I think it's time to admit a sad truth: me and Robin Wasserman are simply not meant for one another. It's tragic to have to acknowledge this when mos I think it's time to admit a sad truth: me and Robin Wasserman are simply not meant for one another. It's tragic to have to acknowledge this when most of my GR friends seem to be in the middle of some epic love affair with her books. But I had my problems with The Book of Blood and Shadow - I tried my best to love it but felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall - and even this latest venture into the world of creepy horror and general mindfuckery couldn't convince me to join the fan club. I don't think it'll be easy to explain why, because I do believe Wasserman is a strong writer on many levels... but I'll do what I can.
Things always start good between us. I open the book and find myself immediately transported into the time and place where the story finds its setting. The author is a master of atmosphere - whether it be the dark, secretive streets of Prague or a creepy little American town that is evidently plagued by something more monstrous than we can even imagine. Her writing is solid and beautifully descriptive. Her characters are complex, driven by emotions that simultaneously scare us and earn our understanding. If you're like me, then you begin a Wasserman novel believing it's going to wind up on your all time favourites list. And then something starts to happen. I begin to notice it about a quarter of the way in and become sure of it by the time I've read a third of the book.
The descriptive style that was oh-so-lovely at the beginning becomes tiring. The in-depth exploration of the characters which you thought was really clever before starts to hurt your brain. "Plot!" I feel myself screaming "Where are you?" The writing style weighs down each sentence, each paragraph, each chapter and makes the story drag. The author spends SO MUCH time creating a setting and an atmosphere before the story starts to progress. She spends so much time building a complex portrait of the characters before any answers start to be given. And some of you will love this. I know some of you already do and, believe me, I can see why. But I like my stories as much as I like my characters and writing. There's really only so long I can go without one. I personally prefer novels that integrate character development and atmosphere building with the main plotline, not those that set it all up at the beginning and only then proceed to tell a story.
I want to stress that my feelings towards books like this portrays my own personal dislike for novels that are told in a certain way. It's affected my enjoyment of almost universally liked books such as The Book Thief and Code Name Verity. For that reason, you should probably disregard this review if you're a fan of really creepy, small town horror stories. Wasserman owns the creepy in this story. I truly admire her for not easing up on the grit, gore and adult themes just because she's writing for young adults - she's not afraid to go there and, for me, that's a big compliment to give to any author....more
I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!
No review is completely objective. But there are two reasons I should warn you of why this review might be prone to even less objectivity than usual:
1) I recently read a book about a teacher/student relationship that was excellent - Unteachable - and it was hard not to compare the two. 2) I am British.
Let's start with the second. Losing It clearly wasn't written for me. I'm not sure how much I would have liked it anyway if the attraction of the book's love interest hadn't been built up around the sexiness of his accent and his - ohmigosh, so cute! - British mannerisms*. Like drinking tea. Tea is awesome, by the way, and I need at least three cups to achieve a normal level of brain functioning in the morning. As much as I'm sure there are many incorrect cultural stereotypes, that's one I find it difficult to argue with. Plus, this gif amuses me to no end:
Okay, sorry, I got distracted when tea came up. But, yeah, I failed to experience the same level of excitement as the protagonist and fully appreciate statements like this: "I think I could actually feel the hormones released into the atmosphere when the girls in the room heard his accent." That's why I've placed this book on my "its-me-not-you" shelf. Because I like to be fair. But I still think it was pretty generous of me.
Accurate tea (and several other) stereotypes aside, Garrick is still more like a caricature of a British person than an actual British person. I'm glad Rose pointed out that "Garrick felt like a British character written by an American author", otherwise I might have felt like the annoying little voice in the corner trying to ruin everyone's exaggerated fun (in a British accent). Though, I think the author deserves a medal for actually managing to use that much British slang in every single sentence because I never do. And no one actually says "love" at the end of every sentence either. In fact, calling someone you've just met "love" can be seen as too familiar at best and condescending at worst.
