Original -- I'm not even going to attempt to put into words how much I love this novel. It would be rambling, fan-girlish, and incoherent, at best.
Upd...moreOriginal -- I'm not even going to attempt to put into words how much I love this novel. It would be rambling, fan-girlish, and incoherent, at best.
Update 4/1 -- I reread this in preparation of the movie. I believe this was the third or fourth time I’ve revisited the story, and there’s something to say for a novel that can keep you glued to the pages even after you’ve read it multiple times. I’ve come to appreciate everything leading up to the games more, I think, in my later reads. The first time I was just so anxious to see if Katniss would survive that I flew through those first pages. But now, I find the scenes in the Capitol particularly creepy. Creepy, but brilliant — the commentary on reality television and greed and corruption. Genius stuff. God, I love this novel.(less)
Update 6/30/12 -- Just reread this bad boy. I may have loved it even more the second time around. I definitely fell in love with Perry all over again....moreUpdate 6/30/12 -- Just reread this bad boy. I may have loved it even more the second time around. I definitely fell in love with Perry all over again. And Roar. And the world. I am rabidly awaiting THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. Of series currently in progress, this one is my favorite!
Original review Feb 2012: You know that feeling when you’re reading a novel and you just know it’s something special? When you want to hug the book to your chest and each time you open it your stomach starts lurching around with butterflies? When you stress over the characters’ safety and pine for their success and start to imagine that they are real people because you want to meet them that badly?
Yeah, I had that experience with this book.
I loved this novel. LOVED. The world is terrifying, the stakes are high, and the whole thing is un-putdownable (my favorite type of read). I adored this book the way I adored THE HUNGER GAMES and BLOOD RED ROAD.
Aria and Perry could not be more opposite. She’s lead a sheltered life, surrounded by technology, while Perry has grown up fighting to survive with his tribe in the wild. Their paths cross when Aria is exiled from her home for a crime she didn’t commit and the two strike up an unlikely alliance.
The dual POVs in this novel are executed brilliantly. Even in third person, the voices are distinct and the narration effective. I have a soft spot for Perry, though. He is tough and raw and viciously guarded. His relationship with his nephew, Talon, is endearing and sweet. Perry may be deadly with his arrows, but he has a caring side as well, and one that Aria slowly comes to see over the course of the novel.
The romance that develops between Aria and Perry is a slow, steady thing that builds as the two learn to trust, respect, and appreciate one another. Where at first there is nothing but hate, that slowly melts as the pair is forced to rely on each other. And I believed every moment of it. It was believable when they were at each others’ throats, and later, when the tables are totally reversed, I was swooning and cheering them on. Rossi writes their arc as a couple flawlessly.
But the world! It may have been my favorite part of this novel. Yes there are pods and hover crafts and fancy technology like there are in many sci-fi novels out today, but between the Aether storms and the Outsider tribes, UNDER THE NEVER SKY offers something fresh and unique to the dystopian genre. The storms are both beautiful and terrifying. (I sort of want to witness one. But from afar. With binoculars. And maybe from the safety of a pod.) Perry’s culture was also amazingly well done. From Blood Lords (chiefs of the tribe) to the mutations that have given certain members exceptional skills (sight, hearing, smell), every aspect is captivating and developed.
About 50 pages from the end I worried this would end on a cliff-hanger, but thankfully, it does not. This is a fully satisfying and complete first novel, with new challenges just beginning to appear as the story comes to a close. I am desperately awaiting the sequel. I already miss Perry (MAN, did I love-love-loooove him), and I’m anxious to learn how Aria continues to fit into the world under the never sky. I have a feeling the stakes will only be higher for these two moving forward.
Please, please, PLEASE go read this novel so we can discuss it together? I haven’t wanted to gush about a book so badly since Katniss pulled out those red berries at the end of the HUNGER GAMES.
