I can't believe I actually was able to finish this book. There were many times I thought about stopping. Why? Because of the main character, that's wh...moreI can't believe I actually was able to finish this book. There were many times I thought about stopping. Why? Because of the main character, that's why! She's so self-absorbed, so stupid that I just wanted to chuck the book right out the window! But I didn't because I actually do enjoy the world building. I said it in my review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth that Ryan has created a frightening and haunting world filled with zombies and it is for that aspect that I kept reading this book. That... and my best friend really wanted me to so I said, "Do it for her!" And I did. (You owe me big time, girl!)
Ryan's writing ability in this book was severely lacking. There were times where the descriptions were so dry I could barely keep my eyes open. Other times she rehashed the same phrase over and over. For example, she used "one foot in front of the other" about seven times and Catcher's "warm skin as a reminder of the infection" more times than I cared to count. It was all very bland. Her characters weren't any better. They, too, were not very interesting (more on this later). The only thing I can say she got right was her world building. Ryan has very creative ideas about her world of the Unconsecrated and it really does show. I enjoy seeing how she adds new parts to the Forest and how their are religious cults that are downright terrifying. I shudder at the recollection of it. And it is for this "world" that I decided to continue reading this book. Even if the characters blow.
Speaking of which, Gabry, main character, was an annoying, stupid, self-absorbed, little coward that only did anything for her own sake without giving a damn about how others might feel and remained so throughout the entire book! There is no character development whatsoever! With Gabry or with any of the other characters! They remain boring, flat, one-dimensional characters from beginning to end and, for someone who loves reading books with amazing character development, it was grating at best. Gabry falls into that trope where she is some amazing girl that gets all the guys to fall in love with her even though she does absolutely nothing to deserve it. "Instalove" and "love triangles" are HUGE in this book. Elias, one of the love interests, being the one to participate in the "instalove" and Catcher making up the other part of the "triangle." Gabry goes back and forth, back and forth between the two guys throughout the entire story. Why? Well, when one wasn't paying any attention to her, she would switch to the other. For no other reason but to have someone be her tool. Her actions were disgusting, demeaning, and selfish. If there was a way to grab her by the neck and shove her off a cliff, I would have done it within the first few chapters on this book.
Obviously, I did not like this book aside from the world building. The characters are horrible, the writing is not that great, and the overall plot seems to be lacking as well. Not much happens in this book besides Gabry not being able to make up her mind as to which penis she wanted more. And what little of the plot that kept my interest used to go by so fast that it didn't feel like it was worth reading. If you are curious about the world of the Unconsecrated, then I say give it a try. If you have a problem with characters like Gabry, you might not want to read this. Decide for yourself. You might like it better than I did.(less)
This book was a bit of a roller coaster for me. At first, I hated it. Everything about this book was upsetting me. From the main character to their be...moreThis book was a bit of a roller coaster for me. At first, I hated it. Everything about this book was upsetting me. From the main character to their beliefs to the stupid boy drama. But the more I read and I became more involved in this world, it didn't turn out so bad. Mind you, I still hate the characters and the pointless love triangle, but the world itself and the Unconsecrated were interesting enough to save the book for me.
Carrie Ryan is an excellent world builder. I believe she has wonderful ideas about the world she wants to create and has the skills to execute them flawlessly. However, I don't think she is very good at creating characters or having decent character development. All the characters were bland and pretty forgettable. The only character I found myself liking was Argos and he's a dog. She also included that tedious love-triangle which only served to drag down the story. I was never one to get involved in romance stories that teeters back forth between two guys and one girl. It's boring and has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. I wished Ryan concentrated on the world and plot itself a bit more than taking up huge chunks of the book with this romance.
Mary, the main character, is selfish and an idiot. There were moments in the book where I questioned her actions because they made absolutely no sense to me. If you are surrounding by hundreds of zombies threatening to kill you and your family, why would you think about being in bed with some dude? Then there are the times where she didn't know which guy she wanted to be with. And THEN there are the times where she is not even happy with the one guy she wanted to be with. *Groans* She was never satisfied. All she thought about was herself and her happiness. To hell with everyone else! No matter how much I tried, I just couldn't bring myself to like her as a character.
