Fun in places, agonising in others, with an ending like one of those Lord of the Rings movies: endless, fucking endless, filled with impossible stuntsFun in places, agonising in others, with an ending like one of those Lord of the Rings movies: endless, fucking endless, filled with impossible stunts and going through a bitter divorce with physics. There's also the last chapter, which I absolutely could not wrap my head around. What the fuck was going on there.
(I also want to add, because it was something that stuck out to me, and something that bothered me, that Marcus was my favourite character. I really, really liked him. He was barely there, barely spoke, barely had any input due to Gideon arbitrarily hating him, but I really, really liked him and I was so interested in him. I wish this book had been from his point of view. I want to know more about him. I might even read the sequel just for some more insight into him. He had a cool horse and a really interesting power, and I just...loved Marcus. I connected with him, while I didn't connect to any of the other characters in this book.)
You bet your perky little ass I'm going to review this. Don't expect any less of me.
Okay, so, the thing is that I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book - it's not like I was waiting on tenterhooks for it (in fact, I don't think anybodyOkay, so, the thing is that I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book - it's not like I was waiting on tenterhooks for it (in fact, I don't think anybody asked for it, just like nobody asked for an Entourage movie or a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman) but this series is so nostalgic to me.
I first read Fallen in early 2010, when I was 15. HA! Now you're all doing the math. I'm now in my early 20s and while the series is long since behind me, it holds a weird place in my heart: I was never one of those people who shrieked like a harpy over Twilight, so it was this series that was actually my gateway into YA. And my gateway into Goodreads. And to be honest, it was important to me at that weird mid-adolescent phase, when I was going through an extremely hard time personally. I bought it at the airport when I was embarking on a journey that would eventually end up being a huge mistake, and would cost me dearly in adulthood. It was a journey that Fallen accompanied me on, and I don't know, guys. As an adult, the covers have been ripped off it: Luce has the personality of a single kidney bean and Daniel should be, I don't know, in a cell somewhere, learning mindfulness and the virtues of self-awareness. They're a pair of intolerable morons, but when I was 15 and struggling to get out of bed in the morning, feeling like I wanted to run away from my home, they spoke to me. What say that about the power of YA?
It was for the sake of this nostalgia that I picked up Unforgiven. And I think it was also for the sake of that same nostalgia that I really enjoyed it. I mean, sure, I could have done without the intermittent comments about how pure and selfless and true Daniel and Luce's love is, but I always liked Cam. I really did. He had some semblance of a personality. I sort of identified with him, and I identified with Arriane too, which is why I'm seriously glad she makes a cameo. Lilith was also a really decent character, but I have my reservations, because when the timeline jumps back to Canaan, where Cam and Lilith met, that's when we know it's a Lauren Kate book. I feel like Lauren Kate's hallmark always has been and always will be the swill of instalove.
We saw it with Luce and Daniel, two angels in heaven who fell in love after exchanging no more than five contentless words, and that love was apparently then strong enough to justify 6000 years of Luce's suffering and Daniel irresponsibly killing her (he did kill her. The cameo in this book proves it. He fucking knew what would happen when he kissed her, and he fucking did it anyway, the wank). Similarly, Lilith and Cam have one conversation and suddenly they're in love, and it's enough to make Lilith kill herself when he leaves her. This is smartly sidestepped by Word of God assuring is that it was actually Lucifer who drove Lilith to do it, but still, this absolutely absurd obsession the author has with instant and death-defying love is so...weird.
(Also, the reasoning for them breaking up in the first place was dumb as shit.)
The best thing about this book was the awesome word building, because it genuinely creeped me out. It was sharp, inventive, and brilliantly surreal, even though Kate has this awful habit of starting a scene without establishing setting, so each character involved in X conversation is just a disembodied voice until eventually it's revealed that they're in the cafeteria or by Rattlesnake Creek. Kiera Cass does this too, and it's so fucking annoying.
I loved the side characters too though, and even the whole Mean Girl trope ended up being subverted. The musical element managed to be cool and unique, not cheesy, and I loved Lucifer, as I always did. He made the last two books in the original series for me.
But oy vey, the ending! WHAT WAS UP WITH THE ENDING? I hated it, and now I'm thinking about it, and it's still making me huff with disappointment. It was so rushed, and because it was so rushed, the emotional impact was completely lost. There was also a really weird sense of space, and it comes back to this problem Kate has with properly establishing a backdrop for character interactions. I couldn't picture it all in my head because the movements and the physical space and the configuration of the characters didn't make sense. The whole thing didn't make sense, and after 3000 years of hatred and bad blood, Lilith and Cam reconcile in the space of one page. What the bloody hell is this? And at the end there's no clear indication of whether or not they're even free of Lucifer's hells, because they're just left sitting in Limbo. Like, are they mortal now? Do they get to go back to Earth? Is Lilith going to be resurrected? What's going to happen from here? It was such an annoying non-resolution.
