In Chase the Dark the world has been devastated by long ago war and humans aren’t the only ones living here. There are two other worlds,3 1/2 stars.
In Chase the Dark the world has been devastated by long ago war and humans aren’t the only ones living here. There are two other worlds, planes, I forget exactly how it was described in the book, but one is the Overworld and the other the Underworld. They’re not heaven and hell, and though they’re not angels and demons. They’re all daemons and none are really good, just more like varying degrees of self-serving. There are also haemons, who are half daemon, half human. The peace is kept by the Consulate and Piper wants to be a Consul, though she’s at a severe disadvantage because, even though she’s the Head Consul’s daughter, she’s also a haemon without magic.
There are various Consulates where daemons can stay for a night or weeks. At Piper’s she’s been charged by her father with keeping an eye on two daemons: Ash and incubi Lyre, while her father and uncle hold a private, secretive meeting with daemon ambassadors. That all goes to hell when the whole place is blown up and the magic police, aka prefects, arrest the three and accuse them of stealing the Sahar Stone, a magical lodestone that’s like an always charged energy source that can juice up a depleted magic user.
The three of them know they’re innocent, well, at least Piper knows she is, but she has little choice other than to trust Ash and Lyre as they try to figure out who was behind the attempted theft of the Sahar Stone and clear their names.
Though these people are a little older than a lot of YA characters, I think Piper’s around 19 and the guys are in their early twenties, it’s still sometimes a little hard to believe that they can do what they can, like avoiding the bad guys and fighting their way out of some crazy situations, and even harder to believe that after said situations, especially one where Piper finds herself having to participate in cage fights, that they’re able to get up and walk away after getting the crap kicked out of them and sustaining some pretty bad injuries.
Also, when I learned that Piper did something stupid that she thought might be the thing that would lead her father to never let her be a Consul (assuming he ever found out), I was all, oooh, this is going to be good, what kind of daemon did she let talk her into doing something stupid? So, I was really disappointed when I found out that she’d (view spoiler)[slept with an incubus, when she clearly should have known better. If it was some other kind of daemon, maybe. An incubus, no freaking way. Honestly, I wouldn’t want someone so dense as a Consul. And don’t tell me it was because she was 17.) (hide spoiler)]. It really took away a bit from the book for me.
Even with the issues I had with the book, the writing and world building were good and the characters interesting enough that I do plan on reading the second book in the series. In terms of romance, there really isn’t a whole lot, though there seems to be interest all around. Lyre and Piper are definitely attracted to each other (he is an incubus, after all) and Piper seems to find Ash more interesting, and also more scary, as time goes on, while Ash keeps things closer to the vest but certainly seems to like Piper as well (at least to the reader; Piper just hopes they can be friends). So, it’s not really a love triangle, but some people may not be into the flirtations with Lyre. I’m not usually a fan of them, I prefer plain ol’ angst between the main characters, of which there’s a good amount (especially at the end), but this didn’t bother me too much and I am looking forward to reading Bind the Soul.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Nym is a slave who’s been sold for, when we first meet her, the fifteenth time. She’s an Elemental, a person with special abilities to control the weaNym is a slave who’s been sold for, when we first meet her, the fifteenth time. She’s an Elemental, a person with special abilities to control the weather, though control is something she definitely doesn’t have. There are other people with special abilities, but all Elementals are killed at birth by order of the king. What’s more rare than the fact that she’s been able to keep it hidden and stay alive for so long, though it’s also part of the reason she’s been able to hide, is the fact that, until now, all Elementals are boys.
Nym’s country, Faelen, has been at war for a long time and her new owner wants to use her and Colin, another boy whose ability is manipulation of the earth (think chucking boulders and opening craters in the ground) to bring the war to an end with Faelen as the victor.
