It wasn't the subject matter that I didn't enjoy in this book. Honestly, the writing just felt slow and awkward and a little bit cold to me. The style...moreIt wasn't the subject matter that I didn't enjoy in this book. Honestly, the writing just felt slow and awkward and a little bit cold to me. The style just wasn't for me and it made it hard for me to read. I never once got drawn in to the characters, even thought I knew I should be feeling sorry for them and really wanted to. The bad things that were happening felt a little too predictable, and honestly so did the romance of this book. It reminded me a lot of Flowers in the Attic in that way - like the author was trying to make a statement about why this was happening to these kids instead of exploring what it really meant for them. And the ending struck me as odd and not at all fitting as well This was a book I wanted to like, and maybe I expected it to be more powerful than was fair, but it just felt really flat to me.(less)
I have to preface this review by saying that I was meh about Fallen and I didn't like Torment. So maybe I was reading this book expecting to be grumpy...moreI have to preface this review by saying that I was meh about Fallen and I didn't like Torment. So maybe I was reading this book expecting to be grumpy. But I don't really think so, not this time. Because I was expecting more than what I got.
For me, this book was 420 pages of beating a dead horse. I don't know anything more about Luce and Daniel than I did in the last book. The ending was clearly just a transition to the next book, and, honestly, I think if it had picked maybe one or two of the time travel scenes and got to the meat, this might have been more interesting. But then again, maybe not. Because Luce and Daniel, for all the milennia she crossed to find out the truth about them, don't seem like two people who choose to love each other. If so, why is Luce so very, very different every time and yet Daniel still swoons? I was hoping there'd be something tying all the Luce's together besides Daniel, and I just didn't see it. And the time travel in general was weird. How can we see Daniel's mind in book 2 and not realize what's happening. And if his past selves saw his future self tearing through time after Luce, why doesn't he know where to go from the get go? And why on earth do we go through them all backwards? That hardly makes sense, especially as Luce seemed to be starting to pick her Announcers.
However, my biggest disappointment (both with this book and the last) was the lack of Cam. For me, Cam was the only interesting character in the series, the only one who didn't act exactly how you expected him to. And then poof. He's suddenly relegated to the background (if that) for two (very long) books. His disappearing (and the introduction of Miles only to have him disappear here) makes this seem like a series that wasn't planned so much as just written as the author went along. And I think that ties back to the time travel bizarreness.
Finally...I've gotta say. You've got a big bad. The ultimate evil. SUPREME ass. The pinnacle of no good. And he compares losing hunks of time to...shortening the waistband of a SKIRT? Really?
I think had this book found the plot the 4th book is going to have a lot sooner and built up some more tension, I'd have enjoyed it a lot more. As it stood, it was 420 pages of action sequences with nothing happening. Well, not 420. A good hunk of that was Luce or Daniel mooning over the other one and wishing they could be the dirt the other walked on etc.
And yet I still read the whole thing. And I'll still buy the sequel. And I'll want to hit myself over the head for doing it. So maybe that says something about this series, though more likely it says I'm a glutton for punishment.(less)
I really wanted to like this book, but in the end I just couldn't. A big part of my dislike was the writing, which is so highly stylized that it takes...moreI really wanted to like this book, but in the end I just couldn't. A big part of my dislike was the writing, which is so highly stylized that it takes over the story. The strike-outs drove me nuts and the strange punctuation/poetry formatting was never consistent. Then there was the fact that Juliette thought every "interesting" thought she had in a grouping of three. Every other line is some metaphor or simile or... something. I get that Juliette was silent for 264 days (is it weird that I don't feel like that is long enough to justify how withdrawn she is?) and that her pen was her only method of communication. And I get that she read a lot...I do. In the end, though, it just didn't work for me. It felt like someone trying to tell me about washing the dishes like it was the most fascinating thing that ever happened in the history of man.
I also didn't really buy the relationship between Juliette and Adam. (view spoiler)[Mainly because it was based on the fact that they stared at each other a lot as little kids. (hide spoiler)] His behavior to her in their cell when they first met was pretty cruel and inconsistent (view spoiler)[with these feelings he's supposedly always had (hide spoiler)]. For me, it maybe felt a little like cheating (as so many other YA books seem to be doing lately). Instead of writing it off as fate (view spoiler)[(though the bird tattoos certainly indicate that is at least a part) (hide spoiler)] the author used something else, (view spoiler)[a childhood obsession (hide spoiler)] to prop up their love.