Vane and Audra are back, but Raiden is strengthening. He’s got a new weapon (one that ties into the title so well I actually beamed when I made the co...moreVane and Audra are back, but Raiden is strengthening. He’s got a new weapon (one that ties into the title so well I actually beamed when I made the connection), and it’s crippling for the Gale Force. Vane is a reluctant hero, still adjusting to his new-found role among the Gales, and his voice is as authentic and charming as ever. Audra is running from her past. Her mother makes another appearance, shedding some more light on her character, and a few new faces join the cast. The romance is swoonworthy, but the pages are also packed with action. And that ending! *shakes a fist at Shannon* Fans of LTSF are going to gobble this up, and desperately await book three.
Things you will need while reading this: Deep breathes. Tissues. A strong stomach.
When I finished this book a couple things happened. I cried. I re-re...moreThings you will need while reading this: Deep breathes. Tissues. A strong stomach.
When I finished this book a couple things happened. I cried. I re-read the last paragraph three times over. And then I sat there, staring at the book in my hands for a good ten minutes wondering how I could possibly put into words what this story made me feel.
This the first book by McCarthy that I have read. I’ve heard his others are equally as fabulous, and I plan to pick them up, because wow, can this man write. This book reads beautifully. McCarthy’s writing style is simultaneously lyrical and stark. There are no dialogue tags and every other line reads like something out of a poem. You almost forget it’s evening happening, this poetic magic. It is simply part of the story, crafted with care, each word specifically chosen. The result is beautiful and eerie, dark and terrifying, just like the road that the father and son walk.
A pull quote on the inner jacket of this novel tells you that McCarthy has written a “searing postapocalyptic novel destined to become a masterpiece.” And this is a story about the end of the world. All animals are dead, save for a few humans, most of which have resorted to cannibalism. There is little food. The sky constantly rains ash and the landscape continually smolders. And this novel is a masterpiece. For the reasons I’ve already described (the literary prose and captivating story), but also for the reason I am about to touch upon…
While this is a postapocalyptic story, it is, above all, a love story. This is story about the bond between a father and son. About how family can keep hope alive and “the fire” burning. It is a story about needing someone just as badly as they need you. There were many times as I read this that I wondered if the Man would even have been alive if it weren’t for his son. His son was the thing that drove him to put one foot in front of the next, day after day. His son was also, although I’m not sure he was aware of it, an extension of his conscience throughout the book. Together, they are the “good guys” in a world gone bad.
I wanted to see the movie adaptation to this book, but halfway through, during a particular cellar scene (for those of you who have read this, you know what I’m talking about), I was worried I would not be able to stomach it. But I will try. Because as much horror exists in this tale, there is an unbelievable amount of hope, too. McCarthy has woven it alongside the dark parts of this story, reminding us that even when all else is gray and wretched, hope exists where love is present, and hope will never die so long as the deepest clefts of our hearts refuse to extinguish that fire.
I like reading books about the craft of writing. I like feeling like I'm not alone, listening to someone else that gets it. And my goodness does Anne...moreI like reading books about the craft of writing. I like feeling like I'm not alone, listening to someone else that gets it. And my goodness does Anne Lamott get it. Reading BIRD BY BIRD was like tapping into my chaotic brain and hearing all the neurotic thoughts that run around in there read back to me in some semblance of order.
This is a candid account at the ups and downs of writing, and the craziness that is leading a life filled with words. Lamott discusses validation, jealousy, shitty first drafts, the muse of creativity, publication, voice, and so much more. I laughed out loud numerous times while reading this, and when I wasn't laughing, I was often nodding in agreement. There are a few places that come across a bit pessimistic, but I appreciated them. Because they so honestly talked about the woes and fears and worries we have as writers. This book made me feel like I'm not (entirely) crazy. I'd consider this a must read for anyone who can't not write.
Markus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF was the best book I read in June, if not one of the best books I have read, period. This is one of those books that chan...moreMarkus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF was the best book I read in June, if not one of the best books I have read, period. This is one of those books that changes you. I went in one person, and came out another. There will now be books I read before THE BOOK THIEF and books I read after. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do this one justice, but I’ll try.