One thing that I find rarely works, no matter how different the world is or how far in the future a book is set, is the use of made up words that stand in for common words we use. For example, hulls instead of hell in this book. I just find it annoying; even more so when there are words that are used and you’re not sure what the hell it’s supposed to mean. The made-up animals, like bolcranes, were mentioned over and over with no description until late in.
Another thing that I didn’t like was the villains. Most of them were what I think of as Bond villains from the 60s: a borderline or completely batshit crazy dude who sits around stroking a cat while laughing manically. I just can’t take these people seriously and the bad guys in this book fell into that category, especially Adora. She bought Nym, which saved her, but she was still a total bitch to everyone around her. I didn’t get the weird costumes and parties which, honestly, felt like they were gonna turn into weird sex parties at some point. And her obsession with Eogan was too creepy. I didn’t get Draewulf as a character, though he was mentioned at points throughout the book. He was talked about and then suddenly showed up, but I didn’t see the point of that, except to ‘cause all the chaos at the end.
I also had a hard time feeling for many of the characters and didn’t really want either side to win, which doesn’t make for a book I’m going to love. Even Eogan pissed me off when he decided to use a bunch of starving wolves as a test to see how far Nym will go. The little twist at the end should’ve made Nym pissed for much longer than she was. Another peeve: (view spoiler)[when the author feels the need to off a lot of secondary characters that we grow to like (hide spoiler)].
I like being able to envision what characters look like and why they look the way they do, especially when it’s in a world that’s different than ours; are their characteristics normal for that world, or different? I found the characters’ descriptions in this book tough to follow and swallow. Colin was described as bald (if Nym called him bald boy one more time, I was going to lose it.)…did he shave, was he born that way? And Eogan was described as black as onyx (yet Nym kept seeing him blush, huh?) but with long bangs and very green eyes. No other characters were described that way, if it’s a characteristic of where he was from, wouldn’t that be mentioned and wouldn’t it be a dead giveaway of his origin? The inconsistencies were just distracting for me.
In terms of Weber’s writing, though she’s definitely a good writer, at the end especially, it was a little too flowery for me with too many. One. Or two. Word sentences. Gah!
I know I’ve slammed a lot of stuff in this book, and I think a big reason I didn’t like it so much was because it had such potential. A girl who isn’t supposed to exist is a slave multiple times over. I thought Adora might be a good person/owner and there would be a group I’d be rooting for, but there just wasn’t. I liked Nym overall, Colin a lot, and as much as Eogan annoyed me at times, him, too. However, I never felt like I knew any of them all that well. Everything was a little too surface and a bit scattered for me. This book had a lot of potential, but it just fell flat for me.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Jesse is new to East Franklin High School and is challenging the current quarterback, Forbes, for his job. To make matters worse forMaybe 2 1/2 stars.
Jesse is new to East Franklin High School and is challenging the current quarterback, Forbes, for his job. To make matters worse for Jesse, he comes from a very poor area and there are some, like Forbes, who will hold it against him. Forbes basically declares war on Jesse and, to get back at him, Jesse decides he’s going to steal Forbes’ girlfriend, Claire, and toss her aside once he’s done with her.
Well, that’s what the blurb and sample lead you to believe, but that’s not what really happens. Pretty quickly, you realize that Jesse and Claire are falling for each other and that there’s not really going to be any deceiving or real angst, even though every once in a while Jesse seems to be the only one who thinks he’ll follow through (the reader certainly doesn’t). Did I want Jesse to sleep with Claire and act like he didn’t care? No, then he’d be an unredeemable douchebag. But I was disappointed at the utter lack of angst. And I HATE insta-love, which is what happened.
Additionally, I felt there was too much thrown in and too much drama outside of Jesse and Claire’s relationship. Jesse deals drugs for his grandmother and, though we’re led to believe he has no choice, I’m not into drug dealers, no matter what the excuse. Also, the author made him a dealer, but we really didn’t see much of anything dealing with drugs, maybe because it would’ve made him less likeable, until it was brought in at the end for super drama.