Travis and Harry, Mary's two love interests, were okay but a bit boring. Cass was forgettable and Jed, Mary's brother, is a douche. Argos, the dog I mentioned earlier, and Jacob were really the only two I liked. Sister Tabitha was... interesting. She was insane but I found her to be entertaining. I was curious to know more about her but, as the reader, we don't get that. (Maybe I should read that short story to find out more about her. I'll have to track it down at some point.) So... the characters weren't that great except for the few that I mentioned, but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish the book or enjoy the world.
I love the atmosphere of the book and it is for this reason I think you should give it a try. You need to push through the first half of the book, though. It may start off rocky but I feel it gets better once the Unconsecrated are focused on more. The writing is pretty good and the mysteries behind these zombies are well worth the read. Give it a try. You may like it.(less)
I am going to start off by saying I couldn't even finish this book. I just couldn't. I normally try to finish every book I start, but I've gotten to t...moreI am going to start off by saying I couldn't even finish this book. I just couldn't. I normally try to finish every book I start, but I've gotten to the point where if I am not enjoying a book, I shouldn't force myself through it. I am just making myself miserable and ruining my reading experience. This book was the last straw. It pushed me over the edge and I just had to stop.
There is not a single thing I liked about this book. The writing is mediocre. I never once felt like I was being pulled in to this world through the writing. It felt very bland. Also, this is supposed to be a finished copy and there were so many typoes! I counted more than five! If it was just one or two, I could let that slide. But more than five? Come on now! Also, this world is just so unbelievable. There is no way people, in a society that's constantly under surveillance, can have sex under a bush. Also, SEX UNDER A BUSH WOULD BE THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE THING EVER! How can you have sex with branches prodding your butt? No. Just no.
The characters were just... boring. Nothing about any of them made me love them. They were so flat with only sex on the brain. I am not a prude. I don't mind sex in my books. But I want a little more to my characters than just sex. The parts where Nina, the main character, should have been worried about her family because of her father being wrapped up in something against the government, she was more worried about her love interest, Sal, not wanting to be with her or kiss her. No one in their right mind would do that. People will put everything aside to help their family. Not think about getting it on with some guy they only knew for a few days! I got more than half-way through the book and there were no signs of character development whatsoever. Nothing was happening except her wanting Sal and, for me, that's not a story about a dystopian world.
If this sounds like something you want to read, then go ahead. I believe every book deserves to be read. I could not get into this book. I do not like this book. But that is just my opinion. You may love this book. If you do, then great! If not, then stop reading it and find something you do love. Me? I am going to find something else because this book just... wasn't for me.(less)
Warning: The following review contains copious amounts of fangirling and may not be suitable for the reading community. Viewer discretion is advised.
T...moreWarning: The following review contains copious amounts of fangirling and may not be suitable for the reading community. Viewer discretion is advised.
THIS HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE READ THIS YEAR! ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I'VE READ. PERIOD! AHGAHDJSHGISNGKHDIFASJGHSFHSGDHJDKHJMKJS OMG IT IS SOOOOOO GOOD!!! AHSGHFUSDHGJDHYU
Now that that's out of my system, I can try to talk about why I love this book so much.
I went to the library, as usual, to find some books with fantasy in them. I've been reading a lot of books lately that really weren't that great and I remember that fantasy was always a genre that I enjoyed. I rarely ever find a book in that genre that I do not like. So, here I am at the library, browsing the shelves when I stumble upon Seraphina. I've been hearing a lot of good things about it so I was curious. Plus, it had two things I love to have in a book: fantasy and dragons. So I read it... AND LOVED IT!
This book has everything! From action to adventure to magic to romance done right! Do you know how rare it is to have a book that actually contains GOOD romance? Most of the romance written today is about dumb love triangles, instalove, and girls who demean themselves in order to "get the guy." But this book has romance that takes its time and develops in a way that is not forcing its way down the reader's throat, which I appreciate seeing as how I am not really into romance at all.