Honestly, the thing that kept me reading this book was Warner. He was the character that I found the most complicated and interesting. Even though at every turn it felt like the author was pulling some behavior from a Big Bad Villain handbook so that I'd hate him. Ultimately, I don't know if I did. He is crazy and obsessive but other things too, and I ended up being fascinated by him. Which...I don't think was so much the intent for him. But there it is. I'll read the rest of these books for him, much like I read the Fallen series in the vague hope that Cam shows back up to do something interesting for once.
Finally...the plot. I can forgive a bad/poorly executed/lack of plot so long as there are great characters. This plot was maybe a combination of all three of those things. Juliette was so reminiscent of Rogue that I felt kind of meh, been there done that about her suffering (not to mention that Rogue had it so much worse. (view spoiler)[And the fact that she is in a superhero costume at the end. Really? (hide spoiler)] I think in a lot of ways this was a book that took some good plot ideas and instead of building them up figured, hey, there's a romance that makes up 99% of the novel so I don't have to make these more complicated/interesting than the usual YA dystopian tropes etc.
Like I said, I wanted to like this novel. Out of a huge stack of ARCs from ALA, this was one of the first I picked to read. But it just fell flat for me. I didn't hate it. I didn't even so much not like it. I just didn't enjoy reading it. That second star is for Warner, and if I read the sequels it will be to make sure he doesn't die.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I am torn between giving this book one star or the two stars I've currently rated it. Because in a lot of ways I didn't like the book, but I wonder ho...moreI am torn between giving this book one star or the two stars I've currently rated it. Because in a lot of ways I didn't like the book, but I wonder how much of that had to do with how intensely message oriented I felt it was. This book felt so political that every character was more a caricature of their type than anything else. I felt it was more a soapbox than a story throughout reading.
Even without the politics, I had some problems with the storytelling. Glow felt like two books because of the weird time jumping. Because this book was in two points of view but the chapters didn't alternate, we had to flash back months before every time the POV switched. It slowed the pace of the book for me and I found that very frustrating. Also, with all the characters separated, it made it hard to latch onto any sort of relationships (friendly or otherwise). Waverly and Kieran were essentially isolated, which made the book seem kind of cold and detached even with all the action.
As for the inevitable love triangle (which is set up very very very early so this is no spoiler), we saw about one scene with Waverly and each boy before she left, so it's hard to care about either ship (har har) at this point. I will say that, having seen the ship's events unfold in Kieran's eyes, Seth is almost irredeemable to me. He is a manipulative psycho and a mean one at that.
I understand that the whole point is that events make things complicated, that choices aren't made in a vacuum, but people were acting so solely out of their brokenness that it made for a read that wasn't enjoyable. In the end, I couldn't root for Kieran OR Waverly. Without caring about the characters and how they cared about each other, it wasn't particularly compelling for me either.
The back blurb compares this book to The Hunger Games, Aside from the love triangle and the fact that the choices in factions seem to be between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich, I don't see it at all. Obviously Across the Universe is a more apt comparison, and honestly, I think that plot worked better.
I'll probably read the follow-up to Glow because at the end of the day I want to know what's going to happen, but I can't imagine what is going to happen to redeem these characters at all.(less)
I rated this book a four when I first finished it, and just went through the audiobook and have been considering that rating. First and foremost, Lain...moreI rated this book a four when I first finished it, and just went through the audiobook and have been considering that rating. First and foremost, Laini Taylor is a beautiful writer. She knows how to put words together in a way that's evocative and beautiful and ethereal and everything that fits the atmosphere she was creating in this book. And her imagination is spectacular. The premise of this book is one of the oldest, but Laini Taylor created something fresh and intriguing.
I really liked Karou. She was such an every day kind of girl, and I mean that in the best way. She was spectacularly imperfect and normal even in the face of the complete lack of normalcy she lived in. I loved her blue hair and her quirks and her voice and all of it. And I missed her for pieces of the book. I liked Akiva and Karou's friends and her family...Brimstone and the rest of the chimera. I also loved the setting, as it's not often that you see a book set in a place like Prague.