This book had promise and could’ve easily been a four star book, but because of the insta-love, misplaced drama and way too much of it thrown into the mix, made it a totally forgettable book for me....more
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 stars. Elizabeth Lancaster is a professor of Shakespeare at a community college in Pasadena, CA. At present, okay, for the last 15 odd3 1/2 to 3 3/4 stars. Elizabeth Lancaster is a professor of Shakespeare at a community college in Pasadena, CA. At present, okay, for the last 15 odd years, her social life is somewhat lacking, but in her early twenties she was married to Francis Fahey, now known as FX and a famous movie star. He’s an action star who’s on the verge of possibly getting an Academy Award nomination and is doing repertory-theater in Portland Oregon; a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he’s asked Elizabeth to come and work for him to make sure that he doesn’t look like an idiot and screw up his chances at Oscar. Elizabeth is unsure if she wants to do it because the reason they broke up is that the jackass cheated on her.
Elizabeth ends up going to Portland (thanks to a huge quote for a kitchen remodel she’s been dying for) along with her 17 year old step-niece Maddie, though things aren’t exactly how FX (hate that name) led her to believe. Taz, the visionary, control freak director doesn’t seem to like her and, though she was told she’d help writing and be more of a consultant, Taz thinks she’s more of a gofer for FX.
Liz decides to use Maddie, with her knowledge, as an insider and is determined to start writing the book she’s trying to sell. Fortunately, her stay in Portland has given her a direction to go in with it. In addition, she has to deal with someone her sister talked her into letting stay at her house in California. His name’s Rafa and he’s working, in secret, on feeling out how Liz’s brother-in-law might do if he were to run for governor.
I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Even the little Shakespeare related bits at the beginning of each chapter, which I initially skipped, were pretty amusing. Liz was a very likeable character, as were almost all of the secondary characters (I wish that FX had been apologetic of his actions with Liz; I don’t care how young you are, cheating is a dick move), but he proved to not be the ass I thought he might be. In case you’re wondering, there really isn’t a love triangle in this book, nor is there insta-love. This book is a fast read and perfect for a beach read. If you’re looking for something fun and light with a good cast of characters, you should give this book a try....more
Silver Shadows picks up a couple of months after Sydney was kidnapped by the Alchemists because of hThis review contains spoilers from previous books
Silver Shadows picks up a couple of months after Sydney was kidnapped by the Alchemists because of her relationship with Adrian. Adrian hasn’t given up on looking for Sydney, but he’s kind of holding on by a thread between dealing with her disappearance and spirit like he usually does (being drunk) and barely passing his classes.
Meanwhile, inside the re-education center, Sydney has to try to keep from cracking and/or going nuts. She also has to try to find a way to interact with a bunch of other people who are on the Alchemists’ shit list for one reason or another, but who also think Sydney’s the lowest of the low for having a relationship with a vampire.
I had a lot of hopes for this book and had really been looking forward to it, but, overall, it was kind of disappointing. You’d heard so much in so many books about the Alchemists and their re-education centers and there was so much mystery around what they did to those who were sent there, that I expected a little more from them. Instead, the Alchemists there came off a little more like villains in the Batman TV show from back in the day: a bit too campy as opposed to scary.
I had a problem with Sydney, too. I love how tough Sydney is and the stoic, stiff-upper lip way she often acts, but I thought it was too much in this book. I mean, I don’t care how much fortitude you have, if you’re being tortured (especially the bit at the end), you’re going to, at the very least, have a good breakdown (she did some at one point, but I thought it was too little and kinda late). Also, she’d been so sleep deprived, there’s no way she would’ve been as on the ball as she was when she finally got out. My job is a Monday through Friday day job, but at certain times we have to suddenly work any day of the week for 12 hour shifts, including overnights, and after three overnights in a row with very little sleep during the day I almost fell asleep on the train home. No way was I ready to plot an escape and go running around to ensure it went off without a hitch. Add to that that too many things went off without a hitch and it was too unbelievable.