Rachel Hartman is a fantastic author! I cannot begin to describe how much I love her writing! Her writing is not simple. It's so complex and heavy; everything tightly woven together to create a world unlike any I have ever seen before. She has an amazing vocabulary and once you read it, you might feel slightly intimidated by some of the words she uses. However, don't let that deter you from reading her novel. Hartman includes a glossary at the back of the book that helps you along the way and the book is just too amazing for you to give it a pass just because she has a much stricter writing style than most. I know I loved that she didn't downplay her writing just to make it simpler to understand.
The characters, and I mean all of the characters, were just phenomenal! I rarely like ALL the characters in a book. There's always that one character that gets under my skin. However, in Seraphina, I didn't hate anyone! Or rather, I didn't find them to be a horrible character. There are the characters that you are supposed to "hate" and trust me, I did, but it's one of those cases where you "loved to hate" them. I found Seraphina, the main character, to be strong and intelligent. She had her flaws but that's what made her loveable. Lucian and Glisselda supported her in every way friends should. Orma, Seraphina's uncle (and my favorite character ever), plays such a huge role in her life and is just the coolest ever. Lars was just a sweet teddy bear! And the list goes on. There are just so many great characters that I just can't get enough of but can't mention, otherwise, I will be here forever!
What does all my rambling sum up to? Read. The. Book. Trust me. You won't regret it. It has great action, beautiful world-building, fantastic lore, amazing characters! I mean, what's not to love about this book? There really aren't that many downsides to the book. Her writing, as beautiful and skilled as it is, might intimidate the average reader but try to not let that bother you. It's still a great read regardless. If you like fantasy, great world-building, and well-developed characters, I think you are going to enjoy this book. If none of this appeals to you, then I suggest trying something different. However, you should read it... for reasons. Delicious reasons. Mmmm~ (less)
This was such a cute fun read! Ever since I first heard about Seraphina, I always wanted to read it. It had everything I could ask for, really. Fantas...moreThis was such a cute fun read! Ever since I first heard about Seraphina, I always wanted to read it. It had everything I could ask for, really. Fantasy and dragons! So! I went to the library and got the book. However, there was a certain novella I had to consider first. The Audition is a prequel to Seraphina so I decided I should read this first before I dive in to the heart of the story. And I am glad I did!
This is a very short, very cute little introduction to the world of Seraphina. It is beautifully written, well-told, and made you become fond of the characters rather quickly due to their charm. I don't want to give too much away because it is very short and if I say much more, I'll just ruin this novella for you.
If you haven't read this yet and loved Seraphina, then I highly recommend this novella. If you haven't read either yet, then you should! Start with the prequel then make your way over to Seraphina. You'll get a better reading experience if you do. I guarantee it!(less)
I joined a book club! I've never been a part of one before so I thought that it would be a fun experience. The book club is called International Reads...moreI joined a book club! I've never been a part of one before so I thought that it would be a fun experience. The book club is called International Reads here on GoodReads and its purpose is for its members to read as diversely as possible. We want to read as many books from foreign countries because foreign novels are rarely ever highlighted. We read a different book each month then have a discussion on said book at the end of each month. This month's book is The Slynx. I ordered my copy from the library (I don't like buying books unless I know I am going to like it and considering I have never heard of this book, I didn't really want to risk it) and just finished reading it.
I want to start off by saying that I think this book is very interesting. The story Tolstaya created highlights Russian society very well and satirizes its culture in a highly intellectual way. I can't comment on her writing style because it's a translated work, but I will say that the translation was a bit hit and miss with me. I am not blaming Jamey Grambell as a translator. I think she did an amazing job! I just think that with something as complex as this literary composition, it just loses a lot of its meaning in the translation. That's the difficult thing about translated works. You'll never get the full meaning of what's being written unless you read it in its native tongue. Still, from what I've gathered and the very little (VERY LITTLE) knowledge I have of the Russian language, Grambell did what she could to bring a very natural, and enjoyable, reading experience to English speakers.
