This is a reread for me from ages ago. Peter Beagle is one of my favorite writers, and this book does not disappoint. It's eerie and wonderful, and maThis is a reread for me from ages ago. Peter Beagle is one of my favorite writers, and this book does not disappoint. It's eerie and wonderful, and manages to weave together English history and folklore in a way that few others can. Although it's a ghost story, the scares are mostly relegated to the end, and much of the story is devoted to the story of the teenage narrator as she comes to grips with her mother's decision to remarry and the transition from living in New York City to living on a farm in the English countryside with her step-father and two step-brothers. I'm typically pretty wary of male authors writing first person female characters but Beagle nails it. As a former teenage girl, it can be uncomfortable at times reading the story and remembering those feelings of impotent anger and jealousy.
Overall, one of my favorite books and one that I will definitely be reading again....more
So this was my first Tim Powers book. I picked it up at the bookstore because it sounded interesting, and I'm always looking for new time travel/histoSo this was my first Tim Powers book. I picked it up at the bookstore because it sounded interesting, and I'm always looking for new time travel/historical fiction. I've also been really interested in the history of Hollywood lately, so that was another big draw for me.
The book, it turns out, doesn't contain a whole lot of Hollywood history, or at least not as much as the dust jacket made it sound like. Which is not to say it was a bad book, because it wasn't and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just throwing that out there in case someone picks up the book for the same reasons I did.
Anyway, the book itself was great. I'm actually looking forward to reading it a second time, because it's one of those novels that throws you in and explains things gradually. So definitely one of those stories that would benefit from multiple readings, which is a huge plus for me. I like to be able to read a book more than once and have a different experience every time.
My only real complaint with the book is that the characters were a little secondary to the actual story. They all seemed to have a handful of descriptors that were enough to explain why they were doing what they were doing, but there was no depth behind them. It's a pretty mild criticism, honestly, because I definitely enjoyed the book in spite of that. The plot and world building were interesting enough that I didn't really mind the characters falling flat.
Definitely going to be checking out some more of Powers' novels after this one!...more
Just after Christmas I went and blew all of my gift money on books, and this is one of the ones that I picked up. Life endI love this book with teeth.
Just after Christmas I went and blew all of my gift money on books, and this is one of the ones that I picked up. Life ended up kind of getting in the way, and it took me a while to get started on the pile, but between one thing and another this ended up being the last in the group to get read. And while the others were good, they weren't as good as I wanted them to be, and that kind of tainted my expectations of this one.
When I started BotW I wasn't sure I was going to like it. Belcher's writing style is very straightforward; shit is happening, he's gonna tell you about it. I've gotten so used to reading twisty prose and elaborate descriptions that it took me about a chapter to get used to it, but once I did I couldn't stop reading. Every single character is likable except the ones that aren't supposed to be and they're just the right amount of evil and interesting that you can't wait to see what happens to them. And even though I knew when they got separated the good guys were still going to come through for each other, there was definitely a moment where I had to put the book down because I got so overwhelmed with Feelings when it actually happened.
What really shines in this book, though, is the world building. There are a lot of books and games that play with the idea of hidden things happening along America's highways, and Belcher takes those tropes and gives them a great twist. He's got a deft hand with the details, dropping in bits and pieces about the world and the characters that makes you want to know more without making it too easy for you to guess what the big secret is. I just finished the book tonight and I'm already dying for the sequel.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the parade of songs that Belcher peppers throughout the narrative. It's like having a soundtrack while you're reading, which is a lot of fun and lends a lot of flavor to the story. I ended up making a Spotify playlist of all of the songs in the order that they appear in the book (there was only one I couldn't find). You can listen to it here if you want!
Really, the only reason I didn't give this book a full five stars is because the ending felt a tiny bit rushed. (view spoiler)[When Agnes, Ava, and Lovina go into the houses to uncap the wells, I was expecting that they would have to embody the aspects of the Triple Goddess or something of that nature in order to defeat Chasseur. Also I was a bit confused as to why exactly Agnes felt like she needed to climb into the well and die. (hide spoiler)] All in all, it felt a little bit too easy when the good guys won the day, but it's a pretty minor complaint considering how much I enjoyed the book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It took me quite a while to read this one, though that wasn't entirely the fault of the book. Usually, when I'm having a rough time in life - as I wasIt took me quite a while to read this one, though that wasn't entirely the fault of the book. Usually, when I'm having a rough time in life - as I was for the past few months, thankfully not anymore - I've turned to books as an escape. It is indicative of the lack of energy in the book, though, that I would frequently forget about it for extended periods of time.
Which isn't to say that it's a bad book, because it's not. The prose is very well written and the story itself is an interesting one. A family - father Tonio, mother Julia, son Dewey, and Tonio's drug addict brother Robbie - stop to wait out a blizzard in a small town off the interstate, where they end up in a creepy hotel that seems to swallow them up one by one. The only member of the family that feels like a real person, though, is Robbie. Everyone else feels like a sketch of a person, provided with the personality traits and motivations required to propel them through the story. Nothing they do changes anything, nothing they do affects anything. There is a story and it plays out regardless of their influence, which is partially the point, but which is very frustrating as a reader.