I also got a tired of Adrian and the cycle of getting drunk, sobering up and spirit driving him nuts, both literally and figuratively. I get that it’s a big thing that no one’s been able to figure out a solution to the side effects, but it’s really dragging at this point. No matter what, I felt like Adrian should’ve manned up more than he did.
Finally, the ending. I’m just not sure how I felt about it. It was definitely a twist I wasn’t expecting, but spending all the time they did preparing for it was just stupid. Mead’s writing is still very good and I like it, but I felt that the execution should’ve been really good and instead it fizzled out a bit. Maybe too much time was spent with Sydney at the center, I’m not sure. At one point, I got bored with the whole thing and put it down for a while, instead of blowing through these like I usually do. After reading this one, I have to say I’m a little concerned about the next, and final, book and I haven’t felt this way about any of the other ones in the Bloodlines series....more
Twice a year two groups of young people, usually around 16-18 years old (because people don’t live as long and births aren’t as common as they shouldTwice a year two groups of young people, usually around 16-18 years old (because people don’t live as long and births aren’t as common as they should be; some of the many negatives of nuclear war!), come together for a group wedding. One time the groups are boys from Westside and girls from Eastglen, the next, the girls come from Westside and the boys from Eastglen. This is because it’s a couple of generations removed from a worldwide nuclear war that decimated the population. After this happened there were two factions of people, one group who wanted a democracy, another who wanted more of a dictatorship and that’s the group that won. So now young people, who have never met, from each section of town are married, the reasoning being that, despite lingering bitterness and anger, people will be less likely to go to war again if they’re fighting against their close relatives.
This wedding is a really special one, to some, because the granddaughter of the losing side, Ivy, is marrying the son of President Lattimer, Bishop. What’s odd is that Bishop is around 18 and was supposed to marry Ivy’s sister, Callie, two years before but, for reasons no one knows, he deferred and decided to wait. Something else that no one knows is what Callie, Ivy and their father, Justin, have had planned for years, plans that were suddenly altered when Bishop decided not to marry Callie: Bishop’s new bride is going to kill him. This is all part of a plan for Justin to take control and make changes that would, in theory, make things more equitable for everyone. He’d get rid of the arranged marriages and let people make their own choices and he’d stop putting people outside the city walls, pretty much a guaranteed death sentence, for committing any number of offenses, including refusing to get married.
Of course, there are things that happened in the past that Ivy had no knowledge of, and which make her rethink everything. Another thing that gives Ivy pause is Bishop, because he’s not what she thought he’d be.
When I read the blurb and the sample, I thought, oooh, this is going to be one of those relationships where the people are thrown together and there’s a lot of anger, animosity and angst; there wasn’t. Part of that reason is that Ivy wasn’t the only one who thought Bishop would be different than he was. Before I read the book, I read a review by one of my Goodreads friends (Rachel, in case you want to check out her review) and she had the same expectations that I did and was disappointed by it and really didn’t like the ending, which I understand, but I got why she did what she did and I’m not sure she had a ton of other choices if she didn’t want to (view spoiler)[turn in her family. After the way they acted, I’m not so sure I would’ve had such qualms! (hide spoiler)]. Maybe it’s because I read her review and knew going in that it wasn’t what I was expecting, but when I finally got around to reading it, the difference from what I was expecting didn’t bother me and, in fact, I liked it. The Book of Ivy isn’t a paranormal book, but Bishop and Ivy’s relationship reminded me of another book called You Are Mine by Janeal Falor. Though it went in a different direction than I thought it would, I really enjoyed The Book of Ivy and look forward to reading the sequel.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Skylar lives in a poor, small town in California called Creek View where a lot of guys and girls don’t go on to higher education, assuming they graduaSkylar lives in a poor, small town in California called Creek View where a lot of guys and girls don’t go on to higher education, assuming they graduate from high school, have kids really young and end up working at low wage jobs. It basically seems like a place where dreams go to die.