Even though I think that this book is brilliant with what it set out to do, I was not a huge fan of it. The way it was written, switching from second to third person, took some time getting used to but that's not why I struggled with this read. I just felt that, for the most part, it just seemed to drag on and on. I couldn't get invested in the story because it would talk about the society one moment then about eating mice the next and it was just a bit too... all over the place for me. Also, I did not like the main character. Benedikt was shallow, moronic, and childish. I can overlook the fact that he's shallow; that just makes him human. It's his close-mindedness that made want to throw him into a ditch. He was just so dumb! Ugh!
I know and can recognize the brilliance of this novel. I appreciate the fact that the book club chose this to be the first book we read because there's so much symbolism and depth to its narrative; I just really love reading things like this. But because of its pacing and the fact that I really couldn't follow the story too well, be it the translation or the fact that I don't know much about Russian society, it's just not one of my favorite reads. However, if you like dystopians and Russian politics/culture, I think you should give this a read. You might find it quite fascinating!(less)
Moving on to the second book of the trilogy and I must say I am very disappointed. Mostly because I was enjoying myself tremendously until the last fe...moreMoving on to the second book of the trilogy and I must say I am very disappointed. Mostly because I was enjoying myself tremendously until the last few pages of the book. This book had action, plot, and, even though it was predictable at times, was very fun to read. I really really liked it... then I read the ending and all I could do was scream, "Oh, come on!" whilst rolling my eyes.
I've said this already so I won't stay on the subject for too long, but Lauren Oliver is a fantastic writer. I love her ability to control words and meld them into a kind of smooth flowing river until she wants the reader to be at the edge of their seats and toss them over a waterfall! I get sucked into her writing all the time and I love how she makes me want to continue reading her work until it is all over. So I literally have no qualms about her writing (except for a few inconsistencies that happen from time to time but I'll leave that complaint with her editor and not Oliver herself).
The one thing I will complain about are her characters. For as much as I like Oliver's writing and her plot, I hate her characters. All of them seem so one-dimensional. Plain. Boring. Or just too stuck-up for me to really care about them. Another thing I don't like about her stories are the romances. They are so forced, so stagnant. I just feel like she tries too hard pairing these characters together. If it's meant to happen, let it flow naturally. Stop trying to make them get together so quickly because all it does is ruin the relationship and make it come across as rushed.
The ending... It was the most cliched, the most ridiculous, poor excuse as a plot twist ever. I saw that coming from a mile away yet I still had some hope, faint though it was, that Oliver wouldn't stoop so low. It's just a way to make readers think that now there's going to be a whole lot of new drama that no one really wants... unless you are into that sort of thing. I am not one of those people. I think it's ridiculous and desperate.
This trilogy is not turning out so well. I thought that Oliver was doing well up until that point... but the moment she decided to make that decision is when she lost me. I don't know whether I will read the last book or not. I feel like it's going to be one of those reads that is just going to have me rolling my eyes at every possible moment. Maybe I'll read the next one... maybe not... I'll have to think about it a bit more.
These books are not for everyone. If you like dystopian, action, and an all-around fun time, I think you should give this a read. If you are like me and hate forced relationships that are not well-developed and rushed, then you might want to skip out on these. Whichever it is, this is something you need to decide for yourselves.(less)
A few weeks back, I went to a brand new library that my town put up so I can see it in its beauty. When I got there, I was not disappointed in the lea...moreA few weeks back, I went to a brand new library that my town put up so I can see it in its beauty. When I got there, I was not disappointed in the least. It's a lot larger than the other libraries near where I live. There are floors with so many bookshelves and so many books on those shelves that I just could not handle it; I was so excited! During my venture, I walked by a table highlighting a whole bunch of middle-grade novels. One of those books being This Journal Belongs to Ratchet. I have a bit of an obsession with notebooks so when I saw the design for this book, I snatched up this baby like it was the last donut at the coffee shop. (If you've seen this book in person, then you know it resembles that of a notebook. It has lined pages and font that resembles handwriting.) I couldn't get enough of it. However, just because I loved the design of the book, did not mean I was going to love its content... I took a risk with this read... and I am glad I did!
