I'm so glad I finally read this! And I'm at a complete loss for reviewing it!
I'll have to think carefully about this, because The Stand was not quite what I expected it to be. I thought there would be a bit more action and not quite so much introspection, and I really ought to have known better. Stephen King has a reputation for being the master of horror, but he's a good one for insight. Step one: set loose a deadly virus on humanity and see what happens. Chaos. Pandemonium. Mass hysteria. The total breakdown of society as people die by the millions, the powers that be try to cover up a huge mistake, and the world itself falls to pieces. Step two: leave the few survivors scattered and leaderless and see what happens. Through the agents of God and Satan, they rally together and try to start again, one group with survival as the goal and the other intent on annihilation and control. Mr. King's thoughts of how we humans would react under such circumstances are fascinating. Would we take the opportunity given to create a better world, or would we merely pick up where the old left off in its own arrogance and folly?
The survivors were all well-drawn and all grew as the book went along (at over 1400 pages, they'd better grow, right?). Some matured, as in the case of Frannie Goldsmith, some emerged as leaders, like Stu Redman and Nick Andros, but my favorite was Larry Underwood. He started out as a "taker," incapable of looking after anyone but himself, and he evolved into something greater, who other people could rely on and who could stand for something. Harold Lauder had less of a character arc than an ellipsis, but I can't get into that--spoilers! Same deal for Nadine Cross! But both accounted for most of the suspense, and both were fascinating to watch. I loved Mother Abagail, but as for Randall Flagg...hmm...scary, sure, and I like how, as the face of evil, he can't really be destroyed, but he's not among my favorite of the King villains. Or monsters, for that matter.
The only thing keeping me from handing out a 5-star rating is that I think there could have been more action. There was plenty in the first third and the last quarter (those fractions don't quite match up, but oh well) and then a long weary journey in the middle that felt like a long weary journey. It all makes sense, and it's in this section where most of the insight comes in, courtesy of Glen Bateman, but...I don't know. I think it could have moved a bit faster, or been woven a little tighter together. I lost some steam there when I had been so blown away by the superflu apocalypse.
All things considered, this one is a keeper. You have to commit to it, but it's worth the effort. It's a (very) solid epic from a brilliant storyteller, its message more powerful than I expected. And I wouldn't have missed it for anything. My favorite quote sums it up nicely: "Love is what moves the world, I've always thought...it is the only thing which allows men and women to stand in a world where gravity always seems to want to pull them down."...more
I struggled with rating this book. On one hand, I enjoyed it and think I might have found a new favorite. On the other, I felt like something was missing. It struck deep, but it wasn’t as harrowing as I was led to believe. It was simple, but there was some underlying complexity that kept me reeling. In some respects it was just plain boring, the man and the boy making their way through a world full of death and ash. Where did all of that ash come from, by the way? I understand everything burned, but how about a little origin story here? Shouldn’t this terrible apocalypse have been covered a little more?
The whole thing was vague, come to think of it. It was not a book for action as opposed to introspection, doing more thinking about life and death than actually living or dying. Not much is revealed about the characters, other than they are a father and son that have been surviving in this world for quite some time amid tragedy and the man’s dead wife’s prophecies of doom hanging over them. Less is revealed about the world they live in. It burned, and now there’s hardly anything left. End of story. The survivors are split into good guys, who keep to themselves, and bad guys, who eat other people to stay alive. The only thing that was made clear beyond doubt was the duo’s struggle and their love for each other.
I had problems with this book, but once I got started I couldn’t stop reading. It’s pretty short, but apart from that there was poetry in the language. The image was bleak and the words were quiet (too quiet, one might argue), but the whole picture was stunning. I even managed a few tears on occasion. It was definitely one of the most quotable I’ve read in awhile, my favorite being “This is what the good guys do. They don’t give up. They keep trying.”
This isn’t a book for everyone, but I don’t regret spending time on it. There was something about it that gripped me for all its flaws and I already know I’ll re-read it. I wouldn’t call it win or lose, but more of a draw. It could have been so much more than what it was, and yet…...more
I put this review off for a week, but it's time to get down to business. *cracks knuckles* Where do we start?