Skylar and one of her best friends, Chris, have a pact to not get involved with anyone and to get out of town and go to college (she’s going to San Francisco, he’s going to Boston) as soon as they can. Their other friend Dylan had a kid in high school and, though they love her dearly, staying in Creek View forever is one thing they dread the most. One person who left but has recently returned is Josh Mitchell, a popular player who joined the Marines after high school. He’s back because he was injured in Afghanistan and lost a good part of one of his legs.
Josh and Skylar worked together at the Paradise Motel and Josh is back working there while he figures out what to do next with his life. The book is basically about Sky and how hard life is going to make it for her to get out of Creek View and go to school, in spite of her expectations and goals. She and Josh start becoming friends, but Josh has a lot of understandable issues that he’s dealing with. Throw in the fact that he is only 19, and he doesn’t always handle everything in the best way, though he has grown and matured a lot since he left town.
I don’t know a lot of people who are or have been in the military, and certainly no one who’s had an experience where they’ve been injured and/or have lost friends in war, but it certainly seemed like Demetrios did a good job of depicting that experience. In any case, she certainly didn’t glamorize or romanticize being the military and really made me empathize with what Josh was going through. There was one thing he did where I wanted to punch him in the throat, issues be damned. Kudos to Demetrios for being able to make me get it and still root for him, in the end. Part of the way she did this was through dual POVs, though on Josh’s side they were usually only a page or two. However, she packed a lot into those brief glimpses inside Josh’s head.
I loved Sky. Absolutely loved her. Yes, she did some stupid (really stupid!) things at times, but she was a tough cookie. A lot of times, when something happens to a female character, even one I love to death, it seems like there are moments when she acts out of character, or just like a dummy, and doesn’t stand up for herself or give the verbal one-two punch. I loved how realistic everyone seemed to me, especially Sky. There were times when she wanted to cave, or break down and cry, but she’d buck up, stand up for herself and say what she felt, and boy, did she say the perfect thing some times (okay, I guess in that respect it wasn’t always realistic; I usually think of the perfect thing to say 20 minutes after the fact ).
If I had to think of any minor things or complaints about the book, it would be that Chris and Dylan, who were Sky’s best friends and who she spent most of her free time with, seemed to drop out of the book except for brief appearances. I hate it when we’re told how great a friend someone is, then they disappear when the love interest shows up. Having said that, I was pleasantly surprised when both Chris and Dylan showed up more as the book went on and not just in passing. The other thing that jumped out every time it was mentioned was the people of Afghanistan. I’ve been told that they’re Afghans, not Afghanis and it seems like that’s something that someone who was over there should know.
Yep, that’s it for the gripes. If you haven’t guessed, I absolutely loved this book and would definitely give another book by Demetrios a try....more
Zombie Dawn is the last book in the Changeling series. Lucien’s brother Caliban is hiding in the Tower of Leroth and is working with the sorceress HelZombie Dawn is the last book in the Changeling series. Lucien’s brother Caliban is hiding in the Tower of Leroth and is working with the sorceress Helde in an attempt to defeat Lucien and his crew, which includes Tom, his right-hand man, Lucien’s daughter, Alexa and werewolf Trey Laporte. If that happens, Lucien will take over the human realm, though legend has it that Trey will be the one who can put an end to his plans.
I’ve really enjoyed this series, and, while I liked this book, I didn’t like it as much as I did the last one. This story was told from the viewpoints of multiple characters as the series has been in the past, but I found myself somewhat bored with the sections that dealt with Lucien and Helde. I also had problems with Helde’s form, I just thought it was odd and a bit goofy. It seems like she should’ve been able to be brought back in some different form, if not human. I also had issues with what happened after the resolution of the fight; I find it hard to believe that things on such a huge scale could be covered up.