I didn't hate Losing It and there were some funny bits. Humour is a hard one to talk about in a review because it completely depends on the individual and what they find funny. For me, it was a little too ridiculous, too over-the-top. The funny parts focused on the embarrassing situations the protagonist - Bliss Edwards - found herself in. It relied on Bliss saying unbelievably stupid things at inappropriate times, making a fool of herself constantly and landing in one awkward situation after another. It was like Bridget Jones x 100 and I found it too much for my tastes. Though perhaps everything I've described so far sounds really appealing to you. Fair enough, that probably means this book would suit you more than me.
Back to my first point: this book just doesn't stand a chance when compared to Unteachable. The latter is better written; it's about more than a relationship; it's sad, moving and memorable; there is more than one important relationship in it. It's a different kind of work entirely and I, personally, liked that a lot more. But the real question is:
Would you like this book?
1) Do you like over-the-top, exaggerated humour that uses situations you'd never see in real life? a) No - go read something else. b) Yes! - go on to question 2.
2) How much do these gifs turn you on?
a) Not at all - run away from this book and never look back! b) Maybe slightly - are you sure? Look again. c) So, so much - congratulations! You have found your next favourite book.
Quick warning: this is not a review in the usual sense but a collection of my personal thoughts and beliefs as to why this series didn't work for me.
SQuick warning: this is not a review in the usual sense but a collection of my personal thoughts and beliefs as to why this series didn't work for me.
Some people will probably find my rating for this book generous, while others are sure to think it unfair but, just to make it clear where I stand with this one, I've made it the latest addition to my "it's me not you" shelf. I think it's virtually impossible to be objective when writing a book review. Though one can do their best to take personal tastes, beliefs and feelings out of it, they always manage to sneak in there somehow. When I've tried to balance out past negative reviews with comments for the people who might actually enjoy the book, reading back I can still feel the negative tone coming through. But I really do think myself and this series are completely incompatible on a level that has little to do with the quality of the book and everything to do with me.
This is why I've given a rating of three stars, even though I didn't particularly like this book and I think a part of me knew it was a mistake to carry on with this series after I felt unsure about the first one. For some reason, I am completely unable to suspend disbelief when it comes to these books and the scientific and philosophical issues I have with them are constantly niggling at the back of my mind. It doesn't make any more sense to me than it will to others why it bothers me so much here, why I can happily believe in the plausibility of creatures such as vampires and accept things like them being able to get an erection despite the lack of blood flow in their body. Some authors have rewritten the mythology to explain this issue by vampires being able to control the flow of blood in their body and direct it towards where it needs to go... and I'm like, yeah, that makes perfect sense. I get it. But not with this.
I'll tell you what bugs me, and I realise it's pretty unfair of me to blame a sci-fi/paranormal book for not making sense, but I really struggle to accept this concept and, because I can't accept it, I can't believe in it and I cannot allow myself to become invested in the story. The novel works better for me when I imagine that Eva and Addie are conjoined twins and think about it in terms of the problems they would face that way with both girls wanting to be with different people. I've always been curious how real life conjoined twins get past issues such as these, how they can be accepted as individual people when they must go about their everyday lives as if they are one.
But Eva and Addie's actual story - as two souls sharing one body - doesn't work for me. I find myself trying to wrap my head around how they both can have physical control of the body, how if one person seizes up in the middle of an awkward conversation the other can then jump in and save the situation. Because: where do thoughts and feelings and speech and control come from? Answer: the brain. How many brains do they have? Answer: one. I feel myself getting ridiculously philosophical here... but what is a person? Is not a person simply a collection of memories, sense experience and gathered knowledge all stored inside the brain? I don't see how two people can exist with different thoughts and tastes and desires... but only one brain.
And the thing it all comes down to is the thing I don't want to say because it always sounds so horrible. So many people put such emphasis on this thing, many view it as the most important thing of all... the soul. I don't believe in it. For one thing, I am reluctant to believe in anything that cannot be defined and the soul is one such thing that has no set definition. For another, the soul has always seemed to me like a piece of human fiction created to give weight to the argument that some part of a person exists eternally, before life and beyond death. Because in order for that to be true, there has to be something that is separate from our body, that is more than matter, more than flesh and bone and electrical impulses running through the brain. I want it understood that I do not believe in preaching and I'm not trying to convince you to see things my way, I just really do want to offer an explanation as to why this book posed such a problem for me. An explanation as much for myself as for anyone else who happens to stumble across my random thoughts.