Here is where my problem is. This, especially on listening, felt like two separate books. The second half of the book was, for me, completely distinct, and not in a good way. (view spoiler)[ In theory, it makes sense because Madrigal and the Karou of the first half are two distinct characters. I spent the whole first half of the book falling in love with Karou only to have her completely disappear on me. Then, when we went back in time to see everything she'd forgotten about her life as Madrigal, it felt a bit like a giant info dump. Knowing this is a trilogy, I'd have almost rather have that information spread out over the other books, if it was necessary at all (and I don't think it was). But I think what really made me sad is that there was all this tension between Karou and Akiva, this wonderful getting to know you amidst a mystery, and suddenly all of that tension is snatched away and there's these memories we're being told about instead of experiencing with the characters. We know how that story ends, in a sense, so it's not as exciting. I think that bled through to the dialogue, which felt less natural to me. And, for me, it made the romance seem very cliched. There was no getting to know you. There was just this big cosmic thing, and that for me kind of killed the intrigue of Karou's romance with Akiva. (hide spoiler)] In retrospect, there was maybe too much backstory. It slowed down the pace and, I think, cheapened the love story that we were building to.
The end of this book an awesome plot device, if a bit predictable, but I think it would have been MORE so if we hadn't had the huge lull. Plus, it was the kind of cliffhanger that sometimes annoys me as a reader. The break in the action stole some of the emotional punch, but I think now that we have the history out of the way, the second book is going to be amazing. I said at the start of this that I was rethinking my four stars, and in some ways I am. Reading this review, it seems as if I didn't enjoy this book, but I really did. If I could have ignored the backstory, I'd have been jumping up and down to give this a five. As it standsthe middle of this book would have made almost made this book firm three for me. Like I said, I am excited for the next book because I'm excited about the aftermath of Karou's discovery, so I'm also giving this book the benefit of the doubt based on what I think is coming. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I think my problem was that this book was too much history and not enough story. It read like everything was being told to me. I didn't really know th...moreI think my problem was that this book was too much history and not enough story. It read like everything was being told to me. I didn't really know the characters or their feelings about each other because I didn't spend any time in their heads. It was a great idea with a good setting and plot, but the characters fell completely and totally flat.(less)
I loved the idea of this book. I loved the idea that maybe living in a time where every little details about ourselves is online isn’t such a great th...moreI loved the idea of this book. I loved the idea that maybe living in a time where every little details about ourselves is online isn’t such a great thing. And I really loved the idea of looking forward into the future and thinking…how did I get there? Because, for me, this book really hammers home the idea that life is what we make of it. Sometimes there are things that are completely out of our control, but how we react to those things is a choice. Seeing two seventeen year old not-quite-kids-but-definitely-not-adults struggling with their whole future? Some of us graduate high school and pop off to college and pick a degree without really thinking about what that will mean for our futures. And some of us think about it too much. This whole plot was a great play on what would otherwise be the usual high school theme of self discovery and etc.
I liked the Emma and Josh because I thought they fit the plot and because of their history. I liked seeing where they’d been and what had happened when things didn’t go the way either one of them had planned. I liked seeing the consequences of their decisions in their now and in their future and how they handled the idea of what all of that meant. And I really liked how long it took them to figure it out because, cheesy though this seems, that’s life.
Emma’s and Josh’s voices were similar enough that you can see that they’d know each other for their whole lives but different enough (yay for a working two author system) that they didn’t feel like one person. More importantly, each of them was a complete character. I got to see how they were when they were happy and sad and determined and confused. I got to see them experience sitting all alone without anyone else around. I got to see them as individuals, so I understood them by the time the book ended in way I’ve missed in a lot of YA books lately.
The book was predictable, I have to admit, but it’s not the type of book that shouldn’t be. It’s the kind of book you curl up with on a rainy/snowy fall/winter day (assuming you’re not as unlucky as me and live in a place that doesn’t have two seasons: early summer and late summer ), and just read to enjoy. It will make you think, sure, but that sort of delicious nostalgia kind of thinking and that awesome “my future is what I make of it” dreaming. I finished this book smiling, and really, I don’t know if I can ask for much more than that from any author. Now I just need to go find a bunch more Carolyn Mackler books because I am apparently missing out.