Basically, this book was what it was: a Lauren Kate novel. Sugary, unhealthy, highly consumable, like chocolate churros. Too much and it makes you feel sick, but it's a very particular flavour. Come back to it in a few years' time and boy, will that nostalgia floor you....more
Hngh. This book's difficult. I'm not even sure I rated it correctly. I've been in a massive reading slump lately, and I've been seriously flagging witHngh. This book's difficult. I'm not even sure I rated it correctly. I've been in a massive reading slump lately, and I've been seriously flagging with my reading challenge, which is disappointing, since I was smashing it for the first half of the year. Until about May, I was never less than 3 books ahead. Now I'm three books behind and bricking it. I thought this book might pull me from my funk, but it was a bust.
This book was a pretty quick, easy read, and the best thing about it is the narrative voice; I loved Liv's character, loved her narration, loved her careful balance between dry and joyful. I usually hate this "woe is me, I have too much money and too many opportunities" narrative trend in a lot of YA, but Gier strikes a nice balance between Liv's hermitic loneliness and her easygoing nature. I related to it, which is saying quite a lot. It's also been brilliantly translated from its original German, which helps.
The problem is that this book just didn't make sense; it was like an acid trip, and not in a good way. Not in a pleasantly disorienting way. In a way that made me wonder if my copy was missing pages. It's not really about Liv instantly becoming friends with these Londoner Raven Boys, which is unlikely but not impossible - I did a two-day intensive TEFL course in Glasgow a few weeks ago, and after about an hour in a class of 15 students, we were all soul mates. I mean it. We'd have taken a bullet for each other. When I was querying my manuscript, I had an agent tell me that it was weird that the protagonist makes such fast friends when she moves to a new city, but I swear to god, meet the right people in the right setting and you really can experience the gush of instalove. Sometimes I think about the people I met in that classroom, people I knew for a maximum of 20 hours and will never see again, and I pine.
But it's more about the way that none of the characters get freaked out by this whole dreamscape thing, and nobody thinks it's weird, and then there's the strange ball, and I know I'm not explaining this very well, but it was all so surreal. Like The Mighty Boosh. (What the fuck was that all about.) I'm not getting my point across very well, probably because it was something I couldn't put my finger on - maybe the atmosphere, or something like that. It was just bizarre.
I haven't read Gier's Ruby Red series, and I'm not sure I'll bother, because I just really don't care for stories about London. I'm done with them for now. I don't want to read anything else about London. But this book was a strange mishmash for me, and while I'd love to read more of Liv's voice, I don't think I can really justify throwing myself back into this psychedelic funhouse for another 300 pages. I have better things to do....more
**spoiler alert** Dry and soggy at the same time, okay in places but only if you surrender yourself to very minimal enjoyment: that's this book, like**spoiler alert** Dry and soggy at the same time, okay in places but only if you surrender yourself to very minimal enjoyment: that's this book, like overcooked meatloaf. I hate meatloaf, and I've only had it a couple of times (never again) but shit if that stuff isn't nasty. If it's the only edible substance available in the house, then fine, I'll take it and it'll fill me up, but don't expect me to enjoy it.
The best thing these books have going for them is the incredibly original biology and mythology of the revenants. It's really interesting. But if you dilute it with bullshit, then you end up with a lot of bullshit. I loved the first book, the second book was okay, but this one was so unbelievably mundane and expected that I just could not care. Of course Kate became a revenant. Of course they won the battle against the numa. Of course Jules was hopelessly in love with Kate even though she's not really that special or interesting. I never really got why everyone adored her so much in the first place; she's a good lass with a decent brain and a spunky streak, but I wouldn't lay down my life for her. I'd break a light sweat for her, maybe, but nothing more.
It's a passable ending to what should have been a great series. Just don't expect me to rate it higher when you Bury Your Gays. I'm not interested in another book where seas of straight people have happily ever afters and the only queer couple gets mangled in the meat grinder. Jean-Baptiste died in disgrace (I know everyone "forgave" him but there was nothing to forgive; they're all painfully immature if they think that difficult decisions like the one Jean-Baptiste made to protect his kindred amount to treason) and Gaspard is left alone and broken forever. Even Genevieve, who died too, died of her own volition. But Ambrose and Charlotte, Kate and Vincent, Kate's grandparents, and even fucking Arthur and Georgia will frolic away unharmed and live happily ever after.
I get it, kill your darlings. But this is a disturbing trope framed by disturbing context that's frighteningly common in media. And I get that something poignant needed to happen, but could we not have seen Jean-Baptiste reanimate again in a young man's body, and him and Gaspard leave Paris to sort through their shit? Even Charles, who was actually openly fraternizing with numa, got to go to Berlin and heal. But Jean-Baptiste dies and Gaspard is sad and alone and I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in reading about the eternal heartbreak and suffering of queer people, especially when all of the straights get to go home and rest up and live happily. Jesus, Vincent had his body burned and yet he managed to come back to life and live on, and yet Jean-Baptiste is gone forever.
I was not prepared for this and nor will I ever be. Keep your suffering gay storylines like 2657546 feet away from me. ...more