In the end, I assure you that none of this is a criticism of Zhang's story or writing. I'm angry at myself for being unable to forget these things and just accept this for what it is: pure made-up fantastical fiction. If you actually read this far, I apologise for being so unhelpful with this one and you deserve a medal for making it through my ramblings....more
2.5 It seems a little unfair to give this such a low rating when the only problem is that I'm obviously not the desired audience. But, because goodread2.5 It seems a little unfair to give this such a low rating when the only problem is that I'm obviously not the desired audience. But, because goodreads' rating system only allows for how much I personally enjoyed the book, I'm not prepared to go so far as to say "I liked it" and give it 3 stars as that would be untrue. Please just remember this: had I been a teenage boy (about 12-16), I would probably have loved Insignia, and I'm actually pleased that authors are still remembering to cater for teen males who read.
In the end, I just don't care that much about gadgets and battles. It's not the science fiction part that makes it a boy book, there are many great female sci-fi authors and I've enjoyed the genre many times in the past. But it did read like particularly boyish gratification with that beautiful moment almost every young guy waits for... the day that a member of the government walks into their home and announces that they've qualified to become a member of the Intrasolar Forces (or a spy, or a secret agent, or a superhero). But better than that, they'll be part of a virtual reality military - total heaven for video game lovers! They'll have a specialised processor embedded in their brain so they absorb information at an unbelievable pace and rapidly become one of the smartest human beings on the planet.
Plus there's pretty girls and typical boy humour. So nothing wrong if the right reader picks up this book, nothing wrong at all. If your ultimate fantasy is being a kind of virtual James Bond with a whole bunch of cool tricks up your sleeves, then Insignia will be the perfect book for you. Kincaid has obviously done her research here and written a story with just the right amount of sci-fi complexity combined with a light-hearted writing style that makes it very easy to digest. For me, this strikes me as the kind of young adult book that really should stay in the teen section. I know a lot of adults love to read within the YA genre and I wouldn't quite call this "middle grade" but it reads a bit younger than the novels I tend to prefer.
This is a good debut with a convincingly male narrator, but sadly it just wasn't for me....more
It's as if I've been on a constant downer lately, I even manage to find bad stuff to say about books I really enjoyed and I'm starting to wonder if t It's as if I've been on a constant downer lately, I even manage to find bad stuff to say about books I really enjoyed and I'm starting to wonder if the problem is my own. That's why I'm being unusually generous and giving a book that never really grabbed me and one I struggled to finish three stars. Not because I've just decided to change what I personally require for my ratings, but because I wonder if some of my inability to appreciate the humour and attempts at subtle irony in this book are because of my current mood and a few other reasons I'll go on to discuss.
For a start, this book is set in nineteenth century Yorkshire with some walks on the moors and comments on places that left me feeling somewhat nostalgic. I would appreciate it if someone could comment and tell me whether we are told anywhere near the beginning that this was nineteenth century? I spent three quarters of the book trying to work it out, it seemed like the most obvious choice of time period for such a novel but I didn't notice a mention of it until nearly the end of the book. But it is quite possible that I was being extremely dense once again. Anyway, the author won some immediate brownie points with me for setting the story in my home county.
I think if ratings were on intention, this novel would easily get five stars from me. It's a book that I should absolutely love in theory: the setting, the Austen-style mockery of gender relations, the humour (because parts are very funny, the first page is one such part)... but I don't think the author succeeded. It took me a while to realise her novel was anything more than a piece of fluff with Cinderella-style balls, descriptions of beautiful women and their dresses, and bitchiness. This is the first modern day book I've read that tries to do irony like Austen, and not only was I not expecting it, I don't think it quite worked. Well, not for me anyway.