OH MY GOD, SUZANNE COLLINS, YOU F***ING BI put this review off for a week, but it's time to get down to business. *cracks knuckles* Where do we start?
OH MY GOD, SUZANNE COLLINS, YOU F***ING B***H I AM GOING TO HUNT YOU DOWN AND RIP YOUR LUNGS OUT HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO MEEEEEEEEE???????!!!!!!!!
Whew, glad I got that out! A book hasn't caused me to suffer so much since Phantom! I was so snagged I couldn't stop, but in so much anguish I couldn't bear to keep going! It's a miracle I made it through alive and intact!
Bad stuff first. Collins was ruthless in concluding her saga and pulled no punches, but there were a few deaths that just felt...well, pointless. I can't name names without giving anything away, but there was one in particular I had to go back and reread a few times before I understood that this character had just died. The whole scene felt wasted to me! Why spend so much time on this person and fleshing them out so well just to have such a lame send-out? Why? If this person had to be killed off for the greater good, then why not make an impression? Make it mean something? Make it hurt, damn it! She hasn't had a problem doing it throughout the series!! And then the small matter of Effie Trinket...I liked Effie so much in the first two books, and then she was only in one scene here! Why bother with it, then? And for the rest of the series to be so well developed (minus the first few chapters of Catching Fire, which felt a bit rushed), the last few chapters of this just...fell flat. It was like Collins realized she had come to her allotted twenty-seven chapters per book and decided she'd better wrap things up as fast as she possibly could, regardless of how coherent and sensible it may or may not end up after all. Ugh! It just felt so unresolved!
And allow me an entire paragraph to lament the whole freaking Katniss/Peeta/Gale love triangle. What the mother of crap?! All it did for me was remind me of how immature and selfish Katniss really is, despite such a strong start in The Hunger Games. Why does every teen/YA book NEED to have a love triangle? Sure, there are some good ones out there, but it's become an epidemic! And what purpose does this one serve, except to shake Twilight's hold on the whole Team A and Team B thing? Really? In my opinion as a reader, Collins could have gotten more mileage if she had left out Katniss's confusion over Gale (which only cropped out sporadically, when all things are considered) and focused on her conflicted feelings towards Peeta. Why did she give him the berries in the arena, out of love, desperation, or defiance? Is she so self-centered that she only cares about him because he cares about her? Was she really playing her role as star-crossed lover for the cameras, or was it as real for her as it was for him? *sigh* I hope this isn't as murky in the movie...
Now onto the good stuff! Once again, the action is fast-paced, the language is direct, and the story is brutal and powerful. If I have to complain about how Ms. Collins handles some of this one, then I still can't fault her for going after the rest of it as she did. She didn't hold back, and she freaking killed me, I swear she did. I died over two dozen times while reading this, and I read it about two nanoseconds away from tears and tantrums, I was so strung out over it. It was agony, but it was so good! I just...I can't even...holy crap!...more
Gotta bite the bullet and review this thing, even though there are few things more intimidating than writing a review for a book this popular, or as iGotta bite the bullet and review this thing, even though there are few things more intimidating than writing a review for a book this popular, or as irritating as reviewing a book you enjoyed. What can you say that someone else hasn't? How do you keep the enthusiasm reined in? Is a puzzlement!
Forget comparing this series to Twilight. I'm comparing the experience of reading it to Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. I got sucked in quickly, ended up rooting for a bad ass female lead capable of ruthless acts all in the name of a very specific moral code (that doesn't quite tally with what most would call "moral"), found myself mentally screaming as I read WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!, and still have one book left to read! Fortunately, this series is easier to talk about than Millennium...which is why I'm going to quit rambling about the one and focus on the other.
I didn't say anything about Haymitch and Cinna in my review for The Hunger Games, and I have no idea why. Both of them are great characters! Matter of fact, I'm hard pressed to find a boring character in these books so far. Even the expendable ones like Madge and Greasy Sae aren't what I'd call boring, but Haymitch and Cinna both work as interesting father figures for Katniss. Ms. Collins also seems to have given them greater dimension, and development! Yay! I liked learning about Haymitch's experience in the Games in particular; it shows how cunning and calculating a person he really is, which is important later on.