I did like the scenes with Trey, who I really liked as a character, especially the ones with Alexa. The first book in the series was given to me and I normally don’t read books with characters who are so young (Trey’s 15). I had thought (hoped) that the series would take place over a year or two and the we’d see Trey get a little older, which I think would’ve allowed for some more from his relationship with Alexa. It didn’t, but I still liked their interactions, for the most part, they’re both pretty mature. I also thought a little twist Feasey threw in with one of the characters was interesting and unexpected, unfortunately, I also felt it was a little farfetched.
So, I wasn’t as in love with this last book as I thought I would be, but I enjoyed the series overall and would recommend it. There could be some scary moments, but I think mature younger readers (pre-teen and slightly older) who like the horror genre would also like it....more
In this loose retelling, Cinderella is a citizen of Trieux which was invaded three years before by Erlauf. There wasReally disappointed with this one.
In this loose retelling, Cinderella is a citizen of Trieux which was invaded three years before by Erlauf. There wasn’t much of a battle and Erlauf became part of Trieux, any nobles, which was most of them, who fought or stood against Erlauf was killed and heavy and relentless taxes followed for those who did survive. This resulted in many selling their possessions and land and letting go many of their servants.
Because Cinderella, who once had everything she could ever want and didn’t seem to give much thought to anything of real substance, was saved by her loyal servants, she’s since become determined to hold on to her land and all of her servants. This means she works in the local market, has sold many of her things (including her hair) and works her land. Her stepmother and sisters aren’t in the book too much, but Shea puts a bit of a twist on that relationship.
The lead guy in this book is a colonel in the Erlauf military, Friedrich, who first meets Cinderella at her stall in the market and decides to pursue her, much to Cinderella and her fellow Trieux citizens’ dismay. Eventually, they spend time together and…well, you know how it goes.
If that description wasn’t too exciting, you’ve got how I felt about this book down pat. I read Shea’s retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I really liked it. I liked the characters, both main and secondary, as well as how their relationship developed. Unfortunately, I felt no real connection to either of the main characters, especially Cinderella. She was so intent on saving everything she decided that she needed to make herself available to a guy who would be able to help her keep her property and her servants. To this end, she wouldn’t let Friedrich kiss her, and barely let him touch her (in totally innocent ways). To me, she came off as a huge, freaking prude while also managing to seem whorish. She said, “Physical affection, for me, is a matter of loyalty and wealth.” Really?! What about love? Like I said, whorish. It gets even better when, later, Friedrich confesses something to her which is basically what she was doing, and she gets angry.
Then, this whole Cinderella can save both countries from some impending dark forces by leading everyone in forgiveness; “Hate cannot drive out hate” and “If you can forgive us, you will set not only yourself free, but your countrymen as well.” I don’t know what’s up with the cat poster philosophy, but, gag! A sudden 180 by another character brings everything to a far too easy, unbelievable ending. Throw in typos and misused words (gratuity instead of gratitude, than instead of then) and this book was pretty much a dud for me. Like I said, I liked Shea’s Beauty and the Beast and would recommend that book over this one. ...more
Reena got pregnant when she was 16 and is living at home trying to raise her daughter, who’s now almost two, while living with her parents, even thougReena got pregnant when she was 16 and is living at home trying to raise her daughter, who’s now almost two, while living with her parents, even though her father basically thinks she’s a slut who ruined her life and humiliated the family (even though Sawyer was the only guy she’d been with). She’s had to go through everything alone because the kid’s father, Sawyer, took off without knowing that she was pregnant, but he’s back in town and had no idea he’d gotten her pregnant.
The rest of the book shows what she’s gone through while he was gone, how she’s managing now and how she now has to figure out how to deal with Sawyer now that he’s back and seems to want to be in their lives. The present chapters alternate with what happened in the months before Sawyer left, and both fill in the blanks as the book goes on.