The writing style for this book is phenomenal. In fact, I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this. It takes writing prompts one might use in school and adapts it to the life of Ratchet, the main character. For example, Ratchet might have to write a poem and in that poem she will base it on what's going on in her life at that particular moment. Or maybe write a fantasy story using the people in her life as the main characters. It's a very creative way tell the story to children that's never boring and always innovative. It makes me want to write down some of these prompts so I can practice my writing a bit more!
The characters were all wonderful. Even the snotty kids were painfully enjoyable (if that makes any sense). Ratchet is a bright, loving, and cheerful girl that I loved reading about. I wanted to see her grow from who she was at the beginning to who she became towards the end, as this story is pretty much her coming-of-age story. She develops a friendship with a boy named Hunter that doesn't seem force at all. Her relationship with her father is among the best relationships I have read in a book in a long time. Her father is slightly odd but that's what makes him special to her. I don't want to say anything else about it because this book is about that. It's about the relationships Ratchet makes throughout the story and how she comes to terms with who she is and I feel that it is something the reader should discover for themselves.
I highly recommend you read this book. It's cute, fun, endearing, and teaches everyone a lesson in morals, relationships, and life. It's easy to understand. There's a plot about saving a park. Tells you how not to judge a book by its cover. There's just... so many things that are wonderful about this book that I cannot stress enough. I really had a lot of fun reading this book and I think you will, too. But don't take my word for it. Read it and decide for yourselves. (But it really is a great book!)(less)
This marks the end of my Avi reads kick! It's been a fun ride. I know he has written a lot more novels but, sadly, I do not have any more with me... y...moreThis marks the end of my Avi reads kick! It's been a fun ride. I know he has written a lot more novels but, sadly, I do not have any more with me... yet. >:3 One day, I hope to re-visit Avi's works and enjoy other stories he has created. However, for now, I shall call it a day and review this book.
This book was... okay. I hate to say this because Avi truly has become one of my favorite authors, but this is not among my favorites. Not to say it is a bad book... I just didn't like it as much as I liked his other work, like Nothing But The Truth. This one is a lot slower paced and not as thought-out, in my opinion. I felt as if some of the characters weren't fleshed out, the plot was a bit slow moving, and the ending was just... unsatisfying. It's a shame because the premise of the story was so promising.
The writing was good. Avi's writing usually is good to begin with. I have no complaints there. My complaints has to do with the pacing. I felt that a lot of the book was slow-moving, leaving a lot of what happens in the story coming across as dull. However, when it picks up, it picks up well! I just wished it was like that all the time because, I am not going to lie, there were parts of the book (that I won't talk about because of spoilers) that I just had to force myself through because I felt it was a bit boring. Still, Avi is a great writer so I knew that, even though parts of the book wasn't that exciting, once you got to the meat of the story, it was going to be great (and it was).
The characters were all okay but a lot of the side characters just got pushed to the back burner and weren't developed much at all. I think, aside from John (main character), no one really got character development. All of John's family members; from his father, mother, sister, and great-great-aunt; stood the same from the beginning to end. The same thing could be said about Sary, who plays a key role in this story. Every one of these characters were one-dimensional... kinda disappointing really. I would have liked to see more of them than was shown. Especially with Sary. She seemed to be a character that had a lot of depth to her but, for whatever reasons, her character was never explored.
The ending was just a huge disappointment. I felt like it ended abruptly. In fact, only a few things got answered whilst the rest was left to the reader's interpretation. As I've said in the past, I don't mind that... as long as it brings the feeling of closure... which this book did not. I wanted to know a little bit more. A LITTLE bit more would have been nice. Also, I know I am being vague but I don't want to ruin the book for you just in case you decide to read it.
Which I think you should do. It's not a BAD book. It just leaves a lot to be desired. The writing was good and a lot of the story was engaging. Just don't expect it to be a fantastic read where the characters grow and the ending was satisfying... because it wasn't. Give it a try anyway! You might enjoy the story a lot more than I did. We all have different reading tastes, after all~(less)
It is definitely safe to say that I am a HUGE fan of Avi's novels. This is the fourth book I've read by him and I am so glad I did... despite not bein...moreIt is definitely safe to say that I am a HUGE fan of Avi's novels. This is the fourth book I've read by him and I am so glad I did... despite not being a fan of the ending (more on this later). This story was engaging, had amazing characters, a fantastic setup, and all-around awesome atmosphere. I am definitely glad I decided to pick this up when I went to the library the other day.
