, but I just wasn't impressed by the book. As I finished, I still wanted to know the background and found myself in the same dilemma all over again as I tried to decide if I wanted to read the sequel/prequel, Shift. In the end, I decided I didn't. I can't go through the entire process again.
I know lots of people just love the book, and I don't know why I so totally didn't connect with it. I readily acknowledge I went into it with a possibly unfair bias against the author. I try not to conflate the author and his/her work, but it gets harder and harder in this internet age. When an author does something I strongly disagree with, it's hard to stop that clouding my opinion. But I don't think I'm so blind as to fail completely to see the worth in a work as I read it. I still think the ideas in this book were great; it's just that I didn't feel that book itself matched up.
So my final verdict is that this book turned out not to be for me. Don't let that stop you. It might be just the thing for you.(less)
I got bored with this about halfway through. The author made his point pretty early on and then started to repeat it over and over again in more examp...moreI got bored with this about halfway through. The author made his point pretty early on and then started to repeat it over and over again in more examples. I'd got the idea - and it's one I hope science is continuing to follow up - and didn't need to keep reading.(less)
She wants to be flowers but you keep making her owls.
This will be a paraphrase rather than a direct quote, as it's something I've...moreWritten as I begin...
She wants to be flowers but you keep making her owls.
This will be a paraphrase rather than a direct quote, as it's something I've always remembered, almost been haunted by, over the years since I read Alan Garner's The Owl Service as a child. Every so often, that evocative phrase would bubble out of my subconscious and I'd think of it for a moment before going back to my everyday life.
She wants to be flowers but you keep making her owls.
Despite that deep memory, I've never reread the book. I was searching the shelves in the library a week or two ago, looking for books for Marcus, when I saw this edition sitting on the rack. I picked it up pretty much without thinking and checked it out on my card rather than his. I didn't know if I'd read it, but that line floated up again and that's why I brought it home.
Then I started making up a book pool for Once Upon a Time VII and it seemed only sensible to add this to it. Before I knew what had happened, I realised it was going to be my first book for the challenge. It's either based on, or a retelling of (I can't remember which since I read it so long ago) the story of Blodeuwedd, a Welsh tale from The Mabinogion and now I've written this introduction, I shall go and read it. I'll report back when I'm finished.
Okay, so I finished this 10 days ago and I still haven't come back to finish my review. That's because I don't quite know what to say.
I have found myself with two reactions to this book. One is a response to the words on the page, and I find myself very disappointed to say that it didn't hold up to my memories of it. BUT, and this is the strange thing, my emotional reaction remains the same. What I have carried away from the book remains magical and I don't quite know why.
The prose is actually very sparse. You are thrown into the story without much - or really any - introduction to the characters or the setting. Immediately, Alison is hear scritchings in the ceiling and Gwyn is looking into it and finding the plates. Bang, off we go.
There's a good bit of back-story that really isn't fully spelled out. It isn't always clear exactly what is happening and sometimes the story jumps ahead, straight into the next bit of action without transitioning you there. It also ends abruptly, as soon as the threat is done, with no wind-down or investigation into the consequences of what has just happened.
Garner works some kind of subtle magic I totally don't understand, so that the reader seems to pick up all those missing pieces by osmosis. And the result is that while I noticed those things while reading, once I was finished, the magic was back and I found myself loving the book all over again.
I don't know what it is. I don't know how he does it. But it works.
However, I may choose not to read the book itself again, and instead hold the glow of the story to myself like a warm and pleasant memory where some of the magic comes from the blurring of the actual experience.(less)
An interesting little mystery (that goes completely unsolved) but otherwise, to be honest, quite boring. I'm happy to have read it for completeness, a...moreAn interesting little mystery (that goes completely unsolved) but otherwise, to be honest, quite boring. I'm happy to have read it for completeness, and I guess I do want to find out what the conclusion is, but it's far from McCaffrey's best.(less)
For anyone who is tired of all those same old-same old urban fantasy and paranormal books out there, this is the perfect...moreAwesome start to a new series.