First, the narrator. Death tells this tale. He sees the world in colors. He doesn’t foreshadow subtly. He is surprisingly compassionate. He is brilliant. He tells the tale of the Book Thief, a young orphan named Liesel Meminger who grows up in Nazi Germany under the care of foster parents. This is a powerful novel, regardless, but I really think it is the lens through which we see this tale unfold that takes it from moving to masterful.
The characters. Every single character in this book is a layered, complex, real person. Even the small ones. Liesel is a determined ball of spitfire. Her Pa is endearing. Her Ma, harsh and hard, yet full of heart. Max, a Jew they harbor in their basement brought tears to my eyes. And Rudy, Liesel’s next door neighbor, nearly broke me. He’s as feisty as Liesel, a loyal friend, and as daring and sweet as they come.
The pace. It’s slow. It’s steady. I didn’t tear through it, but I also couldn’t put it down. This is one of those novels that you savor, that you want to truly immerse yourself in, and by the final pages you want to slow down even more because you don’t want it to end. (Even though you do already know 90% of what is going to happen because Death is a pesky narrator and already gave half of it away. Remember what I said about foreshadowing?)
The prose. It's gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.
I don’t really know what else to say. This novel had me laughing, and smiling, and squeezing the book to my chest. It also had me bawling my poor eyes out. (I advice having tissues on hand when you read this novel. Lots of tissues.) But it was worth every single tear shed because this story is flawless, especially the ending, and even more so, the final line.
You know what, Death? I am haunted by this book. Thank you, Markus Zusak, for writing it. It has truly changed me, and I’m better having read it.
I originally read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER when I was a teen and remember being deeply moved. But beyond that, the book was a blur when I picke...moreI originally read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER when I was a teen and remember being deeply moved. But beyond that, the book was a blur when I picked it up for a re-read recently. (I have a terrible habit of forgetting almost all details of a novel roughly 2-3 months after reading it.) Since it has been far more than 2-3 months since I was in high school and since this modern classic is headed to the big screen very soon, I wanted to give it another go. Once again, it struck a chord.
I don’t think this is a perfect novel. Charlie sounds about 7 years old throughout most of it–a harsh disconnect from the brilliant, advanced student he truly is–and the opening pages are a bit overwhelming–they seem to throw every possible “issue” at you upfront, almost for shock value, when they could be woven in naturally as the story progresses–but I don’t care. Not in the slightest. Why? Because something magical happens as Charlie tells his story by way of letters to an unnamed friend: Intense Feelings. There are moment in this book that are so heart-breakingly real you can’t help but feel them between your ribs. I was transported back to high school reading this, couldn’t help but re-experience the highs, the lows, the pain, uncertainty, hope, defeat, and angst of being a teen. The scene where Charlie sticks up for Patrick in the cafeteria made me as proud as it likely did the first time I read it, even if it did simultaneously hurt like no other. And the evening they drive through the tunnel in Sam’s truck with the perfect song on the radio, feeling momentarily infinite = a hundred, thousand, million snapshots of my own childhood. This is truly a remarkable book. Can’t wait to see how Chbosky brings it to life on the big screen.
I enjoyed the first book in this series, THE THIEF, but I loved QoA. I’m sort of at a loss for words... The political intrigue. The war strategies. Th...moreI enjoyed the first book in this series, THE THIEF, but I loved QoA. I’m sort of at a loss for words... The political intrigue. The war strategies. The nuanced relationship between Gen and his queen, father, Attolia, the Magus… It’s all incredible. And I appreciate Gen as a protagonist even more after this sequel. He is strong and smart and capable and clever, yet also flawed and weak. He has moments where he wallows in self pity. He makes mistakes and stumbles to recover. He feels so. darn. real. I’ve heard book three, THE KING OF ATTOLIA is even better, and I can’t wait to pick it up. Turner is one heck of a talented writer.