I really liked this book, more than I thought I would, and, while I know other readers had a problem with him, overall I really liked Sawyer. I would’ve liked to know a little more of what he did while he was gone and, especially, would’ve liked to have seen him show a little regret at what happened and what she’d gone through, even though he wasn’t aware that she’d had his kid and had been dealing with all kinds of stuff for years. Regret might not be the right word, maybe just that he should’ve shown a little more empathy. Honesty, it was kind of stupid for Reena to keep it going with Sawyer when it was obvious he was doing stupid shit and getting worse as time went on. I also get why he took off; it was clear that Reena had no plans to stay (she said so herself, repeatedly) and if it helped him clean up, then it was good. However, it was shitty, whether Reena was pregnant or not, that he didn’t call to see how things were once he got himself together.
As I basically said, I think Reena has to take some responsibility for staying involved (and were condoms used? It takes two to tango.) with someone doing drugs and drinking, but I really liked her. She handled a crappy situation very maturely, even though she put up with a lot of crap that she shouldn’t have, and eventually spoke up about the way everyone treated her. Like it was all her fault she got pregnant (again, two to tango) and Sawyer had nothing to do with it.
Don’t get me started on the parents. Though things did end up changing and I understand Reena’s father being angry and disappointed it, he acted like a real dick and doing it because he was religious is soooo not a good excuse.
Another person I wasn’t too keen on Reena’s friend, Allie. Who needs enemies when you have friends like her? Having said that, it didn’t excuse what Sawyer and Reena did (they didn’t have sex while he was seeing her and they didn’t run around behind her back for months and months or anything like that).
How to Love turned out to be a really pleasant surprise and I absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for a mature YA book (the “sex” scenes were not explicit, in case you’re wondering). I really liked Cotugno’s writing style and would definitely check out more books by her....more
I got this book as a gift and, like most people, I think, had never heard of the University of Washington rowers who won gold at the 1936 Berlin OlympI got this book as a gift and, like most people, I think, had never heard of the University of Washington rowers who won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. I thought it would be about a short period of time leading up to the games and the games themselves. I also had zero knowledge, or interest, really, in rowing before I read The Boys in the Boat. In actuality, only a small portion of the book covers the games; most of it is about one young man, Joe Rantz, his fellow rowers, coaches and George Pocock, an Englishman who built most of the boats in use at the time but also had amazing insight into the sport and the young men who rowed.
I’m not going to go into all of the details of this book or Joe’s life, but suffice it to say it’s a fascinating read that totally sucked me in. Brown tells us not only about what was going on at the University of Washington and how, from the time they were freshmen, the team that will go to the Olympics starts to come together, he goes into what was happening in America at the time and interspersed that with what was, mostly behind closed doors, going on in Germany, as well.
Even though I knew what the end result was there were times, especially just before and during the races in Germany, where I was practically on the edge of my seat. Though it was almost 80 years in the past, during the races I actually got nervous and my heart was beating faster. Yes, I felt like an idiot, but that’s how good of a job Brown did in describing those events and how heart-pounding, even decades upon decades later, they were.
One minor complaint I have is that I would’ve liked to have gotten the viewpoint of one of the rowers about how he got through the games and what, exactly, was wrong with him. At some point someone had to have asked about it and it seemed he was so sick that he had to have gotten some kind of treatment. Another is that I would’ve liked to have known if (view spoiler)[Bobby Moch ever told his teammates that his family was Jewish and if he ever looked into that aspect of his family’s past (hide spoiler)].
Before I read this book I thought that our society, as a whole, is a bunch of wusses who think things should just be handed to them and who wouldn’t know what hard work and tough times really are. This book did absolutely nothing to dissuade me of those thoughts. The things that many of these guys, and other people during that time, went through just to get by and live was inspiring. I’m sure these guys weren’t always angels (e.g. Joe and the fish, even though I get it), but the work ethic they had is admirable. I really can’t recommend this book enough and I’m so glad I read it. Now, to Kenneth Branagh or whoever makes this book into a movie, because this book screams to be made into a movie or a miniseries, please don’t screw it up!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more