I'm kind of on the fence about this one. It didn't really thrill me, but then I liked some of what Benson did with this work. I liked it well enough tI'm kind of on the fence about this one. It didn't really thrill me, but then I liked some of what Benson did with this work. I liked it well enough that I finished it, but then I know that I also ended up finishing it because I'd purchased it and felt sort of obligated to do so.
There will be some mild spoilers here and there, but no huge ones.
First, the parts I liked: As you'd expect, there is a love interest for our main character Elyse and yes, there is a form of insta-attraction between the two of them. However at the same time Benson does try to give a reason for this and she also tries to have Elyse be a little bewildered before starting to give in to everything. I liked that this was there, although I'd have preferred to have a little more development between the two of them. Benson also tries to keep from making Elyse the star of everything, the end and be all of the book, a common trope in most UF type series. This last trope is one that a lot of us are used to forgiving, but it is nice to see someone try to buck the trend a little.
However at the same time I just couldn't really sink into this book as much as I wanted to. It all felt a little too rushed at times. While you can obviously tell that this book was a set up for a series, I kind of disliked that we had too many things and people introduced in this first book. There's so much going on here that you never get a good feel for any one specific person or topic before we're rushed on to the next plot point. It makes me a little worried that the further novels might get a little too complicated for their own good, that all of this needed to be hurriedly introduced so early on.
Still, this is a nice entry book and one that would make for a good beach read or a nice afternoon read. ...more
It's kind of difficult to rate an Adam Nevill novel sometimes. You can tell that this was one of his earlier works and as such, is a little rough arouIt's kind of difficult to rate an Adam Nevill novel sometimes. You can tell that this was one of his earlier works and as such, is a little rough around the edges. There are some wonderful moments here and there where the promise gleams through, but there are also parts where I couldn't help but wish that the book had been somewhat more refined.
Overall I have to say that I did greatly enjoy this book, although it took some time for me to wade through. It was an interesting choice to jump between various different people POV-wise, but I do think that this worked well in the long run since Dante wasn't really that sympathetic of a main character. He was a bit of a tosser at times, something that was deliberate on Nevill's part, but still made him a difficult character to connect with.
In any case, if you're looking for something fun and a nice chilling read, this is one to check out....more
NOTE: I'd originally posted this to Amazon as part of the Vine program, where I was obligated to leave a star rating. Since this wasn't really my thinNOTE: I'd originally posted this to Amazon as part of the Vine program, where I was obligated to leave a star rating. Since this wasn't really my thing (but was well written) I felt really bad at leaving any sort of star rating, hence the first paragraph of the review. Since GR does allow us to do this, I'm leaving no star ratings so this doesn't mess up the book's overall ratings on here.
But if you want a short answer as to whether or not to get the book, I say go for it. If you're on the fence, check it out at the library first, but if you're a fan of the author I imagine that you'd probably adore this.
---- I feel somewhat obligated to start this review out with a disclaimer: this just wasn't my type of book. As a result I really didn't enjoy this book personally, which makes me feel a little guilty about leaving any sort of star rating. I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this work but I can clearly see where others will.
Roy is clearly a talented writer and at times I can see what all of the fuss is about: her character are beautifully flawed, which made this one of the strongest, most appealing parts of the work for me. I do prefer books where the characters are neither perfect nor completely awful. There are some great interactions and character descriptions, along with some very well done world building.
Unfortunately what turned me off of this book somewhat was the jumping between time periods and the fact that this ultimately wasn't the type of book I'm really into, at least not at this point in time. No matter how hard I tried to get into this I just kept finding my attention wandering. I know that this may make some feel that the book isn't any good but that's really not the case here: this is something that you'll either like or dislike.
So... would I recommend this book? Ultimately, yes. This would appeal most to fans of slow, gothic "hidden family secrets" type of mysteries and to fans of books like Gone Girl. (Which I didn't like despite liking the author's other work.) It's definitely something that I can see becoming a popular summer read and one that will likely become the focus of several book groups. I'd just recommend that if you're somewhat on the fence about this, check it out at the library first. If you're a fan of Roy's work or you're pretty sure that you'd like this book, feel free to add 1-2 stars to my rating. However as much as part of me really feels like I should add an extra star on just by default, I didn't really get four stars worth of enjoyment out of this- and it's absolutely not the fault of either Roy or this work.