I wonder if making fun of nineteenth century ways holds as much charm when a modern writer does it? Austen's excellent writing aside, she was a master of irony - in fact, it has been suggested that irony was the shield behind which she expressed her radical ideas. When I read Austen, I find myself constantly smiling at this lady's brilliance, that she saw her society for what it truly was: a bunch of actors trying to adhere to a ridiculous set of unwritten rules in order to be deemed proper and refined. But she saw it when not so many people did. Nowawdays, it is of common opinion that nineteenth century behaviour was quite silly, it's not really groundbreaking for the author to poke fun at it. This is one possibility why the novel failed for me.
Also, I think Kindl focuses too much on humour and loses her characters and plot to it. I didn't care for the MC - Althea, or her mother, or what happened with Lord Boring, or what happened with Mr Fredericks. I didn't care. There's some seemingly pointless dawdling in the middle which is there so the author can maneuver the characters into a particular situation that will allow her to ironically explore gender relations. And perhaps I am just not educated enough in the ways of nineteenth century women but I find it hard to believe any of them had the kind of pro-feminist outburst that Althea has at one point. She basically stomps her foot and screams about how women are people too and deserving of respect, and then she screams about how they are not property (even though they are). I was confused by this, as much as I love the idea of a Victorian woman giving her patriarchal society the middle finger, these claims were rare in the 1950s - never mind the nineteenth century, right? Unless, of course, this was irony on top of irony... damn, my head hurts.
When I realised what Kindl was trying to achieve with this novel, I suddenly liked it a whole lot more. But the exaggerated characters which are supposed to make us laugh at the stupidity of how people behaved two hundred years ago are easily mistaken for another fluffy cheesefest. Now I believe that the author's choice of having a beautiful protagonist with two ugly stepsisters was probably all part of her ironic package. I think she was showing how shallow society was. I think.
And another reason I gave this three stars instead of two is because part of me wonders if this author is not at fault, but rather many others before her are. Let me explain. Even though Kindl creates exaggerated and ridiculous characters, I took forever to work out that she was being ironic. Thankfully, I'm not just completely stupid because other reviews of this book describe it as a fluffy and mindless read. However, I wonder if myself and others didn't get the joke because there are actually novels with characters just like this that are not being ironic. That put importance on beauty and dresses and they actually mean it. Like Gossip Girl and (as I've heard) The Luxe.
Perhaps if you pick up this book after reading my review, you will enjoy it more because you know what's going on from the beginning. Or perhaps you're just smarter and more astute than I am. I hope so, I really do, I like what Kindl was trying to do here even if it didn't work so much for me....more
I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in mys
I have a feeling I'm not going to be very popular by posting this review, everyone seems to love this book so far and I feel more disappointed in myself and my tastes than the novel or the author. Code Name Verity is one of those books that are the reason why I created the shelf its-me-not-you. I mentioned this very recently in my review of The Book Of Blood And Shadow and it is also similar to the experience I had trying to read The Book Thief and Feed. I just found 90% of the book long-winded and unnecessary.
The novel opens where the narrator has been captured by the Nazi opposition during WWII. She is given paper to tell her story and she does so through the eyes of her friend Maddie. Different, definitely. Maddie's story is told in various anecdotes, a technique I've already failed to appreciate in The Book Thief but I suppose the intention was to subtly build up a picture of both girls' pasts and their friendship. This book is not very plot-focused or fast-paced, it's about conversations and people and female pilots during the second world war, which would all have been great if it had been balanced out with a touch of drama.
I cannot tell you just how much I wanted to like this. It's about women's involvement in the war and us Northern girls - two topics that don't get nearly enough press. But, for me, there was just too big a focus on piloting and aircraft and I'm sorry but I struggled to care. If you read the author's note at the end she will tell you that this book is actually meant to be about pilots:
"This book started off rather simply as a portrait of an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot. Being a woman and a pilot myself, I wanted to explore the possibilities that would have been open to me during the second world war."