I read most of this in a day because 1) I was sitting at home with nothing else to do (translation: nothing else I felt like doing) and 2) I couldn't for the life of me walk away from it. When I finally got the chance to just sit and read, that was it. It was intense and just so darn easy to read in the first place, and had I stopped to consider possible plot twists I might have seen a few of them coming, but that's just it! I COULDN'T stop! It had me by the throat, and there was no thinking to it! I actually felt like I hit a brick wall a few times, like President Snow dropping a bomb on everyone, and Peeta dropping a bomb on everyone, and Haymitch dropping several bombs on Katniss.
Katniss, by the way, I still consider emotionally retarded (Hello! Peeta, woman! Gale can go fly a kite in a lightning storm for all I care!), but she's still as awesome as ever. I rank her up with Lisbeth Salander and Jacky Faber as the coolest heroines I've read lately, if not ever. She may not always have a clue and she might shuffle her feet, but when she finally gets on course she commits and doesn't look back. Well, she doesn't look back in time...
Which brings me to one of the cruelest cliff hangers ever written. I've seen a few doozies, but that one had me nearly throwing the book across the room and beating my sister over the head for the next book until I remembered I have Mockingjay on ebook and could, in fact, read it before her. *insert evil laugh* What's going to kill me, if this series doesn't finish me off first, is waiting for the next movie to come out.
It might be premature, but I think Suzanne Collins might have earned a spot on my list of favorites. She's definitely earned my respect and admiration. 'Nuff said....more
I hate giving up on a book, but when I see that I haven't gone anywhere near this one for over a month and didn't plan on going near it again anytimeI hate giving up on a book, but when I see that I haven't gone anywhere near this one for over a month and didn't plan on going near it again anytime soon I realize that I've already given up on it.
This doesn't reflect on Ms. Fisher's writing abilities (though I did think the pace was a little stop-ang-go), but more on my own general dislike for dystopia and end-of-civilization stories. They just scare the crap out of me. I thought I'd give this one a shot, but...the idea that through persistent experimentation, the earth's food supply has been permanently contaminated really messed with my head. See? That's what these kind of stories do to me. They get my imagination going in overdrive and I start getting paranoid.
All right, I have to be honest, I did have a few minor problems with the writing. Things would roll along pretty slowly and I'd start getting bored, then they would take off so fast it all felt unrealistic. I can't give a very comprehensive review because I couldn't finish it, but between the theme and the inconsistent flow I wasn't tempted to, either....more
Let's see to the most important factoid first: I love Peeta. We'll return to that later, but now you know where I stand.
I place this in the same cateLet's see to the most important factoid first: I love Peeta. We'll return to that later, but now you know where I stand.
I place this in the same category as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo as a book I'd heard praised from here to Jupiter but never really got curious enough to read until the hype got so huge a film adaptation was made (lazy, I know). I mean, it can't be that awesome, can it?
Turns out...it can. I loved Katniss Everdeen's voice as narrator and seeing the story directly through her eyes. Her attitude reminds me of Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle, with her dry humor and inability to get along with people when it's expected of her, when in fact, you'd think it meant the most for people to like her. But of the two, I like Katniss even better for her resourcefulness, her toughness, and her cunning. She also does a lot less feeling sorry for herself. She's made for action, not moping. She's very jaded by her circumstances for being so young, but you can still tell she's a rebellious teenager and still can't quite be beaten, no matter what you throw at her, as her actions in the arena prove.
And now for Peeta. I have major, major love for Peeta. He was just so nice, and funny, and lovable in a boy-next-door kind of way, and his attitude about the Games was so awesome, concerned not so much with death and dying, but with his wish to die as himself. So much more impressive than Gale's ranting about the Capitol! Gale...pssht, who gives two sh*** about Gale when you have Peeta Mellark? And this was my beef with Katniss. Open your eyes, girl! He's not pretending! And you know you feel the same way, so quit acting like such a bimbo!
I have to hand it to Suzanne Collins, she got me good. I wondered how she was going to pull off the ending it seemed she had to pull off without completely ruining it, and I thought she was going for a cheap cop-out at first, but she fooled me. She's also got me hooked, and now I'm glad I waited so long to read this series, as it means I don't have to wait for the other books to come out. The other movies, however......more