Okay, so wow. That's literally all I could think as I closed the back cover on this late (really late) last night.
First of all, this should be classi...moreOkay, so wow. That's literally all I could think as I closed the back cover on this late (really late) last night.
First of all, this should be classified as advanced YA, if not Adult, both because of the subject matter and the writing style.
Now, onto the book and the author. Brom is amazing. Really. It has been a long, long time since a book has clawed me in so hard that it was literally un-put-down-able. I'm a Christian, and I can't say I appreciated the portrayal of the religion in the book, but on a deeper level, I think (I hope) it speaks against madness under any banner. I don't normally go for Norse mythology or any of the Arthurian legends, but this was so... GAH!
I've never liked the story of Peter Pan and have always found it a little weird. I've never watched the Disney movie in its entirety, but I remember thinking as I watched it that that wasn't what I'd imagined at all! This novel was an absolutely stunning portrayal of the twisted child thief, his band, and their motivations. Even the Flesh-Eaters and Ulfger were fascinating.
I'm going away in a short while, so I don't think I can gobble up the rest of Brom's books (or his illustrations - GAAH!), but I'm sincerely hoping my library has online versions I can borrow. (less)
First off, I understand this was translated into English, so I'm not sure it that's what made it such a clunky, stilted read. I wasn't expecti...moreHo hum.
First off, I understand this was translated into English, so I'm not sure it that's what made it such a clunky, stilted read. I wasn't expecting a lot from it, to be honest, as I have never found that writers go quite far enough with fairy-tale rewrites, but this fell well below even those expectations.
Stories just started up - and stopped. With no rhyme or reason. I understand that this is an anthology, but... oh, I don't know. it was just a bizarre read that seemed like the author expected readers to know a whole lot more about Geralt (the Witcher in question) than he'd ever revealed. I was vaguely interested in some of the stories (those of Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and Rumpelstiltskin, specifically), but I knew they would end so abruptly and unsatisfactorily that I never got into any of them.
Snow White's story really showed some promise, and could have been a novel on its own, if it had been more well-developed and well-written. But, again, the premise and tale itself were so choppily told that...
Anyway. I can only say, "I couldn't get into it" so many times. You get the idea.
I guess this was originally a video game or something? I've read another book that was based on a video game (Fable: The Balverine Order), and it definitely had the same feel to it: flat and superficial, with no real character, plot, or world development. Not my type. (less)
This was pretty much one of the most irritating books of all time - and consistent with my idea of YA fantasy. But I fought my way through it because,...moreThis was pretty much one of the most irritating books of all time - and consistent with my idea of YA fantasy. But I fought my way through it because, goshdarnit, I picked it up at the library, dragged it home with a load of other books and groceries, and renewed it the max number of times - I was gonna finish it.
You know the kickbutt heroine who is just totally kickbutt and doesn't need no one, no way, no how, and yet loves and feels and hurts deeply and yet keeps everyone away because she is baaaaaad? Yeah, that one. I hate her.
You know the quiet, loving hero who worships the ground his heroine walks on and yet is reasonably kickbutt himself, while at the same time deferring to the heroine's wishes and not fulfilling any of his own? I hate him, too.
Katsa was a child, and I hated that she and Po meandered their way into a sexual relationship because of 'twu wuv' and the fact that she would be tied down if she married. By golly, dontcha know you don't have to be married to have sex and lead a wonderful, fulfilling life? Now imagine the situation reversed - if Po had fallen in 'twu wuv' with Katsa, but would never contemplate marriage because he thought it would tie him down and keep him from true freedom... Wow, that would be really, really sexist. And lame. But if a woman does it to the man whom she loves (and who loves her in return), it's a point for us rockin' feminists.
Please. Please. For the love of good fantasy fiction, let's write and read about realistic characters and remember that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I would have hated it if Po had refused to marry Katsa for the reasons stated above, but neither do I enjoy it when the poor guy's just supposed to be some worthless blob waiting for her to come home from her adventures, beat him at fights, and then run off into the wild blue yonder again. Isn't marriage/love supposed to be a give-and-take between equals? If Katsa had scorned marriage in the beginning and rethought her view after learning that Po's love would never keep her bound, there would have been something to say in defense of this novel.