And not enough else was brought in. There's only so many descriptions of a pilot's job I can sit through before I start to snooze, each to their own but flying planes has never been an interest of mine. The best parts of this book were the touching ending and the fact that the narrator is delightfully unreliable (I love them, I do! Eugenides, I miss you...) but I needed more. All I really want is for a book to rouse some passion in me, whether it be excitement, sadness, anger even... I felt nothing. ...more
I imagine that The Book Of Blood And Shadow will impress most of my friends, it just so happens that this is one of those books that appears on occas
I imagine that The Book Of Blood And Shadow will impress most of my friends, it just so happens that this is one of those books that appears on occasion which is well-constructed, well-written, clever and absolutely nothing that I want to read. I've seen this before and will surely see it again in the future, thankfully I'm getting better at spotting them early on - the only reason I finished this book was because it was provided by UK book tours for review purposes.
The story is about Nora who tries to solve the mystery around her friend's death and prove her boyfriend's innocence by travelling to Prague and following the clues from centuries-old manuscripts that lead her into a world of secrets, lies and conspiracies. It's just a shame that, for me, this was nowhere near as exciting as it sounds.
Though the books are nothing alike, the reading experience I had with The Book Of Blood And Shadow was almost identical to the ones I had with The Book Thief and Feed. This could be a good indicator of whether or not you should read this book. If you liked those two I just mentioned - and I know most people did - then you may have more patience with a novel like The Book Of Blood And Shadow. It is equally long-winded and spends a lot of time with the characters and the world before any of the main plot gets going.
Did you enjoy those discussions about politics and occasionally medicine found in Feed? Did you like the numerous flashbacks and stories throughout The Book Thief? Or did you grow tired of them like me? You see, Mira Grant, Markus Zusak and Robin Wasserman are all great writers in the very technical sense but I think they lose something from the story in being so... well, that's just how I see it. It's easy to be drawn in by them at first because you immediately recognise that they are talented at writing, the characters are always well-developed from the start. I like the characters, I like the writing, and I wait and wait for the story to get interesting but I'm often bored.
If you're okay with long sentences, a little too much of the stuff that we don't really care about like translations - or maybe that's also just me? - and the kind of story that doesn't hit you like WOWSHAZAM but creeps in slowly and steadily until you realise "oh yeah, so something seems to be going on now..." then this is your kind of book. Sorry, I'm not selling it too well, am I? I probably shouldn't be too negative as I am confident many of my friends on goodreads will love this kind of story. It's just way too slow and hard-going for me....more
It seems to me that the first mistake made with this book was to target teenage girls. Here I come with my gender stereotyping and I'm sure there wil
It seems to me that the first mistake made with this book was to target teenage girls. Here I come with my gender stereotyping and I'm sure there will be other female readers who'll love this book and disagree with me... but despite the protagonist being female and the cover featuring a teen girl, Dan Wells appears to have written a "boy book". The lengthy descriptions and idle conversations were dull enough without the subject matter going from hockey to guns to bombs.
In the words of Mr Presley: "a little less conversation, a little more action please". There was a serious lack of drama, suspense and tension in this book. I braved the first boring 200 pages because I was sure once the hunt for the Partials began we would see something a little more kickass, dangerous, pulse-pounding... something that would make me excited to read on. Unfortunately, I was wrong. This is another one of those books that will be just right for fans of slow, well-rounded plot development, but not one for people like me who prefer something a bit faster-paced and nastier.
This story is about a world where the human population has dwindled to approx. 40,000 because of a disastrous war with genetically engineered soldiers called Partials. The remaining few have congregated on an island, but all the babies born to the women die within a few days due to the release of a virus by the Partials. The adults, however, remain immune to this virus. Now the thing I find quite unbelievable is that we're expected to just accept that expert researchers have been studying the babies for years in search of a cure, and yet it takes a sixteen year old girl to come up the idea that they should also be looking at why adults have immunity to the virus. I mean... duh.
The biggest attempt to turn this into a book that could easily be marketed to teenage girls was the rather boring romance story. But I felt it was so flat and uninteresting that it only served to make things worse. This book is for someone, I'm sure, though I don't know who to recommend it to. Probably those who thought The Book of Blood and Shadow had good pacing. ...more
I am going to have to sadly admit that this series is not my cup of tea. I tried to like Unearthly after reading all the rave reviews but found it on
I am going to have to sadly admit that this series is not my cup of tea. I tried to like Unearthly after reading all the rave reviews but found it only okay, it didn't blow my mind like I was so sure it would. Hallowed was even less appealing to me, I read three chapters and even that was a struggle - but now I do think I'm starting to see why. I think if I happened to meet Clara in real life, let's just say she enrolled at my university, we would be friendly to one another, perhaps mumble a polite greeting when we passed in the corridor but I don't think we would ever be close friends. We have so little in common. Clara is, in many ways, the girl I have never been... nor really wish to be either (though, I would like to be able to fly).