The book is filled with beautifully detailed descriptions and introspections, but ultimately both go on for far too long. The bulk of the story is taken up with the details of how each family member repeats the same actions over and over while accomplishing nothing. There are a few flashes of brilliance - when Dewey finally gets the diner owners across the street to talk to him, for example, I read eagerly, hoping for some hint that might move the story forward, but ultimately it ended with Dewey returning to the same circular behavior as before.
The story doesn't pick up until right towards the end, when all of the pieces begin to fall together, and an interesting, emotional story begins to emerge, only to abruptly end with very little resolution. Had the puzzle pieces been scattered throughout the story, and had the characters discovered those pieces and followed the trail to a logical conclusion, the story would have been infinitely more satisfying. However, it feels more like everyone is just gently guided to the end of the story through little to no actual effort on their part. The story would have played out the same way had they just sat in a room and stared at a wall; nothing that happens happens because of them.
I know this makes it all sound like I didn't like the book, which isn't the case. I doubt I'll read it again, but I'm not sorry I did, if that makes sense. And I did enjoy the story, even if the characters were deeply frustrating....more
I know a lot of people really liked this book, but my god I couldn't stand it.
It was like it wanted to be Narnia while simultaneously being too cool tI know a lot of people really liked this book, but my god I couldn't stand it.
It was like it wanted to be Narnia while simultaneously being too cool to be Narnia; all of the characters were shitty people with shitty attitudes and I hated every single one of them. And for a book called The Magicians, there sure wasn't a whole lot of magic in it.
I think the most disappointing thing about this one to me was that there were hints of a really cool story in there. Some really creepy stuff happened that kept me intrigued, and I kept pushing through the rich kid ennui hoping that something was finally going to happen, but when it did, it was just as dull and pointless as everything else in the book. And the blatant, crappy misogyny that permeated the whole thing was never addressed - depressing, but unfortunately common.
So clearly I am not the target audience for a book that is primarily about how much it sucks to be a rich dude who gets to learn magic and travel to different worlds. The worst part is, that could still be a good story if only everyone involved in said story hadn't been such a self-involved, unlikable piece of garbage. Needless to say, I'll be skipping the rest of the series....more
I tried to read this over a period of several months, and while the prose is certainly beautiful and I can see why so many people enjoy it, it just waI tried to read this over a period of several months, and while the prose is certainly beautiful and I can see why so many people enjoy it, it just wasn't for me. I was expecting something different when I picked it up, which is maybe why I couldn't quite concentrate on it. I'll probably try it again at a later date, but for now I'm gonna leave it on the shelf. ...more
The Long Earth is a good book. It's not a great book, or an astounding book. There were portions of the book that felt unnecessary, and it seemed a loThe Long Earth is a good book. It's not a great book, or an astounding book. There were portions of the book that felt unnecessary, and it seemed a lot of the time like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to be an adventure story or something a little more serious that explored the political implications of the seemingly endless worlds. Occasionally it managed to mesh the two pretty well, but for the most part the book felt kind of disjointed.
That wasn't helped by mostly unlikable characters. The relationship between Joshua and Lobsang was interesting (even though Lobsang seemed to want to creatively murder Joshua by dropping him unprepared into dangerous situations every other chapter) but it never really felt real. Joshua's presence on the journey seemed mostly redundant, as he didn't really do anything but get into trouble. Sally, another natural Stepper that they pick up later on in the book, is deeply unpleasant. All she seems to do is make bitter asides about both Lobsang and Joshua, and humanity in general. And while initially she seemed to me like one of Pratchett's familiar wonderful prickly female characters (in the vein of Susan Sto Helit and Granny Weatherwax) Sally doesn't get to do any real developing or even show another side of her personality, and so she (like Joshua and Lobsang) falls flat.
Maybe these are all problems that will be solved by the sequel novels, and I am fully willing to give those a try, because the story elements that were presented in The Long Earth were very interesting. But as a stand-alone novel, it doesn't work very well....more
As far as movie novelizations go, this one was pretty decent. The writing wasn't mind-blowing, but it wasn't horrible like so many novelizations are.As far as movie novelizations go, this one was pretty decent. The writing wasn't mind-blowing, but it wasn't horrible like so many novelizations are. And the book contained a lot of clarification and extra information that wasn't in the movie, which in my opinion would make it worth reading even if it sucked out loud.
My only real complaint with the novelization is that it went with the Raleigh and Mako kissing ending, which they decided to leave out of the movie because it didn't feel right. Which it still doesn't in the book. But it's a minor complaint and I can easily ignore it for all of the details about the characters, Jaegers, and kaiju....more