For anyone who is tired of all those same old-same old urban fantasy and paranormal books out there, this is the perfect antidote. Werewolves and vampires who are truly scary without needing to be evil. Even scarier creatures who again are unhuman rather than evil. Humans who are the minority in the world population and know it (but try to pretend they don't). Lots of slowly developing relationships and even cautious friendships without romance tropes.
Meg was an wonderful character who did some of the sterotypical things of the genre (such as making the Others see at least some humans as people rather than prey; being the only one who can get through to the scared and damaged child; having special powers) but did them all in unique and non-stereotypical ways. She was awesome without being annoying.
Sam was adorable and the ponies were awesome. (I shall say no more about the ponies, but they are such a cool idea and introduced, then developed ever so well). Simon was also great but I can either write several paragraphs or leave it at that. It's late and I'm going to leave it at that. Discover these characters for yourself.
I highly recommend this to pretty much anyone. While totally different from any of Anne Bishop's other novels so far, this book still contains her trademark brilliance, world building and skill with character. If the idea of her writing urban fantasy had you shaking you her in uncertainty, take heart. This is as much a Bishop book as anything else she's written and it's just as good.
Ms Bishop has just (8 March 2013) announced that there will be a sequel, titled Murder of Crows that will be published in March 2014. I'm already counting down. For me, this series has gone from "try the first book as an ebook to see what it's like" to "automatic buy in hardcover for the collection and ebook for reading".(less)
I don't really feel any need to "review" this book.
I love this series and I read it for a good story and a chance to (as I've said about previous book...moreI don't really feel any need to "review" this book.
I love this series and I read it for a good story and a chance to (as I've said about previous books in the series) "hang out" with Eve and Roarke.
I got to do that again and thoroughly enjoyed my time with them. There was some lovely banter, appearances by several of the extended cast and a solid, if not spectacular, mystery. That's all I ask for in this series and Robb (aka Nora Roberts) regularly delivers.(less)
I keep wanting to give this 10/10 because I'm remembering the ending, which was amazing. I'm stopping myself however, because there was a section in t...moreI keep wanting to give this 10/10 because I'm remembering the ending, which was amazing. I'm stopping myself however, because there was a section in the middle that dragged terribly while I was reading it, but it's still a wonderful and amazing book so I'm compromising with a 9/10.
I was kind of nervous starting this as the title suggested something disturbing was going to be discovered. I was right, and rather astounded by the wrinkle Berg threw into the mix. I'd kind of guessed the basic idea, but was still surprised by the way she played it out.
Berg does push her characters to their very limits. I thought she had done the worst she could to Seyonne in Transformation, but I didn't guess even part of it. Seyonne finished that book with his home returned to him and hope of some peace and happiness with his wife. No such luck. After having his world shaken to pieces in the first book, Berg just kept right on shaking.
As I mentioned above, I did find the long section in the demon realm very frustrating. Berg introduces the likelihood that everything the Ezzarians believe could be wrong, forces Seyonne to go looking for one the very last people he ever wants to meet, deepens the mystery then spends chapters and chapters mistreating Seyonne some more before giving him (and therefore us) a chance to figure out what might really be going on.
Once we got back to the "real" world and the plot picked up again and it all finished up in the most amazing fashion. Berg knows how to tell a compelling story when she gets right down to it, but the set up just took more time than was needed.
All the same, an awesome book in an awesome series.
I did find myself disappointed in Ysanne and I am sad about that. She tried so hard, but she just couldn't bend enough, as Seyonne had been forced to do and go on doing and doing and doing. She could only see things they way she believed they must be, and not look beyond that to what the real truth might be. Fiona, on the other hand, was tough and determined, but eventually willing to look for that truth. Of course, we've been mislead about Ysanne before, but I don't know what I want to happen this time. I think we saw her true feelings at the end when she made her decision against Seyonne. She had tried, but had nothing left to give. If that's so, he deserves more.
Seyonne has finished up with a very interesting and set of diverse allies, and it is going to be very interesting to see how they deal with whatever is to come next.(less)