I have to admit, I'm a homebody. I like going out and traveling, but for the most part I'm content to stay at home. I do, however, like reading aboutI have to admit, I'm a homebody. I like going out and traveling, but for the most part I'm content to stay at home. I do, however, like reading about places outside of my home state, especially in places with an extremely eclectic culture like New York. This book seemed like it'd pretty obviously be something I would like.
This book has multiple lavish photographs and lengthy descriptions of each location, along with basic information about where each is in Brooklyn and so on. It's pretty much designed for people to flip through at their leisure and pick and choose which ones they read and when. You could read it straight through if you really wanted to, but I think I had more fun flipping through this and picking entries at random than I did trying to read them one after the other. It's a pretty good example of the "bathroom reader" or coffee table type of book, since while this is definitely entertaining it's also something that you keep around just so you could flip through it.
The only downfall is that it doesn't really go into a huge portion of Brooklyn, as another reviewer has pointed out. While this isn't a dealbreaker for me, it is a little disappointing since I know that there is more to Brooklyn than the quirky portions. With how lovingly the author covers the areas she does, I'd have liked for her to have gone into some depth about the other areas. Maybe a future book could take care of this?
I ended up buying this on an impulse after a friend of mine repeatedly nagged me (albeit good naturedly) to pick up this book. As anyone who has everI ended up buying this on an impulse after a friend of mine repeatedly nagged me (albeit good naturedly) to pick up this book. As anyone who has ever read a book based on a friend's recommendation goes, this can sometimes be unpredictable simply because everyone's tastes differ. I have to admit, I liked this book a lot more than I expected I would and I ended up finishing this within a day. It's not a perfect read, but it is a fun one.
The book's appeal will largely depend on how you, the reader, respond to video games. As the novel is set within a MMORPG, there is technical jargon liberally sprinkled throughout the book. There is a glossary for very new readers, but part of the fun of the book (at least for me) played heavily on my own experience with video games. It was almost like reading a novelization of a Let's Play to a certain degree, a comparison that's not exactly accurate but somewhat close. It's definitely in the vein of similarly themed works like Sword Art Online, .hack, and Log Horizon, however the difference here is that by large the people "trapped" in the video game are there by *choice*. This brought up an interesting plot point because I'm sure that every gamer knows *someone* that would willingly live in a video game if that were possible.
As stated above, this isn't a perfect book. There's some obvious wish fulfillment going on here since Max/Laith tends to have a lot go his way, but it's not to the point where it'd be overly obtrusive or ruin the book. It's pretty much done in a good natured way, playing on every gamer's fantasy about what it'd be like if they stumbled into the same scenario.
In the end I really think that only gamers will truly appreciate this book, although that's not entirely a guarantee - reading about someone playing a game isn't to everyone's tastes after all, which is why I've compared it somewhat to watching a Let's Play. Some of us will devour hours of LPs while others just scratch their head and shrug, not understanding the appeal. I have a feeling that this will be the same, although I don't think that disliking LPs would necessarily mean that you'd dislike this book....more
I have to admit, I was disappointed by this book. It had a lot of potential to be more and in the end it just fell short.
What works in this book is thI have to admit, I was disappointed by this book. It had a lot of potential to be more and in the end it just fell short.
What works in this book is the atmosphere: Stolarz does an amazing job of setting up the creepy atmosphere of an abandoned asylum. What makes this so great was that most of the creepiest aspects were the parts that would likely be normal in any other place, like drawings by the inmates. These probably wouldn't attract a huge amount of attention in a still-active asylum but put them in an empty building at night? Creepy. Same thing goes for the murals on the wall in the hydrotherapy room.