I suppose the idea of the Grace and the Kingdoms, etc. was good, but the childish, flat chracters and overdone prose made it a difficult, boring read that could have been halved and still felt too long. And best wishes to the youth who read this and decide that sex isn't a big deal, that it can happen as long as you KNOW you're in love (because, obviously, it's easy to know when you're that age), and that 'marriage' is a synonym for 'slavery'. (less)
I liked the humor in this book, as well as the idea of a retired hero. It was pretty average in terms of material, but I think Terry Pratchett did it...moreI liked the humor in this book, as well as the idea of a retired hero. It was pretty average in terms of material, but I think Terry Pratchett did it way, waayy better in The Light Fantastic and Interesting Times.
That's pretty much all I have to say, really. As sad as this is to admit, the best thing I liked about this book was how much it reminded me of Terry Pratchett's and how much better those were. (less)
Oh, this could have been so good. OOH! It makes me so mad...
First of all, props to the author, because she really had a good idea. It was a sweet blen...moreOh, this could have been so good. OOH! It makes me so mad...
First of all, props to the author, because she really had a good idea. It was a sweet blend of romance and fantasy that was soooo close to being a hit for me. What brought it down to a two-star rating? Her writing.
L.J. McDonald's bio says she's been writing since she was 15. Her writing style and grace suggest that she must be almost 16 now.
It was corny, but that I could forgive; it happens with romance novels. But the total childishness of it all was... I don't know. Something about her turn of phrase was not at an adult level, so I placed it in the YA genre. It does mention sex, but nothing too graphic, and it's definitely not well enough developed to be classified as adult reading. Sorry. She had SUCH potential in her characters, and the world/ideas were so... CLOSE. The main characters, especially, are quite childish (I think they're about 15 or 16), so the ending fell a little bit flat; too dramatic and not enough depth (I can't say more without giving the end away). I don't usually fuss so much over books, I either trash them or love them, but this was just sad to read because it could truly have been so much better...
Final verdict: I won't pick up another one in this series unless the synopsis somehow grabs hold of me and doesn't let me go. Or unless I'm very, very bored. But, ugh, the possibilities...(less)
Pretty boring, average YA, I think. I LOVE the 'Sir Apropos of Nothing' series by Peter David, so I was expecting this to be something like it, at lea...morePretty boring, average YA, I think. I LOVE the 'Sir Apropos of Nothing' series by Peter David, so I was expecting this to be something like it, at least in terms of comedy. Instead it was a humdrum, predictable story with no real meat to it. Although I liked the two main characters and their personalities, they could have been developed a whole lot more; instead they are given interesting traits that show up sometimes but are largely ignored in favor of chivvying the characters to their destination and doing the things they ought to be doing.
Final Verdict: Not really worth the read, but not the worst book you could pick up either, I guess. Meh. (less)
Utterly uninspiring. I don't know if this was meant to be an adult novel, but I would classify it as young YA, if that makes sense.
Everything was c-l...moreUtterly uninspiring. I don't know if this was meant to be an adult novel, but I would classify it as young YA, if that makes sense.
Everything was c-l-e-a-r-l-y spelled out for you, in case you didn't understand. Also, I don't know much about Avalon, but although the different lands (e.g. Woodoot, Fireroot, etc.) all sounded kind of interesting, Barron went a little overboard on the whole fantasy-land theme. There was a bit where he talked about somewhere that was covered in rainbows or made of rainbows or something, and it just sounded like something you would make up for a 3-year-old wanting a bedtime story. But, again, if this was one of the myths of Avalon, then kudos to the author for really going with it...
Barron's characters/language/dialogue were also extremely cliched, which I found quite annoying. All-in-all, a pretty lame book, and I would definitely not pick up the others in the series. (less)
**spoiler alert** So this one was a quite a bit better than the first in the series! This is the kind of writing I was expecting from SRB in Demon's L...more**spoiler alert** So this one was a quite a bit better than the first in the series! This is the kind of writing I was expecting from SRB in Demon's Lexicon, in which plot, characterization, writing... all seemed a little weak to me.
I love the male characters - all of them. I'm sure I'm joining a crowd when I say that I especially love Jamie. His comments, cowardice, and dawning maturity are easily recognizable to fans of SRB and a delight to read.
