I admit, like many others, I picked up this book solely because of the gorgeous cover. When I started reading it, I knew nothi...moreFirst Read: July 1, 2011
I admit, like many others, I picked up this book solely because of the gorgeous cover. When I started reading it, I knew nothing about the plot, author, characters, etc. But even for having no expectations, this book blew me away. The story follows Rhine, a sixteen-year-old girl who is kidnapped from the Manhattan home she shares with her twin brother and transported south (in the back a cramped cargo truck filled with a dozen other girls) to possibly be “chosen” to be one of the brides of Linden Ashby, a wealthy socialite. Yes, brides– plural. It’s a futuristic, deeply dystopian world in which humanity has genetically enhanced itself to the point that diseases, ailments, cancer, AIDs have all faded from existence; the first generation that was successfully enhanced live above-average life spans, healthy and worry-free– until their children begin to die off. Generations later, and the life span has been shortened to twenty years for females, and twenty-five years for males. Rhine, along with two other girls, has been selected to be married to Linden, while his scientist father searches for a cure that will save his son– using increasingly desperate measures.
This book is a taut mix of intrigue, suspense, romance, and mystery, all the while maintaining a high level of creepiness befitting of Rhine’s post-apocalyptic world. None of the plot elements reach a point where they feel overdone, and considering the fact that DeStefano says she wrote the novel over the time span of barely a month, I’m slightly awed by how well everything fits together. Depending on your definition of “must read” this one may or may not fit, but I’ll definitely say that of all the YA trilogies that seem to have cropped up lately, this appears to be the start of one of the better ones. The second book, Fever, is scheduled to be published in February 2012.(less)
The Night Circus is a rarity, a book that promises magic, and delivers exactly that. Its story was as entrancing as the circus within it, as filled wi...moreThe Night Circus is a rarity, a book that promises magic, and delivers exactly that. Its story was as entrancing as the circus within it, as filled with twists and turns and subtle juxtapositions as its own House of Mirrors. The quiet elegance of the story, I think, is the key to its charm; it meanders through the lives of its characters, all the while forging bonds and creating ties that may not be apparent in the moment, but later come to shoulder the weight of the whole of the fable. Its scope is immense, but deceptively so— the sort in which you don’t realize the vastness of its reach until the final pieces are in play. The anticipation that builds as the story progresses is illusive, finespun almost to the point that you don’t notice its strands until they begin to bind you. But this is only the way that the story feels. It’s a masterfully written tale, one in which not even the smallest detail is inconsequential. As it unfolds, the scales tip, and then balance, and tip again; concepts such as life, love, death, passion, and obsession are weighed and measured against one another, each carefully plotting the course of the story. Morgenstern is a sublime craftsman, hanging each thread so as to delicately intersect in perfect symmetry. However, these feelings really aren’t those that can aptly be spun into words; I would recommend experiencing The Night Circus for yourself.(less)
There aren’t words that I feel can do justice to the head rush that is this novel. It is gorgeous, it is heart breaking, it is laugh-out-loud funny, i...moreThere aren’t words that I feel can do justice to the head rush that is this novel. It is gorgeous, it is heart breaking, it is laugh-out-loud funny, it is everything that is at once gut-wrenching and beautiful about the experience of love, wrapped into tiny text on paper pages. It is a rarity: one of the few works that succeeds in capturing the enormity of love as both a dizzying high and unbearable low. And amazingly, the magnitude of this book is one that can be felt within the first few pages.
This book hit me like a ton of bricks; I was expecting something impressive, but not mind-blowing to the point of oblivion. It made me laugh, cry, I sympathized with the nameless narrator and their winding trek through the perilous road of human emotion; it brought to mind every moment, every memory that I have ever undergone in my own life while being held captive in the throes of love, lust, and heartache. This book is simply real, and I really think that that is the highest praise I can possibly give.(less)