(slight spoilers here, nothing major)
However what doesn't work is that the book is a little too choppy at points. We're introduced to various characters that have some pretty deep backstory to them, only for this to be somewhat swept to the side in favor. There's no instalove here for the most part, although I do think that the couples are paired off too quickly and for the most part these are done too quickly. The relationships between them just feel a little forced. The ending especially feels rushed since the epilogue undoes the creepiness of the final bit in the asylum. This is where the pairings felt a little too forced since everything was a little too happydappy-ish of an ending. I think that this was probably due to it being a Disney book since they aren't exactly fans of leaving things ambiguous or having non-happy endings here. This last part might kind of be a spoiler although I'm not giving any big answers, so I'm going to tag this with a warning accordingly, although anyone who is familiar with Disney will be aware that this is how they operate with anything non-adult related unless it's a series, in which case they'll be a little more willing to end a "first book/film" with a less happy ending.
In the end this isn't a bad book but when you hold it up against Stolarz' amazing Magic series it just falls short because you know that she's capable of so much more. I'd recommend it as a library read rather than purchase it outright like I did, just to make sure that you like it....more
This is kind of an odd book to review. It's kind of a visual experience in a way since portions of the book are descriptions of video or sound recordiThis is kind of an odd book to review. It's kind of a visual experience in a way since portions of the book are descriptions of video or sound recordings. There's this interesting disjointed feel to everything as well because the book is comprised of several different things: descriptions, diary entries, newspaper articles, and so on. It's ultimately a fun read but one that will prove frustrating to people who just want a straightfoward book.
In all, I have to say that one of the things that fascinated me the most was that there were multiple layers to this story. You have the first layer, which at first glance appears to be about two people who travel to Virginia to collect an inheritance but are instead drawn into a strange, surreal mystery. However partway through the book you find another layer: the story about our two main characters, A and Niamh, a 20-something year old and a teenager that are fighting a mutual attraction. This might at first seem like it's part of the first story, except that you can tell that there's an entire backstory between them that is only briefly alluded to in the novel. Then there's the final layer, the truth of the matter. Very few of the characters are entirely who they claim to be and the story behind all of *that* is hinted at but never fully revealed. Then on top of all of this, all of these layers are mixed together until you can't entirely tell what's what.
If any of that sounds confusing well... it is confusing. You can enjoy this as a straightforward read if you really want, as you can still read this and entirely enjoy yourself. Some of the more front and center mysteries are solved, so there is a resolution here for the most part. However at the same time there's so much beautiful subtext here that to just ignore the other layers in favor of having a neatly tied up story is a bit of a shame.
That said, if you're looking for a book with layers (like a certain ogre) then you're in for a treat here. The beauty of this book is that it can ultimately be what you want it to be when it comes to the unresolved plot issues, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also have to admit that I'd really love to see a big screen adaptation of this, since the book's layout would lend itself exceedingly well to film....more
This book is kind of a hard one to review. I liked it overall so I'm giving it four stars, but I really heavily caution readers to exercise some cautiThis book is kind of a hard one to review. I liked it overall so I'm giving it four stars, but I really heavily caution readers to exercise some caution as far as purchasing goes.
The book's main downfall is its length, as the book itself (minus notes) is under 200 pages. This wouldn't be so bad except that Reading the Comments covers a *lot* of material. What this means for the reader is that many topics will be given a fairly brief overview - something that can be problematic when you also consider that Reagle tries to neutrally document things, which can give off the impression of ambivalence to some readers as can be seen in some of the other Vine reviews for this book. It also runs the risk of people going "but... this also happened" when it comes to some topics like STGRB doxing reviewers - Reagle does mention this, but he didn't mention that STGRB's doxing went somewhat beyond regular doxing (giving out basic contact information like names, addresses, phone numbers, etc) and actually gave out information on some reviewers' family members (children, spouses) and in one instance, actually detailed locations where the reviewer liked to hang out and walk.
As someone who did know some of the people involved, the cursory overview did make me a little irritated and I can see how others can easily take Reagle's neutrality in a format other than what was likely intended. However at the same time I can also see where he was trying not to take sides and these are topics where people tend to like reading works where someone takes a clear definitive side. If this wasn't a textbook then he likely would have, but this is something that was fairly clearly written with the intent to be used in a classroom or academic setting. That's somewhat my biggest concern about this: if someone is not already aware of the topics in the book and they're not in a setting where they could easily be educated about them, I can see someone getting confused or even the wrong impression from some of the book's contents.