I still dislike Mae in a big way, and I hate how she strings guys along, whether knowingly or unknowingly. I find her quite fake and one-dimensional, and I'm sure that I would have enjoyed the book more if it was in the pov of one of the male characters. She is given responsibilities and special attention for no apparent reason, and any 'ability' she has seems to be in running about and fussing over people, especially Jamie. I totally did not understand her leadership in the end of the book as it seemed a forced and random effort to make her more involved. Annabel, however, was an unexpected, complex, and enjoyable character. Sin was more involved in this book and I don't like her much, either. She is the stereotypical badass leader-wannabe, and too perfect to believe.
I think I like the male characters more because they are so much more flawed and struggling with their flaws. Alan, even though I don't get to peer into his psyche anywhere near as much as I'd like, is so complex! He is happy and sweet, and yet he lies and manipulates like he was born for it. Nick... Ah, Nick. I think he is flawed as well, and I love reading about him, but I think he kind of puts his 'demon-ness' aside for Mae, or when he wants to. But I adore his fierce need for and protectiveness of Alan. Seb's secret,too, was so interesting! I really want to hear more about him.
One thing I definitely don't like about the male characters, however, is that they all seem so beautiful. It's a little boring to read how perfect they are, frankly. The only thing 'wrong' about them seems to be that they are pale, Jamie is skinny, and Alan has a limp. Actually, all the characters (including Sin) have this trait of wild, perfect beauty. I'm not sure if it's a YA thing...? The only YA book I can remember offhand that shows physical flaws in a main character is Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series (although I haven't read past the 2nd book yet, so she may have changed that character into a model of epic proportions in the later books).
Dear Authors, Please note: some people are ugly. It happens. Quite often, actually. Thanks, Ugly People of the World
All in all, I am much more eager to read the third book than I was to read the second. I can only hope that her writing continues to improve. (less)
**spoiler alert** And thus (*gasp* omg, I totally would NEVER have figured it out), we find out The Uber Secret of Jace and Clary. I'm gonna go out on...more**spoiler alert** And thus (*gasp* omg, I totally would NEVER have figured it out), we find out The Uber Secret of Jace and Clary. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that most readers were expecting it. The angst lasted way. too. long. And I say this as an angst-lover.
The best parts of the book was Alec/Magnus and Simon. Everything else was bearable except Clary and Jace. They are two of the most annoying characters I have ever had the misfortune of having to read about to get the rest of a story. I absolutely hate the flame-haired heroine archetype, you know that? Why do authors persist with it? And Clary (like Mae from The Demon's Lexicon) is even more useless than most. I *totally* understand that Cassandra Clare may have been trying to make Clary 'the average joe' dealing with a difficult situation. The theme, for me, seemed to be that one doesn't have to have kickass skillz to be awesome, and that sometimes a good soul/heart in the right place is all one needs. But, my WORD, is she USELESS and IRRITATING. She just runs around railing at the world and... angsting to high heaven about Jace who, by the way, is possibly the most perfect human to ever exist (see Nick from The Demon's Lexicon).
WHY can't these characters have flaws? Real, gritty flaws and not just be constantly moaning about something while fending off rabid advances from every. single. member. of the opposite (and sometimes the same) sex? Oh, Clare tries to make them have flaws - all urban fantasy authors do, but only rarely do they succeed (see Ravus from Valiant). Most of the time, you end up with a tragic, flawless hero who loathes himself and his motives and his actions, and yet works for the benefit of everyone in the world. That's Jace in a nutshell.
Alec and Magnus are ridiculously cute and loved the (meagre) development of their relationship. Simon was a sweet, strong character too, and I loved his interactions with Jace (especially in this book) and the rest of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders. He would be my favorite character if he wasn't so obsessed with Clary when she CLEARLY attempts several times to use/keep him for herself while still moping over Jace.
Basically, the background story is pretty good, and the dialogue and the villains (especially Sebastian towards the end) merited 3 stars. I just HATED both the main characters and their stupidly drawn-out love story (which, clearly, happened at first sight at the age of 16). And, judging from an excerpt of the next book, the angst doesn't end here. It's made more sickening by the cutseyness of them together and in twu wuv. (But that won't stop me from reading it... Sigh. What can I say; I have evil, evil compulsions to read all the books in a series unless they are truly disastrous.)(less)