Sam Temple is sitting in class when his teacher vanishes into thin air. It doesn’t take the kids of Perdido Beach long to realise that everyone above...moreSam Temple is sitting in class when his teacher vanishes into thin air. It doesn’t take the kids of Perdido Beach long to realise that everyone above the age of fourteen has vanished right along with him. I won’t go into any detail on the rest of the plot, because for me the never-ending, surprising and shocking revelations of just how messed up life in Perdido Beach has gotten is part of the beauty of this novel. Just when you think you’ve sussed out where Michael Grant is taking Gone he knocks you flat on your behind with something even cooler.
Gone is extremely well-written, phenomenally real, despite it being quite possibly the most complicated YA sci-fi novel I’ve ever come across, and unforgiving in its masochism – and I mean that in the best of ways. There is an un-ending deluge of cruelty, misery and hardship in Gone (along with a generous helping of super weird and wonderful); situations so gripping and terrifying I couldn’t put the book down for want of discovering how the characters fare.
And believe me, you want to know how the characters fare. There are quite a few characters in Gone which can sometimes be confusing but not in this instance. Michael Grant easily avoids confusion by making his characters so well-rounded and human that you remember them individually because their personality is so distinct. Two of the characters that stood out in particular for me were Sam and Diana. Sam is quite possibly my most favourite hero since Harry Potter. He’s modest, quiet and scared as hell but exceptionally cool and brave when under fire. Diana is a different kettle of fish altogether. She’s kind of evil…but compellingly so. Surprisingly upfront about her wickedness and amazingly savvy for a fourteen year old girl who knows how to utilise feminine lure to manipulate the powerful, I couldn’t help but wait to see what Diana was going to do next.
Overall Gone isn’t just a five-star book. Gone is a five-star book with a giant arrow in flashing gold lights that reads “BUY ME, READ ME, LOVE ME!” pointing to it.
It’s impossible not to love Gone. It’s an intelligent and fast-paced action novel that ends with a “grrrr” cliffhanger. Hunger next? Uh…yes please! (less)
**spoiler alert** The year is 1899 and Elizabeth Holland the darling of New York High Society has just died. Grieving for the beautiful debutante whom...more**spoiler alert** The year is 1899 and Elizabeth Holland the darling of New York High Society has just died. Grieving for the beautiful debutante whom they saw as the perfect,docile and well-mannered lady New York society don't realise they're grieving for a girl who never really existed. Elizabeth was a passionate girl in love with her childhood sweetheart, the forbidden Will Keller, her families coachman. And When Elizabeth's mother insisted on her daughter marrying Henry Schoonmaker, to save them from poverty, events were put into motion that would change all their lives. Elizabeth's best friend, the ruthless Penelope Hayes, loves Henry and will stop at nothing to have him. Henry loves Elizabeth's little sister Diana, and Diana loves Henry. And then there is Lina, Elizabeth's spiteful maid, who loves Will. With more than a few love triangles, and two very malicious young women, the Luxe is a lesson in intrigue and betrayal.
The Luxe offers an extremely refreshing and exciting beginning, the opening pages crying over the death of one of the novels main characters. Immediately I was hooked by Godbersen's smooth, classic prose so appropriate to this period tale. And although at times there was perhaps too much description for my taste, I was too engrossed in the story to care over much.
As far as characters go, I thought each were extremely well-written and distinctive. I would have liked to have LIKED Elizabeth more than I did, especially as she is one of the few kind people in the story, but it was Diana Holland's voice that I enjoyed the most. I did feel for Elizabeth, trapped by her responsbilities as she was, and for Will who loves a girl he can't have, but it was Diana and Henry I looked forward to meeting on the pages.
I was sufficiently irritated by Lina but I didn't find her character as entertaining as Penelope; even though she is wicked I wanted to know what she was up to next and I didn't feel that way about Lina. I kind of wanted her to get the picture - Will loves Elizabeth - and go away.
However, I loved the ending. It was the perfect ending to the first in this series, and even though it was a twist I saw coming from the very beginning, it still brought a smile to my face.
A luxurious read, with a brilliant sense of location and era. I can't wait to pick up the next in the series.
Lenah Beaudonte is a vampire, queen of her coven, lifeless, evil and completely despairing of her lack of humanity. Her sire - her best friend and lov...moreLenah Beaudonte is a vampire, queen of her coven, lifeless, evil and completely despairing of her lack of humanity. Her sire - her best friend and lover - Rhode, gives up his own life to free Lenah so she can be human again. Gradually, Lenah's soul returns to her, with a little help from her new best friend, Tony, and gorgeous adventurer, Justin. But when Lenah's coven realise she's missing, and human, they'll stop at nothing to either change her back or kill her... as well as the people she cares most about.
The first thing that caught me with this book was the cover. I don't know about the U.S. edition of Infinite Days, but the UK version is really cool. It's a black hardback with Lenah's pale, vampiric image on the front, and then the actual cover is a silvery tracing paper that obscures the image underneath, giving it a real ghostly quality - it's very different, and caught my eye in the bookstore.
As for the story, I have to say I liked it A LOT. I loved Lenah's character. I thought the flashbacks to when she was a vampire were excellent, atmospheric, and vivid in era and location. Best of all, however, was Maizel's description of how truly evil Lenah was as a vampire. She was ruthless, psychotic and sadistic, and Maizel didn't hold anything back - she provided the reader with some very disturbing images and scenes to highlight her depiction of vampires as being creatures so despairing of their lack of humanity, in so much pain over their loss, that they have to inflict pain on others to ease it. It made Lenah a very interesting character, and not only did I love discovering her joy for life with her, but also her catching up on the twenty-first century after having been in hibernation for 100 years. It was at once funny and endearing.
Moreover, I enjoyed the relationship between the characters. Rhode's character, for having been in it less than the others, was brilliant - his and Lenah's relationship was beautifully written and you believed in their love. Tony, as Lenah's best friend was fab until the romantic twist was put into it - I think it would have worked just as well if Tony had only loved her as a friend. I thought the love/hate relationship between Vicken and Lenah, and the history between them, was also very well written, and Maizel captured their age particularly well when the two of them were in scenes together. As for the main romantic plot, I'm on the fence. I thought the two of them had chemistry and I can understand why Justin is enthralled by Lenah because she is so unusual. I understand that Lenah is supposed to love Justin because of his appetite for living and how he made her feel alive, I just felt it wasn't given enough of a build up, his character wasn't fleshed out enough for us to understand what made him so special to a nearly five hundred year old vampire.
However, the prose was smooth, easy-reading, I could barely put the book down. The plot was fast-paced and neatly written, with a beautiful ending leading us into the second in the series.