However I do have to say that I'm very impressed with how much Reagle was able to squeeze into one slender tome. This is the type of topic that really would warrant a far larger work, easily about 400 to 500 pages because there is just *so much* to cover. I was also impressed by how readable this was for an academic work, as many of those tend to fall into the dry academic speak that can be so extremely common. This is something that could very easily be picked up by the average non-academic reader, however I would have some reservations about this based on my earlier statements.
So I suppose the question here is "should you get it?" My answer would be yes, for the most part. If you're a teacher wondering if you should get this for a class that focuses on the Internet, get it. This would work extremely well with students at various levels and would open up a large amount of discussions. If you're someone who is familiar with the general topics in this book, I'd also recommend getting it, although you may want to proceed with caution if you're looking for a specific viewpoint. If you're not familiar, I'd probably recommend that you do a little homework in order to familiarize yourself with some of the topics in the book, as you'll likely be left wanting a bit more information about the topic.
If you're a Sigler fan, odds are that you'll like this. My review is mostly aimed at the fans of YA fiction, which this book technically falls into. TIf you're a Sigler fan, odds are that you'll like this. My review is mostly aimed at the fans of YA fiction, which this book technically falls into. Technically. Our protagonist is an older teenager but it's not really new adult territory since Savage is mentally younger than her body looks, so there's not really any of the hubba hubba romance that you'd see in a new adult book. I also need to note that this is the first time that Sigler has written something like this. He does have the teen version of the Galactic Football League, but it's not really in the same (foot)ballpark as this read is and this is also the first book he's written that is entirely from a female teen's perspective. (Pandemic was partially told from the viewpoint of an adult woman, but not exactly the same thing.)
The purpose of that long preamble/disclaimer is to let you know that this is brand spanking new territory for the FDO (Future Dark Overlord as we fans call him), so while he does a fairly good job of trying out something new there are a few stumbles here and there. None of them are major enough to where they'd ruin the read for anyone but I know that a lot of YA readers will probably notice these more or at least a lot faster than people who aren't big readers of the genre.
Anywho, on with the review. There will be some very minor spoilers but they are not the major spoilers, which Sigler has asked that we not share. That's fair enough since I didn't have any issues with the twists. They're not entirely new to this type of read but they're novel enough that I didn't really see everything coming from 10 miles away like you get with some YA books. I chalk this up to the fact that the FDO has so far pretty much written for adults and as such isn't really into some of the pandering that you can get with YA books where they dumb everything down in favor of focusing on the romance.
Speaking of romance, that's kind of what I liked about this book. There are some twinges of romance here and there, but by large this was just our main character Savage reacting to all of the new hormones surging through her body. She reacts to all of this with a large dose of bewilderment since the last thing she knew, she was at an age where boys weren't objects of affections in that way. I kind of liked that since it was a nice touch and very, very refreshing from the usual insta-love you typically get in YA fiction.
The pacing in this is pretty well done and while it's not non-stop whizbang action, there's enough here to where it'll keep you occupied nicely. I absolutely loved the technology in this and how it's approached by Savage and the others, who are almost completely ignorant of how everything works. They figure some things out as the book progresses, but this ignorance helps fuel the suspense along so that the big reveal is a little more neat.
The only slight quibble- and it is slight- is that at times I got that "stranger in a strange land" feeling with Savage's character. Basically, it's just that at times Savage sort of put off the "this is a female character as seen by a male writer" vibe every once in a blue moon. It's nothing that ruined the character and honestly, I think that I'm so used to female YA characters being a certain way that it may just be that she doesn't fit into the genre stereotype.
Overall this is a great read and one that I finished in a day. Any rough spots are very minor and to be honest, it's exciting to see Sigler go into this field. YA fiction is dominated by authors who write books that are aimed at young females and this is a book that could easily appeal to younger male readers, who are woefully undertargeted in this genre. If this is him taking his baby steps, I can't wait until he starts sprinting in the next book. Well worth buying.