Avi's writing style is amazing, especially in this book! Everything is so nicely detailed and goes along in a nice pace. It's written for a younger audience but that doesn't take away from the reading experience. It's smooth, easy to understand, and captures the reader from the get-go. I love the way Avi writes. Some people think his writing is too simple, but I think it fits for the stories he is trying to tell. I think his writing is fantastic.
His characters this time around were amazing! All of them were so enjoyable; they had such dynamics with themselves and others, I was blown away! Even the more annoying characters were entertaining. Horace is bright, caring, and sweet. He and Pegg, who is also such a wonderful character, are among my favorites. The Von Machts were a lot more annoying BUT! their presence in the novel was vital! They made for excellent antagonists and, even though I wanted to punch both of them, they really made the story move along.
This book would have gotten a five-out-of-five... if it wasn't for the ending. Now, I can't say what the ending is because of spoilers... but I will say this: It doesn't have an actual ending. There's no closure. You think that things are going to end one way but then things are left up in the air. I am okay with open-ended endings, but this was NOT one of those GOOD open-ended endings. In fact, I don't even think this "ending" was necessary. It was more like a kick in the face than an actual ending. It's a shame because I was really enjoying this book... until that happened. Ugh... so disappointing.
Do I still think you should read this book despite its ending? Yes. It is still an all-around great book to read. The plot is great, characters awesome, pacing fantastic, and setting lovely! Even though the ending is not conclusive, I still think it is worth the read. If you've read Avi's other works, then I think you should give this one a read as well. If you like ghost stories, then you should read this. If you really can't stand when a book doesn't have a real ending... then you might want to skip this... but you'll be missing out on all the positive aspects to this book! Give it a chance. You might like what you read.(less)
And my Avi kick is still going strong! I have been reading quite a few novels written by Avi lately and I have been enjoying the ride. This one, thoug...moreAnd my Avi kick is still going strong! I have been reading quite a few novels written by Avi lately and I have been enjoying the ride. This one, though I didn't like as much as his other novels, was still a very good read. I liked the story and I liked the writing style but I do have a few minor complaints.
Avi is a fantastic writer. There are no doubts about that. However, I felt as if he rush through this novel a bit too much. The pacing for this book was way too fast. Just when you were getting back-story about the characters and a better understanding of who they are, the scene changes to something completely different. I wanted to know more about the world they lived in and how else alchemy played in this world. But we don't get that. We, as the reader, are told that alchemy is an illegal art but why? Why is it illegal? Because it's dangerous? Yes, I know, but I would like a bit more development as to why this is so. I want to know what exactly happened that made this world decide to make it illegal. I also wanted to know how this world's alchemy worked. What was the "science" behind it. But, alas, we get no such explanations.
The characters were a bit of a downer for me. I liked Sybil, even though she was pretty dumb in some parts, and I really liked Alfric, the orphan who befriends Sybil. Alfric was such a sweet boy. I really enjoyed his character. Odo, the crow, I didn't like... at first! He actually showed the most development throughout the entire story and became one of my favorites. The other characters, well, they don't develop too much. Plus, the majority of them were downright annoying. I couldn't, for the life of me, come to like any of them aside from the three mentioned above. Bashcroft was annoying, repeating the same phrase over and over; Weebly was a nosy busybody who couldn't keep her mouth shut; and Damian was a snob. I wanted to punch all of them. As I said, I liked some of the charatcers, but the majority were just... bothersome.
It's a shame that I didn't like this book as much as the others I read by Avi, but I did still like it. It's a short read so you can get through it quickly... I just don't like HOW quickly you can get through it. If Avi spent a bit more time developing the world, its lore, and the characters, I would have loved this book. But as it is, it's just okay. Give it a read if you like Avi or if you are just curious. I think you will at least find it a fun read.(less)