Many thanks to Penguin for sending me this book early. It was exactly what I needed this week.(less)
This book sounded so promising but fell really, really flat for me. I didn't feel tension or a connection to the characters. I didn't follow the plot...moreThis book sounded so promising but fell really, really flat for me. I didn't feel tension or a connection to the characters. I didn't follow the plot particularly well. And there were weird things in the writing and point of view that left me confused. I loved the idea at the foundation of this novel, but the support structure and the finishes just didn't do it for me. I think with a little more heft (read: if it were longer), this could have been written as an adult fantasy novel and made a lot more sense/fit a lot better. It just didn't read at all YA to me because the journey of the main character was missing. I mean, she WENT places, sure, but her thoughts and feelings about everything were completely lost in the plot and I missed that a lot, especially considering how glacially things seemed to move (even though a lot happened). I didn't hate this book by any stretch, but one star says you didn't like it and, well, I didn't.(less)
When I first bought Anna Dressed in Blood last year, it was straight down to how pretty the cover was. Ghost stories where the ghosts are characters a...moreWhen I first bought Anna Dressed in Blood last year, it was straight down to how pretty the cover was. Ghost stories where the ghosts are characters aren’t necessarily my thing because too often it’s either a Casper the Friendly Ghost situation or some truly evil Malevolent Spirit. Anna, though, was a fresh take on that idea, a perfect combination of both and she and Cas and the whole spooky, creepy atmosphere of their story drew me right in. As satisfied as I was with Anna’s ending, I couldn’t help wanting more. Good characters will inspire that in a reader, after all. So I was very excited to find out that Girl of Nightmares was coming, even more excited when I finally read it, and I’m clearly excited to get to talk about it now. Warning: It is basically impossible to talk about Girl of Nightmares without spoiling Anna, so if you have failed to read Anna Dressed in Blood (silly you!), stop reading now!
To get the inevitable out of the way, no, I didn’t love Girl of Nightmares as much as I loved Anna Dressed in Blood, but I do think the storytelling was better. I respected it more because Nightmares was a more realistic and gritty book: it’s about the consequences Cas has to face up to if he wants to keep living his life as he has. There are consequences to loving a ghost. There are consequences to being a ghost hunter. There are consequences to involving your friends. Facing those consequences is hard.
Cas spends a lot of this book confused or worried or unhappy or scared or even angry, and so in a lot of ways Nightmares is a harder book to read. You spend all of Anna falling in love with Cas and falling in love with Anna, Thomas, and Carmel, and those relationships struggle in this book. All you want in the world is to reparo everything back together, but Kendare Blake’s writing makes it clear that there is no simple solution no matter how hard you will there to be one. That made me a sad panda, but it also made this book poignant and beautiful in its own right.
Cas sort of broke my heart in this book. For the first time ever, he’s stayed in one place long enough to have to start thinking about how different his life might be. He questions what he’s doing, and he does it all in such a realistic way.
What makes that work is how well drawn and whole the background cast is. Every single character in this book has a background and a story and none of it seems simple or formulaic. I really enjoyed the grownups in this book, which, as a (reluctant) adult, is important to me. Both Cas’s mom and Thomas’s grandfather were the kind of adult that advises and tries to protect their charges, but also recognizes they aren’t delicate snowflakes that need to be coddled.
Thomas and Carmel had a story going on that we got enough glimpses of to care, but not so many that it seemed ridiculous in a first person point of view. Both Thomas and Carmel are what I think of as complete characters. I see more about them than I am told, and, if they were gingerbread people, they would not be perfectly cut, they’d be all smooshy and delicious and decorated to perfection anyway (I apparently need a snack).
But more importantly, I could feel Thomas and Carmel’s connection, to each other and to Cas. I saw their friendship, the whys and the hows and the whats of it. It reminded me a lot of Harry Potter and the ultimate friend trio. There was depth there that was established quickly, but also believably, in Anna. But, consequences, that quickness makes the events of Nightmares very overwhelming so...strife.
The pacing of this book was very different than Anna. It was a slower burn, but that worked really well because the tone of Nightmares was so damn ominous. There were a few parts where I kept waiting for something to happen, but the waiting and the wondering were what drove this book. This did pose a problem with the ending which, comparatively, felt like a whole book stuffed together into fifty pages because that’s where all the action of this book happens. But even still, it worked with the buildup and it worked with the story being told.
Overall, I am torn in a million pieces about Girl of Nightmares. It was a tough book to read because it was a tough book for Cas to live through. Kendare Blake told a complete story, but she told it with completely wonderful characters who stick in your gut. Girl of Nightmares is an excellent end to this duology, but it also made me want to punch myself in the face for bemoaning the fact that every other YA series is a trilogy. Kate, meet Karma. So I was satisfied with the ending, but I can't help craving more. More Anna. More Cas. More ghosthunting. But mostly more Cas. (less)