(1) Clara is the kind of girl who will have relationships filled with sweet romance, hand-holding and utter tameness. I appreciate that this is a young adult novel and I didn't exactly expect graphic sex scenes - or, in fact, any sex at all - but "Tucker still has this notion that since I have angel blood in my veins he should try to keep my honor in tact" is practically Victorian repression.
(2) Clara cannot even admit to herself that she has the hots for Christian as well as Tucker. She dreams, daydreams and thinks an awful lot about the guy but "no, no, Tucker is my future". Who is she kidding? It's not like every reader doesn't know already that there's a whole love triangle thing going on... so why is our heroine being stupid?
(3) I read three chapters. In these chapters, apart from a quick recap of what happened in the first book, we spend all the time in the middle of Clara's daydreams of marriage and babies. Or experiencing kissing Tucker through Clara's mind, which is naturally out of this world, sensational, practically orgasm-inducing... or seeing visions of Christian, which is just bad, bad, bad.
(4) And why oh why did this book get so biblical? Three chapters, I must remind you, and I don't know how many times I heard about god and the bible. Look, my religious beliefs aside, everyone is fully entitled to believe what the hell they want - but that doesn't mean I want to hear it about it in chapter two. And a lot.
I could read the rest of the story but I can tell we are not destined to love one another. And that's okay, right now I have so many other things to read. To anyone who is put off by my lack of chemistry with this book, navigate towards Wendy's or Tatiana's review to see how it worked out for people who "got" Clara more than I did. ...more
Looks like I'm going to have to add this book to the list I call 'Popular books I can't appreciate' along with novels like The Lord of the Rings tril
Looks like I'm going to have to add this book to the list I call 'Popular books I can't appreciate' along with novels like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Magic Bites. To all those goodreads members who loved this book - I tried, I swear I did. I finished a book that failed to grab my interest one bit right up to the last page, I have never forced myself to read 571 pages of a book that felt like wading through sludge. Perhaps I am not intelligent enough for this story, but whatever the reason, I've come away with nothing but relief that it is now over.
I won't give it 1 star, it is not a bad novel. The characters were varied and developed, the writing was sophisticated... but the story was just boring. Drab. Dull. I have mixed feelings about zombie novels; zombies themselves don't interest or scare me so there has to be something more to the story - this wasn't a problem. In fact, the book wasn't largely dedicated to flesh-eating and zombie moans, it was dedicated to something which I am very interested in and should have been what sold the book to me: politics.
I am a self-confessed politics nerd, I have been for a long time - probably ever since I was eleven reading Orwell's 1984 and discovering for the first time how politics could be used to create one hell of a fictional story. I was delighted when I read that the novel was more political than anything else. Ah, well, it wasn't what I expected. In fact, this novel is one very long, drawn-out presidential campaign that made me want to tear my hair out with boredom. I am very surprised that I finished the book at all.
I think I was waiting for a great pivotal change to occur about half way through - I've read several reviews saying that the pace picks up in the second half. I would say it does... marginally. I think other members obviously found a greater difference between the first and second halves that I didn't pick up on. It's difficult to say a novel is 'slow' to get going when I never really thought it did. Get going, that is.
I found Feed to be a novel that was too long, too dull and too concerned with technical mumbo-jumbo. I'm not a genius but I'm no idiot either and I can't believe that I could be the only one thinking "what on earth?" at all the medical lingo and weird descriptions of things that I'd never heard of. I like books that can be educational as well as fictional but if I don't know what the author's talking about I can't take anything away from the experience.
By about page 300 of this book, I would look at it on my desk and want to groan at the thought of picking it up again. I cannot imagine there would ever be any desire in me to pick up Deadline. ...more
I always feel a little bad when I disagree with the majority about a book, like there must be something I'm missing or I obviously didn't 'get' it. I
I always feel a little bad when I disagree with the majority about a book, like there must be something I'm missing or I obviously didn't 'get' it. I do understand why a lot of people enjoyed Unearthly and there were parts I liked too... but I still wasn't blown away. As far as young adult stories about angels go, this is probably one of the best - only, that's not really saying much. I found the book okay in many ways, I don't have a huge rant to make about girls who are obsessed with boys over everything else, or just plain annoying... but the most dominant emotion I felt through a lot of this novel was boredom.
It seems that my expectations are always going to be ripped apart and tossed aside. If I'd opened this book expecting to hate it, I'd probably have written a 5-star dazzling review. As it happens, I was hyped up on all the rave reviews, even from some of my hardest-to-please friends and I kept reading on and on and waiting for the plot or characters to grab me so I'd think "yes, I definitely see why everyone loves this!" but it never happened that way. It starts with a mysterious vision that sounded potentially very interesting, which then leads our protagonist (Clara) and her family to Wyoming in order to follow the call of her angelic purpose (she's part angel). From there the story simply seems to spiral off into another high school drama. Clara's angelic purpose all centres around the hottest and most popular boy in school and she then, of course, becomes immediate enemies with his equally gorgeous and popular girlfriend. Then we get to an array of proms, boy troubles, class projects and finally the realisation that maybe mr popular-angelic-purpose is not the one Clara truly wants to be with.
It was all fine, I just never got a sense of "wow" or any particular need to stalk Amazon until Hallowed comes out. I wanted very much to like it, I don't know if my expectations were too high but I obviously missed what makes this book so special. That's why I'd still recommend this book to anyone who loves a bit of young adult paranormalness (not a word??) because I'm fairly sure that the problem was my own. Everyone I've talked to loved this book and I'm not entirely sure why I just couldn't get into it. The characters were varied and interesting, there were some parts I found quite funny, it just... I don't know. The best thing I can tell you in this review is to read it for yourself.
sigh. I hate it when this happens, I truly do, it makes me feel wrong inside when everyone else loves a book that I find to be rather underwhelming..
sigh. I hate it when this happens, I truly do, it makes me feel wrong inside when everyone else loves a book that I find to be rather underwhelming... I mean, what's wrong with me?? Did I not get it?? Obviously it must be a lack of intelligence or something of that sort because everyone seems to rate this 5 stars, I was looking through my friend reviews hoping that someone would share my opinion at least a lickle tiny bit, and after seeing 5 stars, 5 stars, 4.5 stars, 5 stars... I found Stephen's review, thank god for small mercies.
Stephen managed to put into a couple of sentences exactly how I felt about The Book Thief: "I liked the characters, loved the writing and certainly loved the originality of the story. But in the end, I didn't enjoy it as much as I would need to in order to rate it higher." It's that simple.
I can appreciate that Markus Zusak is a very talented writer, some of the sentences he uses are quite beautiful and reminded me of poetry rather than prose. And the story idea? A tale narrated by Death and set in Nazi Germany... original and ominous. But it was the story-telling that never really worked for me. This is one of those incredibly "subtle" books that are told in a series of anecdotes and are meant to cleverly build up a bigger picture... but, the stories just didn't interest me.
I could imagine I was reading a collection of short stories (and not a full-length novel) about playground fights, developing friendships, WWI stories and death. They were supposed to come together and form a novel that is all kinds of awesome at once, but it was so bland. I also think that nearly 600 pages of "subtlety" can make you want to slit your wrists with annoyance... anyone read To the Lighthouse and spend 99% of it just wishing they'd get to the effin' lighthouse?! Well, I did.
I'm giving this book 3 stars for the pretty words and the concept. But other than that this book unfortunately won't stay with me, I find it an easily forgettable novel and I know for that I will probably cause some controversy and no one will ever read my reviews again because I'm clearly an idiot who doesn't appreciate beautiful works of art like this book. It's true, I don't. I'm sorry :( ...more